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The Race for Iran

Iran Deserves “Respect” for its Efforts to Foster a Political Settlement in Syria

This week, Iran hosted an international conference on the conflict in Syria.  The conference is more important than most Western media coverage conveyed.  The conflict in Syria is not just a civil war; it has become a highly militarized proxy war, involving major regional and international powers (including the United States).  In such a situation, establishing a political process involving not only the full range of relevant internal actors but also all relevant regional and international players is critical to forestalling strategic and humanitarian catastrophe.  Against this backdrop, Hillary appeared on Al Jazeera yesterday to talk about the prospects for resolving Syria’s internal conflict through diplomacy, click on the embedded video above or here.    

Hillary compared the current situation in Syria to previous civil wars in Lebanon and Afghanistan—places where, after the external militarization of local conflicts had fueled years and years of fighting, with “dire” consequences for civilian populations, domestic factions and their external backers finally found their way to a political settlement based on negotiated power sharing.  She argued that the 1989 Ta’if Accord, see here, that ended Lebanon’s civil war after 15 years of bloody violence still stands as a model for this approach to conflict resolution.  (It is noteworthy, in this regard, that one of the main architects of the Ta’if Accord, former Algerian foreign minister Lakdar Brahimi, is reportedly a leading candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria.)

Turning to Iran’s role, Hillary held that, notwithstanding the criticism heaped on the Islamic Republic by the United States and some neighboring countries, Tehran deserves “respect” for its efforts to promote a political settlement in Syria.  The logic behind those efforts was well presented in an op-ed by the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, published in the Washington Post earlier this week in advance of the Tehran conference, see here.

Dr. Salehi points out that “civil war in the Levant is not a thing of the distant past.  With Syria descending into worsening violence, the 15-year Lebanese civil war should provide frightening lessons of what happens when the fabric of a society unravels.”  In this context, he highlights some of (the many) illogical aspects of the Western position toward Syria: 

“Little, if anything, is said about the increasing presence of armed extremists in Syria.  Even while preoccupied with the rising extremism in Afghanistan, thousands of miles away, European leaders seem unconcerned that they may soon have an Afghanistan on their doorstep.” 

American leaders do not seem to us to be much more concerned than their European counterparts about this prospect.  Indeed, U.S. support for the Syrian opposition, coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, is raising the chances for its realization.  During the 1990s, Iran regularly warned other states, including the United States, about the rise of the Saudi-backed Taliban and the dangers posed by Al-Qa’ida’s relocation to Afghanistan under the Taliban’s hospitality.  If Washington and other capitals had taken Iranian assessments seriously, it might have been possible to avert the 9/11 attacks.  Instead, Tehran’s warnings fell largely on deaf ears.  Given the course of subsequent events, Iranian warnings about what could come to pass in Syria should be taken more seriously than most Western governments seem inclined to do, at least at the moment.      

Noting that “abrupt political change without a roadmap for managed political transition will lead only to a precarious situation that would destabilize one of the world’s most sensitive regions,” Salehi also warns that “some world powers and certain states in the region need to stop using Syria as a battleground for settling scores of jostling for influence.  The only way out of the stalemate is to offer Syrians a chance to find a way out themselves.”

To do this, Salehi argues that three things are essential:  first, “ensure an immediate cease-fire to stop the bloodshed”; second, “dispatch humanitarian aid to the Syrian people”; and, third, “prepare the ground for dialogue to solve the crisis.”  In this vein, he endorses Kofi Annan’s outgoing observation that “a political agenda that is neither inclusive nor comprehensive will…fail.”  On a practical level, he conveys Iran’s “willingness to facilitate talks between the Syrian government and the opposition” as well as its “support for political reform in Syria that will allow the Syrian people to decide their destiny.  This includes ensuring that they have the right to participate in the upcoming free and fair presidential election under international supervision.” 

The final statement produced at the Iranian-sponsored conference on Syria, see here, reflects both Salehi’s analysis and his practical approach.  It underscores

“the necessity of pursuing political solutions based on national dialogue as the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis with the main objective of bringing the violence to a total end and encouraging the two sides to prepare the ground for the national dialogue.” 

To these ends, the statement calls on “the conflicting parties to end clashes and violence for three months on the occasion of the arrival of Eid al-Fitr” (which will come on the evening of August 18).  Furthermore, it stresses the “need to uphold the principles of international law regarding non-intervention in domestic affairs of other countries and the respect of their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” 

In contrast to statements from the various Western-dominated “Friends of Syria” meetings, the Tehran statement also urges a cessation of hostilities “by putting an end to any military assistance to armed groups” while “warning of the dangerous impacts of support for armed groups on regional peace and security.”  Furthermore, it recognizes the importance of “establishing a contact group from among the participating countries aiming to end the violence and starting the inclusive dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition.” 

This all sounds great, right?  Who could possibly be opposed to such eminently logical ideas and proposals?  Well, the Obama administration is opposed to them.  The administration has steadfastly resisted any contact group on Syria that would include the Islamic Republic and, as noted, is intensifying its material support for one side in Syria’s civil war.  Of course, Washington professes support for a political process to resolve the conflict—but only one in which Washington’s preferred outcome, President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, is stipulated at the outset.  That is hardly the posture of a major power seriously committed to diplomacy.    

The Islamic Republic could, indeed, play a constructive, not to say indispensable role in standing up a real political process and finding a meaningful political settlement in Syria.  As Dr. Salehi writes, “Iran is part of the solution, not the problem.  As the world has witnessed during the past decade, we have acted as a stabilizing force in Iraq and Afghanistan, two other Muslim countries thrown into turmoil.”  Hillary recounts in her Al Jazeera appearance that she was “personally part of the U.S. negotiations with Iran over Afghanistan,” which were “critically important” in bringing Tehran “into the problem of Afghanistan in a constructive way that allowed us to move forward” and make real progress (at least initially). 

Notwithstanding these historical and contemporary realities, the United States, even under the Obama administration, continues to disparage Iran’s “destabilizing” role in Iraq and Afghanistan—to which it has now added criticism of Iran’s role in Syria.  The hard truth, though, is that Iraq and Afghanistan were “thrown into turmoil” (to use Dr. Salehi’s phrase) not by Iran but by U.S. policies—including invasions and prolonged occupations that managed to combine strategic incompetence with cruelty to civilian populations.  The overwhelming majority of Iraqis and a majority of Afghans see the Iranian role in their countries as vastly more positive than that of the United States. 

Although the George W. Bush administration initially accepted the imperative of working with Iran in Afghanistan after 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and other hardliners were able to undermine that and to thwart any move to cooperate with Tehran on post-conflict stabilization in Iraq.  The consequences were deeply damaging for American policy in both the Afghan and Iraqi theaters.  Of course, the United States eventually had to face the reality of Iranian influence in both places—but only after it had largely blown the possibility of leveraging this influence in ways that could have served American interests. 

Today, Iranian involvement is critical to the search for a political solution in Syria.  But, like the Bush administration before it, the Obama administration does not want such a solution—certainly not if this entails cooperating with Tehran—because that would require it to abandon its real goals in Syria:  getting rid of the Assad government and thereby recasting the Middle East’s balance of power in ways that, in Washington’s fantastical view of these things, would undermine the Islamic Republic’s regional position and perhaps even reignite the Green movement.  (We are not making this up; Obama administration officials have been feeding it to the New York Times’ David Sanger at least since April 2011, see here.) 

Driven by these ambitions, the administration has, as Hillary put it, dealt with Iran “precisely in the opposite way” from how Washington dealt with Tehran in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  Rather than engaging the Iranians constructively, the United States has “tried to isolate them and make them the problem.  This is a fatal flaw in the U.S. strategy, and will lead to…a further decline in U.S. influence in the region and a further uptick in Iran’s influence.”  In the process, a lot more Syrians will die than would otherwise have had to—just as many of the civilian deaths that occurred during the U.S. occupation of Iraq could have been avoided if the United States had cooperated with the Islamic Republic—and the risks to regional stability from the prospective creation of an Afghanistan-like state in the heart of the Levant will continue to grow. 

That doesn’t matter in official Washington, however; as Hillary encapsulates it, “Syria is very much the piece on the chessboard here for the United States.”  Iran is the most important regional actor “willing to push back against what the United States wants to do.  So the United States is trying to contain that resistance, to contain that opposition.  And the Obama administration thought it had a window of opportunity to do so when this revolt happened in Syria in March 2011.”   The window turned out to be illusory and the administration’s effort to exploit it has “failed.”  As a result, “the United States has tried to increasingly militarize this conflict” in “a desperate attempt to contain Iranian influence.” 

Hillary concludes with a broader and very important point about the strategic challenge facing the United States in the Middle East today: 

“In the information age…the issue is not who has the most guns, who can use the most force.  It’s who has the best narrative.  The United States is not going to carry the day here with the narrative of trying to arm the opposition to try to win the story here.  That’s something that the Syrians are going to have to do for themselves, without foreign intervention, and that’s something that Iran is trying to harness, and potentially can harness very effectively to increase its influence in the region.” 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett 

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107 Responses to “Iran Deserves “Respect” for its Efforts to Foster a Political Settlement in Syria”

  1. fyi says:

    Empty says:
    August 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    2 Years ago, in a trip to Turkey, Mr. Larijani supplied proof to Turkish leaders that US was arming PKK.

  2. fyi says:

    Empty says:
    August 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Yes, I expect them to fold them but not in the next few months.

    Right now, the war in Syria seems to be in a critical stage for both sides.

    I think Axis Powers are so committed to this policy that they will persist in it for a few more months after all effective resistance to Syrian Government has stopped.

    Right now, both in US and Europe, there is wall-to-wall commitment to the Siege War Against Iran and the War against Syria.

    There is no chance of a change until and unless they are defeated in battle field.

  3. Castellio says:

    Empty, did you listen/watch the interviews with Sami Ramadani at the The Real News Network? He makes the point that without the armed snipers sent in by SA and Qatar and co-ordinated by the CIA, the popular uprising in Syria would have grown as a popular uprising (which it no longer is). That insight has much to commend it.

    I’m not sure how, if at all, that impacts anything you are saying…

    Syria has played both sides for a long time, pro-Hezbollah one day and willing to do anything for Israel the next. In any case, that particular schizophrenia must surely be at an end.

  4. Empty says:

    Castellio and fyi,

    RE: Do you really expect, given the lack of immediate success, that the tents are going to be folded and everyone’s going home leading to “a cease fire across all fronts”??

    When the uprising in Syria began a year and a half ago, a lot went into portraying the events there as another “awakening” in a series of people’s movement in the region. Initially, it was the war of narratives between the resistance camp and the US Inc. to say it is not so. Nothing short of what has happened in Syria would have made it so clearly and painfully evident to the world and, most importantly, to the Syrians themselves that Iran’s narrative was the correct one. Now, for every day that current Syrian system lasts, it’s perceived as victory for the Syrian system and humiliation and loss for the US Inc. (that includes its “nokar” and “kolfats” in the region).

    Thank God Almighty for Its Wisdom.

  5. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknown,

    With respect to PKK’s escalation, it’s difficult to ascertain what’s behind the scene as the evidence has not emerged yet. I reject the unsubstantiated notions based on invalid and unreliable evidence that Iran is behind it. However, my own theory for which I have absolutely no evidence is that the PKK activities are being supported by the US Inc. in order to create the necessary political space within Turkey (given how the majority of the Turkish population currently rejects Turkey’s role in the anti-Syrian activities and any potential war) to justify Turkish involvement in preparation for the war against Syria under the guise of fighting PKK terrorists. Pointing fingers at Iran, I believe, is meant to avert attention. As with all other events, we shall see. Even if we ignore principled stance that Iran takes, the risks and negative consequences of supporting PKK outweighs any potential short-term benefit it might have. However, for the US Inc. and Turkish leadership, the obvious political benefit of an escalation in PKK activities would be to justify what Turkey is doing and the extent to which it will be involved in the war with Syria. But I have no valid and reliable evidence to support my theory and we just have to wait for the evidence to surface.

    Re; the letter to UN head re; sanctions and 6 million etc., I think that is a politically motivated letter to distort the reality of what is actually going on inside Iran with respect to the sanctions. I won’t go into too much details but I know for a fact that some of the assertions and figures in that letter are lies. As various camps are gearing up toward the presidential election in Iran, it’s sad to see how low some groups can sink. I have no respect for them.

  6. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You seem to be claiming that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are backing the insurgents in Syria because this scheme was arranged by the “Axis Powers”. Do you have any basis for making this claim, apart from wishing to disparage the parties involved?

  7. kooshy says:

    “It is in America’s REAL strategic interest to overthrow the stranglehood Israel has on us – even it means outlawing AIPAC and their current ability to have bought and control our Congress and presidential elections’

    This already once was attempted and it didn’t work

    “Its founder, Isaiah L. “Si” Kenen originally worked for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs [5] and later a lobbying group within the American Zionist Council. The Kennedy Department of Justice ordered the AZC to register as an Israeli foreign agent on November 21, 1963. [10] Kenen formed the AIPAC to avoid Foreign Agents Registration Act public registration requirements. In his book describing the history of AIPAC, Kenen wrote that AIPAC’s Executive Committee decided to change their name from American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs to American Israel Public Affairs Committee “to enlarge constituency and support”.[6]”

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Israel_Public_Affairs_Committee

  8. kooshy says:

    Castellio says:
    August 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks

  9. johnfrum says:

    blutopie1
    11:39 AM PDT
    Can Egypt be leading the way for the US to get rid of the grip and domination the Israel Lobby has on the American Congress, Presidential Election process, and foreign policy?

    Oh I hope so – I really wish it to be…

    This overthrown of the Israeli Lobby in the US/Israel stranglehold on Egypt may be in America’s REAL strategic interests in that may be the beginning of loosening the Israeli Lobby’s stranglehold on America.

    This would be the beginning of the Second American Revolution to overthrow the Israeli Lobby’s grip on American politics, campaigns, and foreign policy

    It is in America’s REAL strategic interest to overthrow the stranglehood Israel has on us – even it means outlawing AIPAC and their current ability to have bought and control our Congress and presidential elections, as well as our foreign policy throughout the Middle East, towards the Palestinians, towards the Iranians, and throughout the rest of the world to include Pakistan, India, China, and Russia

    At least, let’s hope post-Assad Syria can use this fresh Egyptian Model for a nation free of the Israeli Lobby/US same old same old American policy of controlling a dictator of the state.

    Egypt broke free from the Israeli Lobby/Israeli agendas – is America next?

  10. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Does it make a difference who is in the Whie House? Obviously.

  11. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:

    August 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

    This is war and in war people get killed.

    31 years ago the late Mr. Khomeini advised and warned Arabs against supporting Iraq (begged them to come back to Dear Islam); it fell on deaf ears and next came the invasion of Kuwait.

    There is no point in advising Pakistanis, Azeris, Turks, Saudis, Qataris, and assroted others benighted fools who are following the Axis Powers scripts….

    They think that they can avoid the late Mr. Hussein’s fate…

  12. Castellio says:

    Resorted, maybe? Not resided.

  13. Karl.. says:

    James,

    Of course doesnt international law depends on who sits in the white house, what kind of obsolete question is that? Is US, UK the world police James, simply question?

  14. Karl.. says:

    Don Bacon,

    Actually what US, from what I know, said was through a facebook message – saying they could help. It wasnt really convincing. Likewise have Iran rejected the accusation that they have in turn rejected aid from abroad. Obvious cynical approach from western states in general, and obviously some of these states surely want the sanctions to have a real biting boost now and therefore refuse to supply real aid.

  15. kooshy says:

    I had typo on my last comment, it should read

    On this bases Iran has never supported any groups that have resided to terrorism against other Muslims including PKK.

  16. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi: I didn’t expect any better. I was just pointing out the exquisite hypocrisy of their supposed “concern” for the people of Iran. I don’t know about you, but I try to maintain a modicum of skepsis whenever a sociopath shows “concern”, except for Hannibal Lecter, whose concern for Agent Starling was heartfelt :o)

  17. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Are you arguing in effect that even if Mitt Romney gains the White House, Iran can continue to stockpile 20 percent uranium? Simple quesstion.

  18. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    US intelligence agencies believe it is impossible to know at this time what government would emerge in control of Syria, if the current government is overthrown.

  19. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    What do you mean by your expecting “Axis States to fold”?

  20. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:

    August 13, 2012 at 9:17 am

    What did you expect?

    They starved and caused the death of thousands of Iraqi children during their economic Siege War against Iraq from 1991-2004.

    And Mrs. Albright publicly stated that those deaths were “worth it”.

  21. Don Bacon says:

    @Castellio s
    I notice that while Margolis (in the piece you linked to) has some interesting information on weapons, overblown I think as regard anti-air and anti-tank weapons, and I agree with his overall theme of no US involvement, he also faithfully contributes to to the anti-Syria theme with Assad as bad guy opposed only by the Free Syria Army rebels.
    *the Bashar al-Assad regime
    *the Assad clan
    *Syria’s rebels
    *Antiregime groups such as the Free Syrian Army
    *the rebels are receiving
    *training Syrian rebels in Turkey
    Margolis doesn’t mention the increasing influence of jihadis supported by the Gulf States, and the overall terrorism startegy.
    Oh look: Eric S. Margolis is an internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times and others. He is a regular columnist at Huffington Post, LewRockwell.com, The Gulf Times (Qatar). . .’nuf said. It’s “strategic communications” AKA propaganda to further US imperialism using people like Margolis in this case.

  22. fyi says:

    Castellio says:

    August 13, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I was wrong before in case of Syria as you have indicated.

    I was ill-informed.

    Nevertheless, I expect Axis States to fold once the extent of their failure in Syria becomes apparent.

    Perhaps not soon, but it will happen.

  23. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Don says, “The United States, Russia, Turkey and a host of other nations offered their condolences and said they were ready to offer assistance, but Iran did not make any call for international help.”

    Not at all. Iran has written a letter to the Ban Ki “Weasel Proxy” Moon, which will of course land on deaf ears. It is just another case of the arsonist in fire-fighting gear. Here they are doing all they can to kill millions of Iranians, and crying crocodile tears. Well, the idiot dumbed-down American masses might buy the bullshit, but Iranians sure don’t:

    *

    Taking It Out on the Kids: US Sanctions on Iran are Hurting the Young and the Sick
    By Dave Lindorff

    Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright should be a happy camper: Another campaign of sanctions and embargoes by the US is about to start killing children, this time in Iran.

    Albright, as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, when interviewed on CBS’s news magazine program “60 Minutes” back in 2000, was asked by reporter Lesley Stahl about reports that US sanctions on Iraq had led to the deaths of some 500,000 Iraqi children because of shortages of medicine and things like chlorine for treating water supplies. Stahl asked Albright if such a dreadful toll was “worth it.” Albright famously responded, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

    Albright must be happy then that apparently the same kind of heartless logic is at work once more, this time orchestrated by the Obama administration and the current Secretary of State, It Takes a Village author and self-styled child advocate Hillary Clinton.

    According to a letter sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon by the head of Iran’s Charity Foundation for Special Diseases, the current US-led sanctions campaign against Iranian financial institutions and efforts to prevent western banks from doing business with Iran have made it next to impossible for Iranian doctors and hospitals to obtain medicines from abroad for such relatively rare but serious diseases as hemophilia, Multiple sclerosis (MS), various cancers, kidney failure and thalassemia.

    The tightening of international screws on Iranian financial transactions has also made it hard for domestic makers of some of these medicines in Iran to obtain the raw materials needed to manufacture needed medicines locally, according to the letter.

    Fatemeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, the author of the letter, called on the secretary general to act to prevent the sanctions campaign from harming an estimated 6 million Iranians who suffer from these diseases. She said that the sanctions had already “directly affected the lives and well-being of thousands of patients.”…

    For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF inThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online newspaper, please go to: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1277

  24. Castellio says:

    To get a better sense of the west’s commitment to regime change in Syria, please read:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32147.htm

  25. Castellio says:

    FYI writes: So, cease-fire across all fronts in the most likely scenario.

    I don’t understand where you get that. The CIA is openly and currently co-ordinating the foreign mercenaries in Syria, paid for by Qatar and SA, and Turkey is helping. They are openly discussing no fly zones “along the borders”. What can you possibly mean “cease fire across all fronts”?

    I am not one to suggest that the US is all powerful and can do what it wants, far from it. But it is, in these matters, very persistent. You didn’t expect the open warfare in Syria, the attempt to find purchase in Damascus and Aleppo, the taking of the border crosssings, but it has happened.

    Do you really expect, given the lack of immediate success, that the tents are going to be folded and everyone’s going home leading to “a cease fire across all fronts”??

  26. fyi says:

    Photi says:

    August 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    The crucial item is the extent to which Americans are willing to escalate.

    I am doubtful that they want armed conflict – they had their chance this past February-March when Iranians signaled that they will go to war.

    Likewise, I doubt that either Israelis or Turks will initiate armed conflict (I thaink the Israeli PM has no grasp of what war with Shia Iran entails – it will last centuries…).

    But, at the same time, peace is not in the cards.

    US, EU, Saudi Arabia and Turkey put their eggs in Siege War against Iran and teh mnin-World War in Syria for quick victory.

    That has not transpired but they are not willing to pay the price of Peace.

    So, cease-fire across all fronts in the most likely scenario.

    Neither Mr. Obama nor Mr. Romeny will be able to affect this dynamics for the better in the coming years.

    The political context does not exist; US-EU eviscerated that.

  27. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    You might want to consider the fact China warned Iran earlier this year not to block the Strait of Hormuz.

    And that Russia and China have tried to convince Iran to stop enriching to 20.

  28. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Thanks to all who responded to my “concerned” comment, including James, who I hereby respectfully decline to engage, as he is from another century if not another planet. The only thing Europe is “rich” in is debt to their usurious masters, by the way.

    I’ll just butt-in to the Empty-Don Bacon conversation, which has taken a turn, thanks to Empty’s last observations, toward the issue of the principles of Iranian diplomacy (in contradistinction to that of Weasel statecraft). In response, Don seems to be arguing that Empty’s assertions are unfounded and/or idealistic: “Oh come on… Iran supported anti-Us elements in Iraq and also in Afghanistan. These are nations on Iran’s borders and its security is at stake. Why wouldn’t it? Why shouldn’t it?”

    I think that Empty has it right in the sense that there is a qualitative difference between Iran’s approach to diplomacy and that of the “In Your Face From Outer Space” full-spectrum dominance “diplomacy” of the Atlanticist Weasels. The difference is that the former’s is, to use an old-fashioned word, moral.

    When Empty says, “Please consider Iran’s pattern of behavior during the past 30+ years in the region,” what he is getting at (and correct me if I am wrong here, Empty-san) is that the quality or texture, if you will, of Iran’s diplomatic behavior has been fundamentally different since the triumph of the Islamic Revolution. Zoom out: The good folk who took over the reins of the camel of state upon the triumph of the revolution are the spiritual heirs of those partisans of ‘Ali [Shi'at 'Ali] who held with him that the Apostolic project had been kidnapped by a couple of knaves. (We will not give out their names to protect the guilty, but their initials begin with Abu Bakr and Omar.) And that, again contrary to the foolish majoritarian [proto-Sunnite] view at the time [and held still!], the offensive wars fought under the banner of Islam which subdued the Great Powers of Persia and Byzantium (and Rome) and brought their vast territories under the control of the nascent but fractured Islamic “community” were *not* legitimate jihads for the liberation of the people of those lands, but were, in fact, illegitimate wars of conquest that could only bode evil in the long term. For fourteen hundred years they held this view, refusing to grant legitimacy to the de facto temporal authorities, even if they professed to the Shi’a faith, like the Buiyds (who had de facto power under the Abbasids), the Ilkhanids, or even the Safavids who did so much to further the cause of Shi’ism. And so, now that the foqaha have stepped up to the plate as the General Deputies [nayeb-e aam] of the last Imam whose occultation is lasting much longer than was anticipated or desired,in order to lead that camel back into kilter, it is only natural that one should expect things to be run a little differently. To quote the immortal words of Mel Brook’s *Blazing Saddles*, “There’s a new sheriff in town [and he's ridin' a camel]!”

  29. Empty says:

    Don Bacon,

    “Iranian-supported Taliban commanders”….”Taliban opens office in Iran”….”Erdogan sent very strong messages to Iran and “the enemies of Turkey.”

    These read like statements out of a handbook. I remain convinced that you’re capable of critical reading and deep thinking. I refuse to give up on you too quickly. Valid and reliable evidence, please.

    Just as a footnote to an exercise in higher thinking, try to imagine the possibility where the end doesn’t justify the means. As rare as it may be, such things happen, you know.

  30. Don Bacon says:

    @Photi
    Maybe war, but there really are other alternatives. Luckily Iran and Russia are on the scene, able to work on Turkey which is the on-scene war promoter but one with potential vulnerabilities.

    Turkey has recently enjoyed one of the fastest growing economies in the world but (1) that includes a rapidly increasing need for energy, and Turkey imports most of it — from Russia (also Iran), (2) there is the Kurdish problem (18% of population) which has been greatly exacerbated by Turkey’s support of terrorism in Syria and (3) war would spread to Turkey and ruin their growth if not their government (as b suggested could occur).

    Anyhow I am cheered by the fact that the unqualified Clinton is the chief proponent for more and greater war along with the nut cases in Ankara. She’s on her way out anyhow, and it looks like the US has let her get out there to twist slowly in the wind while elsewhere the adults work out the details for a modus vivendi. At least I hope so.

  31. Don Bacon says:

    @Karl
    “Speaking of the earthquake, note that there are no condoleances from western states. Extremely cynical.”
    Reuters:
    The United States, Russia, Turkey and a host of other nations offered their condolences and said they were ready to offer assistance, but Iran did not make any call for international help.
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/12/iran-quake-idINL6E8JC4HT20120812

  32. kooshy says:

    Empty says:
    August 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    More importantly Iran’s support for resistance movements in the region or in the international arena, is been consistent and not based on an opportunistic reaction to subdue or change the behavior of another country toward Iran, a principled constancy is what differs in foreign policies of Turkey and Iran, first principle of Iran’s foreign policy is moral support for legitimate resistance to hegemony by foreign powers in her world. This gives Iran Ezat in her foreign affairs; the second tier is Iran’s material support for resisting groups that have majority popularity in their communities this is the Hekmat of Iran’s foreign affairs, the third tier are the groups that are strategically and overtly aligned with Iran
    in a principled and legitimate struggle to resist outside power’s colonial hegemony in Iran’s region. On this bases Iran has never supported any groups that has resisted to terrorism against other Muslims including PKK.

  33. Photi says:

    fyi,

    “And now, of course, the war can spill out of Syria….”

    i would re-phrase that to say: “And now, of course, the war will spill out of Syria.”

    I used to think the regional/world war would begin with an Iran war. It seems obvious now that Syria is where it will begin instead. This is classic RSH. Hack’s argument states the Israelis first want to weaken Syria to isolate Hezbollah and then take Hezbollah out through the Bekaa valley. When these tasks are accomplished (so goes the strategy of the imperialists/zioists according to R.S. Hack) they will then think themselves to be in a position to take on Iran.

    This plan however rests on variables that are dependent on their linearity in time to succeed. As in, first A, then B, then C. HOwever, if Syria is A, then in my opinion the proper order of these sequences is “First A, then all hell is going to break loose. ”

    How does an attack against Syria not automatically bring Iran into the war? With Iran and Syria in the war, how is Iraq not going to get involved? Will China and Russia sit back and watch America pulverize any resistance to their zio-energy tyranny? I don’t think so so but then again i am no strategist.

    It appears to me these are antebellum times.

  34. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Where do you get the idea the West is “collapsing”? European countries for the most part are very rich.

  35. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Leon Panetta opposes any US or Israeli attack on Iran, as things stand today.

  36. Karl.. says:

    Speaking of the earthquake, note that there are no condoleances from western states. Extremely cynical.

    Also Israel have created a campaign to discredit and persuade Ban-ky Moon not to attend NAM meeting in Iran and he will probably succeed.

    Netanyahu asks UN head Ban Ki-moon to cancel visit to Tehran
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy/netanyahu-asks-un-head-ban-ki-moon-to-cancel-visit-to-tehran-conference.premium-1.457437

    This, during the devastation of the earthquake and hundreds of deaths this man just have to warmonger…

  37. Don Bacon says:

    @Empty
    Supporting terrorists or terrorist activities is not considered diplomacy by Iran.

    Oh come on. Iran will promote its national interest on a par with any other great nation, particularly against a nation which has in effect declared war against it with warships off the coast, crippling sanctions and assassinations.

    Iran supported anti-Us elements in Iraq and also in Afghanistan. These are nations on Iran’s borders and its security is at stake. Why wouldn’t it? Why shouldn’t it?

    In Afghanistan:

    ISAF has targeted Iranian-supported Taliban commanders in at least 14 raids in western Afghanistan between June 2009 and February 2011, according to Coalition press releases compiled by The Long War Journal. (Note: ISAF inexplicably stopped reporting on raids against Iranian-supported Taliban commanders in early February 2011; LWJ’s queries to ISAF on this subject have gone unanswered). ISAF officials have directly linked Qods Force to several of the Taliban commanders.

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/03/us_adds_qods_force_g.php

    Taliban opens office in Iran
    Iran has increased its support for the Taliban by allowing the militants to open an office in the country while considering the supply of surface-to-air missiles, according to Afghan and Western officials. . .Nato commanders say Iran has long provided small arms and training to the Taliban. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, last year complained to Tehran after British SAS soldiers seized a convoy carrying Iranian-manufactured 122mm rockets destined for the Taliban.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9444402/Taliban-opens-office-in-Iran.html
    In Turkey

    Aug 9: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has unleashed all kinds of condemnations of Syria and Iran. He questioned whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was really a Muslim, which will likely provoke Alawites inside Turkey and abroad. Erdogan also accused Iran of disloyalty, vowing to fight “the enemies of Turkey” until the end.

    Following an iftar (Ramadan feast) held the day before yesterday [August 7], Erdogan sent very strong messages to Iran and “the enemies of Turkey.” He said that “the terrorist organization [The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)] is currently in the midst of a battle orchestrated by the enemies of Turkey. However, we will fight the battle against anti-Turkish circles with the highest severity and determination. We will not take a single step back.” Erdogan added that Turkey’s “enemies want to change our priorities.”

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2012/08/firery-erdogan-slams-assad-iran.html

  38. Fiorangela says:

    Earthquake in Tabriz; 180-250 deaths reported http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19226500

    NIAC requeste US Department of Treasury to relieve sanctions burdens to allow for humanitarian assistance to Iranian earthquake victims http://www.niacouncil.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8433&security=1&news_iv_ctrl=-1

  39. Don Bacon says:

    Also we should notice that it’s State, not Defense, that is pushing the war preparations. The War Goddess herself. That indicates that (1) Defense doesn’t support it and/or (2) the patina of R2P must be foremost and/or (3) Panetta is such a loose canyon lightweight that they want to keep him away from it.

  40. Empty says:

    Don Bacon,

    Of course Iran’s actions in the ME with the PKK or with anyone are an expedient means to advance Iran’s welfare and its political positions. That’s what all countries should do; that’s what diplomacy is intended to do. And Iran does diplomacy very well because it has always had to….“Sure they’re SOB’s, but they’re our SOB’s.” And for Turkey, “Payback’s a b****.” You support terrorists in my ally’s country — here’s a taste of it for you.

    I am not too sure how to judge your reiterations here. Are you being deliberate or just careless? Perhaps you do not know the real meaning of what you’re stating or perhaps you know exactly what you’re saying and are packaging a dangerous assertion into a friendly and seemingly benign compliment. I cannot tell. What I can repeat is that Iran does not and will not support PKK and its terrorist activities. If you have valid and reliable evidence, please provide it and let us further examine it.

    Supporting terrorists or terrorist activities is not considered diplomacy by Iran. Please consider Iran’s pattern of behavior during the past 30+ years in the region:

    1. Iran openly supported the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan through its ups and downs. Northern Alliance was a legitimate fighting entity.

    2. Iran has openly and proudly supported Hizbollah as a legitimate political and resistance entity in Lebanon throughout its struggle regardless of what labels any other countries try to stick to Hizbollah.

    3. Iran has openly and proudly supported Hamas as a legitimate political and resistance entity in Palestine.

    4. Iran openly supported and housed the Iraqi Islamic Revolution group till the fall of Saddam and the formation of the new government in Iraq.

    5. As a matter of principle, Iran has historically picked solid indigenous resistance groups with clear goals and unambiguously anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist stance and has never abandoned them. PKK and its sister organizations have never qualified because they have always always been financially fed from without.

    That is the correct diplomacy. Not unprincipled underhandedness that is being passed as diplomacy by a handful of corrupt and immoral entities calling themselves “world leaders”.

  41. Don Bacon says:

    @Unknown Unknowns
    Clinton’s “concern” about the possibility of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles “falling” into the “wrong” hands may not be absurd if the terrorists (or their “friends of Syria”) decide to use captured (or introduced) chemical weapons for a false flag chemical attack which would furnish a reason for a US/Turk military response.

    Istanbul declaration: “Clinton and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said their two nations would set up a working group to respond to the crisis in Syria as conditions there deteriorate. They said the group will coordinate military, intelligence and political responses to the potential fallout in the case of a chemical attack, which would result in medical emergencies and a likely rise in the number of refugees fleeing Syria.”

    Are the two nations telegraphing their play? Are they at this moment concocting a chemical attack as a trigger for military involvement? They have neatly tied together chemical weapons and refugees. Okay, it’s a sign of desperation, but wars have been initiated on less.

  42. BiBiJon says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    August 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

    My answer may not floor anyone, but for the longest time I rhink the US ship of state has been rudderless, which makes things like a strategic vision, or even routine post-mayhem planning an unnecessary luxury. There’s a general direction, full-spectrum dominance, which is so vague and nebulous that does not lend itself to necessary adjustments in face of success nor failure, and it is so broad as to make even calamities such as Iraq a mere footnote. Why? Because the west is collapsing and no one wrote a befitting requiem.

    But, here is an interesting take:

    ,http://blogs(.)rediff(.)com/mkbhadrakumar/2012/08/12/irans-overture-to-the-west-on-syria/

  43. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    I agree with you Don Bacon is mistaken if he thinks Iran supports an independent Kurdistan, provided it is carved out of Iraq or Turkey, or both. Iran obviously supports the central government of Iraq.

  44. James Canning says:

    Concerned,

    I posted the first comment on this thread. It reads: “I entirely agree Iran deserves credit ande ‘respect’ for trying to help resolve the problem in Syria.”

    How does this “muddy the water”?

  45. James Canning says:

    Concerned,

    You appear to claim I advocate nuclear weapons for Persian Gulf monarchies?! Preposterous!

    I support a Middle East free of nukes. As in, no nukes for Israel. Or any other country in the Middle East. This is also Iran’s policy, in case you haven’t noticed.

  46. James Canning says:

    Donkey,

    Are you claiming Saudi Arabia and Qatar had no reason to seek regime change in Syria, as a partial response to hostile noises emanating from Iran?

  47. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Surely it is better that Syria’s chemical weapons remain under the control of the central government.

    Are you arguing that Saudi Arabia and Qatar had no motive to provide support to forces wishing to overthrow the government of Syria? Orr that KSA and Qatar did have a motive, but that this motive had nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear programme?

  48. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:

    August 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Americans have very long experience in using socio-paths in destablizing other states.

    They did that – together with the White Government of South Africa – during 1980s in Mozambique.

    Likewise in Cambodia after she was invaded and occupied by Viet Nam in 1980s.

    Mr. Wayne White has publicly stated as much also in connection with Afghanistan in 1980s.

    So, for US planners and leaders, this is well-known tool that they are using in Syria.

    I think, however, they have run into trouble in Syria because the experiences of ethnic massacres of Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon have become widely shared among the ethnic minorities of Syria.

    And now, of course, the war can spill out of Syria….

  49. Castellio says:

    Empty writes: Promoting ethnic division in the region is not (and will not be) one of them.

    I agree. That is the expressed policy of Israel-US, Britain and France, and will not be followed by Iran. In fact, not falling into that ethnic trap is the greatest challenge, and current strength, of Iran.

  50. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    August 12, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Iran is too weak economically to supply needed financial assistance to Turkey now that US-EU Financial Economy has imploded.

    The Axis Powers are using that leverage against Turkey – as well as the desire of her General Staff to remain part of NATO and thus “Relevant”.

    I think it is very necessary indeed for Iranian state to lower its profile in the Iranian economy and fund and invest in the private sector.

    In the longer term, when the current crop of potentates and assorted kingdoms in Southern Persian Gulf have been replaced by more popular governments – then, perhaps, they will invest more of their petro-dollars in Iran, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan than in US or EU.

  51. Empty says:

    Castellio,

    Yes. Iran does have quite a few very legitimate and effective means to cause Turkish leadership to re-think its conduct. And, when appropriate, she will make use of them. Promoting ethnic division in the region is not (and will not be) one of them.

  52. BiBiJon says:

    You’re either roasted with us, or you’re a roasted Kolfat with nary a thanks given
    ======================================================================

    Success is a fatal disease
    ————————–

    In the mid east you don’t get to berate Shimon Perez in Davos, and send a peace Flotilla to Gaza and also have the temerity to make something of a relative success in your domestic/economic policies without the long knives coming out.

    If you do, then they will tempt you to strut around the region like a puffed up peacock which is bound to sober up the beefeater addicted Brits. Then the Brits get to work to engineer your ouster by prodding the Americans who’ll invariably come and finish you off with a coup; Or Israel will bomb you.

    Watch out Erdogan. The middle way you’re looking for does not exist. Siding with Iran, or against her is really a choice between sauces; you’ll be roasted either way.

    Personally, if I were that near my unavoidable end as Erdogan is, just for the heck of it I’d do the right thing: I’d stop poring gas on the fire next door which will engulf the wood stove beneath me even sooner.

  53. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Huh. Looks like nothing is happening on the Obama front, but that Morsi has grown a pair. Tantawi deposed as Defence Minister and his Chief of Staff retired. Interesting.

  54. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Billary latest farce is the whole issue of the “concern” about the possibility of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles “falling” into the “wrong” hands. This statement is absurd on so many levels, not the least of which is the premise that they are therefore NOT in the wrong hands currently. Another reason for the absurdity is that the answer of course is that well, stop causing chaos and funding sociopaths and supporting the wholesale massacre of civilians by extremist scum that you keep in your back pocket precisely for these purposes, and voila, your “concerns” are allayed.

    The reason I mention this is not to solicit an equally absurd one-liner from James, such as “Iran’s cranking up production and their stockpiling of 20% uranium is the First Cause [the Unmoved Mover] of Hillary’s crank-induced hallucinations.” Rather, it seems to me that this level of absurdity is *unprecedented* in human diplomatic and political history. The fall of the Soviet empire, the zionist/neo-con/ 9/11 hi-jacking, and now the Obama Administration out-freakage as spear-headed by Billary.

    Does the floor agree? If so, what is the significance of this novelty? What does it portend?

  55. Don Bacon says:

    @Castiello
    Of course Iran’s actions in the ME with the PKK or with anyone are an expedient means to advance Iran’s welfare and its political positions. That’s what all countries should do; that’s what diplomacy is intended to do. And Iran does diplomacy very well because it has always had to.

    “Sure they’re SOB’s, but they’re our SOB’s.” And for Turkey, “Payback’s a b****.” You support terrorists in my ally’s country — here’s a taste of it for you.

  56. Don Bacon says:

    Regarding PKK, one major indicator of its change in image and function is its fortunes in Washington. The major ongoing effort by important people to kiss up to PKK and to get PKK de-listed from the State terror list has been replaced by bills in the House and Senate criticizing PKK. That’s a victory for Iran.

  57. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    James the Canning

    “A key issue is whether Iran helped to bring about the civil war, by trebling production of 20% U, making noises about a Shia revolt in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, etc etc.”

    ??? !!! What the **** did I just read !!! ???

    Oh yes Mr Canning, the site is being impaired, but it isn’t due to the “slow clearing of the comments”.

  58. A concerned world citizen says:

    The character, James Canning, is not here to contribute but to subvert and muddy the discussions. One only has to wonder what his real agenda is with his 20% meme.

    He somehow manages to squeeze his “dead and buried” 20% BS into every discussion – even if it’s not related in any way, shape or form.

    With his antics here, one only wonders who’s paying him to keep bombarding this forum with the same successive one-liners.

    To top it up, he seems to think the feudal and undemocratic monarchies in the Persian Gulf region are justified to also acquire nukes because? Well, because Iran’s got it or will have the capability to have it.

    If these feudal and undemocratic monarchies in the PG have managed to live comfortably with over 200 undeclared Israeli nukes, I’m sure they can certainly cope with a non-existent Iranian one.

    James, the British empire died long time ago..Get use to it..We’re in the 21st century now.

  59. Castellio says:

    Don, Empty… my reading is a bit different. Iran is willing to cause problems for Turkey if Turkey is willing to cause problems for Iran (and Syria). But this doesn’t mean Iran sides with the ambitions of the PKK.

  60. fyi says:

    Don Bacon says:

    August 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Turkey has been warned by Iran on Syria; it is their choice how far they go down this path.

    Iranians will help Syrians destroy the armed formations in that country; it can never be as bad as Lebanon or Iraq for Iranians to come on top – the most likely scenario.

    Turkey cannot check Iranian power; there are too many things that she lacks. The most galring one belief in herself and her institutions.

    Iran will not and does not help PKK.

    Iran and the Ulema in Iraq will not approve the separation of Irqai Kurdistan from Iraq – it will not happen.

    The only thing Turkey can do to harm Iran is to cutoff commercial ties with Iran.

    That will harm her even more than it does Iran; let us see if US and EU can make her losses whole (or Saudi Arabia).

    The Turkish leaders are pathetic fools….

  61. Empty says:

    “it’s” rather….

  62. Empty says:

    Kooshy,

    Some Turkish officials made erroneous claims and could not substantiate them. When put on the spot, they backtracked. However, their claims were HEADLINED and their backtracks were inveryfineandimperceptible prints.

  63. Empty says:

    Don Bacon,

    1. The operative words in my request to you were “valid and reliable evidence”. None of the links and statements you provided are accompanied by any measure of validity and reliability. It only repeats the statements by political individuals who were not able to substantiate their assertions and an agenda-driven opinion piece published from a media outlet that is known for its extreme bias. Today’s Zaman to Turkey is what Fox News is to the US.

    2. Again, Iran will NOT lend support in any way, shape, or form to divisions in the region based on ethnicity. Even for a short-term gain….even as a tactical move….Full Stop. I’d be very interested to see valid and reliable evidence (please go beyond opinion pieces and cheap political utterances made by figures who are pursuing a specific self-serving agenda).

    3. Turkey will suffer the consequences of performing her duties as a “kolfat” (as fyi so nicely coined a while back) to the US, Inc. for many years to come with respect to Kurds and other issues. However, it will not be because there is any alleged “hidden hand shakes” between Iran and any Kurdish groups.

    4. A thief stole an item from a store. As people gathered and he feared being caught, he, too, started running with the crowd and pointing at an innocent man who happened to be around and began yelling louder than anyone else: “catch that thief!” Turkey is well-advised to correct its path before it’s too late and its captured and roasted for the next thanksgiving.

  64. Don Bacon says:

    @Empty
    Iran, as a master of diplomacy, is also involved with the Kurds in Iraq in a much more complicated situation. While Turkey sides with Barzani in his feud with Maliki, Iran is standing by Maliki (which has caused Erdogan to verbally attack Iran). Iran is also involved with Talabani, who is on Maliki’s side against Barzani.

    On the other hand, Iran also wants ties with Iraq’s Kurdistan as a link to the new Kurd region in Syria especially should Assad fall. Iran wants influence in this area. So Iran has been involved in these intricacies also, looking at a strategic partnership with the Kurds who are in ascendancy and also are anti-Turkey, which is now an enemy of Iran.

  65. Don Bacon says:

    @Empty
    Syria is a vital ally of Iran; Iran has said it will do anything to support Syria in its hour of need because of aggression support from Turkey. And ‘anything’ includes
    allying with the PKK to undermine Turkey’s efforts in Syria.

    When the Syria rebellion began the PKK helped Syria maintain order in the north. In payment, and because Syria needed assistance against Turkey which threatening invasion, Syria struck a deal with PKK to allow them control of Kurdish region in north Syria which is fine with Turkey.

    FM Davutoglu: “I told them, the leader of the SNC chairs the council as a Syrian Kurd. And you [KNC] are sitting here as Syrian Kurds. Sit down and come to terms. What we oppose is the threat of terrorism and the possibility of one of you claiming possession of somewhere. Elections should be held in Syria; a parliament should be formed that includes Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs. You can come together and say we will grant autonomy [to the Kurds]. This is up to you. We would not oppose that,” Davutoglu said.
    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-289023-davutoglu-says-turkey-not-against-kurdish-autonomy-in-post-assad-syria.html

    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç slammed Iran on Thursday, saying that the Turkish government is disturbed by Iran’s stance against Turkey. The Turkish minister implied that a recent surge in terror attacks in Turkey’s Southeast has the backing of Iran. “We have received information that Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] terrorists infiltrated from the Iranian side of the border and that they were stationed in the Sehidan camp [in Iran] and crossed into Turkey from the region of Harkuk in northern Iraq,” he said.
    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-289166-.html

    Arinç also said he stood behind the reporting by the semi-official Anatolia news agency last year regarding the alleged capture and release of the number two man of the PKK terrorist organization by Iranian forces, signaling that Iran and the PKK may have had an agreement. “Then Iran had been fighting with the PKK’s Iranian offshoot, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan [PJAK]. That fighting stopped,” he explained, adding that reports and denials coming out of Tehran helped Turkey to figure out what Iran was really after. Turkish dailies reported in October last year that Iranian security forces had captured PKK leader Murat Karayilan in August 2011, but later released him after negotiations with the terrorist organization.
    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-289166-turkey-says-it-will-do-whatever-is-required-against-iran.html

  66. Jay says:

    fyi says:
    August 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    FYI, I think you are taking a wise course of action.

    James, either inadvertently, or with intent, conflates correlation with causation to sew confusion.

    The unstated premise of his comments is that actions by the west are caused by (in response to) actions by Iran. He justifies this because these actions appear to be correlated in time.

    This is a faulty premise! As many, including myself, have stated before actions by the west are preordained. Any temporal correlation is either accidental or created by the west to give the appearance of causation.

    For example James, the west may say that we will impose the so and so sanctions because you (Iran) did so and so with your nuclear this and that. James, a skeptic may say Hogwash friend! You would have found such and such to sanction me if I had not done so and so!

  67. kooshy says:

    Empty says:
    August 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Very true, I agree, that would be a very foolish thing to do considering the mosaic of Iran’s demography, recently Turkey’s FM has made similar claims but that is to justify his own regional foreign policy disasters. But one could expect the outcome since turkey is not a sovereign state with regard to adopting a foreign policy that Turkey’s interests are the first priority.

  68. Castellio says:

    Dr. Pollack’s article is an argument for the US to enter the Syrian situation more forcefully now, as it “might” escalate into a wider war if left alone.

    Simply, this is feel good nonsense for those people who know that the intervention is wrong, but want to believe it is the best of two bad choices.

    As Pollack writes; “At the very least, Washington should place a premium on keeping the Syrian civil war from dragging on indefinitely. Stepping up our efforts to arm, train, and unify the Syrian opposition factions that matter most — those fighting the regime within Syria rather than those squabbling outside it — would be a good place to start.”

  69. Empty says:

    Don Bacon says,

    Also Turkey has a problem with Iran’s new support for the PKK. Apparently the two (Iran and PKK) have come to a new agreement: No PKK activity against Iran in return for supporting the PKK against Turkey, for a greater Kurdistan. Now THAT is diplomacy — a stranger to the US.

    You’re severely mistaken in your assessment of what’s going on with respect to Iran and PKK. Please provide valid and reliable evidence that: 1) Iran and PKK have an agreement (that you’re stating); 2) Iran is supporting PKK against Turkey; and 3) Iran is part of any dialogue whatsoever for a greater Kurdistan. I’d be very interested to see any evidence even remotely reliable supporting the three assertions.

    Iran will not come to a new agreement with any group based on false promises and that which undermines (in the near or far future) her principled stance. Iran has always advocated and materially and morally supported resolving Kurdish issues through pluralistic approaches within each population’s respective nations. She will never support divisions based on ethnicity (whoever they may be) for a short-term gain and at the expense of her long-term goals.

  70. Empty says:

    James Canning says, I will say once again, that the site is impaired due to slow clearing of the comments.

    Dude, of the 10 latest posts (those that I see when typing this comment), 8 are yours (80%) and 20% of space is left for everyone else. You’re practically suffering from a verbal diarrhea and still complaining.

  71. fyi says:

    Karl.. says: August 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Let us watch and see.

    I am convinced that Admiral Shamkhani’s statement was not bluster.

  72. fyi says:

    James Canning says: August 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    You have posed the following question:

    “…whether Iran helped to bring about the civil war, by trebling production of 20% U,…”

    I declare that I respectfully decline to further engage you in any responses; you are either a fool or a knave – or perhaps both.

  73. Nasser says:

    fyi ,

    You wrote: “Mr. Khamenei has not yet issued a Jihad Fatwa against Israel, against Wahabis, against this or that enemy of Iran and her allies.”

    - Do you honestly believe a fatwa against Israel would have any practical consequence?! And how would a fatwa against Wahabis work exactly? It is more likely that much of the Muslim world would brand us Shias as heretics before they turn on Wahabis.

    “It is likely that Germany would have left a bit more of the British Empire for the English than US after the liquidation of the British Empire in 1946.”

    - HHHHAAAAHHHAAAAHAAAAAAA
    Don’t tell them that though, they’ll never admit it. Pat Buchanan states Hitler was in fact very much an admirer of the British empire.

  74. Nasser says:

    Karl,

    You like most vastly overestimate the capacity of the Israeli Air Force. As for Iran harming Israel, Iran needn’t just rely on its ballistic missiles to hit Dimona. Iran also possesses very accurate long range cruise missiles. The head of Israel’s missile defense program, Uzi Rubin said as much. I suggest you read a few of his interviews on this matter.

    All that said, Iran and Israel aren’t serious military threats to each other absent nuclear weapons.

  75. James Canning says:

    I will say once again, that the site is impaired due to slow clearing of the comments.

  76. Karl.. says:

    fyi,

    Thrashed? With what firepower?
    Any war will put Iran in disadvantage compared to US, Israel.

    Although I agree with you on them attempting to get Obama use american force (Iraq rerun?) instead of their own forces, american weapon for wars.

    Or take this statement from this woman.
    http://presstv.com/detail/2012/08/11/255657/reports-on-iran-concerning-yechimovich/

    Apparently Iran is a threat to all of us according to Israel, so therefore Israel should let other states “world community” take care of Iran, this is the problem because no one thinks Iran is a threat to the world its ludacris. Is this hyping of threat deliberate or are they unaware how irrational theyve come to argue? And whats is really worse?

  77. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Interesting piece by Ken Pollack that you linked, re: dangers of wider war in Middle East of civil war in Syria continues.

    A key issue is whether Iran helped to bring about the civil war, by trebling production of 20% U, making noises about a Shia revolt in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, etc etc.

  78. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Iran is waiting for a serious response from the P5+1 to Iran’s most recent proposals. It would seem the close US presidential race is making it more difficult for Lady Ashton to give a serious response to Iran.

  79. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The US would virtually be guaranteed to be dragged into any war between Israel and Iran.

  80. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Eisenhower in 1956-57 forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai. Jimmy Carter did it again in 1979. Which was a reason for Carter’s loss of the 1980 election. Israel lobby punished him.

  81. James Canning says:

    Concerned,

    Turkey will not allow an independent Kurdistan, in Iraq (or in SE Turkey).

  82. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Once again you claim Iran enjoys “hegemony” in the Middle East! This is a propaganda line put out by haters of Iran. And you buy it?!

    Iran now earns less from selling oil, than Iraq. Iran loses more than $3 billion per month, due to lost opportunity to produce and sell oil, dur to the sanctions. This is “hegemony” on the part of Iran?

  83. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think you are quite wrong to believe Obama in early 2011 decided he wanted to overthrow the government of Syria. Some of the Iran-haters in Washington saw the unrest as posing an opportunity, perhaps, to injure Iran.

  84. Don Bacon says:

    Apparently the “D” word — diplomacy — never passed the lips of the US “chief diplomat” in Istanbul. War Goddess Clinton sees State as a mini-Pentagon and she acts on it.

    “Clinton and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said their two nations would set up a working group to respond to the crisis in Syria as conditions there deteriorate. They said the group will coordinate military, intelligence and political responses to the potential fallout in the case of a chemical attack, which would result in medical emergencies and a likely rise in the number of refugees fleeing Syria.”
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syria-must-not-become-a-haven-for-pkk-clinton-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=27582&NewsCatID=338
    So Clinton is pushing the “chemical threat” again. That’s the best she can come up with. Meanwhile there’s no diplomatic effort because the US wants to overthrow the Syria government, to weaken Iran, with Turkey firmly acting as a partner.

    Actually, Turkey has burned its Muslim bridges in the region, calling for the overthrow of the Iraq government and then slamming Iran for supporting Iraq. Also Turkey has a problem with Iran’s new support for the PKK. Apparently the two (Iran and PKK) have come to a new agreement: No PKK activity against Iran in return for supporting the PKK against Turkey, for a greater Kurdistan. Now THAT is diplomacy — a stranger to the US.

  85. fyi says:

    All:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/10/the_syrian_spillover?page=full

    I think this article from Dr. Pollack, a cheerleader for US invasion of Iraq in 2003, conveys a sense of loss of strategic focus; what is the point of all of this in Syria if the potential consequences are so bad?

  86. fyi says:

    Don Bacon says:

    August 11, 2012 at 9:50 am

    The root cause of this immediate situation in Syria goes back to the plans of US-EU leaders in early 2011; that is when the war in Syria was cooked up.

    The Axis Powers will puruse this course of action to its end.

    They are now too committed and have no other alternative.

    War among Syria and Iran on one side and Turkey on the other cannot be ruled out any longer.

  87. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    August 11, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Many years ago, Admiral Shamkhani stated: “If Israel attacks Iran she would say goodbye to Dimona.”

    I believe Israelis will be thrashed in their war against Iran; that is why they are trying to get US to attack Iran.

  88. Karl.. says:

    As for the video, great to see that Hillary get the word out there while Aljazeera dont accept too much criticism of their interests.

    Unfortunately when western powers are involved, peaceful settlement is not on the map, it is through massive military means.

  89. Karl.. says:

    Israel have ante up its warmongering the latest week with various statements, reports etc and it seems like an attack is imment. Interestingly european nor america havent been putting their propaganda in full force, no statements like “Iran havent responded to peaceful means so now we must take other measures if not Iran respond until the [date] of [month]” etc.

    Either there will be an suprise attack by Israel and then backed up by the US. Because if NATO/EU and US would be part of a large scale war we would hear the war drums escalating and atleast I dont see that. I guess US, EU/NATO awaits the syrian conflict and will take action on Iran based on this. I guess its all about Obama’s second term, I guess 2013 will be focused alot on Iran.

  90. Don Bacon says:

    Clinton is now in Turkey. BBC:
    She said after talks in Istanbul that she had discussed with Turkey’s foreign minister how best to support opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.[no diplomatic solution, but government overthrow]

    The US, she said, was also increasing aid for Syrian refugees. [something the US never did for the million Iraqis forced into Syria] (end BBC)

    As we agree, the principal cause of the involvement of the US and its allies in the Iran affair is the issue of hegemony. Iran has it and the US wants it.

    A principal US ally is the UNSC with its Secretary General and IAEA. These organs are mostly under US control, in fact. All of these are promoting the US agenda against Iran and its ally Syria.

    Currently an important part of the US agenda directed against Iran is to change the Syria government (as in past attempts to change the Iran government). The UN Secretary General has faithfully promoted this position.

    Considering these factors there is little (or no) hope for a diplomatic settlement in Syria involving the UN and/or Iran. Which is why Iran is increasingly supporting Syria and even (reportedly) supporting the PKK in attacks against Turkey, with relations between the two regional powers (India/Turkey) getting worse by the day.

  91. A concerned world citizen says:

    The conflict in Syria is going to ignite a massive war that will spread from the Hindu Kush straight up to the Mediterranean coast..It will end with the birth of a new breakaway state from Turkey called Kurdistan.They’ve been waiting for decades and they sense an opportunity now.

    The map of the region is in the process of being redrawn with profound impact on civilization. Iran will eventually share direct border with Syria and Iraq will take more than half of What is today called Jordan..

    With the madness of Madam Clinton, this reality will be achieved if someone in Washington doesn’t put a leash on her.

  92. Fiorangela says:

    fyi says: August 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    the author of that bit of warmongering, calculated to cost the lives of thousands and destroy Syria’s ancient culture– one of the first places where Indo-European civilization emerged, is unmasked: he is a venture capitalist/investment consultant for Bechtel Corp.

    ===

    A History of Bombing, by Sven Lindquist -”genocide — part of the “master story” of Western civilizations.”

  93. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fior-san says, ” Obama has got to take the Eisenhower gamble — In 1956 Ike told Israel Hands Off Suez, and Israel stood down. Obama needs to grow that spine.”

    The decadence is to beyond that, dear Fior. In the 50′s, men of honor (though completely misguided and lost) were elected to the presidency. Today, only whores are. The only cajones they are likely to grow, … well, I will spare you the graphic metaphors.

    *

    Press TV has reported that Morsi has accepted Achmanimebob’s invitation to the NAM conference in Tehran scheduled in a week or so. I imagine the reason the invitation was handed to Morsi personally by the deputy Foreign Secretary is Iran’s desire to re-estabish diplomatic relations with Egypt. I also imagine that Khaled Estamboli Street will no longer be a stumbling block to that objective. Hence *Islamic* Awakening.

  94. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela: that time is long gone, the moment long passed. Obama will use his sweet words to misinform the American public of its next and inevitable descent into further religious war.

  95. Castellio says:

    The last paragraph from the article to which FYI points at 10.24.

    “Furthermore, irregular warfare is the future for which the U.S. and its allies must prepare. When Senators McCain, Graham, and Lieberman — the most hawkish elected officials in Washington — rule out the use of conventional ground troops, policymakers should conclude that they have a depleted toolbox for addressing future security challenges. With the experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan still fresh, policymakers will be highly reluctant to employ conventional ground forces in future contingencies. Among the few remaining tools will be intelligence and special operations officers pursuing irregular warfare techniques alongside allies. Supporting the Sunni allies in Syria will sharpen irregular warfare skills, improve operational relationships, and prepare the United States and its allies for future contingencies. And it may even end the war and save some lives.”

    Yes, this is moral degeneration on steriods.

    In effect, in one short paragraph he manages to communicate, or suggest, the following: the US has a depleted military “tool box” and hence needs more (of everything); that the so-called Hawks are hardly Hawks because they don’t have the tools they need to be true hawks; that war is a contingency, and not a political choice; that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were experiences and not bloody, useless failures; that the US should further its specialization in black ops and wars of disinformation; and that ending war and saving lives are the result of war-like and destructive policies.

    He also manages to suggest that the majority of Sunnis in Syria are American allies, which is not the case. And the relationship between foreign wars fought on such absurd basis and the collapse of civil society at home is not of interest.

    And this passes for informed intellectual discourse in the US.

  96. Fiorangela says:

    Valiant effort, Mrs. Leverett, thanks.
    No tyrant ever relinquished power willingly. We have got to recognize that US and Israel are tyrant states. Panetta & others spent last week trying to appease Israel, and the response today was, “We will bomb Iran before the election.” Israel needs an ultimatum from the US. Nothing less. Obama has got to take the Eisenhower gamble — In 1956 Ike told Israel Hands Off Suez, and Israel stood down. Obama needs to grow that spine.

  97. Karl.. says:

    Israel talking about starting a world affecting war, but hey according to news outlets its just like a walk in the park. The article is so casually framed its disgusting.

    Israel media talk of imminent Iran war push
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/10/us-israel-iran-nuclear-idUSBRE8790IF20120810

  98. kooshy says:

    What possibly one could expect, a reshuffle of cards and start fresh again or, is it this is not they were told what to expected to be?

    Syrian rebels low on guns as regime strikes Aleppo
    By BEN HUBBARD, Associated Press – 1 hour ago

    “The warplanes and helicopters are killing us. They’re up there in the sky 15 hours a day,” said Mohammad al-Hassan, an activist in Aleppo’s Salaheddine district, the main rebel stronghold in the city.

    “It’s warplanes against Kalashnikovs, tanks fighting against rifles,” he said. “I don’t know how long this situation can be sustained.” http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i_5zUvgfLHWLAmRYnqGJUX6skvuA?docId=0ec93f90b5f94d7cad9bbe27b1e51c80

  99. James Canning says:

    “New US report on Iran nukes ‘makes issue urgent’” (Aug. 9th)

    http://www.rt.com/news/intelligence-report-iran-us-294/

  100. James Canning says:

    I understand that US intelligence agencies are not convinced that the overthrow of the Assad government will result in a better situation for the US in Syria.

  101. Diana says:

    Excellent, keep up the good work.

  102. While technically correct, this whole piece is a waste of time.

    We are so far past any sort of “diplomatic solution” in Syria…

    The entire Iran war situation as well as the Syrian situation is totally predicated on the military strategic balance between Israel, Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon. This is the entire controlling aspect of the timing of the war with Iran.

    It was in 2006 when Bush and Cheney were exhorting Israel to attack Iran and Israel attacked Hizballah for the same reason – to make an Iran war a “cheap” war for Israel – and failed – and subsequently the 2007 NIE apparently took the wind out of the Bush/Cheney war preparations.

    My predictions stand:

    1) A US/NATO/Turkey/Israel attack on Syria by the end of this year (or at the latest the first half of next year.)
    2) An Israeli attack on Hizballah in Lebanon during the course of the Syrian war.
    3) Depending on the outcomes of these attacks, i.e., sufficient degradation of Hizballah and Syrian missile systems, an attack on Iran by Israel within the next year or two after the resolution – and/or a naval and air blockade of Iran by the US preceding.

  103. James Canning says:

    I entirely agree Iran deserves credit and “respect” for trying to help resolve the problem in Syria.