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The Race for Iran

AN IRANIAN PERSPECTIVE ON THE MIDDLE EAST AND ITS PROSPECTS

Phto by: Behrouz Mehri / AFP/Getty Images

A year ago, our colleague, Seyed Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran, published an extraordinarily prescient paper, “The Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States, and the Balance of Power in the Middle East,” see here. Writing before protests in Egypt had even broken out, Seyed Mohammad explained

“In Tehran, there is a strong belief that the region is changing dramatically in favor of Hezbollah, the Palestinians, and the Resistance.  The rise of an independent Turkey, whose government has a worldview very different from that of the U.S., German, British, and French governments, along with the relative decline of Saudi and Egyptian influence, signals a major shift in the regional balance of power.  Saudi military incompetence during the fighting with Yemeni tribes along the border between the two countries, the general decline of the Egyptian regime in all respects, and the almost universal contempt among Arabs as a whole for the leaders of these two countries and other pro-Western Arab regimes and their corrupt elites, are seen as signs that the center cannot hold.  The fact that the Iranian president and the Turkish prime minister are so popular in Arab countries, while most Arab leaders are deeply unpopular, is a sign that the region is changing.” 

We were bowled over when we first read those words a year ago, and are even more bowled over to re-read them now and see how well they have held up:  Mubarak is out of power and standing trial in a Cairo court, Saudi troops have shown that they are well-suited to repressing an unarmed civilian population in another country, and—contrary to conventional wisdom and social “facts” in the West—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains one of the three most popular leaders in the Arab world, according to the most recent running of the Arab Public Opinion Poll, see here.   

Now Mohammad has come out with another richly insightful overview of the regional condition, “Tour d’horizon:  An Iranian Optic on the Middle East and Its Prospects”, which our friends at the Conflicts Forum have published, see here.  Perhaps our reaction is skewed because we live in Washington, DC, where sober, reality-based commentary on the region is a rare commodity, but we think it is brilliant, and recommend it highly. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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230 Responses to “AN IRANIAN PERSPECTIVE ON THE MIDDLE EAST AND ITS PROSPECTS”

  1. bold not bold notbold

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  4. Liz says:

    Castellio:

    Professor Marandi has commented a great deal on TV about Iranian internal politics and affairs. Maybe he should write something too.

  5. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The Financial Times reported today that Chinese leaders do not see the US as seeking instability or war in East Asia, and that China benefits from stability that the US helps to provide.

  6. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Do you actually believe US policy toward North Korea is to seek “instability and war”?
    China wants NK to get rid of its nukes. So does Russia. Surely the US does well to let China take the lead in dealing with NK.

  7. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    If Panetta is “powerless”, as you claim, why would Michael Oren and the ISRAEL LOBBY get worked up about his efforts to block any Israeli or American attack on Iran, absent proof Iran is building nukes?

  8. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Do you actually believe Obama would tell the US Navy to intercept oil tankers carrying Iranian oil toward India, or China? This would be utter lunacy on the part of Obama. Absent proof Iran is actually building nukes, in which case it would be extremely rash.

  9. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Are you claiming that Israel would continue to threaten to attack Iran even if the IAEA approved Iran’s application to buy fuel for the TRR, and Iran stopped enriching to 20%? Israel might continue to make threats, but if Iran is only producing 3.5% U it seems very unlikely Israel would launch an attack. Extremely unlikely, unless Israel had secret backing from US for the attack. The Pentagon makes clear it does not want Israel to attack Iran. Britain also makes this clear, that the UK does not want a pre-emptive attack on Iran by Israel or the US.

  10. An Iranian View says:

    Scott Lucas

    Liz is correct.

  11. Scott Lucas says:

    UU & Liz,

    Ding! Your irrelevancies — in relation to the serious points which could be discussed — are saved by the change of posts….

    Best,

    S.

  12. Guys, you might find this post about Iran’s new uranium enrichment activities interesting: http://bulletinamaelstrom.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/iran-begins-uranium-enrichment-at-fordo-plant/

  13. Masoud: “They go into it not being able to find Canada on a map”

    Good one – and quite true.

    These sorts of panels are mostly useless. Almost everyone watching has either been already brainwashed by the MSM into fearing and/or hating Iran and Muslims in general or distrusts the U.S. government enough after Bush and Iraq that they don’t believe anything about the Middle East the U.S. government says except that the U.S. wants the oil. Better the latter than the former, anyway…

    And the format of these things makes them even more useless. Either there isn’t enough time to make a sound argument or the whole thing devolves into a shouting match. They should have only two people on the panel and there should be enough time to make a coherent argument rather than sound bites.

  14. masoud says:

    Sidenote:

    Hillary is so much better than Flynt in adversarial formats, it’s actually quite shocking. Maybe it’s the legal training.

    I guess they don’t argue much at home, you’d expect FL would have learned a thing or two by now, but more often then not, he comes across as somehow detached and overly-professorial.(I’m only talking about adversarial formats here, he does quite a bit better on conference panels and the like, when he’s got more time to hit his stride.)

  15. masoud says:

    Castellio,

    Relax, I’m not calling for blood. I just think Iranians ought to drop their customary politesse when appearing on shows that are supposed to address the American public. An Iranian can look at that clip and understand that Hooman meant: “Iranians Hate Obama”, you’re average American, on the other hand won’t have that same takeaway.

    re: Stephens vs Mann Leverett,
    You’re over thinking this. Most Americans don’t go into watching this thing ‘supporting’ either Bret or Hillary. They go into it not being able to find Canada on a map. Hillary performed quite well. She took her time ignored Bret’s red herrings, framed the issue herself, in a quite convincing manner, and came all the way back around and convincingly punched Bret square in the face so hard, he started to grasp for the ‘Saudi Ambassador plot’ talking point before he realized how stupid he was starting to sound.

    Given the constraints of the format, Hillary really did put on a clinic: she cited specific details, built up a convincing narrative, invoked a a powerful historical analogue, and tore up her the factual basis of her opponents talking point. Hillary had maybe 300 seconds total face time and you can’t expect her to rattle off every single talking point and convince the most ardent evangelical that they’ve got everything backwards in that segment.

    re: Nasr,

    I’ve always found this interview of VN interesting:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjzBzu3icZE
    Vali essentially thinks that the only thing holding Iran and other Muslim societies back from being exactly lie Europe is the fact they haven’t ever had a large prosperous middle class, and that since we are beginning to slowly see the emergence of such middle classes, the problems of the middle east will largely take care of themselves, and America, as the fountainhead of democracy, and all other good things, will then be in a uniquely revered position in the world once again. It sounds like I’m mocking him, but this is almost exactly what he believes, and he actually makes his argument quite convincingly. I’d call him a casualty in the War of Civilizations.

    He didn’t seem very happy at all in the studio. I guess he’s still sore about getting the Bum’s rush once Hoolbrooke was out. He was likely a victim of a turfwar within the administration between the ZioCrazies on the one hand, and the Responsible Adults on the other. The Adults always had the deck stacked against them, but boy, did they get massacred.

  16. masoud says:

    Juan Cole keeps calling Omar Khayam a ‘Humanist’. I wish someone would go over there and kick him in the ass, but then again, that comment probably wouldn’t get published. And why the hell does he insist on attempting to translate Persian poetry, when he can’t even give straightforward translations of plain-language political speeches which illiterate schoolchildren in rural Tajikistan would have no problem understanding?

  17. Castellio says:

    Massoud, Hooman did a good thing, he backed Hillary. It was the only case of one of the panelists coming to the support of the other, and he did it to drive home the essential point that the US hadn’t been serious in its outreach to Iran. He got that right. We should be grateful to him.

    I don’t think Hillary whupped Stephens: if you come to the interview supporting Stephens (as perhaps the majority would) you come away thinking he held his own and then scored his main point that the Obama administration had failed Israel at the very moment they are most vulnerable to their greatest enemies. (He earned his money with that, repeating effectively the we-are-the-most-threatened-people-in-the-world talking point, which is the reason why good-hearted Americans believe they should disappear the Palestinians, who apparently aren’t threatened at all.) If you’re a supporter of Stephens, you also wonder why Hillary is wasting her time talking about China, because you don’t consider the cases at all similar.

    No one mentioned the betrayal by Obama of Turkey and Brazil’s successful negotiation of the uranium issue, no one mentioned that nuclear capable is not nuclear armed, no one mentioned that there is actually nothing Iran can do that will back off Israel other than to accept a totally subordinate role at odds with the identity and dignity of its own people.

    So, perhaps a close decision to Hillary, given Hooman’s support.

    At the end of the day I really don’t understand the likes of Vali, but recognize that he fits the profile of many Iranians in America. But what is he actually thinking?? I don’t mean that rhetorically… what is going through his mind during that panel?? I’m pretty sure whatever it was he didn’t speak it.

  18. Iranian says:

    The Islamic Awakening is a reality and only the most ignorant sort of
    person would deny it now.

  19. Castellio says:

    Liz, I agree with your support of Marandi’s essay. I do have a question, though: shouldn’t Marandi also write an article about the domestic situation in Iran from his vantage point?

  20. masoud says:

    Hillary Leverett just whopped Bret Stephens six ways from Sunday.
    Vali seemed more sober than he likely ever was when serving as Hoolbrooke’s boy on South Asia, and Hooman seems permanently stuck performing Reformist apologetics. “The Iranian people are so miserable, they just can’t understand why Obama is sanctioning them…”.
    Tell it like it is Hooman, Americans just don’t understand that kind of language: The problem is that the Iranian people understand exactly why Obama is trying to make their lives miserable.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veID9etdhC0

  21. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas hasn’t bothered to read the piece or he is in bed with the neocons again.

    Another very good piece on Syria:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/06/the-neocon-propaganda-machine-pushing-%E2%80%9Cregime-change%E2%80%9D-in-syria/

    His numbers and information are based on western sources or sources funded by the west and Arab dictatorships.

    How many people have died as a result of sanctions? How many have been killed as a result of the western backed insurgency?

    Iran supports the Syrian people and we know what the Qatari polls say.
    Scott Lucas supports whatever his funders support as usual…Zero morality.

    In Iran if there are differences and they are played out in elections that is a positive. I wonder what role the people of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE,…or even Italy and Greece are playing in the decision making processes in their countries? Professor Marandi’s analysis is absolutely correct.

  22. Russia’s ‘democracy package’ for Syria
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA07Ak03.html

    Russia is attempting to use diplomacy to resolve things in Syria.

    The obvious prediction is that the US/NATO/Israel will derail this.

    It should be fairly easy to derail the process – just keep up things like the recent bombing attacks and target more and more of the government personnel who might agree to the Russian process. Make the situation one where the Syrian hardliners are too afraid to accede to any sort of government policy change. Moubayed already shows in the article examples of how even the opposition groups can’t agree with each other on whether to accept a gradual change in government or complete regime change.

    Moubayed says the US is allowing Russia to take the lead on this, but I think that’s a complete crock. In any event, humans never refuse a chance to fail, so I predict this Russian process will fail miserably, thus paving the way for the Syrian war.

    Certainly Israel doesn’t want any “peaceful” change in Syria which leaves any group in charge which still wants the Golan Heights back, not to mention that leaves Hizballah still in charge in southern Lebanon.

    The whole point of this Syrian exercise is to weaken both Syria and Hizballah seriously enough that the Iran war can be started with limited exposure to Israel. No kind of Russian “peace process” is going to allow that, and therefore it has to be stopped by any means necessary.

  23. Rehmat says:

    Britain – Racism, anti-Semitism and Jewish Lobby

    Recently, three members of British Labor Party, headed by Jewish Ed Miliband, have come under knife of the ruling ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’ government of Prime Minister David Cameron…..

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/britain-racism-anti-semitism-and-jewish-lobby/

  24. Castellio says:

    I really think Hillary Mann Leverett is wrong when she suggests that the Neocon experiment was to make of Iraq a functioning, democratic, and normal state with pro-US leanings. That is what the Neocons said, but that is neither what they wanted, expected, or planned for. They wanted regime change, a cowering and subjugated Iraqi state, and as much economic dislocation, chaos, and weakening of the central institutions as could reasonably be effected while leaving some sort of functioning shell.

    It’s obvious they seek the same for Iran and Syria and are following the same strategic escalation: economic blockade followed by inserting armed rebels, no-fly zones, and then the outright overthrow of the government. There is nothing hidden or subtle about this. The only difference, now, is that the final overthrow is to be done with mercenaries rather than American ground troops, and with more reliance on bombardment.

    The goal of economic dislocation, chaos, and weakening of the central institutions as can reasonably be effected remains active in all cases and is, in many ways, the primary goal.

    However, and I think we often lose sight of this, the strategy doesn’t need immediate full success, it wins even as it seems to go nowhere, as it keeps primarily defensive players (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas) off-balance and… well, defensive.

    America has agreed that there is no Palestine, and they believe the result of that can be “ridden out” by keeping the noisy neighbours busy with their own problems.

    So the war, while “on”, is a “long war” and America has irrevocably committed itself to it.

    The American people don’t want this, but those who think the interests of the American people are foremost to the American government are simply deluded. Nor is the conversation about the effects of supporting Israeli racism and expansion yet a subject which can be openly discussed in the US. It was interesting in the posted interview on December 20th that a half hour conversation which included both the reasons for and the results of the Iraq war avoid any mention of Israel. Frankly, I don’t expect this inability to honestly discuss what is happening in the Middle East to change. Rather, the repression of free speech in the US will continue to grow stronger as the “long war” continues.

  25. Another pathetically slanted New York Times article by David Sanger, the “Iranian Judy Miller”…

    Iran Trumpets Nuclear Ability at a Second Location
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/09/world/middleeast/iran-will-soon-move-uranium-work-underground-official-says.html?_r=1

    Note how Sanger quotes mostly Israeli sources for the consequences of this new plant. He’s clearly just repeating Israeli propaganda.

    And note this paragraph:

    “More troublingly, Iran threatened early last week to close off shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, an action that analysts say could send global oil prices soaring. Iran conducted military exercises in the waterway, and then said it would use force to bar any re-entry of the United States aircraft carrier John C. Stennis and its escort ships.”

    NONE of that is true! Iran said it would block the Straits ONLY if its oil exports were blocked. It also did not claim it would use force to block the Stennis, it merely said the carrier should not return to the Gulf.

    And note once again the Joint Chiefs Chairman comment: “But I will say that my responsibility is to encourage the right degree of planning, to understand the risks associated with any kind of military option, in some cases to position assets, to provide those options in a timely fashion. And all those activities are going on.”

    Note: “All of those activities are going on.”

  26. U.S. Gasoline Rises to $3.36 a Gallon, Lundberg Survey Shows
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-08/u-s-gasoline-rises-to-3-36-a-gallon-lundberg-survey-shows.html

    The article also says gas consumption in the U.S. is at its lowest in seven years.

    People who think an Iran war will result in $5/gallon gas need to think more along the lines of $10-20/gallon gas if even after lowered demand the price is already nearing %5.

    “Crude prices may fall this week on speculation that Iran won’t block the Strait of Hormuz and as the European debt crisis weakens the euro against the dollar, a Bloomberg survey showed.”

    Of course Iran won’t block the Straits at this point. But this shows how the stupid public really don’t understand anything about what’s going on. They just hear the words “Iran threatens to close Straits” and assume that’s what’s going to happen now. Whereas we know Iran would never do that unless it was being blockaded or actually attacked.

  27. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Scott Lucas says “…A telling answer to my four questions about Syria, the Islamic Awakening, and internal affairs in Iran — given your cul-de-sac, I don’t think I can get anything of further value for discussion.”

    You get things wrong again, as usual, Scotty Boy. My answer to your four questions was another question, which I will repeat here: Have you reinstated Reza Esfandiari on your website, and if not why not? How can you possibly expect people to take you seriously here if you just go ahead and sensor people when you feel like it, all the while proclaiming the virtues of free speech?

    Another question for you, Boy: What are you doing in Birmingham, which is the asshole of England, if not the universe? Oh that’s right, you couldn’t make the grade at SOAS, which is for top shelf spies and weasels only.

    And lastly, in response to An Iranian View’s comment, “Obviously, Iran has problems like all countries, but it is for Iranians to sort them out,” you write, “Totally agreed.” Well, if you “totally agree”, why the fuck are you interfering in Iranian affairs, you shameless hypocrite? Get your meddling nose out from under our tent, you good for nothing weasel! And if you can’t make it out of Birmingham to SOAS, go to Birmingham Alabama. The people are much nicer there, even though you would still be in a backwater.

  28. Another article on Fordo.

    Iran opens new uranium enrichment plant
    http://www.news24.com/World/News/Iran-opens-new-uranium-enrichment-plant-20120108

    The only reason this matters is that it will ratchet up the hysterical reporting in the media that Iran is “minutes away from a nuclear bomb”.

    The other important point, IF true, is that the Iranian military appears to be confirming that if a military strike is made against Iran OR Iran’s oil exports are blocked, Iran absolutely WILL close the Straits.

    In other words, there appears to be a “hardening” of the threat to close the Straits.

    While there are supposedly a number of delays and possibilities of “waivers” with regard to the Iran oil export sanctions, I would say that by end of this year we will see whether Iran’s exports are actually being restricted. whether these sanctions have been at all effective, and whether Iran will make good on its threat.

    My prediction is the sanctions will be mostly ineffective, for reasons various articles have already listed, and therefore Iran will NOT close the Straits.

    However, the next step, as predicted by Obama during his first election campaign, is to actively BLOCKADE Iran’s oil exports, i.e., send the U.S. Navy in to prevent Iranian oil tankers from leaving the Gulf.

    I predict that, perhaps after the Syrian war, that will be the next step at least contemplated by the U.S. Whether it will be implemented or not depends on other circumstances that may exist at the time.

    And that IS an “act of war” and Iran will close the Straits if it is attempted. And that would lead directly to the Iran war.

    Note: I’m NOT saying that is how the Iran war WILL start. But it is clearly one avenue toward the Iran war which could occur.

  29. Karl says:

    Panetta have always had indirect criticism pointed towards Israel.
    He have, albeit veiled, criticized Israel on numerous of occasions. Not only on Israel policy on Iran but on Palestine, Turkey and Egypt. He knows hes powerless, and doesnt want war but being pushed by war hawks and the lobby.

    And what does he get in return?
    Of course he get smeared for example by the israeli ambassador to United States! This clearly showing whose in power…

    “When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opined earlier this month that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities could “consume the Middle East in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret,” the Israelis went ballistic behind the scenes. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, lodged a formal diplomatic protest known as a demarche.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/12/28/u-s-israel-discuss-triggers-for-bombing-iran-s-nuclear-infrastructure.html

    No wonder why Panettas statements are incoherent. He doesnt belive his own lies.

  30. kooshy says:

    Arnold- the key is his reply to the next question “And to make sure that they do not make the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon” first why he feels to immediately re emphasis and repeat himself second this clearly sounds like accepting the “capability” but not to (actually) develop one , if so I agree is a progresses perhaps to resolution of kind could that be what the Turkish FM went to Tehran for or they are going to be sacked again, on Iranian news websites there was a news of revised Russian plan has been turned in via Russian embassy in Tehran.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: Rick Santorum says we should already be making it known to them and the rest of the world that we’re planning an attack to take out their nuclear facilities. And that we should let them know about that right now. What about a military reaction right now?

    SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: Well, you don’t take any option off the table. I think that’s extremely important. Don’t take any option off the table. But the responsible thing to do right now is to keep putting diplomatic and economic pressure on them to force them to do the right thing. And to make sure that they do not make the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon.

  31. Karl: “Its US (Israel wishes) that decide the outcoming, why need so many useless parties involved? Why is it that 6 nations have to argue against 1 state? Makes no sense.”

    It’s geopolitical “cover”, nothing more. It pacifies the other nations so that don’t feel they are just the U.S. lap dogs, which in turn helps the U.S. because the other nations then go along with the U.S. and don’t balk.

    The same trick is used with North Korea. North Korea wants to negotiate with the U.S. directly, the U.S. insists a bunch of other countries get involved. It just makes it harder for the “lesser party” (North Korea or Iran) to actually get anything meaningful accomplished in terms of real negotiations, which allows the US to continue to pursue its REAL aims of destabilization, war, etc.

    It’s all irrelevant to the real game. Ignore all that stuff – except when it provides hints to the U.S. real motivations, as when Obama wrote the letter to Brazil prior to the Tehran Declaration – and then immediately repudiated the exact deal he said he wanted. That is when you see the REAL motivations come out.

  32. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    I’m curious about these statements:

    - “in Iran you are executed if you openly leave Islam”

    - On the Iranian government “this is a regime that rapes our young sisters before executing them so that they don’t “die as virgins”.”

    People like Sassan through these accusations causally in between whatever they’re talking about. Almost as it was some form of grammatical rule necessary to build a sentence.

    Anyone care to shade some light on these accusations? (Not from you Sassan & friends, thank you)

  33. Fyi: “But the CBI santions followed by the oil sanctions have changed that.”

    Agree. Iran has to take a harder line now because the West is taking a harder line, lead directly by the Lobby and military-industrial complex controlled U.S. Congress.

    “US & EU have to do a lot more to de-escalate, in my opinion. We will now within the first 6 months of this year.”

    I agree – which is precisely why I expect a Syrian war this year, possibly, even probably by the summer, almost certainly by election time.

    “Ultimately, US leaders have to decide if they desire a war with Iran in the near future 2012, 2013, 2014.”

    I’m still not fixating on a particular time frame, because so much depends on the outcomes of the intermediate moves on both sides, especially the Syrian war. If the Syrian war is resolved within the next year, then the Iran war may be in the cards within a couple more years. But things could still drag on and other events might intervene. Who knows, we might have a Pakistan war first… Anything is possible.

  34. Arnold: “Any thoughts on Leon Panetta speaking here?”

    Panetta is a flunky. Whatever he thinks is irrelevant.

    He’s allegedly been trying to get the Israelis to stand down. At the same time he clearly hedges his bets when he declares Iran is trying to get a “nuclear capability” instead of a “nuclear weapon”. HE may think that the US is treating a “nuclear weapon” and not “nuclear capability” as a red line, but clearly that’s not what is going on in Obama’s mind. Remember, Obama in his election campaign declared that Iran should not be allowed to enrich AT ALL. And I think that is still his stance. And certainly it is the stance of the Israel lobby.

    And beyond that, the U.S. elites want a war with Iran. So they don’t even CARE what the “red line” is, that’s just for consumption of the public and the flunkies like Panetta.

    Which means Panetta is not calling the shots and whatever he says is not necessarily U.S. policy, nor is it likely to be adhered to even if it IS “policy” when push comes to shove.

    People need to start ignoring Panetta and Mullen and the rest of these clowns. Their statements are simply irrelevant in terms of where the U.S. is going toward the Iran war.

    Actions speak louder than words. The moves toward the Syrian war are CLEARLY a move directly toward an Iran war.

  35. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Himanshu Sahay

    You claim

    “Fordo was long kept secret and was only acknowledged by Iran after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009.”

    This is untrue.

    If you want people to read your blog, then do an honest analysis. Otherwise why should we come to your blog to get our daily dose of propaganda when we simply can get it first hand at CNN, BBC, MSNBC, Fox, etc?

  36. fyi: “I imagine that the Iranians will help Syrian state to crush the armed opposition and then work – ignoring US, EU, Turkey, the Arab League – to forge a new post Assad (but not post Alawite) Syrian state. US-EU will be defeated in Syria but status quo ante cannot be restored.”

    You raise an important issue here, namely, how will the Syrian war resolve itself.

    On the one hand, there is the “Libyan outcome”: Assad is deposed and flees or is killed, like Gaddafi, and the bulk of the Syrian government switches sides or is replaced by some organization of the dissidents, possibly after major internal (probably violent) disagreements as is happening in Libya now (or in Iraq).

    On another hand, there is the “civil war” outcome, which is more like Iraq in 2005-2007 – except in this case the relative proportions of Shia-Sunni are reversed. As in Iraq now, the ultimate outcome is uncertain. At least in Iraq, we have major Iranian influence over the Shia parties because Iran is next door. In Syria, since Iran is not next door, the situation is more likely to be influenced by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with some Iranian influence inserted via Hibzallah from the Lebanese side.

    On another hand, we have the utter crushing of the Syrian government by the US/NATO and the installation of some puppet regime a la the Chalabi model in Iraq – which failed miserably, of course, and will probably fail in Syria as well.

    Finally, we have your prediction that the US/NATO war will “fail”, resulting in the deposing of Assad, but then what? The Allawite governing party will continue in power? Will an Allawite government be forced by internal and external pressure to sever ties with Iran and Hizballah? Or will the situation remain the same, just with a new leadership?

    There are a lot of possibilities here, not the least of which is the actual outcome of the war. Syria is not Libya. It’s military capabilities are considerably stronger. The main issue determining the war’s outcome will be the response of the Syrian military to the basic issue of dealing with US/NATO bombardment as well as Israeli attack. If the Syrian military decides this punishment isn’t worth supporting the government for, the Syrian leadership will lose quickly. If the Syrian military remains committed to defending the COUNTRY – not necessarily Assad – from US/NATO/Israel domination, the situation may devolve into a multi-year insurgency like Iraq.

    The situation in Lebanon is likely to be similar. Israel’s strategic goals in Lebanon are: 1) at least to push Hizballah far enough north that its missile systems cannot reach much of Israel, especially major Israeli cities like Tel Aviv; and 2) preferably to destroy Hizballah’s military capabilities entirely or as much as possible; 3) ideally, dominate all of southern Lebanon in order to secure the water supplies, as well as destroying Hizballah’s influence in Lebanon as well as Hizballah’s military capability, in essence making Lebanon a satrapy of Israel.

    I don’t see Israel succeeding in defeating Hizballah. I’m sure Nasrallah and his planners know that there is a possibility of Israel flanking Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley – and that Valley has been prepared for this, just as southern Lebanon was prepared for the 2006 invasion over many years.

    This implies that Hizballah will remain capable of engaging Israel on that front.

    So the question again devolves to: what will the Syrian military do? Have they learned from Hizballah about how to defeat Israel? Can they – and will they – implement similar asymmetric tactics against Israel – and can they – and will they – be able to do so when simultaneously having to deal with US/NATO air strikes?

    Note that the sort of guerrilla tactics Hizballah uses are ALSO effective against air strikes. If you can’t see the guerrillas from the air, and they have effective underground installations, air strikes are useless, as Israel found out in 2006. Hizballah forces popped out of bunkers, launched a missile, then disappeared before Israeli jets could target them. The same happened to Israeli tanks who ventured into the southern Lebanon valleys – Hizballah troops popped out of bunkers, launched anti-tank missiles from several sides, then disappeared.

    If the Syrian military can implement the same tactics against Israel’s rear, while Hizballah does so on Israel’s front, the Syrian war could go on for some time, dependent mostly on Syrian stocks of arms and whether Iran can continue to resupply Syria and Hizballah.

    But again, it depends on the ability of the Syrian military and government to be willing to treat the upcoming war as an issue of US/NATO/Israel dominance over Syrianb sovereignty rather than “we gotta protect Assad” – which is not really a motivating emotion.

  37. James Canning: “I think your call for terrorists to steal Israeli nukes and to set them off in Israel is a bit wild, to say the least.”

    Short of the international community reining in the rogue state of Israel, there are no other options.

    “I also think you do a good job of helping fantatical Zionist-expansionist to argue Israel faces an “existential” challenge, when it does not – – from outside forces. Israel’s biggest problems are internal.”

    And its internal problems – for example, the demographics issue – are in conflict with the Zionist program, thereby forcing the Zionists to become ever more radical. So unless you have a way of removing the “Zionist dream” from the bulk of the population of Israel, you end up with only outside forces being able to change the situation.

    This is precisely the same situation the population of the United States – and thus the world – faces with the United States. A massive bunch of Christian Zionists and an even larger electorate of oblivious idiots are being manipulated by a relatively small group of rich elites which has turned the US into Imperial Rome. Without the advent of a new group of international “Goths”, the US Empire will continue to oppress the world.

    Once things get to this point, only one of two things change the situation: 1) economic – and then political – collapse, i.e., “revolution” or “insurrection”, or 2) war.

  38. BiBiJon: “Note to self, listen to RSH more often)”

    Bet yer ass!

  39. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Thanks for the transcript of CBS news programme Dec. 8th where Panetta says Iran is not building nuclear weapons. Is not. This is helpful.

  40. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Foolish warmongers and other stooges of Israel lobby in US Congress seem happy that Iran did not cease production of 20% U, because this production helped push through the sanctions against the Central Bank. But Obama has an out, doesn[t he?

  41. James Canning says:

    Persain Gulf,

    If Stuart Levey says “the next six months are critical”, regarding Iranian enrichment of 3.5% U years ago, obviously he was full of cr*p. And he almost certainly knew it.

  42. James Canning says:

    Persain Gulf,

    The idea behind the so-called nuclear exchange was to get enough of Iran’s stockpile of 3.5% U out of the country, to be able to sell the deal to a US Congress that otherwise would block it.

  43. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    The Pentagon was quick to clarify comments made by Panetta that seemed to indicate he thought Iran was building nukes in the near future.

    Panetta obviously does not want Israel to attack Iran, nor does he want the US to attack Iran.

  44. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think you are quite mistaken to think the Russians do not do their best to resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute diplomatically.

  45. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Having the five veto-wielding members of the UNSC in the group that negotiates with Iran, obviously helped clear the way for action by the UNSC. Ergo, P5+1.

  46. James Canning says:

    Bronwen Maddox, writing in The Times (London) Dec. 22nd (“The week the nuclear threat became serious”): “For at least a couple of years, [Iran] has known how to make enriched uranium or plutonium, so it was merely a matter of time before it stockpiled enough fissile material [for a nuke].”

  47. Karl says:

    fyi:

    “I never understood the P5+1 logic; it took an essentially bilateral problem between US and Iran and turned it into an international one in which US ceded power to other states.”

    Indeed.
    This is what P5+1 really is:

    Israel wishes go through US then US push their agenda on: France, Germany, UK and to some extent Russia and China. Its US (Israel wishes) that decide the outcoming, why need so many useless parties involved? Why is it that 6 nations have to argue against 1 state? Makes no sense.

  48. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: January 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    In regards to your questions “…grabbing something valuable…”.

    That was precisely the point, to give US-EU something to show so that they could climb down from their dead-end policy.

    Why Mr. Obama rejected the deal I cannot say.

    Perhaps he thought he does not need it.

  49. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: January 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    The deal was most likely developed by Dr. Ahmadinejad’s government.

    It is likely that Mr. Khamenei raised objections to the details.

    When the details were worked out, P5+1 had changed their mind; certainly Mr. Obama had.

    Note that for Russia and China, the more US and EU sink in the morass of the Middle East, the better it is for them.

    I never understood the P5+1 logic; it took an essentially bilateral problem between US and Iran and turned it into an international one in which US ceded power to other states.

  50. Karl says:

    Arnold Evans:

    Panetta is desperately using empty rhetoric. When US threatened to use oil embargo, Panetta thought Iran would stop and comply with US goals. Instead Iran not only kept doing their war games, they also warned with a embargo themselves with closing the Hormuz and warned for retaliation if US didnt change its course. These actions surprised US, because they are used to that smaller and not so powerful states follow their goals.

    So these verbal threats being aimed right now by Panetta is hollow, desperate threats, they think that if they threat Iran some more, they will accept US goals.
    This is also an indication of how bad US have once again missread the states in the middle east.

    Remember that Panetta in november was pretty much against Israel or US led war:


    “To go beyond (sanctions and diplomacy) raises our concerns about the unintended consequences that could result. … There are going to be economic consequences to that, that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy,” Panetta told those travelling with him to Halifax, Canada. ”

    foxnews.com/politics/2011/11/18/panetta-to-warn-israel-on-consequences-iran-military-strike/#ixzz1iod0VsOl

    What he basically said, and this was also directed at Israel “We wont accept a war against Iran because it wont benefit the world”.
    Now all of a sudden he changed his course, maybe the usual warmongering clientele and lobby told him to change his mind.

    Also look how incoherrent Panetta is arguing:

    He claimed that Iran was for sure working on a nuclear capability (not illegal under the NPT) but didnt say Iran was working on a nuke.
    Then some weeks back, he said in this interview that Iran is in fact working on a nuclear weapon. This contradiction and incoherrence proves they have in fact no proofs, they just spit out alot of non-sourced claims and hopes anything sticks.

    youtube.com/watch?v=ZzWRrVXC3i8&feature=related

    Another incoherrent statement Panetta does in the video above is that he got the question if Iran could build a nukes in 2012.
    Then Panetta say yes and of course the word ‘if’:

    YES
    iran
    could have nukes in 2012, IF there is a hidden, nuclear facility (and IF they want).

    —————————————————————————–

    Same lousy tactic we have heard since the 90s. No progress, no evidence, just warmongering.

  51. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    January 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    If that was the intention, why did they stick to the very details of the deal? why did they insist on the idea that Iran should send the LEU out first? it was as if they were about to grab something valuable out of Iran’s hand. My understanding, at the time, was that the west was so determined in reducing the the amount of LEU. In fact, they were openly saying that this reduction would eliminate the chance of weaponization and gives diplomacy, read sanctions, time to reach its desired goal. or at least this was my understanding from reading their statements.

  52. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: January 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    The deal was to give Americans something to take back to their constituents syaing somethings to the effect that “Look, diplomacy is succeeding with Iran, we reduced their ability to build a nucler weapon quickly!”.

    This would give the US-EU leaders a face-saving political cover from which to climb down from their perch.

    At least that was the hope from the Iranian side.

    In regards to the Wiki-Leaks link that you included; economic destablization was the preferred tool of regime change by US and UK. UK used it against the late Dr. Mossadeq and US against the government of the nationalist martyred President Dr. Salvador Allende in Chile.

    Together they used it against Yugoslavia and later Serbia.

    They clearly expected similar results in Iran.

  53. An Iranian View says:

    I wonder if Scott Lucas has actually read the article. My understanding is that Seyed Mohammad Marandi (accurately) explained how many of the Salafists actually constitute a threat to more than just the Middle East and North Africa not that they draw there inspiration from the Iranians.

    Mr. Lucas is having a difficult time pretending that Islamic movements are not on the rise throughout the region.

  54. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: January 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I think that this could have afforded an openning when it was uttered late last year had not the CBI Sanctions passed.

    At that time, US also had declared freedom of navigation to an from Persian Gulf as “Red Line”. And Iranians reponsed by saying something to the effect that they have no intention of bloccking the Straits if Hormuz since they also receive their imports through there.

    But the CBI santions followed by the oil sanctions have changed that.

    US & EU have to do a lot more to de-escalate, in my opinion.

    We will now within the first 6 months of this year.

    Ultimately, US leaders have to decide if they desire a war with Iran in the near future 2012, 2013, 2014.

  55. Persian Gulf says:

    bkbt says:
    January 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    http://www.wikileaks.de/cable/2009/01/09LONDON50.html

    “Aldred said current international efforts are making life significantly tougher in Iran, which makes it harder for the financial sector to operate, and discourages foreign investment.”
    .
    .
    .
    “Aldred doesn’t think pressure against the regime will be successful without parallel political discussion. Levey said that we need to explain to people that the regime’s actions are creating the problems; it is the regime that is isolating Iranians from the world.”
    .
    .
    .
    “Agreeing, Levey flipped the European argument around, saying the idea should be that since people are hurting, the regime should consider how to adjust its policy and bring relief to its citizens.”

  56. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi:

    from this link:
    http://www.wikileaks.de/cable/2009/01/09LONDON50.html

    “However, press reports on increased low enriched uranium were troubling, and Levey stressed the next six months were a critical period, particularly during the U.S. transition.”

    I have never understood the technical purpose of this deal. And I asked this question in our conversation, if you remember. Is there anything obvious that I am missing? I was confused back then at the time of 1200 kg bargain. What was going to change by this deal? Iran was continuing with the production of LEU. so, even with the deal going forward, what was going to change on the nuclear dispute? The quote is for more than 4 years ago. If the next 6 months was critical at that time, apparently we must have long passed any critical stage by now. practically we are entering another transition period for the U.S government and yet the issue is the same.

  57. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    It is my judgement that you are unfamilair with the Western intellectual history before Reformation as well as with Western social history.

    To call the late Medieval period or the Renaissence a period of barbarity is just inaccurate.

    Mere assertions to the barbarity of the Catholic Church will no suffice; the Church did what it could to bring Peace to Europe.

    When the temporal and spiritual authority of the Church was destroyed among large segments of European peoples; then the local Princes came and set up shop; the results of which were 2 World Wars as well as various anti-God ideologies that infected, with disastrous consequences, other areas of the workd.

    The late Adolf Hitler was born a Catholic but he had stated that he planned on doing away with religion once he had finished with “this” – the War in Europe.

    Very many Americans are religious but their collective religion is a god called “America”. That god has its scriptures (the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States), Prophets (the Founding Fathers), Commenteries on Sacred Texts (Supreme Court Rulings), Mullahs (Lawyers), Saints (Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King), their common paryer (Pledge of Allegience), their religious flag (Start ad Stripes) etc.

    It is precisely because the Americans cannot conceive of “America” as a religion that they are blind to the religious war that they have entered into.

    I usggest you demonstrate to us here in this forum why human life is intrinsically valubale.

    Let us begin, if you could, from the proposition that only the lives of Mongols is valuable and any other human being ought to be freely available to Mongols to be used for their pleasures and convenience.

    Please try to refute that from first principles coming from “Rationality” and “Science”.

    How does Dr. Weinberg support this assertion below?

    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion”.

    On basis of what scientific law, or empirical evidence is he making that statement? Where is the proof or the evidentiary basis of that statement?

    In regards to Mutta’/Sigheh – the woman cannot remarry before 4 months is passed.

    And you, my friend who live in America, I think nxt time you wish to proposition a woman, put your proposition in the form of Mutta’s to her – with all the mutual contractual obligations that you will be taking upon yourself as the man, I think you will be pleasantly surprised how positively women would respond to you.

    I think I stop here.

  58. Arnold Evans says:

    Question for the floor:

    Any thoughts on Leon Panetta speaking here?

    It may possibly mark a subtle shift that a nuclear weapon is a red line, but nuclear weapons capabilities are a concern. There might be room in this formulation to prevent the nuclear dispute from escalating further.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3460_162-57354647/face-the-nation-transcript-january-8-2012/

    I think the pressure of the sanctions, I think the pressure of diplomatic pressures from everywhere — Europe, United States, elsewhere– is working to put pressure on them, to make them understand that they cannot continue to do what they’re doing. Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.

  59. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: January 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I think the “releaxed” (about Islam) Muslims will be lucky to maintain their slife-styles in Egypt.

    It is very doubtful that they can push any “secular” agenda to success.

    In regards to the “Islamic Awakening” I think your view equates it with conformance to or emulation of Iranian governance structures.

    I read into “Islamic Awakening” a rejection of very many ideas and concepts of Western European governance and the slow, painful, and at times foolish, search for nativist governing concpets and structures imbued with Islamic Tradition.

    It this sense, then, “Islamic Awakening” among Suni Arabs is a latent manifestation of the same phenomenon that propelled the Iranians to vote for Islamic Republic in 1980. To me, that phenoemon was the failure of the so-called Secular Muslims to deliver on their promises of better governance, more equitable distribution of wealth, etc.

    Mr. George Bush’s discourse on Freedom was not wrong from a religious perspective. What was wrong was for him to use the language of Christianity in service of US Imperial Projects in the Middle East.

  60. Castellio says:

    Interested, I agree with you. They show remarkable bravery and courage.

  61. Castellio says:

    BKBT, we’re listening attentively to how you mean to settle the internal problems of Iran in a manner divorced from the international situation.

  62. Castellio says:

    Scott writes: “But “secular” groups as well as those starting from a religious foundation can seek the “resolution of their social, political, and economic problems””.

    The secular forces were beaten into the ground. What do you think just happened in Iraq? What do you think happened to Fatah? What was Mossadeq? What was Nasser? I could go on.

    The rise of the Islamic Awakening is due to the imperialist destruction of all national secular movements which fought for social justice within their countries.

    One really has to start there.

    To promise western support for a secular national government that fights for control of national resources or even a rudimentary level of social justice within that country is a false promise that will not be kept.

    May the people remember their history.

  63. bkbt says:

    If it was on me, I would first fix the internal issues such as the economical hardship Iranian people (middle class and lower)are facing, subsequently go face the world with my ideology! What I read here all of you have closed your eyes to the internal issues! Maybe you think there are none!

    First fix your issues at home and then go fight your nemesis!

  64. Scott Lucas says:

    fyi says:
    January 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    “On number 3, given the results of votes in both Tunisia and in Egypt, I believe the phrase ‘Islamic Awakening”;is as good an appellation as any. Muslims who seek the resolution of their social, political, and economic problems in the Islamic Tradition are clearly in ascendance among Arab people.”

    Without doubt, this has been an important strand in the uprisings and demands for political changes in the Middle East and North Africa. But “secular” groups as well as those starting from a religious foundation can seek the “resolution of their social, political, and economic problems” — in some cases in MENA, the uprisings have been from a coalition of different parties. In others, such as Egypt, it can be argued the the Muslim Brotherhood took a relative back seat in the protests in early 2011 (though, of case, the situation has shifted in complex ways since the fall of Mubarak).

    Beyond this, however, I would argue that it is an unproven assumption to say that these groups — even the religious parties — are following the lead of the Islamic Republic when they pursue local objectives. I would be interested to see how Dr Marandi could explain, for example, how the Salafist Nour Party in Egypt were drawing their inspiration from the Supreme Leader.

    I always thought it was a fatuous starting point when the Bush Administration claimed in 2005 that uprisings from Eastern Europe to the Middle East were taking a lead from the Bush-ian notion of “freedom”. I wonder if the Iranian regime’s projection of an “Islamic Awakening” is a mirror image of that starting point.

    On number 4, I think we share similar perspectives on the internal political issues in Iran.

    Best,

    S.

  65. You might find this post on my blog regarding the Iran enriching uranium, an interesting read: http://bulletinamaelstrom.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/iran-begins-uranium-enrichment-at-fordo-plant/

  66. Interested says:

    Personally I consider Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett to be brave and courageous heroes and people like Dr. Marandi as infinitely more accurate than western analysts. If they had joined the other (dark) side, they could have received much more funding and support than ordinary history teachers like Dr. Lucas. Press TV too, despite its many shortcomings, is far more honest and useful that the CNN propaganda machine.

  67. Sassan says:

    “I cannot conceive of a god who rewards and punishes his creatures or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egotism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.”

    -Albert Einstein

  68. Sassan says:

    fyi says: “I do not think it useful to denigrate the pre-reformation Catholic Europe as being in the gutter. I think that characterization may come from some anti-Catholic Protestants but it is not accurate.”

    You are terribly mistaken as your positions on this issue certainly does not make sense on a historical or rational level. It is indeed accurate of the barbarity of the west before Christianity was forced to secularize, and history demonstrates this to us clearly. The pre-reformation Europe was one of barbarity, witch trials, burnings at the stake, superstition, and illiteracy. In fact, this was a time in which Europe was a NET IMPORTER of goods including all technologies instead of a NET EXPORTER. Pre-reformation Europe and western civilization were indeed a dark period in the history of the west.

    “Reformation and indeed Elightenment are major contributoes to the horrors of the 20-th century.”

    That is quite a comical statement based on no factual data.

    “The Western (European) Fascists/NAZIs and the Communists of Eastern Europe were Godless movements to create a new Godless Utopia.”

    Actually my friend, Hitler was a Roman Catholic. Hitler was not godless or atheist. Stalin on the other hand was indeed an atheist but he had communism which he substituted and made a religion for the evils he committed.

    “What was left of the Western Civilization after WWII was also an equally Godless Civilization – somewhat less brutal than her counterpart in Russia.”

    Actually, America is too religious for my liking. Although, we do have separation of church and state and we must be thankful for Thomas Jefferson or else we would be in misery.

    “Without God, human life has no value.”

    Now, this is truly an asinine statement. Without the belief in a fairy story to appease mankind’s childish fear of death, life would have no value? In contrary, being a rationalist and understanding the vast wonders of the universe makes one appreciate this one life we have to an even greater degree.

    Just think about it: there are over 200-billion stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy with hundreds of billions of planets circling those stars. In addition, there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in our observed universe. This is simply what we know based on empirical data and evidence! In addition, many physicists believe that there is a very strong possibility that there may exist multiple universes and that the Big Bang was simply an opening to our portion of the universe. This latter portion is of course theoretical at this point but it fits perfectly into the mathematics in unifying the quantum and Einstein’s relativity.

    Everyone is free to believe what they wish (I mean in the west we are, I know in Iran you are executed if you openly leave Islam) but to claim that human life has no value without “God” is egocentric and irrational. As a society becomes more educated and scientifically literate, naturally non-belief increases as scientifically literate and rational individuals are prone to join the side of reason.

    Do you know that Muslims even today have to go an extra prayer during Lunar and Solar eclipses?? You see, religion was from a period of mankind in which we did not have the answers for the workings of the universe so we resorted to our ignorance to lower our cognitive dissonance in coping with life. But now we are in the year 2012 and mankind needs to put away these fairy stories for the good of humanity and reason.

    As the great American physicist and Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg has said, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion”.

    “Americans and Russians and Chinese can destroy all life on this planet.”

    The difference is due to the fact that the aforementioned regimes are not fundamentally religious, they do not want to bring an end to humanity. In contrast, the Islamic Republic through their “hidden imam” ideology wants to first “re-conquer” Jerusalem in a holy war in which 2/3rd of humanity perishes. For this very reason, “Mutually Assured Destruction” would play no deterrent with such madmen. For this reason, the regime in Iran must never be allowed to acquire apocalyptic (nuclear) weapons. IF the Shah was in power, I am sure the world would not be so concerned. But the world is concerned as religious madmen with this type of ideology is at the helm in Iran. Remember: this is a regime that rapes our young sisters before executing them so that they don’t “die as virgins”.

    And was it you who mentioned prostitution in the west? I guess the way the Mullahs due it with their sighehs (unlimited number of temporary marriages ranging from as little time as they wish i.e. 1-hour to a set number of years) is so much more “moral”.

  69. fyi says:

    H2O says: January 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I think this is silly, the usual whining of the “oppositionists” Iranians who cannot see that Iran faces very many external threats.

    Be as it may, what are your persoanl policy recommendations for Iranian Government

    on Iraq,
    on Syria,
    on Hezbollah,
    on the Nuclear File,
    on Afghanistan,

    etc.

  70. H2O says:

    هیچ عقل سلیمی نمی پذیرد که رجز خوانی های نظامی فرماندهان سپاه و فرمانده کل ارتش، از موضع قدرت نظامی باشد، بلکه همه آنها با هدف تشدید فضای جنگی بیان شده است، همچنان که از جمله اهداف مانور نظامی در تنگه هرمز نیز چنین بود. آقایان امیدوارند چنان فضائی را بوجود آورند که هم جنگ باشد و هم صلح، تا زیر فشار چنین حالتی مردم را از جنگ ترسانده و پای صندوق های رای بیآورند. اندیشه و بازی خطرناکی که می تواند به قیمتی سنگین تمام شود. البته آنها که از بیرون می خواهند چنین هزینه ای را بر دوش ایران و ایرانی بگذارند، خوب میدانند که فعلا تا انتخابات مجلس باید صبر کنند و آرایش نظامی خود را در آبهای جنوبی و مرزهای ایران تقویت کنند. زیرا با شگرد سیاسی حکومت آشنا هستند. صبر می کنند تا آقایان انتخاباتی فرمایشی را برگزار کنند و نارضائی های ملی به اوج خود برسد. زمان عمل را برای آن شرایط تعیین کرده اند! نه پیش از انتخابات و عمل به خواست حکومت.

  71. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Well, here is US and EU (“We have 3400 warships”) and they support the depredations of Israelis to the hilt; giving them weapons, money, diplomatic cover etc.

    Many many posts ago I observed to you that you position is this: “Slaves must like to be slaves and Master to act like masters” for Utopia to be built – per Plato.

    So Iranians, who are under threat of war and destruction by US and EU, use propaganda and now they are responsible for haveing harmed the Palestinians.

    All right, may be 0.0000000001 is how much they have harmed the Palestinians.

    US would be 100000000, EU be 1000000000, other Arabs 1000000000.

  72. Photi says:

    BiBiJon says:
    January 8, 2012 at 8:09 am

    lol, the only rebuttal Bret Stephens offers to Hillary’s listing of Iranian cooperation and/or gestures to diplomacy towards the US over the last 30 years was ‘b-b-but the Saudi Ambassador plot!’

    I was wondering why he (Stephens) was included on the panel, then he plugged Israel at the end and it became clear. Israel’s violence is existential and therefore righteous. Iran’s violence is irrational and unpredictable and therefore diplomacy could never work.

  73. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    You assert that I am delusional in my assessment of the “Rising Shia / Irani Power”.

    Then you need to explain the US-EU Siege Warfare against Iran.

    The proxy war in Syria.

    The 2006 War against Lebanon ( “the brith pangs of a new Middle East” with the blood of 1300 dead Lebanese).

    The fact that US-EU decide to continue escalation in 2007 after the NIE on Iran was leaked.

    And many many more.

  74. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I did not mention equality before the law in my post.

    Yes, that concept was formulated before Christianity but only applied to the specific people/groups historically speaking. Such as Roman Citizens.

    It was the Revelations that taught that all men are equal.

    I have no idea to what you refer regarding “Good” vs. “Evil”.

    Well, it is funny you using the word “astray”.

    Pray, tell me, what is your religion?

  75. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    The ris of the West, fundamentally, is due to the Islamic conquests of North Africa and Levant.

    Those conquests shattered the Classical Civilization of the West and pushed her center of gravity from around the Mediterranean Sea to the Northern Europe.

    Those (Catholic) logic choppers of 10-th to 14-th centuries were, in fact, the progenitors of the later empirical sciences of the West.

    I do not think it useful to denigrate the pre-reformation Catholic Europe as being in the gutter. I think that characterization may come from some anti-Catholic Protestants but it is not accurate.

    Reformation and indeed Elightenment are major contributoes to the horrors of the 20-th century.

    The Western (European) Fascists/NAZIs and the Communists of Eastern Europe were Godless movements to create a new Godless Utopia.

    What was left of the Western Civilization after WWII was also an equally Godless Civilization – somewhat less brutal than her counterpart in Russia.

    Without God, human life has no value.

    Americans and Russians and Chinese can destroy all life on this planet.

    I do not call that progress.

  76. Castellio says:

    FYI, just for your FYI, the concepts of righteousness and equality before the law were established before the age of revelation, and even precede the concept of revelation. In fact, our word ‘evil’ was first portrayed as “he who does what is hated, and ‘good’ was first portrayed as “he who does what is loved”.

    In other words, good and evil were defined as social attributes.

    The age of revelation did not advance that thinking as much as claim it for regional gods. Thus we have regional gods who love and represent one people (Jehovah/Yahweh being the obvious example) being given universal attributes: a source of on-going conceptual confusion.

    I do not expect to convince you of anything, FYI, but others shouldn’t be led astray by your sloppy historical thinking to believe that the existence of human morality is a function of divine revelation.

  77. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think Iran in fact has injured, and continues to injure the Palestinians, by distracting world attention for Israeli oppression of them.

    I think Iran seriously undermines the Palestinian cause, perhaps inadvertently.

    Think about how the foolish decisions of the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem actually injured the Arab cause during the British mandate for Palestine. He thought he was serving the Arab cause, but in fact undermined it.

  78. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I continue to think you are almost delusional about “rising Shia/Iranian power”.

    Hezbollah is most unlikely to attack Israel unless Israel attacks first. No matter how much stronger Hezbollah grows.

    And you yourself have said Iran would not attack Israel first.

  79. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    It might be worthwhile for you to remember that a number of the supporters of the illegal US/UK invasion of Iraq, in the US news media, did not believe Iraq had WMD or posed a threat to the US (or the UK). They did believe Israel could make a better deal with the Palestinians, from Israel’s standpoint, if Saddam was taken out.

    I would expect that some of the US news media have the same attitude toward Iran. Iran is not a threat, but hitting Iran hard will help Israel f*ck the Palestinians.

  80. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    OIC has approved the Saudi Peace Plan of 2002.

    But it is 10 years since that vision was put on the table and Israelis and US did not take it.

    It is irrelevant.

    Iranians, by rejecting the right of Israel to exist, have calculated that flexibility on Israel is not worth much to US.

    For US-EU is fundamentally opposed to the rising Shia / Irani Power.

    At the sametime, by being more Palestinian than Palestinians, they have raised wrapped themselves in the flag of Islam.

    Who, among Muslim states, stands as forcefully for the Palestinians except the Islamic Republic of Iran?

    For Iranian leaders, this is an inexpensive way to claim spiritual and political leadership among Muslims.

    In the coming years, as the situation in Palestine and Levant deteriorates more and more, Iranians will gain more and more as Muslim sensibilities will become more and more inflamed due to the plight of the Palestinians in the OCcupied Territories.

    And it cost Iranians noth much.

  81. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Except for Iran. All other Muslim countries openly support the 2002 Saudi peace plan.

    It does not have to be achieved in a year or two. Or ten for that matter. Or twenty.

    Israel needs to be told it cannot change borders by growing colonies of Jews, illegally, in the occupied West Bank and the Golan Heights.

  82. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Saudi Arabia continues to have the support of every Muslim country, openly, for its peace plan.

    I think time is on the side of the Palestinians, if the Muslim countries “stay the course”.

    You have not explained why you apparently accept the Zionist-extremist viewpoint, that Israel can change borders by planting and growing illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank. I have asked you this question several times.

  83. Sassan says:

    fyi: I understand your point and certainly the historical bond between Christianity and western civilization certainly played a role. BUT it is also important to take into account the power of the Reformation and Enlightenment periods on both the French Revolution and later the American Revolution.

    The Reformation and Enlightenment periods were what purged western civilization out from the gutter into the later advancements we saw in thought, free inquiry, innovations, technology, medicine, etc.

  84. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    You are quite right in questioning my assertion regarding Syria.

    The profound difference is not on Syria’s disposition per se, rather on the shape of the post Alawite Syria.

    Had the US (and EU) planners accepted the (risisng) Shia / Irani power in 2007 and proceeded to settle their differences at that time, Syria would not have become what it is today – an arena for proxy war between US-EU on one side and Shia /Irani Power on the other.

    This goes to demonstrate that once you seek confronation, everything will be dominated by such considerations.

    Had EU continued with its policy of Critical Engagement, had she not joined US in her Siege War against Iran, then, perhaos, it would have ben possible to diplomatically forge a solution in Syria which eased the Alawite out of dominant position in the Syrian state.

    Now all of that is not even pipe-dream since it no longer is in the realm of possibility.

    I imagine that the Iranians will help Syrian state to crush the armed opposition and then work – ignoring US, EU, Turkey, the Arab League – to forge a new post Assad (but not post Alawite) Syrian state.

    US-EU will be defeated in Syria but status quo ante cannot be restored.

  85. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    You many recall that a number of fantatical Jews living in the occupied Gaza Strip, thought the fact they were living there illegally meant Israel would forever keep troops in place to protect them. They of course were quite mistaken.

  86. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Do you accept as fact, that Israel can grow illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank, and thereby change the borders of Palestine? This is the veiwpoint of extreme Zionists.

  87. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    All MUslim countries have endorsed the 2002 Saudi peace plan openly. except for Iran. This has not changed.

    Why do you think Israel can change borders by growing illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank? All Arab countries disagree with you.

  88. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I think your call for terrorists to steal Israeli nukes and to set them off in Israel is a bit wild, to say the least.

    I also think you do a good job of helping fantatical Zionist-expansionist to argue Israel faces an “existential” challenge, when it does not – - from outside forces. Israel’s biggest problems are internal.

  89. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Neocon warmongers, and other fanatical “supporters” of Israel, obviously conspired to set up war with Iraq, and tried to build a highway with no exits. And these same warmongers are obviously trying to repeat their programme, with Iran. Howevver, there are many people who object to this scheme, including top US military leaders.

  90. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    What is the “profound difference” you see, between the EU and Iran, regarding Syria?

  91. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    When Obama endorsed the Green Line (“1967″ borders) for an independent Palestine last May, the ISRAEL LOBBY went berserk. And I think you are well aware that Aipac and other Jewish groups “own” the US Congress, on matters pertaining to Israel/Palestine.

    The key issue is how to work around this obstacle.

  92. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I believe you are missing the point.

    Over 1700 years, the Revelations of Jesus, the Blessed Son of Mary, the Immaculate Perfect Man, had largely peneterated the minds of Westeern Man.

    The entire chain of reasoning that justifies the statement: “..inalienable rights…” rests on those Revelations.

    For one could in an equally logical manner posit that “No men have any rights except those that belong to the XYZ group.”

    It is a testament to the power of the Revelations on the Mind of Men that even athesits, while denying God & the Truth of the Revelations, did not deviate from the essential message of the Revelations when it came to the intrinsic worth of human beings – so endowed by God.

    Reminds me Itaoy, where even the Communists baptized their children.

  93. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    The US-EU analysts talk a good talk when mentioning rising powers such as Brazil and Turkey in a positive manner.

    But, in practice, when they face a real (as opposed to imagined) rising power such as Iran they revert back to their negative posturing.

    On Israel, on Iraq, on Syria, on Persian Gulf, on the Nuclear Proliferation, US-EU have profound difference with Iran.

    Their planners, clearly, are unwilling to acknowledge this rising power which their own actions helped create.

    Until that alters, there will be no resolution of anything.

    [Note how mucch Mr. Obama is willing to go to help Jews live their Fantasy Life in Palestine.]

  94. Sassan says:

    fyi says: “the founders of the United States owed a lot to Christianity and the Faith in God.”

    I would suggest you get some books out and do some research on our founding fathers; in particular Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, Thomas Paine. These man while most of them not atheist (Thomas Paine was an atheist, Benjamin Franklin is probable, and Thomas Jefferson was most likely not an atheist but was simply a deist and had a disdain for organized religion along with some of the other individuals aforementioned).

    Why do you think the constitution makes no reference to Jesus Christ? The “endowed by our creator” was added to appease the rest of the states and other collective members of Congress; but our most influential founding fathers were mostly non-Christian and were for the most part simply deists.

  95. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: January 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    On number 3, given the resuts of votes in both Tunisia and in Egypt, I believe the phrase “Islamic Awakening” is as good an appellation as any. Muslims who seek the resolution of their social, political, and economic problems in the Islamic Tradition are clearly in ascendance among Arab people.

    On number 4, that is the case, specially after 2009 elections whereby Mr. Ahmadinejad has tried to create political spaace for himself and his government by mentioning “Iranian School”. The more religious people find that offensive; however they cannot do not have a program for dealing with the 13 million protest votes cast in 2009; just more of the same.

    Furthermore, on number 4, it will not have material effect on the confrontation with the Axis Powers; Mr. Ahmadinejad’s circle ad Mr. Khamenie’s circle both owe all that they have and all that they are to the Islamic Republic.

  96. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You almost seem eager for a negotiated resolution of the nuclear dispute not to succeed.

  97. Sassan says:

    “Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty has as much credibility as Scott Lucas. Zero.”

    LOL but regime stooges such as Marandi and the state mouthpiece for the regime (PressTV) has credibility?? lol. :)

  98. Scott Lucas says:

    A summary of the points I suggested for discussion, based on Binam’s immediate response to the RFI post and Dr Marandi:

    1. Many people are being killed in Syria, most of them by the security forces of the regime.

    2. If the Assad regime falls, that would not be to the benefit of Iran’s regional position.

    3. The promotion of an “Islamic Awakening”, if it is more than regime PR for internal reasons, has little connection with the developments on the ground in countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

    4. There is a significant rift between the inner circle of the Supreme Leader and the inner circle of President Ahmadinejad.

    S.

  99. Castellio says:

    What are these “four questions”?

  100. Scott Lucas says:

    UU,

    “I come up with a clever line or two, and on others, I’m boring. I do not pretend to be otherwise.”

    A telling answer to my four questions about Syria, the Islamic Awakening, and internal affairs in Iran — given your cul-de-sac, I don’t think I can get anything of further value for discussion.

    Sara,

    “You don’t seem to have a deep understanding of Iran, the Middle East, or the Muslim population, in general. Your comments are very much an ‘outsider’ point of view.2

    Offer an answer to one of my four questions and let’s test this out.

    An Iranian View

    “Obviously, Iran has problems like all countries, but it is for Iranians to sort them out.”

    Totally agreed.

    Iranian@Iran

    “[You said] on this website that the Egyptian revolution had nothing to do with religion.”

    Hmm, a bit difficult to argue this one, as I said no such thing. What I did argue was that none of the significant political movements in Egypt were treating the Islamic Revolution as their “model” — the line that the Supreme Leader was putting out, primarily for domestic consumption.

    fyi & James,

    Thanks for follow-up points on the nuclear issue.

    S.

  101. Castellio says:

    From the Korean Herald today regarding oil imports to Asia from Iran.

    http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20120108000068

  102. Pirouz says:

    BiBiJon says:
    January 8, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Great news about Hillary. Maybe she can ask Vali where he’s been getting the kool aid. He seems to be drinking a lot of it these days.

  103. fyi says:

    All:

    Dr. Parsis views:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/trita-parsi-reckless-talk-of-war-with-iran-makes-confrontation-a-probability-6286410.html?printService=print

    I disagree in that I do not think Axis Powers and Iran confrontation can be resolved through p5+1.

    You probably have to wait for the aftermath of a war like the Israel-Lebanon War of 2006.

  104. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    The contradiction between Reason and Faith is not just confined to Judaism.

    It is alos in Islam and Christianity.

    Athens is not America; the founders of the United States owed a lot to Christianity and the Faith in God.

    Kierkegard, Shestov, and Judge Borg (of the Statuday Night Massacare Fame) have all discussed these inter-related issues – in their own ways.

  105. BiBiJon says:

    Sassan says:
    January 8, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Thank you for that lengthy definition of a nobody.

  106. Rehmat says:

    Germany: ‘Become a prostitute or lose government benefits’

    Germany under Zionists’ control has adopted several measures from Israel to run their country. One of such measures is prostitution and sex slavery which is legal in Israel.

    Prostitution was legalised in Germany in 2002 because the government believed that this would help to combat trafficking in women and cut links to organised crime. This has never worked in Israel because the industry was legalized in that country for public desire and tourist industry.

    The UK daily Telegraph had reported this story on January 30, 2005.

    A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing “sexual services” at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

    Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

    The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.

    She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her “profile” and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.

    Under Germany’s welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

    Islam condemns prostitution, aduletry, alcohol and usury as some of the major sins. Since these industries are blood-line of the western societies – Muslims are feared of taking-over the West and North America – And that’s the main reason behind the Islamophobia sweeping the West.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/germany-become-a-prostitute-or-lose-government-benefits/

  107. Iranian says:

    Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty has as much credibility as Scott Lucas. Zero.

  108. Unknown Unknowns says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell says:
    January 8, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Well, like I re-emphasized in my last post, the contributions of the West are NOT merely in the material realm. For example, the Islamic world and indeed the Islamic Revolution of Iran has been greatly influenced by the revolutions of 1776, 1789, 1848, 1917 & indeed 1968, not to mention the Glorious Revolution or the Revolution of 1688. Were it not or these events where people demanded and received (to some degree) a greater say in the running of their lives, the Iranian Revolution of 1979 could not and would not have happened. Neither could or would the Constitutional Revolution of 1905 – 1907. Before that era, Islamdom was seeped in autocratic rule, to which it had two basic reactions: the Sunnis recognized and accepted any and all sorts of autocracy as legitimate, and the Shi’a were not much better: we recognized but did not grant legitimacy to the autocrats.

    My two cents’ worth. Wa’llahu ya’lam.

  109. BiBiJon says:

    Heads up! Hillary on TV (Kathleen, well done, its working)
    =====================================

    On Fareed Zakaria GPS this week, an expert panel deciphering the war of words between Iran and the West. Will it lead to something more serious? Vali Nasr, Bret Stephens, Hooman Majd, and Hillary Mann Leverett weigh in.

    —————————–

    It is unclear to me what precisely constituted the last straw. Often it is the penultimate straw that deserves more analytic attention.

    Iran’s defense build up is a result of lessons learned and vigorously acted upon from the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. I recall a quote from an Iranian army general many years ago that Iran’s defenses are no longer comprised of a wall made of human flesh (divar’e gooshti), but a robust missile capability.

    Robert Baer’s assertion, again some years ago, that nothing can move in the Persian Gulf without Iran’s consent is again validated by Oxford Analytica
    http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/06/how-dangerous-are-irans-missiles/

    The new threats begets threats doctrine emanating from Iran is not an empty posture to jack up oil prices. I very much doubt Iran would trade her hard-won regional prestige by issuing empty threats especially concerning PG states — neighbors she has to live with — just for a fist full of oil dollars.

    So, what has brought us to the end-game? I submit Clinton’s (we’ll totally obliterate them) threats of “crippling sanctions” being signed into law by Obama (‘change you can believe in) is not of itself the catalyst but a coincidence — a convergence of unrelated chronologies, if you will.

    The very make up of P5+1 heralded a new world order that drew a line for who’s allowed in an exclusive club. Witnessing Russian/Chinese shortsighted greed, and Tony Blair’s “end of western civilization” fear mongering, Iran has been acutely aware of the implications down the pike for a long time. 20% James despite his unpersuasive arguemtitos has a point. To my mind, the penultimate straw was the Tehran Declaration eliciting a new round of sanctions.

    At the best of times a ‘dual track approach’ is a self-contradiction which, not only makes all inducements seem insincere, it also hollows out any threats because surely only a hesitant warrior simultaneously issues threats and inducements.

    Unless one is willing to dismiss all relevant international actors as a bunch of cretins lumbering along a blind alley, then the whole thing has been known by all to have been a charade. Iran’s defense capabilities have been well-known to all, and hence everyone knew Iran would not fold without a fight. I have to conclude a highway to war has been built purposely with no exit ramps. (Note to self, listen to RSH more often)

  110. Sassan says:

    Here is an individual whom to some of you is surely a hero, the “Iranian High Council for Human Rights” Mohammad Javad Larijani with his latest record of greatest hits:

    http://www.rferl.org/content/iran_rights_official_calls_homosexuality_disease/24444986.html

    Iran Rights Official Calls Homosexuality ‘Disease’
    Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary-general of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights (file photo)

    January 07, 2012
    The secretary-general of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights has been quoted as telling a visiting German lawmaker that homosexuality is a disease.

    “The West says that the marriage of homosexuals should be allowed under the human rights charter, however, we think it is sexual immorality and a disease,” Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Mohammad Javad Larijani as saying, according to dpa.

    Fars reported that Larijani made his remarks during a meeting in Tehran with German lawmaker Tom Koenigs, who chairs the human rights committee in Germany’s parliament.

    In Iran and under strict Islamic law, homosexuality is punishable by death.

    Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad drew international criticism in 2007 when he said during a visit to Columbia University in the United States that there were no homosexuals in his country.

    compiled from agency reports

    *WELL MR. LARIJANI, IS THE “GAY” A DISEASE? OR IS IT IMMORAL? IF IT’S A DISEASE, THEN IT IS NOT THE PERSON’S FAULT FOR CATCHING THE “GAY”, RIGHT?

    BUT I KNOW YOU HAVE ALREADY FOUND THE “CURE”: HANGING *

  111. Sassan says:

    “In what sense are you an atheist?”

    In what sense am I atheist? I am atheist first and foremost in my everyday life in looking at the world in a rational, non-ideological, pragmatic, and realistic manner. In my political leanings, I identify myself as a moderate democratic who leans to the right on foreign policy and illegal immigration. I am no one to compare myself to the great and late Christopher Hitchens, but I tend to align myself politically more often than not with that of the late Christopher Hitchens and often times with Sam Harris.

    I value science, reason, and rationality. I despise superstition and religion. A great quote I hold to be very true is of the great American physicist and Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg in which he said, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion”.

    Therefore: I believe all religion to be inherently evil in that they create irrational beliefs and naturally create in-groups vs. out-groups, but none more than the Islamic ideology. Why? Because to be a true Muslim you must submit as a slave to Allah and you have NO RIGHT to question the quran and must accept each word in the entire book to be the word of god as said to Muhammad in a cave. The Christians already went through their Dark Ages in the time of history when Islamic civilization and Chinese civilization was flourishing. The west went through the Reformation and Enlightenment periods and was able to force Christianity to take a backseat and to secularize society, hence the advancement of western civilization. In addition, the symbol of Jesus Christ (whether he was a real person or not) is a much more peaceful and loving teacher than Muhammad. In relation to the Jews, at least the Jews are allowed to debate their beliefs openly and hence, we have a high rate of atheist Jews. It is estimated that 10-20% of Israelis are atheist Jews. It is no surprise that mankind has had an amazing number of Nobel Laureates who have been Jewish including the greatest of all Albert Einstein. Despite their historical difficulties and the oppression and genocides that they have had to face with, they do not have a self-apathy in blaming their problems on outside third parties. The problem with Islamic culture is that too often than not, the culture is based on blaming an outside third party for so called grievances (i.e. “Zionists”, “Americans”, or “the West”) instead of doing introspection as a people and understanding that the problem is within. Until such cultures understand that as humans we must always question our beliefs and SEEK THE TRUTH wherever that may lead us, these cultures will forever be cause great suffering upon both their own people and to mankind.

    Bottom line: I value human civilization and want mankind to advance. In the era of apocalyptic weapons and rogue regimes, this is no guarantee. At the end of the day, we are all Homo sapiens but unfortunately, there are fanatics (mostly Muslims) who want to actively bring an end to human civilization as we know it.
    *It is important to note that I have nothing against individual Muslims as even my grandparents are religious but are great loving people who are still against the barbaric Islamic regime and they too dream of secularism and freedom. What I have against is Islam as an ideology. Fortunately, most Muslims don’t take their religion seriously and this is particularly true among Iranians. The vast majority of Iranians are not religious and truly, this regime has driven Islam out of the hearts and minds of the Iranian people. As I have mentioned previously, based on my experience in Iran, I truly believe there are more atheists in Iran than in the U.S. And I am not focusing on the youth; I am focusing on the middle-aged male. This includes the taxi drivers, store owners, everyday people in society. These people have experienced life under secular Shah and life under Islamic brutality and have learned a great deal of the evils of Islam. I found a significant portion of the middle-aged male to either be agnostic or more often than not atheist. Even the worst fanatical Muslim has greater morals than Muhammad and the teachings of the quran and hadith. Therefore, my problem is not with individual Muslims. I simply see Islam as an ideology backward and a retrograde force upon the societies to which it comes in contact with as well as to humanity. The worst part of all, you cannot DOUBT or ASK QUESTIONS. The quran itself says “not to ask too many questions”. (Sura 5:104-105): O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Quran is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allah will forgive those: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing. Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith”. Basically, don’t ask questions about things which contradict the Quran (i.e. science) because those who did a little free thinking and investigation for themselves decided to become non-Muslim and leave the faith. What a great religion that encourages free thinking and scientific advancement doesn’t it?

    As for my atheism, my atheism is mostly an intellectual one based on rationality through the beauties of science, reason, and the universe. Although, my experience at the age of 16 played a slight role to usher in being 110% atheist rather than 85-95% of atheist (due to what was my fear of death – and I still fear it).

    But I will briefly tell you my journey to my atheism: I was always a rationalist as I questioned the existence of god since my pre-teens and even before then, I used to always ask my father questions of “how did” or “what” such as “where did the stars come from” and “how far are they” when I would look up at the night sky – and when I was 15, I was I think 90-95% atheist but I would hold in the back of my mind “the 5-10% that god might exist” – I think the reason for this was due to the fact that I feared death and I did not want to lose my parents and my own life one day as I would be “nothing”. But when I was 16 I visited Iran for a significant period of time (I am Iranian) and I stayed there for 1.5-2 months. Being in Iran at that age was unlike anything that I had ever experienced before – I had a chance to taste the true nature of religious rule and religious oppression. Everywhere in the streets would be the images of these fanatical Mullahs and the people did not support it but feared to say a word due to the religious theocracy and fear instilled by the regime in which people were tortured and executed for speaking out. I remember I was at my grandmother’s house one night and it was the call to prayer – and you can hear this on the loud speakers glared from the mosque – and I remember vividly looking up lying in the bed while resting and said to myself “this is all bullshit – there is not even the slightest chance of god existing – religion from its very foundation has been to control societies and instill fear upon the masses” and from that moment on (although before then I was pretty much an atheist) I knew that the slightest chance could not exist for a higher power and that it was all bullshit and that it was selfish of me to hold the slightest chance due to my fear of death. That is my short bio on my atheism..

    “Do you support preemptive nuclear strike against the muslim world; similar to views proposed by other rational atheists?”

    Absolutely not. What kind of asinine question is that? I do support the liberation of Iran, but I in no way support nuclear strikes against ANYONE. In fact, I see Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the darkest moments in U.S. history. And I don’t know of any atheist that would support such a strike (including the late Christopher Hitchens) so I assume you were being sarcastic with that suggestion.

    “In your view, what differentiates self-critical philosophy and sadomasochism as you have used it in your post to describe “self-hating westerners”?”

    It is one thing to disagree with U.S. foreign policy and the policy of the west. It is another thing to actively support such brutal regimes such as Assad’s or Khamenei’s. On here, you have individuals who have actively become cheerleaders of these barbarians and hooligans rather than standing for human rights, freedom, and democracy.

    Case in point: I may disagree with Noam Chomsky on A LOT of his political beliefs and ideology. BUT, I don’t refer to him as a sadomasochistic individual due to the fact that he still supports the Iranian people and their freedom and plight for democracy, human rights, and self-determination. On the other hand, you have such a scum and degenerate in George Galloway who not only openly works and is paid by the Islamic Regime in his employment for PressTV, but he is actively on the side of the terrorists. He has referred to the Taliban as “resistant fighters” whom are “fighting for liberation” and has actively cheered them on. He has actively cheered on the Iraqi insurgents and terrorists who have bombed mosques, killed civilians, and tried to disrupt (and often times were successful) Iraqi civil society. He has gone and warmed shoulders with such tyrants as Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad and has praised suicide bombers. He is not simply against U.S. or western policy; he is actively on the side of the terrorists, fanatics, and hooligans.

    “To what extent the themes of the enlightenment inform your view of the world and rational atheism?”

    Greatly my friend. I value rationality, freedom, the scientific method, scientific literacy, and most importantly, secularism. Unfortunately, Islam BADLY needs an enlightenment but I am not sure if it is capable. Hopefully over time, democracy and freedom to the region will dissipate religion. I am optimistic that in Afghanistan 40% of girls are now receiving an education compared to 0% under the Taliban and that women are allowed to work rather than being stuck home in burkas. THINGS ARE FAR FROM PERFECT, but all this takes time. In the meantime, under no circumstances should apocalyptic regimes be allowed to acquire apocalyptic weapons. The advancement and existence of human civilization depends on these shared objectives of the civilized world.

  112. Kaveh Afrasiabi on the same topic.

    Europeans paddle in troubled waters
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA07Ak02.html

    Interesting idea:

    Quote

    “If the European Union foolishly follows the American lead against Iran, it will inflict a major wound on its own unity since several European countries including Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain are heavily dependent on Iran’s oil,” says a Tehran University political science professor on the condition of anonymity.

    He adds that he expected the oil sanctions to be “watered down” due to the wave of exemptions. “If the West wants to play hard ball with Iran, then they should expect collateral damage to their other ‘safe’ oil supplies, because Iran can close the Strait of Hormuz – even dozens of boats full of Iranian students could do this, as they shut down the British Embassy.” (He was referring to the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran last November, to which Britain responded by expelling Iranian diplomats and ordering the Iranian Embassy in London to close.)

    An Iranian flotilla blocking oil tankers at Hormuz might instigate a harsh American military reaction, not unlike Israel’s deadly assault on the Free Gaza flotilla in international waters last year, but with more dire consequences.

    Iran’s options to scuttle the free flow of oil to the Western world are not limited to sinking ships at the strait or flexing naval muscles.

    Akin to acts of civil disobedience reminiscent of anti-whaling activists, masses of Iranian protesters on boats could play a role in temporary shutting down the waterway so vital to the Western economy.

    End Quote

  113. Pepe Escobar on The US-Iran economic war
    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA07Ak01.html

    Nothing we don’t know – the oil embargo won’t work, the West will suffer a crippling economic recession in 2012 while India and China and South Korea continue to get Iranian oil and Iran continues to enrich.

    Of course, the real point of sanctions is always not to work – but to NOT work, thus justifying war.

    Moving right along…

  114. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Unknown Unknowns

    Well, I’m not completely dismissing of “western contributions”, which my comment at the end of my post indicated.

    But you’re missing an important distinction. The material contributions of a society are not tantamount to the morality of a society. (This applies of course to Islam, and the rest of the world as well). And as I understand your last post, you’re still making this argument (eg a liberal society can still be immoral, as western imperialism clearly shows)

    But to build on your argument, I would respond with the following: the “value” the west “offers” is “fool’s gold”. (I don’t know if you’ve seen my comments to fyi regarding “the rule of law”, but in a nutshell that’s what I’m talking about)

    “Women’s rights“ is a good example. They exist so that people in the west can feel good about themselves. Ie, it “shows” (materially) that we have “morality”. We can point to that law and then denounce anyone who doesn’t have the exact same law as being “evil”. But as all the facts indicate the respect for women in the west is low. Really low. This is manifested most specifically through violence (actual acts based on the morality of people). Other examples are abundant whether it’s minority rights or human rights.

    Not everybody is like that or agrees with such behaviour of course. But we’re talking about the morality of a society. There’s a reason why there are more people like “Sassan”, “Lucas”, “MHF”, “Fairman”, “Binam” etc. in the west. It’s really such “thinking” and behaviour that is being promoted and nurtured. It’s a society fundamentally run by force either physically (violence) or mentally (accusing critics of being appeasers, traitors, lying, etc). And I argue such people (or such a society) in essence only consider their actions in relation to the consequences (gains/loss) to their material wealth, and not because they have some moral issue with their actions.

    Nonetheless, no need to drag out this conversation. Besides, I really came to this forum to learn (especially about Iran) and not to lecture (the rule of law thing made me grumpy).

  115. This should make the West deliriously happy… :-)

    ‘Iran ready to export nuclear services’ – Head of Iran Atomic Energy Organization
    http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1977512.html

  116. This is stupid. Iran won’t block the Straits unless under war conditions and under war conditions, NO ONE will have oil reserves able to last long enough. Stories like this are just idiotic propaganda.

    West plans to tap oil reserves if Iran blocks Strait of Hormuz
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/west-plans-to-tap-oil-reserves-if-iran-blocks-strait-of-hormuz-1.405955

  117. Apparently Fordo is now in operation.

    Report: Iran Begins Uranium Enrichment at New Underground Site
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/01/08/iran-begins-uranium-enrichment-at-new-underground-site/

  118. Karl says:

    The removing of the sales of S-300 (and other arms sale) were a vital part for US and Israel. If Russia hadnt banned this, they would probably wouldnt wage a war. With that being said the Bavar-373 should be deployed as soon as possible if they want this to be a deterrent.

  119. Binam says:

    This forum is still afoul run by idiots who live in lala land.

    RSH – now is the perfect time to move to Iran. Perhaps you can get a job at Farsnews.

    It’s almost as though none of the clowns here ever read the domestic news in Iran.

    Dream on morons!

  120. Turkey Nearly Downs Israeli UAV
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/151379#.TwQmz1aGCVo

    Apparently Israel can run UAVs all over hell without anyone actually doing anything about it… Just like the US…

  121. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: “Iran starts production of remote controlled helicopters.”

    I personally saw three such specimens in a small private production facility in the north of Tehran a couple of weeks back. What was most impressive about them was the median age of the design and construction team, and their command and control capabilities.

  122. Jewbonics suggests the Muslim Brotherhood is clearly not to be trusted… They may be right. Remember what Truman said: As soon as an underdog gets power, they’re just as rotten as their former masters.

    The USG’s (slightly) reluctant romance with the Muslim Brotherhood
    http://www.maxajl.com/the-usgs-slightly-reluctant-romance-with-the-muslim-brotherhood/

  123. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 8, 2012 at 3:28 am
    UK signals ready to use force to keep Strait open
    http://en.trend.az/regions/world/europe/1976870.html
    Like anyone doubted the lap dog would respond to its master in Washington…

    *

    Yeah, I’d like to see the bulldog-turned-poodle try to keep the straight open on its own without the help of Team Weasel.

    Just the bark of a little limey bee-atch.

  124. I’m reminded of the old aviation saw: “Left to themselves, airplanes want to fly. Left to themselves, helicopters want to crash.” :-)

    Iran starts production of remote controlled helicopters
    http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1976481.html

  125. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 8, 2012 at 2:48 am

    I remember reading somewhere (no, it wasn’t Debka!) that as a consolation, the Russians had given Iran via the blueprints and specifications for the S-300 system, together with the Chinese classified parts numbers list, military suppliers and concomitant permissions for purchase of same. This was the nod and the wink that accompanied the cancellation of the contract, and it was this action that allowed Iran to announce several months ago now that the conceptual design phase of its own “native” S-373 system (which is an improvement on all S-300 adumbrations and which incorporates certain aspects of the S-400 system) is complete and that it is proceeding to the next phases (construction documents, prototype manufacture, testing, full-scale production and field deployment). It would not surprise me to hear before Captain America gets re-elected that the S-373 has successfully passed the testing phase and is now in full-scale production mode.

    It would also not surprise me to hear an announcement along the lines that a massive number of medium-range missiles have now been produced and are deployed and fully operational. (As you know, the quantity of missiles is a big factor in their deterrent value.)

  126. Interesting – a bank 75 percent owned by the Turkish government does most of the oil dealings with Iran. Now the new US sanctions are aimed at that bank. What will Turkey do?

    My guess is give Obama the finger – secretly at least.

    Iran dealings put Turkey’s Halkbank in spotlight
    http://en.trend.az/regions/met/turkey/1976464.html

  127. Not a good idea unless you’re willing to go to war to back it up:

    Majlis Considering Bill to Prohibit Foreign Warships from Entering Persian Gulf
    http://www.uskowioniran.com/2012/01/majlis-considering-bill-to-prohibit.html

  128. This is perfectly true:

    The Real Legacy of the War in Iraq: Impunity
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/01/05/the-real-legacy-of-the-war-in-iraq-impunity/

    No one has been punished and no one ever will be. The same will be true of the Afghan war, the Syrian war and the Iran war. It won’t cost any U.S. elite one thin dime.

  129. Richard Silverstein on “How Iran Could Close Straits and Damage the U.S. Navy”.
    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2012/01/05/how-iran-could-close-straits-and-damage-u-s-navy/

    Nothing we don’t already know. By the way, I’m still not sure anyone has ever confirmed Iran has large numbers of Sunburn missiles. They might, they might not. They might have some missiles that are nearly as good, they might not. We won’t know until the US loses a destroyer or two.

  130. Somone at PressTV has been reading my posts… :-)

    ‘US deploys troops in Israel for Iran war’
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/219346.html

    I didn’t note this before: “Commander of the US Third Air Force based in Germany Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc said it is not just an “exercise,” but a “deployment,” The Jerusalem Post said.”

    If true, this means it isn’t just an “exercise” for a few weeks but those troops may be there for months. Convenient just when Syria is heating up…

  131. Iran Registers Five-Time Growth in Exports despite Sanctions
    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007279960

    How them sanctions working fer ya, Obama?

  132. UK signals ready to use force to keep Strait open
    http://en.trend.az/regions/world/europe/1976870.html

    Like anyone doubted the lap dog would respond to its master in Washington…

  133. Muslim Brotherhood Strongest Contender in Libya’s Coming Elections
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/06/muslim-brotherhood-strongest-contender-in-libya%E2%80%99s-coming-elections/

    Apparently, the West intends the MB to be its new “arm” in the Middle East, at least as long as it’s willing to take on the Shia in Lebanon and elsewhere.

    This part was interesting:

    “Where suspected corruption enters the bank withdrawals problem is that according to one Central Bank official who has spent more than 15 years in the CB office that monitors the receipt of payments for Libya oil shipments, even though oil is being shipped today as well as the pay few months, zero payments have been received at the CB. The reason is said to be that NATO countries are being shipped oil, (also to gas and oil rich Qatar) free of charge under a payback arrangement with NATO for its regime change services.”

    Read that last. And someone questioned why the West would overthrow Gaddafi who was selling them the oil? What part of FREE OIL don’t you understand?

  134. Interested says:

    Interesting. The issues raised here by Iran’s angry opponents regarding Syria have already been answered in the article which is well documented. It seems they haven’t actually read the piece. Its scandalous how these people support American, French, English and PG Arab dictatorships in their illegal attempts to overthrow the government supported by the majority of Syrians!

  135. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Yes. Thank you, Richard, for the correction.

    Agent Smith… Agent Lucas, Agent Pak/ Sassan, Agent Binam… it definitely has a better ring to it.

  136. Very interesting, if true:

    The Plan – The Play to the Overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad
    http://newsaboutsyria.blogspot.com/2012/01/plan-play-to-overthrow-of-president.html

    I was especially interested in the part about using “Takfiris” groups to target UNFIL troops in southern Lebanon “to embarrass Hizballah. My guess is that it will go further than that. What will be done is that these groups will both attack UNFIL troops and also start a provocation of some sort across the Lebanon-Israeli border which in turn will provide a reason for Israel to attack Hizballah in Lebanon again.

    This will be time in accordance with the other operations outlined as well as of course the imposition by the US and NATO of a “no-fly zone” which, as in Libya, will turn into an all-out air campaign to destroy the Syrian government.

    At which time Israel will utilize its armored forces to enter Syrian territory and attack Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley, as I’ve suggested before. This article provides support for the concept.

  137. IRGC Commander: Iran preparing for new wargames in Strait of Hormuz
    http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1977317.html

    Coming in February and emphasizing the Straits.

  138. British Destroyer Heading to Persian Gulf
    http://www.uskowioniran.com/2012/01/british-destroyer-heading-to-persian.html

    Of course, this is cited as being “completely routine and planned long before”, yada, yada.

  139. Interesting if true:

    Iranian Revolutionary Guards Trained on S-300 Air Defence Systems at Russian bases
    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=40887

    I suspect Russia fully intends to ship S-300 systems – if not S-400 systems – to Iran if it looks like Israel and the US really intend to attack Iran in the near future. Or at least sell them the design specifications, if they haven’t already, to allow Iran to build their own. Iran has already indicated it’s seen S-300 systems up close and is prepared to build a better system. I think Russia’s probably training their operators because of this.

  140. Fyi: “The events of the last decade have finished all peaceful means of ening the war in Palestine.”

    I agree completely. Unless some miracle occurs and a US Administration comes to power that actually HAS the power to reverse the US position on the Palestinian issue – well, that would be a miracle and it’s not going to happen. The Israel Lobby is far too powerful in the US for the likely future – meaning at least a couple more decades.

    If the Palestinians and the Muslim world want Israel to back off, or if they want a bi-national state in Palestine – they’re going to have to kick Israel’s ass to get it.

    Given Israel’s military might and nuclear arsenal, this fundamentally means a massive concerted terrorist offensive against Israel – INSIDE Israel – as well as guerrilla warfare conducted against Israel from all around its borders, AND a concerted effort to steal and use an Israel nuclear weapon against Israel’s nuclear arsenal, i.e., destroy Israel’s nuclear arms with their own nuclear weapons. And failing that – because Israel’s nuclear arsenal is probably reasonably well dispersed, even though Israel is a relatively small country – Tel Aviv and Haifa will have to be nuked by a stolen Israeli nuclear weapon.

    The only other possible option is if the international community, NOT including the United States, can impose a complete embargo and blockade on Israel’s economy. In other words, the international community, i.e., Russia, China, the EU, the Arab countries, everyone but the US, essentially declares economic war on Israel. And if Israel threatens military action in response, then they must be willing to declare actual war on Israel, nuclear arsenal or no.

    These are the only options that will work.

  141. Arnold Evans: “Your claim that the 20% is decisive is just a concoction of your imagination. And many people have asked you for support for this concoction and you’ve provided exactly none.”

    Well, to be fair, he did cite Hague’s Guardian op-ed article which did emphasize the 20% issue. However, I then refuted that by citing Hague’s other complaints against Iran, which we all know here are completely bogus.

    “You’re way past tiresome with this, but you’re choosing to be the British version of Scotty and in a free board, we have the right, which I’m increasingly exercising, of just skipping over anything you write.”

    Definitely. His stuff consists of one of two things: 1) Repeating and agreeing with something someone else said; and 2) harping on the 20% nonsense.

    He couldn’t respond to my direct question about whether if Iran decided tomorrow to permanently suspend 20% enrichment than would the UK acknowledge Iran’s right to 3.5% enrichment – except to weasel out by claiming the UK can’t disagree with the US.

    Which by obvious definition means the UK would NOT approve of 3.5% enrichment. If the UK can’t make a foreign policy statement without bending over for Washington, who cares about the UK foreign policy at all?

    Q.E.D.

    So I rightly called the UK a lap dog of the US. He can’t respond to that because it’s so obviously true. So naturally he goes back to touting the 20% issue to the newcomers.

    It’s pathetic.

  142. Unknown Unknowns: “Its like Mr. Anderson in the Matrix: apparently different people but essentially the same canned bullshit.

    Uh, correction, “Mr. Anderson” was Neo. You’re thinking of Agent Smith. :-)

    From Your Matrix Nazi…

  143. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Sara says, “There’s a lot more I could say but I’m starting to believe you were never here for a two-way conversation in the first place.”

    That is correct. Scotty Boy and his entourage (Binam, Pak/ Sassan) are trolls which should be ignored, as they just add noise and bring nothing of use to the discussion. They are haters, nothing more.

    *

    Scott Lucas says:
    January 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm
    “… if you had any ambition or spirit other than to play jester, you might have actually considered Binam’s points:”

    1. Unlike you, I (sometimes) know my limits. On a good day, I come up with a clever line or two, and on others, I’m boring. I do not pretend to be otherwise.

    2. Have you reinstated Reza Esfandiari on your site? If not, why not?

    3. Why did you ban him in the first place?

    4. As to “considering Binam’s points”, I try to avoid talking to idiots (which, as you can see by my addressing you, is an effort I am not altogether successful at.)

  144. Castellio says:

    Dave, thanks for the link, and thanks for your previous comment.

  145. Jay says:

    Sassan, since you suggest that your thoughts emanate from your learned background…

    In what sense are you an atheist?

    Do you support preemptive nuclear strike agains the muslim world; similar to views proposed by other rational atheists?

    In your view, what differentiates self-critical philosophy and sadomasochism as you have used it in your post to describe “self-hating westerners”?

    To what extent the themes of the enlightenment inform your view of the world and rational atheism?

  146. Fiorangela says:

    Thanks twice, Castellio– for the link to Conflicts Forum, on which I found an essay that explains ijtihad, and for the comment re erosion of the very basis of American rule of law.

    There’s a strong suggestion that for some time — perhaps as far back as early 1900s, Jewish theologians in US, Israel and Germany have been seeking to undermine the “Athenian” in western Christian-inflected civilization to replace it with Jerusalem-based mythos. The latest product of that effort is Amy-Jill Levine’s Jewish Annotated Christian New Testament. I’ve not read the essays and annotations, but reviews suggest to me that Levine and the writers who contributed are eager to put a zionist armband on Jesus and call him a fighter for the Jewish cause against Rome (which adopted Greek philosophy and mythology). Zionism’s goal is to redeem the defeat that the Maccabees suffered at the hands of Rome.

    To trump the irony you explained, it is further ironic that Israel and zionism are largely secular, that is, most Israeli zionists do not practice Judaism. Yet Jewishness is defined by several elements, including Torah and Israel, the latter of which is legitimated based on its religious significance.

  147. Rehmat says:

    ADL, Israel, Jews and the Chilean Patagonia fire

    “Patagonia belongs to Jews?”, an an Israeli living in Chile.

    Abraham Foxman, the national director of powerful Israel lobby, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), has called Chilean Senator Eugenio Tuma, chairman Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chilean Senate, an ‘anti-Semite’, for blaming Israel for financing and sending military personnel to set fire in the environmental preserve of Torres del Paine Park in the Chilean Patagonia……

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/adl-israel-jews-and-the-chilean-patagonia-fire/

  148. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela.

    Yes. But actually it gets worse.

    Dershowitz, in his most recent book, The Enemies of Israel, claims that israeli law is more effective than American law in dealing with “security” issues, and that American jurisprudence in the matter should follow Israeli jurisprudence.

    He’s quite serious, and lest we forget, he is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at America’s premiere (for some) law school, Harvard University. He teaches the young.

    Israeli jurisprudence accepts different treatments for people based on religion. It also accepts and supports judgements of collective guilt and collective punishment.

    The Christian effort to establish individual guilt and innocence based on the individual’s moral agency, itself the basis of the western law and democratic tradition, is being quickly eroded-forgotten-spurned. For evidence, what is more eloquent than the NDAA?

    Essentially, and I’m talking in historical shorthand here, the role of Greek logos/reason as entwined with the Life of Christ as the conceptual underpinning of Christian moral agency has been lost, leaving Christianity as an empty Miracle cult claiming collective exceptionailsm.

    The fact that an American President who owes his personal success to the Civil Rights Movement is active in vitiating individual rights to further a tragic Middle Eastern policy is way beyond ironic.

  149. fyi says:

    All:

    The Saudi offer of Land for Pece was not new; it was the same old formulation of Arabs after their repeated attempts to destroy Israel had failed.

    It was never a well-defind “plan”; there was no stages, mile-stones, or step-by-step activities that was included in that offer. All it was was that Saudis were now willing to recognize Israel, together with other Arab states if Israel withdrew from the Occupied Territories.

    As an aide in the Oslo Process, it was too little too late; had it been made in 1994 it would have made a differene.

    Israelis estimated that there was no reason to take it up since there was no pressure on them to do so.

    Iranians went along with it to indicate flexibility and not to be nay-sayers publicly.

    The events of the last decade have finished all peaceful means of ening the war in Palestine.

    Iranians, correctly estimating that the war in Palestine cannot be settled by US, EU, The Quartet, the Arabs – knowing that Israelis will never concede to a Palestinian state – have hijacked teh War in Palestin as it were, from a purely Arab Cause to a Pan-Muslim Cause.

    There were many positives for them in this: Demonstrating that the Shia are True Muslims for defening the Umma in Palestine, constraining the Arab states’ form taking too aggressive of a posture against Iran, weakening US position in the Middle East, poisoning US-EU relations with Muslims (not that they needed any help from Iranians on that), and claiming the mantle of Islamic leadership

    US-EU War with Iran, Siege Warfare Against Iran, Anti-Iran Coaltion of the Sunni Arab States cannot address this salient dynamics.

    Men will suffer an die for what they believe is Just.

  150. Fiorangela says:

    from the prior thread:
    “James Canning says:
    January 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Castellio,

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

    Several months ago Israeli author/journalist/historian Gershom Gorenberg spoke about his research into Israeli archives, particularly about efforts to retrieve files concerning events in Israel just after the 1967 war. He made two or three very important points in that talk:
    1. Israelis have ALWAYS operated under the mindset that rule of law does not apply to them; the only important thing is to create Israel — facts on the ground. This point of view pertained from the very beginning of Jewish colonization in Palestine, in the 1880s; increased with each wave of immigrants; was more or less endorsed by the state; and became effective state policy by 1967.

    2. In 1967 a high ranking Jewish Israeli jurist was asked to render a opinion on the legality of settlements on lands taken by Jews in the 1967 war. T. Meron wrote that settlement on lands taken in war was prohibited by terms of the Geneva Convention.
    Gorenberg stated that the opinion was directed to Israel’s highest leaders, and that it was deliberately buried and ignored. After years of requests and research, Gorenberg discovered the document accidentally, in IDF files.
    Israel continues to operate under the policy of ignoring rule of law. To buttress this claim, I submit:

    a. In a speech at Palestine Center last years, Chas Freeman recalled statements of several Israeli government officials: :http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/29130/pid/897

    “. . .These crimes have been linked to a concerted effort to rewrite international law to permit actions that it traditionally prohibited, in effect enshrining the principle that might makes right.

    As the former head of the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Legal Department has argued:

    “If you do something for long enough the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries . . . . International law progresses through violations.”

    A colleague of his has extended this notion by pointing out that:

    “The more often Western states apply principles that originated in Israel to their own non-traditional conflicts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, then the greater the chance these principles have of becoming a valuable part of international law.”

    These references to Iraq and Afghanistan underscore the extent to which the United States, once the principal champion of a rule-bound international order, has followed Israel in replacing legal principles with expediency as the central regulator of its interaction with foreign peoples. “

    There is a cruel irony in the fact that Freeman points out, that Israel’s persistent pattern of ignoring and evading the rule of law has become the American habit. Simon Winchester highlighted that irony while speaking about his recent naturalization as an American citizen. He noted that he was required to pass a test of citizenship, in which one of the questions was,
    What guarantees equal rights in the United States?
    Answer: the rule of law.

    b. The other day, Adam Horowitz reported on this new action/declaration (the latest in a stream of evasions of compliance with international law reported on Mondoweiss :http://mondoweiss.net/?s=international+law) by Israel’s Supreme Court: “Israeli companies are entitled to West Bank natural resources; international law must adapt to long-term occupation

    “Israeli companies are entitled to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for economic gain, according to a supreme court ruling that says international law must be adapted to the “reality on the ground” of long-term occupation.

    The supreme court rejected a petition brought by an Israeli human rights organisation against the quarrying of stone by Israeli companies in the West Bank. Yesh Din claimed that the quarrying was illegal under international law because it exploited the natural resources of the occupied territory for the benefit of the occupying power.

    But the court ruled last week that in a prolonged occupation the economic development of the occupied territory could not be frozen indefinitely. It added that the quarrying firms were not destroying the “capital” of the West Bank’s natural resources, and were providing employment to Palestinians.”

    In other words, Israel’s Supreme Court endorsed as the law of the land the concept that Israeli Jews may disregard international law, a practice which Israeli Jews and their government have been carrying out for over 100 years.

    3. Continuing his speech, Gorenberg displayed a map of Israel and told the audience that the Green Line borders are deliberately erased from maps that government, civil, and educational institutions use; that is, by decree of Knesset, Green Line borders do not appear on maps in textbooks that Jewish Israeli school children are assigned, and no map in Jewish Israel displays Green Line borders. For all intents and purposes, and definitely by the intent of Israel’s government, the Green Line does not exist.

    Recently several American Jewish college leaders met to discuss the problems experienced by Jewish students in college — er how to get young Jews to love Israel — something like that.
    A young woman named Dana _____ who lived and went to school in Israel but is now a student at University of Maryland, said that what she was taught in schools in Israel was dishonest. She described how the deceptions revealed themselves: she, the daughter of ardent zionist parents, and two other girls, one also zionist and the other a member of J Street, the less militant pro-Israel group, roomed together in Israel for a time. The J Street student had a map, obtained in the US, that showed the green line; the other zionist student vehemently objected to having that map posted on the wall of the room they shared. It seems Americans are shown one thing, and Israeli Jews another, while Palestinian Arabs live yet a third, real, reality.

    Dana on video: :http://mondoweiss.net/2011/12/beinart-says-israel-must-give-citizenship-to-palestinians-under-occupation.html

    John Canning, What you may wish to be true because it fits your preordained valorization of certain parties is being refuted on a daily basis by ‘facts on the ground’ and behavior and official policy of Israeli institutions. Israel is toying with Arabs just as it manipulates every other state in the region, in addition to the United States.

  151. Castellio says:

    This is perhaps redundant, but following the path to Marandi’s article one also learns of the following:

    Politics After Al-Qaeda
    Faisal Devji

    Islamic Visions of the Outcome of the Recent Arab Revolutions
    Sheikh Chafiq Jredah

    Understanding Political Islam: Acknowledging the Resistance
    Sheikh Chafiq Jredah

    http://conflictsforum.org/cf-publications/policy-papers/

  152. Castellio says:

    James, all the rapid fire posts in the world aren’t going to let you off the hook: what does Saudi Arabia have to show for what you assure us is its strong pro-Palestinian stance?

  153. Liz says:

    Liz:

    I agree completely with the article. The US and the EU are behaving like criminal regimes and the Iranians will not accept giving up their sovereignty.

  154. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Hasn’t every Muslim country accepted the Saudi peace plan, openly, apart from Iran?

  155. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    I think the essence of the Saudi peace plan should be, and is: too bad if Israel does not like it. Who gives a damn?

  156. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    I think the key issue is borders, no matter what is said in various reports. And that the Saudi peace plan is the only way to resolve the Israel/Palestine rpoblem, as a practical matter.

    Why are you so eager, apparently, to say Israel can change the borders by growing colonies of Jews in the West Bank?

  157. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I think Iran’s offer to stop producing 20% U if the Iranian IAEA application to re-fuel the TRR is approved, is still on the table. What do you think Iran has in mind, when it said recently it wants more negotiations?

  158. James Canning says:

    Iran’s first nuclear fuel rod: Another view”, by Robert Kelley

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julian-borger-global-security-blog/2012/jan/06/iran-nuclear-fuel

  159. Binam says:

    @Bibi,

    Why not compare Iran’s progress to that of South Korea in the same time period? And even considering the setbacks such as war and sanctions, the progress has been mediocre at best. Specially considering the income from oil just in the last 6 years (which is greater than the previous 27 years combined). Plus are you really going to deny the extend of corruption that exists in Iran today? Are you going to side with the Supreme Leader in overlooking the 3000 Billion toman embezzlement and other such corrupt thievery in broad daylight? Are you going to deny the back-breaking increasing price of goods from 2000 toman barbari bread to 15,000 toman/kilo of meat?!

    Furthermore you realize that you are defending 33 years of an Islamic Republic that now has a former prime minister of 8 years and a former parliament speaker on house arrest with no legal charges and no court appearances or fair trials? Two former presidents are now also being called stooges of the West and enemies of Nezam. Even current handpicked government of Ahmadinejad being called names (deviant current) before its term is over? It would suit you best to stop siding with the harldliners and the extreme right elements of the Islamic Republic and in the person of the true criminal and dictator of Iran Ali Khamenei.

    @Sara,

    Great that Marandi is pro-reform in Syria but considers reform in Iran work of the enemy! I haven’t brought up human right abuses of Syria to deny them in other Arab countries. Other Arab revolts received as much attention in Western news media if not more of the current Syrian uprising. Furthermore, ask anyone involved with the Arab Spring how much American websites such as Facebook and Twitter were helpful in organizing and rallying masses in the overthrow of their repressive regimes.

    And stop with the lies that everything in Iran is rosy under the leadership of Ali Khamenei. He’s as corrupt if not more corrupt than the Shah. It took only 11% of the population of Iran to throw out the Shah and a much greater number with overthrow Ali Khamenei sooner than later. (Before you start saying 99% of the people at the time overthrew the Shah, this 11% refers to the number that actually took to the streets to overthrow him. It was a large percentage considering that 9% of the French took part in the French revolution and only 7% in the Russian one.)

  160. Castellio says:

    Sassan, I feel neglected and forgotten. I am certainly not:

    1/ an “Hizbolli” inside of Iran
    2/ an anti-western Iranian
    3/ a self-hating westerner
    4/ an anti-west Islamic Arab

    I do feel the American government has lost contact with the best of the western tradition in dealing with the Middle East, but that position is neither self-hating nor anti-western, quite the opposite in fact.

    Maybe you can add another category: well informed westerners who seek better informed, more constructive, and less self-defeating policies in the Middle East.

  161. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    Are you ignoring my earlier statement to you?:

    “James Canning:

    Why do you still use the 20% rhetoric we had this debate like 2 days ago.

  162. Castellio says:

    James, I asked what Saudi Arabia has to show for its support of the Palestinians.

    You point to the oil embargo of 35 years ago, and a proposal that, accepted widely by both Arabic and Islamic states on one side, has not been accepted by either Israel or the US.

    So, despite its huge oil wealth, huge asset base, and structural importance as a faithful and primary client to the American military economy, it has actually achieved nothing of importance. Nada. Zip.

    Now either the Saudi leadership is completely ineffective and powerless to achieve the priorities you believe it has, or its priorities are other than you suggest.

  163. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    That is all over as US-EU and Shia and their allies have entered a period of confrontation.

    It is up to Axis Powers to de-escalate.

    [Iran can announce enrichment's suspension tomorrow but the pressure on her will not cease or end.]

  164. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think Iran would follow through and buy the needed nuclear fuel for the TRR if the US stopped its foolish blocking of the Iranian IAEA application.

  165. James Canning says:

    Will momentum for EU oil embargo on Iran wreck diplomacy?”, by Trita Parsi:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trita-parsi/iran-oil-ban_b_119141.html?ref=world

  166. Sassan says:

    @Fairman:

    These are the enemies of the Iranian people and of the Iranian nation.

    You have several types of people here:

    1) Hizbollis inside of Iran
    - in a country of over 72-million people, you will have 5-10% of the population in support of these thugs. I spent over 8-months in Iran last year and the whole nation is united against these barbarians. From Tehran–>Shiraz–>Azerbaijan province, the whole nation is united against these hooligans and thugs

    2) Some anti-western Iranians who have spent the vast majority of their lives in the west
    - if you have come in contact with Iranians, you will easily understand that Iranians in the west are pro-western and value freedom and liberty. BUT, you will come across a group of these masochistic anti-west types from time to time. They think they know what’s going on in Iran but have no clue. You will find some in the 50-year old + age group but mostly among the younger age who have never really spent more than 2-3 weeks at a time in Iran

    3) You will then find self-hating westerners
    - not only are these individuals so sadomasochistic that they hate everything the west stands for, but they go so far as to join the side of the Islamic Republic in ignoring the terrible atrocities partaken by these hooligans occupying Iran along with ignoring the apocalyptic ideology of this regime. They of course ignore the latter part as this helps them ease their cognitive dissonance in somehow forming the cognition that the Islamic Republic is a “rational actor” when in reality us rationalists know this is a fanatical religious regime that is anything but rational.

    4) Finally, you have some Islamic Arabs scattered who are so anti-west that they despise their own pro-west governments and “admire” the Islamic Republic for “standing against the west”

    And these people can take potshots at me all they like. My ego is not hurt from insults from some megalomaniacs who have no dignity for human rights and freedom. Keep the insults coming. I hope they make you feel better. :)

    And no, my thoughts are not from “Fox News”; they are from experience, education, literature, free thought, rationality, and logic. They are from the fact that I have spent CONSIDERABLE amounts of time in Iran and am an Iranian-American who has had a chance to value cultures and systems of governance and to appreciate the fact that although how flawed some things may be here in the United States, we have freedom and a sense of self-worth and self-determination in which the government cannot torture and kill us for speaking how we feel about politics, religion, or any matter in fact! In fact, as an atheist, I debate Christians in America about the value of religion and when we disagree with each other, we don’t want to kill each other. In Iran under the Islamic Republic, if I came out in the open as an atheist, I would be executed (or if I decided to leave Islam for any other religion) – but particularly as a kafar. Fortunately the Islamic Republic has done one positive thing for the Iranian people the last 30+ years: it has driven Islam out of the hearts and minds of the Iranian people and has ensured that once Iran is liberated and free, Islam will no longer play a role in Iran. In fact, I am sure of the fact that Iran has more atheists than the U.S. from the time I have spent in Iran. Unlike any of the other countries in the region, a free Iran will truly be a secular and democratic one. And believe it or not, the average Iranian has no quarrels with the state of Israel and in fact, we see such heinous terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizbollah as pure evil. Iranians are a good people who simply want to live in freedom, dignity, and democracy. As fellow Iranians would always tell me, “Bush liberated the wrong country”. And it is ironic that President Obama let Iranians down in 2009 but assisted in the liberations of other countries (I am happy they are now free) but have a populace that is more prone to Islam and to extremism in contrast to a nation like Iran which will be secular once liberated.

  167. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: January 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    The late Joseph Stalin appointed the late Mr. Litvinov to explore the possibility of creating an alliance against Germany with UK and France.

    The French were interested but UK leaders made sure that Mr. Litvinov’s efforts ended in failure.

    It was after the failure of Mr. Litvinov’s efforts that Stalin appointed the late Mr. Molotov – an advocate of rapproachement with Germany – to the post of Soviet Foreign Ministr with subsequent Germany-USSR Non-Aggression Pact.

    Anlogously, Mr. Khamenei let the Iranian factions that believed a rapproachment with US was possible to pursue that policy – mostly through efforts of Mr. Ahmadinejad.

    [This effort actually began during the second term of Mr. Khatami's Presidency.]

    I think the effort towards rapproachment with US have failed.

    I think Mr. Khameneie has correctly assessed – per your observation as well – that rapproachement with US is not a near or medium term possibility – if ever.

    I think the Iranian factions favoring rapproachement have been significantly weakened in their arguments and cannot affect any changes.

    I think Iranian leaders & factions have coalesced most likely around Mr. Khamenei in preparing Iran for a period of confrontation with US & EU.

    I agree with you about US but in my view US internal politics is too degenerated to produce any opennings with Iran.

    The next US President and the next one after that cannot do that either; in my opinion.

    I think the strategic situation in the Middle East is deteriorating for US and EU. They have to do something now to try to reverse that deterioration. Clearly, Syria is one such effort. Crossing Iranian “red-lines” is another.

    The next few weeks or months will show how things will progress; but US-EU are on a path that could end in a war with Shia and their allies from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea for years.

    One silver lining of this possible – with metaphysical certainity – will be the utter inability of US to pay the cost of security of Israel.

    Another one, in my opinion, is transformation of the nascent religious character of this war into an opn war betwwen Christians and Jews on one side against Shia Muslims.

  168. James Canning says:

    Persian Gulf,

    I agree Obama had sufficient momentum, as you say, to have met with Ahmadinejad soon after Obama entered the White House.

  169. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Are you suggesting you have forgotten the Arab oil embargo, after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war? To punish the US for its support of Israel?

  170. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Surely you are aware the Saudis put a great deal of effort into their peace plan, and that all Arab countriee have endorsed it, and Hamas and Fatah.

  171. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    As I asked on the prior thread, why do you buy into the expansionist-Zionist narrative that illegal colonies of Jews change borders?

    Why should 500,000 illegal Jewish settlers cause a change of borders of Palestine?
    This is what the Zionist-expansionists want. Why not tell them too bad, if they are on wrong side of the border?

  172. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    If you are unable to read William Hague’s July 11, 2011 piece in the Guardian, and comprehend it, that is your problem.

  173. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Iranian announcment of trebling of production of 20% U was in early June, months before the IAEA report came out.

    Why are so apparently so keen Iran pile up large amounts of 20% U?

  174. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    To repeat: the P5+1 try to maintain public unity, in dealing with Iran on its nuclear programme.

    China and Russia endorse Iran’s civil nuclear power programme. Do you think this implies acceptance of Iranian enrichment to 3.5%

  175. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    I said it was unlikely the UK would endorse Iranian enrichment to 3.5%, publicly, in so many words, even if the UK (and France, Germany, Russia and China) might agree.

    UK has been clear, after consultations with Saudi Arabia, that Iran’s announcement it would treble production of 20% U was not acceptable and would meet with more sanctions unless rescinded.

  176. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    Why do you still use the 20% rhetoric we had this debate like 2 days ago.

  177. Arnold Evans says:

    James Canning says:
    January 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    William Hague and the UK have made clear the primary problem at this time is Iran’s enriching 20% U.

    This is the basic English language. You can say that the UK cannot publicly take a position contrary to that put forth by the US. Whether that’s true or not, you’re able to say that.

    But once you say that, you can’t say the UK has made it clear that it holds a position contrary to that put forth by the US.

    That’s not what to “make clear” means.

    You’re the one arguing that the UK cannot make that position clear. While at the same time arguing that the UK is making that position clear.

    Amano wrote the US’ preferred narrative about the at least partially forged alleged studies into an IAEA report. Iran had no control over that, but that gave the US, along with its willing counterparts in the UK, Germany and France, cover to aim for increased sanctions, which they are doing.

    Your 20% story is, of course, total nonsense. The UK can resolve the 20% issue by arranging to ship TRR fuel to Iran. That would be vastly less expensive than Europe cutting itself off from Iranian oil. The US doesn’t supply TRR fuel because the 20% issue is just a pretext, and not the most important pretext. The most important pretext is Amano’s report.

    You show me any number of occasions that UK officials who actually say “20%” and I’ll show you two or three times that number mentioning the Amano report.

    Your claim that the 20% is decisive is just a concoction of your imagination. And many people have asked you for support for this concoction and you’ve provided exactly none.

    You’re way past tiresome with this, but you’re choosing to be the British version of Scotty and in a free board, we have the right, which I’m increasingly exercising, of just skipping over anything you write.

  178. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    After reading all the viewpoints on this article and those before it, I have to say I am perplexed! I comprehend that there are people here who are against Iranian foreign policies in ME and Iran. Now, those of you who are an advocate of US foreign policy how do you (can you) justify the internal affair of the USA (dealing with her people)? By closing your eyes to what is happening in USA? Thus, one should say hell with US internal affair (people) and long live our stance (very shaky if you ask me) against Iran?

    http://www.salon.com/2011/12/16/three_myths_about_the_detention_bill/singleton/

  179. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas

    Obviously, you cannot tolerate such articles. You are paid to promote the US position in the Middle East. You were one of the fools who were saying on this website that the Egyptian revolution had nothing to do with religion. We remember these things. You were blind and you continue to be blind and you will probably always remain dishonest and blind.

  180. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/219675.html

    (oh, women your namus is so sacred in the west)

  181. Dave says:

    Fairman says:
    “After reading… I am perplexed! …those of you who are an advocate of Iranian foreign policy how do you (can you) justify the internal affair of IRI (dealing with her people)? ….”

    Dear Fairman:
    Social scientists distinguish between “positive” and “normative” analysis. In “positive” analysis — unlike in “normative” ones — value and moral judgements are to be avoided. Take the case of Leveretts in this side. They do undertake “positive” analyses of US-Iran interactions Their analyses are based a model or framework for US-Iran interactions. They try to validate or test their model or framework by explaining the outcome of past Iran-US interactions. After validating the model, they try to use the model to predict the outcome of the ongoing interactions. Finally, they come up with a policy prescription for the United States. In their policy prescriptions, they have US interest at heart. They root for a win-win outcome. In their discussions, the welfare of Iranians is relevant only to the extent that they may affect the outcomes of IRAN-US interactions. For example, a relevant question is “will a sanctions-induced economic pressures on ordinary Iranians cause them to revolt against the regime or not?”. If the answer to the question is NO — as I believe to be the case — then one has to conclude that the US-led sanctions may succeed in impoverishing the Iranians, but will not cause the regime to changes its foreign policies. Worse still, the regime can attribute all the consequences of its domestic policy failures to the US-led sanctions.

    In short, people in this sight ignoring the “deteriorating?” living conditions in Iran does not mean that they are denying the “facts” as you know them or that they are heartless.

    Bests.

  182. Castellio says:

    Over on the other thread I asked James a question which I’d like to repeat here. The only answer received so far is that the Saudi peace plan isn’t dead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  183. Persian Gulf says:

    Nasser: (from the other discussion board)

    “- I still believe Obama would have changed course on Iran had Ahmedinejad not been reelected. It is not politically possible to get close to someone who publicly denies the holocaust.”

    I think, Obama had the momentum to meet Ahmadinejad right after the U.S election. He openly contemplated that idea during the presidential race. However, I remember, there were so called “experts” that were arguing he should wait for Iran’s election b/c they firmly believed Ahmadinjad won’t be elected again. those experts even insisted Obama shouldn’t reply to Ahmadinejad’s congratulatory letter which he didn’t (a big mistake).

    and I remember, the same people were still screaming, few months after the election, that Obama should wait,i.e. strategic patient, as the green movement is about to change the course….

    we can hear these days the same people say Ahmadinejad should be looked at favouribly over people like Larijani.

    if anything, probably these so called “experts” even confused Obama administration. may be the impact of these experts was not that much. but still they helped creating a bigger mess.

  184. An Iranian View says:

    Many people here are Iranians who live in Iran and their homes may actually be bombed in the near future by the same people who fund Mr. Scott Lucas.

    Most here believe that many of Iran’s problems are actually because of US and Western injustice and criminal behaviour.

    Obviously, Iran has problems like all countries, but it is for Iranians to sort them out. Those who constanly attack Iran here should look closer to home.

  185. jay says:

    @interested

    Don’t worry about Sassan. Sassan fills up with a lot of cool-aid to go every morning – he is immunized against logic. He shows up occasionally to present us with his latest regurgitated word salad during FOX commercial breaks.

    However, if you are really intent on changing his mind, I suggest shiny colorful images, magical music, and lots of light flashes!

  186. Fairman says:

    Long time reader, first time poster. After reading all the viewpoints on this article and those before it, I have to say I am perplexed! I comprehend that there are people here who are against US foreign policies in ME and Iran. Now, those of you who are an advocate of Iranian foreign policy how do you (can you) justify the internal affair of IRI (dealing with her people)? By closing your eyes to what is happening in Iran? What makes me laugh is that most of you if not all of you live in US or some European countries and have a very comfortable life. While ago one gentleman here said “I do not follow or care about Iranian internal affair, all I care is Iranian foreign strategy, which has pinned US foreign policy in the region”! Thus, one should say hell with Iranian internal affair (people) and long live our stance (very shaky if you ask me) against US?

  187. Sara says:

    @Binam,

    Apparently you didn’t have time to read the article, and are just speaking out of hatred. Just a quote in case you decided to be fair:

    “Iran believed that the Syrian president should have been given a chance to carry out the reforms which were promised, but that from the start, Western governments and Arab dictatorships were adamant that reforms should not succeed under President Bashar Assad. Hence, they attempted to overrun the legitimate internal opposition with an external one that backs Western military intervention.25 While the Islamic Republic was critical of the treatment of peaceful protestors with legitimate grievances by Syrian security forces, Iranians knew that, unlike other Arab regimes, President Assad had and continues to have significant popular support. His stance against the Israeli regime, his support for resistance groups, and the fact that unlike other Arab leaders he lives a relatively normal lifestyle, gives him much more street credibility that Saudi, Jordanian, Bahraini, Yemeni, or Egyptian rulers.26 On multiple occasions in recent months, enormous crowds have taken to the streets in simultaneous pro-Assad demonstrations in major Syrian cities; in contrast, none of the Arab dictators—including his current antagonists—have ever been able to muster such public support for themselves.”

    You are also twisting my words. Contrary to you, I do not believe that the Iranian governments are non-functioning or that the quality of people’s lives has not improved. Even without establishing a comparison between Iran and other countries, post-revolution Iran has achieved an astounding lot in a short space of time, despite the sanctions, 8-year war, etc. I remember the country before the revolution, if you don’t.

    Iran is now a powerful country on the rise, in contrast to so many countries that are on the decline. You are probably hoping to influence those readers who are uninformed, or maybe you are just an unfair, biased person. But if you are concerned about Iran’s economy, watch world news first. And if you are truly concerned about human rights (which I’m starting to doubt), watch world news first.

    Yes, I’m concerned for every Syrian who is unfairly killed or jailed. But contrary to you, I’m also concerned for all the Palestinians killed, all the Iraqis tortured and killed over the years, all the Afghans, the Bahrainis, the Egyptians, the Lybians, the people of Yemen, … But I’m sorry to have to say that people like you only remember “human rights” when it serves as an argument to sway popular opinion. The whole world, including the States itself, is being trampled under the feet of a minority, but I don’t hear you voice any concern over their plight. There’s a lot more I could say but I’m starting to believe you were never here for a two-way conversation in the first place.

  188. BiBiJon says:

    Binam says:
    January 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    “Sara,

    So in your opinion people show up to vote to keep their non-functioning governments in power regardless of whether their quality of life has improved or not. That’s ignoring the fundamental notion of a republic which you claim Iran is. So why even have elections in the first place?! If everyone will be happy about everything at all times regardless of the facts on the ground, why bother to have power change hands?!”

    Any facts to go with the gibberish?

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

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

  189. Interested says:

    It’s pretty clear that the article is correct and this makes certain westerners uncomfortable. The narrative that the government of Syria is responsible for most of the deaths is being promoted by western and Arab funded NGOs.

    The Qatari poll indicates Syrians support Assad, but for some people here the people of Syria apparently do not count. The majority of Syrians would agree with this paper that Assad is the legitimate leader of the country. Hence, illegal foreign interference is the main reason for the bloodshed. In other words, some people posting here are guilty and are just playing cold warriors on behalf of the US government.

    Since some commentators here have a vested interest in supporting the western position and opposing Iran they will not accept these facts. These are the people who are joyful about any economic hardship in Iran and blame the Iranians for US and EU acts of war. Whether Iranian people like Ahmadinejad or not at all important, what is important is that almost three years ago they voted for him and again people like Scott Lucas constantly lied to his audience. He along with many other cold warriors are guilt of bringing about this whole situation.

  190. James Canning says:

    Scott,

    What Hillary Clinton and other members of the Obama administration prefer to hide, is the fact they want to pressure Iran to “benefit” Israel, to allow Israel to continue to oppress the Palestinians. This objective is concealed as much as possible, for obvious reasons.

  191. James Canning says:

    Scott,

    William Hague and the UK have made clear the primary problem at this time is Iran’s enriching 20% U.

    Clearly it was a blunder for Iran to treble the production rate of 20% U. (Assuming this has happened.)

  192. James Canning says:

    Scott,

    It does seem clear that Ahmadinejad wanted, and wants for that matter, a negotiated resolution of the nuclear dispute. His offer for Iran to cease production of 20% U was a sensible approach, and it should focus attention on the continuing stupidity of the US in blocking Iran’s IAEA application to re-fuel the TRR.

  193. Karl says:

    Sara:

    “I would like to know how you were spending your time when Dr. Marandi was a young boy fighting in the war fronts to save ignorant people like you, in a war apparently led by Saddam but in fact run by Western countries who, ironically, always want to play the “human rights” card nonetheless. (Like yourself, in fact.)”

    - Not only western powers but might also stem from people who rejected the Islamic republic and fought with Saddam.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mersad

  194. James Canning says:

    Morandi is quite right to underscore Mubarak’s willingness to watch the murderous rampage of Israel in Gaza in 2008-09.

  195. Binam says:

    Sara,

    So in your opinion people show up to vote to keep their non-functioning governments in power regardless of whether their quality of life has improved or not. That’s ignoring the fundamental notion of a republic which you claim Iran is. So why even have elections in the first place?! If everyone will be happy about everything at all times regardless of the facts on the ground, why bother to have power change hands?!

    And who cares what the West thinks about Syria. You are a human being, as a human being, do you not care what happens in Syria? When there’s so much violence and so much bloodshed? More people have now died in Syria than all the other Arab uprisings combined. That ought to account for something regardless of how the West or the East perceives it.

    Marandi ignoring Syria and the domestic problems of Iran disqualifies his paper altogether.

  196. Karl says:

    To all those who criticise Marandi, instead of coming with cheap insults, prove him wrong, show us where he lies etc?

  197. Sara says:

    @MHF, your comment is mere spite or sheer ignorance.

    I would like to know how you were spending your time when Dr. Marandi was a young boy fighting in the war fronts to save ignorant people like you, in a war apparently led by Saddam but in fact run by Western countries who, ironically, always want to play the “human rights” card nonetheless. (Like yourself, in fact.)

  198. Sara says:

    Brilliant article by Dr. Marandi!

    Re the comments posted here: I’m not here to pick any fights, and anyway, I’m sure most of us who comment here have already made up our minds who we believe, but briefly:

    @Sassan, your attitude only shows you don’t have any logical reply to Dr. Marandi and is pitiful.

    @Scott Lucas, you don’t seem to have a deep understanding of Iran, the Middle East, or the Muslim population, in general. Your comments are very much an “outsider” point of view.

    @Binam, you seem to have missed the whole point. The 24 million who voted (without quotation marks) for Pres Ahmadinezhad voted in support of the regime, not necessarily an individual. (I don’t mean to imply that all those voting against him were voting against the regime, although many were.) Ahmadinezhad has done a lot of good work, and he has had his share of mistakes, too. But that is neither here nor there, and is not what Mr. Marandi is discussing, anyway.

    Many of those who supported Ahmadinezhad in the poll mentioned (as one of the three most popular leaders in the region) don’t know or care much about how he has dealt with economy, etc. (They’re not even Iranians, for heaven’s sake!) He is popular because he stands for resisting the Western hegemonies. I bet that many Syrians who aren’t 100% happy with Bashar Assads policies are nevertheless supporting him now because they realize that he is being targeted for political and not humanitarian reasons.

    Is there anyone here who is still naive enough to think that the West is at all concerned with human rights in Syria, or to deny that what is happening in the Muslim countries is indeed deeply rooted in the people’s Islamic beliefs? If so, go back to reading comic books!

  199. Binam says:

    Bibi-

    “Islamic Awakening” is in reference to Iranian regime’s propaganda that tries to hijack people’s revolt. But this awakening for some odd reason does not include the people of Syria – who last I checked were still Muslims! I guess everyone here will just be silent on Syria because it doesn’t fit their disillusioned arguments.

    But thanks for the link. Perhaps you missed this paragraph which might as well be about Iran in the coming months:

    “Islamism did not cause the Arab Spring. The region’s authoritarian governments had simply failed to deliver on their promises. Though Arab authoritarianism had a good run from the 1950s until the 1980s, economies eventually stagnated, debts mounted and growing, well-educated populations saw the prosperous egalitarian societies they had been promised receding over the horizon, aggrieving virtually everyone, secularists and Islamists alike.”

  200. MHF says:

    Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, you should be ashamed to call Mr. Marandi’s “paper,” that contains only lies, and more lies, a “richly insightful overview of the regional condition.” He is only the mouth piece of mullahs in Tehran.

    Your reference to Mr. Marandi’s writings only shows one thing: your information and knowledge regarding Iranian affairs is so little that (1) you call Marandi [a serial falsehood creator and liar, as well as participant in cover-up of killings and tortures of thousands of Iranian freedom seekers, inside and outside of Iran] your “colleague,” and (2) you are easily fooled even by this well known character, whom if he was available in the 1930′s, would have felt right at home as clerk to Goebbels of Third Reich.

    Shame on you, shame on you.

  201. BiBiJon says:

    3. The promotion of an “Islamic Awakening”, if it is more than regime PR for internal reasons, has little connection with the developments on the ground in countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

    ==========================

    Binam,

    Sometimes different enzymes help digest the same hard-to-swallow fact.

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/07/opinion/why-islamism-is-winning.html?_r=1&hpw

    Why Islamism Is Winning
    ———————–

    “Liberalism in 19th-century Europe, and Islamism in the Arab world today, are like channels dug by one generation of activists and kept open, sometimes quietly, by future ones. When the storms of revolution arrive, whether in Europe or the Middle East, the waters will find those channels. Islamism is winning out because it is the deepest and widest channel into which today’s Arab discontent can flow.”

  202. Rehmat says:

    Israel-Firster Hillary Clinton’s spokeswoman, Victoria Jane Nuland (a Zionist Jew), told reporters on Thursday that leaders of Israel’s most feared Egyptian Islamist party, Muslim Brotherhood, have assured Washington it will honor the 1979 Camp David peace deal with the Zionist regime.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/us-muslim-brotherhood-is-not-anti-israel/

  203. Scott Lucas says:

    fyi,

    “It is up to US-EU to de-escalate.”

    Unfortunately, I do not there is anything left in the Obama Administration who has the vision to think beyond Iran “nuclear programme” and the approach of bringing the regime to its knees if there are to be negotiations. It appears that the European Union will follow that approach. And I suspect that, in turn, serves many within the regime who do not want talks with the 5+1 Powers

    It looks like President Ahmadinejad is the biggest proponent of a settlement on the nuclear issue, but I’m not sure if he has that many forces with him.

    S.

  204. Scott Lucas says:

    UU,

    Articulate as always, though if you had any ambition or spirit other than to play jester, you might have actually considered Binam’s points:

    1. Many people are being killed in Syria, most of them by the security forces of the regime.

    2. If the Assad regime falls, that would not be to the benefit of Iran’s regional position.

    3. The promotion of an “Islamic Awakening”, if it is more than regime PR for internal reasons, has little connection with the developments on the ground in countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

    4. There is a significant rift between the inner circle of the Supreme Leader and the inner circle of President Ahmadinejad.

    My old friend Seyed Mohammad Marandi’s talking points don’t fit with these difficulties, so I don’t expect him to engage them. It is a bit more surprising that the Leveretts would just serve as a megaphone for them, however, as that undermines the last possibility of credibility — as geopolitical “realists” advocating a “grand strategy” between the US and Tehran — they have as analysts.

    But how about you? Can you address any of those points without polemic, “Uncle Weasel”, or the (rather tired and doesn’t do you Jester justice) “They Must Be CIA” line?

    Best,

    S.

  205. Binam says:

    UU,

    Glad me, Pak and others have left such lasting impressions on you! You remember us all after so many months of being absent on this forum!

    It is still as unhelpful as it was months ago when slightest criticisms are met with accusations of being paid by foreign agents, governments, spies, etc. You want to keep the illusion of the Islamic Republic being a non-oppressive just government be my guest. But unlike you I will never accuse of being their paid agents. Blind, maybe. I am sure in your mind the 24 million people who voted for Ahmadinejad are all happy with the economy, unemployment, inflation, etc. I am sure in this upcoming election the people of Iran will “elect” the very same people who have kept their lives as miserable as two years ago and they will be “very happy” to do it.

    Syria anyone?! How much longer will the Leveretts ignore Syria. How many thousands more does Bashar Assad has to kill before they recognize him as a brutal oppressive dictator?

    Bibi,

    Not sure what that has to do with anything.

  206. fyi says:

    All:

    Dr. Marandi lays out the Iranian positions.

    At this time, it is up to US-EU to de-escalate.

    Once that war is started, it will be fought from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea.

    Is US-EU prepared to wage war on that scale?

  207. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Those not familiar with the brilliant Peter Dale Scott should take this opportunity to familiarize themselves with his writing:

    http://www.voltairenet.org/The-Doomsday-Project-and-Deep

    In this two-part analysis, former diplomat and scholar Peter Dale Scott deciphers the successive stages, since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, of the United States’ inexorable slide into the situation that President Eisenhower had feared and cautioned his compatriots against. Since 26 October 2001 and the introduction of the Patriot Act, a secret structure – the “Deep State” – has been governing the United States behind the trappings of democracy.

    “I would like to discuss four major and badly understood events – the John F. Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11. I will analyze these deep events as part of a deeper political process linking them, a process that has helped build up repressive power in America at the expense of democracy.

    “In recent years I have been talking about a dark force behind these events — a force which, for want of a better term, I have clumsily called a “deep state,” operating both within and outside the public state. Today for the first time I want to identify part of that dark force, a part which has operated for five decades or more at the edge of the public state. This part of the dark force has a name not invented by me: the Doomsday Project, the Pentagon’s name for the emergency planning “to keep the White House and Pentagon running during and after a nuclear war or some other major crisis.” [1]

  208. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Sassan, Binam, Pak, Scotty Boy. Its like Mr. Anderson in the Matrix: apparently different people but essentially the same canned bullshit. If any of you aren’t being paid by Uncle $cam, you lack ambition and/ or the enterprising spirit.

  209. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Oops. Sorry for the double posting. I just meant to correct the spelling of Turkish in the last line.

  210. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Dear Donkey in the Well,

    OK, so I went back and read what you were responding to. It was not me who equated Western contributions to Coca Cola and the like. To the contrary. I believe that for the last 400 years (the tipping point being around 1700 or thereabouts), the West has been on the leading edge of change in the world – a position that was held by Islamdom for well-neigh a millennium. This includes leading the world in medicine, pharmacy and political science, as well as in such fields as military technology, the production of durable consumer goods such as cars, washing machines and refrigerators, and economics generally. Liberal Democracy, Secular Humanism and a representative government responsible to the people are Western fruits, and as flawed as they might be at root, they are formidable concepts and formations which Islam has yet to come close to offering viable working alternatives to. Despite 33 years of post-revolutionary endeavor, the IRI for example has yet to even begin to tackle the issue of Islamic banking. So, all this to say that yes, while the West certainly has its problems (the main one being its foundational issue with the separation of the divine will from everyday life, it is a grave mistake to dismiss the civilization in its entirety as having nothing of value to offer. As a matter of fact, it is precisely because what the West has to offer is so attractive to today’s modern-minded people that it is a daunting challenge to Islamdom and that the so-called Turkish model is even at issue.

  211. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Dear Donkey in the Well,

    OK, so I went back and read what you were responding to. It was not me who equated Western contributions to Coca Cola and the like. To the contrary. I believe that for the last 400 years (the tipping point being around 1700 or thereabouts), the West has been on the leading edge of change in the world – a position that was held by Islamdom for well-neigh a millennium. This includes leading the world in medicine, pharmacy and political science, as well as in such fields as military technology, the production of durable consumer goods such as cars, washing machines and refrigerators, and economics generally. Liberal Democracy, Secular Humanism and a representative government responsible to the people are Western fruits, and as flawed as they might be at root, they are formidable concepts and formations which Islam has yet to come close to offering viable working alternatives to. Despite 33 years of post-revolutionary endeavor, the IRI for example has yet to even begin to tackle the issue of Islamic banking. So, all this to say that yes, while the West certainly has its problems (the main one being its foundational issue with the separation of the divine will from everyday life, it is a grave mistake to dismiss the civilization in its entirety as having nothing of value to offer. As a matter of fact, it is precisely because what the West has to offer is so attractive to today’s modern-minded people that it is a daunting challenge to Islamdom and that the so-called Trish model is even at issue.

  212. BiBiJon says:

    Without Name, point, or commonsense
    ===================================

    Binam,

    ‘Islamic’ identity took root in our parts of the world long before Gutenberg invented the press, and Al Gore invented the internet. That identity transcended other tribal identities which were the source of endless conflict.

    The tradition of resolving conflicts, and achieving unity through deference to Islamic principles not only survives, it is often the only route to reconciliation.

    E.g.

    “Inside Abdel Rahim al-Qenawy mosque in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena, members of the Taramsa and Homaydat tribes sit together as religious clerics and community leaders lecture them about the value of forgiveness.

    Someone recites from the Quran, and then the attendees hug and kiss each other with the compassion of friends meeting after a long separation. Refreshments are served as the leaders of both tribes sign a paper document.

    This meeting ends a land dispute between the two tribes that evolved into an armed feud that raged for two weeks, endangering the lives of members of both tribes as well as other Qena residents caught in the crossfire.”

    http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/435488

  213. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Zzzzzzzzzz
    Ding.

    “It later became clear to the Iranians that the Americans had misled the Russians too and that they did not actually accept the Russian proposal.18 American actions make it reasonable for Iranians to conclude that the actual US objective is for the nuclear issue not to be resolved and that the real problem for the United States is Iran’s opposition to and resistance against American hegemony. Contrary to claims made in the west, Obama has never seriously attempted to engage with the Iranians on the basis of mutual respect.”

    It appears that the good seyyed agrees. It’s not about enrichment , hegemony, yes.

  214. Binam says:

    I guess you and your colleague are still looking the other way as a genocide takes place in Syria – which in your opinion is not a Muslim Arab country and the Syrian people are all stooges of the West and Israel! Not sure how the eventual fall of Syria will strengthen Iran, Hezbollah or Hamas. It is wishful thinking on your part to think as all this as an “Islamic Awakening!” Sooner or later the regime in Iran will fall in an Arab Spring kind of way…

    Glad you still hold the false belief that lame-duck-president Ahmadinejad is popular despite him having accomplished nothing since last year or his alleged re-election. Heck even the true dictator of Iran – the Supreme Leader – has given up on him!

  215. Bob Marshall says:

    Google Land Destroyer/Which Way To Persia

  216. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    Iranians will push their own agenda in Syria and in Afghanistan; their efforts to reach a consensus on Syria with Turkey and on Afghanistan with India has failed.
    Is there potential for hope??

    Davutoğlu suggests Shiite Crescent risk may be turned into opportunity

    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-267854-davutoglu-suggests-shiite-crescent-risk-may-be-turned-into-opportunity.html

    Syrian President believes hiccups between Turkey and Syria are temporary

    ;http://www.todayszaman.com/news-267943-syrian-president-believes-hiccups-between-turkey-and-syria-are-temporary.html

  217. BiBiJon says:

    Beauty & the Beast
    ==================

    Fox news headline: “Iran Hails U.S. Rescue of Sailors as ‘Humanitarian and Positive’ Act

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/01/07/iran-hails-us-rescue-sailors-as-humanitarian-and-positive-act/#ixzz1im5LqUha

    Yes folks, even Fox News has taken a moment’s breather from reporting on the latest cycle of threats vs threats, and is instinctively (humanely), and subconsciously spiritually fulfilled by kindness begetting kindness.

    —–

    “Skill, patience, consistency, logic, and understanding go a long way toward the design of an effective foreign policy. These attributes — perhaps obvious but frequently in short supply among foreign policy decision-makers — build a much firmer policy foundation than rude and emotional outbursts, erratic challenges, public bullying, contemptuous disdain, or efforts to isolate and demonize.”

    Managing the Iranian Challenge
    William deB. Mills | April 8, 2009

    I would only add that beyond just an effective foreign policy, it even warms the coldest of hearts, that sclerotic thumper in Fox News’ chest.

  218. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Dear Donkey in the Well,

    Thank you for responding. HOwever, I have been away from RFI for a week or more and perhaps as a result of this absence I cannot relate your post to anything I had written. (I am not sure, for example, which post of mine you refer to when you say I was conflating progress with morality.) Anyway, irrespective of that, what I took away from your post was a sense that your critique of American society is over-broad. While it is true that many if not most Americans couldn’t give a damn what their mercenary military does (in their name and with their tax dollars), that does not mean to say that all Americans think and act in that manner. The very existence of this forum is proof that there are highly moral people within the US who care about the direction their country is going, and are deeply bothered by the kidnapping of the ship of state and its misdirection by a bunch of moral degenerates. And this sense of moral outrage is shared across the political spectrum (and is not just the purview of the left). For example: Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, Andrew Bacevic, Paul Craig Roberts, etc.

    As I am not sure what statement(s) of mine you were responding to and which were surprising, I was not able to follow much of what you said, and so I apologize if I have not addressed each of your points. Generally speaking, I believe it is God’s plan to have a multiplicity of religions (as defined as ways of life, with their own epistemes). I believe Protestant Christianity is one such episteme and ontic reality. I also believe that the Enlightenment project was a step in the right direction in so far as it was an effort to get away from the decadence of the Church (whose tenuous foundational errors go back to the Nicean Council of 325, and to Pauline Trinitarianism before that.) But alas the project over-reached and threw out the baby with the bathwater, and now finds itself in the spiritual desert of Modernity, or worse, the hall of mirrors of post-modernity. But that does not necessarily mean that the entirety of Anglo-Saxon Protestantism is unsalvageable or has lost its rudder or moral compass for good. There is always room for Grace, if there is genuine repentance, insha’llah.

    Wa’llahu ya’lam.

  219. k_w says:

    @Sassan: If the so-called “most appalling [member] of the regime propaganda wing of the IRI” was right one year ago, what does this tell you about your own ability to analyse political developments? Poor Sassan.

  220. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    I saved this one for you fyi

    Can You Tell The Difference Between A Men’s Magazine And A Rapist?
    http://jezebel.com/5866602/can-you-tell-the-difference-between-a-mens-magazine-and-a-rapist

    You know, women being safe in their hamus, namus (or whatever)

  221. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Dear Unknown Unknowns

    Forgive my somewhat late response. I’m currently occupied by foreign forces in my life. Notwithstanding that, I do wish to respond to your perception of morality.

    Frankly I was quite surprised by your response. You seem to have conflated “progress” with morality; that morality can be measured and valued trough “material contributions”. You see, even a cruel, sadistic and brutal person can contribute to the progress of humanity, but that doesn’t qualify his moral compass. And such a person can furthermore be good towards or not harm those s/he happens to like or have an interest in.

    Western societies are material driven, power driven “might-is-right”. The only thing akin to a “moral framework” is the modern concept of “natural rights” (eg human rights), but those are basically determined arbitrarily (by the west. Or people like “Sassan” I suppose).

    What kind of morality is that? Is it better than having none? Or is it actually having none?

    Let me float this question. Does anybody here truly believe that the majority of the US population would still wanted to “bring back the troops” (from Iraq/Afghanistan) if there was no “economic meltdown”? You can observe this when people discuss these wars. They talk primarily of costs inflicted on the US (resources, loss of man power). The horrible consequences of Iraq and Afghanistan are “horrible” because it has empowered Iran.

    The sad fact is that most Americans welcome war as long as it benefits them. If Bush had “managed” the Iraq war a “little better”, do you think anybody would’ve objected? Did anybody object to those dead Iraqi children Ward Churchill noticed?

    (Richard Steven Hack has touched upon this with regards to the US elite) If there is no consequence for bad behaviour the issue of morality cannot be relevant. The US population has never really suffered (directly, with the exception of 9/11), only reaped the benefits of US imperialism (whatever leftovers reached them). They have really never had a reason to either have a moral compass or adjust their moral compass.

    So, do you think those Americans who don’t want another war with Iran believe so because war is “wrong” or because the economy is bad and another war will personally hurt them? You simply can’t blame such reasoning on false information, poor education or “misunderstandings”.

    What kind of moral compass is that?

    (And yes, I do enjoy Coca-Cola, McDonalds and the Internet. As much as I enjoy Fanta and seeing human advances in space flight thanks to rocket science).

  222. Anonymous says:

    Sassan: appalling? You scare easily. But then, you and your family are no doubt one of the “cut and run” folks that fled Iran, post ’79.

    We Americans have a saying: These colors don’t run. Not so for your cowardly type.

  223. An Iranian View says:

    A very well written piece.

  224. Interested says:

    Poor Sassan. He can’t tolerate reason or logic. People like him are so used to one sided debates in the US that they can’t even stomach alternative views and they immediately lose their self-control.

  225. Sassan says:

    “A year ago, our colleague, Seyed Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran”

    LOL, one of the most appalling members of the regime propaganda wing of the IRI as “one of your colleagues”? lol