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The Race for Iran

LIBYA, IRAN, AND THE OBAMA DOCTRINE OF (SELECTIVE) PREVENTIVE “HUMANITARIAN” INTERVENTION

Photo by Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Over the past several weeks, Iran has not received quite as much attention as usual in Washington because of the extraordinary developments across the Arab world.  But Iran and its place in the region have been constant points of reference in the Obama Administration’s reactive responses to the developments. 

U.S. officials, speaking on background to various media outlets, have said that, since the beginning of the “Arab awakening” or “Arab spring”, President Obama has wanted to use the wave of popular agitation for political change in a growing number of Arab countries as the basis for an alternative “narrative” and America’s role in it, which could be used against both Al-Qa’ida and the Islamic Republic (what a parallel!).  What, exactly, is the role that such Iran-related calculations played in the President’s decision to order U.S. forces to attack targets in Libya? 

The explanations offered by the President and senior members of his Administration for this decision have been (to be generous) strategically incoherent.  Looking behind the presidential speeches and talking points, we would identify three distinct arguments for the Libya intervention, each championed by a different faction within the Obama Administration.  Each of these arguments has Iran-related dimensions.    

One is the “liberal imperialist” argument (to borrow John Mearsheimer’s excellent phrase).  Those espousing this argument believe there is a genuine moral imperative to violate traditional norms of sovereignty and nonintervention to rescue populations deemed by the international community as threatened by their own governments.  A number of those who champion this cause within the Obama Administration—e.g., Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—believe that the biggest foreign policy failure of the Clinton Administration was its decision not to support humanitarian intervention in Rwanda.  They are determined that President Obama will not repeat this mistake.  Above all, they want to establish a robust, international mechanism for humanitarian intervention, and saw the Administration’s response to the Libyan case as critical to this end. 

By effectively endorsing this argument, though, President Obama has set a truly dangerous precedent that blatantly disregards a sober evaluation of on-the-ground conditions.  To this day, the Obama Administration cannot tell the American people how many Libyans were killed by Qaddafi’s forces prior to the NATO intervention.  Obama’s reference to what might have happened in Benghazi if the United States and its partners did not intervene militarily ignores the record of past uprisings in Libya—when Qaddafi’s responses to those uprisings did not result in the deaths of thousands or spur massive refugee flows to Egypt. 

Make no mistake—Obama has supplemented the George W. Bush doctrine of “preventive” war with his own doctrine of “preventive” humanitarian intervention.  And there are clearly forces in the American body politic—if not within the Obama Administration itself—who would ultimately like to use this as a precedent for eventual action against Iran. 

Second, there is the “leader of the free world” argument.  Those espousing this argument believe that, even if U.S. vital interests were not directly threatened by events in Libya (as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates candidly acknowledged), America’s broader foreign policy equities mandated some form of U.S. intervention. 

For this camp—including a number of senior officials at the State Department—the enthusiasm of key European allies (well, France and Britain) and the “unprecedented” endorsement of the Arab League put pressure on the Obama Administration to do something.  How could the United States claim to be the world’s leader—and call on other states to support it when Washington’s own enthusiasm for military action was higher, as might ultimately come to be regarding Iran—if it blew off the Europeans and Arabs in this case?  

Obama took this argument a step further, in his public explanation of the Libya decision—the availability of international support for humanitarian intervention in a particular case, he said, helps make it in America’s interest to intervene in that case.  This statement is an absurd conflation of ends and means.

Third, there is the “demonstration effect”argument.  Those espousing this argument believe that the United States has a strong interest in reversing perceptions that U.S. influence in the Middle East is declining as Iranian influence is growing. 

It is always difficult to reverse perceptions when they are basically congruent with reality. 

So, none of the arguments advanced by various factions within the Obama Administration for military intervention stands up to serious scrutiny.  But, beyond this, the U.S. military intervention in Libya has done potentially grave damage to America’s non-proliferation and counter-terrorism policies.  After the way the Obama Administration has treated Qadafi, why should any government be willing to trade-off its nuclear capabilities or ties to groups that the United States considers terrorist organizations in return for what it thinks are implicit security assurances stemming from its new relationship with Washington?

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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234 Responses to “LIBYA, IRAN, AND THE OBAMA DOCTRINE OF (SELECTIVE) PREVENTIVE “HUMANITARIAN” INTERVENTION”

  1. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    Even during the war, Stalin did not want the people of the Soviet Union to understand that their war effort was totally dependent upon armaments and other supplies provided by the UK and the US.

  2. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    There is nothing “wrong” with being a monarchist, even if Arnold has a bee in his bonnet on this issue.

  3. Persian Gulf says:

    nahid says:
    April 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks. but the link can’t be open here. it’s blocked!

  4. Pak says:

    And, Arnold, what views are you talking about? Why are you getting so worked up? Is it a crime to have a different opinion on historical events, especially given that since the revolution the regime has crudely twisted Iran’s history to suit its own self-centred narrative?

    History is subjective, so there is no absolute right or wrong. I have a Russian friend who before leaving his motherland never even remotely considered the possibility that anyone but the Russians “won” WW2. So it was a total shock to him when Westerners talked about the American/British victory.

    And the points I raise are entirely my own. I have never claimed to speak for anyone else. This is the same point I made to Pirouz 2.0 earlier, because he correlated my personal views to that of the opposition leaders in Iran. If you want to know what they think, then read Mousavi’s statements, Kaleme, or the Green Movement charter.

  5. Pak says:

    Dear Arnold,

    I was born almost a decade after the revolution, at a time when Saddam Hussein was pounding Tehran with scud missiles. So to accuse me of being a monarchist – just because I said something positive about a monarch who lived almost a century ago – is totally baseless.

  6. nahid says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    April 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    http://www.goftamgoft.com/?Pn=view&id=934

    It is about ekhraji ha . I liked it,

  7. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    My point was that Goldstone’s change of position underlines the enormous PR power of world Jewry, which as you know I regard as a threat to the peace of the Middle East.

  8. Persian Gulf says:

    btw, I just got back from watching “Ekhrajihae 3″. I have little mixed feeling about it (it could be bc I didn’t see the other two ones or the movie’s harsh criticism of one side). the one important character was missing to a great degree. and it was too obvious what it was directed at. I kind of felt most of the people at the end left the scene more delusional. ArikehIranian is probably a too wealthy place in Iran for judgment. but these people are part of this society too.

  9. Persian Gulf says:

    kooshy:

    I know all those processes. but it takes time to get them, probably by that time I am gone. you pay for a service and you get almost half the speed you wanted. VPN sounds like an internal business to me. do you really believe without the approval of the system people can easily sell it in the scale we see in Iran? (it’s around 4000 toman per month). isn’t this shame?

    You said “most people who really want to access what they want have a VPN service to access everything”. the problem or issue is those people won’t change their minds by filtering, believe it or not. filtering, in the opposite direction, adds to their sene of paranoia. It is simple for them to point out to the filtering whenever IRIB or IR officials talk about something wrong abroad.

    BBC english is blocked, right? even most of the Iranians I know abroad read and watch BBCPersian. they don’t often read the english section. the system can’t change somebody who reads BBC english inside the country. I really don’t understand what is IR’s objective in that respect. I for myself used to daily read a news channel that rarely writes about Iran (probably one news per month or per two months, and relatively mild to be fair). that one is also blocked here.

    when people watch VOA and BBC and Euronews… why should we have filtering at all? Youtube is blocked, with the speed accessible to most of the people, probably a headache. I have learnt many things from it, from documentaries to music and sport. depriving people of something like this is by no means acceptable and defend-able. what security a system is concerned about that youtube should be blocked?

    you are talking about applying a traditional method to a very modern method of communication and process. this, as masoud rightly said, not the way forward.

  10. Fiorangela says:

    what’s your point, James Canning?

    Goldstone knew of the working of the Jewish community, whether in S Africa, in Israel, the US, or on the moon. He knowingly put himself in a situation where he was judging a situation in which he had an intense relationship with one of the parties to be judged.

    That is a violation of the most basic of expectations from a judge. He should have recused himself, and having failed to do so, he should forfeit his position of ever again being called upon to judge in an international capacity.

    There are more lawyers in the world than the world needs. Surely a judge can be found who is not tainted by such a close relationship with the adjudged.

  11. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Russia favors better relations between the US and Iran. And Israel’s delusions of keeping the Golan Heights will not succeed, no matter how many trips Netanyahu makes to Moscow. TIME FOR ISRAEL TO GET OUT OF GH. Israel’s continuing occupation of the Golan is a primary threat to the stability of the region.

  12. kooshy says:

    PG- here is my experience with internet access, when I was in Iran a few weeks ago, I did have fast high speed internet service ( some times faster than here but expensive $75/m) you can access certain western news media like NYT, WPO, Google news, etc. but could not access yahoo news , I don’t know what the criteria is, that some western news services are blocked, RFI is not blocked and I was able to read and post to RFI, or read Counterpunch, information clearing house, AT is allowed, so is Common Dreams, most of none MSM services that I usually read was accessible, but Juan Cole is blocked so is LA times. Skype is sometimes accessible and sometimes not, most people who really want to access what they want have a VPN service to access everything. After all traditionally in Iran, everything is like politics is “the art of possible” even if you want to get genuine (Shirini Makhsos) Haji Khalifeh Ali Rehabar’s yazdi sweets, you have to know someone with connection to the bakery.

  13. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    I understand that Goldstone was under heavy pressure from his Jewish friends in South Africa, to revise his position re: Israeli military activities in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

  14. fyi says:

    Humanist says: April 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    In regards to Rumi, he is following the order revealed in the Chpater 1 of Genesis (Book I of the Five Books of Moses which are considered the Authentic Word of God by Jews).

  15. James Canning says:

    JohnH – - The grotesquely bloated US national security establishment has less to do with protecting the national security of the American people than it does with enriching politicians and their entourages and supporters. The American people are too ignorant to recognize this fact.

  16. Fiorangela says:

    Pirouz @ 11:35 re the Goldstone report, Goldstone’s op-ed in WaPo that caused a tempest in a Starbucks cup, and Susan Rice’s lame reaction, “I wish it would disappear.”

    If Goldstone’s ability to judge events is tempered by his passionate attachment to his Jewish community and the ideology of zionism, then hasn’t the primary threshold of judicial impartiality be violated? Shouldn’t Goldstone have recused himself? In a court that judges parking tickets a judge knows enough to recuse himself if he has a relationship with one of the parties.

    Is Goldstone, ultimately, a stupid and dishonest person? I use the harsh words deliberately: why should one sugar-coat an offense so basic that any other person would be harshly censured if he committed it?

  17. Arnold Evans says:

    Pak:

    Do you think your point of view has majority support in Iranian society?

    If it does not, do you consider that a problem, do you care about the question of how to convince a majority of Iranians to support your views?

    Or do you hope some force outside of Iranian society succeeds in imposing someone who thinks like you on Iran, as the British so helpfully did with the Shah?

    The arrogance and disdain for other human beings of anti-democrats just boggles my mind. How’d you get so smart that you can decide policy for Iran better than the Iranian people?

    It is actually a disgusting point of view.

    I am glad that you’re openly expressing these views now. Just earlier in this thread you implied that I was wrong to insinuate that you may be a monarchist.

  18. masoud says:

    Persian Gulf,

    Thannks. Actually I haven’t been back in about ten years now. I had always taken Press TV as kind of barometer for what the IRIB editorial policy in general looks like. I guess it’s a special case. In any event the filtering situation seems like it’s only going to get worse and worse. The entire ComodoHacker episode is a little scary as far as that goes. If the IRI is going to go ahead with their clampdown on what services outside the country people get to access, they had better encourage and allow a much wider range of criticism allowed on internally hosted services, or else they are looking for trouble.

  19. Humanist says:

    Photi,

    Thanks for 10:23pm info.

    I was puzzled how, about 800 years ago, Rumi had concluded first there were only lifeless rocks then came plants, then animals and then humans.

    After reading your post I found out Tusi and Rumi were born about the same time and died about the same time. Now, since Tusi was an analytical thinker, I guess Rumi must have read Tusi’s essays and had accepted their contents. Interestingly Rumi went further and by extrapolation took that idea to the utopian realm ie saying after humans we can become like Malak (angels) and then again we evolve further becoming a perfection beyond the capacity of any imagination. That piece of Rumi’s poem which starts with “az jamadi mordam o nami shodam….” made a profound effect on my adolescent psyche and solidified the conviction that “for me, adhering to the principals of mysticism (treating others like myself and staying away from the temptations of shallow materialistic pleasures) are the way to go.

    About the video and speech of the Islamic scholar:

    As I wrote to Pirouz_2 in this thread “…the tribes whose children were fiercely and blindly accepting the traditions, rules, beliefs and rituals of their elders got a better chance for survival”

    I think that is why most of the children born in a Christian home, live and die as Christians. So are Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Voodoo Worshipers and so on.

    He must have been born in a Muslim home.

    He reminded me of Emanuel Velikowsky a historical character who was born in a Jewish home and later in university was exposed to the sciences (refer to Wikipedia). He had no doubt at all whatever is written in the Bible is absolute truth. He also couldn’t dispute the scientific theories so he thought Both ‘Must be’ True.

    He has written the famous “Worlds in Collision” where he theorizes “at the time the Jews were crossing the Red Sea a comet collided with the planet causing the sea to open a corridor. (What an amazing set of absurd thoughts, regardless his book became a best seller. I remember reading a review claiming he is a second Einstein!)

    It is not easy to escape from farcical crazy ideas planted in our minds when we were little kids. Fortunately the number of defectors are slowly on the rise.

    That man is not one of them. He still believes in Jinn.

  20. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Germany declared war on the US. (This may have been a significant blunder on Hitler’s part.)

    Don’t miss the response to Michael Oren’s WSJ rant, in today’s WSJ letters.

    Some powerful American Jews wanted the US to destroy the entire industrial capability of Germany, after Hitler was crushed. Fortunately, this truly idiotic proposal was not adopted by Truman.

  21. James Canning says:

    Alireza Miryousefi of Iran’s UN mission in NY has a good letter in the Wall Street Journal today (“Israel is the nuclear threat, not Iran”), responding to the Iranophobic rant by Michael Oran that appeared in the WSJ March 29th. I of course agree with him that the unfounded claims of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme are intended to distract world opinion for continuing oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.

  22. bobby says:

    Does the Eman al-Obeidy story (Libya rape girl) sound a little too convenient and ready for prime time?

    I’ve noticed CNN has been making max usage of it.

    A little too much like the Saddam soldiers killing incubator babies PR campaign?

  23. Persian Gulf says:

    Liz says:
    April 7, 2011 at 3:45 am

    خوب ما الان دیگه — شدیم!!‌ نمی دونم چرا احساس می کنم یکم گوشهام دراز شد!‌ مشکل ملت هم اینجا حل شد. ایول به این کامنت.

  24. bobby says:

    JohnH,

    The real “humanitarian” intervention would be the USG deciding to use tax payers’ money to actually take care of the needs of Americans.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  25. JohnH says:

    Philip Girardi gut punches “humanitarian” interventions, a major source of budget deficits: “Many countries are not shy about massacring civilians. The United States has itself killed tens of thousands of them in Iraq and Afghanistan…By any metric Israel should be attacked first to prevent massacres of civilians as it has killed thousands of Arabs in internationally recognized war crimes carried out in Lebanon and Gaza…Both Republican and Democratic doctrines should be rejected because experience suggests that they do not save lives anywhere, quite the contrary, and each unfortunate overseas adventure only represents a new burden that has to be borne with no discernible gain for the American people.”
    http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2011/04/06/humanitarian-interventionism-by-the-numbers/

    That burden includes the potential loss of Medicare, Social Security, and decent universal education. It’s time for people to start talking about guns vs. butter–military adventurism vs. the health and welfare of the American people.

  26. bobby says:

    Lucas was also good for a few laughs, but he hasn’t been around lately. Any guesses why?

  27. Photi says:

    BIB,

    Pak does not use Americanized spelling, so I doubt he was raised in the states (either that, or he is trying to be clever). See ‘apologise’ not ‘apologize’ and ‘Westernised’ not ‘Westernized.’

  28. bobby says:

    BIB,

    No, thank you. Your recent take on the Rumi poem was classic. Unfortunately, I don’t think Mr. Clean Cheeze (Pak, aka Paneer) would even know how to find the field.

  29. Liz says:

    Pak,

    You certainly don’t live here in Iran.

  30. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    bobby,
    Welcome and thanks…it’s my pleasure.

    Pakuloo,
    You don’t need to be an American citizen or live in the US for the US government to be your own. But I suspect you are at least a US green card holder and spent most of your life there. Come on it’s OK, you can tell us…

  31. bobby says:

    Pak,

    Thanks for providing the comic relief on this blog.

    I guess it could be called courageous how you keep flailing away even though you consistently get your lunch handed to you by whomever decides to challenge your latest asinine comment, whether it’s RSH (currently MIA — RSH come back!), Brill, Kooshy, Pirouz_2, BIB (my personal favorite when it comes to making you look like an ass), etc.

    You remind me of the NY zionist kids Nima Shirazi has recently written about on his blog. You know, the ones who make stupid statement after ridiculous statement with full confidence that they know what they’re talking about, and when someone calls them on it, they either deny it or just say “oh, ok”, and continue on with their idiocy.

    Perhaps you should just keep to commenting on green sites like TB, where compared to the moronic crowd there, you actually sound somewhat intelligent. It’s like the homely girl who goes to clubs with hags so that she looks better to the guys with their beer glasses on. You’re obviously out-gunned here, where the regular commenters actually have intelligence.

    Personally, I enjoy the comic relief you provide.

  32. Pak says:

    Dear Liz,

    I neither live in the US, nor am I an American citizen, therefore the government in DC is not “my own”.

  33. Rehmat says:

    Liz – correction. The US being “violent and murderous in the world” – is a result of its powerful Jewish Lobby. Even the US was forced by the Jewish Lobby to join the WW II as result of British government’s promis to create a Zionist state in its Paletine colony. Historical record prove that Germany never attacked US interests. It was American Jewish Congress which had declared war on Germany in 1933 by calling for US sanctions against Germany – as currently carried out against Iran under Jewish lobbying groups.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/judea-declare-war-on-islamic-iran/

  34. Liz says:

    Pak,

    Their description was quite accurate and Larijani did well, despite the hostility. I think you should look at your own government in DC. There is no government as violent and murderous in the world as the US government.

  35. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    No – that is called Zionism.

    Dear Matt,

    Please read the comments from the article in question. My point back then was that the Leveretts were giving a platform to a specific faction of Iranian politics (one that talks about principles, justice, and so on, but openly violates the same principles, and acts beyond the constitution).

    This is how the Leveretts introduced the interview:

    “Last week, in an interview with Charlie Rose, Dr. Mohammad Javad-Larijani, head of the Human Rights Commission of the Islamic Republic and an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, tried to provide Americans a glimpse of how important supporters of the Islamic Republic regard the rule of law as a governing principle of their political order.

    Jokes.

  36. Pak says:

    Dear Pirouz 2.0,

    “Well thank you for confirming the point I made earlier.”

    It is my pleasure.

    “Well thank you once again for confirming my point, we can see the generous “humanitarian” donations of lockheed martin, McDonnell Douglas and Dassault Aviation raining down on Libya.”

    You are making a different point here. I spoke about the principles of humanitarian intervention, where as you seem to have a problem with the arms industry. Explain to me why you are fine with Gaddafi’s weapons raining down on the Libyan people.

    “…quite contrary to you who think the British system is a “well oiled and well lubricated” democracy.”

    Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but it is. If you could be so kind as to spend some of your valuable time explaining why it is not, I would be eternally thankful. But if you are too busy reading something else, then I totally understand, and apologise in advance for making such a wild request.

    “Based on your version of pseudohistory…”

    You have to put aside your inferiority complex for one minute, and take into account the dire state that Iran was in in the late 19th/early 20th century. Iran – sorry, Persia – did not have a strong centralised government, its military could not protect its borders, its lazy, uninterested monarchy had sold off practically every single corner of the country to foreign powers, and it had an uneducated, disease-infested population. Reza Shah managed to put some order to the country, although not enough, as Iran was effectively invaded a few years later.

    The men you mention were victims of circumstance, and unfortunately Iran has a bloody history of assassinating its roshan-fekrs, or sending them into exile. This is not a problem confined to one specific period of history, this is a continuous curse that holds Iran back from maturing politically.

    Anyway, my original post that we are referring to described a brief time-line of foreign interference in Iran. You have managed to pick out a single point I made, rather than the whole context. Clutching at straws does no justice.

    “…you on the other hand have only slandered me.”

    Calling you a Marxist is not slander. Why is it that Marxists are so sensitive about being called out for what they are? Otherwise, I did not slander you at all.

    “By the way, who do you think you are to ask people for their CV before your majesty would allow them to express their opinion? And where is your CV anyway, Mr.-demand-is-infinite-in-a-capitalist-society?”

    I am fully entitled to ask whatever I want, and people are fully entitled to answer/not answer. When people are bamboozled into saying that they are “too busy” to reply to something, and need to catch up on their “reading” instead, then they are fully entitled to do so. That is an answer in itself to be honest, but not a very convincing one. And there are many Americans here who make sweeping, neo-orientalist statements about the Middle East, even though they have practically no experience/knowledge of the region. I like to point them out.

    By the way, the infinite demand/finite supply problem is essentially the “what is the meaning of life?” question, but for capitalist economics. It cannot get any more fundamental, and as a result I wonder if you have actually studied economics. I have tried putting it into different contexts to help you understand, but to no avail as of yet. Let me try replacing the word infinite with perpetual, and see how that works with you.

    “LOL…please Pak….you are not in a position to insult anyone’s intelligence on this site.”

    I know, that is why I specifically said that I will avoid insulting your intelligence. Here is some advice to you: stop getting so aggressive. This is a virtual discussion, so throwing binary punches at me only makes you look frustrated, and I hate to wonder why you are frustrated.

  37. hans says:

    @PG says What I see here in Iran (Tehran at the moment) is a boost for the popularity of president Ahmadinejad.. I say to the people of Iran, you must change your constitution with a referendum for a president to have more then the 2 presidential term in certain circumstances. There is lot of politics going on with regards to “Pipeline Stan” and you need strong leadership, someone who is not easily corrupted, sharp and has a global perspective about the desires of Zionism. Ahmadinejado “El Magnifico” fits this role. I would say he should be re-elected for at least another 2 terms to see Iran through the troubled road ahead!

  38. Liz says:

    I agree, unlike newspapers and news websites,which are quite good, IBIB has serious problems with internal debates.

  39. Persian Gulf says:

    masoud:

    well, I am sure, you know what I meant unless you really didn’t visit here for a while. I even don’t know where to start with. the live political discussion that you see in the streets and elsewhere IS almost ABSENT in IRIB. Barely you can see a political or even critical social debate in the TV. As if people that I talked to are not living in this society. As if different views do not exist in this society. If you watch IRIB constantly and don’t watch anything else you would think everybody in Iran is praising Rahbar and the IR, Islam is the only issue people have in mind…. Frankly IRIB broadcasts for uneducated people not sure even for high school knowledge. I dare to say someone from the time of prophet Mohammad would have more familiarity with many of IRIB’s programs than the residents of today’s Iran! Why should people watch satellite TV news even in rural areas? internet filtering need not be mentioned, forget about speed (you are now using internet to communicate with me! you can’t be ignorant of this important issue). I can’t open many of the links people put in this comment section (and my “filtershekans” don’t work anymore! need to find better ones. it’s a shame). To me it’s still fine bc I am temporary here, but if I was to stay here for a long time, I would go crazy.

  40. masoud says:

    Persian Gulf,

    Can you be more specific about the problems with IR media reporting?

  41. Persian Gulf says:

    What I see here in Iran (Tehran at the moment) is a boost for the popularity of president Ahmadinejad. To talk about Mousavi, even in Tehran nowadays, is to ridicule yourself. He is dead. I have seen his strong supporters questioning the rationale of his actions. The greens abroad, as I always, are OBVIOUSLY out of touch with the realities on the ground in Iran. The subsidies reform seems to have a very strong approval rate even from the ardent opposition as far as I have seen. I have yet to see anybody questioning it basically even though there are people who are punched and of course those who see their fortune time in the periphery.

    Ghalibaf has some sort of popularity in Tehran, specially among the upper middle class, but I haven’t come across anything in other cities for him. I dare to say whoever Ahmadinejad stands firmly behind would win the next election. 2 years is a very long time though.

    There is however, a degree of schism, especially on the part of mostly upper middle class (the westernized segment to be specific and also reformists for different reason; i.e. power). I am shocked by the degree of paranoia that exists among this segment.

    AS for the IR’s media, I think, it’s doing the opposite as the west to some extent. IR’s news regarding foreign policies are fairly accurate in contrast to most of the internal affairs. It’s almost the opposite as one sees on CNN, and stupid strategy on the part of IR. This has seriously shaken the trust of the middle class on the IR’s media and gave the opportunist oppositions abroad an awesome venue to dig in and add to the dissatisfaction.

    In increase in the overall security is visibly seen, at least in Tehran, and no problem regarding the dress code and others; at least I haven’t seen yet (I have been touring Tehran constantly these days meeting friends and visiting different places; from north to south to east, west).

    کلا جمهوری اسلامی باید این نگاه گوسفندی به ملت ایران رو عوض کنه! آدم چطور می تونه به برنامه های خارجیش اعتماد کنه وقتی از برنامه های صدا و سیما مزخرف پخش می شه مخصوصا نسبت به مسایلی که یه شهروند عادی با چشماش تو کوچه و خیابون داره می بینه.

  42. Pirouz says:

    To this:

    “Susan Rice, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, said on Wednesday she wanted a controversial report on Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza offensive to ‘disappear”

    I have only to point to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znQe9nUKzvQ

  43. Goli says:

    Sakineh Bagoom,

    Joseph Stiglitz provides two examples of countries he calls America’s closest counterparts in disparity between rich and poor, Russia and Iran. Where are Stiglitz’s facts to back up his claim that Iran in on par with America? It is no surprise that so many opportunists with hidden agendas do not forgo any occasion that allows them to take a shot at Iran, the pariah. What is mindboggling and sad is how so many otherwise rational people take their unsubstantiated BS about Iran on face value. (I guess the way they see it the economic advisor to Clinton and a Nobel recipient should know what he is talking about.) Perhaps a better example for Stiglitz would have been the disparities between Palestinians and Jews in the apartheid state of Israel.

    Contrary to the implication of the comparison Stiglit draws, the Iranian government has lifted millions upon millions of people out of poverty. That is not to say that they have eliminated poverty or that Iran does not have its share of a corrupt wealthy class. But today in Iran, there is both far less inequality and a substantially larger percentage of middle class than ever before in its modern history.

  44. Photi says:

    Pirouz_2 and Humanist,

    Points of curiosity about your evolution discussion:

    The Iranian Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥasan Ṭūsī (d. 1274 AD) was talking about the evolution of the Universe and biological evolution as early as the 1200s.

    Quote from the Wikipedia article:

    Tusi wrote extensively on biology and is one of the early pioneers of biological evolution in scientific thought. He begins his theory of evolution with the universe once consisting of equal and similar elements. According to Tusi, internal contradictions began appearing, and as a result, some substances began developing faster and differently from other substances. He then explains how the elements evolved into minerals, then plants, then animals, and then humans. Tusi then goes on to explain how hereditary variability was an important factor for biological evolution of living things:[15]
    “The organisms that can gain the new features faster are more variable. As a result, they gain advantages over other creatures. [...] The bodies are changing as a result of the internal and external interactions.”

    and:

     Tusi then explains how humans evolved from advanced animals:[15]
    “Such humans [probably anthropoid apes] live in the Western Sudan and other distant corners of the world. They are close to animals by their habits, deeds and behavior. [...] The human has features that distinguish him from other creatures, but he has other features that unite him with the animal world, vegetable kingdom or even with the inanimate bodies. [...] Before [the creation of humans], all differences between organisms were of the natural origin. The next step will be associated with spiritual perfection, will, observation and knowledge. [...] All these facts prove that the human being is placed on the middle step of the evolutionary stairway. According to his inherent nature, the human is related to the lower beings, and only with the help of his will can he reach the higher development level.”

    For additional interest, the below url is a modern Islamic viewpoint on the Theory of Evolution.  I believe Rajabali is a Paki and not an Iranian, but he is a shia.  Interesting for those who believe in God and also more or less accept ideas of evolution.

    :http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6778429243869773680#

  45. Humanist says:

    Pirouz_2

    You write ”… I don’’t think that we are egoistic and self-centered by nature, the way supporters of the inevitability of capitalism suggest…”.

    Quite a lot of psychologists (even scholars in other fields on humanities) who are not experts in truly deterministic or quantitative sciences agree with you. I don’t.
    I guess if the brilliant Carl Marx was alive today he wouldn’t have tried to base a major part of his assertions on the “bad” oppressors and “good”oppressed people.

    Let us examine the issue closely. I think whatever anyone does, in long or short term, is neutral, harmful or beneficial to the “self”. The area we disagree is about the actions that apparently stem from “selflessness”. Actions such as being a keen and constructive member of the society, helping others or in the extreme case, endangering or destroying the “self”. (Such as instinctively jumping to icy water to save a drowning child , or in wars throwing Self on a soon to explode grenade). Is the last example a “heroic instance of absolute selflessness” or in closer examination is something different?

    The source of every single action is our brains which has evolved under the evolutionary force of Natural Selection. Evolution of humans and their culture under such force is fascinating to study and understand. I have read two engaging books from Richard Dawkins namely “The Selfish Genes” and “The God Delusion”. If you haven’t read them yet I am sure you are going to enjoy them. (These books, especially the second book have lots of hard words, so keep a dictionary handy). The Large Print of first book (384 pages) is downloadable free. Just Google search the title of the book + pdf to get to the site of the Selfish Gene. The Farsi Version of the second book is also downloadable free from efsha.co.uk > ketab sara > pendar e khoda.

    Studying these types of books shows you why butterflies (one of the tender symbols of selflessness in Iranian poetry) is attracted to candle light. By the rules of Natural Selection the species of butterflies who used the light of the sun and moon to move around or migrate survived. Some others in their group who didn’t evolve that way perished. That is the secret of butterflies getting attracted to candle lights not anything else conjectured out of the feeble imagination of buffelled humans.

    Natural Selection also secured the survival of human tribes who intertribally cooperated with each other and fervently fought with the neighboring tribes. In a similar process of the human evolution the tribes whose children were fiercely and blindly accepting and obeying the traditions, rules, beliefs and rituals of their elders got a better chance for survival.

    Story telling is the ritual of all human tribes. In nearly all the ancient stories you’ll find examples of the glorification of individuals who sacrificed themselves for their tribes and in wars, heroically gave their lives to save other members of the tribe. Put the above two factors of indoctrination and story telling ritual together then you’ll seel the links why a zealous soldier throws ‘self’ on a grenade.

    This and the important of ‘Cultural Evolution’ are long stories, I have other examples why we are born egocentric, duplicitous, hypocritic, pretentious liars.

    Dawkin’s books have list of rich references. Whenever I get the thirst to know more about “who we are’ I pick an Internet site from those references and enter the ‘wonderland’ of science. For me no other world deserves my trust but the realm of true verifiable science.

    Also now, for me the Iranian culture of becoming a poet rather than a specialist has to go to hibernation until full progress is achieved. At this time such a culture is poisonous and could delay the badly needed development of the country. Today in Iran if we have poetic psyche, science is where the captivating beauties abound not in “Shmm o gol o parvaneh o bolbol hamme jamaand, ey doust bia rahm be tanhai e ma kon”.

    As I had told you before, I am sure we have a lot in common, both in search of ‘just’ and ‘progressive’ rules that could take us out of these dark barbaric times. And you didn’t have to apologize for something which was not your fault at all, I should’ve warned you that I have replied to your comment

    All the best.

  46. paul says:

    As you know, Brill, if income disparity were growing tremendously, as it has been, then – of course – the disparity would indeed become more and more extreme towards the ‘top’. I suppose a sophist could call that ‘skewing the numbers’.

  47. Correction:

    “…counting, say, the top .1% – just 3,000 individuals…” should read: “…counting, say, the top .001% – just 3,000 individuals…”

  48. Sakineh,

    Thank you for citing the Joseph Stiglitz article in Vanity Fair, which I’ve only scanned so far but will read carefully later.

    I’ll venture a guess, though, that its statistics fail to account for what I’ve noticed: a dramatic rise in the number and wealth of a very small number of extremely wealthy individuals – a number far less than even the top 1% that Stiglitz focuses on. One percent, after all, is still about 3,000,000 individuals in the US. I have often wondered whether not counting, say, the top .1% – just 3,000 individuals – would result in a much smaller disparity of incomes between the top 1% (minus these 3,000 individuals) and the middle class in the US.

    A generation ago, certainly there were some super-wealthy Americans, but the number was very small. It’s not so small today. There are hundreds of US billionaires today (many of them young hedge fund managers and similar financial types in my own city of San Francisco). I don’t deny that the income disparity has grown, but I nonetheless think the very few super-wealthy people at the top skew the statistical comparison.

  49. Matt says:

    Sakineh Bagoom,

    I don’t think there’s any reason to read that much into the comments below. Clearly, if public opinion of Obama drops to, say, 30%, it becomes more likely that corporate money will flow from “Brand Obama” to a different marketing campaign. Upon receiving more funding, Brand X becomes steadily more likely to unseat Brand Obama in 2012.

  50. kooshy says:

    Piroz are you related to Pirnia family ?

  51. Matt says:

    kooshy,

    Thanks for your example. I believe your general impression will more or less hold true on a national scale for a variety of reasons.

  52. Pirouz says:

    “Modernization in Iran was started by Amirkabir, and later by Mirza Malkam Khan their combined effect resulted in the constitutional monarchy of 1906, obviously with help and consent of the shieh clergy in Najaf and Tehran.”–Kooshy

    My great grandfather was the actual writer of that constitution, being literate in French and able to apply large sections of the Belgian constitution into the Iranian one. It needs to be pointed out that my ancestors were unusual for being honest and incorruptible, thus they were both valued but at the same time taken advantage of. That and they only lived as long as their early 50s.

    My grandfather was Reza Shah’s right hand man wen it came to establishing a modern educational system for the country. He was Minister of Education when the University of Tehran was established and was its second president.

    To give you an idea on how the rest of the country was run during the time, when the Soviets bombed Tehran in 1941, Reza Shah’s generals in Tehran ran and hid, while my grandfather–a mere minister–took it upon himself to survey the damage and reassure the frightened populace.

    Why am I bringing this up? To demonstrate that we shouldn’t find ourselves romanticizing over the Pahlavi dynasty. It had fatal, peculiar flaws.

  53. kooshy says:

    ““I advocate humanitarian intervention in principle, given that it has sound theoretical underpinnings.”

    Same principal was used to justify creation of state of Israel, which principally is justifying the elimination of people of Palestine, in any way do you approve of that?
    پاک من، برو این دام جای دگر نه

  54. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    I was very disappointed to see some comments by individuals that I respect for their opinion mentioning job/jobless numbers affecting the presidential race.
    In the US an individual’s vote for the president does NOT COUNT! It is merely a statistic (even if it is reported honestly). As recently as Y2K we’ve seen multiple stolen elections and picked by supreme court (W 5-4 Gore).
    Presidents of the US are hand picked by the top one percent (the moneyed and the so called elite).
    Presidents do not have a say in the foreign or domestic policy. It is basically laid out for them. In the case of current one, via tele-prompters.

    Here is a good article by Joseph Stiglitz title “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%”
    http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

  55. Pirouz_2 says:

    Pak;
    First of all, no Pirouz is not a pseudonym.

    “I maintain that Reza Shah’s rise to power was beneficial for Iran, since he laid the foundations for the modern state of Iran.” ”

    Well thank you for confirming the point I made earlier.

    “Although, considering your Marxist leanings, I am not surprised that this upsets you, since as a result the Soviets lost their grip on the country.”

    That is pure non-sense. Quite contrary to you who has openly supported the British coup which brought Reza Khan to power, I have never given my support to the USSR. And for the record, I don’t condone the USSR system (quite contrary to you who think the British system is a “well oiled and well lubricated” democracy). In reality I see USSR as a collaborate force in the 1953 coup.
    So this attempt of yours to put words into my mouth is a very cowardly and dishonest act.
    Also it is worth mentioning that this is precisely the same garbage that US officials keep saying in order to justify the 1953 (ie. they did that to keep Iran from falling under soviet influence). Truth of the matter is that Soviets were not even remotely in a position to take Iran under their control in 1925.
    Based on your version of pseudohistory, Mossadegh, Malak-o-shoaraye Bahar, Mirzadeh Esghi, Yahya Dolatabadi, etc. etc. (all of whom were vehemently against Reza Khan’s rise to monarchy) were all soviet agents which is why the British had to make a coup, bring Reza Khan to power and send them all to exile (or assasinate them).

    “I advocate humanitarian intervention in principle, given that it has sound theoretical underpinnings.”

    Well thank you once again for confirming my point, we can see the generous “humanitarian” donations of lockheed martin, McDonnell Douglas and Dassault Aviation raining down on Libya.

    “Indeed, it is only a “straight forward deduction” for people who want to tarnish the opposition in Iran, and deny its plurality. It is much more comforting to convince oneself that the opposition in Iran comprises of monotonous, Westernised sell-outs who welcome foreign forces with open arms to interfere in Iran”

    Pak, every single thing that I said (without mentioning your name) was based on quotations from you (and you confirmed them all); you on the other hand have only slandered me. Where did I say that “all” Iranian opposition is the same? I said certain “elements” within Iranian opposition hope for US intervention (go back and read my message again).

    “Firstly, the British did not “impose” Reza Shah by “brute force””

    This could only mean two things:
    Either you are extremly dishonest (and trying to re-write the history) or you are extremly ignorant (know nothing about the Iranian history).
    The vote in the parliament which brought the Pahlavi dynasty into power was obtained at gun point.

    “I will not insult your intelligence by identifying these differences.”

    LOL…please Pak….you are not in a position to insult anyone’s intelligence on this site. In fact you are not in a position to insult anyone’s intelligence period!
    By the way, who do you think you are to ask people for their CV before your majesty would allow them to express their opinion? And where is your CV anyway, Mr.-demand-is-infinite-in-a-capitalist-society?

    “Non-interference is fine, but this – http://www.raceforiran.com/mohammad-javad-larijani-explains-the-islamic-republic-of-iran%E2%80%99s-first-principles – is not non-interference. This is openly promoting a specific faction of Iranian politics.”

    Can you explain it to me that how posting an interview on a website is taking the side of one “faction” against the other? Aparently, according to you, in order for the Leveretts not to interfere in Iranian affairs they have to censor anything Iranian officials say? So Charlie Rose’s interview is not inteference in Iranian affairs but Leveretts publishing the interview is an interference?!??! Some freedom of expression you believe!!

  56. kooshy says:

    Modernization in Iran was started by Amirkabir, and later by Mirza Malkam Khan their combined effect resulted in the constitutional monarchy of 1906, obviously with help and consent of the shieh clergy in Najaf and Tehran.

  57. Matt says:

    Pak:

    “Non-interference is fine, but this – http://www.raceforiran.com/mohammad-javad-larijani-explains-the-islamic-republic-of-iran%E2%80%99s-first-principles – is not non-interference. This is openly promoting a specific faction of Iranian politics.”

    Thank you for the link to the Charlie Rose interview with Dr. Mohammad Javad-Larijani. I did not re-read the comment section of that post and may thus be overlooking a couple items which you have already addressed: First, are the “first principles” elaborated by Dr. Javad-Larijani in opposition to the ruling principles of the Islamic Republic at any point so far in its 32-year existence? If so, could you point out, for an outsider, which of these principles were contested by a ruling faction? Thank you.

    However, even if the current ruling faction incorrectly states that several of its contested principles have been continuously applied when in reality they have been frequently or occasionally altered depending on which faction is in power, would a non-interventionist approach which advocates an immediate “grand bargain” focus upon probing the ideological positions of the current ruling faction for total accuracy?

  58. Pak says:

    Dear Pirouz_2 (I assume this is a pseudonym, rather than your actual name),

    “Some of them are on the record (on this site) as saying that the British did Iranians a great service (through usage of force) by bringing Reza Khan into power and making him Reza Shah”

    I maintain that Reza Shah’s rise to power was beneficial for Iran, since he laid the foundations for the modern state of Iran. Although, considering your Marxist leanings, I am not surprised that this upsets you, since as a result the Soviets lost their grip on the country.

    “…(the very same individuals have also ‘insinuated’ that the intervention in Libya was the right and ‘progressive’ thing to do).”

    I advocate humanitarian intervention in principle, given that it has sound theoretical underpinnings. There are, however, numerous pitfalls that cannot be addressed in the current world order (namely a lack of a coercive authority to impose international law). There are also a number of theoretical qualifications for humanitarian intervention, none of which the situation in Iran meet.

    “So it is a straight forward deduction that such people would appreciate it if the West were to interfere in Iran through brute force if necessary to bring a form of government which in their view is ‘progressive’.”

    Indeed, it is only a “straight forward deduction” for people who want to tarnish the opposition in Iran, and deny its plurality. It is much more comforting to convince oneself that the opposition in Iran comprises of monotonous, Westernised sell-outs who welcome foreign forces with open arms to interfere in Iran.

    “If it was a great service to Iranians to impose a ‘progressive’ government on them by brute force (ie. Reza Khan) back then, then why should they not support the repetition of the same service now?”

    Firstly, the British did not “impose” Reza Shah by “brute force”. Secondly, there are a million differences between the 1920’s, and the 2000’s. I will not insult your intelligence by identifying these differences.

    “And why should a site which is about promoting non-interference in Iranian politics (and instead going for a grand bargain) be so offensive to them anyway?”

    Non-interference is fine, but this – http://www.raceforiran.com/mohammad-javad-larijani-explains-the-islamic-republic-of-iran%E2%80%99s-first-principles – is not non-interference. This is openly promoting a specific faction of Iranian politics.

    “These individuals are mainly supporters of various opposition groups and naturally what they almost openly say is what their leaders secretly hope.”

    Naturally!

  59. Rehmat says:

    Pirouz – Is your history knowledge is based on Daniel Pipes website? If the British had helped Iranian by re-installing deposed Reza Shah as King of Persia – then record shows that Nazis did help World Zionist movement by killing hundreds of thousands of European Jews so WZM could have an excuse to establish a Zionist colony in British occupied Palestine by stealing Arab land.

    But, I am sure you’re not going to agree with Helen Thomas’ above statement, right!

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/playboy-israel-and-helen-thomas/

  60. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Matt:
    “Thank you for this comment. Could you please elaborate the last sentence in this quotation? Are there public figures in the opposition which have come out in favor of the intervention in Libya? Whom exactly are you referring to? Thank you.”

    When I wrote that comment, I was mainly referring to some individuals on this site. Some of them are on the record (on this site) as saying that the British did Iranians a great service (through usage of force) by bringing Reza Khan into power and making him Reza Shah (the very same individuals have also ‘insinuated’ that the intervention in Libya was the right and ‘progressive’ thing to do). So it is a straight forward deduction that such people would appreciate it if the West were to interfere in Iran through brute force if necessary to bring a form of government which in their view is ‘progressive’. If it was a great service to Iranians to impose a ‘progressive’ government on them by brute force (ie. Reza Khan) back then, then why should they not support the repetition of the same service now?? And why should a site which is about promoting non-interference in Iranian politics (and instead going for a grand bargain) be so offensive to them anyway?

    These individuals are mainly supporters of various opposition groups and naturally what they almost openly say is what their leaders secretly hope. You have to remember that after the Iraqi fiasco, and Iran’s own experience in 1953, it is such a total disgrace to openly support such an intervention that no political activist with the least of brain would openly go on the record as expressing a desire for it. The people who come closest to expressing such hopes are on this site using pseudonyms.

    @Fiorangela:
    I think when a person (be it Ms. Slavin or anyone else) go to a country (be it Iran or anywhere else) they become exposed only to a certain portion of the society. The biggest mistake would be to generalize what a person has been exposed to, to the whole population.
    The only scientific way of attributing a belief to the majority of a nation is through opinion polls and elections (and I don’t think that Ms. Slavin has done any of those in Iran).
    However, I am sure that there have been (and even there still are) people in Iran who would welcome an American intervention in Iran. But based on all the available statistical data I would say that their number is very small and again I think as Ms. Slavin has experienced those numbers have even further dwindled through out the recent years.

  61. kooshy says:

    Matt

    In my business, my experience with this economy is, yes the sales are back to 07/08 levels, but instead of having 22 employees, now with only 12 employees we have the same gross sales, the trouble for this economy is, that the 10 lost jobs are permanently lost and no new ones was created or if I can see those jobs will ever be returned.

    This means the profitability for the fewer firms who survived is returned without creating any new employment (in our case clearly because a lot of competition just went out of business and couldn’t survive). This is the message Obama can brag as much as he wants but wouldn’t change anything for the guy in the streets.

  62. Fiorangela says:

    Goldstone’s retraction-that-is-not-a-retraction has generated quite a lot of discussion.
    In one video on the Goldstone report, featuring two of its co-authors, Hina Hilani and Colonel Desmond Travers, the colonel discusses risk aversion in the IDF and risk aversion policy related to civilian casualties suffered disproportionately by Palestinians. :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIvbJX_AwjM

    Discussion of risk aversion among IDF in that video is intriguing.

    A lengthy paper on the PiCA Project website discusses The Impact of Casualty Aversion on Humanitarian Intervention and reveals some interesting facts:

    -It is probable that military planners and leaders are far more risk-averse than are political leaders or the American public

    -The US war in Afghanistan was conceived as an humanitarian intervention

    -The US humanitarian intervention in Somalia eventuated in a famine that killed 350,000 Somalis: “After the pro-Western President Siad Barre was overthrown by rebel groups in 1991, Somalia slid into a power vacuum that could not be filled by any of the rivalling rebel groups. By the end of the year 1991 the various clans were fighting each other heavily destroying agricultural and life stock production all over the country. The resultant famine killed more than 350,000 people by 1992 while foreign aid supplies were used by the rebel groups to put pressure on the population and NGOs on the ground. The inflowing humanitarian aid was seized by militias to sell food supplies to the starving population in return for public support for their cause.”

    Does the US have a plan for what will happen if/after Qaddafi is removed? Will a power vacuum lead to a famine? Did Samantha Power and Susan Rice consider those historical possibilities?

    -The American public is not really casualty-averse; rather, it has an aversion to losing: “The conception, however, “[…] that the general public is highly casualty phobic […] is […] a myth [,in fact] the public appears to be defeat phobic, not casualty phobic […]”[15].

    -“casualty sensitivity has forced Western armies to look for alternative means of warfare that are less manpower-intense. The use of unmanned drones, long-distance missiles and high altitude bombing have facilitated warfare in a way that targets can be neutralized without the use of soldiers on the ground. The downside to this development, however, is that the enemy’s civilian population has to carry the biggest burden as imprecise targeting might cause a great deal of collateral damage.”

    This puts American attitudes pretty much in the same camp as Israelis who wrote of their “disregard” for Geneva Conventions and looked upon protection of combatants as a higher moral duty than Just War theory concepts of protection of innocent civilians. Moreover, when the “enemy” is not an “enemy” but, allegedly, civilians in need of humanitarian intervention, and they are forced to “carry the biggest burden . . .of collateral damage,” then US policy is played on the stage of the Theater of the Absurd.

    “Horses can fly but that doesn’t make the world a better place.”

    The ability to kill from a distance does not remove the obligation to make a moral — Just War — decision before killing.

  63. Matt says:

    pirouz_2:

    “I believe the answer to the question I asked earlier is that certain elements of the Iranian opposition do not believe that they can possibly come to power and bring their own favourite form of government to rule Iran without USA’s open and explicit intervention (pretty much similar to 1953 or Iraq or as what is going on in Libya).
    Deep inside they believe that Iranian nation will never be the source which would bring them into power and their best bet is USA’s open use of force. That is why they were so excited about the West’s intervention in Libya.”

    Thank you for this comment. Could you please elaborate the last sentence in this quotation? Are there public figures in the opposition which have come out in favor of the intervention in Libya? Whom exactly are you referring to? Thank you.

  64. Fiorangela says:

    pirouz_2 — the redoubtable Barbara Slavin said in a speech about a year ago that when she visited Iran in the late 1990s, many Iranians told her they would appreciate American intervention in Iran to change the Iranian government.

    On a visit shortly after hostilities began in Iraq, Slavin again visited Iran and a number of Iranians — fewer than before, but a reasonable number — said they would favor US intervention in Iran.

    After Saddam was hanged, Slavin again visited Iran, and only one or two Iranians spoke in favor of US intervention.

    On her last trip to Iran, in 2008 I believe, NO Iranian spoke in favor of US intervention in Iran.

    From the tone of Obama’s Now Rooz message, and what I can glean of the reception it received among the Iranian people, I’m not sure any American would be well received in Iran.
    Who lost Iran? Americans are the losers, in every way.

  65. Matt says:

    kooshy,

    I was mainly disappointed that Arnold Evans appears to have bought the hype that the unemployment rate will continue its way towards 7% (and beyond!) in time for the 2012 election (!!!). If this hypothetical were to happen, barring a foreign policy catastrophe of epic proportions, Mr. Obama will enjoy the thrills of a second term – that is so obvious it hardly needs to be mentioned.

    In my view, at least a minor double-dip (following by at least a decade of stagnating or falling living standards in the US) is objectively unavoidable (with a decent chance of a “real crash” as Immanuel Wallerstein indicates in the first few minutes of this interview with RT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBMnDLQr7-M). I haven’t laid out any evidence of this of course, but I’d like to see Arnold Evans at least critique the statistical points made by Baker.

  66. pirouz_2 says:

    Not quite relevant to the topic at hand:

    There is something which has been on my mind for quite some time now and seeing some of the recent comments from the usual crowd made me finally decide to write about it.

    As everyone should know the obvious, this site is about the US foreign policy. It has pretty much no effect on the way the Iranian government shapes its policies; nor does it have any effect on the way the Iranian opposition will behave (hell I don’t think that the vast majority of Iranians are even aware of the existence of this site!). No one within Iran will come to this site thinking: “Oh let me see what Leveretts have suggested and let me take my action according to that!”

    So naturally the question comes to mind as to why would any Iranian who believes in his/her own nation being the ultimate force in shaping the future of Iran should be so much concerned about what is being said on this site?

    What’s more is that Leveretts never took one side of the Iranian politics over the other, they never said that USA should go to a “grand bargain” with Iranians if they vote for Ahmadinejad, and go to war with them if they choose to elect a puppet figure such as Shah. Their main argument has always been that the form of government in Iran should be left to the internal dynamics of Iran (without any interference from the USA) and USA should enter in negotiations for a “grand bargain” with WHATEVER form of government the internal dynamics of Iran will put in effect, rather than trying to bring into power a form of government that it wishes to see in Iran.

    I believe the answer to the question I asked earlier is that certain elements of the Iranian opposition do not believe that they can possibly come to power and bring their own favourite form of government to rule Iran without USA’s open and explicit intervention (pretty much similar to 1953 or Iraq or as what is going on in Libya).
    Deep inside they believe that Iranian nation will never be the source which would bring them into power and their best bet is USA’s open use of force. That is why they were so excited about the West’s intervention in Libya.

    So their problem with Leveretts is not because they interfere with Iranian affairs by favouring one side over the other, it is quite the opposite: they are worried of any effect that this site might potentially have on shaping the US foreign policy towards non-interference and hurt the possibility of their coming to power!

  67. fyi says:

    Irshad says: April 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    In regards to Pakistan’s possible counter-attack; the motivation is Muslim solidarity as well as the 30 % Shia of Pakistan as well as the sentiment – even among the Punjabis – that the Axis Powers want to destroy Islam.

    In regards to India’s oil payments: the burden is clearly on India to find a mechanism to pay Iran. I would supsect eventually they will put money in suitcases and fly it to Iran.

    Germany, like Japan and South Korea, is a semi-sovereign state. You cannot expect much action from them in cases such as these where they are under scrutiny by US.

  68. kooshy says:

    Irshad

    Here is my opinion with regard to the questions you asked

    “@fyi, kooshy – Now that germany will not help India make payments for oil shipment that Iran is making to India, whats going to be the name game in town? “

    I am sure Indians will find a way since currently, they have no alternative to Iranian oil if they care to sustain current rate of growth and remain part of the BRIC group.

    “And are the Germans really serious in locking themsleve out of yet another deal all for the sake of pleasing the hegemon???”

    Unfortunately for now, the Germans/EU have no alternative but to obey US’s geopolitical designs, therefore you wouldn’t see much of advertised overt shift in current posture, privately German co.’s still have a large footprint in Iran, which majority of smaller European co.’s are unwilling to let go at any rate.

    So,I suspect business in the Iran/ Middle East will continue as usual, which usually a large part of it, is hidden under the table even in the normal times.

  69. kooshy says:

    Matt

    Thanks for posting the link to Dean Baker article, I must emphasis I do agree with Arnold (if this is what he means) which if voters here in the USA are as usual convinced by the media and are diverted to focus on social and security issues and decide not to consider the real issues effecting their life, yes Obama or anybody can be re dressed up as an effective leader and get elected. I bet the same so called left media who sold Obama to US public as the only alternative wouldn’t mind to sell us Sarah, I have no illusion about that, however if media fails to divert the public issues like what is currently happening in north east, then the other side will have a better chance, since thier base is still integrated, we may even hopefully see an after Vietnam( US as the champion of human rights BS) effect which we got for a short period.

  70. Dan Cooper says:

    Is Iran Next After U.S./Nato Attack on Libya ?

    On the eighth anniversary of the “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq , the U.S. government launched a new war against Libya .

    Hundreds of civilians have already been killed by imperialist bombings in the name of “humanitarian intervention”, and toxic cancer-causing uranium weapons dropped in the center of Libyan cities spell a disaster for the environment and future generations.

    Come to a Public Meeting in Harlem

    Friday, April 8, 2011
    Time: 7 – 9 PM

    Place: 2295 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
    (corner of 135th Street )

    New York, NY 10030
    B/C or 2/3 trains to 135th Street

    Sponsored by A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and PSL
    (212) 694-8720 or (914) 589-0744

    Special guest presentation on Libya

    Guest speaker Ardeshir Ommani: Join PSL members and friends in welcoming Ardeshir Ommani, an Iranian-born writer, political economist and president of the American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC), who will provide much needed clarity on the continuing assault on the sovereignty of Libya , and the implications this has on U.S. foreign policy toward Iran .

    Second speaker: Money for War But Can’t Feed the Poor

    All over the country, corporations are laying people off, Tea Party bigots are targeting immigrants and union members, millionaire landlords are evicting families and states are making it harder and harder for students to go to college. The official poverty rate is the highest it’s been in decades.

    At the same time, according to a recent report by the Defense Department the U.S. cost of the Libya mission has reached $550 million, mostly for bombs and Tomahawk cruise missiles. Join us for a detailed report on the real social, financial and physical cost of war for the U.S. working class.

    For more news and analysis visit:

    Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC): http://www.iranaifc.com

  71. Irshad says:

    fyi says:
    April 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Why would Pakistans airforce shoot down the planes of the Axis powers?

    @Fio – keep up the good work!

    Is Richard Steven Hack still on leave? PakMan seems to be on this site a lot since RSH dissapeared!

    @fyi, kooshy – Now that germany will not help India make payments for oil shipment that Iran is making to India, whats going to be the name game in town?

    And are the Germans really serious in locking themsleve out of yet another deal all for the sake of pleasing the hegemon???

  72. Matt says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    April 6, 2011 at 12:39 am

    “… My expectation is that if unemployment goes below 8%, and it is heading in that direction now, then Obama will win re-election.”

    In order to avoid surprise, Arnold, you may want to conduct a slightly more thorough examination of the objective economic conditions. This brief article by Dr. Dean Baker should be adequate as a start: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/apr/05/usemployment-usa

    I shall looking forward to reading your refutation of his points.

  73. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: April 6, 2011 at 11:56 am

    There can never be an adequate amount of security for people who are both narcisstic and afraid of their own shadows.

    Jews and Americans, it seems to me, regrettably fall in that category.

    Their thirst for being liked and their equally desire to be absolutely secure means that they really cannot be secure on this planet.

    I hope someone will find a way for rapid, reliable, and inexpensive mass-transit to exo-solar planets.

    Then, many of the nations of the world, can seek their own planet and need not interact with any other.

    1/3 of Iran is desert. I think a lush temperate planet with a lovely moon would interest many Iranians.

    In this way, most of the Earth can be left by the majority of the world states and populations.

    Earth could then be left to Americans and Israelis – mutually admiring each other in an empty planet (of Arabs, Iranians, Africans, Orientals, etc.)

    The rest of Mankind could care less.

  74. Fiorangela says:

    Kathleen, I too grew up in a very powerful Catholic environment. At one point as I was maturing away from that environment, I lived with a Jewish family and came to love them. Years, jobs, family, etc. intervened, until I lived once again in the neighborhood of that Jewish family, and then — the trauma occurred: that Jewish community that I had lived in sponsored a talk titled, “Nuclear Iran, a Threat to Humanity,” by Patrick Clawson.

    I went to the talk and was even more distressed: Clawson reminded me of Maj. Reginald Dyer, the British general who killed so many peaceful Indian protesters at Amritsar. Clawson’s sponsors, the Iran Task Force, which is run out of an Israeli state agency through something called the World Jewish Embassy (or something like that — can’t find my notes), were simply thugs. Bullying, hateful thugs. These were not the Jewish people I had known and loved.

    Not trusting that one event, I became involved in seminars and conferences within several different aspects of the Jewish community. With a very few exceptions, the general attitude of the Jewish people I encountered in those meetups matched the thuggish attitude of the Iran Task Force group. How can this be? How can this be?

    Last week I attended a Conference for Islamic Women at a local mosque. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The people were warm, generous, DIVERSE all over the map! The speakers talked about the challenges of raising a family — instilling Islamic values with kindness (“children have few problems that cannot be solved with a smile, a hug, and a kiss”) and values taught from the home but not imposed, so that young people can incorporate themselves fully — and courageously — in American culture that “provides so much richness for us Muslims.”

    Another speaker talked about “Conflict Resolution based upon Islamic Principles:” don’t raise your voice; write down the terms of your agreement; listen attentively; look at your interlocutor . . . all with references to teachings of the Prophet. Rock-solid common sense with a spiritual uplift.

    There is so much common ground between the America I used to think I lived in and the Islam that I saw at that meeting last weekend.

    The tragedy of American life is that that OTHER community seeks to drive a wedge between the US and Islam/Iran.
    THAT is the tragedy of the US today.

  75. Rehmat says:

    Obama: ‘Jewish President, Messiah or G-d’

    Professor Paul Kengor (Grove City College, Pennsylvania), has called Barack H. Obama, “God“, in an article, entitled “Obama, The God That Failed” in the Zionist daily online magazine, American Thinker, published on April 5, 2011.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/obama-jewish-president-messiah-or-g-d/

  76. Kathleen says:

    Piraouz..2 “First, I don’t think that we are egoistic and self-centered by nature, the way supporters of the inevitability of capitalism suggests. I think that the vast majority of even the very self-centered people could be persuaded in working for the interests of the society if they understand that their interests lies within those of the society. So I don’t think that there is any conflict between looking for your own interests and supporting the societies interests as a whole.”

    With you on this. Brought up in the Catholic church and 12 years of Catholic schools. Not Catholic left the church at 18. Although mentally left many years before that. Watched the actions and language of so many heretics alive and well in all faiths. Many of the Nortre Dame nuns (lived across the alley, the priest across the street) lived a life of giving and sacrifice.

    The only thought that remains in my brain is “we are all born in the image and likeness of God”. At a young age I could see “God” meant different things to different folks. Never bothered me. Except when individuals are willing to kill one another over those differences. Or steal land based on their manipulated interpretations of their alleged conversations with their God.

    Really believe if any child is brought up in an environment where compassion, empathy, and love for all living things is cultivated. That individual will develop those moral foundations. If one is brought up in a culture where selfishness, violence, exclusion of others, superiority is part of your upbringing well…we know the rest of the story.

  77. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: April 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    One of the games of the Americans is to sell geopolitical protection.

    For that game to make sense, they need to either create a crisis or maintain it.

    They are masters of this game as the history of the Cold War demonstrates.

    To wit; in the Levant, they maintained the Arab-Israeli crisis until they lost control of it.

    In Iraq, their control was being lost through the erosion of sanctions against the Ba’athist state and therefore they were left with no good choices except the revolutionary course that they took. Which only hastened then loss of their control.

    Now, in the Persian Gulf, they need to maintain the sense of crisis against Iran. They need to frighten the Arab leaders of the Southern Persian Gulf (as well as the Azeris of the so-called Azerbaijan Republic) to extract protection money. One form of this extraction is the purchase of US weapons that these states do not need, cannot use, and cannot maintain. But it is necessary for the US arms industry to remain viable.

    The United States has no incentive at this time to normalize relations with Iran; then she will have no leverage with the Arabs and others. And I think that US leaders think that they can indefinitely maintain their current posture in that part of the world; eing subsidized – in a manner of speaking – by the Arab (oil) states of the Persian Gulf.

    And this is not even taking into account the US grand strategy that calls for the destruction of local states that aspire to more power in certain critical (to US planners) regions of the world.

    From a non-Iranian/non-American point of view, all of these is quite insane; playing with fire in a region on which the world is critically dependent on meeting her energy needs. But the rest of the world, outside of the Middle East and outside of the Axis Powers, is powerless to stop this dynamics.

  78. hans says:

    If any of you freedom-loving consumers of global media (Pak here) find PressTV as Persian biased as bāqelā-garmak (BTW one of my favourite Iranian cuisine) reporting intolerable here is a clip from an Australian investigative show called Dateline. It features nervy reporting by reporter Yaara Bou Melhem from inside Bahrain, and a stark picture of the hidden war that we’re not supposed to see.
    :http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/watch/id/601061/n/Bahrain-s-Dark-Secret

  79. kooshy says:

    Arnold

    I would say you are right about the unemployment number during the elections, but for number one unfortunately I don’t see the unemployment is going anywhere near 7% anytime soon regardless of the real unemployment numbers which is near 20%, and if the unemployment don’t get fixed the rest of economy won’t matter on elections, so they are left with who and how strong is going to run against him, for sure I agree with the article Obama will have a lot smaller base this time, since he has lost the left and the youth vote for sure. But again who knows, the elections are done by the media here before any votes is cast, anybody can be made a hero over night.

  80. Arnold Evans says:

    kooshy says:
    April 6, 2011 at 12:15 am

    I look straight for the election markets to see the best objective assessment of political events

    https://data.intrade.com/graphing/jsp/closingPricesForm.jsp?contractId=743474&tradeURL=https://www.intrade.com

    The author of that is not voting for Obama, and there are a lot of people like him. But there are also a lot of Obama supporters. My expectation is that if unemployment goes below 8%, and it is heading in that direction now, then Obama will win re-election.

    But if unemployment was 7% and the election market gave Obama a 45% chance of winning, I’d say most likely Obama will not win.

    The market can easily be wrong, but it incorporates a wide range of information and viewpoints. There is no single indicator that does as good a job.

    Single columnists are much less persuasive to me, regardless of their reasoning.

  81. kooshy says:

    Arnold – interesting article on O’s reelection bid that you may want to comment on,

    Fool Us Twice? Can Obama Get Reelected?
    by Ted Rall

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/04/05-9

  82. Rehmat says:

    Lebanese Islamic Resistance, Hizbullah, in a statement has condemned South African Zionist Jewish judge, Richard Goldstone’s reversal of his reported findings in the United Nations’ report named after him two years ago.

    In his recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post, Richard Goldstone retracted from his original findings by saying: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document”.

    “The retreat by Judge Richard Goldstone from his previous stances of condemning the Zionist entity for committing war crimes during the war on Gaza in 2008 is a reward for this enemy,” Hezbollah said on Tuesday.

    The Lebanese resistance movement said the move would encourage Israel to carry on with its ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people — crimes which it said “are being renewed every day in different parts of the Palestinian territories.”

    One wonders how Dr. Izseldin Abuelaish, a Hebrew-speaking Gaza-born Israeli doctor at Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv and peace activist – would buy Goldstone’s retration – whose three daughters were killed by an Israeli missile while sleeping inside thier Gaza home?

    Israel-born writer and UK’s top jazz musician, Gilad Atzmon, commented on Richard Goldstone’s U-turn as follows:

    For some peculiar reason, Goldstone allows Israel to reduce its institutional responsibility for a colossal war crime, into a chain of local errors, made by a few low rank officers who may, or may not, face criminal charges.

    One should remind Goldstone that the decision to use artillery and carpet bombardment in Gaza wasn’t taken by ‘some’ military commanders on the ground: these decisions were taken by a democratically elected Israeli cabinet. Furthermore, these decisions were supported at the time by 94% of the Israeli Jewish population. The decision to rain barrages of white phosphorous over the most populated place on this planet was a strategic decision, and it was taken by Israeli military high command. The fact that Israel (may) sacrifice the military career of one Moishe’le or two Yank’le doesn’t change the validity of Goldstone original report at all; it only proves that Israel fails to take responsibility for its actions.

    The Israeli ‘enquiry’ should actually be interpreted as a typical act of Zionist cowardice, for the Jewish state fails to admit its collective responsibility for the atrocities it committed in the name of the Jewish people, and in the name of the Goldstones of this world. Instead of taking responsibility then, Israeli politicians now want to put the blame on Israel’s soldiers.
And for some reason, Goldstone would like the Hamas to do the same: Goldstone (the new master of the U-Turn) foresees the Hamas behaving like Israel i.e. involved in spin and deception. He basically expects the Hamas to zigzag like himself.

    But the Hamas is clearly made of better material — unlike Israeli politicians and Goldstone, the Hamas takes full responsibility for its actions. It openly and proudly resists the racist Jewish state. It is not trying to place the blame on some anonymous grass roots freedom fighters — The Hamas is sending love letters to the Palestinians’ stolen land. Indeed, some send messages in bottles; the Hamas send them in rockets. But the message is beautiful, simple and clear. ‘My lands, my soil, don’t lose your hope on us. We are here surrounded by barbed wire, but time will come soon for us to unite.’

    I tend to agree that Goldstone’s U Turn was surely inevitable: the history of Jewish animosity towards dissidents has long been firmly established, and in the last two years Goldstone and his family were subject to enormous pressure and social exclusion. It is more than likely that Goldstone was torn apart by it all. But the time has surely come to admit that we have reached the point of no return: we have to free our intellectual, spiritual and ethical life from any trace of Zionist ideology, from people who may have Zionist views or may have even been affiliated with Zionist philosophy.

    I believe that ethical discourse should move beyond any form of Judeo centric ‘ethical zigzagging.’

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/hizbullah-slams-goldstones-u-turn/

  83. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Humanist (completely irrelevant to the topic at hand, I am sorry);

    Regarding your last message on another thread:

    I am sorry I didn’t see it earlier, so I didn’t get back to you earlier.
    First, I don’t think that we are egoistic and self-centered by nature, the way supporters of the inevitability of capitalism suggests. I think that the vast majority of even the very self-centered people could be persuaded in working for the interests of the society if they understand that their interests lies within those of the society. So I don’t think that there is any conflict between looking for your own interests and supporting the societies interests as a whole.

    Second, the main argument is not about what is “moral” or “just”. My main argument is about what is SUSTAINABLE and FEASIBLE. Capitalism is not sustainable in the long run, and that is my main argument.

  84. Rehmat says:

    The Israeli ‘Gladiator’, Professor Alan Dershowitz (Harvard Law School), has claimed in his column at The Wall Street Journal (March 29, 2011), entitled ‘Norway to Jews: You’re Not Welcome Here’ – that it’s the State of Israel the Norwegian hate the most. Why? Because, the Dean of the Law Faculty at Bergen University told Dershowitz that he would be honoured to have him present a lecture on the O.J. Simpson case – as long as he was willing to promise not to mention Israel. An administrator at the Trondheim school told Dershowitz that Israel was too ‘controversial’ to talk at Campus.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/dershowitz-jews-are-not-welcomed-in-norway/

  85. Castellio says:

    Well, KeyKeeper, you’ve come to the nut of the problem: Israeli society, from its Supreme Court through its Knesset to the settlers to the people on the sidewalk of Tel Aviv, in the majority do not believe in the equality of people… not in war, not in peace, and not even as an ideal.

    Overtly racist policies and interpretations of law, of which you point to one, whether in citizenship, housing, water rights, education, or war, are presented as ‘normal’. Israel, it is stated, only wants to be ‘normal’. And what you point to in a document of 2005 is not new. I can think of similar documents present in 1935 and 1936.

    And in as much as the dominant powers of western society support this racism and its ramifications, so it becomes, in fact, the new “normal”…

    Is there enough energy, openess and free debate in the west to combat this slide? I’d be curious as to your opinion.

  86. KeyKeeper says:

    Col. Desmond Travers talked about the stated doctrine upon which IDF is said to have relied in Cast Lead. Travers quoted from an essay by Tel Aviv U. Prof. of Ethics Asa Kasher and IDF Maj. Gen. Amos Yatlin of the Military Intelligence Directorate of the IDF Headquarters. Their 2005 essay, “Assassination and Preventative Killing,” which was endorsed as of “not merely academic interest but of policy,” by Michael Waltzer in NYRB, poses the question, “What priority should be given to the duty to minimize casualties among the combatants of the state when they are engaged in combat against terror?”
    To answer that question, Kasher & Yatlin argue:

    “in the war on terror the Geneva Conventions are outmoded and no longer suit a state’s efforts in combatting terror. . . .A state has a moral duty to respect its citizen’s rights more than it respects the human rights of those who are not its citizens. . . .Further, a state does not shoulder responsibility for regular effective protection of persons who are neither its citizens nor under its effective control. . . .In the case of the combatants of the state engaged in confronting terror, placing a low priority on their safety is immoral. . . .A combatant is a citizen in uniform; in Israel, he is quite often a conscript or on reserve duty. “

    “The state ought to have a compelling reason for jeopardizing his life. The fact that persons involved in terror are depicted as noncombatants, and that they reside and act in the vicinity of persons not involved in terror is not a reason for jeopardizing the combatant’s life in their pursuit. Where the state does not have effective control of the vicinity, it does not have to shoulder resonsibility for the fact that persons who are involved in terror operate in the vicinity of persons who are not.”

    It is stunning that Israel unilaterally dismissed the Geneva Conventions. If that is the case, then Israel can claim no protection from the Geneva Conventions. Surely Israelis understand the concept of ‘covenant.’

    Presumably, Israel also disregards Just War theory. That’s unfortunate. Just War theory requires that all other means be exhausted before a state resorts to use of violence. One would think that protecting SDerot against missiles — for which the US gave Israel several hundred millions of dollars — should be a first line of defense and would most effectively protect both Israel’s citizens and Israel’s “citizen combatants in uniform” against any harm, while also avoiding subjecting Israel to international opprobrium for killing innocent Palestinian civilians.

    The unilateral “right to kill” doctrine of Kasher and Yitlin seems more like reversion to law of the jungle than the policy of the “most vibrant democracy in the Middle East.”

  87. BiBiJon says:

    fyi,

    Kind of echoing your thinking, Rami Khouri has this to say about the Arab awakening:

    if you had truly democratic Arab societies and public opinion was really expressed openly and honestly, you would get much more criticism of Israel, the United States and some of the Arab regimes. And this is something that bothers the Israelis very naturally, of course.

    They are really torn, but the answer lies not in depriving the Arabs of democracy. The answer lies in the United States and Israel coming up with better foreign policies – being more honest, consistent, [and] law-abiding, and being more respectful of international law and U.N. resolutions.

    Just as [the] Arab world is now changing, so should Israel and the United States also change. That’s the answer. The answer is not to deprive Arabs of democracy.

    From http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/05/rami-khouri-give-arab-democracy-a-chance/

  88. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: April 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    My sense of all of this has been that states – such as India or Italy or UAE – that conformed to Axis Powers policy on Iran, d hafully expected the Iranians to fold.

    Once they did not, the policy became a dead-end: for US, for EU, and for others.

    It became a policy of sanctions for the sake of sanctions.

    US has been quite successful in persuading other states in absorbing the costs of her Iran policy.

    For example, in case of India, they gave Indians the opportunity to spend their money on buying strategic goods from US, EU, and Russia.

    I do not expect any pressure on US or Iran in regards to changing this dynamics.

    I expect the sanctions to erode over time; say 4 more years.

    At that time, the Axis Powers may go to war with Iran; Or, alternatively, may alter their grand strategy to correspond to the Reality of this planet. Personally, I do not expect war since the erosion of the power and influence of the Axis states.

    On the other hand, they may attack Iran from air and then watch in horror as Pakistan’s air force starts s shooting-down their airplanes.

  89. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    April 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for taking up my questions.

    I just finished reading:

    http://studentpulse.com/articles/505/2/understanding-iran-between-central-asia-and-the-gulf-cooperation-council

    which goes through a fair amount of detail following Iran’s relations with countries in the region.

    Your reference to Ukraine was very apt. Reminds me of the losses Turkey uncured in lost trade with Iraq during the 90s sanctions which they explicitly cited as reason for their utter lack of interest in being used as a launch pad for the 2003 invasion.

    Also, I see Germany in a quandary. Germans at some point must think what is the meaning of being ‘pacifist’ in international relations, if every other day you get forced into traveling a path that anyone can tell you will eventually lead to a hot war, which you’ve already declared you want no part in.

    India too, is a case in point. They are papering over a lot of internal decent as to losing their independence in their FP by acceding to diktats from the US.

    I suspect over time it will be third parties that will demand of Iran and US to stop bickering.

  90. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: April 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Iranian leaders are very pragmatic and are not spending resources justto counter the Axis Powers.

    They relaize Iran has business to conduct and they are willing and able to work with anyone regardless of their relationship with the Axis Powers.

    The Axis Powers have tried to get as many states as they can to sanction Iran.

    However, they do not have the financial resources to compensate these other states for their losses.

    Thus they issue I.O.U.s contingent on some future time when Iran has surrenederd.

    It got Ukraine and many others nothing (in the 1990s) and will get others even less now.

    Mr. Ahmadinejad is correct, the Axis Powers have sanctioned themselves out of influence with Iran.

  91. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    April 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Hans, great find, and also thanks.

    BTW, the video is worth watching again just to catch a few glimpses of the other panelists’ reactions, body language, facial expressions, etc. Not one of them had a rebuttal to Michel’s litany of damning historical facts, and the brazen hypocrisy.

  92. Hans,

    I second Castellio’s thank you for the Michael Cholon video link. I must say I can’t recall any other “debate” where only one person really got to speak, but he was well worth listening to, debate or not.

  93. BiBiJon says:

    On Iran US relations:

    With reference to two articles:

    1) US commander: Iran expands ties to Latin American, nearly doubles number of embassies
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-commander-iran-expands-ties-to-latin-american-nearly-doubles-number-of-embassies/2011/04/05/AFUeOnjC_story.html

    And 2) Egypt ready to open ‘new page’ with Iran: minister
    ,http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jBNKtae0HsYwE6hWZ5a9sQZxO4WA?docId=CNG.8fb83dbd49bee8cae7e88172dbbed82f.371

    I am of the mind that the the dysfunction that characterizes US-Iran relations will find equilibrium not in what they are likely to do to one another, but in Iran’s relations with other countries. Question I have for our distinguished panel is:

    Are Iran’s budding relationships with countries across the globe based on anti-something, shared enemies, etc? Or, are Iran’s interactions with other countries primarily on a basis of mutual interests with no regard to third parties?

    If mutual interests constitute the attractive force, then how far and how fast can Iran develop relations with other countries?

  94. Castellio says:

    Hans, I have to thank you for the “media debate” with Michel Collon… what a remarkably concise overview!

  95. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela says: April 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Yes, that is the intent and the claim.

  96. Fiorangela says:

    ya gotta laugh.

    speaking of media lies:

    a few days ago I edited a Wikipedia entry on the “anti-Nazi boycott.” In my edit, I included a quotation of the exact wording of the declaration of the boycott as it appeared in mass-circulation newspapers in London on March 24, 1933.

    The banner headline says,
    “JUDEA DECLARES WAR ON GERMANY;”

    the title of the article itself reads:

    “Jews Of All The World Unite In Action.”

    BOYCOTT OF GERMAN GOODS. MASS DEMONSTRATIONS IN MANY DISTRICTS; DRAMATIC ACTION.”

    the first sentences of the article say:

    “Daily Express” Special Political Correspondent, March 24 1933

    “ALL Israel is uniting in wrath against the Nazi onslaught on the Jews in Germany.

    Adolf Hitler, swept into power by an appeal to elemental patriotism, is making history of a kind he least expected. Thinking to unite only the German nation to raise consciousness he has roused the whole Jewish people to a national renaissance.

    The appearance of the swastika symbol of a new Germany has called for the Lion of Judah, the old battle symbol of Jewish defiance.”

    this morning, the Wiki entry has been revised to delete that quoted material, and my Wikipedia account has been banned, the information I posted having been judged “pro-Nazi revisionism.”

  97. Fiorangela says:

    fyi, the most important word in your reply to Eric, posted at 9:17 am:

    him

  98. Rehmat says:

    Turkey-Iran-Syria-Iraq; The Muslim Union

    “There are two blue lines on the top and bottom of the star in the Israeli flag. These lines are symbols. The top line represents the Euphrates, the bottom line the Nile. According to Jewish belief these borders are the natural borders of the state of Israel,” Professor Necmedin Erbakan (1926-2011), former Prime Minister of Turkey.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/shamgen-the-muslim-union/

  99. Rehmat says:

    fyi – YEP, Pope Benedict XVI, the double Zionist agent, may be on your side – but the majority of Christians around the world do believe that their Bible never promise Palestine to the Jews.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/vatican-bible-doesnt-promise-palestine-to-jews/

  100. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Pak,
    I’m trying to give Americans are more “balanced” picture than the one they get from assorted douchebags in the green movement, Iranian exiles and Zionist-analysts. These Americans can be professional policy analysts, journalists, academics or just normal citizens who come on this site? Why? Because truth matters.

    In terms of morality and national security, we in Iran have experienced the more we adhere to Islamic morality, the more our national security is enhanced. Whenever we have strayed from Islam we lost security. Islamic morality in this case concretely means jihad and resistance against the US and its proxies in our region. As the great Hassan Abbasi asked Khatami, “Aghaye Khatami, takleef ma ra roshan kon, dar Islam jihad dareem ya nadareem?”

    In terms of Chechnya and Syria I will give you a hint because you are too dense to get it…the Islamic Republic of Iran is not going to supprt Wahabi-nasebi (Pak, do you know what that means?) murderers whether they are in Chechnya, Syria, Africa or wherever. That doesn’t mean Iran doesn’t support Muslims in those regions and other places. And just too slap you around a little more, rest assured the authorities in Moscow, Peking prefer the Iranian brand of Islam over the one they are fighting. I think anyone with half a brain understands what I’m implying.

    Been to Hazrat Ruqayya shrine in the heart of Damascus lately?

  101. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says: April 4, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    I just related a response that a Catholic friend, well-versed in Catholic catechism, gave to me when I asked him the same question.

  102. BiBiJon says:

    Pak says:
    April 5, 2011 at 7:50 am

    You made a set of very good points, and then you come up with:

    “one dictator – Khamenei”

    I would really appreciate an explanation for your use of “dictator.”

    As I’m sure you are aware, the ‘leader’, Khamenei, is appointed by the expediency council whose 80 members are elected by direct popular vote. That body has the power to remove the leader from office, and ‘supervises’ him.

    Various opinion surveys report that large majority of Iranians are satisfied with the way Iranian elections are held.

    some may take umbrage at the fact that the ‘leader’ is appointed for life. However, thus removing some segments of the government from vagaries of political calculations, and other ephemeral social fads has its place in well established democracies of the West too. Think supreme court justices.

    So, again, I’d love to see your reasoning for equating Khamenei’s constitutional position to that of a dictatorial monarch.

  103. Arnold Evans says:

    Masoud: I have to say 2:11am was very well put.

  104. Arnold Evans says:

    Pak says:
    April 5, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Iran’s democratic evolution, however incomplete, is still significant, and it is irreversible.

    A person in 1953 could have said that with as much conviction as you say it with now.

    If there were reasonable steps Iran could take to improve its relations with the United States, steps in line with the values of the Iranian people, I’d advocate Iran taking those steps. Nobody yet has presented specific steps Iran’s government could take that are in line with Iranian values and sensibilities and could reasonably be expected to reduce US hostility.

    If Iran wants good relations with the United States, it is going to have to be like Egypt or Bahrain. Because of its commitment to Israel, the United States cannot have good relations in the Middle East with non-Jewish countries that are not as subordinate to it as Egypt’s King Farouk and the quasi-independent princes of the Indian Raj were to Great Britain during Britain’s colonial era. (Which is no more or less subordinate than the Shah or Mubarak were to the United States.)

  105. Pak says:

    Dear B-in-B,

    Indeed, morality does exist, but national security (interest) supersedes it, hence why Iran’s supposed help for the Chechyan people is “not advertised”, and relations with Russia remain relatively cosy. The same goes with Syria.

    “Iran does not need the US for anything.”

    Then what exactly are you doing on this website?

  106. Pak says:

    Dear Arnold,

    So now I am a monarchist too.

    “Every element of policy the United States wants Iran to change in order to improve relations is popular with the Iranian people.”

    Instead of making sweeping statements, please provide some key examples of such policies. The most obvious problem is Iran’s nuclear program, but bear in mind that a) the same nuclear program – but on steroids – was being developed by the Shah, and b) the US was uncomfortable with it back then too. Here is an article you might find interesting:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/12/29/the_shahs_atomic_dreams?page=full

    “What should Iran do in that case? Be more like Mubarak or the Shah or the dictators of the US colonies of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and the rest of the US colonial structure in the Middle East?”

    Firstly, the “colonial structure” you are talking about is a product of the Ottoman Empire – and its subsequent demise – not the US. It was then mostly the British who supported particular tribes into power, such as the Saud tribe, and these tribes set about building modern states. Your understanding of the region is shallow, since you fail to take into account that only a few countries in the region have existed continuously for a significant period of time. As a result, you just cannot fathom why these countries are not democratic oases, which ultimately leads you to blame the US. You also end up having a neo-orientalist perspective of Middle Eastern people.

    Anyway, back to your point: having relations with the US should not mean becoming a client state, especially given Iran’s modern history. Iran’s democratic evolution, however incomplete, is still significant, and it is irreversible. So the possibility of replacing one dictator – Khamenei – with a more sympathetic dictator – say Reza Pahlavi – is basically zero.

    Furthermore, having diverging views on policies is no reason to not have relations; if anything, it is all the more reason for having relations. There are a number of interesting political economy concepts you should read about, including the security externality, signalling, audience costs, and issue-linkage. The democratic peace theory (from an economics perspective) is also an interesting philosophical approach. Given that we are supposed to assume a high level of intellect on this website, I will leave it up to you to do the research.

    “At many points over these months that you’ve been here, I’ve thought ultimately returning an equivalent of the Shah is what you’re advocating.”

    I have noticed, but I blame your neo-orientalism, since you believe that I must be one of those politically illiterate, spoiled, Westernised Iranians merely because I identify the potentially substantial positive outcomes of having relations with the US.

  107. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Pak,
    There is morality in everything and don’t assume Iran does not act on its Islamic duties in Chechnya, Syria and Africa even if it’s not advertised.

    As explained to you before, Iran does not need the US for anything. Everything we have today from the things we can build to the ability to manage ourselves is because we got rid of our main drug dealer who supplied us with whatever toys we wanted in return for cheap oil. This is the tangible result of our emnity with the US. The more sanctions and emnity, the better for Iran.

    I’m starting to suspect your job is to simply repeat the US talking points

  108. hans says:

    On 6 April 2011, in Britain’s High Court, five Kenyans will accuse the British government of torture, including castration. The three men and two women say that, in the 1950s, they suffered castration, sexual abuse and severe beatings in detention camps run by the UK government.Historians estimate as many as 150,000 suspected members of the Mau Mau resistance movement were detained without trial between 1952 and 1960. Lets see what happens shall we! It will settled out of court hushed up and consigned to the bin of history. Remember the recent case of the people of Diego Garcia!

  109. masoud says:

    The Iran Fist,

    “Anyone?

    What would be the common ground???”

    As things stand right now, there is none. America won’t even discuss common ground. When pressed, they put up pre-conditions that Iran must meet before common ground is discussed. These pre-conditions are fashioned in a way to be rejected and then used as tool to press economic sanction against Iran in anticipation being able to attack her at some future unspecified date. This has made Iranians skeptical about finding common ground and dialogue in general.

    No one at this site believes this is the way things should be, we have simply come to realize that this is the way things are. If we want to talk about *possible* areas of co-operation between Iran and a sanely-run America, most of this site’s frequenters could go off for days, I know I could. Finding that type of hypothetical common ground is not the problem. The problem is that in the States, the lunatics have been running the asylum for at least the last three decades, and those guys are still convinced that they can still be the world’s only hyper-power. They insist on imposing odious terms of surrender on everyone they declare to be an enemy simply because they feel they can, and that this somehow increases their ‘credibility’ with the world at large. Until that mentality is defeated in Washington, spending our days dreaming up possible rubrics of cooperation between Iran and the United States will be all at once time naive, futile and incredibly depressing.

  110. FYI:

    YOU WROTE TO FIORANGELA:

    “The Authority to [ordain] women as priests does not reside in the Church or in its hierarchy. It rests in Christ and he ordained Peter.”

    I apologize for jumping into the middle of this debate, but I’m curious to know what your point is – that Christ’s choice of Peter means Christ wanted only men to be priests? What if Christ picked Peter because Peter had curly brown hair and Christ wanted only people with curly brown hair to be priests?

    Are you pretty sure about Christ’s reasons for picking Peter?

  111. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: April 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I was told by a Catholic fiend that:

    “The Authority to Ordian women as priests does not reside in the Church or in its hierarchy. It rests in Christ and he ordained Peter.”

  112. Fiorangela says:

    correction: paragraph 1a) 4. is properly quoted:

    “Financial compensation shall be offered to the refugees and the host countries by the international community and Israel.”

  113. Rehmat says:

    Richard Goldstone, being a confessed Zionist Jew – has the G-d given right to retract his opinion two years ago. The World Zionist movement leaders are welknown habit of cheating western leaders by retracting their promises.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/goldstone-sucummbed-to-jewish-lobby-pressure/

  114. Fiorangela says:

    one of the tricks and traps that I see in the IPI package is suggested in the second bullet point:

    “Recognizing the suffering of the Palestinian refugees since the 1948 war as well as of the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries,”

    interrelated with paragraph 1. A4:

    “Recognizing the suffering of the Palestinian refugees since the 1948 war as well as of the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries,

    Edwin Black and Mitchell Bard, as well as Knesset, AIPAC, and the US Congress, have been laying the groundwork for Israel to demand compensation, in the billions of dollars. to be paid to “Jewish refugees from Arab countries,” even tho those “refugees” frequently moved to Israel on a voluntary or semi-voluntary basis, and may have taken up residence in a home from which Palestinian Arabs were dispossessed by Jews.

  115. Fiorangela says:

    since the Church has not yet agreed to ordain females, I scrapped the long sermon I wrote to Pak about the difference between HAVING a moral compass and refusing to travel in the direction shown by the moral compass. The US has chosen to follow Israel’s direction rather than the direction of the US Constitutional moral compass.

    Regarding Iran’s often-stated goal of a nuclear-free Middle East, I should think that a well crafted Public Relations campaign would call attention to the situation in Japan, to which Israel is connected whether it wishes to be or not.

    What happened to Fukushima is exactly what Israel and the US intended to make happen to a nuclear plant in Iran — or what could have happened, but for the ability of Iranian engineers and scientists to correct the STUXNET-produced problems.

    In a senate hearing on Nov 17, 2010, Susan Collins said that cyber war such as that implied by STUXNET would be the “next 9/11.” The US and Israel deliberately attacked Iran in a 9/11 like fashion — that is terrorism; that is an act of war.

    In the rationale of Bush doctrine, Iran has the right to preemptively attack the US and Israel to prevent the very real possibility that either Israel or US will attack Iran, as they have threatened numerous times (“house to house”) and as they have actually done.

  116. Dan Cooper says:

    Must see video.

    General Wesley Clark on 9/11, Iraq, Libya and Iran.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUhlFO5qjVE&feature=player_embedded

  117. Photi says:

    Quick response to problems with the IPI:

    Fails to recognize the nationalist struggles of both Hamas and Hizbollah, both are clearly germane to the discussion (beyond listing the need to fight against “terrorist organizations”). The IPI continues to propagate the myth of the 2-state solution. It is one state now with a huge population of second class citizens. Facts on the ground make 2 states impossible. A confessional system on the inspiration of Lebanon will be the path of least resistance.

    That said, I also agree the beginning of the new discussion should start at the Arab Peace Initiative. Turkey and Iran need to jump in, with Hamas and Hizbollah under their wings, to be the power brokers for the Palestinians and the Lebanese. America should give up all attempted appearances of being an unbiased actor and come out and work solely on the Israeli side.

  118. Arnold Evans says:

    Prominent private Israeli citizens are in the process of responding to Tom Friedman’s
    “Arab” Peace Initiative.

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/IPI-English.pdf

    My initial thoughts are that the treatment of the refugee issue would not pass a plebiscite that includes diaspora Palestinians and there are some other issues, such as mandating that non-Jews be a minority in Israel and setting conditions on Lebanon’s internal political dispensation that would not be workable.

    But we’ll see how much of the Israeli Peace Initiative Israel’s government signs onto.

  119. Humanist says:

    Some of you have been discussing about Joan Cole. I thought I better jump in since I also had a ‘not so pleasant’ encounter with him.

    Juan Cole didn’t post my comment on his errors on Iranian 2009 presidential election. On that period he was actively involved in trumpeting the neocon lies of “fraud and vote rigging”in Iran.

    I give credit to him for some of his refutes of false MSM allegations on Iran, yet in a video where he, along with a few neocons and statisticians was trying to prove the above bogus premise, he showed he is not an analytical type thus he can be fooled easily. I wouldn’t be surprised the he still believes the election was rigged.

    When I read his biography I noticed he is a Bahai. That was a jolt. Some Iranian historians believe in persistence of the complicity of the Bahais and Israelis. I am not qualified to pass judgment on validity of some of those harsh allegations such as “many who were sent to Israel by Savak to be trained for torture were Bahai’s”.

    I know a bit more about the Bahai religion.

    For Iranians, similar to appalling collaboration of MEK with Saddam Hossein during the Iran-Iraq war, the open collaboration of Abdol-Baha (the Bahai prophet) and the whole Bahai sect with British are deeply deplorable. That participation was going on (during?) or after the British were involved in the great famine and genocide in Iran. In those distressing years millions of Iranians perished from starvation. (see The Great Famine and Genocide in Persia 1917-1919 by M.Majd)..

    Abdol-Baha got the title of Sir and medal of Victoria Cross from the British monarch for Serving the Empire and soon afterwards he celebrated the occasion in a historical ceremony. As far as I know the photos of the above happenings are conspicuously hidden from the general public.

    Some Iranian scholars believe the story of Bahai’sm is closely tied to British Imperialism. In WWI Ottomans were enemies of the British. Definitely creation of an openly pro-British Muslim movement must have been beneficial to the Empire. Farsi speaking persons can refer to a book entitled “Bahai-gari”(Bahai’sm) by gifted historian Ahmad Kassrarvi who was born at the end of 19th century (refer to wikipedia for his biography).

    The book can be downloaded free from efsha.co.uk “ketab-sara”. It is an interesting book, though Kassravi, because of lack of definitive evidence of covert foreign element mainly concentrates on the domestic evolution of Bahai’sm.

  120. Arnold Evans says:

    Pak:

    Every element of policy the United States wants Iran to change in order to improve relations is popular with the Iranian people.

    What should Iran do in that case? Be more like Mubarak or the Shah or the dictators of the US colonies of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and the rest of the US colonial structure in the Middle East?

    If you can convince 50% of the Iranian people to avoid policies the US opposes then do so and relations with the United States will improve. Iran can have relations with the United States almost as good as they were under the Shah. All Iran has to do is remove any popular influence on policy and effectively bring back the Shah.

    At many points over these months that you’ve been here, I’ve thought ultimately returning an equivalent of the Shah is what you’re advocating.

  121. Photi says:

    Pak,

    The US has not shown itself to want anything more than a master-slave relationship with respects to Iran. The Iranian Revolution would have been in vain if the authorities there acquiesce to the American vision of what Iran should be.

    Peace through strength. When you have internal strength, you will see the mandate for reform towards domestic Iranian politics is already there waiting for the lovers of liberty and justice to serve that mandate. Until the Greens show themselves to understand the meaning of “loyal opposition” they will be nothing more than traitorous scum.

  122. Pak says:

    Dear B-in-B,

    There is no such thing as a moral compass in international relations. Otherwise the Americans would truly support their democratic ideals; otherwise Iran would pursue their Islamic duties in Chechnya, Africa, and Syria. Until the UN has coercive authority to impose international law, international relations is no different to the Wild West.

    Your love of character and strength is simply ideology, which results in no tangible benefits. Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, we should learn how to dance in the rain. Having relations with the US would open their markets to Iranian businesses, and vice versa. It would open channels for technological transfers, joint research and development ventures, and greater understanding of cultures through tourism (instead of Iranians fleeing to the US, and Americans coming to Iran on “adventure holidays”). It would also create platforms to discuss mutual interests in Iraq, Afghanistan, and wider world problems.

  123. Photi says:

    Direct link to image if img tag not allowed.

    The Iran Fist,

    The Islamic Republic is stuck at the second level of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. People like you remind me of a cartoon character who has climbed to the top of the pyramid and is looking in all directions to see the virtues coming his way. Of course, when the character decides to look down and realizes his perch has no foundation, he and all his buddies are going to come crashing down.

    If I was a greenie or reformer in Iran, the first thing I would do is march on the American Interests section in the Swiss embassy in Tehran and demand the leader of the “free world” to remove all his CIA forces that are operating in Iran with the intent of bringing down the government. How can you “reformers” expect reform when your society is clearly not secure? Have you ever heard of the Red Scare or the Patriot Act? American liberties are dependent on a secure society, and when that society is not secure, the American politicians have shown themselves quite capable of decreasing the amount of liberty in American society.

    I would march on the Swiss embassy, stop at the front gates (wink wink), and not leave until Obama declares an end to his terrorist activities in Iran. If you get 3 million people demanding an end of the terrorist plots supported and concocted by the CIA and the US government, some dialogue is bound to happen.

  124. fyi says:

    The Iran Fist says: April 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I am seeking your ideas in regards to concrete steps on improved relationship between the 2 states; mine – larhely negative veiews – are well-known.

  125. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:
    “I think there is a pre-step to figuring out common grounds: the desire.”

    Dr Barzegar calls the prospect of Iran US relations for the foreseeable future as competitive interaction. Part of the problem (specially the nuke program) he calls as win loss solution for US policy goals. Win for US, loss for Iran. hence, no go as far as resolution. however, his positive outlook is hopeful.

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

  126. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    I.F.,
    Leveretts don’t care one way or the other in internal Iranian politics. The point is that unlike most Iran commentators in the US they believe that the government of Ahmadinejad is popular and properly elected- and pay attention please- the appropriate party for the US to address in Iran. Of course this view is gonna piss off the opposition in Iran. So please first understand what the Leveretts are actually saying before criticizing.

    Why do you assume that Iran and US should have relations? What’s wrong with being enemies? Why do you assume that countries have to be friends with each other?

    Being enemies with the US is a sign of character strength of Iran, given the murder and destruction America causes in the world. Your insistence on establishing relations with the American “regime” is evidence that your moral compass is faulty.

  127. BiBiJon says:

    The Iran Fist says:
    April 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I think there is a pre-step to figuring out common grounds: the desire.

    IMO it is the greatest folly for Iran to underestimate US resources. Iran should not want anyone as an enemy, especially not the United States.

    IMO, it is equally a folly to underestimate Iran’s resilience in the face of adversity. A ‘cake walk’ she will not be.

    It seems to me the continuation of hostility between the two may well bring ruin to both. And, once the dust settles, people would be asking, rightly, what the hell was all that fighting all about?

    Poll after poll shows a majority of regular Americans and regular Iranians would like to see their respective governments talk to one another. But, the two governments’ failure at establishing a meaningful dialogue meets with the deafening applause of vociferous minorities in both countries.

    I’d like to hear your suggestions for moving forward.

  128. The Iran Fist says:

    Pirouz,

    “You wanna advocate Iranian policy, you’re free to do so. But this is primarily a US advocacy site, so that may not be as relevant as you strive so hard to make it.”

    If this is a US advocacy site I don’t understand why the Leveretts spend so much time defending one faction in Iran while criticizing another. They would be more credible if for example they at least supported their Iranian counterparts – people who like them criticize their own government and call for normalization of relations with the United States. Instead, not only they don’t defend such people, they don’t even like to admit that said folks are often intimidated, arrested or put in prison.

    fyi,

    A common ground to start from… I would say getting people with common goals and interests in one room would be a good start. If the Leverett’s true intention is to normalize relations with Iran and avoid war, then let’s get Iranians with similar intentions in the room and start from there. I’m all but one person, obviously I don’t have any answers… Do you have any ideas?

    Anyone?

    What would be the common ground???

  129. Kathleen says:

    Fio “Ros-Lehtinen: “Thank you for mentioning Iran, Mr. Berman; I agree we must increase sanctions . . .”

    The MSM jumped right from the fall of Mubarak to bad bad bad Iran right on schedule. They all jumped even MSNBC’s Cenk Uygar, Rachel Maddow and the rest. Several Sundays ago Gloria Borger was in for Fareed Zakaria she led the whole group just where they wanted to bad bad Iran. They were discussing Libya and Borger said something like “the elephant in the room” is Iran.

    Not one of these MSM outlets will ever touch one of the real big “elephants in the room” The Israeli Palestinian conflict, the Palestinian protest that none of them cover and the continued expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank and illegal housing in E Jerusalem. No one no one will touch it. Not Maddow, Uygar etc. They like their big paychecks

  130. Kathleen says:

    Just put this up. He sure does not like to be challenged
    Kathleen says:
    http://www.juancole.com/2011/04/questions-for-glenn-greenwald.html#comment-59026
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    04/04/2011 at 12:04 pm

    Cole “It was the Europeans and Arabs who wanted this, not Washington.”

    That is partially the case. But according to many including Paul Pillar and General McCaffrey who were just on the Diane Rehm show…Susan Rice and Samantha Powers pushed hard for military action. Clinton came on board and Secretary of Defense Gates, Vice President Biden were never on board.

  131. Kathleen says:

    Juan Cole did not put up my comment that challenged one of his statements yesterday

    Just put this up at Cole’s will see if it makes it up
    Kathleen says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    04/03/2011 at 4:13 pm

    Cole “especially given what they have been doing for us?”

    Like going along with an illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq that has resulted in the hundreds of thousands of deaths, injuries and millions displaced. A “massacre”

    Like ignoring the ‘massacre” of Palestinians in Israel’s Cast Lead.

    When Obama made his speech he should have stopped at Tunisia on one side, Egypt on the other side of Libya. The wave of change interruption that Gaddafi threatens, the threats that Gaddafi openly announced, and the unity of the coalition. Should have stopped there. Made sense even if one did not agree with military action.

    Obama went off the bullshit cliff when he started down the “US is different” path. The US “does not turn a blind eye to humanitarian crisis” bull. With thousands dead in Iraq that our media and the Obama administration do not like to mention or count, the Palestinian “massacre” that took place in the Gaza during Obama’s administration they really should avoid (Clinton especially since she voted for that bloody and deadly war in Iraq) using words like “massacre, slaughter” since some of them are responsible for other slaughters of choice.

    We know they think that all of us have short memories but that is not always the case.

    The other issue for a peasant like me is when Secretary of Defense Gates, Vice President Biden and I believe Admiral Mullen had serious reservations about military action that is serious. Their accumulative experience outweighs the experience of Clinton, Powers and Rice

  132. Kathleen says:

    Ilan Pappe responds to Judge Goldstone’s “shameful u turn”
    http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11895.shtml

  133. Rehmat says:

    Iran: ‘End Times’, ‘The Messiah’ and Israeli Hasbara

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/iran-end-times-the-messiah-and-israeli-hasbara/

  134. BiBiJon says:

    The Iran Fist,

    The Leveretts have laid out a substantial framework for an US-Iran “grand bargain.” see
    http://asp.newamerica.net/publications/special/time_for_a_us_iranian_grand_bargain_14062 )

    However, certain areas of common interest, shared phobias, etc. can/should be further fleshed out in concrete terms periodically.

    For example:

    Iran potentially has the most to lose from a free-for-all nuclear proliferation. It would be useful to discuss what further steps Iran can take in achieving a WMD-free zone in the Mid East.

    Oil & gas account for a significant portion of Iranian revenues. Western oil companies have a significant sway in international politics. What concessions could/should Iran make to pique these international companies’ interest to lobby for some kind of detente?

    Regional stability can only be achieved if all sides are convinced their ‘legitimate’ interests are thus best protected. How can Iran adopt a posture which helps convince rational people to discard zero-sum calculations for a win-win-win alternative?

    Assuming both US and Iran need a war like a hole in the head, then what treaties can they enter into that minimizes risks of an ‘accidental’ war?

    Will the US have the self-confidence to give Iran the space, a respite if you will, to see if Iran will take the opportunity?

    etc.

    etc.

    Eric A. Brill, btw I had understood you meant “Iran won’t be terribly impressed with the US’ performance in Libya.” Indeed, one of the reasons I frequent RFI is to read your posts. Anyways, I came across a Joe Klein article that calls Sanger’s ‘all about Iran, all the time’ piece, if true, ” truly embarrassing.” (See ,http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2011/04/03/is-libya-all-about-iran/ )

    RD:

    I loved the label “Sanger Anger”. You have my vote.

  135. fyi says:

    The Iran Fist says: April 4, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Thank you for your responses.

    I had, however, expected your suggestions regarding the middle ground between US and Iranian positions.

  136. Fiorangela says:

    I’ve seen very little discussion of the commercial interests that are lining up to get a piece of the Libyan pie.

    Qaddafi’s son had studied the creation of western-style civil societies and led efforts to privatize Libyan business, but there were complaints.

    Alongside Ghanem is Qaddafi’s son, Saif, who wrote a dissertation at the London School of Economics in September 2007 on “The Role of Civil Society in the Democratization of Global Decision Making: from “soft” power to collective decision making” (the work was advised remarkably by David Held). Saif argued for the need to give NGOs voting rights at the level of international decision making, where otherwise the United States and its Atlantic allies hold sway. The “essential nature” of NGOs, he argued, is to be “independent critics and advocates of the marginal and vulnerable.” To allow NGOs to temper the ambitions of the North is far more “realistic,” Saif argued, than to hope to transform international relations. That kind of realism led to his faith in the “reforms” and in his recent call for the harshest armed violence against the protests in Tripoli and Benghazi. “Civil Society,” in the language of neo-liberalism, is restricted to the work of establishment NGOs that are loath to revise settled power equations. The ragged on the streets are not part of the “civil society”; they are Unreason afoot.

    The Basic People’s Congress complained about the “reforms” in September 2000. They did not appreciate the privatization of the state-owned enterprises and the creation of free trade enclaves. Their periodical, al-Zahf al-Akhdar, fulminated against foreign firms and the tourism sector. A section within them was also angry at Qaddafi’s political concessions to scale back the UN sanction and to earn favor in European capitals (Libya’s end to its nuclear program was part of these concessions). The Congress tried to hold the tempo of “reform” down. Their actions irritated the IMF, whose 2006 report concluded, “Progress in developing a market economy has been slow and discontinuous.””

    It may be that the internal reform and democratization of Libya threatened to succeed without the demanded degree of US involvement.

  137. Fiorangela says:

    Howard Berman, speaking his comments on Libya, concludes: “we MUST keep our eye on Iran . . .sanctions on a Russian company are welcome, and on a Swiss Iranian company as well . . .”

    Ros-Lehtinen: “Thank you for mentioning Iran, Mr. Berman; I agree we must increase sanctions . . .”

    Libya = Iran.

    Berman concentrated on fears that Qaddafi would kill his own citizens; “he has American blood on his hands; he has demonstrated disregard for human life and willingness to kill innocent civilians.”

    Which of course characterizes Israel as well, which killed Americans on the US Liberty, killed American Rachel Corrie, killed American Furkan Dogan execution-style, permanently wounded Americans Emily Henochowicz and Tristan Anderson.

    Dana Rohrabacher fulminates against “radical Islam” in Libya.

    “members of the rebel movement have said they will repay the US every cent US spends to free them from their tyrannical leader.”

    Brad Sherman: “We should use money seized from Qaddafi to pay for US expenses. . . .We should demand that rebels turn over to US those terrorists who fought against US in Iraq.”

    Ed Royce: “We can jam Qaddafi’s communications . . .we need to put to use Qaddafi’s assets that we have frozen . . .our costs need to be offset dollar-for-dollar from Libyan resources, assets.”

    yada

    yada

    yada

  138. Neo says:

    the Leveretts’ focus on American policy alone gives them much credibility.

    Given the sad state of their republic versus the empire, Americans have no place telling Iranians what to do.

    So they should stick to fixing their own problems, like the Leveretts are trying to, and leave the rest of the world to take care of their own.

  139. Fiorangela says:

    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s Foreign Affairs committee hearing is being broadcast on C Span right now. In her opening remarks she recognized the Iranian Americans from her district who are concerned about their countrymen in Camp Ashraf [that is, MEK]. About a dozen persons wearing yellow shirts represent the group.

    Key testimony from will be presented by deputy Secy of State James Steinberg.

    Ros-Lehtinen’s major election campaign supporter has been Irving Moscowitz, on whose behalf the government of Israel protected demolition crews as they leveled parts of Shepherd’s Hotel, a Palestinian landmark in East Jerusalem territory which Moscowitz plans to develop into an apartment complex for Jewish residents.

  140. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    The I.F.,
    Instead of just complaining about the site, contribute what you feel is lacking. Please tell us what in your opinion are the mistakes the Iranian government has done regarding the U.S. And remember it’s likely that it has already been discussed on this forum.

    Also, don’t worry about the Leveretts’ credibility. The fact that they don’t rely too much on the opposition and rely on good and thoughtful commentators like Dr. Marandi increases their credibility. I know this one’s very bitter for you to accept.

    If, however, you just generally want to complain about the Iranian government and this is just an excuse, go ahead but be prepared for the responses. Otherwise, move along to the next site.

  141. Arnold Evans says:

    Iron Fist:

    It is basically the consensus on this board that there are fundamental incompatibilities between US and Iranian foreign policy goals that make cooperation impossible. That certainly is my view.

    If that is the case, whether discussed in polite or hostile tones, whether or not there is any discussion at all, there is no possibility of accommodation – unless at least one side changes its foreign policy goals.

    There is no policy middle ground as the two sides set their goals today. If you had been able to introduce to the discussion a policy middle ground that had not yet been considered, it would be very interesting and exciting. My expectation would be that it would be ultimately found to be implausible for reasons we would find in looking at it.

    If your suggestion is not a middle ground of policy, just a middle ground of being more critical of Iran, what would it accomplish? The fundamental incompatibilities of current policy goals would remain.

  142. Pirouz says:

    The I.F.:

    Understand that the Leveretts are advocating AMERICAN policy, not IRANIAN policy.

    Personally, I’m the same with the exception of voting in Iranian presidential elections from here in the US every four years.

    You wanna advocate Iranian policy, you’re free to do so. But this is primarily a US advocacy site, so that may not be as relevant as you strive so hard to make it.

  143. The Iran Fist says:

    fyi,

    “Do you have a possible middle ground in mind?”

    For starters avoiding extremists on either side.

    Also, having the decency to be critical on all parties involved. The problem with the Leveretts is that they are only critical of the US government and I am yet to see them be critical of the Iranian government. As though the Iranian government is made up of a bunch of saints who are sitting politely at a table waiting for their American counterparts to come forth and start a dialogue. We all know what missteps the US government has taken over the past few decades, but let’s also talk about the missteps the Iranian government has taken.

    The second the Leveretts are as critical of the Iranian government as they are of the US government is the second they’ll regain the credibility they’ve lost over the years and can turn this blog into something useful. Only talking to Iranians they find agreeable (Marandi) is not a dialogue – its a monologue. I’d like to see them bring on voices of the Iranian opposition – people who are still not in jail that is – and see a real dialogue take place.

  144. Arnold Evans says:

    Cole posted my comment also. Possibly this marks a change in policy over there.

  145. Fara says:

    US agrees to continue Libya airstrikes
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172972.html

    How come the other airforces (France, the UK, Canada, and Kuwait) are NOT able to take care of the airstrike without the US!? After all, they are dealing with an extremely weakened air-defense system in Libya, if any.

  146. Pirouz says:

    Eric, Juan posted your comment.

    I wrote him one directly on how he was being talked about for censoring comments. Perhaps he loosening up a bit.

    On my site, we resorted to censoring personal attacks against my associate. From there it became applied to comments considered over-the-top. Meanwhile, Cole and Tehran Bureau started censoring my comments. Since it was my associate that called for censoring, I just let him handle it.

    Personally, I’m able to skip past the personal attacks. But I have to tell you that even though I’m critical U.S. policy in the Middle East, comments that are overtly anti-America offend me.

    It’s a tough call.

    But I don’t think your past comments should have been censored by Cole. Nor mine. They weren’t personal attacks; more like uncomfortable truths that Cole didn’t want undermining his points of advocacy. In my book, that’s wrong. Bit it’s a private site and it’s his privilege to do so.

  147. Fiorangela says:

    Contributing ed. James Wall of Christian Century mag does jujitsu with Juan Cole:

    “Following the change in Libya, it is not too early to look northward toward Israel. Knowing of Juan Cole’s support for the Palestinian struggle, it would be assumed he would be even more enthusiastic over a non-violent, second intervention in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

    If Libya does stabilize, President Obama will be on a roll, all the more reason he could decide he will not need congressional backup to end Israel’s irresponsible domination of the region.”

  148. Arnold,

    Thanks for posting your proposed comment to Juan Cole. Who knows, but I suspect he’ll find it outside his narrow band of acceptable criticism – which means that we’ll have to come here to read truly useful criticism of his essays.

    Dr. Cole posted a guest essay from David Westbrook, a law professor. His essential point was that the US should stop pretending it’s not at “war” in Libya and that, acknowledging that, is morally obliged to decide whether it’s going to prosecute that war vigorously – boots on the ground and all – or pull out entirely. I suspect that Mr. Westbrook favors the former: he came close, it seemed to me, to arguing that once a country acknowledges it’s at war, it really has only one choice – full steam ahead – not two. I nevertheless acknowledged – in the comment set forth below, which I doubt will get past Dr. Cole’s censorship – that it’s both unfair and irrelevant to speculate on Mr. Westbrook’s personal views. I expressed mine instead: the US has not made any irrevocable decision; it makes a new moral decision each day, and the proper decision tomorrow should be to leave.

    PROPOSED COMMENT:

    David Westbrook writes:

    This at the beginning:

    “Let me suggest a rule of thumb: we should not undertake the moral burden of killing when we are unwilling to undertake the existential risk of dying.”

    And much the same at the end:

    “Hence my rule of thumb: if we are serious, we should be willing to put troops on the ground and fight.”

    Two comments:

    1. Good for Mr. Westbrook for pointing this out. I’ve been more than a little perplexed at all those who’ve argued the US should jump into this war for humanitarian reasons, only to insist in the next breath that we should draw a clear line at “boots on the ground.” Why? If we conclude it’s our moral duty to intervene, why should we NOT put boots on the ground? Mr. Westbrook makes the same point.

    2. Mr. Westbrook leaves unclear whether he thinks the US ought to get more involved or not. This may well reflect humility: He is merely explaining that the US must acknowledge that it is at war and, therefore, decide whether it is going to do it right – i.e. put boots on the ground – or pull out.

    Though it may be unfair to Mr. Westbrook to speculate on his personal views – and, he might properly argue, irrelevant in any case – I see hints in his writing here that he believes the US has already made an irrevocable decision to enter this war and thus has only one real choice: stay the course, and expand the US’ involvement if necessary – that to not do so would be irresponsible.

    If that is what Mr. Westbrook believes (and if he does not, my apology to him: let my finger point instead at those readers who do believe that; I have no doubt there are some), I disagree. It does not necessarily follow from a country’s admission that it is at war that the country is morally obliged to stay in that war, much less to expand its involvement.

    In some wars, that is true; in other wars, it is not. If the US’ entry into this war had somehow exposed one side or the other to greater risk than if the US had not entered the war (such as when we encouraged Iraqi Shiites to undertake a rebellion in 1991 that they probably would not have undertaken absent our encouragement), arguably we’d have a moral duty to stand by whichever side we’d exposed to more risk by entering the war.

    But I don’t believe that happened this time. If the US just pulled out right now, I doubt the rebels would be in any worse a position than they’d have been in if the US had never intervened in the first place. Indeed, they probably would be better off, since Gaddafi would think twice before carrying out any massacre, knowing full well that the US is still keeping a careful eye on things and had already intervened once without any massacre even having occurred.

    In short, the US has not made an irrevocable decision that it must now make the best of. Instead, it’s faced with a new decision each day: Should it stay or should it go?

    I’ll be less circumspect than Mr. Westbrook in answering that question: It should go.

  149. K. Voorhees says:

    Posts about 9/11 are moderated out on Mondoweiss. The event that rules the world these past 10 years and for which no evidence has ever been disclosed cannot be discussed on Mondoweiss. Mondoweiss is “good cop” shtik, making a few criticisms but upholding the naked bigotry of the “19 amateur hijackers” official 9/11 story.

  150. Rehmat says:

    Kathleen – Sorry I didn’t have a ‘possitive’ experience at Mondoweiss either. I was allowed to post for three months but then as result campiagn run by the Hasbara goons calling me a ‘Iranian fundo’ – after I exposed ‘Jews san Frontire’ being a Zionist front – I was banned. The owner of ‘Jews san Frontire’ called me some ‘F’ words when I defended Gilad Atzmon on the site. The dude had attacked Gilad Atzmon exposing the site having an anti-Palestinian agenda – under the fake Muslim name Salahudin.

    In December 2008, Kenneth Hynek – the Israeli Hasbara idiot, owner of ‘Time Immortal’ and ‘Blazing Cat Fur’ blog and a few other faked ‘Islamic Discussion Forums’ had nominated me for the “Infidel Blooger Award”.

    Here is one of my comments at Mondoweiss.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2009/10/the-pied-piper-of-hasbara.html

  151. fyi says:

    Kathleen says: April 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    In an alternate world, in which the Axis Powers would not be acting as the final arbiters; Mr. Qaddafi could have been eased out of his position by political mechanisms constructed through the cooperation of – let us say – Organization of the Islamic Conference and UN.

    Behanid the scenes, a number of Western and Middle Eastern states would be cooperating to solve this problem.

    It was participation by Iran in these types of potential cooperation in solving problems of the world that Mr. Ahmadinejad repeatedly mentioned to the Axis Powers.

    As is, the Axis Powers have only one soultion for all of the world problems; violence and coercion.

  152. Pak says:

    Dear Photi,

    From the full WPO report:

    “A series of 10 tracking telephone surveys on the election and voter preferences conducted by the University of Tehran’s survey unit, with eight waves leading up to the election and two subsequent to it. These are the basis for a book in press in Iran. When the book’s text was finished, the surveys’ datasets were put into the public domain via the University’s website.1

    1 “Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi of the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran is accepting requests from educational institutions for copies of the datasets”

    What a coincidence!!!

  153. Pak says:

    Dear Arnold,

    “For several years I’ve read publicly available information about the Middle East unusually closely and given my thoughts on that information.”

    Oh wow, OK, I am totally overwhelmed. I have also spent years reading about American politics “unusually closely”, but I would never wade into debates about it, unless I identify my handicap beforehand. You on the other hand intellectually barge into debates about the Middle East, with your natural American-endowed sense of authority, and start speaking down to people from the said region. This is a criticism, and just because it upsets you does not make it an insult.

    By the way, my posts earlier pointed out quite a few inaccuracies in what you said (such as your framing of Gaddafi as anti-colonial). It is up to you to respond. And I do not see why you keep on dragging absolutely everything back to the elections in Iran, Mousavi, or the Green Movement, unless you have nothing else to offer.

  154. Kathleen says:

    Arnold
    Just put this up at Cole’s will see if it makes it up
    Kathleen says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    04/03/2011 at 4:13 pm

    “especially given what they have been doing for us?”

    Like going along with an illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq that has resulted in the hundreds of thousands of deaths, injuries and millions displaced. A “massacre”

    Like ignoring the ‘massacre” of Palestinians in Israel’s Cast Lead.

    When Obama made his speech he should have stopped at Tunisia on one side, Egypt on the other side of Libya. The wave of change interruption that Gaddafi threatens, the threats that Gaddafi openly announced, and the unity of the coalition. Should have stopped there. Made sense even if one did not agree with military action.

    Obama went off the bullshit cliff when he started down the “US is different” path. The US “does not turn a blind eye to humanitarian crisis” bull. With thousands dead in Iraq that our media and the Obama administration do not like to mention or count, the Palestinian “massacre” that took place in the Gaza during Obama’s administration they really should avoid (Clinton especially since she voted for that bloody and deadly war in Iraq) using words like “massacre, slaughter” since some of them are responsible for other slaughters of choice.

    We know they think that all of us have short memories but that is not always the case.

    The other issue for a peasant like me is when Secretary of Defense Gates, Vice President Biden and I believe Admiral Mullen had serious reservations about military action that is serious. Their accumulative experience outweighs the experience of Clinton, Powers and Rice

  155. Kathleen says:

    “Rehmat says:
    April 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Arnold Evans – Juan Cole is a ‘Crypto Zionist. A few times I commented on his blof proving that Washington’s hatred of Islamic regime in Tehran is instigated by Israel through its powerful Jewish lobbying groups – Juan Cole never let my comment appear on his blog.”

    Juan will not allow any criticism of Jon Stewart when Cole continually praises him. The one reason that I have been hammering on Stewart for years now is that he parades around like there have never been issues that he will not touch. Which is a bunch of bull. Criticizing Israel the I lobby were off limits for Stewart for decades. While he pounds away on the Iranian President and repeats unsubstantiated claims about Iran He has just started opening up the show a bit the last several years. Juan Cole would not let my appropriate (no cursing) comments criticizing Stewart go up at his site.

    I respect Cole’s opinion about most things. But willing to allow criticism at his site is not a strength of Coles

    We have had this discussion over at Mondoweiss several times. The comments are interesting. The clip at this link shows a recent opening at the Daily show
    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/03/jon-stewart-strikes-again.html

  156. Fiorangela says:

    speaking of luv,
    Samantha “humanitarian” Power is married to Cass “cognitive infiltration” Sunstein.

  157. Pirouz_2 says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    April 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    “I owe a bunch of people responses about capitalism and US interests in relation to global poverty and inequality. At this stage in the conversation, I’m not able to write about it off the cuff but have to take time to think about things which is harder to fit into my schedule right now.”

    Arnold;

    In case that you include me in the “bunch of people” to whom you think you owe “responses about capitalism and US interests in relation to global poverty and inequality. ” :

    I would like you to know that as I have said before, on my own part I understand the fact that you are tight on time (considering that you engage a lot of people in discussions), and therefore don’t expect you to answer me back for everything I write.
    Take as much time as you need, and I will be eagerly (and understandingly) wait for you to find the time and respond back so that I can learn more from your views and your perspective on the issue.

  158. Fiorangela says:

    paul says:
    April 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    what paul said, I agree.

    Paul also said: “Tho I may speak with tongues of fire, and have great gifts to all hoddwink inspire, yet have not love, my words are vain, like sounding brass or hopeless gain. . . . Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous,it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. F15 Strike Eagles may fail, but Love never fails.”

  159. Castellio says:

    Arnold, I understand and respect your comment of April 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm.

  160. Photi says:

    Pak,

    Any doubts I may have had about the 2009 elections in Iran were resolved by this public opinion poll analysis conducted by the University of Maryland.

    Pak, in light of this study I think it would be instructive if you give us a 1000
    word essay on the meaning of “loyal opposition.” If you could put it into the context of Iran, even better. In the US, you would be considered
    traitorous scum.

    Quote:

    The study sought to address the widely-discussed hypotheses that Ahmadinejad did not win the June 12 election and that the Iranian people perceive their government as illegitimate. It also sought to explore the assumption that the opposition represents a movement favoring a substantially different posture toward the United States. The analysis of the data found little evidence to support any of these hypotheses.

    Steven Kull, director of PIPA, said, “Our analysis suggests that it would not be prudent to base US policy on the assumption that the Iranian public is in a pre-revolutionary state of mind.”

    On the question of whether Ahmadinejad won the June 12 election, in the week before the election and after the election, in all polls a majority said they planned to or did vote for Ahmadinejad. These numbers ranged from 52 to 57% immediately before the election and 55 to 66% after the election.

    Steven Kull comments, “These findings do not prove that there were no irregularities in the election process. But they do not support the belief that a majority rejected Ahmadinejad.”

  161. kooshy says:

    Now days, there is a lot of talks and opinions with regard to newly found exemplifying Turkish democracy, I argue that Turkish newly found democracy was only possible with an American consent who still has more control over the Turkish military then the Turkish government, and can roll back the generals when that becomes necessary again. I further argue, that this was necessary without any other options available, to keep Turkey from becoming how Egypt’s situation is today, to secure Turkey a NATO nation which due to demise of USSR no longer needs to be a NATO member. A major consideration to allow Turkey to reform was Iran’s revolutionary independence, and relative democracy which the west was incapable to reverse, therefore eyeing the events of 90’s in Turkey it was a necessary undertaking by US/NATO to allow Turkey to reform, otherwise Turkey would have been in the same situation as Egypt is today as early as 2003-4.

  162. Rehmat says:

    Arnold Evans – Juan Cole is a ‘Crypto Zionist. A few times I commented on his blof proving that Washington’s hatred of Islamic regime in Tehran is instigated by Israel through its powerful Jewish lobbying groups – Juan Cole never let my comment appear on his blog.

  163. Arnold Evans says:

    Juan Cole is becoming unreadable. Just a joke. I peeped in because of the mention here and see that today Juan Cole is asking the open question to Glen Greenwald: should the US, after the UN resolutions and NATO decision to implement a no-fly zone, have not participated.

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/04/questions-for-glenn-greenwald.html

    I left the following comment that I do not expect to see published.

    The Security Council resolutions and NATO positions were actively lobbied for by the United States.

    It was never the case that the United States waited for UN Security Council resolutions or NATO decisions and after they had been imposed on the US, the US was left with no choice but to act.

    So Greenwald’s question, of course, is should the US have lobbied for and gotten these UN resolutions and NATO decisions and then followed this lobbying by militarily intervening in Libya.

    The best answer to Greenwald’s actual question, I believe, is no. Non-violent demonstrations have been put down by force before, including by Gadaffi and there is no reason to think this column of tanks approaching Bengazi will cause more deaths than previous Libyan columns of than a column of tanks approaching Bahrain or a column of tanks approaching Tiananmen square. The idea that tens of thousands of deaths were prevented is just preposterous. There is no support for that anywhere.

    US intervention probably accelerated a civil war and therefore caused more loss of life than alternative options available to the US would have. On that basis alone, the US should not have orchestrated it.

    Beyond that, it imposed costs on the US, set a bad precedent, accentuated US hypocrisy in the region and after the chaos of civil war most likely will not produce a more representative Libyan government than Gadaffi could have reached by negotiation at the beginning of the conflict.

    Juan Cole is descending to the level of John Bolton. He is becoming someone who can’t even be engaged seriously.

  164. Matt says:

    Kathleen says:
    April 2, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Kathleen, The Angry Arab indicates that it was mistaken to ever put trust in a white supremacist Zionist such as Goldstone: http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/04/judge-goldstone.html

  165. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says: )
    “I’ve developed a mild obsession with Sanger’s obsession with Iran. Of course, unlike Sanger, I don’t quite live and breath my obsession awake or asleep 24/7.”

    Here is sanger’s anger, or the jest of it…

    “it is hard for Russia to imagine that Iran would buy an untested system….. “

    See the whole problem is, Russians (when need be) just can’t “imagine” like their neo-con counter parts in US.. like imagining WMD crawling around them….

    sanger anger imagintato!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZaYS8CtC2c

  166. Matt says:

    Amb. Bhadrakumar’s take on Egypt’s ‘new thinking’ vis-a-vis Iran:
    http://bhadrakumarviews.blogspot.com/2011/04/egypt-iran-to-normalize-ties.html

    “…The blow-hot-blow-cold pattern can now be expected to give way to a more predictable relationship.
    For Iran, which has excellent relations with Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to add Egypt to the basket of ‘friendly countries’ will be a diplomatic coup. It enables Tehran to focus on the GCC states. Egypt is also disengaging from Yemen, which has been a point of discord with Iran. If Egypt-Iran relationship gets normalized, Israel and Saudi Arabia would probably feel disheartened.
    Of course, the US policy to ‘isolate’ Iran regionally by building a containment ring of ‘pro-West’ regimes was heavily predicated on Mubarak’s hostility toward Iran. That policy is no longer sustainable. Egypt is a test case in a broader sense, too. A pattern is emerging: the successor regimes in the Middle East will be much more responsive to public opinion and they may no longer passively acquiesce with the US regional policies.”

  167. Arnold Evans says:

    Pak says:
    April 3, 2011 at 4:49 am

    I’ve explained earlier that I used the term Arabia to refer to a hypothetical post colonial Saudi Arabia because I was not comfortable calling that country, after the replacement of the Saud family colonial dictatorship, after the name of that family.

    What you’ve concocted has nothing to do with anything I wrote and is totally irrelevant to the post you were supposedly responding to in this thread.

    For several years I’ve read publicly available information about the Middle East unusually closely and given my thoughts on that information. Of course I can be wrong in anything I write, but so far you haven’t pointed out anything that I’ve written that you can demonstrate to be inaccurate.

    But yes, it is clear that Mousavi’s supporters are a minority in Iran. Certainly not 40% of the country and possibly, depending on how support is measured, less than 30%. Mousavi cannot legitimately impose his vision on Iran. Whether you admit it or not, it is clear that statement upsets you. If you think that statement is not true, once again, as I’ve asked you many many times without response, what information do you have that convinces you that the statement is not true?

    Call me a hypocrite, say I’m barging in, make up wild fantasies about my use of the term Arabia but your core problem is that you have not developed an alternative vision for Iran and set about convincing 50% of Iranians that your vision is better for the country than Ahmadinejad’s.

    If you can do that, you probably can change Iran, from your point of view for the better. If you cannot do that you’re just going to continue blowing up at anyone who reminds you that you’ve failed to elevate your viewpoint past a minority in Iran and making up weird justifications and rationalizations for attacking anything I, or anyone who reminds you as I do of your faction’s minority status, write.

    It doesn’t harm me either way. You’ve just turned yourself into a caricature irrational green who serves as a live demonstration of a point I sometimes make that the green movement is not very politically skillful and therefore a poor bet to ever have substantial influence on Iranian policy.

  168. kooshy says:

    Here is what a commentator asked Juan Cole about Iran and his reply, see how very interesting his new take is, as long as is legal he is for it

    Quid Quintessa says: 04/02/2011 at 6:36 am

    Juan, you continue to ridicule the notion that there are legitimate objections from the left to this foolish intervention. If you want to believe in Obama’s new war and support that belief with facts, it’s your blog. But it would be better to be consistent and follow the same basic notions of anti-interventionism that you applied to Iraq and other wars. Is there any other path to de-militarizing our country, or should we make excuses when a purported liberal is in the WH?
    Also, I am beginning to wonder how far you will follow the President in this newly minted ‘doctrine’? Even unto Tehran?

    Reply
    Juan says: 04/02/2011 at 4:17 pm

    I haven’t ridiculed anyone.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.”
    I oppose war with Iran unless there is a legal casus belli.

  169. Arnold Evans says:

    Lysander says:
    April 2, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    1) I agree with your first point that Assad is more likely to survive over the next few years than be forced out of power, but contested, repeated national elections are very effective at providing legitimacy for governments. With them, it is very difficult to overthrow a government because it makes it much more difficult to get a critical mass of people worked up in anger that their political rights are being violated.

    Without them, time is on the side of the protesters. If they are put down now, they can reorganize and protest again next year.

    It doesn’t take anything near a majority of a population to render a country non-governable but a group of people who know they are not the majority find it much more difficult to make the sacrifices necessary to do so than a group of people who rightly or wrongly genuinely believe they represent the country itself.

    I don’t think Assad will be in power ten years from now unless he or someone aligned with him defeats someone who can fairly be said to represent the opposition in a contested national election where reasonable measures are taken to ensure the fairness of the vote count. Five years is, I think, a tossup and I think Assad has a very good chance of hanging onto power for one year. But for Assad’s and Syria’s sake, the sooner there is a contested national political contest the better.

    I also agree with your subpoint 1 that his being replaced by a representative government would be a good thing even as I do not expect that over as short a term as we may see in Egypt. I would like nothing more than to see Assad immediately replaced with a representative government, especially if it could be done with little or preferably no loss of life.

    2) On your second point: I think ultimately the most important source of tension between Turkey and Israel, which I think is really more a reflection of tension between Turkey and the United States, has been the post-2003 reactivation of Kurdish capabilities in Iraq.

    Peeling a Kurdish state off of Syria would infuriate Turkey with the United States just as the 2005/2006 suggestion of breaking Iraq into sections would have infuriated Turkey and fundamentally jeopardized Turkey’s relationship with the US to the degree that Turkey leaving NATO would enter consideration.

    The shift we’ve seen in Turkey so far may be explained by the newly increased access to resources on the part of the Kurds better than by the ongoing Israeli provocations against the Palestinians that Turkey had historically accepted passively.

    All of this is to say that if the US aims to break Syria up, or unwittingly assists in that, or allows it to happen in a way that US influence can even possibly be connected to the break up, then that would be a tremendous strategic blunder for the United States and would threaten a very important strategic relationship. I hope the US does not make that mistake, but I don’t trust the US’ capabilities for foreign policy analysis enough that I could expect it not to make that obvious mistake if the opportunity arises.

    3) Of course you’re right that a democratic Syria is almost certain to continue its foreign policy stances. We saw the poll that by more than two to one, the people of Iran believe supporting Hamas and Hezbollah is just the right thing to do and that the price Iran pays for that support is preferable to failing to do the right thing. I’m sure Syria’s population agrees with Iran’s on this issue and may feel so even more strongly if it differs at all.

    The point that the people of the Middle East think opposing Israel and supporting its adversaries is the right thing to do does not register with Western analysts enough.

    4) I agree with your point four also. The divide in the Middle East is colonial versus independent or pro-US versus anti-Zionist. Hamas is Sunni as is Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and both are famously aligned with Shiite Iran and Hezbollah. Iran would have good relations with any Lebanese faction that actively resisted Israel. US analysts also make too much of the fact that Hezbollah happens to be Shiite. Too few people in the United States understand the real dividing axis in the Middle East, as always, is over the relationships with Israel and with Israel’s patron the United States rather than over confessional differences.

  170. fyi says:

    The Iran Fist says: April 3, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Do you have a possible middle ground in mind?

    If so, could you please share it with us?

  171. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    The Iran Fist,
    There is no productive middle-ground between Iran and the US- that’s the whole freakin point. But if you feel there is please enlighten us.

    Pak,
    I never said there is no opposition…I just said it is small, ineffective, unrepresentative, out of touch with the majority of Iranians and bases its actions on lies…I doubt that this is even registering in your brain…

    Also you can stick to your views, but try to learn from the people that went this path before you and avoid their mistakes.

    Also, unlike you who just repeats whatever he reads on traitor websites, I actually know Nour-Alehian and his problems are in no way related to politics…this is the difference between people who actually have dedicated their lives to this beautiful nation and those looking in from behind the shop window…kinda like you.

    As Rumi’s Basiji cousin said: “Out there, beyond doing right and wrong, their is a field where I will slap you around a little, you little punk…”

  172. Pak says:

    Dear B-in-B,

    You can spend your whole life convincing yourself that the opposition do not exist, which will be good for your health since your mind will be comforted, but I will stick to my own path. Thank you for the advice though, I am sure taghouts were saying the same thing as you back in the day.

    By the way, you never told me what you think of this song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUf23GcT924

    Finally, another Green was sent to prison this week. Mohammad-Reza Nour-Alehahian, a cleric, war veteran, and brother of two war martyrs, used to work in the Supreme Leader’s office, and helped Mousavi’s presidential campaign in 2009.

    Damn those Westernised, liberal Greens, who represent a spoiled minority of the Iranian population!

  173. Pak says:

    Dear Arnold,

    Look at Lysander’s post: it is humble, critical, and based on a personal perspective. Unlike you, who intellectually barges into a debate about a distant region, and with no particular expertise on the region boldly declares that a bunch of countries do not actually exist, and instead labels them “Arabia”.

  174. Pak says:

    Dear Arnold,

    “What are you getting all worked up for?”

    Because you make sweeping statements about events in the Middle East without having any particular understanding of the region, nor its history. All you want to do is to pursue your own agenda, which makes you no better than your own government. For example, I doubt you can even provide me a simple time-line of political events in Iran since the revolution.

    “Iran, Syria and Libya understand this US aim and rightly take it into account in striking the balance every country, including the US must strike between national security and personal liberty.”

    This explains your position better than everything else you said earlier. There is no point masking it in lovey-dovey rhetoric.

    “It seems like you intention is to insult me…”

    Why does everyone here think that criticism is an insult? An insult would be calling you a bowl-dwelling parasite. A criticism would be saying that you probably have no knowledge of the Middle East beyond Wikipedia, which you have yet to disprove anyway.

    The reason you get defensive is because you have nothing significant to respond with, just like many others here. The only significant response you gave me this time was a Wikipedia article showing that the March 8 alliance got the majority of votes – fair enough; I assumed that because the March 14 alliance had the majority of seats in parliament, they also had the majority of votes. However, I am still confident that you probably have no idea of the make-up of either alliance (an understanding of such would show you that I am right about the minority having the power in Lebanon), nor are you aware of the fact that Syria was a colonial occupier of Lebanon until recently (shock horror).

    You still have not described the depth of (or lack of) your expertise on the Middle East. I will assume it is nothing. This is a criticism, not an insult.

  175. The Iran Fist says:

    I can’t think of a single positive outcome from this Race For Iran website. All RFI, its creators and commentators are doing is polarizing discussions on and about Iran. This has become a forum for all sides to throw up their nonsense on each other without ever trying to find a middle-ground that would be productive. No actual solutions as far as US-Iran relations are concerned – just one-sided finger pointing.

    The Leveretts are to blame for this. They can’t even manage a tiny website dedicated to discussions on Iran and help find a common ground – how can one expect them to manage actual Iran-related policies in the dog-eat-dog world of politics?

    Failures, all of them….

  176. fyi says:

    kooshy says: April 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Mr. Sanger’s article is informative in the level of obsession with Iran displayed in US government.

    Clearly, the project of destroying independent Iranian power (be it Islamic, Socialist, Secular, Democractic, Capitalist, etc.) is of paramount importance to Axis Powers. This article corroborates what I had been stating – per Dr. Khalilzad’s exposition of US Grand Strategy.

    The conclusion for Iran is quite clear: the obliteration of independent Iranian power must be assumed to be a permanent feature of Axis Powers grand strategic aims. As such, detente is very unlikely possibility due to the high asymmetry of power between the Axis Powers and Iran.

    Furthermore, even in the remote case of detente, the Axis Powers will use that period to undermine the independent Iranian power.

    Thus, Iranians the only grand strategic choice is to not only continue with their current policy of trying to force US out of the Middle East, but also to extend that to include pushing EU states out as well.

    Iran’s must endeavor to create a cordon sanitaire aorund herself; thus Axis Powers influence and presence in Afghanistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Pakistan, and Sothern Persian Gulf states must be checked and reversed.

    There is no other way under the present circumstaces.

  177. fyi says:

    Lysander says: April 3, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Mr. Assad could preside over a transitional period during which an interim constitution will be in effect.

    The interim constitution could then be followed by a permanent one. That was the South African model.

  178. Pirouz says:

    fti,

    That Wilner monograph is pretty weak. It really surprises me how many of these analysts are incapable of any form of tactical or strategic empathy for the “threat” studies they attempt to construct.

    There are the usual flaws, as well.

  179. Lysander says:

    fyi, even a confessional system will require the fall of Assad. If not now then eventually. Like I said, I do not think he will fall for quite some time. But the current system of Aliwite control of the majority is inherently unstable and will likely collapse sooner rather than later.

    That said, Assad I suspect is much more popular, even among Sunnis, than Mubarak was in Egypt.

  180. fyi says:

    Lysander says: April 2, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Like Iran after the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1906, Syria was a democracy for a while in 1950s. But it self-destructed in the political violence. Even the opponents of Hafiz al Assad agreed that his dictatorial government had brought stability to Syria.

    Mr. Assad will not fall unless the Alwaite sect falls with him. That is, Alawite officers, NCOs, and officals are faced with such a deep and enduring resistance by the non-Alawites that they can no longer issue orders and expect them to be carried out.

    That is not going to happen.

    Furthermore, the demise of the Alawite state in Syria will almost certainly lead to an intense competition for power among the Druze, Shia, Alawite, Christain, Kurdish and assorted others for political power or just plain survival. There is no chance for democracy of one-man, one-vote in a post-Alawite Syria.

    I personally believe that the Syrian constitution should be changed along the lines of the confessional system of Lebanon. That is the best hope, in my judgement, for a form of representative government in that part of the world.

    This confessional system, which guarantees representation based on population statistics, is the best solution also for Israel as well as Iraq.

    Western Democracy will not work, ever.

  181. Lysander says:

    Just some personal thoughts about the Syrian revolt.

    1) I think Assad will survive, though IMHO, it would be better if he were to fall because,

    a) It would be better if Syria had a chance at real democracy,
    b) It would strengthen the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions,
    c) It would increase the likelyhood that revolution would spread to the ultimate source of terror, Saudi Arabia. I hope and pray to be alive to witness that time.

    2) If the Assad regime were to fall, the biggest risk would be defection of the Kurdish region. That would be the goal of any western intervention. Attempts to place a pro-western government would be doomed to failure. It will be very hard to replace the Assad regime with Rifaat Assad or Abdul Halim Khaddam or any of the exiled Syrian figures. Short of invasion, it would be impossible.

    3) Syrian foreign policy will change very little under any democratic government. Relations with Iran would cool only slightly. The bottom line is any democratic government will have to have a plausible means of regaining the Golan. This requires Hezbollah and Iran as a bargaining chip at the very least. Distancing itself from either without tangible concessions from the west will end any new government’s chances of success.

    4) Do not read too much into the Sunni-Shia’ “divide.” Hafez al Assad had no quams about allying with Sunni Egypt. Were Gamal Abdel Nasser ruling Egypt today, he would consider Shiite Iran a natural ally and Sunni Saudi Arabia his natural enemy. (which is how he thought of it during his rule.)

    Just my thoughts, I’m not Syrian and have never been to Syria.

  182. kooshy says:

    BiBiJon says: April 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm
    “Lets find a label for David Sanger and his ilk.’

    You see, David Sanger like many other of his kind is a Jewish American journalist, with this background in mind they get recruited and are asked to write about Iran and broader regional issues. I believe David like any other Jew is genuinely worried about Israel’s security and longevity so he knows Israel’s existence it all relates to maintaining the American hegemony in the region, therefore like most Jews he see’s Iran’s revolution and independence as the main defying force against maintaining the American hegemonic posture this should be simple to understand for all. So far I see this stand of his as no problem, the problem I see with his writings is his own incompetence in what he writes, he often goes out of his way and uses nanotechnology compounds to glue everything and everyone to Iran related issues, in this process he gets trapped with his own wishful stories, for this I think is suitable to call him David Karaoke.

    Often my Jewish clients and friends, with regard to Iran they ask me, so what you think is gona happen are this guys gona go? I reply “I really don’t think so these guys seems to me that are pretty stable’ next you often are asked “then what should Israel do, what’s gona happen to the Israel” without a reply in my silence inside me says “Well that Alaska proposal might have not been a bad of a deal after all”

  183. From Al Jazeera:

    “US and Egyptian special forces have reportedly been offering covert armed training to rebel fighters in the battle for Libya, Al Jazeera has been told.”

    But I’m pretty sure those US guys aren’t wearing “boots.” At least not when they’re standing “on the ground.”

  184. There’s an article in today’s NY Times suggesting that Palestine is likely to be admitted as a member of the UN this September:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/world/middleeast/03mideast.html?hp

    Please. Certainly we deserve more respect than this. Guess whose approval is required for this to happen? Article 4, Section 2 of the UN Charter answers that question:

    “The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”

    Hard to imagine that any Security Council member would veto a resolution that Israel finds objectionable, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything, eh?

  185. BiBiJon,

    My point may have been too obscure: it was that Iran won’t be terribly impressed with the US’ performance in Libya. The fighting on the ground is about where it was when the US came in. The US had a plane shot down on the first day (excuse me: mechanical failure), probably by the rebels. And now the US is dropping bombs on the group it’s supposedly helping.

    I don’t think Iran will be terribly impressed.

  186. BiBiJon says:

    Lets find a label for David Sanger and his ilk.

    Ever since Sanger’s piece on the 19 missiles wikileak story (see http://www.fair.org/blog/2010/11/29/nyt-oversells-wikileaksiranian-missiles-story/ )

    I’ve developed a mild obsession with Sanger’s obsession with Iran. Of course, unlike Sanger, I don’t quite live and breath my obsession awake or asleep 24/7.

    Still, if you all could help christen David’s disease with an appropriate name, I could bring my little obsession to a closure, I hope.

    As to Eric’s quote regarding Iran taking notice of the tomahawk technology, I believe Iran’s top brass’ repeated warnings: ‘attack Iran, and we’ll go postal.’

  187. From one NY Times article:

    “The administration’s top officials knew that a demonstration of [the US' military power in Libya] would not be lost on Iran.”

    From another NY Times article:

    “NATO Airstrike Reportedly Kills Rebels in Libya”

    I’m sure it hasn’t been lost on Iran.

  188. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Pak,
    In your own mind you might think that you are not a traitor and in touch with the reality of your country, but in effect your desires and advocacy are treason and out of touch with the reality of Iran. I doubt you struggled to get rid of the dicatator Shah- which unlike the chants is absolutely not the same as the Islamic Republic. I’m sorry it just isn’t no matter how much the greenies and pathetic Iranian exiles keep repeating this lie. The Islamic Republic is exponentially more free and more just than Iran during the Pahlavi dictatorship. This is a fact, not opinion no matter what you and your kind say.

    In fact, treating your own lies and propaganda as facts and reality, is one of the main reason that the people opposed to the Islamic Republic have been unsuccessful in the last 32 years. You can’t succeed basing your action on lies, this is a universal law.

    On a personal note, I suggest that you think about a sobering fact namely that there are millions in Iran who over the last 50 years have dedicated their whole lives to creating the Islamic Republic and defending it against it’s enemies- whether it was during the war or today. You can’t compete with them. Wake up. That’s why I suggested emigration to you- and given th fact that you are either dual citizen or permanent resident of another country this shouldn’t be too difficult for you. What you want for Iran is not going to happen your life time, just as a socialist or anarchist is not going get their desired vision for the US.

    In the meantime you have been bamboozled into becoming a traitor against Iran- even though that wasn’t your intention. Many young people in my generation did similar things n the 80s and 90s and today they are trying to pick up the pieces of there ruined lives- here and abroad. But remember doing this in your 40s or 50s is very hard. Don’t eff up your life so that Faezeh and Mehdi Hashemi can go back living in their palace and the US can dominate Iran again. They will through you away like a Kleenex after jerking-off once you have fulfilled your purpose. Please think about what I have said to you.

  189. fyi says:

    All:

    Destination Unknown: Where is the Global Nuclear Fuel Cycle Heading?

    http://newmediamanager2.net/popup/1524

  190. Arnold Evans says:

    Pak:

    There is an appropriate American idiom: Why you mad?

    What are you getting all worked up for? It seems like you intention is to insult me but you’re only making yourself seem silly and sensitive.

    We’ve gone over the fraud accusations regarding Iran’s elections many times. Do you think Mousavi had more support on election day than Ahmadinejad? You’ve already answered no, but we can go again. If you want to change you answer to yes, what makes you think so?

    You can also see the vote totals for Lebanon’s election. Hariri’s faction got 656,820 votes. The Hezbollah-aligned faction got 819,180. As I said, nobody in Lebanon thinks there is even a plausibility that Hariri’s faction speaks for all or a majority of Lebanese.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_general_election,_2009

    I’m not sure what more you want me to say than I hope to see representative and accountable government in Syria just as much as I hope to see it in Egypt. I said that earlier. Saying that means I either support it in both cases or neither. There’s no way to get hypocrisy out of that.

    Listen. I guess the reason you’re mad is because I said that unlike Assad, Ahmadinejad can say conclusively that most Iranians support him over any alternative politician. Meanwhile you don’t support Ahmadinejad and hope to cling to a fantasy that most Iranians agree with you. As far as I can tell, this is where that whole outburst came from.

    If when you’re in a minority, you can’t accept that basic reality, then you are an enemy of democracy. You, Pak, are an enemy of Iranian democracy. You’re just as an enemy of Iranian democracy as Barack Obama. If the Iranian government is not vigilant, then Barack Obama and people like you may be able to work together to repeat the events of 1953. Barack Obama would be very happy to see that happen it would be a great victory for him. You, on the other hand, are just a overly-emotional dolt who was maneuvered into working against the interests of the people of Iran.

  191. fyi says:

    All:

    Taking Compliance Seriously: Iran and the Next Iran

    http://newmediamanager2.net/popup/1533

  192. This is rapidly turning into a Keystone Cops affair:

    “NATO Airstrike Reportedly Kills Rebels in Libya”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/world/africa/03libya.html?hp

    “… One rebel fighter who was wounded in the airstrike said a fellow rebel had fired into the air moments before the attack.… Seconds later, Mr. Abubaker heard the planes. “I saw something white,” he said. “There was no sound.”

    His white pickup truck was set on fire, and he said three of the four other men in the car were killed. … A NATO spokesman in Brussels said the alliance was aware of the report and was investigating.

    “NATO takes reports of civilian casualties very seriously,” the spokesman said. …The spokesman… added, “If someone fires at one of our aircraft, they have the right to defend themselves.” “

  193. Pak says:

    I would be grateful if anyone give me any information regarding this “Reza Khalili” guy. It almost seems like a joke when he appears on TV wearing a face-mask, with his face blurred anyway, and his voice distorted.

  194. Pak says:

    Dear Arnold,

    Your earlier post reaffirms to me that you have no expertise on Middle Eastern affairs (I still cannot believe that you used the term “Arabia” to describe the Persian Gulf Arab states). Have you ever been to the region? Do you understand the different national, religious cultures? Are you aware of Middle Eastern history, beyond what you probably selectively read on Wikipedia? In turn, have you at least academically studied the Middle East? I would be grateful if you could describe to me your specific expertise.

    To begin with, Lebanon’s elections were externally and independently monitored, where as Iran’s elections were not. There were no fraud allegations in Lebanon, where as there were in Iran. There was no significant post-election unrest in Lebanon (including protests, unwarranted arrests, and unconstitutional actions by the ruling government), where as there was in Iran. And anyway, Lebanon has an inclusive democratic system, where not only does Iran not have, but Iran additionally has a divine Mullah-Shah whose dictatorial hands are involved in every decision-making process.

    Secondly, your analysis of protests in Lebanon is totally flawed. The March 14 Alliance won the elections in 2009; Hariri’s own party won the most number of seats in parliament. Given the system of governance in Lebanon, there is pretty much zero chance that an individual party will win the majority of votes, so government is formed through coalitions. This type of governance effectively means that the minority rule, not the majority, hence the government in Lebanon collapsed because a minority withdrew their support. So your analogy of Lebanon is totally flawed.

    Thirdly, you do not realise that Libya was already effectively a Western colony, since Western oil companies controlled Libya’s oil, and the Gaddafi’s had billions of dollars invested in Western economies. And Syria is hardly a pariah state; only recently Hillary Clinton announced her support for Assad, and called him a reformer.

    Fourthly, you make absolutely no effort to support the Syrian people because of your own agendas. This makes you as guilty of hypocrisy as the US government, which totally devalues your criticisms.

    And because of your probable lack of expertise on the Middle East, you view Middle Eastern people through a specific lens – what I will call neo-orientalism from now on. Neo-orientalists – who many Western leftists can be labelled as – think that Middle Eastern people are anti-Western, such that if their governments are not anti-Western, then they are oppressed, but if they are anti-Western, then their people are happy. You think that Middle Eastern people are politically illiterate, cold-blooded, and passive enough to carelessly watch their compatriots be slaughtered in the hundreds in an undemocratic, police state, simply to uphold their anti-Westernism. And if Middle Easterns are protesting to begin with in an anti-Western state, it is because they are CIA-Mossad-backed non-patriots who have lost touch with the “reality” in their respective countries.

    I like that you speak out against your own government’s crimes, but you need to do your homework on the Middle East, and also stop speaking down to its people.

  195. masoud says:

    I wrote before on what Beck seemed to be implying in his intro. Truth was I couldn’t really be bothered to watch his program and skipped to the part with Reza Khalili. Take a look at this:
    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/glenn-beck-asks-if-some-muslims-are-trying-to-bring-about-the-antichrist/

    Could you imagine if anyone dared to spread lies like this about Judaism? They’d be stripped of their citizenship and spirited away to some black site in Africa to be tortured to death.

    The blame for this lies with these pissant ‘reformists’ who started all these rumors about Ahmadinejad, because they thought they were being clever and ensuring that detente would only come when when they were back in power.

  196. paul says:

    This kind of statement …

    “One is the “liberal imperialist” argument (to borrow John Mearsheimer’s excellent phrase). Those espousing this argument believe there is a genuine moral imperative to violate traditional norms of sovereignty and nonintervention to rescue populations deemed by the international community as threatened by their own governments. ”

    … drives me crazy. You have no real evidence for your assertion that those who push for ‘humanitarian’ intervention do so sincerely, and you have loads of evidence – in the form of screaming hypocrisy – that they aren’t sincere at all about it. So why make this kind of assertion? When people are pushing forward blatantly bogus reasons for what they are doing, it’s your job as analysts/commentators to search for the real reasons, and NOT to take the given reasons at face value.

  197. Rehmat says:

    Global Entry: ‘Preparation for next 9/11′ and War on Iran

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/global-entry-preparation-for-next-911/

  198. Arnold Evans says:

    I owe a bunch of people responses about capitalism and US interests in relation to global poverty and inequality. At this stage in the conversation, I’m not able to write about it off the cuff but have to take time to think about things which is harder to fit into my schedule right now.

    I promise when I have a decent chunk of time I’ll carefully read and respond to everything that was written earlier.

  199. Arnold Evans says:

    Syria is an important and interesting subject. As someone sympathetic with the aims of the anti-colonial bloc in the Middle East Syria does stand out as an embarrassment even though its foreign policies are independent.

    Protests against the government itself are just much harder to sustain in a country like Iran where, underneath everything else, there are regular national elections that measure the strength or the popular support of competing factions.

    March 14 recently held protests in Lebanon, for example, and I didn’t care because there are available election results so even if Hariri can get 10,000 or 100,000 people to the streets of Beirut, there is no question he does not have the support of a majority of Lebanese. No matter how beautiful his speech is, even his supporters don’t think he or they have a legitimate claim to speak for all or most of Lebanon.

    Assad’s inability to say what Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah can is a major weakness in the viability of his government.

    FYI’s earlier link to a report that the US and its colonies are ultimately behind an attempted color revolution in Syria is superficially plausible. The fact that Syria’s leadership likely believes it is true isn’t strong evidence in either direction. But the purported plan seemed to have as its last step that Syria would replace Assad with a governing council that will supposedly “terminate Syria’s relations with Iran and Hezbollah”.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/why-did-website-linked-to-syria-regime-publish-u-s-saudi-plan-to-oust-assad-1.352809

    We can just say that last step probably needs a little more work.

    Anyway, I would love and hope to see a representative government in Syria just as much as I want to see them in the US colonies of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and the others.

    The government of Syria can’t last forever without the people of the country knowing for sure, as the people of Iran and Lebanon know, how many people in the country support its policies and knowing that if the prevailing consensus was to change, the government would be able to change along with it.

    The best thing the US can do for democracy in the Middle East is just to clearly pronounce that democracy is a more important US interest than security for Israel. It is a simple thing that would have a tremendous impact. The US cannot and will not do it because it just is not true. But as long as the US cannot say that, the US cannot effectively intervene in the Middle East in favor of democracy.

    “If the people of Egypt prefer an Islamist government, or a government hostile to Israel, US values and interests demand that the US support the Egyptian government its people prefer. The US and Israel will deal with any ramifications regarding Israel’s security separately.”

    No US president, particularly Barack Obama, has ever or could have ever honestly made that statement. The US becoming able to make that statement not only would advance democracy in the regional US colonial structure, but it would be the single most effective way the US could advance democracy in its regional adversaries.

    The fact of the matter is that the US aims to impose a Shah on Iran, and on Syria and on Libya just as much as it aims to maintain the dictatorships over Bahrain and Yemen. Iran, Syria and Libya understand this US aim and rightly take it into account in striking the balance every country, including the US must strike between national security and personal liberty.

    There is nothing the US could do to create space for increased personal liberty and political freedom even in its adversaries such as Iran and Syria (and of course also in its colonies) than to change the fact that it currently values Israel’s security above popularly accountable governments in Israel’s region.

    Mostly for domestic political reasons, the US is currently unable to do that. But that is where to look if one wants the US to play any positive role in fostering political freedom in the Middle East.

  200. Kathleen says:

    Eric “the most oppressed group of all has been nearly silent, and more or less ignored.”

    Ignored over and over again. The MSM has been silent about Palestinian protest for decades. The protest in the middle east started with the Palestinians…decades ago. The MSM following orders. Paychecks trump facts on the ground.

    Wondering if Chris Matthews who has been on special assignment in Israel will continue to follow orders about the I/P conflict? This was announced the other night by Chuck Todd who is sitting in for Chris on Hardball. At first I was excited that Matthews may be breaking the silence barrier on MSNBC and other MSM outlets on what is really going on over there. I have in person approached him about the silence on MSNBC at the Libby trial and at the Dem convention in Denver. Some of us have continued to push Chris and others to move on this critical issue since the internet has really opened up the issue to real debate based on real facts. Although some so called progressive blogs have real blog clogs on this issue. Crooks and Liars closed down. Jane Hamsher and her moderator Rayne over at Firedoglake ran the topic off of that blog. So much for open debate.

    Anyway have been thinking about Chris Matthews recent history covering or not covering this issue. He did not touch the Goldstone Report. Not even a whisper. Along with Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman etc…..All Silent when it came to the Goldstone Report. One day after the executions of human rights activist on the Mavi Marmara Chris Matthews replayed the Israeli released tape of Israeli soldiers sliding down a rope onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara and then being beat up by those on the Mavi Marmara 9 times in seven minutes. Chris did not ask were these activist fired at with live ammunition before these Israeli soldiers came on to the deck and what happenned afterwards when 9 of these activist were “slaughtered”. Matthews did not even mention the UN report on what took place.

    Not expecting much out of Chris Matthews on this critical issue now that I think about his past and very limited and lop sided coverage. More than likely will go along with an Israeli rebranding effort.

  201. Voice of Tehran says:

    fyi says:
    April 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

    fyi ,I agree with your assessment.
    The War Axis is acting like a pubertal child and Iranian leaders are watching the events in full awareness of the ‘ greater ‘ meaning.
    Now , the cardinal question , as our dear UU once noted , remains unanswered.
    “Had Humpty Dumpty A Great Fall , OR , WAZ He Pushed ?

  202. As far as Libya is concerned, two weeks on, there is no sign of Colonel Qaddafi leaving anytime soon ! Indeed NATO air power is becoming less relevant, as Qaddafi forces on the ground have now started adopting some guerrilla warfare tactics. Which makes it vey difficult for NATO to distinguish who is who from the air ! Actually there are reports of NATO air strike on a Rebel convoy near Brega.
    I think the Western coalition has underestimated Qaddafi`s ability to stay in power.One of the reasons for this, is in my view, the Western reliance on dissident Libyans living abroad ! Few weeks ago, a lot of dissidents here in the UK, claimed that the Qadaffi`s regime would fall within days because of mass defections. Clearly, this has not happened so far, despite the recent defections ( or kidnapping ? ) of people like Moussa Koussa, there is no sign that regime will collapse anytime soon.
    Now as far as Iran is concerned, dissident Iranians living in the West also constantly whispering on Western powers ( U.S in particular ) that the Iranian political stablishment is on brink of collapse ! Hopefully Libya`s lessons will teach the West not to take decisions based on dissidents intel.

  203. fyi says:

    All:

    From the point of view of the Iranian leaders, the more the Axis Powers get involved in this type of intervention, the better the interests of Iran is served.

    The Axis Powers have zero chance of setting the political agenda in the post-Qaddafi Libay. But they are spending treasure (and sooner rather than later blood) there.

    And, in the meantime, their ideological inconsistency is clear to the whole world to see – including Muslims. Which means that their information war against Islamic Iran, Syria, and other states on basis of democracy and human rights can be forthrightly rebutted by Iranians, Syrians and many others.

    All of this must be understood as a struggle for Power; there is no morality in any of this.

  204. Fiorangela says:

    off topic

    Tony Lawson’s video had been deleted from Youtube but now it’s back:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh_wrJ7sjYI

  205. Voice of Tehran says:

    Occupying the World
    The New Colonialism
    By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

    http://www.counterpunch.com/roberts04012011.html

    …”No other country feels a need for a world military presence. Why does Washington think that it is a good allocation of scarce resources to devote $1.1 trillion annually to military and security “needs”? Is this a sign of Washington’s paranoia? Is it a sign that only Washington has enemies?

    Or is it an indication that Washington assigns the highest value to empire and squanders taxpayers’ monies and the country’s credit-worthiness on military footprints, while millions of Americans lose their homes and their jobs?

    Washington’s expensive failures in Iraq and Afghanistan have not tempered the imperial ambition. Washington can continue to rely on the print and TV media to cover up its failures and to hide its agendas, but expensive failures will remain expensive failures. Sooner or later Washington will have to acknowledge that the pursuit of empire has bankrupted the country.”…

  206. Rd. says:

    President Obama has wanted to use the wave of popular agitation for political change in a growing number of Arab countries as the basis for an alternative “narrative” and America’s role in it, which could be used against both Al-Qa’ida and the Islamic Republic

    Mr. president, just as a caution, be careful about aiming at your own feet.

    “Libyan rebels killed in NATO air strike’”

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/04/2011428562838677.html

  207. Pirouz says:

    Pak,

    Can you provide a link to the Leverett’s warning of an imminent attack on Iran? I know they have warned of the potential for such an attack. But warning of an actual imminent attack? Please show me the link.

  208. Pak says:

    “Those espousing [humanitarian intervention] believe there is a genuine moral imperative to violate traditional norms of sovereignty and nonintervention to rescue populations deemed by the international community as threatened by their own governments.”

    The Leveretts fail to identify the conflict of morality here:

    On the one hand, liberals support humanitarian intervention because of the idea of equal moral worth, regardless of race, religion, etc. They also believe that sovereignty is a responsibility, not a right. Therefore, if someone has the capacity to intervene and save a significant number of people from severe human rights abuses, then it is their moral responsibility to do so. The dilemma is that using fire to fight fire has many pitfalls.

    On the other hand, those who oppose humanitarian intervention also believe in equal moral worth, but argue that using force for humanitarian purposes is an oxymoron, especially when violating sovereignty (which they believe is an inalienable right – no pun intended). Their main problem is explaining how they can morally justify being a spectator to severe human rights abuses, especially if they have the capacity to intervene. Think of Rwanda for example, where 800,000 people were killed in 100 days under the watchful eyes of the international community.

    Nobody has managed to come up with a comprehensive argument yet, which is why humanitarian intervention is so contested, and selective.

    “…“preventive” humanitarian intervention.”

    This is a tautology, since humanitarian intervention is preventive by nature, which means that the Leveretts are framing humanitarian intervention in an way to tarnish it by grouping it with preventive war.

    The doctrine of preventive war is based on future expectation of something that has not already occurred (e.g. attack Iran because Iran is thinking of attacking Israel). Humanitarian intervention is based on stopping something that is already occurring, where there is a reasonable expectation of it continuing. In the case of Libya, the argument is that Gaddafi’s troops had already committed severe human rights abuses, and were outside Benghazi’s gates ready to finish the job.

    For the record, it has been quite a few days, weeks, months, and years, since the Leveretts warned of an imminent attack on Iran, yet there has been absolutely no evidence to suggest an imminent attack is in the pipelines.

    What happened to accountability?

  209. Kathleen,

    “The wave of change went from Tunisia, Egypt went right over the Palestinians who have been protesting and ignored by our media for years and hit Iran on cue.”

    That certainly has been the case, hasn’t it? Ironic: In this “Arab spring” of uprisings all over the Middle East, the most oppressed group of all has been nearly silent, and more or less ignored.

  210. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Right. So instead of IAEA inspectors reporting on alleged violations on the nuclear issue, U.N human rights inspectors can provide a casus belli for “humanitarian intervention” in Iran to “protect” the population from its “brutal government”.

    This point has already been made with respect to sanctions against Iran.

    What you would need would be to foment unrest in Iran that turns bloody and then claim there is no choice but to intervene to save lives.

  211. Fara,

    “Is the US/EU going to intervene [in Cote D'Ivoire], too?”

    Who knows? Wherever there’s a wrong to be righted! (Or is it a right to be wronged?)

  212. Fara says:

    Is the US/EU going to intervene here, too?

    “At least 800 people have been killed in the western Ivory Coast city of Duekoue this week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12944669

  213. Humanist says:

    In my amateurish view this is another good article by Leveretts yet I am sure it is not comprehensive and complete.

    I have a feeling on the US Middle East policies and actions AIPAC is always a player. If I am right it is understandable why that element can not brought into any open discussion without presenting the required strong and decisive evidence.

    In the last two weeks apparently irrelevant references to Iran (by those in Washington) were agitating my mind suspecting new trickier plots. In the following I mention a few of the questions that had crossed my mind.

    - Why Obama in his contemptuous Nowruz message was ignoring the facts and aggressively taking the side of the young Iranians who are supposedly (potentially) pro US and anti-government. (That message of Obama contained rich material but did not get the proper analysis it deserved).

    - Why Jerusalem Post in one of its recent articles by Hillary Leila Krieger asserted: now that Obama’s effort to engage with Iran has (badly) failed, the White House is analyzing the Iran issue from a new perspective (Is this the phase II of what Levertts have exposed repeatedly ie to deceitfully claim that it was an honest attempt to engage but Iran didn’t respond accordingly? And now they are preparing for phase III?)

    - Why in a brazen 19th century Imperialistic style the Western powers intervened militarily in Libya? Some of the excuses (reasons) Obama provided in his 20 minute speech were nonsensical, as if the multi-throng objective of the speech (apart from fooling the Americans) was also paving the way for attacking Iran? (since Chomsky recently had claimed, Bunker-Busting bombs are now transported to an Island in the Indian Ocean maybe to be used in Iran).

    His emotional reference to American Values and stuff like ‘that is who we are, helping those in need around the world’ was astonishing since in previous days he was practically silent in the cases of grotesque shootings in Bahrain or Yemen.

    As at the end of his speech he mentioned Iran I felt as getting a quick mild electric shock in my brains thinking ‘War with Iran is getting closer’.

    - Why there is continuous pressure to take MEK out of the list of terrorists? A year before 2009 Iranian election I was bewildered questioning why Blair-Miliband are legitimizing MEK?. When in June 2009 Iranian policemen were being killed by bullets, when Bassiji Stations were set on fire I got my answers. So why now the warmongers are trying to do the same in USA? This time it is not difficult to guess the answer.

    I know full well the items I have mentioned above are only a part of what goes on in Washington. For example I have read for every Tomahawk mistle fired the net profit for the arms industry is over $500,000. (Not bad having a profit of $100 mil in just a couple of days, provided of course if each fired mistle is replaced by a new one).

    I am also aware Obama is a lawyer, and he has taken courses on how to spot logical twists in any argument, so it is surprising why at times he talks absurdity. The question is, does he really believe in what he is saying or he is forced to say so? In both cases and most of the time, there is nothing to cheer about in what he does or what he says.

  214. Fiorangela says:

    REhmat — re Israel’s preference for Beshar and dictators in general:

    From Israel Shahak’s history of the Jewish people as well as Professor Ruderman’s lectures on the history of Jews it become apparent that Jews have never been comfortable in societies where the will of the people was paramount. Jews have always allied themselves to the ruling prince or monarch of states in which they sojourned. Most often, as in the model case of Jews in Poland, Jews were specially protected by the monarch, for whom Jews performed tax farming and other administrative duties for the rulers, over the indigenous people. Jews typically remained aloof and apart from the indigenous people. Thus, in situations were rulers cede authority to the people, those “people” will not be inclined to treat Jews with anything near the deference that Jews had enjoyed from their princely protectors. Jews have yet to figure out how to function successfully in a democracy of diverse peoples, nor even a democracy of only Jews–about two weeks ago, Knesset passed a law granting communities in Israel the right to exclude Mizrahi Jews from residing in their neighborhoods.

    Furthermore, within their ‘partitioned and enclosed’ communities within other states, Jews were subject to the authority of Jewish community leaders –be he a rabbi, a wealthy merchant or banker, or just a strong-man. Jews sought and generally received authority from the secular monarch which gave that Jewish community leader rights to enforce laws upon the Jews, including rights to enforce punishments ranging from fines to beatings to capital punishment.

    When Jews in Europe were “emancipated” –that is, when secular princes and rulers gave to all Jews equal rights within the state, ordinary Jews were simultaneously released from the position of subservience to Jewish authorities, an enormously destabilizing outcome. In many ways, Jews are still struggling to define the authority centers and struggling to define their relative degrees of moral autonomy.

  215. Fiorangela says:

    Netanyahu, said ‘democracy’ about 6 times in the first 3 minutes of the video; he had the balls to say, “Arabs who are rebelling don’t see Israel as a problem, they want to be like Israel.”

    In a poll reported in YNet on Mar 31, 14.3% of Israeli teens see Democracy as a goal.

    In video @ ~20.30 min, in answer to “What do you teach your children, in Israel?” BN: “That all men are created equal — Jews, Arabs, .. . .”

    But that same YNet report, on Mar 31 2011: :http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-4050228,00.html says
    46% of Israeli teens think rights of Arabs should be revoked; “According to the data, the importance of democracy as a national goal among Israeli teens has dropped from second place in 1998 (26%) to third place in 2010 with just 14.3%. Meanwhile, the importance of “Jewishness” as a national goal has climbed from third place (18.1% in 1998) to first place in 2010 with 26%.

    About 60% of Jewish youths prefer “strong leadership” to rule of law and the study reveals that 46% of those asked tended to negate the basic political rights like the right to be elected from Israel’s Arab citizens.

    Asked how they feel when they think of Arabs, 25% responded with “hate” and 12% responded with “fear”.

    antidote to Netanyahu head-exploding youtube –

    Filangieri & Franklin: The Italian Enlightenment and the U.S. Constitution

    I don’t think Mearsheimer’s phrase “neoliberal imperialism” is at all accurate. What he — and the Leveretts–describe is the zionization of American policy. It is antithetical to founding principles of the US Constitutional republic.

    There have been a lot of discussions of Islam on this forum, and they’ve been highly educational, and appreciated.

    Americans have got to reclaim THEIR legacy and their cultural identity.
    In the Filangieri and Franklin video, Marcello Pera, former President of the Senate of the Republic of Italy, (at 13.44 min –>) discusses Filangieri’s precise analysis of the influence of European Enlightenment thinking on the creation on a well-ordered government, then emphasizes that the principles and legacy of Christian Revelation are essential to sustain that form of government in a moral trajectory.

    I have quoted here the statements of several prominent ‘neo-zionists’ who state forthrightly their intention to erase the influence of Christianity from American culture; their goal, they say, is to “secularize” United States civic culture.

    But while it is true that they seek to erase Christianity from American culture, secularization is NOT their goal; if secularization were their goal they would be promoting the ideas of Solon, the Lawgiver, with whom the Founding Fathers were well acquainted.
    Neo-zionists do not promote the thinking of Solon, they seek the dominance of Jewish thought over American attitudes, politics, and culture. The zionization of American foreign — and domestic — policy shows the extent to which they have been successful in their quest.

  216. masoud says:

    Dear Leveretts,

    I had been quietly hoping that your relative silence over the past couple of weeks had something to do with someone with brains from the Whitehouse calling you up and eating up inordinate amounts of your time. The events of the past week have put a nail in the coffin of that hope for me.

    It seems that the Obama administration is dead set against adopting a sane Iran policy no matter what happens in his first term, and that position is likely to harden in his second. Sooner or later Iran is going to become a first class issue for the 2012 elections, and the Primary season is beginning to heat up. This raises some questions I’d appreciate seeing you two(or anyone else) address:

    1. Is there any reason for hope in the constellation of Candidates starting to line up for the Presidential nomination?
    2. What effect will the loosening of campaign finance laws have on the Iran issue?
    3. Do the current right-wing debacles in the mid-western states raise any hope for a break in the two party system in America?

    Masoud

  217. Ammar says:

    Leveretts, you have been eerily silent about Syria! Is that because your predictions about Bashar’s popularity and stability were proven incorrect? I implore you to comment on this matter.

  218. masoud says:

    I think those pushing the demonstrative effect argument will come to regret what this developing debacle in Lybia will eventually come to demonstrate, both to the American public, and yet again, the world at large: American incompetence.

    The Netenyahu interview posted on the last thread was pretty much the standard boiler plate garbage we always hear from Zionists, though it was interesting to see how Netenyahu struggled to keep from contradicting himself in even that controlled environment. What is the man thinking anyway? ‘My son is a Bible Champion!’ is far from the most effective slogan a head of state trying to cast himself as a moderate could muster.

    It would seem Israel is moving away from it’s religiously-agnostic ‘moderates vs. extremists’ narrative, which I always thought was effective, and towards a more aggressive ‘Judeo-Christian vs. Muslim’ narrative, which I think will flounder.

    Interestingly, Glenn Beck of fox news is also pushing the same line in a bad way. On his March 31 2011 show he had black boards in his intro comparing Imam-e-Zaman to the Anti-Christ, and basically concluding they were the same person. He also interviewed a ‘CIA Spy’ who calls himself Reza Khalili, who argues, with an apparently straight face, that Khameini and Ahmadinejad believe they personally know the 12th Imam and seek to drench the world in blood and capture Jereusalem in order to bring him out of hiding. For added gravitas, he also brings on some Joker from something called the ‘Christian Broadcasting Network’ to tell the world about a secret documentary spilling the beans that they have uncovered and has the ‘offical mark’ of Ahmadinejad’s office on it to boot. America seems to be becoming an ever more frightening place to live by the minute.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2J2P2N-z14

    Anyways I found the funniest thing about that Netenyahu interview was at the end when they panned out, to reveal an elaborate Persian carpet covering the floor of the interview site. How’s that sanctions push working out for everyone?

  219. Kathleen says:

    would really like to hear what you folks think about this you tube interview of Netanyahu. Really seemed like this is part of the effort to rebrand Israel and you tube is acting as a promoter or conduit for the rebranding.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/03/benjamin-netanyahus-heart-of-darkness.html

  220. Kathleen says:

    “Make no mistake—Obama has supplemented the George W. Bush doctrine of “preventive” war with his own doctrine of “preventive” humanitarian intervention. And there are clearly forces in the American body politic—if not within the Obama Administration itself—who would ultimately like to use this as a precedent for eventual action against Iran.”

    I was amazed that everyone everyone in the MSM that I heard going over Obama’s speech did not mention that threat directed towards Iran at the end of the speech.

    After Mubarak stepped down CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell turned the spotlight immediately on Iran. That evening MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, Chris Matthews, Cenk Uygar, Lawrnece o’Donnell, Rachel maddow, Ed all started pounding on Iran again. It was as if the go sign had been turned on by the administration and they all followed those orders. The wave of change went from Tunisia, Egypt went right over the Palestinians who have been protesting and ignored by our media for years and hit Iran on cue.

    Sure seems like the “train has left the track” and his headed right where the I lobby and Israel want it to hit. Iran.

    Samantha Power Goes to War
    Tom Hayden
    http://www.thenation.com/article/159570/samantha-power-goes-war