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The Race for Iran

IRANIAN SOFT POWER, LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, AND THE PROSPECTS FOR PEACE IN SYRIA

CNN’s Nicole Dow featured Hillary in an interview on “Iran’s Soft Power Messaging” last week in connection with the Nonaligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, see here.  Hillary also appeared on Al Jazeera over the weekend to talk about the new United Nations/Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, and the prospects for progress toward resolving the conflict there (click on video above to view).  Her two interviews bring together a number of important points about Iranian foreign policy and the requirements for a political settlement in Syria.    

Twenty years ago, Harvard University’s Joseph Nye famously defined soft power as the ability to get others to “want what you want,” which he contrasted with the ability to compel others via “hard” military and economic assets.  Hillary’s CNN interview explores what we have called the Islamic Republic’s “soft power offensive” in the context of the geopolitical and sectarian (Shi’a-Sunni) rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. 

In the interview, Hillary notes that the rise of Tehran’s regional influence over the last decade has little to do with hard power.  (As CNN’s Nicole Dow documents, “the numbers would certainly seem to bear this out.  Last year, Saudi Arabia reportedly purchased as much as six times as much military equipment from the United States as Iran’s entire official defense budget.”)  Rather, as Hillary points out, Iran’s rise is fundamentally about soft power.  “We always think of Iran as a military dictatorship, but the Iranian message is clear:  they want free and fair elections” in countries like Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  “The Iranian message and belief is—if a country has free and fair elections, it will pursue independent policies that are in that country’s national interest.  The Iranian belief is that if they pursue independent policies, they will inevitably be unenthusiastic about pursuing U.S. or Western policies.”    

Hillary argues that Tehran can apply this approach even in Syria.  Saeed Jalili, the secretary-general of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme National Security Council, has made clear that “Iran will not allow the axis of resistance, of which it considers Syria to be an essential part, to be broken in any way.”  But, as Hillary points out, “The two big points of the Iranian push” [on how to deal with the Syrian situation] were for there to be a ceasefire in Syria for three months at the end of Ramadan, and that there should be free and fair elections.”      

Iranian policymakers are willing to roll the dice on elections in Syria because, first of all, they judge (correctly) that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to retain the support of at least half of Syrian society.  Thus, it is not at all clear that he would lose an election.  But Hillary underscores that, even if Assad were to leave office as part of a democratic transition, “a free and fairly elected successor to Assad would not be interested in strategic cooperation with the U.S. and would not be interested in aligning itself with Israel.  That would be completely against the views and histories of the people.” 

On the other side of the Middle East’s geopolitical and sectarian divide, Saudi Arabia is pursuing a very different strategy, in Syria and elsewhere in the regionThe Saudi strategy emphasizes the funding and training of fundamentalist Sunni groups ideologically aligned with Al-Qa’ida—groups that, in contrast to mainstream Sunni Islamists “who are not interested in killing other Muslims,” take a strongly anti-Shi’a stance.  This is, of course, the strategy that Saudi Arabia followed when it joined with the United States to fund largely Pashtun cadres among the mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan—and then fueled the rise of the Taliban during the 1990s, after the Soviet withdrawal.    

In Hillary’s assessment, “The Saudis cannot call for a ceasefire or for free and fair elections because the Saudis haven’t had free and fair elections in their own country.  It doesn’t sound genuine, so they can’t do it, and they don’t want to do it.  No precedent has been set to have everyone else doing it except them.”  More fundamentally, though, “the Saudis aren’t interested in an outcome in Syria that leads to a government that carries out the interests of the people of Syria.  What the Saudis are interested in is a head of state who will be on their side.  And their side is against Iran and its influence in the region.  This is a big albatross that Saudi Arabia has on its neck.”

Hillary elaborates on the point:  The Saudis want to convince others in the region that “the Iranians don’t stand for Muslim causes, beliefs, independence or nationalism.  The Saudis want others in the region to see the Iranians as Shiite, Persian, non-Arab, non-Sunni, and that what the Iranians are doing has nothing to do with democracy or freedom, but rather promoting a narrow sectarian vision…the Saudi message is that the Shiites are infiltrating Arab affairs to undermine the Sunni community and Sunni states.  They see the Shiites as heretical, non-believing, non-Arab Persians.  Some Sunnis believe that”—and some Saudis try to play on that “with a tremendous amount of money and weapons.”    

But polls and other objective indicators suggest that regional publics are not buying the Saudi message.  As Hillary concludes, “That’s where the conflict is today.  It’s a battle today between this message that Iran has to promote of freedom,” in the sense of real independence, “and the Saudis that are really trying to fight that message.”  

In Hillary’s reading, dealing with the contrast between the Iranian and Saudi approaches to Syria will be crucial to Lakhdar Brahimi’s chances of success in stabilizing the conflict there.  On Al Jazeera, she highlights “two critical points” that Brahimi has made since taking over from former Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the U.N./Arab League Syria envoy. 

First, Brahimi “has come out clearly against foreign military intervention.  That is critically important because that could prevent the escalation of the civil war in Syria, and it could even start to dial back some of the armed support for opposition fighters.”  Second, Hillary highlights Brahimi’s “refusal to simply parrot the White House talking point that Assad has to go and that Assad has lost all legitimacy.  That is really a ridiculous point that is not going to lead to a negotiated outcome, and he has stood up courageously and refused to parrot it.” 

Recalling her own experience working with Brahimi on post-9/11 Afghanistan, Hillary notes that his “track record” in the various civil wars and conflicts where he has been a mediator—Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti—is to focus on “power sharing.  He focuses on getting together all of the critical players inside a country that need to be part of a solution.  That’s power sharing.  That’s not saying who goes and who leaves.  That’s putting everybody into the same pot and having them work together.  And then it’s critically important for him to work with the outside players.”   

When challenged with an assertion that neither the Assad government nor the opposition is willing to talk, Hillary pushes back by observing that, just as the Islamic Republic supports a political solution in Syria, President Assad has been willing to talk with opponents since virtually the beginning of unrest back in March 2011.  (So just who is it that it really blocking movement toward a possible political solution?)  Furthermore, she underscores that it is largely the external Syrian opposition that has demanded Assad’s ouster up front; the internal opposition has not insisted on that

In this context, she points out, Brahimi’s track record suggests that he will “focus on the players that are in Syria…He doesn’t actually have much time or patience for expatriates who sit in cafes in London or Paris.  He doesn’t really think they’re players.  He focuses on people who are in country.” 

That is certainly a very different approach to post-conflict stabilization than that pursued by the United States in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and, now—in collaboration with Saudi Arabia—in Syria.         

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett 

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192 Responses to “IRANIAN SOFT POWER, LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, AND THE PROSPECTS FOR PEACE IN SYRIA”

  1. BiBiJon says:

    ToivoS says:
    September 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    “…SCO should not become a military alliance especially if Iran joins. That way lies WWIII. China would never allow its freedom of choice to become constricted within such an alliance.”

    I think Iran is only one, albeit an important, part of an entire fault line that runs from Hindu Kush to Mediterranean sea, encompassing Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon besides Iran and a host of others.

    China’s and for that matter Russia’s policies are to a large part derived from American actions on the ground. While, of course their default position is to avoid war of any kind, especially a direct confrontation with NATO, aka WWIII, the choice is not entirely theirs to make.

    Should Syria, the only remaining Arab ally of Russia, were to fall, with virtual certainty that Iran will be attacked next, I think whatever ‘default positions’ Russia and China might have had will not be worth the paper it’s written on.

    US forays into AfPak and Iraq were tolerable to Russia, and China so long as Iran remained unmolested. Besides, the Russian and Chinese military/economic state of 10 years ago tended to make them tolerant of a lot of things. Libya has changed all that.

    If one look at the 5 to 10 year horizon and imagine a Syria in total chaos, and an Iran in turmoil after years of ‘crippling sanctions’, if I were Russia and China, I’d be preparing my military and I’d be shredding whatever organizing principles SCO might have had.

    At this point, it is up to the US to accept some boundaries. Absent some visible US change of direction, I can almost smell WWIII.

  2. Castellio: “are there really plenty of engineers and architects who support the government story? I’m not so sure about that.”

    I don’t have a count. I just mean that there are undoubtedly some who do. If EVERY engineer and material scientists disagreed with the official story, it would be obvious.

    The point is, if you aren’t an expert in either discipline, it’s hard to know who is correct. This is generally true of highly technical controversies. In some cases, you can discern weak arguments, in others you simply can’t. This is one of those others.

    In general, it’s a waste of time to care. There are enough facts about 9/11 which clearly question the official story that one doesn’t need to get bogged down in highly technical “religious wars”. That’s a diversion and a trap – just as fantasy theories about “remote-controlled airplanes” and the like are a diversion and a trap. That’s how you end up being tagged as a “conspiracy theorist” rather than someone with a rational argument.

    And further, it’s even more of a waste of time. If, after ten years, no one has managed to PROVE 9/11 was in inside job in a court of law, it’s never going to happen. Most of the country, indeed the world, already believes it was, anyway.

    So who’s been brought to justice for it? No one.

    No one is going to jail for 9/11, ever. Might as well move on.

    This article in Asia Times reminds me yet again that the average American has absolutely NO CLUE how corrupt his society is, let alone his government…

    Under the mask of the war on drugs
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/NI08Dj05.html

  3. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fior: I think the chances are high. Once a warmongering bully, always a warmongering bully, unless reality steps in to change things for the better, such as, for example, with a really hard economic landing, which will be effected by major states such as California going bankrupt or the crash of the dollar, or both. Incidentally, Thierry did not think the dollar was about to crash any time soon, as its only value is in the military. This further supports the idea that Venezuela, as the country with the largest reservoir of energy deposits, will be in Uncle’s cross-hairs.

    And so, yes, Tovio: I think US policymakers are well aware of the precariousness of the position of the dollar. It is this precariousness and its existential ramifications that is the engine of US aggression. Just as Soviet Russia proved in practice that Marxism was a joke, the US has done the same thing to liberal capitalism: it can’t uphold its own values of international law, equal rights for all, prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment, and even simple respect for the rule of law in the “homeland” – a term only an empire would use, etc, etc., etc.

    Also, if anyone is interested, Md Eslamloo made a low budget documentary starring Thierry, which he told me is on YouTube. If anyone goes to see it, I would be interested to know the number of views it has received. It is called 9/11 Black Box, but is not a great movie about 9/11. For example, its treatment of the episode where the BBC reports the collapse of Building 7 something like 20 minutes (?) before it actually falls, with the building standing right behind the reporter as she is speaking, is very weak, to the point that someone not knowing about this hugely significant blunder on the part of the cognitive space control machinery of the deep state can be forgiven for not even understanding what is happening. But it has many little gems to recommend it, including closeups of Thierry talking about his findings and showing his personal side in a charming emotional scene where we see him displaying deep empathy with the sense of Shi’a redemptive suffering. There is also a great scene shot inside the Nest of Spies, fka the American Embassy in Tehran, which is now a museum. All of the machinery of spycraft is on display, including several rooms entry to which is by way of bank-vault doors with combination locks flown in from Weaselistan.

  4. Castellio says:

    Toivo writes: “I sometime wonder if any US policy makers realize the importance of the US dollar as the reserve currency and how the Iran sanctions could adversely its status?”

    They think about it all the time.

  5. Rehmat says:

    Canada ‘isolates’ Iran; Really!

    “I was very surprised by the Canadian announcement,” James Devine, an Iran expert at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., told CBC News, noting that it isn’t tied to a specific event or a reaction to “an acute crisis in the relationship.” Devine also emphasized that Canada’s move is likely to have little impact in Iran as Canada is not an international player.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/09/09/canada-isolates-iran-really/

  6. Fiorangela says:

    UU wrote @ 2:39 pm Sept 8:

    “Tierry said that the Jewish elite have been making evacuation plans for some time now. Part of the armistice which ended the war for the Malvinas Islands (a hop skip and a jump away from Patagonia) was a provision which prevented the Argentine military from entering a vast tract of land in its southern territories. Jews have been purchasing land in Argentine and Chilean Patagonia to an extent equivalent to 2.5 times the size of Israel, and have established a homestead which currently can accommodate 40,000 people.”


    A Democratic pollster who was interviewed in the course of the Dem convention in Charlotte the other day said that among her other political activities, she is creating focus groups to pinpoint ways to oust Hugo Chavez.


    Many USian pundits obseerve that Americans are “war weary” (yes, all that killing has been hard on us) and are eager to get out of the Middle East.

    What are the chances the next decade will see wars in South America?

  7. ToivoS says:

    unkown queries: “This one’s for Tovio: I asked about the SCO, and whether Iran was going to become a member, and why it has not become a military force to counter NATO. …”

    I agree with China on this. SCO should not become a military alliance especially if Iran joins. That way lies WWIII. China would never allow its freedom of choice to become constricted within such an alliance. I think SCO has an important role to play as a counter weight to US imperialism as an economic alliance. Iran and Pakistan (and Afghanistan once US and Nato forces are driven out and the puppet Karsai driven into exile) would natural members of such an economic cooperative zone.

    As has been discussed here before, this would complement efforts by BRICs to set up a new international currency. I sometime wonder if any US policy makers realize the importance of the US dollar as the reserve currency and how the Iran sanctions could adversely its status?

  8. Persian Gulf says:

    M. Ali says:
    September 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I didn’t listen to the interview. however, I have quickly checked the audio below, and it’s the whole interview with the president that you were looking for:

    http://alef.ir/vdcaomn6i49nii1.k5k4.html?165696

  9. Karl.. says:

    James,

    Its clearly and endorsement by you, because you say that Iran must follow orders from the US, the same order the lobby have pushed. You give warlobby loads of credit.

  10. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Any Iranian export of gas by direct pipeline connection to southern Europe will virtually certainly be via Turkey.

  11. Fiorangela says:

    Don’t know if these C Span programs are archived.
    The first one, w/ Doug (Why isn’t he being on trial for treason) Feith & usual suspects, spewed the usual drivel: how can we get the United States government to further alienate Muslims & Arab world and make Americans look like hate-filled dufuses?

    Second program is truly eye-opening & frightening: US Special operations forces are putting Feith’s dream into practice. Special operations budget doubled or more since 9/11, and number of special ops actors increased by even greater multiples. Sequestration will not affect Special Ops budgets. Many contractors are employed in SO.
    It’s out of control.
    I’ve been reading Wm. Shirer’s “Rise & Fall of Third Reich” and can’t come up with a clear distinction between the increases in SS, SA and other private militias in that era, and U.S. Special Forces/PsyOps, etc.
    ——

    11:25am (ET)
    U.S. and Islamic extremism

    Panel
    Commentators:
    James Glassman, Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute and former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the George W. Bush Administration
    Will Marshall, Founder and President of the Progressive Policy Institute

    Authors:
    Douglas J. Feith, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the George W. Bush Administration
    William A. Galston, Brookings Institution Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies and former Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Domestic Policy
    Abram N. Shulsky, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow and former Defense Department official

    From Wednesday at the Hudson Institute
    Introduction: Kenneth Weinstein, President and CEO Hudson Institute
    12:50pm (ET)
    Special operations and U.S. foreign policy

    Featuring
    • Major Fernando Lujan, Army Special Forces/Visiting Fellow at the Center for a New American Security
    • Colonel David Maxwell (ret.), A retired Army Special Forces officer/Associate Director of the Center for Security Studies and the Security Studies Program, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
    • Sean Naylor, Army Times senior writer
    Moderator:
    • Ryan Evans, CNP Research Fellow

    From Tuesday at the Center for National Policy

  12. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    The answer to your question is: ISRAEL LOBBY. A primary objective of the Lobby is to block any improvement in US-Iran relations, to enable continuing oppressiion of the Palestinians by illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

  13. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    How many times have I argued that US policy toward Iran is foolish, stupid, self-defeating, idiotic, etc etc etc etc? And you think I am trying to promote it?

  14. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Philip Stephens of the Financial Times says the US needs to take “regime change” in Iran off the table. I’m surprised this does not meet with your favour.

  15. Unknown Unknowns says:

    OK. Third and final report, this time from dinner at Talar-e Vahdat (Rudaki-e sabeq).
    • There is a large Palestinian settlement in a Damascus suburb which the takfiri terrorists tried to enlist to their cause. When the Palestinians refused, they fought them, and an intense battle raged for days, in which the rats were eventually defeated. During this time, Khaled Mesh’al, who had left for Qatar months ago, remained silent. What an a$$#*!e.
    • This one’s for Tovio: I asked about the SCO, and whether Iran was going to become a member, and why it has not become a military force to counter NATO. He said that while Putin was pushing for this, China nixed the military alliance idea at last year’s summit. He said that it is a good thing for Iran, as all international relations help prevent her diplomatic isolation, but that the SCO will basically remain an organization whose main function is to ensure the integrity of the current boundaries of the central Asian states (the ‘stans). He mentioned the name of an Islamic movement active in the Sir Darya and Amu Darya river valleys (whose name I forgot), which is the main culprit which this organization is up against.
    • The discussion turned to the general state of affairs in the Middle East, and the precariousness of the Jewish State. Tierry said that the Jewish elite have been making evacuation plans for some time now. Part of the armistice which ended the war for the Malvinas Islands (a hop skip and a jump away from Patagonia) was a provision which prevented the Argentine military from entering a vast tract of land in its southern territories. Jews have been purchasing land in Argentine and Chilean Patagonia to an extent equivalent to 2.5 times the size of Israel, and have established a homestead which currently can accommodate 40,000 people. We also talked about the peak in US citizenship applications from Israel, together with the fact that a million plus already have US passports. So those who can will go back to the States, to ?ew York, Florida and the Jewish Alps (the Catskills), and LA LA Land, of course; as well as to Patagonia. And those who can’t make it there (the second-class Russia contingent) will be shipped back “home” to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Autonomous_Oblast
    • Most interestingly: Its Pipelinestan, stupid! as Pepe Escobar would say. He said that just as the 19th century was the century of coal and the 20th, that of oil, the 21st will be the century of gas. What is going on in Syria is that a huge gas reservoir has been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean basin which also falls under a large part of Syria. It is second only to the reservoir in Siberia (bigger that Iran’s). That is what is going on, and the reason for the three double vetoes at the UNSC. He mentioned the Russia-Iran plan to feed southern Europe from Iran (via pipeline through Iraq and Syria) and Syria itself, while Russia feeds northern Europe. The idea is to disconnect Europe from dependence on the US military’s current function of guaranteeing its energy supply. This pipeline (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903591104576467631289250392.html) bypasses Turkey’s planned one, who gets chumped out of her transit fees. Hence, Erdogan’s desperate bid at breaking up the Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon Alliance.

  16. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    September 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    For those truly interested in the nature of American democracy, please watch the two minute video below:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/31/handlers_of_billionaire_david_koch_block

    ———–

    Now I know this coming elections, my vote for Romney or Obama will be counted in the Koch brothers’ column.

  17. Rehmat says:

    Israeli daily Ha’aretz’s Amir Oren says that Israel’s defense minister Gen. Ehud Barak has finally decided to join his fellow Jew military Generals in opposing an Israeli attack on Iran before the US elections in November 2012. Amir also claimed that Barak might be thinking of joining Tzipi Livni’s new party to become defense minister in Livni government.

    However, it seems, the con-Zionist has realized that Iran will be a too big a fish for the Jewish army to catch. So he floated the idea to subsitute Gaza for Iran.

    “If the cabinet deems it needed, the Israeli army can conquer and rule Gaza Strip,” said Barak a few days ago.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/09/08/ehud-barak-attack-gaza-not-iran/

  18. Castellio says:

    RSH writes: “I never concern myself with that stuff as I am not an engineer or materials expert and you can find plenty of both on both sides of the argument. ”

    is that true? That are plenty of engineers and architects who are silent, there are pleny of engineers and architects who question the official story, but are there really plenty of engineers and architects who support the government story? I’m not so sure about that.

  19. fyi says:

    All:

    If you like to wate your time, go ahead and read Philip Stephens’ 09/07/2012 column.

    His second to last paragraph is patently non-sense (ususal propaganda).

    And his main point; giving time for coercive diplomacy to work, is yet another one.

    And if he is indeed the conduit for Axis Powers thinking, then it is clear that only evisceration of their coercive diplomacy and the destruction of rebels in Syria are truly available options for Iran.

    No “peaceful” and neogiated way is possible – not for Iran and not for Axis States.

  20. kooshy says:

    Geography Strikes Back
    To understand today’s global conflicts, forget economics and technology and take a hard look at a map, writes Robert D. Kaplan

    Finally, there is the problem of Iran, which has vexed American policy makers since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The U.S. tends to see Iranian power in ideological terms, but a good deal can be learned from the country’s formidable geographic advantages.

    The state of Iran conforms with the Iranian plateau, an impregnable natural fortress that straddles both oil-producing regions of the Middle East: the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. Moreover, from the western side of the Iranian plateau, all roads are open to Iraq down below. And from the Iranian plateau’s eastern and northeastern sides, all roads are open to Central Asia, where Iran is building roads and pipelines to several former Soviet republics.

    Geography puts Iran in a favored position to dominate both Iraq and western Afghanistan, which it does nicely at the moment. Iran’s coastline in the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz is a vast 1,356 nautical miles long, with inlets perfect for hiding swarms of small suicide-attack boats. But for the presence of the U.S. Navy, this would allow Iran to rule the Persian Gulf. Iran also has 300 miles of Arabian Sea frontage, making it vital for Central Asia’s future access to international waters. India has been helping Iran develop the port of Chah Bahar in Iranian Baluchistan, which will one day be linked to the gas and oil fields of the Caspian basin.

    Iran is the geographic pivot state of the Greater Middle East, and it is essential for the United States to reach an accommodation with it. The regime of the ayatollahs descends from the Medes, Parthians, Achaemenids and Sassanids of yore—Iranian peoples all—whose sphere of influence from the Syrian desert to the Indian subcontinent was built on a clearly defined geography.

    There is one crucial difference, however: Iran’s current quasi-empire is built on fear and suffocating clerical rule, both of which greatly limit its appeal and point to its eventual downfall. Under this regime, the Technicolor has disappeared from the Iranian landscape, replaced by a grainy black-and-white. The West should be less concerned with stopping Iran’s nuclear program than with developing a grand strategy for transforming the regime.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443819404577635332556005436.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  21. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fair enough on the nono-thermite. I personally give more credence to people like professor Stephen Jones than the weasels at NIST, but OK. That takes care of number two on my list. But all engineers will tell you that jet fuel and office fires are not hot enough to melt steel (#3), or to cut it at 45 degree angles. But more importantly, I was disappointed to learn that you do not use the famous grill for your ballpark franks, probably resorting to the microwave like everyone else, as I thought you were a true connoisseur. I just pray that you do consume vast quantities of the grilled variety on special occasions such as the 4th of July.

  22. BiBiJon says:

    Karl.. says:
    September 8, 2012 at 4:53 am

    “Online poll show that Canada have not much support for its action. Some 57% dissaprove the act while some 33% approve.”

    Oil Sand industries of Alberta would support anything that jacks up oil prices.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athabasca_oil_sands#Economics

    In mid-2006, the National Energy Board of Canada estimated the operating cost of a new mining operation in the Athabasca oil sands to be C$9 to C$12 per barrel, while the cost of an in-situ SAGD operation (using dual horizontal wells) would be C$10 to C$14 per barrel.[90] This compares to operating costs for conventional oil wells which can range from less than one dollar per barrel in Iraq and Saudi Arabia to over six in the United States and Canada’s conventional oil reserves.

    The capital cost of the equipment required to mine the sands and haul it to processing is a major consideration in starting production. The NEB estimates that capital costs raise the total cost of production to C$18 to C$20 per barrel for a new mining operation and C$18 to C$22 per barrel for a SAGD operation. This does not include the cost of upgrading the crude bitumen to synthetic crude oil, which makes the final costs C$36 to C$40 per barrel for a new mining operation.

  23. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    September 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    “Surely Cordesman recognises Iran will be attacked if Iran tries to build nukes. So the effort to build them would being about the disaster the weapons would ostensibly be intended to prevent.”

    Yes, James. There are a lot of contradictions in this whole saga. Enough to give you a headache just thinking about it. Seeing as Obama, and others in his cabinet have explicitly stated their red line to be Iran actually developing actual nuclear weapons (note weapons, not capability (1)), excuse me if I don’t credit Cordesman with any extraordinary insight/foresight.

    (1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trita-parsi/obama-netanyahu-iran_b_1319529.html
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdiGahJItOA

    Now why would the US carry out policies that would make a nation so distrustful, so threatened, and so under siege as to give them every reason under the sun to seek the ultimate deterrent? And, conversely, why would Iran develop a nuke when that would provoke the very attack they were hoping to deter in the first place, and to boot, forever shatter the inviolability of a fatwa and all the unislamic implications it would have for an ‘Islamic Republic’, and appear like a lying toad in front of NAM countries?

    What Cordesman is in fact saying in his report is that Iran already has the ultimate deterrent. Though you have to read between the lines, he is sounding an elaborate warning: Only if you want to put your faith in the fanciful/untested notion of shooting a bullet with a bullet, the missile defense boondoggle that Persian Gulf US colonies are forced to buy, would anyone countenance an attack on Iran.

    So, dear 20% James, if you feel that headache coming, take couple aspirins and go to bed. Nothing will have changed by the time you wake up tomorrow. There’s money to be made in fearmongering so it will continue. PG colonies repatriating oil revenues to US in the shape of arms purchases is an indirect way of taxing China and India with high oil prices, and naturally that will continue. And having paid agents such as yourself to tirelessly distract from the realities will undoubtedly also continue.

  24. BiBiJon says:

    “Although his swearing-in at Rideau Hall must have happened in the dead of night, Canada appears to have a new foreign minister. His name is Benjamin Netanyahu. His day job may be prime minister of Israel, but Canada’s abrupt actions against Iran seem to confirm that the Harper government’s outsourcing of Canada’s Middle East policy to Jerusalem is now complete.”

    From http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1253310–burman-what-has-prompted-canada-s-move-against-iran

  25. Dan Cooper says:

    If political conventions are ranked on a one to ten scale for intelligence, I give the Republican Convention zero and the Democrats one.
    .

    Neither party asked why the US is at wars with Muslims for Israel.

    Why should Americans be losing lives and limbs for Israel while going broke and running up enormous war debts for our children and grandchildren?

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32383.htm

  26. A concerned world citizen says:

    Erdogan now calls the Syrian conflict, which he’s very much part of those fanning the flames, as the new Karbala.

    The guy’s lost it!!! He’s making up for his diplomatic failures by playing the religious Shia/Sunni card.

    What he forgets is that, he’s also got his own Karbala at home with his Kurdish population and the PKK.

    His cynical use of Karbala for the events in Syria will not only make Shias across the region mad, but has now opened a whole new kinda worms for Turkey.

    I’m sure the Ayatollahs in Qom, Najaf, Basra, Isfahan, Tabriz and Lubnan are not happy and a reply will be in short order.

    The US’s been working hard with the Saudi/Qatari minions to present Turkey as the leader of the “Sunni” world.This will surely end up destroying Turkey.

  27. Karl.. says:

    Online poll show that Canada have not much support for its action. Some 57% dissaprove the act while some 33% approve.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2012/09/was-it-a-good-move-for-canada-to-cut-ties-with-iran.html

  28. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    I urge you to read Philip Stephens’ column in the Financial Times Sept. 7th. I think you will see my opinion is very similar to those he expresses. And he talks to numerous European leaders, and American leaders.

  29. James Canning says:

    fafnir,

    You need to consider the power of the Israeli lobby. Israeli tail wagging American dog. Etc etc etc. And the cowardice or stupidity this produces in American leaders. Thus, the idiotic blocking of Iran’s application to buy nuclear fuel for the TRR.

    Are you arguing Iran must stockpile more 20 U, to pressure P5+1 into offering better deal to Iran? Philip Stephens in the Financial Times Sept. 7th says US should offer direct negoitiations to Iran, across-the-board. A very good idea indeed. But one Aipac will make sure does not get offered, at least prior to November US elections.

  30. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Surely Cordesman recognises Iran will be attacked if Iran tries to build nukes. So the effort to build them would being about the disaster the weapons would ostensibly be intended to prevent.

  31. James Canning says:

    I recommend Philip Stephens’ column in the Financial Times Sept. 7th, regarding Iran’s nuclear programme and Israeli threats to attack.

  32. Castellio says:

    For those truly interested in the nature of American democracy, please watch the two minute video below:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/31/handlers_of_billionaire_david_koch_block

  33. Unknown Unknowns: “(2) The presence of nano-thermite in the rubble of the blast site; (3) The presence of molten steel (4) 45 degree angle placement of cutter charges”

    I never concern myself with that stuff as I am not an engineer or materials expert and you can find plenty of both on both sides of the argument. Therefore I must recuse myself.

    By the way, I don’t heat hot dogs on the grill. I only use the grill for hamburgers, steaks (rarely since I can’t afford them much) and grilled cheese sandwiches… :-)

  34. Castellio says:

    This is bad news for Iranians and Iranian students currently living in Canada. There is a domestic component to this as well as a foreign affairs component.

  35. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi:
    I agree with you that the IRI certainly has its share of absurdities. And yes, things are relative. But calling the US a democracy, while acceptable just 10 years ago to many people (not to me of course), is today, I would have thought, just a little too sloppy. And by the way, it is not freedom of expression that is the measure you should be focusing on. That is story they are selling. The question is to what extent people’s expression (will) gets heard and implemented. In the US, it is actually worse that that. The people’s will is not only not implemented, it has been almost completely sapped. They have been turned into those battery cells in the Matrix. They are no longer human, strictly speaking. So if there is no demos (the will of the general populace), there is no democracy.

    So, all in all, this one was a shiner on a par with your last one about the Arabs in Israel being governed by the best government in the Middle East or something. But don’t worry. I’ve said as stupid or stupider things myself :D

  36. fyi says:

    M. Ali says:

    September 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Canada has also served as a refuge for MEK; it was sad watching these young people in Tornoto giving out leaflets in support of MEK – being used as instruments of their parents’ political agenda.

    Canada was also were the terror attacks against Indian airliners were initiated by some Sikh immigrants.

    On the other hand, Iranians went out of their way to antagonize Canadian Government by protecting Judge Mortazavi and his cohorts in the murder case of the late Zahra Kazemi.

  37. Unknown Unknowns says:

    IRIB 1 just announced that the presidential (as well as the interim parliamentary) elections will be held on the 24th of Khordad of 1392, which is either May 13th or 14th, 2012.

  38. M. Ali says:

    The west is running out of options. So, they can’t think of a new sanction and their war bluffs have become so boring and repetitive that even the media doesn’t care much for it, therefore their solution is to have Canada break off relationships with Iran? How desperate. Was NAM being led by Iran that annoying to them?

    To Iran, this is great. Canada has been absolutely of no benefit to Iran, politically or economically, so the only use the embassy had was to grand immigration visas for a tiny percentage. Good riddance to them. Plus, with no US, UK, and Canadian Embassy, maybe we can finally live in peace?

  39. Jay says:

    Kathleen says:
    September 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Kathleen,

    I hope you are familiar with the background of WAMU folk and the general effort by Pentagon during the period of the rise of WAMU toward recruiting and training “media types” that could “get the message out”.

    I am not surprised at all by DRshow given the history of WAMU. I cut my support to NPR/PBS many years ago and instead support independent media.

  40. BiBiJon says:

    hans says:
    September 7, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Thanks for the link.

    My super executive summary of the executive summary is that Cordesman once again is instructing Iran to develop nuclear weapons for for self defense.

    I would change the title of Cordesman’s paper to the FYIesque ‘War is cheap, peace is expensive’.

  41. Jay says:

    hans says:
    September 7, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Hans,

    the audience of this document is Israel. There is little doubt that the US has the military capability to take on Iran – the consequences is another matter.

    What this document says to supporters of an Israeli strike is: Israel does not!

  42. Photi says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but i heard a decidedly anti-war speech last night by President Obama. Although I would have liked the “anti-war” stance to have been for moral reasons, this time around Mr. Obama is saying America cannot afford another war, especially a war as catastrophic as a war against against Iran will be.

    Anyone have a less starry-eyed interpretation?

  43. Karl.. says:

    Its clearly and endorsement by you, because you say that Iran must follow orders from the US, the same order the lobby have pushed. You give a.ipac loads of credit. Are you unaware of this?

  44. Kathleen says:

    On the Diane Rehms International hour Diane allowed James Kitfield to repeat the debunked by Professor Juan Cole and other experts that the Iranian President said that they want to “wipe Israel off the map” Diane did not interrupt or challenge

    But Diane and her team went even further by allowing CNN’s Elise Labott to repeat that the IAEA has said that Iran is developing nuclear weapons at least two times. Total lie. Diane did not interrupt or challenge Labott’s false statements. Diane is allowing the demonization of Iran to take place on her program and has done so for many years. But this was over the top. Encourage folks to go listen or read the transcript of the show when the Rehm team post it

  45. hans says:

    A serious look at how the war with Iran will be fought by ANTHONY CORDESMAN. It is based on the USA is über alles. Read it it has some serious military thinking.

    :http://csis.org/files/publication/120906_Iran_US_Preventive_Strikes.pdf

  46. Karl.. says:

    Lol, we all know Canda is up there with Germany and the US in terms of support for Israel, but seriously whats up with this sudden outburst?

  47. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:

    September 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    It is also nuts when the Second Majlis made “outward conformance to Islam” part of the revised election law of the Islamic Republic of Iran – thus planting the seeds of the 2009 political crisis.

    It is nuts when women are accosted because they wear colorful clothes while praising an analogously attired woman in a Western country as an epidemy of Muslim-attired female (in the land of unbelief.)

  48. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:

    September 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    All of these comparisons are relative.

    I believe that there is a more representative system in the United States as compared to India or Japan.

    I believe there is more freedom of expression in the United States than in United Kingdom, for example.

    Now, there are countries that in my opinion are far more democratic than the United States; such as Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

    That the Americans chose to go the way of Empire after the defeat of the anti-Federalists in the American Civil War does not detract from their internal achievements.

  49. Castellio says:

    fyi says:
    September 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    It’s not the kind of comparative that can be made so easily, and without real terms of reference properly defined, one falls into extreme generalizations very easily. Having said that, I think, at the national level, that you are quite wrong.

  50. Kathleen says:

    Senator Kerry sure kissed Israel and the I lobbies ass last night during his speech at the convention.

  51. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Thank you BiBiJon for that excerpt from Ali Gharib. I didn’t know what that whole thing was about at the time, but now I know that it was an attempt by the voices of the real people of Weaselistan to open communication channels in order to reduce the known unknowns or the random elements. I will pass it on.

    And further to the 9/11 movie I had in mind, an American movie (not documentary) on 9/11 by the name of Operation Terror had a premier screening in the New Horizon International Film Festival here last night. Unfortunately, it was not brilliantly executed, and needless to say, it was low budget. The fact that it was made at all in the US is a marvel in itself. But it is well worth watching, as it gives you an idea of the more probable (and much more dastardly) conspiracy.

    *

    fyi says: “The Americans still have a better democracy than the vast majority of other countries in the world.”

    You still have NO idea of what is really going on, do you? If I were to stick to your paradigm, I would paraphrase you as follows: “The Americans continue to have a better system of enslaving humans than the vast majority of other countries in the world.”

    For otherwise intelligent people such as yourself to think of Weaselistan as a democracy is truly staggering. Plutocracy, Debtocracy, Kleptocracy, Catastroika, maybe. But democracy?? That is just nuts.

    *

    Richard:

    1. Anyone who does Ballpark franks on the George Foreman grill can’t be all bad (although I know for a FACT that you secretly aspire to upgrade to Hebrew National). There’s a small part of you that wants to avoid ever-lasting hellfire, after all; and What Would Jesus Do? Certainly Jesus never ate swine :D

    2. As to your position on 9/11 and the specific issue of MIHOP vs. LIHOP (made it happen on purpose vs. let it happen on purpose), if you care to do a little research, you will quickly notice that the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the MIHOP position. I will just give you one example as an aperetif. As of September 7th of last year, WEbster Griffin Tarpley has been able to unearth no less than 46 military excercises, drills and war games which took place on that fateful day. The excellent Bonny Faulkner talks to him about it on her great radio show Guns and Butter here: http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/73129 When you read about and understand the nature of those exercises, you will know that human reason cannot countenance the possibility of their simultaneity let alone their simultaneity *on that day* being mere coincidence. OK, so I will give you another couple or three, although there are actually literally hundreds of such examples, though not all are quite as compelling. (2) The presence of nano-thermite in the rubble of the blast site; (3) The presence of molten steel (4) 45 degree angle placement of cutter charges (see page 32 in this picture book ,http://www.911-see-the-evidence.com/book.html) Note the tell-tale molten steel around the 45 degree cut. That whole book is worthy of close examination by anyone bamboozled enough to still cling on to the official version after a decade of research definitively proving its absurdity.

    *

  52. Castellio says:

    This is a very interesting interview on Press TV with Presidential candidate Merlin Miller. You could never see this on US TV… ToivoS, watch this to the (bitter) end.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/09/06/260162/zionist-lobbies-own-us-pres-runners/

  53. fafnir says:

    James Canning says:
    September 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm
    James its not a matter of what is needed its a matter of what iran gets in return for stopping production of 20%EU,and don`t for gods sake say a reprieve from being attacked or some idiotic statement like that,if they are truly intent on attacking iran then they will find one pretext after another,or perhaps in that case you propose as now that iran should just keep on appeasing them,if 20% truly concerned them don`t you think they would have offered a little more than aeroplane parts in exchange?,you know as well as I that any enrichment is out as far as they are concerned if it was only aout the %`s then a deal could have been done ages ago,it has not therefore it is not.To put it simply james,in order for iran to give up something of value it must receive something of similar value,so far all I`ve seen have been threats,ultimatums,insulting or at best very vague offers with no details or distinct lack of guarantees ie the fuel swap

  54. Excellent article on Syria… A must read…

    ‘Teachable moments’ loom in Syrian conflict
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NI06Ak01.html

  55. Unknown Unknowns: This “arrogant American” AGREES with your response to Toivos on 9/11…

    There can be no doubt that SOMEONE SOMEHOW in the US government KNEW that 9/11 was going to take place and allowed it to happen to justify US war aims. ALL the evidence supports that much at least, if it does not necessarily support the notions of “remote-controlled airplanes” and other probable fantasies.

    And it is a virtual certainty that Israel knew in advance of the attack as its agents were KNOWN to be following the hijackers around for months – and only issued a vague “warning” to the US a couple weeks in advance to “cover their ass”.

    My own theory suggests that it was ISRAEL which SUBMITTED the plan to Al Qaeda via its double agents and then used its US agents to insure the plan was not interfered with. Furthermore, I believe, although of course can never prove, that if anyone in the US government knew in advance, it was Dick Cheney. The mere fact that he was in charge of an “exercise” which diverted possible responding Air Force fighters from the scene is proof enough for me – and anyone else with a brain.

  56. James Canning says:

    Obama himself apparently was active in foolish inclusion of reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. At Democratic national conv’n in Charlotte.

  57. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Good report by Steve Gutterman of Reuters that you linked, quoting Russian deputy FM, Segei Ryabkov: “We warn those who are no strangers to military solutions. . . that this would be harmful, literally disastrous for regional stability.” (Referring to an Israeli attack on Iran)

  58. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You predicted no deal between Iran and P5+1, and you said you would not be surprised if Iran forty years from now was still under UNSC sanctions. I think your time frame is rather loose. If Obama remains in the White House, he will be forced to achieve a deal by which Iran stops further enrichment to 20 percent. Or accomplish that without a deal.

  59. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    September 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    “Mitt Romney says in effect he will have the US attack Iran if Iran continues to enrich uranium. Obama has said in effect the US will attack Iran if sanctions do not prompt Iran to stop stockpiling 20 U. My opinion is that Iran will be attacked if it stockpiles further amounts of 20 U. Perhaps another 50 kg could be added to the pile, and and attack be avoided? 100 kg? If Iran has enough 20 to operate TRR for twenty years, do you think more is needed?”

    —-

    Well James, as fyi would say, let them have the decency to attack, after all these years or threats.

    and, as BiB would say, looking forward to it.

    For myself, I just warn you that part of the secret communication between Iran and US has been about how to save face and bring an actual shooting war to a close– i.e. choreograph it somewhat beforehand. By the sound of things Iran has been asked to only sink British warships to allow US to accept a ceasefire. I’m not sure if Iran has agreed to this limit, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  60. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    James wrote:

    “…My opinion is that Iran will be attacked if it stockpiles further amounts of 20 U…”

    I’m glad to see that you’re coming around on the issue of sanctions, meaning you are hopefully starting to realize that they’ve not only been ineffective in inducing the leadership to shift its position, but instead have been a great blessing by forcing Iranians to become self-sufficient.

    In fact, the sanctions are like a huge, perpetual audit of the Iranian economy. Wherever in the economy they are imposed shows were we have a weaknesses and need to make changes- and then we make the changes and move on to the next issue until we become an economic power- all thanks to the genuises at the US Treasury Dept and their Israeli buddies. Just like during the war when we learned to become a military power when the world sanctioned us.

    And remember according to WB/IMF statistics we’re the 17th largest economy (~850 billion GDP PPP) with a population of only 75 mil. My own estimate is that the Iranian economy is around 1,3-4 trillion GDP PPP because at least 50% of the Iranian economy is unreported. That would put us around place 12-13 globally.

    Also thank you for clearly stating your opinion that Iran will be attacked if it stockpiles more 20 U.

    Now as you may have noticed, your opinion is the “minority” view on this issue. In other words the notion that the US would attack Iran because of 20 U is highly unlikely. Doesn’t mean it’s impossible, it just means it’s very unlikely.

    In fact a US attack on Iran FOR ANY REASON is highly unlikely. Again that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, it just means it’s very unlikely. And if an attack on Iran occurs, any b.s. excuse will suffice for the US. As the SL said, if it’s not nuclear energy, it will be human rights and if it’s not human rights it will be animal rights.

    And as I explained earlier, a US attack on Iran would probably be the largest strategic “blunder” in American history and possibily in human history of the last 500-700 years (some of those last crusades were pretty bad “blunders”).

    Now sitting in one the home counties (or wherever you are- Dubai? Riyadh?) and not actually being in Iran or having any familiarity with Iranian capabilities and realities, your judgement of what would happen in case of a US attack is, well, how should say…

    In other words James, the view in Iran is that all these threats are made as psych-war to scare us into giving up our sovereign and legal right to peaceful nuclear energy but that they are ultimately empty threats. Therefore and as such we do not see any compelling reason to retreat from our sovereign and legal right- including enrichment of 20 U for medical purposes under the NPT framework.

    Russia and China say what they say publicly because of their position as status quo nuclear powers- but when they speak us alone they tell us that they have no problem with us enriching to 20 U under NPT. How about that for a stab in the back of the US/UK/France?

    So James, if the crux of your argument about Iran and 20 U is that it means an attack on Iran, I kindly ask you to please stop posting about this issue because you have clearly and repeatedly (and repeatedly and repeatedly and…) made your point and we have all heard and discussed it thoroughly and everyone’s position is on record. Please move on now.

  61. fyi says:

    humanist says:

    September 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    The Americans still have a better democracy than the vast majority of other countries in the world.

  62. Photi says:

    MJ Rosenberg:

    “We are Americans and vote based on American interests. AIPAC represents its 100,000 members and, more significantly, the donors associated with it. It does not speak for the community as a whole, not by a long shot. The same applies to the other Jewish organizations in AIPAC’s orbit.

    It is critical that Americans understand that, because the perception that American Jews are so attached to Israel that they put its interests above their own country’s could negatively influence Americans who have never been biased against Jews.

    And that is why I think it is “wise” for me and others like me to speak out and say: I’m a Jew and the lobby does not speak for me. I care about Israel but the interests of my own country will always come first. I understand that the interests of the United States and Israel are not identical and, when they conflict, my default position is to stand with my president not Israel’s prime minister. (Lobby activists never criticize Israeli prime minister, but only the U.S. president, whether Democratic or Republican, when the two countries diverge).

    I also think it is “good for the Jews” for Muslims and Arabs to know that the lobby speaks only for the lobby and not for all Jews or even for all pro-Israel Jews. How can it be beneficial for a tiny minority to be viewed as hostile to the infinitely larger Arab and Muslim world? It isn’t, and we’re not.”

    http://mjayrosenberg.com/2012/09/06/aipacs-hostile-takeover-of-the-democratic-convention/

  63. humanist says:

    These are Big Convention days. Partial representations of Multifaceted American Democracy.

    It is not easy (if not impossible) to go behind the scene and watch the real show yet, thanks to the same whimsical ruling-system, some revealing clues are out in the open.

    1- Listen to M.J. Rosenberg who explains how the House passes bills written by AIPAC, often without any alteration or amendment.

    http://antiwar.com/radio/2011/11/07/m-j-rosenberg-2/

    2- Watch the following 2 videos where Craig Unger talks on Karl Rove’s Kingmaking role in the Republican party. (Pay attention to Karl’s contacts with the ‘Rich’, promising them huge savings on Taxes)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R66EiLxdvHc 2 4 min
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzKAQUYX2sY 9 min

    3- Watch more on Karl Rove and RNC

    http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2012/8/31 60 min

  64. James Canning says:

    Very foolishly, the Democrats meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, have given support to the foolish effort to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

  65. paul says:

    Chomsky should be considered discredited by now. He specializes in criticism of the Imperium that only goes SO FAR. In other words, he is a key gatekeeper. It always seems to be important to Chomsky to leave fundamental establishment narratives intact.

  66. James Canning says:

    Humanist,

    Intersting piece by John Grant that you linked on Sept. 5th. Israel no longer needs the “Iron Wall” within Israel proper (pre-1967 borders). And it cannot have one within an independent Palestine (West Bank plus Gaza Strip).

  67. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    It is also my personal viewpoint that the US could only accept Iranian enrichment to 5% or lower, in the context of an Iranian deal with the P5+1.

    What is your explanation for Russian and Chinese insistence Iran stop enriching to 20?

  68. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    Mitt Romney says in effect he will have the US attack Iran if Iran continues to enrich uranium. Obama has said in effect the US will attack Iran if sanctions do not prompt Iran to stop stockpiling 20 U. My opinion is that Iran will be attacked if it stockpiles further amounts of 20 U. Perhaps another 50 kg could be added to the pile, and and attack be avoided? 100 kg? If Iran has enough 20 to operate TRR for twenty years, do you think more is needed?

  69. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I have said Aipac is subverting the national security of the American people, by blocking any improvement in US-Iran relations. This is hardly an endorsement of Aipac’s view of Iran. Or of Israeli government’s view of Iran.

    Did you read Taki’s comments that I linked? Taki: “Are the American government’s executive and legislative branches taking ordedrs from Jerusalem? The Anser, alas, is a resounding YES.”

  70. kooshy says:

    Sometimes democracy can be a bitch; fortunately our natural god given exceptionalisem has always smoothed its rough edge.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUJE9YfsbNQ

    This land is your land this land is my land
    From Tampa Florida, to the Charlotte’s island

  71. Rehmat says:

    After criticizing both the US and Israel for their warmongering policies toward the Islamic Republic – Chomsky drops the Zionist entity from his list of “brutal and repressive regimes” in the region.

    “The Iranian government is brutal and repressive, as are Washington’s allies in the region,” wrote Chomsky. One wonder why none of the leaders from 120 MAN member countries and 23 non-NAM countries who attended the 16th NAM summit in Tehran last week – compared Iran with the United States in those categories!

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/09/06/chomsky-i-support-israel-but/

  72. Castellio says:

    ToivoS says: September 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Hopefully, Toivo, UU will pay you no heed.

    What is needed is more conversation, not less. It’s true that in the US doubting the government’s story is seen as beyond redemption, and perhaps you don’t want to be associated with a website where there is an occasional post querying that particular government-sanctioned conspiracy. However, we have a crime that somehow transcended the laws of nature, where the evidence was whisked away, where the most critical questions weren’t asked, and where the inquiry was perceived as faulted by the very people who were on it; and you want more silence.

  73. Fiorangela says:

    ToivoS says: September 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    “You should keep your 911 truther beliefs to yourself….further discussion is no longer possible. …”

    Well said, Toivo, and exceptionally kind of you to school Unknown Unknowns. Sadly, U.U. lives in a repressive society where communication is controlled. UU probably does not comprehend how things work in a nation where freedom of thought and expression are the law of the land.

  74. Karl.. says:

    Russia warns against attack on Iran and say there are no signs the nuclear program is for weapons.

    http://www.english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/06/236356.html

  75. Karl.. says:

    James,

    Why you ignore my post/question at September 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm?

  76. BiBiJon says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    September 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    The movie would be a blockbuster!

    The link was an article By Ali Gharib on Sep 20, 2011 reporting on Mike Mullen thus:

    MULLEN: We haven’t had a connection with Iran since 1979. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union. We are not talking to Iran, so we don’t understand each other. If something happens, it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right — that there will be miscalculation which would be extremely dangerous in that part of the world. [...]

    QUESTION: Are you specifically talking about military to military contact, or a broader set of engagement between the two countries?

    MULLEN: I’m talking about any channel that’s open. We’ve not had a direct link of communication with Iran since 1979. And I think that has planted many seeds for miscalculation. When you miscalculate, you can escalate and misunderstand. This isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing. [...]

    My own experience is, it sort of depends on the country what the most effective channels are. Some of them are diplomatic. Some of them are political. Some of them are mil-to-mil. Some of them are economic. But we have not had a clear channel to Iran since 1979.

    [...] Any channel would be terrific and I don’t have a preferred one based on what the hopes would be.

    Mullen’s comments come a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that the military was considering establishing a direct hot line to Iran in order to communicate should there be an incident between the countries, especially in the Persian Gulf between U.S. ships and Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats.

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/09/20/324318/mullen-iran-any-channel/

  77. Unknown Unknowns says:

    ToivoS says:
    You should keep your 911 truther beliefs to yourself. It is just spamming the board and is destroying your credibility.

    *

    Tovio: you are shoulding all over yourself. First of all, in case you did not notice, the site is already moderated, so we don’t need a mobser. Secondly, even if it wasn’t, what standing do you have to tell me what I should and should not do? Just because you believe the preposterous lies that your mass-murderous government spoon feeds you and others like you who enable this scum with your daily tacit approvals and tax dollars which go to kill a few of my Moslem brothers and sisters each and every day, doesn’t mean that the sane people of the world share your views on 9/11 or have a share in your crimes. Criticize me on substance if you must, but telling me what I should and should not do just makes you sound like an a vulgar and arrogant Amerikan.

    You might want to look up some polls on Middle Eastern views on 9/11; and then check out polls regarding New Yorker views on 9/11. Hint: the large majorities in both think that the official conspiracy theory is the one which is “insane”. Oh, and spamming the board? How can mentioning the most important single issue of the 21st century ever be considered spam? And let me worry about my credibility, thank you very much.

    Tired, tired, TIRED of stupid liberals with blood on their collaborating hands.

  78. fyi says:

    humanist says:

    September 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Yes.

    But some mechanisms must be found to protect the rights of the Jewish population of the Palestinian Republic.

    Most likely, a system like the confessional system of Lebanon or the Melliyat System of the Ottomans must be devised.

  79. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    James said:

    “Given that you have said you welcome an American attack on Iran, from your standpoint Iran should not make a deal with P5+1. Meaning, more sanctions, and still more. Then, if 20 keeps piling up, probably an attack.”

    I asked you a simple question which you seem incapable of answering with a simple response.

    My understanding of your response is that if Iran doesn’t make a deal with P5+1, then there will be more sanctions and eventually an attack and that’s why Iran in your opinion “needs” to make a deal with P5+1.

    Please state CLEARLY whether this is your opinion or whether you have other reasons why you think Iran “needs” to make a deal.

  80. BiBiJon says:

    If you’re an Atlanticist, and “in recent times the tendency to use sanctions to achieve aims that are beyond reach in principle by means of pressure has become a passion that … politicians on both sides of the Atlantic cannot overcome,” why would you want to partner with Russia in P5+1 who say ” as before, see no signs that there is a military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program. No signs” ?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/06/us-nuclear-iran-russia-idUSBRE88507K20120906

  81. Photi says:

    Kathleen, I loved your “mutiny at the convention” comment over at Mondoweiss.

    The following quote is a written description of what happened in Charlotte when the vote to reinstate “God” and “Jerusalem” back into the party platform was put to the floor. Pretty awkward stuff, the change was only to be passed if 2/3 of the conventioneers were in favor of the move. When the floor was asked for the vocal count, the nays were every bit as loud as the yays on whether to include the new text in the party platform.

    Given that the motion to change the wording was passed anyway, i suspect vote fraud. can we get a re-count, or at least bring in twitter? the video of it is entertaining:

    “But when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the convention chairman, came to the podium to ask for the approval of the delegates, those who shouted opposition to the language change were as loud, if not louder, than those who voiced their support.

    Villaraigosa, in what quickly became an awkward moment, asked for the voice vote three times in all. After the second time, he paused for several seconds and looked behind him for guidance from a convention staffer — possibly a parliamentarian — before turning back and asking for a third vote.

    Even though the no’s were again as loud if not louder than the aye’s on the third vote, Villaraigosa said he had determined that two thirds of those present had voted in favor. Boos filled the arena in response.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/dnc-god-jerusalem-platform_n_1859200.html

  82. Photi says:

    fascinating discussion over at the Scott Horton show:

    http://scotthorton.org/2012/09/04/9412-john-glaser/

    “Antiwar.com editor John Glaser discusses the details of a reported (and denied) back-channel offer from the White House to Iran; why the US is still largely responsible for Israel’s military endeavors, even if the US doesn’t fire a shot; how Benjamin Netanyahu has bluffed his way to irrelevance; Zbig Brzezinski’s take on rational actors and messianic zealots among Middle East heads of state; and a comparison of world-dominating US foreign policy strategies.”

  83. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    September 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    “PressTV this week carried Chinese call for Iran to make a deal with the IAEA. Are you actually thinking the P5+1 might fail to keep their common position in negotiations with Iran? Israeli influence on US politics continues to grow. Not decrease.”

    ——-

    Well, yes I do actually think P5+1 will have diminishing common interests among its constituent members. whether or not it will fall apart, however, does not concern Iran who will continue to attend negotiating sessions with them on anything that does not detract from Iran’s rights.

  84. ToivoS says:

    unknown. You should keep your 911 truther beliefs to yourself. It is just spamming the board and is destroying your credibility. I happen to believe that there were some seriously unanswered questions about 911, but the insane truther conspiracy theories have so discredited any attempt to have a rational discussion about those questions, that further discussion is no longer possible. Get it. The fools you are listening to have contaminated the subject making it near impossible to even touch anymore.

  85. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Dear BiBiJon:
    I was unable to access your link. I’m sorry. These idiot bastard internet censors have bamboozled me with their unrequited Big Brotherly love, which, thank Allah, is not near as bad as the Borg matrix you poor suckers have state-side, but still, I’m gonna have to break down and install a proxy of some sort.

    Anyone seen Broken Arrow? With Ed Harris and Travolta? Its about a rogue element in the US military stealing a couple of nukes and blackmailing the government with them. I suggested we find a good Hollywood screenwriter to write a screenplay in that kind of dramatic mode, but using the actual events of 9/11, including the 37+ war games that were taking place that day, the implementation of the Continuity of Government provisions (the first time in US history), the dancing Israeli “journalists” on the George Washington Bridge, the “Angel is Next” phone call on Air Force One, the conference call at Offutt Air Force Base, and all the rest of it. See here: http://www.historycommons.org/essay.jsp?article=essayaninterestingday
    That essay is must reading for anyone who thinks the official 9/11 version of events is “[an] established fact”. We’ll see if the idea gets off the ground…

  86. James Canning says:

    I recommend Taki’s Sept. 5th piece, “The War Drums Are Getting Louder”.

    Quote: “AIPAC has a blacklist of lawmakers [in Washington] who are not considered one hundred percent pro-Israel. The list is very, very small.”

    http://takimag.com/article/the_war_drums_are_getting_louder_taki#axzz25dgh9LFw

  87. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    India, Brazil, South Africa, and other countries, want to become permanent members of UNSC.

  88. James Canning says:

    Arash,

    Are you arguing that God forbids Iran to make a deal with P5+1 that calls for Iran to stop producing 20 U?

  89. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    Given that you have said you welcome an American attack on Iran, from your standpoint Iran should not make a deal with P5+1. Meaning, more sanctions, and still more. Then, if 20 keeps piling up, probably an attack.

  90. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I think the Russian contract for Bushehr #1 calls for nuclear fuel to be supplied by Russia through 2014.

  91. James Canning says:

    Rehamt,

    Kenneth Bandler is an idiot if he thinks New York can be headquarters of UN General Assembly, but NYC hotels should refuse to host officials disliked by certain Jewish groups.

  92. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    PressTV this week carried Chinese call for Iran to make a deal with the IAEA. Are you actually thinking the P5+1 might fail to keep their common position in negotiations with Iran? Israeli influence on US politics continues to grow. Not decrease.

  93. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    “In part, this is what I meant when I suggest UNSC, P5+1, IAEA, and Israeli gamesmanship in US electoral politics in many ways are busy unraveling themselves.”

    to add to that.. from SST;

    “Meanwhile, on HC’s trip to China things did not go well.  The Chinese basically told her “NO!”  We run our policy about Syria, not you.  She would have been better off if she had gone to the convention.  Pl  “

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2012/09/iran-supplies-syria-via-iraqi-airspace-the-pilot.html

  94. humanist says:

    From Noam Chomsky:

    War Drums Beat Ever More Loudly over Iran

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/11309-when-travesty-borders-on-tragedy

  95. humanist says:

    For those of us who, in our daily searches on the net, breathe the MSM spouted air, absorbing articles like the following, feels like gasping a bit of cool fresh breeze.

    It is properly entitled Is there a way beyond Israeli Madness?

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/31/is-there-a-way-beyond-israeli-madness/

    Except a few minor points it is a timely essay that identifies the core of the present critical political issues and indirectly verifies the historical fact that ‘Apartheid states are evolutionary anomalies thus are doomed to vanish in time’

  96. Castellio says:

    UU, thank you for your luncheon reports!

  97. Photi says:

    BiBiJon says:
    September 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    BibiJon, the Jim Lobe analysis has many quotable moments, but the following gives more support to the idea that halting Netanyahu’s war talk is a national security issue and not a political issue.

    “As Eiland suggests, however, Netanyahu may no longer feel that he is in a position to make such a demand when he meets Obama later this month. Not only has Obama drawn a clear line against unilateral Israeli action, but the Republican Party and its presidential candidate Mitt Romney have failed to signal that Obama’s rejection of Netanyahu’s belligerence on Iran will be a central issue in the presidential campaign.”

    http://www.lobelog.com/after-dempsey-warning-israel-may-curb-war-threat/#more-13437

  98. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    September 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Thanks for the run-down. The second part of your post may help to explain General Dempsey’s remarks of late about ‘complicity,’ and further, it may explain why he still has a job.

  99. BiBiJon says:

    ” China will continue to maintain communication and coordination on Iranian nuclear tensions with the United States and other involved parties, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday.”

    From http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-09/05/content_15736579.htm

    There are many different ways of saying that the Chinese continued participation in P5+1 should not be taken for granted.

    In part, this is what I meant when I suggest UNSC, P5+1, IAEA, and Israeli gamesmanship in US electoral politics in many ways are busy unraveling themselves.

  100. Castellio says:

    For a good recent overview of events in Egypt:

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8768

    Lina Attalah seems like a clear-headed reporter.

  101. Rehmat says:

    Several Jewish groups (United Against Nuclear Iran, B’nai B’rith, ADL, AJC, etc.) have slammed the Warwick hotel in New York for hosting Ahmadinejad and Iranian delegation during the coming UN General Assembly meeting in N.Y. this month. The United Against Nuclear Iran group is planning to hold a protest rally in front of United Nations headquarters during Ahmadinejad’s speech.

    Kenneth Bandler, spokesperson for the AJC said: “No New York City hotel should welcome Iranian President ahmadinejad“. Daniel Mariaschin, the executive vice-president of B’nai B’rith claimed that by allowing Ahmadinejad to stay at the hotel “would leave a serious stain at hotel’s reputation“.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/09/05/jewish-groups-want-compensation-from-arabs/

  102. Unknown Unknowns says:

    OK, so I had lunch with Thierry on Monday and asked him about the possibility/ probability of war on Iran. But first I asked him if he knew about the supposed letter from the Leader to Bush in 2003, to which he said he was not aware of any such letter. That is another nail in the coffin, as far as I am concerned. But I want to paste this post from the tail end of the last thread, as I think it is much more important for understanding the mindset of the leadership in Iran than the current discussion (in this thread):

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    September 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Empty:

    Further to our conversation regarding the (alleged?) ‘grand bargain’ of 2003, the plot, apparently, thickens:

    http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2006/05/08/Walkers-World-Irans-grand-bargain/UPI-28871147093567/print#ixzz25N87FImo

    I still tend to agree with your basic gist that it is highly unlikely that our beloved Leader would allow the Khatami government to do this, and that the use of a fax machine makes the whole thing even more unlikely. Nonetheless, the above-linked article throws down a gauntlet in favor of the other side of the argument, with a veteran UPI journalist’s claim of first hand information from parties directly involved. Perhaps those parties will break their silence and deign to shed light on the issue this time round?

    *

    OK. so what Thierry had to say about the imminence of an attack was very, very interesting. Not because of his opinion one way or t’other, but because of the *incredible* detail that he was able to bring to bear, only a fraction of which, alas, my Swiss-cheese memory can recall. Hold on to your hat, Richard Hack!

    He just shook his head with a dismissive smile before I had even finished asking the question: No, there is no way the US will attack Iran. OK; Why??

    In 2007 Cheyney wanted this so bad he could taste it. He did everything he could, to no avail, including several war games, including a very expensive one that proved that US ships would be sitting ducks in the Persian Gulf, and, interestingly, one that involved mini- or tactical nukes, which would have to be deployed on both sides of the Zagros mountains to do the job right. It was decided in that case that the fallout from those going off west of the mountains would affect more than just sand-n*#$@rs, so *that* was out.

    Admiral Fallon who was commander of Centcom at the time led the top military brass against the amateurs under Cheyney & Bush, using Brent Scowcroft as the (retired) elder statesman to do their bidding. When the matter was settled, Mike Mullen who was the head of the Joint Chiefs – get this – met with Achmanimebob in Baghdad and brought him up to speed, giving him the assurances he was looking for.

    So there it is. We didn’t have time for me to get into the details of Iran’s deterrent capabilities, but he kept saying that Iran’s military is far too strong for the US to be able to project enough force to be done with it; the implication being the Powell Doctrine of if you can’t finish it, don’t start it.

  103. fyi says:

    imho says:

    September 5, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I think the Axis States were better off had they negogiated some sort of modus vivendi with the new Shia/Irani power in 2007.

    It is too late now and one has to wait for the economic and bloody wars against Iran and her allies to end first in 2017.

    But, in my judgement, 2017 is not realistic; 2025 will be when earnest and serious negogiations between Axis States and Shia/Irani Alliance could start.

  104. M. Ali says:

    Ahmadenijad had a live interview last night and i missed it, anyone here know any links to it upload anywhere?

  105. BiBiJon says:

    Do UNSC resolutions, E3, E3+3, P5+1, and IAEA’s overtly politicized stance create an intractable war circumstance with Iran, or even a long-term siege warfare?
    =================================

    My answer is no. All of the above fronts against Iran amount to no more than an hotchpotch assemblies of inchoate wishes/dreams/interests that have been glued together with zeal (read Cheney/Bolton/Netanyahu/Clinton/Ross) rather than reason. Ultimately, the pursuit of incoherent anti-Iran policies that are founded on usurping UNSC and IAEA will damage those institutions more than they’ll harm Iran. And I don’t mean over the long run. The NAM summit in Tehran has blown a large hole in the meaning of the phrase “international community.” Already Iran’s ‘steady as she goes approach’, expanding her nuclear industry strictly based on actual needs tells me Iran is not playing any games, chess or otherwise. She is banking on the inevitability of leaves falling in Autumn. The Busheir reactor’s operations will be handed over to Iran in December of this year. Stockpiles of 5%U will be used up to fuel that reactor, just as stockpiles of 20% have been consumed to fuel TRR.

    In the meantime, the Philippines, Vietnam, and assorted other South China sea littoral states are wondering where is the much heralded ‘pivot’? That, and many other geostrategic and financial issues will hasten the arrival of Fall.

    Obama does not have a choice, but to heed this advice: http://www.lobelog.com/obama-needs-a-game-changer-on-iran/#more-13402

  106. imho says:

    fyi says:
    September 3, 2012 at 10:14 am


    The Axis Powers war against Iran, Syria and others will continue after US Presidential elections in Novermber; regardless of who gets elected.”

    I guess you mean soft war.
    This confirms that US foreign policy doesn’t change with each president (which demonstrates itself, that the president is far to have all the power he’d like to have). Actually, one can wonder if Bush Jr. didn’t start a war (while he probably wanted so much to do), why would Romney.


    On the convention’s eve, Lee Smith, a neo-conservative scribe based at the Standard, published an article in Tablet Magazine entitled “Why Romney Won’t Strike Iran”.

    One of Romney’s senior advisers, former CIA chief Gen. Michael Hayden, has even partially echoed Dempsey, telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz Thursday that an Israeli raid against Iran’s nuclear facilities would likely be counter-productive.

    as reported by Jim Lobe and Gareth Porter in the following article
    http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/09/after-dempsey-warning-israel-may-curb-war-threat/

  107. Rd. says:

    Castellio says:

    “I have just watched John McCain’s delivery on foreign affairs (sort of) at the RNC convention. “

    RNC convention, indeed the entire US polity has now become the Spaghetti politics and Karl rove as the meat ball with Eastwood as the delivery boy..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoqKdWY692k

  108. fyi says:

    kooshy says:

    September 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    One of the lessons of leadership that one has to have absorbed before becoming a leader (or shortly afterwards) is never to issue a threat or an order that cannot be carried out.

    Look at:

    Resolution 233: The situation in the Middle East (6 Jun)
    Resolution 234: The situation in the Middle East (7 Jun)

    UN and UNSC still enjoy residual legitimacy in Africa, parts of Asia and a few places in Latin America.

    In the Middle East, Iranians and Iraqis have contempt for UN and UNSC.

    So do, incidently, Israelis.

  109. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    James,
    Please tell us exactly why Iran “needs” a deal with P5+1.

  110. paul says:

    If Haiti represents Brahimi’s track record, it doesn’t speak well for him, does it? Haiti is the best possible example, I think, of a country where the voice of the people has effectively been kept out of power. Well, Bahrain is an even better example. As Brahimi been there too, I wonder?

  111. Arash Darya-Bandari says:

    James Canning says:
    September 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm
    “My viewpoint is that Iran needs a deal with the P5+1. Your viewpoint is that Iran does not need a deal. P5+1 will not accept Iranian 20 U production. Do you claim otherwise? The issue is what Iran must do to achieve a deal with P5+1.”

    Iran considers its hands bound (by God) when it comes to “dealing” with the *taghut* (arrogant powers): [2:279] … you shall do no wrong, and neither shall you be wronged.

  112. kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    September 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    At same time the UNSC or the P5+1 can’t back down either, if they do that would be the end of UNSC’s authority in its current format
    There is no face-saving way in this for either side. I suspect for the rest of independent non-veto holding world powers, as we now have entered into the next stage of this decade old conflict , Iran’s resistance against her sovereignty will gain more support to weaken the current UNSC unfair structure.

  113. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I respectfully decline to stop whining.

    Fair warning: I’ll whine some more when Iranians have to revisit this stage of western savagery:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bwJKYHNGT98

  114. Castellio says:

    Maybe most of you have already seen this, however, I have just watched John McCain’s delivery on foreign affairs (sort of) at the RNC convention. For those interested:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LmdftkYDoQ

    “renewing the foundations of our power” is, he claims, what is at stake in this election and Israel is the highest priority…

    His presentation of Iran and Syria is, well… listen to it yourself.

  115. James Canning says:

    imho,

    China and Russia are quite happy for Iran to play a prominent role in the ME, and both countries want Iran to stop enriching to 20. And to export its stockpile of 20 or convenrt it to fuel plates for TRR.

  116. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Stop whinning; that is what war is all about.

    There is no other way for Iran – thank God for US and EU, they are teaching Iran and Iranians how to be modern.

  117. fyi says:

    All:

    The UNSC resolution have created new obligation for Iran beyond NPT.

    These include suspension of uranium enrichment, adbandonment of the Arak Heavy-water Reactor, and discontinuation of certain kinds of missiles.

    Furthermore, the UNSC sanactions have also restricted Iranian arms trade.

    These are all obligations that infringe on Iran’s sovereign rights.

    No responsible government (to the Iranian people) in Iran could ever comply with these obligations.

    There is zero-chance of a deal on uranium enrichment that would also resolve these other issues.

    Iranian leaders and planners must assume that the current UNSC sanction against Iran will continue indefinitely.

    I personally would not be surprised if they are still around in 2050.

    I repeat again, no deal with P5+1 is possible, the time for that was 2007 or, at the latest, 2010.

  118. Karl.. says:

    James,

    I take your repeated rejection of answering my simple question(s) that you are a supporter of Aipac and israeli government when it comes to their views on Iran, correct?

  119. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Iran has enough 20 now to operate TRR for twenty years. You hope for more 20?

  120. James Canning says:

    imho,

    I couldn’t find your questions.

  121. BiBiJon says:

    Words, words, and more words
    ===========================

    Obama to the people and government of Iran:

    ” let us remember the words that were written by the poet Saadi, so many years ago: “The children of Adam are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence.”"

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/20/iran-middleeast

    Actions, actions, and more actions
    ———————————-

    “The effect, say medical experts, is being felt by cancer patients and those being treated for complex disorders such as haemophilia, multiple sclerosis and thalassaemia, as well as transplant and kidney dialysis patients, none of whom can afford interruptions or delays in medical supplies.”

    From http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/43abcb36-f5cc-11e1-a6bb-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz25Wf1gdFs

    Praise, Praise, and prais by our one-and-only friend William Hague:
    ——————————————————————

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lSqEVYOMhE

  122. James Canning says:

    imho,

    I’ll look for your questions that I did not answer.

    Very stimply stated, I think Iran needs a deal with P5+1 and such a deal could include acceptance of 5 U but there is no chance 20 would be accepted (by P5+1). And of course any deal would be after the November elections. And Obama would need to win, given the avowed idiocy already announced by Mitt Romney.

  123. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Interesting piece on the situation in Lebanon that you linked. We might remember here that Israel smashed Lebanon in 2006 due to fairly minor Hezbollah attack that itself was intended to relieve pressure on Hamas in Gaza. Hamas now supports overthrow of Syrian gov’t.

  124. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    My viewpoint is that Iran needs a deal with the P5+1. Your viewpoint is that Iran does not need a deal. P5+1 will not accept Iranian 20 U production. Do you claim otherwise? The issue is what Iran must do to achieve a deal with P5+1.

  125. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Britain, France, Germany and almost certainly the US, would accept Iranian operation of nuclear power plants. Britain, France and Germany virtually certainly would accept Iranian enrichment to 5. And the US may do so too, in context of a P5+1 deal.

  126. Ataune says:

    Looks like US administration got the response delivered through Feltman via Nasrallah.

  127. kooshy says:

    imho says:

    September 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Karl.. says:
    September 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    “What do you guys think about the alleged letter to Iran by Obama that have been reported in the news? Fake? Legit?”

    As I understand the message was not sent in a written form, but rather it was verbal, my guess is it was delivered by Moon and that’s how the Israelis know about it. The way it was delivered including Dempsey’s comment, was to serve both proposes during the election.

  128. BiBiJon says:

    Isn’t it wonderful that Iranian penal code can be read, understood and criticized?

    http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/04/the-problem-with-irans-proposed-penal-code/

    Makes me jealous, frankly. I wish I could read and, understand what was the penal code that governed the execution-by-drone of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a 16 year old American-born, who’d been orphaned by the drone-execution of his father a month earlier.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18896232

  129. Rehmat says:

    In a closing statement on Friday, the 51 heads of states attending the 16th Non-Aligned Movement Summit unanimously supported Iran’s legal rights to continue country’s nuclear program.

    Another move to expose western lies about Iran’s nuclear intentions – Iran allowed some of NAM leaders to visit the so-called “secret nuclear sites” – which were only open to IAEA inspectors so far. One of them, the controversial military base at Parchin.

    Iran’s first power-generating nuclear plant at Bushehr
    reached 100% capacity last week.

    Iran’s nuclear program started with the support, encouragement and participation of the United States, France, Germany and the UK because it made economic sense, and it still does. At a time when Iran’s nuclear program is portrayed as an imminent threat, its interesting to see that the program actually started long ago, with the support and participation of the same countries that today insist Iran abandon its nuclear program. Read rest of the story here.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/iran-opens-nuclear-site-to-nam-leaders/

  130. fyi says:

    Don Bacon says:

    September 3, 2012 at 10:49 am

    He is just a hack.

    You are wasting too much tim eon him and his mission.

  131. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    More cold water on Bibi’s comb-over…

    Ex-CIA chief Michael Hayden: “Only the U.S.” can strike Iran nuclear sites effectively

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-57505379-503543/ex-cia-chief-michael-hayden-only-the-u.s.-can-strike-iran-nuclear-sites-effectively/

  132. imho says:

    Karl.. says:
    September 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    What do you guys think about the alleged letter to Iran by Obama that have been reported in the news? Fake? Legit?

    Who knows ? US denies it:
    “In Jerusalem, an Israeli official, who asked not to be identified, described the report as illogical.

    “It doesn’t make sense,” the official said. “There would be no need to make such a promise to the Iranians because they realize the last thing they need is to attack U.S. targets and draw massive U.S. bombing raids.”"

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/03/israel-iran-usa-idINDEE8820DP20120903

    Does that declaration mean that Iran would not retaliate on US ?!!

    Let us for a moment imagine it is true. It makes sens that the US not only doesn’t want to be implicated now in war, she doesn’t want Israelis know about such a deal with Iran.
    Iran has always linked an Israeli attack to US, thus making US responsible of Israeli actions. That puts pressure on Obama to reign in Israel but frees Israelis mouth to threat Iran with military action on behalf of US (supposing US would be involved anyway).
    Now, what if Iranians say an Israeli attack would unleash Iranian counter attack only on Israel and not on US (provided some conditions are met) ? Would Israel continue her threats, even less decide for military action alone ?
    I could imagine the two countries would declare solidarity etc. for public consumption. But behind the scene there would be intense debates and divisions. Israel would want US to declare publicly she defends Israel in case of war in any scenario. The danger is the pressure would be so high that Obama may possibly agree.
    But, short of initiating overt hot war, he would declare to defend Israel, hardly a news for Iranians. That is, an Iranian counter attack on Israel, which would be viewed as an act of self defense, would unleash American military actions.
    In the end, in case of hot war between US and Iran, I’d prefer the first offensive act to be from the US. That may have a lot of weight on world opinion.

    Until now Iranian calculation in case of any war scenario, putting US and Israel on the same level of responsibility worked well. This is pretty logical to do it this way, if Iran thinks of Israel as a mad dog that must be reigned in by the US.
    But if Iran thinks Israel has not the guts to attack alone, then some seeds of discords between allies is not a bad idea provided the risks can be managed.
    After all, British didn’t invent divide and conquer and there is no copyright on it.

  133. BiBiJon says:

    ‘Inducements’ turned upside down
    ===============================

    We are all familiar with the alleged lure of free juice boxes and cakes motivating millions of Iranians to get “bussed in” and participate in pro-government street demonstrations.

    Well, when it comes to luring thousands of international delegates to attend the NAM summit and confer international legitimacy to the Iranian government, not only you have to make them pay for juice boxes and cakes, you have to make them pay at least 5 times the going price.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/sanctionshit-iran-to-be-richer-by-50-mn/997140/0

  134. BiBiJon says:

    Don Bacon says:
    September 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    “Iran, morally, is far above the US …”
    ========================================

    “So, those are the two cases which the DOJ this week announced it was closing without any charges of any kind being brought. Because the Obama administration has systematically blocked all other cases besides these two from any possibility of criminal charges, yesterday’s decision means that nobody in the US government will pay any price for the systematic worldwide torture regime which that nation implemented and maintained for close to a decade.”

    From http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/31/obama-justice-department-immunity-bush-cia-torturer

    Contrast much?
    ==============

    “The Iranian authorities acknowledged Saturday for the first time that at least three protesters had been beaten to death in prison after the disputed presidential election in June, as a military court announced that 12 prison officials had been charged with murder and other crimes.”

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/20/world/middleeast/20iran.html?scp=1&sq=kahrizak&st=cse

  135. imho says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    September 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    There is a difference between what US and Israel want and what they can do.

    Brahimi’ negotiation is a waste of time as you put it but so is the nuclear negotiation with Iran. Therefore it appears that both negotiations are designed to “buy” time.

  136. Karl.. says:

    James,

    Is there are a reason why you dont respond to questions? I asked you why you put certain states interests (even aipac) above international law? Could you please tell us why?

    Plus, dont you understand why Iran urge US to respect international law? That is, that they urge US to respect their rights within the NPT?

  137. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    September 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    You didn’t answer my questions. I didn’t really expect you would.

    You’re saying now about Romney’s refusal of ANY enrichment. So be it. But then, what’s the point to talk about 20U or 5U anymore ?

  138. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Iran has a lot of air defense bases…

    “Iran’s Air Defense Force has 3,600 stationary bases throughout the country.”

    From the commander of the Iranian Air Defense force. At 1:37 in the linked video.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/09/03/259656/iran-building-advanced-defense-system/

    Yet another body blow to Hack’s arrogant claim that Iran is unable to defend itself against the US.

    And to send that claim to the bottom of the Persian Gulf (so to speak):

    http://milparade.udm.ru/26/084.htm (Iran has MDM-6 mines).

    And to deliver the mines?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADfiUFUoIYM&list=UUpLzKBlu1YmsKf6eq7w635Q&index=10&feature=plcp

    They can also be air dropped and deployed by the 1,000s of small boats in Iran’s navy. And the US Navy acknowledges the problem…

    “Iran Mine Threat Scares Navy; CNO Scrambles To Fix Decades Of Neglect”

    The relevant quote is here…

    “The Navy’s long-term solution is a high-tech concept centered around the controversial Littoral Combat Ship, which will serve as a fast, albeit vulnerable, mothership for mine-hunting helicopters and a host of unmanned vehicles. That’s definitely more attractive than the traditional approach of sending minesweeping ships, divers, and even trained dolphins straight into the minefield. But the much-delayed mine-countermeasures module for the LCS is still in development, with extensive testing about LCS-2, the Independence, scheduled for this summer. Until it’s operational, the Navy’s counter-mine capacity remains distinctly limited.”

    http://defense.aol.com/2012/05/04/iran-mine-threat-scares-navy-cno-scrambles-to-fix-decades-of-ne/

    And of course those fancy ships will be very effective against mines once Iran’s anti ship missiles reduce them to burning scrap.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_Gulf_(missile)

  139. imho says:

    fyi says:
    September 3, 2012 at 9:19 am (previous thread)

    “I think (I cannot prove this) that the reason we are not seeing global inflation yet in all sectors is because the money has gone into supporfting asset prices.”

    It depends on how you read inflation numbers.

    First, inflation by definition is the growth of money supply circulating, with the consequence of rising the price of goods. However people usually know the inflation as just the raise of the prices.
    Second, there is no doubt, with various QE thanks to the FED, that the amount of money supply has grown. This is the way the Americans export their inflation and how they tax every other nation that needs dollars (the definition of an empire).
    Third, raising prices is equivalent to money becoming more worthless. Now, I don’t really trust inflation numbers as given by various governments around the world even if “independent” agencies are “calculating” these numbers. The reason is that number depends very much on the number of good samples you put in the basket to calculate it. What counts more for a majority of persons (mostly poor or middle class) is what you pay for food and transportation essentially. And you can easily see that your money worth less and less. So, I’d say that inflation is here, we can feel it directly but can’t put the right number on it because of various interpretations or dishonest governments and institutions.
    If we pay more for oil, it is because the dollar worth less.
    Also, there is a difference between now and inflationary periods in the past. Usually, in period of inflation, people salaries keep also augmenting (another reason the amount of money circulating grows). Not now, thanks to the corporations siphoning the economy and people’s wealth. So yes, money has gone, but to the corporations’ deep pockets. Printed money by central banks goes to the banks which are supposed to inject that money into the economy. I wonder, how much of that money is really going into the economy. This is the debt-based economy, a kind of modern times, hidden slavery.

  140. Photi says:

    Don Bacon says:
    September 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    “The real issue is hegemony, we know that. Iran has it and the US wants it. So that’s why they will go way beyond Iraq!”

    Don, what makes you think Iran has “hegemony” or even seeks it? Iran’s position has consistently been that the people of each nation should decide their own destiny, not some foreign power. “Flagrant hypocrisy” is a trait of the Western powers.

  141. Photi says:

    If anyone is grappling with American exceptionalism:

    The “Only in America” Myth by Nima Shirazi

    http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2012/09/the-only-in-america-myth.html

  142. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    September 3, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks for the link to Philip Giraldi. A ‘must read’ for the relevant American decision makers. Our country has not been given away yet!

  143. Don Bacon says:

    Iran, morally, is far above the US and Israel because its ‘redline’ is if they are attacked they will (justifiably) counterattack with fury and not only sink some US ships and down some airplanes, and destroy some US land installations, they will also destroy Israel, as well as block the Gulf and double the price of oil. (Which is why General Dempsey says ‘no way.’) Good for them.

    Whereas the US and Israel on the other hand have these fake concerns about illicit behavior and nuclear ambitions and nuclear capabilities, as well as the wholly concocted and baseless ‘world’s greatest terrorist threat’ which, each and all, go way beyond the alleged Iraq WMDs which, ten years ago, seemed to serve as the ultimate in baseless excuses for war. The real issue is hegemony, we know that. Iran has it and the US wants it. So that’s why they will go way beyond Iraq!

    War is immoral and illegal, and unkind to women and children, no matter what the ‘redline’ excuse might be. Those that advocate it and abet it are war criminals and should be shot. They are guilty of illicit behavior and criminal war ambitions.

    We all know who’s included in this criminal activity, the politicians and their journalist promoters. And we know who is fighting them, like the Leveretts. We might disagree on the tactics but we agree on the principles involved. Boiled down: Persians rule. Come and get me, but I side with Iran. I think I have made that clear.

  144. Ataune says:

    Here’s the quote:

    Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said he still believed Obama’s assurances that Washington was prepared to use force if needed to prevent Iran from developing a bomb.
    “I don’t know what kind of messages Yedioth Ahronoth heard,” Meridor said. “But I think the Iranians understand … that if they cross a line towards a bomb, they could encounter very strong resistance, including all the options that are on the table – as the American president has said.”

  145. Ataune says:

    To James Canning,

    Here’s a quote from Meridor reported by Reuters today:

    <>

    This is a clear political statement by Israel, publicly the most hawkish toward Iran, showing not only that 20% does not constitute a red line for the americans but, implicitly, their own acceptance of this facts on the ground.

    The US, therefore the UK, France and Germany, have, during the last 10 years, constantly breached their own red lines concerning Iran’s enrichment, including the 20%, “Ils vont continuer a avaler d’autres couleuvres”.

  146. Don Bacon says:

    @James Canning
    “Don Bacon, You may not have noticed, but The New York Times, the Financial Times, etc etc etc tend to use 20 as shorthand for 19. whatever.”

    1. The trash publications you quote, and apparently, read, are the cause of your ignorance and repetition of falsehoods. You need to read the truth, not propaganda, and you need to start soon so you don’t continue to pollute this site with repetitive bullshit obtained from trash media that have led us to war so many times.

    2. 20 is not a shorthand for 19, it is 20. Is 10 shorthand for 9? How about 5 as shorthand for 4? That’s stupid.

    3. It’s not “whatever.” Light enriched uranium is less than twenty, heavy is twenty and above. So it matters. Iran enriched is light enriched, not heavy enriched. It’s not “whatever.” Have some respect for facts, James. They matter.

    The fact remains as I stated: Iran has no 20U. Live with it, James. It happens to be the truth whether you like it or not. I respect truth, and I disrespect anyone that doesn’t. “Whatever.”

  147. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    September 3, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    “Iran offered to stop the 20, one year ago. Perhaps you may recall that offer.

    Why would Russia and China want to “coerce” Iran?”

    ————-

    Search me. I don’t know. Let’s ask Russia and China why they voted for resolution 1929 on June 9th, 2010 (1), when Iran, Brazil and Turkey signed the Tehran declaration on May 17th (2).

    I’ve read some rationalizations by one Russian analyst that Russia was upset by Iran’s construction of Fordo site without notifying Russia in advance. Apparently, nearly daily threats to bomb Natanz emanating from US/Israel/UK, and Russia’s sudden round about face on supplying Iran s300 air defenses did not constitute reason enough for Iran to build a bomb-proof enrichment site.

    In short, it is a mystery to me. What do you think, James?

    (1) http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/sc9948.doc.htm
    (2) http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_06/FuelSwap

  148. Brahimi has zero chance of affecting anything because he is not calling the shots. The US, Israel, France, Germany, England, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are calling the shots – and really it’s just the US and Israel, as usual, with the rest providing the money and advisers to the insurgents.

    How the hell can Brahimi “dial back” the insurgents when they’re getting DIRECT MILITARY SUPPORT from the US, France, Germany, England, and DIRECT MONEY AND WEAPONS from Saudi Arabia and Qatar? Unless those parties want to back off from supporting the insurgency, there is no way the insurgents will be motivated to “dial back”.

    It’s a completely ridiculous notion.

    And for what? So Syria ends up with its missile arsenal intact, and Hizballah’s missile arsenal intact, and Syria with a government which is still mostly Allawite and in bed with Iran and against Israel?

    Does anyone really believe that outcome is what the US and Israel wants? And is therefore willing to back Brahimi in achieving such a goal?

    Seriously?

    It’s all a massive waste of time and energy. Brahimi will fail as badly as Annan did. And within a few weeks, just like Annan, in my opinion.

  149. humanist says:

    ToivoS

    Re: your 3:20am post

    I guess the question you have raised about the style of writing this Leveretts’ article didn’t cross my mind at all since I read the article not in the same order as you probably had read. Let me explain. As soon as I saw the link ‘here’ in the second line, I clicked on it and read it with utmost attention . (It is written by Nicole Dow and is entitled “Iran’s Softpower Messagin?”)

    I found Dow’s text well written, engaging and revealing. (Unlike most of the stuff published in US-CNN news-analyses section). The article frequently quotes, in exact terms, Hillary’s compelling arguments on recent Syrian topics.

    After finishing reading, while still in an elevated mood, I switched back to original item (which is signed by Leveretts). I didn’t notice then any questionable inconsistency or lack of fluency.

    Regardless of the above, one might argue that the question you have raised is not invalid altogether. I personally believe in sites like RFI ‘content’ is of prime significance and ‘form’ matters at a far far lower degree of importance.

  150. Have you read any of THIS in the MSM? Thought not… More evidence that my position is correct.

    Is the Syrian Crisis Being Leveraged to Weaken Hezbollah?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/09/03/is-the-syrian-crisis-being-leveraged-to-weaken-hezbollah/

  151. James Canning says:

    I recommend “Entangled with Israel”, by Philip Giraldi (Sept. 3rd):

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/entangled-with-israel/

  152. James Canning says:

    “Iran, Russia discuss ties, regional and global issues”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/09/03/259690/iran-russia-discuss-ties-regional-issues/

  153. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    You may not have noticed, but The New York Times, the Financial Times, etc etc etc tend to use 20 as shorthand for 19. whatever.

  154. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Iran offered to stop the 20, one year ago. Perhaps you may recall that offer.

    Why would Russia and China want to “coerce” Iran?

  155. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I am not sure what your position is, regarding Iranian enrichment to 20. I do know the P5+1 insist Iran stop the 20, export the existing stocks of 20 (or make it into fuel rods/plates for TRR). I do think Iran cannot afford to ignore the clear wishes of Russia and China. I have not seen any statement by the Leveretts that Iran should ignore the wishes of Russia and China.

  156. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Obama will do well to try to avoid being dragged into war with Iran, should Israel attack. It would be nearly impossible for him, however.

  157. ToivoS says:

    Castellio of course you are right. Such a writing convention does make sense. It is not a convention of which I was familiar and it became a distraction. I also overlooked that it was a report of an interview with different media not an independent report on the NAM conference.

  158. Karl.. says:

    What do you guys think about the alleged letter to Iran by Obama that have been reported in the news? Fake? Legit?

    It seems that US dont know if Israel is about to start a war and if they do US would appreciate if Iran dont return fire on american military targets in the region.

  159. Karl.. says:

    James,

    Please respond to my reply that I posted in the last thread.

  160. Castellio says:

    Don Bacon says: September 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I have no argument with anything you say in that post. I also agree with you that: “Most Syrians don’t support the opposition, and most of them support the government,” although I seem to have recently lost some friends over that position. I think the foreign role has greatly retarded the actual indigenous pressure for reform, as many now see that the foreign intent will simply devastate the country, not improve it.

    It’s very hard to get anything approaching objective reporting in the English language in the major media. Extremely difficult. This marginal site is one that, I believe, at least attempts to work towards it.

    The point is to access information read and considered by those living and working in the countries being written about, and that share at least a desire for true facts and historically informed opinions.

    Another site worthwhile for information in a broad way and for those reasons is http://www.jadaliyya.com

    I have enjoyed your contributions.

  161. Photi says:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/obama-talks-to-iran-and-washes-hands-of-israeli-attack-ynet-reports.html

    “Obama talks to Iran and washes hands of Israeli attack, Ynet reports”

    Here is some cold water for Netanyahu’s attack plans.

    Is President Obama saying if Israel is going to fight Iran, they will be doing so on their own?

    Does anyone in Israel actually believe that without American support its military capable of doing anything but annoy Iran’s nuclear program?

    Newsflash Israel: you only appear invincible to yourselves.

    Now grow up and make peace with your neighbors.

  162. Don Bacon says:

    There is no 20U in Iran. The uranium fuel there is under 20U.

  163. BiBiJon says:

    “coercive”?
    ==========

    A definition for the tiresome James.

    Coercion, according to Wikipedia, is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way. Coercion may involve the actual infliction of physical pain/injury or psychological harm in order to enhance the credibility of a threat. The threat of further harm may lead to the cooperation or obedience of the person being coerced. Torture is one of the most extreme examples of coercion i.e. severe pain is inflicted until the victim provides the desired information.

  164. kooshy says:

    If You Vote, You Consent to be Governed

    By Melanie Johnson.

    “The conventional wisdom on voting is that you should always vote because it is your “patriotic duty,” and that your vote should be for one of the two major political parties, otherwise you’re “throwing your vote away.” I disagree. I think people should vote their values, which might mean voting for an “unelectable” third party candidate, or perhaps not voting at all.

    I had a political science teacher in college who taught this, and it has stayed with me. He said that if people don’t know the issues, they are better off not voting than risking a vote for the wrong candidate. I agree wholeheartedly, and I’ll even take it a step further: when the choice is between two piles of excrement, one only slightly less foul smelling than the other, we do not have to pick one of them out of some misguided sense of patriotic obligation. If the best the major parties have to offer fall short of the principles you believe in, then it is your patriotic duty to not vote for either one of them.”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32328.htm

  165. James Canning says:

    Good rhetorical question by the Leveretts: who is blocking movement toward a political solution in Syria?

  166. James Canning says:

    imho,

    We should keep in mind that Mitt Romney has pledged to prevent Iran from doing ANY enrichment. And Romney has a team of neocon warmongers at his elbows. Plus, Romney has effectively pledged to give primary attention to the wishes of Bibi Netanyahu.

  167. BiBiJon says:

    Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday that Republican rival Mitt Romney is “ready to go to war in Syria and Iran” while hurting the middle class.

    From http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/national_world&id=8795964

    ———-

    There are many ways to say that you’re not interested in war. But, probably the deftest way of saying it is to accuse your opponent of hungering after war. It is deft because it forces the opponent to either confirm his blood lust, in which case he’ll have to justify it to the largely war-weary independent voters. Or, your opponent is forced into denying it, and in the process affirm the correctness of the status quo vis-a-vis Iran/Syria, a policy authored by Obama admin.

    Either way, the October surprise deal with Iran, can be played to Romney’s disadvantage.

  168. James Canning says:

    imho,

    You should read both today’s report in The New York Times (on Iran’s nuclear programme, 189 kg of 20 U, etc.) and James Blitz’s comments in the Financial Times Sept. 3rd “Deciphering Iran’s nuclear plans” – - FT.COM.

    You appear to urge Iran to defy the clear wishes of the P5+1 (that Iran stop enriching to 20, and either make fuel plates from existing 20 or export it).

  169. kooshy says:

    Iran enemies dare not implement military threats: IRGC chief

    “One of the consequences of the eight-year [Iraqi-imposed] war [from 1980 to 1988] was that the forces led by the [global] arrogance concluded that they could not deal with Iran with force and war, and that they could not impose their will on Iran,” the general concluded.”

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/09/02/259518/iran-enemies-darent-implement-threats/

  170. James Canning says:

    James Blitz of the Financial Times points out today that Iran actually has reduced its stock of 20 U over past three months (when one subtracts the 20 used to make TRR plates). “Deciphering Iran’s nuclear plans”, ft.com/rachmanblog Sept. 3rd

  171. James Canning says:

    Front page story in The New York Times today notes that Iran now has 189kg of 20 U. Which NYT report claims is “close to bomb grade”. Grudging concession Iran has used some of the 20 to make fuel for TRR.

  172. James Canning says:

    The Leveretts clearly are quite right to say the Saudis want someone in power in Syria who will not be an “ally” of Iran. Saudi Arabia and Qatar wanted to improve their relations with Syria, provided Bashar al-Assad put more distance between Syria and Iran. Did the Saudis and Qataris decide Assad needed to go, due to Iran’s enriching to 20?

  173. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Do you regard the P5+1 as being “coercive”? Are China and Russia being “coercive” against Iran, in your view?

  174. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    I think Obama would have been willing to appear at the same event as Ahmadinejad, but he was unable to move forward with his intention to engage with Iran. Why? Poor advice from his own team. Israel lobby.

  175. Don Bacon says:

    @Castellio
    I appreciate your response. Regarding the decontextualization of real quotes from Brahimi, you know that’s possible and Brahimi should know it to. He’s no spring chicken. He’s been around the barn a few times. He’s even older than I am!

    So Brahimi should know and understand the arena he’s in and be able to cope with it, while dealing with the facts and making clear, factual statements that can’t be manipulated..

    I have seen nothing in his remarks, or Hillary’s either for that matter, about the multitude of foreign forces in Syria. It’s merely “internal opposition” which is not a correct reading of the situation. Most Syrians don’t support the opposition, and most of them support the government. The problem is not only external support but also external participation. That includes the US and UK who have agents there. That’s the crux of the problem, not the Saudi vs. Iran factor.

  176. Castellio says:

    Don… In the eyes of AP editors, an article on Brahimi is another excuse to say the same thing over again. Accurate reporting is very low down on the list of priorities at AP. I realize you are going to say “but it’s his quote”. But the decontextualization of real quotes is, in fact, one of the highest priorities and most successful accomplishments of those same editors.

  177. Castellio says:

    FYI… in terms of exporting military arms to support unrest in other countries, the issue is and remains Saudi Arabia.

  178. Castellio says:

    ToivoS..it’s jointly written and clearly signed by Hillary and Flynt. When an article is signed by two partners the use of “I” for the beliefs of one or the other is proscribed, nor would the use of “we” be accurate, given the intent to represent the words and position that one of the signers has taken. Using quotes reflects that Hillary’s words were spoken in another media or on another occasion, and is accurate and desirable.

    It is written and signed appropriately.

  179. Castellio says:

    Historical parallels of imperialist overreach and creating the conditions for world war:

    http://japanfocus.org/-Peter_Dale-Scott/3819

  180. Don Bacon says:

    Sure there’s some rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran but I think Hillary exaggerates it, which has the disadvantage of distracting attention away from the principal rivalry in the Middle East, the one that really counts, between the US and Iran. After all, the King and the President recently attended a summit together, and sat next to each other, and spoke similarly of common objectives.The US would never do that with Iran.

    Regarding uses of hard and soft power, there probably are differences between between the kingdom and the republic but both kinds of power are used by both governments to varying degrees.

    Regarding elections any time soon in Syria, even after a ceasefire that would be impossible without evicting all the foreign jihadist elements, which probably wouldn’t observe a ceasefire anyhow. Elections are impossible under such conditions.

    The best alternative is the restoration of calmness, either relative or absolute, under President Assad, the status quo ante.

  181. Don Bacon says:

    BBC: Lakhdar Brahimi: “I’m coming into this job with my eyes open, and no illusions.”

    Brahimi had better open his eyes a little wider, because he thinks it’s a civil war. . .
    “I have been going to Syria for 50 years or more and have seen this mosaic of communities… who put their Syria identity first. I refuse to believe Syrians will forget that, go back to narrow identities, and find it indispensable to kill their neighbour.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19467160
    . . .when actually Syria is being attacked by a couple dozen, or more, foreign fighting groups. Some of them are indicated on this map (pdf) from Hurriyet, Turkey:
    http://tinyurl.com/99rdxq5

  182. fyi says:

    imho says:

    September 3, 2012 at 8:04 am

    In his speeches to NAm, Mr. Khamenei made an observation to the effect that other states with massive discontent – such as Spain or Greece – can also be destablized if weapons are transferred to those dissidents and protestors.

    This was, in my opinion, an implied threat.

    That is, unless the flow of weapns and arms to Syria are stopped, there will be retaliation against any number of other countries whereby weapons will be funneled to their dissidents and protestors.

    Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Yemen are all candidates.

  183. Don Bacon says:

    Second, Hillary highlighted [as a goal] Brahimi’s “refusal to simply parrot the White House talking point that Assad has to go and that Assad has lost all legitimacy.”

    Unfortunately Brahimi is doing his parrot act on Syria.

    AP, Sep 1
    New UN Syria envoy puts pressure on regime

    The U.N.’s new envoy to Syria told President Bashar Assad’s regime on Saturday that change is both “urgent” and “necessary” and that it must meet the “legitimate” demands of the Syrian people, words that will not win the seasoned Algerian diplomat and international trouble shooter any friends in Damascus.

    On his first day on the job, Lakhdar Brahimi also called on both sides to end violence in Syria, but said Assad’s government bears more responsibility than anyone else to halt the bloodshed. These remarks were seemingly intended to push the Damascus government to ease off on military operations to create a better atmosphere for his peace mission.
    http://news.yahoo.com/un-syria-envoy-puts-pressure-regime-214243048.html

  184. fyi says:

    All:

    The Axis Powers war against Iran, Syria and others will continue after US Presidential elections in Novermber; regardless of who gets elected.

    These states have committed too much and had so much high hopes for their coercive and violent strategies to change their minds now.

    All their strategies will have to fail before any change will be cotemplated.

    I think Iranians and their allies shou;d gradually make this failure apparent, lest the US-EU leaders and planners escalate to strategic Never-Never Land out of sheer frustration and infantilism.

    But, US-EU wil fail; I am certain of that.

  185. Kathleen says:

    On the Diane Rehm show last week she had a one hour program about the situation in Syria. They were all on the same page (including Diane) the time for diplomacy is over, talked about the Syrian refugees in detail (rhe Rehm show has never focused on Iraq refugees in this kind of detail) Not a mention of Egyptian President Morsi’s efforts to form a “contact group” to deal with Syria. Not a mention of this possibility. Never mention that 50% of the people in Syria would more than likely vote for Assad and that Assad has been willing to negotiate. When will Diane or other NPR programs have the Leveretts on to talk about Syria or Iran in detail?

  186. imho says:

    kooshy says:
    August 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm (previous thread)

    Why your post gives me a feeling of deja vu ?!

    “I always worried that in desperation the westerners will eventually pull the Shieh vs. Sunni card out, which they did”

    Exactly as I though! I just don’t know if they started this ugly sectarian card out of desperation or was it all planed. When bombs kept exploding every day in Iraq mainly in Shia areas (some planted directly by Mossad/CIA/MI6 as I heard), I crossed my fingers Iran would not fall in the trap and as you said they wisely refused to play to that tune. Events in Bahrain again worried me but cool heads prevailed.
    Beside the fact that a sectarian war would play into the western hands, Iran cannot afford to be dragged in for the simple reason that the Iranian soft power is essentially based on Muslims not Shias nor Persians. Problem is that in the ME region Iranian allies are mostly Shia groups/governments. The Hamas honeymoon didn’t last long.
    I believe Iran needs to make concrete steps on the ground, following her public statements and soft power, in order to make alliance with various Sunnis groups who also are not interested in sectarian rivalry and would like to focus on their shared goals of getting rid of imperial powers and having some weight dealing with Israel.

  187. imho says:

    James Canning said (from previous thread):
    “fyi, Very welcome report by Gareth Porter that you linked (regarding Iran’s fabrication of fuel plates from 20 U). Iranian stocks of 20 actually lower today than they were 3 months ago. Now, why does this story get so little attention in American newspapers? Silly question, of course.”

    A silly question for you:

    in light of this report, don’t you think that the whole stockpile and breakout capability is not about nuclear progress but about Iran’s ability to play a major role in ME ?
    Isn’t it a proof that even no stockpiling can’t be accepted by the west as a way out of the “nuclear” crisis ?
    Whether or not the US is following the Israeli lobby’s roadmap doesn’t change the fact that no negotiation is possible in this situation.

  188. ToivoS says:

    This is a very interesting article. It reports things I find encouraging. But I am puzzled about one thing — who is the author of this piece about Hillary Leverette?

    The article contains these statements: “Hillary notes that” or “Hillary argues that” or “In Hillary’s assessment” or a number of other like references. These refs to Hillary are followed by statements in quotations such as — in contrast to mainstream Sunni Islamists “who are not interested in killing other Muslims,” — which leads me to believe the author is quoting Hillary. So who is the author?

    At the bottom it is signed “–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett”.

    This is weird. I have authored many papers in my time and I do not refer to myself in the third person nor do I put my words in quotation marks. Why should I, since if I sign the article then what I am saying are my own words. If I quote myself, say from an earlier paper, then I would cite that source.

    I guess my question is: who is the author of this piece?