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The Race for Iran

HILLARY MANN LEVERETT DEBATES IRAN ON CNN’S GPS with Fareed Zakaria

 

Hillary Mann Leverett appeared on a panel broadcast today on CNN’s GPS, hosted by Fareed Zakaria; see video above or click here.  Besides Hillary, the panel included Hooman Majd, Vali Nasr, and Bret Stephens.  It was immediately prompted by the mounting “talk of war” between the United States and/or Israel, on the one hand, and the Islamic Republic, on the other, but it also provided an occasion to discuss bigger questions about U.S.-Iranian relations and U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic. 

The most telling exchange is between Hillary and Bret Stephens.  After Stephens argues that engaging Tehran is pointless, because the Iranian government demonstrated its manifest disinterest in improving relations with Washington by rejecting President Obama’s unprecedentedly generous offer of engagement, Hillary recites in detail how this assessment is fundamentally at odds with the historical record and how the Obama Administration was never serious about pursuing real rapprochement with the Islamic Republic. 

Stephens has no direct response to this.  He is reduced to “You are telling of a 30-year record of outreach to the United States that has been foolishly rebuffed by the United States; this is not a regime that supports terrorist groups or tried to kill the Saudi ambassador, perhaps has justly incurred the resentment and fear of its neighbors.”  In other words, he changes the subject. 

We will leave aside, for now, the utter lack of substantiation for the charge of Iranian government responsibility for an alleged plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the United States or the thorough politicization of the U.S. government’s state-sponsors of terrorism list.  As Hillary points out, before Richard Nixon made his historic opening to China in 1972, American political and policy elites routinely accused the People’s Republic of supporting terrorism and fomenting all sorts of dastardly deeds around the world.  This did not undermine the strategic logic of Sino-American rapprochement, either for Washington or Beijing.  But it took an American president capable of strategic leadership to act on that. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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545 Responses to “HILLARY MANN LEVERETT DEBATES IRAN ON CNN’S GPS with Fareed Zakaria”

  1. Bolbol says:

    Why did you even bother coming on this ’roundtable’..they need Vali Nasr (anti-Iran known for his tirades against Ayatollah Khomeini), Hooman Majd (anti-Iran known for backing the Green Movement), Bret Stephens (anti-Iran) to contain one mentally sane guest? This manufactured propaganda only gives the roundtable legitimacy by having only one person that is not in need of a mental hospital.

  2. Sassan says:

    “Fiorangela says: Sassan, Of course it was “wish fulfillment that I did not want to let my Mother go,” and`obviously it resided in my being, not my mother’s.”

    Then obviously this is not even an anecdotal example that your mother was aware of your consciousness and presence when she was at her worst before passing away while still being kept alive in the hospital, correct?

    “What part of the brain controls “wish fulfillment?”

    To be honest, I don’t know. Great question and now I will have to go try to find out!

    “We are all more than the sum of our individual parts.”

    Merely opinion based on zero evidence.

    In regards to your analysis on Iran:

    you are completely ignoring the horrid influence of Islam and religion. You can argue about the role of the west in regards to Iranian history; but you cannot ignore the corrupting and evil influence of Islamic rule mixed up with governance. Any attempts to justify the evil of this regime and the horrid things they have done to the Iranian people is an a way being an apologist and propagator of evil. There is no amount of so called U.S. action or “western influence” can wash away the fact that this is a regime that is so brutal that they rape our young sisters before execution so that they don’t “die as virgins” as “virgins go straight to heaven” as to both “not pollute heaven” and to “deny” this to them too.

    We must understand that there is evil in this world and call evil for what it is. What we can do is disagree on the method of change. You can be like Noam Chomsky and I can be like Christopher Hitchens; but to value humanity, we must both call what we see as abhorrent, evil, and a violator of human dignity and the worth of the human being itself.

  3. Sassan says:

    “fyi says: You have not explained what constitutes “Evil”; just enumerated the different types of it per your opinion.

    You have not answered my questions.

    What is Evil and what is Righteousness and how could they be derived from empirical sciences?”

    I think I have. Empirically, we know that psychopaths don’t know right from wrong. Thia can be measured with such measures such as lie detector tests as well as brain scans. In regards to lie detector tests, their blood levels and perspiration levels do not change to the reason aforementioned, they do not sense right and wrong. In regards to brain scans, the areas of their brains activated is not normal and is not like the rest of us whom are not psychopaths. Therefore, in this regard with psychopaths, we can conclude that they are “evil” as we define it: not knowing right from wrong on a broad level which cannot be interpreted due to cultural specifics or norms.

    Believe it or not, murdering another human being was seen as “wrong” even before “Moses introduced the 10 commandments at Mount Sinai”.

    As per ideology, it is a little bit more difficult to demonstrate empirically in the way possible with psychopaths. But the evidence to most rational observers is clearly beyond a reasonable doubt the ill effects of ideology which is set in stone and not alterable. Particularly, religion; and specifically, Islam.

  4. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I obviously am aware of powerful forces within the US, trying to set up war with Iran. Many of the same people who conspired to set up the illegal and idiotic US/UK invasion of Iraq, are trying again with Iran. For the same reason: to “protect” Israel.

    But Leon Panetta is not one of them.

  5. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You claim the US and EU cannot resolve their dispute with Iran “because one side has to lose”. Meaning? Would Iran “lose” if IAEA approves application to buy fuel for TRR and Iran ceases production of 20% U?

  6. Photi says:

    let me get this straight Mr Ross, the lack of diplomacy/open channels of communication between the US and Iran would make Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon too dangerous for the world to bear, and so therefore the US should not seek diplomatic relations with Iran but rather should put more and more pressure on “the regime” until the mullahs either implode or bend over, one of the two. Is this about right Mr. Ross?

    ***

    the interesting thing about Zionists is that so often they project their negative feelings of themselves onto their enemies. one of the reasons i think they do this is to cope with the cognitive dissonance they feel from their self-inflicted double-think worldview. Rather than admit to their hypocrisy, they project it onto their enemy.

    In this context, Mr. Ross’s ad hominem attack on Flynt Leverett gives us insight into Mr. Ross’s worries about himself. He accused Leverett of apologizing for the Iranian regime, so what this means then is that Mr. Ross has (possibly undiscovered) self-doubt surrounding all the apologizing he does for the Israeli regime. Indeed, just a few minutes after his personal attack on Flynt, he goes on to wax eloquently on the existential and righteous violence of Israel, as if they are so innocent.

    How convenient for the Israelis that there are powerful people in the US who see how utterly impossible diplomacy is between the Iranians and Americans. I am sure the Israelis have our back, so “More Pressure!” please!

  7. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan says:
    January 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    where do you get your cottage cheese

  8. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    To the list of real decision-makers in the world you must add Iran.

  9. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    The musing US Secretary of Defense are not going to affect the US Iran Policy.

    It is one of regime change through Suege Warfare.

    As I have stated before; just like the Iran-Iraq War; Axis Powers have gone too far too fast against Iran.

    No resolution with Iran is possible for one side has to loose.

    There is also no system of inspections that you could construct and foist on Iran that would guarantee that Iranains are not building nuclear weapons.

    David Kay discussed that some time ago – please see:

    http://nationalinterest.org/article/in-the-tunnels-of-natanz-3381

    The nuclear files is just a means to beat on Iran.

    Americans destroyed NPT just as they did CWT during Iran-Iraq War.

  10. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    US & UK want to destroy Islamic Iran.

    I have not seen any evidence to the contrary.

    For UK, even now, it is not late – they can rescind the CBI sanction.

    They can send Mr. Straw to tehran to see what could be salvaged.

    You live in dream world – a war was started in 2007 and it has intensified during the last 4 months.

    There is no end in sight in that war.

  11. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    You have not explained what constitutes “Evil”; just enumerated the different types of it per your opinion.

    You have not answered my questions.

    What is Evil and what is Righteousness and how could they be derived from empirical sciences?

  12. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    No historical analogy is perfect.

    My contention was that certain conflicts cannot be resolved and become “frozen” – for years, perhaps decades.

    Each of my examples of have their own specificity; as you have clearly observed.

    Iran and US, in my opinion, fits the bill – 33 years of confrontation and no resolution.

  13. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I am stating that some conflicts are no soluable and they become frozen, at least for a time.

    The conflict between the United States and Islamic Republic of Iran shows all such signs.

    It may not be desirable for Iran to be without representation in US or US but she can clearly manage.

  14. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Then why are we here?

    Did not Dr. Ahmadinejad, in his reaction of NIE on Iran in 2007, state “a few more things like this and we would have no problems.?

    No my friend; you do not seem to wish to see the evidence in fron to your eyes.

    US-EU have finally and clearly disclosed their aims: destruction of the Islamic republic.

    And they are using tactics that US used against the government of the nationalist martyred President Dr. Salvador Allende and UK used against the late Dr. Mossadeq’s government.

    As I said before; it has all become crystal clear.

  15. James Canning: “Further evidence you are quite mistaken to believe it makes no difference whether Iran enriches to 3.5% or 20%. The Daily Telegraph, highly important in forming opinion in the UK, said in a leader Jan. 11th: “Earlier this week, Iran confirmed it is enriching uranium to a level not needed for peaceful nuclear activities, such as generating electircity.””

    First of all, the statement the Telegraph makes is on the face of it a total lie. The entire point of 20% enrichment is for a medical purpose.

    So you are arguing that because the Western leaders and Western media LIE about a fundamental fact that Iran should bow down and cease its medical LEU production?

    Are you an idiot?

    Second, as is brought back to the fore by Flynt’s debate with Dennis Ross in the next thread, the Iranians would not even be enriching to that level had the IAEA done it’s job and arranged for the purchase of the necessary fuel, and had the P5 + 1 engaged in flexible diplomacy over the issue, and had Obama not completely LIED about the U.S. willingness to accept a deal based on the one outlined in his letters to Turkey and Brazil.

    Therefore, to put the blame on Iran for enriching to 20% entirely is just stupid.

    I’ll amend my question above. You ARE an idiot.

    I’ll also re-iterate my opinion that you’re just babbling about this 20% stuff because you can’t stand to see England represented as a useless poodle to the U.S. and of no geopolitical significance any more to the entire world Well, it is precisely that.

    The U.K. today is as much a joke as Italy has been for decades. The REAL decisions in the world are made by the U.S., Russia, China, France and Germany (acting together as the EU), with upcoming countries such as Brazil and India having an influence. In the Middle East, the only countries of relevance are Iran and Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    No one cares what the people in the UK think about 20% enrichment and even less what UK politicians think. If the U.S. and Israel weren’t opposed to Iran, the UK wouldn’t be a blip on the radar for anyone.

  16. bkbt says:

    It makes me wonder when some call themselves NATIONALIST! the problem with inane conceded people like that one is they are LOST in their ideology and can’t tell the difference between black and white! It reminds me of a westside CS, who I know.

    BTW: Chao is spelled, Ciao.

    I am out!

  17. kooshy says:

    James Canning says:

    January 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Gavner James- I said against all fairness to Palestinians, the conflict that your country UK, EU and US as well as their Sunni Arab client states hostile to Iran currently have in occupied Palestine keeps them busy and helps Iran to maintain her independence for two reason, wining Arab street sympathy by correctly supporting Palestinians as well as maintaining pressure on your country UK/US/EU and their Sunni Arab client state, did you think I would be afraid of saying this, now you can walk to Billy Hague’s office and tell him if he really want to put pressure on Iran he should give Palestinians back their land.

    Shir fahm shood

  18. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    Did you just inform Sassan that you in effect welcome Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians because it works to the advantage of Iran? Clarify please.

  19. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Further evidence you are quite mistaken to believe it makes no difference whether Iran enriches to 3.5% or 20%. The Daily Telegraph, highly important in forming opinion in the UK, said in a leader Jan. 11th: “Earlier this week, Iran confirmed it is enriching uranium to a level not needed for peaceful nuclear activities, such as generating electircity.”

  20. kooshy says:

    Sassan Says

    “IT is nice that your anti-Semitisms came out to light.”

    Sassan- I am not anti -Jewish, and I respect Iranian Jews who are not Israel firsters, Semitism is a race that also includes Arabs which I am not against them at all. As matter of fact due my nationalistic feelings and against all fairness to the Palestinians I feel currently some sort of weakened Israel will help Iran to keep his main adversaries US/UK/EU as well as hostile Sunni Arabs busy while Iran is in process of maintaining her sovereign independence from the traditional hegemonic powers that had maintained control over Iran since the 1800’s. I must say historically Iranians are very versed in playing this game and that’s how has been able to survive for many many centuries, that my friend is called balancing the powers.

  21. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    When you mention the NIEs on Iran of 2007 and 2010 are “consistently ignored”, you surely do not mean ignored by the US defence secretary.

    But Panetta is concerned Iran conceivably could enrich U on the sly, in a concealed facility. This to me seems possible, but unlikely.

    Possibly, it was to Iran’s own advantage for the US to fly drones with “sniffing” capabilities, to rule out secret enrichment facilities.

  22. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I think your encouragement of an Iranian assassination programme against Americans who are “pro-Israel” is exceptionally unwise. It would be about the worst possible blunder for Iran to make.

    Israel’s internal problems grow worse month by month. Time is on Iran’s side provided the government does not make a ghastly mistake.

  23. Sassan says:

    kooshy: I was born a “fake Muslim” like the vast majority of Iranians.

    IT is nice that your anti-Semiticism came out to light. You assume I am “Jewish”. And I was born in Iran and have gone back and spent considerable amounts of time in Iran including just last year.

    And Iranians no longer care about the Palestinian issue – it is a “non-Iranian issue”. In fact, we see Hamas and Hizbollah simply as the bloodthirsty terrorists that they are. We are Iranians and the Palestinian-Israeli issue means nothing to the majority of us.

    And when I was in Iran last year and sitting in the airport (waiting to pick up another family member while I was in Iran) and we saw a group of Arabs with the Palestinian and Hamas cloak around them, the entirety of where we sat (which consisted of people of all ages) shrieked in disgust.

    Those days are over my friend. Just like this regime has driven Islam out of the hearts and minds of the Iranian people; the “Zionist” nonsense means nothing to the majority of Iranians as well.

    Now I have to really get somewhere. Take care for a few hrs. :)

  24. kooshy says:

    Sassan

    I suspect you are 2nd generation US born Iranian Jewish, with all due respect to your religion, Iranian have to accept that before the revolution and after the revolution Iran is a majority shih Muslim country by a margin of 92% to 8, still under the prior and current Iranian constitution which was approved by a landslide majority, constitutionally approved traditional religions that are fabricated in Iranian culture are free to exercise their religion in addition to have parliamentary representation.

    So as long as one like you, an expatriate doesn’t advocate a violent change in an approved constitutional system, and is not wishing foreign governments to bomb his people, can go back and liv there peacefully with what majority approved constitutional law permits.

    Now if what really bothers you is Iranian foreign policy toward the occupied Palestine, I don’t think that is possible to change even with a revolution that you want, a good example is Iraq and now Egypt.

    Chao

  25. BiBiJon: “There’s a cold calculus outside moral tenets for avoidance of cheesiness, and achievement of classiness.”

    I prefer to be the last man standing whether I’m cheesy and have no class or not.

    So should Iran.

    In fact, Iran shouldn’t reply “tit for tat” for various foreign assassinations, etc. They should up the ante by more extreme measures.

    As a famous combat handgunning expert titled his book, there’s “No Second Place Winner”. Either your enemy goes down or you do. Being buried “with honor” is a fool’s game.

    “Honor” consists in not being unnecessarily cruel or attacking targets which are not relevant to achieving the purpose of taking your enemy down. But you don’t avoid strategy and tactics which are effective just because they seem “cheesy”.

    Killing a U.S. civilian nuclear scientist would be pointless. Even killing a U.S. nuclear scientist working for the military would be pointless, given the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Killing an Israeli nuclear scientist working at Dimona would not be pointless – they only have so many, just as Iran does.

    Assassinating Bibi Netanyahu would not be pointless. In fact, it should be an assigned goal of every Palestinian, Hizballah member, and Iranian agent in the region, just like every Terminator has the goal of killing John Connor built in, regardless of any other mission.

    Assassinating members of Israel’s military would not be pointless.

    Assassinating anyone in the U.S. who “materially supports” Israel would not be pointless.

    Letting your enemy pop your valuable assets without any retaliation is just stupid. There’s nothing “classy” about being stupid.

  26. Sassan says:

    Last thing real quick, I have to share this!

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c2#/video/bestoftv/2012/01/12/nr-milky-way-100-billion-planets.cnn

    100 billion planets estimated to exist in our Milky Way Galaxy alone! And there are hundreds of billions of galaxies!

  27. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Regarding Armenai-Azerbaijan, one might note that Iran has worked hard to try to resolve this dispute.

  28. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Regarding North Korea, one might note that South Korea would be reluctant to take over the north even if the government left the country. Gigantic cost. At least $1 trillion.

  29. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    One might add to your comments about US-Cuban relations is that virtually every European country has contempt for America’s treatment of Cuba in recent years.

  30. James Canning says:

    I recommend “Israeli Supreme Court upholds discriminatory citizenship law: ‘Human rights shouldn’t be a recipe for national suicide””, by Adam Horowitz Jan. 12th:

    http://mondoweiss.net/

  31. Sassan says:

    Fiorangela: I have to run but I will try to respond to you later tonight my friend. :)

    kooshy: If Israel was run by and controlled by Rabbis, I would have similar concerns as I do with the Mullahs but the fact is that Israeli government is secular.

    If the Shah was in power or some democratic secular government in Iran, no one would have concerns about Iran’s nuclear program (or very little). The fact that these are religious and irrational actors on the world-stage is what frightens and terrifies the free world.

    Take care for now. :)

  32. Fyi: “In my opinion, Axis Powers confronation with Iran has reached the same frozen state as the following:

    US-Cuba
    US-North Korea
    Turkey-Cyprus
    Armenia-Azerbaijan”

    I have to disagree.

    First, because there doesn’t seem to be much “frozen” in comparison to those examples cited. We have continually escalating threat and counter-threat.

    By comparison, the Cuban embargo has been irrelevant for decades and was never very significant in the first place once the Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved. And it was that missile crisis during the Cold War that started it. That was a genuine crisis since it involved real Soviet nuclear missiles being sent to Cuba. Since then, the U.S. has simply ignored Cuba based on it being a remnant of the Cold War and still run by an avowed Communist. There is no motivation to open relations with Cuba because Cuba isn’t important to the U.S. in any strategic, economic, or other way.

    Turkey and Cyprus I’m not that familiar with, nor Armenia-Azerbaijan, but I can’t see any direct comparison. It seems to me that those cases involve specific ethnic conflicts between countries directly close to each other – not thousands of miles apart.

    A more valid comparison is between the U.S. and North Korea. But here, as I’ve said before, the comparison founders on the relative military strengths and the severe immediate consequences of a war. The sole reason the U.S. has not decided to promote a war with North Korea is the simple fact that North Korea has the actual military power to: 1) kill fifty thousand U.S. troops in the first ninety days of a war, based on Pentagon war games, and 2) seriously damage a major U.S. trading partner, South Korea, within the first month of a war, and 3) involve yet another major U.S. trading partner, Japan, in the war, and 4) risks a war with China who does not want to see U.S. troops on her borders once North Korea loses said war.

    These are serious outcomes, even excluding the possibility that North Korea may have one or more functioning nuclear weapons which might be delivered to Japan or the West Coast of the U.S. by submarine or other means.

    These are VERY important strategic factors which simply have no counterpart in Iran. Iran: 1) does not have the military power to inflict that level of U.S. troop casualties in that short a time frame; 2) does not threaten a major U.S. trading partner other than Saudi Arabia, let alone two such; and 3) does not risk escalation to a conflict with another nuclear power such as China or Russia (despite some scenarios that some people think might do so.)

    So I can’t agree that there is any motivation or visible effort on the part of the U.S. to “freeze” its current aims with Iran. I see only a continual effort to induce regime change in or actual destruction of Iran by any means necessary, including war.

    What one CAN say is that there has been and continues to be hostility between Iran and the U.S. for the last three decades. But that conflict is heating up, not “freezing” at this point.

    If the U.S. does not start a war with Iran within the next twenty years, THEN one can safely say the conflict has been “frozen” at a particular state.

  33. Sassan says:

    Castellio says: “The following speech is both paranoid and self-glorifying, lacking in self-reflection and bereft of reason.”

    Learn about the “hidden imam” ideology and what it really means. Thank you.

    You can start by watching a documentary produced by the regime themselves: http://youtu.be/WwiadYT-N9k

  34. kooshy says:

    Sassan says:

    January 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Sassan

    Do you think Israel has the right and should keep her nuclear arsenal and if she feels threaten to use them.

  35. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan, Of course it was “wish fulfillment that I did not want to let my Mother go,” and`obviously it resided in my being, not my mother’s.

    What part of the brain controls “wish fulfillment?”

    We are all more than the sum of our individual parts.

    I grew up in an intensely pious religious environment — lots of praying for “wishes to be fulfilled” but little — make that NO — education or apprehension of the biology and neuroscience of a human life. It was very destructive in many ways, and if that is what you rail against in Iran’s Muslim society, I understand your complaint. Religious rules are the mechanisms that people who are under tremendous pressure, and fear, use to maintain control over people to whom they owe a duty of care.
    Some time ago George Friedman posted an insightful essay describing the threats under which Iran functions, and surmised that Iran’s government imposes levels of control over the people precisely because the state is threatened on all sides and the government feels the absolute need to keep the people unified. The state also offers rewards to the people in ways that it can — to keep the people happy, or less unhappy, and unified, because the state cannot deal simultaneously with domestic fractures as well as threats on all its borders.

    The West that you so admire has never given Iran an even chance to work out its own governing style. Think about it — less than a year after the enormous upheaval that brought Khomeini to power, US arranged for Iraq to wage war against Iran. Compare that to the situation of the United States, where far fewer people had far more time to try out different styles of government. What if Iran had had the luxury of being left alone to create its own government, rather than being pressured by eight years of war, followed by 25 years of other forms of punishments and isolation? Do you think your native land would look different today? All things considered, you should be very proud of how honorably your Iran has conducted itself, and how shamefully the United States has treated a nation with with the US does and could have so much in common. If I were you, I’d place my bet on trying to resist pressure to merge with US values–particularly predatory capitalism (Adam Smith capitalism, fine; but walnut-shell capitalism where the house always wins has always been a sucker bet. Read “Confessions of an Economic Hitman.”) and, instead, support as well as pressure the existing government in Iran to reform itself in a way that you have thoughtfully, intelligently, patiently worked out. You’re young and seek to be a hero, and you want it NOW. Your heroic task is to learn patience. PS did I mention that my mother was the Pope and I inherited her preachiness?

  36. Sassan says:

    kooshy says: “On his last reply to you, finally you got it out of him, as suspected, now you should know why he don’t care how many Iranians and Americans might get killed.”

    I care very much for every human life. But the reality is that these hooligans occupying Iran are not going to pack their bags and leave the way the Shah did. These animals will kill every last Iranian to keep power.

    And with apocalyptic weaponry, not only will they keep the Iranian people hostage for longer, but the real chance remains that they either use such weaponry or pass them along to a terrorist for use. Remember: this is a regime whose core ideology is to bring the “return of the hidden imam” which inherently means the deaths of 2/3rd of humanity before “the end of days” even comes..

    These are the threats that not only Iranians, Americans, or Israelis face; but ultimately the survival and progress of the human species.

  37. Sassan says:

    fyi: I have to run right now but will be back later. Before signing off, I will once again quote the great American physicist and Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion”.

  38. Sassan says:

    fyi says:

    “Evil only exists – conceptually – if Righteousness also can exist.

    What is the basis of your Righteousness?

    Why was Hitler Evil?

    Please answer on basis that could be derived from these empirical sciences upon which your belief system seems to rest.”

    This can easily turn into a philosophical debate but I believe there to be different types of evils.

    There is an evil in which people are simply wired the wrong way in the brain and hence, we have psychopaths who have no sense of right and wrong. In fact, these people easily pass lie detector tests as they have “no moral compass” inside of them. We see many of these individuals end up as serial killers. Surely, early childhood environments surely interact with the genetic predisposition; but there are many circumstances where the genetic predisposition is so strong and prevalent, that even those in a healthy childhood environment end up as psychopaths. One cannot deny the genetic contribution to this.

    Then we have another type of evil which is based on ideology. This most often takes the form of religion but other ideologies can substitute religion and became in a way a “form” of religious dogma such as Stalin’s ruthlessness with his communist ideology or Hitler’s Nazi ideology (although Hitler was a Roman Catholic). These ideologies (usually religion) create in groups vs. out groups; hence, “we are right, you are wrong”; “you deserve to die, we are god’s chosen ones” etc etc.

    Although Hitler was surely a mixture of both ideology, genetics, and early childhood environment as learning about his life history is truly fascinating.

    And righteousness is sort of John Locke’s “Natural Rights”. It means that every human being regardless of where they are born into, should be afforded a minimum level of human rights and free expression and freedom of religion should be inherent. This includes leaving one’s religion if one chooses without reprisal. Most importantly, women should be treated equally to men. IT is a sad reality that in Iran, a women is worth 1/2 a man in court and women are scared of reporting their rapes as they are often the one whom is seen as the perpetrator rather than the victim. In addition, she may still be punished..

    This is a standard of righteousness in which the civilized world and the international community adopts as universal (but unfortunately is not followed as such). I briefly skimmed the major points which I thought were important; but to add: righteousness is being able to tolerate other people for opposing viewpoints and respecting people of different stripes to be a part of society and be afforded all the opportunity to succeed. It does not matter sexual orientation, sex, or “caste system” as seen in countries such as India. Things are not perfect in America and we must always strive to improve and get better, but I for one am appreciative of the freedoms and opportunities that we have here in the United States. In Iran, I would be executed for being an open atheist.

  39. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You suggest that the course of US-Cuba relations offers a model for what to expect with Iran’s relations with the EU, US, the P5+1, etc. in future.

    The US and the Soviet Union agreed in 1962 that the US would not invade Cuba and the Soviets would remove all nukes and ballistic missiles. US also removed obsolete ballistic missiles from Turkey.

    This allowed Fidel Castro the freedom the keep his people impoverished for the next 50 years, albeit with failry good health care and some other services.

    Soviet Union took care to keep an ambassador in Washington who knew many of the most important people. By contrast, you welcome an isolated Iran, with no ambassador in Washington or London.

  40. BiBiJon: “Cyrus is pointing out, correctly I think, that it’s not a lack of options, vision, strategy, etc. He contends it is no longer in anyone’s power to halt the spiral politically.”

    It would be very easy for the U.S. to halt the spiral. All the U.S. has to do is tell the truth: it has zero evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

    The U.S. could then make the sensible offer to lift all sanctions and normalize relations with Iran if Iran will sign the AP and at least discuss other matters on the table.

    Since the U.S. is quite deliberately not capable of that, the onus for all future results of this coming war, as it was for Iraq, will fall completely on the U.S.

    This has utterly nothing to do with a “spiral”, in fact. This “crisis” is utterly and entirely the making of the U.S., the EU and Israel. Iran has done absolutely nothing to start it.

    All this nonsense from Canning about “20% enrichment” being a provocation is ridiculous. If the U.S. and Israel hadn’t been lying from the start about Iran’s “nuclear weapons program”, none of this would have occurred, including 20% enrichment. Iran would have bought its fuel abroad as usual.

  41. kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    January 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    On his last reply to you, finally you got it out of him, as suspected, now you should know why he don’t care how many Iranians and Americans might get killed.

  42. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Fairly recently, the Conservative Party in coalition came to power in the UK, with a very competent foreign secretary, William Hague, who made clear he sought improved relations between the UK and Iran. And Obama came into the White House in 2009 with a desire to improve relations between the US and Iran.

    I think you are a bit deluded to say the US and UK took a decision in 2007 to seek steadily worsening relations with Iran.

  43. Castellio says:

    The following speech is both paranoid and self-glorifying, lacking in self-reflection and bereft of reason.

    “I don’t hate anyone. My only enemies are those who are the enemies of human civilization and through their sadism and masochism, want to bring an end to humanity.”

  44. Irshad: “The BBC reports that an ISREALI hacker has hacked and released the credit card detials of hundreds of SAUDIS (Arabs). PLEASE NOTE: This was not done by an Iranian.”

    I know something about computer security and this stuff is trivial. Compromise of thousands, even millions of credit cards, happens all the time.

    “Experts say the attacks draw attention to the potential for virtual or cyber wars in the Middle East.”

    These “experts” are idiots. This sort of thing goes on all the time in hacker circles. The only distinguishing features of these two incidents is that it was done by hackers who are motivated by political disagreements rather than “lulz” (laughs). It’s essentially no different than the attacks on U.S. police departments by the Anonymous hacker group.

    In no way does this stuff amount to “cyberwar”, which is a term many computer experts such as Bruce Schneier believe is way over-used to discuss what is essentially cyber-crime or at worst cyber-espionage.

    “Newspaper reports suggest OxOmer is an Israeli soldier serving in Military Intelligence.”

    Quite possible. Or he could just be some Israeli civilian hacker. Israel has plenty of them.

    “At the weekend, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon described the cyber attacks as terrorism and warned that Israel would “retaliate forcefully”. He later found his own website had been attacked.”

    He’s as stupid as the U.S. military that wants to respond militarily to hacking incidents.

    “They have also shown the potential for politically motivated cyber attacks to escalate in the region with Arab and Israeli hackers warning of possible future action.”

    Essentially little different from the same sort of conflicts between U.S. and Chinese hackers, or between the Anonymous hacker group and other factions of hackers.

  45. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Evil only exists – conceptually – if Righteousness also can exist.

    What is the basis of your Righteousness?

    Why was Hitler Evil?

    Please answer on basis that could be derived from these empirical sciences upon which your belief system seems to rest.

  46. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I would expect that Gen. Martin Dempsey was taught, years before he first went to Iraq, that wars are unpredictable. What he seems to have wanted to avoid saying, was that idiot neocons created the catastrophe in Iraq by disbanding the Iraqi army and security services.

  47. Sassan says:

    fyi: I surmise that the lesson of Hitler should have taught all of us to take evil seriously. Even Hitler did not want to end the world. In an era of apocalyptic weaponry, apocalyptic madmen should never have access to apocalyptic weapons.

  48. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Financial Times report Jan. 12th said that Japn, South Korea, Taiwan and India, combined, might reduce Iranian oil imports by as much as 250,000 b/d. This represents abouut 10% of total current Iranian oil exports.

  49. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    “Human civilization” is just a tool for survival.

    If you are willing to kill and harm other people who have done nothing to you over an instrument – whose qualities you are the Judge – then you are not just a lost soul but a damn fool too.

    I surmise that you are less than 30 and therefore have not been yet tested.

  50. BiBiJon: “”It’s accepted that Iran at one time had a nuclear-weapons program. The country’s enormous investment in a secret underground uranium-enrichment complex in the city of Natanz is essentially proof of clandestine intentions. The military plutonium-production reactor in Arak is yet another indicator.”

    IAEA in a September 17, 2009 press statement, revealed:

    “With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.”

    The 2007 NIE claimed Iran did have a weapons program until 2003. I have to assume the intelligence that led to that NIE conclusion was not shared with IAEA, or, if shared, was not considered by IAEA as “concrete proof.””

    Here’s my take on that.

    The 2007 NIE was a “consensus” of the 16 intelligence agencies. However, individual intelligence agencies had other ideas. In particular, I’ve read that the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) believes that Iran had a “nuclear weapons study program” initiated sometime after it was discovered that Saddam had a nuclear weapons program. The DIA believes the Iran program was essentially a “paper study” with no actual physical weapons development going on.

    The motivation for this study was essentially “due diligence” based on a threat from Iraq. The U.S. and Israel didn’t even enter into the considerations because Iran knew it could never compete with either country in nuclear arsenal.

    Naturally, in 2003, once Iraq was destroyed, Iran stopped the program as being of no further use – since they would be influencing Iraq for the foreseeable future.

    As for Kelly’s notions that having an underground plant by definition means a clandestine weapons program, that clearly is just his interpretation. Based on Iraq’s experience, with Israel attacking Iraq’s nuclear facilities, and the U.S. and Isrsael’s general history of hostility toward Iran, Iran clearly had many reasons to put its facilities underground without having any intent to construct nuclear weapons.

    Even for general safety purposes, it would make sense to put much of their facilities underground.

    And since these facilities were all detected and are under the control of the IAEA, how can Kelly claim it’s proof of a “clandestine” program? You can’t HIDE the sort of facilities that Natanz is from satellite surveillance! And as long as they are detected and brought under IAEA control, it’s impossible to claim they are “clandestine”.

    It’s like claiming Cape Kennedy is “clandestine” because you can’t see inside the control room…

    What needs to happen is that the DIA opinion needs to be shared more widely. Their opinion agrees with what I’ve said repeatedly – that the evidence establishes ONLY that Iran at one time did “due diligence” in 1) investigating whether a nuclear weapons program made sense for the country, and 2) investigated how to build a nuclear weapon in case some future government did green light such a program.

    In other words, a “nuclear weapons research database program” is NOT a “nuclear weapons development AND DEPLOYMENT program.” Brazil, South Korea, Sweden and Japan ALL have or had the former, but not the latter. Iran is no different from any of those countries.

  51. Sassan says:

    “Jesus stated that he had no enemies and sought none.

    Why cannot you follow on his path?”

    1) Jesus is not my prophet

    2) I don’t hate anyone. My only enemies are those who are the enemies of human civilization and through their sadism and masochism, want to bring an end to humanity. And this end-of-the-world ideology, is a direct result of religious belief and in Islamic fundamentalism, it takes a much more active and profound role in the ideology of those who run such a regime as the IRI. This “hidden imam” ideology is at the CORE of everything they do. Hence the reason why the Islamic Republic is not and will never be a rational actor. Hence why “Mutually Assured Destruction” will play no deterrent with such madmen.

    Saying this, I simply want Khamenei and his thugs at the Hague. They deserve a fair trial and fair representation; although that is what they have systematically denied to the Iranian people and Iranian nation through their mass killings, executions, and massacres over the last 30+ years of bloodshed and sacrifice for the Iranian people.

  52. Karl says:

    The old chap Dempsey didnt know what he was doing in Iraq.
    And now this man want to start another war, for what you might want to ask him? He wouldnt know.

    “By October 2003, he said, he began to realize that he and his Army did not fully understand the nature of the conflict that they were fighting.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/dempsey-reflects-on-iraq-nearly-nine-years-on/2011/12/14/gIQAbVbSuO_blog.html

  53. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Jesus stated that he had no enemies and sought none.

    Why cannot you follow on his path?

  54. Sassan says:

    Fiorangela says: “I watched my Mother die as Alzheimer’s and strokes ate away at her brain bit by bit. But SHE still existed, her unique being still existed, and I watched my Father cherish her every moment even as doctors showed us scans and X-rays of ever-decreasing brain function. There IS something ineffable about each human being that cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts, however awesome those parts may be”

    Honest question my friend: in her latter stages, what evidence was there that she was still that “same person” or “unique being”? Could it have been a wish fulfillment in that you loved her so much and simply didn’t want to let her go?

  55. Sassan says:

    fyi: We do not know if Jesus Christ really existed or not in contrast to Muhammad; but whether he existed or not, his message of love, peace, and forgiveness is a much more benign and loving message than the teachings of Muhammad. I truly believe if all the Muslims of the world all of a sudden tomorrow decided to become Christian, the world would be a much more peaceful place. Still far too ignorant, but surely more peaceful.

  56. Sassan says:

    Fiorangela: I apologize, I didn’t mean to be so critical on the memory of your mother. I had thought you were quoting “Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell”. After rereading it, I realized you were conveying your personal life experiences. I apologize again.

  57. Sassan says:

    Fiorangela says: “I still talk to the Mother of my memory, and her spirit is still very much alive in the good deeds she did and the people she loved.”

    This is the exact reason why religious is so powerful. It helps the weak minded cope with not only their eventual death and “rebirth to the afterlife” but also with the deaths of loved ones. In fact, it is believed that religion served an evolutionary purpose. When we looked up at the sky and knew nothing, religion helped serve as the first and worst method in explaining the natural world and the cosmos. After religion become unnecessary, came philosophy. After philosophy was superseded by science and the scientific method, philosophy became mostly irrelevant as well.

    In fact, pious Muslims of today are still required to give extra prayers when there is a solar and lunar eclipse. This obviously shows once again the primitive nature of religion. It is no surprised that the vast majority of scientists (in particular biologists and physicists) are atheists. They know how life and the universe operates to some degree and all the evidence clearly demonstrates that a creator is not only unnecessary, but is void of the slightest miniscule shred of evidence.

    Remember: anecdotes mean very little. Anyone can come up with an anecdotal example for something but that does not make it true. In science, we look for evidence. Evidence that is verifiable, repeatable, and valid. Hence, meeting the criteria of the scientific method so that other scientists can experiment and see it for themselves.

  58. kooshy says:

    bkbt says:

    January 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    “why would one copy/paste khamenie’s condolence?!”

    If you care to read, the last sentence toward the bottom you will understand why.

    By the way if you eliminate the “bt” and just stay with the “bk” you will be a “Freeman” and better disguised

    LOL

  59. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    And was the Prophetic mission of Jesus, the Blessed Son of Mary, also crap?

    Was he trying to meet women and the whole thing was a lie?

  60. Sassan says:

    bkbt says: “They might have drinks and eat pork, but at the same time they go to mosques to pray and do the shia cermonies! Iranian youth are way smarter than some old farts living in mansions in US, and support iran facing the world!”

    You were right until the end my friend. They do not go to mosque and the only Shiite ceremony they attend (I went to it last year as well) is Ashura and NOT for the religious purposes but to pick up on members of the opposite sex and exchange phone numbers. It is a way to “hook up” as their options are limited.

    fyi: Yes, it is CRAP. Do you also see the Virgin Mary in a loaf of bread? Give me a break with your delusions.

    And so you know, the story of the “virgin birth” is nothing new to Christianity. It was “assimilated” via the previous religious of the time including components of Mithraism. You do know that Jesus was not born on Christmas, right? Even well versed Christians know this. The Christians agreed to assimilate the date with the Pagans so that they would win them as converts without the need for bloodshed.

  61. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan, you may be interested in a series of conversations between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, the mythologist.

    I, too, am fascinated with the functioning of the human brain, the most complex entity in the universe. And in some ways similar to you, I suspect that when the brain-body connection ceases to be mutually supportive, the entire system dies. I watched my Mother die as Alzheimer’s and strokes ate away at her brain bit by bit. But SHE still existed, her unique being still existed, and I watched my Father cherish her every moment even as doctors showed us scans and X-rays of ever-decreasing brain function. There IS something ineffable about each human being that cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts, however awesome those parts may be. I don’t ever want the mystery of a human person reduced to a computer chip, even if it did last forever. I still talk to the Mother of my memory, and her spirit is still very much alive in the good deeds she did and the people she loved.

  62. bkbt says:

    i actually think iranian youth are religous in their own way. they belive in islam but not the one regime and mesbah are trying to force. They might have drinks and eat pork, but at the same time they go to mosques to pray and do the shia cermonies! Iranian youth are way smarter than some old farts living in mansions in US, and support iran facing the world!

  63. fyi says:

    Sassan says:January 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    So evidence of the Blessed Virgin and his appearances, throughtout 2000 years, are just ‘crap’?

    It might be of interest to you that one such appearance, to the man who would become known as “Bab”, happened in Iran.

    The poor fellow could not assimilate the experience and went off in a tangent; but at least he did not deny the phenomenon; which is what you are doing.

  64. bkbt says:

    why would one copy/paste khamenie’s condolence?!

  65. Sassan says:

    fyi: LMFAO @ the crap you take as “evidence”. LOL.

    In fact, there are surely more atheists in Iran than in the U.S. Be sure about that. I was in Iran for over 8-months last year and I am not referring to the youth. The youth may not be religious, follow religion, and may even despise religion but they do not tend to be atheist. I saw a great number of atheists among the 45-50 year old + male who has lived life under secular Shah and under this Islamic regime. This sort of insight helps many see the true nature of religion.

  66. bkbt says:

    Long Live Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani

    Imam said: ” till hashemi is alive, movement is alive”.

  67. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    You do that dear, you do that and deny the phenomenon.

    Like Our lady of Guadalupe:

    In 1531 The Blessed mary appeared to Juan Diego. The signs — of the roses, of the uncle miraculously cured of a deadly illness, and especially of her beautiful image on Juan’s mantle — convinced the people there was something to be considered in Christianity. Within a short time, six million Native Mexicans had themselves baptized as Christians.

    Of course, for you probably they were all fools.

    Well, I have news for you; the majority of Iranian people are also such fools.

  68. Sassan says:

    Fiorangela: Actually, then our neural connections would be cut off from the rest of the body which is the primary purpose of the brain: to interact, adapt, and learn with the environment. Hence, the brain would die. Maybe in the future we will be able to mimic the brain on some sort of nano-computer chip and then we will be theoretically transfer our consciousness inside computer chips so that we won’t have to die. :) I hope I am around for that but I doubt it will happen in the near future.

  69. Fiorangela says:

    and by the way, Sassan dear boy, if you think you ARE your brain, why not just chop off your head? Think of the savings — no need to buy shoes, no need to eat, drink, reproduce, touch. You can sleep in a suitcase and live in a U Haul or your pal’s guest closet.

  70. Sassan says:

    fyi: All religions have fanatics with such anecdotal and nonsensical “examples”. The human mind is one to look for similarities to the extreme, especially when trying to give support to one’s preconceived beliefs. Again: religion has ZERO evidence, that is why it is called “faith”.

    And I’m sorry, but the more you spout your anti-science rhetoric, the more clearly your ignorance shines. We have great brain imaging technologies that have advanced and are continuing to advance exponentially. With fMRI scans, we can indeed take images of your brain while you are thinking and find out the ways your neural networks connect, bond, and exchange information.

    So, yes, we we can explain how and why such connections take place for people who appreciate such things. Other people form such magnificence and awe with the wonders of the cosmos. To me, that is quite more fascinating and gives me more awe for the cosmos and the universe. We are simply a speck of dust in the vast expanse of the universe.

  71. Rd. says:

    kooshy says:

    “Please note that I didn’t write that sentence Sassan did .”

    sorry.. that wasn’t my intent..

  72. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Good for them and good for you.

    Harming Iranian people must feel good, no?

  73. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan, dear boy, “freedom,” “secularism,” “democracy” are not a plan, they are bumper stickers.

    You say you want to be “just like the United States.” WHICH United States? WHEN United States? Thomas Jefferson likely had more in common with Persia than the Disney land-does-horror-show that we are now living. You prefer to identify with a nation — mine, and my children’s, god help them– where soldiers desecrate the dead and kill by remote control, rather than a flawed state like Iran that forbears to kill in retaliation to injustice. If I were your age I would move to Iran TODAY, to suffer with my people and earn the right to make her future.

  74. Sassan says:

    Rd.: It was on the bottom of the ticket on CNN and FoxNews. Exact words: “Japan announces that it’s ready to cut all oil imports from Iran.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/11/world/asia/japan-iran-oil/index.html

  75. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    You are wrong about the absence of evidence of after-life.

    Just last month, an Iranian girls dreamt of a martyr who asked her to get him buried in Tabriz.

    She was ignored when she raised that dream with her family and others.

    Undaunted, she recruited two friends and discovered the burial site; altered the authroities and the bodies were exhumed (2) and re-buried.

    There are many many more such testimonials from many religions.

    And when your neuroscience could explain the Human Capcity to Appreciate the Beauty of malards, then I think you will have something solid.

    All neuroscience is at the moment is a bunch of obtuse mathematics and an experimental program of mapping “neural” correlates of the “mind”.

  76. kooshy says:

    Rd. says:

    January 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Turkey doesn’t have much of choice even if she wanted too, unless they are thinking to use more “Ali baba’s oil lamps” in most of eastern Turkey

  77. Sassan says:

    “Another misguided soul, another child lost in the woods, seduced by the Sirens of Scientism and Human Hubris; trying to reduce man to a sum of material parts.”

    lollolololololololol! That had to be one of the funniest but most ignorant things I have seen someone write in a long time

    Yes, we are the sum of our brain. We are our brain. Without our neural processes and neural connections, we are nothing. And when we die, everything terminates. Your wishes and desires (delusions) for an afterlife is merely fantasy without the slightest shred of evidence.

  78. fyi says:

    ssan says: January 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Those who imposed sanctions – Americans – were reponsible.

  79. kooshy says:

    Rd. says:

    January 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Rd-

    Please note that I didn’t write that sentence Sassan did .

  80. Rd. says:

    US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday secured the support of Japan which pledged to buy less Iranian oil, a day after China reacted coolly to the US effort.

  81. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Another misguided soul, another child lost in the woods, seduced by the Sirens of Scientism and Human Hubris; trying to reduce man to a sum of material parts.

  82. Sassan says:

    You should thank Saddam for those deaths. It was his greed and his neglecting the Iraqi people and later curtailing the oil-for-food program for his own selfishness that allowed the deaths of all those innocent Iraqi people. Good riddance, the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein.

  83. Sassan says:

    @kooshy: I am studying psychology w/focus on neuroscience. I will contribute to the rebuilding of my homeland and the advancement of psychology and neuroscience in my homeland. My focus of study does not detract but rather contributes to my political beliefs.

  84. Rd. says:

    kooshy says:

    “Great news. :) Japan just announced that it’s ready to cut all oil imports from Iran.”

    Turkey says not bound by US sanctions against Iran

    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-268357-turkey-says-not-bound-by-us-sanctions-against-iran.html

  85. fyi says:

    kooshy says: January 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    All these people are against Islam; secular does not mean some one like Mossadeq or Jinah; it means someone like Abu Jahl.

  86. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Like the smart sanctions against Iraq that caused 500,000 preventable deaths.

    Someday, you may face the Prophets or your Creator – I hope you can justify yourself to them.

  87. Sassan says:

    These are smart sanctions specifically tailored to not cause such a situation. IT hasn’t and it won’t.

    So when you face an Iranian whose daughter has died simply for voicing her opinion and wanting to live in freedom; and prior to her execution was raped so that she doesn’t die as a virgin due to maniacal religious beliefs by these Islamic madmen in power; you can have no problems explaining yourself and your support for such barbarism, fascism, and evil, yes?

  88. kooshy says:

    Sassan says:
    January 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    “Once liberation has been achieved, all political parties will compete and Iranians will vote in the secular government of their choosing and civil society will be established.”

    With this sentence above it sounds like you already are setting restrictions on how much freedom of choice “you” are allowing them 9Iranians) to have. Like you said I think you first need to finish school before you decide how much freedom Iranians can have, and like I said professor will need to review the training period of new interns, if he don’t want to be called in again.

  89. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    So when you face an Iranian whose daughter ha died due to sanctions that you advocate, you can have no problems explaining yourself, yes?

  90. Sassan says:

    Fiorangela: WE do absolutely have a plan, it is called freedom, secularism, and self-determination. Iran will not need a King to sit in place or an authoritarian-like figure. Once liberation has been achieved, all political parties will compete and Iranians will vote in the secular government of their choosing and civil society will be established. A civil society that respects all members of society equally. Whether male, female, Muslim, atheist, Christian and this includes those no longer willing to call themselves Muslims. This includes gays, straights, and the like. Iran will have a society where all members of society are considered human beings. And YES, this includes the oppressed Baha’i people whom are great people.

  91. Sassan says:

    I am Iranian-American but I am always Iranian first and foremost in my heart while valuing western culture as a model for a free Iran. Once liberated and I am done with my studies, I will move back to a liberated Iran.

  92. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan says:
    January 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Freedom!!! Huzzah!
    Democracy!! HooWah!
    Steelers in the Super Bowl! Yeah!

    in other words, you don’t have a clue or a plan.
    You are willing to condemn millions of Iranians to suffering, death, possible nuclear winter, possible subjugation to western economic hitmen who you have deluded yourself will bring Freedom!! Democracy!! but you don’t know who, what, where, when, why, or how.

    say, is your real name Jerry Bremer?

  93. kooshy says:

    Sassan says:

    January 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    “Great news. :) Japan just announced that it’s ready to cut all oil imports from Iran.”

    Sassan-

    Seems to me that you are going too fast and like your professor are getting exited too soon, take it easy lit it settle down, before you say is a good news, in mean time you can chew on this one bellow and see if it as testy as you thought it is. As always give my regard to the professor and tell him know that I think Pak was a bit more patient so he may need to review the training procedures. LOL

    EU Iran Oil Embargo Likely Delayed Six Months

    By Thomas Penny – Jan 12, 2012 11:44 AM PT .
    .
    “A European Union embargo on imports of Iranian (OPCRIRAN) oil will probably be delayed for six months to allow countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain to find alternative supplies, an EU official with knowledge of the talks said.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-12/european-union-oil-embargo-of-iran-said-likely-to-be-delayed-by-six-months.html

  94. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    You have not answered my question.

    Are you American or Iranian?

  95. bkbt says:

    ترور معاون بازرگانی سایت اتمی نطنز، که روز گذشته در تهران روی داد، با دو فرضیه همراه است:
    1- تسویه حساب های مالی و اختلاسی در درون حاکمیت که به امور خرید و واردات تجهیزات اتمی نیز کشیده شده و بصورت طبیعی یک پای آن سپاه و پای دیگرش بیت رهبری است.
    2- نفوذ گسترده تا مغز استخوان نظام جمهوری اسلامی و مضحک بودن ادعاهای وزیر اطلاعات کم عقل دولت که مدعی است تا قلب سازمان های جاسوسی موساد و سیای امریکا نفوذ کرده است!
    قرائن نشان میدهد که فرض دوم بسیار محتمل تر است. یعنی نفوذ شبکه های جاسوسی در نهانخانه های جمهوری اسلامی. اهمیت این فرض دوم در آنست که چنین نفوذی – اتمی و نظامی- نمی تواند در این محدوده باقی مانده باشد و بی شک در دایره محدود اتخاذ مهم ترین تصمیمات سیاسی و نظامی نیز بصورت خط دهنده وهدایت کننده حضور دارند. روزی که گفته شد کودتای 22 خرداد یک کودتای هدایت شده از سوی قدرت های خارجی بود و رهبر قبل از متهم کردن رهبران جنبش سبز به انگلیسی بودن، بهتر است به اطراف خود و بیتش نظری عمیق تر بیاندازد، عده ای تصور کردند این یک ادعای هیجانی و واکنشی است. درحالیکه اکنون و با ترورهائی که انجام شده و می شود، فرار کارشناسان و سرداران، پناهنده شدن امنیتی ها، فرار اختلاس کنندگان بزرگ و… از روز باید آشکارتر باشد که در حاکمیت مطلقه نفوذ شده است. این سخنی است که با صراحت کامل هاشمی رفسنجانی در همان ماه های اول پس از کودتای 22 خرداد گفت. او در خطاب غیر مستقیم به خامنه ای گفت: “درمیان ما نفوذ شده”! این نفوذ به کودتا، به بی آبروئی سپاه، به افشای کوچکترین فعل و انفعالات اتمی و نظامی، به درک و شناخت مردم از بسیج بعنوان مشتی اوباش، به پوکی و پوچی انتخابات در ایران، به بی تفاوتی مردم و… انجامیده و می رود تا به فاجعه جنگ و ویرانی و تجزیه ایران بیانجامد.

  96. Sassan says:

    fyi: I support sanctions so that we can do everything possible to squeeze this regime without military conflict. Military intervention should only be the last resort. Based on my experience, at least a majority of the population supports sanctions against this regime.

    Watch: http://youtu.be/oc_rRGgEls0

  97. Sassan says:

    To add: isn’t a little bit of a coincidence this killing happens just when the international community is uniting with an oil embargo against Iran? This killing in addition to other reasons is a way for this regime to try to play the victim card. I bet it won’t work. :)

  98. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    What is your country?

    US or Iran?

  99. Sassan says:

    Great news. :) Japan just announced that it’s ready to cut all oil imports from Iran.

  100. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I am suggesting to you that US Secretary of Defense’s comments are not going to make any improvement on the state of Siege War against Iran.

    The US planners and EU Planners are agreeing on the need to destroy Iranian power without using military force.

    That is the path they selected in 2007.

    The consistent ignoring of US intelligence agenices reports – indicating no weapons program in Iran – clearly indicates that nuclear Iran (3.5% , 20% etc.) is not the issue; in my opinion.

    Anyway, you do not need to convince me, you need to convince the Iranian leaders that Axis Powers are not trying to destroy the Islamic republic of Iran.

    I believe that neither you nor anyone else can make that case (to the Iranian leaders).

    This is all finished.

  101. kooshy says:

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
    شهادت دانشمند نخبه‌ی جوان، شهیدمصطفی احمدی روشن، اندوه دیگری بر دل دوستداران دانش و متعهدان به پیشرفت جمهوری اسلامی نهاد. ما همگی شریک غم پدر و مادر و همسر و فرزند این جوان مظلوم و برجسته و سرافرازیم.
    این ترور بزدلانه که عاملان و طراحانش هرگز جرأت نخواهند کرد به جنایت کثیف و پلید خود اعتراف کنند و مسئولیت آن را بپذیرند مانند دیگر جنایات شبکه‌ی تروریزم بین‌الملل دولتی، با طراحی یا همراهی سرویسهای سیا و موساد عمل شده و نشانه‌ی به بن‌‌بست رسیدنِ استکبار جهانی به سردستگی آمریکا و صهیونیزم، در مقابله با ملت مصمّم و مؤمن و پیشرونده‌ی ایران اسلامی است. آنها در این رفتار شنیع و قساوت‌آمیز نیز شکست خواهند خورد و به اغراض پلید و شریرانه‌ی خود دست نخواهند یافت. رشد شتابنده‌ی علمی و فتح قله‌های دانش که با همت و عزم جوانان مؤمن و غیور و توانائی چون مصطفای شهید رونق یافته، امروز قائم به هیچ فردی نیست، این یک جنبش تاریخی و برخاسته از یک عزم خلل‌ناپذیر ملی است. ما به کوری چشم سران اردوگاه استکبار و نظام سلطه، این راه را با قوت و اراده‌ی راسخ دنبال خواهیم کرد و پیشرفت رشک‌آور ملت بزرگ خود را به رخ دشمنان عنود و حسود خواهیم کشید، و البته از مجازات مرتکبان این جنایت و عاملان پشت صحنه‌ی آن هم هرگز چشم‌پوشی نخواهیم کرد.

    اینجانب شهادت این عزیز را به والدین و همسر و فرزندش و به جامعه‌ی علمی و دانشگاهی کشور و به عموم دوستداران و متعهدان نهضت علمی فراگیر، تبریک و تسلیت میگویم و برای آنان صبر و سکینه‌ی الهی و برای شهید عزیزمان علو درجات اخروی را از خداوند متعال مسألت میکنم و یاد شهیدان علیمحمدی و شهریاری و رضائی‌نژاد را گرامی میدارم.
    سیدعلی خامنه‌ای

  102. Sassan says:

    “At the time of the revolution, was there a non-clerical, non-monarchy group ready to take power in Iran?”

    That was the Shah’s biggest sin. He was so arrogant that he managed to even marginalize the seculars in uniting in buying the b.s. from Khomeini in which he promised to be a “spiritual leader” and to “sit in qom and not interfere with politics”.

  103. Sassan says:

    Fiorangela: Absolutely, it’s the Iranian mass. The MEK is really irrelevant. It has practically no support inside of Iran. It is the masses who demand secularism and democracy. When we are liberated, we will have a debate between all secular political parties in which each side makes their case to the Iranian people (whether for a republican, parliamentarian, or limited constitutional monarchy system like parts of Europe) and the Iranian people will decide then the specific aspects of the to-be secular government. That is not here and now – we are all untied for one thing: freedom and democracy.

  104. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    In my opinion, the enemies of Iran chose (Siege) war against Iran in 2007.

    I have laready explained my reasons for believing so.

    Later, in 2010, when US destroyed the Turkey-Brazil-Iran deal, it was clear that the US-EU planners wanted to give their Siege War a chance.

    When the Siege War – given that chance – did not succeed, they began escalation last November.

    This escalation, like Israel’s 2006 escalation in Lebanon, is one to strategic nowhere.

    It will not produce any strategic shift that benefits them (Axis Powers) in my judgement.

    As far as I can tell, Iranian leaders seem to have been prepared and are responding in a calculated manner.

    The problem with Axis Planners – outside of their consistent refusal to concede to the changed geopolitical situation that their own actions had created – is that they cannot push against Iran in isolation. In reality, there is wide physical front from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea; that is the theatre of operations.

    And then there is world economy that needs oil and will buy it when and where it can.

    At this time, Axis Planners are still thinking of somehow gaining control of Syria; I think that is no longer obtainable.

    If I were a US or EU leader, I would solicit Russians or the Chinese for a fig leaf to climb down from their perches.

    Say – revive the Russian Step-by-Step plan or call an international conference on the Middle East.

  105. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Bravo. Yes, when?

  106. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Your belief the US “wnats to bring the Iranians to their knees” is the kind of thinking that exacerbates the situation. I cannot imagine Leon Panetta wanting the Iranians “to go to their knees”. Dick Cheney, on the other hand, was a different proposition entirely.

    How do you explain the fact 16 US intelligence agencies agree Iran is not currently building nukes, if the game plan is to lie and chear to set up a war?

  107. Kathleen says:

    When will Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Al Sharpton, Dylan Ratigan going to have Flynt or Hillary Mann Leverett on their programs? When will Washington Journal have them on to discuss Iran?

  108. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I agree that buyers will be found. Iran may have to offer significant discounts.

  109. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Because the US Congress is owned by powerful Jewish groups, the obvious course for Iran to follow is to seek good relations with other powerful countries in tne world, to attempt to work around the core problem obtaining in Washington. This is the reason I see it as such eggregious folly for Iran to try to accumulate 20% U so that enemies of Iran coalesce. What kind of s strategy is that?

  110. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    The decline is neither fatal nor permanent.

    As oil demand increases, buyers will be found.

    These are just costs of the war.

  111. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    And I continue to think that the specific mechanisms of this degeneration that I spoke of are irrelevant to the present conditions.

    In the American parlance; they are what they are.

    They would be of mild historical interest decades from now when some US scholar would try to determine where US went wrong as a polity.

  112. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Yes, the US Congress is owned by Aipac and other powerful Jewish groups. This dangerous situation tends to be concealed by American news media.

  113. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You should read “Iran’s clients for embarged crude dwindle”, by Javier pars in the Financial Times Jan. 12th. Good case can be made Iran’s oil exports will decline by perhaps 500,000 barrels per day.

  114. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    No that is not what I mean.

    Either this year or next US Congress has to allocate $ 200 Million per Iran-US Claims Tribunal.

    US Congress will not do so and thus US will be violating her treaty obligations.

    Normalization with iran is not possible within US body politic – war is.

    This is truly a testament to the degeneration of the United States as a polity in which War has become cheaper than Peace.

    Shame, shame, shame.

  115. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I continue to think you are delusional when you say the “US” sees no course of action other than proceeding with destruction of the Iranian government. The problem is that rich and powerful Jews skew the discourse in the US to make negotiations with Iran as difficult as possible, so that other Jews in the West Bank can continue to f8ck the Palestinians.

    The insane “Greater Israel” scheme is the core problem. Not the government of Iran.

  116. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Oil will be sold, the world will get adjusted to the Axis Powers gambit against iran and life will go on.

    Iranians could sell their oil on the spot market – there always will be buyers.

    And the Iranians will pursue their polciy of active neutrality and push their agenda in Palestine, lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Afghanisatn, and Pakistan – as well as in Armenia and Tadjkistan.

    Sometime, in the distant future (3 or for election cycles in US and EU) their iran policy will be revisisted.

    But not now.

    In regards to US Secretary of Defense’s comments: had those comments been made in 2007; before US-EU started their war of choice against Iran, it could have made a difference. But not now.

    US cannot afford normalization of relations with Iran.

  117. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Election year in the US. Six of the ten biggest fund-raisers for Obama so far are Jews. When you say the “US lost interest”, you really mean that rich and powerful Jews in the US have blocked negotiations yet again.

  118. James Canning says:

    Did Anyone notice Elliot Abrams’ piece in the Wall Street Journal today. He claimed Unesco is now bankrupt because it admitted Palestine as a member and the US cut off funding. Abrams obviously wishes that Unesco suffer for having done the right thing.

  119. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    US lost interest in diplomacy with Iran – indicated by departures of Mr. Limbert and Dr. nasr – when it became clear that US pbody politic was unwilling to pay the cost of that.

    Now, per suggestions of Dr. Pollack and Dr. Takyeh, US has escalated to the strategic Nowhere.

    [Productive “sanctions” is an oxymoron.]

    And Iranian leaders, from all indications, seems to have anticipated this and been ready for it.

    So, both states are in relatively comfortable positions – neither peace/Nnor war.

    And the rest of the world will get used to it.

  120. kooshy says:

    Here is the latest joke sent to me that is going around in cyber space, if the assassinations of Iranian scientists was in any way with his prior knowledge than accordingly he might have achieved to placed himselve deep and well in the anus of the history.

    A guy traveling through Mexico on vacation lost his wallet and all of his identification. Cutting his trip short, he attempted to make his way home but was stopped by the U.S. Customs Agent at the border.

    “May I see your identification, please?” asked the agent.

    “I’m sorry, but I lost my wallet,” replied the guy…

    “Sure buddy, I hear that every day. No ID, no entry,” said the agent.

    “But I can prove I’m an American!” he exclaimed. “I have a picture of Ronald Reagan tattooed on one side of my butt and George Bush on the other.”

    “This I gotta see,” replied the agent.

    With that, the guy dropped his pants and showed the agent his behind.

    “By golly, you’re right!” exclaimed the agent. “Have a safe trip back to Chicago.”

    Thanks!” he said. “But how did you know I was from Chicago?”

    The agent replied, “I recognized Obama in the middle.”

  121. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Cyrus Safdari seems to believe Leon Panetta wants war with Iran, and that Panetta seeks regime change in Iran. I think he is quite wrong on both counts.

    Rich and powerful Jews in the US, who want Iran hurt so that other Jews in the West Bank can continue to f*ck the Palestinians, do not want this factor coming to the attention of the American people. For obvious reasons.

  122. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The increase in the price of oil, caused by the sanctions against Iran, adversely affect China which buys 22% of Iran’s oil exports. Unless China can obtain a discount in future as Iran develops more problems in selling its oil. Apparently 32 million barrels are currently being stored on tankers due to sales difficulties.

  123. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I agree of course with Suzanne Maloney the new round of sanctions against Iran is counter-productive. Maloney writes, “Tehran has a penchant for signaling just enough interest in negotiations to retain a measure of goodwill among some segments of the international community”. If she is suggesting Iran’s recent offer to cease production of 20% U was just a ploy, I disagree with her.

  124. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Museum officials in the US, the Uk and elsewhere warned the Bush administration in the clearest terms possible, that if American troops went into Iraq it was essential to protect the cutlural heritage. National Museum and Library in Baghdad, etc etc etc. Arrogance and stupidity almost beyond belief on part of the Americans enabled the looting of the Museum, the burning of the Library, etc etc etc.

  125. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan, I asked this earlier, and if an answer was already given I apologize for the repetition.

    At the time of the revolution, was there a non-clerical, non-monarchy group ready to take power in Iran?
    Does such a group exist today?

    The best I can see on US side is support for MEK. Based on Mariana’s (or whatever her name is, I’m not going to take the time to look it up) frequent appearance in Islamic headwear, it does not appear she is the standard-bearer for a Persian cultural purity.

    And my understanding is that Shah was disliked by enough Iranians because he was making bad spending decisions, aggregating power to himself and cronies, and oppressing too many Iranians. Does not seem to me that a return of a monarch is worth the trouble — and deaths — that a revolution to overthrow the clerics would entail.

    So — who’s waiting in the wings — anybody?

    btw, agree that allowing heritage sites to deteriorate is shameful and also stupid. Iraq/Baghdad-Babylon having been destroyed, Persia is next in line for people who wish to travel to the Cradle of Civilization.

    They are only a few, but some scholars in the US ARE extremely concerned at the pillaging of Iraq’s museums and significant historical sites. I am convinced those acts were not accidental, and I certainly can’t believe Iraqis would have vandalized their own heritage — if they had wanted to steal artifacts from heritage sites, they would have done so 50, 100, 200 years ago. The looting of the museums was if not planned then at least foreknown, and the beneficiaries were foreign nationals, not Iraqis. I further believe that at least part of the quest to destroy Iran includes the scheme to destroy and/or make off with remnants of Persian cultural legacy. Consider that the clay tablets entrusted to the University of Chicago are being held hostage by a Jewish family that sued the Iranian government re a Hamas attack in Israel. Who does that sort of thing, steal the culture and history of another people, and why? (ooops –asked & answered — Italy, Great Britain, USofA have all plundered Egyptian, Persian, Iraqi treasures. Mea culpa.)

  126. BiBiJon says:

    Kooshy, and Empty,

    There’s a cold calculus outside moral tenets for avoidance of cheesiness, and achievement of classiness.

    There are certain acts which are the very definition of cheesiness. For example:

    – Not declaring war on a country, but signing into law instruments of destroying their economy, society, culture, etc. This is cheesy because one who stoops this low is trying to avoid reciprocity — fight a one-sided war on the sly.

    – Under the cloak of plausible dependability murder scientists to avoid justifying such acts in the face of global condemnation. This is not a classy demonstration of ‘covert’ capability, it is the lowest cheesy subterfuge that only a coward would employ. Except, that it is not the lowest. Lower still is targeting unguarded civilians. Is there anything lower? Yes. Do it by remotely triggered bomb.

    And then, there are certain acts that are the definition of classiness. E.g.

    – Respond to individual acts of cheesiness with dignified resolve, and restraint.
    -Respond to accumulation of cheesy provocations with a forewarned devastating smack in the pie hole. Consequences? What consequences? Would adversary that had the stomach for a fight wreak of cheese?

    This distinction between cheesy vs classy has a societal logic of its own. Nations gravitate towards those with gravitas, with class, with dignified restraint , etc. because it shows dependability, reliability, predictability. Their forthrightness shows they are not scared but they respectfully open themselves to be questioned; Their forthrightness shows they are not cockroaches who need a cloak; You can trust such a country when it professes friendship, when it enters into a treaty etc.

    In the long run it is materially (not just morally) better to behave as Iran does, imo. But, hey if the ‘material’ thing doesn’t happen, at least you know you haven’t done anything morally reprehensible. Contrast that with the anguish of one who did every dastardly thing and still didn’t gain materially.

  127. kooshy says:

    So much for winning the $1T cakewalk war in Iraq

    Four US suspects nabbed in Baghdad

    “Iraqi authorities have detained four armed American nationals over what the officials described as “suspicious” activity in the capital, Baghdad, Press TV reports.”

    “Iraqi sources said the suspects, including two women, were arrested on Thursday as they were found traveling in a BMW car with a local license plate, instead of diplomatic registration.

    The US nationals were wearing flak jackets and were armed with pistols — equipped with silencers — and automatic weapons when they were arrested in a Shia neighborhood in central Baghdad.”

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/220686.html

  128. fyi says:

    All:

    Ms. Suzanne Maloney assessment

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137011/suzanne-maloney/obamas-counterproductive-new-iran-sanctions

    I share Ms. Maloney’s views for the most part (I do not wish to quibble on some details).

  129. Sassan says:

    Kooshy, what you don’t understand is that we as a people and as a nation are currently and have been under occupation by a bunch of Islamic radicals who don’t even care much about being Iranian; and this is shown through the fact that this regime has not only made some of our cultural holidays and practices illegal (i.e. 4-shambeh sore) but every year they try to reduce days off for Persian New Years. In addition, they neglect all our historic sites which have deteriorated oh so very greatly.

    At the end of the day, I am against this regime for two reasons: 1) this regime stands in the way for the rights and aspirations of the Iranian people, 2) this regime poses a grave threat to humanity through their fanatical “hidden imam” beliefs and ideology

    And Khamenei the Supreme Animal himself with his black turban likes to claim he is Arab and has “Arab lineage”. Another example demonstrating the non-Iranian component of these Islamic terrorists.

  130. kooshy says:

    Sassan says:

    January 12, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Sassan I might be partially correct, but in my opinion if you are truly a citizen of Iran at time of an ongoing foreign war, for Iran’s sovereign independence you are truly acting like a traitor, if proven, you are no different than any Monafegh or an agent of a foreign adversary who tries to undermine the national government at the time of war. So that’s how much respect I have for you and your rants.

    Besides do you care to forward your address for legal bills you incurred yesterday, remember one might eventually end up in courts for not paying his/her obligations.

  131. Empty says:

    Kooshy,

    Given the events of the past few days, I fully understand the urgency you might be feeling and applaud your efforts to clarify boundaries. With you, in solidarity.

  132. kooshy says:

    Empty Jaan

    First of all I always do respect your opinions and read your comments, and this time although was early in the morning, I did read your morally correct comments (if proven and with respect to international laws and conventions), but I confess I used your post to make a point for continued savagery and lack of civility of the opposing side.

  133. Empty says:

    Kooshy,

    Please read that which is actually written and not what is in your own head. And please do not add a story that is not there.

  134. Castellio says:

    There is a lot of evidence to indicate the deaths are through foreign agents.

    Sassan’s writing… does anyone still believe he is a “hurt and confused” young Iranian?

  135. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: January 12, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Mr. Safdari must have been reading R.F.I., no doubt.

    I do not think there is any spiral in this; it is more like that the positions have been crystalized; i.e. have hardened as well as have become clear.

    I think it is a good idea to try to think this past the usual “War with iran” scenario.

    I mean, after the 4-year long war between US and Iran, will these positions have changed?

    Would Iranians surrender?

    Would Americans retreat?

    Will Iran be any less entrenched in Iraq and in Syria after the US-Iran War?

    Will they be any less involved with Northern Afghnaistan?

    My personal answers to the above are “no”, but that is just my opinion.

    In my opinion, Axis Powers confronation with Iran has reached the same frozen state as the following:

    US-Cuba
    US-North Korea
    Turkey-Cyprus
    Armenia-Azerbaijan

    Now, admittedly this is something novel in terms of scale of the confronation but it is something that the rest of the world can live with as long as oil flows.

    The costs will be borne by Iran, EU, US and her satrapies.

    Overtime, they all will adjust and revert to business as ususal.

    In case of EU states, I doubt theur sanctions will persist beyond 3 election cycles – likewise for Japan and Korea.

    For the Americans; they have legislated their way out of diplomacy with Iran and that will persist until we have regime change in one country or the other – in my opinion.

  136. kooshy says:

    Empty says:

    January 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Empty Jaan –

    I fully agree that US has an undeclared war against Iran, but still during wars one would not and should not sentence a captured or prisoner/agents without at least a military trail, I am subconsciously as angry as you are, but on the other hand my concisions wisdom tells me that we should act different than an uncivilized society. If not would you also recommend that corpses of US agents/ combatants to be urinated on by Iranian solders, to me they resemble the same incivility and savageness of a militarized society.

  137. Sassan says:

    kooshy says: “Iran being an old cultured nation can’t and shouldn’t act like her savage counter parts”

    You are partially correct. The Iranian people are indeed a cultured nation but the regime is far from having any “cultured” in them unless you consider executing and killing people for their thoughts as “cultured”.

    And while there is no doubt that the sabotage and attacks against the Revolutionary Guards base in Karaj and other covert operations are indeed legitimate and the works of both foreign intelligence services as well as Iranian patriots; there has been no evidence to suggest that the killings of the nuclear scientists has been at the hands of foreign elements. In contrast, unless the regime provides evidence to demonstrate this fact, the real possibility remains that possibly the regime is behind these.

    Why would the regime be behind these? Think about it; some of these scientists have sensitive information to which they could leak to the west. Remember what happened with the case of Shahram Amiri?

    Do you recall who Masoud Alimohammadi was (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,672522,00.html)?? He was very much against Khamenei and was a strong supporter of Mousavi and the Green movement and spoke out very loudly in regards to this.

    The question is not at all settled as to who is behind the murders of these scientists.

    Therefore, before you call this regime “cultured”, I urge you to remember the fact that this regime from its very inception to this day is one of murder. Do we forget so quickly the hundreds of dissidents this regime has murdered throughout Europe in the 80’s and 90’s? Do we forget the Argentinian bombing which killed countless of innocent individuals? The Iranian people are indeed cultured but this regime is nothing but barbaric, illiterate, and evil.

  138. Empty says:

    Kooshy,

    RE: “I personally don’t think is right to say that agents can be killed if one like Obama thinks or may be imagines he or she is guilty and don’t feel any trial is necessary.”

    I am of the opinion that the US and her allies have an open declaration of war against Iran, have engaged in acts of war, and have maintained an ongoing war against Iran, her government officials, military and civilian personnel, and ordinary citizens. My opinion is firmly rooted in an evaluation of open records based on current international bodies and conventions to which these very same countries are signatories and how such bodies have defined what constitutes a war, acts of wars, and what is allowed and not allowed based on the Geneva Conventions. What I wrote is fully within the tenets of such conventions as well as based on what I perceive to be a correct moral decision. Without excess and without disrespect and violation of all that must be kept sacred during a war.

  139. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    January 12, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Cyrus Safdari has post up relevant to lack of an exit strategy out of the siege.
    see http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2012/01/us-offer-iran.html

    There of course numerous ways of ending the siege. A great many avnues offered by Iran herself. Cyrus is pointing out, correctly I think, that it’s not a lack of options, vision, strategy, etc. He contends it is no longer in anyone’s power to halt the spiral politically.

  140. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 12, 2012 at 5:07 am

    In regards to US actions, recklessness, sloppiness etc.:

    These are indications – in my opinion – of desperation among certain circles in US.

    When US (and EU) elected to enter another war of choice against Iran in 2007, I doubt that they expected it to take this long to bring the Iranians to their knees.

    Now they are clearly desperate and setting their aim on the bankruptcy of the Iranian state and regime capitulation.

    This is all infantile as they – the Axis Powers leaders or their mouthpieces – have not, to date, communicated any coherent vision of how this war is supposed to end and what is the shape of Peace to come.

    In fact, as far as the United States is concerned, short of the destruction of the Islamic Republic, there is no way any longer to bring in even a “cease-fire” in this war. There is no mechanism any longer for terminating the prolonged warfare against Iran.

    In a way, this reminds me of the UK’s earlier Siege Warfare against Iran during the Oil nationalization Campaign that ended with teh defeat of Iran through the manipulation of the internal Iranian politics.

  141. kooshy says:

    Empty says:

    January 12, 2012 at 7:01 am

    “Iran, with God’s help, has not gone on, and will continue not to, engage in revenge killing, especially not the scientist or ordinary people. Killing agents with proven records of their acts, though, are altogether another story.”

    I also hope Iran will not react to her counter part by assassinating civilians, Iran being an old cultured nation can’t and shouldn’t act like her savage counter parts in north America and Europe even the agents unlike in UK and US do get to be tried in a court of law and when proven guilty get to be sentenced, I personally don’t think is right to say that agents can be killed if one like Obama thinks or may be imagines he or she is guilty and don’t feel any trial is necessary.

  142. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    It will India to a dead end as she will be unable to exercise any influence in her immediate neighbourhood.

    I certainly cannot see her having any influence on the Persian Gulf Arabs (who prefer US, UK, France, and even China) or Iran, or Afghanistan, or Pakistan, or Ceylon.

    And if you cannot exercise power & influence locally, you certainly are not going to be able to do so remotely against a country such as China.

  143. BiBiJon says:

    Anon says:
    January 12, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Robert Kelley, a member of the IAEA’s Iraq Action Team in 2003, wrote: “I learned firsthand how withholding the facts can lead to bloodshed. Having known the details then, though I was not allowed to speak, I feel a certain shared responsibility for the war that killed more than 4,000 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis.”

    It is therefore interesting that imminent bloodshed does not factor into OLLI HEINONEN’s conscience. He writes: “Iran disclosed neither the Natanz nor the Fordow site to the IAEA until forced to do so, in 2002 and 2009, respectively, when outside observers discovered and publicized them.”

    How different would that sound if Olli informed his readers Iran was under no obligation to disclose those sites according to the safeguards agreement.

    And Again Olli writes: “Fordow is smaller than Natanz in scale, but better protected from prying satellites and, potentially, a bombing campaign.” Would an average reader notice Olli giving an hint of wrong-doing to a prudent defensive measures against espionage and a “potential bombing campaign?” Would the average reader benefit from a history of explicit threats against Iran’s nuclear facilities prior to digging “a hole in the mountain?” http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2011/11/bluster-bombs-israels-empty-iran.html

    Olli writes: “What has raised the world’s suspicions is that Iran continues to produce 20 percent enriched uranium despite the fact that this exceeds its civilian needs and, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acknowledged in September, does not make economic sense.” How can Olli omit to inform his readers that Ahmedinejad was offering to stop 20% enrichment if Iran could find supplies for TRR, when he emphasized the fact that Iran was forced into creating her own fuel ‘uneconomically’?

    Personally, I am very hesitant about uttering falsehoods in general, and earning money from such lies, especially if they could at all lead to bloodshed. Reason: money earned this way will buy groceries that wind up in food that my children may ingest which will infect my progeny for eternity.

  144. Irshad says:

    Bibijon – I respect and can udnerstand your view but consider this to be “critical dialogue”!

    @JAMES CANNING (apoligies for the caps – but he does have a nack for missing things!)

    The BBC reports that an ISREALI hacker has hacked and released the credit card detials of hundreds of SAUDIS (Arabs). PLEASE NOTE: This was not done by an Iranian.

    How do you think Saudi Arabia should respond? or are they gona complain to Hilary Clinton and Mr Vague Hague?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16526067

    “Israeli hacker retaliates to credit card hackingBy Yolande Knell

    BBC News, Jerusalem

    An Israeli hacker has published details of hundreds of Saudi credit cards online and is threatening to post more in revenge for acts by Arab hackers.

    Last week a hacker, claiming to be from Saudi Arabia, published information about tens of thousands of Israeli credit cards online.

    It was one of the worst incidents of data theft in Israel.

    Experts say the attacks draw attention to the potential for virtual or cyber wars in the Middle East.

    According to the AFP news agency, at least two Saudi credit card holders have confirmed that their personal details were compromised by the Israeli hacker, who identifies himself as OxOmer or “Omer Cohen”.

    They told AFP their banks had confirmed irregularities with their credit cards.

    In an online posting on Tuesday entitled “Free Saudi’s credit cards!”, the Israeli hacker listed names, email addresses, phone numbers and numbers of over 200 cards, most of which were within their expiry dates.

    Speaking to the Jerusalem Post, OxOmer is reported to have said, “this is just the beginning”.

    He told the newspaper he had information on a further 300,000 working Saudi credit card numbers. “If they publish one more little detail on Israel, we will attack in full force and publish all of the credit card details,” he said.

    Newspaper reports suggest OxOmer is an Israeli soldier serving in Military Intelligence.

    Cards cancelled

    One week ago, a hacker identifying himself with a similar nickname, OxOmar, claimed he had obtained private information from 400,000 Israeli cards online. He described this as “a gift to the world for new year”.

    Within days more Israeli card details were put online.

    Some reports suggested the hacker was a young man from the United Arab Emirates studying in Mexico, but he identified himself as a Saudi national.

    Israeli officials have confirmed that over 20,000 active credit card accounts have been affected. Banks say the cards were cancelled and new ones are being issued.

    At the weekend, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon described the cyber attacks as terrorism and warned that Israel would “retaliate forcefully”. He later found his own website had been attacked.

    On Tuesday, Israeli army’s chief of staff, Lt Gen Benny Gantz, told a parliamentary committee that Israel was poised to combat what he called cyber terrorism.

    “From our standpoint we are talking about a meaningful and even critical arena,” he was quoted as saying.

    “Cyber wars”

    The latest attacks have underscored the hostile relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia; the Saudis do not recognise the state of Israel.

    They have also shown the potential for politically motivated cyber attacks to escalate in the region with Arab and Israeli hackers warning of possible future action.

    After the Israeli credit card data was published, a spokesman for the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, released a press statement in which he praised “the Arab hacker”.

    He described the leak as “an act of creativity carried out by Arab youth, inventing new forms of Arab and Islamic resistance to the occupation [of Palestinian territories by Israel]”.

    Internet security experts in Israel say that the country, well-known for its high-tech expertise, is better prepared than most to deal with cyber crimes. However they suggest the latest attacks show the need for the private sector to improve security.

    The country’s Shin Bet internal security agency has a special unit that advises important industries on internet security”

  145. Empty says:

    This is what I call a genuine culture and civilization with which one must be quite eager to have a dialogue:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2085378/US-troops-urinating-dead-Afghan-bodies-video-used-Taliban-recruitment-tool.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

  146. BiBiJon says:

    Irshad says:
    January 12, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Irshad,

    I’d like to a priori state that I do not have the slightest interest in reading 20% James’ response to the question you posed to him.

  147. Irshad says:

    James – how do the Saudis feel about this? Should’nt they – along with the Qataris, UAE, et al. – be more worried whats been done to their fellow Arabs in occupied Palestine by Isreal rather then 20% enrichment that cannot be turned in to a bomb? But as Arnold says, how can a colonial controlled regime ever think straight but to meet the needs of its masters!

    “EU on verge of abandoning hope for a viable Palestinian state

    Israel’s foreign ministry denied that Israeli settlers were taking water resources from the West Bank”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/eu-on-verge-of-abandoning-hope-for-a-viable-palestinian-state-6288336.html

  148. Empty says:

    For the humor-oriented folks….
    The formula still holds…..

    http://members.verizon.net/~vze3fs8i/air/pres2004.html

  149. Anon says:

    OLLI HEINONEN has a piece in Foreign Policy — please go there and defend the Law:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/01/11/the_20_percent_solution

  150. BiBiJon says:

    ‘Birhers’, ‘Truthers’, and ‘Nukers’
    =================================

    A Legal question
    —————–

    Robert Kelley, motivated by guilt over IAEA’a neo-politically correct handling of Iraq’s non-existent nuclear weapons program, and abundantly existent forged/fabricated evidence for it, which led to much death and destruction in Iraq, has written a piece in Bloomberg hoping to set the record straight on Iran.

    In this piece http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-11/iran-nuclear-weapons-charge-is-no-slam-dunk-commentary-by-robert-kelley.html Kelley makes two assertions which I hope our legal residents can weigh in and clarify if the phrases he uses have any legal weight.

    “”It’s accepted that Iran at one time had a nuclear-weapons program. The country’s enormous investment in a secret underground uranium-enrichment complex in the city of Natanz is essentially proof of clandestine intentions. The military plutonium-production reactor in Arak is yet another indicator.”

    One – It’s accepted that …
    ============================

    “It’s accepted” by whom?

    IAEA in a September 17, 2009 press statement, revealed:

    “With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.”

    The 2007 NIE claimed Iran did have a weapons program until 2003. I have to assume the intelligence that led to that NIE conclusion was not shared with IAEA, or, if shared, was not considered by IAEA as “concrete proof.”

    Robert Kelley’s ‘drive by assertion’ is hugely damaging to Iran. To have had a weapons program at any point would have been a flagrant violation of NPT. And surely just as a convicted child molester must be forever kept away from children, the argument for keeping Iran from nuclear technology assumes the logic of prudence.

    My question: is Kelley in a position to make “it’s accepted” assertion when the organization he worked for did no such accepting?

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

    Two – “… Essentially Proof …”

    Is kelley referring to the cost or size of Natanz facility? Either way, why does not Natanz “essentially” constitute a “proof” for a serious civilian nuclear power generation program consistent with energy requirements of a large country/population?

    Is Kelley’s phrase a type of legalese that someone could teach me what it means?

  151. Empty says:

    RE: “Whenever an Iranian is killed, kill an Israeli of equal importance, especially Israeli nuclear scientists.”

    Iran, with God’s help, has not gone on, and will continue not to, engage in revenge killing, especially not the scientist or ordinary people. Killing agents with proven records of their acts, though, are altogether another story.

  152. Fiorangela says:

    If Paul Pillar is correct that scientists in US may be threatened for retaliation for assassination of Iranian scientist, and if the notion is logically extended to expect that, ie visiting Israeli scientists would be prime candidates, then it seems only prudent that universities and research institutions in the US should ask those Israeli scientists to return to Israel for their own safety.

  153. hans says:

    Castellio says:
    January 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    I agree with that. Any sense of where it will lead for India?

    In my Predictions for 2012 I have said that the next big “Arab Spring” will be India. The economy is tanking, inflation is high the poor and destitue are in revolt

    Castellio says:
    January 12, 2012 at 1:22 am
    My God, maybe the Mayan calendar is right …

    As keen stargazers, the ancient Maya were familiar with astrological cycle we call the Precession of the Equinoxes. This is close to a 26,000 year cycle in which Earth passes through each of the 12 signs of the zodiac for 2000-2152 years each. Each of these astrological ages represents one month of the Cosmic Year.

    The Mayans believed that December 21, 2012 AD is the culmination of a series of events over time that leads to towards an the ultimate spiritual awakening of the world ( The 2012 Apocalypse ). They believe the changes are underway and will continue steadily accelerating as we head towards this date.

    To add to this watch the price of Silver, this is the key to the wounded, bankrupt animal called the USA.

  154. Irshad says:

    “I think the stand-off with Iran in the Straits of Hormuz over sanctions is as much to do with the moves to replace the dollar as anything else. The stand off is as much with China and its allies as it is specifically with Iran. The US is testing China’s nerve and the solidity of its network of bilateral currency settlement agreements. We are seeing military power deployed to counter economic power. I think the US will lose. Depending on the nature of its loss we could see a precipitate decline in the standing of the dollar as global reserve currency.”

    http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2012/01/a-new-reserve-currency-to-challenge-the-dollar-whats-really-going-on-in-the-straits-of-hormuz/

    Karl – this will defo be interest to you as it mentions the price of silver too!

  155. This will really go over well with the boys in the Beltway…

    Libya keen on deepening bilateral ties with Iran
    http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1978298.html

    While they’re sending mercenaries and arms to attack Iran’s ally, Syria…

  156. Trita Parsi on assassinating the Iranian nuclear scientist
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/01/11/trita-parsi-on-assassinating-the-iranian-nuclear-scientist/

    “Regional actor”? Really? Too scared to say the word “Israel”?

  157. An American Spy in Iran?
    White House and State Department are in No Position to Issue Credible Denials Regarding Spying Charges
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/11/an-american-spy-in-iran/

    They lied about Raymond Davis in Pakistan, remember.

  158. Obama edges toward regime change
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA13Ak01.html

    Quote:

    The Washington Post on Tuesday quoted an unnamed senior US intelligence official as saying that the goal of sanctions was regime collapse.

    The Post later amended the story to say that the official had been misquoted and that the Obama administration hoped sanctions would increase “public discontent that will help compel the government to abandon an alleged nuclear weapons program”.

    End Quote

    Quote

    Iran experts say the latest assassination is likely to scuttle the already slim chances for a negotiated solution and convince the Islamic Republic that the United States and its partners are determined to overthrow the Iranian government.

    “The Iranians are convinced that that is our goal,” Paul Pillar, a CIA veteran and former Middle East chief on the National Intelligence Council, which advises the US president, told Inter Press Service (IPS).

    Pillar referred to inflammatory rhetoric by US Republican presidential candidates – one of whom, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, has explicitly called for regime change – while others apart from Texas congressman Ron Paul have called for attacking Iran to prevent it from getting nuclear weapons.

    End Quote

    Quote

    At least twice last week, senior State Department officials said that the goal of US and other sanctions was to “tighten the noose” around the Iranian government.

    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland used the phrase during a regular press briefing on January 5. Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Maria Otero, used the language in answering a question on January 6 at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

    Greg Thielmann, a nuclear expert at the Arms Control Association and former State Department intelligence analyst, told IPS the phrase was “cleared language” that was not “carefully considered”.

    “I’m not convinced that the US attitude has changed but this is an example of how sloppy and thoughtless we are,” he said.

    John Limbert, former deputy secretary of state for Iran, said that such rhetoric suggested “a confusion of aims. It’s very clear that the way these sanctions have been put into effect, the aim is to undermine the regime. We’re going to cut off their financial system and their technology but we still want to negotiate. After a while, it strains credulity.”

    End Quote

    Quote

    Pillar warned that Iran would feel pressured to respond to the latest assassination.

    “I would be surprised if we didn’t have an in-kind retaliatory act in the near future – perhaps some poor bloke at Los Alamos,” the US nuclear lab in New Mexico, Pillar said.

    End Quote

  159. Yet another piece on the Straits…

    Strait of Hormuz: Danger waters
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA12Ak01.html

  160. Interesting. How many more alumni of Israeli military intelligence and Mossad are running major corporations in the U.S. – and have direct ties to U.S. politicians?

    Mitt Romney’s Ties to Israeli Military Intelligence
    http://www.iraq-war.ru/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=263723

  161. What War With Iran Might Look Like
    http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2012/01/11/what-war-with-iran-might-look-like/

    Plausible, although I think the likelihood of a resulting war between Pakistan and India is less likely than depicted, mostly because I doubt hardline Islamists could take power in Pakistan that easily.

    The rest seems reasonable.

  162. Gareth Porter reveals the facts again.

    Clinton Revives Dubious Charge of ‘Covert’ Iranian Nuclear Site
    http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2012/01/11/clinton-revives-dubious-charge-of-covert-iranian-nuclear-site/

  163. Japan ‘to reduce Iran oil imports’
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16523422

    No surprise there, Japan is also a lap dog of the U.S.

  164. As far as the assassinations go, Iran needs to start killing Israeli agents wherever they are detected, i.e., in other countries in the region. They can start in Lebanon where there are plenty of Israeli agents, but also in Syria, Bahrain, wherever.

    Whenever an Iranian is killed, kill an Israeli of equal importance, especially Israeli nuclear scientists.

    Then start working up the chain of command until they’re targeting people like Lieberman and Bibi. I suspect it’s a lot easier to get close to those guys than it is to get close to Khamenei.

  165. Lysander says:

    Regarding the assassination of yet another Iranian scientist. Iran’s retaliation should be thus: “We are suspending all cooperation with the IAEA while we investigate whether they are passing information to hostile intelligence agencies to aid the assassination of scientists.”

    That would be the first step. After 5 assassinations, why should Iran wait for the 6th.

  166. kooshy says:

    Here is a link to picture of the latest Iranian nuclear scientist (perhaps[s with his young infant) who Iran says was assassinated by a US/Israeli operation
    If correct our dude in office has done another one of his noble deed.

    http://www.farsnews.com/plarg.php?nn=99391&st=243831

  167. Castellio says:

    My God, maybe the Mayan calendar is right, some evidence of renewed backbone from Juan Cole:

    http://www.juancole.com/2012/01/iran-hype-undermined-by-obama-administration-admissions.html

    Not only does he talk about American war crimes, he’s even willing to demonstrate how Hilary Clinton is hanging herself on her own lies:

    “Clinton said, “There is no plausible justification for this production. Such enrichment brings Iran a significant step closer to having the capability to produce weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.” But every clause of this statement is false, and it is contradicted by Secretary of Defense Panetta. There is a perfectly legitimate reason for Iran to enrich to 19.75% for fuel for the medical reactor. That level of enrichment is not categorized as “high enriched uranium” (it is still LEU). And enriching to that level has nothing to do with making weapons. A) You can’t make weapons with LEU and b) Iran intends to use up this fuel in the medical reactor. Not sure how that could turn into a warhead.”

  168. Castellio says:

    Off topic for FYI…

    “It was now not only religious belief and social axiom, but also formally announced royal policy, that before the bar of justice the great and the powerful must expect the same treatment and the same verdict accorded to the poor and the friendless. It can hardly be doubted that such doctrines of social justice as we have found in this age contributed powerfully to develop the conviction that not the man of power and wealth, but the man of justice and righteousness, would be acceptable before the great god’s judgment-seat… A fundamentally impotant utterance of the Sun-god in the Coffin Texts clearly discloses this influence, when he says:

    ‘I have made the four winds that every man might breathe thereof like his brother during his time.

    I have made the great waters that the pauper like the lord might have use of them.

    I have made every man like his brother, and I have forbidden that they do evil, (but) it was their hearts which undid that which I had said….’

    It is not a little interesting to find here complete human equality: ‘I have made every man like his brother,” a statement which is at once viewed in its moral aspects: ‘I have forbidden that they do evil, (but) it was their hearts which undid that which I had said.’ The emergence of such a view of humanity
    as this, in which all social distinctions are levelled in the creator’s intention at the time of creation, placing all men likewise on the same level of moral responsibility, is the more extraordinary nearly two thousand years before Christ, when we notice that it is practically contemporary with the reign of Hammurapi, in whose great code of laws all penalties and legal decisions are graded according the the social station of the culprits or the rank of the litigants.”

    Actually, when I wrote you earlier I had in mind an earlier quote, from about 2300 BCE: “More acceptable is the virtue of the upright man than the ox of him who doth iniquity.”

  169. Castellio says:

    FYI writes: I think India’s position in the Middle East – as a neutral power – is now over as well.

    I agree with that. Any sense of where it will lead for India?

  170. Castellio says:

    Sakineh writes: “The problem is hegemony. The West (US and lackeys) needs to control the resources of the ME and Iran is standing in the way.”

    Or is it Hamas and Hezbollah?

  171. fyi says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says: January 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    You are correct and the CBI Sanctions by US and the Oil Sanctions of EU, Korea, Japan have revelaed – quite starkly, in my opinion, the Regime-Change agenda of Axi Powers and their sattelite states.

    In fact, Iranian leaders can suspend Uranium enrichment tomorrow and nothing will change; the Siege of Iran will continue.

    Lately, a few Westerners have comprehended the folly of pushing Iran into this corner but nothing will come out of their observations either.

    We have to observe the course of events during the next few months as Axis Powers will inflict more harm on Iran and the Iranian people before they get consumed by more serious problems – disintegration of Euro, for example.

    Axis Powers cannot go back on their current strategy or tactics, certainly US has made herself irrelevant to any diplomatic rapproachment with Iran.

    My guess is that due to the cumulative hars done to Iran by US and EU, the estrangement of Iran from these states will be a generatioanl one; just like the one between Iran and Sunni Arabs.

    There could be commercial (some) and culturl (some) intercourse by things like “The Critical Dialog” etc. are all gone now.

    And no, there will never be any Iranian gas to Europe; through pipeline or otherwise; that door was shut in 2007 as well.

    I think Iranians will try to create facts on the ground in Syria, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, and anywhwere else that they can.

    I think they will carry out a policy of ruthless active neutrality; Axis Powers have essentially threatened tens of millions of people with death – they went too far.

    And I expect, just like lebanon and Iraq,for Bahrain to become a Shia-controlled state – in the ripeness of time.
    I think India’s position in the Middle East – as a neutral power – is now over as well.

  172. kooshy says:

    Castellio says:

    January 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    “Eric, I’m expecting an address in Virginia.”

    To cut out inter departmental bureaucracy I would send the bill directly to the professor’s attention at DOI’s Birmingham, UK branch office.

  173. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Eric A. Brill says: January 11, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Eric,

    Sounds like you haven’t been around for some of the back and forth. What I’ve been trying to convey is that, it is not about the percentages (Uranium enrichment that is). 3.5%, 19.75%, 95% are all red herring and have nothing, zero, zilch, and nada to do with problems that Iran has with the West. OK, I concede, maybe an iota.
    The problem is hegemony. The West (US and lackeys) needs to control the resources of the ME and Iran is standing in the way.

  174. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    There are sveral important things about these assasinations, almost certainly carried out by Israel:

    1- The Axis Powers are not labeling them as terrorist acts; elese they would have to classify Israel as a State Sponsor of Terrorism
    2- That the Externation Affairs Minister of India was in Israel during the latest attack; sending Iranians an unambiguous signal where India stands vis a vis Iran (specially 3 weeks after Dr. Velayai trips to India to get Indians’ cooperation on Afghanistan)
    3- The Iranian policy is now reversed; Iranians have stated that they will retaliate
    4- Like the assasination the late Mr. Rajai, this also angers and inflames Iranians – they will just be more determined than before.
    5- The Iranian answer to US and India came out through the Northern Alliance opposing negogiations with Talibam.

    I do not know what vision the Axis Powers, the Southern Persian Gulf states, Joran, and Israel have for the Western Asia in 2015 – but they will not like it.

  175. Castellio says:

    Important: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/220511.html

    “A senior lawmaker says assassination of Iranian scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan proves that the confidential information provided to international bodies by Iran has been leaked to the country’s enemies.”

  176. Castellio says:

    Eric, I’m expecting an address in Virginia.

  177. Castellio says:

    I asked: “Karl, I don’t know… do you seriously think North Korea is a nuclear threat to the US? Can you back that up with anything?”

    and you answered: “It was bolton who made the claim about MAD. But yes MAD works.”

    You seem to be a student of the Governor’s: don’t answer even the most direct of questions; become an expert at the non-sequiter response; repeat your talking point.

  178. kooshy says:
    January 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    “Eric- if I were you I would send Sassan and co. (you read professor’s TA entourage, at the DOI) a $450.00/Hr. legal fee, for examination and authentication of “uncharted” evidence, before presentation to the RFI courtroom.”

    Sassan,

    Sending out legal bills nearly always strikes me as a good idea, and this time is no exception. Would you be kind enough to send me your address?

  179. Karl says:

    Casteillo:

    It was bolton who made the claim about MAD. But yes MAD works.

  180. James Canning says:
    January 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    “Sakineh, I personally do not know if it is correct to say that enriching U to 20% is nine-tenths of the way toward enriching to 90% or more. This was the what the Financial Times reported is said by “scientists”.”

    I claim no technical expertise, but my understanding is that simple arithmetic applies here. If you are at, say, the 5% purity level and each “pass” through the centrifuges doubles the purity, two “passes” through the centrifuge would yield 20% uranium. Two more passes would yield 80%.

    Even if my understanding is correct (and I remind you that I’m far from a nuclear scientist), this all depends, of course, on the percentage increase yielded by each pass through the centrifuges. I also understand that the concentration of impurities that make refined uranium unusable may increase as the uranium percentage increases (i.e. that what gets removed is disproportionately NOT such impurities), which means there’s more involved than simply running uranium through centrifuges over and over. (That, I understand, is why the TRR deal that never happened contemplated that the to-be-refined Iranian uranium would pass first to Russia and then to France, since the latter reportedly had special expertise at removing these impurities in highly concentrated ore).

    Nonetheless, all things being equal, the jump from, say, 20% to, say, 90% — even though it’s a 70% increase in purity — requires less time and effort than, say, the jump from 3% to 20%.

  181. Castellio says:

    Karl, I don’t know… do you seriously think North Korea is a nuclear threat to the US? Can you back that up with anything?

    Here, if you want to get a feeling for North Korea, why don’t you take a look at this. It’s not a parody. It’s a recent documentary on the new leader.

    http://sinonk.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/songun-tangun-son-of-paektu-etc-kim-jong-un-documentary/

  182. Castellio says:

    Worth reading: “We, as Americans, need to ask ourselves what all this is about? Why is our government so provocative toward Islam, Russia, China, Iran? What purpose, whose purpose is being served? Certainly not ours.”

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2012/01/11/the-next-war-on-washingtons-agenda/

  183. Karl says:

    Ron Paul atleast trying to demolish the lie about “wipe off”-myth.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ut-e_vNgxo&feature=related

  184. Karl says:

    Correction

    MAD works since US dont attack North Korea

  185. Karl says:

    Positive and brave step by the ombudsman.

    WaPo Ombudsman Calls Post Headline Saying Iran Wants Nuke Weapons ‘Misleading’

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/12/12/387301/wapo-ombudsman-iran/?mobile=nc

  186. Karl says:

    The neocon warmonger john bolton urge attack while admitting that MAD works since US dont attack them.

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/01/11/402791/bolton-calls-iran-assassination-and-sanctions-half-measures-calls-for-attack-on-iran/

  187. Karl says:

    santorum reject panettas no-proof-of-nukes claim and start with islamophobic fearmongering. Its very telling that such people could be the most powerful man on the earth. Wake up America!

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/01/10/401507/santorum-panetta-iran/

  188. Castellio says:

    Eric, good to see you about.

    Fiorangela, you are always welcome.

  189. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning says: January 11, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    “Tell me: do you want Iran to build nukes?”

    No James, I’m just giving you space to repeat the 20% hooey.

  190. Sassan says:
    January 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    “Mohammad Nourizad has NEVER put anything false out…”

    I’m quite relieved to hear that, Sassan. Forgive me for ever doubting you.

  191. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    Does Phil Verlager think a war with Iran would be a matter of a few weeks? Incredible.

  192. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    Tell me: do you think the latest sanctions against Iran have nothing to do with Iran’s early June 2011 announcement of intent to treble enrichment to 20%?

    Tell me: do you want Iran to build nukes?

  193. James Canning says:

    Sassan,

    Rick Steves does his best to help improve American understanding of Iran and the Iranian people. He wanted to do a programme on Syria too.

  194. Sassan says:

    Fiorangela: Are you trying to give an anecdotal example of a foreigner traveling to Iran in filming documentaries that do not even try to take into account the plight of the Iranian people compared to the everyday lives of Iranians? How comical. :) :) :)

    He listens to his handler like the good little boy he is.

  195. Sakineh Bagoim says:

    James Canning says: January 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Yes James, and you keep repeating it. That’s the point. 

  196. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    “If one must go to war–and we pray we do not–the conflict would be best fought in February or March,” 

    “The navies and air forces of the United States and other nations should be able to end any blockade within 30 days,” Verleger noted”

    It’s going to be a cakewalk, so let’s start WWIII
    http://www.cspnet.com/news/fuels/articles/verlegers-view-irans-strait-hormuz-threats

  197. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I think The New York Times uses Persian Gulf on its maps of the region that appear in the newspaper.

  198. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    I personally do not know if it is correct to say that enriching U to 20% is nine-tenths of the way toward enriching to 90% or more. This was the what the Financial Times reported is said by “scientists”.

    If in fact enriching to 20% is almost achieving weapons-grade, this obviously is a significant matter. How could it not be?

  199. Karl says:

    The usual suspects slam Iran. For what? That they enrich according to NPT? That they dont bow down to Israel/US demands? That they move their enrichment, thereby confusing their already planned attacks?

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/u-s-eu-slam-iran-nuclear-enrichment-activity-at-security-council-meet-1.406808

    Oh, according to news they have sent another fleet to the region, using the usual Gunboat diplomacy in 2012 is like using a hammer to hunt a small fly. And of course they call it the Arabian Gulf.

  200. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Good story on al-Jazeera you linked, that China rejected Geithner’s request that China observe the coming embargo on Iranian oil exports. Points for China in also calling for Iran and the IAEA to ensure the new uranium enrichment facility is adequately monitored. And China noted that the unilateral sanctions are improper. Which is true.

  201. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Sassan,

    The telephone polls conducted of Iranian public opinion all allow the respondents the opportunity to refuse to answer a particular question or to claim they don’t know the answer. They don’t have to lie.

    In the question Pirouz draws your attention to, 60% of respondents say they supported the crackdown on the sedition whereas 20% said it went too far. Another 10% refused to say. Claiming that the respondents were too afraid to express their true feelings to the point where they not only refused to say, but actually lied, is greatly insulting. Deal with the fact that not everyone thinks like you do. That is a basic principle od democracy.

  202. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    The Palestinians certainly have a multitude of grievances. Whether another round of intifada would serve their best interests is doubtful, however.

  203. James Canning says:

    An anti-Iran diatribe appeared in the Times (London) Dec. 26th, responding to Bronwen Maddox’s story of Dec. 22nd. Dr. Kim Howells, the UK minister for non-proliferation 2005-08 wrote (“Diplomacy ‘fails to deter nuclear Iran'”): “Diplomacy has failed miserably to deter yet another authoritarian fundamentalist state from arming itself with [WMD]. Iran’s declaration that it wishes to annihilate Israel is dismissed as ‘mere rhetoric’ by many of the governments who, for so many years, pretended to believe that Iran, with its vast oil and gas reserves, was really only interested in a civil programme to generate electricity.”

    After Maddox’s story appeared, Leon Panetta took pains to make clear the US did not believe Iran was building nukes at this time.

  204. Fiorangela says:

    Sassan at 5:17 pm —

    In Rick Steve’s documentary on Iran, he observes that while travelling in Tehran, he “feels restricted, watched,” or words to that effect.

    I wondered what gave him that “feeling.”
    When he travels in London, I wonder if he feels “watched, restricted” by the thousands of cameras that record every move made by citizens strolling on the street, driving a car, or sleeping on a park bench.

    I know I feel oppressed when traveling into Washington, DC, and passing under signs on the interstate that invite me to spy on my fellow travelers and report my findings to FBI, and from the interstate being ‘handed over’ to the batteries of videocams that monitor my movements.

    The land of the free and the home of the brave.

  205. Castellio says:

    It could be funny, I suppose, as a running parody of itself, but here we go again, Pakistan divided.

    http://www.truth-out.org/confrontation-between-pakistans-army-government-spark-coup-concerns/1326304912

  206. kooshy says:

    Sassan says:
    January 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    “Eric A. Brill: Mohammad Nourizad has NEVER put anything false out……………..”

    This was also true for our own NYT’s Judith Miller, but unfortunately later on for some strange reasons people came to challenge
    Her sources and their authenticity, but as you may guess that was already too late. Do you want to give Iran the same faith as her next door neighbor got.

  207. Sassan says:

    Pirouz: You are quite the comic. Do you think that any type of poll in a totalitarian society is reliable and valid when the people fear speaking their opinions in fear of being monitored, arrested, and tortured? Inherently, any poll done inside of such a society where people are not free and open to express themselves and not having basic freedoms is inherently flawed and invalid.

    It is neither reliable not valid.

  208. Sassan says:

    Eric A. Brill: Mohammad Nourizad has NEVER put anything false out and in fact, he is the source to which Hossein Alaei (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2012/01/news-ex-guard-warns-khamenei-uranium-enrichment-starts-at-fordow.html) just the other day recently released his public letter directed at Khamenei. Hossein Alaei was a former high-ranking officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and his recent letter to Mohammad Nourizad is quite amazing. You should check that out as well via the provided link.

  209. kooshy says:

    Eric A. Brill says:

    January 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Eric- if I were you I would send Sassan and co. (you read professor’s TA entourage, at the DOI) a $450.00/Hr. legal fee, for examination and authentication of “uncharted” evidence, before presentation to the RFI courtroom.

  210. Fiorangela: “Michel Chossudovsky – military exercises planned for next Spring are accompanied by a fundamental shift in US-NATO-Israel command structures”

    Chossudovsky has it right. This spring exercise in Israel is far more significant than previous war games. This is a direct preparation for the Syria/Lebanon war and later the Iran war. Israel has convinced the U.S. to expend a tremendous amount of resources to protect Israel from the consequences of its upcoming wars.

    As I said, Israel wants the coming wars to be “on the cheap” in terms of consequences to the Israeli public. Israel wants to avoid a repeat of the previous Lebanon invasion which resulted in considerable public criticism of the IDF and the sacking of several high ranking officers. With the economic problems and public unrest in Israel these days, and the impact of daily missile threats forcing Israeli citizens into bunkers for hours every day during a war with Syria and Lebanon and Iran, Israel can’t afford to alienate its citizens any further by its imperialist wars.

  211. Pirouz says:

    Sassan says:
    January 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Don’t get your hopes up based on that supposed letter, Sassan. There are readily apparent flaws contained in it.

    First of all, the author(s) do not distinguish between cadre elements of the IRGC, and termed elements (such as those fulfilling their conscription terms).

    Also, as NAJA has been resolute in maintaining order and dispersing unlawful assemblies, you can bet the IRGC would be at least as resolute as they, should the need require (which it hasn’t, so far).

    Many Western observers lump the Basij in with the IRGC. I tend to resist this lumping together, even though on the table of organization, the Basij are now a bottom tier of the IRGC, and it appears IRGC officers are in command of Basij units. But judging by the few signal intercepts available to the open source, it is NAJA that commanded the street operations following the 2009 election, and not the Basij (or even the IRGC)–at least at the street level, that is.

    You might wish to review the IPI public opinion poll that was taken a year ago, where Iranians inside Iran were asked if they support the security crackdown on protesters following the election:

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/65872019/Iran-Public-Opinion-2010

    As you can see, a 3:1 majority of Iranians inside Iran supported the crackdown. Now you can’t expect IRGC members to somehow reflect an inverse of this sentiment, could you?

    By the way, there are other polls available with similar questioning and a majority of Iranians have responded with either a majority, such as supporting the curtailment of certain civil liberties based on the needs of national security (WPO poll), or even a larger majority.

    You’ll also recall there have been a couple of false letters in the past, purporting to be signed by Artesh officers “warning ” the IRGC, and the like. They were fakes.

    Again, don’t get your hopes up. In my opinion, I’m highly skeptical of the letter you’re referring to.

  212. kooshy says:

    James Canning says:

    January 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    “Kooshy- Are you suggesting the Obama administration would welcome more problems in occupied Palestine?’

    The honorable Gavner James of 20%U and beyond (I think as we are going forward I am getting this more rhyming), the answer is a big No, on the contrary I am suggesting they don’t welcome it at all specially at this moment and time, but I am kind of suspecting unwantedly they may get some just to spice of things a bit.

  213. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    You wrote:

    “The commander says the nation is suffering from an epidemic of hopelessness…”

    This is not true.

    One of my relations, an 80-year old woman, has been diagnosed with metastasized cancer.

    When I spoke with her, what she mentioned to me, with enthusiams, was Iran’s recent technical and scientific progress.

    And she is not by any stretch of imgagination a fanatical regime supporter.

  214. Sassan says:
    January 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Sassan,

    What can one say about allegations from an unnamed source? They sound very bad, but one cannot know whether they’re true or not. I can certainly understand why the source would want to remain anonymous, but an understandable desire to remain anonymous doesn’t establish the truth of what he claims.

    You should understand that the skepticism expressed by many readers on this site reflects a great deal of experience reading similar allegations. As with yours, most such allegations can’t be proven or disproven, and are almost invariably offered without any independent confirmation. The reader thus is left either to accept them or to reject them, but with no independent basis for making that choice.

    I say “almost invariably” because, every now and then, we do read allegations that can easily be checked. For just one example that has occurred on several occasions, posters often claimed, during the year after the 2009 election, that Mousavi’s website and newspaper had been closed down by the Iranian government. Each time I read such an allegation, I immediately opened a new browser window and typed in the URL of Mousavi’s website (kaleme.com). Each time, it was up and running, and filled to the brim with articles, many of them extremely critical of the Iranian government.

    I don’t cite this example as proof that Mousavi has not been harrassed at times by the Iranian government. Frankly, I suspect he has been at least several times. But I hope you’ll agree that I, and probably others, have reason to be a bit skeptical about unsubstantiated allegations when the very few allegations for which evidence actually is offered turn out to be demonstrably false.

    With this in mind, and my assurance that I nevertheless do not dismiss out of hand anything you or anyone else reports from anonymous sources, I hope you’ll do your best to present some verifiable facts to back up the allegations you report. If they are true, you’ll be much more persuasive if you can present facts that establish their truth.

  215. Castellio says:

    Sassan, if you’re not getting paid to write here, which I suspect, given your last post, might be the case, you should be aware that the people who misinform you are receiving remuneration.

  216. Sassan says:

    “However, the mullahs’ biggest worry is the Revolutionary Guard themselves, the very force that has been the regime’s pillar of support ever since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. A letter written by one of its commanders to Mohammad Nourizad, a conservative journalist who himself continues to criticize Khamenei and the regime despite being jailed, beaten, and threatened, was recently published on Mr. Nourizad’s blog.

    The commander, whose name was withheld for security purposes, states that, “Like many millions of suffering Iranians, myself and hundreds of freedom-loving and free-thinking commanders of the Revolutionary Guard do think about the devastation” that Khamenei has forced on the country.

    The commander continues, “I can positively assure you and announce to the dear people of Iran that a collective majority of the Revolutionary Guard absolutely despise the regime leadership, but they are stuck in an exceedingly cruel and bloodthirsty system. This authority does not tolerate an alternative approach by the so-called insiders, and so they orchestrate military courts in order to label members of the Revolutionary Guard as traitors and send them to the gallows.”

    The Revolutionary Guard are human too, the commander says, and contrary to their military facade, they also have democratic views and are waiting on more favorable conditions so that they can join the people in opposing the regime. He assures the Iranians that the majority of the Guard forces will not participate in any suppression of the people, and the brutality that the people have witnessed is due to those vicious members who fall under the jurisdiction of the Basij auxiliary and security forces.

    In criticizing the supreme leader, the commander says that Khamenei is behind the terror machine of the Quds Forces with their assassination and terrorist activities outside the country and the Basij forces as a military and oppressive force inside the country.

    The commander brazenly declares, “Without a shadow of a doubt and based on documentation and proof, many of which will be produced and presented in time, the assassinations of Kazem Rajavi, Shahpour Bakhtiar, Dr. [Abdul Rahman] Ghassemlou and the heinous murders of Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar and many other opposition figures inside and outside of Iran were carried out under the supervision of the Guard Corps and the Intelligence Ministry.”

    The commander says the nation is suffering from an epidemic of hopelessness and that the possibility of an uprising like the one of 2009 is not great. He believes that now the only possibility for regime change is an attack from outside, such as the one that toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but it would be highly costly for Iran and Iranians.

    In a stern warning to Iranians and the world, the commander states that if the regime is not overthrown, it will soon test its first nuclear bomb, becoming essentially untouchable. It will then suppress anyone opposing it just as Stalin did in the Soviet Union.”

  217. Castellio says:

    BiBiJon, yes. Agreed.

  218. Unknown Unknowns says:

    China tells Geithner to pound salt over Iran oil embargo:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2012/01/2012110143018616205.html

    The BBC Light website (linked above) is accessible in Iran, but China People’s Daily and Xinhua are filtered. WTF?!

    a) Stupidity
    b) Incompetence
    c) Thought Police criteria still being tweaked (Under Construction)
    d) Insufficient resources
    e) Bureaucratic red tape preventing system rationalization
    f) Still suffering from revolutionary fever/ turmoil
    g) all of the above

    Vote away, boys and girls!

    I say G.

  219. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio, As you are versed in the mandibular characteristics of Etruscans, you most likely know that Italians generally have very good teeth. Skeletons exhumed in Pompeii still had sound teeth intact 1700 years after they — and their host humans — were buried in volcanic ash.

    Which leads to a second point. Even as I was thinking of asking you about the possibility of a Canadian backstop to the Etruscan scheme, you wrote: “Canada has disappeared as a sovereign nation, to my regret.” Did Canada leave any clues as to where it might be hiding? More to the point, how welcoming would Canada be to a low skilled super-annuated female with very good teeth?

    Your comment to BiBiJon that incorporated the rest of the world was a welcome focus on the entirety of the big picture. Why is it that the US does not consider “manifest destiny” sufficiently manifest? How many pizzas can one man eat?

    Has any empire walked back from its outsized ambitions without first being destroyed or destroying itself and others? Lydia was more than a tattooed lady, it was a lesson in misreading the “oracles.” However, when Croesus lost his empire to Cyrus, having been duly warned by Solon, empire-changing events happened in the span of a lifetime, a short one at that, and devoid of nuclear destructive capacity. The fact that Japan not only survived nuclear devastation but arose again from the devastation has given hubristic leaders the notion that rejuvenating the earth by destroying its inhabitants is a clever strategy. The dead don’t vote.

  220. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Zzzzzz
    Ding!
    ”Which is the reason the 20% U poses a significant problem in the eyes of some countries.”
    James,
     
    Would these countries happen to be UK and KSA?
     

  221. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Leon Panetta is a Santa Clara U boy, which might be worth remebering too. I was very glad he made clear this past Sunday that the US does not think Iran is building nukes at this time. And the Financial Times reports that this is the opinion of European leaders too.

  222. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    January 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Castellio, thank you for that. If I sounded like I was assured of American global victory, it was meant at provoking thoughtful consideration. And, again thank you for yours.

    Of course changing tack does not alter the depth of hole the US has dug for herself. It merely changes the emphasis, reappraises her areas of strength vs her weaknesses.

    Not wanting to oversell a morning flash of thought, but my contention was that we may be seeing a radical reorientation of US objectives and radically new methods of trying to achieve them. I was ascribing inexplicable retreats despite investment of blood & treasure (Pakistan/Europe), and surprising new deployments to places where no one previously had suggested require US military presence (Australia/Israel), to facets of this newfangled strategic thinking.

    New strategies, if indeed this is one, are born on the ashes of previously failed strategies. In some ways, your list of American woes goes to show indeed US is/was in desperate need of new strategies.

    We had all hoped the new thinking would be along the lines of more love, peace and happiness, and a tad less bloodshed and conquest. But alas … doubling down is in the DNA.

  223. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Were you aware the Pentagon wants to spend almost one billion dollars to build a second docking-loading facility for Trident submarines in Puget Sound (NW US)? For nuclear weapons when there is virtually zero chance they will be used in coming years.

  224. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Yes, a suction hose into the wallets and bank accounts of Americans. Got to have reasons for a bloated Pentagon, thousands of lawyers and lobbyists feeding at the trough, etc etc etc. in Washinton and elsewhere.

  225. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    The UK sought to improve relations with Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, after Labour was defeated and the new government came in. The Conservative Party had made a sustained effort to improve British-Syrian relations, while in opposition.

  226. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says:
    January 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    “No need to hose the American taxpayers as advocated by Robert Kaplan.”

    I suspect the hose the USians have in mind is a suction hose.

  227. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Great piece by Robert Kelley that you linked! I agree with Kelley that ElBaradei was too polite about the so-called Niger documents (that helped to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq). The CIA identified them as obvious forgeries years before the moron in the White House used them in his 2003 State of the Union address to help make the case for invading Iraq. The “stupefying incompetence of Condoleezza Rice” allowed those forged documents to be relied upon by G W Bush in that state of the union address. The phrase is Boris Johnson’s. The mayor of London who is of Turkish origin.

  228. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela. Ah! A Calabrese! Well, should he fall short, that would explain it.

    Once you obtain the spreading acres on the Etruscan hills, please post address.

    You will, I am confident, be happy to learn the following: “A recent study of Etruscan skulls compared with modern skulls showed no significant difference in skull size with particular reference to the mandibular shape and size.” http://www.innominatesociety.com/Articles/Etruscan%20Origins.htm

  229. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I agree with you that Russian statements on the situation in Syria are better balanced than those that are made by the US.

    Turkey and Russia would do well to work together to try to dampen the level of violence.

  230. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Are you suggesting the Obama administration would welcome more problems in occupied Palestine?

  231. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I would hope Hillary Clinton is able to comprehend that Iran was certain to make some noises in reaction to the latest sanctions against the central bank and possible oil embargo by the EU. It is an election year in the US, and she probably feels herself obliged to make such comments. Subtlety is not her strong suit in any event.

  232. kooshy says:

    It seems that, the clear “color” revolution 2.1, ala Syria is not going as well as predicted, if so KSA, and Turkey’s positions in the Arab /Muslim middle east will be further compromised specially agonist Israeli US interests.one more foreign policy debacle for the Obama during an reelection year. Will see if they still can pull this out without need to flare up a fresh P/I conflict of kind.

  233. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Pictures of cars and trucks manufactured by the largest manufacturer in the ME, Iran:

    http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?195116-Iran-new-howitzer-155mm/page2

  234. Castellio says:

    BiBiJon… I think you are being hopeful in an American-centric way.

    In your large scheme of things South America seems to have disappeared. In the large scheme of things the withdrawal of South America from the sphere of American control is a big issue.

    Was it yesterday or the day before that the Iranian leader was in Venezuela signing mutual development agreements? Not too long ago, that would have been impossible. The Brazilian economy is now larger than the British economy. And the OAS is no longer the key international organization of the area. In fact, neither Canada nor the US are members.

    True, Canada has disappeared as a sovereign nation, to my regret, and Australia is working at it… but that is much smaller potatoes than the loss of South America (minus Columbia).

    I wonder if you’ve ever spent time in Moscow? It doesn’t take long, when one has, before one viscerally realizes that this is not a people about to disappear. Nor are they short term thinkers. The most fundamental re-alliance on-going in the world is the one currently growing between Russia and Germany. And I often wonder, how long before the Germans ask the US to remove their troops?

    The US is quite openly fighting Germany’s best interests to control the Eurozone.

    Israel is not a nation state in the old sense, and ‘colonial-settler’ state doesn’t quite do it justice either… it is a national home to represent a certain ethnicity wherever it finds itself. Through the influence of that ethicity in the US, co-ordinated through Tel Aviv, Israel has an emormous influence on determining the priorites of Washington.

    If you’ve followed me this far, you might take the next step. Many major US corporations don’t pay taxes, many live on the public teat through the military-security-financial conglomerates, but this is fine as long as the country is at war. Much more than we realize, the American federal government legitimizes itself to its own people through war.

    It’s war more than anything else which holds together the American federal state. In this respect, Washington need Tel Aviv as much as Tel Aviv needs Washington.

    And America has lost the Middle East. I don’t think it will come back. Nor do I think the US will stop intefering in Egypt, Syria, etc.. America supports terrorism in other countries. It supports it quite openly. Bad move. It will continue to support Saudi Arabia to that regimes final breath. The US will continue to disgrace itself.

    One of the reasons for the US re-alignement to the Pacific is to control the Pacific area’s response to the Middle East. The US is, in fact, looking to isolate the Middle East from the major economies of Asia. Don’t lose sight of that.

    I appreciate your concerns.

  235. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Didn’t Gaddafi toy with the idea of a US base in Libya?

    Oil and other energy companies from all over the world were involved in Libya, under Gaddafi. I have seen no evidence of a “western” effort to get better terms from successor government, than were given by Gaddafi. Gaddafi contracts remain in place.

  236. Karl says:

    Clinton: Iran Hormuz threats dangerous, provocative

    http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=253205

    Blaming the victim once again.
    How about Iran putting an embargo on US and EU? Not a provocation? Clinton doesnt understand the region and obviously she doesnt understand that an action, will get a reaction.
    The hypocrisy is beyond stupid.

  237. BiBiJon says:

    More than pro-growth, China & Russia may be pro survival!

    A day after Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai told China-based foreign reporters that sanctions alone cannot solve the Iran dispute and stressed that normal trade relations and energy cooperation between China and Iran have nothing to do with the nuclear issue, Chen Xiaodong, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of West Asian and North African Affairs, also told China Daily that unilateral sanctions intensify the causes of conflict rather than resolve them.

    From http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012diplomats/2012-01/11/content_14419581.htm

  238. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The Financial Times reports that the IAEA monitors all Iranian nuclear materials. Unlike many lesser newspapers, perhaps.

    The FT reported yesterday that “nuclear scientists” say that enriching uranium to 20% accomplishes nine-tenths of the effort needed to enrich to weapons-grade. Which is the reason the 20% U poses a significant problem in the eyes of some countries.

  239. Fiorangela says:

    adding up the factoids:

    1.

    ““In fact, the triumvirate was quite isolated in its attacks – undertaken to eliminate the mercurial tyrant whom they had supported when it was advantageous. The hope was for a regime likelier to be amenable to Western demands for control over Libya’s rich resources and, perhaps, to offer an African base for the U.S. Africa command AFRICOM, so far confined to Stuttgart.” http://www.truth-out.org/recognizing-unpeople/1325894936

    [recall that Bernard Henri-Levy, the philosopher who has a hard time buttoning his shirt, played an instrumental role in involving Sarkozy/NATO in the destruction of Libya.]

    2.
    from Michel Chossudovsky’s overview of the plans afoot involving an “unprecedented number of US troops” deploying to Israel —

    “In the context of the Spring 2012 military drills, the United States military will establish Command Posts in Israel. In turn, Israel’s IDF will establish Command Posts at United States European Command headquarters (EUCOM)[9], in Stuttgart, Germany. (Ibid). ”” (at Fiorangela says: January 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm)

    Is the Grand Strategy to give Israel influence/access/command/control over US AfriCom?

    Is there a protocol on How and When to start a revolution?

  240. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Are you actually claiming the US wants to “fuel tribal conflicts” in Libya? What would be the reason? US and the EU want a stable Libya, not civil war.

  241. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    The huge maritmie traffic in the Indian Ocean reflects the growingeconomies of China, South Korea, Japan, etc etc. These countries can work together to ensure freedom of navigation. No need to hose the American taxpayers as advocated by Robert Kaplan.

  242. James Canning says:

    “‘Don’t exaggerate case against Iran’ – Russia”

    http://rt.com/politics/iran-russia-us-israel-missile-nuclear-535/

  243. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Russia and China tend to focus on the bigger picture, and both countries seek continuing economic growth and stability. China likely will increase its oil imports from Saudi Arabia, the UAE etc., and lessen its imports of Iranian oil unless a discounted price alters the equation.

  244. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    One concern of India is that the US and China will in effect form a “G 2” and that too-close relations between China and the US will work to the detriment of India.

  245. Karl says:

    Jay:

    No surprise, the so called “peaceful-atheist” shows its real violent nature.
    Just in line with people who supported ethnic cleansing in the ottoman empire, Mubarak, serbian leaders etc.

    Not to mention the norweigan right-wing terrorists, who also not only pushed for “attacking muslims now” but also acted out a preventive terrorattack to stop the so called “islamic threat”.

  246. Fiorangela says:

    by Michel Chossudovsky, by way of Ardeshir and Ellie Omani —

    military exercises planned for next Spring are accompanied by a fundamental shift in US-NATO-Israel command structures.

    “What is now unfolding at Washington’s behest is an integration of US-Israel military command structures.

    Washington is not a reluctant partner, as some observers have suggested, “with the Obama administration attempting to distance itself” from an Israeli sponsored war on Iran. Quite the opposite!

    Given the integration of Israel’s air defense system into that of the US, Israel cannot, under any circumstances, wage a war on Iran without the US.[8] Moreover, since mid-2005, following the signing of a protocol between NATO and Tel Aviv, Israel has become a de-facto member of the Atlantic Alliance.

    The Pentagon calls the shots. The planned deployment of US troops in Israel is part and parcel of a US sponsored war.

    In the context of the Spring 2012 military drills, the United States military will establish Command Posts in Israel. In turn, Israel’s IDF will establish Command Posts at United States European Command headquarters (EUCOM)[9], in Stuttgart, Germany. (Ibid). ”

    Castellio, Panetta does not walk on water, and is not embued with absolute trust. He’s 74 years old, he doesn’t have to do what he is doing. I don’t think he is a corporatist at heart, but he is only one man, and the infiltration of those who do not have US best interests uppermost are legion. I do think he has a core of decency but I also see things taking place under his leadership that are gravely indecent — drone strikes over Pakistan are among those offensive directives he has given.

    I also can’t believe Panetta buys into ‘American exceptionalism,’ which Judd Gregg interpreted the other day as the notion that the US must lead the world, it is the only nation equipped to lead the world, and the only value set that the world needs. That concept has a Protestant/Puritan pedigree, which Panetta does not.

    If Panetta goes down in flames, I can always point to the fact that he is Calabrese, a southerner. I, of course, am not. Mondoweiss has posted a video of a woman in Israel who declaims on the FACT that Jews are god s chosen people, above the rest of humanity, and they are rightfully living on the land god gave them. I am, likewise, convinced with a metaphysical certainty that my family is from the line of Cicero. I am making plans to reclaim the villa on the Capitoline hill that Cicero was forced to abandon shortly before he was assassinated (lining up an electrician even as we speak). You may call me Fiorangela the Etruscan. Or Cece nose.

  247. BiBiJon says:

    Voice of Tehran says:
    January 11, 2012 at 11:37 am

    VoT Jan, PS

    The ‘grand’ strategies are very seductive for the global elite. Disraeli won over Gladstone because ultimately Queen Victoria could not resist the ’empress’ title.

    I wonder what titles are being offered to India, Turkey, etc.

  248. Fiorangela says:

    was there a non-cleric non-monarch core ready and capable of taking democratic power in 1978-79?

  249. BiBiJon says:

    Voice of Tehran says:
    January 11, 2012 at 11:37 am

    VoT Jan,

    warning: my occasional flashes of provocative thoughts are often better fleshed out by more disciplined, knowledgeable thinkers.

    With that said, here is an attempt:

    US is in a unique position to pull very big levers to effect changes favorable to herself, but also uniquely ill-equipped to tip-toe around in a china shop.

    To give you an example of now vaunted big lever:

    Bestow UNSC seat to India, and in return get India to do whatever it is that US is inept at doing vis-a-vis West Asia, and create headache for china to boot.

    An example of small lever (now discarded):

    Try and manage internal Egyptian politics, including saving a despot, or blocking Akhvan, etc.

    For a while everyone thought US is losing. Her military objectives were not being met (Iraq, Afghanistan), her favorite despots were being toppled, her adversaries, e.g. Iran were getting stronger not weaker.

    In a sense, I think US strategists conceded that this kind of small theater is not suited for the big elephant. Frankly, even if successful, that success was not worth diminishing American stature by chasing after small potatoes like Sadr, or Maleki. That concession overtly, and possibly prematurely was celebrated as an US retreat/defeat.

    It is possible, that the US simply changed tack. she started implementing large (Asia sized) strategies relegating small ‘problems’ to the they’ll-fix-themselves category.
    E.g. to get at Iraq’s oil, forget about fighting Sadr, instead take possession of mid east. To take possession of mid east, forget about confronting Iran, take possession of Asia. Etc.

  250. Sassan says:

    In an article in the newspaper Ettelaat, Hossein Alaei, a former high-ranking officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, made an implicit comparison between Iran during the revolutionary era of 1978-79, and what happened in the aftermath of the June 2009 presidential elections. The article appeared on the 34th anniversary of the bloody demonstrations that took place in Qom on January 9, 1978, the day after Ettelaat published an article by an unknown author with the pseudonym Ahmad Rashidi Motlagh that insulted Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Alaei (seen here in an image from the 1980s) wrote that before that event and in its immediate aftermath, ordinary Iranians did not target the Shah directly, but “the continuation of the violent crackdown on the people’s protests forced people to directly oppose the Shah himself…. After those events, people began addressing letters to the Shah, and he was correctly identified as the main culprit and responsible for the state of the nation. People then decided to prevent anyone from ruling over them permanently.” Alaei then posed several hypothetical questions that the Shah could have asked himself:

    “Would the problem have ended had I allowed the people to demonstrate peacefully and not accused them of confronting the government?”

    “Would I have not gotten a better outcome had I ordered the security forces not to shoot at the people and just try to calm them down?”

    “Would I have had to leave the country had I not put some of the statesmen and political activists under house arrest and not exiled others, and instead opened discussions with them?”

    “Would I have had to take refuge in a foreign land had I not insulted the people’s collective wisdom and not called them agents of foreign countries?”

    “Would I have not lasted longer in my rule had I not accused the people of acting against the nation’s national security, accepted the opposition, and even recognized their right [to oppose me]?”

    Alaei concluded with a well-known Qur’anic verse: “Thus, learn your lesson you who have eyes.”

    Though he never mentions Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, it is clear that Alaei is comparing Khamenei and his rule with the Shah and his regime.

    This is a very significant article from a well-positioned figure who has always been loyal to the Islamic Republic. Alaei was one of the top Revolutionary Guard commanders during the Iran-Iraq War, and the first commander of the Guard navy when it was founded in 1985. He also served as Guard chief of staff, deputy defense minister, and head of the Defense Ministry’s aerospace division. He is now on the faculty of Imam Hossein University, which is linked to the Guards, and managing editor of the monthly Sanaa-ye Havaaei (Aerospace Industries). In his 15th letter to Khamenei, journalist and documentary filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad, who used to be an ardent supporter of the Supreme Leader, praised Alaei and asked him to write a letter to Khamenei. Alaei’s article seems to be his response to the request.

    Interestingly, commemorating the same occasion, an item in the newspaper Jomhouri-ye Eslami, whose editor-in-chief, Masih Mohajeri, is close to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, discussed in detail the recent events in Egypt, before and after the downfall of former President Hosni Mubarak. The article ended with a declaration: “Dictators must learn the lesson from what happened to the Pharaohs.”

  251. Sassan says:

    Jay: If the Shah had some backbone at the very beginning, getting rid of some Mullahs would have saved the horror we have experienced the last 30+ years. In addition, the Mullahs are not representative of the Iranian civilian population.

    More importantly, the Shah simply did not have good propaganda in order. All the Shah had to do was pass out portions of Khomeini’s own writings to the masses (in the way yellow pages were delivered to every residence) in which Khomeini discussed on the “proper way to have sex with a girl who has not yet reached puberty” as well as “how to have sex with animals and to get rid of the meat properly”.

    Anyhow, this regime has done one great thing the Shah could NEVER have done. Despite the blood sacrificed and the fact that our nation has been destroyed and has been driven back instead of progressing to modernity; this regime has single-handedly driven Islam out of the hearts and minds of the Iranian people. The Iranian people no longer rely on religion and in fact the Iranian people are overwhelmingly a secular people who do not follow religion. Islam truly has no future inside of a free Iran and once we are liberated, Iran will NEVER return to Islam. This is the only positive result of the cruelties and barbarities of these evil madmen.

  252. Karl says:

    Russia oppose oil embargo, if they would eventually follow, is about to be seen.

    http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=253183&R=R101&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

  253. Jay says:

    Attempting to post the link….
    #!\www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2012/01/news-ex-guard-warns-khamenei-uranium-enrichment-starts-at-fordow.html\!#

  254. Voice of Tehran says:

    BiBiJon says:
    January 11, 2012 at 10:57 am

    “While everyone was busy thinking that spells defeat for the US, US was busy throwing out the old ‘war’drobe, for new attire — formulating an approach utterly divorced from any concerns about the ‘isms’ mentioned above. It is at this scale, that US has no competitor, and therefore, with hindsight, rather obvious what the attraction was.”

    BibiJon , please elaborate further on your above sentence , I am not sure which conclusion to draw . ( Nafahmidam )

  255. Fiorangela says:

    Jay, yer on yer own.

  256. Fiorangela says:

    ooops

    so much for helping old ladies cross the street when they don’t want to.

    let’s try again. each element is between the letters m m

    m m
    m label you assign, typed, such as RACE FOR IRAN m
    m
    m

  257. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

    In my opinion, “…the assassination of yet another Iranian academic .. having no strategic value..”

    It does but for Iran.

    It hardens the government and the people of Iran.

    There is no way back for Iran as I have repeatedly stressed.

    Someday this war will end but the shape of the post-war world will be more brutal and more violent.

    Status ante 0f 2007 or even 2003 is no longer achieveable.

  258. Fiorangela says:

    Jay — arrange these keystrokes horizontally to produce a hot link

    RACE FOR IRAN

  259. Fiorangela says:

    Jay, re Sassan & Shah should have killed Khomeini rather than exile him —

    Everything I know I learned from TeachingCompany recorded lectures. I was listening to Prof. Dalton discuss Machiavelli and the uses of power, applied to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In the lecture recorded in about 2002, Dalton said that Bush Senior was foolish not to overthrow Saddam in 1991, when he had the chance. “After all, Saddam is still in power, but Bush failed to be re-elected.” In other words, in Dalton’s view, Bush misused his power because he failed to kill the leader of a sovereign state.

    At the same time, I was reading Erik Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts,” a creative non-fictionalized re-re-re-telling of Hitler’s ascent to power in 1933-34. The peak point of Larson’s book is the Night of Long Knives, when Hitler purged German government of SS leaders such as Rohm and his followers, who were eager to either overthrow the German government and take charge, or acquire command of Germany’s military. Rohm & SS were freikorps remnants of WWI, still armed and still angry over the outcome of the war, and the group largely responsible for harassment of Jews and other who failed to conform to their notion of a German superpatriot. Larson emphasized how the Night of Long Knives deeply disturbed–maybe even unhinged– US Ambassador William Dodd, the main character in “Garden of Beasts,” to the point that Dodd refused to speak with members of the German government, not wanting to converse with “people who have blood on their hands.”

    Americans/Westerners are trained to the knee-jerk reaction that anything having to do with Hitler/Nazism is the definition of unalloyed evil. But objectively, wasn’t Hitler’s prosecution of the Night of Long Knives carrying out precisely (and in a disciplined manner, I might add) the prescription for the effective use of power by eliminating enemies of the state, as well as tormenters of the Jewish people in Germany?

    To the question, Should the Shah have killed rather than exiled Khomeini?
    It depends on whose side you have pre-ordained to prevail.

    From my perspective, the “assassination” of Osama bin Laden, the first act under Leon Panetta’s tenure at Defense, was pure political theatre (ie. OBL was not REALLY killed in Pakistan, etc), a demonstration to the beeple that the US government was capable of wielding power effectively.

    On the other hand, the assassination of yet another Iranian academic is an act of pure terrorism, most likely carried out by MEK/Mossad, having no strategic value other than to demonstrate to the Obama administration and Panetta, as well as the Iranian people and government, that zionism is the embodiment of an insane, dehumanized rogue state capable of acting with impunity.

    Eventually, targets will appear on the backs and foreheads and car doors of American and Jewish scientists in the US. Then, Abe Foxman and Hannah Rosenthal and Hillary Clinton will join a chorus of “Antisemitism” and “Why do they hate us?”

  260. BiBiJon says:

    Rehmat says:
    January 11, 2012 at 9:52 am

    “BiBiJon – Islamic Republic, China and Russia – are all pursuing their national interests. China and Russia are not friends of Muslims. Both are maintaining colonial grips on Muslim regions under their imperialism. Chinese-Russian seek alliance with Iran for their thirst for energy and not letting Iran exploit their Muslim minorities.”

    Precisely this sort of nationalistic, sectarian, short-term small-scope self-interests that are guiding a Chinese/Russian strategy oblivious to the bigger picture.

    The lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan is that no amount of force, or money, brutal punishment, or rich reward is going to allow the US to micro-manage trouble spots of the world.

    While everyone was busy thinking that spells defeat for the US, US was busy throwing out the old ‘war’drobe, for new attire — formulating an approach utterly divorced from any concerns about the ‘isms’ mentioned above. It is at this scale, that US has no competitor, and therefore, with hindsight, rather obvious what the attraction was.

  261. Jay says:

    The link did not make it in the post. It is on tehranbureau.. Let’s try the link again
    <<>>

  262. Jay says:

    To help divert further energy from responding to Sassan, in case you ever wondered about the humanity of his “rational atheism”, here is a little gem from him posted last night or so:

    “The Shah’s problem was that he refused to use force at the beginning in qom. If he used force when necessary against the religious masses in qom (in particular he should have had khomeini terminated instead of exiling him to iraq) the revolution may have been averted. ”

    Translation — rational atheist recommends dictator kill people to hold on to power. I suppose the late Hitchens is smiling – Sassan, you might as well be as rationally efficient as Hitchens and suggest Shah should have dropped a nuke on Qom.

  263. Fiorangela says:

    BiBiJon says:
    January 11, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Impressive, BiBiJon.

    Flynt and Hillary have written occasionally of Iran’s wisdom in choosing “winners.” I’d be interested to hear/read their views on your theory that US grand strategy has radically changed — call it the Panetta effect! — and US has “gone big.”

    Such a shift also provides geographic logic to the new defense plan laid out a few days ago, that diminishes investment in Army/ground troops and emphasizes naval and air assets.

    Robert Kaplan wrote about that need for such a new strategic vision in Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power

    “He also emphasized their increasing geopolitical importance and said that rapid changes in this dynamic region, especially China’s and India’s status as emerging naval powers, will influence US policy in the Indian Ocean.

    Kaplan pointed out that when it comes to military issues, America has recently been distracted by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, future conflicts and wars will be tremendously influenced by naval power. Consequently, the US must strengthen its foreign policy in the Indian Ocean in order to maintain its strategic dominance. In particular, control over maritime trade in this region is critically important because 90 percent of all commercial goods and oil sent from the Middle East to Asia are delivered by ship.

    As Kaplan suggested, the region from the Middle East to the growing cities of South and East Asia willbecome the nexus of world economic growth and military conflicts, as states fight to achieve democracy, energy independence, and economic liberalization. It is here that the convergence of issues of Islam, India and China will inescapably come to ahead. Kaplan says, “Rising economic growth in the region will lead to the expansion of economic interests, which need to be protected by military power.”

    In conclusion, Kaplan explained that the Indian Ocean area has been evolving into a multi-polar trading area between Muslim and non-Muslims. It is therefore necessary for America to be aware of the aspirations of regional players in order to balance their increasing commercial and military power in the Indian Ocean while maintaining US strategic influence in the region.”

  264. Fiorangela says:

    Nima Shirazi, on the margins of India-Israel relations —

    Israel: Still Not Doing Gandhi Very Well

    Apparently Israel is desperate for marks of legitimacy — the JPost article arguing that Israel should resolve I/P conflict in order to delegitimize Iran was posted not so much to make RFI aware of the absurdity of the argument [sorry about the misdirection, Castellio) but to provide a window on what I believe is a prevalent Israeli mindset. David Shasha calls it pilpul, and described it in Huffington Post some months ago :http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-shasha/what-is-pilpul-and-why-on_b_507522.html

    Here’s an attempt to encapsulate how Shasha, a Sephardic Jew, carefully layered that explanation:

    “Ashkenazi rabbis were less concerned with promulgating the Law transmitted in the Talmud than they were with molding it to suit their own needs. Pilpul was a means to justify practices already fixed in the behaviors of the community by re-reading the Talmud to justify those practices.

    There were two ways in which the Ashkenazi rabbis effected this radical reinterpretation of the Talmud:

    In Rashi’s Talmud commentary — a required text in every Jewish school in the world — he uses the Aramaic term Hakhi Garsinan, meaning, “This is how the text is to be read.” Whenever this term is used, it indicates that Rashi has amended the text. His emendations were necessitated by the need to bring actual practice in line with the text.

    Rashi’s emendations are not a theoretical proposition; the actual editions of the Talmud that we use today reflect the changes. The text of the Talmud was forever remade according to the dictates of Rashi and his school.

    As if this was not enough, the Tosafists instituted one more pilpul principle into Talmudic discourse. This was called the Lav Davqa method. In English we might call it the “Not Quite” way of reading a text. When a text appeared to be saying one thing, the Tosafot — in order to conform to the already-existing custom — would re-interpret it by saying that what it seemed to mean is not what it really meant!

    (By the way, RFI volk may be interested to read Shasha’s entire essay on HuffPo — it connects Babylonian Jewish scholarship with Islamic scholarship — as well as an article by Sasha that Mondoweiss posted a few days ago. In that latter article, Sasha describes the diminished status of Sephardic Jews in Israel, and traces the forked lineage of Sephardic vis a vis Ashkenazi Jews. :http://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/a-jewish-voice-left-silent-trying-to-articulate-the-levantine-option.html

    Shasha’s “Levantine Option” essay is especially pertinent to Jewish Israeli-Iran relations. As Haggai Ram explains in “Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession,” and Gil Eyal explains in “The Disenchantment of the Orient,” the (predominantly) Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews who dominate Israel are and have always been profoundly disdainful and, more importantly, viscerally afraid of Mizrahi and Mizrahi Jews; that is, Arabs, Iraqis and and Persians, whether Jewish or not. Given that Abraham’s native land was Ur, in Sumer in Mesopotamia, that fear is puzzling, as if Jews take fright at seeing their own patriarchal image in a mirror. I’m reminded of the reaction of our then-18 month old son the first time he encountered his new brother: he burst into tears and crying. I still wonder what was going through his tender mind at that moment. (I immediately consulted the ophthalmologist ;D )

    So its doubly ironic that Ashkenazi Israeli Jews seek the approbation-after-the-fact legitimizing presence of Gandhi, the hero of the Indian people, first cousin to Persian Aryans, as well as the gangster-style complicity of Indian diplomats in their murderous project, as Irshad described.

    I suspect that at bottom, Lithuanians such as Netanyahu live their lives under the omnipresent fear of being discovered to be frauds and interlopers in a culture and land to which they have no ties, affinity, or rights, but that they seek to claim as their own out of a pervasive sense of belonging nowhere else, and they enforce that fragile sense of belonging by lashing out at anyone who challenges it.

  265. fyi says:

    Irshad & Others:

    There will be retaliation this time, no doubt, regarding this latest assasination.

    And as I observed, Indian leaders are fools to entertain a war with Islam – there are 210 million Muslims in that country.

    But, just like American leaders, they will go down that path thinking there is amrgin in fighting Islam.

    More broadly, I am struck by the fact that these Western commentators and analysts have given no attention to the peace that will eventually proceed all wars.

    Someday, this Siege War against Iran will end – either in Iranian defeat (doubtful) or a stalemate (most likely) or the Western defeat (doubtful).

    At that point, clearly the relationship between Iran, EU states, Southern persian Gulf states, and India will not revert to what obtained prior to 2007.

    I expect, as this war drags – and just like Iran-Iraq War- a permanent gulf will obtain between Iran and these other states.

    These states – since 2007 – have gone too far.

    And the absence of any planning by them for the post-(Siege) War period, attested to by the absence of any such discussions in the public domain, indicates to me an infantile planning effort by US, EU, Israel, and Indian planners.

    Those whom gods wish to destory forst make stupid.

  266. Rehmat says:

    BiBiJon – Islamic Republic, China and Russia – are all pursuing their national interests. China and Russia are not friends of Muslims. Both are maintaining colonial grips on Muslim regions under their imperialism. Chinese-Russian seek alliance with Iran for their thirst for energy and not letting Iran exploit their Muslim minorities.

    Both China and Russia have very close relations with the Zionist regime – many of whose leaders have immigrated from China and Russia. However, Iran is left with no alternatve but to chose the “less evils” among the five permanent members of the UNSC. Furthermore, both China and Russia happen to be Iran’s next door neighbors.

    The Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Khamenei knows that – and may Allah give him long life to kick the Zionists where it hurt them the most.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/richard-falk-cartoon-and-the-lobby/

  267. BiBiJon says:

    It’s West Asia (and quite a bit east) Stupid!
    ===========================================

    PPS

    The time window for plan “A” on Iran is limited. If Iran has not pivoted, then RSH’s predicted war is very much on.

    As always, Murphy may have the final say. If Russia/China decide that a ‘fortress’ Iran is the only hope, then you’ll see very firm frontlines drawn that will last many decades.

  268. Rehmat says:

    Sudanese President visits Libya; Zionists fret

    On January 7, 2012 – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir paid a surprise visit to post-Qaddafi Libya. He was received at Tripoli airport by Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of western-funded National Transition Council (NTC) and other members of the interin government.

    Bashir, who never had good relation with the late Libyan leader Qaddafi, said the removal of Qaddafi was a blessing for Sudan. He also offered his help in disarming various foreign armed rebel groups still carrying-on daily killings.

    “We have good experience in integrating insurgents and entering them into the armed forces or the police,” he said.

    Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Karti said that leaders of both countries agreed to form joint ministerial committee responsible for upgrading political and economic cooperation between the two countries.

    US State Department spokeswoman, Zionist Jew Victoria Nuland has criticized NTC leaders for receiving Omar al-Bashir who is wanted by Zionist-controlled International Criminal Court (ICC).

    Khortoum has blasted the US for its lifting arms sanctions against South Sudan. It’s aploy to sell billions of its deadly arms to African countries and fuel tribal conflicts as it did in Libya.

    The Zionist-controlled administration in Washington is frustrated that its objectives for breaking of Muslim-majority oil-rich Sudan into South Sudan is still in limbo. Two-third of oil-fields are still under Chinese control; oil-pipe-line and Israel access to Nile is still under the Islamist-controlled Khortoum.

    In the recent months, South Sudan has imploded in a growing mass insanity of ethnic violence and once again tens of thousands Sudanese have to flee for their lives the warning signs all point towards the US-Israel plan to destabilize Sudan having begun to hit its stride.

    Currently, thousands of UN “peacekeepers” are pouring into South Sudan. These “peacekeepers” are almost entirely from next door Ethiopia and are part of an Ethiopian military carrying out a counterinsurgency/genocide in the Muslim-majority Ogaden in south east Ethiopia.

    Thomas C. Mountain’s recent artcle entitled US Unmaking Sudan unwail the criminal Zionists’ plan against Muslims in Africa.

    The USA can kill two birds with one stone by destabilizing South Sudan.

    The first is by helping to instigate a series of ethnic bloodbaths in South Sudan, maybe ignite an outbreak of fighting between Sudan and South Sudan and under cover of which the Abeye oil fields, and the very vulnerable Abeye-Port Sudan pipeline will be attacked and damaged.

    This will effectively end China’s most important energy development project in Africa.

    Secondly, by cutting off Sudan’s oil supply the USA will put enormous pressure on the Sudanese government lead by President Omar Al Bashir.
    With his oil revenues halted Pres. Bashir will find it very difficult to maintain the standard of living many of his people have come to expect and this could seriously destabilize the government.

    In mid 2011 South Sudanese officials were reported to have said that the USA had told them they didn’t need oil money to survive, they could depend on western aid. A fore teller of things to come?

    Whether this all comes to pass or not, the one thing clear for the world to see is that the western supported independence of South Sudan is turning into a nightmare for the people of the region. Little wonder when one finds out who is actually funding, and now arming, the armed forces in the country.

    The one thing that should be expected is a continuing “crisis management” policy by the USA in South Sudan, as in create a crisis and then manage the murder and mayhem the better to exploit the wealth of the land, or if necessary, at least deny it to your enemy.

    And maybe even see the end of the long western vilified Sudanese government lead by President Omar Al Bashir in the process.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/sudanese-president-visits-libya-zionists-fret/

  269. BiBiJon says:

    It’s West Asia (and quite a bit east) Stupid!
    ===========================================

    PS

    Iran is being pushed into Russia/Chinese arms for the purpose of inflaming her sense of independence and priming her to pivot and deliver the Shiite crescent in the service of the big strategy. Me thinks.

  270. BiBiJon says:

    It’s West Asia (and quite a bit east) Stupid!
    ===========================================

    There seems to be a case of strategy ships passing each other in the night. And I have some thoughts for the board.

    US is implementing a large scale Asia strategy, while her adversaries seem to be preoccupied with small-scale inconsequential alliances confined to neighborhoods — it is not even a ‘regional’ strategy.

    US, India, Israel, and to an undefinable degree, Turkey are driving at objectives that dwarfs Russian peeves about their naval port in Syria, or Iran’s PR efforts aimed at the ‘springing’ Arab Street, or the Chinese commercial concerns here and there.

    It is in the context of the big game, that dumping Pakistan and exiting Iraq can be understood to be small tactical prices to pay. Who needs Af-Pak, if you’ve taken India as a bride? Who needs to confront Russia directly, if you can squeeze her by pushing on Iran? Who needs friendly Arab despots if you get yourself a neo-Ottoman order prevailing?

    anyone else see things this way?

  271. Fiorangela says:

    Irshad wrote, “”We will have to work out a strategy as to how we address ourselves to the scourge o international terrorism which has become the curse for the entire humanity. I think our efforts should be to checkmate and ultimately eradicate terrorists from the face of the earth.”

    Will India help Israel control its Jewish terrorists? —

    Jewish Terrorism Gaining Steam

    “The attack against the mosque in the Galilee on Sunday is a clear escalation – and if proven to have been carried out by right-wing extremists – it will be just the latest sign that Jewish terrorism is gaining steam.

    The target chosen raises serious questions about the motivations of the alleged perpetrators. While attacks on mosques in the West Bank have sadly become something of the norm in recent years, an attack on a mosque in an Israeli town is quite rare, particularly in a Beduin village like Tuba Zanghariya, whose residents serve in the IDF.”

    “attacks on mosques in the West Bank have . . .become something of the norm in recent years” — we’ve all heard about this from MSM, right? Surely Abe Foxman has tallied every instance of the “normalized” Israeli attacks on mosques and ensured that the perpetrators are named and shamed; and without a doubt Hannah Rosenthal at the US State Department Office To Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism has written a sternly worded letter to Israel’s government.

    Jewish settlers are not limiting their terror attacks to Arabs, however, they are targeting other Jews and IDF forces, and that’s what has brought the issue to the fore:

    “the “price tag” policy launched by extremist settlers has become a major factor in developments in the West Bank.

    The policy’s roots lie in the August 2005 disengagement from Gaza and the subsequent destruction of nine houses in the West Bank outpost of Amona about six months later.

    Ever since then, the extreme right has sought to establish a “balance of terror,” in which every state action aimed at them – from demolishing a caravan in an outpost to restricting the movements of those suspected of harassing Palestinian olive harvesters – generates an immediate, violent reaction.

    Even if this reaction cannot stop an evacuation, the theory goes, the damage it causes – whether the victims are Palestinians or Israel Defense Forces soldiers – will cause the government to think twice before ordering additional evacuations.”
    :http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/analysis-the-extreme-right-has-sought-to-establish-a-balance-of-terror-1.256501

    Israel is confronting simultaneous Jewish settler terror attacks on Arabs AND on fellow Jews.

    An “unprecedented number” — perhaps 9000– American troops are deployed on Israeli soil in the midst of this Jewish civil war.
    http israelmatzav blogspot.com/2012/01/us-troops-deploying-to-israel html

  272. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Dear Fior,

    Thanks for the correction on Dr. Asad’s specialty. I guess I knew he was a doctor, and thought for some reason that he was a pediatrician.

    And yes, the Lors are a wonderful people, with a rich culture. Its funny, it used to be that it was the Azeris (a race of Iranians called “Torks” by the Persians) were much more the victim of choice, serving as the brunt of Tehrani humor, but the Azeris are so omnipresent here in Tehran that I have noticed that taxi drivers prefer to use the poor Lors now. I, of course, have no such qualms and remain your equal opportunity discriminator :D

    I hope and pray you are right about Mr. Panetta, by the way.

  273. Fiorangela says:

    Unknown Unknowns — “If I had children, you could be their pediatrician anytime, Mr. Asad.”

    At least they’re vision will be well protected; Assad is trained as an ophthalmologist.

    Thanks for the Lors tale. Our bus driver was a Lor and a wonderful man. I recall after our group visited Azadi Monument, as we were returning to the bus he and his assistant and our tour guide told us that they represented the diversity of Iran — Lors, the people that everyone makes fun of; Persians, the people who think they’re better than everybody else; and Armenians, the proud people that even Lors kick around.

  274. Irshad says:

    How far can India go with Israel
    To my mind, this is an even more serious goof-up than when External Affairs MInister S.M.Krishna read out his Portugese counterpart’s speech in the UN Security Council last February without even comprehending what he was doing. I think the mandarins weren’t careful, again, and EAM has been let down for a second time11 months later.

    They should have marked on bold red ink what was strictly for EAM’s knowledge and not to be revealed during his media appearance with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at Tel Aviv following their breakfast meeting on Tuesday. The point is, EAM should never have revealed what he did, namely, that India and Israel propose to intensify their security cooperation. ”We will have to work out a strategy as to how we address ourselves to the scourge o international terrorism which has become the curse for the entire humanity. I think our efforts should be to checkmate and ultimately eradicate terrorists from the face of the earth.”
    I am sure the above was what EAM was supposed to tell Bibi duirng their tete-e-tete — EAM’s ‘Talking Point’, as South Block calls the folder for VIP visits. Our top guns in South Block wouldn’t have made a goof-up, they are far too professional and endowed with first-hand experience of Israel.
    Look what happened. Bibi didn’t say a word when EAM took off in such robust enthusiasm. Because, he knew he had just cleared the file relating to the assassination of an Iranian scientist by Mossad on the streets of Tehran.
    Bibi attaches the highest importance to relations with India and he didn’t want to compromise EAM. He knew in his heart of hearts that no sooner than EAM left Tel Aviv, there was going to be blood on the streets of Tehran and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, aged 32, would be no more.
    This is why I cautioned earlier that before undertaking this historic visit, South Block should have obtained some sort of reliable assurance about Israel’s conduct as a normal state abiding by international law and UN Charter. The kind of things Israel does to Iran makes it a state sponsoring terrorism — and but for the blanket American diplomatic cover, it would have been brought to book a long time ago already.
    Now, how can India claim to be Israel’s collaborator on the terrorism front? It beats my imagination.
    No matter the Left parties’ passive acquiescence with our Israel policy, I think there is still a strong case intrinsically, without putting on ideological blinkers, to streamline India’s relationship with Israel and divest it of sentimentality. Okay, if we get American military technology via Israel that US cannot hand over to us directly. It helps our military’s modernisation, after all. Okay, if we learn more about drip irrigation from Israel — we have a crisis in the agriculture sector. Okay, if we learn about animal husbandry from Israel — our cattle class needs a better deal.
    Let trade flourish and reach the target of 15 billion dollars. Let there be cooperation In the field of IT. Let us intensify cultural intercourse between the two ancient peoples. We will be doing a great favour already to Israel by mitigating its isolation east of Sinai. But to mix up the relationship with the romance over terrorism (read militant Islam) is asking for trouble.
    EAM could simply replace the Portugese FM’s speech with his own and carry on at Turtle Bay. But in this case it isn’t so easy to swallow what he said on Tuesday. There is a saying, ‘Tell me your friend, I know who you are’.

    Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.

    Tagged with Benjamin Netanyahu, India-Israel, S M Krishna, Terrorism.

    By M K Bhadrakumar – January 11, 2012

    This is at his blog at rediff.com

  275. Arnold Evans says:

    I’m not sure if someone linked to Assad’s speech yet.

    http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2012/01/10/393338.htm

    I read no signs of imminent collapse of the Syria government. Assad sounded more confident than worried.

    I was surprised by the explicit anti-colonialist, anti-Western aspects of the speech. Along with the implications about the states I’ve been calling the modern colonies of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Kuwait and others.

    We have been trying for years to activate the Israel-boycott office; and we have been receiving excuses of the type that this is no longer acceptable; but, within a few weeks, they activate a boycott against Syria. This means that their objective is replacing Syria with Israel. This is only a pattern; and we are not naïve. We have known this Arab condition for a very long time. We have not clung to illusions. By showing our patience regarding these practices, before and during this crisis, we wanted to prove to all those who have their doubts about the bad intentions, wrapped in beautiful and ornamented language, that their intentions are bad and their objectives are vile. I think now this has become abundantly clear to most people.

    Eventually, outrage of the Arab or public reaction in Syria towards the issue of the Arab League was the result. In fact, I was not angry; why to get angry with someone who does not know his decision. If someone attacks us with a knife, we defend ourselves not by struggling with the knife but with the person. The knife is just a tool. Our struggle is not with these people but against those who stand behind them. The public reaction was outrage, indignation and surprise; why did not the Arabs stand with Syria rather than standing against Syria? I ask a question: when did they stand with Syria?! I will not go back far in the past, but let us just talk about the past few years. Let us start by the war on Iraq, after the invasion, when Syria was threatened with bombing and invasion. Who stood with Syria in 2005 when they exploited the assassination of Hariri? Who stood alongside Syria in 2006? Who supported our positions against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon in 2008? Who supported us in the IAEA in relation to the alleged nuclear file? Arab states vote against us. These facts may be unknown to many citizens. That is why we need to explain everything in these junctures and situations.

    For us, the West is important and we cannot deny this truth. But the West today is not like the West a decade ago. The world is changing and there are emerging powers. There are alternatives. It is important but it is not the oxygen which we breathe. If the West closes its doors, we can still breathe. It is not the life buoy without which we drown. We can swim on our own and along our friends and brothers, and there is plenty of them. That is why we decided in 2005 to move eastwards. At that time, we knew that the West will never change. The West is still colonial in one way or another. It is changing from an old colonizer to a modern colonizer and from a modern colonizer during the Sykes-Picot agreement to a contemporary colonizer. It has different forms and shapes but it will never change, which means that we have to turn to the East. We, as a state, started this procedure several years ago, and my visits during the recent years fell under that initiative in one way or another. But this is not sufficient. The private sector must also open channels with those countries.

  276. Unknown Unknowns says:

    You are right: I am very sick. Of you. Like everyone else here. Now fack off.

  277. Sassan says:

    Unknown Unknowns: You are a very sick person. You are in love with Khamenei by calling that cruel, sadistic animal “your dear leader” and then praising Assad. You are a despicable person with no concern for human rights and human dignity.

  278. Unknown Unknowns says:

    OK, I’ll translate this one for Fior and Castellio:

    A Lor (a native of Loristan, a region not exactly known for the intelligence of its natives) goes up to God and asks Him, “Why did you make me?” God hits Gabriel up side the head and says, “Didn’t I tell you not to fool around if you ended up with extra clay to spare?”

  279. Unknown Unknowns says:

    لره میره پیش خدا میگه: چرا منو آفریدی؟ خدا میزنه تو سر جبرییل میگه: مگه نگفتم اگه خاک اضافه اومد مسخره بازی در نیار!

  280. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Did anyone else listen to Asad’s speech? I caught tidbits on the news last night. Man did he rip the Arab League a new one! Generally, he was very upbeat, saying that Syria has turned the corner on the war against the terrorists, that victory is at hand, and that they are basically in mop-up mode. He also talked about parliamentary elections in March, which will set the stage for the writing and adoption of a new constitution.

    If I had children, you could be their pediatrician anytime, Mr. Asad.

    And remember, your father obviously did not kill enough takfiris in Homs. Don’t make the same mistake.

  281. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Castellio says:
    January 11, 2012 at 1:01 am
    UU… yes, I think we agree on the over-all situation.

    Yes, except here we have no-one ot blame but ourselves. I’m all for making excuses for the regime (because usually there are important facts which detractors and the usual suspects miss), but I’m all out on this one. But I have faith that the Supreme Leader will make good on this one, inshallah :o)

  282. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: “Yeah, but it also says Elvis is alive and well in Iran… :-)”

    It’s true. I just saw him leave the building.

  283. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Castellio says: There’s a newspaper near the cash register at your grocery store with a picture of the aliens.”

    Ah, now you’re talking about an paper that is near and dear to my heart, The Weekly World News. Kinda like one of my favorite movies with Tommy Lee Jones, Men in Black. I remember the aliens endorsing Clinton’s economic plan (which, I guess contributed to his election success). At one point, that paper made me laugh so much I used to buy it pretty regularly and even thought about sending in a contribution or two. Figured I’d fit right in! LOL.

  284. bkbt says:

    Faking It: How the Media Manipulates the World into War

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4P2O8UjQeU&feature=player_embedded#!

  285. Fordo atomic site runs under IAEA watch
    http://presstv.com/detail/220227.html

    Iran attempts to correct Western media messages suggesting Fordo is not under IAEA supervision. Good luck with that!

    Meanwhile, France says: “The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Monday, saying, “This new provocation… leaves us with no other choice but to reinforce international sanctions and to adopt, with our European partners and all willing countries, measures of an intensity and severity without precedent.”

  286. I read Alan Hart’s blog and his posts are always pretty good.

    The Zionization of American politics and how it could be terminated
    http://www.alanhart.net/the-zionization-of-american-politics-and-how-it-could-be-terminated-2/

  287. Russia calls for end to violence in Syria
    http://en.trend.az/regions/world/russia/1978542.html

    Note the emphasis in Lavrov’s statement on the actions of the armed opposition factions as much as on the government’s. U.S. statements always ignore that side of it.

  288. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela at 10.15 pm.

    I believe you’re being serious. About Panetta (his wile, his guile, his guts), and about your prayers.

    I’m not sure if we’ve seen this side of you before.

    Do you really think he’s trying to carry some level of moral realism forward? I am asking without cynicism.

  289. Anonymous Lurker says:

    University Professor Killed in Terrorist Blast in Tehran
    More death and provocation…

    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010170669

    TEHRAN (FNA)- An Iranian university professor was killed in a terrorist bomb blast in a Northern neighborhood in Tehran on Wednesday morning.

    The magnetic bomb which was planted by an unknown motorcyclist under the car of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a professor at Tehran’s technical university, also wounded two other Iranian nationals in Seyed Khandan neighborhood in Northern Tehran.

    No more details have been revealed about the blast.

  290. Castellio: “I mean, even Texans can understand why the US shouldn’t bomb now.”

    Sorry, Texans like both kinds of music: Country AND Western… :-)

  291. 18 killed in Syria, as opposition denounce Arab League decision
    http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1978109.html

    Quote

    On Sunday an Arab League committee which met to discuss the situation in Syria said it would increase the number of monitors and give them more resources, ignoring calls to end what pro-democracy protesters and campaigners say is “a failing mission which only gives time for the regime to kill more people.”

    The move prompted the Syrian Local Coordination Committees (LCC), a group of activists organizing protests, to reject the Arab League decision.

    The statement called on the Arab League to meet its responsibility towards the Syrian people by: “Immediately announcing that the Arab observers have failed in their mission, referring the Syrian file to the UN Security Council, paving the way for imposing a no-fly zone and establishing a safe corridor for protecting the military defectors.”

    Some Syrian opposition groups hope that a failure of the Arab League mission might open up the possibility of a foreign military intervention similar to the one that toppled Libya’s late leader Moamer Gaddafi last year.

    End Quote

    How long before the Arab League gets sidelined as a result of calls for UN action by the U.S., EU and the other usual suspects? Of course, Russia and China will veto any no-fly zone in the UNSC – they’ve seen that plan before in Libya. The question is: since that’s a given, who says that will be enough to stop a Syrian war? Because the U.S. and the EU have seen Russia and China coming, too… I predict the U.S. and the EU will simply dismiss the UN veto and go right on setting up their war…

  292. Castellio says:

    RSH, the fact that Elvis is alive in Iran is very good news.

    I mean, even Texans can understand why the US shouldn’t bomb now.

  293. Although I personally believe Pakistan is in Washington’s sights, this guy might be right.

    After Iran, Venezuela?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/10/after-iran-venezuela/

    Another country where Obama would like to start a war…

  294. Castellio says:

    UU… yes, I think we agree on the over-all situation.

  295. This article is stupid in several areas.

    Iran sanctions bite
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA11Ak03.html

    Where he makes the argument that the Iranian rush to the dollar means a vote of no-confidence in the government and in favor of a U.S. attack on Iran, he’s a complete idiot.

  296. This maybe not so good…

    Turkey to Broach Kurdistan Issue in Tehran
    http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Turkey-to-Broach-Sensitive-Kurdistan-Issue-in-Tehran-136676958.html

    Quote

    Analysts say Ankara’s strong support for the Kurdistan regional government is also affecting Turkey’s deteriorating relationship with Iran. There are growing suspicions in Ankara that Tehran is surreptitiously orchestrating some of the political upheaval in Iraq so as to strengthen Shi’ite power there.

    End Quote

  297. Castellio: “Theres a newspaper near the cash at your grocery store with a picture of the aliens.”

    Yeah, but it also says Elvis is alive and well in Iran… :-)

  298. BiBiJon: “’You really think if the U.S. and NATO set up a “no fly” zone in Syria and start bombing Syria that Iran will attack U.S. forces in the region, thus initiating the Iran war?’ ‘Yes. I think it highly likely that a next time anyone starts attacking Syria, Lebanon, or Gaza, Iran will consider it an attack on herself and respond. As you said yourself, such aggression is a prelude to an attack on Iran anyway.'”

    OK, I’ll remember that prediction. I suspect we’ll get to see that tested this year.

  299. Castellio says:

    RSH writes, and I quote: “Martians will destroy Israel and free the Palestinians…”

    Theres a newspaper near the cash at your grocery store with a picture of the aliens.

  300. Unknown Unknowns: “Well, with Iran being able to wheel rather than fly hundreds of these in to Lebanon and Syria now that Uncle $cum has left Iraq, what difference does it make? They’ll spit out projectiles all day and all night too. “http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?195116-Iran-new-howitzer-155mm

    Nice. They better move ’em quick now, because there’s not much time left before Syria is really under the gun. These will be real handy on the Iraq and Afghanistan borders, too, at least for the 20-30km range. Not exactly equivalent to a Shahab-3, though, due to the short range.

    Would be useful on the Straits coast, too, camouflaged in gun emplacements. Remember the movie The Guns of Navarone?

    Hizballah could bury a few score of these in the Bekaa Valley and give the Israeli tanks a fit…

    “And Israhell’s left flank is feeling more aned more exposed with the rise of the Brethren and Nour in Egypt.”

    True. Although it’s still not clear exactly how the MB are going to react once the U.S. starts pressuring them. There’s a lot of concern about how the MB are pledging to do what the U.S. wants in Syria. Whether they’re playing the U.S. or not isn’t obvious.

    It’s also not obvious what a new leadership in Egypt can do other than, of course, provide major support to the Gaza Palestinians – which in itself would be a really good thing. But in terms of military confrontation with Israel I suspect Israel isn’t too concerned. I’d have to see some reports on whether Egypt’s military would be interested in, say, supporting Syria or Lebanon in case of an Israel attack – or even supporting Gaza. Opening the Gaza borders and allowing arms shipments in to Hamas would be outstanding.

  301. BiBiJon says:

    Richard,

    “You really think if the U.S. and NATO set up a “no fly” zone in Syria and start bombing Syria that Iran will attack U.S. forces in the region, thus initiating the Iran war?”

    Yes. I think it highly likely that a next time anyone starts attacking Syria, Lebanon, or Gaza, Iran will consider it an attack on herself and respond. As you said yourself, such aggression is a prelude to an attack on Iran anyway.

    On the rest of the stuff, Richard, you’re just being argumentative and I don’t have the patience. Sorry.

  302. Unknown Unknowns says:

    This is very, very bad:

    Fars News: 50 Members of Majlis Disqualified to Run for Re-Election.

  303. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard says, “Iran doesn’t have that many Shahab-3’s, for one thing…”

    Well, with Iran being able to wheel rather than fly hundreds of these in to Lebanon and Syria now that Uncle $cum has left Iraq, what difference does it make? They’ll spit out projectiles all day and all night too.

    http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?195116-Iran-new-howitzer-155mm

    And Israhell’s left flank is feeling more aned more exposed with the rise of the Brethren and Nour in Egypt.

  304. BiBiJon: “You should persist.”

    I will. :-)

    “But, if Israel persists, Shahab-3s will light up Tel Aviv’s skies for a 1000 and one nights.”

    Iran doesn’t have that many Shahab-3’s, for one thing…

    You really think if the U.S. and NATO set up a “no fly” zone in Syria and start bombing Syria that Iran will attack U.S. forces in the region, thus initiating the Iran war?

    And I thought I was the “war monger”…

    “What do you think will be the reaction of your average Zionist if their political traction in the US has started to unravel? And, it has started to unravel.”

    Not even close. Israel continues to own the bulk of Congress. What you see as “unraveling” I see as a few outlying commentators like the Leveretts and people like Phil Giraldi and Pat Buchanan criticizing Israel. I’m not seeing ANY unraveling of Israeli influence in the U.S.

    And even if ISRAELI influence waned, the military-industrial complex and the oil companies would STILL be in favor of all of this stuff.

    “This is your elites theory explains everything everytime. No use arguing with that.”

    Which means you can’t answer the question: “Do you trust Hilary Clinton not to start an Iran war?”

    “But thank you for proving my point was not exclusive to republicans. “We’ll totally obliterate them” did much to convince average democrats to realize Clinton is not ready for prime time.”

    Her Iran comment had absolutely nothing to do with her loss to Obama. I think her crying jag at one point had FAR more influence, that and the insane hysteria by her female supporters. I was over at Matt Yglesias’ blog at the time and believe me, her Iran comment was completely ignored, but her other PR disasters were hotly debated.

    “‘Are you claiming’ is a 20% James copyrighted strawman construction. No. I am claiming no such thing. The clowns actually think they have a chance. Their financiers who thrive on the stupidity of the goyim, send them out to do the ranting on presidential debate circuits to inject the craziest most venomous Zionist rants into the mainstream.”

    But you implied that’s ALL they were – PR mouthpieces for the Israel Lobby. Are you now claiming no Republican can win because they’re all saying the same thing about Iran? That’s tantamount to saying no Republican can win ever again – which brings us right back to the Democrats.

    As Don Rickles used to say, “What, that’s better?”

    “My point was and remains that your point about fearing an eventual republican president, that given the current rhetoric coming out of the primaries should convince anyone that war is on the cards, needs a bit more work.”

    That’s not an argument, that’s an evasion of an argument. Tell me explicitly why you think no Republican President will ever order a war on Iran (short of Iran itself actually initiating such a war, of course.)

    “And, if god forbid, your theory about elites and nothing but the elites is bull, then what?”

    Sigh, this is debating? Here my’s response: what if it isn’t? See, no progress made.

    “Your theory needs to take account of not just individual countries, but how a particular country fits in a Geo-strategic context, enjoys favorable world public opinion, and/or creates allies by taking on shared enemies.”

    Nice hand waving. Try to be more explicit on exactly which countries and how this will work.

    “If it were a per-scheduled war game, then … But, it wasn’t. 70,000 Iranian troops massed on the afghan border because the Taliban had overrun Mazar Sharif and murdered 9 diplomats in the Iranian embassy. Despite your flippant response, it is a perfect example of troop movement being (psychologically) satisfaction enough to avert a war.”

    I may have misinterpreted the incident cited as another more recent incident. Nonetheless, it can hardly be compared to the sort of long-term strategic interest in destroying Iran demonstrated by the U.S. and Israel for the last thirty years.

    If you wish to claim that since the U.S. and Israel haven’t attacked Iran in thirty years (leaving out U.S. support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war which itself damages your theory) and therefore never will, you are free to do so. Presuming that nothing will ever change despite unending threats, ramping up of hostile actions, and clear preparations for a Syrian and Lebanon war which is equally clearly a requirement for an Iran war is in my view myopic.

  305. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Empty says:
    January 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm
    Unknown Unknowns,

    I did not know about covering of the piano legs. So, are you suggesting that in order to avoid hitting the upcoming traffic, they over corrected too much to the right (or left if in England) and fell off the cliff?”

    LOL. Something like that. I’m suggesting that the wild swings of the Johnny-come-lately from one extreme to t’other is reminisent of thier swings from one branch of a tree to another before they realized, not long ago, that the earth is perfectly suited for habitation and that they dont have to live up in trees.

    *

    In the context of “velayat vaqih”, however, it is very specific as the “velayat” of an “ummah” is legitimated through that “vali” being/remaining a “faqih”.

    I always tell whoever cares to listen that the problem is not velayat-e faqih, or even velayat-e motlaqeh-ye faqih, but that in the changed circumstances in which we, the umma, find ourselves, (the changes ushered in by ‘modernity’ and the near-completel dominance of the West since 1700), that we no longer have any faqihs as such. In other words, we do not have people we can refer to as sources of emulation on everyday matters of concern. It is no longer sufficinet, for example, to say pork and alcohol are haram and everything else is halal if killed in a certain way, when there are 80,000 and counting chemicals in the food chain, and no one knows what these chemicals ultimately do to the human body and to the environment at large. The problem is so profound that the traditional mujtahids don’t even realize that they are not qualified to pontificate on what once was a simple fiqhi matter, as they do not have a degree of ijtihad in biology, in chemistry, in environmental science, in political science, etc., (and that it is precisely these things that are required in order to be able now satisfactorily to answer a once-simple question: what should and should I not eat? Banking is another florid example. I could go on. The efforts of the Islamic Republic in the direction of the reconciliation of the Universities with the howzehs is a step in the right direction, but the task is so daunting and the pace of progress so excruciatingly glacial that for me it is a daily struggle not to despair of the hope of satisfactory resolutions ever, let alone in my lifetime. I tell myself, This is the meaning of entezaar…

  306. Fiorangela says:

    Giandomenico Picco presided over the resolution of the Iran-Iraq war, even tho the Iraqi representative (Tariq Aziz, iirc) refused to take part in the negotiation and Iraq was not represented.

    Picco drew on his knowledge of Italian history and conflict resolution, and sought out the power sources in the situation — Saudi Arabian bankers. With those gentlemen and the Iranian delegation, Picco was able to work out a cessation of hostilities.

    Leon Panetta comes from a similar background and tradition. It’s the Italian in me, I know this; I also know that Panetta saved Clinton’s presidency on more than one occasion.
    Andrea Doria fought FOR France (then ruling over parts of the Italian peninsula) when it seemed favorable, and fought against France when Doria disagreed with French policies and behavior. He eventually took command in Genoa, reformed Genoese politics, and launched Genoa on an extended era of peace and prosperity — Genoa’s Bank of St George served as the clearinghouse for the Spanish empire. So Bibi Milikovsky Netanyahu has a ring with an assumed name on it; Panetta’s got 500 years of a tradition of leadership behind him.

    I put a lot of trust in Panetta’s wile, guile, and guts. And I pray for him.

  307. kooshy says:

    Gavner James 20%U

    “The piece you just referred to argues that Iran’s government needs the Israel/Palestine problem for support. I think this is a weak contention.”

    Gavner I didn’t quite put it that way, but I must admit, that conflict for Iran is as good as an apple a day specially when now is mixed with “Muslim Awakening “further since you are jolly good honorable British 20%er Gavner, I would let you on a little secret, that is if this ( Israeli/ Palestinian conflict flares up and become hot again it will also help Syria to get a little relief from the pressure that is being buildup, and that’s the reason suddenly everybody (US/KSU/UK) is becoming nice with Hamas.

  308. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Absolutely right on all counts.

    *

    Castellio says:
    January 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Brilliant post. I thought it was another (more nuanced and articulate way of saying viz. Iran that it is a case of the tensions between the dynamic of a rising regional power agaist the dynamics of a waning world power. The loss of political/ diplomatic credibility of the US in all but the English-speaking world is made ever more worrisome to DC by the instability of the Dollar, the ripping to shreads of the rule of law, the Zionist hijacking of the US foreign policy agenda, the complete lack of efficacy of the UN under US leadership, the politicization of internatinal agencies such as the IAEA for fantasy Zionist-inspired projects, the Libyan and now Syrian adventures, the painfully embarrasing propping up of puppet regimes in light of the Arab Spring or Islamic Awakening (Saleh and the al-Khalifa goones in Bahrain first and foremost), etc, etc. It is a matter of perception: the old perception of the 20th century, which sees the 21st as unquestionably America’s (as in the bankrupt PNAC), or one which recognizes patterns which when taken together form an altogether different reality. That new 21st century reality does not bode well for Atlantis, and so denial is certainly a part of the picture too.

  309. kooshy says:

    Castellio says:

    January 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Castellio, I wasn’t from day one, we have dirt poor old black guy who sleeps in his old 60’s van and collects and sells scrap metal for living, he is from south side of Chicago, back in 07 when the dude announced he is running for president, he told me, everybody knows this guy back home and as soon as he gets everybody around him, he will betray them, he is well known by everybody down home for that, and that was the reason there he was known by the locals as “south side’s CS”.

  310. James Canning: “I find it difficult to conceive the US backing a move to force Israel to be a “bi-national” state.”

    Really? I find it next to impossible… :-)

    “Are you suggesting that Israel will not give up its nukes, even if it achieves peace with its neighbors?”

    That IS precisely what I said.

    “The US likely would pressure Israel to join NPT and get rid of its nukes, if peace with Israel’s neighbors is achieved. I think Ellen Tauscher is knowlegeable about this issue.”

    I think the odds of that are about the same as the U.S. backing a bi-national state.

    Not to mention that almost no one – except maybe Gaddafi (and Saddam once he was pressured enough) – gives up nuclear weapons once they have them, especially in the numbers Israel has. The U.S. and Russia are still haggling over how to even REDUCE the numbers each has.

    Sweden never had the weapons but made the political decision not to continue to develop them, opting for the “breakout capability” instead.

    As I said, Israel will keep its weapons forever unless the entire international community actually forces them to disarm by a total economic blockade.

  311. Fiorangela: “Israel-Palestinian Breakthrough Could Change Iran Equation”

    Wow, talk about grasping at straws…

    Here’s an equal probability – Martians will destroy Israel and free the Palestinians…

  312. masoud says:

    I found this odd:
    Amir Hekmati’s parents have set up the obligatory web page to save their son.,
    ;http://freeamir.org/mediainquiries.html

    In the media inquiries section, there is only a link to something called the ‘David House agency’, which describes themselves as follows:


    David House Services

    The David House is an international crisis resource agency supporting private and corporate clients facing extraordinary circumstances abroad, particularly cases in which political and cultural undertones complicate the judicial process.

    Our expertise includes:

    Arbitrary Detainment
    Wrongful Conviction
    International Custody Disputes
    Risk Management

    Steep learning curves exist for those navigating the intricate terms of any international crisis. Barriers such as language and culture nuances, bendable legal and political systems, infrastructure deficiencies present unique challenges. Crisis situations require swift, strategic responses. The initial decisions made is such cases have far-reaching consequences.

    The David House Agency comes along side our clients, connecting them to, and guiding them through, the networks and resource solutions necessary to pursue justice and relief.

    Our services include:

    Crisis Management
    Legal Resources
    Public Relations
    Risk Assessment
    In-country Assistance & Investigations
    Personnel Security and Training

    What’s even more curious is that this website was only registered on October 27 of this year, and even now is no more than a shell with two pages. A search for “David House Agency” returns only four sites: davidhouseagency.com, freeamri.com, freejasonp.com, and the google profile for one Nicole Delger, who seems to be some kind of new media expert/publicist.(Nicole had previously worked on two campaigns to free Americans imprisoned in Nicaragua, Jason P being one of those Americans)

    The reference to David House agency has since been removed from her Google profile(apparently, it still is in google’s internal search cache), and instead her resume states she is ‘The communications director for a small start up’.

    Just who have Mr.& Mrs. Hekmati hired to manage their son’s release campaign, wouldn’t it be natural for them to just go with an Iranian lawyer? It seems extremely odd. What kind of a ‘small start up’ gets engaged in this type of business, and offers the breadth of services these folks do?

    Today it was announced that a Pierre Prosper, who did a great job with getting a Mr. Tagvahi release would be working on this case. I think it’s probably a good move on the parent’s part. I wonder if it will be enough.

  313. Rehmat says:

    Panetta: ‘I lied. Tehran is not making nuclear bomb’

    On January 8, 2012 – appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation Panetta admitted that despite all the western rhetoric, Iran is not pursuing the ability to split atoms with weapons, saying it is instead pursuing “a nuclear capability.” Watch the video below……

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/panetta-i-lied-tehran-is-not-making-nuclear-bomb/

  314. Castellio says:

    A quick clarification, I don’t mean too late to let the Saudi government fail, I mean to late to lessen Wahhabi influence in East Africa.

  315. Castellio says:

    Settman, quite right.

    Fiorangela… ah, okay, you pointed to it for the absurdity of its argumentation… I briefly thought (what was I thinking!) that you were hoping for some movement towards a resolution of Israeli borders based on a supposed desire to avoid war with Iran….

    Irshad, I see no one has picked up on your pointing to Sudan. Well, I agree that east Africa is definitely part of the whole impossible mess at this point. Any sane policy would have let the Saudi government fail so that the Wahhabi influence there would have been much lessened… but maybe its too late for that.

    Rarely (if ever?), on this board, do we consider Saudi plans for the role of Islam.

  316. settman says:

    James: I didnt even mention UK… But of course UK like US want regime change. One is either blind or dangerously naive for thinking otherwhise.
    Did you forget how western powers “didnt” seek regime change in Iraq (during the the 90’s) and Libya (2011) too?

  317. Fiorangela says:

    One starts to wonder which one of Obama’s daughters is wired with a poison capsule.

  318. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio says:
    January 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    “Fiorangela, the article is another soft statement floating the idea of “land for peace”.”

    The article may have “softness” in it, but its in the area of the head of its author. The article is totally absurd and irrational, it makes unfounded assumptions about Iranian society that are projections of an Israeli mindset. The article demonstrates essential inhumanity –“Iranians are suffering greatly but not yet enough to make a long term difference, let’s torment them some more;” and narcissistic logic — “Israel can ‘solve’ the Israel-Palestine conflict and avoid its own delegitimization and simultaneously cause Iran to suffer! Hooray!

    The proposal is convoluted: Iran “is bellicose toward Israel” because of “The long history of foreign interference in Iranian affairs [which] sheds crucial light on its current posturing,” but its support for Palestinians is “conspicuously opportunistic.” (Meanwhile, Israel’s behavior, redolent as it is of “demagoguery” and “militarism,” and its routine violations of Lebanese airspace, the continued oppression of Palestinian refugees, and Israel’s savage attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, are listed without characterization as offensive to humanity.) Since Iran’s major beef with Israel is NOT about Palestine, reasons the JPost author, then solving the Israel-Palestine conflict will resolve the problem between Israel and Iran. Got it?

    etc.

    Castellio wrote: “I haven’t a clue why the JPost occassionally publishes this sort of thing.”

    Nor have I, but it’s instructive that Bret Stevens was editor of JPost.

  319. Castellio says:

    Kooshy, yes, it caught me by surprise. I confess. I thought… after Emanuel, after Daly… surely…

    But in a way I might differ from you in this, I think Obama is quite happy following the policies he follows and making the decisions he “makes”, despite his running on “change”. He is part of a strong team. It got him to the Presidency, it made him an “immortal” – the rest is kind of insignificant.

    Not particularly deep, gritty, or honest, this guy.

  320. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    The piece you just referred to argues that Iran’s government needs the Israel/Palestine problem for support. I think this is a weak contention.

  321. James Canning says:

    settman,

    The UK has made clear it is not seeking regime change in Iran. If war comes to pass, then this position would be subject to change.

  322. kooshy says:

    Fiorangela says:
    January 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    “Israel-Palestinian Breakthrough Could Change Iran Equation”

    Yap, it’s really breaking through all right, in way that can’t even be glued back with all the Saudi money.

  323. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Re: setting up a “straw man”. If one asks you whether you mean this or that, it is easy for you to respond. A “straw man” would be a statement that you apparently believe such and such.

  324. settman says:

    Peaceful nature of Iran nuclear program needs proof – Nesirky
    http://english.ruvr.ru/2012/01/10/63585160.html

    —–

    Rather, Weaponization of Iran nuclear program needs proof. Who does Nesirky fool? Anyone know US fight for regime change.

    That the so called beacon of international law (UN) once again fails to prevent war, standing on the side of the agressor.

  325. kooshy says:

    Castellio says:

    January 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Are you surprised!

    According what Rham Emanuel said, after the nomination by his party this dude made a speech to AIPAC which he declared that Jerusalem should be a permanent part of Israel, and then immediately he was taken upstairs by Rham to make “the” pledge to the real bosses, so do you think he has, or is ever allowed to have a choice even if he wants too.

  326. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    I’m sure you notice the recent $5 million given to Newt Gingrich by Sheldon Adelson, who believe the Palestinians are an “invented people” (and should please leave areas fancied by Jews).

  327. James Canning says:

    “Palestinian drivers challenge Israeli-only roads in the West Bank”

    http://mondoweiss.net

    Only Israeli Jews illegally living in the West Bank, or Israelis living in Israel, are allowed to use many of the best roads in the occupied West Bank.

  328. Empty says:

    America has always had the best elections money can buy. Full stop.

  329. Empty says:

    Oh, please…….
    As if………..

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/index.php

  330. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Those who expect Iran to receive support from China, if Iran brings about war in the Gulf, should consider the warning delivered by China from time to time, that those who cry wolf too many times, when the wolf is not coming, may see the wolf come.

  331. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    I think Lew worked for Citicorp and invested in a hedge fund that bet heavily on a collapse of the American housing market. This will be noticed by some of the protesters out in the streets.

  332. BiBiJon says:

    Richard,

    Your ‘American elite theory explains everything’, and you being the sole interpreter of said theory, and sole forecaster of events are not something I want you to give up. You should persist.

    “I don’t. Iran will support Syria and Lebanon directly if they are attacked, but will not attack U.S. forces or Israel. That would be stupid. And they especially will not do that if there is another Gaza war, especially if Israel adheres to their promise that such a war will be shorter (but more violent) than Cast Lead.”

    On this I’ll take bets. of course, initially it will be support. But, if Israel persists, Shahab-3s will light up Tel Aviv’s skies for a 1000 and one nights. Don’t attack the resistance axis if you don’t like Rimsky Korsakov.

    “How clever… Just proclaim every attempt to start a war as one which will prevent the war! Why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t any one else on the international scene?

    “When they are forced to”? And what exactly does that mean? I submit: nothing.”

    What do you think will be the reaction of your average Zionist if their political traction in the US has started to unravel? And, it has started to unravel.

    ” They have Obama, who will do what he’s told. And when he leaves, they’ll get Hilary Clinton. You trust her? Good luck with that!”

    This is your elites theory explains everything everytime. No use arguing with that. But thank you for proving my point was not exclusive to republicans. “We’ll totally obliterate them” did much to convince average democrats to realize Clinton is not ready for prime time.

    “Uh, are you claiming none of these guys are actually trying to be President? That’s an interesting theory…”

    ‘Are you claiming’ is a 20% James copyrighted strawman construction. No. I am claiming no such thing. The clowns actually think they have a chance. Their financiers who thrive on the stupidity of the goyim, send them out to do the ranting on presidential debate circuits to inject the craziest most venomous Zionist rants into the mainstream.

    “So what? As Hilary pointed out in the panel, Obama has brought the U.S. closer to war than even Bush did. You think a Republican will do better? Good luck with that!”

    My point was and remains that your point about fearing an eventual republican president, that given the current rhetoric coming out of the primaries should convince anyone that war is on the cards, needs a bit more work.

    “True. And still irrelevant to the U.S. elites.”
    And, if god forbid, your theory about elites and nothing but the elites is bull, then what?

    “There are only three such countries: Russia, China and North Korea. Everyone else is either an ally or not a significant threat. That includes Iran. Maybe you could add India to the list of countries the U.S. couldn’t credibly attack, but it’s an ally. You could probably add Pakistan to the list, but that’s not a certainty even with Pakistan’s nukes.”

    Your theory needs to take account of not just individual countries, but how a particular country fits in a Geo-strategic context, enjoys favorable world public opinion, and/or creates allies by taking on shared enemies.

    “Oh, please… That’s just ridiculous. Iran runs a war game on its border with Afghanistan, and you claim this isn’t going to lead to war, thus it’s a credible example of your thesis? Seriously?

    If you can’t do better than that, give it up.”

    If it were a per-scheduled war game, then … But, it wasn’t. 70,000 Iranian troops massed on the afghan border because the Taliban had overrun Mazar Sharif and murdered 9 diplomats in the Iranian embassy. Despite your flippant response, it is a perfect example of troop movement being (psychologically) satisfaction enough to avert a war.

  333. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I find it difficult to conceive the US backing a move to force Israel to be a “bi-national” state.

    Are you suggesting that Israel will not give up its nukes, even if it achieves peace with its neighbors? The US likely would pressure Israel to join NPT and get rid of its nukes, if peace with Israel’s neighbors is achieved. I think Ellen Tauscher is knowlegeable about this issue.

  334. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    I did not know about covering of the piano legs. So, are you suggesting that in order to avoid hitting the upcoming traffic, they over corrected too much to the right (or left if in England) and fell off the cliff?

  335. Castellio says:

    As reported today by Ha’aretz: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/sabbath-observant-jew-named-obama-s-new-white-house-chief-of-staff-1.406359

    “WASHINGTON – A Sabbath-observant Jew was named on Monday as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, one of the most pivotal jobs in U.S. politics.

    Jacob (Jack) Lew, who last served as the White House budget director, will be replacing William Daley, who resigned just one year into the job. The change will take effect at the end of the month.

    Daley’s predecessor was another prominent Jewish political figure, Rahm Emanuel, who is now mayor of Chicago.

    Over the past three years, Lew, whose son studied in a yeshiva in Israel, has developed a close working relationship with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, and has met several times with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.

    Lew, who served as budget director under President Bill Clinton and was a deputy to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before going back to the budget job under Obama, has strong relationships with lawmakers. He was instrumental in negotiating the debt ceiling talks with Republicans last summer.”

  336. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    A Reuters story datelined Dec. 30th (“China urges calm in Strait of Hormuz”), quoted the Chinese foreign ministry as follows: “China hopes that peace and stability can be maintained in the strait”. No more was said, publicly.

  337. Empty says:

    BibiJon,

    RE: Outside the correct literal meanings of the words ‘vali’ and ‘ummah’, are other accepted dictionary meanings. E.g. is it perfectly correct to call the guardian of a child, his/her ‘vali’?

    Yes. In other words, the correct meaning of “vali” is derived from the context. So, in relation to a non-emancipated child, it acquires the meaning of guardian as you correctly pointed out. If you have a few co-travelers (all adults), then each becomes the “vali” (meaning friend and protector in this context) for the others (something like being your “brother’s keeper” as Fiorangela stated in some other thread regarding another subject). I also like Unknown Unknowns take re; the 2nd rain. It could be interpreted in a very rich way.

    In the context of “velayat vaqih”, however, it is very specific as the “velayat” of an “ummah” is legitimated through that “vali” being/remaining a “faqih”. Imam Khomeini has written the most comprehensive thesis on this and I know of no other scholar’s work that has come even close to his.

    RE: “for ‘ummah’ is the commonly used/abused meaning: ‘group of believers’ more of slang?

    I am not sure if it is a slang as it is a term used in Quran and has specific meaning. Now, if you’re questioning whether most of those who bandy the word about really know/understand what it means, I honestly don’t know.

  338. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I agree Israel is not eager to launch an insane attack on Iran when Hezbollah is strongly entrenched in Lebanon. I think the British are quite keen on avoiding another Israeli smashing of Lebanon. Tony Blair is no longer PM.

  339. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I am going to predict Iranian gas will flow to Europe, but not in the near term. Piping gas is much less expensive than LNG tanker.

  340. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela, the article is another soft statement floating the idea of “land for peace”.

    Surely, that’s dead dead dead. I haven’t a clue why the JPost occassionally publishes this sort of thing.

  341. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Important story you linked (re: correction by New York Times of story wrongly claiming IAEA report said such and such).

  342. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Interesting analysis that you linked (Israel/Palestine). I doubt resolving that dispute would destablise Hezbollah, as claimed by the author. In fact, I think Hezbollah would welcome a resolution of the Israel/Palestine problem.

  343. Castellio says:

    Arnold, re Panetta

    Iranian conventional missiles are starting to create a deterrance and limit to Israeli action. Gven that the Iranians are not building and do not need nuclear weapons, attacking the “nuclear sites” is mostly an excuse to identify and level the conventional missile sites and delivery systems. However, the Iranians will be able to build bac those delivery systems, probably with some real help from Russia, in a short period of time. Short of a massive and sustained war against Iran, which might be on the cards, the US is running out of options to ensure Israeli superiority in all cases (short of nuclear war).

    In my view, behind closed doors, the incoherence, untruths, and Israeli centric nature of American military policy is starting to unravel American alliances – not in the English speaking countries, but just about everywhere else. This is – ever so slowly – becoming alarming to some US leaders.

    However, the prognosis is not good. To a certain extent the ideological battle ground of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now America itself, and here the Israeli claims to righteousness in a holy war against terrorist Muslims is gaining, not losing, purchase. And concerned American leaders can influence but not change the actual interests of the American political and media elite, nor can they speak openly about the nature and sources of the conflict.

    President Obama still tells the American public that the question of Israeli nuclear weapons is hypothetical. If you can’t even get that right in public, how can the real issues be addressed?

    I can think of several historical analogies where institutionalized self-deception leads one to war against one’s own interests.

  344. Kooshy: Re GCC. I think you meant to say “support the genuine street demands THAN taking endorsement from the (P) GCC.”?

    I agree. That’s what I said. Rosen’s an idiot for thinking the GCC rulers are interested in making nice with Iran. As Arnold says, they do what the U.S. tells them to do.

  345. BiBiJon: “Regrading Lebanon and Syria (and also Gaza) these will not be steps to war, but a cause of war. I think Iran will start the war if any of those countries are ever attacked again.”

    I don’t. Iran will support Syria and Lebanon directly if they are attacked, but will not attack U.S. forces or Israel. That would be stupid. And they especially will not do that if there is another Gaza war, especially if Israel adheres to their promise that such a war will be shorter (but more violent) than Cast Lead.

    “As for how Israel/US will walk back from their position of immaculate hostility towards Iran, when they are forced to. How do we know if the push back is working? When you see the anti-Iran rhetoric getting louder and louder.”

    How clever… Just proclaim every attempt to start a war as one which will prevent the war! Why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t any one else on the international scene?

    “When they are forced to”? And what exactly does that mean? I submit: nothing.

    “American voters will not elect ‘bomb, bomb, bomb. bomb bomb Iran’ type president, even with better singing talents.”

    They don’t have to. They have Obama, who will do what he’s told. And when he leaves, they’ll get Hilary Clinton. You trust her? Good luck with that!

    “These type of clowns in the republican primaries are paid for the pure purpose of frequently repeating ‘Islamo-fascism’ so that MSM can carry the hate message under guise of ‘election reportage’.”

    Uh, are you claiming none of these guys are actually trying to be President? That’s an interesting theory…

    “You notice the likely winners confine themselves to generalities indistinguishable from rhetoric coming out of the Obama admin.”

    So what? As Hilary pointed out in the panel, Obama has brought the U.S. closer to war than even Bush did. You think a Republican will do better? Good luck with that!

    “Iraq, afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, and a dozen more victims of US aggression in the past together do not amount to the defense Iran will likely be able to put up.”

    True. And still irrelevant to the U.S. elites.

    “America’s penchant for unhesitatingly attacking very weak countries is only outdone by the admirable restraint when it comes to attacking anyone who can credibly put up a fight.”

    There are only three such countries: Russia, China and North Korea. Everyone else is either an ally or not a significant threat. That includes Iran. Maybe you could add India to the list of countries the U.S. couldn’t credibly attack, but it’s an ally. You could probably add Pakistan to the list, but that’s not a certainty even with Pakistan’s nukes.

    “Even though you narrowed the choices for a major military deployment that did not lead to war to only in the mid eqast and only in the last 20 years, here is one:”

    Oh, please… That’s just ridiculous. Iran runs a war game on its border with Afghanistan, and you claim this isn’t going to lead to war, thus it’s a credible example of your thesis? Seriously?

    If you can’t do better than that, give it up.

  346. fyi says:

    settman says: January 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Indian planners are clearly squarely on the side of US; they will do anything that US asks them to do.

  347. settman says:

    Iran has right to develop n-energy, says India

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/iran-has-right-to-develop-n-energy-says-india/articleshow/11439922.cms

    Responding to the same question, Lieberman said “India is the largest democracy in the world and respects decisions of the international community. We expect that every country will respect the decision after it is cleared by the UN Security Council.”

    But those UNSC resolutions against Israel? Shouldnt the world and Israel follow them?
    I wonder what would Ghandi have said about India inviting Israel?

  348. kooshy says:

    Richard- (P)GCC and associated rulers has more credibility for US/UK/EU than for any street Arab anywhere, and that’s not just recent from day one. So one can ask if they don’t have credibility with their own Sunni Arab population how could they help Iran their constituents, on the contrary Iran is better off backing the Palestinians and support the genuine street demands and taking endorsement from the (P) GCC.

  349. Castellio says:

    Just in….

    NYT Responds on Iran Alarmism
    Public Editor: ‘I think the readers are correct on this’

    1/10/12

    New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane has responded to concerns raised in a FAIR action alert last week (1/6/12), agreeing that the paper wrongly suggested that the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.

    In a post at his Times blog (1/10/12), Brisbane agrees that the paper was incorrect in referring to “a recent assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran’s nuclear program has a military objective.” As FAIR pointed out, the IAEA report does not make such a firm conclusion, and many critics question the evidence that Agency has collected.

    Brisbane concluded:

    I think the readers are correct on this. The Times hasn’t corrected the story but it should because this is a case of when a shorthand phrase doesn’t do justice to a nuanced set of facts. In this case, the distinction between the two is important because the Iranian program has emerged as a possible casus belli.

    While not mentioning FAIR, Brisbane wrote: “Some readers, mindful of the faulty intelligence and reporting about Saddam Hussein’s weapons program, are watching the Iran nuclear coverage very closely.”

  350. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm and @ 2:36 pm

    Richard,

    Regrading Lebanon and Syria (and also Gaza) these will not be steps to war, but a cause of war. I think Iran will start the war if any of those countries are ever attacked again.

    As for how Israel/US will walk back from their position of immaculate hostility towards Iran, when they are forced to. How do we know if the push back is working? When you see the anti-Iran rhetoric getting louder and louder.

    American voters will not elect ‘bomb, bomb, bomb. bomb bomb Iran’ type president, even with better singing talents. These type of clowns in the republican primaries are paid for the pure purpose of frequently repeating ‘Islamo-fascism’ so that MSM can carry the hate message under guise of ‘election reportage’. Anyone who hadn’t bought this drivel long ago, will not buy it today. Infact, they’ll be decidedly cheesed off. Even in these primaries the shrillest of hatemongers are the first to get winnowed out. You notice the likely winners confine themselves to generalities indistinguishable from rhetoric coming out of the Obama admin.

    Iraq, afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, and a dozen more victims of US aggression in the past together do not amount to the defense Iran will likely be able to put up. That line of argument helps my point I think. America’s penchant for unhesitatingly attacking very weak countries is only outdone by the admirable restraint when it comes to attacking anyone who can credibly put up a fight.

    Even though you narrowed the choices for a major military deployment that did not lead to war to only in the mid eqast and only in the last 20 years, here is one:

    ———–
    September 5, 1998
    Web posted at: 10:13 p.m. EDT (0213 GMT)

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Iran has made a “substantial buildup” of military forces near its border with Afghanistan amid escalating tension over the fate of Iranian diplomats there, U.S. National Security Adviser Samuel Berger confirmed on Saturday.

    http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/meast/9809/05/afghanistan.iran/index.html

  351. Kooshy: On Rosen’s piece…

    “Congress members should get out of the public relations business and stop making pronouncements about Iran that are simplistic and belligerent. It makes any chance of a negotiated settlement even more difficult.”

    Good luck with that!

    “The Gulf Cooperation Council could play a greater role in softening Iran’s relationship with the Sunni Arab world by drawing it closer to its regional neighbors, as well as serving as a liaison between Iran and the West.”

    Good luck with that!

    Clearly this guy is a complete idiot with zero understanding of the dynamics in the Middle East.

  352. fyi says:

    Rd. says: January 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    There will never be gas from Iran to Europe.

    That is an option that is now closed; consider: Europe wants to destroy a state that has never ever done anything against any European state.

    The undersea Blue stream has obviated the need for Iranian gas.

    By the way, there is no shared border between Azerbaijan and Tureky; it has to go through Georgia or Iran (which will not happen).

  353. Rd: ““The choice to embark on such heavy investments denotes the empire’s change of heart about overthrowing the Iranian and Syrian governments in the short to medium term.”

    I can’t even begin to comprehend how they reached that logic from the fact that Russia, Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Pakistan are taking the lead in pipelines. It’s not the U.S. and Israel investing in those pipelines!

    They need to read Pepe Escobar’s stuff on “Pipelanistan” over at Asia Times…

    All this pipeline stuff has been in the cards for years. That hasn’t stopped the rhetoric against Iran and the actual preparations to attack Syria in the last couple months.

    This notion is just ridiculous. Zero logical reasoning, just a leap of fancy, a grasping at straws, massive cognitive dissonance.

    By the way, I don’t know what’s with Voltaire.net, but every time I go their page, the page comes up, then it switches to a 404 error page… Weird. They need to fix their Web site.

  354. kooshy says:

    Here is a new article by Mr. Barry Rosen former US hostage in Iran, without any tangible evidence he insert the fallowing

    “Second, it’s widely reported that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are in open conflict today, not only politically but also theologically.”

    “While this rift is esoteric to Westerners, Tehran takes it very seriously. It comes down to Ahmadinejad trying to change the entire foundation of Iran’s theological-political infrastructure by asserting that he, not Khamenei, has a direct relationship with the Shi’ite Mahdi, or messiah. Khamenei has responded by condemning Ahmadinejad and his followers as the “deviant stream.”

    Can or did Mr. Rosen backup the above claim he made I think not, he didn’t attempted too. I have never seen or heard that either one of the two gentlemen made any of Mr. Rosen’s above insertions. Now one can conclude based on Mr. Rosen’s admittance the long imprisonment must have made a deeper mental wound that he ever was able to overcome. Well at least if the hot war never happened or would not happen we can rest assured that the Media/Propaganda war is going to continue indefinitely.

    Former hostage says Iran war not inevitable
    By Barry Rosen, Special to CNN

    Updated 12:36 PM EST, Tue January 10, 2012

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/10/opinion/rosen-iran/index.html

  355. Some further thoughts on Iran’s ballistic missile system as a strategic threat to Israel.

    It occurs to me that while I don’t think Iran will expend much of its IRBM and SRBM missiles at Israel because such systems are expensive and take a long time to build and therefore should be aimed at really strategic assets in the region, e.g., the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain or U.S. airbases in Iraq and Turkey, there is a further consideration.

    At the moment, Iran has perhaps 500-1,000 missiles, the largest arsenal in the developing world next to North Korea. Israel’s strategists probably don’t view that as an “existential threat” for the same reasons I don’t. Even if Iran manages to throw enough missile at Dimona, this probably is not really an “existential” threat, even if it is a serious STRATEGIC threat.

    But Iran has only 500-1,000 missiles. Look at it from Israel’s viewpoint. Does Israel want Iran to have 2,000 missiles? 3,000? 5,000?

    Obviously not, because the more missiles Iran has, the more it can afford to expend some of them in Israel’s direction.

    If Israel wants Iran gone, and if Israel wants an Iran war “on the cheap” – meaning with little Israeli public hostility towards the Israeli government as a result of the impact of the war on the public – then Israel cannot afford to have Iran continue building its missiles arsenal.

    It’s not even a question of nukes, it’s a question of overwhelming missile firepower.

    While I think Israel does not view Iran’s current arsenal as a strategic problem preventing Israel from starting an Iran war – especially if the U.S., as expected, takes the brunt of the Iranian retaliation including from Iran’s missile arsenal – clearly Israel at some point will not be able to afford Iran’s missile retaliation.

    This means Israel HAS to have an Iran war SOONER rather than LATER. The strategic balance will tilt against Israel – and possibly even the U.S. – at some point in the future – even without Iranian nuclear weapons.

    Some people may think that Iran’s current capabilities are a sufficient deterrent. Clearly this is not the case because Israel continues to push for war with Iran. Israel would not be doing that if it thought it was already at serious strategic risk from Iran.

    Like Iran, Israel doesn’t think Hizballah’s missiles are a serious strategic risk. They DO think it’s a problem for a “war on the cheap”. Which is why they need to deal with Hizballah before Iran.

    The bottom line: If Israel wants Iran to go away, there HAS TO BE an Iran war BEFORE Iran can build up an unassailable ballistic missile arsenal.

    THAT’S the “red line” Iran hasn’t crossed yet.

    But that only means Israel needs a war sooner rather than later. And so does the U.S.

  356. Rd. says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    once U.S. and NATO begin an air campaign.

    perhaps not yet!!!

    “The choice to embark on such heavy investments denotes the empire’s change of heart about overthrowing the Iranian and Syrian governments in the short to medium term. “

    http://www.voltairenet.org/Regime-change-in-Syria-and-Iran-on

  357. Fiorangela says:

    fyi — hmmm. interest rates at 20%
    where can we sign up to open a savings account?

  358. Fiorangela says:

    rettman @ 2:03 pm —
    “Though Russia have offered resolutions it seems now they have indeed ended their support for Iran, even though no nuclear weapons or program have been found”

    Haaretz reported that an unnamed source in Russia backstopped by Victoria Nuland (Mrs. Robert) Kagan said . . . _______________

    fill in the blank:
    a. that Israel is existentially threatened by Iran who seeks to drown Jews in the sea
    b. Ahmadinejad has a hangnail which proves all Iranians are eager to die
    c. the moon is made of cottage cheese and Iran wants to poison it to kill Israelis
    d. all of the above

  359. fyi says:

    All:

    Iranians will raise the interest rates to 20% starting next week.

  360. I see the alleged Kissinger article is a fake. But my points stand regardless, since other people have said the same thing for real.

  361. fyi: “The expectation is not that China or Russia will militarily intervene on behalf of Iran; it is this: sharing of intelligence and re-supplying Iran from the North and the North East.”

    Absolutely. I agree completely. But they’ll probably do it covertly, not overtly – or at least no publicly, since I’m sure the U.S. military will be fully aware.

    “I can state with metaphysical certainity that in the event of a re-supply through Caspian Sea, US will not attack Russian-flagged vessels.”

    Agreed.

    “The insurrection in Syria, will continue and will be fed by the usual suspects; look for a long bitter fight to the end; I expect the insurrection to be crushed ruthlessly.”

    I agree that it will not be as easy as Libya. I expect Assad to try to win. Whether he will succeed is open to debate, once U.S. and NATO begin an air campaign. The outcome in Syria is simply uncertain because there are many variables such as the Syrian military’s attitude, as I indicated.

    I do expect Israel to fail to defeat Hizballah, however. I’m pretty sure Nasrallah has made sure the Bekaa Valley is as well defended as southern Lebanon.

  362. James Canning: “It is possible an insane Israeli attack (or US attack) on Iran would prompt Iran to try to build nukes down the road.”

    Possible, but in my view highly unlikely – unless the leadership changes significantly and hard liners can find a way to dismiss Khamenei’s outspoken denunciation of the the possession of nukes by Muslims.

    “I think chances of a nuclear attack on Iran are virtually zero.”

    I tend to agree – but it’s possible nuclear bunker busters may be used at some point. Some people think they were secretly used in Iraq even back in 1991. I have no idea if that’s true.

    “Israel has suggested it might get rid of its nukes if it achieves peace with its neighbors.”

    Hah! What Israel would consider “peace” with its neighbors is all their neighbors directly under their thumb. And they’d STILL keep the nukes as a threat against any other country interfering with their regional hegemony.

    Israel’s nukes are there to threaten the U.S. as much as the Arabs, i.e., their threat to nuke the Aswan Dam back in ’73 unless the U.S. resupplied them. Israel views its nukes as a strategic defense against EVERYONE, not just the Arab neighbors.

    If, for example, a miracle occurred and the U.S. were to back an economic blockade against Israel to force Israel to give up its nukes or become a bi-national state, Israel would probably threaten to USE those nukes. They’re the only country I know of which has a “Samson option”. It’s why they’re building nuclear armed cruise missiles for their submarines – to be able to project nuclear threats not only in the region but out to the limit of their subs travel range.

  363. Unknown Unknowns: Re Vali Nasr:

    “They now see the U.S. policy on Iran — of toughening sanctions and also, at the United Nations, addressing Iran’s human-rights record and support for terrorism — as one aimed at regime change.”

    Really? They NOW see this?! They need bifocals! This has been true for the last ten years, if not thirty years!

    I don’t assume the Iranian leadership to be that dumb. (Of course, they ARE “national leaders”, so maybe they are.)

    “That makes attaining nuclear weapons of critical importance to the clerics. Without such weapons, Iran could face the Libya scenario: economic pressure causing political unrest that invites intervention by foreign powers that feel safe enough to interfere in the affairs of a non-nuclear-armed state.”

    Here Nasr is utterly wrong. The leadership of Iran and Iranian observers have REPEATEDLY said they absolutely DO NOT NEED nuclear weapons. And that has not changed just because of Libya.

    And the Libyan strategy is not going to work in Iran, and the Iranians know it, if the West doesn’t.

    The Libyan strategy is intended to be applied to countries with less cohesive and less supported governments – which includes Syria and Lebanon, but not Iran. While Iran has ethnic and religious divisions within the country, they won’t be as easy to exploit as those in Libya and Syria.

    And even if that WERE the case, it STILL makes no sense for Iran to try to obtain nukes to prevent that.

    I once believed that Iran might seek nukes for the sole reason of taking “regime change” off the table for the U.S. and Israel. Then I looked at the actual relative nuclear arsenals, Iran’s desire for regional influence, and the time frames for developing a credible nuclear deterrence – and it simply makes ZERO sense for Iran to attempt to develop a nuclear deterrence.

    Iran is simply too far behind – and in addition, it would ruin Iran’s attempts to obtain regional geopolitical influence. Countries that fear Iran will work against Iran – witness the situation today. Adding Iranian nukes to the mix will not help Iran.

    And again, Iran’s leaders have REPEATEDLY said that they UNDERSTAND THIS.

    So I suspect Vali’s “access” to the Iranian leadership is not so good as he claims if he doesn’t understand this or hasn’t read Iran’s explicit statements on this matter.

    “In Nasr’s view, the “policy debate in Tehran” appears to have been settled in favor of a considerably more hostile stance.”

    That is probably true. Why continue to make nice when you keep getting kicked in the nuts? At some point, you have to give your enemies the finger, hoist the black flag, and begin cutting throats…

    “The column concludes:

    Iran’s rulers believe the new Middle East is a greater strategic challenge to the U.S. than to Iran.”

    That’s pretty clearly true. Nothing we haven’t read here from the Leveretts. You don’t need access to the Ayatollah to figure that one out.

    “Consequently, the Iranian regime thinks it can counter international pressure on its nuclear activities long enough to get to a point of no return on a weapons program.”

    Except they DO NOT HAVE a “weapons program”. They don’t even care about a nuclear “capability” – although I’m sure they’re aware they will have one, regardless.

    “Rather than discourage this aggressive Iranian position, U.S. policy is encouraging it, making a dangerous military confrontation more likely. There are no easy options for dealing with Iran, but not persisting in a failing strategy is a good place to start.”

    And since Nasr, like most people, is blind to the motivations of the U.S. elites, he continues to recommend a process that isn’t EVER going to be implemented.

    His analysis is mostly useless.

  364. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    There are clear strategic imperatives for many states – and not just Russia and China – in the continued existence of independent Iranian power.

    The expectation is not that China or Russia will militarily intervene on behalf of Iran; it is this: sharing of intelligence and re-supplying Iran from the North and the North East.

    I can state with metaphysical certainity that in the event of a re-supply through Caspian Sea, US will not attack Russian-flagged vessels.

    The insurrection in Syria, will continue and will be fed by the usual suspects; look for a long bitter fight to the end; I expect the insurrection to be crushed ruthlessly.

  365. Unknown Unknowns: “If you rightly concede that “once they hit and sink whatever of the Fifth Fleet is still in our pond” Which will be basically nothing since the U.S. Navy will be out in blue water.”

    That’s not a concession. You’re forgetting U.S. Navy air power…

    “then you will agree that taking the supertanker berths at Ra’s Tanura out of operation will be a relatively simple task for a speed boat or two armed with the appropriate sea to surface missiles.”

    And those missiles are even LESS likely to be able to take out a massive structure like Ras Tanura.

    And again, you’re forgetting U.S. air power overhead.

    “Anyway, I think we both agree that it will be a mess.”

    Oh, yeah!

    “We pride ourselves for being a mellat-e shahid-parvar (a nation which engenders and fosters martyrs).”

    And the U.S. prides itself on being the nation that is willing to make martyrs of everyone else – and usually has the power to do it. The only problem for the U.S. is that they also turn ordinary people into people willing to be martyrs.

    Which, as I’ve said, is fine with the people in the U.S. who will never be martyrs for their cause – unless, of course, said martyrs everywhere else get a clue and start targeting these U.S. people directly instead of wasting time shooting U.S. troops who are clueless cannon fodder.

    Cannon fodder against martyrs – not a smart way to run a war for the martyrs.

    This is why the Palestinians have never improved their position against Israel – they blow up buses of civilians instead of blowing up Bibi.

    The basic principle of war is to kill your enemy – your REAL enemy, not the clowns he sends against you.

  366. TheDonkeyInTheWell:

    “Henry Kissinger: “If You Can’t Hear the Drums of War You Must Be Deaf””

    Well, he’s right about that title!

    I’m not so sure the U.S. elites are setting up Iran just so they can start a war with China and Russia. That’s a big leap from the clear reasons to attack Iran.

    However, I’m not saying it’s not possible or even probably. But I think it will take a lot longer to set up a war with China and Russia than just attacking Iran.

    A lot of people have suggested that if the U.S. attacks Iran, China and Russia will support Iran in some military fashion and thus the war will escalate into WWIII. I’m not buying it, simply because China and Russia KNOW that their nuclear capabilities at this point are still inferior to the U.S.’ capabilities. China’s arsenal is too small, and Russia’s is not well maintained. Russia’s sub fleet has been pathetic for years since the fall of the Soviet Union, although I haven’t read anything recently to indicate it’s gotten better, maybe it has.

    Most of all, no one has produced a clear strategic theory as to how and why China and Russia would rush to militarily support Iran in the face of WWIII.

    I submit that the goal of attacking Iran is limited to the usual war profiteering, regional hegemony, and the like. AFTER the U.S. has achieved its goals in the Middle East, THEN I would expect the U.S. to escalate problems with China. Russia would left to last.

    Now whether China and Russia would get together, possibly with other nations in the world (and it’s not clear who they would be), to derail U.S. elites plans to rule the planet before those plans are in play is another story.

    But the routes and odds of Iran escalating into WWIII are in my view limited and unlikely.

    I think Kissinger is just making apocalyptic predictions he knows everyone will forget long before they night happen. And if they do happen someday in the future while he’s still alive, he can claim “prescience”.

  367. BiBiJon says:

    20% James Canning says:
    January 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    “Are you resenting the fact China would urge Iran to be a bit quieter about closing the S of H? Or are you arguing this issue is not China’s proper concern?”

    I apologize in advance if what I’m about to write may seem hurtful. But, you’ve started to detract from conversations here, rather than add any substance to it.

    This is my last response to any drivel of yours I may accidentally look at.

  368. BiBiJon: “But, to my mind, there are a few crucial steps between ‘readiness’ and the final stage.”

    And I’ve outlined them: 1) Syria; 2) Lebanon.

    If you have others in mind, I’d like to hear them.

  369. BiBiJon: “a) The refrain that war is ‘inevitable’ for a variety of cherry-picked reasons has no value. Put a timeline on the prediction so I can place my bets one way or another.”

    I have – sometime within the next twenty years pretty much for sure. Very unlikely we can go another twenty years with this level of rhetoric. As we come down the odds against go up, but not by much.

    Look at the Republican rhetoric. Does anyone believe we’ll have a Democratic President for the next four terms? Does anyone doubt some Republican lunatic will get in at some point, probably within the next two terms?

    Coming further down, we can see the progression from a Syrian war to an Iran war. Strategically it’s the most likely route for the reasons I’ve outlined. That puts the odds on an Iran war within the next five years and possibly as soon as two.

    “The historical fact is that despite all the ‘inevitability’ it has not happened (yet). And the fact that it has not happened yet is the only tangible given in an otherwise limitless ocean of speculation.”

    Yeah – and I pray every night to keep the tigers out of my bedroom. See, it’s working!

    The actual historical fact is that the U.S. has been in two significantly sized wars for the last ten years, started another in Libya, and has been bombing several other countries.

    Talk about “cherry-picking” your facts!

    And given the massive military effort in the last ten years, that would presumably make starting an even bigger war something the U.S. would be interested in timing right…

    Finally, the reasonable explanation for the delay in the war is as I’ve laid out earlier:

    1) From 2001 to 2003, there was little movement on Iran because the U.S. wanted to attack Iraq and Afghanistan. Note, however, that Israel was pushing to attack Iran in 2002 and only came on board with Iraq when the neocons assured Israel Iran would be next.

    2) From 2003 to 2006, the problem was the Iraq insurgency.

    3) In 2006, Israel attempted to push Hizballah north in order to avoid Hizballah missiles being used against them in an Iran war. They failed.

    4) In 2007, the public release of the NIE on Iran undercut Bush and Cheney’s drive for the war and the Israelis balked again at starting the war because of Hizballah.

    5) From 2009 to today, the situation remains the same, with the added complication of the Arab Spring events altering the landscape plus the heating up of problems with Pakistan. Mostly, though, the situation remains the same as in 2006-2007, i.e., Pentagon and NIE pushback, commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan (to be wound down), and Hizballah ever more heavily armed.

    Nonetheless, the rhetoric and the threats continue to grow to the highest level yet.

    “To say the US has been distracted by peripheral wars, (another words Iran has been lucky so far) leaves open the question why is the US so distractable. The answer may well be that Iran is, has been and will forever be too big a bite; that’s the cause of endless distractions for the traveler — he doesn’t want to arrive at the destination, and never will — there’s always an easier mole to whack first.”

    That might be true, but while the U.S. continues to hit at smaller moles such as Yemen and Somalia, the U.S. had no problem convincing NATO to take on Libya. And that was a dress rehearsal for the clear intention to take on Syria (and Lebanon).

    And that, as I’ve said, is necessary in order to take on Iran.

    I have a clear strategic theory. You don’t.

    “b) “Thusly concentrated minds will have a range of alternatives to choose from that makes previously imagined inevitables, fairly doubtful.”

    I’d be interested in hearing how you expect the U.S. and Israel to walk back from their current positions.

    “c) There are many examples in history of large military deployments leading to venting of excess pressure rather than to actual blows.”

    I’d be interested in examples from the last couple decades and in the Middle East, preferably.

    “Until it happens, I am a skeptic on the war, not just directly on Iran, but also on Syria or Lebanon.”

    And until you have a clear strategic theory on how the U.S. and Israel are going to deal with Iran WITHOUT a war, I’m going to adhere to my clear strategic theory on how they’re going to start one.

  370. BiBiJon says:

    20% James Canning says:
    January 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    “The noises William Hague heard in Saudi Arabia were not the quietest of whispers, as you seem to contend. After he went there following Iran’s early-June announcement it intended to treble production of 20% U.”

    James, do you happen to know the date of the wikileaks memo, you know, the one of the ‘cut off the head of the snake” fame. Do you suppose the Saudis have now told Hague what they would like done the separated head and body of the snake with the 20% game changer?

  371. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Are you resenting the fact China would urge Iran to be a bit quieter about closing the S of H? Or are you arguing this issue is not China’s proper concern?

  372. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    When the British defence secretary makes a public address in Washington, and says the UK does not want a pre-emptive strike against Iran by any country, do you think it unreasonable to see this as a strong indicator the British government does not want Israel to attack Iran? Is this an “inane” conclusion to draw?

  373. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknows,

    China and Russia, as members of the P5+1, continue to try to maintain unity, regarding dealing with Iran on its nuclear programme.

  374. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    It is possible an insane Israeli attack (or US attack) on Iran would prompt Iran to try to build nukes down the road. I think chances of a nuclear attack on Iran are virtually zero.

    Israel has suggested it might get rid of its nukes if it achieves peace with its neighbors.

  375. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    The noises William Hague heard in Saudi Arabia were not the quietest of whispers, as you seem to contend. After he went there following Iran’s early-June announcement it intended to treble production of 20% U.

  376. Karl: “If Tehran carries out nuclear weapons tests, the U.S. will offer Israel a defense pact, but would urge Israel not to respond with an attack on Iran, according to AFP.

    Russia would be expected to sign a deal with the U.S. in order to prevent armament in the region, and Saudi Arabia would be likely to develop its own nuclear capabilities, according to the report. ”

    All of which is irrelevant because Iran has no intention of ever developing nukes – probably not even if attacked (conventionally – a nuclear attack MIGHT change their minds, especially if the leadership were significantly changed). Iran’s leaders have repeatedly stated they understand they can never have a functioning and useful “nuclear deterrent” when 1) they would be heavily out-numbered in warheads and missiles, and 2) they would be nuked as soon as they had one, and 3) it would ruin their growing regional influence by alienating the other nations in the region.

  377. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Are you suggesting that you are not aware China prefers to approach some issues quietly?

    Or are you claiming China would not care if Iran tried to close the S of H?

  378. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Are you contending that the Iranian noises about closing the Strait of Hormuz should just be ignored by China? And the rest of the world.

  379. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    January 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    “Are you suggesting China is concerned Iran is not aware that the sun “rises” in the east? Or that China need not offer any advice to Iran, however quietly?”

    James, seeing as suggesting suggestions seems to be your forte, let me suggest a competition for coming up with a composite word for banal and inane.

    But, seriously, I was already intrigued at your uncommon ability to hear the faintest whispers from Saudi Arabia, and your ability to know ‘clearly’ the innermost ‘intents’ of UK government. I was floored to discover you’ve been bugging Chino-Iran ‘quiet’ conversations also.

    Well done!

  380. fyi says:

    rettman says: January 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I doubt it.

    Pull a map and you will immediately realize why the existence of an independent Iranian power is essential to the security of the Russian Federation.

  381. rettman says:

    Russia have been silent on the oil embargo escalation, and today they criticized Iran. Though Russia have offered resolutions it seems now they have indeed ended their support for Iran, even though no nuclear weapons or program have been found

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/russia-regrets-reported-iran-nuclear-activity-in-qom-facility-1.406555

  382. James Canning says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell,

    Henry Kissinger would not suggest that it is up to the US to decide how much China spends on its military. China quite rightly criticises the significant squandering on the American military, that the US does year after year, since it weakens the dollar.

  383. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Are you suggesting China is concerned Iran is not aware that the sun “rises” in the east? Or that China need not offer any advice to Iran, however quietly?

  384. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    It appears the Lithuanian-Jewish casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson, is trying to prepare American public opinion for an Israeli expulsion of non-Jews from Israel proper, and from the West Bank.

  385. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    Yes, I readily can see why you would feel that it is a matter for Iran and only Iran, how much 20% U is stockpiled.

    You do, of course, recognise that you are contending that Iran should present a profile of getting ready to build nukes even if the Iranian governemnt has no present intention to build nukes. This profile obviously works to the advantage of those who slander Iran in order to assist Israel in oppressing the Palestinians.

  386. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    January 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    BiBiJon,

    China almost certainly is suggesting quietly to Iran that freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf and S of H is important.
    ———————

    James, do you have any intel on if China has quietly advised Iran that the Sun rises in the east?

  387. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    China has been trying to arrange matters so that Chinese oil imports from South Sudan are not blocked in Sudan due to disputes between the two countries.

  388. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    China almost certainly is suggesting quietly to Iran that freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf and S of H is important.

  389. James Canning says:

    Fiancial Times report today, “West attacks Iran over bunker enrichment”: “Western leaders still believe Iran’s leaders have not yet taken the strategic decision to build a nuclear weapon.” This assessment is correct in my view.

  390. BiBiJon says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    January 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Things Are Getting Very Serious – Vali Nasr
    —————————-

    UU, I’m waiting for Vali to be the latest x-state department whistleblower. Just going by his ashen face on Zakharia panel.

  391. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    Putin indeed thinks it would be a good idea for Russia and some of the former republics of the Soviet Union to emulate the EU and seek economic integration.

    Key element of USSR policy will be missing: transplanting Russians into some of the republics, in an effort to “Russify” them.

  392. James Canning says:

    “Casino owner bets $5m to revive Gingrich campaign”, as story in today’s Financial Times by Matthew Garrahan, notes that Sheldon Adelson opposes the two-state solution and, as a close friend of Netanyahu, promotes the foolish notion that the Palestinians are “an invented people”.

  393. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 10, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Big surprise…not.

    The New York Times misleading public on Iran
    ,http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/01/20121872656281735.html

    ————————

    NYTimes’ answer: offensive, misleading, fear/warmongering phrases disappearing from articles without a ‘correction’ notice is a “problem in the digital domain.”

    http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/times-errors-irans-nukes-sfs-voting/

  394. fyi says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell says: January 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Iranians are not counting on support from Russia or China.

    The planners almost certainly are predicating their strategies and tactics on the existence of an international environment similar to what pervaded for much of Iran-Iraq War.

  395. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Fyi (and all)

    I agree with you on the authenticity of the article. Not because I’m a Kissinger expert, but simply because I’m having trouble imagining a 88 year old dinosaur being familiar with Internet gaming slangs such as “noob”. I dunno, maybe there is a secret Internet gaming club where he and other western politicians play Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 on their playboxes.

    Oh, I now checked the source, and it seems that (from their site) “The Daily Squib is a curious satirical publication and should therefore be taken fu**ing seriously”.

    Well, I hope you guys found it at least entertaining… Me thinks iranaifc should be more careful in the future with what they republish on their site (and me too)… Then again, after hearing stories like the used car salesman and Mexican drug lords, the Kissinger satirical article seems rather “normal”.

    BiBiJon

    I think everybody would agree that sanctions are acts of war (Ron Paul is reminding people of that in the US). I’m no expert but I believe if China and Russia would condemn Iran they would just give more fuel to the US to pour on the fire (maybe the US us/was counting on that?). It seems prudent for China/Russia to just stay cool.

  396. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Things Are Getting Very Serious – Vali Nasr

    January 4th, 2012

    Jim Lobe

    When I was in Tehran last May, I was assured by a number of apparently well-connected journalists that the Nasr family had a direct line into Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s inner circle. As a result, I always pay close attention to what Vali Nasr, who served as a special adviser to Richard Holbrooke during the first two years of Obama’s presidency, writes about Iran’s foreign policy. In a very important column entitled “Hard-Line U.S. Policy Tips Iran Toward Belligerence” published today by Bloomberg, Nasr made clear how close to a military confrontation we are coming and how we appear to be misunderstanding the perceptions and calculations of Tehran’s leadership.

    While the column really must be read in full, Nasr argues that recent actions taken by Iran add up to a “defiance [that] marks a change” in its previously muted response to Western pressure.

    They now see the U.S. policy on Iran — of toughening sanctions and also, at the United Nations, addressing Iran’s human-rights record and support for terrorism — as one aimed at regime change.

    That makes attaining nuclear weapons of critical importance to the clerics. Without such weapons, Iran could face the Libya scenario: economic pressure causing political unrest that invites intervention by foreign powers that feel safe enough to interfere in the affairs of a non-nuclear-armed state.

    In Nasr’s view, the “policy debate in Tehran” appears to have been settled in favor of a considerably more hostile stance. The column concludes:

    Obama administration officials think Iran is weak and isolated. They focus on the country’s shambolic economy, its faltering relations with Europe, and the effect the Arab Spring has had in turning public opinion in the Middle East against Iran.

    But Iran’s rulers have a different outlook. Here’s what they see: The U.S. and Europe are economically weak and extremely vulnerable to high oil prices. China and Russia have broken with the U.S. and Europe over Iran. The U.S. is hastily leaving Iraq and abandoning the war in Afghanistan. U.S. relations with Pakistan are unraveling.

    Iran’s rulers believe the new Middle East is a greater strategic challenge to the U.S. than to Iran. For the U.S., the region will be far less pliable under rising Islamists than it was under secular dictators. As those Islamists take control of governments from Morocco to Egypt, new opportunities arise for Tehran to forge diplomatic and economic ties.

    Consequently, the Iranian regime thinks it can counter international pressure on its nuclear activities long enough to get to a point of no return on a weapons program.

    Rather than discourage this aggressive Iranian position, U.S. policy is encouraging it, making a dangerous military confrontation more likely. There are no easy options for dealing with Iran, but not persisting in a failing strategy is a good place to start.

  397. Rd. says:

    yahoo finance shows US$ to IR rial at 11,180 and going down??
    it was in the 15,000 range just last week?

    is yahoo finance accurate compare to the actual market?

  398. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Weasel Watch reports:

    Jasmin Ramsey of Lobelog reports on Juan Cole, who has completely lost it:

    On Monday Mideast scholar Juan Cole blogged on this topic while discussing Iran’s Latin American interests. Despite Tehran’s “taunting”, the isolated, weakened country is actually “desperate” to show that it has friends while it’s being strangled by its adversaries, he notes.

  399. Irshad says:

    ..they will leave for safer shores when things get hot knowing that Iran’s military planners have the OPTION of knocking out Dimona and related facilities (the fear of it alone will be too much for some)

    (sorry the above should have bene in my original post)

  400. Irshad says:

    kooshy says:
    January 10, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Kooshy, I am in no way saying Iran should do this – because I did think about the stuff you raised in your post – but the OPTION is there for Iranian planners thus complicating things for the US/Isreali military.

    Sometimes having the OPTION of something can lead to the same effect as if you had done that thing (sorry to get convulated) – you know the horror of Hitler still in the minds of many a Jew – they will leave for safer shores when things get hot.

  401. kooshy says:

    Irshad says:
    January 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Irshad- with regard to your no.2 (hitting Dimona), in my opinion that’s not a good strategy for shih country like Iran, remember there are millions of Sunni Arab Muslim living nearby (if you want to hurt the Laundry man don’t pop in your own pants), secondly Iran doesn’t need a nuclear bomb for deterrence Iran only needs a credible nuclear capability for deterrence which with all indications she now has. Israel is as big as NJ, can’t stand a shooting fight due to land size and concentrated demography that is also why Israel stopped the continuation of the 06 war when she couldn’t reach the objectives.

  402. Rehmat says:

    ADL: ‘Katy Perry’s Pastor father hates Jews’

    On Monday, Abraham Foxman, national director of Israel lobby, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) blasted evangelist pastor Keith Hudson 63, for making “unabashedly anti-Semitic” remarks in his sermon.

    “You know how to make the Jew jealous? Have some momey, honey. You go to L.A. and they own all the Rolex and diamond places. Walk down a part of L.A. where we live and it’s so rich it smells. They are all Jews, Hallelujah,” Keith Hudson said during a recent sermon at the church.

    Now, just imagine, had pastor Hudson used ‘Muslim’ instead of ‘Jew’ in his rant – I bet his fellow evangelist pastor Pat Robertson, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Peter King would have jumped to pastor Hudson’s defense under ‘freedom of speech’.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/adl-katy-perrys-pastor-father-hates-jews/

  403. Irshad says:

    @UU – Re: your earlier comment directed at both me and fyi – I think fyi has covered it well – the Chinese dont want to antogonise the US – but they may do things in the shadow of the Russians – who will definitley be making noises once Putin returns to revive the USSR (or something similar to it with his new Euro-Asian custom union).

  404. BiBiJon says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell says:
    January 10, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Also, interestingly, I haven’t found any clear condemnation of Iran’s threatened responses to an oil blockade from China or Russia.

    What is the meaning of that silence? Are Russia & China tacitly agreeing with Iran that the extra-judicial blockade of a country is an act of war and the root cause of all subsequent threats and counter-threats?

    Or, has it gone as far as Iran adopting her threat-for-threat posture in consultation with the Chinese and the Russians? I.e. the 3 of them have decided nothing short of a dramatic turn of events will clear the logjam and allow Iran’s original position to go forward. Namely, drop the sanctions, and Iran will adopt the AP.

  405. Irshad says:

    Over the last few threads – both Arnold Evans and UU made 2 very important but subtle point.

    1. Arnold mentioned that we are where we are today due to the latest IAEA report that had all the allegations from the “laptop of death” in it – we all should not just be blaming the usual parties here – but also the IAEA – which has lost its credibility and independence as a result of Mr Amano. The last head managed to keep the organisation independent from political influence and in recognition of this was given the Noble Prize for it.

    I remember reading a Kayhan editorial where they said that, in Iran’s nuclear negotiation with the P5+1 – it should be P5+1+1 (IAEA) – as its unduly influencing negotiations without been in these negotiations.

    So Mr Amano – thank you for bringing the world closer to Armageddon and the death and destruction of millions of people (but why are you so silent about Isreal’s nukes – o h I forgot, they are outside the NPT!)

    2.UU mentioned that Iran’s missiles now have onboard guidance systems (GPS now – maybe GLONASS soon?) which allows them to specifically target Isreals nuclear and WMD sites as well as other military targets. Maybe, this is “THE” game changer in the ME – Iran does not need a nuclear weapon as its got a dirty nuclear site – in Isreal called Dimona – which it can easily target and destroy thereby releasing radiation and radioactive material over southern Isreal. Imagine that – the very site that gave Isreal its own nukes has in effect given the Iranians (and others who have the means) to have a nuclear deterrent too – by been able to destroy it!

    Imagine all those dual national Jews and non-Jews all immigrating OUT of Isreal back to wherever they originally came from there by bringing a demographic crisis within Isreal and eventually the collapse of the Zionist state – with a very fast Palestinian population rise. Just the threat of that alone is a game changer – yes I know RSH and others may come out with this defensive system or that defensive system will be placed to protect these sites – but all it takes is one missile to get through and that’s the end of that! I remember watching a programme how the USSR was spending literally billions of $$$ on developing a shield all around the Kremlin to stop any missile or aircraft getting through – apparently it was very effective but – the head of the programme said that if a large number (100+) of missiles were directed at it simultaneously then at least one will get through. I am sure the same principles will apply here. Pirouz, Galen Wright et al. your analysis or thoughts will be most welcome!

    3. Now I would like to add a 3rd subtle but important point that people should watch out for – Sudan.

    The US very recently lifted an arms embargo against South Sudan – but not the North. Why? They are busy with the Kenyans and Ethiopians fighting “extremists” in Somalia. They sent 100 military advisers to Uganda – when they didn’t even ask for it (but was welcomed by Ugandans president). Kenyans president recently visited Isreal looking for military and security help to fight Al-Shabab and to secure its borders. Qatar – signed a contract to farm 40,000 hectares of arable land Kenya in exchange for building a new port on the Kenyan coast. There is a proposal to re-route the oil pipeline carrying oil from South Sudan to the Kenyan port of Mombassa – as opposed to currently going to Port Sudan. The demonisation of the Sudanese (north) government is still on going with all talk about a “new south” opening up in some Sudanese states along the border with South Sudan – as with all things, allegations are made of human right atrocities, war crimes etc. This noise has died down due to South Sudan’s independence (so was all that –tive publicity for the dismemberment of Sudan?) – but is on the rise – watch Al Jazeera.

    Iran has a military agreement to supply and train the Sudanese military – President Ahmednejad visited Sudan twice last year – once on his way to the UNGA meeting in NY and then on the way back where various agreements were signed. Iran also has close relations with Eriteria and Djibouti – Iranian naval vessels use ports in these two countries to refuel and re-supply and also gives the Iranian navy access to the Red Sea. The Iranian navy is planning to head to the Atlantic soon – was President Ahmednejads visit to Mauritania last year to help this process along? Sudan is also very rich in fertile land, fresh water – Nile, and is rich in natural resources (uranium?). Also, USA can start meddling with the Nile thereby holding any new Egyptian govt by the jugular vein – and ensuring they remain compliant to US diktats.

    Is the USA and its allies (along with Qatar for other reasons not necessarily Iran) making Sudan a new chess board to confront Iran’s rising influence in the wider region and give Iran a kick in the groins by dismembering Sudan and the government of President Basher and thereby taking down another Iranian ally?

    Watch as the new scramble for Africa is played out.

    Some people think it’s about China – which it partially is – but in this part of the African continent – its about Iran as well.

  406. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard:

    If you rightly concede that

    “once they hit and sink whatever of the Fifth Fleet is still in our pond”

    Which will be basically nothing since the U.S. Navy will be out in blue water.

    then you will agree that taking the supertanker berths at Ra’s Tanura out of operation will be a relatively simple task for a speed boat or two armed with the appropriate sea to surface missiles.

    Anyway, I think we both agree that it will be a mess. I just think it will be a bigger mess is all. And by the way, regarding this interchange:

    “Uncle Coward and his rag-tag army of mercenaries will no longer have the HEART to carry on the fight.”

    Ah, but once again, the U.S. elites who control the U.S. government aren’t going to be concerned about “bravery” – just how much the war will profit them. Without a major mutiny in the Pentagon – or the streets, the war will go on.

    As you know, there is always a front line in any battle, and a fall-back position, where the officer corp is usually encamped. The purpose for this bifurcation is not so much to give the officers protection, as to afford them the distance necessary to monitor the battle for deserters and to shoot same forthwith. If you research the history of war, you will see that Iran is the only nation that did not have two fronts, a front line and a separate line for her officer corps. This held in the Iran-Iraq war, and will certainly hold against a war with weasels of any stripe or color. We pride ourselves for being a mellat-e shahid-parvar (a nation which engenders and fosters martyrs).

  407. fyi says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell says: January 10, 2012 at 8:52 am

    This is almost certainly a fabrication.

    Neither the sentence structure, nor the idioms, nor the over-arching strategic conceptualizations are consistent with Dr. Kissigner’s previous writings or interviews.

    Specially when it comes to statements such as “We have allowed China to increase their military strength and Russia to recover from Sovietization, to give them a false sense of bravado…” – assumes that US is run by very smart people who can execute a profoundly hidden policy agenda over 2 decades.

    Well, there are not that many smart people in the world; leastwise in US Government.

  408. Irshad says:

    James:

    Iran is a sovereign country that can make its OWN decision as to how much 20% uranium they need – or may feel that they need to have and keep in sotrage. Its none of my business to dictate or tell them how much they should produce.

    After all, the UK is busy planning to spend over £20billion on updating its nuclear Trident system (which is illegal under NPT as they should be disarming)- but I never heard an Iranian leader/spokemen or that of any other country tell the British to stop wasting money on this as its 1. illegal under NPT and 2. UK cannot afford it and should use that money to deal with its social and economic crisis.

    Anyway if Saudis, Vague Hague, UAE all feel threatened by 20% uranium – then how should Iranians feel when the Persian Gulf countries allow US militray and naval assets to have bases in their country – all of which can and will be used in the event of a pre-emptive strike?

    How do the Saudis feel with the nukes that Isreal has and is ready to use against Arabs/Persians and Muslims? Or do they feel that their close relationship with Uncle Sam and Vague Hague is their nuclear detterent in stopping any Isreali nuke attack?

    Remember Saudis funded Saddams nuclear programme in the 1980s in his quest for an Arab nuke bomb (visi-a-vis Isreals) and then when that went belly up, they funded the Pakistanis to develop a nuke – which they are now regretting as the Pakistanis are not playing ball with Uncle Sam over Afgnahistan.

  409. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Empty / BiBiJon:

    Empty says, “Please know that my understanding is quite limited and there may be others who could shed a much better light at these wonderful concepts.”

    I will take you up on that. It seems to me you omitted the most germane meaning of the word wali. Wali is a name given to a second rain which, in desert and semi-arid climates, is necessary for sprouts and saplings to take hold. Without the “wali”, the seedlings who have sprung to life as a result of the first rain, would shrivel and die, or at best, would not have a chance to live up to their true potential, to thrive and to prosper. We Shi’a believe that we live under the *sayeh* (protective or nourishing shade) of the occulted Imam of the Age, the Cycle of Imamate (dayerat ol-imamat) having been inaugurated after the ending of the Cycle of Prophecy (dayerat ol-nobovvat). Those of us Shi’a, such as myself (and Muhhiyeddin ibn ‘Arabi, for example), who believe in the inauguration of the Cycle of Guardianship (or Friendship as it is sometimes translated – misleadingly, in my opinion) (i.e., dayerat ol-vilayat), and who also believe that the Jurisconsults are best suited for this task in the absence of the Imam of the Age, believe that to the extent that the Doctors of Law as a group, and their leader individually, have and has expertise and efficacy, that we live under the blessing of their and his protective shade and *vilayat*. May God hasten the return of the Imam of the Age, and meanwhile, to increase the efficacy of his Substitutes (absaal), the fuqahaa, urafaa, and hukama. Ameen. (In Shi’a Islam, Hikmat, Irfan and Fiqh were not and are not trifurcated, as they were and continue to be in Sunni Islam, where the inward functions of spiritual guide were allocated to the Sufis and their fiqh, divorced from its spiritual sustenance, became dry, rigid, and ultimately, with the closing of the Door of Ijtihad, dead).

    And yes, Empty Jaan, of course (as you know) most of what I say is with tongue firmly in cheek. What i said about our dear Leader not using his “dictatorial powers” was just to obviate and give the lie to these kinds of accusations usually leveled at the dear man by Agent Scotty Boy, Agent Sassan/ Pak, Agent Binam, etc.

    And yes again. I concede your objection to my characterization of gaav-cheroon culture. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think some of that fervor is a vestigial remnant of the abhorrence of the Victorian Age of hypocrisy, which in turn came from its obsession with all things “proper” and the failure to see people as flawed, and therefore to expect perfection from them. Recall that it was these same Vickys that veiled the legs of the pianos in their drawing rooms lest the repressed Victorian gentlemen be aroused sexually. I shit ye not. And now look what they are telling us to do with our womenfolk, let alone our piano legs. Wild. I’ll start listening to them on points of morality and human “rights” when they start (if you will excuse my being so bold) to clean themselves with water, instead of just spreading the stuff around with pieces of tissue paper! LM*A*O :D

  410. Irshad says:

    Closer ties between conservative Evangelicals and Catholics may distance U.S. Jews

    The overwhelming majority of American Jews are liberal on social issues and consequently not great fans of the overtly-theological Republican approach to ‘family values.’

    By Chemi Shalev

    http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/west-of-eden/closer-ties-between-conservative-evangelicals-and-catholics-may-distance-u-s-jews-1.406486

  411. BiBiJon says:

    Empty says:
    January 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Thank you.

    If I may, here’s follow up.

    Outside the correct literal meanings of the words ‘vali’ and ‘ummah’, are other accepted dictionary meanings. E.g. is it perfectly correct to call the guardian of a child, his/her ‘vali’? Also, for ‘ummah’ is the commonly used/abused meaning: ‘group of believers’ more of slang?

  412. Empty says:

    TKITW,

    RE; Kissinger’s mumbling (~_~),
    We will just have to see about that, don’t we? (*_*)

  413. Empty says:

    BibiJon,

    RE: “Would it be correct to translate ‘velayat’ = guardianship; Hokoomat = rule?”

    I could briefly explain my limited understanding of the two. “hokoomat” comes from the root word “hokm” meaning “order” and could mean both “delivering orders” as well as “executing orders”. So, a judge on a bench could “hokoomat” and a president in a country could “hokoomat” as well. Taken all together (with other components), they would constitute a “system hokoomati”.

    “velayat” does not have any English equivalent. It is a derivative of the root word “vali” from words “V, L, I” [ولی] in Arabic. “vali” has one main meaning and several “side” meanings. The main meaning of “vali” is “bringing two things very close to one another such that there is no gap”, “joining together without crack”, “putting side-by-side”. Based on my limited understanding of Quran, “velayat” is proximity/closeness could have geographic/spatial, time, material, and spiritual dimensions. In its most basic meaning, therefore, “velayat” acquires meaning when it is accompanied by something else (i.e. side-by-side, close, proximal with/to what or whom). In this context (i.e. velayat faqih), “ummah” would be the complimentary component.

    To better understand “velayat”, it is therefore necessary to correctly understand “ummah” (this word replaces “mardom”/[people] that is commonly used) as follows: “ummah” is from the root word “ام” or “um”. “um” means to “make decision to move forward, toward, or in the direction of, something.” Therefore, by design, an “ummah” basically means a mass that moves with purpose toward something. It must include in its entirety the answer to the following questions: what is the goal (of this mass movement) and/or destination? What is the direction? What is the level of awareness?

    In that sense, if a “vali faqih” moves too fast or too slow, it ends up putting a “space”/ “gap” in between himself and the “ummah”. So, “velayat faqih”, by design, renders itself ineffective if the foresight and wisdom are not there to recognize this. Two consecutive “vali faqihs” have done this quite effectively in the past 33 years (I believe).

    Please know that my understanding is quite limited and there may be others who could shed a much better light at these wonderful concepts.

  414. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    This might interest some of you… What ya’ think? Is he getting old?

    Henry Kissinger: “If You Can’t Hear the Drums of War You Must Be Deaf”

    http://www.iranaifc.com/public1.php?id_news=1205

    “The United States is bating China and Russia, and the final nail in the coffin will be Iran, which is, of course, the main target of Israel. We have allowed China to increase their military strength and Russia to recover from Sovietization, to give them a false sense of bravado, this will create an all together faster demise for them. We’re like the sharp shooter daring the noob to pick up the gun, and when they try, it’s bang bang. The coming war will will be so severe that only one superpower can win, and that’s us folks. This is why the EU is in such a hurry to form a complete superstate because they know what is coming, and to survive, Europe will have to be one whole cohesive state. Their urgency tells me that they know full well that the big showdown is upon us. O how I have dreamed of this delightful moment.”

    “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”

    And he used to be such a nice boy…

  415. BiBiJon says:

    BiBiJon says:
    January 10, 2012 at 7:02 am

    All this war talk … PS
    =====================

    I don’t mean to suggest the protagonists are not ready/willing, and positively itching to rumble. They clearly are.

    But, to my mind, there are a few crucial steps between ‘readiness’ and the final stage.

  416. BiBiJon says:

    Empty says:
    January 10, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Would it be correct to translate ‘velayat’ = guardianship; Hokoomat = rule?

  417. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    RE: our Leader and the Imam before him, never used their constitutionally granted Powers…

    In fact, they used their constitutional power as “Velayat Faqih” quite correctly. Dig in a bit deeper into the concept of “Velayat”. People often confuse what “Velayat” means with what they perceive to mean as “hokoomat”. However, the leader himself (and Imam Khomeini before him) correctly understand and apply it.

  418. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    RE: It is the difference between a culture wherein the basic concept of birouni and andarouni obtains (public and private), and one where everything that happens in private has to be displayed in full public view. In other words, the difference between an actual culture (properly so defined) and a culture of gaav-cheroons.

    I disagree. The culture of “andarooni and birooni” also holds in the US and the West. The only difference is that it is in reverse order: They insist on having all sins to be “birooni” and true beliefs in morality to be “andarooni” [fu*k/lie/cheat/curse/etc. in public and confess on television but don’t you dare to pray any where but in private]. That, my dear unknown unknowns, is also what they would very much like to impose on Muslim nations as well.

  419. BiBiJon says:

    All this war talk …
    =====================

    Iran is strong/weak; US is omnipotent/paper tiger; it will take a few days/years; they will respond with this/that. Its enough to make you dizzy.

    Couple of points:

    a) The refrain that war is ‘inevitable’ for a variety of cherry-picked reasons has no value. Put a timeline on the prediction so I can place my bets one way or another. The historical fact is that despite all the ‘inevitability’ it has not happened (yet). And the fact that it has not happened yet is the only tangible given in an otherwise limitless ocean of speculation. To say the US has been distracted by peripheral wars, (another words Iran has been lucky so far) leaves open the question why is the US so distractable. The answer may well be that Iran is, has been and will forever be too big a bite; that’s the cause of endless distractions for the traveler — he doesn’t want to arrive at the destination, and never will — there’s always an easier mole to whack first.

    b) As Trita Parsi was arguing in a piece recently that the ‘threat’ stage of new sanctions is when folks are most likely to change course in order to avoid it, the ‘threat’ stage of a looming war also does wonders for concentrating the mind. If an otherwise imminent US/UK/Israel war with Iran has not concentrated the Chinese/Russian minds (let alone the minds of the protagonists themselves) already, then we really have global ADHD. Thusly concentrated minds will have a range of alternatives to choose from that makes previously imagined inevitables, fairly doubtful.

    c) There are many examples in history of large military deployments leading to venting of excess pressure rather than to actual blows. Until it happens, I am a skeptic on the war, not just directly on Iran, but also on Syria or Lebanon.

  420. Karl says:

    I find it interesting how US announced to imposed an oil embargo before asking the rest of the world if they would join in. Sure US could succeed but its once again clear that they think they are more powerful than ever and could impose unilateral stances and doesnt have to care what other states think. This time is long gone, however it seems that US doesnt understand this, thus their failure in the middle east in general.

    I also find it somehwat interesting that US didnt go to the UNSC to get these sanctions (because some states would have opposed it) and would have rejected such a resolution. But then try to persuade China and other nations to get along with US domestic law anyway.

    I also find this intersting:

    “If Tehran carries out nuclear weapons tests, the U.S. will offer Israel a defense pact, but would urge Israel not to respond with an attack on Iran, according to AFP.

    Russia would be expected to sign a deal with the U.S. in order to prevent armament in the region, and Saudi Arabia would be likely to develop its own nuclear capabilities, according to the report. ”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-israel-preparing-for-nuclear-iran-within-a-year-1.406431

    Not sure if its true, but the read lines panetta was talking of yesteraday is just rhetoric if Iran even could test bombs (if they choose that way) and Israel and US wouldnt attack. Thats shows “mutual assured destruction” if anything, works.

  421. Iconoclast says:

    Richard Stephen Hack at 10:34 pm wrote:

    “And, yes, to forestall another pointless question, I believe Israel’s elites want to control the entire Middle East for Israel’s benefit, especially to control the oil and sell it at high prices to everyone else just like OPEC has done.
    Israel is an imperialist, colonialist, rogue, terrorist state. It would be the enemy of the entire Middle East even if there were no Palestinians left to complain about the takeover of Palestine.”

    I submit that Israel is less concerned with controlling the oil etc. and more eager, even determined to control ancient history, god, and to reclaim what zionists believe is their god-given place as moral leaders of the world. For zionists, this IS a religious battle.

    Judaism stole a march on Hammurabi and Zoroaster, the true origins of an ethical sense, by plagiarizing their work and broadcasting it far and wide. That worked out well for over a thousand years, until archeologists discovered that Sumer and Akkad, Mesopotamia and Egypt developed advanced civilizations and cultures and produced writings of political, social/moral, and religious expression. This occurred only in the 19th century. The revolution that is occurring, that the people of the Middle East are reclaiming ownership of the foundations of civilization, is as major an event and as destabilizing to Jews as was the ‘Protestant’ discovery that the Roman Catholic hierarchy had bamboozled the world for centuries with their control over the gods of western civilization.

    Abba Eban opens his made-for-American-television series “Heritage, Civilization and the Jews” with the concessions that “Jews did not create great buildings, or art, or create great cities. The Jewish heritage is an IDEA, the idea of one god, the basis of ethics in civilized cultures.”

    But it ain’t true. Jews were bit players who came in second. Jerusalem is NOT the center of civilization, Iraq was, and Persia was/is home to Zoroaster, who established the prototype of Judaic and Christian ethics at least a century and perhaps as many as 500 years before the Abrahamic legends got started.

    Recall that the extra-biblical legends of Abraham record that he was a destroyer of icons; he made his mark by smashing a shop-full of religious symbols revered by other people. What Abraham and his gang cannot possess they destroy. That is the Abrahamic tradition.
    Abraham abandoned Hagar and her son, Ishmael, who created for themselves a life and culture of genuine refinement outside the Abrahamic gang. When Jesus, of unknown patrimony — could have been Persian as readily as Roman or Jewish — and developed a following based on his moral and ethical life, he was destroyed. But today, Jesus is co-opted; the USA calls itself a “Judeo-Christian” culture, children of father Abraham, but they don’t acknowledge their bastard uncle Ishmael. Zionists intend to keep it that way.

    Haim Saban has a massive collection of Iraqi artifacts, and Jewish Americans are holding hostage thousands of clay tiles that record Persian culture. What Abraham cannot possess he destroys.

  422. I got motivated to look up the construction of the Ras Tanura supertanker berthing system. Here’s an article:

    Island Of Steel
    :http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/196603/island.of.steel.htm

    Hint: It ain’t small…

    Quote:

    At Ras Tanura, pile driving started at the deep-water site in June, 1964. Steel components for the project—weighing 800 tons in all—were being fabricated on Bahrain. To stand up to the sea and hold the supertankers which would tie up alongside, the heavy-duty dolphins had to be extremely strong as well as flexible. The pilings, 46 in all, were driven into the sea bed 28 to 38 feet. Clusters of these pilings, topped by 20-foot-wide platforms, make up the dolphins, the eight breasting dolphins weighing 40 to 50 tons and the four massive mooring dolphins, 100 tons each. The water’s depth, plus the lengths that would be buried in the sea floor and protrude above the waves, demanded piles up to 150 feet long, so even with 32- and 55-inch diameters they are bound to have some “give.” In fact, the platforms were designed deliberately for a normal sway of 21 inches (much as the Empire State Building in New York City is meant to rock a little in a high wind) but could, in case of a carelessly heavy nudge from a berthing tanker, bear up to a six-foot deflection.

    End Quote

    Of course, if you hit the RIGHT point, namely the control center, the whole thing becomes a mess… That’s going to depend on Iran launching quite a few missiles, and Iran’s guidance systems have hopefully been improved to be up to the task of hitting the site dead on…

    The real issue for ARAMCO is whether they can justify maintaining operations if Iranian missiles are coming in every day… My guess is they will try. The U.S. is also likely to put anti-missile batteries in place or station an anti-ICBM ship near enough to try to intercept those missiles.

    Ships likes these stationed near North Korea:

    US to double anti-missile ships in Pacific
    :http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1686038/posts

    In fact, my guess is once we see those types of ships moving into place near the Gulf, if that deployment can be determined publicly, that will be a signal the war is on.

    And if I remember correctly, some of those ships are being brought in for the anti-missile exercises in the U.S.-Israeli war games coming up in the spring – probably because Syria has missile systems (not to mention Hizballah, although the Aegis systems are designed for short- and medium-range ballistic missiles more than the sort of short-range stuff Hizballah has.)

  423. Unknown Unknowns: “I guess we will have to continue to agree to disagree.”

    Indeed. We won’t know what can happen in the Iran war until it does happen.

    “In my opinion, it’s not going to take “a few missile strikes a day”. All it will take is a few missile strikes period.”

    That I submit is very unlikely.

    “Once Iran’s missiles hit the 15,000 in the Embassy compound in Baghdad”

    Keep in mind that the largest missile – the Shahab-3 – only carries a ton of explosives. Your looking at maybe a city block destroyed… One of the points analysts make is that to do strategic damage with these sorts of missiles, you need to dump several – maybe a dozen – on the same target, to make up for the ones that miss, the ones that don’t explode, and the ones that don’t do sufficient damage to take the target completely out of action.

    “once they hit and sink whatever of the Fifth Fleet is still in our pond”

    Which will be basically nothing since the U.S. Navy will be out in blue water. They already know they can be sunk closer in – so they won’t come closer in. This will seriously complicate keeping the Straits open, however.

    Frankly, in the middle of the Iran war, I really don’t see any tanker captains or their employers or their insurance companies being willing to cross the Straits anyway until some resolution of the Straits tactical situation is achieved. It isn’t going to be like the Tanker War during the Iran-Iraq war – it’s going to be much, much worse. I think Iran can, in that sense, manage to do serious damage to the world economy if they can keep the Straits in that state for even several weeks.

    “once the 18 super-tanker -capable berths at Aramco’s Persian Gulf terminal are destroyed”

    Quite possible but it will take a LARGE number of missiles to do that. Those berths are huge and presumably made of concrete and steel…

    “once insurance carriers refuse to insure ships entering what will become a war zone”

    Agreed as noted above.

    “Uncle Coward and his rag-tag army of mercenaries will no longer have the HEART to carry on the fight.”

    Ah, but once again, the U.S. elites who control the U.S. government aren’t going to be concerned about “bravery” – just how much the war will profit them. Without a major mutiny in the Pentagon – or the streets, the war will go on.

  424. Unknown Unknowns says:

    By the way, for those who are interested, the 285,000 Tomans which the government literally GIVES to the average Iranian family each and every month (in addition to their salaries and side-job undeclared incomes) will buy the following:

    Typical mean in an inexpensive restaurant: 2 to 3 thousand Tomans
    Soft drink: 300 tomans
    Loaf of bread: 300 – 600
    Can of tuna: 1200
    fruit and veg: 500 / pound (1200/ kg)
    beef: 18000/ kg (10,000 for the frozen variety from Brazil)
    bus fare: 150 (systemwide, assuming prepurchase of debitcard)
    subway: 150 (systemwide, assuming prepurchase of debitcard)
    soap/ shampoo: 200/ 800
    Locally made shoes and clothing: beyond cheap.
    Etc.

    I used a family with 3 children. There are many families with, say, 6 or 8 children, and unfortunately, they are rewarded with a 45,500 Toman subsidy for gas and utilities each and every month for EACH family member. No wonder the villagers love Ahmadinejad. Thanks to his subsidies policies (which overall were the only way forward), these high birth-rate families whose members all live in one or two rooms have become rich overnight at the expense of the erstwhile middle class and upper middle class who each live in (comparatively) large dwellings and drive gas-guzzling SUV’s. So the large houses and gas-guzzlers have to be heated, cooled and fueled by now “expensive” (= market driven pricing) utility and fule costs, while the two-room dwelling 10-member strong family that does not even own a car can now afford to buy one and move to the City to add to the problem of traffic and pollution. It does have these unintended cockamayme Robin Hood-like consequences, but as I said, overall, it is for the best, and had to be done, and only an Ahmadinejad could pull it off, not that weakling Khatami, or that Neo-Liberal Rafsanjani.

    By the way, if only our esteemed Supremo Leadero would have used the dictatorial powers at his disposal to bring this kind of necessary change about 4 presidential election cycles ago instead of waiting for “Democracy” to do its thing, the economy would be in even better shape. But of course, again, our Leader and the Imam before him, never used their constitutionally granted Powers, preferring instead to let the people decide. Well, all I can say is they have a lot more faith in the beebol than I ever will.

  425. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard says “Nonetheless, a few missile strikes a day isn’t going to be strategically significant unless their targets are so and they’re hit accurately.”

    I guess we will have to continue to agree to disagree. In my opinion, it’s not going to take “a few missile strikes a day”. All it will take is a few missile strikes period. Once Iran’s missiles hit the 15,000 in the Embassy compound in Baghdad, once they hit and sink whatever of the Fifth Fleet is still in our pond, once the 18 super-tanker -capable berths at Aramco’s Persian Gulf terminal are destroyed and once insurance carriers refuse to insure ships entering what will become a war zone, Uncle Coward and his rag-tag army of mercenaries will no longer have the HEART to carry on the fight. Panetta as Coward-in-Chief knows this, and that is why he and the other rats are attempting to de-escalate. That does not mean, however, that a war still cannot start, under a false flag set off by a rogue element with a Star of David at the end of his strings.

    Remember that ultimately Uncle Sam is nothing more than a bully, which means that he is a coward taking out his fears on those weaker than himself. Iran may not be able to kill the beast, but is certainly capable of giving him a bloody nose. And that is sufficient deterrence, in my view, to keep Uncle Coward at bay. But time will tell, I guess.

  426. Another article refuting Matthew Kroenig’s piece in Foreign Affairs:

    Military Option is the Worst Possible Scenario
    http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/12028

  427. Another piece on the Straits… Nothing really new.

    The Geo-Politics of the Strait of Hormuz: Could the U.S. Navy be defeated by Iran in the Persian Gulf?
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28516

  428. Kooshy: His five reasons boil down to:

    1) “First, Iran possesses what is likely the most capable military the United States has faced in decades.”

    Uhm, that isn’t saying much given that the only enemies the U.S. has attacked have been Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, and Iraq, which was weakened by a decade of sanctions and defended by a bunch of guys not really motivated to defend Saddam.

    Granted, Iran is in MUCH better shape than either of those two countries, it’s STILL not even remotely comparable to North Korea, let alone China, Russia or the U.S.

    Note that he says: “For example, Iran’s regular navy is adept at littoral combat and may be capable of closing the Strait of Hormuz for sufficient duration to wreak economic havoc.”

    “May” be able – not certain to be able.

    “Iran is no Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, Afghanistan or Iraq.”

    He should note that Serbia’s military survived the NATO air strikes with most of their armor intact…due to dispersal in heavily wooded territory.

    “after watching the war in Iraq for a decade has a good understanding of U.S. tactics and strategy.”

    This IS a very useful asset to Iran – and hopefully they’ve learned their lessons well.

    “If it comes to war, the proliferation of advanced air defense systems to countries like Iran may give it one of the best integrated anti-aircraft defense systems the United States faces in combat. They may be capable of inflicting casualties on American airpower not seen since Vietnam. And with a declining bomber force, losses could be unacceptable.”

    The problem for countries with “advanced air defense” is that it still relies on radar systems and other facilities which are the first thing to be targeted.

    Syria has “advanced air defense” and Israel regularly does stunts like overflying Assad’s palace and bombing suspected nuclear sites.

    “Unlike Iraq, Iran’s regular Army and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps won’t lay down their arms at the first sight of U.S. ground troops. They, more than any other element of the regime, watched Afghanistan and Iraq for lessons on how to defeat the Americans.”

    Here he’s perfectly correct. Iran’s military and especially the IRGC WILL fight much more capably and with determination than Iraq or Afghan fighters. And they will also be capable of fighting in an asymmetric manner after learning from Iraq, Afghanistan and the tactics of Hizballah against Israel in 2006.

    2) “Second, the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (MOIS), Iran’s espionage service, is among the most competent in the world.”

    And what does this have to do with strategic air strikes and thirty thousand Marines landing on the shore? Nothing.

    It does, however, support my contention that the best thing Iran could do if it is under a “regime change assault” is to export assassination and other terror tactics directly against the U.S. homeland.

    “While information is incomplete, there’s reason to believe that Manssor Arbabsiar, the Iranian who allegedly attempted to hire the Zeta drug cartel to assassinate a Saudi ambassador on American soil, was tied to MOIS. While the effort failed, it demonstrates the lengths to which MOIS will likely go.”

    Here he gives credence to the nonsensical Saudi Ambassador plot… Not a good recommendation for his judgment.

    3) “Third, Iranian-backed Hezbollah is more capable of conducting terrorist attacks than al Qaeda ever was.”

    Yes, but that’s irrelevant to the U.S. It’s not irrelevant to Israel, however, as I’ve said. This is why there’s going to be a Syrian war and then Israel will attack Lebanon again.

    “In fact, Hezbollah cells are believed to be active in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere, making the organization more than a hypothetical threat.”

    Again, supporting my contention that Iran could use them in terror attacks against the U.S. homeland (but much more likely in regional attacks).

    “With the U.S. Marine Barracks bombing (Beirut,1983), Argentine Israelite Mutual Association bombing (Buenos Aires,1994)”

    For which there is yet to be proof that Hizballah was even involved…

    4) “Fourth, Iran’s cyber capabilities are impressive and growing. An attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is likely to prompt a sustained cyber-attack unlike any we have seen. It will likely target critical data in the public and private sector and seek to wreak havoc, shut down systems, and destroy data.”

    And this is likely to be irrelevant and less than effective. I know something about computer security. I’d be much more concerned about China’s abilities in this regard than Iran’s. Remember that U.S. hackers will be attacking Iran just as much or more so.

    Again, irrelevant overall to whether the U.S. will attack Iran.

    5) “Fifth, after a decade of intense combat operations, the United States military deserves a rest from war.”

    Oh, no shit… Good luck with that!

    Why the hell doesn’t he understand that this is precisely WHY the U.S. will attack Iran? All that “worn out equipment” will need to be repaired, upgraded and NEW ONES SOLD at taxpayer ezpense! It’s a frickin’ WINDFALL PROFIT!

    “The Iranian regime sees itself as fighting for its very survival. The stakes are considerably lower for the United States.”

    Not for the U.S. elites! It won’t cost them a dime – but will make them much, much richer!

    “Even a focused strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities will elicit a response well in excess of the United States’ “limited” objectives.”

    True. Again, irrelevant in the eyes of the U.S. elites who won’t ever be at risk.

    “In the end, Iran may prove less capable than I’ve described, and a military conflict with Iran may be less costly in blood and treasure than suspected.”

    It’s not “either-or”. The U.S. can defeat Iran’s conventional military and blunt Iran’s ability to launch missiles on Israel. What the U.S. CANNOT do is defeat Iran itself, short of nuking it into the Stone Age – which the U.S. cannot do, either, without major international repercussions.

    There are more than five reasons not to attack Iran, obviously. The problem is – none of them are in a position to deter the people who are behind the push for an Iran war.

  429. Unknown Unknowns: “It is the kind of thinking that equates Iran’s military with just another rag-tag A-rab cockamayme one, which it is not.”

    I never said that. However, Iran’s larger assets – which includes her missile arsenal – is as subject to U.S. air power as any other country.

    “You have this world view in which an attack on Iran is inevitable and that there is notihng or practically nothing Iran can do about it”

    That’s overstating my case. I’m saying that Iran has a certain degree of military assets which, IF it uses them effectively, can cause considerable damage to the U.S. and Israeli assets in the region. I think it’s more effective if Iran uses them to attack U.S. assets in the region, such as the U.S. Navy bases in Bahrain, etc., rather than attacking Israel with less than strategic results.

    While I am saying that Iran can’t do anything to prevent a U.S. attack on Iran, that isn’t the same thing as saying “Iran can’t do anything about it” once the war starts.

    “you believe that all of Iran’s missiles will be destroyed in the first week of a US offensive.”

    I didn’t say “all.” I said the bulk of what was left once Iran fires off its initial retaliation. In the case of the Shahab-3, for instance, Iran is mass producing those missiles. They can be stored in bunkers and once the initial salvo is fired, more can be brought up and installed in the launchers.

    The problem is there are a finite number of launchers – although I suppose it’s possible that Iran has modified any number of big rig vehicles to serve as launchers. That’s been suggested in some of the articles I’ve read, indicating that it would not be hard to camouflage the launchers as other types of vehicles. If Iran wants to maintain its launcher fleet, it better do that.

    “I suggest you do a little studying up on Iran’s defensive and deterrence capabilities, which are unrecognizable from what they were just five years ago, let alone ten.”

    I’m working on the general facts about the results of U.S. air superiority and U.S. battlefield intelligence capabilities, which are ALSO unrecognizable from what they were ten years ago. I’m also well aware of Iran’s capabilities, but the basic facts haven’t changed. The U.S. will have absolute control of the air within the first week or ten days, if not the first couple of days (assuming of course that the U.S. is engaged in intensive air strikes, and not just a few sorties against nuclear facilities “to make a point” – which I think has to be a given.) Anything moving on the ground that looks like a target will get hit after that.

    Look at Libya. Gaddafi’s troops managed to still put up a fight for quite some time despite NATO bombardments. However, any large concentration of troops or vehicles would get clobbered. As long as Iran disperses its forces, and camouflages its large vehicles well enough to evade high-tech U.S. aerial and satellite surveillance, Iran might be able to continue firing missiles for weeks or months on end.

    Nonetheless, a few missile strikes a day isn’t going to be strategically significant unless their targets are so and they’re hit accurately. Especially not when compared with day and night U.S. air sorties, up to a thousand of sorties a day, as was done during the Gulf War (in fact, in the first day, over 2,000).

    Iran also has a limit on the number of missiles it can fire. Most estimates I’ve seen are in the neighborhood of between 500 and a maximum of 1,000 missiles, most of those being the shorter range Shahab-1 and -2. And that is further limited by the number they can fire in one salvo, based on the logistics of the launchers.

    The consensus of most military analysts appears to be that Iran’s missile arsenal is good for limited strategic effect, but would likely be unable to seriously constrain U.S. military movements.

    Simply put, don’t over-estimate the effect of the Iranian missile arsenal (at least the larger ballistic missiles, the anti-ship missiles are likely to be much more useful.)

  430. kooshy says:

    Richard- this one is for your night cap since we share the same time zone, couple of points you may not agree with.

    Five reasons not to attack Iran

    Editor’s Note: Dr. Adam B. Lowther is a member of the faculty at the U.S. Air Force’s Air University. The views expressed are those of the author.

    By Adam B. Lowther, The Diplomat

    http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/09/five-reasons-not-to-attack-iran/

    What’s up with Fareed, letting, and passing a few “layees” mybe Professor Lucas can share if there has been a recent (DOI) internal memo to let go of a few softer ones.

  431. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Thanks Kooshy Jaan for the sahari. I had to LMAO when I realized that People’s Daily is filtered here! It is amazing the lengths the good people at the filtering services go to protect our eyes and ears and namous generally from what the bigaaneh are wont to do and say. Of course, the handy filter-shekan is only a click away. But then, that’s on you. It’s kinda like the homosexuality thing, where our esteemed President rightly said (in Columbia University, if memory serves) that “there are no homosexuals in Iran.” Here, in the land of the truly free, you can sodomize whomever you want to your heart’s (and other body parts’) content, just as long as you do so in your own home, i.e., not in the public purview. It is the difference between a culture wherein the basic concept of birouni and andarouni obtains (public and private), and one where everything that happens in private has to be displayed in full public view. In other words, the difference between an actual culture (properly so defined) and a culture of gaav-cheroons.

  432. Unknown Unknowns says:

    عيدي امسال كارمندان 350هزار تومان

    معاون توسعه مديريت و سرمايه انساني رئيس جمهور مبلغ عيدي امسال كارمندان را 350 هزار تومان اعلام كرد.

    OK, so the New Year’s bonus for government workers was just announced at 350 (thousand) Tomans. So let me see if I got this right: for a typical family where both husband and wife are government employees (and there are literally millions of these, as the government is by far the largest employer here), they will receive 2 x 350 = 700 Tomans. Then add to that the utility subsidies per person. Let us again take the typical household as consisting of 5 – the two adults plus three children. This is a very conservative estimate, as the rate of population growth has been ferocious, but regardless… 5 x 45.5 per month x 12 months = 2,730. Add the 700 bonuses and you get 3,430 or 285 thousand Tomans per month for doing absolutely nothing. Add to that the massive free housing program, free education and healthcare, and of course free sandwiches and Sundis, and is it a wonder that people turn up at pro-government rallies? Shit, if Uncle $cam did a tenth of that for his people, maybe he would get their support too, instead of having to send infantry into the inner cities to quell the Occupiers. But no, he has to tax the shit out of them to pay the interest on the national debt to the “International Bankers” so that the boys in the Pentagon can have their toys and continue to kill and maime innocents abroad.

  433. kooshy says:

    Here is an opinion published in China’s People’s Daily which you RFIers can chow on for a night cap (for UU can be a Sahari)

    People’s Daily Online>>Opinion

    Helping Iran weather a looming storm
    January 10, 2012

    http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90780/7700766.html

  434. kooshy: “we did not conclude or at least I didn’t, say what was to be understood of Erdogan’s speech, what I understand that we both meant, was that Turkey can create herself more problem than she may be able to handle due to her religious and ethnical demography.”

    Well, fyi expressed it as Turkey – or at least Erdogan – waking up to the threat it’s creating in Syria. Quote: “Finally it sank through their thick heads (Turkish leaders) that a sectarian war harms them and not Iran.”

    I meant to emphasize that Turkey may be aware of the threat, but it’s actual actions are potentiating the threat, not ameliorating it. And therefore I have to conclude Erdogan is lying when he suggests he’s trying to prevent a civil war.

    Perhaps we’re talking past each other here. :-) I agree with the point you’re making that Turkey is vulnerable to sectarian strife.

  435. kooshy says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    January 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Richard- you completely misunderstood what FYI and I said, we did not conclude or at least I didn’t, say what was to be understood of Erdogan’s speech, what I understand that we both meant, was that Turkey can create herself more problem than she may be able to handle due to her religious and ethnical demography.

  436. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Nial Cole says:
    January 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm
    And yet there is ample evidence of Iran’s fingerprints in the detonation of the Jewish cultural center in Argentina, which caused so much death.
    *
    If only Iran DID kill as many Jews as Jews kill Iranians. But alas, our Supreme Leader has a higher sense of morality that I do. If I had a magic wand, I would subject Bret Stephens and a few other warmongers to excruciating deaths (you know, like the ones thier warmongering ways bring about on countless innocents) as a lesson to others not to go down that road of pure unadulterated evil.

  437. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Karl says:
    January 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm
    James Canning:

    And stop using your 20%-rhetoric. We have had this discussions.

    *

    Good luck with that one! LMAO.

  438. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Castellio says, “Islam is based on a more clearly universal revelation, even extending its benefits to non-believers (after a fashion) however the beliefs in the specificty of god’s word in the Quran as Arabic and in Mohammed as the final revelation supports a strong cultural chauvanism.”

    How so, dear Castellio? Are you aware that the Qur’an specifically berates the Arabs for their own chauvanism?

  439. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Rd & Castellio (re: the objection to Richard’s broad brush strokes dismissing Iran’s missile capabilities):

    I C that great minds think alike ;o)

  440. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard says, “Since the only reason Iran would attack Israel is if Israel or the U.S. attacks Iran, Israel knows full well that Iran’s long-range missiles will be out of action within the first week because the U.S. will be in the war immediately. So the risk of a disaster at Dimona is relatively limited.”

    I doubt that very much. It is the kind of thinking that equates Iran’s military with just another rag-tag A-rab cockamayme one, which it is not. You have this world view in which an attack on Iran is inevitable and that there is notihng or practically nothing Iran can do about it, but which worldview is not supported by the facts. Your lens distorts your view to one wherein you believe that all of Iran’s missiles will be destroyed in the first week of a US offensive. That is absurd, Richard. I suggest you do a little studying up on Iran’s defensive and deterrence capabilities, which are unrecognizable from what they were just five years ago, let alone ten. Report back to base asap.

  441. Nial Cole: “And yet there is ample evidence of Iran’s fingerprints in the detonation of the Jewish cultural center in Argentina, which caused so much death.”

    No, there is not. From what I’ve read, all of the alleged “evidence” boils down to bad intel from “serial fabricator” Iranian defectors.

    Read the Wikipedia entry on this attack:
    :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_AMIA_bombing

    Then read this about the recent New York Federal judge blaming Iran for 9/11. It’s the SAME M.E.K. agent in both cases!
    :http://consortiumnews.com/2011/12/30/muslim-haters-tie-iran-to-911/

    I might be willing to believe that Hizballah was involved in the Argentine incident, but there is little evidence that Iran was, and even Hizballah simply denied any involvement – and they tend not to care if they actually do attacks that are successful.

  442. Fyi: “Finally it sank through their thick heads (Turkish leaders) that a sectarian war harms them and not Iran.”

    I’m not so sure we can conclude that from Erdogan’s statements. I read that statement as emphasizing that Turkey has to take more forceful action to “prevent a civil war”, i.e. more aggressively assist in the overthrow of Assad before a civil war can take place.

    In reality Turkey is DIRECTLY supporting the Syrian dissidents and is allowing the US and NATO to use its territory to bring in Libyan mercenaries, Libyan arms, etc.

    This is “trying to prevent a civil war”?

    Unless and until I read something suitably sourced that says Turkey is actively trying to halt the Syrian Free Army and any other armed dissident groups from operating on its territory, Erdogan is just lying.

  443. Canning: “Are you actually claiming Israel “objects to Iran’s existence”? Or do you mean Israel objects to Iran’s interference with its plans to crush the Palestinians completely?”

    I mean Israel objects to a population and government in Iran that itself objects to Israeli hegemony over the Middle East. It’s not JUST about the Palestinians. Iran as presently constituted would be an enemy of Israel even without the Palestinian situation – as long as Israel was Zionist with the Zionist intention to take over the Middle East.

    And, yes, to forestall another pointless question, I believe Israel’s elites want to control the entire Middle East for Israel’s benefit, especially to control the oil and sell it at high prices to everyone else just like OPEC has done.

    Israel is an imperialist, colonialist, rogue, terrorist state. It would be the enemy of the entire Middle East even if there were no Palestinians left to complain about the takeover of Palestine.

    Assume all Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Israel proper, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon were all magically transferred to South America in their own country and every one of them was happy.

    Israel would STILL be trying to screw every Arab country in the Middle East until they controlled the oil.

  444. RD: “Once a Hezbollah missile was fired, israeli AF was able to ID and reach that site within 90 sec. Yet, they were unable to take out the launchers and the missiles continued launching!”

    Not the same thing at all! Hizballah missiles in 2006 were the type you man pack to the site, or load it on a pickup truck and drive it to the site, load it up and shoot within a couple minutes. They were short range missiles. Most were ancient Katyushas that have NO guidance system at all – you just point ’em up in the general direction of your target and hope they land on something useful. :-)

    We’re talking here about long- and medium-range ballistic missiles which are fifty feet high, weigh tons and have to be driven around on large military vehicles and take an hour to set up. Some of the newer Iranian missiles need only thirty minutes to set up – that’s an age when you have total air superiority and AWACS planes flying all over your territory with real-time satellite imagery.

    A better comparison would be Iraq in 1991. Saddam managed to keep enough of his SCUD launchers hidden that he could keep firing at Israel for some time.

    However, the total impact of those attacks was next to nil because the missiles had inaccurate guidance systems.

    The Iranian missiles allegedly have better guidance systems, with CEP (Circular Error Probability) down to 100 feet or about so perhaps they will be more effective. None the less, MOST of Iran’s missile arsenal had better be fired within the first few days or it’s going to get knocked out by U.S. airstrikes. What’s left is unlikely to be much of a strategic threat to Israel, although if the Iranians get lucky and manage to kill a couple large batches of Israelis the Israeli public opinion might turn against Netanyahu more quickly than he’d like…

  445. kooshy says:

    LOL

    Report: Mauritania “expels” Qatari emir

    Published January 9th, 2012 –
    Qatar’s Emir Sends Messages to Sudanese, Mauritanian Leaders on ‘Islamic Issues’
    Leader of coup: Mauritanian president won’t be released
    Mauritanian President to Shalom: All Arab countries want relations with Israel

    Media sources in Mauritania reported on Monday that the recent visit to the country by the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, “ended with his expulsion from the country.” The Mauritanian Siraj newspaper conveyed the official visit had concluded without a formal farewell by the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who was seen greeting warmly his guest upon his arrival to the country last Thursday.

    The sources said that Mauritanian President felt displeasure when his guest urged him to launch democratic reforms, through the extension of freedoms, adoption of “effective” economic policy and cooperating with the Islamic reformist movement.

    According to the report, Ould Abdel Aziz understood Sheikh Hamad’s remarks as criticism towards his policies, considering the Qatari Emir’s advice as an “interference in internal affairs.” The paper said the Qatari leader also urged the President of Mauritania to help put pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    http://www.albawaba.com/news/report-mauritania-expels-qatari-emir-408319

  446. BiBiJon says:

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

    Question for the floor:

    Any thoughts on Leon Panetta speaking here?
    ===========================================

    I notice that Panetta’s remarks have been rendered artfully by VoA.

    Original remark on CBS:

    “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.”

    VoA’s rendering:

    “U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Iran’s nuclear program has not progressed to the stage of building a nuclear bomb. But in an interview with U.S. television network CBS broadcast on Sunday, Panetta says that if Iranian leaders take that final step, the United States will stop them.”

    So the unambiguous assertion that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb has been ‘ungaffed’ into ‘Iran has not progressed that far.’

    Potentially, it was a deliberate gaff. Perhaps Panetta does not wants to preside over an ‘honest’ war, as opposed to one based on a pack of lies.

  447. Karl says:

    Cole:

    “Stephens’ point about Iranian behavior in the taking of hostages – and now its absurd death sentence imposed on a visiting American – remains valid. The regime is still of two minds about normalizing relations with the U.S. To lay the blame on the US, as Mann does, is unfair and inaccurate.”

    Nice xenophobic view of thinking, according to yourself those muslims and arabs have no rights at all. Anyone who oppose the western judiciary must be bombed.

    “we could fight you as much as we want and you shut up”

  448. kooshy says:

    Nasser says:

    January 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    “- It is not obvious to me how sectarian war harms Turkey as it obviously does the Arab countries or even Pakistan. Please explain.”

    FYI is correct, much like Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey is internally more religiously divided rather than KSA or Iran are, and that’s beside Turkey’s ethnical Kurdish problem. Turkey can very well destabilize herself for coup. Which in a system that Iran currently has it cannot be conducted.

  449. Nial Cole says:

    “We will leave aside, for now, the utter lack of substantiation for the charge of Iranian government responsibility for an alleged plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the United States or the thorough politicization of the U.S. government’s state-sponsors of terrorism list. ”

    And yet there is ample evidence of Iran’s fingerprints in the detonation of the Jewish cultural center in Argentina, which caused so much death. Whether there was subsequently Iranian involvement in an anti-Saudi plot is less interesting than a track record of nasty behavior – the latest being its staunch backing of Assad’s murderous crackdown against domestic dissent.

    Stephens’ point about Iranian behavior in the taking of hostages – and now its absurd death sentence imposed on a visiting American – remains valid. The regime is still of two minds about normalizing relations with the U.S. To lay the blame on the US, as Mann does, is unfair and inaccurate.

  450. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    uk are together with germany and france the ones pushing for an oil embargo, a defacto act of war. uk also lying that iran has nukes.

    And stop using your 20%-rhetoric. We have had this discussions.

  451. Karl says:

    Wolf blitzer seems to belive that everything is about Israel.

    Mitt Romney: I’d Vote For Ron Paul

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx9Li-4AfSE&feature=related

  452. James Canning says:

    Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, writing Sept. 15, 2009 (“Obama is pushing Israel toward war”): “Events are fast pushing Israel toward a pre-emptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, probably by next spring. That strike could well fail.”

  453. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    Are you suggesting Iran should in fact stockpile large amounts of 20% U, to make it easier for warmongers to slander Iran? Even if Iran has no present intention of building nukes.

  454. James Canning says:

    fyi & Nasser,

    I agree with FYI Erdogan, and Turkey, have been slow to see the dangers posed by sectarian civil war in Syria. Turkey should try to work with Russia to quieten things down.

  455. fyi says:

    Nasser says: January 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    They have Shia, Kurds, Alawite, Sunnis, and Druze as well as some Christians.

    Sunnis fighting Kurds, fighting Alawites in Syria is not a good thing for them; inflmanig emotional people.

  456. Irshad says:

    James@5.46 says ” Unless Iran stockpiles large amounts of 20% U.”

    Is this another one of your “red lines” ? Care to share what “large” means to UK and KSA (as opposed to USA or is there a typo error and you mean USA?).

    Ta Guv!

  457. James Canning says:

    Bret Stephens, writing in the Wall Street Journal July 20, 2010 said: “For a long time I was confident that an Israeli attack [on Iran] would happen in the first six months of this year.” Stephens admitted he had hoped several years earlier for an Israeli attack on Iran, but that hope was spoiled by the 2007 NIE on Iran.

  458. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    – It is not obvious to me how sectarian war harms Turkey as it obviously does the Arab countries or even Pakistan. Please explain.

  459. fyi says:

    All:

    Finally it sank through their thick heads (Turkish leaders) that a sectarian war harms them and not Iran.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/erdogan-turkey-must-prevent-the-impending-civil-war-in-syria-1.406334

    We have to wait for the cognitively-challeneged Arab leaders to grasp that as well.

    Alos note the failure of King Abdullah’s mediation between Israel and Palestine.

  460. James Canning says:

    “‘Despite progress’, Iran not making ‘bomb'”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/220159.html

    Panetta’s comments on CBS Jan. 8th.

  461. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Are you actually claiming Israel “objects to Iran’s existence”? Or do you mean Israel objects to Iran’s interference with its plans to crush the Palestinians completely?

  462. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    With both the UK defence secretary and the US secretary of defence speaking out against an attack on Iran, I think there is some room for optimism. Unless Iran stockpiles large amounts of 20% U.

  463. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Please supply a reference in which – unambiguously – the idea that all men are equal and their lives equally valuable – even by implication – that predate Zoraster.

    Per chance, I might be mistaken.

    In regards to the Han people – you do not know them.

  464. Castellio says:

    FYI, you should (and can if you want) get to some of the sources before Zoroaster. In any case, you’re wrong on the specific – by about 2000 years – if we accept the usual timeframe for him as somewhere between the 18th and 6th century BCE.

    I am mildly amused that you think the ontological position of Confuciansim as grasping at straws, and I note, sadly, that you immediately insist on its racial configuration.

    Enough.

  465. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    The great Zoroaster was the progenitor of the idea of all men being equal (by implication).

    And according to the Quran, he had a “Book”.

    In mentioning Kung-Fu Tzu, you are truly clutching at straws.

    His was not a revelaed religion, it was a system of right conduct for the Han people.

  466. Castellio says:

    Rd at 4.56.

    I was wondering the same thing.

  467. Castellio says:

    FYI writes: “The revelations extended the people/tribe/blood specific morality to everyone. It was not an obvious generalization.”

    An interesting observation but not historically accurate. The Hebraic revelations were not intended to generalize to everyone, nor, for that matter, the Christian revelation, which moved the chosen from bloodline to belief – but still not to everyone.

    Islam is based on a more clearly universal revelation, even extending its benefits to non-believers (after a fashion) however the beliefs in the specificty of god’s word in the Quran as Arabic and in Mohammed as the final revelation supports a strong cultural chauvanism.

    The universalisms of Confucianism are much less culturally limited, as they were not primarily shaped by the successes and failures within ethnic-tribal warfare, as is the case in the revelations you hold most dear.

  468. Rd. says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    Since the only reason Iran would attack Israel is if Israel or the U.S. attacks Iran, Israel knows full well that Iran’s long-range missiles will be out of action within the first week

    FYI – The israeli’s made that fatal mistake as well!!.. Once a Hezbollah missile was fired, israeli AF was able to ID and reach that site within 90 sec. Yet, they were unable to take out the launchers and the missiles continued launching!

    How fast do you think the US mil can ID, track and target mobile launchers within greater Iran?

  469. Canning: “Why then did Leon Panetta taek pains on Sunday to make clear he does not think Iran is currently trying to build nuclear weapons?”

    As I said earlier, Panetta is a flunky. He has no control over anything. His remarks are meaningless. They signal nothing.

    The only signals which matter now are sanctions and military preparations, such as the setup for the Syrian war. Diplomacy is over, regardless of any “talks” which may or may not occur in the future. They will go no where. Events will be determined “on the ground.”

  470. Unknown Unknowns: “What I assume he meant to say was that the improvements in Iranian native missile guidance systems, range and quantity (and the synergystic affect of all three, combined with improvements in other martial technologies (such as UAVs, for example), have effected a power-shift which is unacceptable to Israel, for at current rates of progress, the trajectory is indeed a dismal one as far as the Zionist Entity is concerned.”

    Actually I doubt Israel cares at all about that. They might care about Iran’s ability to hit Dimona since you can’t hide a nuclear plant that well. I’m sure Israel’s nuclear arsenal is all over the Negev and hard to attack. I’m also aren’t familiar with the prevailing winds from Dimona, but I suspect they located it where it is precisely to avoid problems if it blew up. It’s a very old plant.

    Since the only reason Iran would attack Israel is if Israel or the U.S. attacks Iran, Israel knows full well that Iran’s long-range missiles will be out of action within the first week because the U.S. will be in the war immediately. So the risk of a disaster at Dimona is relatively limited.

    So I doubt Israel considers Iran’s upgraded missile systems to be any more “unacceptable” than Iran’s existence in general.

    I see the current uptick in threats to be a relatively normal progression of hostilities mostly “justified” by the last IAEA report, which itself was engineered to do precisely that. In short, all this is just “another round” of threats to ratchet up the PR for the war.

    The only difference is that this time Iran has decided to respond with more or less equal threats.

  471. Anon says:

    There was a good OpEd in Politico couple of wks ago by an actual physicist who know nu-cu-ler physics:

    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=CF319F46-19C3-4378-BCED-E82700FA36C9

  472. Irshad: “India is to pay Iran in Rupees for its oil imports”

    Actually, a recent report is that India will pay Iran in “non-strategic commodities” for Iranian oil. So this is India’s way of evading the new oil sanctions.

    “China will not increase its imports of Iranian oil if EU imposes a embargo on Iran’s oil”

    But China will not stop importing what it is. So China, too, is evading the sanctions – no surprise there.

    “But why have the Russians been quiet? Or are we going to be hearing voices from Putin soon?”

    Yes, I think Russia is currently occupied with the Syrian issue, but once Putin is full power, Russia will make moves concerning Iran. Russia can clearly see the intent to attack Syria and is working intensely on trying to defuse that situation (good luck with that!) but should also be able to see clearly that the Syria war is simply the next step on prepping an Iran war. So they will try to derail any further sanctions or any attempt to impose a blockade on Iran via the UN.

    But Russia has limited maneuverability here. Basically all they can do is put forward proposals and veto anything in the UNSC. Beyond that, if the U.S. and EU want to do things on their own hook, there’s not much Russia can do but up the ante in other areas such as oil prices to the EU and moves oriented around the missile defense shield. None of which is likely to put the brakes on the Iran issue.

  473. Photi: Here’s the problem with all these Israeli Mossad pronouncements: Who do you think has been faking all the “evidence” that Iran has a nuclear weapons program? MOSSAD!

    So then they come out and say Iran isn’t a threat? Of course they do! They know that because they are the ones who FAKED THE THREAT!

    So what’s really going on here? Are the Mossad chiefs really trying to prevent Netanyahu from starting a war? If so, why? Is it because they prefer to follow some other course of subverting the Middle East? Or is it just another disinformation scam?

    Here is what we – and Israel – KNOW:

    1) Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.

    2) Iran doesn’t have any use for a nuclear weapons program.

    3) Iran isn’t going to use a nuclear weapon on Israel even if it had one.

    So why is Mossad discussing the issue in supposedly secret “briefings” of senior Israeli officials?

    This is bull crap. Something else is going on here. I don’t know whether it’s a scam or whether it’s some sort of internal political bickering in Israeli power circles, but there can be no serious discussion about a bogus Iranian nuclear weapons program – whether it be “capability” or actual weapons – in high Israeli circles. They KNOW this whole thing is bogus. They KNOW Iran is not a threat to Israel in any military sense.

    Let’s be charitable and assume that Israel actually believes – because it IS true – that Iran will have the “capability” to make nukes if it decides to do so some day in the future. That’s a given since Iran has the technology and probably has the designs as well. Brazil and Japan and South Korea do, why not Iran? Iran can dig up the designs from North Korea or steal them or buy them from someplace else.

    If, as we all know, the REAL issue here is Iranian resistance to US/Israel hegemony in the Middle East, then clearly the only question for Israel is how to remove this resistance. This means, for Israel, the U.S. has to attack Iran because Israel can’t remove Iran by itself. Which is why Netanyahu is pressuring Obama every day to attack Iran.

    So what is Mossad complaining about? They KNOW that the ONLY way to deal with Iran is for the U.S. to start a war. So what’s the problem?

    I can only conclude that Mossad feels it would be bad for Israeli PR for Israel to start the war. That’s the only motivation I can see for Mossad to not want a war with Iran. If the U.S. attacks Iran, I suspect Mossad would be deliriously happy.

    So let’s move on. Let’s say Mossad convinces Netanyahu not to attack Iran on his own. Does this mean no war with Iran? Hardly. Israel still wants the U.S. to attack Iran. They have no choice. If Iran has to go, the U.S. is the only way to get there. And the U.S. elites want an Iran war for the same reasons plus MIC and oil profit, etc.

    So what changes if Mossad doesn’t want Israel to start the war? Nothing.

    Not to mention that Mossad is in the same position as the U.S. Pentagon. Some people in the Pentagon may not want a war with Iran. They aren’t calling the shots in the U.S. and neither is Mossad in Israel.

    Let’s stop grasping at straws here. Nothing has changed. A war with Iran is inevitable.

  474. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    The revelations extended the people/tribe/blood specific morality to everyone.

    It was not an obvious generalization.

  475. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    As far as I can tell, India does not have such assets.

  476. Castellio says:

    FYI, this is a relaxed and a “by the by” comment. It’s possible to pursue the evidence of organized morality prior to revelations, long before Moses. A book you might find of interest (and Fiorangela as well, as it clarifies Hebrew borrowings from Babylon, Egypt and later, the HIttites, as well as attempting to give the Caananites their due) is The Dawn of Conscience, by Breasted, originally published in 1933, republished in 1968. Simple reading, and sometimes quite surprising, written by a guy who spent his life doing the research.

  477. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Couldn’; Iran use rupees to buy assets in India?

  478. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Most of the illegal Jewish colonists in the West Bank are economic opportunists. How many would stay if Israeli troops and police are withdrawn?

    I would expect some opportunities to work out a barter system for payment of oil purchaes will be identified. And put into operation. India certainly does not want higher oil prices.

  479. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    1: Rupee is worthless
    2: India has nothing that Iran wants and could balance the oil payment
    3: That Indian strategic community are in awe of Israel, and to the extent that they are influenced by Hind fundamentalism, are in the same religious war boat as the Jews in Palestine against Islam.

  480. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Which assessment by Rehmat? That India will not be able to pay Iran for oil?

  481. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: January 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Yes, for once I agree with your assessment.

    I believe israel owes $ 600 million (plus interest) to Iran as well.

  482. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Surely you are aware that Zionist-expansionist propagandists claim that Israel does not comprise 78% of what was Palestine under the British mandate. And that many of them think the Palestinians ought to be expelled from the West Bank. They make the claim Jordan should be regarded as Palestine. Why would you offer support?

  483. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    The Hindu reports today India is sending a team to Tehran Jan. 16th to work out how India can pay Iran for oil.

  484. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    So, you see no value in the opportunity Zakaria made, for Hillary Leverett to refute warmongering nonsense put out by Bret Stephens?

  485. James Canning says:

    Norman,

    Bravo. Letters and emails to US (and UK) newspapers are imporant.

  486. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – YES, India cannot pay in US$ because the Jewish Lobby said so. Indian ruppee is junk money for Iran, however, Tehran may accept Qaddafi’s Dinar if you still have some of those.

  487. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – Sorry dear, I don’t like a ‘wolf in sheep clothing’, as you do. I hate all sell-outs including the White supremacists.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/not-giving-heeds-to-zionist-fables/

  488. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Bravo. More people should ask why Washington Journal allows unchallenged warmongering propaganda against Iran, time and time again.

  489. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Shouldn’t you be pleased Zararia put on a programme where Hillary Leverett could challenge Bret Stephens directly?

  490. kooshy says:

    For some reason this site wouldn’t accept links to M K Bhadrakumar blog, there is a new interesting analysis of Turkey’s FP

    “Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s visit to Iran doesn’t appear to have gone well. The rhetoric is all Turkey’s — and in a subtle way, Iranian official media have been gently mocking at it. The fact is, Turkey cannot afford such poor relations with almost all its neighbors — Iran, Syria, Iraq, Armenia, Cyprus, Israel. With France and EU, too, things are rocky.”

  491. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Are you claiming India is unable to pay Iran for oil? Past arrearages were cleared not long ago.

  492. James Canning says:

    One might ask whether Bret Stephens actually believes Obama made an “unprecedentedly generous offer of engagement” to Iran, or if he in fact knows that Obama’s approach to Iran was wrecked by stupid comments about “all options being on the table”, made by Obama and by Hillary Clinton.

    Stephens writes a columng for the dWall Street Journal, and he seems to have done his best to prevent an improvement in relations between Iran and the US, to “benefit” Israel.

  493. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You claim “we have moved past diplomacy”. Why then did Leon Panetta taek pains on Sunday to make clear he does not think Iran is currently trying to build nuclear weapons?

  494. Rehmat says:

    fyi – Iran and Russia are planning to trade with their own currencies rather than dollar. For Iran – India’s rupee is as much garbage as Israeli shekel which is worth only Canadian 26 cents. India needs Iranian oil desperately, but in return India has nothing to offer to Iran except Israel-Hindutva terrorism.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/hindutva-terrorism-and-israeli-connection/

  495. James Canning says:

    Bret Stephens is a steady propagandist for Israel right or wrong, and of course he would claim Iran has no interest in a negotiated resolution of the nuclear dispute.

  496. Kathleen says:

    Was great to see and hear Hillary on the MSM. Maybe Chris Matthews, Ed show, Washington Joural etc will grow some and have the Leveretts on to discuss the situation with Iran. When Stephens was asked if he thought Israel would attack Iran he said “more than likely”

    Sunday Washington Journal had Mr. Singh on to discuss the situation with Iran. He basically repeated Israel and the I lobbies baseless claims about Iran. He kept referring to Irans nuclear weapons program as if someone had substantiated those endlessly repeated claims. The host of the program never challenged him once. When will Washington Journal have the Leveretts on to discuss Iran. Pleasse contact them as well as other MSM outlets (The Rehm show etc and ask why they have not had the Leveretts on?)

  497. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    January 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    “You REALLY think this is how the US government works?”

    Castellio,

    Actually I think USG, in the traditional sense of the word ‘government’ stooped functioning a long time ago. Hence why I pin hop against hope on the hope man, Obama.

  498. Castellio says:

    BiBIJon writes: “… the decision will ultimately hang on President Obama’s instincts. May he have the requisite wisdom, for everyone’s sakes.”

    You REALLY think this is how the US government works?

  499. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Of course it is obvious that Gaffney is no military expert. His use of the term GPS betrays that he does not realize what even I know which is that GPS is a satellite-based system developed and under the control of the US, and civilian access to it in Iran will be disabled in the event of hostilities… What I assume he meant to say was that the improvements in Iranian native missile guidance systems, range and quantity (and the synergystic affect of all three, combined with improvements in other martial technologies (such as UAVs, for example), have effected a power-shift which is unacceptable to Israel, for at current rates of progress, the trajectory is indeed a dismal one as far as the Zionist Entity is concerned.

  500. BiBiJon says:

    Apparently there is red ink for everyone to draw lines of their very own.
    ========================================================================

    Deputy foreign minister, Cui Tiankai:

    China’s trade with Iran, an important oil supplier, has nothing to do with the Iranian nuclear program.

    “The normal trade relations and energy cooperation between China and Iran have nothing to do with the nuclear issue. We should not mix issues with different natures, and China’s legitimate concerns and demands should be respected.”

    http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2012/01/09/china_rejects_linking_trade_iranian_nukes/

    US-China interdependency quickly becomes liability. China more than anybody el$e needs to audit and appraise the cost-benefit analysis of US adventures.

    Same goes for Russia. There is a limit to hilarity on the way to the bank as energy prices rise. Europe has to afford to buy Russian gas which means high prices in of themselves are not funny.

  501. Unknown Unknowns says:

    An interesting take by Mark Gaffney on the reason behind Uncle Desperado’s recent flurry of brinksmanship. His take provides grounds for considering the mysterious “accidental” explosion west of Tehran at the missile R&D facility to be an act of sabotage. It also dovetails with my earlier intuition about the importance of the successful testing of the Qader medium-range missile in the 10-day Velayat 90 military exercises.

    http://mycatbirdseat.com/2012/01/behind-the-deepening-crisis-with-iran-the-real-story-versus-the-cover-story/

    Excerpt:

    If the crisis deepens and Iran makes good on its threat to close Hormuz, there is little doubt that the US will intervene to reopen the strait. This will lead to a shooting war for which Iran will be blamed, even though the recent US sanctions were tantamount to overt aggression.

    I believe the US will exploit the situation to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. But, even more importantly, the US will target Iran’s conventional missiles. Indeed, I believe this is the real reason for US sanctions in the first place, and for the buildup of tensions in recent days. Despite public perceptions, and all the rhetoric about nukes, the present crisis has nothing to do with Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. In my opinion, that is just a cover story.

    The real issue is the fact that Iran has upgraded its medium range conventionally-armed missiles with GPS technology, making its missiles much more accurate. This means Iran can now target Israel’s own nuclear, bio and chemical weapons stockpiles, located inside Israel, as well as the Dimona nuclear reactor.

    In short, Iran has achieved a conventional deterrent to Israel. Therefore, statements by Iranian officials that Iran has no nuclear weapons program are in my view probably correct. Presently, Iran does not need nukes to deter Israel. It can do so with its GPS-guided medium range missiles. The Israelis are no doubt gnashing their teeth over this, because they now find themselves threatened by their own WMD stockpiles, and by their own nuclear reactors, especially Dimona, all of which have become targets.

  502. BiBiJon says:

    Rehmat says:
    January 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Regrading Fareed Rafiq Zakaria:

    On this eve of war, the two competing narratives are:

    “Iran is weak and getting weaker”
    ,http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/08/zakaria-iran-is-weak-and-getting-weaker/

    vs

    “Iran would likely be a far more formidable adversary than any the United States has faced in decades. The U.S. should be very wary about launching military strikes.”
    http://the-diplomat.com/2012/01/09/five-reasons-not-to-attack-iran/?all=true

    One narrative is egging US into confrontation and encouraging her to persist with her current policies. Intangibles such as ‘weak’, and even more unquantifiables such as ‘weaker’ are the lipstick on the fact-pig — since 2001’s rejection of Iran’s overtures and the ‘axis-of-evil’ launch of hostilities all quantifiable measures objectively net out to Iran’s advantage relative to the US.

    unfortunately, the other narrative, that Iran will defend herself capably, is portrayed as an exaggeration designed to slow down the group-think-spade digging an ever deeper hole to bury alive US’ long-term global (not just mid eastern) interests.

    In a fog of competing narratives, ego vs practicality, emotions vs reason, and prejudice vs prudence, the decision will ultimately hang on President Obama’s instincts. May he have the requisite wisdom, for everyone’s sakes.

  503. masoud says:

    “Iran starts underground nuclear work, condemns American to die”.

    I just loved that headline.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/09/iran-idUSL6E8C91P920120109

    Seriously, though, that marine is in BIG trouble.

  504. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: January 9, 2012 at 9:02 am

    There has been an effort by one of the numerous factions in US (opaque, just like the Iranian factions) to create a Containment Regime against China using such strategic partners as India, Viet Nam, Korea, Japan, and many others.

    Chinese are trying, in my estimation, to avoid doing anything to help strengthen the arguments of this clique in US.

    Overt help to Iran is too visible for them at this stage and is not worth the trouble.

    Personally, given the symbiotic inter-dependence of China and US, a China Containment strategy (really an anti-China Alliance) is not a practical undertaking.

    But Americans are going to do so any way; they are conceptually much more comfotable in “Cold War” World.

    In regards to the oil industry in Iran, the Iranian leaders have often hurt Iran by insisting on deals were not commercially viable for the foreign entities involved. They were fools who ignored the best expert advice from the Oil Ministry.

  505. fyi says:

    Irshad says: January 9, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Iranians will not accept rupees.

    India does not produce things that Iran is interested in buying which would soak up that money.

    And the Russians are not going to help Inida in this regard.

    India is squarely on the US side; on Iran, on the War in Palestine, on Afghanistan etc.

    Still, Iranians tried to interest Inida in cooperation on Afghanistan; her leaders demurred.

    For Russians, they will play the game of supporting the unsinkable air craft carriers called Syria and Iran.

  506. Rehmat says:

    Fareed Rafiq Zakaria is an Islamophobe and agent of Zionism. Both his father and mother were members of Hindu-dominated Indian National Congress. Fareed is married to Zionist Paula Throckmorton. He is also member of CFR and writes for almost every Zioncon media outlet. Without these ‘good credentials’ Fareed would not be on Zionist controlled CNN or Editor of Jewish-family owned TIME magazine.

    Last year, he sneaked into Iran and wrote a lousey anti-Iran propaganda piece while quoting anti-government sources.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/george-soro-the-51st-jewish-messiah/

  507. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Irshad/ fyi/ all:

    China has 2 trillion surplus dollars it does not know what to do with. It wants Iranian oil. Iran could use the dollars. What’s the problem here? Why doesn’t China pay for its oil in dollars? Ditto India.

  508. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I would think that in response to the ratcheting up of the war of agression on Iran by Uncle $cam and his Saudi financiers, an attack on Aramco’s Achilles’ heel (with plausable deniability, of course) would be appropriate and called for. Explosive devices placed at the T’s of each of the two piers would disable all 18 SLVV-capable berths for a minimum of six months. Long enough, in other words, to make Uncle $cam think twice about continuing its gratuitous and unprovoked violence against the Islamic Republic. I wonder if an Iranian submarine team would be capable of such an operation. It would certainly prevent a massive regional war, which seems of late more and more likely with each passing week.

    “The Saudi oil infrastructure is the largest in the world. The major Saudi export terminals are at Ras Tanura and Juaymah, while the Petroline pipeline carries oil from the Abqaiq and Ghawar fields to Yanbu port on the Red Sea. The ports are Saudi Arabia’s oil export Achilles heel; furthermore, while the kingdom has around eighty oil and gas fields, more than half of the country’s reserves are concentrated in only eight fields, while the huge processing complex at Abqaiq handles about two-thirds of the country’s oil output. This gigantism produces an economy of scale, but the concentration makes it highly susceptible to terrorist attack.”

    http://seaport.homestead.com/files/Ras_Tanura.html

  509. Irshad says:

    fyi – whats your thoughts on these two developments?:

    – India is to pay Iran in Rupees for its oil imports

    http://www.uskowioniran.com/2012/01/india-to-pay-for-iran-crude-with-non.html

    China will not increase its imports of Iranian oil if EU imposes a embargo on Iran’s oil:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/content/view/print/445050

    The Chinese, as per your assesment, are sitting this one out and letting the Iranians and Americans battle it out.

    But why have the Russians been quiet? Or are we going to be hearing voices from Putin soon?

  510. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Paul Craig Roberts is briliant on Max Keiser’s latest “On The Edge” program on Press TV, which was recently censored by Britain adn pulled off the Sky satellite network. Way to go, Team Weasel.

    http://www.presstv.ir/Program/219762.html

    In the program Max and Paul agree that the economic status of Britain and the US is actually worse than that of the Eurozone (“Worse than Greece”), but that it just does not show as both Weasels can keep on printing money, which countries bound by the Euro cannot – only the European Central Bank can do that. In effect, then, the Euro is a hand brake on Kool-Aid drinking debt and inflation garnered from printing money to finance said debt. The “International Bankers” (Jews, in other words, and their minions in the City and Wall Street) skim the cream and watch the economies to which they are parasites collapse. Uncle $cam and his Poodle lapdog across the pond do not have that hand-brake mechanism, and so they will not have a soft landing. No velvet glove on the iron fist of God’s wrath. Well, God knows, they had it coming.

  511. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Iran sentences CIA operative to death

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/220078.html

    That’ll learn ya.

  512. Binam says:

    Few notes:

    1. With all the hate on this forum towards Western media in general and CNN in particular, it must be nice seeing the voice of an opposition – however brief – to the mainstream narrative on Iran. I doubt a minute would be given to anyone opposing Iran’s foreign policy and promoting talks with the United States on Iran’s state TV and or Press TV. Heck, all such people are either jailed or exiled.

    2. Hillary still refuses to acknowledge domestic problems inside Iran. The aftermath of the 2009 elections, regardless on where you stand on it – whether you buy into the regime narrative on the topic or not changed the public opinion of the world towards Iran and the regime. Blame it on the CIA, MI5, Mussad, the evil Western Media – but at that stage seeming to be friendly with the Iranian regime would have been political suicide when images of brutal suppression of protests where being seen all over youtube and Western media.

    3. Khamenei has a track record of opposing any rapprochement with the US. Anytime any president has tried to approach the West he is put down and shut out. From Rafsanjani to Khatami and now Ahmadinejad – they all fall out of favor the second they consider talks with the US. It’s not a coincidence that as soon as ever any talks of negotionations something happens to block the talks. Today’s death sentence to the Iranian-American “spy” is only one such example meant to sit Ahmadinejad/Rahim Mashayi team in their place.

    He sees his survival and totalitarian rule on anonymity towards “Doshman” (Enemy) and the United States. In fact, the word Doshman hasn’t left his lexicon and was used time and again in the very speech Hillary refers to.

  513. Karl says:

    I think it was a good debate. The message was:

    1. Sanctions doesnt work
    2. US have no roadmap for settlement
    3. Iran will never give up enrichment
    4. Iran doesnt trust US intentions

    Bret is the only one that doesnt seems to get it though.
    He urging more sanctions. Does he know why? Have sanctions proved to work? Obviously he doesnt know the region.
    He use the same propaganda about the saudi-ambassador, while no one have even been sentenced for the alleged crime, no connection to the iranian goverment have been made. And hes talking about Kangaroo courts!

    Note how he also said that Iran took the hikers hostage, thus rejecting the soverignity of Iran and probably other nations in the middle east. What would Bret say if 2 iranian hikers just ‘accidently’ slipped into US border from Mexico?

    Also note how Bret thinks obama have showed openess. What he fails to understand that he hasnt done anything but escalated the conflict, not to mention that Obama hae showed no intention in easing the conflict, for example removing of sanctions. Its just words from a teleprompter. Bret doesnt understand this.

  514. Photi says:

    The following news article from Richard Silverstein (12/28/2011) discusses the Israeli point of view on whether or not a nuclear Iran poses an “existential” threat to Israel:

    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/12/28/mossads-pardo-nuclear-iran-wont-threaten-israels-existence/

    Quote:

    “In all this, Pardo follows on the heels of his predecessor, Meir Dagan, who’s made it a personal crusade to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. Pardo too appears to have gone out of his way to diss his nominal boss. This may be a good sign that there are some in the senior echelon who are not cowed by either Bibi or Barak and who will speak up candidly when necessary. Statements like this give Bibi heartburn. He vastly prefers toadies who do his bidding.”

  515. Arnold Evans says:

    A much better panel than I expected. Hillary was backed up in her contention that Obama didn’t make tangible steps to demonstrate a different approach.

    Vasr’s statement that sanctions are _counter_ productive was important. For me, the most important events in 2012 are in Egypt. The second most important events involve the US’ gradual acceptance that it does not have plausible options to prevent Iran from acquiring legal nuclear weapons capabilities like those Japan and Brazil have – despite the US’ strong wishes to the contrary.

    The guy who said that an Israeli attack this year is very likely is wrong, and that would be even more counter-productive to preventing Iran from building its nuclear capabilities than sanctions are. But the other panelists were good.

    Once HML was backed up by the person who said a prayer leader asked if the US would lift one sanction, all she could do was shrug as if “I told you”. Her point was made and carried, and there was no much left, especially in such a short time segment, to discuss. I found that humorous.

  516. Just watched the video. Hillary did a decent job in the time she had. But reciting the history of Iranian outreach attempts over the last thirty years didn’t help because the discussion on the panel was mostly about how Iran has now decided, in Vali’s words, to “counter threat with threat”.

    In short, we’ve moved past diplomacy. As they said, Obama has no plan for diplomacy, it’s purely threat after threat. There is NO sign that the U.S. has ANY interest in “walking back” from the brinksmanship it’s engaging in.

    Stephens said it was likely that Israel would attack Iran in the next year. Frankly I dismiss that from him because he didn’t seem to be someone who really knew what is going on in Israel other than talk. Nonetheless the possibility, even the probability, is that Netanyahu will act without Obama’s permission in SOME manner, at least once the Syrian war is over.

    Again, right now and for the foreseeable future in 2012, the issue is going to be Syria and Lebanon, not Iran, although the rhetoric and sanctions against Iran are going to continue to be a major issue. Once Syria and Lebanon are resolved – IF they are resolved – then I expect stock will be taken on the relative effectiveness of the Iran oil sanctions. If those sanctions have failed, as I think everyone expects them to, then the next step has to be one of some sort of economic blockade of Iran – which leads directly to war, even if Israel does not attack Iran.

    It may be that Israel will never attack Iran. Perhaps the U.S. has convinced Israel to wait until the U.S. can attempt to establish an economic blockade of Iran, which will enable the U.S. to justify a military attack once Iran is forced to act militarily to protect itself from the blockade.

    Perhaps that was the plan all along, and all the rhetoric, far from being just meaningless propaganda for domestic consumption in the U.S. and Israel, has been to arrange for the build up to a “justified” blockade which will force Iran to respond militarily and thus “justify” a U.S. attack.

    If I were the U.S. elites at this point, it’s what I would do.

    And that is why we haven’t had the Iran war yet. First, Israel balked because Hizballah and Syria’s responses were a threat to an “on the cheap” war.

    And second, because the “casus belli” for the war was never the supposed Iranian nuclear weapons program – that was merely the setup – but rather the Iranian REACTION to the steps taken to pressure Iran over the alleged nuclear program. And that required a slow build up of pressure on Iran in a manner different than the steps taken in Iraq (although note that Iraq was under sanctions for ten years before the U.S. could use 9/11 as the excuse to attack.)

    The decision may have been taken by the U.S. elites that as a result of the criticism and outcome of the Iraq war that the NEXT war had to be “justified” in a more coherent manner. Which is why the Libyan war was “justified” by the UN resolution setting up the no-fly zone under “Responsibility to Protect” – which was then used to justify an all out regime change.

    And now the same process is being used in Syria. And once Syria and Lebanon have been weakened sufficiently, the OTHER process of economically strangling Iran until Iran is forced to respond militarily will be applied.

  517. See my comment on the last thread. These panels are a complete waste of time. The only good thing is that at least they show that there exist some people who don’t buy the government narrative. That’s a pretty miserable level of debate, however.

    Antiwar types need to get on shows where they are the sole guest and they have enough time to make a coherent argument – which means at least a half hour and preferably an hour.

    The vast majority of the U.S. public has such a limited understanding of the history of United States foreign policy, the extent of the influence of corporate elites on the U.S. government (although they have a vague notion of “lobbying” – which doesn’t even come close to the real situation), the extent of the influence of the Israel Lobby in the case of the Middle East, and the history of events in the Middle East, as well as the various political and social circumstances there, that it’s virtually impossible to bring them up to speed on CURRENT events in a way that they can understand.

    In short, it’s a hopeless task to get them to understand that “Iran = Iraq”, “Obama = George Bush”, “$30 billion arms sales to Saudi Arabia = corporate welfare at taxpayer’s expense”, etc.

    And even if you can get them to understand those simple equations, what the hell can they do about it? They can’t organize, they don’t have any coherent notion of what needs to be done to basically overthrow the entire elite-owned U.S. government apparatus in the current electoral system, and they have no notion of what to replace it with.

    The whole antiwar movement is like trying to fly to the moon by flapping your wings. It’s hopeless.

    The only two possible things that can change the situation is as I said in a post in the last thread: 1) complete economic collapse, followed by political collapse and insurrection (which is just as likely to result in dictatorship as a truly democratic government), or 2) war in which the U.S. loses badly. And when I say “badly”, I mean defeat, surrender and suing for terms (if not actually an invasion of the continental U.S.) – which is also likely to result in – or be caused by – a complete political and economic collapse.

    Neither of those are in the cards any time in the next decade or two, I suspect. But the way the U.S. is headed, one or the other or both is inevitable, probably by the year 2050, if not sooner.

  518. Castellio says:

    Massoud, I’m watching the interview you suggested with Vali Nasr, as he was entirely opaque to me during the panel. Thanks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjzBzu3icZE

  519. Norman says:

    Since I am one of the first to respond, let me put in a plea to all the readers of this blog who find Hillary Mann’s and Vali Nasr’s arguments compelling to write to their local newspapers, explaining why sanctions will not work, why war would be a disaster, and why negotiations will succeed only if there is genuine interest in meeting the security needs of all parties. Simply talking to ourselves on this blog is irresponsible, unless we use our debates to inform our outreach to the public. We need to break open the US echo chamber in which conventional wisdom limits the options to more and more sanctions or war.

  520. paul says:

    Our supposed experts and wise heads mostly talk raving nonsense, and no one calls them on it.