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The Race for Iran

Flynt Leverett on the Real Drivers of Anti-American Protests in the Arab and Muslim Worlds


Flynt appeared on Al Jazeera’s Inside Story late last week to discuss “What Is Fueling Anti-American Protests?” across the Muslim world, see here.  He also taped a video, posted on the Web sites for Penn State’s School of International Affairs and Dickinson School of Law, on the same subject, see here

As Hillary noted in one of her media appearances last week, see here, Americans “have not even begun to grapple with the enormity of the challenge we face [in the Middle East] as countries become more politically participatory, and people have a voice.”  In his appearances, Flynt examined some of the reasons for Americans’ reluctance in this regard.  As he explained on the Penn State video,  

“There is a tendency among Americans to want to see this as Arabs, Muslims reacting against various aspects of American culture—American liberalism, gender equality, freedom of religion, these kinds of things.  And so when we see manifestations of anti-Americanism in this part of the world, many Americans, as a kind of default setting, want to attribute it to this.  I think that what public opinion polls and other more objective indicators show is that anti-American sentiment in this part of the world is very, very much a reaction to particular policies, particular actions that the United States undertakes.” 

Thus, as Flynt argues on Al Jazeera,

“If it hadn’t been this film, it would have been something else that triggered an outburst—a manifestation of very, very deep-seated, longstanding resentment in Arab and Muslim societies about many important aspects of American foreign policy toward the region.  When Americans think about this, they will tend to want to say that this a cultural issue—that there is something about Islam or that Arabs are insufficiently modernized to be able to keep something like this film in proper perspective.  I think that it’s Americans who are having a cultural problem here, and who aren’t really able to keep things like this film in proper perspective.  The proper perspective, at least from the vantage of the Muslim world, is that the United States has been, for many years now, an aggressive and a repressive force in the region.  That’s the way the United States is perceived; every serious public opinion poll in the region would show that.  And until the United States is prepared to come to terms with that reality, its own strategic position in this region is going to continue to decline precipitously.” 

Reflecting what we believe is the mainstream view among American elites, one of the other panelists, Michele Dunne of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East—counters that President Obama and his administration “fell that they have tried very hard, actually, to improve relations with the Muslim world.”  While Michele does not “necessarily think that the administration has done everything right in trying to do that,” nevertheless, “in all of this, the element of opposition to U.S. policies is probably the least.  This is very much parallel to the Danish cartoon [controversy] a few years ago…Was that fuelled by an underlying hatred of Danish foreign policy in the Middle East?  No, it wasn’t.  It was the specific perceived offense to Islam”—along with, she argues, Salafis maneuvering to upstage more moderate Islamist elements and security services that haven’t been “reformed and stood up again”—that are driving the current wave of unrest. 

Flynt takes on these arguments, starting with the notion that “Obama really tried to put things on a better footing in the Muslim world.”  There were, he reminds, “a couple of high-profile speeches in Obama’s first year in office.  In terms of his policies in the region, he is basically pursuing George W. Bush’s policies in the region—except on some things like the use of drones to kill people in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan, he has doubled down on the Bush administration’s policies.  And polls would show that, after a very brief bump in U.S. standing after Obama was elected, people saw what his administration actually did, and the popularity of the U.S. is, by some polls, even lower today than it was when Bush left office.” 

Flynt holds that the current wave of anti-American unrest “is not fundamentally about Salafis or unreformed security services.”  He notes that “public opinion in the Muslim world is probably not that radically different today than five years ago”; in that regard, a context of intense popular resentment over U.S. (and Western) foreign policy in the Middle East is probably as important a factor for understanding the unrest over the notorious Danish cartoons as it is for understanding the current wave of anti-American protests. 

Flynt suggests that what is different today, “in countries touched by the Arab spring and in other countries in the Muslim world, is that public opinion matters more…If you have any kind of movement in these societies toward political structures that are more reflective [of their populations’ views], that is guaranteed to get you political orders—governments—that are going to be, for perfectly legitimate reasons, less enthusiastic, to say the least, about strategic cooperation with the United States.”  And that “is a losing proposition for the United States.”   

We close by noting a particularly timely observation from the other panelist on the Inside Story episode, Oxford University’s Tariq Ramadan.  In considering “the perception of American policy” in the Muslim world, Prof. Ramadan warns against forgetting “what is said today and what Israel is saying about Iran…If something happened, after what we are witnessing in the region now, with an attack or Netanyahu going too far in this direction, no one can predict what will be the consequences.”  Americans would do well to ponder those words as they consider how to react to Netanyahu’s statements on American television yesterday, urging them to vote for a president who will draw clear “red lines” regarding Iran’s continued development of (internationally supervised) nuclear fuel cycle capabilities—and enforce them with military force, if Tehran should continue to exercise its legal rights.    

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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127 Responses to “Flynt Leverett on the Real Drivers of Anti-American Protests in the Arab and Muslim Worlds”

  1. Rd. says:

    RSH;

    view from other parts of the word on the war option..
    surprisingly, very convinced..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QJD2S2FSi4c

  2. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Thanks for link to story re: Robert Gates’s ridiculous claims that lower levels of “defence” spending by the US will endanger national security. Gates got where he got due to shilling for arms and intel contractors.

  3. James Canning says:

    Scott McConnell, “Netanyahu appears on Forida’s airmwaves, touting Romney!” (Sept. 20)

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/netanyahu-appears-on-floridas-airwaves-touting-romney/

  4. James Canning says:

    imho,

    The CIA is not trying to cause the US to attack Iran.

  5. Here we go…

    U.S. to Drop Iranian MEK Group From Terrorist List-Officials
    http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/09/21/us/21reuters-iraq-iran-mek.html

  6. Karl.. says:

    Next week UN member(world) states gather in the General Assembly, Israel have already said that they would expose the danger of Iran when Isrel speak. So we are going to see another “duck” talk? Prepare for another maybe hour, of warmongering and propaganda next week.

    What soundb ites might there be this time?

    reuters.com/2012/08/30/us-israel-iran-netanyahu–idUSBRE87T16K20120830

    What phrases might he use this time?

    “Iran threat the US”?
    “Iran threat the world”?
    “World threat to world peace”?
    “Providing palestinians with missiles that is used on civilians”

    Words that will be used?

    “annihilation”
    “wiped off the map”
    “holocaust”
    “dictator”
    “terror”
    “terror network”

    Or what do you think?

  7. Karl.. says:

    Bibijohn,

    September 18, 2012 at 8:57 am
    -

    I would have hoped that they would have taken the same stance as Egypt/mursi did on the latest demonstrations aginst the movie, that is, being pro demonstrations but against the violence against embassies etc in these demonstrations.

  8. BiBiJon says:

    P.S. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R40094.pdf

    Couple of Nuggets:

    “a state’s apparent intentions underlying certain nuclear-related activities can be used to determine violations of Article II. This interpretation is not shared by all experts”

    The dissenting experts in question are non other than Andreas Persbo, Senior Researcher, the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre. http://www.armscontrolverification.org/

    ————-

    “Notably, British Foreign Secretary William Hague would not say whether Iran had violated Article II when asked by a Member of Parliament in March 2012.”

    Here the reference is to repeated questions by John Baron to William Hague as to whether or not Iran has violated Article 2 which prohibits any non-nuclear NPT signatory to manufacture nuclear weapons. Noting that it is entirely within the bounds of the treaty for a signatory to conduct research into nuclear weapons technology as implied by article X of that treaty.

    Hague’s refusal to answer directly, led Mr. Baron to sum up: ” I think we can accept that research as defined by the NPT is allowable and that there is-I think you said yourself, just now-no evidence to suggest they [Iran] have actually contravened the NPT.”

    Hague left that summation stand.

    See Question 58 to 62 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmfaff/uc1879-i/uc187901.htm

  9. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    There will be no deal.

    The war in Syria and the Siege War against Iran will continue.

    US-EU Leaders have committed too many resources into these efforts to back-track now.

  10. fyi says:

    imho says:

    September 21, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Potentially only Pakistan is a candidate.

  11. fyi says:

    All:

    Ramifications of Iran leaving NPT:

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/what-if-iran-leaves-the-npt-7497

    This is a shot across the bow of Axis Powers.

    It is now their choice….

  12. Rehmat says:

    Jewish group to honor Harper for ‘war on Iran’

    Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper is to be honored by US-based pro-Israel Jewish group, the ’Appeal of Conscience Foundation’. He will be presented with group’s ‘World Statesman of the Year Award by no other than Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state and a war criminal.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/09/21/jewish-group-to-honor-harper-for-war-on-iran/

  13. imho says:

    ToivoS says:
    September 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    “This discussion about Salmon Rushdie got me to thinking about the current situation with Iran. If there was someone who really wanted the US to go to war against Iran, one way to incite more Americans for such a war (at last count it was only about 35%) would be for a Muslim to assassinate Rushdie. Who is going to get there first: some mad Iranian fanatic, a salafist or Mossad.”

    Why not CIA ?

  14. BiBiJon says:

    Congressional Research Service

    Iran’s Nuclear Program: Tehran’s Compliance with International Obligations
    ==============================================================

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R40094.pdf

  15. imho says:

    BiBiJon says:
    September 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

    “I would go a step further. The arc of instability is ‘good’ for Iran, and China.”

    I understand what you mean but by saying this you don’t agree it was a deliberate policy in the region and toward Iran, but again rather mistakes after mistakes that empowered Iran, probably from that ‘state of mind’.

    China and Russia surely pull the most direct benefits from this situation. But at best they wish a Status Quo. They are not interested in a spillover of the fundamentalism. That’s why they didn’t give up in Syria. This is also true for Iran. Even if she could “indirectly” benefit from this situation in the long term by diversifying its economy, if given the choice, she would prefer not being under economic and financial sanctions, and surely not being under the threat of Sunni Salafism.

    It is good to have optimistic views no matter the situation provided you can still see and acknowledge the danger. This wave of fundamentalism from Egypt and Syria is not so good for Iran because once getting rid of secularists, will take on moderates and Shiites. This happened in Iraq and Iran (along Iraqi Shiites) avoided the trap thanks to their majority there. It’ll not be the same story in Egypt and Syria.
    At best, Iran will have to share her power in “Arab street” with MB; at worst, the struggle begins on who is leading the resistance. Morsi was quite clear on his intentions regarding Syria in his NAM declaration.

  16. Call me Ishmael says:

    Sakineh Khanum says, “An unknown unknown has become a known unknown. How could this happen?”

    Think of it as a kashf-e hejab or a rending of the veil.

  17. imho says:

    fyi says:
    September 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    The jihad “failure” inside Saudi Arabia doesn’t mean it has not been exported outside in the region. Actually, the paper I linked was clear on that. The Royal family did a deal with Wahhabists so they are free to export their aggressive jihadi’s thoughts as long as they leave the Royal family alone. And that’s what they did since +35 years in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechenya, Dagestan, Turkey, Libya, Egypt, …

  18. imho says:

    fyi says:
    September 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I was talking about Sunni fundamentalism menace from outside Iran’s borders, not inside. Don’t you see it ?

  19. Officials see Iran, not outrage over film, behind cyber attacks on US banks
    http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/20/13990206-officials-see-iran-not-outrage-over-film-behind-cyber-attacks-on-us-banks

    Keep in mind that under current Pentagon doctrine, these attacks alone could be considered grounds for a military strike on Iran. I’m not suggesting they WILL be, but clearly they WILL be used as PART of the grounds (along with the usual “state sponsor of terrorism, yada, yada) once the strike occurs, just as “Saddam was a bad guy” is now used as the main reason for the Iraq war.

  20. James Canning says:

    Mitt Romney claims Iran would put missiles in the West Bank if Palestine became independent. Robert Wright, “Mitt Romney’s Iran Hallucinations”.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/09/mitt-romneys-iran-hallucinatins/262576/

  21. Karl.. says:

    According to news, US envoy in the UN today said that it is to “waste time” and that ‘time is running out’ when it comes to the nuclear question with Iran, and that the onus is on Iran if something is going to happen.

    Looks like Obama once again followed up on netanyahu’s demand on red lines etc.
    Really pathetic.

  22. BiBiJon says:

    In Chris Cook’s view:
    ====================

    ” the policy deadlock in Iran has now been broken, and a pragmatic decision has been made to make nuclear concessions.”

    And

    ” Catherine Ashton met Iran’s Foreign Minister Saeed Jalili for “informal” discussions, which were said to be constructive, and in respect of which Lady Ashton will be reporting to her colleagues next week in New York.

    What was not widely reported was firstly, the short notice of this meeting, and secondly, the fact – very significant in diplomatic terms – that for the most part it took place in the Iranian consulate, which is legally Iranian territory.”

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NI21Ak01.html

    Of course, not wanting to detract from Chris’ hard-bitten, suspicious mind, The riots in the Muslim world, the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan, the Libyan Salafi lessons for Free-Syria-Army supporters, the Kurdish lesson for Turkey, etc. have all helped break the deadlock in Western policy vis-a-vis Iran.

    NATO armada floating about the Persian Gulf is meant as the fig leaf for a reciprocated climb-down by both sides. Obama’s reelection requires him being able to say within the next several weeks:

    My administration’s uncompromising pressure on Iran has born fruit. I, POTUS, am pleased to announce that Iran has agreed to certain limits to enrichment, and adoption of AP. In our affirmation of American friendship to ordinary Iranians, I have directed a suspension of third-party-sanctions, in tandem with EU’s suspension of sanctions.

    And thus, the whole sorry saga will end. Netanyahu, and his puppet, Romney, will be rendered speechless on their pet topic of Obama’s policy failures on Iran’s nukes.

  23. James Canning says:

    “Netanyahu erasing Palestinians with Iran war drama: Analyst”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/09/20/262660/bibi-sweeps-palestine-under-persian-rug/

  24. James Canning says:

    I recommend Daniel Larison’s comments on how Mitt Romney likely would be dangerous in the White House. “Worse than Bush”, Sept. 20th:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/worse-than-bush/

  25. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Many “leaders” among the US “foreign policy elite” may quote Lord Palmerston, but in fact they have scant regard for the message. “Supporting” Israel right or wrong, despite the damage this does to the national security interests of the American people, is their actual programme.

  26. James Canning says:

    I join Kathleen in commending Kooshy for writing to object to David Gregory’s failure to challenge Netanyahu’s claim that Iran is “racing” toward building nukes. One can see, obviously, that the stockpiling of 20 U plays into Netanyahu’s hands.

  27. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Wait, wait. What?
    An unknown unknown has become a known unknown. How could this happen?
    Am I correct in my understanding that UU = ADB? Well I’ll say. And I thought he was beginning to prefer one called’im Ishmael.
    UU is ADB really you, or just another alias?
    I will still read you wherever you post, and under whatever alias.

  28. BiBiJon says:

    Take rear of Ray Takeyh to court
    ===========================

    kooshy says:
    September 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I’d second Kathleen in thanking you for that post. More in http://www.iranfact.org/fact-checking-the-media-on-iran-the-story-so-far/

    Note to Robert Naiman:

    New York Times published a piece yesterday by Ray Takeyh full of lies.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/opinion/talk-to-irans-leaders-but-look-beyond-them.html?_r=0

    E.g.

    “… the Islamic Republic has persistently violated all aspects of its nonproliferation commitments.”

    False. Iran’s international commitments are enshrined under NPT, and codified according to the safeguards agreement. IAEA’s every single report, including the last one, states ‘no declared material has been diverted to anything nefarious.’

    “Tehran has refused the I.A.E.A.’s requests for information on previous weaponization activities or to grant access to its scientists and many of its facilities. Given this history, one can count on Tehran to similarly violate any agreement that it may be compelled to sign. For the Islamic Republic, as currently constituted, treaties are but diversions on its way to greater nuclear empowerment.”

    ‘Previous weaponization activity’ falsely represents an allegation as a fact. But according to IAEA’s 9/17/2009 press statement: “the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.” http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/MediaAdvisory/2009/MA200919.html

    Also, Robert Kelley recently weighed in:

    “In 2009, the IAEA received a two-page document, purporting to come from Iran, describing this same alleged work. Mohamed ElBaradei, who was then the agency’s director general, rejected the information because there was no chain of custody for the paper, no clear source, document markings, date of issue or anything else that could establish its authenticity. What’s more, the document contained style errors, suggesting the author was not a native Farsi speaker. It appeared to have been typed using an Arabic, rather than a Farsi, word-processing program. When ElBaradei put the document in the trash heap, the UK’s Times newspaper published it.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julian-borger-global-security-blog/2012/jan/13/iran-nuclear-weapons

    An important context is missing in Takeyh’s comment: legitimate security concerns, and legal limits to what IAEA is allowed to request access to. In light of publicized multiple assassination of nuclear scientists, sabotage, etc. Iran’s case for caution is clearly justified.

    “The international community”

    False. As per the unanimous statement from August 2012 of the 120 member non-alighned movement countries, 2/3 of the “international community” does not agree with one word Takeyh has written.

    —————-

    I just hope there will be a day that the journalists, and think tankers who have lied blatantly to push policies responsible for so much human suffering will see their day in court. Failing that, I hope the agony of countless orphans will torment their souls for eternity.

  29. Karl.. says:

    Jordan’s King Abdullah accuses Israel of opposing nuclear plans

    english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/12/237572.html

  30. BiBiJon says:

    “epitaphs”, or should it be epithets?

    I was talking about kicking a dead horse after all. But I let the spell checker decide.

  31. BiBiJon says:

    ToivoS says:
    September 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Congratulations! Well done for managing to squeeze in the phrase “some mad Iranian fanatic.” Some may call such epitaphs unoriginal, but what do they know?

    There’s not much that hatemongers haven’t hurled in the general direction of Iranians over the years. But, despite their tireless efforts 70% of the American public prove UU’s contention about barbarism, and are disinclined to go to war with Iran. Chicago Council for Foreign Relations says a majority don’t want US involved even if Israel starts a war.

    But, you never know, one little phrase such as yours, at the right time, in the right place may tip the balance.

    The fatwa against Rushdie was issued over 23 years ago. In all that time countless Iranian doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs have been doing countless good things, probably in equal numbers as Americans going postal on fellow Americans. But hey, why count the countless, when that slurry of hate demands your time be spent pondering the unprecedented.

  32. Kathleen says:

    good for you Kooshy for writing Meet the Press about David Gregory’s kiss Netanyahu’s ass interview or public relations campaign. Although Netanyahu was far more mild mannered than usual as he repeated the same old lies. David Gregory never challenged him, never asked logical questions. Over at Mondoweiss Marc Ellis has a post up about how David Gregory plays both sides on all issues. Now talk about another spin job. David Gregory’s lip prints are on the collective ass of Israel and the I lobby.

    Good for you Kooshy let them (MTP) know that people are not fooled by these acts of total complicity

  33. Karl.. says:

    Ridiculous claims by Gates.

    http://www.activistpost.com/2012/09/robert-gates-makes-nonsensical-claims.html

    Apparently he doesnt understand that it is the sanctions and the various acts of economic warfare that puts Iran into a corner, yes, it is the pressure on Iran without any carrot what makes this conflict being alive and escalating.

    Then he says that sanctions is about to bite. This is also false. Not only does the sanctions bite economically today, but like others Gates doesnt seems to understand that the sanctions havent changed iranian policy, which is two different things.

  34. Photi says:

    information rich interview…

    Transcript: Interview with Ali Larijani
    Ali Larijani, Iran’s Speaker of parliament, spoke to Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Monavar Khalaj, of the Financial Times, on September 18 at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7dd19198-01ba-11e2-81ba-00144feabdc0.html#axzz26z3VPphH

  35. Unknown Unknowns says:

    BiBiJon:

    Thank you so much for the complement. You’ve probably seen the post already over at Waliyic Islam, but just in case, here is the tail end of it. (I tried unsuccessfully on four separate occasions to post it here in full yesterday, then gave up and just posted it over there.)

    Call me crazy, but my contention is that not ALL people in post-Christian societies are barbarians who think that it is OK to go about insulting anything and everything that other societies hold sacred. Methinks that this, at least, is one definition of barbarism, and a good and timely one at that. Anyone who thinks it is ok to slander and denigrate the values that other cultures and religions hold sacred can only be described as having a sub-human sense of morality.

    Or you can call me Ishmael :|

  36. kooshy says:

    Revoke Netanyahu’s Free Pass to Sell War

    Referenced to last Sunday Meet the Press program on NBC, interviewing Mr. Netanyahu the letter bellow was sent to NBC by an Iranian Scoular.

    I have written the following to the Meet the Press idiots.
    m.

    “I write to object to Meet the Press’s misrepresentation of the record and misleading of the public during the program in which the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was interviewed about the situation with Iran on September 16, 2012.

    Netanyahu claimed that Iran “is racing to develop nuclear bombs” and said if the U.S. does not set a red line for war, Iran would “just proceed to the bomb.” This is incorrect and your so-called reporter failed to challenge him by pointing out that virtually every intelligence agency in the world—including those of the U.S. and Israel—have unambiguously stated that Iran has not made the decision to build a nuclear weapon, and that the threat of an Iranian bomb is not imminent. You will probably recall that a similar set of baseless claims aired by your program and other similar “news shows” contributed to the unnecessary and damaging invasion of Iraq for which the U.S. continues to pay a high price. You will also remember that Netanyahu made very similar statements before the United States Congress in 2002, when he was testifying in support of war with Iraq. Meet the Press and the NBC failed to inform the American public in 2002, and they are repeating their failure by refusing to challenge the false case for war with Iran now.

    How many more Americans and innocent civilians in the Middle East should die before you decide to take your responsibilities as a news agency seriously? Do you think that slavishly towing the AIPAC and Neocon line of more wars will be good for your reputation in the long run?

    Your program didn’t challenge Cheney when he came on Meet the Press to lie about the unavoidability of invading Iraq ten years ago, and it didn’t challenge Netanyahu on Sunday about the need to go to war with Iran. Netanyahu made several misleading and incorrect assertions. He said: “…I think that as they get closer and closer and closer to the achievement of the weapons-grade material, and they’re very close, they’re six months away from being about 90 percent of having the enriched uranium for an atom bomb, I think that you have to place that red line before them now, before it’s — it’s too late.”

    The Israelis have been claiming that Iran is mere months away from the bomb for nearly fifteen years, and their “few months” has grown into many years now. Don’t you have the research capability to verify this simple fact?

    Unless you correct these blatant errors and set the record straight, you risk losing more and more of your audience. People may be distracted by a host of concerns in these difficult times. But I assure you, they are not stupid and are quite able to determine which programs aim to be informative and which strive to act as propaganda outlets. Try and save what little credibility you have left. “

  37. ToivoS says:

    This discussion about Salmon Rushdie got me to thinking about the current situation with Iran. If there was someone who really wanted the US to go to war against Iran, one way to incite more Americans for such a war (at last count it was only about 35%) would be for a Muslim to assassinate Rushdie. Who is going to get there first: some mad Iranian fanatic, a salafist or Mossad.

  38. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

    I agree.

    England was not involved in the Thirty-Year War in Europe event hough she had become a largely Protestant state.

  39. fyi says:

    imho says:

    September 19, 2012 at 10:16 am

    In regards to Sunni Fundamentalism (A.K.A. Jihadism) in Saudi Arabia:

    http://belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu/publication/20005/failure_of_jihad_in_saudi_arabia.html

    and

    http://www.isaintel.com/2011/02/14/debate-over-%E2%80%9Cjihad%E2%80%9D-in-saudi-arabia/

    Note that “Fundamentalist” is not the right word or concept.

    A better descriptive word would be something like “Do-not-Make-Me-Think”.

  40. fyi says:

    imho says:

    September 19, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Sunnis in Iran consist of Turkemen, Baluchis, and 90% of Sunni Kurds and a few Sunni Arabs.

    Excepting Turkemen, there are Shia among Kurds, Arabs, and Baluchis.

    Kurds, the largest Sunni minority in Iran, are too Iranian (in the sense of Eran-Shahr) to find any succor in Sunni Fundamentalism.

    The Turkemen are too few, and the Arabs are divided among Shia and Sunni.

    That leaves the Baluch Sunnis – that is a threat but a managable one; both Pakistan and Iran are trying to suppress (and will continue to try) any whiff of Sunni Jihadism among Baluchis.

    As for Chinese Turkistan: the Han in there are now as numerous as Muslims and I expect their numbers to continue to increase. The Chinese state will stamp out any Sunni fundamentalism sverely no matter how small.

  41. BiBiJon says:

    P.S. “I would go a step further. The arc of instability is ‘good’ for Iran, and China.”
    ===========================================================

    Iranian (and Chinese) aptitude for picking up the pieces is not some innate attribute, but an adaptive evolution to realities.

    Both countries saw what became of the Soviet Union as a result of her military competition with US. Lesson learned: don’t compete; result: render 100s of billions of dollars of US military expenditure a complete waste and drain on her economy.

    Both countries have observed how proudly foreign policy elites in US quote Lord Palmerston: [There are] “no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies, only interest that were eternal and perpetual”, and act upon it, e.g. ‘freedom fries’,or freedom-fighters-turned-terrorists-turned-free-syria-army, or already dispatching drones to deal with Libyans acting up after ‘liberation.’

    Lesson learned: distinguish yourself by combining ‘interests’ with enduring friendships. E.g. continue to trade with India despite the IAEA BoG vote, be hostile to Israel on an eternal and perpetual basis. Results: Iranian embassies are seldom attacked; everyone and their brothers shows up for NAM summit.

    Both countries have observed how the short-term gains by cuddling long-term losers ultimately will add up to not much gain. Lesson learned: Don’t do it. Results: ascendency in regional politics and influence, e.g. eventual electoral successes of Iraqi shiites, Kurds, Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas.

  42. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Britain clearly was intent on controlling the oilfields of what became Iraq, after the First World War. But did Britain “gain the wealth of the Ottoman Empire”? Palestine? Transjordan? Control of Palestine was important for protecting the Suez Canal, but that control in itself provided no “wealth” to Britain. Britain had expected the Ottoman Empire to remain neutral, and did not want war.

  43. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    David Gregory should have asked Netanyahu why the US ignored Iran’s offer (Sept. 2011) to stop enriching to 20 percent. (Not that I would expect him to ask that question.)

  44. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You appear to be claiming that China’s problems with Islamic militants in what some Muslims call East Turkestan are a minor consequence.

  45. BiBiJon says:

    Whimsical, yet rigorous, entertaining, yet educational, but above all ….
    ==========================================================================

    mischievously truthful, the one and only Unknown Unknowns @ http://waliyicislam.wordpress.com/

  46. imho says:

    @ fyi

    “Now, the Saudi-American Mosnters have truned against their own masters.”

    Do you have examples of those monsters turned against Saudis ? According to Engdahl they have a deal with them.
    But I think I understand what you mean; monsters are monsters; they can’t be ultimately controlled. But, their anger can perfectly be managed in the “right” direction. This is what is happening.

    “The Sunni Fundamentalism is not a threat to Iran, or to China.

    It is a threat to Russia, EU, Sunni Muslims states, Israel and US.”

    Can you please elaborate?
    Why can’t it be a threat to Muslim regions of China ? or a threat to Iran ?

    You have to understand that the first target of fundamentalist Islam is moderate Islam and everything progressive it comes with it, including Shia and Sufis. The present Shia-Sunni divide driven by Salafis/Jihadis and US amply proves this. Then come western non-believers. But we’re far from that yet. And, even monsters have the minimum intelligence to not bite the hands that feed them

  47. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 19, 2012 at 9:33 am

    “The Sunni Fundamentalism is not a threat to Iran, or to China.
    It is a threat to Russia, EU, Sunni Muslims states, Israel and US.”

    I would go a step further. The arc of instability is ‘good’ for Iran, and China. Temporary setbacks,ala Syria, aside, in the long term, It is Iran (and China) that can navigate what is left of these civil-war-ravaged nations. I cite as evidence Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Those countries were impenetrable to Iranian influence until some neocon nitwit lit the fires of sectarian civil war among them.

    Syria too, whatever its future disposition, will be a stauncher ally of Iran than was obtainable before the neocon tinkering.

    But, imho imho is right to dismiss the usual excuses offered for a such dogged insistence to shoot at one’s own feet. Clearly it is not a plan, it is a state of mind, and it will keep on keeping on giving.

  48. Imho: “Most US policy opponents (including Leveretts) often describe it as a series of bad evaluations and mistakes but one may ask the simple question of how is it that the series continue perfectly since +35 years without deviating much in the objectives, the means and the fallout. Of course it is hard to accept this side of realities if the objectives are not understood. That is why the best answer found yet is no more than “they begin to believe their own rhetoric” and so on. No, this is for us to believe that they try and fail and to discuss their failure. If this was a criminal case, the jury would have already condemned the suspect given the long list of suspicions and proofs.”

    Absolutely correct.

    I remember reading about a journalist who attended a meeting of some high-level corporate CEOs once at some retreat in Colorado or wherever. He discovered that every one of them believed that people on their level conspired together to screw over people on the lower levels of the corporate world. But he discovered few of them actually believed that people in government did the same thing.

    It’s called “cognitive dissonance.” Almost everyone in the US can’t emotionally handle the fact that their destiny is in the hands of corrupt and venal people. It’s why even otherwise intelligent people like Alan Hart can be made to believe that, even after all the lying and back-stabbing Obama has done, that he actually has “good intentions.”

    I was just watching past episodes of the TV spy show “Nikita” At one point, the villain of the first two seasons, Percy, the head of the secret black ops organization “Division”, tells an associate:

    “People want to believe God has a plan for them. They don’t want to hear that anyone else has…”

  49. fyi says:

    imho says:

    September 19, 2012 at 8:26 am

    The strengthening of fundamentalist Sunnis was certainly a deliberate policy, funded by Saudi Arabia to combat both the ideas of the late Mr. Khomeini and the Communists in Afghanistan.

    US was of course fully complicit in that.

    Now, the Saudi-American Mosnters have truned against their own masters.

    The Sunni Fundamentalism is not a threat to Iran, or to China.

    It is a threat to Russia, EU, Sunni Muslims states, Israel and US.

  50. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    September 19, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I don’t want to put words in Andrew J. Bacevich’s mouth, but his article, “How We Became Israel–Peace means dominion for Netanyahu—and now for us,” essentially is describing American adoption of Israeli ethos that being hated is not to be avoided, but to be purposely provoked, and worn as a badge of honor.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-we-became-israel/

    The prevailing mindset seems to be excessive excess for its own sake. Sole superpower status, unmatched military might, complete control over global finance, etc. is no longer satiating. For the time being, the MO is “we came, we saw, he died.”

    There’s a difference of scales however. If Israel’s predilection for disproportionate use of force is a regional stain, an American penchant for the same is a global eclipse.

  51. imho says:

    Most US policy opponents (including Leveretts) often describe it as a series of bad evaluations and mistakes but one may ask the simple question of how is it that the series continue perfectly since +35 years without deviating much in the objectives, the means and the fallout. Of course it is hard to accept this side of realities if the objectives are not understood. That is why the best answer found yet is no more than “they begin to believe their own rhetoric” and so on. No, this is for us to believe that they try and fail and to discuss their failure. If this was a criminal case, the jury would have already condemned the suspect given the long list of suspicions and proofs.

    Rd. recently posted an interview of Brzezinski (known for his harsh anti-Soviet views). He repeated again what nobody wants to understand. His arc of instability is before our eyes, yet no one wants to acknowledge the deliberate, coherent and continuous policy of strengthening the fundamentalist Islam as a weapon of mass destruction against Iran, Russia and China.

    I read in the Guardian that this so-called movie was on Youtube since few weeks, the footage being from multiple films with overdubbed words. Also a piece in Asia Times states that nobody talked about until an Arab journalist broke the news in MSM. Does someone know who is he and where that all began ? It’d be interesting to find out how this BS (as many exists in Internet) became news!

    William Engdahl is a known geopolitical specialist, historian and author. I highly recommend you to read his piece of investigative paper about Salafism at war with Sufism and every other faith, backed by CIA and reigning terror throughout ME to the Caucasus. Very detailed and well documented. I am really tempted to copy all of this article here but I’d rather give you some extracts.

    :http://www.voltairenet.org/Salafism-CIA-A-formula-to

    Previously US and allied intelligence services had played fast and loose with religious organizations or beliefs in one or another country. What makes the present situation particularly dangerous—notably since the decision in Washington to unleash the misnamed Arab Spring upheavals that began in Tunisia late 2010, spreading like a brushfire across the entire Islamic world from Afghanistan across Central Asia to Morocco—is the incalculable wave upon wave of killing, hatreds, destruction of entire cultures that Washington has unleashed in the name of that elusive dream named “democracy.” They do this using alleged Al-Qaeda groups, Saudi Salafists or Wahhabites, or using disciples of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen Movement to ignite fires of religious hatred within Islam and against other faiths that could take decades to extinguish. It could easily spill over into a new World War.

    At the point of the Russian crackdown on the spread of Salafist teaching inside Russia at the end of the 1990’s, there was an exodus of hundreds of young Dagestani and Chechyn Muslim students to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other places in The Middle east, reportedly to receive training with the Gülen movement and various Saudi-financed organizations, including Salafists. [5] It is believed in Russia that the students trained by Gülen supporters or Saudi and other Salafist fundamentalist centers then were sent back to Dagestan and the North Caucasus to spread their radical strain of Islam.

    By 2005 the situation in the Caucasus was so influenced by this Salafist intervention that the Chechen Salafist, Doku Umarov, cited by the UN Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda,[6] unilaterally declared creation of what he called the Caucasus Emirate, announcing he planned to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law encompassing the entire North Caucasus region including Dagestan. He modestly proclaimed himself Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. [7]

    The respected seventy-five year old Afandi had publicly denounced Salafist Islamic fundamentalism. His murder followed a July 19 coordinated attack on two high-ranking muftis in the Russian Volga Republic of Tatarstan. Both victims were state-approved religious leaders who had attacked radical Islam. This latest round of murders opens a new front in the Salafist war against Russia, namely attacks on moderate Sufi Muslim leaders.

    Whether or not Dagestan now descends into internal religious civil war that then spreads across the geopolitically sensitive Russian Caucasus is not yet certain. What is almost certain is that the same circles who have been feeding violence and terror inside Syria against the regime of Alawite President Bashar al-Assad are behind the killing of Sheikh Afandi as well as sparking related acts of terror or unrest across Russia’s Muslim-populated Caucasus. In a very real sense it represents Russia’s nightmare scenario of “Syria coming to Russia.” It demonstrates dramatically why Putin has made such a determined effort to stop a descent into a murderous hell in Syria.

    Little known is the fact that the present form of aggressive Saudi Wahhabism, in reality a kind of fusion between imported jihadi Salafists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabites. Leading Salafist members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into the Saudi Kingdom in the 1950’s by the CIA in a complex series of events, when Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood following an assassination attempt. By the 1960’s an influx of Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia fleeing Nasserite repression, had filled many of the leading teaching posts in Saudi religious schools. One student there was a young well-to-do Saudi, Osama bin Laden. [12]

    “Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not,” Loftus continues. “They think that Islam–the Saudi version of Islam–is typical, but it’s not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia–that’s how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.” [16]
    Loftus identified the significance of what today is emerging from the shadows to take over Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, and the so-called Syrian National Council, dominated in reality by the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly led by the more “politically correct” or presentable likes of Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani, foreign affairs spokesman for the SNC was twice an invited guest at the Bilderberg elite gathering, latest in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this year.[17]

  52. Fiorangela says:

    Don Bacon says: September 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm
    re: “Saudi Arabia…will adopt an “ambitious” program for the peaceful use of nuclear energy”

    There is no date on the article.

    In February 2012, Yochi Dreazen reported that With American support, the Emirati government is building the Arab world’s first—and, for the moment, only—nuclear-power plant. … New creature comforts for thousands of employees are coming online. The South Korean managers are golf fanatics, so the site has an outdoor driving range near the soccer pitch put in for the Indian, Pakistani, and Nepalese construction workers. … A large red flag, … marks the spot where the plant’s nuclear reactor will sit.

    Talk of Middle Eastern nuclear energy typically sets off alarm bells in Washington, Jerusalem, and elsewhere, because a nation with a civilian program could theoretically become a nation with a nuclear weapon. The United States and its allies have slapped economic sanctions on Tehran to prevent such a thing; officials here and around the Persian Gulf hope that the Americans or the Israelis will launch air strikes to destroy Iran’s facilities before the year is out.

    The nuclear plant at Braka is a different story. The U.A.E. has already volunteered not to enrich uranium or reprocess spent fuel, the steps necessary to build a weapon. In exchange for this vow, Washington is giving technical advice, clearing the way for Emirati nuclear engineers to study at American universities, and allowing U.S. firms like Westinghouse to build Emirati plants. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which shares the American belief that Iran is building a nuclear bomb, says that the U.A.E.’s plans are transparent and civilian.”

    The USA is brokering nuclearization of Arab states, in the process funneling work and revenues to domestic concerns — Westinghouse — and networking allies — S. Korea, etc.

    Thus, the argument that “Iran must not have nukes because it will set off a nuclear arms race in the region” is marked BOGUS; what is really going on is a trade war of sorts, with the USofA desperately working to choose winners and to create losers of states that refuse to capitulate, in a bid to hold onto the role it has played in the region since post-WWII.

    USofA has stepped into the role Great Britain played at least since 1913 to dominate the economies (not JUST oil but the more important finance function collateralized by oil) of the Middle East. T E Lawrence and Gen. Allenby exploited Arab populations to supplant Ottoman Turks and gain the vast wealth of the Ottoman empire for itself. Zionists seized opportunities to be used by and to use British efforts to control Palestine and Saudi Arabia, in order to stake their claim to parts of the Ottoman empire. Zionists then made life for British in Palestine so miserable that the economically strapped Brits threw in the towel, ceded zionist Palestine to the zionists, and handed off to USofA the role of “protector” of the zionist project. It may be that Netanyahu perceives that the USofA utility to zionism has run its course and it’s time for a “King David hotel” event.

    Richard Steven Hack’s comment (Richard Steven Hack says: September 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm) on Alan Hart’s blog reflects reality:

    “You simply don’t go through all this ramp up to war and then walk it back. Not when the entire military-industrial complex, the oil companies, the neocons, the banks, and the most influential lobby in Congress are all on the side of war. Obama would have to be a Ghandi-level figure to pull that off – and we know he’s not, especially when his entire political career has been controlled by these people.

    It is a mistake to dismiss Netanyahu as a “buffoon” who has “overplayed” his hand, as Alan Hart does. The zionist agenda has been over 100 years in the making, and Bibi’s personal commitment to its realization is fueled by a distillation of the zealotry of the militant Jabotinsky, his father’s hero; a psychotic relationship to his recently deceased father and his long-dead brother; and of the heroes and events of ancient Hebrew mythology as well as more recent zionist mytho-ganda themes involving Israel’s emergence full-born from the side of Europe.

  53. kooshy says:

    BiBiJon says:
    September 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm
    ToivoS says:
    September 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    BiBi-

    Not only he can’t tolerate non- American English, it seems he’s not even ready to consider tolerating non-American mindset, I think he is one of those Americans exceptionals in search of why all of a sudden ” the only shining light on the hill” is deeming, could it be the Muslims fault.

  54. Castellio says:

    For all those who somehow think the villain in all this is the IRI, and that the US shows extraordinary patience with it, the following is a bit of a corrective:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32469.htm

  55. Alan Hart has posted over on his blog a rumination about whether Netanyahu will launch an attack on Iran once he realizes that Romney isn’t going to win the election.

    However, one paragraph in that post says that Hart is aware of secret negotiations between Obama and Iran going on (although the negotiations are currently on hold during the election season.) He believes Obama will resolve the Iran crisis through diplomacy next year.

    I submitted a comment to his post calling this stuff hogwash and standing by my predictions of a war with Syria this year and a naval blockade next year. I think if there ARE any secret negotiations going on that they are probably another effort by Obama to “set up” Iran in the same manner he did with the TRR fuel negotiations in 2010.

    Anyone who trusts Obama not to lie is a fool, IMO.

    What might Netanyahu do when his American mob tells him Romney won’t win?
    http://www.alanhart.net/what-might-netanyahu-do-when-his-american-mob-tells-him-romney-wont-win/

  56. Kathleen says:

    On Sunday David Gregory interviewed Israeli Prime Minister or I should say gave Netanyahu more of an opportunity to bang on lets go get Iran war drums, Netanyahu was far more mild mannered kept repeating that he did not want to interfere in U.S. elections. Gregory played softball as is always the case when it comes to Israeli officials. As Netanyahu kept repeating unsubstantiated claims about Iran David Gregory never challenged never stated the facts that Iran signed the NPT and has the legal right to enrich up to 20% for peaceful purposes and Israel sits on a massive stockpile of nuclear weapons and continues to refuse to sign the NPT. The most obvious questions David Gregory would not go near.

    Then on Sunday evening Leslie (exposed the F.B.I’s raid on Aipac some say interfered n the F.B.I’s investigation) Stahl interviewed former head of the Mossad Dagan. Stahl also did not ask the most obvious questions. Dagan said that he would like to see the U.S. take the lead on attacking Iran at some later date. Leslie did not state that Iran is a signatory to the NPT has the right to enrich and Israel refuses to sign and has massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

    Both David Gregory and Leslie Stahl allowed the not if but when Iran drum beating to go on unchallenged. When will David Gregory, Leslie, Diane Rehm etc have the Leveretts on their programs? Finally the Ed show had Hillary on. When will the MSM actually try to educate the public based on verifiable facts about this situation?

  57. BiBiJon says:

    ToivoS says:
    September 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    You say “your prophet” which tells me you didn’t get the thrust of what I was objecting to. I was objecting to condescension by pitiable snobs (you may resent the resemblance). It wasn’t a perceived insult to me personally, but to a billion already poor, disenfranchised people who typically have no one speak for them.

    You may have read the stupid book, but it not being “your prophet” (ignorance precedes bigotry) you may have missed a few nuggets.

    Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Verses_controversy#Controversial_elements_of_The_Satanic_Verses

  58. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    September 18, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I support Personal & Political Freedo.

    I do not suffer fools.

    And it grieves me personally to see such a large proportion of foolish men being Iranians.

    And I have eralier expounded my views on Human Freedom (in God) and I do not wish to repeat them.

    Circling wagons etc. is fine, but that does not give the state the license to tramble on intrinsic rights of human beings.

  59. Don Bacon says:

    fyi says:
    September 18, 2012 at 10:44 am
    On Saudi Economy (link) – Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, risks becoming an oil importer in the next 20 years, according to Citigroup Inc.

    This is why Citigroup has been in deep financial doodoo for years.

    news reports:
    Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, will adopt an “ambitious” program for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing Hashim Abdullah Yamani, the president of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. “We are now weighing our options and deciding whether the Kingdom will do it alone or participate with others in the various nuclear program projects. We also need to secure uranium supply agreements,” Al-Shehri said. Al-Shehri said the nuclear road map will also require funding support for construction, maintenance of the facilities when already operational, safety procedures and decommissioning, and radioactive waste management.
    http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=20120222118085

    Shaw, Toshiba and Exelon are pursuing opportunities to provide a full complement of services to design, engineer, construct and operate new nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom plans to invest approximately $112 billion during the next 20 years to build 16 nuclear power units to offset rising domestic energy demand and retain its position as a leading hydrocarbons exporter.
    http://www.power-eng.com/news/2012/06/27/shaw-awarded-new-contract-with-saudi-electricity-company.html

  60. Kathleen says:

    Flynt and Hillary your insights the depth and breadth of your knowledge about the history of these areas and U.S. intervention, support for dictators and the details that go with it are treasure troves along with the dialogue at this site. Learn so much.

    On who is fomenting the anger. Over at Pam Geller’s site Atlas Shrugged on Feb 12 2012 Geller ask for funding and support for an anti Muhammad film.

    Wondering if the US Dept of Justice will hold anyone who funded this horrific film accountable?

  61. ToivoS says:

    BiBiJon says:
    September 18, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Somehow it sounds like you never read Satanic Verses. Rushdie treated your prophet as a real human being and imagined a process of recording his visions for posterity. Real humans are not mistake free. Isn’t that what Muslims mean when they say there is only one God and that is God.

  62. James Canning says:

    I recommend John Soehr’s comments on how Netanyahu is trying to aid Romney’s effort to get into the White House.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/putting-pressure-obama-over-israel-and-iran-netanyahu-helping-romney

  63. James Canning says:

    M. Ali,

    If sabateurs cut the power lines, would one need to know who they were before one could retaliate?

  64. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Communications are always possible between parties, no matter how hostile they may be toward one another. Aipa and other extrmist elements of the ISRAEL LOBBY try to prevent any discussions between American diplomats and political leaders, and Iranian diplomats and political leaders. This fact alone should argue strongly for direct talks between US and Iran.

  65. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Netanyahu has tried to force Obama into declaring Iranian enrichment above 20% as a “red line”, and Iranian enrichment of 20% U to a given amount.

  66. James Canning says:

    I recommend Gideon Rachman’s comments in today’s Financial Times (“Obama is not to blame for anger in the Middle East”).

  67. Unknown Unknowns says:

    BiBiJon et al:

    I missed not being able to refer to myself as a Field N****r on Flynt-san’s moderated site (which I understand, even though in my humbling opinion Flynt-san should not be holding his breath, as if this Neo-conned coup is a blip or aberration, and things will turn back to Kansas-normal inside the beltway with three clicks of Dorothy’s shoes…), so I set up my own lonely little blog, in case anyone is interested to give it a visit. I’ll say something about the Rushdie/ Danish Cartoon/ Maplethorpe and this latest outrage there tomorrow morning, inshallah; hint: the issue is not free speech. Meanwhile, if anyone is interested, the latest post shows the detailed table of contents of Ayatollah Javadi-e Amoli’s Velayat-e Faqih, whose English rendition by yours truly is nearing completion.

    http://waliyicislam.wordpress.com/

  68. Ataune says:

    @fyi,

    I fail to see a consistency between your reasoning on the future events in the region and the news links that you are posting and commenting on. I might be totally wrong but,

    you are describing the current situation as a “siege war” imposed by the “axis powers” and predicting a tough 10-15 years ahead for Iran but an ultimate “win”.

    On the other hand, you are recomending to the ones that you expect (wish ?) to win to bow to the political demand of a member of the same “axis power” in matters that are strictly internal. you also look favorably to cultural dissent of a portion of the civil society against the state authority’s internal rules (notwithstanding that these rules might need reform).

    Isn’t it that in a siege situation, the ones that are undergoing it, the state and the population, should close the ranks, circle the wagons and temporarily put aside their differences ?

  69. BiBiJon says:

    Yet another ‘essence of IRI’
    ==========================

    “Iranian researchers from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Stanford University managed to completely eliminate the cytotoxicity of silver nanoparticles, bringing new hopes for curing infections.”

    http://www.nanotech-now.com/news.cgi?story_id=45943

  70. fyi says:

    Rd. says:

    September 18, 2012 at 9:40 am

    At that high level, discussion topics will be strategic in nature.

    Almost certainly the content is to gauge each other’s concerns, points of agreements, points of disagreements, and any scope for de-escalation as well as limits thereof.

    In other words, getting to know each other before anything else.

    No agreement of subsatnce could be negogiated – that would take weeks or months.

  71. fyi says:

    M. Ali says:

    September 18, 2012 at 2:18 am

    One of my primary school class mates, when reading that link, replied: “Damesh Garm!”

    She meant by that the young woman.

    And I fully agree with her as well.

  72. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 18, 2012 at 6:30 am

    I agree.

  73. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “General Dempsey and Dr. Jalili will be both in Ankara tomorrow morning.
    Dr. Jalili is expected to meet with President Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan, and Dr. Devlatoglou.”

    So, if there were to have been any correspondence between the genral and the Dr., what are the likely topics?

    We (US) need help to ratchet down the war rhetoric? (i.e. need help with the afghan invasion, 2001) we know where that one ends up…..

    or is it to establish some protocol/understanding re the (US) military exercises taking place around Persian Gulf?

  74. BiBiJon says:

    Karl.. says:
    September 18, 2012 at 3:58 am

    In hundreds of years of poetry and literature from such greats as listed in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Persian_poets_and_authors

    See if you can find so much as one verse, a single sentence, an oblique suggestion in their writings that demeans the ‘other’. Now judge if Rushdie’s insults are anything but gratuitous desire to cause pain, not in any way a method of inquiry, or an avenue for enlightenment.

    Putting a price on somebody’s head is a symbolic act to denote societal disgust, not unlike consecutive multiple life sentences handed out for heinous crimes right here in the U.S.

    The issue has become a political football. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Verses_controversy#Attempts_to_revoke_the_fatw.C4.81

    But, the underlying issue remains. Should ‘writers’ smoke a couple of spliffs, and write down their hallucinations and corrupt and demean the one thing the dispossessed 99% of the world’s population has left: the sacredness of their faith in their hearts? Should such a callous act be Celebrated by the ‘oh so intellectual’, ‘oh so a Avant-garde’, clique of sniggering know-it-all’s? Should we bestow knighthoods and the Booker prize upon this ‘writer?’

    A dangerous sense of anti-intellectualism, anti-science, etc is finding currency in the average folk including Americans (see Glen Beck’s popularity). Loud mouths like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, or Salman Rushdie are held as pinnacles of intellectual virtue thus alienating the vast majority from their inner truths, respect for their ancestors, or their spiritual covenants held in their hearts.

    Someone has to dare speak for the masses. IRI did.

    I hope to hear from Empty, UU, Kooshy and others on this subject.

  75. BiBiJon says:

    James,

    P.S. “It hasn’t degenerated into a military conflict yet, only because neither side has been able to get declaration of neutrality/alliance from other world actors.”

    The current standoff is indefinitely sustainable for a range of reasons, among them:

    a) Shared interests in stability in the region.
    b) Iran’s own ‘red line’ of not to provoke some petro-monarch into purchasing a few nukes.
    c) Shared sense of global responsibility especially towards various constituencies, e.g. NAM, oil consumers, etc.

  76. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    September 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    “Netanyahu is trying to pressure Obama into saying that if Iran stockpiles “X” amount of 20% U, it will have crossed a “red line”. You may have noticed The New York Times now refers to 20% U as medium enriched uranium.”

    Actually, I think I caught Netanyahu suggest enriching beyond 20%.

    But, regardless, the time is past where negotiations of any kind make any sense. Once one side has shown an utter disregard for a civilian population’s economic well being, once there are assassinations and sabotage, cyber attacks, etc. I just cannot imagine the two sides talking to each other in any meaningful way.

    We have reached the point where both sides will essentially do their own thing completely disregarding the other side’s desires, interests, rights, and red lines. Let me emphasize, ‘completely.’

    It hasn’t degenerated into a military conflict yet, only because neither side has been able to get declaration of neutrality/alliance from other world actors.

  77. Karl.. says:

    Toivos,

    Yes unfortunately, I saw that too – all this is bad publicity and unfortunately leads to more people in thw west support the idea of war, however the iranian state isnt behind that right, the link refered to a foundation? Also there was a statement from vice president that they would seek out or find out the filmmaker in the western press yesterday, as always with iranian statements we know it could get twisted for political reasons, do you know exactly what was said? Do you have the primary non-english source?

  78. M. Ali says:

    So another secret attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. I can’t wait until Iran becomes more powerful and confident that they can retaliate against such attacks.

    Any Iranian that complains about minor political issues when Iran is faced with such threats on a daily basis is a traitor to the bone.

  79. M. Ali says:

    Fyi,

    Your fardanews link. I wonder what the Iranian reader will go through his head reading this. A significient amount of people find it distasteful when a cleric is beaten, but as a patriarchal society, they will also find it amusing to read about a woman beating a man.

    That is, on one hand, they feel sympathy for a beaten cleric, but on the other hand, they mock and laugh at the man beaten BY a woman.

    This dual conflict in their mind can get very confusing. Probably cause head explosion, so I advice that link not to be shared.

  80. fyi says:

    Castellio says:

    September 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Dr. Dunn is correct.

    They are not salafis – they are Khwarej.

  81. fyi says:

    ToivoS says:

    September 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Why is it any more immoral and than what Mr. Bush did in Panam; causing the deaths of several thousand people in the bombing of the poor areas of Panam City?

    Or Mr. Bush II war against Iraq?

  82. fyi says:

    Don Bacon says:

    September 17, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Please see below: I think Iranians are warning that they could leave NPT and, at the same time, are preparing the grounds for it.

    They are two steps away from designating IAEA a terrorist organization.

    If I am correct, you will see more such statements and more strident remarks over the next few months.

    http://news.yahoo.com/iran-nuke-chief-harshly-criticizes-atomic-agency-130828171.html

  83. fyi says:

    All:

    http://www.fardanews.com/fa/news/220942/ضرب‌وشتم-یک‌روحانی-توسط-دختر-بدحجاب

    Reporting the altercation between a mullah and a young woman. He accosts her for her poor adherence to the Islamic dress code, she advises him not to look, he retots back and before you know it she has beaten the mullah and sent him to hospital.

    I do not think it a good idea to persist in this manner – if I were a mullahh – that is.

  84. bigchin says:

    “Americans would do well to ponder those words as they consider how to react to Netanyahu’s statements on American television yesterday, urging them to vote for a president who will draw clear “red lines” regarding Iran’s continued development of (internationally supervised) nuclear fuel cycle capabilities—and enforce them with military force, if Tehran should continue to exercise its legal rights.”

    After using, specifically, the Obama Administration’s “doubling down” and even expanding (drone warfare) on Bush’s belligerence that last paragraph come awfully close to asserting that Obama is the “peace” candidate, which is, of course, absurd.

    The only way this election will change things in the ME is if neither of the legacy parties ascends to the throne of our murderous pax americana.

    Vote A.B.R.O.D. – anyone but Republicans or Democrats

  85. James Canning says:

    Germany supports political solution re Iran nuclear dispute:

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/09/17/merkel-backs-political-solution-on-iran/

  86. Rd. says:

    Netanyahu vs Netanyahu …

    1992: Israeli parliamentarian Benjamin Netanyahu tells his colleagues that Iran is 3 to 5 years from being able to produce a nuclear weapon – and that the threat had to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the US.”

    ;;http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1108/Imminent-Iran-nuclear-threat-A-timeline-of-warnings-since-1979/Israel-paints-Iran-as-Enemy-No.-1-1992

    Netanyahu’s claim that Iran is ‘six months’ from having nuclear bomb material

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/netanyahus-claim-that-iran-is-six-months-from-having-nuclear-bomb-material/2012/09/16/7497078e-002f-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_blog.html

  87. ToivoS says:

    I noticed yesterday that the Iranian mullah group that put up the reward for the assassination of Salmon Rushdie has just raised the the amount by $500,000. That is the essence of Islamic Republic from my perspective.

    I do agree that they are not totally irrational. The big danger is war that is initiated by our side. Besides being immoral and an international crime, such an act would turn Islamists into victims and probably consolidate their political power for another half century. Some of Iran’s more partisan advocates here at RfI probably sense that outcome and probably is why they are lusting for such a war.

    But coming back to the thread topic, this current round of anti-American demonstrations and killings are creating a dangerous political climate in the US. Our main stream news is pushing this story almost exclusively as a crime against the US. This means the appetite for more war in the ME has just gone up a notch. Any war against Muslims will do so this makes it dangerous for Iran. Obama, if he genuinely wants to avoid war, as I believe he does, will have to tread carefully.

  88. Karl.. says:

    Iran report sabotage, suspect IAEA involvement.
    This is another indication why Iran cant trust these organizations nor the states that are probably behind that sabotage. And also prove that IAEA nor the US etc arent sincere about a solution, that is peaceful.

    Also Panetta also refuse to set a “red line” for Iran.

    Panetta: Setting Iran red lines would paint US into a corner
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/panetta-setting-iran-red-lines-would-paint-us-in-a-corner

  89. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Where do you get the idea the sanctions would be lifted if Israel attacks Iran?

  90. James Canning says:

    Reuters report Sept. 17th: “The West and Israel believe Iran is seeking an atomic weapon. . .” Storny on Strait of Hormuz mine-clearing exercise this week.

  91. James Canning says:

    “Joe Klein’s Courage: Iran and the Prospect of ‘reset’”, by Scott McConnell (Sept. 17th):

    http://theamericanconservative.com/joe-kleins-courage-iran-and-the-prospect-of-reset/

  92. Don Bacon says:

    I was doing some aimless random research recently and cam across a report of the US providing HEU to Iran. Imagine that!

    Highly Enriched Uranium: Striking a Balance” (Report)
    A HISTORICAL REPORT ON THE UNITED STATES
    HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM PRODUCTION,
    ACQUISITION, AND UTILIZATION ACTIVITIES
    FROM 1945 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 1996
    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY- January 2001
    Table 6-8 U.S. HEU Exported to Non-Euratom Countries for Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy – p. 100

    >90% HEU
    Iran 6 kg
    Israel 9 kg
    etc.
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/doe/heu/striking-lofi.pdf
    That same year, 2001, Iran helped the U.S. in Afghanistan after 9/11.
    “Following the events of 9-11, U.S. and Iranian goals in Afghanistan converged, at least temporarily. Both Washington and Tehran coordinated their efforts when it came to removing the Taliban from power and establishing a post-Taliban government of unity. Already in September 2001, Iran was serving as a key interlocutor between the U.S. and the Northern Alliance. As Ambassador Dobbins pointed out, the U.S. did not create the anti-Taliban coalition. Rather, it “joined a coalition that already included Iran, Russia, and India.”
    http://www.princeton.edu/~lisd/publications/finn_Iran_Afghanistan.pdf
    Then a year after this report, despite the assistance Iran gave the US in neighboring Afghanistan, came Bush’s State of the Union address, January 29, 2002: (excerpt)
    “. . .Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September 11, but we know their true nature. . .Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. . . This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world. . .States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil. . ”

    Considering Obama’s “New beginning” (Cairo speech) Iran again, in early 2009, offered to help in Afghanistan.
    Iran made a significant conciliatory gesture towards the Obama administration today, offering to help US-led efforts to stabilise and rebuild Afghanistan.

    At an international conference on Afghanistan at The Hague, in the Netherlands, the Iranian delegate, Mohammad Mehdi Akhundzadeh, responded positively to Barack Obama’s new strategy for winning the war against the Taliban.

    “Welcoming the proposals for joint cooperation offered by the countries contributing to Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully prepared to participate in the projects aimed at combating drug trafficking and plans in line with developing and reconstructing Afghanistan,” Akhundzadeh, one of Iran’s deputy foreign ministers, said, according to an early text of his remarks provided by Iranian officials.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/31/iran-afghanistan-obama
    Nope – offer refused. The U.S. needs Iran as an enemy, obviously. No more HEU for Iran.

  93. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon & FYI,

    Iran has grounds for objecting to certain actions of the IAEA but it would be most unwise to withdraw from the NPT. Instead, Iran should try to draw more attention to Israel’s failure to sign the NPT.

  94. James Canning says:

    ToivoS,

    Have you read much about the English colonies in North America? In some of them, an element of religious fanaticism was the order of the day.

  95. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Netanyahu is trying to pressure Obama into saying that if Iran stockpiles “X” amount of 20% U, it will have crossed a “red line”. You may have noticed The New York Times now refers to 20% U as medium enriched uranium.

  96. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Aipac and other extremist elements of the Israel lobby have many ways of rewarding those who advance their agenda. Why do you think so many US politicians toe the Aipac line?

  97. Castellio says:

    The key moment in the Al-Jazeera interview was Michele Dunne speaking over the hosts comment that the Salafis were “funded by American allies”.

    She claims the cause of the violence is not American policy, but rather is caused by the Salafis: however, those very Salafis are actually being supported by American policy vis-a-vis her closest allies.

    That was the key contradiction right there, and the administration refuses to acknowledge it.

  98. Photi says:

    this didn’t go through on the other thread…

    ToivoS says:
    September 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Could you please tell us exactly what it is about the West that makes drone warfare, Abu Ghraib, the Iraq war, Gitmo prisoners, and Occupied Palestine so tolerable?

  99. BiBiJon says:

    On the bright side: nothing like a few protests to concentrate Ashton’s mind
    =========================================================================

    Prof. Ramadan warns against forgetting “what is said today and what Israel is saying about Iran…If something happened, after what we are witnessing in the region now, with an attack or Netanyahu going too far in this direction, no one can predict what will be the consequences.”
    ————————–

    Quick response team:

    BRUSSELS/VIENNA (Reuters) – EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator on Tuesday, Ashton’s office said on Monday, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a political solution was still possible in the stand-off over Tehran’s atomic program.

    The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog, Yukiya Amano, also said on Monday his agency would hold more talks

    From http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-nuclear-iran-amanobre88g0f5-20120917,0,3592954.story

    BTW, suspicions and general peeve about America and her allies are not limited to the Arab Street. There are some Chinese streets that are vying for attention.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/16/china-japan-protests_n_1887703.html

  100. fyi says:

    M. Ali says:

    September 17, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I agree, for more than 8000 years the Iranian plateau’s history has been about religion; from the time of Zoroaster.

    However, note that the Zoroastrian religion died partly because of the rigidity and conservatism of its priests.

  101. fyi says:

    M. Ali says:

    September 17, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Life in Tehran is more convenient; you have better selections of goods and services.

    Shopping is more diverse and more varied – produce, meats, clothing etc.

    Furthermore, in small towns, one has to deal with the cackle of local hens and their pecking order.

    I would not want to live in a small town anywhere; regardless of the country.

  102. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    “Arabs are evidently entering the period of mass-politics in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and perhaps even Syria.

    This will be a challenge for US on many levels; she clearly cannot cope very well with mass-politics in Pakistan and not at all with the one in Iran.”

    You hit it on the head, fyi. Exactly right!

    And, here would be an opportunity to remeber what Hillary Mann Leverett said some time back about how the ‘winning narrative’ is the determining factor in “mass-politics”, not military/economic power.

  103. BiBiJon says:

    David Gregory’s interview with Netanyahu poses some challenging, mind-bending, contradictions to sort through.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49051097/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/september-benjamin-netanyahu-susan-rice-keith-ellison-peter-king-bob-woodward-jeffrey-goldberg-andrea-mitchell/#.UFccHa4kiSp

    Bibi to David Gregory:

    On the one hand Netanyahu argues why ‘red lines’ are a good thing.
    —————————————————————-

    I just think that it’s important to communicate to Iran that there is a line that they won’t cross. I think a red line in this case works to reduce the chances of the need for military action because once the Iranians understand that there’s no– there’s a line that they can’t cross, they are not likely to cross it …

    And I can tell you David that Iran has been placed with some clear red lines on a few matters and they have avoided crossing them.

    On the other hand, he says this:
    ———————————

    I think Iran is very different. They put their zealotry above their survival. They have suicide bombers all over the place. I wouldn’t rely on their rationality, you know, you– since the advent of nuclear weapons, you had countries that had access to nuclear weapons who always made a careful calculation of cost and benefit. But Iran is guided by a leadership with an unbelievable fanaticism.

    Lets think about what Netanyahu is saying
    ———————————

    Iran will respect a red line when the consequences are a conventional attack by superior American forces. Of this Netanyahu is sure and claims to have empirical evidence. But, he says Iran will not respect a ‘first use’ red line when the consequences are nuclear annihilation of Iran. Of this he is also certain, and offers Libyan Salafis ransacking a US embassy as evidence.

    I’m not surprised Obama does not have time to meet this genius logician from Likhud.

  104. BiBiJon says:

    Sunday Treats, other than football
    =================================

    MSM went all out yesterday treating us to NBC’s David (Iran’s nuclear threat) Gregory interview with Bibi Netanyahu. And, on CBS we had Martin Indyk, Thom Friedman, and Richard Haas shoveling BS down our throats.

    Among them, only Bibi draws a salary for putting Israel first. The others are strictly volunteers.

  105. BiBiJon says:

    M. Ali says:
    September 17, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Great response to a vile post on a thread examining vile videos.

    I think there are many types of (faithless)religions, and multiple forms of fanaticism associated with them.

    Overt nationalism, and/or any other all encompassing self-identification with particular culture/polity/civilization etc is also a form of religion. ‘Religion’ in the sense that one’s obscenely self-serving beliefs are impervious to one’s own glaring flaws, which requires demeaning of the ‘other’ as a foundation for self-esteem particularly for the pitiably powerless. Whereas faith is sufficient nourishment for the faithful; no need to bad-mouth others.

    Among adherents of this type of (faithless)religions there are fanatics as well as moderates.

    One hopes Toivos will continue to be a moderate. He can start by letting us know what exactly about a particular tragedy, and travesty has led him to generalize so broadly.

  106. Manfred Franke says:

    Flynt, Hillary, what can I say – I’m eternally thankful for your „voice in the wilderness“, proclaiming a balanced truth in a world so very void of it otherwise. Reading your assessments is always a breath of fresh air for me.

    May your voice be heard, heeded and listened to in the policy making circles of the President’s inner circles and Washington et al. However, I have only limited hopes.

    So, my wish would be that your message would be carried via the Internet far and wide and influence a wide spectrum of people around the globe, helping them to form opinions not based on media hype and propaganda – but on facts and on truth.

  107. M. Ali says:

    I noticed this headline,
    “128 U.S. embassy personnel leave Tunisia”

    And my first thought was, isn’t having 128 embassy personnel in Tunisia a lot??

  108. M. Ali says:

    To ToivoS from the previous thread,

    Toivos, your post is full of unnecessary phrases, “vile, oppressive regime”, “Torture and murder of innocents by “Islamic” officials is simply normal. There is nothing in that country that civilized people would want to emulate.”, “despicable and oppressive as IRI may be to their own people”, “pity the Iranian people for being under the yolk of a hateful theistic regime”, “ruled by a bunch of religious fanatics”.

    What I like about RFI’s discussion is people actually discuss indepth and intelligently without resorting to such, silly, statements.

    However, I would like to respond to a point you made, which I sort of agree. Which is,

    “It is sad to see a nation dominated and ruled by a bunch of religious fanatics. The West had that problem once but we managed to purge them from political power 600 years ago.”

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the Iranian nation loves its religious leaders. It always has, even before IRI, even before Shiaism, and even before Islam. Its always interesting to me when I read some pre-Islam history and notice how prominent the Zorastarian priests were in state affairs, and how the Kings at that time had to be in good terms with them.

    This might be why so many religions started from Iran, Shiasim, Sufism, Bahai, Zorastarian, and to some of us non-believers maybe even Islam (how much influence did Salman Farsi have on the arabs?), etc.

    I don’t think there will be a time, in the near future at least, where the Iranian nation will have a major change and suddenly transform to a secular mentality. Both politics and religion in Iran dictate society, therefore to an Iranian people, it won’t really make sense to seperate the two. It would be like seperating religion from an Iranian’s personal life.

    Non-Shia religions in Iran also hold their religious leaders on a pedestal. I’m from a Sunni background and a Sunni town, and I’ve seen how much people respect their Sunni religious leaders.

    Of course, sometimes an outsider doesn’t understand the fasinating and extremely complex paradox of Iranian society. The same people who would mock their religious leaders would be the same people who would follow their leader’s religios and social statements and reasonings. The death of one causes them great sadness, no matter how much they made fun of them among their friends. I think this paradox exists because it is more than a logical relationship between the people and their religious leader, it has probably been ingrained within them through the 3000+ years of history.

  109. M. Ali says:

    To Bussed-in-Basij and Arash,

    This is an old response to two boards back, and it is a late response, so sorry to all, but it was amusing, and I just had to share my thoughts.

    BIB mentioned,

    “Also, I know many young men (below 50) willing to go work in places other than Tehran but their wives, moms, dads, kids usually prevent them from moving to new and better job opportunities- even to beautiful places like Isfahan, Shiraz, Hamamdan etc.

    An acquintance who used to work for Renault in Tehran went to work for the bus production factory in Semnan- better pay, lower cost of living, better environment for the kids, no pollution and he was able to save money for the first time in his life. After a year, his stupid wife wanted a divorce because “when we got married you didn’t tell me we might go live in Semnan”.

    BIB,you have brought up a fascinating characteristic of current Iranian social life that I noticed a while back and brought up in discussions. You mention “wives, moms, dads, kids” but I think the biggest factor is “wives”. For some reason (I’ve not fully grasped the reason yet, but I have a few thoughts), wives love Tehran and hate the small city. I’ve seen this among my family members.

    I’ve had family members who used to work in bigger cities or even outside the country, but eventually settled back in our tiny hometown. I have a cousin who went to Shiraz & Bandarabbas, partnering with bazaris to run a shop, but eventually got tired and went back to my hometown to continue his ancestarial work, carpentary. He loves it now and is more successful than we might have thought. Both him and his younger brother love the small town. The younger brother in his early 20s hates going to Shiraz or Tehran, the bigger brother had to go to Dubai for a wedding and couldn’t wait to get out. But his wife would love them to move to Tehran. When I’ve gone to my own hometown, I’ve seen the love the men have for our small town (I can’t blame them, sometimes they send me pictures through WhatsApp of the guys hanging around together, in my father’s garden or one of the guy’s goat ranch, cooking khoreshteh goosht over the fire, and I feel extremely jealous being stuck in Tehran). But their lives would jump at the chance to move to Tehran.

    Anyway, this was off topic, but I wanted to share anyway.

  110. ToivoS says:

    I agree with Flynt and Hilary on this for the most part but they are going to have a very tough sell. There is much raving going on right now on how these riots simply demonstrate, yet again, the savagery and irrationality of the Arab masses. Salmon Rushdie in an interview in the Guardian today reinforces that view. He simply does not entertain the possibility that Western policy plays any role at all in Arab anger.

  111. Don Bacon says:

    Right, they don’t hate us for our freedom, but rather for the freedom we take to attack, kill and control them. Obama’s rhetoric of bringing people “freedom and dignity” is actually quite the opposite.

  112. Don Bacon says:

    fyi says:
    September 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm
    US will disown Israel’s attack and Iran will leave NPT.

    A timely remark, even w/o any attack by the big talkers.
    Tehran Times, Sep 17:
    TEHRAN – Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has said that the most recent resolution issued against Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency raises doubt about the benefit of being a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    Larijani made the remarks in a speech during an open session of the Majlis on Sunday in reference to the resolution that the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors adopted in Vienna on Thursday, which condemned Iran’s refusal to meet international demands to curb uranium enrichment and its alleged failure to allay international concerns about its nuclear program.

    The Iranian parliament speaker said, “The recent resolution by the Board of Governors raises this question for the public: What is the benefit of the NPT and membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency for countries? If Iran had not been committed to the NPT, would Western countries have taken other measures?”

    He stated that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has a responsibility to encourage the world’s countries to join the NPT, adding, “Will Mr. Amano be able to succeed in his job through such high-handed decision-making?”

    “If the path taken by the West and the United States is the adoption of resolutions and sanctions against Iran, then why are they seeking negotiations between Iran and Western countries? However, these countries must be aware that the result of the negotiations is predetermined with the adoption of such an attitude,” Larijani noted.
    http://www.tehrantimes.com/politics/101510-iaea-resolution-casts-doubt-on-benefit-of-npt-iran

  113. Don Bacon says:

    ToivoS says:
    September 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm
    This Zaheri case was new to me. It confirms my feelings about the IRI as a vile, oppressive regime. Torture and murder of innocents by “Islamic” officials is simply normal. There is nothing in that country that civilized people would want to emulate.

    That’s not true. The United States is a civilized country and it does torture and murder innocents, every day, on a grand scale, which is why the U.S. has such low favorability compared to many nations including Iran. Two recent stories:

    *Afghan officials say a NATO airstrike killed eight women and girls who were out gathering firewood before dawn Sunday in a remote region on the east of the country. NATO forces at first said that about 45 insurgents and no civilians were killed in the attack. This is in a country that has never threatened the United States.

    *The one man in the whole archipelago of America’s secret horrors facing prosecution is former CIA agent John Kiriakou. Of the untold numbers of men and women involved in the whole nightmare show of those years, only one may go to jail. And of course, he didn’t torture anyone. Kirakou is a whistle-blower.

  114. Don Bacon says:

    “public opinion in the Muslim world is probably not that radically different today than five years ago”

    Opinion of the U.S. is bad in the Arab/Muslim world, and is getting worse.

    Pew Global Attitudes – Jun 13, 2012
    “There remains a widespread perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries. In predominantly Muslim nations, American anti-terrorism efforts are still widely unpopular. And in nearly all countries, there is considerable opposition to a major component of the Obama administration’s anti-terrorism policy: drone strikes. In 17 of 20 countries, more than half disapprove of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups in nations such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”

    % Favorable toward U.S.

    country 2008/2012

    Lebanon 51/48
    Tunisia –/45
    Egypt 22/19
    Turkey 12/15
    Jordan 19/12
    Pakistan 19/12

    Disapproval of drone strikes

    Tunisia 72
    Turkey 81
    Egypt 89
    Jordan 85
    http://www.pewglobal.org/2012/06/13/global-opinion-of-obama-slips-international-policies-faulted/

  115. Re Flynt’s appearance, it was very effective and very well expressed. I was also impressed with Mr. Ramadan’s perspective.

    Miss Dunne was rather out-gunned here, but she adroitly avoided being confrontational. However, I don’t share her notion that the Obama administration will be having any useful conversations on the situation. Obama and his crew clearly don’t have the motivations or the intellectual capacity or the ability to respond other than with more aggression, because that is what his masters – and for the most part, the ignorant electorate – demand.

  116. fyi says:

    Arabs are evidently entering the period of mass-politics in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and perhaps even Syria.

    This will be a challenge for US on many levels; she clearly cannot cope very well with mass-politics in Pakistan and not at all with the one in Iran.

    While I personally do not welcome an Israeli attack on Iran, it may have its benefits for both US and Iran.

    US will disawn Israel’s attack and Iran will leave NPT.

    And the Siege of Iran will be over as well.