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The Race for Iran


Photo from Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Hillary was very busy today, doing media commentary on the extraordinary events in Egypt—a country where she was a student and served two tours as a U.S. diplomat.  We provide here a link that pulls together two of her appearances on Al Jazeera today.  She makes, very clearly, a number of important points that are otherwise almost totally absent from mainstream commentary in the United States about what has transpired in Egypt. 

–The United States does not really support democratization in Egypt or anywhere else in the Middle East, because regional governments that were genuinely reflective of their people’s preferences would not support many aspects of current U.S. policy in the region—whether with regard to the siege of Gaza, prolonged occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, renditions (whereby the Egyptian government and other regional governments agree to torture their own citizens for the CIA’s presumptive benefit), or (prospectively) bombing Iran. 

–Mubarak’s departure from office occurred 32 years to the day after the Islamic Republic was established in Iran, setting in motion a series of events that set the stage for President Jimmy Carter’s electoral defeat in 1980.  If President Obama continues to pursue policies that are antagonistic to most of the people who live in the Middle East, his difficulties may only be beginning. 

–The challenge for the United States is to come to terms to with the values, interests, ideas, and grievances of people who actually live in the region.  The key to meeting that challenge is a willingness to distinguish between a commitment to protecting the safety and security of the Jewish people in a portion of their Biblical homeland from an aggressive Israeli national security strategy—a strategy which holds that Israel must be able to use military force unilaterally, whenever and wherever it wants, to whatever extent it chooses, and for whatever purpose it deems desirable. 

Hillary also appeared on MSNBC, where she tried to focus attention on yet another colossally bad idea from the Obama Administration in its response to developments in Egypt—a plan to provide U.S. government funds to “secular political parties”.  This is a clear attempt to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from being heard in a post-Mubarak political order.  The Obama Administration is trying to marginalize the Brotherhood because it believes that is essential to protecting the real “prize”—the peace with Israel.  As the Administration worked on its plan to promote secular democracy in Egypt today, it also proclaimed that the next Egyptian government “must” honor the peace treaty with Israel. And it sent Vice President Biden (the Middle East expert who said less than two weeks ago that Mubarak was not a dictator because he was a friend of Israel) out to exhort Iranians to go into the streets and protest against their government.     

The Obama Administration has not done itself any favors with its promiscuous use of the verb “must” since January 25.  It is unfortunate that there is no apparent learning curve on this point at the White House. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. Goli says:

    Eric, Pirouz,

    1.The timing and manner of the of the release of cables describing the Arab reaction to Iran’s nuclear program;

    2.A conspicuous paucity of Israel-related cables;

    3.Dershowitz (on the top 10 list of the most despicable pro-Israeli fascists in the US) on the legal team;

    = special relationship between Assange and Israel

    The question is whether the American government is aware of this?

  2. James Canning says:


    I agree with you Iran will benefit if Ahmadinejad can privatise more of the economy. The Iranian oil and gas sector would perform better if it had open access to current technology from European or American companies. But you are correct to say that sanctions do force Iran to do things it might not otherwise do, to the benefit of the country.

    Competition from harder-working Asians is a big issue for all of the Arab countries, and for Iran too.

  3. Eric: “He’s certainly political enough to hate Assange, but I don’t think he’s political enough to both hate Assange and volunteer to take on his defense so that he can be sure that Assange gets punished.”

    I don’t know on what basis you can make that assertion other than speculation. I would freely admit my contrary assertion to be speculative, but based on the raw fact of Dershowitz’s known intellectual dishonesty.

    One point we should keep in mind is that from all indications Assange CANNOT be charged in the US absent SOME evidence that he broke a law here, and so far ALL indications are that he had zero contact with Manning. So we might consider the fact that Dershowitz is not exactly putting himself at any great risk of violating his political views or angering his Zionist supporters by taking the case, especially as a consultant not as primary attorney.

    This, however, can go both ways. Dershowitz can try to boost his reputation by taking on such a high profile case and doing “his best” as you put it. OR he can try to sabotage the case in ways that won’t be apparent to the observer.

    Or both.

    In any event, if I was Assange’s lawyer I would pick some other high profile First Amendment attorney, as you indicated there is more than one. Dershowitz’s political leanings are just far too suspect to attach him to this case.

  4. masoud says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    February 15, 2011 at 12:44 am,

    First off, the example I gave really isn’t really all that hypothetical. It’s somewhere between the Sami al-Arian case, which I’ll trust you to google, and what Adam Gadan(aka the American Al-Qaeda member, who supervises their media wing) would be treated like if he were caught, or the treatment Al-Awlaki would receive if he were white.

    Secondly, I think it’s odd that in light of your explanation, it sounds like your justification is much closer to the first possibility i offered, though you claim that your arguing the second. In this case, you should be able to provide me a reason why Dershowitz would look more kindly on the above two cases, or the hypothetical case I outlined, than Assange’s.

    Thirdly, I do appreciate that lawyers can defend people who hold wildly different political views than they themselves do, but I don’t believe this is would be the behavior of all lawyers.

    I don’t have a problem, as far as this matter is concerned, with Dershowitz’s legal advocacy and white washing of torture, ethnic cleansing etc. My problem is that Dershowitz is fundamentally, a dishonest person, devoid of any integrity whatsoever. He lies about historical facts, he plagiarizes, he invents quotations he attributes to others, he lies about big and technically non-falsifiable things like his role in drafting UNSC resolution 242, and about relatively verifiable things petty things, like the fact that he called a former Senator Abourezk an anti semite in writing, to cite a recent example(http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn11262010.html, scroll down a bit). When I saw him speak live his chosen lie of the day was that Israel’s largest export is bio medical devices, when everyone in the world knows it’s weapons. There was no particular reason for him to come out with this particular lie at that particular time, it’s just that dishonesty is embedded in the man’s character. I think it’s fair to say that i’ve never hear him give a speech or read an article he’s written without being able to spot at least one lie. Now, wiki-leaks just happens to be the biggest blow to US-Israeli relations ever, and US-Israeli relations just happen to be the one thing Dershowitz is always lying to advance. And now Dershowitz has up and offered pro-bono defense for wiki-leaks. I find that suspicious, and my suspicions aren’t comforted by the man’s nominal integrity as member of some la-di-da intellectual circle or BAR association.

    Being on the legal team would at a minimum privilege Dershowitz to all kinds of information about wiki leaks practices and structure, which I don’t for a second doubt Dershowitz would be eager to share with other parties, or use in drafting of particular laws to make sure this doesn’t happen again. At a maximum, he’ll throw the case making lousy arguments, an outcome I don’t think is too likely for the very reasons you cite. But there is a huge range in between where Dershowitz gets to show off his fancy-pants lawyerliness, but at the same time dispenses strategic advice, as part of an ‘all around strategy’, which, as luck would have it, would allow Israel to minimize the blow to it’s relationship with the US.

  5. Masoud,

    “Are you making a judgement call that Assange’s actions, in Dershowitz’ view, don’t really do a whole lot to endanger Israel, or it’s relationship America and therefore he would try this case vigorously with a clear conscience or are you asserting that Dershowitz would be immune to political considerations in the context of how he treats any case he takes on?”

    The latter.

    “Would you still trust Dershowitz to present as vigorous a defense as possible if you were, say, a top member of Islamic Jihad who has been charged with terrorism because you advocated violent transnational resistance to achieve a one state solution, with unthinkably onerous conditions placed on the limited amount of Jews allowed stay?”

    Not sure whether I would. Probably not, but principally because I can’t imagine Dershowitz could overcome his political feelings enough to take on such a case, and so it’s hard to consider your hypothetical seriously. But in the Assange situation, I have very little difficulty concluding he’d examine his prejudices carefully and either not take the case if he wasn’t sure he could do his best, or decide he could and do his best. Most lawyers really do think that way. He’s certainly political enough to hate Assange, but I don’t think he’s political enough to both hate Assange and volunteer to take on his defense so that he can be sure that Assange gets punished.

  6. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: February 14, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I understand.

    Thank God for Americans and the US-EU Axis kicking us making us a better country.

    The mental image of an Iranian glory 2000 years ago is actually quite false; as I am sure you know.

    Often, when I talk to the members of this middle class, I get exasperated because I do not think what they want is possible except perhaps in Heaven.

    You are right about them being skill-less and lazy; the managerial/professional class (excepting skilled technicians, physicians, engineers) will not survive a day in country like Korea. They would be doing menial jobs there; quite commensurate with their skills.

    Yes, let us hope that Ahmadinejad can carry out his economic programs, that US-EU Axis would continue their economic war, and that the next president and Majlis would privatize even more of the Iranian ecomomy.

  7. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says: February 14, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    The utopianism exists in almost every aspect of the life of this “social strata” and is not limited to the one you correctly mentioned. that’s the main reason I believe, instead of adding to the illusion, change the system fundamentally from the economic point of view. these people will then be the first to demand for an Islamic Republic of the sort we have today. and it is not limited to the religious segment of this social class. most of the non-religious ones can safely be in this category. look at the ones living abroad and most of their kids.

    In that case, at the least the majority of the population will be better off and need not to compromise for this tiny, and never to be satisfied, segment of the society. the main obstacles are the same people for the fear of a cultural transformation that they obviously can’t swallow.

    without oil, our situation would have been worse than Afghanistan. the plain fact is we are not as hard working as Afghans people are. and we don’t have a good grasp of reality either. mentally, many of us still live in the superficial greatness of 2-3 thousands years ago, even prior to the advent of Islam. our unproductive middle class seem to be unable to understand that we are just lucky; lucky to have natural resources, perfect location and so on. these are God’s given gifts to us!

  8. masoud says:


    Are you making a judgement call that Assange’s actions, in Dershowitz’ view, don’t really do a whole lot to endanger Israel, or it’s relationship America and therefore he would try this case vigorously with a clear conscience or are you asserting that Dershowitz would be immune to political considerations in the context of how he treats any case he takes on?

    Would you still trust Dershowitz to present as vigorous a defense as possible if you were, say, a top member of Islamic Jihad who has been charged with terrorism because you advocated violent transnational resistance to achieve a one state solution, with unthinkably onerous conditions placed on the limited amount of Jews allowed stay?
    (This is of course a caricature of Palestinians’ political agenda, but let’s pretend for the sake of argument that some group has such an agenda)

  9. fyi says:

    Goli says: February 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    The Brotherhood is not hypocrite; they are trying to reassure certain strata of Egypt and also some foreign powers that they do not intent to takle control of the state.

    Islamic Iran, unfortunately, has been surpassed by Turkey under AKP.

    Turkey is now more free and more democratic than Iran.

    [Where are the restricted lists of candidates in Turkish elections? Where is the Moral Police harassing young women?]

  10. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: February 14, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Yes, capitalism certainly changed Iran over the last 100 years – since oil started being exctracted in Masjid Suleiman. Else Iran would have been just like Afghanistan.

    I have come across this “Utopianism” that you speak of. They want to be living in Denmark but behave like Iranians. [Wonder if they would let their daughters/sisters sun-bathe bra-less in city parks like in Copehhagen?]

    But my point simply is that the 2nd Majlis changing the exlection law and Mr. Khamenei quashing of the effor to change it in 1998 has left a political vulenerability in the state.

    I think it will be a good idea for this defect to be corrected.

  11. fyi says:

    kooshy says: February 14, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    People have a right to elect whomever they want as their representatives and sent them to the Majlis.

    This right is denied to them under the pharisee politics of Islam and Iran.

    The same pharisee/hypocrite culture that has forced very many millions of Muslims and Iranians to live a life of lies.

    God did not tell the leaders of Islamic Republic to force Muslims to live a life of lies.

    Undoubtedly, very many of this social strata will continue to nag and be unhapp -always searching for that “Utopia” that will make Iran into Denmark.

    But very many others will be quite happy to participate in the political life of their country. And Iranian Leaders, with their claim to be religious, must welcome the opportunity for bringing people together.

    In practical terms, in Majlis, you will have people who could naturally challenge the Group-Think of un-nuanced Muslims and alter or prevent more foolish laws such as the Experimental “Qesas” Laws.

  12. Goli says:

    In an unfortunate turn of events, the Muslim Brotherhood is the first group of hypocrites to emerge from the Egyptian uprising. The so called moderate pundits are pontificating about the Brotherhood’s unobjectionablity to the hope-to-be new Egyptian political landscape by emphasizing the desperate statements made by the Brotherhood’s leadership that they will not put forth a candidate for the presidential elections, and they will not make a bid to govern Egypt or gain a majority in the new parliament, on the one hand, and their commitment to democracy, on the other.

    The MB’s commitment not to dominate the Egyptian politics is surely in reaction to its legitimate concern that the recent achievements of the Egyptian people will be stolen from them in its absence. This, however, does not excuse the fact that the two pronouncements by the Brotherhood are contradictory.

    The Brotherhood cannot claim that it is supportive of a fully democratic process, while simultaneously preventing its otherwise qualified members from running for office or gaining a parliamentary majority, and by implication, depriving the electorate from a pool of candidates for whom they might have voted. And all this while all other political groups will be showered with American funds, in proportion to their pro American agendas, to try to further marginalize the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The closest to a democratic form of governance in the ME is Iran now and will remain Iran for a long time to come as the Turks have a legendary dictator and the generals to continue to thank for their democracy. That is not to say that serious reforms are not needed in Iran.

  13. kooshy says:

    Watching the news of this valentine day, I began to understand that, the Iranian independence revolutionary example, in coordination and cooperation of the non maintainable/adjustable (morally indefensible) US/western’s Middle East policy, has finally achieved a complete destabilization of the entire Middle East which is overwhelming the western powers ability to contain, considering their current moral, military or even economic capabilities.

  14. Pirouz_2,

    Frankly, I still have a very hard time figuring out how Assange can get convicted of anything without the NYT getting charged with the very same thing. Their situations strike me as very similar.

    1. Assange received – unsolicited, he claims, and it will probably be hard to prove otherwise – documents he knew or should have known had originally been obtained by someone (Private Bradley Manning) who’d broken the law by turning them over. He passed them on to a half dozen newspapers, telling each of them he was leaving it up to them whether to publish the documents or not. My understanding is that he himself actually published very few of these documents.

    2. The NYT received – unsolicited, it claims, and it will probably be hard to prove otherwise – documents it knew or should have known had originally been obtained by someone (Private Bradley Manning) who’d broken the law by turning them over. The Times passed them on to a half dozen billion people (by publishing them).

    One could argue, I suppose, that Assange did “solicit” these documents by setting up Wikileaks and letting it be known that Wikileaks would welcome submissions. But doesn’t the New York Times, and all other newspapers, send essentially the same “message” to those who may possess newsworthy documents? If so, aren’t they “soliciting” too?

    In a self-congratulatory video posted by the Times on its website, Eric Schmitt, the reporter assigned by Bill Keller to review the Wikileaks documents before they were published, said that he asked himself just two questions as he reviewed them:

    Question 1: Were they “legitimate?” (By that, he meant “genuine,” not “lawfully obtained and passed on.”)

    Question 2: Were they newsworthy?

    He did not ask (or neglected to mention it, if he did) whether the documents would interfere with the conduct of US foreign policy, or embarrass people who wrote the cables or were their subjects, or should not be published for some similar noble reason. True, the Times did (it claims) hold back or edit documents whose disclosure might lead to someone being injured or serious property damage, but that objective obviously could have been accomplished more effectively simply by declining to participate in Julian Assange’s “wrongdoing.”

    In short, if Assange is really a bad guy, isn’t the Times just as bad or worse? It was simply the next link in the chain between Bradley Manning and six billion sets of eyeballs.

    Am I missing something in this analysis?

  15. Chris says:

    In recent days, politicians and journalists have argued over whether the United States policy in the Middle East and particularly Egypt should focus on Democracy or Stability.
    However, this is a false choice.
    Democracy should bring stability in the long run. We have instability in the region today because American policy has supported oppressive regimes for several decades.
    This needs to change. If the United States wants to salvage it reputation in the Middle East, then it need to be true to the principles of democracy to which it claims to espouse.
    Otherwise, its hypocrisy will be all too glaring for all to see.

  16. Castellio says:

    Again this is long, but central to the issue of Otpor and Egypt:

    From: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/what-is-the-connection-between-otpor-and-the-egyptian-youth-movement/

    What is the connection between Otpor and the Egyptian youth movement?
    Filed under: Egypt — louisproyect @ 7:13 pm
    On February fourth, I blogged about different aspects of the Egyptian revolution, including its challenge to those who might possibly explain it as fomented by the State Department, the CIA, or Soros-type NGO’s. I wrote:

    Ever since the Balkan Wars, many leftists have understandably fallen victim to a kind of mechanical anti-imperialism in which politics is reduced to looking for clues of American support for dissidents overseas. While there is no question that such a methodology works well for Yugoslavia, Lebanon, or Georgia, it cannot do proper justice to the movement against Ahmadinejad in Iran or against Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Imperialism, for its own reasons, will often place money on a horse. It will also place money on two different horses in the same race, in an effort to hedge its bets. Considering how Goldman-Sachs routinely doles out millions to Democrats and Republicans alike in the same presidential race, this should not come as any surprise.

    In a remarkable article in the NY Times today (A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History) detailing the origins of the protest movement in Tunisia and Egypt, there’s much more information on the NGO tie-in:

    The Egyptian revolt was years in the making. Ahmed Maher, a 30-year-old civil engineer and a leading organizer of the April 6 Youth Movement, first became engaged in a political movement known as Kefaya, or Enough, in about 2005. Mr. Maher and others organized their own brigade, Youth for Change. But they could not muster enough followers; arrests decimated their leadership ranks, and many of those left became mired in the timid, legally recognized opposition parties. “What destroyed the movement was the old parties,” said Mr. Maher, who has since been arrested four times…

    For their part, Mr. Maher and his colleagues began reading about nonviolent struggles. They were especially drawn to a Serbian youth movement called Otpor, which had helped topple the dictator Slobodan Milosevic by drawing on the ideas of an American political thinker, Gene Sharp. The hallmark of Mr. Sharp’s work is well-tailored to Mr. Mubark’s Egypt: He argues that nonviolence is a singularly effective way to undermine police states that might cite violent resistance to justify repression in the name of stability.

    The April 6 Youth Movement modeled its logo — a vaguely Soviet looking red and white clenched fist—after Otpor’s, and some of its members traveled to Serbia to meet with Otpor activists.

    Another influence, several said, was a group of Egyptian expatriates in their 30s who set up an organization in Qatar called the Academy of Change, which promotes ideas drawn in part on Mr. Sharp’s work. One of the group’s organizers, Hisham Morsy, was arrested during the Cairo protests and remained in detention.

    If you are susceptible to mechanical thinking, the connection to Otpor would automatically lead you to conclude that the revolt in Egypt was tainted. After all, Otpor was in the vanguard to overthrow one of the few opponents of NATO in Eastern Europe, Slobodan Milosevic’s government in Serbia.

    On November 26, 2000 an article by Roger Cohen titled “Who Really Brought Down Milosevic?” appeared in the Magazine section of the Sunday NY Times. Cohen wrote:

    American assistance to Otpor and the 18 parties that ultimately ousted Milosevic is still a highly sensitive subject. But Paul B. McCarthy, an official with the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, is ready to divulge some details. McCarthy sits in Belgrade’s central Moskva Hotel, enjoying the satisfaction of being in a country that had long been off limits to him under Milosevic. When he and his colleagues first heard of Otpor, he says, ”the Fascistic look of that flag with the fist scared some of us.” But these feelings quickly changed…

    ”And so,” McCarthy says, ”from August 1999 the dollars started to flow to Otpor pretty significantly.” Of the almost $3 million spent by his group in Serbia since September 1998, he says, ”Otpor was certainly the largest recipient.” The money went into Otpor accounts outside Serbia. At the same time, McCarthy held a series of meetings with the movement’s leaders in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, and in Szeged and Budapest in Hungary. Homen, at 28 one of Otpor’s senior members, was one of McCarthy’s interlocutors. ”We had a lot of financial help from Western nongovernmental organizations,” Homen says. ”And also some Western governmental organizations.”

    The National Endowment for Democracy first came to prominence during Reagan’s war against Nicaragua. It poured millions into the coffers of the anti-Sandinista parties and generally operated as a wing of the counter-revolution. It has tried to destabilize Venezuela and Cuba in the recent past.

    If the NED operates as governmental body against states deemed inimical to U.S. interests, Gene Sharp’s Albert Einstein Institution seeks more or less the same goals operating as an NGO. Sharp receives major funding from Peter Ackerman, a leveraged buyout operator at Drexel-Burnham in the 1970s who was Sharp’s student at Tufts. Ackerman set up his own NGO with ambitions similar to the Albert Einstein Institution. It calls itself the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and has played a prominent role in “colored revolutions” in the recent past. Venezuelan activist Eva Golinger has written about its role in her own country and elsewhere:

    In 1983, the strategy of overthrowing inconvenient governments and calling it “democracy promotion” was born.

    Through the creation of a series of quasi-private “foundations”, such as Albert Einstein Institute (AEI), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI), Freedom House and later the International Center for Non-Violent Conflict (ICNC), Washington began to filter funding and strategic aid to political parties and groups abroad that promoted US agenda in nations with insubordinate governments.

    Behind all these “foundations” and “institutes” is the US Agency for Inter- national Development (USAID), the financial branch of the Department of State. Today, USAID has become a critical part of the security, intelligence and defense axis in Washington. In 2009, the Interagency Counterinsurgency Initiative became official doctrine in the US. Now, USAID is the principal entity that promotes the economic and strategic interests of the US across the globe as part of counterinsurgency operations. Its departments dedicated to transition initiatives, reconstruction, conflict management, economic development, governance and democracy are the main venues through which millions of dollars are filtered from Washington to political parties, NGOs, student organizations and movements that promote US agenda worldwide. Wherever a coup d’etat, a colored revolution or a regime change favorable to US interests occurs, USAID and its flow of dollars is there.

    How Does a Colored Revolution Work?

    The recipe is always the same. Student and youth movements lead the way with a fresh face, attracting others to join in as though it were the fashion, the cool thing to do. There’s always a logo, a color, a marketing strategy. In Serbia, the group OTPOR, which led the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, hit the streets with t-shirts, posters and flags boasting a fist in black and white, their symbol of resistance. In Ukraine, the logo remained the same, but the color changed to orange. In Georgia, it was a rose-colored fist, and in Venezuela, instead of the closed fist, the hands are open, in black and white, to add a little variety.

    Given all this irrefutable evidence, how can one possibly distinguish the revolt against Mubarak from Otpor or any other reactionary student/middle-class movement seeking to promote “civil society” and oppose “dictatorship”, even when the targets are like Hugo Chavez who has been elected time after time without using intimidation of any sort?

    On first blush, the Egyptian youth movement has the same class composition as Otpor or the anti-Chavez movement in Venezuela. Wael Ghonim, the Google marketing director who has emerged as a leader of the movement, told the Wall Street Journal that after meeting with military leaders: “In summary of our meeting, I trust in the Egyptian army.” This would lead you to think that such middle-class activists are already lining up behind the counter-revolution.

    But things are not that simple. In the N.Y. Times article discussed above, we learn that the April 6th Youth Movement has what we in the Trotskyist movement used to call a proletarian orientation:

    The Egyptian revolt was years in the making. Ahmed Maher, a 30-year-old civil engineer and a leading organizer of the April 6 Youth Movement, first became engaged in a political movement known as Kefaya, or Enough, in about 2005. Mr. Maher and others organized their own brigade, Youth for Change. But they could not muster enough followers; arrests decimated their leadership ranks, and many of those left became mired in the timid, legally recognized opposition parties. “What destroyed the movement was the old parties,” said Mr. Maher, who has since been arrested four times.

    By 2008, many of the young organizers had retreated to their computer keyboards and turned into bloggers, attempting to raise support for a wave of isolated labor strikes set off by government privatizations and runaway inflation.

    After a strike that March in the city of Mahalla, Egypt, Mr. Maher and his friends called for a nationwide general strike for April 6. To promote it, they set up a Facebook group that became the nexus of their movement, which they were determined to keep independent from any of the established political groups. Bad weather turned the strike into a nonevent in most places, but in Mahalla a demonstration by the workers’ families led to a violent police crackdown — the first major labor confrontation in years.

    Just a few months later, after a strike in the Tunisian city of Hawd el-Mongamy, a group of young online organizers followed the same model, setting up what became the Progressive Youth of Tunisia. The organizers in both countries began exchanging their experiences over Facebook. The Tunisians faced a more pervasive police state than the Egyptians, with less latitude for blogging or press freedom, but their trade unions were stronger and more independent. “We shared our experience with strikes and blogging,” Mr. Maher recalled.

    If the ostensible goal of any group supported by Gene Sharp or the NED is to support capitalist stability, this support for workers strikes would defy expectations. This, of course, is not a problem for those Marxists who understand that society is pervaded by what Hegel called contradictions.

    In one of the best attempts to explain such phenomena in the Marxist movement, Leon Trotsky’s Learn to Think challenges mechanical attempts to simply reality. He writes:

    Let us assume that rebellion breaks out tomorrow in the French colony of Algeria under the banner of national independence and that the Italian government, motivated by its own imperialist interests, prepares to send weapons to the rebels. What should the attitude of the Italian workers be in this case? I have purposely taken an example of rebellion against a democratic imperialism with intervention on the side of the rebels from a fascist imperialism. Should the Italian workers prevent the shipping of arms to the Algerians? Let any ultra-leftists dare answer this question in the affirmative. Every revolutionist, together with the Italian workers and the rebellious Algerians, would spurn such an answer with indignation. Even if a general maritime strike broke out in fascist Italy at the same time, even in this case the strikers should make an exception in favor of those ships carrying aid to the colonial slaves in revolt; otherwise they would be no more than wretched trade unionists – not proletarian revolutionists.

    Is there any real difference between such a hypothetical situation and the NED or Gene Sharp throwing their support behind the student youth in Egypt? I would say no.

    Trotsky’s warning about the need to understand contradiction is one of my favorite quotes from the great Russian revolutionary:

    In ninety cases out of a hundred the workers actually place a minus sign where the bourgeoisie places a plus sign. In ten cases however they are forced to fix the same sign as the bourgeoisie but with their own seal, in which is expressed their mistrust of the bourgeoisie. The policy of the proletariat is not at all automatically derived from the policy of the bourgeoisie, bearing only the opposite sign – this would make every sectarian a master strategist; no, the revolutionary party must each time orient itself independently in the internal as well as the external situation, arriving at those decisions which correspond best to the interests of the proletariat. This rule applies just as much to the war period as to the period of peace.

    That is our task as well. We have to orient ourselves independently and not on the basis of the class enemy’s bet-hedging strategies. While it is true that the U.S. has funded Mubarak’s opposition, it has given much more to the Egyptian kleptocracy. In a 2009 article in Foreign Policy (Don’t Give Up on Egypt ), Andrew Albertson and Stephen McInerney pointed out:

    The Obama administration has drastically scaled back its financial support for Egyptian activists fighting for political reform. US democracy and governance funding was slashed by 60 percent. From 2004 to 2009, the US spent less than $250M on democracy programs, but $7.8 billion on aid to the Egyptian military.

    For those who harp on the 250 million dollars while ignoring the $7.8 billion on aid to the military, my only advice is to “learn to think”.

  17. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says: February 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    “Mr. Mousavi is tapping into popular resentment among certain social strata.
    The causes of that resentment have to be removed.”

    as I told you in person, there is no way out of this regenerating ideologues circle but to change the economic structure. anything short of a capitalistic system will always produce this disillusioned “social strata”.

    our educational system should change as well. the kids in schools don’t learn harsh realities of life. they grow up in an atmosphere of UTOPIA and unnecessarily nicety.

  18. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric A. Brill:
    (Re your comment on February 14, 2011 at 8:01 pm)

    I don’t think that people like Dershowitz take on such cases for the sake of improving their prestige as a lawyer. They take cases such as this (Assange’s case) to promote their own political goals. In my humble opinion if Dershowitz has shown interest in taking on this case, and if Assange has agreed to it, it is very SIGNIFICANT. It shows that probably there are a lot going on in terms of Mr. Assange’s ‘alliances’.
    Personally if I had broken an important law in US and my case had been sort of hopeless, I would be relieved to know Mr. Dershowitz is going to do my “defense”!!
    I know, it doesn’t say a heck of a lot of good things regarding the “independence” of judiciary in the USA, but I would rather have Dershowitz as my lawyer rather than having -say- Eric, in an American court; and that is absolutely NOT because Dershowitz is a better lawyer than Eric is.

  19. Reza,

    According to most reports here, the opposition protests didn’t amount to much. Do you think the rallies would have been significantly larger, and more violent, if the government had issued a permit, but insisted that the rally organizers cooperate to keep the rallies peaceful?

  20. I can’t claim to have been reading much of what crystal-ball gazers are writing about Egypt going forward, so this may have been addressed. In any case, I’ll mention another possible source of friction that could develop a few months from now.

    I really don’t think the army wants to prolong its direct control of the Egyptian government (the key word being “direct”); it would prefer that someone else take the heat. But I also think the army hopes to exert a substantial influence on whatever government gets elected. Almost certainly, some candidates will be more amenable than others to the army’s influence. I will venture a guess that El Baradei is not at the top of the army’s list.

    The army may conclude that both of its objectives are most likely to be accomplished by holding an election as soon as possible. Consider something El Baradei said a week or so ago, when Mubarak was confirming his plan to hold elections on schedule in September. El Baradei objected, saying September would be too soon to undo the advantage enjoyed by the stooges of the old regime. He said elections instead should take place about a year from now.

    So what will happen if the army sticks with its recently announced plan for an election in about 6 months? Will El Baradei press for a postponement, arguing that the army’s fast timetable is aimed at improving the odds that the old regime’s stooges get elected? If he insists on a delay, will army leaders question his support of democracy and insist that the election take place on schedule? If the army sticks to its timetable and El Baradei loses, will he acknowledge the legitimacy of the election, or will he claim it was unfair?

    Conversely, if the army postpones the elections at El Baradei’s behest, will someone else complain (presumably the candidate most likely to win if the election is held sooner)? What if the election is held later and El Baradei wins – will the loser decline to acknowledge the election’s validity because it was delayed?

  21. Masoud,

    I’ve seen the Dershowitz/Finkelstein debate (or at least one long one – I think there have been several, though I’m not sure).

    I’ll stick with my assessment. I don’t agree with Dershowitz’s political views, but I have no doubt he can and will set all that aside. Assange’s case (assuming he’s charged) will be a very interesting First Amendment case, and Dershowitz will well know that every top First Amendment lawyer in the country will be judging how well he does.

  22. masoud says:

    “I acknowledge Dershowitz’s sympathies, but if he’s taking on Assange’s defense, he’ll do his very best for Assange.”
    Maybe you just don’t realize how much of a lying scumbag, and fraud, this guy is. There is a must see debate between this guy and Norman Finklestein on democracynow that everyone needs to see. If you can believe it, Dershowitz actually sent a letter to Arnold Shwarzanager imploring to order UCLA Press to stop publication of Finklestein’s critique of his work “The Case For Israel”.

    I understand that Dershowitz is a strong advocate of soft core pornography, but I don’t think this, in and of itself makes him a reliable advocate of free speech.

    (it’s quite long, but rather entertaining)

  23. paul says:

    I have a hard time believing that protests in Iran are going to take off as long as they come off as supporting US belligerence against Iran.

  24. James Canning says:


    Thanks for note on Rumsfeld’s early service to Aipac etc. Yes, those pursuing political careers in the US so often make clear they subordinate the interests of the American people to the interests of the Israel lobby.

  25. James Canning says:


    It seems clear that at least some of those who claim to support greater democracy in Iran in fact do not want it, because they are really seeking to discredit the government in hopes of complete “regime change”. On the other hand, I am sure some seeking greater freedom merely fail to see how their actions can prove counter-productive. Or don’t care.

  26. kooshy says:

    fyi says: February 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm
    “Reza Esfandiari & Kooshy:
    “Mr. Mousavi is tapping into popular resentment among certain social strata.”
    “The causes of that resentment have to be removed.”
    Fyi – I disagree I acutely think it is healthy to have a minority opposition around; unfortunately this opposition (Green) has discredited itself by continually accepting western instigated help, and by not publicly refuting it. As you know and I know and majority of Iranians know, I bet even the group (social strata) that supports them, including Pak and Scott do not support them for their cause or ideas but rather for them to bring instability to Iran for a hope of a complete regime change, and not for reforms that they say they want. So it is in ordain to say that the cause has to be removed, by the time you remove this cause a new one will be created to destabilize the Iranian government, is enough with playing political defense now it is time for Iran to play an effective regional political offence.

  27. Castellio says:

    I have, actually. I was not impressed.

  28. Speaking of an agenda: Just noticed Huffington Post has a headline on the Iran protests which reads “Hundreds of thousands protest” – but when you click on the headline to the article, it reads “Tens of thousands protest”! The article does repeat the “hundreds of thousands” line. Apparently they can’t decide whether to use tens or hundreds. No doubt soon they’ll jump to “millions”…

    Anyone in Iran seeing “tens of thousands”, let alone “hundreds of thousands”?

  29. fyi says:

    Castellio says: February 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    And I assume that you have not read the book “The Bell Curve”?

    It just might be true that both Japanese and Chinese, on the average, are smarter than Iranians (on the average).

  30. Gets worse for HBGary.

    Anonymous releases 71,800 HBGary e-mails through new site

    Now you, too, can see how politically connected computer security corporations do dirty deeds for corporate America direct from their emails.

    Download all 9 gigabytes or use the search engine. A tip says use words like Wikileaks, Stuxnet, FBI, Anonymous, or NASA. Or look at specific HBGary senior personnel email inboxes.

  31. Castellio says:

    FYI. I’m assuming you haven’t read Jared Diamond.

    From Wkipedia: “Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years.[1] The book attempts to explain why Eurasian civilizations (including North Africa) have survived and conquered others, while attempting to refute the belief that Eurasian hegemony is due to any form of Eurasian intellectual, moral or inherent genetic superiority. Diamond argues that the gaps in power and technology between human societies originate in environmental differences, which are amplified by various positive feedback loops. When cultural or genetic differences have favored Eurasians (for example Chinese centralized government, or improved disease resistance among Eurasians), these advantages were only created due to the influence of geography and were not inherent in the Eurasian genomes.

  32. This is funny. Tried to get to an article in Tehran Times, and I get this result:

    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server error ‘80004005’
    Transaction (Process ID 80) was deadlocked on lock resources with another process and has been chosen as the deadlock victim. Rerun the transaction.
    /NCMS/1004.asp, line 12

    Apparently the idiots at Tehran Times don’t realize that using Microsoft software for anything is both a major fail from the standpoint of reliability and security and also ties them to “Western imperialism”. :-)

  33. Castellio says:

    RSH: “Dershowitz is an intellectually dishonest scumbag and therefore cannot be trusted.”

    Hear! Hear!

  34. Castellio says:

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

    “Haaretz has just published a story that will certainly disappear due to gag order. In it, Anshel Pfeffer writes that Gabi Ashkenazi prepared a video celebrating his achievements as chief of staff, which was screened at a party marking his final day on the job. What is extraordinary about the video is that among the successes of his time in office it credits the bombing of the Syrian nuclear reactor and the Stuxnet virus attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel has never publicly acknowledged responsibility for either.”


  35. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari & Kooshy:

    Mr. Mousavi is tapping into popular resentment among certain social strata.

    The causes of that resentment have to be removed.

  36. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm


    I agree with you about the AP. If Iran were to reinstitue it, it won’t be because, as Eric says, it would be good for Iran. Iran’s calculations right now is purely geared towards what would be bad for U.S. Some of that may seem counterintuitive, such as the AP business, but when both sides are operating on the basis of ‘reading’ several moves ahead, this chess game does not lend itself to instant analysis.

  37. Eric: I have major doubts. Dershowitz is an intellectually dishonest scumbag and therefore cannot be trusted.

    Meanwhile, here is more Pepe Escobar on Egypt:

    Under the (Egyptian) volcano


    Meet the new boss, or the Pharaoh rebuilt as Shiva; the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. If this was Southeast Asia, people would say “same same – but different”.

    Instead of a police state, it’s communique time (talk about a throwback to the 1970s).

    What’s with these communique junkies of the Supreme Council? The street knows they are all Mubarak cronies, mostly in their 70s – starting with coup leader, Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, 75 – very close to the Pentagon’s Robert Gates (crucial; Tantawi got to the top after being the commander of Mubarak’s private army, the Republican Guards).

    They are all US-enabled stakeholders (via billions of dollars of “aid” year after year) of a vast military-owned business dynasty controlling entire sectors of the Egyptian economy. There’s no way a new Egypt may be born without overthrowing this whole system. Ergo, the street has to take on the army.

    Expect major fireworks ahead. For the moment, the potential adversaries are studying each other. Exit “orderly transition”; enter – according to General Mohsen el-Fangari – “a peaceful transition of power” to allow “an elected civilian government to rule and build a free democratic state”. It all sounds like Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. Forget about the army swiftly handing over power to a civilian-led interim government.

    In the battle of communiques, at least the January 25 leadership knows how to turn heads. Among its top demands – call it the road map of the street’s political desires – we find the immediate end to the state of emergency; immediate release of all political prisoners; creation of a transitional, collective governing council; formation of an interim government comprising independent nationalist trends to oversee free and fair elections; formation of a working group to draft a new democratic constitution to be voted in a referendum; removal of any restriction on the free formation of political parties; freedom of the press; freedom to form unions and non-governmental organizations without government permission; and the abolition of all military courts.

    Anyone who believes the Supreme Council generals will hand this all over to the people on a plate must be living in the Tibetan plateau.

    In the next stage, the working class – and the peasantry – will be increasingly crucial. As blogger Hossam El-Hamalawy has put it, “We have to take Tahrir to the factories now.” The regime’s final crackdown happened when strikes spread like wildfire. There’s increased conceptualization of direct democracy from below leading to a state of permanent revolution. The “West” is quaking in its Ferragamos.

    Very soon, expect everyone and his neighbor to court the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) like there’s no tomorrow; Turkey (to advance its role as a beacon of moderation in the Middle East); Iran (even though they’re Shi’ite, to remind the MB of their struggle for Palestine); the US (so they can believe to control a jihadist streak the MB does not have anyway); and Saudi Arabia (with tons of cash, to jam US machinations).

    The New York Times has quaintly described how “the White House and the State Department were already discussing setting aside new funds to bolster the rise of secular political parties” – as in trying to corral every nook and cranny of the opposition to an US agenda.

    A truly democratic, sovereign Egyptian government cannot possibly remain a slave of US foreign policy.

    Things may start at a minimum with lifting the siege of Gaza and re-examining the export of natural gas to Israel at subsidized rates; then they will move to reconsidering the safe passage of the US Navy in the Suez Canal and finally rediscuss the holy of holies – the 1979 Camp David accords with Israel.

    The key slogan of the revolution has been “The people want the downfall of the regime”. It has already generated a spin-off; “The people want the liberation of Palestine”. Stay glued to the weather reports; the real volcano has not even erupted.

    End quotes

  38. Castellio says:

    BiBiJon, I think your attempt to understand/define ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ in different ways is very important.

    Democracy is a verb, freedom is verb… there are many actions these verbs can represent.

  39. Richard,

    I acknowledge Dershowitz’s sympathies, but if he’s taking on Assange’s defense, he’ll do his very best for Assange.

  40. Reza Esfandiari says:

    This is PressTV’s (far from impartial) take on the situation in Tehran:


    ABCnews is reporting that “hundreds” have taken to the streets of Mashad, Esfahan and Shiraz. So much for a nationwide protest.

  41. Reza Esfandiari says:


    This is not about election laws. This is about the politics of destabilization.

    Mousavi doesn’t care one bit about democracy or else why did he reject the verdict of millions of Iranians?

  42. Kev. says:

    FYI: If the state percieve that the demonstration will boom be a threat to state one cannot accept that. Iranians should not criticise their gov they should united because we all know who benefit from these instabilizing acts.

  43. Meanwhile, the HBGary/Anonymous/Wikileaks hack story gets wilder and wilder. Ars Technica has some very good coverage here:

    How one man tracked down Anonymous—and paid a heavy price

    Spy games: Inside the convoluted plot to bring down WikiLeaks

    (Virtually) face to face: how Aaron Barr revealed himself to Anonymous

    Everyone involved – except the Anonymous hacker group – is running for cover. Besides Bank of America, the US Chamber of Commerce is dragged in, a major Washington law firm is dragged in, and no one can be sure who will be next as the stolen emails get analyzed.

    It’s like a Wikileaks dump all by itself.

    Pissing off hackers is definitely not a good idea.

    By the way, the company involved, HBGary Federal, allegedly had a copy of the Stuxnet worm in its files, and that was stolen and is now in the possession of the Anonymous hacker group, who decompiled the executable code and posted it on the Internet. It will take anyone interested a while to understand it, since a decompile doesn’t read like source code. But now everyone can have their own copy of Stuxnet. The US and Israel will very likely come to regret that.

  44. fyi says:


    Government of Iran should have allowed demonstration in support of Tunisian and Egyptian people’s desire for better governance.

    Even if it were to be abused.

    The leaders of Islamic Republic have created, by disenfranchising millions of people, an ongoing political crisis and crisis of legitimacy that is going to get worse and worse.

    The election law has to be restored to what it was in 1980, during the election for the First Majlis.

    There is no other constructive way forward.

  45. Reza Esfandiari says:


    According to the Fars News report you linked, several people have been hospitalized and one person killed apparently at the instigation of “seditionists” (fetnehgaran).

    Let’s see how the western media spins this.

  46. Someone is truly clueless.

    Alan Dershowitz joins Julian Assange defense team

    They have to know Dershowitz has zero interest in defending Wikileaks because of his ties to Israel.

    OTOH, perhaps the intent here is to pressure Wikileaks not to release any material on Israel.

    What’s amusing is they describe Dershowitz as saying this is a First Amendment issue – then mention at the bottom his advocacy of “torture warrants”.

  47. Kev. says:

    haha look at this ugly zionist hag hillary clinton: http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/clinton-people-of-iran-deserve-same-rights-as-egyptians-1.343423

    She have no problem supporting arab dictators for unlimited time and werent these arab demonstrations internal affairs “we dont want to pick sides” or what did those clinton, gibbs etc clown told us?!



  48. Scott Lucas says:


    Osama Madany’s letter to EA referred to the past “torture and mutilation” of detainees by Egyptian security forces, not “torture and mutilation” by protesters.


  49. Mondoweiss retweeted this tweet from someone:

    “#Wikileaks in constant self-destruct mode: just hired Dershowitz. I kid thee not.”

    That’s little short of bizarre, in my opinion.

  50. BiBiJon: “‘Is it not possible that, whereas Iran may have started with a genuine and urgent desire to resolve the issue, she has acclimated to UNSC referal and moved its own goalposts. E.g. seeking vindication, yes, but now also demanding Israel’s nuclear issue be on the table, Western duplicity be outed, etc. In short, could there be a calculation that sees prolongation of the dispute as advantageous to Iran, and pleasing to Russia and China?… [Is Iran] opting instead to draw [its] adversaries into putting all their chips on the table which Iran figures she can withstand, but which they figure will destroy wetsern credibility?’”

    It’s what I would do.

    It’s like what Ahmadinejad said during the fall 2009 negotiations: he said Iran could ship the LEU and not worry about whether the US reneged on the deal, because that would show the world that the US could not be trusted and that it had bad intentions. Iran could always replace the LEU.

    This is one reason why withholding implementing the AP is so valuable – it allows Iran to make it clear to the world – and especially those nations contemplating their own nuclear energy programs – that the US can not be trusted to abide by the NPT. If the US will not acknowledge Iran’s legal right to enrich, other countries can not expect any help from the US either. In most of the nuclear deals the US is trying to strike now, the US demands that the prospective nuclear energy program never involve enrichment. By reneging on this right to a country which is already under the NPT, Iran establishes that the US cannot be trusted to abide by any agreement.

    This is also why Brazil released Obama’s letter written prior to the Tehran Declaration publicly – to establish that Obama was an egregious liar.

  51. nahid says:

    در جريان تيراندازي به سوي رهگذران صورت گرفت
    شهادت يك هموطن به دست منافقين و فتنه‌گران
    خبرگزاري فارس: عوامل فتنه‌گر و منافقين مزدور با تير‌اندازي به سوي مردم و رهگذران يك نفر را به شهادت رساندند.

  52. kooshy says:

    Kathleen says:
    “Stating on Friday all of the talking heads (actually not Chris Matthews) pivoted from Egypt to Iran. The Tunisian/Egyptian “tsunami, earthquake” of freedom skipped right over the Palestinian protest. Tonight we can expect Maddow, Ed, Lawrnece O” Donnell, Wolf Blitzer, Richard Engel, Brian Williams will have their cameras turned towards Iran. I thought there was some hope for Ceny Uygar but he flipped over to Iran too.”

    What do expect these folks to say? Why would you still hope they will change , I am surprised you haven’t given up on the western media, there is a war a cold one at that, which will continue for some time to come, I expect for lack of any good option for the west, this cold rhetorical propaganda war becomes more open and fiercely more intense, hoping to bring instability, but the fact remains that so far the other camp has regionally scored a lot more then the western side with a lot more tools which was available on their side.

  53. Reza Esfandiari says:

    LOL, Sarmad. But in all fairness to the BBC, they don’t have a reporter in Tehran.

    Eric, the smoke from burning garbage bins neutralizes the effect of tear gas – come on, anyone who has done some scouts training would know that!

  54. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: February 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Rhetoric is not going to help clarify the (scholarly) Truth.

    The case of Euclidean Geometry and Nigerian children is very well documented indeed in Anthropological literature and you can consult any Cultural Anthropologist to guide you to the literature.

    I cannot, for myself, account for that difficulty.

    I do know that the structure of language tends to affect the way human beings comprehend the world; I recall a detailed discussion of the structure of tenses in Navajo and how it affected the culture of the Navajo.

    Something akin to that might have been at work in Nigeria as well.

  55. Fiorangela says:

    fyi, has your empirical data correlated the number of Swedish children who learn analytic geometry, matched to their teachers and the degree of competence and motivation of their teachers, accounting for variables such as same-language same-culture teacher-student relationship, environment of student population — ie. do they have adequate nutrition? Are they required to spend six hours each day searching for firewood or water?

    do you mind telling us exactly where it was you acquired the fine education that you’ve told us you possess? I want to make sure my grandchildren go elsewhere.

  56. Fiorangela says:

    if “Egypt with nukes” is now a problem, then Iran with nukes was never the problem. But we knew that.

    as others have said, it is to be expected that US & Israel will ratchet pressure on Iran.
    But it’s not about nukes. It never was.

    follow the money


  57. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: February 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I respectfully decline to apologize or otherwise retract empirical observations recorded by observers in Africa in the 19-th and early 20-th centuries.

    If transparent representative government and the establishment of the rule of law were so easy, the entire world should have been like Denmark, or Norway.

    It is not.


  58. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning, are you aware that one of Don Rumsfeld’s first acts as a Chicago politician was to write a letter on behalf of Zionist Org of America, objecting to the requirement that Zionist org register as a Foreign Agent.


  59. Liz says:


    The people carrying the pistols were probably MEK.

  60. Kathleen says:

    CNN,Fox, CBS, CSpan, MSNBC (Rachel Maddow has been totally complicit endlessly repeating unsustantiated claims about Iran) NPR’s Terri Gross too. Building a case against Iran has been on full tilt since the invasion of Iraq.

    Stating on Friday all of the talking heads (actually not Chris Matthews) pivoted from Egypt to Iran. The Tunisian/Egyptian “tsunami, earthquake” of freedom skipped right over the Palestinian protest. Tonight we can expect Maddow, Ed, Lawrnece O” Donnell, Wolf Blitzer, Richard Engel, Brian Williams will have their cameras turned towards Iran. I thought there was some hope for Ceny Uygar but he flipped over to Iran too.

    Not a whisper about decades long Palestinian protest. Their checks are too big for them to take a risk.

  61. Sarmad says:

    Imam Hussain Mosque Protesters, Watch its FUNNY


  62. “Police used tear gas against the protesters in central Tehran’s Enghelab, or Revolution, square and in Imam Hossein square, as well as in other nearby main streets. Demonstrators responded by setting garbage bins on fire to protect themselves from the stinging white clouds.”

    I didn’t know setting garbage bins on fire was useful for this purpose.

  63. Iranian says:

    nahid: Thanks

    Liz: You should tell these kids to keep a distance. These people are probably out to kill people and then put the blame on the police.

  64. kooshy says:

    I guess Mr. Amano is giving up hopes of receiving a Noble peace prize he is now putting himself up for getting the international comedy award.

    IAEA’s Amano: Iran still steadily producing uranium

    By Lally Weymouth
    Monday, February 14, 2011


  65. Scott,

    Reza wrote:

    “I see CNN, FOX and NBC are making the pitiful unrest in Tehran their top news story. Next we will be hearing report of people being killed and tortured.”


    You mentioned you’d posted a letter from an EA contributor who said he’d seen “torture and mutilation” during the Cairo protests. That certainly is a far cry from the “peaceful protests” that President Obama described. Have you made any effort to get the details of the torture and mutilation mentioned by your EA contributor?

  66. James Canning says:


    A silly ass, or horse’s arse, like Stuart Levey, is guaranteed flattering coverage in the Wall Street Journal. Not so hard to guess the reasons why this obtains.

    Don’t miss Andrew J. Bacevich’s scathing assessment of Donald Rumsfled (Financial Times, Feb 12-13). “Secretary of self-defence – – Donald Rumsfeld blames everyone but himself for the mistakes made in Vietnam and Iraq.”

    Incredibly, Rumsfeld even now argues the insane Vietnam War was not a mistake!

  67. nahid says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm

  68. Reza Esfandiari says:

    I see CNN, FOX and NBC are making the pitiful unrest in Tehran their top news story.

    Next we will be hearing report of people being killed and tortured.

    The U.S government has the audacity to “tweet” to Iranians claiming that people should be free to demonstrate like in Egypt – they don’t mention that a least 150 people were killed and over 3,000 injured trying to do just that. They don’t mention the tanks on the streets, or the low-flying fighter-jets.

  69. Liz says:

    My daughter said that her friend who was watching the protests/rioters actually saw two of them carrying pistols.

  70. Persian Gulf says:

    nahid says: February 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I just talked to my sister in Tehran. She was talking about this episode too. very nice. :)) :)) :))

    want to see the footage if possible.

  71. nahid says:

    Fiorangela says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm
    thanks, very noteworthy comment my daer lady .

  72. Pirouz says:


    It’s still early to summarize but from what I can tell, groups congealing in the low dozens in Tehran engaged in civil disorder. But law enforcement doesn’t appear to have come down in a heavy handed manner.

    Again, it’s too early to call. But in all the videos of hooliganism being exhibited on the street by student types, I don’t see a law enforcement presence. It may be they’re permitting something of a “release” by the protesters, similar to that in various phases of the post-election situation. I don’t know yet.

    Still scanning for more material.

  73. Iranian says:


    lol! A few people told me that Iranian TV channels showed this a couple of times. They said it was really funny. Too bad I missed it.

  74. Iranian says:

    Sorry, in the news just now Egypt was the third story.

    By the way there was a large rally in Tehran this evening in protest against Mousavi and the US. Of course, it will not be reported in the Free World.

  75. nahid says:

    فردی که بی بی سی او را شاهد عینی معرفی کرد بدون بیان هیچ گونه اظهار نظری، تنها عنوان کرد که توجه شما را به شعارهای مردم تهران جلب می کنم. ثانیه هایی بعد صدای تهرانی ها از تلویزیون بی‌بی‌سی به گوش رسید که فریاد می‌زدند “مرگ بر انگلیس”، “بی‌بی‌سی حیا کن، مملکت رو رها کن” و …


  76. Fiorangela says:

    fyi — re: “When missionaries tried to teach African children in Nigeria plane Euclidean geometry, they hit a wall. The children could not grasp even the idea of the subject matter let alone the subject matter itself.

    Non-Western people certainly can learn, one would hope, from the Western people. But this learning cannot hope to match what has, in a manner of speaking, been bred into the Western people for over 2 millenia.”

    You apparently have as much an idea of how people learn as you do of the intensity of the visceral response is provoked by such a downright stupid and bigoted statement as you wrote.

    I was raised in an era and climate that, like Larry Summers, thought that women were incapable of learning subjects that demanded reasoning and abstract thought — like mathematics. Moreover, as my own father told me (but I love him anyway), There’s no point in educating women, they’re just going to be housewives.

    Your extremely offensive statement, that Nigerian children can’t learn geometry, is of the same ignorant ilk. Did it ever occur to you that maybe the teaching practices of the missionaries is defective?

    Missionaries are not trained to teach Euclidian geometry, they are trained to win souls for the gipper in the sky. Teaching geometry is a tactic, not a goal.
    Those missionaries likely had as much aptitude, training, and ability to teach Euclidian geometry as they did to manage flights to Mars.

    astonishing that you would parade your ignorance so boastfully on this forum. “fyi” provides a comfortable lot of anonymity, don’t it.

  77. Iranian says:


    Interesting about all the fake news, such as the story that news on Egypt is banned on Iranian TV (ironically it’s still the number one story). Also, the Feb. 11 rallies being completely ignored, etc. After Egypt the US and EU are getting pretty desperate.

  78. Pirouz says:


    I’ve scanned the available videos and photos (there are a number of fakes).

    Crowds that answered the call to come out onto the streets number in the low dozens at various locations in Tehran. The video in Isfahan depicts a handful of kids chanting.

    As yet, there are no discernible depictions of law enforcement engaged in crow control ops. Most of the depictions are of student age folks engaging in various forms of hooliganism with no law enforcement presence in sight.

    Of course, there are a range of claims coming from Twitter and partisan phone calls to various media, but for the most part I have yet to see evidence to back it up.

    Still scanning for more evidence to materialize.

  79. Iranian says:


    There were three small groups of mostly rich kids trying to block traffic on Enghelab St. The State Department should be able to do better than that. The US empire is falling apart.

  80. BiBiJon says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:37 am

    “What the sanctions demonstrate is the global need for countries to insulate their banking system from US interference, and likely it has accelerated these efforts which ultimately will result in less profits for the US financial industry.”

    My sentiments exactly when I’d commented back in October 2010:

    Suppose for a moment Iran has completely given up on rapproachment. and, I mean completely, and utterly.

    Iran now sees itself in for the long game. In such a time frame it just fine that realistically nothing “is going to be done about ‘Israel’s nuclear issue’ in the near (or fairly distant) future.” Iran could peg her own nuclear ‘disambiguation’ to whenever it is that Israel will give up her nukes. This can take as many decades as it needs to take, so long as it is advantagous for Iran the longer it takes.

    Iran may be willing to take the sanctions hit on the chin, again thinking longterm it will be the winner. A glancing familiarity with fluid dynamics gives them reason to believe financial pressures will wind up creating a secondary plumbing — a parallel global financial system. Evolving from $1 million in paper bags to Karzai, to actual banking/insurance/re-insurance global operations.

    Iran genuinley may not be worried about being attacked, regarding it as a suicidal move for the agressor. But, possibly, they see it as the West would lose the long game in a single attack move.

    In the long run, chipping away at Western credibility is an incremental gain for Iran’s soft power politics in the region. There is much to be said for not resolving the nuclear issue quickly. The longer it takes, the angrier the West, the more eratic, the more outlandish media reports, the more displays of anti-Muslim rage, etc, will be welcome gifts to an Iran trying to consolidate her position in the region. The first batch of gifts likely will arrive in 2013 presidential race campaigns where much chest thumping by presidential hopefuls will be aired on al-Jazeera. where Western credibility goes, so do UNSC’s and IAEA’s credibility.

    In short:

    “Is it not possible that, whereas Iran may have started with a genuine and urgent desire to resolve the issue, she has acclimated to UNSC referal and moved its own goalposts. E.g. seeking vindication, yes, but now also demanding Israel’s nuclear issue be on the table, Western duplicity be outed, etc. In short, could there be a calculation that sees prolongation of the dispute as advantageous to Iran, and pleasing to Russia and China?… [Is Iran] opting instead to draw [its] adversaries into putting all their chips on the table which Iran figures she can withstand, but which they figure will destroy wetsern credibility?”

    From http://www.raceforiran.com/the-iran-nuclear-dispute-a-new-approach#comment-24344

  81. Kathleen says:

    oops Goldberg

  82. Kathleen says:

    Robin Wright was on David Gregory’s Meet the Press on Sunday and on the Diane Rehm show this morning (monday). She seems to take every opportunity to move the focus of the Tunisian/Egyptian “tsunami, earthquake, winds of change” freedom/democracy movement to bad bad bad Iran. Heard Arianna Huffington jump on the bad bad bad Iran bandwagon on Chritiane Amanpour’s Sunday program.

    Martin Indyk and Jeffrey Goldbert on David Gregory’s too. Real diversity of opinion on Gregory’s news program (cough)

    Becoming par for the course to watch our MSM take this “tsunami” and leap right over the decades long Palestinian protest and the I/P conflict and collectively go after Iran. No agenda there.

    Can not remember on which Sunday news program that I heard someone whisper about the conflict that went on between Obama and the State Dept (Hillary Clinton sending Wisner I believe) on Mubarak stepping down. Not much discussion about this conflict.

  83. Fiorangela says:

    screaming hystrionically to counter Arnold Evans’ measured response
    hair on fire

    Castellio @ 9:21 includes this passage:

    “Levey “has been hailed by both Republicans and Democrats for reimagining the use of financial warfare since moving to the Treasury in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.,” said the Wall Street Journal in a flattering portrayal.”

    “Reimagining” my arse.

    Stuart Levey is the 21st century re-incarnation of Stephen Untermyer.

    Untermyer’s (aka Untermeyer) activities on behalf of the Jewish people and zionism included

    1. planting the seeds for the US “Christian zionist” movement (see Scofield bible, :http://www.stateofthechurch.com/Foundational_Issues/Which_Bible_Translations/Challenge/Bible%20Comparison/Bible_Viruses/SCOFIELD/scofield_bible.htm

    2. entangling US in WWI, for the benefit of zionism;

    3. shaping the Versailles Treaty in favor of the Jewish people and to the grave detriment of Germany, as John Maynard Keynes argued in The Economic Consequences of the Peace.
    Many historians date the beginning of US derailment of foreign policy to Harry Truman’s 1948 affirmation of the Jewish state. Salim Yaqub suggests that US estrangement of its formerly friendly relations with Arabs and entanglement with Israel, started with Woodrow Wilson’s decision to jettison Article 12 of his Fourteen points — Art. 12 promised autonomy to the states of the former Ottoman empire, but Wilson was obliged–and controlled by the 100+ Jewish bankers etc. surrounding him at Versailles– to present the Balfour Declaration, which denied the right of self-determination to the Palestinian Arabs. Samuel Untermyer was a central force in assembling Wilson’s advisors and shaping Wilson’s decision.
    (see Salim Yaqub, US and Middle East: 1914-2001 :http://www.teach12.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=8593

    5. insinuating into the US financial system the ‘Federal Reserve’ and fractional reserve systems (see Lawrence Mitchell, below); earlier today someone mentioned the transparency of Swedish, etc. governments — the Federal Reserve system became the law of the land in a nearly-empty chamber on Dec 23, 1913, after most members had left Washington for the Christmas holiday.

    The Federal Reserve Act was highly controversial: Since [it] essentially gave full control of this system to private bankers, there was strong opposition to it from rural and western states because of fears that it would become a tool of certain rich and powerful financiers in New York City, referred to as the “Money Trust”.[4] Indeed, from May 1912 through January 1913 the Pujo Committee, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, held investigative hearings on the alleged Money Trust and its interlocking directorates. These hearings were chaired by Rep. Arsene Pujo, a Democractic representative from Louisiana.[5]

    Stephen Untermyer served as counsel to the Pujo Committee.

    4. playing a very large part in moving the US from an industry-and-transparent accounting economy to a speculative, finance-based economy (see :http://www.amazon.com/Speculation-Economy-Finance-Triumphed-Industry/dp/1576756289/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297698154&sr=8-1.

    Author Lawrence Mitchell has appeared on C Span
    Here :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/lawrencemitchell

    5. demonizing Germany and declaring “Jewish holy war” on Germany –on March 24, 1933 — BEFORE Hitler had taken any actions against Jews in Germany. (A 71-year old German man, Udo Walendy, was imprisoned for writing that statement: “Untermyer declared a “Jewish holy war on Germany on March 24, 1933,” even though Untermyer’s declaration of the intent of the Jewish people to destroy Germany was a banner headline in London and later New York daily newspapers.)
    (see Richard Hawkins, “Hitler’s Bitterest Foe,” :http colon slash slash findarticles dot com/p/articles/mi_hb6389/is_1_93/ai_n29359275/pg_26/?tag=content;col1 )

    6. In all this time, intense Jewish-zionist development was taking place in Palestine, and Samuel Untermyer was a leader of Keren Hayesod, the fundraising and international organizing of worldwide Jewry (it still exists, as a corporation of Israel’s Knesset). Arthur Ruppin, a German Jewish lawyer trained in Germany, had been active in Palestine since about 1908, secretly buying land, financed by the Rothschilds and Warburgs, as well as the coterie of Jewish bankers established in Berlin since the end of the Franco Prussian war, to create Herzl’s fantasy of a Jewish state on Arab land. Untermyer and Vladimir Jabotinsky, among others, had attempted to deal directly with Ottoman Turks to “liberate” (Jabotinsky’s term) Ottoman holdings in Palestine, for the benefit of Jews, but they were unsuccessful.

    Ruppin rushed to build Tel Aviv — “Berlin on the Mediterranean” — so that European Jews who make aliyeh will feel at home in a European style city in the Levant, and so that Tel Aviv can siphon off the lucrative trade that Arabs had established in nearby Joffa. In 1928, British troops destroyed numerous, major ARab buildings in Joffa and drove Joffa’s Arab residents into the sea — literally. Ruppins activities have been carried out in close cooperation with GErman government officials, including Nazi party officials and also in close consultation with leading eugenicists — Ruppin was committed to the concepts and practice of eugenics.
    In 1933, Ruppin negotiated the “Transfer Agreement” by which 55,000 wealthy German Jews and their wealth moved from Germany to Palestine. According to Etan Bloom in “Arthur Ruppin and the Production of Hebrew Culture,”
    three times that many wealthy German Jews, with three times the wealth as moved to Palestine, “transferred” to New York city. (see :http://www.tau.ac.il/tarbut/tezot/bloom/EtanBloom-PhD-ArthurRuppin.pdf,

    Yesterday Empty sketched a critique of “Casablanca” and wrote this:

    “2) United States’ economic system transformation from an economy predominantly based on production to that which is predominantly based on speculation (risk-based, entertainment industry, commodification of land, women, and services); [see above, “Speculation Economy”]

    [side note 1: Casablanca was produced by Warner Brothers, who had infringed patents of Thomas Edison and, to evade Edison’s ability to reasonably pursue lawsuits against them, moved to Hollywood where they set up shop.

    Side note 2: The Warner brothers as well as most of the other Hollywood studio heads in the late 1920s – early 1930s were recent immigrants to US from Europe, where they had learned their craft from German filmmakers, who were the gold standard in the industry. As well, Germany accounted for the major share of commercial support for Hollywood films – until 1933, when Untermyer gathered studio heads in a meeting in New York, and (presumably) with financing from the “Transfer Agreement” began the barrage of anti-German propaganda films that demanded that US go to war against Germany. See Hawkins, see “Imaginary Witness”

    Side note 3: A documentary titled, “Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust,” traces the numerous films that Hollywood produced to propagandize the American people into waging war on Germany; relates how Eisenhower called upon Warner brothers and other Jewish studio heads to film the “death camps” in Europe immediately after armistice and before even medical teams had arrived, and into whose custody that film was delivered and remained. The main thrust of “Imaginary Witness,” however, is a narration of how Hollywood has interpreted and shaped the Holocaust and impressed it upon the American psyche in the 65 years since the war ended.

    Does any of this sounds like what is taking place against Iran? Fool me once, shame on me; —-

    7. As Empty noted, Casablanca ‘imagined’ the “Banking system headquarter transfer from Germany to the United States,” which Ruppin, with Untermyer’s assistance, accomplished.

    Be aware that the entire goal of zionism is NOT to incorporate Jewish people into the Middle Eastern culture that surrounds the Levant but rather, to establish in Israel a re-creation of the high German culture in which Ashkenazi Jews participated from ~1875 – 1933.

    [Sidenote: Jews had lived in Germany since at least 700 AD, where Jewish merchants established trading stations along the Rhine, and other Jews had settled in numerous other places in Germany where they lived in “peace with all their neighbors.” That situation prevailed until the Prussian defeat of France in 1871, which led to unification of Germany, and the eventual emergence of Germany as a major industrial power with the potential to challenge Great Britain as the dominant empire. In the years immediately after that German victory, wealthy Jews flocked to the newly unifying German state and set up shop. Before long, Berlin was dominated by wealthy Jewish bankers and merchants, but the average German found himself heavily in debt – a situation he was not accustomed to, and unable to keep his farm running, or find employment. A major gap between the wealthy class and the lower classes developed, in which Jews dominated the wealthy class and native Germans the lower classes. Many Germans were forced to migrate to the US during this period. ( By the time of the run-up to World War II, Germans comprised the second-largest ethnic group in the US, second only to ethnic origin British citizens.)]

    Since banking was the key element of Jewish presence in Germany that was different from the way Jews had lived in Germany for over 12 centuries, logically, that would mean that zionists would intend to move the banking system of Germany to Israel, wouldn’t you think?

    In November 2010, David Makovsky and Robert Satloff of WINEP — the same AIPAC-affiliated ‘think tank’ that urged Stuart Levey on the US Treasury Department — Makovsky and Satloff led a delegation of WINEP trustees and “New York bankers and venture capitalists” on a visit to Israel, Jordan, Ramallah, and Egypt. Stuart Levey has stepped down from Treasury. Why? Is he preparing for a lead role in Casablanca II — ” Banking system headquarter transfer from Germany New York to the United States. Israel?”

    Cryptic conclusions and cautions:
    1. Untermyer- destroyed Germany to push political support, financing, and population to Palestine for benefit of zionism. A person with that quality – or someone following in his footprints – would have no compunctions about destroying the US to fulfill the zionist imago.
    2. Jane Harman recently gave up her senate seat to take over leadership of the Wilson Center, a (partially) taxpayer-funded think tank dedicated to protecting the memory of Woodrow Wilson.
    3. Holocaust denial is a crime because to research it would reveal The Sting operation. (The Sting, starring Paul Newman, aka Ari ben Canaan)
    4. US did not emerge from WWII the “good guy” but the new inductee to the criminal syndicate. In the days immediately after WWII armistice, Ike’s actions and decisions resulted in the deaths of as many as three million German DEFs –disarmed enemy fighters – and German civilians.
    5. David Makovsky and Robert Satloff recently returned from taking a delegation to Israel – a delegation of trustees of WINEP who are also “New York bankers and venture capitalists”
    6. “Levey “has been hailed by both Republicans and Democrats” – who have made of the US accomplices in theft, blackmail, and genocide.
    7. If I COULD reimagine my arse, it would be ten pounds lighter.

  84. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: February 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    As you wish.

    And I am not your “mate”.

  85. kooshy says:

    Eric “It was pretty easy to predict that Western writers would soon start criticizing Egypt’s nuclear program.”

    Like Gomer-Pyle all I can say is surprise superise

  86. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:48 am

    fyi, listen mate, I’m done. Take it up with someone else.

  87. We ought to establish an informal “Can You Top This?” competition, with the prize to be awarded to the most outrageous effort to link the Muslim Brotherhood to nuclear weapons.

    We must set some limits, of course, so we’ll need to prohibit cartoon drawings of some Muslim Brotherhood leader sitting astride a nuclear missile on its way to Israel. But within those broad limits, anything goes. Here’s my entry:

    “Kamal el-Helbawy: Egypt should have “a good government, like the Iranian government, and a good president like Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is very brave,” which also means that women should wear head cover in public and Egypt should develop a nuclear program and a nuclear bomb.”


  88. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: February 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I have read what you wrote, I do not find your statements relevant to the history that I cited. Neither do I find Dr. Sen’s argument persuasive for the reasons that I cited.

    Yes, there is a thing called German-ness.

    Just like the students from Kerman who show a remarkable apptitude for Mathematics.

    When missionaries tried to teach African children in Nigeria plane Euclidean geometry, they hit a wall. The children could not grasp even the idea of the subject matter let alone the subject matter itself.

    Non-Western people certainly can learn, one would hope, from the Western people. But this learning cannot hope to match what has, in a manner of speaking, been bred into the Western people for over 2 millenia.

    By the same token, for 3000 years, the Iranian cultural millieu has been one of the a struggle to understand the relationship between God and Mankind and to re-order society based on that understanding: from the mission of Zoraster, to Mani, to Mazdak, to Islam, to Shia Islam. Chinese people, for example, cannot grasp this culture and will be unable to do so for centuries even if they tried.

  89. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I don’t think you read what I wrote, nor the article I cited. Until you do, you will not realize that in fact not only I (and the article) acknowledge, but I applaud Western Peoples’ democratic accomplishments.

    The arguments are somewhere else entirely. However, when someone responds to refutation of cultural determinism, by attributing everything to ‘Germanicness’, I think it might be time to leave the debate exactly where it stands.

  90. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: February 14, 2011 at 10:38 am

    To this day, there is no non-Western state (Japan and Israel included) that match the transparency of Denmark or Sweden.

    The reason is that two slaient features of the Western political culture have had no counter-parts in any other parts of the world for any significant period of time.

    One feature is personal liberty whiuch, in my opinion, is tracebale to the liberties exercised by individuals of Germanic tribes of Northern Europe.

    The second, is the idea of representative governance of the cities which, again in my opinion, is tracebale to the practices of Rome (both under the Republic and under the Empire).

    [I am not going here to explore the ramifications of the ability of Christian Bishops to create new Laws (to legislate) to the creation of Legislative bodies in teh future. This was absent in Judaism, and in Islam where the law was always rigid.]

    One has to accept historical facts instead of taking refuge in lovely rhetoric whose aim is to caress the rufflled feathers of non-Western egoes that could not acknowledge historical achievements of the Western people.

  91. Kooshy,

    It was pretty easy to predict that Western writers would soon start criticizing Egypt’s nuclear program. A bit less predictable, but all but inevitable: Brazil.

    Brace yourself, Brazil.

  92. Kev. says:

    the zionist and white house money is behind the organized demonstrations in Iran right now although some are allocated for the MeK terrorists and the Jundallah terrorists.

  93. Dan,

    “For 30 years, the US government did not give a damn about democracy and freedom in Egypt but now miraculously, the US talks about nothing but liberty for Egypt. How pathetic is that?”

    On a “pathetic scale” of 1 to 10, roughly 10. But fear not: “liberty for Egypt” won’t remain high on the US government’s agenda for long, so enjoy it while it seems to be for real.

  94. BiBiJon says:

    On Western Narratives — Islam and Democracy

    In an exchange between FYI and RSH yesterday the following line caught my eye.

    “The idea of representative system of government, both in theory and in practice, came out of the Greek and Roman periods. I agree that Islam and Christianity had nothing to do with it. Lately, Muslims have tried to justify it by reference to the verse of the Quran that states: “Consult among yourselves on tasks.””

    I responded with citing an article http://arthshastra.com/pdf/DemocracyIsntWestern.pdf

    No religion that hopes to survive the vagaries of history will explicitly endorse any particular ‘system’ of government, nor the mechanisms involved in any other inherently man-made social institution. Therefore, it is a no brainer that Islam and Christianity (and Judaism and Zoroastrianism) had nothing to do with the idea of representative system of government, neither in theory nor in practice.

    What irked me sufficiently to respond in the first place was the whiff of racism couched in the usual arguments of cultural determinism. When I cited the history of democracy in Susa 2000 years ago, fyi dismissed it as an exception. Notice how only some exceptions do not make a rule. Episodes of distinctly undemocratic, colonial, genocidal practices in the West also should be ignored as exceptions so that the meme of ‘Democracy is Western’ gets to survive yet another discussion thread.

    I’d like to try a “Now, imagine she was white”, from the movie ‘A Time To Kill’

    Consider the argument that Westerners would/could never understand mathematics. They could never build the educational institutions that allowed an accredited teacher instruct students in an hierarchical order of teacher/student relationship. Close your eyes and imagine someone make the argument that Islamic civilization’s pragmatic nature as exemplified by applying mathematics to study of astronomy requires a mix of ‘Islam’, ‘orient’, and olive skin. It could never have currency among Westerners whose habit of mind has not extended beyond superstitious nonsense about ‘Gods’ for millennia. “Now, imagine she was white.”

    If neither culture, nor religion, nor race explains Western democratic achievements, then what does? Europeans had the luxury of being on the periphery of forces that buffeted the civilized world of ancient times. They were blessed by being completely ignored as barbarians. The least desirable job was to be a satrap for Macedonia, a deeply impoverished region compared to the rest of the ‘civilized’ world. Consultative and representative systems of governance took root in the isolated West because it made 2+2=4 type of sense, and it did not have to compete with other realities such as marching imperial armies, insurrections, and various other exigencies of governing vast empires. As soon as a choice did have to be made, i.e. Alexander the Great, then the Greeks’ 7 yearlong empire was plenty long-lived enough to trash all previous idealistic concepts. Alexander chose Persia as the capital of his empire, completely coopted Persian style of governance, and died in the arms of his Persian wife.

  95. Kooshy,

    Thanks for the reference to Joe Cirincione’s article. I think we all expected this, but I’d have hoped he’d waited a “decent interval” for the celebrations to end. Maybe he thought he’d get credit for original thinking.

    We’ll undoubtedly see passages like this dozens of times over the next few months:

    “In more recent days, however, the Muslim Brotherhood has called for Egypt to develop a nuclear capability that could balance the threat posed by Israel. Mubarak kept a lid on Egyptian nuclear ambitions, but they never entirely disappeared.”

  96. Dan Cooper says:


    Re: Egypt’s nuclear and your post addressed to Eric.

    How ironic that only a few days ago I mentioned Egypt will soon be accused of building a nuclear bomb.

    Dan Cooper says:
    February 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm
    James Canning

    Election in Egypt might follow the same pattern as in Gaza.

    Hamas was democratically elected in January 2006, President Carter and some other international observers categorically confirmed that the election was free and fair.

    Nevertheless, the US Congress and the west punished Hamas for not giving in to Israel’s demands.

    For 30 years, the US government did not give a damn about democracy and freedom in Egypt but now miraculously, the US talks about nothing but liberty for Egypt. How pathetic is that?

    In 6-months time, the new democratically elected government of Egypt will face the same fate as Hamas and the Islamic republic if they do not give in to US and Israel’s demands.

    One of the headlines would probably be like this: Egypt is 5 years away from building an atomic bomb and is now an existential threat to Israel..lol

  97. Pirouz says:

    Just so everyone is aware, there are at least two fakes being offered as depictions of protests in Iran today.

    One is a photo on Al Arabiya and the other is a video purporting a large demonstration with Mubarak, Khamenei slogans. From the lack of winter clothing (it was in the upper 40s F in Tehran today) these are obviously fraudulent depictions.

    Not much material being put forth to substantiate claims coming off of Twitter. It’s early yet for posting, but keep in mind it’s dark already in Iran.

  98. kooshy says:


    Since you were interested on Egypt’s nuclear issues here is a new article, no need to guess by who, and where it was surfaced

    Joe Cirincione
    President of Ploughshares Fund

    Posted: February 13, 2011 02:59 PM

    Egypt’s Nuclear Dimension

  99. fyi says:

    Castellio says: February 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I do not know what to say about this statement of yours so riddled with misunderstanding.

    The Jirga is as democratic as a Teamster’s Union Pension Fund Management meeting.

    The thesis that US would be pursuing the (metaphysically impossible) task of creating a centralized democratic state in Afghanistan so that she could corrupt it later is borderline insanity. if you believe that.

    Castellio says: February 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    That quoatation is factually incorrect. Alexander the Great had nothing to do with Rome.

  100. Arnold Evans says:


    And yet Levey’s sanctions did not prevent North Korea from going ahead with two nuclear tests and building a new enrichment program.

    What the sanctions demonstrate is the global need for countries to insulate their banking system from US interference, and likely it has accelerated these efforts which ultimately will result in less profits for the US financial industry.

    As FYI says about Stuxnet, this takes advantage of the privileged position of a US industry, but also creates new incentives to remove the privileged position. In the end, it likely will not be worth it for the US.

  101. fyi says:

    fyi says:February 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    There were Clash of Civilizations in the past, there are Clash of Civilizations at the present time, and there would be Clash of Civilizations in the future.

    At the moment, the political power and influence of the Western Civilization in the Muslim Civilization is being dismantled. This has been a historical process that has been going on for more than 150 years and will continue until the last vestiges of the Western influence among Muslims is eliminated.

  102. Castellio says:

    Okay, this is long, but I think of value. It deals with Stuart Levey’s role in Korea and Iran, and I think clarifies the kind of pressure that can be (will be?) brought to bear against Egypt, should that government ‘stray’ from US-Israeli interests. Fiorangela, at least, will be interested.

    “New Stage in US Use of Financial Sanctions as Strategic Weapon? Levey Departs

    Stuart Levey, who helped put the US Treasury at the center of US national security strategy and policy-making during a career that spanned the Bush and Obama administrations, has announced his retirement.

    The policy-making legacy he leaves behind, central to the enhanced unilateral use of financial and economic sanctions against “rogue” states by the Bush and Obama administrations, underscores the need for a broader understanding of the ways in which US global policy functions. Specifically, at a time when the US faces costly failures on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan, and growing social unrest across the Middle East and Africa, its hidden financial weapons retain their near mystical power to coerce recalcitrant nations.

    “Near mystical” is appropriate, because the combination of a lack of detailed public information about the damage sanctions are inflicting on countries like Iran and North Korea and the overwhelming yet unquestioning bipartisan support in Washington for sanctions makes these instruments of coercion poorly understood.

    Since become Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in 2004, Levey has directed Treasury’s enforcement, regulatory and intelligence functions to disrupt financial support to those alleged to engage in international terrorism or financial criminality. In this capacity he has travelled across Asia, the Middle East and Europe to press foreign governments and global financial institutions to cut their financial ties with entities in Iran, North Korea and other countries that the Treasury claims are involved in WMD proliferation, terrorism or such financial crimes as money laundering.

    The Obama administration has named David S. Cohen to replace Levey. Both Levey and Cohen are graduates of Ivy League law schools. According to the Wall Street Journal, both once worked as partners at the same Washington law firm. Cohen left private practice to become Levey’s deputy in 2009. Earlier he had a stint in the Treasury Department during the Bill Clinton administration.

    As a result of Levey’s efforts, North Korea, the leading target of US-led international economic sanctions for decades, was largely though not totally cut off from international banking and commerce for a period of nearly two years from 2005 to 2007, a devastating situation for a country forced to pay cash for many business transactions because the world denies it credit. Even today, North Korea’s ability to participate normally in global business continues to face restrictions, though only Treasury officials and senior global banking managers cajoled and coerced by Treasury from behind closed doors into supporting sanctions enforcement know the details.

    In the case of Iran, a number of important private and state banking institutions in that country have been placed on a Treasury sanctions blacklist. Media reports and comments by Treasury officials and even a few Iranian government leaders paint a picture of an increasingly isolated Iran, unable to do business with most Western and Asian financial institutions despite the leverage afforded by its large oil and gas reserves, and forced to pay higher transactions costs to circumvent sanctions and maintain normal trade. To insure its anti-Iran sanctions bite, Levey and his colleagues regularly travel the world, meeting with public and private banking officials in countries that do business with Iran, to warn them that they court loss of reputation and placement on Treasury’s blacklist if they refuse to adhere to Treasury’s demands to sever financial ties with Iran. Because a cut-off from the US market, the most lucrative in the world, would be devastating, Levey and his colleagues report that their warnings are usually heeded.

    Levey “has been hailed by both Republicans and Democrats for reimagining the use of financial warfare since moving to the Treasury in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.,” said the Wall Street Journal in a flattering portrayal.

    The Journal also quoted Tom Donilon, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, as crediting Levey for having “built the U.S. government’s effort to combat terrorist financing from the ground up, and created a highly effective, world-class organization that has made Treasury an integral player in U.S. national-security policy.”

    White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan said in a statement that Levey “has helped save lives, and our country owes him a strong debt of gratitude.”

    The American Jewish Committee (AJC), which presented Levey with its Distinguished Public Service Award in 2009 and is a consistent advocate of hardline policies toward Iran, issued a press release that “expressed admiration” for, as AJC Executive Director David Harris put it, his “extraordinary impact on national and global security” and said he was “a towering force in seeking to thwart Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons, as well as in interrupting the flow of funds to terrorist-sponsoring states and groups.”

    In contrast, the Asia-Pacific Journal (APJ), Asia Times and other online publications have looked closely at the consequences of the global financial sanctions campaign orchestrated by Treasury under Levey’s direction.

    John McGlynn, writing at the APJ in July 2007, analyzed North Korea’s cutoff from the global financial system that resulted when Treasury sanctioned Banco Delta Asia (BDA), a small bank in Macau holding North Korean deposits, in September 2005. At the time Treasury charged BDA and North Korea with conspiring to commit a number of illicit financial acts, one of which was that BDA had a “special relationship” with North Korea that “specifically facilitated the criminal activities of North Korean government agencies and front companies. For example, sources show that senior officials in Banco Delta Asia are working with DPRK officials to accept large deposits of cash, including counterfeit U.S. currency, and agreeing to place that currency into circulation.”

    McGlynn, however, found that Treasury had failed to provide any evidence of wrongdoing, writing:

    None of these charges have been accompanied by conclusive or convincing evidence of wrongdoing. It is a list of allegations, which are by their nature almost impossible to verify since the basic factual information needed to confirm criminality, such as dates, sums of money involved and names of individuals or DPRK [North Korea] entities involved, is absent.

    The BDA-North Korea sanctions based on these unproven accusations disrupted delicate Six Party (China, the US, Japan, Russia and North and South Korea) negotiations over implementation of an agreement reached in 2005 to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and create a peace and security compact for Northeast Asia, the world’s last Cold War outpost. Negotiations eventually resumed, but broke down again in late 2009.

    One of the costs of the failure to implement the 2005 agreement, together with the election of the Lee Myung-bak government in South Korea, is that throughout 2010 North and South Korea were on the brink of a second Korean War, largely because of intensification of a six-decades dispute over maritime territorial and resource rights in the West Sea. There have been signs in recent days that the two war-divided countries may soon sit down for talks, which could help de-escalate recently heightened military tensions and pave the way for resumption of the Six Party process.

    As for BDA, it remains on Treasury’s blacklist of unilaterally sanctioned financial institutions. The bank’s alleged wrongdoing with and on half behalf of North Korea still remains publicly unproven.

    In March 2008, another article by John McGlynn examined a Treasury announcement that month that strongly advised the global banking industry to start viewing all Iranian banks as an unacceptable risk to the international financial system. When read in conjunction with other Treasury statements concerning Iran, the purpose of the announcement was to advance Washington’s campaign to ostracize the third member of George Bush’s axis of evil from global commerce and trade. It was fairly obvious that, against Iran, the US was trying to impose the kind of comprehensive sanctions approach that had been so successful during the 1990s in bringing Iraq’s economy to its knees and eviscerating basic medical care and other social services.

    It was also obvious that Treasury was following a particular modus operandi, as parallels with the BDA-North Korea sanctions were present. The “real impact” of the BDA-North Korea sanctions, Treasury undersecretary Stuart Levey told members of the American Bar Association in early March 2008, was that “many private financial institutions worldwide responded by terminating their business relationships not only with [BDA], but with North Korean clients altogether.” Levey and his Treasury colleagues had come up with a way to use the global banking sector to implement banking sector sanctions against an entire country. Through a little extraterritorial legal arm-twisting of the international banking community, the US was able to put “enormous pressure on the [North Korean] regime – even the most reclusive government depends on access to the international financial system,” said Levey. This gave Washington a great deal of leverage in its diplomacy over the nuclear issue with North Korea. As Levey told the gathering of US lawyers, “we are currently in the midst of an effort to apply these same lessons to the very real threat posed by Iran.” However, “Iran presents a more complex challenge than North Korea because of its greater integration into the international financial community.”

    Like the BDA-North Korea case, the sanctions imposed by Treasury on Iran’s banks are based on unproven allegations and have no legal standing. The allegations have never been tested in a US court nor, despite important obvious foreign policy implications, examined at a US Congressional public hearing.

    Now that Stuart Levey is about to step down, what can be said about the kind of legacy he leaves behind that also serves as a coda to the North Korea and Iran financial sanctions stories mentioned above?

    Levey has accomplished unaccountable control over, and the privatization of a considerable amount ofm US foreign policy. Under Levey the Treasury has won a seat at the major councils addressing US global issues. Information concerning the evidence (if any) of wrongdoing that supports application of sanctions against a country or its financial institutions and Treasury’s coercive power is applied to major world banks in sanctions implementation and enforcement. Such information, critical both to democratic control and oversight of US foreign policy by US citizens and their Congress, and to global assessments of the compatibility of sanctions with international law (several United Nations conventions, such as the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States, prohibit the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce states), is shared not with the US public, the US Congress or the UN but in secret with the world’s private bankers and select foreign government officials.

    The reasons for sanctions (US Treasury only makes allegations, never presents supporting evidence), how they are implemented (by which banks/financial institutions around the world) and their impact on the target country (the national economy, social services, medical system, vulnerable populations such as poor women and children, etc.) remain mostly hidden behind a veil of secrecy. The possibilities for a vast amount of unseen human suffering are obvious.”

    the url is :http://japanfocus.org/site/view/126 and scroll right down

  103. Fiorangela says:

    Dear Humanist, hmm, an Iranian practicing that characteristic the name of which I’ve forgotten — about apologizing and being more humble than the other — with a Catholic DRILLED to accept guilt and blame and who worships at the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility in Lake Woebegone. This is like doing the limbo.

    I did not mean to be critical of your comment or to ‘correct’ your opinion or even to dampen your hope. I apologize for my cynicism — the more I learn about how the situation in the Middle East got to be the way it is, from as far back as the turn of the 20th century, the more I am outraged at the evil and deceit behind so much of US behavior and even moreso, behind zionism. I don’t know what to do with the knowledge that is crowding my brain. I wonder if there is something symbolic in my choice of baked apples for breakfast this morning.

    The Guest House

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing,
    and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    ~ Rumi ~

  104. Empty says:

    ممنون. سئوالهای جالب و قابل تعمقی رو مطرح می کنین.

    Thank you. Interesting and noteworthy questions.

  105. Empty says:

    I have not read that book but I will. Thank you for posting it.

  106. Dan Cooper says:

    I finally managed to watch Hilary’s interview on Aljazeera and was hugely impressed. She makes so much sense.

    Her vast knowledge of Egypt and her past involvement in the US government policy making is shining through.

    The more I analyse what she has said in the article above, the more I realize how deeply she is in touch with the realities on the ground of what is really happening in the Middle East.

    For the sake of America and his presidency, it is about time Mr Obama changes his ME advisers and bring Flynt and Hillary Mann Leveretts on board.

  107. Arnold Evans says:

    Further, army generals are structurally not better politicians than politicians. Unless the constitution carves out a superior place for the military in overseeing the affairs of the state – and there is no theoretical justification for that that would be accepted in Egypt – then we can trust Egypt’s politicians to possibly not immediately, but over the medium term to out-compete any generals in government in the political arena.

    I wish the US had no influence over events in Egypt, but it does and it will use its influence in a way that is anti-democratic. But since Mubarak left the US is a steadily declining influence in Egypt.

    Once we see how politics develops in Egypt and we identify the independence-based party, then a lot like Hezbollah in Lebanon, its advantages most likely will overwhelm US efforts to prop up neo-colonial factions in Egypt’s political system.

    At this moment I’m very very optimistic about Egypt. Not for six months from now, but absolutely for six years from now.

  108. PB says:

    Another well balanced piece.

    What is most striking is that one military general was replaced with an entire class of generals. Nothing good can come out of this.

  109. Castellio says:

    There’s an interesting, and I think accurate, way of seeing this: The Nasserist state was a military government within which was created a police state responsible to a military leader trying to justify a family cult.

    One level has been removed, the attempt at the family cult, the next level may be removed (the police state) and we are left with a military government.

    But this is not 1952 where the military were responsible for their own position, now it is the people themselves who cleared (are clearing) the other two layers, and who have positioned the army higher than the President and his very extensive retinue of cronies and police.

  110. Arnold Evans says:

    Reza: The US wants the military junta to do what you’d say, and it may try it. A constitution that does not put the military under civilian control would, I’m pretty sure, get protesters back out to the streets.

    Banning the Muslim Brothers from formally participating in politics may last until the first parliament session, but there is no support for that in Egypt and the elected Parliamentarians will not keep it in place.

    My feeling is that we don’t have full democracy at the first election, but we have a process that will produce something unrecognizable now and very close to fully open politics by the second election.

    I don’t think US efforts, through its connections with the current Egyptian junta, to permanently leave in place US influence over Egyptian policy will work. The most important reason it will not work is that no significant group of voters or protesters in Egypt accepts any rationale for doing so.

  111. مستشارالملک says:

    دو کلمه حرف حساب

    ما دقیقا چه می‌خواهیم؟

  112. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Wonderful. So, the result of this “people’s revolution” is that the military is now in complete control of the country and is not simply hiding behind Mubarak and the NDP.

    They will draft a constitution that gives them the final say on the country’s affairs and a system that excludes the Brotherhood and others.

    As long as they reaffirm their commitment to the Camp David Accord, the West will not push for any substantive democratic reforms.

  113. Fiorangela says:

    Empty wrote @ 6:14:

    “2) United States’ economic system transformation from an economy predominantly based on production to that which is predominantly based on speculation (risk-based, entertainment industry, commodification of land, women, and services);”

    Samuel Untermyer was at the center of all these transformations, in addition to — or rather, in service of, acquiring political support, population, and funding for the zionist project in Palestine. see The Speculation Economy: How Finance Triumphed Over Industry by Lawrence E Mitchell.

  114. Humanist says:

    Dear Fiorangela,

    Thank you so much. I sincerely appreciate any comment on my errors.

    As I was writing I subconsciously was thinking, in the Egyptian arena, things can not be as rosy as it was being portrayed when I was wrote:

    “…Regardless of my chronic skepticism and clearly seeing the hands of demonic foreigners in what happened I see the whole event as a glorious win for all….”

    And as a curious amateur historian I knew how in the past the evil hegemonist have tried to stop the torrents of history by shoving voodoo down the throat of the sheeple. I guess it was Gustav LeBone in 19th century who showed the Islamic civilization is rolling downhill fast. Imperialists if they didn’t know it clearly took his research seriously and as I wrote at the end of my note in a few major occasions, they engineered plots based on the above ‘backbone’. At the end of I wrote:

    “… At the end of this humble observational and congratulatory remarks I sincerely hope the Egyptians are fully aware of the immense power of their real enemies in redirecting their exalted dream towards all kinds of failure. I hope .they know the full story of Islamist Jinah in India, or how Pakistani Zia ol Haq was pushed (bribed) to Islamize his country or the full story of Afghan Mojahedin and Taliban or the creation of Hamas …….and how, after 1979 Iranian revolution, among other dark forces, the Iranian-American Citizens and stooges of other powers who had surrounded Khomeini drove him to ignore the alternatives in the first referendum. The rush was phenomenal, just in weeks (not months) Iran was Islamized , fell in a deep hole that getting out of it is not easy at all. …”

    Now I think, since the Islamist Monsters the hegemonist created in the past has bitten their hands hard the likelihood of creating another similar monster is not as high as before. No doubt the astute tricksters are fervently busy concocting new plots in different established ‘coup shops’.

    We have to wait and watch what is om store for the Egyptians. I am optimistic since, I believe in ‘people power in the long run’ and firmly believe in ‘human forward evolution’. Also for a number of convincing analytic reasons I am sure the hegemonists are on their way towards extinction….no matter if it takes decades or centuries…….eventually the human beings are going to break free…..it is either extinction (self-destruction) or building a just, peaceful and prosperous world for all….we won’t be here to dance in celebrating the dumping of the last army tank to high-furnace to convert it to useful tools …..but who knows the kids of today might see those bright days.

    At times optimism is not the same as self-deception.

  115. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio — I am no fan of the tweet-facebook phemon and regret that my disdain for the technology was inadequately expressed. I do believe real, raw human courage was on display in Tahrir Square; real lives, not 140 digital signals, were lost — and changed — by the actions of disciplined and determined men and women.

    My message to Humanist is, I hope those passionate young people were not duped, and if indeed the protest was genuine, homegrown, and passionate, I hope the revolution is not stolen from the protesters by western and Israeli neoliberal powers.

    The other day, Ron Paul received a plurality of the vote in a straw poll at CPAC, an annual Republican party conference. Several reporters commenting on the fact that this is the second or third time Paul has come out on top in these straw polls, dismissed the importance by saying, “Paul gets a lot of votes from the college crowd.” Apparently, in MSM-think, young people protesting in Egypt = good and significant; young people politically active in US = insignificant — if the activity is in favor of an anti-neoliberal politician.

    Regarding facebook — “Zuckerberg created a ho-hum switchboard for the Internet with no respect for anyone’s privacy, and a jejune disdain for any need for it, including people’s lives. Eben Moglen, on the other hand, is a true genius with a sense of humor and a steel moral backbone, who inspires 18-year-old computer geniuses today.”

    AND, what at least one social scientist thinks of the importance of ‘social media’

    :http://www.kovasboguta.com/index.html – How the Egyptian Mind is Influencing the West

  116. Goli says:


    I hope that the Egyptians would one day achieve their desired form of government, be it Islamic or secular, as long as it is theirs. And in either case, I hope that they would respect minority rights, a principle that it is not contrary to neither secularism nor Islam.

  117. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela… I ask that you not be taken in by the chorus claiming that the Egypt-wide demonstration was a Facebook-Twitter revolution.

    Please see Juan Cole on RT and watch who makes that claim and why:

    I ask that you look at the comments by Hossam El-Hamalawy I posted at 2.37 am, and keep them in mind when you look at the Reuter’s photos, most of which are from Suez.

    I ask that you realize, long before twitter, similar revolutions have taken place partially ignited by ‘the young’, but sustained by a much, much, broader coalition. Examples include Kwang-ju in South Korea, a very useful parallel.

    It is those from the Old Egypt and who prefer the Old Egypt who keep calling this “a facebook revolution”, where it is the “children” with grievances, and not “the people” with a political will and determination.

    The American government has been surprised by the breadth of the revolt, how it could stop the economy nation-wide, not just fill a square in Cairo…. Yes, America will be working over-time to control the moment, but this was not a coloured revolution, although elements of a coloured revolution may be present. Clinton would not have been claiming Egypt to be stable if it had been.

    There is a real reason for cautious optimism at this moment. Three hundred died to create that possibility. Let’s not let it slide away now. Vigilence, yes, but optimism, too.

  118. Castellio says:

    Deputy Secretary Steinberg’s opening statement on Egypt and Lebanon before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Capitol Hill. Summary… the US must be consistent but nimble, with a good game plan but able to call an audible. (I kid you not.)

  119. kooshy says:

    British ambassador banned to enter Iran
    13.02.2011 11:59

    Simon Gass, British Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran, is banned to visit Iran, Hossein Ebrahimi, a member of the Iranian Parliament, was quoted by Internet newspaper javanonline.ir. as saying.

    He said that British ambassador allowed insulting and humiliating words towards the Iranian government and people. At present, he is outside the country. He is banned to return to Iran. The Iranian authorities have taken this decision in response to Gass’s actions against the Iranian people.

    The National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian parliament approved a bill on Dec. 19 that requires a complete break of ties, including political, cultural and economic relations with Great Britain.

    The reason for the Commission’s decision was British Ambassador Simon Gass’s recent estimates on human rights situation in Iran on the website of the British Embassy. “Nowhere in the world, lawyers, journalists, NGO members feel such pressure, as in Iran,” the ambassador said. He also drew attention to numerous cases of arrests of human rights defenders in Iran.

    After the publication Simon Gass was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry. He was informed about the inadmissibility of interfering in the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    A group of Iranian politicians of the conservative camp demanded to immediately expel the diplomat from the country, who allowed expressing “insults” against the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as lowering the level of relations with Great Britain.

    Gass will complete its activity as an ambassador in Tehran this April to assume new obligations of the head of the NATO civilian mission in Afghanistan.

  120. Fiorangela says:

    dear Humanist,

    your comments about the courage and achievements of the Egyptian protesters was so hopeful for that a truly humanist Middle East region might emerge. I share your hope, and your admiration for the courage of the protesters (I think). As noted in a response to Arnold Evans, there’s a nagging worry that the protesters’ training was by the same people who have engineered coup d’etats in other places where the goal was not “liberte egalite fraternite” but political and financial dominance and resource and labor exploitation. see voltairenet. com; the anatomy of a coup d’etat. notice the fist poster, and look for the fist poster @ 20 minutes in the very slick video of “how the protest was planned” — did I mention that it’s a very slick video?

    If cyncism has overtaken me and the protest in Tahrir was truly homegrown, that still doesn’t mean Egypt is out of the woods; the Revolution may merely have fired the first volley; or won a battle. It remains to be seen if the war will be won. Zionism and what we are now calling “neoliberalism” –aka predatory capitalism aka exploitation of the masses for the benefit of the oligarchs — (see here, for example) has been working its will and agenda for over 120 years; it will not give up its mad plot because some clever Egyptians used Twitter and facebook to grab the world’s attention for 2 1/2 weeks, and caused a dictator who was past his prime anyway, to step down in favor of a new improved model that will need less maintenance and be under warranty for at least 90 days.

    I suppose what I should have said was, “I hate to break your heart, but . . .”

  121. Empty says:

    I’ve not seen Triumph of the Will. I’ll see if I could find and watch it.

  122. Pirouz says:

    Empty, amusing observations.

    There was a comment thread elsewhere on another blog on which film offered a more effective tool of propaganda: Triumph of the Will or Casablanca. Comparatively speaking, Triumph of the Will is more of an upfront documentary, and Hollywood’s Casablanca is–well–Hollywood.

  123. Empty says:

    ….and if you don’t believe me, check out Nima Shirazi’s website.

  124. Castellio says:

    An extraordinary series of photos from Reuters, mostly I think from Suez, during the uprising.


  125. Empty says:

    If the river has not moved on and taken the thoughts with it, here is my observation about Casablanca. The movie, no doubt an entirely symbolic movie, depicts, I think, three parallel transitions: 1) Western European nations relinquishing independent foreign policy and beginning to transfer “decision-making powers” to the United State; 2) United States’ economic system transformation from an economy predominantly based on production to that which is predominantly based on speculation (risk-based, entertainment industry, commodification of land, women, and services); and 3) Banking system headquarter transfer from Germany to the United States.

    Casablanca literally means White House; Richard Blaine’s café is called “Café Americain” (certainly not Ameriabel); Richard is shortened “Rick” or American pronunciation “Rich”, with shady past and in the habit of acquiring money by any means and at any cost. His soft spot is “that land/person/culture that had not previously bought what he had to sell” (represented by none other than Ilsa Lund). Greed is a nasty habit.

    Ilsa represents the lands and culture of Europe in the movie. Her maiden is/was Lund (meaning heartland) which has different spelling in many languages from Swedish to French to English, etc. One of the most significant lines she has in the movie is when she tells Rick, “I can’t fight it anymore. I ran away from you once. I can’t do it again. Oh, I don’t know what’s right any longer. You have to think for both of us. For all of us.” [How nice. Hollywood preparing Europe for uncle Sam to decide for everyone.] It is Rick who provides the “transit papers” and effectively leaves Victor Laszlo (Ilsa’s husband/administrator) in charge. Victor, well, no definition needed there. But Laszlo is another Slovic term means “glorious rule.” His line to Rick, “Thanks. I appreciate it. Welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win.” Indeed!

    Strasser (German/Jewish Ashkenazi name) meaning “guard.” This one is a really good one!

    Another good line is when the German Banker says, “Perhaps if you told him I ran the second largest banking house in Amsterdam.” Carl then responds, “Second largest? That wouldn’t impress Rick. The leading banker in Amsterdam is now the pastry chef in our kitchen.”

    The truest lines, I think, are: Rick, “If it’s December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York? Sam, “What? My watch stopped.” Rick, “I’d bet they’re asleep in New York. I’d bet they’re asleep all over America.”

    Well, Rick, the America continues to sleep.

  126. Castellio says:

    Just a quote of interest (hopefully for obvious reasons) from a book by Burton L. Mack entitled Who Wrote The New Testament: The Making of the Christian Myth.

    “Three model societies were in everyone’s mind during the Greco-Roman age (second century BCE to second century CE): the ancient Near Eastern temple-state, the Greek city-state (polis), and the Roman Republic. Eventually, they all came tumbling down in the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s campaigns. We are accustomed to thinking of Alexander as the enlightened ruler who introduced the people of the ancient Near East to the glories of Greek culture and so created the Hellenistic age, where we locate the foundation for Western civilization. We do not usually consider the negative effects of his campaigns which brought to an end the last of the illustrious empires of the ancient Near East, especially those of the Persians and Egyptians, and tarnished the classical Greek ideal of the polis by using its model for imperialistic purposes. These effects must be in mind as we proceed.”

  127. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    February 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    “Finally, I could agree that people can learn from each other. But you do not need to write such a long article arguing that point.”


    the article is derived from a book, ‘Identity and Violence’. A quick review of the reviews tells me, in this day and age, if anything, Sen’s efforts to refute the concept of clash of civilizations was too short.

    From Publishers Weekly:
    Nobel Prize–winning economist Sen deplores the “little boxes” that divide us in this high-minded but seldom penetrating brief against identity politics. Sen observes that ideologies of hate typically slot people into communities based on a single dimension that trumps the multifaceted affinities of class, sex, politics and personal interest that make up individual identities. This “reductionist” us-versus-them outlook is not limited to jihadists, he argues, but is a widespread intellectual tendency seen in Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” paradigm, in postcolonial critiques of democracy and rationalism as “Western” ideals, as well as in efforts to “dialogue” with moderate Muslims. (These last, he feels, pigeonhole Muslims in purely religious terms.) Sen rebuts the “singular affiliation” falsehood with a cursory historical, literary and cultural survey of the diversity of supposedly monolithic civilizations (Akbar, a 16th-century Mughal emperor and champion of religious toleration, is a favorite citation.) Sen’s previous work (Development as Freedom) injected liberal values into development economics; here, he argues that the freedom to choose one’s identity affiliations is the antidote to divisive extremism. Stitched together from lectures, the book is dry and repetitive. While Sen’s defense of humane pluralism against narrow-minded communalism is laudable, he never really elucidates the social psychology that translates group identity into violence. (Mar.)
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    From Booklist
    Violence is “promoted by a sense of inevitability about some allegedly unique–often belligerent–identity that we are supposed to have,” argues Sen in this rejection of the civilizational or religious partitioning that defines human beings by their membership in a particular group. Reminding us that each person is actually a composite of many affiliations, the author informs us that he is Asian, an Indian citizen, a Bengali with Bangladeshi ancestry, an economist, a teacher of philosophy, a Sanskritist, a believer in secularism and democracy, a man, a feminist, and a nonbeliever in afterlife; he omits, perhaps out of modesty, that he is a Nobel Prize winner. Those who would define themselves according to one monolithic system of categories (read jihadists, communitarians, and Samuel Huntington and his followers), says Sen, ignore both the composite nature of humankind and the freedom to choose how much importance to attach to a particular affiliation in a particular context and, in doing so, perpetuate sectarian violence. The key to peace, then, is the rejection of stereotypes in favor of humane pluralism. Pithy and optimistic. Brendan Driscoll
    Copyright © American Library Association.

  128. Castellio says:


    Given the democratic nature of the Afghani jirga, it has been argued that the American invasion is meant to strip direct democracy from the country and replace it with a centralized representative democracy, one much easier to corrupt and control. I agree with that thesis.

  129. fyi says:

    Castellio says: February 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    My apologies again, the previous-previous comment was addressed to you and not to Rehmat.

  130. fyi says:

    Castellio says: February 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm

  131. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: February 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I understood that the author was someone else.

    I apologize for my mode of address; it was inaccurate.

  132. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: February 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Since I have been, for the most part, educated abroad, I have been exposed to the works of Western scholars. If you are aware of works of non-Western scholars in this arena, please let me know.

    Regardless, I have a committment to Truth – I have corroborated many statements on my own.

    In regards to Susa, that is the exception that proves the case. It left no trace of itself on the later developments.

    I think that local traditions are very important in shaping human behavior. Since tradition (both customary and religious/intellectual) thinks for people. As an example, consider that for the duration of Hindu Culture and Civilization, not a single book of history has ever been written. Hindu Thought, until the Muslim Invasions, was utterly ahistorical. This has affected and is affecting India.

    Consider, as anther example, the role of Bishops in Catholic Church. Bishops can create Law, this is to be opposed to Islam and its rididities when it comes to Islamic Law. These changes people’s minds and attitudes.

    Finally, I could agree that people can learn from each other. But you do not need to write such a long article arguing that point.

  133. Castellio says:

    FYI… It wasn’t me writing at all. I have quotes around it and at the end note: written by george katsiaficas, so I’m not sure how you got that wrong.

    The quote was taken from an email list serve, and the discussion of Kwang-ju in relation to Egypt had already taken place. (Very few still argue that ‘thousands’ died during that uprising.)

    As to the deaths prior to the Korean War, no-one has related that to Egypt, although as historical fact it is increasingly well documented, due to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee mandated under President Roh.

  134. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    February 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    “I read Dr. Sen’s article and I disagree with it.

    None of this [idea and prctice of democracy]ever obtained in any other part of the world.

    Dr. Sen tries to obfuscate this great achievement of the European people through irrelevant observations and innuendo.”

    Needless to say, I think you’ve bought the Westren narrative hook, line and sinker.

    First of all, for several centuries the city of Susa (or Shushan), Iran had an elected council, a popular assembly, etc. Susa is among many other examples of adoption of democracy to the East (India, Bactria) a millennia before democracy sprouted to the west of Athens.

    Second, nobody is denying that baloting, and voting were remarkable Athenian innovations. Nor is anyone denying the past several centuries of Western democratic acheivements.

    What Dr. Sen is demonstrating is that there are no cultural/religious diterminsitic features that per se explain lack or abundance of democracy in various parts of the world. And, that indeed the ancient Greeks’ discussions about best forms of governance was the result of much itellectual back and forth with Iranians, Egyptions and Indians, as per Greeks’ own testement. No Eurpeans (who at the time lived up in trees) were part of those discussions, disagreements, and subsequent synthesis and eventual pratical perfection of it in Greece and to the east of Greece long before Rome was Rome.

  135. fyi says:

    Castellio says: February 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    You did not mention the patriots that were assasinated – under American occupation – in the years prior to the out-break of the Korean War.

    You did not mention the insurrection in Kwang-ju and its supression by Korean troops under American command (American command claimed that they had been put under Korean Government) leading to thousands of civilian deaths. Sort of like Hama in Syria.

  136. Dan Cooper says:

    Bussed-in Basiji

    Re: Prof. Abbasi- Israel’s bombing victim- appointed new head of Iranian atomic energy agency.

    This is a poignant and clever appointment by Ahmadinejaad.

    Being a head of Iranian atomic energy agency is a high profile job in international arena and Prof. Abbasi will always remind the world of Israel’s state terrorism.


  137. Humanist says:


    “Heart Break”?
    please let me know what you meant.

  138. Castellio says:

    For a Korean-Egyptian comparison:

    “Yes, 4.19 comes to mind, as do many other People Power uprisings. I am especially struck by parallels with Korea’s 1987 June Uprising, when for 19 consecutive days, hundreds of thousands of people illegally went into the streets and battled tens of thousands of riot police to a standstill. On June 29, the military dictatorship finally capitulated to the opposition’s demands to hold direct presidential elections, thereby ending 26 years of military rule.

    As in Egypt on February 11, 2011, the man who made the announcement in Seoul on June 29, 1987 was none other than the dictatorship’s No. 2 leader: Roh Tae-woo, who went on to become the country’s new president after elections marked by both a bitter split between rival progressive candidates and widespread allegations of ballot tampering. People’s high expectations and optimism after the military was forced to grant elections turned into bitter disappointment. Throughout the country, new massive mobilizations wereorganized, during which more than a dozen young people committed suicide to spur forward the movement for change.

    Like Suleiman, Roh was a long-time US asset with ties to a list of nefarious deeds. In 1996, Roh and his predecessor Chun Doo-hwan were convicted of high crimes, sent to prison, and ultimately ordered to return hundreds of millions of dollars they had illegally garnered. (Roh eventually returned around $300 million; Chun deceitfully pleaded poverty and, although thereby dishonored, he absconded with even more than that amount of Korea’s wealth.

    While Roh was never linked to any direct act of sadism, Suleiman is known to have personally participated in the torture of CIA rendered terrorist suspects. As “the CIA’s Man in Cairo,” he helped design and implement the American rendition program through which dozens of suspected terrorists were kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured. Suleiman took a personal hand in the torture of Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib. In his memoirs, Habib recounted one torture session of electric shocks, broken fingers and being hung from meat hooks that culminated in being slapped so hard that his blindfold flew off—-revealing Suleiman as the purveyor of the violence.

    While Habib was innocent, another rendered suspect, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, confessed to participation in training anti-US fighters and famously asserted under torture that ties existed between al-Queda and Saddam’s government in Iraq. This lie became one of Colin Powell’s most significant assertions to the UN Security Council when the US convinced much of the world to attack Iraq. When al-Libi later recanted and threatened to expose his lie, he “committed suicide” in a Libyan prison—coincidentally at the same time as Suleiman made his first ever visit to Tripoli.

    As we saw the post-World War 2 “Korean Model” applied by Bush 2 to occupied Iraq, so it seems that Korea’s democratization might hold possible lessons for Egypt.

    Will the blood of the 300 murdered citizens in Egypt, like the martyrs of Gwangju, water the tree of liberty? Or will their sacrifice grease the wheels of US banks and global corporations as they rush to replace “crony capitalism” with ever more profitable arenas for wealthy investors?

    No one can anticipate the outcome of what has been set in motion, but historical antecedents do provide insight into possible outcomes.”

    (written by george katsiaficas on the a Korea-oriented listserve)

  139. Pirouz,

    You mentioned watching “Casablanca” and being upset at the “implied message that it was evil of Germany’s intent to colonize Poland, Czechoslovakia and Ukraine, but it was perfectly normal for France to maintain by force the colonies of Morocco (where the films takes place!), Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Vietnam.”

    You can spot even more hypocrisy than this in “Casablanca” – some even more relevant to current events. Humphrey Bogart dislikes not only the Germans. He maintains a disapproving coolness toward the French occupiers as well. He nevertheless runs a very profitable business (a night club) by cooperating with that corrupt government. In fact, if you recall the movie’s famous “shocked, shocked” line, it was spoken by the top French government representative, who professed surprise to learn that “gambling is going on in this establishment.” A few seconds later, one of Bogart’s employees handed the Frenchman a small bag filled with money and said “Your winnings, sir.”

    About 70 years later, in another North African city whose name also starts with “Ca,” other Americans had long expressed disapproval of the country’s government but, much like Humphrey Bogart, had found it to their advantage to do business with that bad government.

  140. Castellio says:

    Fio, thanks.

  141. Castellio says:

    Gattuso, can you clarify what you mean by ‘commenced the ramification of the opposition in Egypt?’


  142. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio – link to Jefferson’s Syllabus: :http://www.angelfire.com/co/JeffersonBible/jeffbsyl.html

  143. Castellio says:

    I agree with FYI regarding Dr. Sen’s comments.

    But I do think the experiences of the (far) East clarify that morality certainly does not depend on religion, and certainly less on revelation; assumptions we in the west fall into consistently. A thousand years from now, if we’re lucky, our progeny will be talking more about Mencius and less about Moses. (The cultural limitations of Islam are apparent when we make this comparison).

    Fiorangela, I should know this, but I don’t… where did Jefferson write what you have him writing in your posting of 12.06?

  144. gattuso says:

    The questions to be answered are:

    Has the recent wave of Islamic awakening in the Muslim states marks the end of westerners’ hegemony over Muslim nations?

    Has United States commenced the ramification of the opposition in Egypt?

    Is New Egypt (in a year or two) the first Arab Nation to be under new method of US to control those nations?

  145. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Prof. Abbasi- bombing victim- appointed new head of Iranian atomic energy agency.


  146. Castellio says:

    Pirouz, forgive me, hear, not here.

  147. Castellio says:

    Pirouz, I’d like to here your comments on ‘Gone With The Wind’, having enjoyed your reaction to the Casablanca interview.

    Arnold, I agree with your statement that “My point was that Americans can get too self-congratulatory on having a constitution that is not expressly religious…” and generally with that complete posting.

    As for Protestantism, I recommend the recent book (2007) by Alister McGrath, Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution, a history from the 16th century to the 21st. It directly addresses the issues we’ve been circling.

    Neo. I thank you for your thougts at 7.27. You are right to mention the Iran-raq war as ‘non-existent’ in western media discourse. It remains non-existent even today. I have no reference to a clean cold analysis of Stratfor, it is my personal opinion that their reading often reflects a contemporary and general bias.

  148. Fiorangela says:

    Arnold Evans @ 10:36 am wrote to Castellio and Eric: (continued)

    As to the first statement:

    “Others have pointed out other differences, such as that a non-religious government had been successfully overthrown which had not been the case for the US. The difference I point out also would lead a country away from having a non-religious constitution.”

    I would argue that the US HAS been “overthrown” but from within. We know that zionists have taken specific, targeted, and effective efforts to cleanse the US State Department of “Arabists” — see

    Ron and Allis Radosh :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/ASafe

    Mitchell Bard :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/mitchellbard

    And even Jewish activists such as Phil Weiss and Mark Braverman who seek to reshape American thinking to be more accommodating of Palestinian Arabs are nonetheless outspoken in their insistence that, in the United States and even in private venues in the US, Christian expression should be erased, lest Jews be offended, but in any event, asserts Weiss, Jews now claim the position of “establishment elites” in the US:

    Weiss: “Gilman [a private, Episcopalian primary & secondary school] was the establishment institution in Baltimore, the prep school that trained young men for leadership. I used to curse the place as a bastion of privilege and WASPiness. And well that it did eliminate the Christian instruction; for the Establishment was changing under the weight of the meritocracy, it was beginning to include Jews, and WASPs were saying sayonara.*** There are no Protestants on the Supreme Court today.

    So our society changed; and a religious burden that Gordis today finds exemplary but when he was young was obnoxious– a religious burden that likely played some role in forming his view of Christian life, from which he fled– is a religious burden that our society eliminated 20 or 30 years ago out of a sense of fairness.”

    ***compare Weiss’s statement with this animating claim made by Samuel Untermyer in 1933, when he organized worldwide Jewry to destroy vilify Germans in the US, demonize Germany, and destroy Germany’s economy:

    “But why dwell longer upon this revolting picture of the ravages wrought by these ingrates and beasts of prey, animated by the loathsome motives of race hatred, bigotry and envy. For the Jews are the aristocrats of the world. . . .to whom Germany owes in large part its prosperity and its great scientists, educators, lawyers, physicians, poets, musicians, diplomats and philosophers, who are the backbone of its past cultural life. “


    Mark Braverman is a Jewish American psychologist from the DC suburbs who was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household that could trace its lineage to noted rabbis and Jewish leaders. Braverman, a baby-boomer, states that in his upbringing “Communism didn’t worry us; the Red scare was not a problem; what we really hated was Christians: Christians were intent on either killing Jews or converting them, and it’s not certain which was worse.” In his childhood and youth, Braverman visited Israel several times, but not until he was in his late 50s did Braverman venture into Palestinian territory. That visit, coupled with a visit to the newly remodeled Yad Vashem during which the fact that the intent of the museum was to indoctrinate in a powerful and emotionally-charged way, rammed itself home.

    Braverman gathered up his experiences and shaped them into a book, “Fatal Embrace,”
    ” a critical look at Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Mr. Braverman argues that Israeli security does not need to come at the expense of justice for the Palestinians.

    In her comments on Al Jazeera, Hillary Mann Leverett made a similar statement:

    But that statement begs a fundamental question.

    Eric reproduced the Moses narrative that, I argue, is the core of the de facto constitution of the Jewish state of Israel, and from which Jewish people derive the right to aggress upon and dominate another people. Braverman and Leverett claim that Israel should be provided security assurances in their pursuit of their aggressive and hegemonic agenda.

    But Eric argues that Islamic states should NOT enshrine in their constitutions the ideological armour that would unify their states to defend against such aggressive and hegemonic encroachments upon their societies.

    So does the basic framework of international order look like this: the strong — or those who coopted the support of the strong — have the right to enshrine as their ideological way of being the right to conquer and dominate others, but others do not have the right to encode in their systems those ideological systems that will aid them in defending against the aggressions of the powerful?

    And rather than serving as a model, isn’t the US Constitution an object lesson in what happens when a culture becomes ambiguous about its ideological underpinnings and allows itself to be divided against itself, so that its moral compass is ‘hyphenated’ — pointing simultaneously North and South for its bearing?

    In her comments on Al Jazeera, Hillary Leverett said that Obama faces a very difficult choice regarding Egypt and other states in the Middle East that can be expected to seek autonomous rule (I reject the word ‘democratic’ as having been debased and to have come to mean, ‘western-style’). But it really shouldn’t be that difficult: America’s foundational principles are clear, and the basis of America’s foundational values are clear — they are NOT zionist. Moreover, as far as the American people have been apprised by their representative government, the US has signed no treaty requiring that it defend Israel or act as its security guarantor. Barack Obama’s obligations are clear: he is obligated to uphold American interests and American values. Obama might do well to fortify himself these words of George Washington:

    The unity of government which constitutes you one people, is
    also now dear to you. It is justly so: for it is a main pillar in the
    edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home,
    your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty
    which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from
    different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken,
    many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this
    truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the
    batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and
    actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of
    infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of
    your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you
    should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immoveable attachment to it;
    accustoming yourself to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your
    political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with
    jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion
    that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the
    first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country
    from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the
    various parts.

    For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by
    birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to
    concentrate your affections. The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you in
    your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism,
    more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight
    shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits and
    political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed
    together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint
    councils and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

    But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to
    your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more
    immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds
    the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union
    of the whole. . . .

    While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and
    particular interest in union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find
    in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource,
    proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent
    interruption of their peace by foreign Nations; and, what is of
    inestimable value, they must derive from union an exemption from those
    broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict
    neighboring countries not tied together by the same government, which
    their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which
    opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and
    imbitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown
    military establishments, which, under any form of government, are
    inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly
    hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought
    to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the
    one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

    These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and
    virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the UNION as a primary
    object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government
    can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere
    speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that
    a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of
    governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to
    the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such
    powerful and obvious motives to union, affecting all parts of our country,
    while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there
    will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any
    quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.”

    nb. link to Jefferson’s Syllabus: :http://www.angelfire.com/co/JeffersonBible/jeffbsyl.html

  149. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: February 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I read Dr. Sen’s article and I disagree with it.

    The article is an attempt at de-emphasizing – to the point of utter distortion – the salient historical features of democracy, representative government, and the rule of law in Europe.

    I will state, very briefly, what those salient historical feature were.

    The Ancient Greeks, organized in the form of independent city-states (Polis) enjoyed different forms of government in these city-sates. Some of them were democracies, voting and all that.

    Furthermore, various Greek Thinkers discussed best forms of government, among them democracy. So there were theoretical discussions on the subject of governance in ancient Greece.

    Rome, both as the Republic and as the Empire, maintained democratic institutions in the administration of its cities (if not the Roman State) until the barbarian invasions destroyed the cities. There were elections and city councils and so on.

    These practices of city-councils and votes were revived during the so-called European Dark Ages (they were not, in reality) and persisted through to this day. Spain, for example, had city councils and elections at the time of Ferdinand and Isabella and there were well-established body of laws and regulations that governed these elections and the rights, duties, and privileges of the office-holders.

    All of this is part of what I have meant as the Legacy of Rome.

    None of this ever obtained in any other part of the world.

    Dr. Sen tries to obfuscate this great achievement of the European people through irrelevant observations and innuendo.

    There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with acknowledge this Western achievement and the debt that we all owe to West for this. One has to study, learn, and imitate it. People learn from each other, Americans are learning about Rumi, Iranians can learn about Rule of Law.

    Dr. Sen, it seems to me, is just trying to make non-Western people feel good about their lack of achievements that – at this historical moment – seem to be of utmost significance.

  150. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    February 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

    “The idea of representative system of government, both in theory and in practice, came out of the Greek and Roman periods. I agree that Islam and Christianity had nothing to do with it. Lately, Muslims have tried to justify it by reference to the verse of the Quran that states: “Consult among yourselves on tasks.””

    Fyi, please read

    Democracy Isn’t ‘Western’
    March 24, 2006; Page A10
    and let me know where you might disagree.


  151. fyi says:


    In 1872, Matthew Arnold wrote a monograph, “A Persian Passion Play, in which he highlighted the essentials of Shi’ism.

    In Arnold’s view, the Shia’s bloody re-enactment of the murder Ali–and his son, Hussein, 19 years later-was a pageant of martyr-theatrics strongly reminiscent of the passion plays staged at the same time in Europe.

    Arnold noted how even the (Qajar) Shah and his courtiers, at the climax of the play, began crying, together with the rest of the audience.

    The project for a secular or non-religious Iran means, in essence, that the death and martyrdom of Imam Ali and Imam Hussein (and his Household) should cease to have any significance to Iranians.

    Well, that is never ever going to happen.

    In 2003, there were thousands of common people going to Iraq from Iran – eventhough a war was being waged there – for pilgrimage to Shia Holy sites. These people love their religion. You have to accept that as a fact about that country and, in fact, about all the Shia everywhere (Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India).

    We have no idea what would happen if the Shia of Iran are attacked by US or Israel but I am metaphysically certain that the consequences will not be good for US-EU Axis and the local powers.

  152. Fiorangela says:

    Arnold Evans @ 10:36 am wrote to Castellio and Eric:

    “Others have pointed out other differences, such as that a non-religious government had been successfully overthrown which had not been the case for the US. The difference I point out also would lead a country away from having a non-religious constitution.

    If the United States was 89% Born-Again Christian, 9% Jehovah’s Witness, 2% “I don’t believe in distinctions. I’m a Christian who only follows the words of the bible”, . .”

    Take these two statements in reverse order;
    1. “I’m a Christian who only follows the words of the bible”
    You’ve made the distinction between Catholic and Protestant, but within Protestantism, everything relates to HOW one “follows the words of the bible.” Even more fundamental then that, what bible does one “follow”. Fore example, in this discussion of the influence of Montesqui on the thinking of the authors of the US Constitution, one participant observed that:

    “One of the problems present day thinkers run up against has to do with what Montensquieu and others meant in those days when they used the word, Gospel, in their talk.
    . . . there was a time not that long ago [as] in our present day when traditional Christianity meant the teachings of Jesus in using the word, Gospel. Now, the word has been morphed to mean the entire Bible as the Revealed Word of God which amounts to a distinct difference in meanings–thanks to Christian Fundamentalism. Back in the nineteen thirties and forties the Old Testament was taken to strictly represent errant Judaism whereas the New Testament was intended for regenerate Christianity. There was a distinctive relief expressed between the two.

    In other words, in the United States, Christianity was conceived to be the moral foundation of the society by such thinkers as Montesqui, who influenced the thinking of framers of US Constitution just as impactfully as Khomeini influenced the Islamic basis of the Iranian constitution.

    When the US Constitution was drafted, “gospel” — or, if I may, “bible” — meant the New Testament ONLY. In his Syllabus, a systematic study of religions, Thomas Jefferson observed:

    “II. Jews.
    1. Their system was Deism; that is, the belief in one only God. But their ideas of him and of his attributes were degrading and injurious.

    2. Their Ethics were not only imperfect, but often irreconcilable with the sound dictates of reason and morality, as they respect intercourse with those around us; and repulsive and anti-social, as respecting other nations. They needed reformation, therefore, in an eminent degree.”

    As the comment quoted earlier states, “before the 1930s and 40s” when one said “gospel” one meant New Testament. After that, America’s unofficial religion became hyphenated — “Judeo-Christian.” The commenter suggests that this “morphing” of America’s religious heritage and foundation took place through “Christian fundamentalism,” which is true as far as it goes. Jewish zionists, among whom Samuel Untermyer played a key role, actively influenced “Christian fundamentalists” such as Cyrus Scofield to place greater emphasis on messianic and triumphalist elements of the Jewish bible, and insisted that the the old AND new testament were of equal moral stature.

    Thomas Jefferson would have been astounded at the absurdity of that proposal, that in the presence of a superior formulation — the Life and Morals of Jesus — one should give equal weight to the “imperfect . . .irreconcilable with sound reason and morality . . .anti-social . . .” etc. postulates of the Jewish Old Testament.

  153. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: February 13, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Thank you for your clarifications regarding Deism.

    To me, it sounds like a garbled up version of Spinoza mixed with the ideas of Natural religion prevalent among those who wanted God and Religion but without the Catholic Church or the (Christian) Revelation.

    I am not, unfortunately, deeply conversant with Christian Theology but I heard tha there you can find the development of the idea of “Freedom in Christ”. I do not know, from the point of view of history of ideas, the extent to which this idea came from the tradition of personal liberty of the Germanic Tribes of Northern Europe.

    The idea of representative system of government, both in theory and in practice, came out of the Greek and Roman periods. I agree that Islam and Christianity had nothing to do with it. Lately, Muslims have tried to justify it by reference to the verse of the Quran that states: “Consult among yourselves on tasks.”

  154. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: February 13, 2011 at 8:48 am

    We have to go back to the late Mr. Moddaress for a vision; you will have to update his vision.

    In regards to what can be done.

    The first thing to do is to get organized but not around a political party or program but around enforcement of the Rule of Law.

    In concrete terms, the Law has to be upheld or altered.

    I have in mind essentially something like “Anjoman Defa’a az Qanoon Assasi” with a staff of lawyers to challenge foolish verdicts as well as to lobby the Majlis for changing existing legislation or for making new laws.

    I have in mind something similar to what Mrs. Ebadi had been doing before leaving Iran.

    Your recruitment must also include the religious scholars; not everyone among them is an obscurantist dim-wit. They could furnish you with arguments, based on Sharia, for improving the legal precepts in Iran – just like how the blood-money of Muslims and non-Muslims was equalized a few years ago based on precedents found in Sharia.

    You need to be adamantly supportive of the education of women; it is better to spend limited funds on educating girls than on boys since the girls will become mothers and raise better children, including boys.

    Lastly, you have to be patient and wait for all these bigoted, foolish, narrow-minded, and ill-educated men to die.

    In regards to term limit for the Supreme Jurisprudent; it is not needed. Mr. Khamenei will be the last human occupant of that post. After him, there will be a committee.

  155. Pirouz says:

    Last night on PBS television I happened upon a documentary on actor Humphrey Bogart. In it, one of the two writers of the screenplay for “Casablanca” declared his film a “good versus evil” story.

    I was thunderstruck by this Jewish-American writer’s implied message that it was evil of Germany’s intent to colonize Poland, Czechoslovakia and Ukraine, but it was perfectly normal for France to maintain by force the colonies of Morocco (where the films takes place!), Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Vietnam.

    And at the end of the film, where the French officer quips “Round up the usual suspects,” by that I’m sure he meant a collection of locals discontented with colonial rule!

    Before seeing this documentary, I had channel surfed to TCM channel where “Gone With the Wind” was playing. Don’t even get me started with that one…


  156. Arnold Evans says:

    About the wikileaks cable:

    It was released on 1/31/2011, well into the protests and after Obama had already submitted to the need for him to leave. Now the releasers of the wikileaks cables, the New York Times, Guardian and others in cooperation with the US State Department produce one cable that shows that the US was with the protesters all along.

    The thing is that with 98% still withheld by these releasers, we have no idea if there are three cables that say Egypt’s government thank the US for providing lists of potential organizers for surveillance by Egyptian security services.

    I consider these cables to have little or no credibility because of the process by which they are released. They likely are not forged and the likely are not the full story. If Al-Jazeera had gotten the cables at the end of November, I’m sure we would have seen this cable and many more that provide context for it long before this round of protests.

    But it did not, Assange decided to leave parties sympathetic with the US government agenda as the near-exclusive releasers of the cables and in doing so has rendered them of little or no value in analyzing US diplomatic postures and policies.

    The US did and still does hope that its colonies of possibly Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and others reform their governments so that they are more acceptable to their people and less embarrassing of violently contradictory to US professed values while still essentially isolating control of policy on matters relevant to the US and Israel from popular accountability.

    The US possibly saw protesters as a way of potentially pressuring Egypt to make the minor concessions it hoped would satisfy the populations of these countries. That was clearly the message when the protests started. The US did not intend for the removal of its client regimes, at the hands of these protesters or in any other way.

  157. pirouz_2 says:

    “Shia Islam was much more widely practiced in Iran in 1979 and also was a much more important part of the identity of the average Iranian in 1979 than any single religious doctrine was in what would become the United States in 1776.”

    This underlines an EXTREMELY important point, a point that I intended to make to Eric when I asked him about his religious beliefs (but he did not reply).
    Pretty much all supporters of secularism (like myself) have one thing in common, either they are not deeply religios (as you BRILLIANTLY put it religion does not play an important role in defining their identity) or even if they are (which is VERY RARE) their understanding of the religion does not conflict the idea of the secular state that they live in. That is why I asked Eric how religious he was.

    Let me clarify my point with one example: In Islam adultery is Haram (and punishable with severe penalties). Imagine that Islam constitutes the core of a person’s worldview, and that he or she is deeply religious. Further imagine that there is a law in the constitution which legalizes prostitution and furthermore makes its income taxable (this is a real arguement which was going on in Turkey in the early 90’s). Meaning that from an extremely haram act, there comes money by which schools and hispitals are built, and you as a muslim will send your children to those schools and your sick to those hospitals.
    In Islam when some act is Haram, it means that not only using that act or performing that act is haram but also making money out of it, or profiting by it is also haram.
    How would a deeply relgious person react to such a law?
    The bottom line is this: if you are deeply religious, if religion is the main core which determines your identity and worldview, then that directly determines the type of “laws” that you will want and the type of government that you will want. You wont want a government which would violate your own worldviews.

    Lastly Arnold: I get the impression that you downplay the importance of secularism in democracy? or at least you don’t think that it is worth it to go fo a change in Iran?
    I will have to disagree with you on that.
    As much as the importance of scularism in a liberal democracy has been exaggerated I do believe that it is main element of a true democracy where people would rule and the freedom of expression would truly prevail.

  158. Arnold Evans says:

    Castellio and Eric:

    I have not studied the issue closely, but I’ve always understood Protestantism to mean not Catholicism, and very little, if anything more than that. Protestant sects, such as Lutherans need not have anything in common with other Protestant sects such as Episcopalians and they may be as different in their religious doctrine from each other as they are from Catholicism. Anglicanism, for example, not having studied it closely or in a long time, I’ve been led to understand is essentially Catholicism with the single difference that that head is the British king rather than the pope.

    So the concept that Protestantism has a unifying idea of opposing the rigid hierarchical structure of Catholicism, which expresses itself in various ways, including political, is new and interesting to me and I’m glad to learn it.

    My point was that Americans can get too self-congratulatory on having a constitution that is not expressly religious. 1) It is not a difference that has a significant direct impact on many lives 2) It is the result of a different historical experience. Not a better experience, not a more advanced experience but a different set of prevailing circumstances.

    Others have pointed out other differences, such as that a non-religious government had been successfully overthrown which had not been the case for the US. The difference I point out also would lead a country away from having a non-religious constitution.

    If the United States was 89% Born-Again Christian, 9% Jehovah’s Witness, 2% “I don’t believe in distinctions. I’m a Christian who only follows the words of the bible”, and less than 1% everything else put together, then if you know anything about Born-Again Christians, if you’ve even seen any on television, I expect you to be quite sure they would have the votes and the will to ensure that the constitution of their country explicitly references their religion.

    The constitution would be the least of the problems of a person living in that United States who was not a Christian. But non-Christians would in their tiny numbers get by they’d wish the government was less Christian just as some Christians would with it was more, and they’d strike some balance over the entire society of how the country should be ruled. This balance would be different from my preferences or Eric’s or Castellio’s, but all of us could be outvoted in that country.

  159. Here's Johnny says:

    You bring up some good points that I totally agree with.
    The US wants to keep the oil producing counties of the world under its control. Having strategic control of the worlds oil, is a military and economic weapon the US hold over competing countries like China and India. Any country like Iran that feels it can sell its oil to whomever they want, will suffer the angst of the US. Look at the efforts the US is putting in to ousting Hugo Chevaz of Venezuela, because he is exporting oil directly to China. Iran would have to be totally compliant to the US, (like Saudi Arabia) in order to have the sanctions lifted.

  160. BiBiJon says:

    On January 28, 2011 at 11:10 am I had commented

    “… charting a new Mid East paradigm. The ideas taking shape were essentially borrowed from the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the deft management of its fallout by the then POTUS, George Herbert Walker Bush. In these meetings it was acknowledged that various regimes in the region were unsustainable. And, it was noted that when (not if) uprisings occur in Yemen, Algeria, Egypt and Tunis, then the formula of a quick and peaceful dissolution of prior political order, as happened after the liberation of Poland in other East European countries would be more manageable than the aftermath of a bloody revolution.”

    In the Smithsonian Magazine: Inside Iran’s Fury, Stephen Kinzer wrote:

    “Many countries in the Middle East are modern inventions, carved out of the Ottoman Empire by victorious European powers following the end of World War I. That is not the case with Iran, one of the world’s oldest and proudest nations. Half a millennium before the birth of Christ, the great conquerors Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes built the Persian Empire into a far-reaching power. When Europe was descending into the Dark Age, Persian poets were creating works of timeless beauty, and Persian scientists were studying mathematics, medicine and astronomy. Over the centuries, the nation that would become Iran thrived as it assimilated influences from Egypt, Greece and India.”

    And, more poignantly, Professor Gökhan Bacık of Zirve University, likening the “the Western-oriented Middle East system that was set up in the 1940s” to that of the USSR and the lack of legitimacy that East European Soviet vassals enjoyed among the people, he writes:

    “This system never developed social legitimacy and tried to survive solely on the support of the West. To put it more clearly, the structure we are talking about collapsing is an important part of the international system.”

    “Without the West’s support countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia would not be regarded as “modern states … according to sociological, political and other similar concepts. In other words there is no geography or national identity called Jordan. Historically there is no social establishment that brings Jordan into existence. Even those who are ruling Jordan are historically not “Jordanian.” But despite this “absence,” countries like Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have been living according to the desire for a Western-based system for many years. If the Western-based Middle Eastern subsystem collapses, then the basis for the existence for these states will collapse as well.”

    h/t fyi ,http://www.todayszaman.com/news-234420-the-end-of-the-20th-century-western-oriented-state-order-is-collapsing-in-middle-east-by-gokhan-bacik.html

    Other empires came to their twilight with a soft landing because of external forces. What additional persuasion Great Britain and France needed after WWII to abandon their failed imperial systems was provided them by the U.S. and USSR after the Suez crisis of 1956. USSR itself was dismantled with the coaxing of U.S. in the 90s.

    By definition, the sole Superpower has no one to force her to be objective, put aside vanities, and accept the inevitable con grace and sans fuss.

    U.S. had a chance these last few weeks to pivot from the Egyptian uprising and take to the podium lecturing, and hectoring all Mid-Eastern states to reform. She could have thus carved out a place for herself in an eventual “transnational structure like the EU” that is sorely needed for the Mid-East. Instead, the U.S. has evoked “Iran” in every conversation. Mid-Easterners have let it be known through polls that they hold a negative opinion of the U.S. and conversely they are quite positive about their neighbor, Iran. Mid-Easterners know that the U.S. knows how they feel. Consequently, the U.S. has sent the unmistakable message to the region that she intends to maintain the deeply detested Western-backed systems of government that have abused their peoples for decades, albeit with some cosmetic surgery when absolutely necessary.

    This cannot end very well. After Tunis and Egypt no lullaby is going to work for the awakened masses.

  161. Rehmat says:


    Without Mubarak, there is no Israeli attack on Iran


  162. Iranian@Iran says:


    Since these people rioted before, they will not be given a permit. I would be surprised if less that a couple of thousand showed up, because the western media and the western funded Persian media has been making a lot of noise. Of course, the western media will quite possibly say tens if not hundreds of thousands participated (no sandwiches), just as the tens of millions that rallied on Feb. 11 throughout the country were called thousands (with sandwiches and drinks…). Apparently, any Iranian who is western oriented counts for at least a hundred people and an ordinary Iranian is less than one-thousandth of a person (especially if they are not from Tehran).

  163. Fiorangela says:

    Eric’s complaint about Islam in the Iranian constitution fails to acknowledge WHY the leaders of the 1979 revolution thought it essential to have a firm glue (re-ligio — to bind). The Iran Constitution spells that out here (from the Preamble):

    “The basic characteristic of this revolution, which distinguishes it from other movements that have taken place in Iran during the past hundred years, is its ideological and Islamic nature. After experiencing the anti-despotic constitutional movement and the anti-colonialist movement centered on the nationalization of the oil industry, the Muslim people of Iran learned from this costly experience that the obvious and fundamental reason for the failure of those movements
    was their lack of an ideological basis.”

    That is, Iran had tried other systems but outside forces had shattered the unity of the Iranian effort at protecting their national sovereignty. In the view of Iran’s framers, Islam would provide a unifying force strong enough to withstand the inevitable next challenge to the unity of the diverse Iranian people. Islam as a unifying element is defensive, not aggressive: its goal is to unify the Iranian people against the aggressions and attempts at division that Iranians had experienced in the past and could prudently predict would occur again.

    B. Eric cites a passage about Moses and invites our moral outrage that such a passage should be included in any nation’s constitution. The passage cited does not argue for unity, it argues for domination. While it is true that Israel does not have a de jure constitution, it has a de facto constitution, and at its core is that very passage, by which the Jewish people claim the right to dominate. In an speech from the podium of the United Nations, then-Israeli Prime Minister Tzipi Livni repeated the narrative of the same passage that Eric cited and claimed it as the unifying message of “my people.” According to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, Israeli school children are taught Torah as history — Eric acknowledged that the Moses passage may or may not be a real event, but Israel school children are taught that myth as fact. It forms the ideological framework — the glue — of Israeli political life, and it is a framework that conveys to the Jewish people the right to dominate.

    C. The supposed openness of the American Constitutional system, subject as it has been to over 100 years of attack and actions to erode its New Testament or “Jesus-based” unifying framework, has been its weakness. In a lecture to Hillel at University of Chicago in 1972, Milton Friedman told the group that “the Jewish people become successful because they have learned to exploit niches and weakness in larger systems. They find the loopholes and exploit them to the advantage of the Jewish people.” http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/gilad-atzmon-milton-friedmans-capitalism-and-the-jews-revisi.html Today the United States is seriously fragmented — divided against itself, and, to borrow some of that biblical wisdom, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” One of the primary goals of Theodore Herzl in Der Judenstaat was to unite the Jewish people around zionism — “We are one people!” he repeats in his establishing document of zionist ideology. American Baptists say that “Baptists multiply by dividing;” Zionism’s goal is to dominate, and it does so by dividing.

  164. Persian Gulf says:


    yes, but that’s hardly a vision.

    this is what we have. what is the road ahead? in fact, it’s the same criticism regularly my green friends, who often get disarmed in a matter of minutes, raise. they say you are mostly right about being hypercritical of our educated people, opponents, and their shortsightedness, but so what? do we have better ones? after all, a country needs to be run and led by her educated people not otherwise. they say, do you have better alternative? I guess, they are partly right.

    for the supreme leader, as I said before, so long as we have this highly factional politics, that position will be inevitable. my criticism of Mr.Khamenei is mostly about the time and the extent of the power accumulated in his hand not necessarily a personal enmity. I prefer somebody with max two 7 year terms, something that was originally supposed to be the case, so to guarantee the exchangeable nature of the individuals. and more importantly, reducing supreme leader’s power, empowering the presidency and the Majles; dissolving “Majmae Tahshkhise Maslahat Nezam”, and re-structuring “shoraye negahban”….

  165. Neo says:

    Castellio says: February 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm


    The risk is that with such a ‘great victory’ in removing Mubarak already ‘achieved’, the wind may have been taken out of the revolution’s sail for the time being.

    I agree with your assertion that Egyptians will not fall for such anti-Islamist posturing any longer. And perhaps they never did. But will they tolerate it in the way they have for decades so far, and in the face of current economic imperatives?

    As you know, elements within Western media are already talking up the alleged threat. The real question for me is whether a false flag operation in the current context (of an overwhelmingly powerful military that is at the same time traditionally subservient to Israeli and Western interests and pay, and backed up by Western propaganda) would not be enough to resist the revolution’s dream.

    The phenomenon you refer to (why USA and its so-called free press refused to call Mubarak a dictator in recent decades) is sadly a far too regular occurrence. Throughout the 1980s, western media simply and pretty much collectively refused to report the fact that Iraq had invaded Iran. It was always ‘each side claims…’.

    But they took this duplicity even further when suddenly the same media started to describe Saddam as the aggressor against Iran as soon as he invaded Kuwait.

    As for your partner’s comment on Hillary Mann-Leverett, for sure I would agree. The Leveretts are a bastion of sanity… She would have my vote too, if I had a vote in such matters!

    I would be grateful for directions or a link to a cold critique of Stratfor’s approach and agenda.

  166. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Full text of Supreme Leader’s Friday sermon.


  167. Eric: See this last post of mine. The Founding Fathers were not Protestants (or at least many of the most influential were not). And there were plenty of religious denominations in the US at the time of the Revolution, and there were substantial arguments over having a dominant religion during the Constitutional convention if I remember correctly from my previous readings.

    There’s simply no comparison between the US at that time and Iran’s Revolution vis-a-vis religious influence.

    As for whether Arnold would agree to having an imposed religion if over 50% voted for it, this is the nature of a democratic state. One agrees to obey the will of the majority – which is stupid, but there it is. The question is really HOW imposed is the religion? If everyone has to obey one religion and others are banned, that is one thing. This is not how Iran does it if I understand their constitution.

    The important thing to note is that today and for decades both the Catholic Church and the fundamentalists have been trying to get Christianity established as the official American religion.

    The Treaty of Tripoli could never be passed today by the US Congress From Wikipedia:


    The Treaty of Tripoli (Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary) was the first treaty concluded between the United States of America and Tripoli, signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796 and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797. It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797.

    The Treaty is much discussed in the 21st century because of the text of article 11, as ratified by the Senate:

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    End Quote

    Frankly, if this treaty is STILL the “law of the land”, a lot of the buttholes in Washington need to be arrested for treason.

  168. Fyi: A Deist is someone who believes that Nature itself is “God”, i.e., that there is a Natural Order, not a monotheistic deity as such. Actually, from my point of view, it’s a rather muddled belief system, with a range of viewpoints, since in many cases it acknowledges a single supreme being but rejects miracles, prophecies, that Jesus was a divine entity (as does Islam), or that God intervenes in the world in any way – which makes the notion of a personal god rather superfluous.

    Wikipedia has a reasonable recap:


    I quote the section on the Founding Fathers:


    In the United States, Enlightenment philosophy (which itself was heavily inspired by deist ideals) played a major role in creating the principle of religious freedom, expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s letters, and the principle of religious freedom expressed in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. American Founding Fathers, or Framers of the Constitution, who were especially noted for being influenced by such philosophy include Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Cornelius Harnett, Gouverneur Morris, and Hugh Williamson. Their political speeches show distinct deistic influence.

    Other notable Founding Fathers may have been more directly deist. These include James Madison, John Adams, possibly Alexander Hamilton, Ethan Allen,[38] and Thomas Paine (who published The Age of Reason, a treatise that helped to popularize deism throughout America and Europe).

    A major contributor was Elihu Palmer (1764–1806), who wrote the “Bible” of American deism in his Principles of Nature (1801) and attempted to organize deism by forming the “Deistical Society of New York.”

    In the United States there is controversy over whether the Founding Fathers were Christians, deists, or something in between.[39][40]

    Particularly heated is the debate over the beliefs of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.”

    End Quote

    While the above referenced debates are real, any perusal of many of the writings of the Founding Fathers makes it clear that the Christian religion as an established religion was not really considered valid by many of them. I had a significant debate on this issue a couple years ago over at Talking Points Memo.

    While it would seem that a lot of Deism arose from within Christianity or as a rebellion against it’s more pernicious aspects from a rational standpoint, the basic principles of the Enlightenment obviously go back much farther than the establishment of Christianity, and it is these principles that influenced the Founding Fathers more than religious indoctrination.

    Freedom and democracy are not things that were invented by Christianity, Judaism, Islam or any other monotheistic religion.

  169. Voice of Tehran says:

    Paul says:
    February 13, 2011 at 12:43 am
    So what is everybody’s forecast for 14th of February/25th of Bahman (“Green” demonstration call)? How many people, violent? peaceful? no show?

    Paul , if at all , some small clashes , comparable to a local soccer derby between Esteghlal and Persepolis , we’ll see…

  170. Castellio says:

    This was written on Feb 12 2011 by Hossam El-Hamalawy:

    “All classes in Egypt took part in the uprising. In Tahrir Square you found sons and daughters of the Egyptian elite, together with the workers, middle class citizens, and the urban poor. Mubarak has managed to alienate all social classes in society including wide section of the bourgeoisie. But remember that it’s only when the mass strikes started three days ago that’s when the regime started crumbling and the army had to force Mubarak to resign because the system was about to collapse.

    Some have been surprised that the workers started striking. I really don’t know what to say. This is completely idiotic. The workers have been staging the longest and most sustained strike wave in Egypt’s history since 1946, triggered by the Mahalla strike in December 2006. It’s not the workers’ fault that you were not paying attention to their news. Every single day over the past three years there was a strike in some factory whether it’s in Cairo or the provinces. These strikes were not just economic, they were also political in nature.

    From day 1 of our uprising, the working class has been taking part in the protests. Who do you think were the protesters in Mahalla, Suez and Kafr el-Dawwar for example? However, the workers were taking part as “demonstrators” and not necessarily as “workers” — meaning, they were not moving independently. The govt had brought the economy to halt, not the protesters by its curfew, shutting down of banks and business. It was a capitalist strike, aiming at terrorizing the Egyptian people. Only when the govt tried to bring the country back to “normal” on Sunday that workers returned to their factories, discussed the current situation, and started to organize en masse, moving as a block.

    The strikes waged by the workers this week were both economic and political fused together. In some of the locations the workers did not list the regime’s fall among their demands, but they used the same slogans as those protesting in Tahrir and in many cases, at least those I managed to learn about and I’m sure there are others, the workers put forward a list of political demands in solidarity with the revolution.

    These workers are not going home anytime soon. They started strikes because they couldn’t feed their families anymore. They have been emboldened by Mubarak’s overthrowal, and cannot go back to their children and tell them the army has promised to bring them food and their rights in I don’t know how many months. Many of the strikers have already started raising additional demands of establishing free trade unions away from the corrupt, state backed Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions.

    Today, I’ve already started receiving news that thousands of Public Transport workers are staging protests in el-Gabal el-Ahmar. The temporary workers at Helwan Steel Mills are also protesting. The Railway technicians continue to bring trains to halt. Thousands of el-Hawamdiya Sugar Factory are protesting and oil workers will start a strike tomorrow over economic demands and also to impeach Minister Sameh Fahmy and halt gas exports to Israel. And more reports are coming from other industrial centers.”

  171. Lysander,

    “Pro western Iranians consistently underestimate the requirements the US would impose for normalization.”

    Probably so. But why does “normalization” have to be the goal? To me, normalization implies acceptance by the US. How about what the American actress, Marlene Dietrich, once said: “I just want to be left alone?”

  172. Lysander says:

    Since there is rumored to be an anti-government demonstration in Iran this coming Monday, there were some points I wanted to raise.

    1) Iran’s religious constitution and Islamic requirements are supremely irrelevant to US policy makers, beyond their rhetorical value in demonizing Iran. Venezuela is not a religious state. Neither was Nasser’s Egypt. If post revolutionary Egypt becomes a secular democratic nation with a Nasserist foreign policy, it will also be demonized (though it will be a rhetorical challenge)

    2) Let us assume for the moment that a critical mass of Iranians become unsatisfied with the current religious regime and manage to change it. Will that end US hostility? No.

    3) Any Iranian government not imposed by the west will conduct its foreign affairs almost exactly as this one. ESPECIALLY NOW! No Iranian government will give up it’s nuclear program. No Iranian government would throw away its influence in Iraq or Lebanon. Those are strategic assets of enormous value. They cannot be given away for free, and the west could not plausibly offer something of comparable value in return.

    4) Any independent Iranian government will never allow a foreign nation to decide what technologies Iran may pursue and which ones it will not.

    5) Any independent Iranian government will seek to be the most powerful country in the region. It will almost certainly try to find common cause with coreligionists elsewhere.

    6) The US and Israel cannot tolerate a Muslim nation stronger than Israel. Even if Iran were to recognize Israel, it could not be allowed. Intentions matter less than capabilities. That is why sanctions will NEVER be lifted no matter what Iran does.

    7) The circumstances in which the US supported imperial Iran’s rise to power no longer exist. Back then, it was a precious bulwark against the USSR. That dynamic is no longer there. There is no upside for the US in seeing Iran become powerful, even with a friendly government. Maybe in 30 years a counter weight to China or India will be needed. But not now.

    8) Pro western Iranians consistently underestimate the requirements the US would impose for normalization. Ending the nuke program and aid to Hizbullah just wouldn’t cut it. You would have to develop a close relationship with the US military and intelligence services. They will then “advise” Iran on which generals should be promoted. Who should be their interior minister. Who will be chief of police. Etc. It wont be the kind of advice you can accept or disregard at your own whim.

    9) The process of becoming a stooge can be slow and insidious. I don’t Think Hosni Mubarak of 1985 would have ever expected to be part of a blockade of Gaza. And yet, he was.

    Therefore, I wish Iranians the very best. If they are not happy with the current setup, I hope they can come to a consensus that most can live with. SO long as the change is from within, nothing that matters to the outside world is likely to change.

  173. Paul says:

    So what is everybody’s forecast for 14th of February/25th of Bahman (“Green” demonstration call)? How many people, violent? peaceful? no show?

  174. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: February 12, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Yes, and then people complain about Mr. Khamenei being a dictator.

    Without the Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent, these parochial factions would have destroyed the state.

    No doubt.

  175. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: February 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Iran is the Mountain Fortress of the Shia Muslims; that is the glue that holds that country together.

    A constitution that does not address a core identity of that polity is not in the realm of th epossibility.

    Those who (be they Iranian or not) that advocate such a constitutional order have no grasp of the Iranian relaity.

    I am not by Nature a defender of religious-based political dispensations. My aim here is to clarify what is and is not practicable in that country.

    Many of the issues that Iran is facing domestically are not due to her constitution.

    The problems of Iran are due to the abuse of power by bigoted, foolish, narrow-minded, and ill-educated males in that country.

  176. Persian Gulf says:

    It turned out that I was wrong in blaming Ahmadinejad for his treatment of Mottaki. In fact, Mottaki knew he will be replaced the day he arrives in Tehran. So, the changed his schedule and postponed his trip for victimization purposes. Ahmadinejad decided to go ahead with the plan and humiliate him. after all, Mottaki was not honest with his boss all the time.
    Love you Mahmood.

    خدایا این مملکت را از شر دروغ و برادران ک××× لاریجانی مصون بدار! آمین.

  177. Castellio says:

    Arnold, I don’t want to get drawn into the agree/disagree as we’d have to define some of those terms more clearly and I don’t see any advantage to it.

    Other than a difference in our understanding of the extent of the influence of the Protestant reformation on the American constitution, I’m not sure what the argument is between us. You seem to be saying that constitutions reflect the major narrative of any society, and the more cohesive (hegemonic) the majority narrative the more likely it determines the legal documents that both reflect and guide the society. I don’t have any argument with that.

    I’d point out, kind of in passing, that it’s clear in both the American and Iranian constitutions that both have been written knowing that a different narrative exists, and that narrative is considered a danger, threat, or enemy of the “people”. Both constitutions are normative. They are designed to make certain beliefs illegal – Kooshy points out as example in the American case that the head of the state not be the head of the state religion – the inverse of the Iranian intent.

  178. Castellio says:

    I’d like to thank Pak for sending us the link to this wikicable.

    A quote from it is: “6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed that several opposition forces — including the Wafd, Nasserite, Karama and Tagammu parties, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Kifaya, and Revolutionary Socialist movements — have agreed to support an unwritten plan for a transition to a parliamentary democracy, involving a weakened presidency and an empowered prime minister and parliament, before the scheduled 2011 presidential elections (ref C). According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, the opposition is interested in receiving support from the army and the police for a transitional government prior to the 2011 elections. XXXXXXXXXXXX asserted that this plan is so sensitive it cannot be written down. (Comment: We have no information to corroborate that these parties and movements have agreed to the unrealistic plan XXXXXXXXXXXX has outlined. Per ref C, XXXXXXXXXXXX previously told us that this plan was publicly available on the internet. End comment.)”

    I don’t know…. real?

  179. kooshy says:

    If I remember correctly the way it was explained to us in collage the reason that the founders did not insist on a legal religion was, that the head of religion that they had to pick was none other than the king of England who essentially they were very much had rised against of, I venture a guess that if at the time of drafting Iran’s constitution, if majority of Iranians were catholic Christians you would not find one Iota of religious favor in the constitution of Iran, can you guess why? to find out you would need to know why Iran became a shiah majority country . Look it up.

  180. Arnold Evans says:

    I find question D3 very noteworthy. Interviewers called Iranian households and asked what is your religion. The people who said Muslim, the interviewers pressed: Shia or Sunni? 2% of the respondents said “I don’t acknowledge a distinction between Sunni and Shia. I am a Muslim, I follow the revealed Koran and do not credit anything added by man after the Prophet.”

    That 2% is the second biggest religious minority in Iran. That 2% is the only religious minority in Iran, other than Sunni, whose numbers even can round up to 1%.

    If the United States ever in the past, present or future was to have this level of religious doctrinal unanimity, I promise you, by that time the US would have or will explicitly enshrine whatever doctrine reaches that level of unanimity into its constitution.

  181. Arnold Evans says:

    In terms of resources, how much would it cost to present a program that would have a 50% chance of being successful in removing all mentions of religion from Iran’s constitution?

    If that program was successful, how many people’s lives would be improved by how much?

    Seriously, whatever amount of resources it would take, couldn’t that amount of resources be used to improve a lot more people’s lives to a much greater degree?

    An 89% Shia society has an explicitly Shia constitution? Would life really be much better for non-Shia in Iran if it did not have an explicitly Shia constitution? Couldn’t every single law and government-instituted practice that disadvantages non-Shia and is based on religion be replicated without that explicit religious basis in a country that is 89% Shia?

    I think because you come from a country that is not as religiously unanimous, you make a much bigger deal than is warranted of having an explicitly non-religious constitution.

    It is a good thing but it is not the difference between a good country and a bad one. It is a minor good thing that directly impacts close to nobody.

  182. Arnold Evans says:

    Again from the recent poll:


    D3. Excuse me for asking but what religion do you practice? [IF MUSLIM ASK] Shi’a
    or Sunni?
    Shi’a Muslim…89%
    Sunni Muslim…9%
    Muslim [NO SECT GIVEN] …2%
    Baha’I …0%
    Christian …0%
    Other …0%
    Don’t know / refused…0%

    I think you know the United States never had a religious distribution anything like this. I think you also know the US would have a different constitution if it had.

    Truth to tell, if I must be a non-Shia, I’d rather be one in a country that is less than 89% Shia. But if I must be a Shia, I’d rather be one in a country that is 89% Shia. There probably being an explicitly Shia constitution is one minor reason for that in each case, but not an important reason.

  183. Arnold Evans says:

    Castellio and Eric:

    Let me express the point I was making directly and see if you disagree with it:

    What would become the United States in 1776 did not have any single religion that played the role in that society that Shia Islam played in Iranian society in 1979.

    Do you disagree with the above sentence?

    I do not consider “Prostestantism” a single religion and I don’t consider Christianity, in 1776 or today a single religion.

    There was far greater religious doctrinal diversity in what would become the United States in 1776 than there was in Iran in 1979.

    Do you disagree with the above sentence?

    Shia Islam was much more widely practiced in Iran in 1979 and also was a much more important part of the identity of the average Iranian in 1979 than any single religious doctrine was in what would become the United States in 1776.

    The countries were born in very different circumstances.

    There is nothing good or bad about that. There were powerful people in Virginia who did not want the different religious doctrines that were practiced in substantial parts of Massachusetts or Pennsylvania imposed on them and all likewise. So they wrote themselves a constitution that barred the state from elevating one of the many religious doctrines present over any others.

    They wrote the constitution what was right for them. If the US was as Quaker in 1776 as Iran was Shia in 1979, then the United States absolutely certainly would have a explicitly Quaker constitution. Same for Anglican, Catholic, Methodist or whatever.

    That wouldn’t be the end of the world either. Non-Shia in Iran get by day to day just like members of comparatively small religious minorities all over the world do in societies that have the level of doctrinal unanimity that Iran has.

    If you want to change Iran, don’t change the constitution. You have to change the fact that almost everybody follows the same religious doctrine. That has never been the case in the United States. If you really want to change Iran, but really, why would you?

    Who do you consider oppressed by Iran’s constitution, and by how much?

  184. Castellio says:

    Arnold, Arnold.

    Cromwell was still alive when the Mayflower sailed. Think about that for a bit. Protestantism was very ‘radical’ and very ‘political’.

    The idea that American Protestantism wasn’t dominant or without a political ethos which underscored the American constitution is simply… (you can choose the word).

    One has to remember the Protestant relation to “organized religion” as a relationship to “the Catholic Church”, the institutional/state nature of which was anathema (forgive the pun)… the Protestants were working hard to ensure that nothing like the Catholic Church (or even a high Church of England) would ever run America, nor would America derive its legitimacy from a theocratic belief.

    In the reformation, the individual can gain salvation directly through their own faith, not through the rites and rituals of any Church beaurocracy… it is precisely that vision that fueled the political appreciation of individual freedoms.

    The fact that there are no Protestants on the American Supreme Court does have a symbolic value that the age of Protestant America is well and truly past… but it did exist, and the American constitution reflects that very politicized religious viewpoint.

    In this respect, the deism is a bit of a canard, as it was a very Protestant deism…

  185. Arnold Evans says:


    “Prostestantism” isn’t a religion like Shism any more than the US and Iran share a common dominant religion, “monotheism”.

    There was no single dominant religious doctrine when and where the US constitution was written that is comparable in its societal importance to Shiism in Iran in 1979, and the US’ founding documents reflect that reality, as I’d hope they would.

  186. kooshy says:

    Just a reminder to me, thanks for taking American history back in KU, looks to me that a lot of amendments had taken place in a span of almost the entire history of the constitution, but still waiting for the right of the homeless.

    “Milestones of national franchise extension
    • Abolition of property qualifications for white men, 1812-1860 — see: Jacksonian democracy
    • Citizenship in both the US and US States by birth or naturalization, 1868 — see: Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    • Non-white men, 1870 — see: Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    • Women, 1920 — see: Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    • Native Americans, 1924 — see:[4]
    • Residents of the District of Columbia for US Presidential Elections, 1961 — see: Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution
    • Poor, 1964 — see: Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting imposition of poll tax in Federal elections
    • Racial minorities in certain states, 1965 — see Voting Rights Act
    • Poor, 1966 — see: Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), prohibiting imposition of poll tax or property requirements in all US elections.
    • Adults between 18 and 21, 1971 — see: Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    • Washington, DC, for restoring local elections such as Mayor and Councilmen, after 100 year gap in Georgetown, and 190 gap in the wider city, ending Congresses policy of local election disenfranchisement started in 1801 in this former portion of Maryland, 1973, — see: DC Home rule
    • United States Military and Uniformed Services, Merchant Marine, other Citizens overseas, living on bases in the US, abroad, or aboard ship, 1986 — see: Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act

  187. Arnold,

    Actually the US long ago did have a dominant religion, which you must know. No Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Zoroastrians, or anything but Christians – and those were mostly Protestant. I’m not sure why you say the opposite is true.

  188. Pirouz_2 says:


    Like yourself, I too am waiting for more information; and again like yourself, it is very difficult for me to think that US had a role to play in deposing Mubarak. Which is why this training by Otpor came as such a big surprise to me.

    I don’t know where their money resources come from. Does any one have any rough idea as to how much resources we are talking about anyway? in dollars I mean?
    How powerful and important were these April 6th youth in these past activities?
    Does anyone have any reliable information as to which political group formed the backbone (or the majority) of the protesters? How do April 6thers compare in terms of significance vs. Muslim brotherhood for example?

  189. Arnold Evans says:

    February 12, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    It remains extremely difficult for me to believe the US favored the outcome we’ve seen or putting the people in that video into a position where they had a chance to do that.

    I guess I’m waiting for more information. Based on what information has come your way up to this point, what is your best guess or explanation of who the protesters were and where their resources came from?

  190. Matt says:


    You’ll appreciate this brilliant piece of reporting from Al Jazeera English: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/2011212162526150718.html

  191. Arnold Evans says:


    Obviously this implies you’d find it acceptable for an Islamic constitution to be forced upon 49% of Egyptians, or presumably a Christian constitution to be force upon 49% of Americans, or a Jewish constitution to be forced upon the Palestinian minority in Israel.

    What exactly do you think would be different of the US constitution was explicitly Christian?

    If somehow the US found itself with Iran’s constitution, except Baptist Christian instead of Shia Islam, let’s say it couldn’t muster up the votes to amend it back. What practical difference do you think there would be?

    I don’t think a law should force a person to attend church, but that is my opinion. I also don’t think a law should require a man or woman to wear a shirt, as has been debated here before. Also my opinion.

    Either way, you are from a secular country, and a country that beyond being secular, has always had a lot of minor religions and no major religion. The constitution of your country matches the people of your country. Egypt’s constitution should match the people of that country, not yours.

    Don’t make a virtue out of happenstance though. The US in 1776 just happened not to have a dominant religion. A nation without a dominant religion is not going to enshrine a dominant religion into its legal system.

    If somehow somebody changes things so that Iran no longer has a dominant religion, Iran’s legal system is going to become more like the US in that respect.

  192. Pirouz_2 says:

    (RE your post on February 12, 2011 at 7:22 pm)

    How religious are you, if I may ask? Do you have any religious belief? if yes then in which religion?

  193. Rehmat says:

    “Omar Suleiman is the choice of Israel obviously you know of the long history between Netanyahu and his government and the proceeding government and Suleiman is a bad choice, but it shows you where the power of politics lie in this. That is why the Americans and Israelis want him,” Professor Franklin Lamb (American University of Beirut) told Press TV on Friday.


  194. Castellio says:

    Neo: Statfor often knows not of what it talks.

    It says: “Stratfor suggests that the Egyptian military could play the ‘islamist threat’ card: “A classic tactic for the army is to wave the threat of Islamist militancy”. This way they could hold off elections for quite some time.”

    That is past. The death of Sadat brought on the Emergency Laws which this revolution is meant to lift. Trying to tell the people that there is an “Islamist threat” is not going to work. The people, in the great majority, ARE Islamic: they do not see themselves as a threat to themselves.

    As a mantra, the Islamist threat only works in the west. The threat out of context helped CAUSE the revolution… the last speeches of Mubarak and Suleiman were rife with the Islamic threat (the assumed source of disorder, chaos) and the people not only saw through it, but held those speeches, for that reasn and others, in contempt.

    Will Israel send in bombers to Egypt for false flag operation which will be labelled as by Islamist extremists? That is a real possibility. While the Egyptian people, generally, will see through that, people in the west will not. The Lavon affair is a historical reality which is understood there, but not here.

    One phenomenon I still have a hard time dealing with, though it is obviously true, is that until a few weeks ago the American press refused to call Mubarak a dictator, refused to look beneath the ‘free elections’, refused to reveal the on-going torture, refused to acknowledge that any state needing that kind of internal police support was obviously not ‘stable’, and now accept the inversion of their previous positions as if they knew all along. I can’t tell you how many article I’ve read on Egypt in the last decade that refused to see or speak about the realities, even when dealing with the issues “in depth”.

    Whatever we have in the west, it is not an informed press.

    Which reminds me. After watching the short video my partner stated that it should be this Hillary (Mann-Leverett), not the other Hillary (Clinton), running for American President. Run, Hillary, Run.

  195. Arnold,

    “The only problem I’d have with an Islamic constitution for Egypt would be if a majority of Egyptians did not want that and somehow it was forced into place against their will.”

    Obviously this implies you’d find it acceptable for an Islamic constitution to be forced upon 49% of Egyptians, or presumably a Christian constitution to be force upon 49% of Americans, or a Jewish constitution to be forced upon the Palestinian minority in Israel.

    I don’t agree with any of those. People, not states, should have religions. Religious beliefs and customs should have whatever force they have because people voluntarily accept them. I recognize that many people follow religious rules only because their families or communities press them to do so, and it will always be that way. But I think the state should stay out of it.

    You don’t. That’s your right. But I’m surprised to hear you feel this way.

  196. James Canning says:

    Donald Rumsfeld claims the US still could have invaded Iraq in 2003 even if it knew there was no WMD! Why? Because the US Congress “had passed regime change legislation in the 1990s”! Encroyable! Don’t miss “Are we better off now? You bet” (Lunch with the FT Feb. 12-13).

  197. Castellio says:

    A few quick points:

    There has been a (relatively) peaceful beginning to a revolution that will end the dictatorial (but originally nationalist) Nasserist state. It was done in a predominantly Islamic nation, but was not a primarily religious movement. The Egyptian people are redefining the nature of the relation of Islam to politics as we speak. It is their right to do so.

    If US money is funneled to secular Egyptian parties, then the response will be to move to Islamic parties and avoid the tainted secular (read, bought) parties. A more fundamental American error is hard to imagine.

    The MB as it is now is supported by many who aren’t Islamists (in the political sense) and even gets (a few) votes from the disenfranchised members of the Copt community. The best way to diffuse the MB (if that’s what you want) is to let the people form and support parties of their own choosing without foreign intervention.

    There is also an Islamic labour party, distinct from the MB. The MB has been right wing since day one and is vehemently fought by many in the labour movement, themselves devout Muslims. The MB is trying to change that perception of themselves, but is having great difficulty in doing so. They had no influence on the Malhalla strikes, and all the strikes which followed throughout Egypt.

    The role of the labour unions in Malhalla, Alexandria, Suez, was critical. The judges and government lawyers had also joined, en masse, the opposition. It was the growing reality (I repeat for emphasis, reality) of a national strike which finally forced the government from power.

  198. James Canning says:

    I agree with Hillary that Israel cannot find security in launching whatever military attacks it wisheses, whenever it chooses.

    And the US would do well not to interfere in Egyptian affairs at this juncture.

  199. James Canning says:

    The president of Turkey has once again said that negotiations are the only way to resolve the dispute regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. And Mitt Romney, campaiging for the Republican nomination for president of the US, claimed yesterday that Iran “is racing toward acquiring nuclear weapons” (or words to that effect). Maybe someone should ask him what evidence he relies on to make this assertion.

  200. Neo says:

    fyi says: February 12, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I certainly hope that they open the Rafah crossing as you suggest. But my guess is that this depends on what else happens in the region. If we see a domino effect and rising pressure on the issue – especially to the east of Egypt – then perhaps the Egyptian military will be emboldened too. But right now, their military is very much tied to both Israel and USA.

    I am not exactly sure what you mean by saying right now the military cannot rule in Egypt. If you are referring to current public opinion, yes of course there will be much pressure against lasting military rule. It all depends on just how much of a renaissance these events represent. But i think there is good evidence that the Egyptian military are experts at running the affairs by remote.

    Stratfor suggests that the Egyptian military could play the ‘islamist threat’ card: “A classic tactic for the army is to wave the threat of Islamist militancy”. This way they could hold off elections for quite some time.

  201. Rehmat says:

    Cairo and Jerusalem – by Gilad Atzmon

    “It was the moral force of non-violence” stated President Obama in his first comment on the revolution in Egypt. Yet it is far from being clear who was the Egyptian Mandela, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King? I guess that in Cairo it was the people themselves who peacefully transformed their own reality.

    Jerusalem, Zionists, and some elements within the Left have demonised Arabs, Muslims and Islam for decades. Yet the people of Egypt just proved how restrained and peace-seeking Islam is for real.

    Unlike some of our blood soaked Western revolutions, in Cairo millions of Muslims waited for 18 days for their tyrant to internalise the message. Day after day, they stood in the streets demonstrating patience and determination; five times a day they joined mass prayers for goodness to prevail. They reminded us all that Islam is derived from the word Salaam. Islam is all about peace. It is inherently non violent.

    The Egyptians masses were, no doubt, the best possible ambassadors for Islam and Salaam. In just more than two weeks they have manage to break down the Zionist driven phobia of Islam. In such a short time they have managed to plant the seeds of hope in our hearts. They in fact reminded us all what democracy and ‘will for freedom’ are all about.

    Egypt, the biggest and most influential Arab country, launched its march to democracy yesterday. As we know, democracy in the Arab world means Islam. This week Westerners had a chance to discover this peaceful harmonious faith. In the recent days, many Americans and Europeans have miraculously recovered from the Zionist inflicted Islamophobic malaise. The fear of Islam and Muslims is drifting away. Plenty of us welcome the Egyptians and their true and natural choice; Islam, Salaam and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Two days ago, James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence, was brave enough to admit that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is “a very heterogeneous group, they have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt, etc… There is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.” In case someone fails to read between the lines, America has just bought itself six months to amend its faulty Zionised foreign policy. America has a very short time to buy itself new allies in the region. For America and the West, this is a matter of life and death.

    In the next few months our Western leaders will have to adapt to the new reality. I guess that in spite of their Jewish Lobby backers, they will have to be very quick to confess openly the power and beauty of Islam. They will have to appease a billion Muslims. And they should be quick to do so.

    In the coming days, Israel will have to face its own doomed reality. It is about to be shunned. The Jewish State is no doubt a dangerous entity, we can only pray that on its way down it won’t turn our planet into ashes. For those who fail to realise, Israel has accumulated enough destructive power to do so. Moreover, such an option is well imbued within the Israeli suicidal cultural narrative. I guess that the story of Biblical mass murderer Samson and the story of Masada are just two examples.

    We better admit to ourselves that unlike Cairo, Jerusalem is inherently violent and lethal. The situation is certainly volatile. The biggest challenge for today’s world leaders is to peacefully dismantle the Jewish State without letting it celebrate its deadly symptoms.


  202. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Arnold Evans:
    Re your post on February 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Otpor, to the best of my knowledge is a tool in the hand of US intelligence. I highly doubt that they would train any group without their US approval let alone against their wishes.

    The clip that you just pointed to (I think was originally posted by fiorangela) is very much reminiscent of “coloured revolutions” (which in my opinion are better to be called “coloured coups”).

    Over all there are some really interesting and also troublesome questions which arise from this video…

  203. Arnold Evans says:


    About something I wrote earlier:

    If Egypt was to have an Islamic constitution under a dictator like Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah or the Shah or could get Mubarak back with an Islamic constitution, I’m sure you agree it would take it back in much less than a second. I’m sure you’d agree that if that option was available for the price of $10 billion dollars worth of bribes and weapons, the US would pay that price for a compliant Egypt under an Islamic constitution in a second.

    I want to be clear that when I say the US would take a compliant dictatorial Egypt with a religious constitution in a second, that you’ve been very clear that you would be against the US’s position on that and would vote for a candidate, if other things are roughly comparable, for political office who did not take that position. I hope I was clear that I’m not saying I ever thought this is your position.

    But that said, I hope you’ll agree that you would expect Barack Obama to gladly allocate $10 billion to restore Mubarak as a dictator under an Islamic constitution if that was a feasible option, or even if there was a 50% chance of it working.

  204. Arnold Evans says:


    A September 2010 poll that we’ve been discussing recently has an analogous result:


    36. Some people say we need controls on opposition to protect Islam and Iran from its enemies. Others say we need more democracy, freedom and the rule of law if Iran is to flourish. Which of these is closer to your view?
    Need controls to protect Islam and Iran from its enemies…51%
    Need more democracy, freedom and the rule of law…32%
    Refused to answer…8%
    Don’t know…10%

    The poll in 2006 really brilliantly phrased the question to get an answer to exactly the question of whether Iran is too religious in the eyes of its own people. The more recent poll introduces other issues that makes its finding less clear. But the results are consistent. Iran’s people want a religious government it seems to me.

  205. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says:February 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    It was so until 1994 (Argentine Constitution).

  206. Kathleen.

    I’m glad you bring all this to my attention. My comment wasn’t directed at you, but rather at the simple fact that it’s happening, as you noted.

  207. fyi says:

    Kathleen says: February 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Per US Grand Strategy, independent-minded states that aspire to power in critical regions of the world (Persian Gulf in this case) must be destroyed.

    Thus all tools of statecraft and propaganda must be employed to that end.

    No surprises there.

  208. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric, did religion ever play as much a role in US life as it did in the life of Iranians in 1978 or as much as it does today? And if religion, generally, did play as much a role, was there ever one sect of religion that was participated in as broadly and intensely as Shia Islam is in Iran?

    I think given the proportions present in Iran, that constitution or not, religious Americans could effectively impose a state religion on other Americans. Outsiders of that US religion would feel just as oppressed in just the same ways as outsiders of Iran’s religious thought.

    So I don’t think either the problem with Iran or the advantage of the US is the constitution.

    If we are going to say that the degree of Iran’s legal religiousity is a problem or a potential problem for Egypt, which I’m not 100% comfortable saying, then I’d say the solution is not changes in the constitution, but in somehow strengthening non-religious organizations and power-centers of various forms in the country.

    Why I’m not comfortable saying religiousity is a problem is that the US gets along fine with Saudi Arabia which is much more oppressively religious than Iran. I’d rather it not be as religiously oriented as it is, but I wouldn’t presume to make any effort or suggest anyone else make any effort to change that.

    People have a right to government that is accountable to them. To political figures who can be removed if they lose the faith of the people they rule and to policies enacted in their name that they have the power to reverse. Also to be counted equally with other people in influencing the political process that rules them. I don’t think there are any rights with respect to government more important than that. Including the right to protest peacefully where you may disagree with me.

    The only problem I’d have with an Islamic constitution for Egypt would be if a majority of Egyptians did not want that and somehow it was forced into place against their will.

    The only problem the US would have with an Islamic constitution for Egypt would be that it would make it more difficult for the US to pressure or influence Egypt to cooperate with Israel and maybe some other regional issues. If Egypt was to have an Islamic constitution under a dictator like Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah or the Shah or could get Mubarak back with an Islamic constitution, I’m sure you agree it would take it back in much less than a second. I’m sure you’d agree that if that option was available for the price of $10 billion dollars worth of bribes and weapons, the US would pay that price for a compliant Egypt under an Islamic constitution in a second.

    If it was up to me, Iran would not mention religion in its constitution. But it’s not, and I’m comfortable with it not being up to me. Ultimately the reason thost passages are there is because the people of Iran are more religious than I am. And if that was not the case, then, as you’ve correctly pointed out to Pak, those passages could be effectively ignored until they are amended out.

    Many Iranian commenters in this blog are also more religious than I am. To the degree they are better reflections of the people or Iran than I am, I hope the constitution of Iran reflects their values more than it does mine.

    I want to leave you with a striking result from a readers digest poll taken in 2006:


    14. Would you like to see Iran’s society become more secular and liberal, more religious and conservative or just stay as it is?

    More secular and liberal: 30.7%
    More religious and conservative: 36.0%
    Just stay as it is: 15.0%
    No answer: 18.3%

    Leaving out people who don’t answer, 62% of Iranians who had an opinion in 2006 either want Iran to become more religious or to stay as it is.

  209. FYI,

    Religion certainly is mentioned in many constitutions, but it counts for a great deal less in most constitutions than it does in Iran’s. You are correct, for example, to note that the Argentinian constitution declares the country’s devotion to Catholicism, but it doesn’t go much beyond that. You’re not correct, for example, to say that the president must be Catholic. As a practical matter, I suppose he must be, just as the Israeli Prime Minister “must” be Jewish or Iran’s president or Supreme Leader inevitably would be Muslim whether Iran’s constitution required this or not. But I find a big difference between a constitutional requirement, as in Iran, and a mere practical reality without a formal requirement, as in Argentina.

  210. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: February 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Perhaps you could explain to me what “Desist” meant and in what way it was different than the Christian God?

    Did Desists indeed reject the Nicene Creed?

    Yet, they came out of the Christian Tradition and I am wondering the extent to which they were non-Christain.

    Islam indeed does not have an explcit notion of political freedom.

    Even in the West this notion, in my opinion, did not originate from within Christianity but from the Legacy of Rome.

    That is another reason to think of the European evolution as being execptional (to the rest of the world).

  211. Kathleen says:

    Why is Kuwarit never ever mentioned in our news, blogs etc when it comes to possible protest or democracy spreading?

  212. Kathleen says:

    Eric Brill. It is no surprise that this is the way it is going. The same warmongers and the same MSM that allowed the Bush administration to lie this nation into an illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq are allowing and participating in the Iran is our enemy drumbeat. Been going on since soon after the invasion of Iraq. Just trying to somewhat document.

    I have heard Rachel Maddow and Terri Gross endlessly repeat the unsubstantiated claims about Iran themselves as well as allow guest to repeat the claims. George Stephanapoulous allowed both Obama and McCain to do it during the campaign. Bob Schiefer let Obama get away with calling Iran’s nuclear program to be referred to an a “nuclear weapons program” Scott Simon, David Gregory, Tim Russert, Diane Rehm, Neil Conan (john Bolton repeated so many lies about Iran that it was tough to keep up)

    Try to keep count of how many times and who you hear repeat the Iran hooey and never challenge the repeaters.

    Almost every MSM outlet that I was watching Friday night (CNN< Fox, MSNBC, NBC) pivoted and started targeting Iran immediately. Just went right over the Palestinians which is always the case. Just watching

  213. Fyi: “The Framers of the American Constitution were imbued with the ideas of Christianity and those ideas are implicit in the US Constitution.”

    You are aware that most of the Founders were Deists and did not believe in a Christian God, right? And the ideas embodied in the Constitution of freedom and restraint on the powers of the state are directly inherited from many other societies. In fact, there is one argument that some of it comes directly from some of the Native American societies as well as the Constitution of IIRC Corsica or some such place.

    Are you arguing therefore that Islam has no conception of political freedom and that is because that is a “Christian” notion? I think that’s a ridiculous concept for which you can find zero authority in history.

  214. Eric: In my opinion as an Transhumanist, anarchist and atheist, I think the relationship between religion and the state is an either/or situation. Either the religion dominates the state or the state dominates religion. There is no middle ground that works indefinitely.

    If you have a population which on average is quite devout, as one finds in Muslim countries, then it’s reasonable for religion to dominate the state. It fits the population’s desires.

    If you have a population such as the United States, which by definition is both ethnically and religiously pluralistic, it makes no sense to set up a state religion. So you find that the state dominates religion – as least to the extent of being opposed to an official religion.

    But from my point of view, both religion and the state are utterly pernicious and should be stamped out. So I’m not interested in what degree each should relate to the other. They are historically directly linked because both are about control of the population for the benefit of the few.

    The reason the United States is now overwhelming fundamentalist Christian is because the state has debased the educational system in its pursuit of control over a moronic population and thus has decreased the capacity of the population to reason. This inevitably results in an increase in religious belief. A number of scientists such as Carl Sagan have complained in books about the lack of education in rational thought and the resulting rise in unscientific belief systems. This is precisely reflected in the rise of fundamentalist Christianity in the US.

    Although I don’t believe in a “clash of civilizations” at this point, it’s clear that we could end up at that point if the ruling elites allow it to occur. A possibly significant percentage of the politicians in Congress are either Zionists or fundamentalist Christians (or at least pay lip service to either) and they would very likely support changes in the US Constitution that would make this country more in line with fundamentalism. While I’m not sure such changes would pass the mechanism for modifying the Constitution, we know that every session of Congress someone introduces some sort of bill that would make the US officially a Christian nation. I learned this decades ago from a speech by the late atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hare. The bill never passes, but they never stop trying.

    At this point it’s not even necessary for the US to declare itself a strictly Christian nation, since I think the majority of Muslims view it as such. Fortunately it seems that the majority of Muslims don’t have much ill will toward Americans as a people, just the American government because of its policies. But that could change if the US continues its policies and starts more wars in the Middle East for the benefit of Israel and US Christian Zionists.

    It has always amused me that the Zionist project involved embedding itself in the middle of 200 million Muslims and then attempting to dominate them. This concept is so stupid it needs no refuting. It’s the purest example of exceptionalism – and hubris – one can find. And this is why Israel is doomed as a Jewish state. There is no possibility one can conceive of that this situation will continue forever. The only question is how bloody or not will the resolution be. If the US continues to support Israel’s “right to exist” as a Jewish state, it’s going to be very bloody for the Palestinians, for the surrounding Arabs, and eventually – and especially – for the Jews of Israel. And it may well turn very bloody for the United States, as well.

  215. fyi says:

    Voice of Tehran says: February 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I will illustrate my claims with 2 examples.

    You can still find, I think, a book of Vietnamese fables published by the Amir Kabir Publishing House? If you obtain a copy and read it, you will be struck by how many fables are bout the struggle of Vietnamese heroes against China. The rise of China, in fact, has given impetus to Viet Nam to be seek US protection. They are glad US is in Southeast Asia.

    In South Korea, people realize that they will not be permitted by larger powers (US, Chian, Russia, and japan) to unify their country. At the same time, they also know that even a Nuclear Armed, Industrialized Korea will not be a match to China or Russia or Japan. The current arrangement, suits them fine.

    I know that US is loathed in many quarters but she is also liked in many others.

  216. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says: February 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    There is, in fact, no constitution in the State of Israel – only a set of Basic Laws.

    The reason for its absence is because Jews, just like Muslims, had to deal with the “seamless garment of Revelation” – in this case those in the Judaic Tradition. That Tradition, just like Islam’s, does not entertain a notion of separation of religion and politics. The Patriarchs and the Kinds of Israel were both religious and temporal leaders.

    Furthermore, from a theoretical point of view, the entire notion of fredom in the Western Tradition is derivative from the “Freedom in Christ”. The Framers of the American Constitution were imbued with the ideas of Christianity and those ideas are implicit in the US Constitution. In fact, US system will not work among un-religious or irreligious people, there are very many hidden assumption about proper behavior of an individual that are rooted in (Christian) religious norms.

    Historically, every single Western state has had an official religion until 1776. To this day, very many still have official religions – UK for one. Or like Argentina, the President has to be a Catholic – by its constitution.

    In case of Muslim polities, there is conceptually nothing outside of Islam except barbarism and Darkness. From a practicable point of view, any durable political order in Muslim states must either conform to Islam or accomodate Islam. Secularims is not possibel on a practical level unless it is supported by bayonets.

  217. Voice of Tehran says:

    fyi says:
    February 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm
    Voice of Tehran says: February 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    fyi , with all respect , you sound too ‘ mechanical ‘ , things are going to develop at a speed beyond our expectations AND imagination.

  218. fyi says:

    Voice of Tehran says: February 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    The possibility of what you describe exsists in the Middle East.

    But not outside of the Middle East.

    I South East Asia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippense would like to be part of US dominion or remain so.

    So would Japan and South Korea.

    In South Asia, Indians would like to be Junior Imperialists to US – although I am not sure over whom they are going to exercise power: poor Bangladesh?

    In Europe, they need US more than US needs them; without US they have no instrumentality through which they could exercise power globally.

    South America will go its own way, led by Brazil.

  219. FYI,

    “Preamble of the Iranian Constitution of 1979.”

    Correct (and it remains, of course, in Iran’s constitution today).

    For readers who hadn’t figured this out, I suggest you read the passage I quoted in my February 12, 1:12 PM post, and then ask yourself whether such a passage has any business appearing in a country’s constitution. If you’re not sure, consider how you would feel if a different country were involved, and it decided to adopt a constitution whose preamble included the following passage, which I’ve based loosely on the holy book of a different religion:

    “And then Moses walked to the top of the mountain and he stayed there a long time. When he came down, he told the people this: ‘I have talked to God and he has told me many things.’ Moses then pointed to the distant mountains and swept his extended arm across the entire horizon, from left to right. ‘God told me that all of these lands – as far as the eye can see, and far beyond – belong to us. He has chosen us to have them. He also told me that we must obey certain commandments – important laws such as ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ and many others which I will tell you. But I do not believe God intended us to apply those laws to the people who now live in the lands he has given to us, for he also told me that we must go out and smite those people.'”

    Does this strike you as appropriate language for a country’s constitution?

    Several thousand years later, people are still arguing over whether some version or other of this conversation between God and Moses really took place – or whether it should determine modern national boundaries and political rights if it did. But the actual government of an actual country, which demands that others recognize it as a “Jewish state,” insists that the conversation happened. Very many people who live in that country argue that it must draw its boundaries accordingly, and that it may treat the non-Jewish people who live within those boundaries as second-class citizens. To disagree with them is to disagree with God.

    Does this strike you as appropriate? If not, might it strike you as appropriate if you were a Jewish settler living in Judea or Samaria (a/k/a the West Bank)?

    One can find many noble principles – justice, fairness, equality, mercy – in holy books such as the Old Testament, the Koran, the New Testament, the Bhagavad Gita and many others, and those principles have properly worked their way into the constitutions of many countries (and the law of Israel, which has no formal written constitution). But when the followers of a dominant religion insist on injecting much more than just such noble principles into their country’s constitution – when they insist that their religion’s doctrines must permeate nearly every domestic and foreign policy of the country, they go too far. The risk is too great of ending up with a situation like the one that has resulted from the not-quite-imaginary passage I wrote above.

    Several people on this website have made it plain, in many cases by their silence in response to my pointed questions, in other cases by ambiguous statements that sound “democratic” until one examines them more closely, that they would strongly prefer that the Muslim Brotherhood somehow be excluded from the democratic process in the new Egypt. My favorite example of such an ambiguous statement is this, written a few weeks ago by a commenter on this website (referring there to Iran): ” I should elaborate that I am happy for any party to contest elections so long as they are peaceful, democratic, and promote the best interests of their respective nation.” To anyone familiar with the views of that commenter, it was clear that his third criterion trumped the first two, and that he did not have in mind any form of “majority rule” for determining when that third criterion had been satisfied.

    I have made plain that I strongly disagree with this undemocratic form of democracy – in Egypt, Iran or anywhere else. Neither the Muslim Brotherhood, nor any other religious or non-religious group, should be excluded from Egyptian politics, Iranian politics, or any other country’s politics.

    On the other hand, I do not think Islam or any other religion should be injected into the new or amended constitution of Egypt to anywhere near the extent that Shia Islam has been injected into Iran’s constitution. The creation of a country’s constitution is the “undemocratic” step in establishing a democracy (even though the step typically is taken with majority approval) – the step in which the passions of the majority are restrained for the future, principally by such provisions as a supermajority requirement for amendments. As many people have complained over very many years, such a constitution, properly drafted (properly in my view, at least), often ends up without a lot of moral content, which inevitably tempts the creators of some constitutions (such as Iran’s) to fill that apparent moral void with particular religious doctrines. But the lack of moral content in most constitutions is not an accident: most often, it reflects the drafters’ humble awareness that human beings have had limited success in identifying universal moral principles that deserve to be placed in a constitution, and so they limit themselves to just a few. But then they dig a moat around the few principles that do make the cut – freedom of expression, freedom of religion, racial and gender equality, right to due process of law, right to vote, and similar bedrock principles – prohibiting any subsequent manifestation of majority passion (laws, for example) that would violate those principles.

    In that way, a constitutional state can safely be launched with every group and every individual free to argue for whatever laws and rules and practices the group or individual can persuade the majority to approve, but within certain limits that assure the minority its basic rights and freedoms won’t be taken away. Things don’t always work out exactly as planned, of course, and US constitutional jurisprudence (for example) has lurched left, right, back and forth over the years, but mostly within a reasonably narrow band that leaves most people satisfied overall.

    That is why I think the secular participants in the Egyptian revolution should (and I have no doubt they will) stay very much involved in the process of crafting Egypt’s new constitutional framework. Unlike the secular groups involved in the Iranian revolution, who (along with their descendants) now complain that that revolution was “hijacked” by Islamic groups, the Egyptian secular leaders should be able – and undoubtedly will try their best – to ensure that no need will ever arise for them or their descendants to argue that Islamic groups “hijacked” the Egyptian revolution.

    With a proper constitution – and, frankly, I think the US constitution would provide a good model to start with – the Muslim Brotherhood will be able to, and should, participate without restriction in Egypt’s political life. At the same time, other Egyptians would have some assurance – as we have here in the US, for example, but I believe Iranians do not – that a particular set of religious beliefs will not legally restrict their individual freedoms or inevitably dictate the policies of their government.

  220. Voice of Tehran says:

    fyi says:
    February 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm
    I agree, he will win again.

    I like the idea of Obama winning his second term very much , thus the final demise of the US-Empire by end of this decade ( latest ) will be linked to him .

  221. Arnold Evans says:

    Castellio, thanks a lot for that link.

    FYI, I think, if I have to guess, that Obama will win. But I say with confidence that he’s more likely to win right now than to lose and that there is nobody else who has as good a chance right now to win than Obama has. I also say with confidence that the first objective indications that Obama is in trouble or that somebody else has a solid chance of winning will be visible at 538 and intrade.

  222. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: February 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I agree, he will win again.

  223. Fiorangela says:

    Arnold Evans, yes, I wondered about the financing of the protest planners. Also wondered about the clenched-fist banner @ 20 minutes — straight out of Laughner’s script for a coup d’etat. Coup school?

  224. Castellio says:

    From Richard Seymour at http://leninology.blogspot.com/

    “Meanwhile, with celebrations erupting in Gaza, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, all over the Middle East (and, I might add, in London), the struggle in Algeria is continuing today. In Algiers, the train services have been stopped, to prevent protesters from flooding into the capital. Thousands of police have been deployed. Crowds are being attacked with tear gas lobbed by police and rocks thrown by plain clothes thugs. Initially, only a few dozens managed to reach the main square where the protest was due to take place, with other scattered throughout the city. But it seems that the protesters have managed to break police cordons, despite considerable resistance. Algeria is an interesting contrast to both Tunisia and Egypt. The police have recently been awarded staggering 50% pay rises amid an economic crisis that is slashing working class incomes, and they have thus far been able to contain and disperse the rebellions with calculated violence and homicide. The main opposition groups, whether the Left or the Islamists, have been effectively repressed and then coopted over the years, such that they are playing only a small role in what is otherwise plainly a class uprising. The main trade union federation has had regime-friendly apparatchiks planted in its leadership, so it has done nothing to support the revolt. As a consequence, the riots which began to break out first in December 2010, then in force this January, initially had little institutional support. The protesters have now developed an umbrella co-ordinating body comprising opposition parties and factions, but this is only a few weeks old. As such, it’s early days for the Algerian uprising. But the miraculous breakthrough in Egypt will have given it, and every other brewing rebellion in the vicinity, a tremendous shot in the arm.”

  225. Castellio says:

    Arnold, I don’t think you have to look for the sources of funding outside of the Egyptian middle class…

    Again, I think the lack of appreciation, too, of the movement towards an independent union movement is limiting people’s understanding of the last five years in Egypt. There is an article specifically about this worth reading:


    A quote from it: “Predictably, Western media is misreporting the role of both labor and the Muslim Brotherhood, understating the role of the former and overstating the role of the latter.”

  226. Arnold Evans says:


    Obama’s fate is doomed as that of Carter’s.

    By far the best place for discussion about trends in US electoral politics is, as far as I know, Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight, which is the number of electoral votes available in the contest for US presidential candidates.


    The best place for a single number and the trend is the election market at intrade


    The safest bet right now is still that Obama will win reelection. US unemployment is going down and that rate historically is the single best predictor of incumbent victory or defeat in presidential elections (it predicted Carter’s defeat as well if memory serves).

    If we must project who will be US president in 2013, Barack Obama is the best projection to make right now.

  227. Arnold Evans says:

    Fio – February 12, 2011 at 11:20: That is an amazing video. The demonstrations were better planned and organized than I had realized. I have to conclude now that they would have eventually accomplished what they’ve accomplished even if there had been no Tunisia, but I doubt it would have been this year or this quick.

    The leadership of the protesters is very intelligent and very good tactical thinkers in the moment, much better than the Mubarak government and that government’s supporters including in the United States was.

    I also have to conclude that there are sources of funding and operational support for the planners that I don’t know of. Specifically the travel abroad for training and the televisions and satellite dishes that appeared out of nowhere. The source had to be someone hostile to Mubarak, and the United States has never fit that description. If I have to guess, it is private sources in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt. Anti-Gamal Mubarak forces in Egypt’s power structure is more likely, in my opinion, than the United States, but even that strikes me as unlikely.

    The single most likely source, if I’m forced to guess, is parties with the same philosophical outlook as the supporters of Al-Jazeera itself. There are parties with wealth in the Middle East that are interested in breaking what obviously to every observer are non-modern neo-colonial bonds between the West and too many governments in the Middle East, including at that time, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and others.

    Fiorangela, you’ve never responded directly to my habit of saving some characters of typing by calling you Fio. If it offends or bothers you in the slightest, please let me know and I’ll stop.

    Anyway, thanks again for the link

  228. Fahad says:

    Obama’s fate is doomed as that of Carter’s. But 2011 is not 1979. The mullahs in Iran hijacked the revolution. It won’t happen again.

  229. Fiorangela says:

    In answer to the second question in Eric’s Quiz — no, I am not surprised, but my perception of Iran includes the tremendous –and mutual–admiration W Morgan Shuster expressed toward the Iranian people, and is further colored by having spent 15 days in Iran + a flight to Amsterdam in the company of the 90-year old brother of Richard Frye. Dr. Frye told us several tales about his brother’s WWII work for OSS; his disenchantment with that organization as it morphed into CIA post-war; and his subsequent career as a scholar at Harvard and then in Iran.

    But to get back to Eric’s question: That Iranians would create a humanistic document claiming their rights is not surprising to me: Iranians know the history of their own empire, and have been intricately involved in the civilizations of the Greeks, Romans, the Italian city-states, the Ottomans, the Portuguese navigators, the Chinese at the other end of the Silk Road. Iranian depth in time and breadth is tremendous.

    I understand the Iranian people as human beings, and I try to understand Iranians on their own terms — I do not imbue Iranians with dignity only to the extent that they demonstrate “western” values; in fact, what I most admire about Iranians is that their internal moral compass seems to be both more rational and more compassionate than what the American moral value system has become.

    Finally, the Iranian mental architecture is, to my mind, much richer than the western imagination. It is my impression that the average Iranian is filled with the tales, literature, and poetry of his/her culture, an extraordinary legacy. In contrast, I’m not certain that Americans have or could identify, much less recite, the unique myths and literature that animate their culture. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever read the second part of the Declaration of Independence that I posted earlier, and I fear I am not in the minority of Americans who would have to make that acknowledgment.

  230. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: February 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks, reminded me so much of Thomas Paine.

    You are never too old to learn something new; it seems.

  231. Fiorangela says:

    Eric — must confess, I googled: it’s the Iranian Constitution.

    fyi — no, not Thomas Paine but US Declaration of Independence. Notice the similarity in stating grievances and claiming the right to redress them? but perhaps that’s stealing Eric’s thunder

  232. Arnold Evans says:


    Somebody let me know if posting the Hillary Mann Leverett video to youtube is a problem in any way.

  233. fyi says:

    Castellio says: February 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    We shall see.

  234. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says: February 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Preamble of the Iranian Constitution of 1979.

  235. Castellio says:

    FYI: Of course conceptual thinking evolves, and of course it takes time… that is, in fact, my point.

    And it evolves due to historical events and true historical pressures, not just intellectual reformulations, Political ideals are not only intellectual exercises: the concepts, to be effective, must have a relation to the historical world. This is precisely what you deny in your quote:

    “That is why the experiment in Turkey and what is going on in Egypt and Tunisia may have no lasting impact; they are not theoretically rooted in the ideas of Islam and are thus practices based on an alien set of ideas …. “

    The Egyptian movement for democracy is, in fact, changing current understandings of Islam and Islamic political thought. They are not separate. You can’t banish the effects of the past month due to “being alien”.

  236. FYI and Fiorangela,

    Any guesses on the source of my quoted passage?

  237. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: February 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Thomas Paine: “Common Sense”.

  238. Fiorangela says:

    UPON ERIC BRILL is hereby conferred the RFI official “I told you so” award; namely, one rudderless rowboat, the USS Foreign Policy.

    IN ANSWER to said Eric Brill’s Quiz, this counter:

    all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these [people]; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King … is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over [us]. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

    For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. . . .

  239. My apology in advance for quoting such a long passage below – it may be sufficient to skim it. Time permitting, I’ll explain in a later post why I did. For now, though:


    1. Without performing a Google search, do you know what writing this passage comes from?

    2. If you have found it necessary to perform a Google search to answer Question 1, were you surprised by what you learned?


    The publication of an outrageous article meant to malign the revered ‘ulama’ and in particular Imam Khumayni on 7 Jan 1978 by the ruling regime accelerated the revolutionary movement and caused an outburst of popular outrage across the country. The regime attempted to quiet the heat of the people’s anger by drowning the protest and uprising in blood, but the bloodshed only quickened the pulse rate of the Revolution. The seventh-day and fortieth-day commemorations of the martyrs of the Revolution, like a series of steady heartbeats, gave greater vitality, intensity, vigor, and solidarity to this movement all over the country. In the course of this popular movement, the employees of all government establishments took an active part in the effort to overthrow the tyrannical regime by calling a general strike and participating in street demonstrations. The widespread solidarity of men and women of all segments of society and of all political and religious factions, played a clearly determining role in the struggle. Especially the women were actively and massively present in a most conspicuous manner at all stages of this great struggle. The common sight of mothers with infants in their arms rushing towards the scene of battle and in front of the barrels of machine-guns indicated the essential and decisive role played by this major segment of society in the struggle.

    The Price the Nation Paid

    After slightly more than a year of continuous and unrelenting struggle, the sapling of the revolution, watered by the blood of more than 60,000 martyrs and 100,000 wounded and disabled, not to mention property damage, came to bear fruit amidst the cries of “Independence! Freedom! Islamic government!” This great movement, which attained victory through reliance upon faith, unity, and the decisiveness of its leadership at every critical and sensitive juncture, as well as the self-sacrificing spirit of the people, succeeded in upsetting all the calculations of imperialism and destroying all its connections and institutions, thereby opening a new chapter in the history of all-embracing popular revolutions of the world.

    On 12 and 13 Feb 1979, the world witnessed the collapse of the monarchical regime. Domestic tyranny and foreign domination, both of which were based upon it, were shattered. This great success proved to be the vanguard of Islamic government — a long-cherished desire of the Muslim people — and brought with it the glad tidings of final victory.

    Unanimously, the Iranian people declared their final and firm decision, in the referendum on the Islamic Republic, to bring about a new political system, that of the Islamic Republic.


  240. fyi says:

    Castellio says: February 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Did the American Revolution, conceptually, come out of nowhere? Was it an act of ex nihilo creation?

    I think not.

    It was firmly rooted in the intellectual developments of the previous decades.

    You are, in fact, distorting my views.

    My views, since you clearly have failed to graps them, are quite elemenatry.

    That concepts must be grafted or amalgamted to the Islamic Tradition. I am not suggesting an ab initio construction of conceptual systems.

    The only constitutional order that is not based on explicit conceptualizations is the United Kingdom. Every other constitutional order currently in existinece, derives its substance from sets of concepts and ideas that, for the most part, are rooted in the intellectual ideas of the European Tradition. This includes the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    One has to perform one’s intellectual homework. One has to delimit, for example, the boundaries of Islam and that of Individual Autonomy.

    There are no short-cuts.

  241. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: February 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I think you need to address not people like me but the millions of young people in Iran whose religiosity is closer to “orf” than what the government’s policies try to create.

    All these girls that the government is forcing to wear scarves; they go home or they go to private gatherings, or receive private instructions without scarves.

    And when they grow up to attend university and the government of Iran wants to segregate the classes in universities. This is madness.

  242. Castellio says:

    FYI… yours is a classic example of why people who believe they can start from first principles and then evolve only from that become burdens to themselves and the world.

    “That is why the experiment in Turkey and what is going on in Egypt and Tunisia may have no lasting impact; they are not theoretically rooted in the ideas of Islam and are thus practices based on an alien set of ideas …. “

  243. fyi says:
    February 12, 2011 at 11:49 am
    nahid says: February 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I hope, in that case, their Islamic Government (in Egypt) does not turn into this Islamic Disaster (Nikbah) that we have in Iran – shredding “orf” and pursuing a fantasy (Sunni) Muslim project.

    Nahid, fyi: I will respond to this post, insha’llah, in the fullness of time. Stay tuned.

  244. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says: February 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    You were right: they (US-EU Axis) have to try to keep the issue alive even though their edifice is falling apart. See below (more of the same):


  245. Pak says:

    From the people that brought you the attacks on Mastercard, Paypal, and Amazon:


  246. Kathleen wrote:

    Last night I watched MSNBC, CNN and Fox … There was a great deal of coverage of the actual celebration in Tahir square … What was astounding was how quickly the talking heads pivoted and focused on this “tsunami of freedom” hitting Iran …. I heard V.P Joe Biden, NBC’s Brian Williams, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Rep Engel, Michelle Dunn from the Carnegie Insitute of Peace, Ambassador Cohen and many more bring up Iran Iran Iran. MSNBC’s Cenk Uygar had Barbara Slavin on and most of her response focused on Iran and how they needed to allow protest. She went on to say that the Iranian elections were fraudulent a myth that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel repeat.”

    Forgive me for pointing this out, but I predicted 12 days ago that this very phenomenon would occur – with very little agreement from others at the time:

    “But I predict [the US government] will try even harder than it now does to demonize Iran. It will argue that a country which once had such great promise has degenerated into a repressive police state… If the US government instead starts being nicer (or at least not meaner) to Iran, as some predict, it will worry that the current situation in Iran may not strike people in the new democracies as a bad outcome after all.”

  247. fyi says:

    Humanist says: February 12, 2011 at 9:50 am

    The hole in Iran that you refer to is entirely created by the Iranian people and their leaders, one cannot blame a few people around late Mr. Khomeini for it.

    The Iranian people (excepting a few such as myself) were convinced that mindless adherence to Islamic Tradition was going to usher in Paradise on Earth. That (Shia) Islam had never been given a chance to order society according to its precepts since the time of Imama Ali. That the Islamic Revolution was the God-given opportunity to do so.

    So the leaders first shredded “orf” in pursuit of their Shia fantasy and large sectors of socoiety, out of respect, ignorance, envy, and malcie followed them. You cannot, in my opinion, absolve the Iranian people from what happened. They wanted what they got; eventhoug now they realize what they got was not what they thought they were going to get.

    The Islamic Disaster in Iran was not un-expected.

    In regards to Jinah, please do not blame him for the Partition; Gandhi was the man most responsible for the Partition and the carnage that followed. Hell must have a special place for him (let us hope). Jinah was in the Indian Congress Party before Gandhi came and he was forced to envision Paksitan because of Gandhi and his cohorts like Nehru.

  248. fyi says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says: February 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Jordan, Moroco.

  249. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: February 12, 2011 at 11:48 am

    To create and establish alternative systems of governance among Muslims, the conceptual and intellectual foundations of such new ideas as the Representative Government, Legislation, and Personal Autonomy must be developed within Islam.

    To my knowledge, the late Mr. Khomeini, was the only Muslim in a 1000 years that addressed himself to this task and largely succeeded in amalgamating the Principles of Islam and the Principles of Republicanism. Perhaps because he was well-versed with “Kalam” and he was also a practicing mystic and feared only God.

    However, perhaps due to my lack of access and remoteness, I am unaware of other Muslim Thinkers who are addressing themselves to the issue that I outlined in my first paragraph. I do not see any one who would critique the “Islamic Government” book in order to go beyond it or to imporve it. I am unaware of thinkers who would be grafting the concepts of “Individual Autonomy” and “Individual Liberty” to the concepts found in the Quran such as “Khelafat”.

    [On the contrary, what I hear are Muslims who want to make all Islamic rites,
    including “sala” (prayer), into obligatory legal obligations that will be punishable by the Muslim state if not observed.]

    The first time the word “democracy” was used in Modern Europe was in a Dutch publication in the 17-th century – “Demokraten”. Then you had such European thinkers like Vico, Montesquieu , Hobbes, Locke, and others who developed ideas of political freedom and democracy. It was almost 150 years from “Demkoraten” to the American Revolution. You see, it takes that long to develop the conceptual foundations of these things.

    That is why the experiment in Turkey and what is going on in Egypt and Tunisia may have no lasting impact; they are not theoretically rooted in the ideas of Islam and are thus practices based on an alien set of ideas protected (or tolerated) by the Military and associated social strata.

    These are good beginnings but the road ahead is long and travellers are very rare indeed.

  250. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: February 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Thank you for this posting; it confirms my own statements that the nuclear case is no longer resolvable.

    For the Islamic Republic, even before the events in Tunisia and in Egypt, there was no longer any possibility of any policy except redoubling of her effort to eject US-EU Axis out of the Middle East.

  251. fyi says:

    nahid says: February 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I hope, in that case, their Islamic Government (in Egypt) does not turn into this Islamic Disaster (Nikbah) that we have in Iran – shredding “orf” and pursuing a fantasy (Sunni) Muslim project.

  252. Rehmat says:

    fyi – I never saw you so pessimistic since Hizbullah brought a peaceful Cedar Revolution in Lebanon by dumping pro-Israel Sa’ad Hariri’s government last month.


  253. fyi says:

    orangela says: February 12, 2011 at 11:20 am

    The Iranian religious oppositin to the rule of the Shah of Iran had a step-by-step program of action to weaken and overthrow the monarchy back in the 1960s. They did not pursue that program because they did not find the people ready for action.

    So they waited until 1977 when anger was boiling all over Iran and followed much of that program.

    “Ripeness is everything.” William Shakespear

  254. fyi says:

    Kathleen says: February 12, 2011 at 11:20 am

    They have to keep the Iran issue alive and on the agenda of US Grand Strategy.

    That their goal is becoming less and less feasible is not going to deter these people; they are not analysts per se but propagandists.

    That US-EU Axis policies (such as the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War, the Gaza-Israel War, the Harriri Tribunal) over the last 4 years have been eviscerated does not cause them to go back and re-evaluate their analysis. It only means that they need to exert more effort.

    Reminds of the late Joseph Stalin: the program is correct it is the cadre that cannot carry it out.

    Look for more failures before any change takes place in DC.

  255. fyi says:

    Neo says: February 12, 2011 at 6:58 am

    You are right that there was no regime change in Cairo.

    I think Mr. Mobarak’s removal from the scene will alter the foreign policy of Egypt – even openning of the Rafah crossing will mean a defeat for the uncompromising – and ultimately brutal visionless – US/EU/Saudi Arabia policy towards Gaza.

    I also think that the military cannot rule in Egypt; they will go back to the barracks and the civilian government of Egypt, will not follow the dead-ender US-EU Axis policies in the Levant.

    Depending how things proceed, there is a chance for regime change but I put the chance of that to be low.

  256. Kathleen says:

    I find Hillary’s arguments far more lop sided than her husbands.

    On Friday many of us were glued to Al Jazeera watching the live broadcast of the Egyptian people celebrating after it was announced that Mubarak had stepped down. The boundless joy that the Egyptian people exhibited through their chants, singing, smiles, dancing, tears was infectious. Many of us who were able to witness this much deserved success were overwhelmed by their integrity and enthusiasm and commitment to peaceful protest. We celebrated with them that they were starting the process of getting the U.S. supported dictatorship off their backs.

    I was curious to watch where our mainstream media would head after following these protest 24 7 for several weeks. Still just stunned by the MSM ignoring the U.S. protest in D.C. during the fall of 2002, New York Feb 2003 and across the nation. Hundreds of thousands of us marched, protested against that invasion and our MSM ignored us. They carried water for the Bush administrations “pack of lies” which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
    Last night I watched MSNBC, CNN and Fox from 4 p.m. est until 10 p.m. There was a great deal of coverage of the actual celebration in Tahir square and interviews with many of the people in the square. What was astounding was how quickly the talking heads pivoted and focused on this “tsunami of freedom” hitting Iran I was sadly not astounded by how these same talking heads completely avoided talking about this “tsunami of freedom” influencing the Palestinian Israeli conflict. When have you ever seen MSNBC’s Richard Engel, or CNN’s Cooper Anderson broadcasting from the middle of a peaceful Palestinian protest? You all ready know the answer. Never.

    I heard V.P Joe Biden, NBC’s Brian Williams, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Rep Engel, Michelle Dunn from the Carnegie Insitute of Peace, Ambassador Cohen and many more bring up Iran Iran Iran. MSNBC’s Cenk Uygar had Barbara Slavin on and most of her response focused on Iran and how they needed to allow protest. She went on to say that the Iranian elections were fraudulant a myth that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel repeat. When will any of these programs have former Bush administration official and former middle east CIA analyst Flynt Leverett on their programs to discuss Iran based on substantive facts? Instead of one guest after the next repeating the I lobbies unsubstantiated claims? When?

    Amazing to watch and listen to our MSM take the 24/7 coverage of the Egyptian “tsunami of freedom” and skip right over the Israeli Palestinian conflict and Palestinian protest and hit Iran.

  257. Kathleen says:

    –”The challenge for the United States is to come to terms to with the values, interests, ideas, and grievances of people who actually live in the region. The key to meeting that challenge is a willingness to distinguish between a commitment to protecting the safety and security of the Jewish people in a portion of their Biblical homeland from an aggressive Israeli national security strategy—a strategy which holds that Israel must be able to use military force unilaterally, whenever and wherever it wants, to whatever extent it chooses, and for whatever purpose it deems desirable. ”

    While I understand that Israel exists due to the manipulated votes at the UN in 48. Repeating this “biblical homeland” hooey is lame. How many peoples claim that area as a “biblical homeland”

  258. Arnold Evans says:

    These are excellent interviews with Al-Jazeera whose points seem obvious on reflection but only slowly becoming understood by the Western foreign policy community.

    At about 7 minutes, these interviews could be added to youtube or google videos by anyone who downloads them, and from there given keywords and made searchable. Does anyone have any idea about if there would be copyright or other concerns to prevent someone from doing that?

  259. Humanist says:


    Could you please explain what you mean by ” My heart is breaking”?

  260. Fiorangela says:

    nahid, enshaalah.

    “God feeds the birds of the air but he doesn’t put the food in their nests.”

    the forces of predatory capitalism have achieved only their first stage of Iraq-style transformation of Egypt. Egypt will not fulfill its revolution until the people of the United States free their government from zionist dominance.

  261. nahid says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    February 12, 2011 at 10:19 am
    Question to the floor:

    Military coup d’etat several times will happen,but at the end of decade Islamic government will establish, enshaalah

  262. Fiorangela says:

    Humanist @ 9:50 am. My heart is breaking.

    BiBiJon, I was wrong; Washington is NOT rudderless, they’re just hiding Jerry Bremer until the time is right.

    Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance – Department of Defense

    news brief on either NPR or C Span this morning: “Israeli sources report that non-Egyptians were among the protesters in Cairo. The sources detected accents that were not Egyptian.”

    How did the Israelis know this? Were the accents Israeli? Had Israelis infiltrated the protest? Is the pope Catholic?

  263. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Question to the floor:

    With Mubarak gone, who will now torture the people that the US renditions?

  264. Fiorangela says:

    memorable line from Shawshank Redemption: “How can you be so obtuse?”

    C Span Washington Journal guest Egypt “expert” was one Tawfik Hamid of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Hamid has a medical degree in internal medicine and is a self-described reformed Islamic radical; his special area of expertise is Islamic radicalisation.
    He worries and warns against Islamization of governments in Egypt and other Arab states that might overthrow their autocratic governments. He repeated that “people in the region — like Iran– have tried Islamic government and it’s a failure; the people have seen that it doesn’t work.” [Neoliberal capitalism, on the other hand, has an exemplary track record; see “USA-national debt; Ireland-national debt; Greece-national debt . . .”]

    What the C Span host did not reveal but a 5 minute google search did, is that Hamid (aka Tarek Abdelhamid)has appeared on Glen Beck, Fox, and in National Review and Hoover Institute outlets — if that gives you a flavor of his ideological bent. Walid Phares is one of Hamid’s colleagues. Hamid voices the view that “it is god’s will that the Jews return to Israel and it is wrong from Muslims to oppose the will of god.”
    In other words, the guy is a nutcase that the zionist/right wing trots out to serve their purposes.

    There are lots of nutcases in the world, and a lot of them appear on many venues, left, right, middle and luney toons. The problem that arises when someone like Hamid appears on a venue like C Span Washington Journal is that people believe Washington Journal is leading edge, objective, and credible above all other media. Caller after caller heaped praise on Hamid, some even wishing that he would become president of Egypt — “You are the kind of person Egyptians need.” If Americans are stuck on stupid, and they are, C Span Washington Journal, which was supposed to be the resource for the kind of information Flynt and Hillary Leverett and Juan Cole provide, is instead a Krazy Glue keeping Americans fastened to bigoted and parochial views of the world. Brian Lamb — are you paying attention to what is happening to your magnificent lifetime’s work?

    Yesterday @ 5:54 pm BiBiJon posted this message which should be the banner of the Washington foreign policy establishment: “when in uncharted waters, so what if you’re rudderless.” (tho we still endure ‘bless you all — hugs’).

    Dr. Hamid provides a remedy for your seasickness, BBJ: pray that the Iranian people will be inspired by the example of the Egyptian revolution to overthrow their government and establish a real, non-Islamic democracy, otherwise Ahmadinejad will “some day” develop a nuclear weapon and attack Israel, Najaf, and the United States (not necessarily in that order). [“some day” — most likely by 2013, Ahmadinejad will no longer be in power; he can’t run again, something of which neither the C Span host nor Dr. Hamid took account.]

    all better now?

  265. Humanist says:

    Egypt’s Revolution…

    What a great times of watching another phenomenal triumph of humanity over barbarism, this time in Egypt.

    Regardless of my chronic skepticism and clearly seeing the hands of demonic foreigners in what happened I see the whole event as a glorious win for all thus I salute Egyptians with deep heartfelt passion….those who courageously and selflessly succeeded in writing another great page in the history of our social evolution.

    Among many surprises are the different masks the duplicitous politician wore each day and how some neocon cannibals who, up to a few weeks ago, didn’t have the slightest hesitation to send the progressive people to Egyptian torture chambers are now portraying the protestors as if they are angels sent to earth by their God

    Even if thing do not go as all conscientious souls wish Egyptians by ‘peaceful’ means have achieved something in a flash that, even so far, its historical enormity is more sizable than some past revolutions. It seems, because of the present global circumstances the impact of this revolution is not like the ‘ripple effect’ but the lessons of wisdom and non-violence learnt from it has the potential of becoming a legendary worldwide tsunami.

    Emphasizing some notable points:

    – The blind supporters of the colonial or hegemonic rules will remain in shock and shame for quite some time (until some day they identify the real evil among themselves?)

    – The real ruthless heartless planners of pillaging the world by using wars, torture and subjugation will gather again in Rome to find new ways of sucking the blood of humanity towards its extinction….hopefully, before the grand extinction and after few more crushing defeats they’ll learn that they have been swimming against the immensely powerful torrents of history thus stop playing their dark, evil and psychopathic hobbies.

    – Now Israelis for the first time in their 62 year annals must have been subconsciously envisaging that, among other factors, because of their arrogant apartheid system , their regard of non-Israelis as pawns, their adherence to deception and trickery and their barbarous aggressions and wars their dreaded nightmare is looming in the near horizons. Hopefully they are learning, among other things, in the arena of humanity ‘the ways of deception’ could always backfire no matter if their chicanery yields spectacular short term results….hopefully .they are learning they have either to change or succumb…change by respecting others as one of their own.

    – Also Egyptians vividly proved Al-Quaida’s ways are no different from those of the baboons. The Egyptians like a few other wise tribes in recent past have taught the oppressed people of the world that rational peaceful ways can move mountains forever while breaking the nose of the imagined enemy by fist or rocks could only cause a short time repairable damage.

    – Egyptians also proved the 60 year old Hollywood stereotyping of Arabs as primitive people was a widespread intentional evil plan, so was and is the goal of the Murdochist slaves in present day MSM

    – Egyptians once more emphasized the fact that short-sighted neocons and hegemonists are the real nemesis of humanity and the world is incapable of reaching its potential unless the moronic racist imperialists are gone forever.

    At the end of this humble observational and congratulatory remarks I sincerely hope the Egyptians are fully aware of the immense power of their real enemies in redirecting their exalted dream towards all kinds of failure. I hope .they know the full story of Islamist Jinah in India, or how Pakistani Zia ol Haq was pushed (bribed) to Islamize his country or the full story of Afghan Mojahedin and Taliban or the creation of Hamas …….and how, after 1979 Iranian revolution, among other dark forces, the Iranian-American Citizens and stooges of other powers who had surrounded Khomeini drove him to ignore the alternatives in the first referendum. The rush was phenomenal, just in weeks (not months) Iran was Islamized , fell in a deep hole that getting out of it is not easy at all.

    Hopefully Egypt, in future, could set a new standard for Middle Eastern civility and progress as she manifested those captivating features in her remarkable earth-shaking revolution.

  266. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Steven Hack, @ 2:57 am (with hugs and luuuuv) wrote,

    “Glenn’s points about the meaning of all this is the critical issue which I’ve raised here again and again about a possible Iran war: that corporations and government are now melded into one entity which has absolutely no interest in following the law because they will never suffer the consequences.

    should be emphasized.

    Samuel Untermyer died wealthy, ‘respected’ by his cohorts, and in his own vacation home. He Got His, even tho he was a prime mover in involving the US in two unnecessary wars, causing the deaths of millions and the on-going economic deprivation of millions more. 1 Kings 3, 16-28. If the baby isn’t yours, why would you care is it’s killed?

  267. Rehmat says:

    To save his ill-gotten wealth, Hosni Mubarak finally listened to Ben-Obama and yesterday stepped down and handed-over his powers to his deputy General Omar Suleiman, a known CIA-Mossad agent in Egypt. Mubarak’s decision came after over two weeks of protests in which million of people came on the streets chanting anti-Mubarak and anti-US/Israel slogans. The clashes with security forces resulted in death of over 300 protesters.

    The British journalist who had reverted to Islam a year after she was released by Taliban, Yvonne Ridley was interviewed by RT after Mubarak’s exit.

    “The people are determined to get every member of this current brutal Regime out…” observes Yvonne Ridley.

    When asked what are the implications for the rest of the Middle East?

    She continued, “…well when the people lead, their leaders better listen…or they will become irrelevant…”

    A solemn warning to all dictators out there who think Might is Right, ‘Today the Power is with the People,’ she concluded.

    Last, a poll taken by the Pew Research Center found that Muslim publics overwhelmingly welcome Islamic influence (Islamic Shari’ah) over their countries politics. The survey found people in Indonesia (95%), Egypt (95%), Pakistan (88%) and Nigeria (88%) are on the top the list of Muslim-majority countries which said that Islamic Shari’ah would be good for their countries. These four countries were followed by Lebanon (72%), Jordan (53%) and Turkey (45%).


  268. BiBiJon says:

    Off topic, but interesting:

    Fruitless Nuclear Talks
    Both Iran and the United States choose to play hardball on the nuclear issue
    By HUA LIMING (a former Chinese ambassador to Iran)


  269. Neo says:

    Uncanny that Mubarak left on the anniversary of Iran’s revolution.

    But there has been no regime change yet, and the crowds of demonstrators still constituted a relative minority that could hardly challenge the military dictatorship.

    Regardless of the interests of various outsiders, we have not witnessed a revolution in Egypt yet.

    The military have used public discontent to remove an ailing and ineffective leader from among their own ranks with no damage done to the power structure, but with plenty of apparent ‘love’ for the military by the people.

    Unless alternative paymasters can be found for the (essentially American) Egyptian military, there is little indication of any major u-turns in Egypt’s regional policy so far.

    Should the military of any country be allowed to be bought in this manner by a foreign power?

    Loved the reference to the Obama Administration’s ‘promiscuous use of the verb “must” since January 25’ in Hillary’s piece above. Am glad that more Americans are talking about the subtle yet important effect of such distasteful language.

  270. Fahad says:

    “The Obama Administration has not done itself any favors with its promiscuous use of the verb “must” since January 25. It is unfortunate that there is no apparent learning curve on this point at the White House.”

    Hillary’s learning curve regarding Iran has been infamous. Leveretts’ 180 degree U-turn regarding Egypt is breathtaking.

  271. Fahad says:

    “Michael Perenti’s definition of Foreign Aid: [A mechanism whereby] boor beepol in rish countries give money to rish beebol in boor countries.”

    LOL, thanks.

  272. Richard said: “The US Senate will cut off foreign aid to Egypt. That’s not such a big deal, the only beneficiaries were Mubarak and the military anyway. The people won’t notice because they never got any of it.”

    Michael Perenti’s definition of Foreign Aid: [A mechanism whereby] boor beepol in rish countries give money to rish beebol in boor countries.

    OK, now I’ve had my fill and will stop with the accent :o)

  273. hans says:

    I believe the next country to fall is Morocco.Emboldened by the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, demands for political reforms are now mounting in Morocco, touching even the country’s monarchy.

    More than half of the population is under 30 years old. This is a first requirement for ‘revolution’. Median age is 26 years. Very revolutionary. Half live in the cities: another marker indicating revolutionary conditions. Half are literate, another positive for revolution.

    Here is what the King and his delusional court believes:
    “Reforms already afoot in Morocco make it unlikely to witness the protests roiling other Arab countries, even as the government will respond to growing social demands, its spokesman said Thursday. ”We don’t have the impression at all of imported tensions,” government spokesman Khalid Naciri told AFP, referring to the protests washing over fellow north African countries Tunisia and Egypt.”

    “The context is there, but Moroccans have long been used to expressing themselves and they don’t need the Egyptian or Tunisian example.”

    The Egyptians are teaching people how to do this! More importantly, they displayed how Europe and the US and above all, Israel, can’t dictate terms anymore. The economic collapse has weakened the NATO countries to the point, they can’t own the world via banks, etc. This is no longer a unipolar world, it is again, multipolar with a new Third World movement growing as people throw off imperial dictators imposed on them by the West.

  274. This is a bit off-topic but people need to read this Glenn Greenwald article about the events surrounding the hacking by the Anonymous hacker group of security firm HB Gary.

    Glenn’s points about the meaning of all this is the critical issue which I’ve raised here again and again about a possible Iran war: that corporations and government are now melded into one entity which has absolutely no interest in following the law because they will never suffer the consequences.

    The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters

    Relevant Greenwald Quotes:

    But the real issue highlighted by this episode is just how lawless and unrestrained is the unified axis of government and corporate power. I’ve written many times about this issue — the full-scale merger between public and private spheres — because it’s easily one of the most critical yet under-discussed political topics. Especially (though by no means only) in the worlds of the Surveillance and National Security State, the powers of the state have become largely privatized. There is very little separation between government power and corporate power. Those who wield the latter intrinsically wield the former. The revolving door between the highest levels of government and corporate offices rotates so fast and continuously that it has basically flown off its track and no longer provides even the minimal barrier it once did. It’s not merely that corporate power is unrestrained; it’s worse than that: corporations actively exploit the power of the state to further entrench and enhance their power.

    That’s what this anti-WikiLeaks campaign is generally: it’s a concerted, unified effort between government and the most powerful entities in the private sector (Bank of America is the largest bank in the nation). The firms the Bank has hired (such as Booz Allen) are suffused with the highest level former defense and intelligence officials, while these other outside firms (including Hunton & Williams and Palantir) are extremely well-connected to the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government’s obsession with destroying WikiLeaks has been well-documented. And because the U.S. Government is free to break the law without any constraints, oversight or accountability, so, too, are its “private partners” able to act lawlessly. That was the lesson of the Congressional vesting of full retroactive immunity on lawbreaking telecoms, of the refusal to prosecute any of the important Wall Street criminals who caused the 2008 financial crisis, and of the instinctive efforts of the political class to protect defrauding mortgage banks.

    The exemption from the rule of law has been fully transferred from the highest level political elites to their counterparts in the private sector. “Law” is something used to restrain ordinary Americans and especially those who oppose this consortium of government and corporate power, but it manifestly does not apply to restrain these elites.

    Why? Because crimes carried out that serve the Government’s agenda and target its opponents are permitted and even encouraged; cyber-attacks are “crimes” only when undertaken by those whom the Government dislikes, but are perfectly permissible when the Government itself or those with a sympathetic agenda unleash them. Whoever launched those cyber attacks at WikiLeaks (whether government or private actors) had no more legal right to do so than Anonymous, but only the latter will be prosecuted.

    That’s the same dynamic that causes the Obama administration to be obsessed with prosecuting WikiLeaks but not The New York Times or Bob Woodward, even though the latter have published far more sensitive government secrets; WikiLeaks is adverse to the government while the NYT and Woodward aren’t, and thus “law” applies to punish only the former. The same mindset drives the Government to shield high-level political officials who commit the most serious crimes, while relentlessly pursuing whistle-blowers who expose their wrongdoing. Those with proximity to government power and who serve and/or control it are free from the constraints of law; those who threaten or subvert it have the full weight of law come crashing down upon them.

    Yet these firms had no compunction about proposing such measures to Bank of America and Hunton & Williams, and even writing them down. What accounts for that brazen disregard of risk? In this world, law does not exist as a constraint. It’s impossible to imagine the DOJ ever, ever prosecuting a huge entity like Bank of America for doing something like waging war against WikiLeaks and its supporters. These massive corporations and the firms that serve them have no fear of law or government because they control each. That’s why they so freely plot to target those who oppose them in any way. They not only have massive resources to devote to such attacks, but the ability to act without limits.

    John Cole put it this way:

    Cole Quote:

    One thing that even the dim bulbs in the media should understand by now is that there is in fact a class war going on, and it is the rich and powerful who are waging it. Anyone who does anything that empowers the little people or that threatens the wealth and power of the plutocracy must be destroyed. There is a reason for these clowns going after Think Progress and unions, just like there is a reason they are targeting Wikileaks and Glenn Greenwald, Planned Parenthood, and Acorn. . . .

    You have to understand the mindset- they are playing for keeps. The vast majority of the wealth isn’t enough. They want it all. Anything that gets in their way must be destroyed. . . . And they are well financed, have a strong infrastructure, a sympathetic media, and entire organizations dedicated to running cover for them . . . .

    I don’t even know why we bother to hold elections any more, to be honest, the game is so rigged. We’re a banana republic, and it is just a matter of time before we descend into necklacing and other tribal bullshit.

    End Cole Quote

    There are supposed to be institutions which limit what can be done in pursuit of those private-sector goals. They’re called “government” and “law.” But those institutions are so annexed by the most powerful private-sector elites, and so corrupted by the public officials who run them, that nobody — least of all those elites — has any expectation that they will limit anything. To the contrary, the full force of government and law will be unleashed against anyone who undermines Bank of America and Wall Street executives and telecoms and government and the like (such as WikiLeaks and supporters), and will be further exploited to advance the interests of those entities, but will never be used to constrain what they do. These firms vying for Bank of America’s anti-WikiLeaks business know all of this full well, which is why they concluded that proposing such pernicious and possibly illegal attacks would be deemed not just acceptable but commendable.

    End Greenwald Quotes

  275. Nader Ghazi Hobballah says:

    Will you provide a link to the MSNBC video?

    Which show? What time?

    It would be interesting to see what the American media commentators would have to say to her considering they are making connections with Iran or really mocking Iran for coming out like it has after the 2009 election.

  276. Iranian@Iran says:

    Congratulations. A major defeat for Israel and a major boost for the Islamic Republic of Iran, Lebanon, and the Palestinian people.

  277. Castellio says:

    I just listened to the download Hillary. I am very impressed by the truthfulness and clarity of your thoughts.

  278. Liz says:

    Well said.

  279. Roger says:

    RSH I agree completely. Unfortunately I see hardship ahead for Egypt and its people. Whether – as I and others like Bhadrakumar speculated – the US and Isreal undertook to create a pre-emptive change in Egypt to forestall a more ferocious true revolution once the 82-year-old Mubarak was gone or they were surprised by it, now we can expect arguments like “Israel has no partners for peace” left in the region, hence it must try even harder to imprison the Palestinians, increase the propaganda war against Iran, Syria, Lebanon, etc., and generally turn this crisis into an opportunity to further its goals.

  280. Downloading the video now.

    I’ll repeat my last post from the previous thread to start off this one.

    Dan Cooper: I agree with you. The US will now turn on the Egyptian people and try to punish them for overthrowing the dictator. Depending on how the free elections turn out, assuming they are actually held, and whoever takes power, the US will start complaining about everything the new government does.

    I fully expect the new government, ASSUMING it follows the will of the people (which is something one must doubt about every government), will break the Gaza siege and open the border to at least some degree allowing more trade and import of goods into Gaza from Egypt. They will almost certainly at the very least allow the humanitarian convoys into Gaza, thus effectively breaking the siege.

    This alone will cause the US and Israel to go apoplectic and start accusing the Egyptian government of “backing terrorists like Hamas”.

    They’ve already trial floated the “Egypt has WMDs” crap in MSNBC the other day. This will be pulled out and used at some point.

    The US Senate will cut off foreign aid to Egypt. That’s not such a big deal, the only beneficiaries were Mubarak and the military anyway. The people won’t notice because they never got any of it.

    Israel has already attacked Gaza since yesterday in retaliation for the fall of Mubarak. We can expect more attacks and eventually another destructive war using the excuse that with the breaking of the Gaza siege that Hamas is importing rockets.

    Israel will begin making threats against Egypt probably within days. They will be intent on making sure that any new Egyptian government doesn’t get any ideas about supporting Hamas militarily. Israel will threaten Egypt with military force if any rockets get into Gaza via Egypt. Israel will then use that excuse to justify occasional military attacks on Egypt at some point in the future.

    Israel believes it can not afford to have any effective military forces on its borders. Which is why it repeatedly humiliates Syria by flying over its territory, why it bombed Syria’s alleged “nuclear facility”, and why it continually provokes Lebanon. It will now do the same to Egypt because it can no longer rely on Mubarak.

    Israel may now even accelerate its plans for a war on Lebanon in order to provide a more public demonstration to Egypt of its military power. This is the sort of mindset Israel has – it always turns to military force as a first resort.

    I don’t believe Israel will start a war with Egypt any time soon, but it will try to bully Egypt from here on out with threats and possibly some sort of military action (perhaps bombing areas on the Egyptian side of the Egypt/Gaza border “to stop smuggling of rockets into Gaza”).

    So, yes, this change of power in Egypt will destabilize the region – but only because Israel, with the whole hearted support of the US, will make it so.

  281. Pirouz_2 says:

    Sometimes life becomes so amazing…it is like literature, as if more sympolic than realistic….
    and then: