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The Race for Iran

By Delisting the MEK, the Obama Administration is Taking the Moral and Strategic Bankruptcy of America’s Iran Policy to a New Low

The MEK's Massoud Rajavi Emulates His Patron, Saddam Hussein

The U.S. Department of State took the moral and strategic bankruptcy of America’s Iran policy to a new low today, by notifying Congress that the Obama administration intends to remove the mojahedin-e khalq (MEK) from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs). 

At a macro level, we are disdainful—even scornful—of the U.S. government’s lists of both FTOs and state sponsors of terrorism.  We have seen too many times over the years just how cynically American administrations have manipulated these designations, adding and removing organizations and countries for reasons that have little or nothing to do with designees’ actual involvement in terrorist activity.  So, for example, after Saddam Husayn invaded the fledgling Islamic Republic in 1980—on September 22, no less—and starting killing large numbers of innocent Iranians, the Reagan administration (which came to office in January 1981) found a way to remove Iraq from the state sponsors list, in order to remove legal restrictions prohibiting the U.S. government from helping Saddam prosecute his war of aggression as robustly as the administration wanted.  (During that war, the MEK—after having tried but failed to bring down the Islamic Republic through a bloody campaign of terrorist bombings and assassinations conducted against the new Iranian government’s upper echelons—ended up collaborating with an Iraqi government regularly carrying out chemical weapons attacks against targets, civilian as well as military, inside Iran.)  But, when the same Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, the George H.W. Bush administration couldn’t get Iraq back on the state sponsors list fast enough.  We are very skeptical that Saddam’s ties to groups that the United States considers terrorist organizations changed all that much during this period. 

Yet, precisely because we know how thoroughly corrupt and politicized these designations really are, we recognize their significance as statements of U.S. policy.  Today, the Obama administration made a truly horrible statement about U.S. policy toward Iran

The statement is horrible even if one wants to believe that FTO designations have some kind of procedural and evidentiary integrity about them.  (We don’t, but we also recognize that letting go of illusions is often not easy.)  Just this year, U.S. intelligence officials told high-profile media outlets that the MEK is actively collaborating with Israeli intelligence to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists, see here; Iranian officials have made the same charge.  Since when did murdering unarmed civilians (and, in some instances, members of their families as well) on public streets in the middle of a heavily populated urban area (Tehran) not meet even the U.S. government’s own professed standard for terrorism?  Of course, one might rightly point out that the United States is responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent civilians across the Middle East.  But Washington generally strives to maintain the fiction that it did not intend for those innocents to die as a (direct and foreseeable) consequence of U.S. military operations and sanctions policies.  (You know, the United States didn’t really mean for those people to die, but, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said, “Stuff happens.”)  Here, the Obama administration is taking an organization that the U.S. government knows is directly involved in the murder of innocent people and giving this group Washington’s “good housekeeping seal of approval.”       

But, to invoke Talleyrand’s classic observation that a certain action was “worse than a crime—it was a mistake,” delisting the MEK is not just a moral abomination; it is a huge strategic and policy blunder.  It is hard to imagine how the Obama administration could signal more clearly that, even after the President’s presumptive reelection, it has no intention of seeking a fundamentally different sort of relationship with the Islamic Republic—which would of course require the United States to accept the Islamic Republic as a legitimate political entity representing legitimate national interests. 

Count on this:  once the MEK is formally off the FTO list—a legally defined process that will take a few months to play out—Congress will be appropriating money to support the monafeqin as the vanguard of a new American strategy for regime change in Iran.  In the 1990s, similar enthusiasm for Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress—who were about as unpopular among Iraqis as the MEK is among Iranians—led to President Clinton’s signing of the Iraq Liberation Act, which paved the way for George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.  The chances for such a scenario to play out with regard to Iran over the next few years—with even more disastrous consequences for America’s strategic and moral standing—got a lot higher today.        

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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208 Responses to “By Delisting the MEK, the Obama Administration is Taking the Moral and Strategic Bankruptcy of America’s Iran Policy to a New Low”

  1. Fiorangela says:

    In a conversation with Bill Moyers last March, Andrew Bacevich pre-emptively erased the red line and defused Bibi’s bomb.

    http://billmoyers.com/segment/andrew-bacevich-on-changing-our-military-mindset/

    Bacevich: “If I were Iran, I would develop nuclear technology just to the edge of weapons capability. I would maintain ambiguity…”

    = = =
    Are any US Congresspersons feeling stupid for applauding Bibi the Cartoon bomber?

    = = =

    Bibi and his bomb poster were the object of a New Yorker magazine caption contest.
    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/cartoonists/2012/09/netanyahu-caption-contest-the-winners.html

    And the winner is …

  2. fyi says:

    Neo says:

    September 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    The only face saving re-treat/cease-fire possibility iwas this:

    Iranians would suspend all enrichment until the need arises – say for Darkhovin Reactor and P5+1 would suspend their sanctions.

    That is no longer possible because US-EU can no longer be supsended without political damage.

    Stalemates last along time.

    I want to emphasize again, US-EU initiated Siege War against Iran, will be a protracted and bitter struggle for the Iranian people.

    US-EU have essentially stated that the destruction of independent Iranian power is worth the dismantling of a 150-year old trade and cultural relationship.

    The status quo ante 2007 is not possible in 2012 and certainly will be impossible in 2017.

  3. Don Bacon says:

    @Karl
    the UN leader Ban-ki warned about Iran not to speak aggressively on Iran.
    Not true.

  4. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    The Russian position on a number of issues pertaining to the Middle East, has been better (or would have been better) for the American people than the position put forward by the American government.

  5. James Canning says:

    Ataune.

    Didn’t Churchill say he would ally himself with the devil, if that helped to defeat Hitler? After the war was over, and Churchill could see the Soviet Union occupying most of Central Europe, he wondered whether the war was worth it.

  6. ToivoS says:

    Neo says:
    September 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I have to agree with your more optimistic appraisal. So many folks here are so hysterically pessimistic they remind me of Netanyahu continually predicting Iran will have a nuke.

    I am offering conjecture hear (as we all are) but my reading of top administration actions since February is that Obama wants this issue with Iran settled and he will work to settle it after the election. When he first came into office he was willing to let the issue simply drift so he gave it to Dennis Ross. Ross, however, the consummate bureaucratic inside player put into action, in coordination with Israel, a dynamic that was leading to war. Our military and intelligence agencies oppose war with Iran. The Ross/Israeli ignited crises has scared Obama. I think he now knows that this problem cannot continue to fester and will act quickly to solve it. I suspect, this is a bold prediction I admit, that he will do so before Netanyahu is removed from office in six months. That is because the buffoon has so discredited himself with the Obama and the Democratic Party, that his ability to influence events inside Washington are at an all time low. Bibi’s disgraceful conduct has made it difficult for the home grown lobby to function effectively.

    So, bottom line, we will see the US acknowledging Iran’s right to enrich U235 for purposes of nuclear fuel as the result of face to face negotiations with some kind of signed statement.

  7. BiBiJon says:

    Neo says:
    September 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Did you notice the lump of cheese start his screech with his beliefs in alleged (no archeological evidence) King David of 3,000 years ago, and then go right ahead and call everybody else medieval?

  8. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    September 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Once again, complete with evidence and citation, you point out what the world is dealing with: a mindset bent on destruction.

  9. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Never trust a guy with a comb-over…

    The bomb diagram fiasco was the final nail in the coffin for Bibi Comb-Over’s PMship. He’s a goner.

    As the arch-Zionist Sarkozy said: Netanyahu is a liar.

    With friends like these, who needs enemies.

  10. BiBiJon says:

    Arab spring => US-Russia war
    ==============================

    Charlie Rose: (after a long discussion about Syria) What do you think of the Arab Spring?

    Sergei Lavrov: Hope it does not turn into a nuclear winter.

    Watch the last 5 minutes or so: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12569

  11. James Canning says:

    Taki warns us again of neocon warmongers and their effort to set up yet another insane US war in the Middle East:

    “A voice in the DC wilderness” (Sept. 28)

    Taki in effect echoes Ahmadinejad

    http://takimag.com/article/a_voic_in_the_wilderness_taki_theodoracopulos#axzz27hA86FWy

  12. James Canning says:

    PressTV quotes Ahmadinejad this week: “Most gobal media [outlets]are in the hands of individuals who do not want the Iranian nation’s message to reach other nations.”

    All too true.

  13. Neo says:

    fyi,

    I generally agree with your analysis, but

    “UNSC will not admit its error, Iranians are not going to surrender, and Axis Powers cannot go back to status quo ante of 2007.”

    seems a tad too pessimistic. It is in the interest of both sides to find a face-saving solution. It should be doable. As you can see, US and Israel are drifting away from each other. Israel will need to find a solution with its neighbours. American national interest would require a deal with Iran. This is where RSH is incorrect.

  14. James Canning says:

    Najmeh Bozorgmehr has an interesting report from Tehran in the Financial Times today: “Iran struggles to curb currency crisis”.

  15. James Canning says:

    I recommend Scott McConnell’s “All in a day’s warmongering” (Sept. 28):

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/all-in-a-days-warmongering/

  16. Neo says:

    James, I hope this is the end of your 20% obsession.

    RSH, there won’t be an attack on Iran.

  17. Neo says:

    It’s just priceless watching Netanyahu take a crude picture of a bomb to the podium of the United Nations, an institution set up to ensure ‘peace’ in the world, and demanding a war on another nation in full gaze of the world. And he based this demand for war on an international Treaty – the NPT – that he and his nation have shunned and refused to sign.

    So a warmongering, non-member of the NPT was telling the IAEA and the UN General Assembly that they should launch a war against a member state of the NPT, tear up the Charter of UN in the process, and turn the UN openly and formally into a full-fledged war machine in service of the interests of a few.

    Mashallah to this unparalleled hypocrisy!

    Indeed truth is stranger than fiction.

  18. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Pepe Escobar is rather foolish to argue the Emir of Qatar would seek to overthrow the government of Syria in order to enable a pipeline to cross that country. Syria welcomes transit fees from pipelines. So does Turkey.

    And let’s remember the Emir of Qatar has been very supportive of Hamas in an effort to resolve the Israel/Palestine problem.

  19. James Canning says:

    Writng in today’s Financial Times, Philip Stephens asks: “If North Korea can be given security guarantees, why not Iran?” Answer, of course, is Israel lobby.

  20. Fiorangela says:

    re the Ross-Clawson-Makovsky video that Humanist posted,

    ” How to Build US Israel Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Breakout” [notice the carefully constructed title; notice also how completely in sync the comments of Ross-Clawson-Makovsky are with Netanyahu's speech at UN.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsvDWZTVP3E

    @ about 1:12, Ross & Slavin had this exchange, Ross having responded to Slavin's [barbed] question with the assertion:

    “[We must proceed in a way that will be] judged internationally as being reasonable …

    One of the virtues of presenting an endgame offer is it clarifies everything; …the unmistakable consequences of what happens …and communicating very clearly, for us, the threshold …

    Slavin…is there an appetite for this in the administration, and what do you mean by consequences if the Iranians don’t buy this; do you mean going to war?

    70% of Americans do not want war w/ Iran even if iran had nukes.”

    Ross: “Any admin would have to demonstrate that we had gone the extra mile.
    Let me cite an historic example.
    In 1990 I was with secy baker when we went around the world, met with every member of the security council and at the end of what was a very intensive effort over a period of about six weeks, we produced an All Necessary Means resolution . we got back around midnight from ny …and pres ghw bush said, “You’ve done a great job in mobilizing the international community to put us in a position to support our use of force, but I feel I need to address the ameircan public. And I want to be sure we’re going the extra mile.

    And in the end, that led to what was the Baker-Tariq Aziz meeting on Jan. 9.

    So I believe that logic is going to apply with any administration. It leads me to believe that at some point we would do something of the sort …

    Slavin: “[inaudible --What about] the security council?

    Ross: Well you may not get the security council. But the point is ….”

    END OF QUOTE
    = = =
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/KingsCo
    Former CIA Station Chief Jack O’Connell Amman, Jordan, “became King Hussein’s friend and close adviser. After leaving CIA, O’Connell served as the Jordanian king’s attorney and diplomatic counselor.

    O’Connell served in that capacity over the period when Iraq invaded Kuwait. While Ross and Baker were twisting arms to make war inevitable but “unavoidable,” O’Connell and King Hussein conducted face-to-face negotiations with Saddam Hussein which elicited from Saddam assent to withdraw from Kuwait. That agreement was scuttled in the face of Baker’s and Ross’s “manufactured consent” for war.

    = = =
    Since 1990 (at least) Ross’s agenda is How can war be sold to the American public? and the ‘extra mile’ is a fraud and a manipulative deceit; he has been selling the same lie since the Miller-Parthemore paper in 2008 and numerous WINEP papers and talks ever since.
    O’Connell and King Hussein put their honest efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement of a conflict.

  21. humanist says:

    Similar to Nima Shirazi’s ‘Phantom Menace’ the following great article documents the prevalent fallacies of the Western media regarding the issue of Iranian atomic bomb.

    http://original.antiwar.com/christian-stork/2012/09/27/the-complete-idiots-guide-to-iran-and-the-bomb-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-facts/

  22. fyi says:

    humanist says:

    September 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Yes, Mr. Ross and Dr. Clawson seem to have rather dubious loyalty to the United States.

  23. Karl.. says:

    So when Iran was speaking at the UN, the western leaders were boycotting him.
    So when Iran was about to speak at the UN, the UN leader Ban-ki warned about Iran not to speak aggressively on Iran.

    and..

    when Israel speak and make clear explicit threats against Iran, using insults, myths and sheer fabrications against Iran, then the western leaders are seated, and no warning is given by Ban-ki to Israel in advance.

    Have they no shame?

  24. imho says:

    Does anyone has more news or comments on the return of Rafsanjani’s son to Iran ? a new deal on top ?
    Some sees a sign on shifting to moderation on Iranian policy.

    http://news.yahoo.com/ex-iran-presidents-son-returns-exile-faces-charges-063819804.html?_esi=1

  25. Rd. says:

    The Israeli’s are really hitting a high note on this one!!!!!!

    what is it?

    if it quacks, it must be a nuclear duck!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fyTGfoft68

    ;http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/09/netanyahoo.html#more

    -http://972mag.com/bibis-acme-bomb-at-unga-inspires-israeli-meme-artists/56636/

  26. BiBiJon says:

    a bald eagle — a formidable specimen flying over the wreckage of a dystopian future
    ====================================================================================

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/Hawk-dove-butterfly-bee-by-Pepe-Escobar-120927-879.html

  27. BiBiJon says:

    The Gray Lady’s new favorite misleading term, “medium”
    =====================================================

    The difference between “up to”, and “greater than”
    ———————————————————-

    Today’s NYTimes: “stockpile of medium enriched uranium — uranium enriched to the level of 20 percent — that Iran has produced”

    ,nytimes(dot)com/2012/09/28/world/middleeast/netanyahu-warns-that-iran-bombmaking-ability-is-nearer.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    IAEA’s report of what Iran has produced refers to “UF6 [gas] enriched up to 20% U-235″ which, in places describing designation of cascades, further defines as “production of LEU enriched up to 20% U-235 (Cascades 1 and 6)”.

    ,iaea(dot)org/Publications/Documents/Board/2012/gov2012-37.pdf

    The United States Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy defines low as <20%, and medium typically at 35%.

    "Uranium enriched to significantly less than 93% U-235 (medium-enriched
    uranium [MEU], defined as approximately 35% U-235, or low-enriched uranium
    [LEU], defined as <20% U-235), always results in a mass penalty for the reactor core
    for a given power."

    ,fissilematerials(dot)org/library/doe94a.pdf

    Please write the NYtimes ombudsman to let them know what 'medium' means in terms of 'enrichment' as well as mediocrity of journalism, and classifications of cheddar cheese. ,iranfact(dot)org/fact-checking-the-media-on-iran-the-story-so-far/

    Please include ACME drawings for clarity: ,972mag(dot)com/bibis-acme-bomb-at-unga-inspires-israeli-meme-artists/56636/

  28. Coleen Rowley on ‘Our (New) Terrorists’ the MEK: Have We Seen This Movie Before?
    http://original.antiwar.com/colleen-rowley/2012/09/27/our-new-terrorists-the-mek-have-we-seen-this-movie-before/

    Quotes from this Leveretts’ post.

  29. Pepe Escobar on Why Qatar wants to invade Syria
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NI28Ak03.html

    Yes, it’s about oil…specifically a pipeline. And Pepe predicts a new round of destabilization in Jordan.

    It’s clear the Zionist plan to destabilize ALL its neighbors – indeed, the entire Middle East – is in full swing. It will be amusing to see what happens when Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the rest of the GCC end up as Israeli targets in a decade or so. Israel will not stop until every state in the Middle East is broken up into civil war or failed states. This will enable the US and Israel – and eventually only Israel – to achieve total control of the Middle East oil wealth. Any state or group that resists will simply be bombed into submission.

    Of course, that didn’t work well in either Iraq or Afghanistan – and it won’t work well in Iran, either. But that’s the plan anyway. And it will certainly be profitable for the military-industrial complex, the oil companies, the banks who finance them, and the politicians who get their campaign contributions and bribes from those entities. And that’s all that matters.

  30. humanist says:

    For those who are eager to fathom the root causes of dispute between Iran and US, Israel watching this 1 hr 27 minute video is highly recommended. It is about a forum where Patrick Clawson, David Mokovsky and Dennis Ross present their views about ways for confronting the Iranian threats.

    There, the arrogance, self-righteousness, apathy, warmongering and deceitfulness of the speakers, although fully expected, are expressed fearlessly. Clawson, openly talks about tricking US to attack Iran by what he labels as ‘Crisis Initiation’ (Crisis invention by using MEK or others to sink a US ship in PG similar to the case of USS Liberty?, other tricks?)

    I found the slick chicanery of Dennis Ross more interesting. Watch how he emphasizes Iranian nuclear bomb being an ‘Existential Threat’ to Israel while I am absolutely sure he knows very well such an assertion is completely baseless. It is not imaginary Iranian bomb that is threatening Israel, it is Iranian resistance against hegemonies, its progress in science, its support for resisters of occupation etc etc that worries the Israelis.

    I think as Leveretts disclosed nearly 3 years ago, Ross is following the plan of pretending Diplomacy with Iran, making sure it fails, then starting a war with Iran.

    There are more in this video. A captivating book can be written about the Institute, its members and the crucial role they have played (and still are playing) in US/(EU?) foreign policies

    .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6XCn-KfzkI&feature=player_embedded

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6XCn-KfzkI&feature=player_embedded

    (For PDF Text of the report written by the above mentione trio go to:
    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/preventing-an-iranian-nuclear-breakout-u.s.-israel-coordination )

  31. BiBiJon says:

    We Afrikaners are good volk. Ve treated even a few blecks in our hospitels
    ==================================================================

    BN @ UN: In the past year, I lost both my father and my father-in-law. In the same hospital wards where they were treated, Israeli doctors were treating Palestinian Arabs. In fact, every year, thousands of Arabs from the Palestinian territories and Arabs from throughout the Middle East come to Israel to be treated in Israeli hospitals by Israeli doctors.

    Read more at http://www.latinospost.com/articles/4677/20120927/netanyahu-un-general-assembly-2012-speech-transcript-video-iran-palestine-nuclear-obama.htm#675rs7cpj0GqBv0r.99

  32. Rd. says:

    A damning account of turkish policy in syria!!

    “Frankly, we jumped into dangerous waters first, thinking we were leading other nations that we assumed would jump together; however, we looked back and saw that no one was behind us. We have been left all alone. Moreover, the Washington that set off together with us is now holding us back. It wanted us to calm down. It urged us not to conduct a military intervention.

    Well, why? Why did the calculations not come out as we expected? “

    one of the comments;

    “it’s no use blaming the US or EU though, at least not when you have a PM and ruling party that often shouts “NO ONE CAN TELL TURKEY WHAT TO DO!”. Ok. “

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-is-gearing-down-in-syria.aspx?pageID=449&nID=31056&NewsCatID=405

  33. fyi says:

    imho says:

    September 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I am aware of Mr. Saban’s involvement.

    The piece I posted was consistent with another posting on Russian-Iranian relations as well as with actual history of the last 8 years; including recent events.

  34. James Canning says:

    Philip Stephens of the Financial Times once again has called for Obama to offer across-the-board negotiations to Iran. (FT.COM.) Israel lobby continues to try to block any direct contracts between US and Iranian diplomats.

  35. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I doubt Stephen J. Hadley thinks Obama would allow Iran to build nukes.

  36. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Are you aware Obama actually would like to reduce substantially the level of US sanctions against Cuba? A Cuban-American senator, Rubio of Florida, is doing his best to block Obama’s effort.

  37. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    When you argue that a “stalemate” exists, in Iran’s relations with the west, are you actually claiming Obama would allow Iran to enrich uranium to 90% or more? To stockpile hundreds of kilograms of 20% U? Or are you arguing Iran will not stockpile more 20U, and refrain from enriching abouve 20?

  38. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I assume you think Obama would impose a naval blockade on Iran, in the event Iran openly moves toward building nukes?

  39. James Canning says:

    imho,

    You are quite right to stress the importance of international public opinion.

  40. imho says:

    fyi says:
    September 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Regarding Russia-Iran cooperation, given the history of the two nations, Russia obviously plays the Iranian card as a factor in its relations with US. No need for Brookings to say the evidence.

    What is interesting is the future of US-Russia reset regarding Iran. W. Engdahl said this in few lines in the link I previously posted. In short, Putin said no reset possible if Romney wins, while everything is possible with Obama. In the latter case, such a reset would be dangerous for world peace according to Engdahl.

    In a side note, you should be careful on your information sources.

    “In 2002, Haim Saban pledged $13 million to start a research organization at the Brookings Institution called the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. To put this Policy Center into perspective one should note:

    the Brookings Institute is the principal Democratic Party think-tank and all issues, and it is a place where “politicians in-waiting” can bide their time until the next election.
    Haim Sabban is a large media mogul, with large interests in the US, and his company is the largest broadcaster in Germany (owns “ProSiebenSat.1 Media, putting him in control of a company that owns the rough equivalent of CBS, ABC, TBS and Nickelodeon”)
    Saban says “I’m a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel”.

    Look at who is funding Brookings. One can’t be more globalist that those companies. The list of persons in their Board of Trustees is also worth a look.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Brookings_Institution

  41. Karl.. says:

    Apparently Israel will later today set own red lines at the UN and will go all out on Iran.
    Check live UN TV here: gadebate.un.org

  42. Kathleen says:

    Bibi Jon thanks for that link to Hadley’s piece. Wondered where he was. Can anyone tell me why anyone in their right mind would listen to a former foreign policy adviser who refused to meet with counter terrorism expert Richard Clarke for first nine months of the Bush administration? Clarke who wanted to talk with Rice and Hadley specifically about threats from Al Qeada using planes to attack the U.S. Hadley ignored Clarke up until days before 9/11 (Clarke’s book AGAINST ALL ENEMIES” Hadley was part of the Bush team to purposely out Valerie Plame. Hadley put those 16 false words about WMD’s back in Bush’s SOTU speech. Who the hell would listen to this psychopathic warmonger? Hadley undermined U.S. National security. Why would anyone listen to him? The man belongs in an orange suit behind bars not trying advise anyone about foreign policy

  43. fyi says:

    imho says:

    September 27, 2012 at 8:44 am

    International public opinion will not prevent wars.

  44. Karl.. says:

    Hans,

    Yes exactly, one wonder what would happen if a western diplomat was physically attacked in the streets of Teheran, then we would hear arguments like “mob with ties to the state attacked..”, “more sanctions!” and vast condemnations.

  45. imho says:

    fyi says:
    September 26, 2012 at 9:03 am

    “International public opinion is irrelevant.”

    Mmmm! Then how can one explain why

    so many opinion polls in US, Iran, ME, …
    so many opinion polls reported in this board
    so many opinion polls referred to in various articles
    Mr Ahmadinejad doesn’t waste any occasion to be heard around the planet
    Mr Ahmadinejad didn’t miss any speech in UN in his presidential term
    Posters of Mr Khamenei everywhere in Iran and now in Iraq
    The MSM is so tightly controlled nearly everywhere
    Bush Sr and Jr cases built up for Iraq wars
    and so on

    Propaganda ain’t to convince diplomats

  46. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    September 27, 2012 at 2:20 am

    In my view, the so-called fly-over America dislikes everyone and everything that is neither European nor Protestant.

    They dislike Mexicans, Catholics, East Asian, South Asians, Blacks, Middle Easterners, Africans and just about anybody else.

    [There are degrees to this, of course, in some places in the Southen United States even a Euro-American will not get served in a restaurant for being from the North.]

    The fly-over America is still a firm believer in Manifest-Destiny, New Jerusalem, American Exceptionalism and other such concepts under the guise of which the Imperial project was propagandized to Americans over the last 120 years.

    The fly-over America specially dislikes Iran and Iranians because of the (moral) mirror that the late Mr. Khomenini took to them. Here was a religious and God-fearing man comparing Americ (the Americans) to Satan. That is, the late Mr. Khomeini and his propaganda attacks against the United States hit a raw nerve among Americans – who considered themselves and their government (country) to be above moral reproach.

    But that is only one aspect of this.

    Interior of all countries is a deplorable mixture of ignorance, parochialism, and bigotry; US and Iran are no exceptions.

    Long time ago, an American who had lived in an Indian village for a year told me that he preferred to have been in a Japanese POW camp – and this person spooke a couple of Indian languages and was truly comfortable in India.

  47. hans says:

    Yesterday in New York, Iranian foreign spokesman being hassled on the streets Quick get a resolution in the UNSC condemning this and threaten with air strikes!

  48. Reuters and Ahmadinejad: Anatomy of a Dangerous Misquote
    http://newsvandal.com/2012/09/reuters-and-ahmadinejad-anatomy-of-a-dangerous-misquote/

    One might add – a deliberate misquote…

  49. Would Americans Hold Iran Responsible for the Consequences of a War Iran Didn’t Start?
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/would-americans-hold-iran-responsible-for-consequences-of-a-war-iran-didnt-start/comment-page-1/#comment-470502

    In my view: 1) yes, 2) it doesn’t matter whether they do or not, and 3) Obama’s plan is to make Iran start the war by using a naval blockade to force Iran to retaliate.

  50. Photi says:

    a good article on possible changes in the Syrian crisis. Note the Saudis are caught sleeping again. Why weren’t they there?

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2012/09/iran-turkey-gulf-reassess-syria-strategy.html

  51. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    September 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    US has sanctioned herself out of influence with Iran over a 20-year period.

    EU has accomplished that feat over 3 years – with more to come.

    EU as the major trading partner with Iran is not in the cards.

    5 more years of economic warfare – at the very least – is ahead of Iran.

    That will be followed by at least 2 or 3 electoral cycles in Europe in which stalemate will obtain between EU and Iran.

    This gives about 20 years – one generation.

    Over the next generation, relations will imporve but will never again go back to what they were before 2003.

    You may look at the the current trade volume between Iran and Russia – EU’s trade with Iran might be 10 or so billion a year by that time.

    The fact is that once wars are started and concluded in stalemate – the most likely outcome here – the absence of war will not be peace but rather a Frozen Conflict.

    This happened in North Korea, in case of Cuba, between Armenia and Azeri Republic, between Israel and Lebanon and is sure to follow between Iran and Axis States as well.

    UNSC will not admit its error, Iranians are not going to surrender, and Axis Powers cannot go back to status quo ante of 2007.

    Wars have consequences, specially those that end in stalemate.

  52. Don Bacon says:

    @Rehmat – Ahmadinejad spoke like a Messiah

    I agree – it was a great speech which will not be appreciated by the “superior races” although it should be. It was messianic and practical, meaningful and instructive.
    I hope the Leveretts see fit to feature it.

  53. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I think there is always prospects for war.

    That certainly has been the assumption of Iranian leaders for the past 8 years.

    I do not foresee war in the near future (present time to 2 years).

    I personally think it likely that the late Mr. Rabin’s fate will befall BN.

    But ultimately Iranians will have to emulate North Korea – which has taken Seoul hostage.

  54. Rehmat says:

    Ahmadinejad spoke like a Messiah

    During his address, Ahmadinejad spoke the word “peace” 12 times, “justice” 15 and “love” 13.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/09/27/ahmadinejad-spoke-like-a-messiah/

  55. Ataune says:

    fyi says:
    “relations with US and EU cannot be restored – certainly not over the next 2 generations perhaps 4.”

    This is not political analysis. This is prophecy. 2 to 4 generations is at least 40 to 80 years from now. Almost no one here will be alive to see that. I can declare that in 2 to 4 generations the Buthanese and Nepalese will rule the world. Who can contradict that.

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    “There will be NO diplomatic solution to the Syria crisis”

    This is prophecy as well. In the political world impossible is not in use. Who would have thought that Communist Soviet Union will meet the third Reich in Brestlitovsk and who would have imagined an anti-communist, and anti-semite by the bye, like Churchill will ally himself with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

  56. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 26, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Are we in agreement that there’s no prospect for military action? If so, then how Iran would respond hypothetically to a hypothetical is kind of moot.

    But, just as a little mind game, do you you agree other than an all-out war, there’s only status quo? Do you also agree Israel will not be a pea in that particular soup?

  57. BiBiJon says:

    Race with my comment @ September 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Do you Waltz? Hadley does!
    ========================

    A poorly disguised non-recommendation by Stephen J. Hadley recommends “Option 8: Acquiesce in a Nuclear-Armed Iran”

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/26/eight_ways_to_deal_with_iran?page=0,8

  58. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    September 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    This time you have actually reached an accurate understanding.

    Mr. Assad will be with us a few more years, no doubt.

    Probably even past the end of Mr. Obama’s second term.

  59. James Canning says:

    A Financial Times leader today notes that the US damages the reformers in Iran by delisting the MEK.

  60. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Most Russian experts think Iran is trying to get closer to being able to build nukes quickly. Do you agree with them?

  61. Karl.. says:

    I watched Ahmadinejad’s speech and then Mursi’s and it was a striking resemblance between the two speeches. I would have hoped that mursi would be a bit more up front, he refused to naming Israel and the US by name when he spoke of negative intereference from outside and who has nuclear weapons already.

    Some similarities were;

    Both urged a multilateral world and no unilateralism

    Both urged that double standards have no place in this world

    Mursi urge a middle east free from nukes (a stance Iran has taken for decades), and urged a no-nuclear-conference involving all states in the region

    Both urged right to nuclear energy, I got the impression that Egypt will seek a nuclear program too very soon as he specifically said that nuclear energy program was something Egypt have the right to (develop).

    Both condemning the insults by the anti-islam movie.

    Both urged a new order in world politics

    Both urged dialogue between cultures

    Both spoke of the failture of economy/capitalism

    Both raised the question of Palestine

    Both urged moves that are based mutual benefit/interest between states

  62. James Canning says:

    A leader in today’s Financial Times is sharply critical of the delisting of the MEK.

  63. Qatar emir calls for Arab military intervention in Syria
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/article4566626.ece

    Like that’s going to happen… I’d like to know where he’d find the troops… However, it’s clear there is going to be no support for a “diplomatic solution” out of Qatar…

  64. How the Israel Lobby Gets What It Wants
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/09/26/how-the-israel-lobby-gets-what-it-wants/

    Quote:

    There is speculation that, if Mr. Obama is reelected, then Prime Minister Netanyahu’s indiscreet behavior might result in “a sea change in U.S.-Israeli relations.” Unfortunately this is highly unlikely. The system of “lobbification” is solidly in place at the national political level. When it comes to Israel, only two things are likely to change it:

    1. Meaningful campaign finance reform that would free politicians from their present reliance on lobby affiliated contributions.

    2. The Israel-American connection becomes a voting issue such that continued blind support for Israel hurts a politician’s chance of election.

    Neither of these possibilities seem to be on the horizon…

    End Quote

    I agree. There is no chance Obama will cross his masters.

  65. Barbarians arrive as UN judges Syria
    :http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NI26Ak01.html

    I disagree completely with this assessment. There will be NO diplomatic solution to the Syria crisis. It’s extremely improbable, if not impossible. The Syria Contact Group simply isn’t going to influence the outcome at all, first, because Saudi Arabia WILL refuse to work with Iran because they understand the essential purpose of the Syria crisis: to enable war with Iran.

    Second, it’s clear NATO is not interested:

    “The French ambassador to Syria, Eric Chevalier, recently said that France was going to expand military aid to the opposition from non-lethal to lethal weaponry.”

    Third, it is clear the US is not interested:

    Washington set to increase aid to Syrian insurgents, US official says
    :http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/09/26/263550/us-to-increase-aid-to-syrian-insurgents/

    Fourth, there is this contradiction:

    “There is no expectation that the US will want to act in Syria, when it is trying its best to hold back an Israeli attack on Iran.

    Yet, the US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice continues to make bellicose statements about Syria.”

    What part of that doesn’t he get? The two are directly connected. Obama wants to attack Iran on his timetable, not Israel’s. To get there, Syria has to be attacked first.

    The lack of ability on the part of analysts to see what is plainly obvious to even a layman such as myself is astounding. The level of cognitive dissonance is overwhelming in these people.

  66. Yet another call for foreign military intervention in Syria…

    UN must guard ‘liberated zones’ in Syria, Hollande says
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/09/26/263559/hollande-urges-un-to-intervene-in-syria/

    It seems to me at this point that the US is almost certainly waiting for the November elections to be over before intervening in Syria. Obama may even be waiting until first quarter next year. Obama is something of a “ditherer” and it’s hard to be sure when he will move on anything.

    If I had to guess, I’d say that the US and NATO, for whatever reason, appear to want the Syrian crisis to continue to heat up and degrade Assad’ security apparatus before attempting to intervene directly. In other words, far from wanting to stop the violence, the West appears to be doing all it can to stay out of the situation and thus to increase the violence, apparently to make sure they will have no repudiation of their eventual intervention (which everyone knows will massively increase the casualties.)

    Another possible reason for the delay in intervention: it can force Israel to hold off an attack on Iran. As I’ve pointed out, Netanyahu can’t afford to attack Iran until Syrian and Hizballah have been degraded. By delaying intervention in Syria, Obama can keep Netanyahu at bay for a while longer and thus allow Obama to implement his own course toward starting the Iran war so that neither the US nor Israel gets blamed for it.

    Nonetheless, it remains clear that the Syrian insurgents cannot overthrow Assad, and that Assad cannot defeat the insurgents, and that no sort of “diplomacy” can be made to work under these circumstances. Therefore foreign military intervention remains the only possible outcome, and is a strategic necessity to enable the US and Israel to get a subsequent war with Iran started.

  67. Or maybe not… Re offer to cease 20% enrichment…

    Iran’s IAEA envoy denies IPS interview on enrichment
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/09/25/263514/irans-iaea-envoy-denies-ips-interview/

  68. Don Bacon says:

    Did the U.S. win its war on Iraq?
    Is Iran isolated in the world?
    Check out this billboard in Iraq.
    http://www.antiwar.com/photos/ayatollah-billboard-iraq.jpg

  69. BiBiJon says:

    Did I hear “rule of law?”
    =======================

    Pres Obama at UN: “[democracy in the Muslim world] depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear; on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/25/obama-un-general-assembly-transcript

    ————

    Rarely one who waxes so pious has the means to make a huge difference, all by his own pious lawful self. Lets face it, you’re droning people just to look tough at home, nothing else.

    Selections From http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/25/drone-attacks-pakistan-counterproductive-report

    The report highlights the switch from the former president George W Bush’s practice of targeting high-profile al-Qaida personalities to the reliance, under Obama’s administration, of analysing patterns of life on the ground to select targets.

    Reprieve’s director, Clive Stafford Smith, said: “An entire region is being terrorised by the constant threat of death from the skies. Their way of life is collapsing: kids are too terrified to go to school, adults are afraid to attend weddings, funerals, business meetings, or anything that involves gathering in groups.

    “US drones hover 24 hours a day over communities in north-west Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning,” the American law schools report says.

    “Their presence terrorises men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.

    “These fears have affected behaviour. The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims.”

  70. Don Bacon says:

    Since Obama didn’t mention enriching up to twenty percent, and why would he, there should be no more time wasted on that subject.

  71. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 26, 2012 at 5:26 am

    International public opinion is irrelevant.

    The Americans do not have any response to strategic defiance; not in Iran, not in Cuba, not in North Korea and not in very many more states as global power devolves further and further.

    To them, countries without credible capacity to destroy US cannot afford strategic defiance.

    When they are confronted with such a reality, their standard asnwer is sanctions followed by isolation.

    Sanctions-and-Isolation is the Standard US readjustment.

    Therefore, Iran has to manage this relationship indefinitely; relations with US and EU cannot be restored – certainly not over the next 2 generations perhaps 4.

    New political dispensations must emerge either in Iran or among Axis States for that to happen.

  72. pmr9 says:

    It’s encouraging to learn that while Britain’s Conservative government presses for intensified EU sanctions on Iran, a key donor to the Conservative party who has access to David Cameron is leading an oil-trading company that is helping to bust those sanctions.

  73. BiBiJon says:

    fyi, & Cyrus_2:

    I agree with Photi, and Persian-Gulf. But, before going into what Iran’s reaction to an attack should/shouldn’t be, let’s consider what Israel/US strategies, ultimate intentions are likely to be, or at least perceived by Iran to be.

    I have a hard time imagining that Israel would risk another failed adventure post 2006-defeat at Hezbollah’s hands. The notion that they would send 100 F15s and 50 of them don’t make it to Iran, and 50% of remaining jets get shot down, and/or Iranian shahab-3s show up the Israeli anti-missile defense for the boondoggle that it is, would be way too much face to lose for the sake of a ‘limited’ attack.

    In short, Israel will not attack Iran on her own; only in tandem and in coordination with the US and even then, US is likely to insist on the littlest, minimalistic role for Israel in order to confine the conflict to a super-power vs regional-power type of deal as opposed to Islamdom vs Israel. So lets ignore the apartheid pipsqueak, and focus on US.

    I have long hoped for a US readjustment to realities, ala http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/09/24/rethinking_retreat

    But, the potential exists for crazies to rue the roost. In that event, I cannot see an alternative to a full-scale war, anything less will erodes US influence in the region the same amount if not more than a all-out war; a mere pin-prick is out of the question for all the reasons you’ve laid out vis-a-vis international public opinion — I can just imagine anti-war riots on the streets of London, let alone Islamabad.

    Talk of town seems to center on Iran’s desperate desire to avoid a war with US. I agree up until the point when the first bullet is fired. After the first shot, Iran is already “entrapped.” I see Iran wanting to blow a big hole through the cage wall.

    In short, its all or nothing on both sides, methinks.

  74. imho says:

    Came across this while surfing.

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/23/iran-announces-plans-to-create-isolated-local-internet-system/

    nothing important but amazing to see +450 comments in a gadget site about this

  75. imho says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    You fail to understand my main point which was to not retaliate in such a way that US would enter the war. Iran must avoid it if she can and must resist that temptation for obvious reasons.

  76. Don Bacon says:

    Obama: “Time and again, [Iran] has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations.”

    I have been re-reading my Alan Watts “The Wisdom of Insecurity.” (Please don’t read further if you are uneasy discussing religion.) Watts: “What science has said in sum, is this: We do not know whether God exists. . . .If, the scientist would say, you believe in God, you must do so on purely emotional grounds, without basis in logic or fact. . .For it is the essence of scientific honesty that you do not pretend to know what you do not know, and of the essence of scientific method that you do not employ hypotheses which cannot be tested.”

    So in regard to Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, if you believe it exists then you must do so on purely emotional grounds, without basis in logic or fact. You are merely pretending to know what you do not know. It is a myth, and a myth by definition cannot be proven nor dis-proven because it is emotional and it has no basis in logic or fact.

    So asking Iran to demonstrate that a myth doesn’t exist is a waste of time — impossible.

  77. Don Bacon says:

    Obama at the UN, yapping about freedom of speech:“Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views — even views that we profoundly disagree with.”
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/25/transcript-obama-address-to-un-general-assembly/
    but previously–
    “The White House asked YouTube to review the video to see if it was in compliance with their terms of use,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said. The company determined that the video was within guidelines.
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/14/white-house-asks-youtube-to-review-anti-islam-film/

  78. Don Bacon says:

    @ENCWS
    re: Obama Great intellectual consistency and honesty from Obama in that speech.

    not only–
    ”We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights.”

    but also these BS Obama statements–
    There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. (except by drones)

    It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people. (Except for detention w/o trial)

    The road is hard, but the destination is clear: a secure Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine. Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey. (except when Israel doesn’t agree)

  79. fyi says:

    All:

    US and Russia and Iran –

    “On Iran there has been some rhetoric on Romney’s side that Russia won’t be helpful. But Russia has come a long way on its Iran policy. In 2002-2003, when I was in the government, nobody would have predicted that Russia would go to the point of adopting an arms embargo on Iran.”

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/interviews/2012/09/24-geopolitics-pifer

    Iran has must rely on her local alliances in the Middle East.

    No strategic cooperation with Russia is feasible for Iran.

  80. fyi says:

    Cyrus_2 says:

    September 25, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Turks have had to pay their debt to Americans and Europeans.

    That is why they followed this hare-brained scheme in Syria.

  81. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    September 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Absence of hardened missile silos in Israel – if they could miniaturize these weapons they would have.

    Absence of any public discussion of the capabilities of Israelis in this arena; they were given certain bomb designs from 1950s by the French – so I gather from public internet sources – and almost certainly those were tactical nuclear warheads suitable for defending against massive infantry attacks by Arab armies.

    Public discussion of modified Dolphin submarines as Israel’s second strike capability. Again, if they had nuclear missiles, why submarine-based ones.

    [This last one is, in my opinion, another piece of propaganda, just like the other pieces such as they have thermo-nuclear weapons, or that they have more than 200 hundred warheads etc.]

  82. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    You seem to have difficulty understanding that Obama does not want war with Iran. But he could be forced into such a war.

  83. James Canning says:

    Cyrus_2,

    Turkish businessmen are doing a great deal of business in Iraq generally, not just in Iraqi Kurdistan.

    I think Iran should deter an Israeli attack by helping EU countries, and Russia, China, Japan, India, and so on, make the case Iran should have a domestic nuclear poswer programme but not enrich to 20 percent.

  84. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Don Bacon says:
    September 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Great intellectual consistency and honesty from Obama in that speech. It must take some kind of deliberate effort to contradict yourself in two consecutive sentences as he does here.

    So…first he says…”That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Translation “we will continue to harass and bully Iran for exercising its legal rights under the NPT for doing what every sovereign state has a right to do anyway and we are proud of our lawless and thuggish behavior. We are also threatening to violate international law and engage in an aggressive war against Iran because our previous illegal and thuggish behavior has not terrorized them enough to make them stop defying us.”

    And than…the payoff…”We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights.” Hmm…

  85. Photi says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I will have to agree with your sentiment. A non-reaction by Iran to an overt Israeli attack would be more disastrous than fighting back. A non-reaction will be perceived as weakness and will only invite more Israeli attacks. We should all remember Iran’s nabbing of one of America’s most advanced drones last year. Shooting down a pilot or ten will make Israel bleed profusely.

  86. Nasser says:

    fyi says September 25, 2012 at 10:03 am,

    I agree with almost the entirety of your post but what makes you think that the Israelis haven’t been able to fit their nukes onto their missiles? Perhaps maybe that is the true reason behind their ambiguous posture; but what makes you so doubtful of their technical competence?

  87. Irshad says:

    Patrick Clawson of WINEP, openly calling for a flase flag operation to get the US to attack Iran – trying to sell war must be now really hard for Isreals firsters for them to sink this low:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PfoaLbbAix0

  88. Cyrus_2 says:

    @ Persian Gulf:

    I am not saying Iran shouldn’t retaliate at all.
    However, it’s military response against Israel should be covertly and/or reciprocally.
    By no means it should give the US an excuse to join in.
    Otherwise all the years of hard word will vanish in a couple of weeks.
    Iran should balance a fine line between showing its military muscle and avoiding a direct confrontation with the US, which it simply can not win, at least not militarily.

    @ James

    The NPT: then how should Iran react in case of an Israeli attack?
    Do absolutely nothing?

    Obama: How people can still believe such a blatant liar is beyond me.
    When it comes to foreign policy and security, Obama has broken nearly every promise he has made 4 years ago, and most of these decisions had nothing to do with the Israel Lobby.

    Turkey: it’s a little bit more than a few Turkish businessmen seeking oppurtunities in Iraqi Kurdistan.
    The Turkish government is sealing oil and gas deals with Kurdistan without the approval of Baghdad.
    If Turkey is serious about preventing an independent Kurdistan it wouldn’t do that nor would it support the Syrian rebels to the hilt.

  89. Don Bacon says:

    Obama sounded kinda flat today on Iran nukes.

    Obama: “Make no mistake: A nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights.”

    Make no mistake? Sounds pedantic. Triggering a nuclear arms race? That’s a stretch. We will do what we must? Too wordy, lacks clarity.

    The O-man needs to pick it up a bit. Re-do some George W. Bush speeches — if they were good enough for Iraq then they would work for Iran too. Take these GWB sound-bites, modify them for Iran and get it on with smoking guns and mushroom clouds. Smoke sells. Terrorists and tyrants — that’s good too.

    “America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” — George W. Bush, 10/07/02

    “As Americans, we want peace — we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I’m not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.” — George W. Bush, 10/07/02

    “In addition to declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction, Iraq must end its support for terrorism. It must cease the persecution of its civilian population. It must stop all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. And it must release or account for all Gulf War personnel, including an American pilot, whose fate is still unknown. By taking these steps, and only by taking these steps, the Iraqi regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict. These steps would also change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself. America hopes the regime will make that choice.” — George W. Bush, 10/07/02

    “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?” — George W. Bush, SOTU Speech, 1/28/03

  90. Don Bacon says:

    @Karl
    U.N. chief warns Iran’s Ahmadinejad on fiery rhetoric

    reuters: “The secretary-general drew attention to the potentially harmful consequences of inflammatory rhetoric, counter-rhetoric and threats from various countries in the Middle East,” Ban’s press office said in a statement.

    Of course Ban Ki-moon is a US puppet so we can assume as you did that he was talking about the US concocted enemy Iran, and not Saudi Arabia or Qatar. I guess he didn’t know that Obama was going to address freedom of speech.
    Obama: “Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views — even views that we profoundly disagree with.”

    Actually, on Ban’s terms, Obama was the guilty one.
    Obama:”And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin.”
    –advocating government overthrow in violation of UN Charter

    Obama:” And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
    –threatening Iran with military force for doing nothing more than several other countries have done.

    But give Obama some credit, he does sometimes advocate an alternative to assassination. He’s considering justice!
    Obama: “There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.”
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/25/transcript-obama-address-to-un-general-assembly/

  91. Persian Gulf says:

    imho says:
    September 25, 2012 at 3:25 am

    At the time I was typing my message, BiBiJon’s message wasn’t visible. and she is right. on what basis do you think it’s going to be a one shot attack from Israel?
    I think you are talking about an obvious action. shooting down an Israeli airplane entering Iran’s airspace is an immediate thing. what else do you expect? tell them welcome to Iran, bomb whatever you want and leave? has common sense been lost here?

    firing missiles, just as one of the tools to be used, is an effective strategy. and they don’t need to be exact. only few missiles in Tel Aviv would do the job. I think, the situation is fragile enough in Israel. I assume, it’s a bit more than Dubai, very shaky. basically Iran needs to expand the war as much as she can. winning war of opinion for what? you try to win the war of opinion to avoid an actual one. but when you in an actual war, it’s meaningless to do nothing so you may win war of opinion. Iran has presumably won the war of opinion for her right for enrichment. did that change anything? Palestinians have long won the war of opinion. look at where they are.

    your idea of not retaliating is, by all due respect, ridiculous. it might be a good academic exercise, but empty of any practical meaning. it’s obviously not a computer game. Iran will even lose the war of opinion in her neighborhood, let alone legitimacy at home. Iran’s neighbors would say for nearly two decades you guys were making noise about your excellent missiles capability. where are those capabilities when you need them the most?

  92. BiBiJon says:

    ‘Must’ is Farsi for yogurt
    ==========================

    President Obama in a major reelection speech at the UN today warned Iran if she doesn’t prove a negative pretty pronto, then Obama will do what he MUST.

    Dr. Ahmadinejad takes to the podium tomorrow. Being at the end of his maximum 2 terms in office, his won’t be a reelection speech. So, he does have some latitude to respond to Obama’s MUST with Doogh(yogurt drink) or Ksahk(whey) or any other dairy products.

    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/09/gannett-irans-arsenal-poses-threat-american-military-092512/

  93. Karl.. says:

    Abbas and the occupier, the best of friends? Now following “Dershowitz forumla”.

    Abbas agrees to ‘Dershowitz Formula’ in NY meeting with Jewish leaders

    mondoweiss.net/2012/09/abbas-agrees-to-dershowitz-formula-in-ny-meeting-with-jewish-leaders.html

  94. Karl.. says:

    U.N. chief warns Iran’s Ahmadinejad on fiery rhetoric
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/09/24/uk-un-assembly-iran-idUKBRE88N00620120924

    So have the UN chief equally warned Israel and the US or any other western allied state on “fiery” rhetoric too?

    It seems that Ban do what hes being told and not taking a impartial stance on any topic regarding the middle east.
    Some topics are taboo apparently, and again this is against the spirit of the NAM, that is – to be dictated by other states on what other states are allowed to say and not to say.

  95. Don Bacon says:

    In the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a total structural overhaul of the United Nations Security Council in order to facilitate the observance of the rule of law in international interactions. Ahmadinejad listed ten proposals, including:

    1. By immediate reform of the regulations, the General Assembly, as the main pillar of the UN, must regain its true position as the manifestation of public participation in global management.

    2. The regulations governing the Security Council must be totally transformed and reformed in the interests of nations and justice, through the participation of all members of the General Assembly immediately. . .

    6. The principle of sovereign equality of states should be observed. All the governments should have an equal opportunity in management cooperation, normalization, and decision making at the international level.

    7. All governments should equally honor their international commitments according to international treaties and regulations.

    8. No government should abide by the rules imposed by the hegemonistic countries. . .
    http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iranian-President-Calls-for-Structural-Overhaul-of-UNSC.htm

  96. James Canning says:

    Cyrus_2,

    Turkish businessmen are very active in Iraq and obviously their success is facilitated by reasonably good relations between the governments of Turkey and Iraq.
    Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran will continue to work together to prevent an independent Kurdistan, even if there are various problems.

  97. James Canning says:

    Cyrus_2,

    You may have noticed that Ahmadinejad told David Ignatius of the Washington Post that Obama administration wants to wait until after the November elections to try to make a deal (P5+1 and Iran). For obvious reason(s). Israel lobby being chief among them.

    Withdrawing from NPY would almost guarantee disaster for Iran.

  98. James Canning says:

    James Carrol,

    Please explain the basis of your claim Shia Islam is “racist”.

  99. Don Bacon says:

    Iran counterattacks on cyber.(?)

    Iran recently has mounted a series of disruptive computer attacks against major U.S. banks and other companies in apparent retaliation for Western economic sanctions aimed at halting its nuclear program, according to U.S. intelligence and other officials.

    In particular, assaults this past week on the Web sites of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America probably were carried out by Iran, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Friday.

    “The Iranians aren’t very good yet,” said one U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity. “But they’re getting better rapidly, and they’re motivated to get better rapidly because they believe they’ve been attacked, and they have.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/iran-blamed-for-cyberattacks/2012/09/21/afbe2be4-0412-11e2-9b24-ff730c7f6312_story.html

    At the same time the cyber attacks were taking place, on Sept. 18 at the U.S. Cyber Command Inter-Agency Legal Conference, Harold Koh, a legal adviser for the State Department said, “Cyber activities that proximately result in death, injury, or significant destruction would likely be viewed as a use of force.”
    http://gov.aol.com/2012/09/24/lieberman-alleges-iran-hacked-us-banks/

    Use of force! Oh my heavens. Imagine a country using force.

  100. Ataune says:

    @imho

    You are right, if we generalize a bit we can say that the middle-class is not going to fight to death because it has something to loose. Although by the same token, stable governance needs a large middle-class believing in the future. The US policy toward Iran, misguided in my opinion, has been to squeeze the middle-class economically thus creating political space for forces opposing the Islamic republic. As I said the new MEK delisting completely undermine this strategy.

  101. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    September 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Please see my response below to Mr. BiBiJon.

    Israelis do not have the power to send Iran to Stone Age.

    They have 14 to 16 nuclear weapons that I doubt they have been able to fit into their missiles.

    A single use of nuclear weapons will be the end of that state – and they know it.

    The Israelis are trying to get Americans to attack Iran; the Protestant Americans who control the levers of power in US hate Islam and specially hate Iran.

    It will take very little to get them to bomb Iran, even though it will harm their country.

    This is what must be avoided.

    I agree that Iran should retaliate from Lebanon or Syria – probably from Syria.

    But that must be part of a war-fighting strategy that aims to expand the war theatre to multiple fronts over as many countries as possible.

    Americans will almost certainly rely on their naval and air assets in the Persian Gulf.

    As for Fatwa – it will be binding on Shia Muslims – that already removes the Shia making Peace with Israel.

    Its legal content will not be challenged by Sunni Muslims or their governments – those with relations with Israel will be put permanently on the defensive – they will not be able to maintain business-as-usual with Israel – not in Egypt, not in Jordan, not in Azerbaijan, and not in Turkey.

    The aim is to isolate and harm Israel and US among Muslims as much as possible.

  102. BiBiJon says:

    It is all in the grammar, Chuck
    ======================

    The word, ‘obliterate’, means ‘totally destroy’. So, Clinton’s redundant usage, “totally obliterate them” must have, I think, leaped forth from depths no self-respecting Iranian should plumb.

    As soon as Ashton reported back that Iran is (plumbing) being flexible on the subject of 20% enrichment, Rajavis got beatified and sanctions got a boost.

    Hilary’s performance at the State department has few parallels in ineptitude and consequent befuddlement.

    ‘No settlements, no excuses” is the same, grammatically, as ‘lots of settlements, any old excuse.’

    ‘Right side of history’ came to mean Egypt’s Morsi is no longer an ally, though not yet, quite an enemy either contrasted with Bahrain’s democracy being what makes the Khalifas an ally, a partner and a bosom buddy. They both attended the NAM summit in Tehran, so obviously that wasn’t a criteria for which side of history is up or down at any given moment.

    Afghanistan has come to mean ‘Saigonistan’ http://www.opednews.com/articles/Welcome-to-Saigonistan-by-Pepe-Escobar-120925-276.html

    Iraq is festooned with posters of Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Sep-25/189150-iran-ayatollah-is-poster-boy-for-influence-in-iraq.ashx#axzz27UHerQnr

    ‘Netanyahu’ is the new slang for ‘white noise.’

    “It’s Libya” means “It’s confounding”

    etc, etc, etc.

    Talk about totally obliterating the State Department. Hope Chuck Hagel takes over next.

  103. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    My advise is not to fall into the trap of enemies.

    Israelis will not attack Iran repeatedly.

    The important thing is to use the Israeli attack for all its benefits – leaving NPT, declaring Israel the enemy of Islam, destroying the Siege War against Iran, etc.

    Iranians can respond later, at their own chosen time.

    That would keep Israelis busy and Americans guessing.

  104. Neo says:

    to fyi & Cyrus_2 (and all),

    It does not seem politically practical for Iran to refrain from retaliation in the unlikely event of an Israeli attack. Iran’s government has staked its reputation on leading a ‘resistance’. It is not much of a resistance to sit and just take a foreign attack. How would the leadership justify it to the Iranian people?

  105. Cyrus_2 says:

    @ BibiJon, Persian Gulf

    Israel can not bomb Iran indefinitely nor can it bomb Iran back to the stone age.
    However, the US can do this.
    In my opinion, it is therefore important to avoid giving the US the perfect excuse to participate in case of an Israeli attack.
    If Iran responds to an Israeli attack in an all-out way against Israel and/or US assets in the Gulf, the US will join that war in an all-out bombing campaign.
    But if Iran refrains from retaliating or gives Israel a well-measured response, the US would find it much harder to join in.

    So basically:

    If Israel hardly damages the nuclear installations => refrain from retaliating
    If Israel substantially damages the nuclear installations => respond reciprocally against Israel (preferably Dimona), but refrain from targeting US assets (unless of course the US does decide to join in)

    In both cases Iran should leave the NPT (neither China, nor Russia, nor the NAM-states would then dare to object, I believe) and stir up muslim agony towards the US and Israel to such a degree that Egypt, Jordan and even Turkey would find it impossible to maintain diplomatic and/or military relations with Israel.
    Iran can target Israeli assets covertly as well.
    It would provide Iran also with an opportunity to beef up its support for Syria and Hezbollah without much noise.
    The US can try to fix whatever is left of its standing in the muslim world.

  106. Irshad says:

    Syrian refugess have had enough in Jordan – clash with Police:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syrian-refugees-clash-with-jordanian-police-8175238.html

    So the pesky little king’s kingdom is turning in to a country of angry refugees – first plaestinians and now Syrians, oh and the Iraqis! When will that powder keg explode and where would he go – or is the shires of England still gearing for his reception?

  107. Cyrus_2 says:

    @ James

    MK Bhadrakumar (AsiaTimes) is mistaken in his apparent belief that Turkey is encouraging Iraqi Kurdistan to secede. Turkey does not want an independent Kurdistan.

    Perhaps not actively, however, the Turks are doing everything they can to undermine Iraq’s central government: signing oil deals with the Kurds without permission and involvement from Baghdad, refusing to extradite Hashemi to Baghdad …

    Of course they don’t want to see Iraqi Kurdistan to secede but their actions are a recipe to achieve just that, just like their actions against Syria are a perfect recipe for the secession of Syrian Kurdistan.

    I never thought that when it comes to shooting oneself in the foot, no one would ever beat the EU, however, Turkey is coming very close.

    You actually think Iran could leave the NPT and retain a nuclear programme? This approach would virtually guarantee disaster. Preventing an Israeli attack makes far better sense.

    I disagree.
    If Israel attacks Iran and the damage is bearable, Iran should refrain from retaliating but to leave the NPT.
    The onus will be 100% on Israel to explain its reckless action.
    The US will be to busy to defend Israel in the international arena, trying to repair the broken pieces.
    They simply can’t afford to finish off what Israel has started, escpecially not:

    (i) if Iran refrains from retaliating militarily
    (ii) if Obama wins a second term
    (iii) if the US and EU economies continue their march towards the abyss
    (iv) if Israel still has to fear retaliation from both Syria and Hezbollah
    (v) if Egypt is still drifting further away from both Israel and the US
    (vi) if the security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan further deteriorates

    Did you read Iran again offered to stop 20% uranium enrichment?
    How did Washington, London and Paris react?
    With the announcement of more sanctions, of course.
    They can’t accept anything but total Iranian capitulation on the nuclear front, and even then there’s no guarantee that the sanctions regime will ever be lifted.
    So in my view Iran better uses the eventuality of an Israeli attack as an opportunity to leave the NPT and pursue a policy of nuclear ambiguity.

  108. imho says:

    Ataune says:
    September 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    US couldn’t care less about the Iranian middle class (or any other class actually). Look what happens to the middle class not only in US but almost everywhere in the West. The financial crisis is not just a war on poor but also on middle class. Also the latter will not fight back as the former would, for they have something to lose.

  109. imho says:

    fyi says:
    September 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I don’t think Mr Rushdie is the right example. How many assassination attempts ? Right, Muslims showed their anger and then ?
    You don’t really expect MB, Salafis, Jihadis & co. will listen Mr Khamenei’s fatwa against Israel ? If Israeli existence depended just on a fatwa, they would already declared it.

  110. imho says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    As BiBiJon said September 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm, I don’t think US would be in a limited war business. Either they’ll go for it for the good or they will avoid it.

    However, if Israel begins attacking by air without American support (supposedly), Iran will obviously defend by trying to shoot down those planes. The question is what Iran can do in order to make very hard for US to participate actively in that war for Israel. Firing some missiles on Israel will not change the balance and will probably not dissuade Israelis to continue. But imagine the day after such an Israeli attack if Iran doesn’t respond in kind and rather begins a huge diplomatic offensive in UN and in various courts. Could US enter the war in this situation ? what would be the justification ? Iran will rightly fight them in their own game: war of opinions.
    Nearly every nation or group can shoot some missiles but shooting down some of those Israeli planes will have more dissuading effects with the advantage of showing a defensive Iran in the face of Israeli aggression. Iran knows well she can’t compete with US/Israel in the pure conventional military terms, thus the asymmetrical warfare. Iran will lose nothing by avoiding the trap of an all out war, something she can start later anyway. Given that Israelis will have less than enough planes just to attack the nuclear sites, Iranian missiles will not be the primary goals of the planes (that would be different in case of an American attack) and they could be used later anyway.
    The point is how Iran can show her strengths by dissuading the enemy, yet win the opinion battle inside and outside.

  111. Don Bacon says:

    Hi kiddies, it’s story hour. You’ve got your hot chocolate and your goody blanket, here we go.

    Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a new Prince Hopenpromise who had to confront a wicked enemy of the Prince’s realm. In this Land, Persia, the rulers had a debate. Is the new prince to be trusted? They didn’t know the prince, and so they refused all the peaceful approaches of the good prince. Then the prince did the only thing he could do, he built an unprecedented wall of opposition to Persia.

    The harsh penalties exacted upon Persia by the good prince had never worked before, and they didn’t work now, but the prince’s penalty program did bear some fruit. Although Persia wasn’t changing its peaceful behavior, a wise analyst said that chances of the whole Persia leadership might change as a result of the good prince’s policies. Imagine that, kiddies! Wow!

    Sure, the Prince’s whole Persian strategy was in tatters, but that was because nasty Persia had rejected the Prince. It wasn’t his fault! And now the whole enemy regime was endangered! Especially since Persia openly repressed its people and also it had a hidden nuclear plant, which the good Prince revealed.

    So the Prince redoubled his efforts to build an opposition to the wicked empire. The Prince did many wonderful things to oppose the empire, marvelous things. They didn’t work either. Now the Prince doesn’t know what to do. Boo-hoo. The end.

    Kiddies, this story was written by Joby Warrick for the Washington Post. It is a fairy tale. Did you like it? Kiddies? Hello!
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obamas-policy-on-iran-bears-some-fruit-but-nuclear-program-still-advances/2012/09/24/f51f9a04-fc21-11e1-a31e-804fccb658f9_story.html

  112. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi:

    The idea of doing nothing in case of an attack by Israel makes no sense to me. This is clearly not statesmanship. No politician would be able to stay in power in Tehran in that event. Doing nothing only encourages more attack, a constant one if you will. why on earth should Israel stop bombing in that event? and by the time Iran is offended enough, per your suggestion, to respond, it might be too late. The only thing that has so far refrained Israel from launching an attack on Iran is the real fear of retaliation. if that option is not taken by Iran, she will be bombed back to the stone age. I think the moment an Israeli airplane entered Iran’s airspace, Iran should start firing missiles to Israel; from Iran, from Lebanon, from Syria, from Iraq,…anywhere possible. Iran can not bank on not responding in case of being attacked. we say in Farsi:
    بالاتر از سیاهی رنگی نیست

    (A beggar can never be bankrupt)

    Leaving NPT on that ground looks absurd. Iran could leave NPT today and the situation will remain the same. There is enough talk of an attack out there already to leave NPT.

    and Israel is already considered an enemy of Islam and Muslims in the Muslim world. it doesn’t really need a Fatwa. I am not sure what Fatwa is used for at all, and who takes it serious. did it have any effect on Iran’s nuclear file? Israel’s enmity toward Islam is a well established fact. probably part of Iran’s greens are among the very few who deny that. anywhere else in the Muslim world Israel is perceived that way. Even that segment of Iran’s greens agree, to some extent, that Israel is an enemy of Muslims. They just pretend she is not an enemy of Iran, i.e. hallucination.

    Hatred toward Israel in the Arab world does not need any elaboration. in places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan…, it’s even worse. no one there holds any positive view for Israel. even in Turkey, the view toward Israel is not positive.

  113. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    “I think the best course action for Iran, however, is to do nothing and use the occasion to leave NPT.”

    What if it’s not a one-off bombing raid? Will you advise Iran to hold off after the second, third, fourth …?

    What is the likelihood that it will be a one-ff especially after leaving NPT?

    If I were the US, I would not bank on limited anything. US should either go for a full-on war, or use her assets to shoot down Israel’s raiding party long before Iranian radars have detected them approaching.

  114. fyi says:

    imho says:

    September 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    It will, just like the one against Mr. Rushdie.

  115. James Canning says:

    David Ignatius of the Washington Post interviewed Ahmadinejad, but in his Sept. 23rd story in the Post fails to mention Iran has once again offered to stop enriching to 20%. What a surprise.

  116. James Canning says:

    Cyrus_2,

    You actually think Iran could leave the NPT and retain a nuclear programme? This approach would virtually guarantee disaster. Preventing an Israeli attack makes far better sense.

  117. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Iran can virtually ensure no Israeli attack merely by stopping the stockpiling of 20 percent U and by underlining its opposition to nukes and its willingness to end production of 20U.

  118. James Canning says:

    Cyrus_2,

    MK Bhadrakumar (AsiaTimes) is mistaken in his apparent belief that Turkey is encouraging Iraqi Kurdistan to secede. Turkey does not want an independent Kurdistan.

  119. BiBiJon says:

    The Mindset: If you can’t rule’em with phantom dreams, try fear of phantom enemies
    ====================================================================

    BBC documentary the power of nightmares http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cHAwbYpRGkQ

  120. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Thanks for linking Gareth Porter’s report, that Iran has again offered to stop enriching to 20%. Sensible offer by Iran, and an essential one as well to enable a deal with the P5+1.

  121. Ataune says:

    Posting again since I think it was forgotten somwhere down the line:

    I don’t believe that the US administration didn’t prepare its homework before taking this decision, assuredly done months ago. I believe though that they will fail this exam because they made one strategic mistake.

    By delisting MEK, US is unveiling to Iran and the world opinion that the only interest they have in this sect is intelligence gathering and operation inside Iran. While the entire issue at hand here is political.

    The political space available for the ideology of the MEK was already narrow. The big shellacking the middle class in Iran will receive after this news will definitely transform this space into thin air. The administration might have thought, when balancing the pros and cons, that this will be a win-win situation for them. Allowing the MEK to be relocated to a friendly country, deflecting any attack on the legality of the contacts with them from now on, training this “army” for the political alternative (to be built) etc… But they certainly failed to understand the negative fallouts of such a move for both the liberal opposition outside and inside Iran, and more importantly the undermining effect to the whole soft ideology that they are promoting in the region. The middle class in Iran never accepted the MEK as a national political force and the opposition, notwithstanding rare occasional flirt, never adopted them as a genuine liberal force. By legalizing the promotion of the MEK the administration has displayed a public support, which has a huge political weigh, behind this force and therefore cut the already shrinking space available for the liberal opposition.

  122. Don Bacon says:

    Foreign Policy, September 19, 2012
    Wait, You Still Don’t Like Us?
    Why the Muslim world hasn’t warmed toward America over the past four years

    Anti-Americanism in the Muslim world, an issue that was front and center throughout much of the George W. Bush era, is squarely back in the news following the protests that swept across more than 20 countries in reaction to a controversial anti-Islam film. . . . Much of this animosity is due to continuing concerns about U.S. power and widespread opposition to major elements of American foreign policy. But it’s not just about the United States — rather, anti-Americanism needs to be seen within a broader context of distrust between Muslims and the West.

    Following his election, Obama made it a priority to change America’s dismal image in the Muslim world. . .But overall, the picture remains grim. In Egypt, for example, despite all the tumult of the revolution, America’s image remains roughly where it was four years ago — then 22 percent expressed a favorable opinion of the United States; in the 2012 poll, it was 19 percent. Among Pakistanis and Jordanians, America’s already poor ratings have declined further since 2008 — in both countries, 19 percent held a positive view of the U.S. four years ago, compared with just 12 percent in 2012.

    America is still seen as ignoring the interests of other countries. Few think Obama has been even-handed in dealing with the Israelis and the Palestinians. And the current administration’s increased reliance on drone strikes to target extremists is overwhelmingly unpopular — more than 80 percent of Jordanians, Egyptians, and Turks oppose the drone campaign
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/19/you_still_don_t_like_us

  123. imho says:

    fyi says:
    September 24, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Problem is I don t think this fatwa would be heard by Sunnis

  124. humanist says:

    A 30 page pdf report by some gurus like Zbigniew Brzezinski, Paul Volcker, Chuck Hagel. It examines the costs / BENEFITs of war with Iran.

    http://www.worldaffairs.org/assets/documents/iranreport_091712r_final.pdf

    A good source for observers studying the American mind-set of those who have resided in high places. Although they conclude ‘War with these bad guys is no good’ is it still tainted with American hubris, superiority complex and other ugly complexes?

    Everyone with a teeny sense of wisdom and/or rationality knows, under present circumstances, war with Iran is absolutely unjustifiable, but do these bunch of deep-thinkers believe almost all preemptive wars with a weaker party are the most heinous form of human barbarity… are grossest form of evil-savagery not comparable with any other types of supreme crime?

  125. Karl.. says:

    What could we expect from the coming speeches by various leaders at the UN this week?

    Will Obama/western states draw a read line? I think they will focus alot on singling out Iran and Syria.

    On wednesday iranian president will speak, obviously we will see the usual walk out by western leaders.

    israeli pm will speak on thursday (which according to themselves will focus 100% on Iran, prepare for myths, propaganda, lies, warmongering).

  126. fyi says:

    Cyrus_2 says:

    September 24, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Yes, after the Israeli attack, the Iranians will be well advised to also issue a Fatwa declaring Israel an enemy of Islam and Muslims.

    This declaration will harm greatly any prospect of Israel having normal relations with Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Khazakhstan etc.

  127. An Iranian View says:

    Ayatollah Khamenei was an Ayatollah well before the revolution. He was a member of the first Assembly of Experts that chooses and removes the leader. In order to stand for election and to be a member of the Assembly, one must be a mujtahed and an Ayatollah is a mujtahed.

  128. Cyrus_2 says:

    From Asia Times (MK Bhadrakumar):

    The biggest beneficiary of this paradigm shift in Middle Eastern politics is going to be Iran. Arguably, we are probably already past the point of an Israeli attack on Iran, no matter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tilting at the windmill. In the prevailing surcharged atmosphere, the Muslim Middle East would explode into uncontrollable violence in the event of an Israeli (or US) attack on Iran.

    In the event of such an attack, Egypt’s Brothers would most probably annul the peace treaty with Israel – and Jordan would be compelled to follow suit; Egypt and Jordan might sever diplomatic ties with Israel. Baghdad is seething with fury that the US and Turkey are encouraging Kurdistan to secede; Lebanon’s Hezbollah has been threatening retribution if Iran is attacked.

    Even more serious than all this put together would be the domino effect of region-wide mayhem on the Arab street on the fate of the oligarchies in the Persian Gulf, which lack legitimacy and are allied with the US – and where the Brothers have been clandestinely operating for decades.

    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NI25Ak02.html

    I tend to agree with this.
    I also agree with fyi when he says that the best thing Iran could to in case of an Israeli attack is to do nothing and to leave the NPT, provided its nuclear facilities aren’t to badly damaged, in which case Iran should retaliate against Dimona.
    When the dust has settled and Iran has quit the NPT, Iran should pursue a policy of nuclear ambiguity but refrain from developing an actual nuclear weapon.

  129. Karl.. says:

    1 step forward, 2 step back in this interview with Obama.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/obama-brushes-off-pressure-to-draw-red-line-on-iran-as-noise-to-block-out

    Obama said that Israel is one of the closest allies at the same time, he call the “red line” argument by Netanyahu, “noise”.

  130. Jay says:

    It is not just American officials (or former officials) who have broken various laws in dealing with designated terror organizations, commercial enterprises have done so as well. For one example, take a look at the piece in Salon.

    From Salon.com published on Sep 7th.
    Begin Quote
    Last week, a person at a Washington think tank was emailed the $10,000-plus-expenses offer to speak at a Geneva event by Lourdes Swarts, managing director of 21st Century Speakers Inc., “on behalf of our client, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Foreign Affairs Committee.”

    The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department, and is described as the “political front” of the MEK.

    The language of the contract indicates Swarts — as well as anyone who agrees to the speaking offer — is breaking the law that bars material support for terrorism, according to Georgetown Law School professor David Cole.

    End Quote

    Such legal designation as “terrorist …” are utilitarian – they are enforceable on an “as needed” basis. There is little concern nowadays in the State or other US establishments with regards to “thumbing their nose” at these laws. The list of domestic and international laws broken by the US over the past 12 years is so large so as to make this new breach with the MEK delisting “a speck” in this context.

    Similarly, an offensive war against Iran will not be held back on the grounds of legality or loss of life.

    The primary repelling factor slowing conflict with Iran remains to be a simple cost-benefit equation that amounts to the downside risk of loss for the rich elite. Iran’s policy of overwhelming economic deterrence (maximizing risk of loss for this rich elite group) is most effective. I expect a continuation and intensification of the strategy by Iranians toward selecting most vulnerable regional economic targets and developing tools and methodologies to inflict maximal global damage in the event of war. Unfortunately for the West, there are many such targets.

  131. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:

    September 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    There is no need for a false-flag operation in the Persian Gulf.

    The scenario Israelis will be following is to attack Iran to gaude her into attacking Israel.

    They will be countring on Iranians to attack both Israel and US assets.

    Even if Iran attacks Israel but refrains from attacking US assets, the Congress of the United States will declare war on Iran.

    Mr. Obama, at that time, could veto the war resolution or go along with it.

    He will not veto it.

    He may decide not to attack Iran or do very little, hoping that US Congress with not impeach him.

    Iranians have the choice of absorbing the Israeli blows and do nothing.

    Or else they can launch attacks on Israel or Israel and US.

    I suspect that in the light of these considerations, Iran will be to launch a response from Syria or Lebanon or both.

    US does not have the assets in place to attack Syria or Lebeanon and that will not gain traction within US.

    I think the best course action for Iran, however, is to do nothing and use the occasion to leave NPT.

  132. fyi says:

    Pirouz says:

    September 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I gather that 5000 out of the 30,000 or so anti-government fighters have been killed.

    I think Iranians will make piou noises about a negogiated settlement etc. but their main aim will be to help Mr. Assad and the Alawite state remian in power.

    Until and unless the Siege War against Iran is ended and the Israelis are contained, Iran will not help usher in a new government in Syria.

    Syria and Lebanon are needed as part of the Iranian defensive strategy; IAF can attack Iran and while they are still over Iran rockets would be falling on Israel from Lebanon and Syria.

    A nasty war that would go on for weeks….

  133. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Don Bacon says:
    September 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    AP, Sep 22, 2012 — A new addition to the Fifth Fleet warships in the Persian Gulf is the USS Ponce. After winning a reprieve from the scrapyard, the USS Ponce was reborn through a rush retrofit earlier this year and turned into a floating base prowling the waters of the Persian Gulf.

    *

    Perfect candidate for a false flag operation, Mr. Dempsey. Watch your right flank, lest it turn on you.

  134. fyi says:

    Irshad says:

    September 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Iranians are smearing both IAEA ans Siemens; the first one in order to build a case for leaving NPT (unless P5+1 take corrective action) and harming the reputation of Siemens.

    [The equipment must have been bought before the latest sanctions. It matters not, all these sabotages etc. are lessons being taught to Iranians.]

    In regards to discovery of the spying equipment; such things have been discovered in Lebanon – almost certainly Iranians were looking for such devices. This discovery was not an accident.

    IRGC head essentially is stating Iran is ready for attack by Israel. I expect once Israelis attack, Iranian retaliation will come from Lebanon and Syria.

    Turley must have expelled the Syrians; the war has been going badly for the anti-Government forces.

    Delisting of MEK – the leaders of US are out of touch with reality of the world that they are operating; hubris and ignorance.

    I personally do not expect any war; I expect BN to be removed from power before that happens.

    A grave and serious injustice is being perpetrated against Iran by US, EU, Russia, India, and China. Iranian people will have work very very hard for the next few years to overcome this injustice.

    My trust is in the Unknown-and-Unknowable Powers of the Universe; a.k.a. God.

  135. fyi says:

    James Carrol says:

    September 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    The Ayatollah title is not akin to an earned degree; it is a sign of respect for one’s learning in the Religious Sciences of Islam as well as, at times, an acknowledgement of one’s piety by others.

    In my opinion, both Mr. Rafsanjani and Mr. Khamenei are deserving of such a title due to their contributions in advancing the political cause of Isalm. Certainly they are more deserving than another Hojjat Al Islam who produces yet another useless tract on the Zakat of a three-year-old female camel.

  136. Don Bacon says:

    The U.S. would have to do this again if it wants war.

    BBC, Mar 17, 2003
    Inspectors urged to leave Iraq
    UN weapons inspectors say they have been warned by the United States to start leaving Iraq in what is seen as the clearest sign yet that war is imminent.

    Several countries announced the closure of embassies in Iraq on Monday, while others ordered non-essential diplomats and other staff to leave the region.

    Only hours earlier, US President George W Bush set a fresh deadline for the UN Security Council to sanction the use of force to disarm Iraq. But despite the renewed pressure, there are no signs so far that either France or Russia – which have both threatened to use their veto – intend to change tack.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2856647.stm

    Operation Iraq Freedom has been called America’s largest foreign policy blunder, and a fiasco, and millions of Iraqis (still alive) agree with that.

  137. Don Bacon says:

    @ BBJ
    There are several US terrorist lists. Of course they don’t include US and Israeli terrorists, or those of any allies of them, but only anti-West fighters.

    The US is killing terrorists all the time, including children. They used to kill suspected terrorists, but according to government press releases they don’t do that any more. Some suspected terrorists are captured, imprisoned and tortured, others are killed as terrorists.

    Treasury
    Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN)
    http://www.treasury.gov/ofac/downloads/sdnlist.txt
    State
    Foreign Terrorist Organizations List (FTOs)
    47 organizations
    http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm
    State
    Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL)
    59 organizations
    http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/other/des/123086.htm
    President
    Executive Order 13224
    27 organizations & individuals
    http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/other/des/122570.htm
    FBI Most Wanted Terrorists
    29 individuals
    http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/terrorists/fugitives.htm

    As I have commented before, there are no Iranians on any of these lists. Not one. The US position is that Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. There’s a reluctance to name Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, among others.

  138. Don Bacon says:

    @James Carroll
    I say. take them out now while it is still doable.

    You’re living in a fantasy world with thoughtless juvenile talk. It’s NOT doable, or the US would’ve done it (or tried). Iran can not be “taken out” any more than Iraq and Afghanistan were “taken out” and Iran is at least an order of magnitude more powerful than those two.

  139. Don Bacon says:

    AP, Sep 22, 2012 — A new addition to the Fifth Fleet warships in the Persian Gulf is the USS Ponce. After winning a reprieve from the scrapyard, the USS Ponce was reborn through a rush retrofit earlier this year and turned into a floating base prowling the waters of the Persian Gulf. It is now getting its biggest workout since refurbishment as the centerpiece for sweeping anti-mine naval exercises under way that serve as a very public warning to Iran.

    “Any extremist group, any country that puts mines in the water would be cautioned” by the exercises, said Marine Gen. James R. Mattis, the U.S. Central Command chief, during his first visit onboard the Ponce since it deployed June 1. “We do have the means to take mines out of the water if they go in. We will open the waterways to freedom of navigation.” Military leaders believe the Norfolk, Va.-based Ponce is central to that mission. More than half the length of most U.S. aircraft carriers, the Ponce can accommodate multiple helicopters on deck and small boats in a well deck below.
    http://news.yahoo.com/us-navys-floating-gets-workout-gulf-182615499.html

    I don’t doubt that the Ponce’s GPS coordinates, updated as necessary, have been dialed into the inertial guidance systems of several Iranian cruise missiles. So much for the Ponce being central to the mission and freedom of navigation.

  140. BiBiJon says:

    Another casualty of the decision may be the credibility of the FTO list itself
    ============================================================================

    Mila Johns, a researcher at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland:

    “The entire atmosphere around the MEK’s campaign to be removed from the FTO list – the fact that (former) American government officials [1] were allowed to actively and openly receive financial incentives to speak in support of an organisation that was legally designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization [2], without consequence – created the impression that the list is essentially a meaningless political tool,” she told IPS.

    “It is hard to imagine that the FTO designation holds much legitimacy within the international community when it is barely respected by our own government,” she said.

    From http://www.lobelog.com/u-s-to-take-iran-anti-regime-group-off-terrorism-list/

    [1] http://www.salon.com/2012/03/28/guest_op_ed_mek_and_its_material_supporters_in_washington/

    [2] http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2009/RAND_MG871.sum.pdf

  141. Irshad says:

    UU,

    I am happy to hear that you have set up your own blog site – the more Iranian’s that run their own blog site’s and show the world what things are really like inside Iran the better. At least then people can go to such sites for information rather then having to swallow the crap thats on MSM and associated sites!

    One site I think is very good in this regard is:

    http://therealamirtaheri.blogspot.co.uk/

    I am wondering, if possible, if you can do something on the Sunni population living in Iran, as there is so much crap out there?

    Anyway, all the best! (I look forward to the day when fyi sets one up!)

  142. James Carrol says:

    The fake Ayatollah was promoted to the top post after ONE YEAR of traning by a noted cleric whot Tehran is now pushing to take over in Najaf after Sistani passes. Khameini was a politico, that’s it. In- fact if the late Ayatollah Montazeri hadnt renounced Khomeinism he would have been the Grand Ayatollah.
    Iran’s Shiism is akin to its brethren Slafiism in their racism and yes, Imperializm. They believ that the whole region must be in-thrall to Islam and after they are done with that, expand their reign, the Caliph.
    .I say. take them out now while it is still doable. And if our friends the MEK are put in-charge in Tehran, even better!

  143. Irshad says:

    Does anyone know what’s going on:

    1. Dr Abbasi (head of AEOI) revealing powerlines been sabotaged by explosives to Fordow and IAEA inspectors then turning up the next day for “snap inspections”.

    2. Chairman of Iran’s Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi, telling the media that nuclear equipment sold to Iran by Siemens was laden with explosives, designed to sabotage Iran’s nuclear programme – I thought it was illegal for any country EU country to supply anything that may help its nuclear programme so why is Siemens still selling?

    3. IRGC discovered electronic monitoring device, designed as a rock near Fordow

    4. Head of IRGC saying war is inevitable but doesn’t know when and where it will happen

    5. USofA delisting MEK as a terrorist organisation

    6. The so called FSA moving their command from Turkey in to Syria

    I am trying to connect all the dots and see what picture is emerging. I am sure something is up, as Iran has revealed a lot over the last week or so re: attacks on its Nuclear programme – is this part of the ongoin media war – if yes, for what purpose?

  144. brian says:

    Amazing what elected regimes can accomplish,…since US claims to be a democracy, did Killery get permission from the voting public to delist a terrorist group?

  145. Castelliio says:

    James Carrol writes: “The Islamic-Nazi regime of Khamenini is an imperializt Racist Anti-semitic regime that is racing furiousely to obtain a Nuke.”

    Maybe you’d like to substantiate any of the words you use? Other than Islamic, they all appear seriously misused.

    Perhaps you meant to say, the anti-democratic regime of Netanyahu leads an expansionist, racist, apartheid state which, already nuclear armed, seeks to destroy the Iranian state by provoking a war between it and the United States, as it did in similar fashion successfully seek to destroy Iraq, and as it has, itself, destroyed Palestine, and as it has sought to destroy or wound through militarily attack, on numerous occasions, its other neighbours, including Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

    Now that paragraph can be historically substantiated in a very straight-forward manner.

    But I doubt very much if history interests you.

  146. Castelliio says:

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2012/09/washpost-soft-core-propaganda-on-iran.html

    From Pat Lang “The Washington Post chose to publish such a propaganda piece with the obvious goal of undermining the president of the United States and supportiing a foreign political leader. I fear for October.”

  147. Don Bacon says:

    @James Carrol
    Ok, So Let’s see: 1.Poor Iranian Fascist government led . . .

    Have you had that vision problem for a long time, or is it recent? Here, I’ll help you see correctly.

    * Iran is not fascist; it does not leave nominal ownership of the means of production in the hands of private individuals while exercising control by means of regulatory legislation and reaping most of the profit by means of heavy taxation.
    * Seyed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is not a “fake Ayatollah” — In 1989 he received the title of “Ayatollah” from the Theological School of Qom; and on June of same year, by the death of Ayatollah Khomeini’s, he was elected Vali-e Faqih (Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic) by the majority of votes of the Assembly of Experts.
    * Iran is not antisemitic, evidenced by the 25,000 Jews who live in Iran and resist Isreali inducements to leave, the only Jewish community living under an Islamic regime.
    * There is no evidence that Iran is “racing furiousely to obtain a Nuke,” in fact all the intelligence agencies in the US and Israel claim that Iran has no nuclear weapons program.
    * There is no way that a ridiculous religious cult like the MEK could ever form a government, particularly in Iran where it is despised as a former enemy of the country.

  148. James Canning says:

    James Carrol,

    Why do you challenge the religious credentials of Khamenei? On what basis?

  149. James Canning says:

    James Carroll,

    The Iranian government is “imperialist”? What territories is Iran seeking to annex, in your view?

  150. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Carrol says:
    September 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

    The hasbara trolls are getting more and more illiterate. I don’t know if that is good or bad.

  151. Don Bacon says:

    @Karl
    Mursi recognize Iran’s importance.- Mohamed Mursi described Iran as “a main player in the region that could have an active and supportive role in solving the Syrian problem

    This recognition has its limits. Iran’s nine-point proposal to solve the Syrian crisis has no support yet from the other three members of Morsi’s quartet – Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

    Egypt’s position is different from that of Iran. President Morsi has repeatedly emphasized that there is no solution that doesn’t involve Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leaving office. This is a position shared by other Arab countries and by the Syria opposition.

  152. James Carrol says:

    Ok, So Let’s see:
    1.Poor Iranian Fascist government led by a fake Ayatollah has no interest in Nukes and is in-fact a peace-loving country?
    Is this nonsence being posted by Iranian spys? The Islamic-Nazi regime of Khamenini is an imperializt Racist Anti-semitic regime that is racing furiousely to obtain a Nuke.
    Hopefully the USA and/or ISrael attacks and stops this insanity beofre it gets to the end game.
    The MEK is an ally and will serve as a great government in Iran after we topple this Islamo-Nazi regime.

  153. Karl.. says:

    Mursi recognize Iran’s importance.


    Mohamed Mursi described Iran as “a main player in the region that could have an active and supportive role in solving the Syrian problem

    news.yahoo.com/egypts-mursi-says-iran-vital-ending-syrias-crisis-005655915.html

  154. A concerned world citizen says:

    One can always count on the US to make stupid move..What else do people expect when US foreign policy is run by people with DUAL NATIONALITY(Israelis) in the state department?

    On thing for sure, this won’t end well for the US and will have very negative consequences for decades to come.

    And for those here fronting for the MEK and their supposed “popularity” in Iran, I’m not too sure you know what you’re talking about.

    These traitors were used by Saddam to hunt/murder Iraqi Kurds – most of them fled to Iran for refuge.The IRGC have a long history of dealing with these scumbags and they know how to handle them. They can target them in their Iraqi camps if they decide to.

    A classic case on how NOT to win friends and allies.

  155. Neil M says:

    It’s all too easy to forget that Iran has had 24 (and counting) years to make itself an unattractive target for USraeli military aggression. Syria achieved this status in fewer than 4 years – measured from the sneak attack by Israel on its suspected nuclear facility in 2008.
    The Iranians aren’t as stupid as the “Israelis” would like us to believe.

  156. fyi: “This is progress – I guess; US admitting to Iran that violent war is not in the cards.”

    I see no evidence of any such admission. And Iran would be stupid to believe it even if there was one. Also Dempsey is NOT running the US…he’s an errand boy.

    “In the event of Israeli attack on Iran, I expect Iran to refrain from attacking US assets or non-belligerent allies.”

    And you don’t see any advantage to the US in getting Iran to believe that? If Iran is stupid enough to actually believe it, which I’m certain they won’t.

    One of the main strategic reasons the US does not want Israel to attack Iran first is that it puts US assets, especially the Navy vessels currently inside the Persian Gulf, at significant risk. The US will only attack Iran once its major vessels in the Gulf have been removed to the Arabian Sea to conduct operations outside the range of Iranian cruise missiles. If Israel gives the US only four hours notice of an Israeli strike – which is what has been reported is Israel’s position – this places all US vessels in the Gulf at immediate risk of being attacked at Iran’s initiative.

    While the people running the US don’t really give a rat’s ass about US military personnel, I doubt they want a US aircraft carrier sunk just to get the war started. Netanyahu, of course, couldn’t care less and the Pentagon knows it.

    Bush and Cheney wanted Israel to start the war so Bush wouldn’t be blamed for starting yet another war over the two he already started. With Obama as President, that motivation has been removed or modified. What Obama wants is to have the US attack Iran, but to do so on his timetable, not Israel’s.

    What he explicitly wants is a means of getting IRAN to start the war on some pretext, so neither he nor Israel will be blamed for it. I expect that he intends to do this by imposing a naval blockade on Iran’s oil exports under the guise that this is somehow “legal” under his unilateral sanctions regime. Thus, when Iran necessarily retaliates by closing the Strait of Hormuz, he can blame Iran for “forcing” the US to respond militarily by forcibly engaging Iranian mine layers and naval forces which inevitably will escalate to full scale war.

  157. fyi: “They have made the acquisition of nuclear weapons (or at least the ability to quickly do so) essential for Iranian security…”

    Fortunately the Iranian leadership does not agree with you. They have ZERO interest in nuclear weapons AND even the capability of doing so and have zero ability to either acquire (during war time, at least) or use them even if they did acquire them and have repeatedly said so.

  158. Kathleen: “what other choice do I have?”

    As we anarchists say, “Don’t vote – it only encourages them”…

    Only if one can vote “None of the Above” is voting at all rational…

    In any event, it’s probably irrelevant. Romney sank his campaign this week after leaks of his elite mind-set got out in public. Obama is a likely shoe-in at this point.

    The only question is whether Netanyahu will attack Iran in an attempt to derail Obama. I doubt it because the strategic issue of Syria and Hizballah has not been resolved. Netanyahu can’t really afford to alienate not only his entire military and intelligence apparatus (who want the US to attack Iran and get blamed for it, not Israel) and the Israeli electorate who will sit in bomb shelters for most of every day for months while the Israeli economy evaporates, and who will subsequently vote him out of office.

  159. “In the 1990s, similar enthusiasm for Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress—who were about as unpopular among Iraqis as the MEK is among Iranians—led to President Clinton’s signing of the Iraq Liberation Act, which paved the way for George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. The chances for such a scenario to play out with regard to Iran over the next few years—with even more disastrous consequences for America’s strategic and moral standing—got a lot higher today.”

    The Leveretts are right to make this point. Just as the progress to war with Iraq took years to complete, so, too, the progress towards war with Iran has taken years – and may take several more years – to complete.

    Thus, the presumption of fools that war will never happen because it has not happened YET is just that – foolish.

    They are also correct that it once again proves that Obama is a President who has no intention of “walking back” the anti-Iran war rhetoric or of pursuing some sort of “diplomatic” solution to the Iran issue. As usual, he is doubling down on a failed and corrupt policy, just as he did in Afghanistan and as he has done with Iran continuously for the last four years. We can expect the same in the next four. The end result of that policy can only be war.

    By the way, the US Senate just approved a resolution prohibiting the US from pursuing a “containment policy” for Iran. However, this is mostly irrelevant since we know both that Iran has no intention of producing nuclear weapons and that the US never had any intention of “containing” Iran – the goal is war and war only.

  160. Pirouz says:

    1) The NAM summit and declaration in Tehran is seen as a setback to Western cold war goals against Iran. Reaction has come in the form of Canada severing diplomatic relations and now this.

    3) By now most of even the deniers in the Beltway can see that the real change brought about by OIF has been for Iran and Iraq to become not quite but close to a Shia superstate, which is a major setback for U.S.
    goals in the region. Obviously undermining the Shia majority in Iraq is a very tall order, so the recourse is to forcibly knock Syria out from the resistance camp.

    2) Thus the hot battleground by proxy for this cold war is Syria. Proxy forces are marshaled by all sides. There are the Salafis and secular elements of the FSyA on the one side, and the SyA and Alawite paramilitary on the other. Now, MEK will be empowered to provide terror strikes and intelligence inside Iran. It’s escalation upon escalation.

    For those of us seeking conflict resolution between the United States and Islamic Republic of Iran, this latest policy move represents a very real setback. But then we can’t claim we’re surprised by any of this, can we?

  161. Kathleen says:

    Urme you say that many people in Iran support the MEK. How have you come to such a conclusion? And clearly the overthrow of the Iranian government is just what Israel, the I lobby, Obama and Clinton have in mind

  162. Don Bacon says:

    I discern two major points on MEK from the Leveretts.

    1. De-listing the MEK is a huge strategic and policy blunder by the U.S.
    The concocted “Iran crisis” is largely a propaganda war, a struggle for world opinion. Iran is winning this war, e.g. in NAM, and this move will boost that approval of Iran. As fyi comments, Iran will be able to use it any moment it chooses to “as another example of US-EU perfidy across the globe.”

    2. Congress will now be able to fund MEK.
    Congress has been funding anti-Iran activities for fifty years. Regarding the MEK in Iraq, please read on.

    The top U.N. rep in Iraq, Tahar Boumedra, who served in Iraq for three and one half years, recently resigned over the harsh treatment of MEK terrorists at Camp Ashraf, and now most of them have been moved from excellent facilities at Ashraf to poor facilities at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad.

    The 3,000 MEK members face further harsh treatment at Liberty, with, according to one critic, “the evident intention that people will lose their will to remain at Camp Liberty and ask to depart, even without gaining refugee status or a host country destination.”

    The U.N. has interviewed about 90 Liberty residents but has yet to find any countries that will take them. “We are in dire need of countries coming forward to offer their help,” Gyorgy Busztin, deputy U.N. envoy to Iraq, told the diplomats. Upwards of 200 people believed by Iran to be the leaders among this population will face criminal prosecution by Iraq and likely transfer to Iran.

    RAND published a study three years ago, including (p. 49):
    “Each MeK member who has been granted amnesty by the IRI should be repatriated to Iran, unless there is a demonstrable risk that he or she will be persecuted there. To date, however, there is no evidence that Iran has failed to honor its offer of amnesty for the former MeK members who have already returned to the country.

    “Particular attention should be given to the approximately 70 percent of the Camp Ashraf population that joined the MeK after the group relocated to Iraq. A substantial number of these MeK members were lured to Iraq under false pretenses or did not have a clear understanding of the group’s goals and methods of operation—particularly with respect to its cult behavior—and many have been forced to remain against their will. Repatriation will give these individuals a chance to restart their lives away from the MeK’s cult-driven control. The alternative might be a lifetime of statelessness.”
    http://www.niacouncil.org/site/DocServer/RAND_MG871.pdf?docID=941

    And regarding stupid US policies, don’t miss this from RAND.
    “. . .Therefore, beginning in October 2004, coalition forces agreed to escort the MeK to Baghdad and to Iraqi port cities to obtain the goods it needed. However, those escort missions have resulted in the deaths of 14 U.S. soldiers, and at least another 60 have been injured by IEDs.” -p. 46

  163. fyi says:

    Fillmore Hagan says:

    September 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Evidently General Dempsey communicated to Dr. Jalili last Monday when they were both in Ankara that US cannot constrain Israel and she may attack Iran inspite of US advice to the contrary.

    Likely, General Dempsey also conveyed Mr. Obama’s desire to avoid a war with Iran.

    This is progress – I guess; US admitting to Iran that violent war is not in the cards.

    In the event of Israeli attack on Iran, I expect Iran to refrain from attacking US assets or non-belligerent allies.

    Between Now and November 6-th of this year is the least worst time for Israel to attack Iran – economic pain is at its highest levels in Iran and US president is not yet (re-)elected.

  164. Neil M says:

    @ James Canning.

    I’m quite certain it was whimsical.
    I don’t think it’s about The Lobby (which has already dug it’s own grave) either.
    It’s all about feeding the myth that what “America” thinks matters.
    The motivation is succinctly explained by the last line in A A Milne’s poem Sneezles (from Now We Are Six).
    “Now how to amuse them today!”

    The US of A is in steep decline and in such desperate need of dozens of diversionary ‘talking points’ that it (apparently) no longer matters how asinine any individual diversion may be.

  165. Karl.. says:

    James,

    US nor Israel accept a nuclear program at all in Iran, why do you come here arguing about uranium percentage? Dont you understand how flawed that view is? The problem isnt that Iran enrich at 20% for the US/Israel, rather the argument is the impossible prove-a-negative argument that Iran may have secret facilities – this is an argument that could go on in infinity. Dont you read the articles by Leveretts at all? There is no “nuclear” issue, its a Islamic republic of Iran-issue.

    The delisting today was another obvious sign that the solution only involves war and hostility, not diplomacy and recognition of each other as sovereign states with interests.

  166. Fillmore Hagan says:

    Top Iranian general says aggression by Israel/US now a real possiblity.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/09/22/262950/war-with-iran-will-eventually-happen/

    Ths is a big change from the previous line that Israel’s war threats were a bluff

  167. Fiorangela says:

    Don Bacon, Your optimism seems to be premised on the belief that the entire population of MEK resides in Camp Ashraf.

    I’m by no means an expert on MEK — very far from it — but I do believe MEK has major assets in France; MEK has members who apparently still reside and blend into the general population in Iran, that Israel (and likely USA) use to carry out subversion and assassinations within Iran.

    In hearings before a State Department subcommittees, Jeff Feltman made oblique references to “NGOs and others in Iran that we fund and work with.” I don’t think Feltman was talking about NGOs that teach basketweaving. That’s not PROOF that Feltman works with MEK, but the pattern of Feltman’s activities suggest it is a reasonable speculation.

    Finally, MEK has an influential presence in Washington, DC. MEK advocates hold periodic protest demonstrations in front of the White House, where perhaps 300 or 400 yello-shirt-clad, banner-carrying persons demonstrate on behalf of MEK. Of course, there was the series of gatherings of high-profile and big-bucks supporters who held conferences at high-end hotels in France (iirc) and at the Willard in Washington, DC (the Willard is the flagship Marriott hotel; Willard was a Mormon). I am making two insinuations here, which may not be justified but should be subjected to scrutiny:
    1. there are serious financial/business concerns who are using MEK to gain a toehold in Iranian business/economy just as Feith & Marc Zell attempted to use Chalabi to gain business advantages in Iraq;

    and 2. Mormon missionary networks should not escape notice. The first encounter an American government had with Iranians involved extricating Christian missionaries from a complicated mess they had gotten themselves into. Unitarian ministers (of all people) were among the first to help Wild Bill Donovan, then head of OSS, set up spy networks in Nazi Germany that formed the core of what became CIA. A central activity of Mormons is missionary service; Romney spent several years as a missionary in France. Missionary service in foreign lands gives access to micro-level information on business opportunities, government bureaucrats, etc. It’s a tremendous source for information-gathering, the mother’s milk of high-stakes investing.

    In a number of televised hearings chaired by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, MEK members (or at least identified as such) were seated on the main floor of the hearing room, identified by yellow shirts. Ros-Lehtinen recognized them as MEK and pledged to support their activities.

  168. fyi says:

    All:

    No deal with P5+1 that could be acceptable to a responsible Iranian government is currently possible.

    May be after the end of Siege War (2018) and the War for Syria; but I doubt that personally.

    What the P5+1 states have the have achieved is increased Iranian strategic insecurity.

    They have made the acquisition of nuclear weapons (or at least the ability to quickly do so) essential for Iranian security (in addition to 1998 explosions of India and Pakistan).

    No deal with P5+1 is in the cards anytime soon.

  169. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You claim Russia “cannot move forward” in its policy toward Iran. Meaning? In fact, Russia continues to seek an end to Iranian enrichment to 20, and P5+1 acceptance of Iranian enrichment to 5 or lower. Correct?

  170. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Don,
    A couple of tidbits for your amusement:

    When the American’s attacked Iraq, all the senior monafeq leaders from Ashraf fled to Jordan…except the financial head who “fled” to Tehran…

    For nearly a decade, the main liason officer between monafeqeen and western intelligence agencies was an Iranian double agent…boy were they pissed when he turned up in Tehran…

    And so on and so forth…

  171. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Are you encouraging Iran to refuse to make a deal with the P5+1, even if they accept Iran’s enriching to 5% or lower?

    You should read Rory Stewart’s comments in the Financial Times this weekend, regarding why Nato needs to end its mission in Afghanistan. Nato actually will benefit from ending most of the military operation in that country. An end to it certainly does not argue for Iran’s spurning the P5+1.

  172. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    September 22, 2012 at 10:51 am

    In addition to comments by Don Bacon says @ September 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm, there is this:

    The United States picks and chooses terrorists; even those with American blood on their hands.

    Likewise for EU.

    Iranian Government will show-case this as another example of US-EU perfidity across the globe.

    Iranian government also will make the case that is another instance of US-EU in destroying the Islamic Republic.

    This is all excellent propaganda for Iranians as we shall see in the coming days, weeks, and months.

  173. James Canning says:

    Neil M.,

    Was Obama’s decision to de-list the MEK “whimsical”? Or was it a calculated move intended to appease the ISRAEL LOBBY?

  174. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The National Defense University study you linked states that: “Most Russian experts now believe that Iran is advancing toward a military nuclear weapons program. . .” Clearly, Iran’s stockpiling of 20% U helps foster this belief.

  175. Karl.. says:

    Urme,

    Thats strange since every other source says different.

    Of Iran’s population of over 70 million, how many did you talk to giving support to such a revolution?
    50 million?
    10 million?
    3 millions?
    200?
    10 people?

  176. Neil M says:

    Obama’s whimsical delisting of MEK seems as eerily inept a decision as any made by Bush II. Assad has already granted Syria’s Kurds nominal independence and this decision is a de facto endorsement of a policy which could ultimately draw Iran, Iraq and Turkey into close cooperation on their Kurdish Problem.
    Someone should take Obama aside and explain the K.I.S.S principle to him – again.

  177. Don Bacon says:

    @billyzand
    “errr…where exactly is the bright side here?”

    To repeat, I gave you three reasons:
    1. Iran will benefit because this action will portray the United States as an enemy of the Iranian people, according to Trita Parsi.
    2. Ros-Lehtinen wanted the MEK to stay at Ashraf but they’re being moved.
    3. Iran has exhibited considerable influence on Iraq in this matter.

    This is a tempest in a teapot because in addition to the above three reasons, these people will be under the total control of Iran/Iraq at Camp Liberty in the interior of Iraq, and powerless, and if they are are allowed to seek refuge in another country then, because they are a cult, they will be separated and will lose power. Maryam Rajavi won’t be able to control them. Their vows of celibacy and other controls will be ineffective.

    According to an ex-member pf MEK, the leaders of MEK cult have followed the policy of disintegration of families to gain full control on their members. The doors of “Ashraf Campus” in Iraq have been closed to the families who come from all over the world to visit their loved ones for very long time and the MEK leader forbade the basic visitation rights for its members’ family. Moving would cancel these controls. Also Iran will know exactly where they are if they do move to another country, and after all what could they do.

    This event has received zero coverage in the Iran press. Why should we be concerned? Iran has it under control, as in other matters.

  178. imho says:

    They will be “used” in the same way as US uses Al Qeada, Salafis, Jihadis and so on, some more mercenaries for the front line. This is the Obama style war. They will soon be called freedom fighters and will be sent to Syria, Iraq and Iran, adding to the instability.
    I wonder what is the calculation for do it now, while Obama had a good chance to be reelected.
    But this move is not only useless, it is stupid alienating most ordinary Iranians that hate this group.

  179. urme says:

    I lives in Iran for my whole life until 4 years ago to study. All the comments on here are generally incorrect. The Iran people do not hate the MEK like you make it sound. In fact, there has been talk for years of a MEK revolution. We cannot comment publicly about out support of the MEK because people fear our leaders in Iran. A close family member has heard talk of a possible overthrow within Iran army and perhaps plans are in the works for a US/MEK takeover of Iran.

    The point I make is that, many welcome the MEK but fear the current government in Iran to speak out.

  180. Karl.. says:

    fyi,

    Could you, unless you are ironic, tell us more precise how this is good news?

  181. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    September 22, 2012 at 3:58 am

    That is not in the cards; the Iranian Nuclear file is past the possibility of resolution.

    Iranians are going their way and the P5+1 theirs.

    Iranians believe that they do not need to make any concessions; there is nothing to gain for them; specially now that they are prevailing in Syria and NATO is finished in Afghanistan.

    US & EU – the Axis Powers – are hoping that their combined Siege War against Iran will break Iran’s back.

    Russia has reached the end of her Iran policy; she cannot move forward in any direction.

    And Chinese do not see any need for change.

  182. Kathleen says:

    Thought for a couple of weeks I might get out and do some hours for Obama based on looking like he was standing up a bit to the I lobby and Israel. Like I said that feeling last for about 2 weeks. I put in literally hundreds of hours in for him not based on him so much had watched him in the Senate he seemed like a fence sitter on way too many issues. Too strategic. Not enough backbone. But no way was I working for voting for Hillary after she knowingly voted for the Iraq war resolution. (Durbin’s no voted should have been a clue Hillary)

    So here he is with Biden (who voted for the Iraq war resolution) with policies similar to the Bush administrations in that part of the world and what other choice do I have?

  183. billyzand says:

    @Don Bacon

    errr…where exactly is the bright side here? Sure, getting the people out of camp Asraf is a good theing, but it’s not related to the status and activities of the MEK. How does slimimg Parsi benefit you, or anyone else?

  184. Karl.. says:

    Amazing.

    Seriously. Is there any idea to proceed nuclear talks for Iran? This latest act by the US are just the nail in the coffin.

  185. Kathleen says:

    So Israel has been working with MEK for quite awhile and MEK has been on the U.S. terrorist list for quite awhile. Israel is an ally(how does that go with allies like this who needs enemies)with the U.S. So when a stated ally of the U.S. works with or hires groups on the U.S. terrorist list what would have been the appropriate action by the U.S. towards Israel? And will taking MEK off the U.S. terrorist list now retroactively excuse Israel from any consequences (as if there were to be some consequences) for working with MEK in the past?

  186. Fiorangela says:

    In the face of the assassination of a US diplomat, is the US State Department being held hostage? What other way to explain State Dept acquiescence to empowering an assassination squad — MEK– than as submission to blackmail?

  187. paul says:

    What is even more shocking, in a way, is that Obama’s peaceloving lefty and ‘progressive’ supporters will hail this as yet another brilliant move by Obama to stave off war, yet another example of his wonderful realpolitik.

  188. ToivoS says:

    Kooshy I do think you are correct. I often have a sense of the power struggles that go on in Washington. It appeared over the last 6 months that the realists were gaining the upper hand. This recognition of the MEK has come as a surprise. The forces for war in Washington have pulled off a victory for their side. I suspect that they do realize that they have undermined the Green revolution folks, as you mentioned, and have just consolidated the power of the Islamists.

    The next time MEK carries out a terror attack inside Iran it will be much easier to blame the US. This will obviously increase the danger of full scale war between the US and Iran. The current Islamist regime has displayed tremendous restraint but there will come a time when more militant types gain the upper hand and succeed in provoking the US into attacking.

  189. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Flynt-san and Hillary-san ask, “Since when did murdering unarmed civilians (and, in some instances, members of their families as well) on public streets in the middle of a heavily populated urban area (Tehran) not meet even the U.S. government’s own professed standard for terrorism?”

    Since the time the perps were doing Uncle Weasel’s bidding, silly. You should be lauding your president for supporting his troops for a change. Now they can get VA cards, inshallah, so these good troopers can milk that little sucker and sink the USS Titanic even more into bankruptcy. But that’s OK, because the “?nternational” bankers are milking the sovereign debt gravy train with one hand and chugging at a snifter of Kool-Aid with the other [and as if that wasn't enough mixed metaphors for you] …while the lemmings follow the pied piper off the cliff.

  190. fyi says:

    All:

    This would be, with metaphysical certainity, excellent news for Iran.

    Yet again the 12-th Imam strikes.

  191. kooshy says:

    By all accounts based on numerous available facts in this last 60 years of world history there has never been any terrorist organization larger and more organized than the US government and its consecutive ruling administrations. This includes not only militaristic terrorism but also economic and social terrorism. That said, this new action by US government will perfectly match message of a Persian proverb which translates like this: “who’s insane and mad becomes joyous when sees one like self”

  192. kooshy says:

    For sure this probably is the best policy US could adopt if she really wants to put the final nail in hearts and minds of few supporters she still has among the northern Tehran’s green crowd.

    Good Job US you really have lost it, I for one am glad to see the only shining light on the hill is deeming faster than I ever expected, may be soon someone with a flash light will walk up this hill to change the burned out bulb.

  193. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Flynt-san,
    you forgot to mention MEK is the same group that is responsible for killing of Americans in Iran as well. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/09/state-department-officially-removing-mek-us-terror-list
    This move solidifies the notion that US wants to remove any restrictions to funding a terrorist group without having to worry about the ramifications of US laws. Not that it (the laws) ever stopped them before (remember the contras).

    UU/KU/CMI/SB/ADB,
    Phew. Kashf-e hejab NOT kafsh-e hejab. For a minute I thought you were talking about the ladies that beat up on the akhund.

  194. James Canning says:

    Obama’s blunder in delisting the MEK is regrettable.

  195. James Canning says:

    Who takes credit for this act of stupidity? Israel lobby.

  196. ToivoS says:

    The hypocrisy of “terrorist” designations is well known by now. One of the worse examples before this was the US reaction to the anti-Castro Cubans who placed a bomb on a civilian airliner in 1977 killing all on board. It was the worse terrorist attack on civilian aircraft up to that time. Today one of the terrorist, Posada, is enjoying his retirement in Miami and the US refuses to extradite him to Venezuela (where the bomb was assembled and placed on the airliner). Posada also happened to be working for the CIA at that time.

    This is American justice at work.

  197. Don Bacon says:

    Let’s look on the bright side.

    1. Trita Parsi doesn’t like it.
    Sep 21, 2012 – Iran may seek to exploit the decision, said Trita Parsi, president of the Chicago-based National Iranian-American Council. “This is not a positive development in any way, shape or form, and I am very fearful that the Iranian government will significantly benefit from this,” Parsi said in an interview today. “It gives them an opportunity to portray the United States as an enemy of the Iranian people by cozying up” to a group that is “widely disliked by the Iranian public.”
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-09-21/clinton-said-to-plan-removing-mek-from-terrorism-list

    2. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen didn’t get her way.
    Aug. 3, 2012 “That is why we are demanding, and demanding and demanding that our State Department take action in a very humanitarian way to let the residents of Camp Liberty refurbish their own facilities and make sure that we do not continue with this forced relocation of the Camp Ashraf residents that has been their home for a long time. .So we in Congress are committed to doing everything we can to ensure humanitarian treatment for the residents of Camp Liberty, to stop further relocation from the residents of Camp Ashraf, to work with our international partners to see where we can find a place, a country that can accept these freedom seekers. And these are very peaceful individuals.”
    http://tinyurl.com/cgdlv62

    3. According to “Ambassador” Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., testifying to the HFAC on Sep 13, Iran had considerable influence with Iraq on this matter.
    “Let us be clear about what Mr. Boumedra [who resigned from UNAMI over this] has told us: the Prime Minister of Iraq, with Iran’s encouragement and assistance, has made it a matter of public record that the government’s policy is to make life unbearable for the Iranian exile population, with the evident intention that people will lose their will to remain at Camp Liberty and ask to depart, even without gaining refugee status or a host country destination. Upwards of 200 people believed by Iran to be the leaders among this population will face criminal prosecution by Iraq and likely transfer to Iran.”
    http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/112/HHRG-112-FA17-WState-BloomfieldL-20120913.pdf