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The Race for Iran


In a recent comment, Arnold Evans posed the following question to us: 

“If you could choose between Egypt being ruled by Sadat/Mubarak—the first of which you both have spoken so approvingly of—or by a democratic leader who could well be as hostile to Israel as Ahmadinejad, which would you choose?  If you choose Sadat/Mubarak, then is your opposition to attempting regime change in Iran solely on the basis that such a regime change is implausible?  If Iran could be destabilized to the point that the US could impose a leader like Sadat or Mubarak is feasible, would you then support that?” 

This comment gets to the heart of what U.S. strategy in the Middle East should be.  To start with, we don’t think that regime change is a constructive policy tool for the United States.  We do not believe that the 1953 coup in Iran served U.S. interests in the long run—Stephen Kinzer’s book, All the Shah’s Men, provides lots of good discussion on this point.  We certainly judge the 2003 invasion of Iraq (a war aimed at coercive regime change in Baghdad) to have been a disaster for America’s strategic position, in the Middle East and globally.  So, today, we are not inclined to endorse the idea of regime change in either Cairo or Tehran. 

And, in this regard, make no mistake—a scenario of genuinely democratic elections in Egypt, which could only be realized through massive external pressure, is a regime change scenario.  Egypt’s current political order is not, and never has been organized around the idea of “free and fair” elections.  Just as we are not big fans of regime change, we are also not big fans of democracy for democracy’s sake—especially when democracy is imposed on Middle Eastern countries by the West.  

The illegitimacy of the Shah’s regime in Iran, which the United States went to such lengths to restore and support, was manifest to the world—in the end, it was opposed by the overwhelming majority of Iranian society.  But the fact that the Mubarak government does not hold power on the basis of genuinely competitive elections does not mean that it is illegitimate.  If, by some chance, the Egyptian people decide that the Mubarak government is illegitimate, in the same way that Iranians clearly decided this about the Shah, then there will be regime change in Cairo, indigenously achieved.  But the United States, for its part, should deal with the political orders prevailing in the Middle East, including the current regime in Egypt—not try to replace them with governments we find ideologically comfortable and strategically accommodating. 

On this point, we do not believe that the United States needs regime change in Tehran to improve its relations with Iran.  To do that, the United States needs to pursue smart diplomacy with the Islamic Republic’s current political structure—diplomacy, that is, which treats the Islamic Republic as Iran’s legitimate government, seeking to defend and enhance Iran’s legitimate interests.  This is something that no U.S. President since 1979—not even Barack Hussein Obama—has tried to do. 

We do not think it is correct to say that we have spoken so approvingly of the late Egyptian president Anwar El Sadat.  We have pointed out that Sadat collaborated with Nazi Germany against Britain during World War II and actually launched a war against Israel in 1973 that killed thousands of Israelis—something neither President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nor any other Iranian leader has done.  It is ironic, to say the least, that Sadat has been granted hero-like status by many in the United States and Israel while Iran’s leaders are falsely vilified as posing an existential threat to Israel and being implacably hostile to the United States.  This is a critically important point that many Americans and Israelis need to hear and internalize.

We think that American encouragement of Egypt’s realignment of its relations with the United States during the 1970s—including the Camp David accords—was an example of relatively smart diplomacy.  It was, to be sure, incomplete—it needed to be accompanied by a comprehensively structured settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and acceptance of the new political order brought about by the Islamic revolution in Iran.  Today, these remain the outstanding and profound political challenges that the United States must meet in the Middle East.  America’s failure to meet these challenges not only weakens its own strategic position, but also fundamentally undermines the security of its allies—including Egypt.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. Leonard van Willenswaard says:

    I must confess that I have not read all the comments, so I apologize if this is a duplication.
    Where you state that Arnold Evans’ comment goes to the heart of the matter I think your reply suffers from a certain superficiality. You say that the US should not try for regime change but deal with the political orders prevailing. At least part of the problem seems to be that the US in the Middle East ( and elsewhere) actively supports such political orders in obstructing indigenous regime change. Which is basically just as questionable as actively seeking regime change.

  2. James Canning says:


    It seems clear to me at least that fanatical Zionists hate Iran because Iran interferes with their ability to man-handle Syria and the Palestinians. They want to keep the Golan Heights, and much of the West Bank. Permanently. Iran interferes with this programme.

  3. Goli says:

    Castellio, Eric, Liz, fyi, Firoangela, and Iranian@Iran,

    Thank you for your positive feedback.

    A few corrections to the text of my comment:

    Paragraph 3, line 12, should read “signing” not “singing”

    Paragraph 4 from the bottom, last sentence, should read, “Two days later, Hillary Clinton…”

    Next to the last paragraph should begin with “In February 2010,” not “In February 2009”


    I agree with some of your initial analysis.

    But, what are we to do with your implied speculation that NIAC might not have been sleeping with the devil from the start, but was left with no choice but to sell its soul and as you put it, was “suckered into ‘giving away the IRANIAN store’ in a gambit to sit at the table with AIPAC, who controls the table?” Or, that “in order to maintain a seat at the table, NIAC has to uncover some patch of common ground?” “Maintain a seat at the table” to achieve what?

    Does the situation from your perspective necessitate a little extra help for AIPAC from NIAC? Is NIAC having a positive, neutral, or negative impact on improving the relations between Iran and the United States as is the objective of rational and sensible Iranians and Americans such as the Leveretts, and in the best interest of both countries?

    As for the question you raise for me, contrary to your assertion, I do not agree with Parsi that the conflict between Israel and Iran is purely geostrategic and I thought that was made clear in my post. I agree that Israel’s policies are directly tied to its ideology, and I also agree with RSH that these phenomena are often multidimensional and in the case of Israel, there is a strong nexus between ideological and geopolitical dimensions. That said, I am not sure how the dismal reality of the situation you eloquently depict excuses NIAC from appeasing Israel and its lobby.

  4. Fiorangela: I agree with your assessment that the ideology of Zionism is at the heart of the Israeli-Iran conflict. Of course, most ideologies also have a geopolitical aspect because power is at the heart of all ideologies. It’s primate behavior at its basic. So there is really not much of a contradiction between saying that Zionism is at fault in the Israel-Iran conflict and also that Israel seeks to use that conflict for other conflicts, either internally or externally. The ascendancy of each component at any given point in time and also between various factions of the Israeli political system is probably fluid.

    Not everything is “either-or”, we must always remember. Frequently it’s “both”.

  5. Fiorangela says:

    In a previous thread, Goli posted an important, compelling, and fact-filled assessment of the posture of
    NIAC vis a vis AIPAC.

    I concede most of Goli’s points.
    In my defense, I draw attention to a distinction that may not make a difference: I did NOT say that Parsi/NIAC behaved with “patience, generosity, and ” but that Dr. Ramizani most likely would counsel Parsi/NIAC to behave in that way.

    A second passage in Goli’s argument is much more significant and remains muddled and troubling in my mind — however much I struggle for emotional and intellectual clarity on the issues involved. Addressing what Goli said was my confused equivalences between anti-zionism and anti-semitism, Goli wrote:

    “And in any event, this is not about anti-Zionism and certainly not about anti-Semitism; it is about the Apartheid state of Israel, its crimes against the Palestinians, and its itch to go to war with Iran. Parsi is perfectly capable of articulating the distinction between these issues and anti-Semitism.”

    1. A question to Goli: What is the motivating force behind the Israeli Apartheid state, its crimes against Palestinians, and its itch to go to war with Iran?

    When Parsi was promoting “Treacherous Alliance,” the first words out of his mouth in his stump speech were: “The conflict between Israel and Iran is NOT ideological, it is geostrategic.”
    You seem to agree with him, Goli.
    I do not.
    In order to understand the motive force behind Apartheid Israel, it is essential to plumb the depths of zionism. When you examine the basis and ideology of zionism, you cannot avoid the fact that zionism is rooted in a “peculiar” interpretation of Jewish history, writing/scripture, and mythos.

    2. The motive force underlying Israel’s “itch to go to war with Iran” is even more ideological and even more firmly entrenched in the foundational concepts of zionism. In his discussion of the psychological and ideological roots of Israel’s “Iranophobia,” Haggai Ram acknowledges Parsi’s attempt to relate Israel’s Iran-anxieties with political occurrences; namely, “the ascendancy of the Labor Party to power in 1992 and the ensuing Israeli-Palestinian Oslo peace process.” [p. 35]

    “[T]o convince a skeptical Israeli public to accept peace with the Palestinians, Parsi surmises, Israel started depicting Iran as a threat to the region and the world. . . .an unprecedented shift in Israel’s geopolitical . . .periphery doctrine.” [p. 36]

    Prof. Ram counters Parsi’s analysis by noting that the shift to demonize Iran as a sacrificial lamb or distraction from other geopolitical events was not unprecedented: Israel ramped up anti-Iran rhetoric as peace between Egypt and Israel was being negotiated. Thus, Ram concludes, “To the extent that Israel needs an existential threat– ‘it could be a country, like Iran; an ideology, like Islamic fundamentalism; or at other times it could be a tactic–terrorism’ . . .In short, in making peace with Egypt Israel instantaneously found in the 1979 revolution the opportunity to replace one existential threat (Arab) with another (Iranian).” [p 36]

    From which I conclude that the need for an existential threat is systemic in zionism, and that the source of that need is within the Hebrew mythos.

    To my mind, it is more possible to analyze World War II from a geostrategic/ geopolitical perspective, and avoid ideological considerations, than it is possible to assess “Apartheid Israel, its crimes against the Palestinians, and its itch to go to war with Iran.” And THAT is the bind in which Parsi and NIAC find themselves: it is absolutely off limits to critique zionism and its mythological underpinnings. In order to maintain a seat at the table, NIAC has to uncover some patch of common ground.

    I’m not defending NIAC; I’m attempting to understand. I think Parsi and NIAC, and especially Abadi, who writes many of NIAC’s position papers, are out of their depth. It’s also worth noting that NIAC has been suckered into ‘giving away the IRANIAN store’ in a gambit to sit at the table with AIPAC, who controls the table. AIPAC and zionism, on the other hand, never give away their own assets; no zionist or Israeli blood or treasure is ever at risk in an Israeli transaction — Israel spends American, Islamic, Palestinian, Iranian, Iraqi, Afghani, European blood and treasure, but never Israeli.

  6. fyi says:

    Goli says: January 6, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Thank you for documenting the rather sordid track record of Dr. Parsi.

    He and others like him do not seem to either understand or accept that Iran is the state of the Shia, for the Shia, by the Shia.

    It is essential to accept that behind contemporary Iran is Imam Hussein and behind Imam Hussein stands Siyavash; that beside Prophet Muhammad stands Zarathustra.

    Once this is acceted, one can think through what is possible and what is not possible in Iran.

    AIPAC is, in my opinion, a great threat not to Iran but to the Jews everywhere since its extreme partisanship on behalf of the Garrison Judaism of the state of Israel harms the perceptions of others about Jews.

    Iran is not alone in being the Partisan of Palestinians; just about every Muslim state is. Even if Iran were not there, the religious war in Palestine would continue and sap US strength.

  7. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    There is a war in Palestine between Judaism and Islam.

    This is what war entails in its very nature.

  8. Liz says:


    Thank you. I learned a lot from that post.

  9. Goli,

    I second Castellio’s praise for your long post. Illuminating.

  10. Castellio says:

    Goli, it’s great to have the detail and overview of your contribution. Many thanks.

  11. Goli says:

    James Canning,

    Thank you for your response.


    NIAC’s polling of its membership is a relatively new phenomenon (the last two years). It started after the brutal bombardment of Gaza by Israel in 2008-2009. At the time, various Islamic and Arab oriented organization—civil rights and otherwise, including the Arab American Anti-discrimination Committee—openly and some loudly protested the Israeli savagery, but NIAC was dreadfully silent. Toward the end of the war on Gaza, NIAC issued a communiqué implying that its membership wanted to stay out of that issue. Later, I believe after the June election, NIAC conducted another poll reporting that the results indicated its membership supported focusing on human rights issues in Iran.

    In reality NIAC, since its inception, had always been highlighting the human rights issues in Iran. In fact, when NIAC first started to appear on the scene, several of my secular Iranian friends, and I have many as I am Iranian, had indicated that they refuse to join NIAC because they find its emphasis on human rights issues in Iran out of place and unnecessary to fulfill its role as an organization that purports to advocate for Iranian-Americans in the US. In other words, NIAC’s highlighting of human rights in Iran appeared to them as utterly unproductive and contrary to its stated objectives, and therefore, my friends argued, they refuse to join NIAC. This means that NIAC’s later polls confirming that its membership wants it to emphasize human rights issues or keep a cordial relationship with the Israel Lobby no matter what, is a NIAC self-fulfilling prophecy.

    In your response, you seem to simultaneously differentiate and equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. If you agree that they are not the same, which I believe you do, why then do you, or for that matter Parsi or the Iranians living in the US he purports to represent should accept anyone trying to claim otherwise? And in any event, this is not about anti-Zionism and certainly not about anti-Semitism; it is about the Apartheid state of Israel, its crimes against the Palestinians, and its itch to go to war with Iran. Parsi is perfectly capable of articulating the distinction between these issues and anti-Semitism. And exactly how is that Parsi is not “divisive” when he continues to feed into anti-Iranian propaganda better that the machinery itself? Here, I provide you a few of examples that might be a little out of date as I stopped following this issue, but nonetheless. (And again, I know that he has had several meeting with the elements active in the Israel Lobby and in some occasions directly the Lobby itself.) Most recently that I am aware of, in July 2010, a NIAC Board member attended the singing of the Iran sanctions bill along with its Israel Lobby brothers and sisters and personally urged President Obama “to adopt a stronger condemnation of human rights violations is Iran”. Forgive me, but anyone who knows how things really work would fail to see any “patience,” “generosity,” or “positivity” in this.

    By way of background, one of the underlying premises of Parsi’s book, the Treacherous Alliance, is that Iran and Israel are natural allies. It has been a while since I read the book, but, for example, in it, Parsi notes the empathy between Israel and Iran due to their feeling of cultural superiority toward Arabs. In writing the book, Parsi spent a considerable amount of time in Israel researching and interviewing various officials. (A privilege he would have most likely not been granted had he been a Muslim.) He also argues that Iran’s relationship with the Palestinians is purely based on power politics and not ideology. While I believe that may be true to some extent, I do not believe it is entirely so. While for the Iranian government national interest and power politics are paramount in its policies vis-à-vis Palestine/Israel, I believe that since the revolution, Iranian policies on this have also been guided by certain overarching moral principles. I also believe that there have been and continue to be elements in the Iranian leadership for whom these moral principles have played a central role in their approach to Iran’s position on this issue. This of course, includes President Ahmadinejad.

    Immediately following the June elections, Parsi was widely quoted as saying that Mousavi could not have conceivably lost in his home province of East Azerbaijan. (A claim that has since been widely rebutted.) This unfounded assertion was instantly parroted by the Obama Administration. NIAC then went on to issue a statement that “the only plausible way to end the violence is for new elections to be held with independent monitors ensuring its fairness.”

    In July 2009, Parsi proposed a “tactical pause” in the already non-existent diplomacy toward Iran, writing, “Obama should not be married to artificial deadlines” and should hold off on talks and diplomacy with Iran on nuclear issues for a few months because the Iranian government is unstable and cannot negotiate. Today, NIAC is persistent in its stance that the US-Iran-IAEA negotiations should be linked to human rights concerns.

    In September 2009, on the occasion of Ahmadinegad attendance at the UN General Assembly meeting, Parsi wrote that he hopes the focus at the UN would be on Ahmadinejad’s human rights abuses.

    In November 2009, he wrote about the “Unforgivable Crimes in Iran: the underreporting of deaths” and how the world is looking the other way as the crimes of the Iranian government continues unabated. He then claimed that even the opposition figure of 100 dead is gross underestimations of the true number.

    In December 2009, he wrote again that Obama should end silence on human rights abuses in Iran and be more outspoken about these abuses.

    In February 2010, Mr. Parsi wrote, “the [green] coalition is held together not just by a rejection of the dubious election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but by the realization that Iran would take a giant leap toward becoming a military dictatorship if the hardliners win.” On February 15, Hillary Clinton commented in Qatar that Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship.

    Shortly after that , McCain and Lieberman introduced legislation (originally introduced in the House by misguided Keith Ellison) to “impose sanctions on individuals in Iran guilty of human rights abuses following the June elections.” The legislation would create a list of Iranian governmental officials “who were complicit in post-election abuses” and subject them to greater financial and diplomatic scrutiny. NIAC is fully supportive of this bill. I cannot imagine a scenario where the interest of McCain and Lieberman coincide with the interests of Iranians, in Iran or the United States. Yet, NIAC is actively promoting this bill and asking its members to call Congress in its support.

    In February 2009, Parsi testified at a hearing by the House Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, named after, most ironically, none other than the staunch and unrelenting Israeli loyalist. His lengthy testimony condemning human rights in Iran began as follows, “…I want to emphasize that no group of Americans has suffered more from the policies of the Iranian government than our community. Whether they were victims of political or religious persecution, or other forms of human rights abuses …”. The testimony continued to favor “targeted sanctions” against Iran asking the US to “speak forcefully and frequently about the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.”

    AIPAC might as well have written the script for all this.

  12. Fyi: “I think you are attributing too much significance to the impact of this – if any”

    You may be correct. Now Iran is denying they’ve arrested anyone. Which makes the whole incident even more stupid. It’s also not clear whether the woman is American or Armenian – or exists at all.

    Either someone is trying to start an incident – either deliberately or stupidly by accident – or this is just another random event being spun by the media on a slow news day.

    We’ll have to wait for more news. Allegedly the US has asked the Swiss to check into it.

  13. Humanist: “If x,y and z are undoable courses of action and you intend to criticize them you shouldn’t write “I recommend x,y and z”, instead , don’t you think you better explicitly state something like “x,y and z are defective policies, because …..”.”

    In a word, no. My foreign policy prescriptions are not “defective” just because the scum who run this country won’t implement them. It is the scum who are defective.

    Once again, just because you PRESUME that when I make a foreign policy prescription that I ASSUME it can or will be carried out does not make it so. That is a PRESUMPTION on YOUR part. I am not responsible for the varied interpretations people make of plain English.

    “Ever thought you can NEVER predict future events accurately?”

    I always reserve a minimum of two percent doubt about any proposition. Nonetheless, in my over sixty years I have observed that x follows y and brings about z in most instances. As they say in poker and medical school, “To play the odds you must know the odds.” The odds of what I say coming to pass are pretty good or I would not make such statements.

    If you can prove there are better odds, you need to state a REASON rather than the vague generality that events can be hard to predict. The reasons you supply – that an updated NIE may sabotage the war plans as Bush alleges it did in 2007 or that the Pentagon may revolt against an Iran war simply aren’t sufficient to roll back the overwhelming process that has been put in place to start a war.

    An updated NIE may delay a war only until some President or CIA head manages to get one produced by tame analysts to state what they want it to say. Or perhaps some President will simply ignore the NIE, Wikileaked or not, and go ahead anyway. An NIE is just paper. It doesn’t control the ruling elites of this country or stop them from doing what they want to do. I personally don’t believe Bush when he said he didn’t attack Iran for that reason. It obviously made it harder for him, but I suspect there were other reasons that he doesn’t want to disclose because it would reflect badly on him in some way. We can presume that anything he says in his book is CYA – in this case he wants to CYA from criticism from the right/neocons/Zionists that he didn’t prosecute the Iran war vigorously enough.

    As for a Pentagon “revolt”, frankly, I don’t believe it will ever happen – any “revolters” will be summarily discharged as has already happened in several cases (Admiral Fallon for one, who actually did “revolt”.)

    Certainly something COULD happen to derail the plans. A war with Pakistan might do it. A war with North Korea almost certainly would do it. Absent these less likely circumstances, however, and given the course laid out so far, there is nothing in the cards likely to derail the end result.

    Thus, I never speak with CERTAINTY – only with, as the NIE says, “high confidence”.

  14. Mr. Canning: “Are you advocating that the US seek to undermine the government of Egypt?”

    Of course not. Reread what I wrote. I’m for NOT SUPPORTING the government of Egypt, not actively undermining it. The two are not the same.

    “Does this mean you think Egypt should not observe its treaty with Israel? I don’t see how this would promote stability in the ME.”

    No one should observe any treaties with Israel. It’s a rogue, terrorist state. It’s the only state in the region that really should be actively “undermined”, not by the US unilaterally, but by the UN and the international community, as I’ve suggested in my foreign policy prescriptions.

  15. Castellio says:

    Has anyone posted this yet?


    Painful reading of how Israel treats the Gazan economy, from a Wkileaks cable.

  16. Rehmat says:

    Dahlan fell from Israeli grace for insisting freeze on the new illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank.


  17. James Canning says:


    Yes, Ahmadinejad says time and time again that Iran is the friend of the Jews and that Iran is not the enemy of the Israeli people. And he is sincere in this belief.

    I think some elements of the emigre Iranian community give support to Aipac even though Aipac is a very dangerous enemy of Iran.

    As an aside, I was of course very sorry at the death of the late Shah’s youngest son. He was keen on early Iranian history, as am I.

  18. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning, re your comment on NIAC-AIPAC relationship.

    Just a speculation, but I suspect the dynamics between NIAC and Jewish people is more complex than “cahoots.” There’s a large population of Iranian Jews in the US, particularly on the West Coast, where there is also a large population of “plain vanilla” Iranians. NIAC polls its members — the Iranian community — to determine the direction Iranian ex pats want the organization to take. If Iranian Jews participate in that policy formulation activity, then NIAC would find itself obliged to include their preferences.

    My experience from conversation with my (relatively few) Iranian friends, who are either Islamic or Zoroasterian (Parsi is the latter) is that they are deeply distressed by representations of Iranians as “anti-semitic.” It should be emphasized that Ahmadinejad himself has stated, numerous times, that neither he nor the IRI “hates Jews.” It is zionism, a political entity distinct from Jewry, that is the target of IRI ire. Since, however, the zionist propaganda machine twists that message so relentlessly, even Iranians find themselves embarrassed by the perception that Iranians hate Jews.

    Parsi is still pretty close to his mentor, Ruhi Ramizani, the highly-respected “dean” of Middle East studies at University of Virginia. Based on my acquaintance with- and knowledge of- Dr. Ramizani’s worldview, I would expect that he counsels Parsi to remain calm, patient, generous, and never, ever negative or divisive.

  19. Humanist says:


    You write “Excuse me, but I have repeatedly stated in previous posts where I have recommended these policies that none of those things I recommend WILL happen.”

    How anyone who reads your comments today could know what you are saying is not what you mean since in earlier days you had declared, on recommendations, you are going to be sarcastic or something?

    You had written “Again, my recommendations would be for the US to cut off all aid other than humanitarian to the corrupt Arab regimes, as well as Israel, then go to the UN and demand Israel be required to disarm its nuclear arsenal and join the NPT. The US could then follow that up by requiring Israel to withdraw not to the 1967 borders but indeed to the 1947 borders originally specified by the UN –– if not indeed to reverse the entire partition of Palestine”

    If x,y and z are undoable courses of action and you intend to criticize them you shouldn’t write “I recommend x,y and z”, instead , don’t you think you better explicitly state something like “x,y and z are defective policies, because …..”.

    However I admit instead of fast scanning of the comments here I should’ve read YOUR previous comments very carefully to understand your style of writing thus I shouldn’t have taken your recommendations in earnest.

    You also often insist efforts like Nima Shirazi’s research on neocon lies are useless and state “[his] write up won’t matter a whit” or strongly assert “ war with Iran is [inevitable]” or similar assertive expressions. Ever thought you can NEVER predict future events accurately? Maybe the best you can do is to assign some probabilities to each happening you have in your mind (as I am sure you have doneit often in your professional experiences)

    For instance in Nima’s case if I am forced to pass my judgment I would say “depending on the intensity of the publicity of his work the probability of it influencing the WH is roughly say from 0.1% to 10% . And on war with Iran nothing is absolute or definite. Another NIE type revolt or Pentagon’s refusal to fight could alter the odds drastically. I believe America is a complex society. It was very badly hurt by deranged neocons. America is wiser than letting those psychopaths drive them again to another unnecessary and destructive war just based on virtually identical gross and deceptive lies.

    As I told you we are oceans apart, this doesn’t mean I don’t respect you. I respect all even those who firmly believe in unprovable conceptions. I believe I can also learn from those who oppose my observations, hence, here I am going to continue reading your comments.

  20. James Canning says:

    The Palestinians will likely try for a vote in the UNSC this month regarding continuing building in the illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank. They say this will help negotiation with Israel. I agree. If it passes.

  21. James Canning says:


    I think you are right that the NIAC is in cahoots with Aipac and other extremist Israel lobby components.

  22. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Are you advocating that the US seek to undermine the government of Egypt? Does this mean you think Egypt should not observe its treaty with Israel? I don’t see how this would promote stability in the ME.

  23. James Canning says:


    The paramount factor in the US/Iran equation is Israel/Palestine. It dwarfs other issues. Iran’s policy of keeping the Persian Gulf open to the shipping of all countries, outside of war, would not be ignored by the US, if the Israel/Palestine issue did not exist.

  24. Castellio says:

    Does Paul want to explain how the Egyptian government would fall (with a sense of immediacy) if it did not receive support from the US? Is it not possible that the government would gain legitimacy in the eyes of its own people? Just curious how one can be so positive on this issue.

  25. Fiorangela says:

    RSH, Iran does not have that option.

    Neither do I.

  26. fyi says:

    Dan Cooper says: January 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    While Iranian Government and very many Iranians support the people of Palestine, I also think that the war in Palestine is not Iran’s War.

    I think Israel and her security has some bearing on the US-Iran confronation but is not central to it.

    Much more important is the disposition of Iraq and the security of oil/gas transport from the Persian Gulf.

  27. Dan Cooper says:

    Propaganda War –

    The bigger picture of my experiences above is of a propaganda war in which Israel is investing ever larger efforts into controlling the narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict, focusing flak chiefly on the main Western news organizations and their local sources of information.

    This propaganda war is being fought on multiple fronts; but all with one central goal: to limit criticism of Israel’s conduct and evidence of its oppression of the Palestinians in the international media and especially in the United States, where Israel’s lobbyists are at their most muscular.

    Israel needs to maintain its credibility in the US because that is the source of its strength.

    It depends on billions of dollars in aid and military hardware, almost blanket political support from Congress, the White House’s veto of critical resolutions at the United Nations, and Washington’s role as a dishonest broker in sponsoring intermittent talks propping up a peace process that in reality offers no hope of a just resolution. The occupation would end in short order without US financial, diplomatic and military support.

    In the New York Times, perhaps the world’s most influential newspaper, the tilt towards Israel is clear and consistent.

    If Americans Knew, a US institute for disseminating information about the Middle East, has exposed systematic distortions in the paper’s coverage. Some notable examples of pro-Israeli bias are the fact that international reports on Israel’s human right abuses are covered at a rate 19 times lower than those documenting abuses by Palestinians; and Israeli children’s deaths are seven times more likely to be reported than Palestinian children’s.

    The NYT, like other US media, reports often on the plight of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held in Gaza, while rarely mentioning the 7,000 or so Palestinians — including many women and children, and hundreds who have never been charged — held in Israel’s prisons.


  28. Dan Cooper says:

    The BBC Moving In Precisely The Opposite Direction To The Public Mood.

    I believe that the popular mood in Britain has turned rapidly against Israel over the past decade. Israel appears to have been initially fearful that the BBC might reflect such sentiments. But after considerable secretive pressure from the Israeli foreign ministry and its lobbyists, the BBC has moved in precisely the opposite direction.

    Most notable was its refusal in 2009 to broadcast an appeal for that year’s selected charitable cause – helping the homeless and sick in Gaza after Israel’s 2008-2009 winter attack. The BBC claimed for the first time in more than 20 years of running such appeals – part of its public service remit – that doing so would compromise the organisation’s “neutrality”.

    Other signs of the BBC’s loss of nerve are its abandonment of truly independent documentaries on Israel. Instead in recent years it has accepted “soft” documentaries from Israeli production crews. Israeli film-makers have had great success offering as their chief selling-point to the BBC various dubious “exclusives” – typically, “rare” interviews with senior military people and views inside Israel’s war rooms “for the first time ever”. Israeli film-maker Noam Shalev, who has specialized in these kinds of productions, has made faux-documentaries like the 2006 “Will Israel bomb Iran?” that have offered little more than Israeli foreign ministry propaganda.


  29. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 6, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I think you are attributing too much significance to the impact of this – if any.

  30. Fyi: “The arrest is unrelated to the nuclear talks.”

    That’s not the point. The point is they will be perceived – or spun – as related. And if this person who has been arrested – who apparently is now being suggested as an Armenian, not an American – turns out not to be an American, the Iranians will be perceived even more as paranoid idiots for arresting someone supposedly unconnected with the US or the talks. Until the full details of this situation are clarified, it can be used to give the US a chance to demonize Iran once again.

    MY point is to ask why the Iranians fall for this.

    “And of course the nuclear talks are going to fail; there is no way forward.”

    Agreed. But that is irrelevant to the point of this situation.

    In the end, this incident will be irrelevant but in my view the whole incident is also stupid.

  31. paul says:


  32. paul says:

    AS YOU KNOW, the government in Egypt would fall if US aid were withdrawn, so your comments about this are, shall we say, disengenuous?

  33. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 6, 2011 at 10:07 am

    The arrest is unrelated to the nuclear talks.

    And of course the nuclear talks are going to fail; there is no way forward.

    These are talks for talks sake.

    Look for further Iranian moves against US-EU Axis in Afghanistan.

  34. This doesn’t bode well for the upcoming talks.

    Iran Reports American Woman Arrested as Spy
    Iran Claims Haley Talayan Hid Spy Devices in Her Teeth
    abcnews dot go dotcom/International/iran-arrests-american-woman-spy/story?id=12553800

    It’s already being claimed that Iran is doing this to derail the talks, which of course will immediately give Obama an excuse to go hard line, insure the talks will fail, and then push immediately for more sanctions.

    I find it difficult to comprehend why Iran would bother to do this sort of thing just to derail the talks. The notion that Iran does this “to keep the West off balance” doesn’t make any sense. The only effect this can possibly have on negotiations is to give the US an excuse to dump them. Are the Iranians this stupid? Or did the US or Mossad or whoever send in a spy just to derail the talks?

    I was listening to Ray McGovern on Antiwar Radio today and he believes the Jundallah assassinations of the Iranian generals in 2009 were directly intended by the CIA or Mossad to disrupt the nuclear swap talks. If so, this case would appear to be more of the same.

    I just wonder why the Iranians would fall for this.

    I mean, recording equipment in her teeth? Even if that were TRUE, no one is going to believe it outside of Iran. It just makes the Iranians look like idiot paranoids.

  35. Fiorangela: “while it’s useful to discuss amongst ourselves large points and fine points of the Leveretts’ writing, at some point we have to DO something about it.”

    It would be nice if we could, but I see no avenues. It is not usually effective to try to row against the vast stream of current political and social reality – except in covert ways (to the degree one can stay out of jail.) We should emulate the ninja families of feudal Japan who tried to stay out of the feudal wars while still occasionally using those wars to divert attention from and attract resources to themselves. This worked until they became too noticeable as outsiders – at which point they were wiped out except for a few.

    Someone once said it’s like all those descriptions of major disasters you read about: “only those in the outlying areas survived”. And why were those folks in the outlying areas? Because no one wanted them in the socially acceptable politically-economically-active inner areas, that’s why.

    Stay out of the socially/politically active areas and when those areas get smashed in some war or revolution caused by the social/political forces, you’re more likely to survive.

    The bottom line: every one who is not in favor of starting a war with Iran are in a niche group with no influence whatsoever compared to the Israel Lobby, the military-industrial complex, the oil companies, the banks, and all the right-wing AND left-wing clowns who favor US interventionism everywhere.

    Just sit back and watch the disaster unfold like we did with Afghanistan and Iraq – and Vietnam before that. Be satisfied that you were right and every one else was wrong – as usual.

  36. Fyi: “The authors you mentioned are 3 opinions among many more.”

    It’s not the authors’ opinions who influenced me, it’s the historical facts they cited. I am rarely influenced by opinion.

    “On the other hand, the Nag Hammadi texts, demonstrate the Gnostic form of Christianity which is what is portrayed in the Quran.”

    And where is that branch now – certainly not in any of the mainstream Christian denominations. So what relevance is that?

    My point was that without a monotheistic Hebrew religion (contrasting the original form with the modern form of Judaism is irrelevant and mostly related to the effect of the Diaspora having crushed the nationalistic Hebrews leading them to a more “quietest/scholarly” religious approach – which the Zionists have now abandoned in favor of new nationalistic fervor) and a monotheistic Christianity/hijacked Hebrew-ism there might not have been a monotheistic Islam. One could argue that it might have arisen anyway, but I think the establishment of two earlier monotheistic religions and their subsequent wars against paganism and Gnosticism pretty well argues for the cause and effect. There can be no doubt that Mohammed’s religious development was influenced by the rise of Christianity to at least some degree.

    People who create religions are by definition religious fanatics, which does not preclude them from also being opportunists and con men since the whole intent of creating a religion is to establish that one is superior to everyone else.

    “I think Saint Paul eleveated Resurrection (of Jesus) to be the central dogam of (Nicean) Christianity and thus departed from the gnostic version.”

    This is what I gathered from my reading as well. I believe it has been argued very cogently by the “Jesus was not crucified” conspiracy theorists like Baigent and Leigh that this was a deliberate distortion of the facts by Paul, for reasons related to the ability to use this to create his own cult. The believer psychology behind this dogma has been discussed for decades by various psychologists and other observers.

    Again, this is all off topic for this site. We should not continue this line. I am not interested in a religious argument with believers.

  37. Fiorangela says:

    RSH, thanks for the article by Laurence Vance: “Can US Foreign Policy Be Fixed?”

    Its author notes that US policy started to go off the rails in 1898, in era of Spanish-American War. Later, he lists the agencies and institutions that have been erected in US government, that are contrary to Jeffersonian policies. Most of those institutions were created in the Truman administration. Andrew Bacevich and David Brinkley had a lively discussion about US in the period immediately after WWII: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Presidentsat

    Also worth noting that Turkish diplomat Davutoglu’s foreign policy blueprint seems to follow the Jefferson prescription that Vance described.

    final point — the Leveretts seem to be doing what they can to push the US foreign policy cart back on the right track, in at least some particulars. What can we do to put our weight behind their effort? Who else is pushing in the same direction as they are, that should be receiving our support, and whose ideas we might do well to bring to greater public notice? (re the latter, I would suggest Andrew Bacevich, John Tirman, among others.) In other words, while it’s useful to discuss amongst ourselves large points and fine points of the Leveretts’ writing, at some point we have to DO something about it.

  38. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    The authors you mentioned are 3 opinions among many more.

    It is, however, true that Sanit Paul created what became Nicean Christianity.

    On the other hand, the Nag Hammadi texts, demonstrate the Gnostic form of Christianity which is what is portrayed in the Quran.

    I think Saint Paul eleveated Resurrection (of Jesus) to be the central dogam of (Nicean) Christianity and thus departed from the gnostic version.

  39. This piece is relevant to the topic of US foreign policy with Iran and the corrupt Arab monarchies:

    Can U.S. Foreign Policy Be Fixed?

    If the prescriptions were followed, yes. Since they won’t be, the answer is no.

  40. Rehmat says:

    Richard Steven Hack – That would make you 51st Jewish Messiah.


  41. “another messenger would be coming after him who would teach them the complete truth”

    I think that would be me. :-)

  42. Castellio says:

    Thank you for telling me who you were reading.

  43. Castellio: “I thought your comments on early Christianity wrong in the specifics, and wondered who you were getting the historical information from…”

    Mostly from the several books by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. They first exposed me to the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the revelations revealed there concerning Paul as a Roman double agent. The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception was particularly interesting since it departed from the Priori of Sion conspiracy theory (which was little more than speculation based on probable hoaxes or cult phenomena) and got down to more basic historical and archaeological facts which conclusively demolish the legitimate provenance of the Christian church as anything more than a “hijacking” of the Jewish religion.

    However, I have no interest in discussing religious history matters on this site, where it is off topic.

  44. Castellio says:

    RSH, I thought your policy reccomendations pretty good. Perhaps naive from a “real politic” point of view, but not at all naive from the point of few of defining a just set of policies which return to intenational law and correct the recent deviations from established principles.

    I thought your comments on early Christianity wrong in the specifics, and wondered who you were getting the historical information from… I assumed Robert Eisenman. If its other, please give me a head’s up.

    While It’s true that early Christian texts incorporate anti-Judaic elements, they also include very pro-Judaic elements. However, imagine, if its possible, the Torah without anti-Canaanite, anti-Egyptian and anti-Babylonian stories. And neither early Christian nor Judaic texts have anything good to say about the pagan cultures that preceeded them.

  45. To clarify one more point: Whether the US should maintain diplomatic relations with the existing corrupt regimes in the Middle East or elsewhere is not the point at issue. The point at issue is whether the US should continue to provide foreign aid and military weapons and population control technologies to these regimes and otherwise attempt to pressure and control these regimes to the benefit of Israel and the US in opposition to the will of these countries’ populations.

    “Maintaining diplomatic relations” just means keeping embassies in those countries and being open to talking with whoever is in the government there. That isn’t supporting those countries. You can maintain diplomatic relations even while denouncing those governments – and the US should be denouncing those governments if it’s going to be denouncing Iran.

    So the question is: do the Leveretts agree with that approach or some more nuanced version of that approach?

  46. Humanist: “don’t you know any suggestion or recommendation you make must be practical and doable?”

    Excuse me, but I have repeatedly stated in previous posts where I have recommended these policies that none of those things I recommend WILL happen.

    I am quite aware that none of these policies will be executed. That does not make the POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS errors. It makes the existing system in the US an error.

    Really, if we’re assuming that nothing correct is going to happen, as I have done repeatedly here vis-a-vis the likelihood of stopping an Iran war, we are reduced to my oft-suggested position that this entire site and all the posts on it are a waste of everyone’s time because nothing here or any where else is going to change the actual outcome.

    Nonetheless there is a point to being correct vs incorrect. My policy recommendations are correct. It is the US that is incorrect.

    So nothing I have said is “flawed” except in your PRESUMPTION that I expected any of them to conceivably be acted upon.

  47. Arnold: “Would a US stoppage of its system of threats and rewards aimed at subordinate rulers be regime change, in your opinions?”

    Definitely not. The regime change would then come from within, not without. The Leveretts have merely stated they don’t approve of regime change from without. But they’ve also not answered your question about whether the US should stop supporting those corrupt regimes.

    I think Fiorangela and Humanist aren’t getting the point here or have misread your point significantly.

    To be explicit, I agree that an Egypt whose corrupt government was overthrown by the people and replaced by a Muslim caliphate that opposed the existence of Israel would be a more legitimate government than Egypt has at present. And that the US would spare no effort, including invading the country, to prevent that from happening.

    The same applies to most of the countries of the Middle East except Iran which has already experienced that democratic upheaval, regardless of how one regards the resulting political system Iran ended up with.

  48. Goli says:

    fyi, Fiorengela,Persian Gulf,

    NIAC is in bed with the Israel Lobby and by that I don’t mean just the so called less hawkish ones such as J Street, but the real deals like AIPAC, et al.

    I know that throughout the years, Parsi has met with the Lobby several times. The fact is that under the façade of Iranian-American civil rights advocacy, NIAC continues to champion and promote the same anti-Iranian propaganda as the Lobby espouses. As we saw firsthand, NIAC’s denunciation of the legitimacy of the elections and its emphasis on human rights in Iran fed and continues to feed right into the Israeli/American narrative on Iran.

    NIAC’s so called differences with the Israel Lobby is just a game of keeping up appearances for Parsi as he tries to continue to survive doing whatever it is that he does and to get the funds coming from the NED or any other overt/covert funding sources he can find. Unfortunately for Parsi, as we all know, one can hardly make the Lobby happy regardless.

  49. Fiorangela: While interesting, I’m still not sure how any of that relates to anything Arnold or I have said in terms of being in error, as Humanist suggested.

    I am certainly well aware that the US position is provincial and imperialist.

    I think some of you are arguing past Arnold and myself in this area. I suggest you reread both his and my posts and then quote specifically where you see some error.

  50. Pirouz_2 says:

    At the time of this latest post I did not have access to internet so I could not write any earlier, however, I don’t think that you were very curious to know my take on the matter for two reasons:

    a)I am not American, so that question of “which Egypt/Iran do you prefer?” really does not apply to me.
    b)My position is very clear on the matter anyway.

    I want to mention a few things though:

    1)Leverettes do say it clearly that they oppose any interference in the internal politics of any country (including Egypt) and to do regime change (even if it is feasible as it was feasible in case of Iran in 1953)

    2)You beat me to it. As I was reading this last post by the Leveretts I was going to jump and write that Shah’s government had no legitimacy since 1953 (it had no popular support), in fact the whole Pahlavi dynasty had no legitimacy or popular support since their inception but this could only manifest itself some 53 years later!!

    3)Again I agree with you that US foreign policy towards Egypt/S.Arabia/Jordan/etc. is FAR from non-interference, in fact it US is KEEPING those puppet governments in power! That is why S.Arbia/Egypt/Jordan hate Iran so much. Because its very existence is an extremely bad example to their enslaved people, that IT IS POSSIBLE NOT TO BOW TO US HEGEMONY!

    4) As it could be understood from my point number 2 and 3, I agree with you on most of your points. However, I don’t agree with you on some details:

    If US is not adamant on creating a pinochet-like-dictatorship in Chile, it is because it has already WON the battle in there. I don’t think that Hitler had too much of problem with Vichy government either.

    The difference between Today’s Chile and Pinochet’s Chile, is that it really does not matter whether Bachelet or pinera holds the reign, they will both do in terms of economy as Pinochet did (ie. there is no Allende option in economy).

    So considering the fact that Chile has a 45% foreign debt (ratio to its GDP) and that a great part of its economy runs on Foreign Capital (investment) and as a result it cannot even so much as put a toe out of the lines drawn by the World Bank and IMF, I wouldn’t quite call Chile “democratic”. CHILE IS NOT ACCOUNTABLE TO ITS PEOPLE, IT IS ACCOUNTABLE ONLY TO WORLD BANK/IMF AND THE CAPITAL OF MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS.

    The very same argument applies to a lot of countries such as Turkey (which by the way IS IN THE REGION OF ISRAEL), Brazil, Mexico, Argenitna, etc.

    Therefore we should ask, IF the USA had not won that war in Latin America, IF Chile still had a viable Allende option, would USA again try to pull the same 9/11/1973 trick? I think looking at the coup attempt against Chavez, the coup in Honduras and what happened to Aristide would answer that question clearly.

  51. Castellio says:

    Arnold… I’m sure you’re on it, but a worhtwhile slant regarding Assange’s relationship to the press:

    Rehmat… I didn’t expect your attack and assume my sense of humour – in response to a comment by James – managed to slip by you unnoticed.

  52. James Canning says:


    Interesting article (touching on Iranian Jews in Beverly Hills). I read some time ago there were tens of thousands of Iranian Jews living in Beverly Hills.

  53. James Canning says:

    The Russian president, Medvedev, intends to visit the West Bank this month. Good for him! More world leaders should do the same, asap.

  54. Castellio says:

    Richard Silverstein is opening to question the relationship of the Mossad to American Iranian-Jews.


  55. Castellio says:

    James… The logic of American diplomacy: pressure Israel to put down the gun, so as to pressure Palestine to pick it up to shoot themselves.

  56. James Canning says:

    A new poll taken in Turkey reveals that two out of three Turks see either the US or Israel as the primary threat to Turkey. Good work, George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice! What idiots.

  57. James Canning says:


    Great post re: King Canute and the late Chalmers Johnson. The Kagan brothers are die-hard neocon warmongers, though they try to pretend otherwise.

    I like what David Cameron said about spreading democracy in the greater Middle East: “It can’t be dropped out of an airplane.”

  58. James Canning says:

    On foreignpolicy.com, Steven Rosen poses a question: “Why isn’t Obama pressuring the Palestinians?” Does not seem to occur to Rosen that the Palestinians are tired of on-going illegal housing being build in the West Bank for illegal Jewish colonists.

  59. James Canning says:


    The Nejd was largely independent of the Ottoman Empire a decade or more before the First World War began. The Hejaz did not become a mandate, and Ibn Saud conquered it in the 1920s and set up what became Saudi Arabia. The Gulf monarchies wanted Britain for protection.

    The US refused to accept a mandate for greater Armenia.

  60. Mojiagha says:

    In my opinion, the U.S. foreign policy in the M.E. is COLONIAL in nature, driven by right wing Israeli influence. However, to call Ahmadinejad’s coup-created 2nd administration “legitimate” is an insult to the “diplomacy” that the Leveretts advocate, partially correctly. Let us not forget what Uri Avnery said a year ago, that “if Ahmadinejad is not an Israeli agent, he is acting like one.”

  61. Persian Gulf says:

    ظاهرا یک مرد هم تو خاندان منحوس پهلوی پیدا شده بود اخیرا! اگه بابای بزدل و بچه ننش هم چند ماه قبل از فنا شدن طبیعیش بر می گشت ایران و عطای چند ماه دوا، دکتر، درد گشیدن و دربدری… رو به لقای زنده موندن با خفت می بخشید، ما الان اینهمه بدبختی نداشتیم.

  62. James Canning says:


    I agree with you that a mature country like the US should have diplomatic relations with all countries, unless there is a breach leading to imminent outbreak of hostilities. Roosvelt was no fan of the Soviet government in Moscow when he sent Bill Bullitt there as his ambassador (in about 1935 if I recall correctly).

    Switzerland has tried to foster normal relations between the US and Iran. Israel lobby blocks it, time and time again.

    US/UK interference in Iran in 1953 had a great deal to do with the nationalisation of Anglo-Iranian Oil Co – – 60% owned by British government.

  63. kooshy says:

    No one here is asking for US to take the gun boats and overthrow the Mubarak’s regime tomorrow, but would anyone think, that if US drops her support for Mubarak’s regime could Mubarak last for long. If recent history of Iran is any example, which it really should be, the answer is a big no. is clear that both these countries’ population has the same sentiment with regard to US’s hegemonic interference in their guest for (their version of) democracy, as I knew back then in Iran, even high level well to do intellectuals, how they felt about US’s support for Shah.

  64. kooshy says:

    In my view, this whole debate boils down to non interference, which means not to influence or interfere in internal affairs of a particular country for a favorable objective, especially by a foreign colonial power.

    Leveretts are right to argue that US must maintain its relationship with dictatorial regimes, but so is Arnold which asks at what cost. It’s true that US do intend, to influence and interfere in internal affairs (elections) of various countries including Egypt, France and Germany, etc. to achieve her objective. Arnold is right again, to argue that will not serve long term interest of US, as it clearly didn’t in Iran back in 1953 which one can argue that was the cause for the hostage crises of 79 and down ward to today, in 1953 US was able to maintain its hegemony on Iran for another 25 years, but for the fallowing 30 years US lost the best ally she could have in entire middle east.

    After all people will know who is behind the regime they can’t get rid off and for what reasons, the current dilemma with US middle east policy is, that it has no legitimacy in the streets of the Middle East, but rather oddly, US’s legitimacy is only cherished, in the palaces in of this region ” you can fool some of the ……………….”

  65. Castellio says:


    I think the Leveretts’ point is that American policy should always include having relations with the government that is there. I agree with that. The US should have relations with the current Iranian, Syrian, Saudi, Egyptian, Burmese, Israeli, Venezuelan, Russian governments.

    The US government should not have policies that either work to overthrow nor to maintain governments in place. This is, I recognize, an ideal position, but a good one to try to maintain. Historically, the US should have worked with both the Mossadeq and Allende governments, not overthrown them. If that had been the case, the US relations to South America and the Middle East would now be quite different. Ultimately, the American actions taken for the benefit of its industrial interests were short sighted.

    However, the reigning dynamic (organizing principle) in American society is the search for profit: such a priority undermines any attempt to reign in industrial interests (be they of the energy, military, or any other industrial sector). American democracy is secondary to American capitalism, and has been for a long time. The American people are paying (and will pay) for this short-sightedness, but right now they truly believe its what keeps them wealthy. There is a profound disconnect between American society and its intelligentsia with, for lack of better words, ‘world history’.

    All to answer your question: should America support the Mubarak government? No, it shouldn’t.

    A different question, however, is will the Mubarak government fall? From my experience talking to Egyptians, the answer is, not necessarily. I honestly don’t know. In the sense that Mubarak is very old, of course his government will fall shortly… In the sense of its grip on the people, and the strength of its institutions, I can’t tell.

    And yet a different question, do I personally want the Mubarak government to fall. Yes, I do. There are 80 million people being badly governed with very little hope for substantial change in policy or outcomes.

    For me, the pressing issue in discussing Egypt is not Israel, but the relationship of Egyptians among themselves.

    Unfortunately, I do agree with you that American policy-makers are willing to toss out any real discussion of Egypt’s potential as necessarily proscribed for the sake of continuing Israeli expansion, nuclear capability and domestic racism – all positions integrated into American foreign policy. That the first black President of the US is willing to go to the wall to support Jabotinsky’s explicit and militant racism – clearly expressed, public and very active by the mid-nineteen thirties – is a shameful (but explicable) irony in contemporary world history.

    On another subject, I find your comment that the US helped South Koreans move away from dictatorship “decades ago” a bit amusing. Democracy, still tentative to SK, only really landed with Kim Young-sam in 1993, eighteen years ago (some would argue it only happened later with Kim Dae-jung, 1998). American actions supported authoritarian rule in SK during Synghman Rhee, through Park Chung-hee and up to Rho Tae-woo. And the recent decision by Lee Myung-bak to re-extend American control of the Korean military wasn’t widely resisted in America, was it? Unless you know something different?

  66. Fiorangela says:

    re my comment at 9:41 am Jan 5, that the Arab states in former Ottoman empire had nationalist hopes and expectations:

    ” . . .Or the decisions made at the 1920 San Remo Conference when Europe’s victors (with minimal U.S. participation) divided the Ottoman Empire’s non-Turkish areas into “mandates” to be temporarily administered by France (Syria and Lebanon) and Great Britain (Iraq, Transjordan, and Palestine) until ready for independence.

    Of all the Arab nations east of Egypt, only Saudi Arabia was to receive immediate independence, and the decision caused shock and dismay throughout the Arab world.”

    Charlie Rose interviews Rashid Khalidi: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11384

    “Rashid, I begin with you. This — I just did a conversation down in
    Washington with the former foreign minister Tzipi Livni of Israel and Salam
    Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. He has said that
    he’s building up from the ground a Palestinian, not idea, but presence with
    institutions of government so that by September of this year they will seek
    to establish a Palestinian state and then go about the process of the
    negotiations over the specifics of borders, right of return, East
    Jerusalem. What do you think of this idea?

    RASHID KHALIDI: Well, Palestinian statehood is 62 years overdue. It
    should have happened at the time of the partition plan, a Jewish state, an
    Arab state. That’s what the U.N. mandated. It’s 44 years since the West
    Bank and the Gaza and Jerusalem were occupied, and we’re still waiting for
    a peace process that is going absolutely nowhere, in fact, has made things
    much worse.

    I would say anything that will move the situation off of the downward track
    that it’s on would be good, but I am not sure that simply declaring
    statehood, which actually the Palestinians did back in 1988, doing yet
    again —

    promises promises

  67. Fiorangela says:

    off topic

    while painting the ceiling in the study I’m listening to the late Chalmers Johnson discuss his book, “Blowback.” The conversation was sponsored by New America Foundation in April, 2000. If you have an hour or so, tune in — it’s fascinating.

    Jacob Heilbrunn presented a sort-of refutation of Johnson’s thesis; Heilbrunn based his refutation on an article by Robert Kagan that had just been published in Wash Post. Kagan argued that US should use its might and muscle to “spread democracy around the world.” Heilbrunn thought Kagan was correct and Johnson was wrong. Heilbrunn’s comments were snotty, smug, and pseudo-intellectual. Heilbrunn concluded his remarks with the declaration:

    “Chalmers’ bold talk, in which he made the case with conviction and authority . . . We will know within the coming years whether Chalmers was wrong or right. Either he’s a prophet or he is King Canute.”***


    Moderator Steve Clemons started off the Q&A section by challenging Chalmers Johnson: “You are criticizing CIA, but you WERE in the CIA and DID the things you criticized. What changed?”

    Dr. Johnson replied by quoting John Maynard Keynes, who was similarly accused of inconsistency. Keynes told his interlocutor, “When I get new information, I change my position. What, sir, do you do with new information?”

    sound familiar?

    ***”Canute . . .was perhaps the first king to successfully rule over a truly united realm of England, free from internal and external strife and unrest. Because he also ruled the Viking homelands, he was able to protect England against attacks, maintaining twenty years of badly-needed peace during which trade, Anglo-Scandinavian art and Christianity were able to flourish. Canute had great respect for the old English laws, to which he brought a keen sense of justice and a regard for individual rights. As part of his promotion of himself as an ‘English’ king, he did penance for the wrongdoings of his Viking forefathers, building churches and making many generous gifts to others.

    Canute died in 1035, a relatively young man by today’s measure, aged about forty. . .
    Canute’s sons, unfortunately, were not made of the same stuff as their father so, on his death, the Anglo-Scandinavian empire he had acquired began to break up.” [ :http://www.viking.no/e/people/e-knud.htm

    so, which was Chalmers Johnson, prophet or Canute?

  68. Voice of Tehran says:

    @ All,

    I have a Yahoo alert for news regarding Iran , which I usually ignore , as there is the repetitive Iran b.s. stories from Reuters , AFP and AP News , Fox , NYT etc.
    On very hot subjects regarding Iran ( Sakineh etc. ) , there are usually a MAX of 1500 to 2000 comments.
    Today , by chance I saw the news of Salehi’s trip to Iraq on AP – News with the number of incredible 70 000 !!! comments.
    Is there anybody with a logical explanation , just out of curiosity.


  69. Humanist says:


    I try hard not to offend those in this site whom I respect, unless they, in my view, are making grave mistakes. Now that you want to know why I thought there were some flaws in your comment I am driven to explain why.

    First of all, I often read assertive judgments here on Iran by those well-received analysts who do not have sufficient (or basic) knowledge on the subjects in question. I myself try to avoid that kind of conduct and try to back whatever I say with hard and convincing evidence. (Except of course when I extrapolate my ‘fact? based’ assertions towards some generalities or even towards some cautious predictions).

    Even with such a careful attitude whenever I read my old comments I frequently notice irritating flaws and errors. That is how we are, we always make insignificant or not so insignificant errors and if we are wise we learn from them and forge ahead with slightly more refined mental experience.

    After the above (semi-comical?) apologetic preface I now mention one of the flaws I noticed in your recent comment:

    You write: “Again, my recommendations would be for the US to cut off all aid other than humanitarian to the corrupt Arab regimes, as well as Israel, then go to the UN and demand Israel be required to disarm its nuclear arsenal and join the NPT. The US could then follow that up by requiring Israel to withdraw not to the 1967 borders but indeed to the 1947 borders originally specified by the UN –– if not indeed to reverse the entire partition of Palestine”

    If I was a close friend of yours I would’ve said “Hey….Richard…wake up, you are day-dreaming, are you recommending the above to whom? to US administration? To cut off aid to Israel to force it to join NPT or withdraw to 1947 borders?…don’t you know any suggestion or recommendation you make must be practical and doable? Don’t you know US is not the same as it was in Nixon years capable of making decisions that were beneficial only to USA…don’t you know many experts believe, as far as the foreign policies are concerned the decisions are made by ruthless deranged Israeli-firsters whose foot-soldiers are like Stewart Levey (the architect of sadistic sanctions) sending shivers to spines of conscientious people of the world who watch in surprise, disgust and horror how the US is (helplessly or obediently?) following the Israeli lines?…..and now you recommend US to tell Israel do this and do that…..wake up man…open your eyes wide….things have changed….changed a lot”.

    Regardless of how the above sounds I read and appreciate your comments and I think you are like me try to be as analytical as one can be, yet admitting I can be wrong, since we have been born and raised oceans apart, naturally, we can never fully agree with each other…….furthermore you claim you are transhumanist while I don’t dare to venture beyond the secularist line. The latter reason alone might explain why we don’t talk to each other here.

    This of course by no means is any indication of lack of respect or consideration in my side towards you.

  70. BiBiJon says:

    Arnold and fyi:

    These questions were debated extensively by Disareli and Gladstone in the 1800s.

    The following quote shows you how far they got to an agreement.

    Once at a social gathering, Gladstone said to Disraeli, “I predict, Sir, that you will die either by hanging or of some vile disease”. Disraeli replied, “That all depends, sir, upon whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”

    P.S. The following link works better.

  71. irshad says:

    Accodring to Wikileak – the head of the IRGC slapped President Ahmedinejad during a meeting of the SNSC…!


  72. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: January 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm and Arnold Evans

    The internal organization of any particular state should be of no concern to other states in the international system as a matter of principle.

    That was one of the principles of the Peace of Westphalia.

    But the superpowers and hyper-powers did not accept that because they could affect regime change when they saw fit.

    Moving forward into the future, as global power devolves further, one would hope that this principle will receive the respect that it deserves.

  73. BiBiJon says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    January 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

    “would you prefer a democratic but hostile Egypt or a dictatorial but friendly Egypt?”

    As a mere hobbyist, I am greatful to be asked.


    The question as posed can only be answered at book length to allow room for all the necessary caveats. Having said that, the question has the appearnce of refering to ‘them’, while it is easier to answer it about ‘us’.

    Any person or entity in a position of authority, would prefer that position not to be questioned, and its scope widened. That is how we wind up with a Republican majority supreme court stopping the vote count in 2000. That is how you get warrantless wire taps. That is how you suppress news about Iraq until after the 2004 elections. That is how Michael Gordon continues to have a job in NY Times. That is how you get POTUS to decree that a citizen be executed without a court ruling. That is how you get TSA humiliate travellers even though the chance of a terrorist incident is 1:16,000 flights. That statistic even includes miraculous boarding of the underwear-bomber without a passport! That is how we get to believe we have a Muslim terrorist problem because FBI managed to coax a 16 year old to bomb a X-mas tree — the target of that entrapment presumably was selected according to how many ‘Muhammad’s was in his name.

    If the above is a fraction of what domestic ‘authority’ likes to impose domestically, then is it any wonder that we would prefer a totally supplicant ruler in Egypt?

    Naturally, every country wishes other nations to only ask “how high?” when commanded to jump. Preventative/preemptive wars are given a bad name only because other nations don’t take the oppotunity to preemptively surrender.

    You get a very different response if you ask your question in terms of costs/benefits, practicability, human decency, etc.

    The barebone question gets the obvious answer: I want my cake, I want to eat it too, and I want your cake as well. I fail to see how value was added by your asking or my attampting an answer.

    1:16000 http://www­.fivethirt­yeight.com­/2009/12/o­dds-of-air­borne-terr­or.html

  74. Dan Cooper says:

    Eric A. Brill

    I agree with your statement that Israel continues to bet on the “no-state solution,”.

    I go one-step further by declaring that Israel’s sole intention is to wipe Palestine off the map and obliterate its civilization.

    I recommend the link below to Scott Lucas and Pak of this world who fanatically scrutinise everything about Iran but conveniently ignore the fundamental breaches of international rule of law and human rights by Israel.

    Must read article by everyone.


  75. Arnold Evans says:


    I think its fair to say that the majority of US policy makers prefer a dictatorial Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. who is supportive rather than a democratic X who is hostile. I would venture to say that the Leveretts are not different in this regard than other experts.

    One of the very interesting elements of this discussion is that there is not an important difference to Americans between Egypt and Iran. Americans who would prefer a dictatorial Egypt would also prefer a dictatorial Iran.

    It is really bare-faced hypocrisy for a US administration to apologize for its efforts to install the Shah who was overthrown 30 years ago, while still supporting Mubarak today, as well as US colonies in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE.

    The United States is a colonialist power. The US policymaking class is a colonialist elite class, across their political spectrum. Seemingly, at least until we hear directly otherwise, including the Leveretts.

    In the Leveretts defense, if they prefer a dictatorial Iran to a democratic one, at least they don’t call for active measures to bring it about which is a tangible difference between them and Obama who has continued and it seems increased the 400 million regime change efforts he inherited from Bush. “Democracy promotion” efforts designed to make the most democratic state in the region more like Egypt.

    But this is a tactical difference, not a difference in intention. They probably rightly think US efforts to transform Iran into Jordan will not work, but if those efforts could work, would they still oppose them? What if there is a chance they may work? We’re talking about efforts that actually do work in many countries in Israel’s region. Is there, for the Leveretts, a good reason not to at least try?

    Iran can generate a reason not to at least try, in the form of an expression that US attempts to subjugate the country will result in dead US soldiers. But beyond that tangible reason, there is no principled reason for anyone in the mainstream spectrum of US foreign policy thought not to attempt to install a Saudi Arabia-style dictator over Iran.

    The contention that to encourage Egypt to move away from dictatorship the way South Korea, with US encouragement, did decades ago would also be regime change – let’s just say that is probably not the reason any US policy-makers oppose democracy in Egypt more than it does in South Korea. And Israel probably is.

    But Americans also foster this naive fantasy that they are not individually proponents of colonialism and that the US is collectively not a colonialist power. For this fantasy to survive, they cannot engage the question of what are the implications of a Greece-style transition to a more or less democratic and accountable political system for countries in Israel’s region.

    Transitions to greater democracy that are not threatening anywhere except in Israel’s region have vastly different implications in the US’ Middle East colonies.

    So if you ask an American: Should America expend effort to keep 200 million people under colonial rule to ensure the viability of a Jewish state for about 5 million Jewish people? Americans simply cannot answer that question. To answer that question would break the fantasy.

  76. Bussed-in Basiji says:


    I think its fair to say that the majority of US policy makers prefer a dictatorial Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. who is supportive rather than a democratic X who is hostile. I would venture to say that the Leveretts are not different in this regard than other experts.

    In the Bush era we had Natan Sharansky peddling his very crappy book about how “democractic” governments in the region would ultimately bring security to Israel and the US. Of course when Sharansky says democratic he means pro-Israel, not anit-Israel Islamists or nationalist parties who have a habit of winning everytime their are elections in a regional Muslim country (Apparently Sharansky can’t explain this little democratic phenomenon). Bush was impressed by his very crappy book and used it as one of his “academic” justifications for his imperial democratization policies.

    I agree with you that democracy in these countries equals the eventual demise of Israel because the parties coming to power in elections would be Islamists and nationalists anti-Israeli. Notice how Mahmoud Abbas is refusing to call Presidential elections for three years now, even though he was legally required to do so and nobody seems to be calling him on this one?

  77. Arnold Evans says:


    I’m surprised by the refusal of more parties than just the Leveretts to engage the question: “would you prefer a democratic but hostile Egypt or a dictatorial but friendly Egypt”

    Which of those two options would you prefer? I’d prefer the first. Maybe that is not the greatest question of all time, but it is still a question that can be answered and we have not seen many answers, especially from Americans.

    Refusals to answer such questions on principle almost always are ultimately motivated by discomfort with one’s answer as well as an unwillingness or inability to convincingly lie about one’s answer.

    US policy demonstrates its answer to the question even if Americans will not answer in words.

    Here is Barack Obama on this subject.

    Justin Webb: Do you regard President Mubarak as an authoritarian ruler?

    President Obama: No, I tend not to use labels for folks. I haven’t met him. I’ve spoken to him on the phone.

    He has been a stalwart ally in many respects, to the United States. He has sustained peace with Israel, which is a very difficult thing to do in that region.

    But he has never resorted to, you know, unnecessary demagoging of the issue, and has tried to maintain that relationship. So I think he has been a force for stability. And good in the region. Obviously, there have been criticisms of the manner in which politics operates in Egypt.

    And, as I said before, the United States’ job is not to lecture, but to encourage, to lift up what we consider to be the values that ultimately will work – not just for our country, but for the aspirations of a lot of people.


    Pretty much exactly.


    Does Arnold think Egypt should not continue to abide by its treaty with Israel?

    Do you hope to see the failure of Israel, and wish for chaos in Egypt and Jordan as a means of seeing that object come closer?

    1) Mubarak goes way beyond the essentials of its peace treaty with Israel.

    2) No but where do you get this idea about chaos in Egypt and Jordan? Nothing I wrote implies or says that.

    3) You also don’t answer my question.


    You’ve raised some interesting points.


    The US doesn’t care what kind of government rules Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia as long that government submits to the US in international relations and economic issues.

    I want to add that because of Israel, it is much more difficult for any government but an authoritarian dictatorship to submit to the US in international relations and economic issues in Israel’s region than anywhere else in the world. For that reason, the US is more hostile to democracy in Israel’s region than anywhere else in the world.

    South America, Central America, Europe all can have reasonably democratic governments – governments at least somewhat responsive and accountable to the people ruled while still for the most part executing policies acceptable to the United States.

    This is not the case in Israel’s region. If Egypt’s government moved away from dictatorship the way Chile has, or Taiwan has, it would be profound threat to Israel’s long-term viability, as many Israelis and Americans well understand. Iran’s move from the Shah is, as any US or Israeli newspaper will tell you, the biggest current threat to Israel’s viability.

    The United States works harder to prevent democracy in Egypt than it did in Chile. My question to the Leveretts and to the floor is basically “are you ok with that and with the justification for that?”


    You are, I think, very seriously under-estimating the ability of local elites to maintain power without US support.

    Do you think the US should test that contention?

    I’ll say that Israel’s region is the most dictatorial region in the world. Muslims outside of that region are not nearly as prone to dictatorship. US colonial targets in all other parts of the world have been released over the decades.

    Do you think that’s a coincidence? If Jordan would continue to deny political power to the people it rules without active US encouragement, then let it, but stopping active US encouragement would at least potentially endanger Israel. For the US that is enough reason to never end active US support for that colonial dictatorship. I’m asking you and the Leveretts if you think that is an acceptable reason.


    Let me make an example. Mubarak was informed that the US congress would withhold funds if Egypt failed to sufficiently cooperate with the Gaza siege. If the US had not done that. That is one example. The United States in many ways rewards rulers of its colonies in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE for policies that are pro-Israel and that their populations would not support if the rulers were accountable to their people.

    Would a US stoppage of its system of threats and rewards aimed at subordinate rulers be regime change, in your opinions?

  78. Off topic

    Some news headlines in the UK are reporting the return of Muqtada AL – Sadr to Najaf after 3 years away ( in Iran ? ).I don`t know how influential he will be in the Iraqi coalition government, but I am sure he will play an important role in the U.S vs Iran war of influence in Iraq !

  79. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    “The preparations on this side are in high gear however like all other plans this one will also end bitterly for the enemies of the Islamic revolution.”

    In case there was a misunderstanding when I said “The preparations on this side are in high gear” I meant by those who lost last time around and their foreign allies, not by the winners.

  80. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    The US never cares what kind of government rules in a country as long as it tows the US line in international and economic matters. This strategy is a continuation of the British imperial policy of “working with” local elites as long as they submit to British imperial policies- no matter how nice or reprehensible these local elites behave towards their own people.

    The US doesn’t care what kind of government rules Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia as long that government submits to the US in international relations and economic issues. It can be conservative clerics, Wahabi tribesmen, nationalist officers, liberal feminists- it doesn’t matter.

    America’s greatest policy wish for Iran is that a black-turnabed cleric (oh I don’t know, lets say Mohammad Khatami) stretches out his hand in submission to pledge allegiance- while keeping an Islamic facade. Much better than some left secularists which can always be challenged domestically in Iran.

    Reality check: Of the available potential candidates, the US would like nothing more than Qalibaf becoming president next round and then being able to strike “a deal” with a “religious nationalist”. The preparations on this side are in high gear however like all other plans this one will also end bitterly for the enemies of the Islamic revolution.

    The point is that the republican elements of US identity and constitutional order are incapable of challenging the imperialist behavior exhibited by US elites i.e. Congress declaring war versus the President, no standing armies, huge federal bureaucracies particular as it relates to military and intelligence, banks and corporations having legal personhood, financing the parties and elections.

    The old political processes are no longer responsive to the real needs of the citizens and the national interests (NOT defined as the interests of corporations and banks). This is the heart of the matter and it will not be resolved as long as the federal government and the two party corporate system remain in their current form. The problem is deeper than policy papers, logical arguments and this FP expert versus that FP expert.

  81. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Stephen Hack, My son is a “computer geek.” He’s also an accomplished Latin scholar and an award-winning creative writer. Ullman’s blog is offensive because it is bigoted but, more importantly, because it reflects a pernicious pattern in US academic and “public intellectual” circles. That pattern attempts to put the zionist stamp on the information Americans and students in American universities receive about the history of the Middle East. The narrative that Ullman and his fellow travelers promote is fulsomely revealed in the “scholarly article” Ullman linked from his “Polemics” posting. That article, by Ephraim Karsh, in Commentary magazine, is Israeli-centric in the extreme, and distorts and omits facts that would explain that the other states in the region ALSO had nationalist ambitions. [ see :http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/1948–israel–and-the-palestinians–annotated-text-11373 In Karsh’s version of history, ONLY Israel and its zionist immigrants had dreams of self-determination; ONLY Israelis were caught up in whirlwinds of history and war and displacement.

    In a very well researched and presented series of lectures, Prof. Salim Yaqub reveals the larger history of the Middle East in the years following the break-up of the Ottoman empire. Yaqub emphasizes the hopes and expectations of Arab states to achieve national sovereignty in post-war years, and how those hopes were dashed early on:

    “Changing U.S. Involvement through Two World Wars

    You learn in this course that many of the seeds of U.S. policy and its dilemmas were planted during the administration of Woodrow Wilson.

    It’s fascinating to view, with the benefit of hindsight, the later ramifications of issues like Wilson’s endorsement of the Balfour Declaration, and its collision with the concept of national self-determination Wilson advanced in his famous “Fourteen Points.” Or the decisions made at the 1920 San Remo Conference when Europe’s victors (with minimal U.S. participation) divided the Ottoman Empire’s non-Turkish areas into “mandates” to be temporarily administered by France (Syria and Lebanon) and Great Britain (Iraq, Transjordan, and Palestine) until ready for independence.

    Of all the Arab nations east of Egypt, only Saudi Arabia was to receive immediate independence, and the decision caused shock and dismay throughout the Arab world.”

    If the selections of the Teaching Company are representative, then Yaqub’s voice is rare in academic circles where the history of the Middle East is taught. Instead, the field is dominated by academics who hold views more aligned with Jeffrey Ullman and Ephraim Karsh. Furthermore, as this statement regarding Dr. Yaqub seems to indicate,

    “When he discusses the epidemic of hostage-taking by Shiite extremists that plagued that community during the Reagan administration, for example, it isn’t only from the viewpoint of an academic, but from the experience of someone who personally knew victims of terror.

    only by paying obeisance to the holocaust and drawing attention to Islamic “terrorists” can even Dr. Yaqub’s version of history find a place in the academy (no mention of the sustained acts of terror that were at the core of establishing the zionist state of Israel).

    In other words, not only does Jeffrey Ullman’s view prevail, but by perpetuating patterns of tribal “nepotism” that characterizes Ullman’s selection of students, a favored group, and its narrative, are simultaneously given dominance in the academy and the tools for gaining wealth and control in media, communications, and information collection and distribution.

    Here’s one example that is still in the incubation stage but that seems to me to be prepared to derail a political attempt to short-circuit an attempt to reform the American political system. (Put on your tinfoil hats.)

    In summary, RSH, as Humanist pointed out, the horse has left the barn. Yes, of course the US should withdraw all aid and political cover from ALL Arab AND Israeli leaders and governments; Salim Yaqub highlighted the incongruity of US policy at its inception, back in Wilson’s administration. But even if that were a practical possibity, it would not be enough. By now the perspective — that Ullman exemplifies– is deeply entrenched in every level of American society, and it is sustained in American society by vast wealth that is drawn from the sequelae of unfortunate decisions made almost a hundred years ago.

  82. Fiorangela says:

    Persian Gulf, Yes, your point is right on target: NIAC’s letter protesting Ullman’s anti-Iranian blog posting was consistent with NIAC’s absurd policy and practice of taking every opportunity at the microphone to kick dirt on Iran. I think it’s a fatally flawed strategy, and because of it, I no longer contribute to NIAC — I send my contributions to Race for Iran. repeat:


    The challenge-match deadline is tomorrow: send it TODAY! Right now.

    Back to NIAC — in my opinion, which I have expressed to NIAC, it is a mistake to give to Iran’s enemies in the US Congress the toe-hold of “human rights abuses against Iranians.” That does not mean that human rights abuses against the Iranian people by their own government are of no concern or importance, quite the contrary. Parsi and NIAC strike me as naive about his adversary and, apparently, unaware of basic mindset in Netanyahu’s government and its spokespersons in the US government; namely, don’t be a freier.

  83. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas and Pak

    Please accept my condolences.


  84. Iranian@Iran says:


    I fail to see how you draw such conclusions.

  85. Pak says:

    Wow, oh wow.

    For the first time I can actually congratulate and thank the Leveretts for offering an opinion that seems far more honest and grounded in reality. It was about time you argued on the basis that the regime in Iran is “legitimate” because it is in fact the representative government of the Iranian nation, not because Iran is a “democracy” or because of Larijani’s “principles”. This shift in your policy is admirable.

    Most of all, I enjoyed the excerpts that I have copied below, which draws many parallels between the current situations in Egypt and Iran. You imply that Iran does not have “genuinely competitive elections” and that regime change should come from within. Both Mubarak and Khamenei have held onto power for over 20 years. And, as you know, both Egypt and Iran currently have indigenous democratic movements that, if unheeded, may develop into movements to overthrow these illegitimate dictators.

    “Just as we are not big fans of regime change, we are also not big fans of democracy for democracy’s sake…”

    “But the fact that the Mubarak government does not hold power on the basis of genuinely competitive elections does not mean that it is illegitimate. If, by some chance, the Egyptian people decide that the Mubarak government is illegitimate, in the same way that Iranians clearly decided this about the Shah, then there will be regime change in Cairo, indigenously achieved.”

    “To do that, the United States needs to pursue smart diplomacy with the Islamic Republic’s current political structure…”

  86. Dan,

    Thanks for the post from Noam Chomsky’s article. I like especially this part:

    “Given the scale of Israeli settlement of the West Bank, it has been argued for more a decade that the international consensus on a two-state settlement is dead, or mistaken (though evidently most of the world does not agree). Therefore [the argument goes] those concerned with Palestinian rights should call for Israeli takeover of the entire West Bank, followed by an anti-apartheid struggle of the South African variety that would lead to full citizenship for the Arab population there.

    The argument assumes that Israel would agree to the takeover. It is far more likely that Israel will instead continue the programs leading to annexation of the parts of the West Bank that it is developing, roughly half the area, and take no responsibility for the rest, thus defending itself from the “demographic problem” – too many non-Jews in a Jewish state – and meanwhile severing besieged Gaza from the rest of Palestine.”

    In other words, while world betting shifts from a two-state solution to a one-state solution, Israel continues to bet on the “no-state solution,” which seems to be working just fine.

  87. Humanist: Your post was interesting but I’m waiting for an exposition of the flaws in Arnold’s and my comments. I didn’t see any in your paragraphs after “I found a few flaw in some of the comments here by Arnold and RSH.”

  88. Humanist says:

    One of the experiences I’ll never forget in life was when in 1978 I had a very short discussion with a genius senior Western academics about the Iranian pre-revolution protests. He said something like “, we have VITAL INTERESTS in Iran, we can’t let these tugs take over the country”. I didn’t dare to tell him how ignorant he was over the whole issue….and how appalling his arrogance and racism sounded to me.

    His assertive words stuck to my mind for quite some time. Often I was thinking about what he said that day questioning how come he is so brilliant in math and technology yet he is so dull and blind in sociology or politics. At the time I subconsciously decided to learn how this amazing organ of ours, the BRAIN works and find out why we are all so inconsistent.

    After that day as an amateur I have been curiously studying Biology and Neuroscience from mostly non-academic sources. Although as we know very little about how, in molecular level, our brains function yet we have some clues why one could be a top expert in one field and be ignorant in another field, why we are all born racists, greedy, nationalist, self-righteous and so on.

    Based on that “beginner’s knowledge” I found a few flaw in some of the comments here by Arnold and RSH. Since I think it is immoral to stay silent and I am expressing my thoughts here solely to do avert the efforts of mad warmongers and since the objectionable items I found are not directly about the war issues I do not elaborate in detail why some of their arguments are weak. Yet I feel obligated to say the following:

    1- We are witnessing the begging of the end of Imperial exploitive rules in the world. Both history and science show ‘racism’ and ‘primitive ambitions’ are the roots of evil inter-tribal transgressions. Science proves Aryans are NOT a super-race, no people can be god’s CHOSEN people, god does not BLESS some and dislike others and no tribe can claim EXCEPTIONAL position just because it possess a bigger bomb.

    2- In my view US is in such a deep hole it can never get out of it, unless a fundamentally major metamorphosis (revolution?) happens. The corruption in every aspect of US society is so prevalent only a major surgery can remove that cancer. Such an assertion is true in all facets of US structure, society, economy, finance, military, legislative, media etc. The deep corruption now is allowing foreign entities openly become the critical decision makers in US foreign policy (or its finance? or partly in military?)

    3- ‘Regime Change’ is an OLD-TIME malicious, racist and destructive concept. Those who advocate it are short-sighted morons who have no vision and can not see the coming torrents of history.

    4- In any hypothetical case if US as it stands nowadays, uses force or other means to establish true democracies in corrupt or dictatorial countries of ME, Asia, Africa or South America, then the great majority of those converted countries will become antagonistic to US since in true democracies the rulers MUST listen to people and people of the above countries are, at the moment, no friends of USA. Hence US is destined to back the evil systems in order to delay further shortening of its existence as the Number One country in the world.

    Too bad, America had a chance to become a loving father of the whole world. Its imprudent myopic decision makers who were blinded by ignorance, racism and foolish hegemonic ambitions lost that grand chance long long time ago.

    Will a new America in the coming decades emerge being able to fulfil that dream of humanity, being always on the side of the oppressed and against the ruthless oppressors? No one knows what is in the books of history. I hope one day the humanity can escape from the bloody claws of a few extremely powerful psychopaths who, by high probability, are now pulling most of the critical strings that crucially effects our daily lives.

  89. Eric: Ullman is well known in computer circles. I myself may have read one or more of his computer texts back in the day. Didn’t know he was a fruitcake, but, hey, he’s a computer geek.

    Moving on, it would seem that some people here still don’t get Arnold’s point that the US is specifically supporting corrupt Arab governments. Even if those governments can maintain control against their own street without US military equipment and surveillance technology, the fact remains the US is being specifically targeted by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups because of this support and the dishonest brokering of the Palestinian situation. It is the US electorate’s – if not the ruling elites – best interests to remove all US support from these governments.

    So I believe Arnold is specifically asking the Leveretts if they would agree that the US would be better served by NOT SUPPORTING those governments – as opposed to actively trying to impose democracy on those governments which they have already (correctly in my view) specified they do not approve of.

    In short, Arnold’s basic question has not been answered.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post, I would like to see the Leveretts post a specific list of policy recommendations which they would undertake should they ever achieve senior posts in the State Department.

    Again, my recommendations would be for the US to cut off all aid other than humanitarian to the corrupt Arab regimes, as well as Israel, then go to the UN and demand Israel be required to disarm its nuclear arsenal and join the NPT. The US could then follow that up by requiring Israel to withdraw not to the 1967 borders but indeed to the 1947 borders originally specified by the UN – if not indeed to reverse the entire partition of Palestine.

    These actions would be welcomed by the entire Muslim world, the Non-Aligned Movement nations and just about every one except Israel. bin Laden would be sending flowers to the White House within 24 hours.

  90. Persian Gulf says:


    “NIAC emphasized in its letter that many young Iranians face persecution from the Ahmadinejad government for their political views, often facing banishment from Iranian universities if associated with views held against the government. “It is abhorrent that similar discrimination on political grounds would confront young Iranians seeking to study abroad at American universities.””

    isn’t this statement discriminatory itself? and it is designed for Iranian audiences. so, based on NIAC’s understanding, any Iranian student who voted (or is inactive politically) for Ahmadinejad can be discriminated at Stanford. the case was solid enough to make the point. NIAC has been using this tactic for so long. are there Iranians who really buy (and support NIAC) a statement like this?

  91. Dan cooper says:

    Given the scale of Israeli settlement of the West Bank, it has been argued for more a decade that the international consensus on a two-state settlement is dead, or mistaken (though evidently most of the world does not agree). Therefore those concerned with Palestinian rights should call for Israeli takeover of the entire West Bank, followed by an anti-apartheid struggle of the South African variety that would lead to full citizenship for the Arab population there.

    The argument assumes that Israel would agree to the takeover. It is far more likely that Israel will instead continue the programs leading to annexation of the parts of the West Bank that it is developing, roughly half the area, and take no responsibility for the rest, thus defending itself from the “demographic problem” – too many non-Jews in a Jewish state – and meanwhile severing besieged Gaza from the rest of Palestine.

    One analogy between Israel and South Africa merits attention. Once apartheid was implemented, South African nationalists recognized they were becoming international pariahs because of it. In 1958, however, the foreign minister informed the U.S. ambassador that U.N. condemnations and other protests were of little concern as long as South Africa was supported by the global hegemon – the United States. By the 1970s, the U.N. declared an arms embargo, soon followed by boycott campaigns and divestment. South Africa reacted in ways calculated to enrage international opinion.

    In a gesture of contempt for the U.N. and President Jimmy Carter – who failed to react so as not to disrupt worthless negotiations – South Africa launched a murderous raid on the Cassinga refugee camp in Angola just as the Carter-led “contact group” was to present a settlement for Namibia. The similarity to Israel’s behavior today is striking – for example, the attack on Gaza in January 2009 and on the Gaza freedom flotilla in May 2010.

    When President Reagan took office in 1981, he lent full support to South Africa’s domestic crimes and its murderous depredations in neighboring countries. The policies were justified in the framework of the war on terror that Reagan had declared on coming into office.

    In 1988, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress was designated one of the world’s “more notorious terrorist groups” (Mandela himself was only removed from Washington’s “terrorist list” in 2008). South Africa was defiant, and even triumphant, with its internal enemies crushed, and enjoying solid support from the one state that mattered in the global system.

    Shortly after, U.S. policy shifted. U.S. and South African business interests very likely realized they would be better off by ending the apartheid burden. And apartheid soon collapsed. South Africa is not the only recent case where ending U.S. support for crimes has led to significant progress. Can such a transformative shift happen in Israel’s case, clearing the way to a diplomatic settlement? Among the barriers firmly in place are the very close military and intelligence ties between the U.S. and Israel.

    The most outspoken support for Israeli crimes comes from the business world. U.S. high-tech industry is closely integrated with its Israeli counterpart. To cite just one example, the world’s largest chip manufacturer, Intel, is establishing its most advanced production unit in Israel.

    A U.S. cable released by WikiLeaks reveals that Rafael military industries in Haifa is one of the sites considered vital to U.S. interests due to its production of cluster bombs; Rafael had already moved some operations to the U.S. to gain better access to U.S. aid and markets. There is also a powerful Israel lobby, though of course dwarfed by the business and military lobbies.

    Breaking the Israel-Palestine Deadlock

    By Noam Chomsky


  92. BiBiJon says:

    Pity Ullman who is victim/product of collective punishment, and thus he knows no better. As he resows the seeds, he ensures the cycle never ends.

    ‘Whene’er a knife you take, it’s not meant for assault.
    God notes the deeds you do: He overlooks no fault.
    That knife was never forged at a tyrant’s behest,
    Not to ‘Mtoxicate was the grape juice expressed.
    Jesus beside the road beheld a figure slain.
    Finger on lip, he gazed distraught with grief and pain.
    ‘Whom didst thou kill? He said, ‘that slain hast been through hate,
    And he who murdered thee meet also the same fate.’
    Lift neer a scornful finger.- speak no angry word,
    Lest swift and forceful retribution be incurred.’

    Nasser Khossrow (11th Century) translated from Frasi by Norman Sharp

  93. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 4, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    American partisans of Israel, be they Jews or Protestant Christians, are using the plentiful opportunities of the United States to advance the cause of Israel; from Truman to Ullman.

    You will have to pity them for in their zeal for Israel, they are in the process of positioning US as an enemy of Islam and not just Iran.

    It is deplorable, but just like in business, sometimes you cannot do anything but watch lemmings march off a cliff.

  94. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: January 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Elie Weisel is a disgrace to the ideals that he espouses.

    Where he serious, he would have flown to Tehran and met some of those people who, on principle, oppose Israel.

    But he is foremost a partisan of Israel and not God or Humanity.

    Enough said.

  95. Fiorangela,

    One portion of your quotation from Dr. Ullman deserves a further comment:

    “Affirmative action’ is probably the best known of these subtle thefts, but this essay is not about affirmative action.”

    Good thing his essay was not about affirmative action. Given his views on that topic, he’d have had a hard time explaining why none of those top-test-score Iranians managed to get admitted to his Stanford graduate program.

  96. In my description of Dr. Ullman’s crusade against efforts to curb 65-MPH driving through a nearby neighborhood in which he did not live, I mistakenly blamed him for asking the young mother two questions that he in fact only WANTED to ask her:

    “I wanted to ask her why she doesn’t just get into her giant SUV and drive across the road. I wanted to ask her why she needs to cross the street, since there is nothing but vacant hills on the other side, but I don’t.”

    Turns out his momma hadn’t raised no boy with manners bad enough to ask such questions. He said this instead:

    “Instead, I comment that she must have known about what causes babies and anticipated that she might have one, when she bought the house. I ask her whether she feels entitled to hinder everyone else rather than moving to a house more appropriate to her changed circumstances. She ignores me and starts nursing her baby.”

  97. Fiorangela,

    You make an excellent point.


  98. Fiorangela says:


    In “Polemics,” our man Ull writes,

    “Throughout my life, I’ve been infuriated by the tendency of our social structure to allow theft, as long as the loss is distributed in tiny parcels among a large number of people.”Affirmative action” is probably the best known of these subtle thefts, but this essay is not about affirmative action.”

    mindful of BiBiJon’s comment at 7:07 pm, that in 2003, a majority of students who passed the qualifying test for the PhD program in Electrical Engineering at Stanford were from Iran, take a look at Dr. Ullman’s PhD students over the years:

  99. James,

    “Lindsey Graham, one of the leading idiot Republicans in the US Senate, is calling for the US to retain permanent military bases in Afghanistan. Sheer lunacy.”

    I suggest you do what I did a few years back:

    1. Open up Google Earth.

    2. Find Bagram Air Force base in Aghanistan.

    3. Zoom in and look around a bit.

    4. Ask yourself this question: “Is there a snowball’s chance in hell that the US will ever just walk away from this base?”

    I’ll be curious to hear your answer.

  100. James Canning says:

    Lindsey Graham, one of the leading idiot Republicans in the US Senate, is calling for the US to retain permanent military bases in Afghanistan. Sheer lunacy.

  101. James Canning says:

    I regret the death in Boston of the late Shah’s youngest son.

  102. James Canning says:


    The Turkic tribes that created what most Europeans thought of as a Persian empire, maybe six centuries ago, were conquerors. I think the Persians had sufficient cultural weight they tended to assume a large role in any state created on the Iranian plateau.

  103. Fiorangela,

    You’re being quite unfair to Dr. Ullman to suggest that he discriminates against Iranians. In fact, his hatred knows almost no bounds.

    He’s courageously taken on 4-way stop signs, for example, as he explains in his imaginatively-titled essay, “4-Way Stop Signs” – a serious problem which (let’s be honest with ourselves) far too many of us just leave for the other guy to worry about. Need I mention the unfairness and inefficiency of requiring drivers on BOTH streets to stop? Or that we could save enough fuel each day to run several small African countries for a decade or two? Don’t get me started about the “confusion and increase the risk of accidents” these stop signs cause.

    And as Dr. Ullman vividly recounts in his “Attack of the Fifty-Foot NIMBY’s,” when residents of a nearby town asked for speed control measures on a residential street where 160 cars a day zipped by at 65 MPH (30 MPH above the speed limit), only Dr. Ullman recognized their true selfish purpose: to raise their property values, at the expense of every American who values his freedom to drive at very high speed down that residential street. He fought the good fight at a public meeting held to discuss this, but was outdone by the “NIMBYs” who actually lived in the neighborhood. Here he describes his valiant but unsuccessful effort to change the mind of one NIMBY:

    “I ask her the key question: does she think it is fair, having bought her house cheaply, to try to raise the value at the expense of large numbers of people. She says that it was OK before she had a baby, but now that she has a baby, she needs to cross the road, and it is not safe. I wanted to ask her why she doesn’t just get into her giant SUV and drive across the road. I wanted to ask her why she needs to cross the street, since there is nothing but vacant hills on the other side, but I don’t.”

    Dr. Ullman doesn’t tell his readers how this young mother answered, but let’s face it: What could she have said in response to his perfectly sensible questions? He’d nailed her to the wall.

    Turns out that she and the other NIMBYs won in the end, though. Nobody at that meeting seems to have agreed with Dr. Ullman, much less liked him – or even hoped that he wouldn’t be hit by a speeding car in the parking lot as he left the meeting.

    In short, if you’re an Iranian who feels insulted by what Dr. Ullman writes, consider this question: With enemies like this guy, who needs friends?


  104. Rehmat says:

    Robert Satloff’s quest for ‘Among the Righteous’ began when he noticed that while the Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum mentions the names of thousands of Goyim (non-Jewish) from several countries (Albanian, Bosnian, Turk, etc.who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazis and Italian fascists under Benito Mussilini – no Arab name is mentioned in that list.

    In Zionist Jewish history, Arabs are Synonymous with the Mufti of Palestine, Amin al-Husseini, who pleaded both to Hitler and Mussolini not to allow the Jewish subjects to migrate to British Occupied Palestine. Israeli Hasbara mafia has pictures of the Mufti’s meeting with Hitler – but they’re ignorant of the fact that 150,000 German Jews were part of the Nazi army and the Jewish terrorist groups Stern and Lehi did support both Nazis and Italian fascists. In 1949, both these terrorist groups were merged with Israel army…….


  105. BiBiJon says:

    In 2003, administrators at Stanford University’s Electrical Engineering Department were startled when a group of foreign students aced the notoriously difficult Ph.D. entrance exam, getting some of the highest scores ever. That the whiz kids weren’t American wasn’t odd; students from Asia and elsewhere excel in U.S. programs. The surprising thing, say Stanford administrators, is that the majority came from one country and one school: Sharif University of Science and Technology in Iran.

    Bruce A. Wooley, a former chair of the Electrical Engineering Department at Stanford, has said that Sharif now has one of the best undergraduate electrical-engineering programs in the world. That’s no small praise given its competition: MIT, Caltech and Stanford in the United States, Tsinghua in China and Cambridge in Britain.

    From http://www.newsweek.com/2008/08/08/the-star-students-of-the-islamic-republic.html

  106. Faram says:

    Voice of Tehran @ January 4, 2011 at 4:50 am

    It seems that, out of the P5+1 countries, only Russia and China are invited for the visit to Iran’s key nuclear sites. The invitee list also includes countries from the EU. e.g. Hungary which holds the EU presidency.

  107. Fiorangela says:

    thanks Eric.

    I had just typed a comment, after reading some of Ullman’s writings on “fundamentalism,” Iran, etc. I thought better of my comment and scrubbed it.

    Ullman has a right to write what he wishes to write.

    So do I. So do all Americans.

    The difference between us is that if I express myself as boldly and with the same bigotry* against Jews or zionism or Israel as Ullman expresses bigotry against Iranians, Palestinians, and Muslims, an office in the US State Department may come knocking at my door to accuse me of “antisemitism.”

    * in addition to seriously distorted rendition of history, in the case of a link within his “fundamentalism” rant: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/1948–israel–and-the-palestinians–annotated-text-11373

  108. Dr. Ullman has an entertaining Web page:


    Clearly he once harbored hopes (or now does) of getting out of the computer science field.

  109. Fiorangela,

    Oddly the NIAC piece to which you linked doesn’t mention the Stanford professor’s name, though it includes links to other writings that do:

    Dr. Jeffrey D. Ullman, Stanford W. Ascherman Emeritus Professor of Computer Science

  110. Fiorangela says:

    fyi —

    PS. I really resent the notion that someone would demand allegiance to Israel as an affirmation of American values.

    NOT a tempest in a teapot, a fundamental debate that Americans MUST be allowed to conduct.

  111. Rehmat says:

    fyi – The Jews don’t have to put ad in major newspapers for apologizing for the Danish cartoon, or free distribution of two million anti-Islam DVDs during Election 2008 or even framing Muslims in 9/11 or the underwear Nigerian bomber or USS Liberty or even USS Cole – because even westerners are finding out who were behind those evil-deeds.

    Let us talk about these Zionist Evildoers’ ad against Ahmadinejad, shall we?

    On February 7, Elie Wiesel’s racist arm, known as ‘Foundation for Humanity’ put a full-page adverisement in the New York Times, followed by at ‘International Herald Tribune’ (on February 9) – addressed to heads of ZOGs, Barack Obama (the US), Nicolas Sarkozy (France), Dimitry Medvedev (Russia), Gordon Brown (Britain) and Angela Markel (Germany): “How Long We Can Stand Idly By and Watch the Scandal (Ahmadinejad’s re-election) in Iran Unfold”. The appeal was signed by 44 Nobel Prize laureates, mostly Jewish.


    SHALOM (Ooops! Gilad Atzmon told me it doesn’t mean “peace” but “what is good for the Jews”).

  112. Fiorangela says:

    fyi, @ 4:54: “storm in a teacup.”

    How I envy Iranian equanimity, as Humanist described it earlier.

    My Italian forebears held grudges for hundreds of years, just out of principle: for a Genoese, Better a death in the house than a Pisan at the door.

    (of course, a Genoese and a Pisan will sit at table and enjoy local food and drink with each other.)

    US foreign policy circles could learn a lot from Italian history.

  113. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    NIAC should decline to meet with Jewish Americans.

    It is the Jewish Americans who have to take, in my opinion, full page ADs in the more popular newspapers among Muslims and state – in Arabic, Bengali, English, French, Malay, Persian, Punjabi, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu – that they are not against Islam and are not in some sort of conspiracy with (Protestant) Christians to do so.

    There can be no dialogue otherwise.

  114. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    This harms the United States more than Iran, just like the Stuxnet Worm.

    What is foolish is Jews pitting themselves first against Arabs, then against Islam, and now against Iran.

    I think they are paying an entirely too high a price for Israel.

  115. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Storm in a tea-cup.

  116. Fiorangela says:

    Yesterday I received a good news/bad news letter from NIAC.

    “Good” news: NIAC had arranged to meet, at some date in the future, with Jewish Americans, to engage in dialog.

    Bad news: the case in which Jewish persons sought to seize ancient historic Persian artifacts, now in custody of University of Chicago, in order to auction those priceless items to satisfy a judgment obtained in a US court in a case in which IRI was a party but did not mount a defense.

    In my mind, the attempt to seize ancient Persian artifact is in exactly the same category as Taliban destruction of ancient Buddhas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamyan

  117. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Those Turkic tribesmen were adherents of a Sufi Order led by Sheikh Safi.

    They were not slaves.

    Furthermore, the Persians never came to dominate the Iranian state so created.

    In fact, often there were so many Azeris cabinet members in the post Constitutional Revolution goverenments that the Persian-speaking note-taker was at a loss since the conversation of the ministers was in Azeri Turkish.

  118. Fiorangela says:

    it seems I was wrong.

    Arnold Evans is right.

    Israel’s “values” ARE America’s values; in fact, Israel’s values DEFINE America’s values.

    At least, that is the case in the mind of a Stanford University professor:

    “Washington, DC – A Stanford professor has come under fire for making discriminatory, anti-Iranian remarks through email correspondence and web postings.

    In one email to an Iranian graduate student, the professor responded to an inquiry about admission to his department saying, “even if I were in a position to help, I will not help Iranian students until Iran recognizes and respects Israel as the land of the Jewish people.” The professor went on to write, “If Iranians want the benefits of Stanford and other institutions in the US, they have to respect the values we hold in the US…”

    The professor’s public Stanford website includes a page entitled “Answers to All Questions Iranian,” in which he expresses his political views on questions such as why the US shot down an Iranian airliner in the 1988 or why the CIA deposed Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. The page, written as a series of questions from Iranians with answers from the professor, also includes the question, “Can I get into Stanford?” with the response, “Probably not.” “

    source: NIAC email/newletter, http://www.niacouncil.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6979&security=1&news_iv_ctrl=-1

  119. James Canning says:


    Do you hope to see the failure of Israel, and wish for chaos in Egypt and Jordan as a means of seeing that object come closer?

  120. James Canning says:


    Let’s remember here that the Persian empire of four centuries ago was essentially initially put together by Turkic tribes, but the Persians gradually emerged as controlling the entity.

  121. James Canning says:


    Jimmy Carter and his ambassador in Tehran in the late 1970s were both accused of conspiring to overthrow the Shah.

  122. James Canning says:

    Does Arnold think Egypt should not continue to abide by its treaty with Israel?

  123. Fiorangela says:

    Arnold Evans: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

    THAT is the flaw in your “facts and logic,” (at 9:54 am).

    1. You ASSERT but do not demonstrate that “the American people would” choose option A rather than option B. Your facts are flawed in that you do not provide them.

    2. Assuming that your assertions are based on real facts, how is it “democratic” for the will of the majority of AMERICANS to decide the choices of Egyptians?

    3. Your fundamental underlying assumption is that American policy in Egypt and Iran pivots exclusively on Israel and oil. More recent foreign policy choices and policies seem to have tilted American preferences away from oil, in favor of Israel.

    To the extent that your assertion is true, that Americans would favor options that grant preferential treatment to Israel, your assertion is probably true — for now. But inasmuch as the choices the American people have made in Israel’s favor have been based on propaganda, over the course of as much as 100 years, one has to consider carefully the commonsense notion at the beginning of this comment: You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    More and more Americans are breaking through the shell of propaganda and recognizing that Israel is a strategic liability; that it is costly to an American economy in dire straits; and that, indeed, Israel’s behavior is radically inconsistent with American values (see the discussion that has been on-going since Dec. 31, 2010, when a Palestinian woman who was engaged in peaceful protest in Bil’in, died after being tear-gassed by IDF soldiers wielding US-made “less-lethal” tear gas. [see :http://mondoweiss.net/2011/01/bilin-popular-committee-produces-4-eyewitnesses-to-jawaher-abu-rahmahs-teargassing.html#more-32827 Americans, among them young American Jews, are waking up and talking back to the obvious Israeli propaganda. So far, the push-back against zionist propaganda has been peaceful (even creative).

    In my opinion, the most critical foreign AND domestic policy question the Obama administration faces is reflected in this question that a caller put to Phylis Bennis, when she was the guest on C -Span’s “In Depth” program last Sunday. The caller asked:


    “What is it going to mean for Jewish people in the United States, should it be proven that Israel staged a false-flag attack on the United States on 9/11?”


    Obviously, the question was asked in the context of the destruction of the World Trade Center, and the implication was that the given narrative of the cause of that destruction was not true. I’m agnostic on the particular “conspiracy theory” element of the question. But the larger question remains: Is Israel’s behavior so completely at odds with American values, that, as the American people increasingly realize that they have been subjected to propaganda about the nature of the US-Israel relationship, they will react in a destructive manner? How is the US administration going to manage that dramatic shift in the awareness of a previously-propagandized mass?

    Several days ago an episode of the television series “Lie to Me” provided some instruction on the compulsion of the human brain to satisfy its need for “truth” — it seems that truth has survival value, and that the human brain, having experienced a trauma, can regain equilibrium only after it has discovered the real facts of the situation that caused its distress.

    As I recall the television program, it revolved around an American soldier who was involved in a battle in Iraq. Shortly afterward, he was discharged, and was to be awarded a silver medal for his actions in that battle.

    Something was not “sitting right” in the mind of the soldier, and he was given to outbursts of rage, frequently involving violent attacks on his family and friends. He felt paranoid, believing that his commanding officer –who had awarded him the silver medal — was trying to kill him.

    “Dr. Lightman,” the psychologist-star, prodded and led the young soldier to re-live the battle, over and over again, in detail, in brutal reality, until he had arrived at the “truth” — “the first casualty of war” — of what happened. (Spoiler alert. Turns out the commanding officer had called in aerial fire on the battle field, killing numerous innocent civilians as well as American troops.)

    In Ms. Bennis’s response to the caller who questioned “What is it going to mean for Jewish people . . .,” Phyllis Bennis refocused attention on the larger truth: she said,

    For me the question is not so much 9/11 but 9/12. I think that what happened around the world as a result of the decision of the Bush administration on September 12, is of far more import than the details of what happened on 9/11. The US used that event which I consider a huge crime, as an excuse to take the world to war, and we are still seeing the consequences of it. And I think it’s stopping those wars that are being launched and waged and continued and expanded, in the name of the so-called global war on terror . . . that’s really the most important part of what we can do; is to STOP those wars that are being waged in the name of 9/11.”

    I’m a fan of Ms. Bennis; she speaks common sense. But her prescription does not respect fundamental elements of the rule of law that Americans profess to value, and it does not acknowledge the organic need of the human spirit to ascertain reality. Her suggestion would not have resolved the dystopia that plagued the Iraqi combat veteran in “Lie to Me.”

    Likewise, Arnold Evans, I don’t think your analysis gets to the heart of the matter.

    The Leveretts are correct, again, when they write that:

    “. . .So, today, we are not inclined to endorse the idea of regime change in either Cairo or Tehran. . . .

    . . . Just as we are not big fans of regime change, we are also not big fans of democracy for democracy’s sake—especially when democracy is imposed on Middle Eastern countries by the West. . . .

    . . . If, by some chance, the Egyptian people decide that the Mubarak government is illegitimate, in the same way that Iranians clearly decided this about the Shah, then there will be regime change in Cairo, indigenously achieved. But the United States, for its part, should deal with the political orders prevailing in the Middle East, including the current regime in Egypt—not try to replace them with governments we find ideologically comfortable and strategically accommodating.

    On this point, we do not believe that the United States needs regime change in Tehran to improve its relations with Iran. To do that, the United States needs to pursue smart diplomacy with the Islamic Republic’s current political structure—diplomacy, that is, which treats the Islamic Republic as Iran’s legitimate government, seeking to defend and enhance Iran’s legitimate interests. “

    Any other policy prescription would be the equivalent of the schemes pundits such as Reuel Gerecht and Michael Ledeen et cie would propose. Those proposals would be bad for Iran, bad for the US, bad for Israel, bad for Egypt, and bad for Jewish people in America.

  124. Rehmat says:

    The question itself shows the ignorance or the cunningness of the person. He tries to put Israel as the center-point to judge the political system in Muslim countries in the Middle East.

    Among the three countries in the discussion – Israel and Egypt are NOT democratic. The first is based on Ziofascism and the second is a military/secular dictatorship financed and supported by the western countries to protect Israel from Islamic political revival. The third country, the Islamic Republic, the only country among the three which, though, a ‘Theocracy’, comes closer to the definition “government by the peopl and for the people”.

    Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian have went to voting every four year during war and peace – and have elected cleric, academic and technocrat as President of the country with a ‘majority’ vote – which is more than one, with the exception of ‘self-denial’ can prove about Egypt, Israel and the US for that matter. In Israel, since its plantation – no government has ruled by majority. A continuous string of coalition governments doesn’t fall within the definition of the so-called “Western democracy”. I would call it “Sham democracy”.


  125. Castellio says:

    Arnold, I agree that the US, through many channels and means, supports the Arab dictatorships, but don’t forget that the Arab dictators have exremely vehement feelings about their opposition. You are, I think, very seriously under-estimating the ability of local elites to maintain power without US support.

  126. BiBiJon says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    January 4, 2011 at 9:54 am

    It is possible to see different dynamics at play if one looks at US-greater Mid east through another lens.

    For the sake of argument:

    The US did not exert vehement effort in keeping the Shah in power. The Shah and his lackeys kept themselves in power. Whatever assistance the Shah got (computers, surveillance equipment, military hardware, etc.), Germany received even more. US’ preferences are towards specific policy orientation. How a nation is governed is only relevant when the governing structure becomes antithetical to policies that US regards is in its national interests. The crux of this turns to the question: who identifies national interests. For the Shah, his interests trumped national interests, and his ego trumped his objective interests. This situation allowed the US to manipulate him without exertion of vehement efforts. This may be true of Mubarak too.

    A whipping boy is always necessary in maintaining cost effective unequal relations in the world. I.e. US tells Jordan and Egypt not to complain too much about the thankless job of carrying water for US policies, because we could make you a pariah, like Iran, or destroy you like Iraq. Strangely, the rivalry in the region plays nicely into this management paradigm. Students of psychology know that others’ bad luck is more important than one’s own sense of being satiated as a measure of ‘happiness’.
    I imagine the Leveretts primarily are advancing a better way of protecting US interests in the region. Seeing as without the US, Israel would be in a heap of trouble, then advocating for a more coherent US posture in the region actually serves Israel’s interests too.

  127. fyi says:


    More than a 1000 years ago, the Abbasid Khalifate began the process of removing Persians from the organs of the state power.

    But the Persians were not replaced by Arabs but rather with Turkic military slaves since the Khalifs trusted neither the Persians nor the Arabs.

    In time, the Turkic soldiers became the real power in the Khalifate and controlled what remained of it.

    The same obtains today: The oil-rich Arab states do not trust Iran and do not trust other Arab states (those without oil).

    One would have assumed that Egypt could provide security to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar but that is not the case.

    Oil-rich Arabs essentially do not trust fellow Arabs (Muslims). So theyh brought in the (nominally) Chritsian Americans and British, followed by the French and the Hindu Indians.

    I expect that these states that provide security to the Oil-rich Arabs will be calling the political shots there too.

    A millenia has passed an Arabs remain Arabs – nothing new there, it seems.

  128. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 4, 2011 at 6:00 am

    I do not think that US have the power of “….pursuing an honest resolution of the Palestinian situation..”

  129. Arnold Evans says:

    We’re moving into territory that I have to take special efforts to avoid breaching the standards of civility that raceforiran deserves. It is very uncomfortable disagreeing, possibly vehemently, with our hosts for whom I have so much respect and appreciation. So hopefully this entire discussion can continue with an understanding of that respect, admiration and appreciation.

    As the Leveretts do not tend to engage in back and forth in the comments, I’d appreciate anyone who finds any factual or logical error in anything I write here to point that out on their behalf just to save them the trouble.

    First though, the question of preferences was not answered. I think the question of preferences is very important. Outside of questions of policies to bring them about, I prefer a democratic Iran to a dictatorial one. I prefer a democratic pro-US, pro-Israel Iran to a dictatorial anti-US, anti-Israel Iran, or vice versa – if those were to be the choices.

    Very few Americans – and I don’t think the Leveretts, so I’d be very happily surprised to learn otherwise – would prefer a democratic Egypt (or in truth a democratic Iran) that is hostile to Israel over a dictatorial Egypt such as we have today that is relatively pro-Israel.

    That is important because of the second point that the United States is not a hands-off power in Israel’s region. The pressure the United States has applied to Mubarak to force him to cooperate with the siege on Gaza would be more than enough to force him to hold competitive elections. Mubarak is an able politician. He could beat the opposition that exists in Egypt today in a fair election, except that to do so he’d have to align his Israel policy with the wishes of his people.

    The United States applies efforts in many ways, including direct payments to his government and probably also by payments in various forms to Mubarak himself and his family to prevent Mubarak from aligning his Israel policy with the wishes of his people.

    If the US was to cut its aid to Egypt or remove the conditions of its aid, Egypt would instantly join the independent camp in the region. It is fair to think of US policy today regarding Egypt as ongoing regime change in Israel’s favor. This is also true of the other US colonies: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE. Many Jordanian, Saudi, Kuwaiti and UAE current pro-US policies are more difficult for the US diplomatic and military institutions in the region to sustain than elections would be. But the leaders of these countries cannot win elections while they are, unlike their populations, by any objective measure pro-Israeli.

    The United States and almost all Americans, nearly certainly including the Leveretts prefer pro-Israeli policies to democracy and this preference is expressed on a continuous basis throughout the region. The Shah was only one example. The United States did not go from a condition where it had one ongoing regime change in Israel’s greater region in 1978 to zero in 1980.

    Which leads to point three. I don’t think until the Shah was actually out of power, that his illegitimacy was manifest to the world any more than Mubarak’s illegitimacy today is manifest to the world. I don’t think there was anyone who in 1978 thought the Shah was illegitimate who did not at the same time think the the Shah”s colleague pro-US dictators in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE were illegitimate.

    There are between five and six million Jewish people in territory controlled by Israel. There are over two hundred million people in that region who are not Jewish. The United States makes and implements a fundamental and distinct preference that the ability of those five or six million Jewish people to maintain a Jewish state justifies vehement efforts by the US to prevent the political, technological and economic development of the 200 million non-Jews in the greater region.

    Now here’s the thing. This American preference is not consistent with American values. The Leveretts, or any Americans, could not be expected to say “between a democracy that threatens Israel and a dictatorship that does not, if that was the choice, I’d choose the dictatorship.”

    Instead they pretend, likely even to themselves as well as to other Americans, that it is a coincidence that the colonial era has ended everywhere in the world except Israel’s strategic region. It is not a coincidence. The US applies vehement efforts to ensure that this situation continues. The US expends more diplomatic resources on managing Israel’s region than on any other US diplomatic objective.

    Without these efforts, oil could still flow but Israel could not remain viable.

    I’ll end with radical right-wing Zionist Arnon Soffer’s assessment of the political systems of the region.

    Every morning, when I read the papers and see that Jordanian King Abdullah II is healthy and Mubarak is still alive, I know we’ve earned another day. I live with the sense that one day we will wake up to the news of a coup in Jordan and Egypt. And woe is the day when insane Islam takes over those two countries.

    The United States is not indifferent regarding keeping these dictators in power, nor is it indifferent in ensuring that these dictators continue with policies that earn them the support of right-wing Zionists. The United States keeps them in power as an expression of a preference with which the Leveretts so far have not expressed disagreement. Of course it is Barack Obama’s expressed preference and it was the same preference that led the US to support the Shah.

  130. Pirouz says:

    Hee hee. For a second there I thought the fellow in front of the Sphinx might be Arnold. Then I realized who it is. :)

  131. Voice of Tehran says:

    Is this really the 21st Century , kind of disgusting . Now on top of all those ‘nobel’ leaders in the West , here comes the Queen ( God shave her )


    “Iran has warned British Ambassador to Tehran Simon Gass against making interfering and provocative remarks after being granted the Knighthood title by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.”

  132. BiBiJon says:

    “But the fact that the Mubarak government does not hold power on the basis of genuinely competitive elections does not mean that it is illegitimate.”

    On the question of judging the legitimacy of other governments, correct me if I am wrong, but by and large none of the ‘rising’ nations, BRIC, Turkey, or Iran are on record officially questioning any King’s or Emir’s or Sheik’s ‘legitimacy’. Indeed, they are more than happy to throw the warmest official welcome for one another’s dignitaries.

    Stephen Walt had a piece a while back about how relative power/wealth can immune decision makers from obvious mistakes. Being the most powerful seems to have a dulling effect on a nation’s sense of priorities.

  133. Voice of Tehran says:

    Ahmadinejad in Semnan today :


    “But there is a second option. You must accept that you have … committed mistakes, that you have taken a deviant path. You need to return from that path and scrap your dominance over some parts of the world,” the president said.

    “Put an end to occupations and bullying. Respect other nations and their rights. Stop aggression and invasion … In doing so, nations will forgive you and give you an opportunity to make up for your past errors and heinous crimes,” he noted.

    The Iranian president also insisted that the enemies of the country will fail to fulfill their plots against the Islamic Republic.”

  134. The authors wrote ” If, by some chance, the Egyptian people decide that the Mubarak government is illegitimate, in the same way that Iranians clearly decided this about the Shah, then there will be regime change in Cairo, indigenously achieved…”

    I am not sure how the Egyptian people would accomplish a regime change a la Iran, if they are not even allowed to have a peacefull protest calling for elections !! And even worst, political movements such as Muslim Brotherhood are demonized by the Mubarak regime and some of its western allies as a “radical” Islamic movement with links to Alqaeda!

    P.s – During the 1979 Iranian revolution, the Iranian people had Khomeini as a unifying figure.Khomeini happened to be a religious man with a great political vision for his country ! Now if the Egyptian people are to participate in a revolution to crackdown Mubarak ( not necessarily a islamic revolution a la Iran ), who would be that unifying figure willing to sacrifice his/her life to end Mubarak`s dictatorship ?

  135. I suspect Arnold’s question was more directed at whether the US should continue to support the existing Arab dictatorships and monarchies. I don’t think he would be surprised at the notion that the US should deal with the governments that actually exist rather than trying to impose democracy on those countries from the outside. Arnold’s point, as I understand it, is that the corrupt Arab governments would in fact not be in power were it not for US direct material support.

    So it is not a question of whether the US should impose democracy on Egypt or Saudi Arabia but whether the US should be diplomatically, economically and militarily supporting these corrupt regimes given that this support is known to the Arab street and contributes to the US being a target of Arab terrorism.

    I think the Leveretts should address that point directly. In fact, I would be interested to hear of any specific policy directives they would implement if they were Secretary of State or the President concerning how the US should deal with the corrupt Arab regimes.

    From my point of view, I see little cost to the US of simply aligning US foreign policy with the Arab street, by the simple means of cutting off ALL foreign and military aid to corrupt Arab states, and then of course pursuing an honest resolution of the Palestinian situation, and also a pursuit of a nuclear free Middle East by aligning with those who call for a complete and unilateral Israeli nuclear disarmament and submission to the NPT. These steps alone would almost immediately endear the US to the Arab street and perhaps even persuade Al Qaeda to remove the US from its target list.

  136. Z.P. says:

    Germany`s Foreign Ministry says that it has not yet received an invitation from Tehran.

  137. Voice of Tehran says:

    Iran has invited representatives and ambassadors of different countries to inspect its nuclear facilities to once again show its goodwill, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says.


    “Iran has invited ambassadors of European countries and the Non-Aligned Movement and representatives of P5+1 (Russia, China, France, Britain and the US plus Germany) to pay a visit to the Islamic Republic and inspect the country’s nuclear facilities ahead of scheduled talks (between Iran and P5+1) in Istanbul,” Mehmanparast told reporters on Tuesday……”

  138. Scott Lucas says:


    Apologies for very belated reply to your query re “moral responsibility” v. “executive responsibility” on previous thread. Happy to pick up discussion if you wish.



  139. M.Ali says:

    Excellent, mature, objective post.