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The Race for Iran

IRAN AND AL-QA’IDA: CAN THE CHARGES BE SUBSTANTIATED?

Last week, the Obama Administration formally charged the Islamic Republic of working with al-Qa’ida.  The charge was presented as part of the Treasury Department’s announcement that it was designating six alleged al-Qa’ida operatives for terrorism-related financial sanctions, see here.  The six are being designated, according to Treasury, because of their involvement in transiting money and operatives for al-Qa’ida to Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The announcement claims that part of this scheme was a “secret deal” between the Iranian government and al-Qa’ida, whereby Tehran allowed the terrorist group to use Iranian territory in the course of moving money and personnel. 

For the most part, major media outlets uncritically transmitted the Obama Administration’s charge, without much manifestation of serious effort to verify it, find out more about the sourcing upon which it was based, or place it in any sort of detailed and nuanced historical context.  Stories by Joby Warrick, see here, in the Washington Post and Helene Cooper, see here, in The New York Times exemplify this kind of “reporting”.  

For nearly ten years, a cadre of hawkish analysts, politicians, and some Iranian expatriates have pushed their insistent but unsubstantiated claims of extensive collaboration between the Islamic Republic and al-Qa’idaSome even charged that Osama bin Ladin was “living in luxury” in Iran, an assertion later elaborated in a 2010 “documentary” film that was extensively “covered” on Fox News.

During her service at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and at the National Security Council in 2001-2003, Hillary was one of a handful of U.S. officials who participated in nearly two years of substantive talks with Iranian counterparts about Afghanistan and al-Qa’ida

–Since leaving government, we—and other former U.S. officials knowledgeable about the U.S.-Iranian dialogue over these matters—have related how the Iranians raised, almost immediately after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the problem of al-Qa’ida personnel trying to make their way from Afghanistan into Iran, consistently warning about the difficulties of securing Iran’s 936 kilometer-long border with Afghanistan (as well as its 700 kilometer-long border with Pakistan).

–We and others have also related how Tehran documented its detention of literally hundreds of suspected al-Qa’ida operatives, repatriated as many of these detainees to their countries of origin as it could, and requested U.S. assistance in facilitating repatriations of detainees whose governments did not want to cooperate (a request the Bush Administration denied). 

–Furthermore, we described how, over the course of 2002 and early 2003, Bush Administration hardliners made substantive discussion and coordination with Iran over Iraq dependent on Tehran finding, arresting, and deporting a small number of specific al-Qa’ida figures—beyond the hundreds of suspected al-Qa’ida operatives the Islamic Republic had already apprehended—that Washington suspected had sought refuge in Iran’s lawless Sistan-Balochistan province.  Although Tehran deployed additional security forces to its eastern borders, Iranian officials acknowledged that a small group of al-Qa’ida figures had managed to avoid capture and enter Iranian territory, most likely through Sistan-Balochistan, in 2002.  The Iranian government located and took some of these individuals into custody and said that others identified by the United States were either dead or not in Iran.  At the beginning of May 2003, after Baghdad had fallen, Tehran offered to exchange the remaining al-Qa’ida figures in Iran for a small group of MEK commanders in Iraq, with the treatment of those repatriated to Iran monitored by the International Committee for the Red Cross and a commitment not to apply the death penalty to anyone prosecuted on their return.  But the Bush Administration rejected any deal.

Today, much of the American media unquestioningly “reports” information provided by the U.S. government about Iran’s supposed links to al-Qa’ida, noting, as Helene Cooper does in her story, that U.S. “officials admit that they are largely in the dark about what is going on with the Qaeda operatives believed to be in Iran.”   But the only reason why the United States does not know more or have a cooperative relationship with the Islamic Republic over al-Qa’ida is that Washington cut off talks with Tehran over al-Qa’ida and Afghanistan in late May 2003.  This decision was supposedly taken because the Defense Department claimed to have a communications intercept indicating that an al-Qa’ida figure inside Iran might have been involved in the May 12, 2003 Riyadh terrorist bombings.  But the claim was never substantiated and was disputed by much of the U.S. Intelligence Community; by 2007, the Bush Administration was reduced to telling the Washington Post that “there are suspicions, but no proof” that an al-Qa’ida figures in Iran “may have been involved from afar in planning” the May 2003 attacks, see here.      

Not even the George W. Bush Administration was prepared to make concrete accusations that the Islamic Republic was deliberately facilitating al-Qa’ida’s terrorist activities.  Now, however, the Obama Administration is advancing specific, on-the-record charges that Iran is helping al-Qa’idaThere is no reason for anyone to have any confidence that official Washington “knows”, in any empirically serious way, that Tehran is cooperating with al-Qa’ida in the ways that are alleged. 

Of the six al-Qa’ida operatives sanctioned by the Treasury Department last week, only one is alleged to be physically present in Iran—and, by Treasury’s own account, he is there primarily to get al-Qa’ida prisoners out of Iranian jails.  Moreover, the United States apparently has no hard evidence that the Iranian government is supportive of or even knowledgeable about the alleged al-Qa’ida network in the Islamic Republic.  In her story, Helene Cooper writes that a “senior Administration official” said “in a conference call for reporters” (which means that the White House wanted everyone to hear this, and Helene did not have to leave her office to hear it), that “our sense is this network is operating through Iranian territory with the knowledge and at least the acquiescence of Iranian authorities”.  A “sense” that al-Qa’ida is operating in Iran with “at least the acquiescence of Iranian authorities” now apparently amounts to proof of a “secret deal” that can be authoritatively referenced in the announcement of a legally and politically significant action by the Treasury Department. 

This is all strongly reminiscent of the way in which the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations prepared the way for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.  And much of the mainstream media seems content to reprise the dishonorable role they played in making that war possible.  As her pre-war reporting on Saddam Husayn’s weapons of mass destruction programs unraveled in the war’s aftermath, Judy Miller of The New York Times sought to defend herself by arguing that “my job isn’t to assess the government’s information and be an independent intelligence analyst myself.”  Ms. Miller may no longer be at The New York Times.  But it seems that her spirit lives on there, at the Washington Post, and in too many other journalistic venues.  

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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176 Responses to “IRAN AND AL-QA’IDA: CAN THE CHARGES BE SUBSTANTIATED?”

  1. Killian says:

    I wonder if India would swap one quarter of the space of the partition called Pakistan and put Israel there, which would allow one billion Hindu Indians to spread out. That way the Christians in Pakistan who want refugee status (and some want to leave permanently) due to persecution, can stay. Then transfer all of India’s gracious visitors back to the middle east, creating an all Arab part of the world. This would ease tensions in India and the middle east.

    And the US and west in general MUST stop meddling in parts of the world where it doesn’t belong, and doing oil business with the human-rights abusing Saudis once and for all. Just concentrate on aid and human rights issues, like the persecution of black Africans in the Sudan and elsewhere.

    There’d be no more making wee-wee all over the media with people screaming, “Zionist Neo-cons!” and “Lefty Fascists!” Everyone will be happy.

  2. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – according to some independent estimates, reported by the Christian Science Monitor and others – Israel has robbed US taxpayers’ of $3 trillion since 1973.

    Even some Israeli columnists have written that the US has already lost Iraq to Islamic Republic.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/is-us-about-to-lose-iraq-to-iran/

  3. fyi says:

    James Canning says: August 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    The American people have to anwer that question per Alfred Lilienthal’s book “What Price Israel?”

  4. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    And how many more tens or even scores of billions of dollars do the neocons and other warmongering fools want to squander, of US taxpayer dollars, in their idiotic effort to have Iraq serve as an ‘ally’ of Israel?

  5. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Thanks. Yes, how absurd for neocons and other warmongers to think they can force Iraq to adopt an anti-Iran stance. Their viciousness and stupidity really are remarkable.

  6. fyi says:

    James Canning says: August 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I was trying to sketch out the absurdity of trying to re-orient Iraq into an anti-Iran position.

    The Iraqis have to struggle and potentially die for whom exactly: Western Jews and Western Christains?

  7. Voice of Tehran says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    August 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    VoT:

    I don’t know what the politicians in the US are smoking – their socks, perhaps – but whatever it is, it is sure getting them high. How else to explain all these absurdities other than by hallucination?

    “quod erat demonstrandum”
    Great , I wanted to reach exactly to this conclusion , I hope Billary undergoes a drug test ASAP :-)

  8. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Isn’t it fair to say the Shia have controlled the government of Iraq for several years now? Sheer numbers guaranteed this result when Jerry Bremer dissolved the Iraqi army and security services in 2003.

    Iraqi Kurdistan enjoyed autonomy before the idiotic US/UK invasion in 2003.

  9. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I too was a fan of General Odom (d. 2008). Since 2005 he had argued for an immediate US withdrawal from Iraq. He said the Iraq War was worst strategic blunder in history of the US. And Odom also said:’It’s pretty hard to imagine us going into Iraq without the strong lobbying efforts from Aipac and the neocons. . .’

  10. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Yes, of course I agree with you that Iraq and Iran should have a relationship akin to that between Canada and the US. Ranting by Daniel Pipes and other neocons has an ulterior motive: ‘protecting’ Israel.

  11. Unknown Unknowns says:

    VoT:

    I don’t know what the politicians in the US are smoking – their socks, perhaps – but whatever it is, it is sure getting them high. How else to explain all these absurdities other than by hallucination?

    Chaker,

    UU.

  12. James Canning says:

    Nathan Vassante,

    When an opinion piece is published by the Washington Post, and that piece is written by a member of a ‘think tank’, it is not an expression of US policy. But you may be correct that American officials are arranging for the piece to be written and published.

    Obama has no desire for another war. Philip Stephens made this point in his column in the Financial Times today. The concern we all should have, is that Obama not get “boxed in” by warmongering neocons and other promoters of Israel right or wrong.

  13. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount [of US debt] held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:

    Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
    Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
    Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
    Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
    Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
    Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
    Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
    State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
    Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
    United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
    Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
    State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
    Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
    U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
    China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
    The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
    Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)

    So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion.

  14. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    Ray Takeyh’s recent opinion piece in the Washington Post claimed that those who sought more sanctions against Iran thought they would cause Iran to negotiate regarding is nuclear programme. Perhaps he was in effect claiming the pro-sanctions crowd actually believed Iran would end its production of LEU? Or was he providing cover for neocons who want to prevent better US-Iran relations, in order to facilitate continuing oppression of the Palestinians by Israel?

  15. Voice of Tehran says:

    @UU & fyi

    My aim was more to find out , what effect illicit drugs use/abuse of any kind could have on politicians in the US in addition to the top decision-makers in the economy , Wall Street , military etc.
    These are the groups , whose actions would have direct influence on US policy in general , both domestically and internationally.
    By the way , the number I mentioned below is much higher , I didn’t have time to make a proper search , however it should be in the range of 200 billion $ (turn-over ) , not considering the cost imposed on the economy , which should be even much higher than 200 billion $.

  16. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi:

    I agree that drug use exists and is not even that uncommon among the upper classes as well (especially cocaine, I guess), but I don’t think it is a prevalent in the upper classes as meth is in trailer parks and crack is in the ghettos and barrios. I might well be wrong (as I don’t have first hand evidence), but my impression is that while the issue of illegal drugs is a major social problem for the poor, it is merely a nuisance for the rich.

  17. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: August 5, 2011 at 7:48 am

    You wrote:

    “it is largely confined to the lower classes and what is left of the middle class. ”

    This is not true at all.

    All social classes in US are prone to usage of mind-altering drugs.

    Only the chemical that they use and the age varies.

    For example, the late Mrs. Ferarro’s son was selling and using drugs outs of his dormitaory room at Brown University (he should have been shot; a member of the ruling class pushing drugs.)

    And in places such as New Cannon, Plano, Highland Park, Manhatan the US elite’s children can and do easily obtain drugs; from heroin to LSD to metamphetamines.

    Indeed, the entire world’s drug culture may be traced to the Well-to-do Middle Class in US in the 1960s.

  18. Rehmat says:

    EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT – Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz, Robert Spencer, Bill O’Reilly, Rep. King, Geert Wilders and hundreds of other anti-Islam propagandists on Israel Lobby’s payroll.

    Poll: US Muslims more tolerant than non-Muslims
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/poll-us-muslims-more-tolerant-than-non-muslims/

  19. Unknown Unknowns says:

    VoT:I think that while you are right that drugs are a huge problem in the US (from which I report), it is largely confined to the lower classes and what is left of the middle class. Drugs are indeed taboo in the monied and decision-making class. As such, it points to a deeper and slower-moving problem, namely, that the strata in this stratified society do not give a damn about each other. This polarization is extremely toxic to any society and is bound to have its affects sooner or later. Indeed, some would view it as an early indicator of a pending cataclysm.

  20. Voice of Tehran says:

    fyi says:
    August 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm
    “Yes, and please keep in mind the soon-to-be failed state of Mexico.
    She failed because of the US drug habit.”

    Off-Off-Topic

    There is a question going around in my head since a very long time , at least 20 years and I think it might be the right place here to get at least an an idea, especially that fyi mentioned above.

    Since decades we are hearing that the US is by far the biggest market for drugs in the world and the cocaine market is believed to be in the range of 100 billion $ if I am not mistaken. Of course there are also synthetic and ‘designer drugs’ based on amphetamine and LSD and again the US market should be the largest in the world.We should also have ‘ horrific ‘ figures regarding the alcohol consumption in the US.
    Thus to what extend can we draw conclusions to the ‘ health ‘ of society in the US in this regard ?
    To what extend are politicians , Top decisions-makers in the economy , artists etc. influenced/effected by drug abuse of any kind ?
    Is there any significant study in this respect ?
    I remember that Reagan and his wife both voluntarily made a cocaine-test to show that they are ‘ clean ‘.
    I know this matter sounds a bit weird, however it is essential in my opinion , as only healthy people can make ‘ healthy ‘decisions , be it for themeselves or others.
    Is this a tabu subject in the US ?

  21. fyi says:

    Dan Cooper says: August 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Dr. Walt is correct but he will be ignored, as was the late General Odom.

    US Grand Strategy has to be revisef; barring that this confrontation between Axis Powers and Iran will continue.

  22. Dan Cooper says:

    In the run-up to the war in Iraq, a critical moment came when moderates and liberals joined forces with the neoconservatives who had been pushing for war since the late 1990s.

    The poster child for this process was Kenneth Pollack, whose pro-war book The Threatening Storm (written under the auspices of the Council on Foreign Relations) gave reluctant hawks a respectable fig-leaf for backing the invasion.

    Is a similar process occurring today with respect to Iran?

    A possible sign of slippage is a recent Foreign Affairs article (and accompanying Washington Post op-ed) by James Lindsay and Ray Takeyh (also of the CFR).

    Lindsay and Takeyh are well-known centrists who now seem at least partly infected by some of the alarmism about Iran that the neoconservatives have been trumpeting for years.

    Although their two articles sound a somewhat skeptical note about preventive war-they admit that “a preventive attack might not end Iran’s nuclear ambitions”-they recommend keeping all options “on the table” and in general depict the Islamic Republic as a looming threat to all that is Right and Proper.

    Their central lesson: the United States had better get serious about preparing for a military response to a wide array of possible Iranian actions.

    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/05/how_not_to_contain_iran

  23. fyi says:

    Nathan Vassante says: August 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Yes, and please keep in mind the soon-to-be failed state of Mexico.

    She failed because of the US drug habit.

    Really, Americans have enormous number of internal social problems which is ruining their neighbor to the South; yet they are still pining for a war with Iran.

  24. Nathan Vassante says:

    I appears that the US is fishing in muddy waters, and as the article claims, it may be preparing the public opinion for an invasion of Iran. However, I believe that the US is merely engaged in psychological warfare.

    Recent history shows that the US always attacks a country that is weak or is already weakened by some US actions like sanctions and the like. All considered, Iran is too big for the US to tacle by invasion. It has a much better chance by creating color revolutions, such as the green revolution.

  25. fyi says:

    Rehmat:

    There is no “th” sound in “nyet”.

  26. Rehmat says:

    fyi – Nyeth. Israeli Hasbara is for the idiots.

    When Iraq was Shia – Iran was a Sunni-majority country. Shia sect was introduced to Iran by Turk Sufi Shias. They later established the Safvid Dynasty.

    Shia make more than 60% of Shia majority. During pro-American Saddam Hussein rule – many Iraqi Shia leaders did took refuge in Iran. But then, Mahmoud Abbas and a former Israeli defense minister also was born into Iranian Jewish families.

  27. Unknown Unknowns says:

    The Economist, seconding the IMF’s endorsement of Iran’s subsidy reforms:

    Not only has [the subsidy reform] relieved the government of a huge financial burden. It has slashed local energy demand, reducing chronic pollution and leaving more oil for export. It has dramatically raised disposable incomes for the poorest without placing extra burdens on the rich, spreading social equity while boosting consumption and bolstering the banking system. In future, Iran’s subsidy reform may even be seen as a model for top-down social change, not unlike successful schemes pioneered by Mexico and Brazil.

  28. fyi says:

    James Canning says: August 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    The relationship between Iraq and Iran is more complex than what Mr. Pipes suggest or thinks.

    At least half the Iraqi Shia population is either from Iran or has relatives in Iran – some Arab, some Persian.

    For these people, all of the Ba’ath period has been an unmitigated Evil period, culminating in the 8-year long war with Iran.

    The other Shia, although without Iranian roots, are alienated from a Sunni world that hid behind Arab Socialism to oppress both Shia and the Kurds.

    Iraqis of all sects (Shia, Sunni, Yazidi, Christian, Sabean, etc.) are very aware of their oil wealth. Like Iranians or other people in Oil Exporting Countries, they follow the price of the oil like hawks. They will never concede to a foreign power, be it Iran or US, taking their oil away.

    On the other hand, neither Kurds nor Shia will ever fight against Iran or assume an anti-Iran posture. There is nothing in it for them.

    Iranians travel to Shia Iraq and to Iraqi Kurdistan for fun and business and pilgirimage.

    Likewise for Iraqis.

    From a strategic perspective, the relationship between Iran and Iraq ought to be modeled after US and Canada. And I believe that the Iranian leaders grasp that.

    And the Marja-iyah in Najaf and Karbala will not challnge the Islamic Republic politically or religiously.

    The Shia Doctors of Religion in both Iran and Iraq realize that due to an Act of God executed by the United States and her Allies, they are in the best position in 1300 years to establish the polictical ascendancy of Shia in Mesopotamia as well as in Iran.

    They will not relinquish this historical opportunity and work on it to its culmination.

    Sunni Iraq will either be crushed through bloody work or bought-off or both.

    And Kurds of Iraq will be just content to be left in their little enclave and exercise their autonomy – again thanks to an Act of God carried out by the Axis Powers.

    Mr. Pipes is not wrong in essence; he is wrong in form.

  29. James Canning says:

    UU,

    Prominent neocon Daniel Pipes claims Iraq is becoming a province of Iran and that Iraq allows Iran to attack MEK inside Iraq.

  30. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James:
    That may well be, but nothing definitive has ever been done. Maybe its a case of the cat playing with a mouse that is in its grips. I don’t know.

  31. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Didn’t Iran attack the MEK base in Iraq just the other day? I think Turkey helped to plan the event, and Maliki approved it tacitly.

  32. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Great post (Aug. 4th, 2:25pm). Fifty years ago, the numbers of Jews in key states with close balance between the parties was the most important element. Still important, but sheer wealth of Jews perhaps is the primary element of their power today to control or nearly control US foreign policy as it relates to Israel/Palestine.

    Economic weakness of the UK after the Second World War was exploited by the Jews, to foster the Zionist project in Palestine.

  33. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Talking about the MEK, sometimes I wonder why the IRI *doesn’t* sponsor terrorism in the ME, so that the terrorists they sponsor could take out the many heads of that nasty hydra.

  34. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Thanks for the link. Great story (MEK ties to neocon warmongers). So, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith supported the MEK. What a surprise. And the MEK is promoted by an anti-Iran gov’t organisation that shared offices with the Iraqi Nat’l Congress (which helped Feith and Wolfowitz set up the illegal invasion of Iraq based on knowingly false intelligence). And the anti-Iranian gov’t org was founded by Raymond Tanter, of Aipac offshoot Winep! This adds up to apparent part of larger conspiracy by the neocons to set up yet another illegal war in the Middle East.

  35. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    the Financial Times noted that elements of the ‘pro-Israel’ lobby in the US are supporting the MEK campaign (for de-listing as terrorist group), so this may be where some of the money is coming from.

  36. Rd. says:

    Curious, where is all the money for MEK coming from?

    $100,000 just for a news paper ad?, $20,000 for an 11 min speech by Ed Rundell, PA x-governer, among many other former officials on paid speeches.

    Paying for lobbying is no small penny. And as despised as MEK are amongst Iranians in general, hard to imagine they are that many expats who could pocket enough money to fund MEK operations, plus all their lobbying among other group expenses. Who has pockets deep enough to pay for US officials to lobby for MEK and powerful enough to get the ear of congress????

    Iranian group pays out millions in its bid to be removed from US terror list
    ;http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2011/0730/1224301619454.html

    According to CFR

    Until 2003 the MEK received funds, arms, and state sponsorship from Saddam Hussein. Following Operation Iraqi Freedom, the MEK relies on donations from Iranian expatriates and front organizations that often campaign for greater human rights in Iran, according to the State Department.

    ;http://www.cfr.org/iran/mujahadeen-e-khalq-mek-aka-peoples-mujahedin-iran-pmoi/p9158

    Violent extremism knowledge base lists MEK funding;

    Funding
    The MEK received substantial support from Saddam’s Iraqi regime, specifically through the Oil for Food program, before the surrender to U.S. forces in 2003. The group was also financed by international expatriates and some non-governmental organizations. In 2001, seven Iranians were arrested in the U.S. for providing funding to an MEK-affiliated aid group in the U.A.E. The organization was known to buy weapons and other supplies for the MEK with the monies that were donated.

    ;http://vkb.isvg.org/Wiki/Groups/Mujahideen_E_Khalq_Organization

  37. BiBiJon says:

    Off topic as usual, but …

    Jasmin Ramsey has a good piece on MEK.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/08/201184132732146192.html

  38. BiBiJon says:

    Loyal says:
    August 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Good question, especially if posed to neocons who used to accuse him for being an apologist for Iran.

  39. Loyal says:

    BiBiJon:

    Rey is a Bahaei , how could he work with IRI ?

  40. Fiorangela says:

    I first tuned in to the influence of the Israel lobby after I read an April 2001 biographical sketch of Dick Cheney by Nick Lehman in New Yorker magazine. Lehman noted that the person who most influenced Cheney was a Yale professor from Cheney’s brief stint at Yale. H. Bradford Westerfield, professor of foreign policy, was an outspoken anti-Communist in that era. Westerfield authored several books, at least one of which was used as a text in his course, a reasonable assumption based on the fact that the second-hand copy that I purchased has a list of assigned readings on the first page. Curiously, the assignments cover every chapter in the book except this one: “Chapter 11; Palestine.” Below are the first three pages of that chapter, pp. 227-229.

    The book is “Foreign Policy and Party Politics: Pearl Harbor to Korea,” copyright 1955, Yale Univ. Press.

    “Palestine is the classic case in recent years of the determination of American foreign policy and domestic political considerations. American Zionists showed themselves to be zealous, relentlessly determined to security intervention United States government on behalf of a Jewish state in Palestine. They had wealth to devote to the cause, and beyond that they had two peculiar advantages among the various pressure groups seeking to influence major American foreign-policy. First, the Jewish population for which they claimed to speak was concentrated in urban centers in the big industrial states, especially New York, Pennsylvania, and California; these states were closely divided between the two political parties, and under the existing ” general ticket” system of counting electoral votes for the presidency, Zionists appeared to be a dedicated group who might be able to swing all the many electoral votes in those key states to one party or the other and thus decide a national election; even state and local elections in these big states were up national importance for strengthening local party organizations which would be needed to help national campaigns. Second and equally important, they were virtually unopposed by any other pressure group and faced an indifferent or mildly sympathetic public. Anti-Semites, e.g., preferred to have the remnants of European Jewry go to Palestine than come to New York; American security interests in the Arab world were not understood widely enough or felt strongly enough to create substantial political resistance to Zionism.
    page 228
    the breakdown of diplomacy
    In these circumstances leaders of both parties had nothing to lose and everything to gain politically by competing for Zionist votes and Zionist money. In the years 1939-45 mistakes in this game much higher than before. Scientists developed a sense of greater urgency as a result of the decimation of the Jewish population of Europe and the threat contained in the British White Paper of 1939 that no Jewish immigration would be permitted in Palestine after 1945 (except with the unlikely consent of the Arabs). And during the war the main center of world Zionism moved from London to New York, where the politically strategic location of millions of Jewish voters, plus coolly calculated contributions to party campaign funds, were available to bring the pressure of the American government to bear on Britain.
    Anglo-American negotiations. In 1944 both national party platforms carry planks strongly favoring the Jews.1 Immediately after the end of the war Truman accepted the suggestion of Earl G. Harrison, United States Representative on the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, that the American government ask England to grant the Jewish agency’s request for 100,000 immigrants to Palestine. Britain replied with a stalling request for a joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry. Its establishment was announced on November 13, 1945.
    However, the American Congress could not be put off so easily. On December 12 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported out a resolution, cosponsored by such opposites as Taft and Wagner, calling for American good offices to secure
    ‘free entry of Jews” into Palestine, “the Jewish national home.” Only Chairman Connally ventured to vote against this resolution in committee. In the Senate he pleaded for postponement till after the Inquiry Committee made a report, but Wagner sought immediate adoption of the resolution as a guide to its policy. Former Adm. Thomas Hart (then in the Senate on gubernatorial appointment from Connecticut), reflected the views of the Navy Department when he offered a watered-down substitute frankly intended to mollify the Arabs. But he was drowned out in a voice vote which passed the Taft- Wagner Resolution. In the House no one had to go on record either. New York Republican leader James Wadsworth didn’t have the courage (slightly less remarkable, since she came from upstate) to move to recommit the whole resolution on forthright anti-Zionist grounds; on standing vote he mustered 36 to 133 against recommital. The resolution then went through by voice vote.

    When the Anglo-American committee of inquiry reported in April, it gave an endorsement of the 100,000 immigration figure but linked this with the recommendation that the British mandate be continued, with no objective of making Palestine into an Arab state or a Jewish state, or, by partition, one of each. Truman promptly endorsed some of the sections of the report to which Zionists were not opposed, but he offered Britain no American assistance in carrying it out. Attlee thereupon made it plain that his government was not going to can force the report alone, or adopt nearly the pro-Zionist parts of it; foreign Sec. Bevin made matters worse by explaining publicly on June 12 that the reason Americans wanted to get Jews into Palestine was that “ they did not want too many of them in New York.” This was a very hot issue when the British loan agreement came up in the House of Representatives in July. One third of all the Democratic members who voted against that bill came from New York State.”

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    James Canning, apparently J Street is working very hard to change — rather, to expand– its power base in Washington. It just kicked off a campaign to send tens of thousands of messages to CONGRESS urging that Congressmen endorse a two-state solution. The email blast is reprinted below. A key sentence notes that in a very short time, J Street provided $15,000 toward re-election campaigns of several congressmen. Dangling chicken necks before a pack of hungry dogs.

  41. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Don’t miss Daniel Larison’s Aug. 3rd piece: ‘How the MEK buys its support in the US’ (a follow-on to the front page story in the Financial Times last week):

    http://www.amconmag.com/larison/2011/08/03/how-the-mek-buys-its-support-in-the-u-s/

  42. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Yes, great short piece by Daniel Larison, exposing the fallacies in Ray Takeyh’s Aug. 3rd opinion piece in the Washington Post.

    The damage done to the US by the Israel lobby does offer comparison with the damage done to the US by the China lobby, I would add.

  43. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    I find it very dismaying that Ray Takeyh would begin his Aug. 3rd piece in the Washington Post by spouting complete rubbish: ‘For years it was assumed that economic sanctions and diplomacy would produce a pliable negotiating partner in Iran.’ Russia, China and Turkey all said clearly that negotiations would be impeded by the sanctions. Takeyh clearly is giving cover to many foolish American commentators who pressed American leaders to make the wrong decisions about Iran, time and time again.
    And, of course, the Washington Post has promtoed the opinions of many of these foolish American commentators. Why? Rich and powerful American Jews, who seek to “protect” Israel by manipulating the foreign policy of the US.

  44. James Canning says:

    Jacob Augstein (in spiegel online today) [not Austein]

  45. James Canning says:

    Jakob Austein has some interesting comments on the current state of affairs in the US these days, today on spiegel online. The US ‘increasingly has more in common with a failed state than a democracy’ and is afflicted with ‘apparent political insanity’. Endless idiotic wars, plutocratic wealth, etc etc. Much of merit is in this piece.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,778396,00.html#ref=nlint

  46. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I think writers on international affairs should seek to be accurate about the facts, and then to argue those facts as their opinion of them dictates, etc. But this standard is not one overly popular with many who seek publication in mainstream American newspapers, journals, etc.

    I will look for a link or two to neocon attacks on Takeyh for being an agent of the Iranian government.

  47. James Canning says:

    Spiegel.de online today has interesting report on Palestinian effort to gain UN recognition and admission. Currently, 122 countries have bilateral relations with Palestine.

  48. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    August 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    “Remarkably, some of the neocon propagndists claim Ray works for the mullahs”

    I have come across that allegation too, Ray’s actual drawing an actual salary for actually working for the USG for a while notwithstanding.

    There are a couple of swords over the head of everybody these days: being called an anti-Semite; being called an Iran apologist.

    Look, anybody who opines for a living, and wishes to be taken seriously, sooner or later will succumb to the pressures and stay within acceptable discourse. That they wind up writing disjointed nonsense shows the coercive atmosphere that blankets mid-east related political discourse in the US. I just imagine folks’ minds going blank, hands trembling as they edit their essays with a few choice ran bashing phrases.

    Both Barbara and Ray introduce cliche remarks in their writing to get published. To hell with the truth.

  49. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Yes, Waltz puts it succinctly in the video you linked: ‘What the president may want to do regarding Israel/Palestine is blocked by the US Congress which is beholden to Israel lobby – - largely due to the US press which promotes the Israeli line.’ (I am paraphrasing)

  50. Loyal says:

    Didn.t Captain William C. Rogers faked a car accident ( van ) and tried to connect it to a terror acct almost ayear after his cime?

  51. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Yes, Boeing would like to sell airplanes and parts to Iran, and Boeing lobbied against the latest round of santions. South Carolina has been very aggressive in courting Boeing and attempting to divert to South Carolina tens of thousands of jobs that otherwise would be in Washington State.

    I would add that Lindsey Graham is one of the biggest idiot Republicans in the US Senate.

  52. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    My sense is that Mubarak is being tried because the Egyptian military want to make some concessions to the reformers, as a way of keeping their very strong position within the Egyptian economy.

  53. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    J Street has more influence in the White House than it does on Capitol Hill. By a wide margin.

  54. James Canning says:

    Humanist,

    I agree the awarding of a medal was not the correct American response to the tragic shooting down of the Iranian civilian airliner. I would not be surprised to learn that agents of the manufacturers of the Aegis air-defence system played a role in bringing about this situation.

  55. James Canning says:

    Humanist,

    Very interesting comments, regarding whether the US intentionally shot down the Iranian civilian airliner in 1988. The Aegis system costs about $1 billion, and the manufacturers obviously did not want a finding made that the system did not work.

    What would have been the reason a civilian airliner would have been shot down deliberately?

  56. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Yes, the UN report on Israeli oppression of Gaza etc. is most welcome. The political change in Egypt made this possible.

  57. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon & kooshy,

    Remarkably, some of the neocon propagndists claim Ray Takeyh works for the government of Iran.

  58. Kathleen says:

    Barbara Slavin basically works for Israel. She really does not seem concerned about US National Security. Have never heard her say a negative word about Israel’s ongoing expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank and housing in E Jerusalem. She has a history of repeating unsubstantiated claims about Iran. I believe she supported the invasion of Iraq and then tried to spin her way out of her stance before the invasion.

  59. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    August 4, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Kooshy,

    very perceptive of you to see the common threads in both Slavin’s and Takeyh’s recent agitprops.

    Slavin begins with a conclusion, and then proceeds blithely to write paragraph after paragraph of self contradictory prose. E.g. she says Iran arrested and extradited a great many fleeing AQ members in 2001/2002, which seems to make any cynical marriage of convenience extremely inconvenient for both sides. Or, the only credible source she cites, Paul Pillar, an ex-CIA analyst who served as national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia under the Bush administration, completely negates Slavin’s thesis by describing it as a “tendentious way” of describing al Qaeda-Iran ties.

    Takeyh uses the inverse tactic. He begins with describing Iran as scientifically resurgent, with a deep bench who has achieved self-sufficiency in one of most vexing multi-disciplinary technological endeavors: full nuclear fuel cycle. He credits both factions of the Iranian government with the extraordinary emphasis placed on education. All this praise for pursuit of ‘rational’ science and ‘non-ideological’ high technology suddenly, and tenuously morphs into fearing the ‘irrational’, ‘dogmatic’ “mullahs”.

    I have 2 points about these observations:

    1) By co-opting the refutation of their thesis as fodder to promulgate their Iran bashing, Slavin and Takeyh are systematically using Orwellian ‘black is white’ techniques to agitate for bombing Iran.

    2) The glaringly obvious logical disconnect in presenting their arguments is only possible if they are both swimming in the effluence of anti-Islam drivel that neither behooves Slavin/Takeyh nor their intended audience to question simple-minded formulations such as “enemy-of-my-enemy” or “mullah thinking” overrides even existential considerations — so stupid are Muslims.

  60. Rehmat says:

    After 43 year – the United Nations three-member committee to investigate Israeli human rights violations in occupied territories (established in 1968) – was able to enter Gaza Strip via the border crossing at Rafah (Egypt). So far, the panel have been meeting in Cairo, Amman and Damascus where Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza were given a hearing twice a year.

    The 3-member did not include that horrible anti-Israel Jewish Professor Richard Falk. The panel which held interviews in Gaza and Amman (Jordan) included Ambassador Palitha T.B. Kohona, permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the U.N. (chair); Ambassador Hussein Haniff, permanent representative of Malaysia; and Ambassador Fod Seck, permanent representative of Senegal to the U.N. based in Geneva.

    The panel in its report released last Friday – have criticized the Zionist-regime for its “continuing disregard of its obligations under international law”.

    “Unfortunately, what we found in Gaza that the oppressive restrictions imposed on Gaza by Israel have the effect of collectively punishing the population,” it said.

    With around 35 percent of Gaza’s land area excluded from agriculture due to Israel’s vague buffer zone along the border, and its fishing areas limited to only three nautical miles from the coast (85 percent of fisheries), the people of Gaza could hardly feed themselves, much less revive a decimated economy through exports, the panel said.

    “We were alarmed by allegations that Israel enforces these policies employing live fire, including in some instances against children and the elderly,” said the panel.

    “The fact that the Government of Israel continues to hold around 6,000 Palestinians in prisons inside Israel, some for over twenty years, merits closer attention from the international community,” said the Committee. The members continued, “These prisoners and their families are suffering deeply. The ill-treatment of women at border crossings and in Israeli prisons raises serious concerns.”

    Witnesses updated the Committee regarding ongoing, systematic and widespread Israeli policies and practices in the West Bank, in particular East Jerusalem, such as the confiscation of Palestinian land, the arbitrary demolition of Palestinian homes and properties, restrictions on freedom of movement for Palestinians, and the expansion of Israeli settlements. Several witnesses provided testimony regarding increasingly frequent acts of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their lands and crops. The Committee noted that “The violence by Israel settlers against Palestinians, especially against children, and their lands, in particular the destruction of crops, is appalling. It is plainly criminal behavior and the Israeli authorities must take measures to prevent and punish such behavior.”

    Witnesses from the Golan Heights emphasized that Israel has continued its illegal policies and practices. Poor conditions of detention and a lack of family visits for prisoners, discriminatory access to water, especially for agricultural purposes, and the separation of families were highlighted as persistent concerns. Several witnesses raised concerns regarding the Israeli Defense Forces’ excessive use of force in response to protests on Nakba Day and on 5 June 2011, which resulted in deaths and injuries. They also noted with regret that Israel is currently confiscating land to build an eight meter separation wall between the Golan Heights and the rest of Syria.

    The Committee expresses it regret that the Government of Israel would not respond to its request to visit the occupied territories. In its report to the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly in November 2011, the Special Committee will provide an in-depth review of its main observations following the mission, and will make detailed recommendations to improve respect for human rights in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/unhr-panel-slams-israel-on-gaza/

  61. kooshy says:

    Compare the style and try to see the similarities of form in the new Article by Ray Takeyh to the recent one written by Barbara Slavin, both open with good gestures toward Iran both try to drag the reader in keep reading but at the end making the reader believe that Iran is rogue state and needs to be stopped before it’s too late, I am sure this is the new form being prescribed by the Department of Information propaganda doctors, they know the old format is becoming repetitive and boarding. A standard tuning operation, but totally non innovative action.

    Opinions

    The march toward a nuclear Iran

    By Ray Takeyh, Published: August 3

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-march-toward-a-nuclear-iran/2011/07/29/gIQAFcypsI_story.html

  62. Humanist says:

    James,

    From the documents I have seen I think with high probability the dawning of Iranian Airbus by US was intentional. International Aviation organization confirmed Airbus was sending messages to air traffic controllers in non-military signals. US warship was equipped with modern devices to distinguish multiple attacking airplanes from civil aircraft, the attacking warship and Airbus were both inside the Iranian waters etc etc.

    I remember a British Naval Officer on TV saying something like “…. it is obvious…if I was in charge I would’ve court martialed the US captain..”.

    The US MSM was able to convince many in the West that the incident was a mistake. I just don’t agree. Instead of court martial the captain of the ship got a very prestigious medal of outstanding performance under dangerous conditions, a medal usually set aside for Navy Officers who have higher ranks. I just can’t comprehend why he got the medal for something that damaged the image of USA not only in the developing countries but also in Europe..

    For me, apart from dozens of other evidences, the event of the medal was quite revealing.

  63. Rehmat says:

    British Telegraph (July 29, 2011) had a conspiracy theory that though the Norway shooter, Anders Breivik, had admitted in his 1,500-page manifesto – to be a fan of Islamophobe Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who had compared Islam to Nazism (funny though, Nazi Army had 150,000 German Jews among it but no Muslim) – he received his military training in Minsk.

    Blaming Belarus for Norway shooting!
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/blaming-belarus-for-norway-shooting/

  64. Fiorangela says:

    Anybody else think the trial of Mubarak is being staged as a cautionary tale for Iran and Syria (while Israel, which routinely assassinates other people’s citizens and kills peace activists in its own rump state, get off scott free, and US is as far above the law as its drones can fly).

  65. Fiorangela says:

    Kenneth Waltz explains that Israel function by influencing Congress, which ties the hands of the President, who is forced to make decisions that work against American interests, and even against the best interests of Israel.

    J Street intends to maintain that status quo. See this latest email blast from J Street:

    The countdown has begun: We’ve got 22 days until the culmination of J Street’s Two-State Summer campaign, the August 23rd Day of Action. This is our moment to stand up and tell Washington: Enough of the politics-as-usual. Now is the time for bold American leadership towards two states.

    On August 23rd, we are doing something we’ve never done before – we’re showing up. In dozens of cities across the country, hundreds of supporters are already organizing deliveries of tens of thousands of postcards to House and Senate offices.

    Each postcard represents someone just like you, who understands how important it is that Congress, the Administration and our communities hear from us. Will you add your voice and be counted as we enter the final sprint of the campaign?

    This is it. August 1st is here and a big push right now will show that the pro-Israel, pro-peace community is ready to go bold. And it starts with one signature today – yours.

    Click here to sign a postcard and help us start August strong by being counted on the Day of Action.

    Remember in June when Michele Bachmann said that those who back President Obama’s vision of peace and security for Israel are a “tiny minority”? [1] In an amazing one-day feat, J Street supporters raised over $15,000 for 3 pro-Israel, pro-peace Members of Congress endorsed by JStreetPAC. In 22 days, we’re going to go even bigger.

    This is the biggest challenge for our movement in looking to break politics-as-usual on this issue – proving to people that we are here, we can be heard and our movement is growing in power!

    So in 22 days – on August 23rd – we’ll go even bigger – standing up to those who are letting the opportunity to secure a Jewish, democratic and safe Israel slip away.

    this is incredibly cynical, even for the Israel lobby: J Street knows perfectly well that the two state solution is DOA. Israel has made it impossible with facts on the ground. J Street is AIPAC’s back bench, not an alternative; its agenda is to cement congress in Israel’s corner, against the warnings and counsels of foreign policy eminences such as Kenneth Waltz. As Adam Kredo wrote yesterday in Washington Jewish Week,

    Altogether, it seemed to me — and it still does — that J Street was flexing its political muscle, showing the naysayers that, after a difficult period of silence, it can still galvanize the pro-Israel, pro-peace troops on Capitol Hill and inside the Obama administration. (It goes without saying that within the Jewish community, J Street definitely has clout.)

    So in order to test the veracity of my theory, I reached out to several current and former Capitol Hill staffers — from both sides of the aisle — who’ve interacted with J Street in various forms throughout the years.

    What type of influence has J Street built on the Hill, I asked them, and how do members respond when the group comes a-knocking? (Remember, J Street views itself primarily as a lobbying group.)

    What insiders told me is that J Street largely receives the cold shoulder from prominent legislators, particularly those who have a substantial impact on Israel policy.

  66. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning at 5:03pm Aug 3:

    Yes, Boeing would love to sell parts and planes to Iran.

    Instead — look at this comment on an Open Democracy article: Israelis and Russians are taking jobs in a South Carolina aeronautics plant.

    The oD commenter references a snippet from a C Span call-in program, :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/USJobM in which Pedro daCosta of Reuters is the guest; Pedro Ecchavaria is host, and the topic is jobs and unemployment.

    The oD commenter writes:

    In his opening comments, daCosta has laid the tone: the job situation is “grim;” jobs are “thin, scarce;” “there are not enough jobs for those looking; one report shows five Americans for every opening.” daCosta notes some “hubs” where there is hope: “health care, and technology, a revival of IPOs of companies where you if you have skills you can find employment there . . . but we haven’t trained many computer scientists in 20 years . . . People mail out hundreds of resumes and do not get any response.”

    The first call is from Myrtle Beach, SC; [the caller says] that there are service sector jobs in his area, [but that] “The problem is the j visa people — the jobs are going to Israelis and Russians, and not Americans.”

    . . . daCosta addresses a follow-up question to the caller but host Ecchavaria says, “He’s gone.” daCosta speculates that no Americans had the requisite skills, therefore foreign nationals had to be hired. Then, astonishingly, after having spent 5 minutes describing how bad the job market is for Americans, daCosta finds a silver lining in the situation: he mentions that politicians sometimes work with immigration authorities to fill jobs.

    Ecchavaria speculates that the problem might be that the work is of a “seasonal nature.” It is hard to imagine that Israelis and Russians would migrate to South Carolina to cultivate rice.

    If the caller had been permitted to remain on the line, the C Span audience might have gained some insights into the situation in Myrtle Beach, SC, about which neither of the Pedros seemed to have solid information.

    Here are a few factoids that a brief internet search unearthed:
    -Ardent Israelophiles Lindsey Graham and Jim deMint are the US Senators from South Carolina.
    -Myrtle Beach is the site of a large industrial redevelopment project.
    -Aeronautical industries dominate the industries in that project
    -Many, many highly educated and experienced American aeronautical engineers and scientists will find themselves out of work in nearby Florida and other southern states that were part of the US’s space exploration and space flight programs.”

    In other words, not only is the US funding Israel’s militarization and oppression of the Palestinian people; not only is US providing political cover for Israel to continue breaking all the rules and oppressing Palestinians, not only is US fighting wars for Israel, not only has US gone bust for the sake of Israel, NOW, at a time when American unemployment is at a high not seen since the Great Depression, jobs that Americans can do are going to Israelis!

  67. Fiorangela says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rNdIXHKUUg

    Kenneth Waltz, one of the foreign policy experts Steve Walt most admires, on US policy toward Israel, May 2011.

  68. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon – - Yes, Walt is unafraid of showing clearly how Israel literally is subverting the national security of the American people, by distorting US actions in the Middle East to serve its own agenda. Which includes trying to repress the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians.

  69. James Canning says:

    Ahmadinejad said Aug. 3rd that when Iran says it does not want to build nuclear weapons, it means that Iran does not want to build nuclear weapons. Important point, needing to be made time and time again.

  70. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    August 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Walt is connecting a whole bunch of dots with hindsight and notices a straight [dec]line. And, interestingly does not shy away from pointing out the Lobby’s role in making every single one of those dots possible.

  71. James Canning says:

    Philip Weiss says on his site Aug. 3rd: “The lack of a Palestinian state is an American Jewish achievement.” All too true. And: “American opposition to settlement-construction has also been nullified by the [Israel] lobby.” Again, all too true.

  72. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Walt makes the very important point that the foolish American decision to keep troops in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War, was made to please Israel. This was a disastrous mistake, of course.

  73. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Boeing would be only too happy to sell airliners and parts to Iran.

  74. BiBiJon says:

    IMF Says Iran’s Economy Set to Grow on Successful Subsidy Plan

    “Iran’s economic growth has accelerated and cuts in subsidies have been achieved without sharp increases in inflation, improving the outlook for further gains, the International Monetary Fund said.

    Growth accelerated to 3.2 percent in 2010-2011 from 0.6 percent two years earlier, the IMF said in a report published today. The inflation rate only rose by about 4 percentage points in the first five months of this year, to 14.2 percent, even after subsidies for energy and food were scrapped, it said. ”

    From http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-03/imf-says-iran-s-economy-set-to-grow-on-successful-subsidy-plan.html

    Note to the Boeing Corporation: Sale of passenger jets and parts to Iran is not only humane, but can transfer some of that Iranian economic growth to your bottom line.

  75. kooshy says:

    BiBiJon says:

    August 3, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I agree, that vaguely she is trying to show she is maintaining a balance in this article, but that is not true, when one is supposed to relate the title to the body of the article then one is supposed to have the impression and come to the conclusion that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” therefore to conclude that Iran and AQ are working together.

    She thinks she is cleaver, nothing too serious, this how all this paid per article so called western analyst are. All one needs to do is to confront them with a comment , she got a few comments all ridiculing her and she deserve it.

  76. BiBiJon says:

    This one is for Galen Wright.

    Stephen Walt who went to some length contradicting his years of research and writing on ‘realism’, by pointing out US’s Mid East policies are largely determined by domestic/ideological/sentimental considerations, today came out the ‘declinist’ closet as well.

    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/08/01/when_did_the_american_empire_start_to_decline

  77. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    That was an interesting piece by Patrick Disney (at theatlantic.com) Aug. 2nd (“Is Iran really after a nuclear bomb?”). Clearly he is correct to say many American leaders just assume Iran wants nukes without really looking seriously into the matter.
    Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say many American leaders pretend to assume Iran wants nukes? Because to argue to the contrary bring down on their heads the wrath of Aipac etc etc etc?

  78. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    That British parliamentary report was interesting, in noting that Turkey is the destination for immigrants from some EU countries.

    Turkey’s location leads to its being a conduit for most heroin going into EU.

  79. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You might find it interesting that more than 450 companies attended the Tehran conference on oil and gas in April of this year, and dozens were from Europe – - especially Germany.

  80. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I think a spokesman from the Iranian national oil co. said recently that one-third of Iranian oil is exported to Europe. So, perhaps some goes to non-EU countries.

  81. James Canning says:

    Humanist,

    The shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, by the Vincennes, was a very sad blunder caused by the ‘psychological effects of the crew subconsciously manipulating the data [from Aegis system] to accord with a predefined scenario”. (Some writers have claimed the Aegis system itself failed to work properly.) There was no deliberate, knowing shooting down of that airliner.

  82. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    August 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    What are the latest figures for the percentage of Iranian oil exports that goes to the EU? Is it 30%? Higher?

    James, I don’t know. I would be interested to find out though if anyone has up-to-date information by country.

  83. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    Why do you think the UK/French/US military intervention was a scheme to “steal” Libya’s oil? Italy has the largest interest in Libyan oil and gas, and Italy was decidedly not enthusiastic about the Nato operation.

    Do you think a new Libyan government would cut deals with oil companies that are better for them than Gaddafi was willing to accept?

  84. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    The job you describe is reserved for Jews of the neocon persuasion. Ranting against Iran is apparently part of the job description.

  85. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    What are the latest figures for the percentage of Iranian oil exports that goes to the EU? Is it 30%? Higher?

  86. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Are you suggesting the unproven claims that Iran supports al-Qaeda were brought to deflect attention from the excellent proposal made by Sergei Lavrov (for phased reductions in sanctions)? This sounds plausible.

  87. Fiorangela says:

    Kathleen, Thank you for your reply and the renewal of your offer to mediate with Mondoweiss.

    I respectfully decline, again.

    To be “allowed” to post again on Mondoweiss, by virtue of an insider mediation, and under scrutiny; namely, so long as I don’t post facts that disturb someone else’s settled–but counterfactual– narrative, then I are free to speak on Mondoweiss, is not my idea of an empowered situation. Instead, I reserve to myself the right to freely criticizing Mondoweiss for enforcing, and even boasting about, the double standard under which it functions.

    Please do feel free to pass that note along to Phil. I think Mondoweiss is an important site; it can be better.

    I imagine the entire conflict between Jews and Palestinian Arabs to be a house of cards. The house of cards cannot be reconstructed in a just and honest way without getting down to the foundations. That means, at very least, exploring the late-nineteenth century origins of zionism, which means revealing zionism’s complicity in the two wars in Europe in the 20th century, which means re-examining the holocaust narrative, from a factual, not emotional, basis. Phil has gatekeepers at Mondo who will not permit that discussion to be broached. That’s his choice, it’s his site. But the information — the truth, about the holocaust, and eventually about Israeli and American complicity in 9/11, WILL emerge. It won’t be pretty.

  88. Kathleen says:

    Fio “btw, Kathleen, some of your buddyroos at Mondoweiss, recently self-proclaimed the bestest site on the wwww (whole world wide web) could benefit from a look in the mirror. annie, (I call her Cheerleader Annie) is enjoying blasting away at DKos for having the temerity to BAN people. Perish the thought. But annie, and Weiss, are not above the practice themselves. Of course, it is not possible for that fact to be pointed out on Mondoweiss because, um, such a comment would be censored moderated out of existence.

    RFI, on the other hand . . .”

    Fio I believe I offered to confront Phillip Weiss with your claim (and I do believe you but of course do not know the details) about being banned at Mondoweiss. I am still willing to bring the issue up if you like. But what I remember about offering this to you before is that you said no need. There were two people who said they were banned over at Mondoweiss and I offered my on line support to both individuals here at Race for Iran

  89. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    “It just occurred to me that the timing of alleged Iran-AQ link comes right after:”

    3) it also comes right after the Russian proposal to a “phased” approach to the nuclear stand-off..

    Some times, the big bang, is just for distraction from another event?!?

    “Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi made a point recently in an interview with the Russian media when he described Iran as the “most significant neighbor” of Russia, which stands in the way of the Western strategy to encircle Russia.

    The message was unmistakable: “You need us more than we need you.’ “

    http://atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/MH04Ag01.html

  90. BiBiJon says:

    Timing is everything! The Case of Vanishing Terrorist entities.
    =====================================================

    It just occurred to me that the timing of alleged Iran-AQ link comes right after:

    1) Hezbollah flexing political muscle and ousting Saad Hariri from premiership. This is a major step in folding Hezbollah into the Lebanese government and making the Shiite entity as separate and distinct from Lebanon as say Wales is from Great Britain.

    2) The Fatah/Hamas unity brokered by Egypt and the outcome of the future election, combined with a UN recognition of Palestinian statehood making Iran’s relations with Hamas indistinguishable from a relationship with the legitimate (unified) government of Palestine, and indistinguishable form Egypt’s relationship with that same unity government.

    Therefore, the charge of ‘sponsor of terrorists’ needed a hurried new shot in the arm. Welcome Al-Qaeda!

  91. BiBiJon says:

    Reuters’s Exclusive: Sanctions trap billions of Iran petrodollars in Korea
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/03/us-iran-korea-idUSTRE77228Q20110803

    Before anybody starts feeling sorry for IRI, let me point out the ‘trapped’ cash is held in WON not USD. And that a year ago 1 USD was worth 1,175 WONs. Today that same dollar will get you only 1,049.

    Excuse the brief interruption. All can get back to celebrating how well the sanctions are working.

  92. BiBiJon says:

    Making an Enemy of Iran

    Barack Obama has thrown in the towel regarding negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and yielded to his advisors’ policy of relentlessly demonising Iran, notes Patrick Seale.

    “Last week, David S. Cohen, undersecretary for Terrorism at the U.S. Treasury — a job which seems reserved for pro-Israeli neo-cons to wage economic warfare against Tehran — made the excitable accusation that “Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world today.” Without advancing a scrap of evidence, Cohen alleged that Tehran had a “secret deal” with al-Qaida to use Iranian territory to transport money and men to the war in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This fabrication is eerily like the one the neo-cons made against Saddam Hussein to justify the 2003 invasion.”

    From http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=47464

  93. Rehmat says:

    YES: Islam doesn’t need reformation

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/yes-islam-doesn%e2%80%99t-need-reformation/

    On July 2, 2011 – The Israel-Firster Jewish talk-sow host, author and blogger, Dennis Prager posted an article entitled ‘Can Islam Be Reformed?‘.

    Interestingly, the Islam-hater, who in his book ‘Why the Jew? The Reason for Antisemitism‘ claimed that Jews have been the object of the most enduring and universal hatred in history and Hitler considered murdering Jews more important than winning World War II. Anyone, who have read the Jewish history from objective source like late Israeli professor Israel Shahak did – will know that Dennis is lying from both side of his mouth. The fact is that the Jews were despised by western Christians for Jewish arrogance, greed and racism toward non-Jews (one just have to study Jewish Holy Book Talmud to find out the truth). Hitler did not hate Jews due to their religion but because it were American Jewish organizations who had declared war on Germany in 1933. Hitler had 150,000 German Jews in Nazi army. Hennecke Kardel in his book have called Hitler being Founder of Israel. The so-called ‘anti-Semitism’ is a tool applied by Zionists to shut-up criticism of the Zionist entity. In fact, most of Zionist leaders have been more Anti-Semitic than both the OT and NT put together.

    After clearing-up Dennis Prager’s ‘expertise’ on Islam and the Middle East – let me deal with his historic lies to explain why Islam doesn’t need reformation as Judaism and Christianity do.

    1. “Majority-Muslim and Islam-based countries are not, and have not been, free societies. According to the 2010 Freedom House..,”.

    Now, only some idiot would not know that the Freedom House is funded by US government, Jewish billionaire George Soro and several other Zionist organizations. The think tank is run by Zionist Jews and former CIA and US administration officials such as David J. Kramer with pro-Israel agenda. Too bad, Muslims don’t spit on priests or burn copies of Christian Bible (NT) as is quite common in Israel.

    “Muslim treatment of Jews and Christians in places like medieval Spain was morally far superior to the treatment of non-Christians by European Christians during the same period. But in the modern period, nowhere that Islam has controlled has afforded non-Muslims anywhere near the equality that non-Christians have taken for granted in the Christian world,” wrote Dennis.

    Another case of self-denial. While Christians have lead governments and armies in Muslim-majority countries, such as, Indonesia, Lebanon, Nigeria and Bosnia – no Christian-majority country has Muslim leader of government or army. However, the western countries which expelled Jewish communities in the past – are in fact ruled directly or indirectly by Jews or Israel-Firsters (the US, UK, Germancy, France, Australia, Denmark, etc.).

    “According to a United Nations report written by Arab scholars, the Arab world’s lack of interest in the non-Arab and non-Muslim worlds is so great that in any given year comparatively tiny Greece translates more books into Greek than all the Arab countries combined translate into Arabic,” wrote Dennis.

    I really like Dennis to tell us how many Arabic or for that matter Greek books have been translated into Hebrew by Israelis?

    “Regarding women, one cannot name a culture or religion in which the status of women is as low as it is in many Muslim societies,” whined Dennis.

    Well, in some cases, I do agree with Dennis that standard of women is very low according to his Jewish brought-up. For example, Amnesty International has never accused a single Muslim-majority country selling 5000 White Christian women into sex-slavery each year – as AI accuses Israel each year. US-based Family Research Council in its recent report has claimed that 100,000 American children each year are victimized by sex traffickers. I bet every Muslim country would like to beat the US record! Furthermore, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Turkey has been ruled by elected women president or prime ministers. May be Dennis would like to tell us why the US, France, Russia and Australia never elected a woman head of Executive branch?

    “In nearly every Muslim country in which non-Muslims live (usually Christians) – from Nigeria to Egypt to Iraq – they suffer persecution, claimed Dennis.

    Really! Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Indonesia, Dubai, Nigeria, etc. all have Christians MPs and even cabinet ministers. Iraq under Saddam Hussein has six Christian cabinet ministers including Vice-president Tariq Aziz.

    “A very small percentage of Muslims are terrorists. But nearly every international terrorist is Muslim. And according to every poll I have seen, at least 70 million of the world’s more than a billion Muslims support Islamist actions and theology,” wrote Dennis.

    Calm down paranoid Zionazi Jew. In fact, Pew survey (2010) showed that 70-85% Muslim population wants Islamic Shri’ah rule to some extent. Now, if one counts terrorists based on world population among different religions – there are far more terrorists among the 13.7 million Jews than 1.7 billion Muslims or 1.5 billion Christians or 980 million Hindus. The Zionist Jews have a very long list of terrorism including the establishment of Israel, assassination of JFK, attacks on USS Liberty and USS Cole, 9/11, 7/7, Madrid train bombing, Bali bombing, Synagogue bombing in Turkey and Argentina and church bombing in Egypt and Iraq – and the latest Norway terror.

    The Islamic tolerance of Dennis’ medieval Spain, can still be found in Muslim-majority countries, such as, Albania, Iran, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Tunisia and Bahrain which had a Jewish woman, Houda Nonoo as Sheikhdom’s ambassador to United States in 2008.

    Israeli citizen, Norman Gershman, founder of BESA: A Code of Honor, wrote: ”To me Islam is poetry. is science, is to be with the Divine. Islam is beauty“.

  94. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    August 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    On Barbara Slavin’s piece, The Enemy of my Enemies, I can not figure out if she is helping or hurting. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/08/01/the_enemy_of_irans_enemy

    For example, what does she mean by:

    “Despite the alarmist headlines (I like MSM headline bashing), no one should have been shocked by last week’s U.S. Treasury Department designation of a Syrian based in Iran as a conduit for sending money and personnel to al Qaeda (I was shocked).

    Iran has had links to members of what became known as al Qaeda since the early 1990s, when both had a presence in Sudan (who didn’t have a presence in Sudan? And, who didn’t have links to everyone else present?). What many may not know is that the United States missed several opportunities to divide the two and gain custody of senior al Qaeda figures and relatives of Osama bin Laden. (I guess Iran must have missed several opportunities to drive a wedge between al-Qaida and the US).”

    What puzzles me is the timeline, early 1990s. Is it not common knowledge that the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Binezir Bhuto, and Pakistan’s ISI, all had links to a group headed by OBL?

    Wasn’t “early 1990s” when al_Qaida had approached K of SA to be allowed to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait? Didn’t Osama carry a family name so influential among Saudis and Americans that a decade later, on 9/12/2001, the only passenger plane allowed to fly the American skies was that ferrying the Bin Laden extended family members out of reach of FBI investigators?

    What is shocking is Barbara’s innuendos.

  95. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi:

    I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one. To my mind, seeking truth and seeking to expose truth is never a “waste of time”. And if you say, as you seem to be, that there are other *priorities* (which are more important), I would tell you that the Ayatoller begs to differ. As a matter of fact, I think that the biggest bang for the PR buck that the Islamic Republic of Iran can bang – or at least one of the biggest – is to host a conference, jointly with Caesar Chavez and other like-minded leaders of the Neo-Bolivarian Left, on 9/11. I would call the conference:

    Exposing 9/11: The Big Lie

    *

    And on another important topic you touched upon: No, it is not the duty of Moslem leaders to define the role of the Moslem community *within* the context of “the international community of nation states”. It is the responsibility of Moslem leaders to re-define international relations in light of the changes collectively known as ‘modernity’. This the IRI is doing by resisting the current status quo and by forging alliances with others who are resisting it, be they Syria-Lebanon-Iraq, the Neo-Bolivarians, China, and anywhere else the opportunity presents itself.

  96. Pirouz says:

    So I fully expect Juan Cole to censor my comment to his latest post at Informed Comment, as again I confront him with factual evidence that disputes his main contention.

    Here’s the link to the post:

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/08/syrian-massacre-in-hama-sparks-more-eu-sanctions.html

    Well Juan, here’s another chance for you to censor my comment. So again, this is provided between you and I, in the hope you may still be open to learning a thing or two.

    There were two videos uploaded on YouTube by opposition sources (not regime sources) on the 1st; one of which was also uploaded by Stratfor.

    One of the videos actually showed overrun prepared positions by assumed armed elements of the opposition. I assume they were armed by the composition of the positions (they were built up from scratch with firing ports).

    The other video showed SyA AFVs directing fire onto an urban level 2 firing position held by opposition elements.

    Now, I’m not disputing that the SyA is putting down opposition demonstrations.

    But the following characterization of yours is not entirely factual, based upon some of the available evidence: “Syria’s concerted military intervention against peacefully protesting crowds.”

    ———————–

    Previously, I’ve been asked to write about the SyA response to these recent demos by more than one source. Just as soon as I think I’ve a relevant report finalized, these SyA/SF/Mukhabarat responses continue to evolve, to the point where my original report is no longer current. It remains a fluid situation.

  97. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    You said:  “Conspiracy theory is just one way consensus reality minimizes and mitigates deviations from consensus reality, actual reality notwithstanding.”

    Please see the discussion here  where I said:

    **
    Given the sentiments of the Enlightenment thinkers who ‘valued’ Islam, and given Islamophobic sentiments which persisted during the Crusades and in modern times which deride Islam, it is clear the Western understanding of Islam has never been grounded in reality and instead has been derivative of the West’s own bad self-esteem.

    The whole corpus of knowledge on the Western side towards the Middle East and ‘Islam’ is corrupted and is used for the purposes of domination. The Muslims should be and are defining themselves. It is time for the West to drop its paternalistic fantasies of ruling the world.

    Equal Rights between Nations is not an idea at odds with liberalism.

    ***

    Unknown Unknowns, back to the current discussion, you will not find me in disagreement with you that Western plans and understandings of the Muslim world are based entirely on competing ‘consensus realities’, actual reality notwithstanding.

    The trick is to bolster the Muslim societies enough so they are no longer susceptible to the ephemeral consensus realities of the West.  Sovereignty and self-determination should be the primary focus of the international Muslim societies.

    Playing victim and lamenting over how the West has out-maneuvered the Muslims keeps the Muslims vulnerable to more out-maneuverings.   9/11 theories seem like a waste of time more than anything else.

    [Unknown Unknowns:]“The quest for truth, radical truth that reframes the dominant paradigm, therefore, depends upon that psychological state of mind that not only does not shy away from keeping one’s eye on the facts despite public disparagement, but actually thirsts for the facts that undermine the lies upon which public consensus is built.”


    In my opinion it is the responsibility of the Muslim leaders (beyond Revolutionary Iran) to define the new paradigm/understanding of ‘Islam’ within the context of the international global order.  The Muslim leaders need to define how the Muslims will live among themselves in peace, and how the Muslims will live in peace within the established international nation-state order.

    Waiting for the American public to attain some metaphysical realization of our own mischief in the world is another waste of time.  The more active approach on the part of the Muslim leaders should be strengthen your civil defenses so your societies can resist such mischief/sabotage in the future.

    Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran need to define the new paradigm.  Obviously Syria, Iraq and other nations have roles to play, but those 4 are currently most prepared to lead.  

  98. Humanist says:

    I commented on AntiWar.com Radio show where Peter Hart of FAIR.ORG discusses MSM’s recent important allegation of Iran’s hand in helping the Al-Quaeda.

    Here is a slightly altered version of that commentary:

    —-

    On this topic the following Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett’s expert, informative and sound analysis is well worth studying:

    http://www.raceforiran.com/iran-and-al-qa%e2%80%99ida-can-the-charges-be-substantiated-3

    Additionally in my view the following issues are relevant:

    1- Recently Iran organized the first International conference on ‘Terrorism”. UN and some NAM countries participated. Apparently it was a successful event If the proceedings of that conference are referred to then one might deduce that any kind of cooperation between IRI and Al Quaeda, no matter how minuscule or temporary, is unlikely. The relation of IRI and Al-Queeda / Taliban has been bitterly malignant from both ideological and historical points of view.

    2- Iran is crowded by too many spies or stooges of the West / Israel. Any major political event in Iran (even some after the 1979 revolution) clearly reveal the critical influence of the covert Western manipulations. This goes back to couple of centuries ago or at least to the times when oil was discovered. I firmly believe whenever necessary the foreigners have effectively exploited the dissatisfaction and rage the of Iranian masses to engineer some form of favorable social or political outcome. This is true for many events in early 20th century, for 1979 revolution, for Islamization of the country, for the demonstrations in 2009 etc etc

    As a late example of the above allegations of spying, recently, in a TED conference a German expert on Stuxnet said something like “ they [the West/Israel] knew [even] the shoe sizes of the involved Iranians in enrichment”. Also according to the Western media two stolen centrifuges were used to develop the Stuxnet. This long story is beyond the scope of this commentary yet I believe the assertion that “foreign intelligence agencies would have known (with high confidence) stuff like any connection between IRI and Al-Quaeda” is quite plausible.

    3- I think Iranians consider American establishment as a mighty ruthless entity. During their war with Iraq, especially after 1983 they learned that the American ruling elites have no hesitation in brutally hurting them. Iranians firmly believe US, in series of meetings (particularly the one in Amman, Jordan) encouraged Saddam to invade Iran. Examples of ‘arrogant’ US meddling in coming years are abundant such as helping Saddam to use dreadful chemical weapons, purposefully shooting down an Iran-Air passenger plane, humiliating them in the Persian Gulf, supplying satellite info to Iraqis about the location and size of the Iranian troops in order to subject them to WMD etc etc.

    Those lessons have made the Iranians ‘extremely’ careful not to step on that lion’s tail. Any cooperative contact with Al-Qaueda might get revealed giving US the desired excuses for a critical military intervention such as the destruction of the entire military, industrial, educational and infrastructure similar to what US did to Iraq during the first Gulf War.(see Ramsey Clark’s report on that destruction)

    3.1- Foreign policy analysts (even those who are moderately litrate) are aware of the ‘intensity’ of American hatred and rage towards Al-Quaeda. I think Iranians are smart enough to realize that kind of national obsession. Thus they might go to long ways to avoid any covert (and possibly traceable) affiliation with Al-Quaeda (whom they can never trust) especially when that organization is also Iran’s own serious foe.

  99. Fiorangela says:

    Patrick Disney used to write for NIAC.

  100. kooshy says:

    Here is a little more balanced analysis of Iran’s nuclear program, this from Atlantic I wonder where was Jeffery Goldberg when this was put out, did he allow this to go through and get published I doubt it, he must have been gone to the annual summer IDF training camp (summer workshop), he is going to get “Majnoon” when he is back.

    Jeffy if you are back, leave this guy alone and give him a chance, he is just an upstart, soon he will learn what he has to write to have a chance to stay around, better yet I would send him to Judith Miller’s summer continuing education camp.

    Is Iran Really After a Nuclear Bomb?

    Patrick Disney

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/08/is-iran-really-after-a-nuclear-bomb/242900/

  101. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Sorry OT, from previous thread, “What do you think is the best way forward, regarding the situation in Libya?”

    James, as you know, the project for the sandbox that we know as Libya, was stillborn from its inception. US/NATO thought to use the chaos and MQ’s stupid rhetoric to steal some of Libyan oil. These powers in effect have achieved what they were after; to control the flow of oil in the east and cornered MQ in western sandbox. With that in hand and the ensuing stalemate, they should reduce/cease all hostilities and human suffering of the innocent Libyans. There will be no more gains in it for them; only loss of life. They should also repatriate the money that they have frozen (stolen) to its rightful owners.

    What do you think of the British parliament’s report that focuses on the implications of Turkey’s accession to the European Union voicing the British establishment’s concern over the threat posed by “inadequate security?” A load of …?

  102. Elsinore says:

    My nomination for Nobel Prize in Dynamiting Complacent Thinking:

    Conspiracy theory is just one way consensus reality minimizes and mitigates deviations from consensus reality, actual reality notwithstanding.

    All great truths throughout history, be they spiritual or scientific, have undermined the false realities upon which consensus was built.

    The quest for truth, radical truth that reframes the dominant paradigm, therefore, depends upon that psychological state of mind that not only does not shy away from keeping one’s eye on the facts despite public disparagement, but actually thirsts for the facts that undermine the lies upon which public consensus is built.

    Ordinary minds, on the other hand, prefer to deny the cogency of facts in preference to the false comfort of the tribal consensus, no matter how big a lie it might be.”

  103. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Oops…

    Off topic, as usual, except…

  104. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I also recommend Dr. Rupert Sheldrake and his theory of morphic resonance:

    http://vimeo.com/11653660

    As usual, except in so far as it bears on First Principles.

  105. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi:

    Conspiracy theory is just one way consensus reality minimizes and mitigates deviations from consensus reality, actual reality notwithstanding.

    All great truths throughout history, be they spiritual or scientific, have undermined the false realities upon which consensus was built.

    The quest for truth, radical truth that reframes the dominant paradigm, therefore, depends upon that psychological state of mind that not only does not shy away from keeping one’s eye on the facts despite public disparagement, but actually thirsts for the facts that undermine the lies upon which public consensus is built.

    Ordinary minds, on the other hand, prefer to deny the cogency of facts in preference to the false comfort of the tribal consensus, no matter how big a lie it might be.

  106. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns, every time i venture into conspiracy territory i feel like i am taking my eye off the ball. otherwise smart people running after balls that are out of play.

  107. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi:

    Unfortunately, the preponderance of evidence precludes your blowback theory. Here’s a good summary of the facts that exclude such a possibility:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3538037502590699697

  108. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Lincoln Chafee was the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the resolution re: use of force in Iraq (that was stretched to allow the war to be launched).

  109. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    The CIA helped supply weapons to al-Qaeda, but of course did not control it.

    I think it is fair to say that having fostered a terror organisation, to help drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, the US indeed suffered a form of “blowback” with the 1993 and 2001 attacks against the World Trade Center etc.

  110. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    I certainly agree with you that Netanyahu is very keen indeed to block the Palestinian bid for UN recogniton of independence with 1967 borders.

    Spiegel.de online today had a report on the Israeli assassination campaign against Iranian scientists, and speculation about an Israeli attack on Iran. Which I do not expect.

    Netanyahu does employ the Iran issue as a way of distracting attention from his campaign of oppression against the Palestinians.

  111. Photi says:

    UU,

    I have now watched most of it, much different than i was expecting. The question for me remains, was the CIA in control of al-Qaeda at the time of 9/11 or had al-Qaeda since become a ‘renegade’ self-motivating group? I would say the latter and still the most likely explanation for 9/11 was it was ‘blowback’ and the unintentional consequences of bad behavior on the part of the CIA.

    Surely pretexts for war are easier to conjure than a decades long plan to bring down 2 (but really 3) buildings.

  112. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    My assessment of Hillary Clinton is that she does what seems to benefit herself and her political party, rather than what clearly is in the best interests of the nation. She offers a dramatic contrast to a statesman like Anthony Eden.

  113. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Yes, it is interesting to consider the reasons Congress did some investigation of the illegal invasion of Iraq, but then quit. I for one have little difficulty coming up with a reason or two that explains what happened.

    What a contrast with Britain, and its Chilcot inquiry (even if not “perfect”).

  114. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Linc Chaffee is a cousin of a good friend of mine, and he told her they would see he was defeated if he opposed the war.

  115. Fiorangela says:

    Kathleen at 2:51, Yes, Veterans Today does post some interesting articles, and they do break out of the box. But Gordon Duff would do well to tighten up his prose and refine his rhetoric. He has written a number of columns from which the reader can surmise that he is very angry, and that a terrible wrong is being done, but attempts to get at the who what where why of the situation require a good deal of parsing of his writing.

    It’s not enough to be passionate.

    THAT is the genius of zionism — they understand that it’s less important that the writer reflect his anger as that he causes the reader to come away angry, and for that you don’t need facts or reason. Ziogandists are able to present a set of information that brushes right past truthiness on its way to stimulating the reader’s limbic system.

    btw, Kathleen, some of your buddyroos at Mondoweiss, recently self-proclaimed the bestest site on the wwww (whole world wide web) could benefit from a look in the mirror. annie, (I call her Cheerleader Annie) is enjoying blasting away at DKos for having the temerity to BAN people. Perish the thought. But annie, and Weiss, are not above the practice themselves. Of course, it is not possible for that fact to be pointed out on Mondoweiss because, um, such a comment would be censored moderated out of existence.

    RFI, on the other hand . . .

  116. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi: the film is unsynopsisable – at least it is beyond my powers to summarize. It’s one man’s atempt to understand the significance of 9/11. There.

  117. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi:

    But I agree with you if you say that the first 9 minutes are self-indulgent, avant-guard bullshit. But the film starts after the credits that take that long to run, for some reason. Start watching at 9:01.

  118. kooshy says:

    BiBiJon says:

    August 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I agree, my idea for the geopolitics of Iran is, not to make the same mistake India did and put all the eggs in one basket, in this current environment one needs to keep all kind of options open. That in no way means to punish but to separate the issues and confront when necessary with specific tactics, it’s all about separating the issues and doing business independently but also to strongly confront when sending a strong message becomes essential. All in all considering the current circumstances Iran’s FP works fine.

  119. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Maybe you could offer up a quick synopsis. There was a certain “American History X” -like energy given off in those few minutes i watched. it might just be the presentation i found off-putting.

  120. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi: The actor/ director/ script-writer is actually quite talented, and the movie well worth watching. I suggest you come back to it when u r prepared to give it its due.

  121. Photi says:

    *As in:

    “The Administration’s action, no doubt taken after intense deliberation, appears to finally lay to rest the canard that Sunni and Shiite extremist groups would not work together. “Clearly, there has been more than ample evidence that cooperation between radical Sunni and Shia Muslims has existed for quite some time despite a stream of near continuous refutations by certain high-profile academics and analysts. Now, we can move forward on fashioning a comprehensive policy for dealing with an Iran that not only seeks nuclear weapons but is directly confronting the U.S. on the battlefield through its al Qaeda and Iraqi proxies,” Mr. Neumann said.”

  122. Photi says:

    Kathleen,

    To sum up Jinsa’s statement, fiction just became fact.

  123. Rehmat says:

    Kathleen – Jewish Lobby’s list of lies about Iran, Pakistan, Libya or Syria has never surprised me. As Zionist historian Lenni Brenner said that Zionism has always prospered under dictatorships – and for Zionist entity, the US is their favorite ‘dictator’ who cover their murderous nature.

    Now, which country is the most terrorist state after the US – not Iran but Israel which has been caught in state terrorism in 25 foreign countries – plus the latest one in Norway.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/israel-caught-in-terrorism-in-25-nations/

  124. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    A documentary which starts out profiling a completely obsessed narrator who is doubling as the protagonist is not one i am much inclined to watch. I couldn’t get past the first few minutes.

  125. Kathleen says:

    Rehmat Jinsa’s latest
    http://www.jinsa.org/
    Press Release – JINSA Applauds Obama Admin. Turnaround on Iran

  126. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Kathleen et al:

    I recommend ‘Who killed John O’Neill’

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ6SNWw5Qss

  127. Kathleen says:

    James “Yes, absolutely! No question! Many lazy, ignorant, and ambitious “MSN” journalists know that if they spout complete rubbish about Iran, to benefit the Zionist-expansionist agenda, their laziness will be rewarded. Citing accurate history would impair the narrative being sold to the ignorant and rather stupid American public.”

    Yes..how many times have we seen or heard Flynt Leverett, Prof Cole others on Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddows? These folks learned nothing from the lies fed to most of the American people through those same channels. They are doing the same dangerous dance when it comes to Iran

  128. Kathleen says:

    Photi you may be right. Facts do not matter to Israel the I lobby and many of our Reps. The Iran lap top thing did not work..the Iran has WMD’s is not working. Sounds like Israel may just go for it. Scott Ritter, Seymour Hersh and others have predicted this

  129. Kathleen says:

    James “For the neocon warmongers, “Iraqi WMD” was just the pretext for the illegal war they could sell to the US Congress, by deceiving the Congress and the American people (by manipulating the media). And it must be noted that many “liberal” “supporters” of Israel also promoted the illegal invasion of Iraq.”

    Not all of our congress members bought the WMD lies hook line and sinker. Ritter said Hillary Clinton knew it was all a “pack of lies” Kerry and Clinton etc should have followed Dick Durbins no vote he was on the intelligence committee for heavens sake. Hillary knew it was a pack of lies.

    23 Senators voted against. Including Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee. They got rid of him. I remember watching Chaffee’s face during the Bolton confirmation hearings I thought he was going to jump over the tables with Kerry, Biden etc and kick Boltons ass when Biden kept insisting on access to the NSA intercepts having to do with the alleged spying on Colin Powell.

    Still cannot figure out why congress went to all of the trouble of investigating all of the pre war intelligence (Phase I and Phase II of the SSCI) and then did nothing with what they found out. That people like Stephen Green Lt Col Karen Kwiatowski, Jason Vest and others had all ready been writing about some before the invasion.

    I guess hundreds of thousands dead, injured and millions displaced based on a an intelligence snowjob clearly does not get our Reps justice juices flowing like lies under oath about blow jobs. They have their priorities. And those priorities are sick and twisted. The whole world is watching
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132×3033516

  130. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    August 2, 2011 at 2:15 am

    Regarding fyi’s comment on Atul’s article:

    fyi does not seem to distinguish between critical, do-or-die imperatives that might bring two nations closer on the one hand, and having no reason what-so-ever to be needlessly estranged.

    Atul of course identifies Afghanistan and oil as two important issues not to be trifled with. While fyi is correct in calling oil fungible, he omits to mention that aside from Iran, the rest of PG oil producers existentially depend on the US. They can hike prices and offset the additional cost of energy to the West, by huge investments in the West and importing western goods and services. This kind of scenario effectively transfers wealth from India (and other oil consumers) to the West. Iran (and any other independent) oil producer is likely to spend the windfall evenly and not favor western goods and services unduly.

    Also Atul does not go into India being home to the world’s third largest population of Muslims after Indonesia and Pakistan. Good relations with Iran may help in Kashmir and other hotspots in India — not an unimportant strategic consideration.

    Finally, 101 of geopolitics tells us that some of the rivalry between China and India will be dueled out in Iran. For India to cede Iran with whom she has historical/racial/linguistic/etc. umbilical ties would be a case of putting a lot of Indian eggs in the same basket.

  131. Photi says:

    This will be a double post from a different thread. I was in the wrong thread.

    The American propagandists will not even get a chance to use the al-Qaeda card against Iran.

    Netanyahu seems hell-bent on drawing the Americans into a regional war within the next month or two.  The American propaganda campaign for war with Iran will barely have a chance to get started before the Israeli belligerence brings ‘facts on the ground’ necessitating American involvement.

    Richard Silverstein on Truthout the other day:

    “Further confirmation of the thesis advanced by Richard Sale, the intelligence correspondent, comes from no less likely a source than Jeffrey Goldberg, who avidly reported a year ago during an interview with Netanyahu that the Israel premier likely planned to attack Iran. In writing this month of the reasons behind Meir Dagan’s “going native” on Bibi & Barak, Goldberg describes the thinking of Israeli sources who explained Dagan’s motivation:

    [Quote:]  “[They] suggested that Netanyahu wants to change the subject from his difficulties with the Palestinians. It’s no secret that the prime minister has been outfoxed by the Palestinian leadership lately and that Israel is desperately trying to stop a Palestinian independence initiative at the United Nations. Netanyahu is capable of great cynicism and he has made clear that the peace process doesn’t interest him very much.  “

    “While a former senior IDF commander and political leader who has served as a past source for my work refused to confirm this specific story (in order not to expose Israeli operational plans), he did not rule it out. Further, he did confirm that there is a specific Israeli military contingency for such an attack. In fact, Maariv’s generally right-wing Ben Caspit, who’s becoming uncharacteristically dovish regarding the Iran attack scenario, notes it prominently (Hebrew only) in this article:

    [Quote:]  ”When Bibi Netanyahu became prime minister he received a briefing on the [Iran] military option being planned. The meeting was prolonged. Then another was planned. And another. Till finally Bibi spent a full 20 hours considering the matter. And according to an aide, “his eyes sparkled” the whole time.”

  132. Kathleen says:

    I heard Ritter on the Diane Rehm show and I believe Talk of the Nation as well as Washington Journal..but not on Hardball, Cnn Etc. Of course they knew the Niger Documents were false would still like to witness a few of the warmongers/war criminals held accountable. Is that too much to ask?

  133. Reza Esfandiari says:

    For goodness sake, we all know that Iran was behind 911:

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2011/05/21/iran_should_pay_damages_911_family_members_say/

    It is time to attack Iran and make them pay.

  134. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Regarding the Niger forgeries, the point I like to make is that the CIA knew these documents were forgeries, several years before Geore W. Bush addressed the American people (and the world) in his 2003 State of the Union address. Where he relied on those forgeries to make case for invading Iraq. Dick Cheney made sure G W Bush was kept in the dark about significant CIA intel showing Iraq had no WMD and posed no threat to the US or the UK. (Saddam Hussein, of course, did pose a huge threat to property values in Tel Aviv.)

  135. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    And yes, I did see Ritter on TV a number of times, warning against invading Iraq on basis it had WMD.

    For the neocon warmongers, “Iraqi WMD” was just the pretext for the illegal war they could sell to the US Congress, by deceiving the Congress and the American people (by manipulating the media). And it must be noted that many “liberal” “supporters” of Israel also promoted the illegal invasion of Iraq.

  136. Kathleen says:

    Interesting site
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/category/world-global/middle-east-issues/palestine-2/page/2/

    Flotillas and the Law : Civil Society Movements vs. Corrupt Politics

  137. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    To be a whore of the neocon warmongers (and other delusional “supporters” of Israel right or wrong) is to ensure professional and financial advancement in MSN American news media.

  138. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Yes, absolutely! No question! Many lazy, ignorant, and ambitious “MSN” journalists know that if they spout complete rubbish about Iran, to benefit the Zionist-expansionist agenda, their laziness will be rewarded. Citing accurate history would impair the narrative being sold to the ignorant and rather stupid American public.

  139. Kathleen says:

    James “Walsh says the former chairman of the joint chiefs said there were no Iraqi WMD, two months before the illegal invasion of Iraq.”

    Along with former IAEA weapons inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter, IAEA head El Baradei in early march of 2003 “niger documents forgeries” and many others. Did you ever see Ritter on Hardball, CNN or any other outlet before the invasion of Iraq. And now Rachel Maddow etc carrying water for Israel on Iran. Maddow is one of the most persistent at repeating the unsubstantiated claims about Iran. hear any of the talking heads asking challenging questions about the claims being repeated about Iran?

  140. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    One of the most important observations made by Paul O’Neill was that Geore W. Bush did not want to know what the facts were about a given situation. This made Bush the perfect dupe for the warmongering neocons conspiring to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq.

  141. Kathleen says:

    James “Gore Vidal calls America “the United States of Amnesia”.”

    And the MSM is happy to feed the condition

  142. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    And let’s remember that G W Bush fired O’Neill partly because he opposed the idiotic invasion of Iraq, and he saw that foolish American spending on “defence” mandated an increase in taxes. This position endangered the conspiracy to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq.

  143. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Vanity Fair magazine recently had very interesting article on Saudi funding for the “9/11″ attacks. Not Saudi government funding, but from individual Saudis.

    Don’t miss Bob Walsh’s piece on HuffingtonPost.com today. (Go the “other” on home page, and then to “World” and then to “Middle East” (or follow link).

    Walsh says the former chairman of the joint chiefs said there were no Iraqi WMD, two months before the illegal invasion of Iraq.

  144. Kathleen says:

    In Ron Susskind’s book “The Price of Loyalty” I remember Former Secretary of the Treasury (during Bush 43′s first administration) Paul O’Neil saying that he was basically fired by Cheney and team after he started investigating funds from Saudi Arabia making their way to 9/11 terrorist

    Stuart Levey sure had a great deal of time and support to build the questionable case against Iran?

  145. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Who are the “we” to whom you refer? The grossly ignroant, and rather stupid, American public? Yes, “they” forgot. “They” cannot remember what happened just a few weeks ago, much less what happened decades ago. “Collective historical amnesia”. Gore Vidal calls America “the United States of Amnesia”.

  146. James Canning says:

    Rd.

    Since you should be well aware I believe that powerful Jewish interests in the US are literally subverting the national security of the American poeple, you should comprehend I am no cheerleader for idiotic American military adventures.

  147. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    kosshy claimed the UK’s foreign policy has been controlled by the US since 1942. Do you agree? Or, is this assessment very wrong indeed?

  148. James Canning says:

    Bob Walsh’s piece (HuffPo), not Walshes.

  149. James Canning says:

    I recommend Bob Walshes piece on HuffingtonPost today, regarding his lunch in Seattle in January 2003, with the late General Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff. ‘Shali told me at lunch there were “no weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. None.’

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-walsh/if-only-they-had-listened_b_908944.html

  150. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:
    “You also appear to have forgotten that strong elements of the American military wanted to bomb “

    We Came, We Saw, We Destroyed, We Forgot

    “Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of which were democratically-elected”

    http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/We_Came_We_Saw_We_Destroyed_We_Forgot.htm

  151. James Canning says:

    Ramin Mehmanoparast of the Iranian foreign ministry said today: ‘Our country’s military might is aimed at defending our territorial integrity and supporting regional peace and stability. . . ‘ I think this statement is correct.

    Much of the impetus for the foolish US effort to build an ABM system comes of course from the thousands of lobbyists who promote idiotic levels of “defence” spending for the simple reason it ‘fattens their wallets’ and allows them to live in houese costing $5 million or $ 10 million in Washington, while scores of millions of Americans go without health care. And this idiocy is pronoted by major American news organisations because they are part of large corporate interests that profit from idiotic levels of US ‘defence’ spending.

  152. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    You also appear to have forgotten that strong elements of the American military wanted to bomb targets in China, and blockade China, in 1954. The UK blocked this insane programme. Much credit for blocking the insane notion of some American generals and admirals goes to Sir Anthony Eden.

  153. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Have you followed events in Libya this year? The impetus for “Western” military intervention came primarily from France, and David Cameron was persuaded by Nicolas Sarkozy to join in an intervention. Cameron asked Obama to back the Franco-
    British effort.

    Sarkozy was very strongly influenced by his friend, Bernard-Henri Levy, who was in Benghazi while Gaddafi was ranting on TV about exterminating “cockroaches”.

  154. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    You seem to have forgotten that the UK refused to join the delusional American war effort known as the Vietnam War.

  155. James Canning says:

    JAnas,

    I think it is a good idea to focus on the individuals, and groups, that try to deceive American (and world) opinion about Iran, and seek to frighten the American public (and the world), to advance the Zionist-expansionist agenda. A number of Americans work hard to expose the lying and cheating promoted by Aipac and other groups.

  156. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    The Financial Times reported recently that Iran has resumed shipping oil to India.

  157. James Canning says:

    Open Eyes,

    You might mention that the MEK terrorists advocated the execution of the Americans taken hostage when the US embassy was occupied in 1979. Khomeini had not even known the embassy was going to be occupied, and he opposed it when he became aware of what had happened.

  158. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    We need to look no further than the Office of Special Plans, set up in the Pentagon after George W. Bush entered the White House in 2001. Abram Shulsky, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and others, used this office to funnel false intelligence directly into the White House to dupe the president and his national security adviser (to set up the illegal Iraq War). Shulsky believed that “deception is the norm [that is, normal] in [American] political life” and he advocated manipulation of the media to deceive the American public. Shulsky, Feith and Wolfowitz were all connected to the office of Senator ‘Scoop’ Jackson of Washington State, several decades ago. Their avowed object, then and now, was to employ American power to advance the Zionist-expansionist agenda.

  159. James Canning says:

    Open Eyes,

    Did you see the story on the front page of the Financial Times last week, about the millions of dollars being paid to prominent Americans to act as promoters of the MEK terrorists?

  160. Open Eyes says:

    Interestingly the US works closely with the MEK terrorist group which has killed tens of thousands of Iranians. Sick.

  161. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: August 2, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Yes, Rehmat.

    Both in US and UK the Champions of Israel have made the question: “Are you a Jew or are you an American (Englis)?” a respectable one.

    I never believed, regardless of their emotional attachment to the State of Israel, that Jewish Iranians would do anything against Iran.

  162. Rehmat says:

    There are tens of thousands of wealthy Americans, both Jews and Christians, who are accepted citizen of both the US and Israel. Some of the famous ‘Israel-Firsters’ are – Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Norman Podhoretz, Victor Davis Hanson, the Rev. Franklin Graham, Alan Dershowitz, Rudy Giuliani, Douglas Feith, the Rev. Rod Parsley, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, Bill Kristol, and Rev. John Hagee, who support Jewish Lobby (AIPAC) whole-heartedly and cares about the US interests only so far as Washington is willing to provide immense, unending funding and the lives of young US service personnel to protect Zionist Israel.

    Former US Secretary of States, Gen. Collin Powell told Washington Post editor, Karen DeYoung, that it was the JINSA crowed, in association with US Vice-president Dick Cheney – which not only controls the Pentagon but also pushed White House into Iraq War for the benefit of Israel. “JINSA is the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a hawkish think tank that supported the Iraq war. Thomas Neumann, JINSA’s executive director, said he was not offended by Powell’s reference – but fears that Powell’s words could be used by anti-Semites in the future. Now, some Jewish groups fear public backlash after knowing this truth…..

    America’s “Fifth Column”
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/americas-fifth-column/

  163. fyi says:

    kooshy says: August 2, 2011 at 2:15 am

    There is no strategic necessity at the moment that would drive India and Iran closer.

    Iran does not need India to sell her oil; oil is fungible and can be sold anywhere, to anyone.

    Furthermore, Iranian trade and investment pattern in Iran favor China; that cannot be reconciled with views of the Indian strategic community.

    Furthermore, the North-South Corridor, which teh Indians essentially killed, was more beneficial to India (as well as to Russia and Central Asian states) that it was to Iran. There is not much except tranist fees for Iran there.

    Iran did not need India; India needed Iran more.

    Now that Iranians are entrenched in Iraq and Iran has practically become a Mediterranean state, India has become irrelevant to the Iranian strategic interest.

    The imperative is to flip Pakistan: that is Iran-Pakistan-Iraq have to create a core strategic alliance. This is essential for these 3 Muslim states.

  164. kooshy says:

    A very good article on Iran India strategic relations

    Oil payment row and India-Iran ties
    Atul Aneja

    As Indian firms line up behind Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners, their moves are likely to invite Iran’s hostility which could easily spill over into the political realm.

    India’s ties with Iran need urgent attention as an unresolved row over oil payments threatens to drag the relationship, once described as “strategic,” to a new low.

    The problem arose in December 2010 when the Reserve Bank of India, under U.S. pressure, decided to no longer use a clearing mechanism to pay Iran for its crude. Washington and its western allies had exhorted India not to use the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) currency swap system to pay Iran. They argued that this mechanism, established at the initiative of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) and in operation since 1974, was disconcertingly opaque. Consequently, it was difficult to ascertain whether the money flowing into Iran’s coffers was not used to fortify the country’s nuclear programme. Faced with these objections, India, according to the Financial Times, began using the German bank, EIH, for making payments. However, this channel broke down in May 2011, after the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran.

    Iran is India’s core energy partner — its second largest oil supplier. Nearly 12 per cent of India’s total demand, around 4,00,000 barrels a day, feeds India’s refineries and petrochemical complexes. The Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MPCL) is the largest oil importer from Iran. The IOC, BPCL, HPCL and Essar are also major consumers of Iranian crude.

    Because of the difficulties over payments, Indian companies have accumulated a debt of nearly $5 billion. With the payment row festering, Iran decided to halt supplies to Indian firms for August. However, as the deadline for the payments neared, both sides scrambled to achieve a breakthrough. On July 31, Iran’s Oil Ministry website SHANA reported that the payment row had been settled. India would pay part of the debt “promptly” and the rest would be “gradually settled.” The Ministry’s optimism notwithstanding, details of the inner workings of the new mechanism and the prospects of its durability remain far from clear. (Media reports say that India and Iran have finalised the settlement of dues through a Turkish bank arrangement.)

    The possible collapse of Iranian supplies will have far greater ramifications than a mere commercial impediment in a buyer-seller relationship. Iran’s decision not to supply oil, if implemented, will deliver a serious blow to the evolution of a robust geostrategic relationship between New Delhi and Tehran, of which a highly developed energy partnership has to be the core. Aware of the importance of establishing a strong political relationship, India and Iran, with Pakistan as the third party, had begun negotiations on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline. Had the pipeline materialised, it would have not only generated obvious economic benefits but also imparted regional stability, premised on mutually beneficial interdependence.

    Despite the unrealised potential of the IPI or any of its variants, Iranian officials privately concede that the energy relationship between India and Iran should move on. Before threatening to stop supplies, Iran had begun to show fresh interest in seeking Indian investments in its oil and gas sector. Alive to the recent Indian energy forays in neighbouring Central Asia, Iranians were also considering working with India on a possible fuel swap arrangement in the future. Under this mechanism, Iran could export energy to India from its terminals, in return for an equal amount of oil delivered across the border to Iran, which may have been tapped by Indian firms in Central Asia.

    Quite recently, India’s induction into the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member appeared to have led Tehran, to consider afresh, the need for reinforcing its ties with New Delhi. “We realise that India in the future is likely to play an ever-larger global role, and we want to position ourselves well as this process unfolds,” an Iranian academic in Tehran, who did not wish to be named, recently told this correspondent.

    Apart from energy, there are two key elements that define the relationship. One of them is trans-continental transit. Iran’s port of Bandar Abbas is the starting point of the north-south corridor which can ferry goods northwards towards the Caspian, and further into Russia and Europe. But, more critically, India needs Iran to physically access Afghanistan. It can do so from the Iranian port of Chabahar, from where a land corridor extends northwards before entering Afghanistan. For reasons of geography, Iran is central to India’s Afghan policy.

    The importance of Iran to fulfil India’s aspirations in Afghanistan is bound to heighten as NATO, most likely without imparting much stability, begins to pull out of the country, in accordance with a three-year time table. In a likely political vacuum, there will be demands on India, Iran, its Central Asian neighbourhood and possibly Russia to play a proactive role in Afghanistan. That would, however, require a powerful vision and strategic cooperation, including intelligence sharing and political coordination at an unprecedented level, for which serious preparations have to begin right away. In fact, with western forces stepping out, in a manner not very different from the Soviet withdrawal from the country in 1989, India may find it necessary to initiate the evolution of a regional mechanism, where neither Pakistan nor China is left out, so that Afghanistan — a country prone to multiple influences — has a realistic chance to rebuild.

    However, the manner in which the oil payments row is being handled suggests that New Delhi, far from strengthening ties with Tehran from a larger regional perspective, might have, after considerable deliberations and probably in line with the thinking in Washington, decided to scale down its ties with Iran. Alternatively, India-Iran ties, of which Afghanistan is a key component, might have become the victim of governmental drift, reflecting complete liberation from a larger strategic vision that should otherwise inform a vibrant relationship between the two countries.

    It is, therefore, disappointing that India, instead of quickly arriving at a new payment agreement with Iran and defusing a major crisis, has apparently decided to place heavier reliance on Saudi Arabia as an alternative fuel supplier.

    Reuters has quoted K. Murali, HPCL’s head of refineries and international trade, as saying that the company has sought an additional supply of one million barrels in August from Saudi Aramco.

    India’s greater reliance on Saudi Arabia may not be temporary, confined to warding off its current difficulties with Iran. Indian refiners may already be restructuring their procurements by probing alternative suppliers, especially Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, to offset their dependence on Iran. In its annual report, MRPL has noted that given “the enhanced level of sanctions on Iran in future, [and] the non-resolution of the current payment crisis, the availability of Iranian crude may be difficult.”

    As Indian firms appear to line up behind Saudi Arabia and its Arab Gulf partners, their moves are likely to invite Iran’s hostility, which could easily spill over into the political realm. The decision to increase dependence on Saudi Arabia and reduce procurements from Iran is particularly ill-timed because of the rapid escalation recently of a Cold War between the two countries. Since the advent of the Arab Spring — the expression for the rising tide of pro-democracy movements since January that are sweeping across West Asia and North Africa — relations between Riyadh and Tehran have turned nasty. Saudi Arabia’s decision in March to send troops into neighbouring Bahrain to quell, what was described by Riyadh as a pro-Iran Shia uprising, has added a sharp emotive edge to the Saudi-Iran rivalry. Iran’s foes have also accused Tehran of fomenting the rise of the so-called “Shia crescent” in the region — a mythical Iran-led Shia alliance that allegedly is trying to foist a sectarian anti-Sunni agenda in the region.

    By siding with the Arab petro-monarchies to meet its energy requirements, India has, inadvertently or otherwise, forced itself into the throes of the Saudi-Iran Cold War. For many influential Iranians, India’s move would be seen as taking sides — a deliberate decision to join the anti-Iran camp led by the United States and its regional allies, chiefly Saudi Arabia. In highly politicised Iran, which is particularly on edge after the onset of the Arab Spring, this is combustible material, which can rapidly inflame public passions against India and eventually lead to the undermining of New Delhi’s core interests in Afghanistan, compulsorily channelled through Iran.

    Amid the fluidity of the Arab Spring and its accompanying firmament, India needs to navigate skilfully to establish parallel and independent relations with both Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, and Iran, its strategic partner, for the protection of its interests in Afghanistan and, later, in energy-rich Iraq, where Tehran’s influence runs deep. But a balanced and vibrant relationship with the two regional giants will become possible only if India assesses its difficulties with Iran not as an isolated technical issue but as one which can define the contours of its influence in the region.

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2314031.ece

  165. JAnas says:

    NIAC is a pathetic lobby-group, thinking they doing some good while are just one of the parties doing the neocon warmongering bid against their own homeland. But again exiles doesnt represent the people in their former countries, although some of these seems to think they know more about what iranians want then iranians themselves.

  166. kooshy says:

    James

    “The UK has no objection to Iran’s being the master of its own destiny, provided this does not mean intervention in the affairs of other countries. And Iran is welcome to sell its oil for what it can obtain. Isn’t one-third of Iranian oil going to Europe”

    James- since 1942, UK as well as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and Korea are all semi sovereign states except for a brief period in 1956 which was crushed immediately UK never was or is permitted to exercise her own foreign policy. Logically a country who can’t exercise independent foreign policy is not fully sovereign. I understand and sympathies that for a proud British citizen this is a uncherished reality that one may not want to realize, the fact is that the Iranian had this exact same feeling for many years, but then they revolted and became a fully sovereign state.

    So till UK becomes a full sovereign state like Iran at least in term of her foreign policy, it will not matter what the UK want or not, since for time being they have to get permission from the DC before they know what is it they are let to want.

  167. JohnH says:

    Soon we’ll see Al-Qaeda rebranded as a Shi’a terrorist organization. This will conveniently rewrite history and exonerate Sunni Saudia Arabia for its historic support.

    Instead, all Shi’a resistance movements–whether Bahraini, Hezbollah, Saudi, or Yemeni–will be identified as “Al Qaeda,” whether they’re twelver Shi’a or fiver Shi’a.

    The term Al Qaeda lives mostly in the distorted minds of American militarists, intent on making them into the bogeyman that Communism sorely miss and still long for. Anyone the militarists choose to dislike can be labeled “Al Qaeda” and targeted for assassination.

  168. Fiorangela says:

    Kooshy, NIAC is still willing to give Barbara Slavin a forum. Foolish.

    The Repercussions of Delisting the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK)
    The likely impact on the Iranian pro-democracy movement and US national security interest

    Contact

    Nobar Elmi

    202-290-7547

    :nelmi@niacouncil.org

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently deciding whether to take the Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) off of the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. The decision could come as early as August 2011. The MEK has been designated as a FTO ever since the list was established in 1997 due to terrorist attacks that have killed Americans and Iranians alike. Now the MEK is orchestrating a major political campaign, spending millions of dollars on lobbyists, PR agents and communications firms to pressure its way off the terrorist list.

    What are the likely repercussions of a delisting? How will it affect the Iranian pro-democracy movement and U.S. national security? How will it impact U.S.-Iran relations and the risk of military confrontation?

    WHO: Sponsored by the Ploughshares Fund, the expert panelistsinclude:

    · Maziar Bahari – Iranian-Canadian journalist, filmmaker, human rights activist and best- selling author. He was a reporter for Newsweek from 1998 to 2011 and was incarcerated by the Iranian government from June 2009 to October 2009.

    · Brian Katulis: Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, where his work focuses on U.S. national security policy in the Middle East and South Asia.

    · Barbara Slavin – Expert on U.S. foreign policy and the author of a 2007 book on Iran entitled “Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation.” A nonresident senior fellow at The Atlantic Council specializing on Iran, Ms. Slavin is also a contributor to AOLNews.com and Foreignpolicy.com among other media outlets.

    WHAT: This panel will discuss the likely repercussions of delisting the MEK on the Iranian pro-democracy movement, on US-Iran relations and the risk of war, and on US national security.

    WHEN: Thursday, August 4, 2011 from 10 a.m. – 12 noon

    WHERE: 101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001

    RSVP: For more information and to RSVP, email :lsamimi@niacouncil.org

    For more information, visit :www.niacouncil.org or :www.mekterror.com.

  169. Rehmat says:

    One has to remember, more than 70% of Obama administration officials are either Jewish or Israel-Firster Zionist Christians. They have blame Iran for many things. For example, in 2008 – Gen. David Petraeus told the Senate committee that Tehran is behind the killing of hundreds of US soldiers and thousands of civilians in US occupied Iraq.

    During the Bosnia war – Iran was blamed by Washington for arming Muslim forces in Bosnia though the C-in-C was a Christian. We all heard about Tehran arming Taliban, Hizbullah and Hamas – and list of accusations goes on and on.

    All these accusations prove that the US is a paper tiger and Israel a wimp. Sheikh Nasrallah was right when last week he told the 5th anniversary of Israel’s July 2006 defeat – We stopped both the US and Israel attacking the Islamic Republic.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/lebanese-celebrate-july-2006-victory-over-israel/

  170. kooshy says:

    Here is the latest from our own Barbara Slavin filling in for the all time queen of propaganda reporting, the illustrious Judith Miller.

    One should tell her “oh Barbie honey now you’re telling us” Jeeeeez honey, you should have told us your fiction back in 03 when we had some chance to do this.

    The Enemy of Iran’s Enemy

    Al Qaeda’s tangled history with the Islamic Republic.

    BY BARBARA SLAVIN |AUGUST 1, 2011

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/08/01/the_enemy_of_irans_enemy

  171. JAnas says:

    As for this topic. Its just more neocon rhetoric and lies.
    See how zionists tend to use the holocaust-card a former powerful weapon to silence and depict people in a certain way? Well US have the al-qaeda card, 911 was something any americans remember and despise, now by try to connect Iran with the the most horrific attack on american soil, US regime trying to once again mobilize the people to hate Iran. Just like they try to connect Iran with other bad rhetorical words like “axis of evil”, “wmd” etc. its so obvious. US have played such a ugly and nasty game with Iran its sickening. The western world is coming out like an idiot with these lies and subvertive tactics to bring down the iranian state. Wasnt the illegal wars and lies about Iraq enough? I cant imagine what people in the arab world think of us. I am ashamed.

  172. JAnas says:

    “Israel behind Iran academic hit: Spiegel”

    presstv.com/detail/191901.html

    when will the world act on this murderous regime?