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The Race for Iran


Over the weekend, the Washington Post “reported”, see here, that the Obama Administration remains incapable of coherent strategy regarding Syria and the broader balance of power in the Middle East.  Senior Administration officials want to treat Syria, like Iran, as the object of an ongoing competition to shape the regional balance of power.  They are oblivious to the reality that both Iran and Syria are critical subjects of that competition, with legitimate interests of their own and considerable reservoirs of domestic and regional legitimacy from which to draw.

Ongoing turmoil in Syria is increasingly engaging the Western commentariat in a not terribly nuanced discussion, focused around a series of predictable questions:  Will the Assad government fall?  If so, what will follow it?  What would the Assad government’s implosion mean for the regional balance of power—and, especially, for the Islamic Republic of Iran?  Against this backdrop, we commend the deeply informed and sophisticated analysis offered by the Conflict Forum’s Alastair Crooke in a recent Op Ed, “Unfolding the Syrian Paradox”, see here, published in the Asia Times

Alastair stipulates that there is a genuine constituency for reform in Syria.  But, as he points out, much of this constituency continues to see President Bashar al-Assad as an ally to that end, not as an implacable adversary.   (In this camp, Alastair specifically and correctly identifies “the populations of Damascus, Aleppo, the middle class, the merchant class, and non-Sunni minorities”, who believe “there is no credible ‘other’ who could bring reform” to Syria).  Given this reality, the narrative of the Syrian unrest as “an uprising of non-violent, liberal protest against tyranny that has been met only by repression” is, in Alastair’s view, “a complete misreading, deliberately contrived to serve quite separate ambitions.”     

Alastair argues, arrestingly, that the roots of the current turmoil in Syria actually lie in Iraq, in two distinct ways:  “Firstly, they extend back into the thinking of the Sunni jihadi trend, as advanced by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which evolved in Iraq, surfaced violently in Lebanon”—Alastair offers an illuminating account of the 2007 battle between Sunni militants and the Lebanese army for control over the Naher al-Barad refugee camp in northern Lebanon—“and was transposed into Syria with the return of many Syrian Salafist veterans at the ‘end’ of the Iraq conflict.”  He elaborates: 

“Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda affiliation is not of particular significance to Syria today, but the Zarqawi ‘Syria’ doctrine that evolved in Iraq, is crucial.  Zarqawi, like other Salafists, rejected the artificial frontiers and national divisions inherited from colonialism.  Instead, he insisted on calling the aggregate of Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan, and parts of Turkey and Iraq by its old name:  ‘Bilad a-Sham’.  Zarqawi and his followers were virulently anti-Shi’ite—much more so than early al-Qaeda—and asserted that a-Sham was a core Sunni patrimony that had been overtaken by the Shi’ites. 

According to this narrative, the Sunni heartland, Syria, had been usurped for the last 40 years by the Shi’ite al-Assads (Alawites are an orientation within Shi’ism).  The rise of Hezbollah, facilitated in part by Assad, further eroded Lebanon’s Sunni character, too.  Likewise, they point to Assad’s alleged undercutting of former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi as an act which had delivered Iraq to the Shi’ites, namely to Malaki.  From this deep grievance at Sunni disempowerment, Zarqawi allies developed a doctrine in which Syria and Lebanon were no longer platforms from which to launch jihad, but the sites for jihad (against the Shi’ites as much as others).

The Syrian Salafists eventually were to return home, nursing this grievance. Many of them—Syrians and non-Syrians—settled in the rural villages lying adjacent to Lebanon, and similarly to their confreres in Naher al-Barad, they married locally.  It is these elements—as in Lebanon in 2007—who are the mainspring of armed violence against the Syrian security services.  Unlike Egypt or Tunisia, Syria has experienced hundreds of dead and many hundreds of wounded members of the security forces and police. (Daraa is different: the armed element consists of Bedouin who migrate between Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria). 

It is difficult to establish numbers, but perhaps 40,000-50,000 Syrians fought in Iraq. With their marriage into local communities, their support base is more extensive than actual numbers that travelled to Iraq. Their objective in Syria is similar to that in Iraq: to establish the conditions for jihad in Syria through exacerbating sectarian animosities—just as Zarqawi did in Iraq through his attacks on the Shi’ites and their shrines.  Likewise, they seek a foothold in north-eastern Syria for a Salafist Islamic emirate, which would operate autonomously from the state’s authority.  This segment to the opposition is not interested in ‘reform’ or democracy:  They state clearly and publicly that if it costs two million lives to overthrow the ‘Shi’ite’ Alawites the sacrifice will have been worth the loss.  Drafting of legislation permitting new political parties or expanding press freedom are matters of complete indifference for them.” 

Secondly, Alastair argues, “bitterness in Syria is also linked to a profound sense of Sunni grievance felt by certain Arab states at Sunni political disempowerment following Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s rise to power in Iraq, for which they hold Assad responsible”.  Alastair rightly describes this perception as “inaccurate”.  When we saw President Assad shortly before Iraq’s last election, he noted that Syria had its own disagreements with Maliki.  Furthermore, he stressed how difficult the situation in Iraq had made his own efforts to ensure that sectarian tensions did not undermine Syria’s basic stability.   Alastair elaborates: 

“The marginalization of Sunnis in Iraq, Syria and more recently in Lebanon has aggrieved the Saudis and some Gulf states as much as it did the Salafists…Saudi Arabia and Gulf states explicitly trade on fears of Shi’ite ‘expansionism’ to justify Gulf Cooperation Council repression in Bahrain and intervention in Yemen, and the ‘voice’ of assertive sectarianism is being megaphoned into Syria too.  Sunni clerical voices are touting the Arab ‘awakening’ as the ‘Sunni revolution’ in riposte to the Shi’ite revolution of Iran.  In March, al-Jazeera broadcast a sermon by Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, which raised the banner of the restoration of Sunni ascendency in Syria.  Qaradawi…was joined by Saudi cleric Saleh Al-Luhaidan who urged, ‘Kill a third of Syrians so the other two-thirds may live.’   

Clearly, many of the protesters are in traditional centers of Sunni irredentism, such as Homs and Hama in Syria, comprised of aggrieved Sunnis seeking the Alawites ouster, and a return to Sunni ascendency.  These are not Salafists, but mainstream Syrians for whom the elements of Sunni ascendency, irredentism and reformism have conflated into a sole demand.  This is a very frightening prospect for the quarter of the Syrians that form the non-Sunni minorities.”

Just as importantly, Alastair notes that “all of this underlines the other dimension to events in Syria:  its strategic position as the keystone of the arch spanning from southern Lebanon to Iran.  It is this role that those in the US and Europe that concern themselves primarily with Israel’s security have sought to displace” since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  Alastair seriously doubts that they will succeed; on this point, he offers some trenchant observations about the Syrian military and security apparatus: 

“The Syrian army lacks experience in counter-insurgency…Tanks and armored brigades are wholly unsuited for crowd control operations, especially in narrow, congested areas.  It’s no surprise that such military movements killed unarmed protesters that were caught in the middle, inflaming tensions with genuine reformists and disconcerting the public. 

Initially, army esteem was affected by the criticism.  Though the stories of army mass desertion are disinformation, there was some erosion of military self-confidence at lower levels of command.  And public confidence in the military wobbled, too, as casualties mounted.  But it was a “wobble” that ended with the dramatic conflict around Jisr al-Shagour in mid-June, near the Turkish border.  Just as the Lebanese nation rallied behind its army in the conflict of Naher al-Bared, so too the Syrians rallied behind their army in the face of the Salafist attack firstly on the police, and subsequently on the army and on state institutions in Jisr.  And, as the details of the Jisr al-Shagour conflict unrolled before the public, sentiment turned bitter towards the insurrectionists, possibly decisively…Army self-confidence and honor is on the rise, and a majority of the public now see in a way that was less evident earlier that Syria faces a serious threat unrelated to any reform agenda. 

Alastair then explains how these developments reinforce the Assad government’s traditional sources of durability: 

“Sentiment has tipped away from thinking in terms of immediate reform.  Public opinion is polarized and embittered towards the Salafists and their allies. Leftist, secular opposition circles are distancing themselves from the Salafist violence—the inherent contradiction of the divergent aspirations of the ‘exiles’ and the Salafists, from the Syrian majority consensus, is now starkly manifest…In this atmosphere, dramatic reform might well be viewed by the president’s supporters as signaling weakness, even appeasement to those responsible for killing so many police and army officers at Jisr.  Not surprisingly, Assad chose to use [his speech earlier this month] to speak to his constituency:  to state the difficulties and threats facing Syria, but also to lay out the road map towards an exit from danger and towards substantive reform.

Western comment overwhelmingly has described the speech as ‘disappointing’ or ‘short on specifics’, but this misses the point.  Whereas earlier, a dramatic reform shock, such as advocated by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu might, at a certain point, have had a transformatory “shock” effect; it is doubtful that it would achieve that now.  On the contrary, any hint of concessions having being wrested from the government by the type of violence seen at Jisr would likely anger Assad’s own constituency; and yet improbably would never transcend the categorical rejection of the militant opposition seeking to exacerbate tensions to the point of making the West determined to intervene.

By carefully setting out of some very deliberate steps and processes ahead, Assad has correctly read the mood of the majority in Syria.  Time will be the judge, but Assad seems set to emerge from a complicated parallel series of challenges directed towards him from movements and states which reflect a range of grievances, special interests, and motivations…If, as seems likely, Assad does emerge from all the challenges, the tenor of his recent response to Arab and European envoys suggests that reform will be pursued, in part, to protect Syria’s resistance ethos from such challenges in the future…Now ‘reform’ is the existential external front. 

[I]f the intent of all this was intended to shift the strategic balance in the Middle East, it has not worked.  It is unlikely that Assad will emerge more pliable to Western challenges—any more than he has in the past.” 

Alastair’s analysis is worth reading in its entirety—it offers many more rich insights on Syrian politics, U.S. policy, the role of Syrian exiles, Gulf Arab machinations, and other important subjects. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. James Canning says:


    Jeff Huber makes many good points in the piece you posted, but I think he is well wide of the mark when he argues that Iran, China and Russia will take control of global energy policy away from Dick Cheney et al. In fact, China is the largest buyer of oil from Saudi Arabia, in response to persistent US requests that China buy its oil from SA.

  2. James Canning says:


    I was sorry to see Panetta show himself to be a stooge of neocon warmongers, so soon into his new job.

    The CIA had determined the Niger documents to be forgeries, long before the Gordon/Miller planted false intel stories in the NYT were run. The Pentagon had a special office headed by a Jewish warmonger, whose speciality was deceiving the public by planting false stories in newspapers and other news media.

  3. JAnas says:

    and this pay-attention-to-israels-concern is legit and that we should keep follow it?

  4. kooshy says:

    Iran Ate My Homework. Again.


    26 July 2011

    by Jeff Huber

    “Uncle Leo” Panetta, our newly coroneted Secretary of Defense, wasted little time in leaping face-first onto the blame Iraq bandwagon. On 9 July he stated that weapons supplied by Iran had become a “tremendous concern” in Iraq in recent weeks. “We’re seeing more of those weapons going in from Iran, and they’ve really hurt us,” Panetta puled.

    Panetta wasn’t flying solo on this propaganda raid; he had two loyal echo chamberlains on his wing. As New York Times Pentagon camp follower Elisabeth Bumbler dutifully relayed from her uniformed handlers, “Mr. Panetta is the third top American official to raise an alarm about Iranian influence in Iraq in recent days.” The other two top officials were Joint Chiefs potentate Mike Mullen and ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey. Mutt and Jeff say they have “forensic evidence” to back their claims, though neither they nor Uncle Leo mentioned what that forensic evidence might be. Whatever they’re referring to, historical evidence indicates we’ll never see it.

    The Pentarchy’s bull feather merchant marines have been shooting poisoned information arrows at Iran at regular intervals since around the time young Mr. Bush stiff armed that Iraq Study Group surrender stuff and went instead with the neocons’ surge strategy. Freddie Kagan, The American Enterprise Institute’s warlord Fauntleroy, published the surge manifesto Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq in January 2007.

    Within a month Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times published “Deadliest Bomb in Iraq Is Made by Iran, U.S. Says.” Gordon had made his bones with the Bush/Cheney regime when he and Judith Miller helped them execute the Nigergate hoax that duped the nation into nodding along with their pet invasion of Iraq. In their 8 Sept. 2002 article “Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts,” Gordon and Miller supported their assertion that Hussein was seeking yellowcake from Niger by citing anonymous “officials” a jaw-dislocating 30 times. The documents that comprised the “smoking gun” were later proven to be poorly fabricated forgeries.

    In making the case that Iran was producing the roadside bombs that were killing so many Americans in Iraq in his 2007 story, Gordon referenced “interviews” with “civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies” who “provided specific details to support” a claim that Iran was providing “’lethal support’ to Shiite militants in Iraq.” Gordon didn’t name any of these officials, or quote them directly or, for that matter, relay any of those specific details they provided other than to state that said details were likely to be revealed later.

    Then-ambassador to Iraq and charter New American Centurion Zalmay Khalilzad promised to pony up proof of the allegations outlined by Gordon. The military trotted out some of its very best PowerPoint palaver for a select audience of embedded media trustees, in which some sad sack major looking to become a sad sack light colonel said the shaped roadside bomb charges being discussed could only have come from Iran. After the brief the major allowed as how, well, yeah, um, actually, the stuff in the bombs could have been bought at any Radio Shack. (But Iran people still suck, okay?)

    My colleague Gareth Porter correctly noted in Sept. 2007 that the Bush/Cheney administration “has not come forward with a single piece of concrete evidence to support the claim that the Iranian government has been involved in the training, arming or advising of Iraqi Shiite militias.” To this day, the only existing evidence of an outside party supplying weapons to Shiite militias points directly at “King David” Petraeus who, as commander in charge of training Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, handed out 190,000 (that’s right, one hundred and ninety thousand) AK-47s that vanished like cookies at an AA meeting.

    Porter has also exposed allegations that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons as fatuous. In early 2010 he published a numbers of articles that revealed the files contained on the “smoking laptop” computer that described Iran’s work on a “nuclear trigger” were as blatantly bogus as the blue-dollar-bill forgeries that “proved” Hussein was buying yellowcake uranium powder from Niger. But thanks to neocon-backed brainwash breweries like United Against Nuclear Iran (aka UANI), lysergic visions of an Iranian made mushroom cloud over Jerusalem persist.

    An article in last Thursday’s New York Times by Michael Gordon soul mate David E. Sanger badgered us with bull roar about how some development or other means Iran is getting closer to having bomb-grade material because the “United Nations Security Council” has “evidence” of something completely unrelated, and “international nuclear inspectors and American officials” say “evidence” points to something else entirely, and an “Iran expert” at a right-wing think tank says “The evidence is there that they are accelerating” but he doesn’t say what the evidence is or what exactly it says “they” are accelerating.

    Trying to reverse engineer the thought process behind the latest manifestations of the warmongery is always perilous work. The main assumption involved—i.e., that there is a thought process of any kind behind anything those yahooligans do—is manifestly flawed. Strategies crafted by neocon tank thinkers resemble model airplanes assembled with sledgehammers. More than anything, war wonk schemes remind one of ice hockey’s bullyboy dump-and-chase tactic. Such methods are unsightly and uncreative and brutish, but if you simply keep pounding away at the opposition with them you’ll eventually prevail over things like art and science and reason and, most of all, humanity.

    Why fling the puck into Iran’s end again now? Partly because that’s how dump-and-chase works; you keep doing it. Partly because the neocon men need somebody to blame for the recent uptick in U.S. casualties in Iraq, somebody for Americans to get mad at so they don’t stop and think things like Hey, didn’t we end combat operations there a while back? The war mongrels also need to keep Iran good and boog-ified to justify the coming atomization of our withdrawal timelines from Iraq and the Bananastans. (Gotta keep the Persian Peril isolated!)

    The threat Iran poses to the Centurions’ agenda has little to do with that country’s military power or warlike intentions. Iran can’t project enough conventional force to pout about beyond its borders or the Persian Gulf, and for Iran to strike another country, especially Israel, with a nuclear weapon would be like the entire Persian race mumbling into the barrel of a .44 Magnum. Iran only becomes a problem when it develops a truly self-sustaining nuclear energy program and it, along with its big buddies Russian and China, wrestles control of the global energy strategy away from Dick Cheney’s pals. But even control of our most precious commodity is a mere chip, something to contend for that will sustain the great game that has been played by the powerful and corrupt since Winston Churchill molested Muslim geography after World War I.

    In a kinder, gentler, saner America the body politic would have dismissed all this boo noise about Iran a long time ago. Lamentably, we live in an age when anything Bill O’Reilly says, no matter how asinine or bizarre it is, becomes incontrovertible fact if Sean Hannity says it too.

    Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) is author of the critically lauded novel Bathtub Admirals, a lampoon on America’s rise to global dominance.

  5. Sineva says:

    I think that any group that claimed to be trying to in effect over throw the syrian government to be able to make peace with israel would have utterly delegitimised itself as far as the populace of syria and indeed the wider middle east would be concerned,personally I find perez statement to be as absurd and as disgusting as saying that jonas sivimbis unita was tring to take over angola so that it could make peace with apartheid south africa,I think that this shows that both sides of israels political spectrum are as deluded as each other,somebody should warn him that shooting up that much zioin can result in permanent mental damage.Its als good to so you back here Arnold

  6. James Canning says:


    Yes, we’ll see what obtains in Egypt.

  7. James Canning says:


    I think “the world” does pay attention to Israel’s various contentions regarding Iran. And I think much of “the world” sees that Israel to a considerable extent is trying to deflect attention from its continuing occupation of the West Bank and the GH.

  8. Arnold Evans says:

    JAnas says:
    July 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Hey, don’t explain that to me, tell that to Shimon Peres.

    James Canning says:
    July 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I think Egypt can hope to have something resembling what obtained in Turkey for so many years, where the army retains ability to intervene if things seem to be going off the tracks.

    I would consider the Egyptian army retaining an anti-democratic prerogative to intervene if the Egyptians vote for the wrong people or the wrong policies to be the defeat of this round of Egypt’s popular reform movement.

    Fortunately, I have not heard anyone in Egypt’s military or now-forming political system make any statement that indicates they believe the military should have that power.

    We’ll just have to see what the Egyptians come up with.

  9. JAnas says:


    A new Syria will not be to israeli regimes benefit, the opposition is harsher and more steady on getting back Golan and protesting against israeli occupation of Palestine etc and that goes for the whole camp, communists, pan-arabists, islamists etc. Syrian opposition will never strike a deal with us/israeli-foreign interest like the libyan rebels for example.

  10. JAnas says:


    Did you miss my question? I clarified the word “we”…

    We = world population .
    So should we, the people of this world, heed / pay attention to israelis concern about Iran?

  11. James Canning says:


    I think Egypt can hope to have something resembling what obtained in Turkey for so many years, where the army retains ability to intervene if things seem to be going off the tracks. I do not see the Egyptian military just signing over complete power to a civilian government. I imagine this is also Primakov’s viewpoint, as to Egypt.

    Tunisia may offer the best chance for something closer to a European system.

  12. Arnold Evans says:

    Israel’s Shimon Peres says Syria’s demonstrators are fighting for peace with Israel.


    We can almost call this episode over. If Israel had any hope that Assad could be toppled he would not make this statement, just as Obama finally expressed support for anti-Iranian protesters when he realized they had no realistic hope of growing to overthrow the government.

    Possibly decisive was the Iranian expression of support embodied in the recent gas deal that Iran, Iraq(!) and Syria announced, which meant that Assad could not be isolated and would always have access to cash and materials to maintain government functioning as well as to repel any invasion the US might have been hoping might brew.

    Anyway, I’d love to get a transcript of the entire press conference that Peres seems to have given to 30 news organizations. Has anyone come across it?

  13. Arnold Evans says:


    I don’t think that democracy based on a European model is possible in the Arab Spring countries.

    So what do you think is possible in, for example, Egypt? And why?

  14. James Canning says:

    Another intelligent and pecerptive comment by Primakov in spiegel today: “We understand the Middle East better than many Western countries. We know how important it is to take history, mentality and traditions into account. I don’t think that democracy based on a European model is possible in the Arab Spring countries.” Here again, I agree completely.

    Primakov rightly notes that NATO increasingly is acting on its own in the Middle East, without obtaining UN approval. I agree, and I see it as a reflection of pernicious influence of neocon warmongers and the rich Jews who too often promote their influence in a delustional effort to enable Israel to keep the West Bank and perhaps the Golan Heights.

  15. James Canning says:

    I recommend the interview with Yevgeny Primakov on siegel today (“What will happen after Gadhafi?”). The former Russian PM and foreign minister says: “The western coalition’s attempt to bomb the Gadhafi regime away isn’t backed by U.N. Resolution 1973- – and it’s not well thought-out in strategic terms. It’s high time for us to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis.” I of course agree completely.


  16. James Canning says:


    King Charles I was beheaded in January 1949. Cromwell did not need Jewish financial support to defeat the Royalists in the Civil War.

    I do agree with you that, with 1.8% of the population of the US, the Jews control about half of the wealth of the country. Which is to say that Jews have financial power equal to that of all other groups in the US. Or, that 1.8% of the American people, Jews, have as much economic power as the other 98.2%. Where this becomes a serious problem, obviously, is in the arena of American foreign policy, expecially the Middle East. And the endless wars, intended to help “protect” Israel — meaning, to facilitate continuing oppression of the Palestinians.

  17. James Canning says:


    Do you think Israel should get out of the West Bank? Pull out all troops, police, etc.? What about Golan Heights?

  18. Arnold Evans says:

    *decide what factions of government _determine_ policy earlier*


  19. Arnold Evans says:

    Question for the floor:

    Assad looks like he is going to allow other parties to form, while Egypt’s elections have been postponed.

    I don’t think it will happen, but it would be very interesting if Syria ends up holding contested elections that decide what factions of government policy earlier than Egypt does.

    What country do you think is going to use a contested electoral process to fill policy-making positions in government first, Egypt or Syria?

    I still vote for Egypt, and still hope to see elections and a new Parliament and President sit this year, but I’m a little less sure now than I was last month at this time.

  20. hans says:

    In Isfehan we were encouraged to go to the gold bourse to observe how many Iranian women bought gold as a hedge against a failure of domestic tranquility.

    I must monitor my Isfehan born friend to see what she is doing buying gold!

  21. Fiorangela says:

    JAnas your persistence in repeating that question, should the world PAY ATTENTION TO ISRAEL, fits the pattern of Israelis who routinely raise the issue: the Israeli psyche is that of a spoiled 2 year old who simply cannot tolerate being treated as the obnoxious little snot it is.

  22. Fiorangela says:

    Fara says: July 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Regarding the debt ceiling of US; an interview worth watching on Press TV

    %%%an excerpt:
    “…to pay the debts, and whether it the $14.3 trillion they are talking about or if you add the other — and nobody is mentioning this — you have to add into the American balance sheet the debt’s of Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) that is another 5 trillion, and [when you add] the unfunded reliabilities of Medicaid and social security’s, add another 50 trillion.

    So, we are talking really $70 – $80 trillion of debt for America,”%%%

    With respect, Fara and PressTV, there are some incorrect underlying assumptions, and some incomplete relationships bundled in those scary figures:

    the $5 trillion Fannie-Freddie debt assumes that none of the loans will ever be repaid. That’s not likely. According to RealtyTrac, today, 1 out of every 583 houses will end up in foreclosure. I hold the very unpopular view that the US is in a Weimar republic moment and will approach an inflation spiral similar to that which Germany experienced (and caused by the same culprits), but as I said, my view is unpopular and in some places, illegal — even if it IS important for prudent people to have that information in order to provide for their families and their future). ONLY if the US does, indeed, get caught in an early 20th century Germany-style inflation spiral will Freddie and Fannie’s underwritten loans ALL become bad debts.

    The $50 trillion in Medicaid & Social Security is another matter entirely; you may have something there. I don’t know how to wrap my head around it. If every one of the 76million baby boomers lived to 85, and collected $700 monthly for 20 years, the total payout would be $12,768,000,000,000.00 BUT — they would not stuff their coffins with that money, they’d spend it in the US economy, the circular flow of goods and services. As it stands now, the medical and weapons sectors are the two most robust sectors of the US economy: the US is now dependent on sick people and killing people to sustain its economy.

    There is no doubt that the US is in an economic shift as significant as the economic upheaval precipitated by the Industrial Revolution. But shhhh, the people have not been told this; mustn’t scare them.

    In Isfehan we were encouraged to go to the gold bourse to observe how many Iranian women bought gold as a hedge against a failure of domestic tranquility. Woulda coulda shoulda. I’m buying seeds and chickens and cultivating the back 40; you can’t eat gold.

  23. JAnas says:

    We = world population . So should we, the people of this world, heed / pay attention to israelis concern about Iran?

  24. hans says:

    some pure vile from Hebrew forums:-
    15. Almog, Beer Sheva: they have it coming, period. Your article is pointless. Anyone who acts without mercy towards us, there’s no reason I should pity them!!!! Let them continue to respect and honor Muslims.

    16. Gidon: I never enjoyed any support from Norway all these years when there were terror attacks in Israel just the opposite you bent, corrupt person let them understand that terror is not a solution to anything you self-righteous Jew

    54. Roi, Bet Shemesh: Ziv Lenchner you’re a leftist!! If you haven’t noticed you’re a leftist like the rest of the media!!! Enough with the leftist incitement!!! There’s no getting away from it Norway was always against the state of Israel it’s not new and never will be!! We’re not in favor of the attack but to say that maybe they’ll understand us better after what happened is entirely legitimate!!!

    103. Yossi, the north: Oslo … Maybe they’ll learn in Oslo that they’re not immune they’ll feel what many Israelis have felt and some of them can no longer feel because of the activity of Israelis and Norwegians in Oslo.

    104. Ilan, on the stoning of gays sic: Anti-Jewish? Have you ever heard of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? Suddenly a few little Jew-boys have popped up and “invented” a new Torah! Before the Torah is moral it is first of all for survival and the destruction of all enemies! Sing to the Lord for He is highly exalted the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea Exodus 17:21, after the drowning of Pharaoh’s army—JJG

    303. Effie: I feel no sorrow about it!!!! Anyone who doesn’t feel the no pain of my people shouldn’t ask sympathy for his own pain.

    392. We’re more unfortunate: Enough demagoguery! The Norwegians and Europe generally are super-anti-Semitic. So 100 people were killed there are 7 billion more people in the world. I don’t pity them they’re my enemies they hate Israel so they have it coming!!!

    393. The whole world dances on Jewish blood. Europe is the same Europe and even more anti-Semitic. The killer is right!!! Europe is defeated, Norwegians are becoming a minority.

    458. Very sorry: With all due sorrow they were waving a sign on the island the day before calling to boycott us. So I really don’t feeling like showing empathy. Very sorry. If you don’t believe me here the link to the lovely picture:

    When the first news report appeared Friday on Ynet, the Yediot Ahronot website and Israel’s most trafficked news site, comments seemed to run about 3- or 4-to-1 (at a rough eyeball guess) hostile rather than sympathetic. The reported death toll at this point was 11, and the perpetrators were assumed to be Islamic extremists. Here are a few typical comments:

    181. Noam: Ha Ha Ha! Europeans, this is your “liberalism”

    240. D.A.: Bring the Oslo criminals to justice?

    242. Radical Dreamer: Let them eat what they cooked.

    243. Just a Person: Speedy recovery to the wounded and condolences to the families.

    260. Shai, Tel Aviv: Give Norway back to the Arabs! End the occupation of Norway!

    268. Shimon: Good news for Shabbat. So may they increase and learn the hard way.

    285. Nir, Hasela Ha’adom: Allow me a few moments of pleasure.

    315. Moshe, Haifa: I’m sorry, it doesn’t move me. From my point of view, let them drown in blood.

  25. Fara says:

    Turkey’s failure in Syrian crisis

    One should always keep this statement in mind: “the Kurds always look upon Turkey with suspicion.” This consequently leads to: “The Turkish involvement in any issue leads to the Kurdish distancing from it.”

    Substantiating such a conclusion might require plentiful evidence, but one cannot disregard the fact that Abdullah Ocalan, the Leader of Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey, lived in Turkey for years. This didn’t imply the proximity of Syria to the Kurds, because Damascus was reluctant to grant Syrian citizenship to northeastern Kurdish settlers and would only reconsider the matter in the face of the pressure of the current wave of demonstrations.

    A conference hosting the adversaries of Bashar Assad, the Syrian Prime Minister, was held in Turkey some time ago with participants who ran the whole oppositional gamut. A similar meeting was due in Damascus and the two assemblies were supposed to nominate 75 people to the Syrian Transitory Council, similar to the Libyan Transitory National Council. The Damascus meeting was not held and 25 nominees were chosen in Istanbul. But this could not conceal the fragility of and the internal divisions among the Syrian regime’s opposition from sight.

    The fact of some of the participants warning against the presence of the Islamist Majority (Akhvan al Moslemin) aside, the Kurdish figures decided to walk out of the meeting since they were against the phrase: the “Arabic” Republic of Syria. It lighted upon other oppositionists too that the cost of a consensus among all opposition groups exceeds their imagination. This discord came to a head when the Kurds hoisted Kurdistan’s flag in the Istanbul summit and in response to protests from others said that you, too, have raised the Turkish flag!

    One of the causes of Syria’s Kurds continuing in their cooperation with the other opposition groups can be seen to be Turkey’s policy with regard to Syria’s revolts. From the very outset Turkey’s senior officials expressed their lack of patience with the slowness of the reforms process in Syria and voiced their extreme displeasure of suppressing the opposition. Every time the Syrian Presidency made a speech on the implementation of reforms, voices were heard from Ankara crying out that Bashar Assad is short of time and will have to capitulate to the demands of the opposition within a few days.

    It goes without saying that the rigid and robust body of Syria’s politics has not exhibited much flexibility for reforms and softness against the demands of the opposition. Some trace this to internal disputes within the Syrian regime on the execution of reforms and contend that on the expansion of reforms Bashar Assad is facing greater pressure from internal opposition than the streets and public demonstrations.

    According to reports the Syrian government is observing the developments in its Kurd-settled regions, especially in Qamishli, very keenly. There hasn’t been much conflict between the police and the military and the public in the Kurd-settled regions. Some negotiations have been made with the Kurdish parties, such as Kurdistan Workers’ Party – the Syrian branch, and the conclusion has been that the military wing of this party to take up security in Kurd-inhabited areas. This was a clear message to Turkey that Damascus, too, has some cards up its sleeves that it can play with inside Turkey.

    Following Turkey’s blatant intervention in Syria, Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani, two Iraqi Kurdish leaders, vehemently supported Syria and Iraq’s Prime Minister also refused to go along with Turkey’s intervention and even signed an agreement to send 150,000 barrels of oil to diminish Syria’s economic plights and received a group consisting of 150 Syrian businessmen to strengthen the economic ties between the two countries. This comes at a time when only a while back Nouri Almaleki accused Syria of sending saboteurs and weapons into Iraq.

    An important factor inside Turkey also deserves mention: the approximately 20 million Alawis who can’t bear to witness their government imposing pressure upon Syria’s Alawis. The continuation of the interventions of America, France, Turkey, and Qatar in Syria’s current issues might cause a rerun of the incidents of the city of Homs, but on a larger scale, a city which witnessed for the first time a religious conflict between the pro- and anti-government people where both sides attacked each other with firearms which claimed the lives of 30 people. This incident induced Syria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to state that the national unity of his country has been targeted.

    Militarily speaking, the entrance of the Syrian army into areas close to Turkey’s border, particularly Jisr al Shughour, is a step further than Syria’s internal incidents. Syria executed the “precipice” policy with regard to Turkey and sent special units of its army to its border with Turkey. Ankara’s calculations for inciting division and split in Syria’s army failed and Ankara gradually cut down on its propaganda assaults upon Syria. For the first time in 17 years Syria’s army entered into regions, which based on agreements with Turkey on Ocalan, were considered arms-free regions.

    Based upon what was stated in propagandas and by some Arabic news networks, the Syrian regime deploys the Alawi units of its army to cleanse the border regions and the Fourth division of its Army has been dispatched to the border regions, but the reality is that the Fifteenth Division entered the fray, most of whose commander and soldiers are Sunni Syrians.

    As was the case with Libya, not only Turkey, but also France will have to reconsider its policies towards Syria. Sarkozy was the first western Prime Minister to officially recognize the Libyan Transitional National Council and assumed the commandership of the assault against Gaddafi, but France’s Defense and Foreign Secretaries openly say that Gaddafi’s opponents should not expect a military triumph and should yield to a diplomatic solution instead. This solution, the responsibility of whose marketing has been bestowed upon the Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, has proved so shocking to the Gaddafi opposition that they have threatened to charge this international organization with failing to remain impartial in the Libyan crisis.


  26. Fara says:

    Russia partners with North Korea and Cuba to build a sub-atomic particle research machine.


  27. Fara says:

    Regarding the debt ceiling of US; an interview worth watching on Press TV

    an excerpt:
    “…to pay the debts, and whether it the $14.3 trillion they are talking about or if you add the other — and nobody is mentioning this — you have to add into the American balance sheet the debt’s of Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) that is another 5 trillion, and [when you add] the unfunded reliabilities of Medicaid and social security’s, add another 50 trillion.

    So, we are talking really $70 – $80 trillion of debt for America, and to pay for this debt you need some growth, and the growth has got to come from the middle class, it has got to come from manufacturing, it’s got to come from real people doing real jobs. But unfortunately, you have got two predators in the American economy.

    Number one is the banking sector; they are a third or 50 percent of the economy, depending on how you calculate. That is totally unproductive. They do nothing to add anything to the economy, they are just stealing from the economy; they are leeching money from the economy.

    Then you have the Pentagon which is fighting yesterday’s war, funding military operations that don’t address the fact that we are in the 21 century currency war. It has nothing to do with the land based war; it has nothing to do with missiles, rockets, and submarines. It is about the currency. And America’s currency is collapsing, and this is why all over the world people with serious net worth are buying gold, silver, and other assets, because they realize that nobody in Washington knows what they are doing, they don’t trust them, they are totally in control of corrupt bankers, and they are buying real assets to protect themselves. And as they do so, this exacerbates the problem, because now you don’t have wages, plus the cost of food and energy are going up.”

  28. Rehmat says:

    Over 300 million Americans are currently witnessing a chapter from British’s Jewish history. In fact, they have been told this story every four years for decades in the past. Jewish communities were expelled from almost every European country. Some of those Jews found more tolerance among Muslim societies in Spain, Sicily, Baghdad and Samarkand.

    The entire Jewish population of England was expelled in 1290 on the orders of King Edward I. In 1656, Zionist Christian Oliver Cromwell, the self-proclaimed ‘Lord Protector’ allowed Jews to return to England because he needed their financial support to bring a regime-change (King Charles I). Incidently, Oliver Cromwell’s ambassador to the Goyim was Portuguese-born Rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel (d. 1657).

    This year, Republican, Democrat and Tea Party are all trying to convince the 2% Jewish population of the US – which one of three is the modern Oliver Cromwell.


  29. James Canning says:

    The Economist online today has an interesting story about the murderous fruitcake in Norway. He was obsessed with Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but apparently was not aware the Albanians have been living in the Balkans for thousands of years.

  30. James Canning says:


    I am not sure who you mean by “we” in your question. Any commentary on diplomacy and international relations has to consider the positions advocated by the parties to that diplomacy etc. Whether one agrees with the position of a party, on one issue or another, is a separate matter.

  31. James Canning says:


    Michael Rubin is full of cr*p! Iran sees any conciliatory statement by Obama as a sign of weakness that should be probed? What a horse’s ass!

    And for that matter, why should Hezbollah have known that Israel had secretly prepared a war to launch against Lebanon, as soon as a pretext presented itself?

  32. James Canning says:


    More rubbish from Michael Rubin? In this latest bit, he claims that the Arabs started the 1967 war with Israel. Wrong!

  33. James Canning says:


    Interesting analysis you linked, and a good one. I think Iran can offer strong support to Syria without doing too much to injure relations with Turkey. Regarding the Golan Heights, Turkey very nearly got Israel’s agreement to evacuate them, in 2008.

  34. Rd. says:

    Iran draws the line with Turkey on Syria
    By Kaveh L Afrasiabi


  35. Pirouz says:


    These are rumors being floated about. I’m not saying they’re true.

    For instance, the Hezbollah claim is being made by a RG DIV deserter that turned up in Cairo. We heard similar stories of Hez elements being used to supplement Basij crowd control units in 2009, which were false.

    The KSA money claim? The rumors vary in amount.

    Changing subjects, the Iran-Syria-Iraq energy deal just signed in Tehran leaves no doubt where these two important regional countries stand toward the Assad regime.

  36. Sakineh Bagoom says:


    “Above all, their BS detectors are finely tuned.”
    According to RSH most of this site is BS, which make this statement highly dubious. I, Of course, quite agree with you!

    As for “Do you think the world should heed the israeli concern about Iran? Do you think israels concern is important, should be respected and is a legit one for the whole world to follow?”

    My answer would be a definite NO. No one outside of Iran should be concerned with anything Iran does, unless Iran harms or murders their population. That includes building of Nuclear Bombs. If Iranians see fit, it should be so! (Personally I don’t think Iranians are interested in making these horrible weapons as it does not serve them any purpose – suicide is haram/greatest sin in Islam and dropping an NB would mean suicide for the whole nation). Human rights, Iran’s business. Economy, Iran’s business. Military, Iran’s business. Education, Iran’s business. Domestic policy, Iran’s business. Foreign policy, Iran’s business. Stoning, Iran’s business. Dog ownership, Iran’s business. Public hangings, Iran’s business. Hijab, Iran’s business. So, NO, NO, NO, NO and NO. Did I leave out anything? No?

    I hope this answer the question posed.

    On another note, Michael Rubin itching for action asks this: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/07/25/u-s-iran-naval-skirmish-on-the-horizon/
    Doesn’t matter that Iran navy has conducted business in a most professional way.

  37. JAnas says:


    So your answer is if I am correct: “No we should not care about israels concern about Iran”


  38. Fiorangela says:

    Fara says:
    July 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm Do Americans Know?

    1. Within the US Treasury department there are nineteen (19) offices under the purview of Daniel Cohen, successor to Stuart Levey, who created the position of Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, answering to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. As the linked item from the US Treasury Dept. website indicates, Cohen coordinates his activities with TelAviv.

    2. Several years ago US-trained economist Stanley Fischer took the reins of Israel’s financial affairs. In that post, Fischer has built up a foreign currency reserve of $70 billion. In an interview for Newsweek early this year, Fischer was asked about that reserve:

    “You have raised Israel’s foreign-currency level substantially, to $70 billion. Some commentators have linked that policy to the prospect of a future war with Iran. Is that the case?

    No, but there are aspects I want to emphasize. There are standards of calculating how much reserves a country needs … We calculated how much we need and then added something to that because this [global economic] crisis had reemphasized the usefulness of having reserves in a crisis. And secondly, because, as we’ve said, we are in a special geopolitical situation … Israel has been in more wars than most countries in the last 60 years and we have to think about what we would do if we got into a situation like that again.” :http://www.newsweek.com/2011/01/03/stanley-fischer-on-israel-s-brain-drain.html

    Has Timothy Geithner provided similar careful stewardship of US assets? Have Geithner’s undersecretaries — Stuart Levey and Daniel Cohen — advised him to similarly prepare for emergencies and wars, to ensure the fiscal wellbeing of the American economy and the American people?

    To answer that question, consider what bold declaration emerged from a joint State Department-Department of Treasury press conference, at which the heads of those two critical US government agencies, Hillary Clinton and Timothy Geithner, devoted their time and energy in the midst of a US financial crisis of generational if not epochal significance:

    On June 23, 2011, fewer than six weeks before the US will RUN OUT OF MONEY TO PAY ITS DEBTS, here’s where Timothy Geithner and Hillary Clinton spent their energies:

    “”Today, the United States imposed sanctions on . . .an operator of Iranian ports owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that has links to Iranian proliferation activities,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in the statement. “We also imposed sanctions against Iran Air, which was designated for providing material support and services to the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, and also has facilitated proliferation-related activities. Today’s sanctions also exposed an Iranian individual and entity for their ties to a company that provided support and weapons to Hezbollah on behalf of the IRGC.

    “The IRGC’s illicit activities and its increasing displacement of the legitimate Iranian private sector in major strategic industries, including in the commercial and energy sectors, are deeply troubling. The IRGC also serves as the domestic ‘enforcer’ for the Iranian regime, continues to play an important proliferation role by orchestrating the import and export of prohibited items to and from Iran, is involved in support of terrorism throughout the region, and is responsible for serious human rights abuses against peaceful Iranian protestors and other opposition participants,” the secretaries said.

    “Preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a top U.S. government priority and we remain deeply concerned about Iran’s nuclear intentions.”


    While I’m sure the Iranian people are ever so grateful to Clinton and Geithner for their careful oversight of Iranian financial matters, the American people would be deeply appreciative if the Secretary of State and the Treasury Secretary of the United States devoted as much energy to rooting out waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption in the United States.

    3. Geithner could start — or should have started several years ago — to get US financial affairs in order by taking control of procurement and budgeting functions at the Pentagon. On Sept. 10, 2001, Sec Def Donald Rumsfeld stated that auditors were unable to account for over a trillion dollars in Department of Defense spending. In an interview this morning, July 25, 2011, National Journal reporter Meghan Scully described the ongoing morass that characterizes Defense department budgeting, spending and accounting. Ya know, Tim, a trillion here, a trillion, pretty soon your talking about real money. Get on it.

    4. Anticipating two counter-arguments that Geithner might pose, that the Sec’y of Treasury can walk and chew gum, and that the Department of Defense is only a small part of the total US debt problem. New York University professor of public service Paul Light and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker have been studying reform of the federal government since at least 1989. Recently, Light and Volcker published a report, “Creating High Performance Government,” [ :http://www.rffg.org/reports/FCHP_Final.pdf ] the culmination of 25 years of study of US federal public sector functioning — and dysfunction. In a recent appearance on C Span’s Washington Journal, Prof. Light observed that “bureaucratic sclerosis is increasing exponentially” as the years go by. :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Bureaucra . Light insisted that “we’ve got to reduce the duplication of management levels and programs; it is impossible for the President to be able to see who makes the decision, and to impose accountability.

    A few more points that Prof. Light repeated:

    -It’s essential to reduce the 3000 political appointees who use their appointments as a revolving door. In this context, Light referred specifically to the fact that Geithner is on his way out of his position at Treasury, “at the worst possible time — in the midst of a crisis.”

    -the savings involved in cleaning up the management dysfunctions of government amount to “big money”

    -7.5 million contract employees of fed govt; contract workers are used to conceal the real inefficiencies of federal bureaucracies

    -get rid of mid and upper level management that gets in the way. get greater efficiency & productivity. we stopped measuring fed productivity in 1994, on fiat of Newt Gingrich. Mark Warner legislation to start measuring top priorities of government; reshape work force.

    -make investments in new technologies; all of this unnecessary property that usgovt owns but does not use has got to be sold off.

    -we’ve got a big job to do and it needs to be done quickly. create a quasi independent office like resolution trust

    -creating management efficiencies in US government could drive down national debt by a trillion dollars or so

    [at ~21 minutes]
    -currently, the US govt makes perhaps $100 billion in payments that should not be paid; $200 to 300 billion that has not been billed; $300 billion in taxes not collected; that’s $600 to $700 billion in money owed to the US.

    Mr. Geithner, isn’t it your job as Sec’y of the Treasury to collect the monies that are due to the US government? Why are you paying more attention to Iran’s financial situation than to the financial situation of the American people?

    -Prof. Light observed that the US does not have enough auditors in the Inspector General’s office because those depts have been cut. So there’s money lost — floating around in government with no accountability.

    Yet we have 19 offices to harass Iran and oversee Iran’s financial and economic activity.

  39. James Canning says:

    Drezner’s piece has fine chart showing utter lunacy of current levels of “defence” spending by the US. Much of it is promoted by delusional “supporters” of Israel who think if the American taxpayers are screwed hard enough, Israel can keep the West Bank and the Golan Heights. This calculated fraud on the American people is fostered and protected by major American newspapers and other news media.

  40. James Canning says:

    Those who think the neocons are intentionally deceiving the American people to promote idiotic levels of “defence” spending will enjoy Daniel Drezner’s “Neoconservatives don’t scare me”.


  41. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    As I am sure you are aware, Ahamdinejad’s belief that Israel will “disappear from the map” has nothing to do with an expectation of a military event, and everything to do with the natural progression that will come from a failure to end the occupation of the West Bank. The analogy he uses is the collapse of the USSR, which came from within.

  42. James Canning says:


    I think Fiorangela gets this bit spot on. I also think that Israel’s so-called “concerns” about Iran’s nuclear programme are intended to deflect world attention from its ongoing illegal colonisation programme in the West Bank (and the Golan Heights).

  43. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    I think you are missing out on much important information if you avoid reading the FT, Guardian, Telegraph, Times (London), etc. The FT has a front page story today on the $30 billion China owes Iran for oil, but has been unable to pay due to sanctions.

  44. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James & others:

    I hear you about Tarpley’s take on NOrway. I mean he is the False Flag King… He’s been doing false flag reporting from way back in 1977 where he uncovered evidence that the killing of Aldo Morro, which was attributed to the Red Brigade, was actually a NATO operation – or osmething like that. He also believes that the Red Brigade and Baader Meinhof were NATO ops.

    There are a whole host of these highly intelligent, articulate people who do independent research and come up with theories that are at complete loggerheads with the MSM (others include Thierry Mayssan, William Engdahl, Michel Chossudovsky, and (of course) David Ray Griffin. The world that these people live in is completely different than the one that the MSM would have you believe. Yet, while it is true that one needs to wear a tinfoil hat at all times when reading these alternate views, that precaution obtains all the more when reading the MSM, which we KNOW to be a bunch of BS. I personally avoid reading the press that I note that you read (Financial Times, Guardian, Telegraph, whatever), and I have a special double layer, insulated tinfoil hat for those occasions when reading such dangerous filth simply cannot be avoided.

    Comments from others are also invited.

  45. Unknown Unknowns says:


    Why would the Saudis give money to Asad?? Doesn’t even bear repeating, does it? What am I missing?

    And what does “being ‘uniformed’ ” mean? There is so little news out there as to how Hizbollah fits into all this.

    My gut tells me Kooshy’s cartoon has it right. The Wahhabistani-USerael-Zionist sttoges triad is trying to create chaos out of order. You know, their usual business agenda for anyone who demurs in taking on the yoke of their hegemony.

  46. JAnas says:


    What are you talking about? Also my question was directed towards James.

  47. Unknown Unknowns says:

    While they are still squatting and have not begun yet to flip burgers, I think their concern is rather that the nuclear bombs that they have are obsolescing despite all those beloved schekels they are spending on maintaining and protecting them, and that it is all for naught as the Zionist wet dream is evaporating before their eyes, their beloved nukes notwithstanding.

  48. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Nice cartoon, Kooshy. I would have put a gas can in the Wahhabistani’s hand and a box of matches in the Amerikan’s.

  49. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    July 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

    “Do you think the world should heed the israeli concern about Iran? Do you think israels concern is important, should be respected and is a legit one for the whole world to follow?”


    I go with James. Heed, but verify.

    If there is any nugget of a substance to Israel’s “concerns”, then it is so shrouded in baseless exaggerations and fabrications that one has to doubt the existence of even a smidgen of real/sincere concern.

    Should the world follow Israel’s preposterous “concerns?”

    My answer is NO.

  50. Pirouz says:

    A fluid situation in Syria. Here are some of the rumors being circulated:

    – Rumors of air strikes two days ago on a Syrian military college.

    – Rumor of KSA providing a loan of 1 billion Saudi Riyals to the Syrian regime (in addition to the aid rumored from Iran worth 290,000 barrels of crude a say, up to $5.8 billion dollars. This, while the UAE is rumored to have provided 1000 SUVs and $1 billion to the opposition.

    – Rumors of defection in the elite RG division, with Hezbollah elements being “uniformed” within the division.

  51. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fior, JAnas, et al:

    The late Imam believed that it would be a good thing if the Zionist Entity were to disappear into the pages of history. Our good President Mahmoud seconded the late Imam’s position. As for me, being the contrarian that I am, I believe Israel should be wiped off the map, and its murdering, supremacist hoards driven into the sea, Biblical-style, nay, Nelson B. De Mille style, with Charlton Heston parting the Red, well… Mediterranean Sea only to have it crash down on the thieving bastards and fully immerse them in the brine until they all feel the pain and suffering they have caused countless millions of innocent souls. Then and only then should their calls for mercy be heeded, and oh, alright, miraculously, they should be saved by angels who will transport them to the land of their fathers in Europe and Russia and Amerika and wherever the hell else they came from, where they can flip burgers to pay rent in lieu of living large in another person’s home which they stole. What was the name of that veteran Lebanese-American reporter? Helen Thomas. She hit it on the nose.
    So that, Fior jaan, is my alternate scenario.
    Agree with UU in terms of what needs to happen before their concerns about Iran are heeded? YES or NO?
    My answer, now that you frame the question like THAT, is: NO, HELL, No, because they will be more concerned about the taking the tries out of the frier so that damn high-pitched alarm will stop than about what the good folk in Iran are up to.
    More wisdom from the sage Frank Zappa’s Apostrophe (’) album:

    I proceeded to tell him his future then
    As long as he was hanging around,
    I said
    “The price of meat has just gone up
    An’ yer ol’ lady has just gone down . . . ”
    Look here brother,
    Who you jivin’ with that Cosmik Debris?
    (Now is that a real poncho or is that a Sears poncho?)
    Don’t you know,
    You could make more money as a butcher,
    So don’t you waste your time on me

  52. BiBiJon says:

    On rabid religious/ethnic/cultural intolerance:

    Cultural treasure: Expert says Armenian monuments in Iran ‘well conserved’

  53. Fiorangela says:

    JAnas, let’s take a poll (Unknown Unknowns: call your office, your skills are needed)–

    Participants on this RFI forum are from highly diverse backgrounds and international locations with their attendant diversity of perspectives. They are among the most well-informed amateur commenters on US-Middle East foreign policy. Above all, their BS detectors are finely tuned.

    So let’s put the question, as JAnas addressed it to James at 4:06pm on July 24, to the RFI forum:

    “Do you think the world should heed the israeli concern about Iran? Do you think israels concern is important, should be respected and is a legit one for the whole world to follow?”


    Refinements of the question and qualifications of your response are invited.

  54. Fara says:

    Iran, Iraq and Syria have signed the Middle East’s biggest gas contract for the transit of Iranian gas from the country’s South Pars gas field to Europe via Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea.

    The 10-billion-dollar agreement was inked by Oil Ministers of Iraq and Syria Abdul Kareem Luaiby and Sufian Alao and Iran’s caretaker Oil Minister Mohammad Aliabadi, IRIB reported.

    According to the deal, Iranian gas will be transited to European countries, including Greece, via a 5,000-kilometer pipeline from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea.

    Iraq has already said that it needs between 10 to 15 million cubic meters of Iran’s gas, Syria about 15 to 20 million cubic meters, and Lebanon about five to seven million cubic meters until 2020.

    Iran, which sits on the world’s second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, is trying to raise its gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investments, especially in its South Pars gas field.


  55. Galen Wright says:

    From the RFI article: “On the contrary, any hint of concessions having being wrested from the government by the type of violence seen at Jisr would likely anger Assad’s own constituency”

    … “Hama rules” are still alive and well


    Excellent article and a good read all around! Cheers.

  56. Rehmat says:

    The Croatian Serb General Goran Hadzic (b. 1958), the former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina was arrested last week and has been transfered to Hague to stand trail by International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). He was sought since 2004 for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Croatia in 1991 and 1992. Incidently, to demand such international court to try Israeli leaders on similar charges – will get one arrested for ‘hate crime’ in several European countries.

    It’s reported that a painting by an Italian Jewish painter by the name Amedeo Modigliani (d. 1920) played a major part in tracking down the war criminal. Modigliani worked in Paris where he died as alcohlic in poverty.

    Now if you think it was a ‘miracle’ – think of the stranger who saved nine fellow Jews from being killed inside WTC on September 11, 2001.

    Interestingly, Serbian President Boris Tadic has claimed that his arrest of Hadzic was no less important than Ben-Obama’s recent murder of OBL look-alike in Pakistan.

    Hadviz drew world attention during the seige of Vukovar, once a city of 60,000. Serb shelling reduced the city to rubbles. Mass graves of Croat Muslims and Christians killed after city was over-ran by Serb militia in late 1991 were found after it was recaptured by the Croatian army. Croatian government has claimed that 3000 Croats died while 2600 were found missing.

    “The Virulent nationalism that fed the horrors in Vukovar and elsewhere was pumped through state-run media by Serb and Croat political leaders – some sincere, some synically manipulating public opinion….. However, their common aim was to cleanse-off Muslim population within Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia,” wrote Mark J. Porubcansky in the Seattle Times.

    The Serb war on Croatia and Bosnian resulted in 10,000 dead in Croatia, 200,000 Muslims in Bosnia and 60,000 Muslim rape victims.

    Many Bosniaks of eastern Bosnia, nearly all forced from their homes by Serbs, are descended from Bosniaks expelled from western Serbia in the 19th century.


  57. Rehmat says:

    I bet Benji Netanyahu and Gen. Ehud Barak must have been relieved to learn that Dr Guido Steinberg, a German strategic expert, claimed on Tuesday that the Iran’s nuclear program is targeting not the Zionist entity but pro-US Arab countries in general and Saudi Arabia in particular. Steinberg who is the Jewish scholar of Islamic studies and is considered an ‘expert’ on Middle East affairs. The dude works for Ziocon think tank ‘German Institute for International and Security Affairs’ in Berlin. Germany is very fertile land for Iranophobia under Israel-Firster Chancellor Angela Markel.


  58. Rehmat says:

    JAnas – Zionist entity’s “concerns” are as much fraud as its story of ‘Six Million Died’.

    What about the “concerns” of 89% of Arabs who showed in a recent Pew poll that they considers Israel the greatest threat to the region while only 10% believed that Iran poses security threat to the region.

    Furthermore, Iran has not attacked any of its neighbors for the last 100 years. On the other hand, the Zionist thugs have attacked all of its neighboring countries during the last 63 years.

  59. JAnas says:


    (Heed/Pay attention), I try again, Do you think the world should heed the israeli concern about Iran? Do you think israels concern is important, should be respected and is a legit one for the whole world to follow?

  60. James Canning says:


    Perhaps you should provide your understanding of the meaning of “heed”. One can pay attention to the claims made by another, without conceding those claims have merit.

  61. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    So, Tarpley thinks Nato might have wanted to “punish” Norway? Good grief.

  62. Fiorangela says:

    Gilad Atzmon is fully engaged:


    “Alongside the UK’s infamously Islamophobic Harry’s Place and other Jewish pro-war Zionist blogs, the observant amongst us are becoming more and more aware of an increasingly pervasive trend of Jerusalemite internet journals that — ostensibly – like to give the impression of ‘rallying for the preservation of Western culture,’ and of ‘standing up for democratic values’. For the most obvious of reasons, these blog pages are almost exclusively focused on ‘the problem of Islam,’ and on Muslim migrants’ ‘troubled and reactionary’ communities and politics, whilst all the while, simultaneously, relentlessly and forcefully propounding a propagandistic Zionist agenda. Interestingly enough, other immigrants are routinely depicted on these blog pages as being ‘harmless’, or as ‘positive contributors to society’ — you won’t find Hans Rustad or Harry Place criticising the Jewish Lobbies, the Lord Levy’s or the Russian Oligarchs’ disastrous impact on ‘Western culture’ or on ‘democratic values’ any time soon.

    Gordon Duff wrote yesterday in “Veterans Today” that the “car bombing carries the signature of an intelligence agency. Nobody else bothers with such things.”

    And indeed it is after all, pretty clear that a car bomb of such magnitude, and an operation of such sophistication is not exactly something a layman can put together with such apparent ease: it would surely take some specialist knowledge, and the question here is, who could provide such knowledge, and such a vast amount of lethal explosives?

    I am not in a position at present to firmly point a finger at Israel, its agents, or its sayanim — but assembling the information together, and considering all possibilities may suggest that Anders Behring Breivik might indeed, have been a Sabbath Goy.

    Within its Judaic mundane-societal context, the Sabbath Goy is simply there to accomplish some minor tasks the Jews cannot undertake during the Sabbath. But within the Zion-ised reality we tragically enough live in, the Sabbath Goy kills for the Jewish state. He may even do it voluntarily.

    Being an admirer of Israel, Behring Breivik does appear to have treated his fellow countrymen in the same way that the IDF treats Palestinians.

    Devastatingly enough, in Israel, Behring Breivik found a few enthusiastic followers who praised his action against the Norwegian youth. In the Hebrew article that reported about the AUF camp being pro Palestinian and supportive of the Israel Boycott Campaign, I found the following comments amongst other supports for the massacre:

    24. “Oslo criminals paid”

    26. “It’s stupidity and evil not to desire death for those who call to boycott Israel.’

    41. “Hitler Youth members killed in the bombing of Germany were also innocent. Let us all cry about the terrible evil bombardment carried out by the Allied…We have a bunch of haters of Israel meeting in a country that hates Israel in a conference that endorses the boycott.. So it’s not okay, not nice, really a tragedy for families, and we condemn the act itself, but to cry about it? Come on. We Jews are not Christians. In the Jewish religion there is no obligation to love or mourn for the enemy.”

    The full facts of the Norwegian tragedy are, as yet, unknown, but the message should by now be transparently and urgently clear to all of us: Western intelligence agencies must immediately crackdown on Israeli and Zionist operators in our midst, and regarding the terrible events of the weekend, it must be made absolutely clear who it was that spread such hate and promoted such terror, and for what exact reasons.”

  63. Fiorangela says:

    JAnas wrote: “Yes I know what he said [but] For the record I dont think any nation in the western world will recognize the state, it will probably be even less that have recognized it to this day since netanyahu have put pressure on alot of states not to vote pro-palestine in september.”

    in other words,

    don’t bother me with the facts my mind is made up,

    with a soupcon of

    Who cares what the leader of a nation says; I, the Magnificent dont think. . .”

    The antipode to “I don’t know and I don’t care”

  64. JAnas says:

    You think the world should heed israels concern about Iran?

  65. kooshy says:

    “Can someone who can understand this shit tell me what the US Federal deficit *really* is? Much obliged, I’m sure.”

    Officially and publicly the total US debt is about 100% of the GDP which is around 14T, unofficially I have read figures as high as 40T, the truth is one would never know since the FRB is not required to publish its balance sheet, for reasons one don’t need to guess. You see in American Democracy everything can be exceptional.

  66. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Oh, and before you take that tinfoil hat off, be sure to check out WRH:


    for more good shtuff on Norway.

  67. Unknown Unknowns says:


    The average American voter was asked, “Did you know that the two biggest problems with American politics are ignorance and apathy?” S/he responded: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

    Sounds like the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or as the late great late 20th C American sage Terrance McKenna put it: Things are more like they are now than they have ever been before.”

    There, you got two for the price of one.

  68. Unknown Unknowns says:


    Webster Tarpley, not surprisingly, has a different take on Norway:


    DO visit the site
    DO NOT forget to wear your safety tinfoil hat BEFORE you enter.

  69. Unknown Unknowns says:


    Can someone who can understand this shit tell me what the US Federal deficit *really* is? Much obliged, I’m sure.

  70. James Canning says:

    I recommend Jane Fonda’s account of her trip to Hanoi during the Vietnam War.

  71. Fara says:

    Do Americans know?

    Many of us have often wondered why the American public seems to change its opinion on politics so quickly. Let me give you an example: US President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 with an approval rating of 82 percent. One week later his approval rating was down to 68 percent.

    During that week he delivered a number of speeches, which reaffirmed his campaign promises, signed an executive to order closing Guantanamo within a year — although later on he reversed that decision — and introduced his economic stimulus plan.

    At the time it seemed like Obama was taking steps exactly in the same directions that he had vowed to do in the months preceding the election but his approval ratings dropped by 14 percent.

    Obama is not the only politician to have received such a treatment from the American public.

    In Wisconsin, the very people who voted Republicans into the state legislature and the governor office, asked for their candidates recall when they implemented the policies they had said they would.

    It is true, of course, that politicians tend to change their stances and opinions. It is true that they campaign to appeal the public but once elected their actions are influenced by interest groups. But sometimes it is the public that seems to have changed its mind when it comes to approval ratings. Why does it happen?

    I was watching “The Other Guys” on a Saturday night with a group of acquaintances — About a year after the movie’s original release. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie (no spoilers) the end credit sequence provides some statics about the American economy.

    Moviefone has highlighted some of the figures cited in the sequence:

    – that the TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) bailout cost every person in America enough to take a trip around the world

    – that after the bailout, some $1.2 billion in taxpayer money went to pay the bonuses of just 73 AIG execs, while Goldman Sachs got a huge tax break that saw its tax rate drop from 34 percent to 1 percent

    – that the average CEO earned about eight times the salary of his average employee a century ago, but earns more than 300 times his average employee’s wages now

    – that the typical American 401(k) retirement account has lost nearly half its value over the last five years

    – that New York cops may earn a maximum pension of about $48,000, while the average retiring CEO reaps benefits of about $83.6 million.

    After the movie one of the younger people in the room asked whether the figures were accurate. She was dumbfounded when I told her that the figures were in fact accurate based on official reports while some unofficial reports have even painted gloomier pictures.

    It was interesting to me that there were still people who did not know the causes and consequences of the Great Recession of 2007. Anyone, who even briefly, follows the news would know at least that much about the Bush administration and the Obama administration’s bailout packages and how they were spent in the interest of big corporations.

    To me it was so interesting, in fact, that I deiced to ask the 20-year-old American student who lives in Pleasanton, California and goes to school in San Francisco some questions, just to get a general sense of how much the younger generation know — or care for that matter — about the country’s economy.

    Question: What do you know about the US debt ceiling?

    Answer: I know that our nation is in a lot of debt.

    Question: I’m talking about the debt ceiling. Do you know what will happen on August 2nd, if the amount of money the US is allowed to borrow is not raised?

    Answer: Not really.

    Question: Have you ever heard of the possibly of the US defaulting on its debt if the Democrats and the Republicans fail to agree on a plan to raise that ceiling?

    Answer: I heard it was dealt with a couple of months ago.

    Question: That was a temporary measure to buy time. Do you know that if they fail to agree on a plan this time the Federal Government will face shutdown similar to what happened in Minnesota?

    Answer: Oh, I’ve heard about the Minnesota shutdown. I heard some activists sent them pizzas.

    Although I could not establish what incident or event she was referring to, I was amazed to find out that the younger generation seems to be so out of touch with things like economy that affects almost every aspect of our lives.

    At that point I asked her some questions about the American electoral system, which she answered correctly and then I inquired if she ever follows the news. Not surprisingly her answer was negative.

    I asked how she decides whom to vote for in elections, to which she replied, “Well, usually about a month or two before each election people start talking about the candidates and I get to know them.”

    She further explained that such a practice is common among her friends, who will spread the word by mouth about the agenda and policies of each candidate.

    The incident reminded me of a Newsweek study, in which the magazine recently gave 1,000 Americans the US Citizenship test and found that their knowledge of the history and running of their own country was seriously lacking.

    The survey found that “70 percent of Americans do not know what the Constitution is,” the Daily Mail reported.

    During a July 11 press conference, President Obama was asked whether the US problem was that the 69 percent of the people — according to a CBS poll — who oppose raising the nation’s debt limit are not represented in the talks over how to raise the debt ceiling.

    “Well, let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. The public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury option goes. They shouldn’t. They’re worrying about their family; they’re worrying about their jobs; they’re worrying about their neighborhood. They’ve got a lot of other things on their plate. We’re paid to worry about it,” Obama replied.

    In other words the president of the United States encouraged the American people to avoid “paying close attention” to politics and let the politicians do the job.

    But what he neglected to mention is that how the American people can elect a candidate to solve their problems if they should not pay attention to their problems in the first place?

    The American public is not informed enough about politics and major decisions that affect it and the US government would like to keep it that way in the interest of politicians, corporations and lobby groups.


  72. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Thanks for the link. And Lobe is right: “Norway has found its Timothy McVeigh.”

  73. James Canning says:


    Of course anyone following events in the Middle East should pay attention to arguments advanced by the Israeli government, various former officials of that government, and so on.

  74. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Jim Lobe’s blog deserves a plug here (as I haven’t read any references to it in a while):


  75. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Hey, has RFI become a tad anemic of late, or is it me?

  76. JAnas says:

    JAMES: But you think we should heed it (the israeli concern) nontheless?

    FIORANGELA: Yes I know what he said. For the record I dont think any nation in the western world will recognize the state, it will probably be even less that have recognized it to this day since netanyahu have put pressure on alot of states not to vote pro-palestine in september.

  77. kooshy says:

    The Politics of Re-Election
    Explaining Obama

    There has been considerable head scratching and hand wringing in the left-of-center commentariat of late over the seemingly inexplicable political behavior of the President. Even savvy observers like Jim Hightower appear at a loss to explain why Obama does the things he does, and avoids the things he doesn’t do. The puzzlement is puzzling: what part of ‘he does what he believes necessary to get re-elected’ is hard to understand?

    It may be that some pundits still suffer from “Obama as Savior” complex. Those who still see him as the anti-George Bush or anti-John McCain—not merely the lesser of evils—are flabbergasted by the President’s playbook. Why doesn’t Obama take the lead in negotiations with Republicans? Why does he roll over so easily? Why won’t he fight for progressive values or policies? Why does he ignore his base? Why doesn’t he end rather than start wars? How come he let Wall Street off the hook? Why does he leave Main Street to suffer?

    These questions all have the same answer: to do otherwise might—he and his advisors think—place his political future in jeopardy.

    We don’t need psychological analyses to make sense of the President’s political practice. Sure, his absent father, growing up biracial in Indonesia and Hawaii, the supportive grandparents, left their marks on the boy. Obama’s undergraduate career at Occidental and Columbia undoubtedly had an impact on the young man. His Harvard Law years shaped the adult that he became. The Chicago experience inevitably colored his approach to electoral politics.

    Instead, we can rely on the decades-old political science finding that re-election is, with rare exceptions, the top priority for national politicians in the United States. Surprised? Of course not. Why then the confusion regarding the President’s politics and policies? They are carefully calculated to appeal to middle-of-the-roaders, the vaunted swing voters.

    This isn’t about ideological consistency, let alone purity. Barak Obama isn’t even a reluctant progressive, an FDR, JFK, or LBJ liberal, let alone the radical many want him to be. The substance of any given Obama policy proposal is much less important than the political signals it sends, the flanks it covers, and the powerful constituencies it serves.

    This does not mean that the President and his advisors have perfect political pitch. Far from it. Thus the distress felt by many on the left by the President’s frequent retreats and compromises. They believe Obama could win with an in-your-face populist platform, backed by an enraged public. That this is not the President’s view ought to be crystal clear by now.

    Let’s take a look at some of the particulars, foreign and domestic. It should be a familiar survey. Rather than leftist sour grapes—some few of us never had any illusions about BHO—these are simply observations from a left perspective.

    Foreign Policy

    Obama’s vaunted senatorial opposition to the “war of choice” in Iraq? A position consonant with public opinion, and with the activist base of the Democratic Party which he needed to get elected. His amazing willingness to keep thousands of troops in Iraq beyond the deadline negotiated with al-Maliki—a considerable threat to the latter’s political future—evinces the weakness of the peace movement and his unwillingness to face campaign charges that he “lost Iraq” should things get even uglier on the Tigris.

    Support for the ramped-up “war of necessity” in Afghanistan? A brilliant case of flank covering. Obama took away the Republicans’ electoral advantage on national security issues by promising to wage the war more fiercely than George Bush, escalating drone strikes in Pakistan, and intensifying covert interventions in Yemen and Somalia.

    Conservatives complain that Obama never uses the word “victory” when making a speech about Afghanistan. They don’t get it either. The two troop surges, the replacement of McKiernan by McChrystal and of McChrystal by Petraeus, the confusion between counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism, the night raids, the support for Karzai and the warlords, the short-sighted development projects, the slow draw-down—none of this is about “victory.”

    Obama is too smart to believe “victory” in Afghanistan possible. It’s about being seen as actively waging the War on Terror (even if it’s no longer called that), and about “reducing the threat to the Homeland” so as to prevent untoward incidents on his watch. And even if something bad happens between now and next November, this is the president that killed Osama bin Laden.

    US participation in the Libyan civil war? Obama deftly threaded the needle. The only people pissed off at him are neoconservatives who’d have him fly yet more bombing sorties, some libertarians, peace activists, and Tea Partiers for whom this is one war too many, and that handful of us still concerned about the rule of law. Not a single American death, a few billions down the drain, a Libyan opposition in his debt, a cooperative effort with some NATO allies, a Republican opposition unwilling to really challenge him on this, a novel interpretation of the word “hostilities” in the War Powers Act. What’s not to like from the re-election perspective? Keep your eyes on the prize.

    Israel/Palestine? Netanyahu has been a thorn is Obama’s side—it would’ve been politically useful to claim progress resolving the conflict—but worry not. The President need not even reign in the Palestinians most days; large bipartisan majorities in Congress do it for him. Beyond the issue of illegal settlements, Obama’s loyalty to the Israeli Right appears boundless. His State Department virtually invited Netanyahu to commit piracy against Gaza Flotilla 2, opposes United Nations approval of Palestinian independence, and otherwise protects the Israeli government from the application of international law. What’s all this really about? Zionist campaign contributions. And it appears the President is already on pace to break the records he set in 2008.

    Push the corporate domination schemes also known as “free trade agreements?” Check. Unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers (“worse than Nixon” thinks John Dean)? Check. Appoint safe, establishment types as cabinet secretaries. Check. Another general to helm the CIA? Check. A new Defense chief who thinks the US is in Iraq because of 9/11? It wasn’t easy, but Obama found one of those too.

    Guantanamo still open? The Republicans wouldn’t let him close it. A secret CIA prison in Somalia? Nothing we can’t deny. Holding a suspected terrorist at sea for months in contravention of domestic and international law? Yes, we can. More money for the nuclear weapons complex? A small price to pay for New START. Another giant defense budget? No problem, we’ll get around to cutting it in the second term.

    Domestic Policy

    Got civil liberties? Who cares except the ACLU and Glenn Greenwald? Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare on the chopping block? If slashing benefits for granny and your disabled cousin will confer political advantage, then so be it. But it might not, so we’ll float trial balloons until the political direction of the wind becomes clear. Medical marijuana? Not if the DEA can shut down legal state dispensaries. The warehousing of millions in jails and prisons? Beats having to find jobs for them. Immigration reform? Can’t do it without the Republicans. Sustainable agriculture? Don’t be a “professional leftist;” only GMOs, plus a lot of oil, crop subsidies, and petrochemicals can feed the world.

    Nuclear energy? Fukushima can’t happen here, our nukes are safe, the NRC can be trusted, and the administration never has to say no to a sector of the energy industry. Clean coal? It’s not an oxymoron, it’s the key to votes in West Virginia. Fracking? Natural gas is the “bridge” to a green energy future. Offshore oil drilling? BP’s Gulf geyser was a tough couple of months, to be sure. But we innovated a new regulatory agency, learned some tough lessons, and can now move forward. Risk it all again in the Arctic? Energy policy is for serious people, not polar bear huggers.

    Historic health care reform? The single greatest accomplishment of the Obama administration. Medicare for all is simply not the American way, and pharmaceutical and insurance companies were OK with it. Avoidance of any anti-poverty or urban renewal initiatives that might smell of “black politics”? Check. Lousy mortgage adjustment program? At least the big banks were saved.

    Serial offshorer Jeffrey Immelt as jobs czar? If he can’t do it, who can? Bush tax cuts? We extended those. A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Republicans really hate? OK, we won’t appoint a genuine watchdog to run it. Lingering high unemployment? The stimulus saved a couple million jobs. Quantitative easing laid the groundwork for a bunch more. Government jobs programs are so 1930s.

    The Politics of Re-election

    Obama might lack Bill Clinton’s folksiness and common touch; he does not lack his political instincts. Triangulation works to anchor the Obama administration in the New Center (much further to the right than a generation ago). Surround yourself with conventional, cautious political advisors lacking any vision except for re-election and this is what you end up with. You can ignore your base with impunity—where will they go? “Centrism” enables Obama to vacuum up campaign cash at record pace.

    There is no progressive there there. Those inspiring speeches of 2008 (and before)? The memoirs? The promises? All designed to get him into office. Any liberal values or genuine interest the President may have in peace and social justice must take a stretched limousine backseat to re-election.

    Again, politicians will generally do what they think it takes to hold on to their positions; Obama is no different. If this claim can still shatter illusions in 2011, well, it’s about time. The complete absence of a “left agenda” is calculation, not ignorance. This President believes you don’t hit the political sweet spot by playing to your base. And he knows from experience that you don’t succeed in Chicago or national politics by biting the hands that feed you.

    What would it take for Obama to change? How to influence this president? A massive sustained mobilization of angry citizens demanding radical change? Maybe. And in the mean time? Campaign cash. Lots of it. Nader was right: only the super-rich can save us.

    Steve Breyman is Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Reach him at breyms@rpi.edu

  78. kooshy says:

    A Lesson for Obama Fans
    Why All the Wrangling Over the Debt Ceiling?

    In light of the fact that in the ongoing budget negotiations President Obama and the Republican leaders share the common objective of drastically cutting non-military social spending, all the bickering between the two sides seems somewhat puzzling. Considering that their targeted cuts in social spending are almost identical, why do they squabble so much?

    In the days when the Democrats and Republicans had marginally different positions regarding fiscal policy, the debate between the two parties over budgetary issues was easy to understand. The Democrats would start from the center left, the Republicans from the center right, and they would usually end up at the center. It was a very subtle division of labor as the two sides provided political cover for each other’s positions or posturing.

    The wrangling during the current budget negotiations, however, is somewhat different: it is prompted not so much by a clash of differing positions on the two sides as it is by a competition over the same or similar position by both parties—a competition to win the hearts and minds of the Wall Street bigwigs. The Republicans are angry because they feel that the president has broken traditional rules of the bipartisan game, and has staked out their customary position on the right. And Mr. Obama is incensed because the Tea Partiers within the Republican Party are not playing by the conventional rules, and are not providing him with the tax cover he needs in order to justify his bigger-than the Republicans’ cuts in social spending.

    Viewed in this light, the disagreement between Barack Obama and John Boehner is essentially similar to the disagreement between two military generals or commanders who fight a common enemy—in this case the American public—but disagree over the tactics of how to defeat that enemy. In other words, they have a shared strategic goal (of dismantling social safety net programs) but different tactics of achieving that goal. That’s the essence of the ongoing backbiting between the two sides.

    The National debt ceiling has been raised many times since the mid-1970s in order to facilitate the drastic increases in military spending, the major tax breaks for the wealthy and, most importantly, the multi-trillion dollar bailouts of the Wall Street gamblers. Having thus accumulated nearly as much debt as gross domestic product ($14.3 trillion), the bipartisan servants of the plutocracy now claim that the debt ceiling would reach its “crisis” limits by August 2nd, and that it cannot be raised beyond this “critical” limit without counterbalancing cuts in non-military social spending.

    The Republican leadership initially sought to take advantage of the budget negotiation by holding the debt ceiling hostage to severe cuts in social spending in order to score political points with Wall Street against President Obama. “These calculations were upset, however, when Obama proposed even greater spending cuts than those demanded by the House Republicans. . . . He even proposed to put cuts in Social Security on the table, leading to House Republican complaints that they had been ‘outflanked’ by the White House” [source].

    At an earlier stage of negotiations, the House Republican leader, Speaker John Boehner, insisted that the legislation to raise debt ceiling ought to include spending cuts (dollar-for-dollar) equal to the raise in the ceiling. He proposed an increase of $2.4 trillion in the ceiling, matched by cuts in social spending of the same magnitude.

    President Obama countered by proposing a much bigger package, $4 trillion, which included the collection of some vaguely-defined taxes from the wealthy. Inclusion of the tax provision made the president’s proposed package appear more balanced and somewhat progressive. A closer scrutiny of the package, however, revealed two problems. First, the suggested tax revenue to be collected from the wealthy was estimated to be only $1 trillion, which left the remaining $3 trillion to be cut from social spending—obviously bigger than Boehner’s proposed cut of $2.4 trillion. Second, the purported $1 trillion new taxes on the wealthy was designed not to come from higher tax rates on the highest incomes but from closing or narrowing some tax loopholes for large corporations, which would eventually be recovered by those corporations in the form of lower tax rates:

    “His proposals for closing a few tax loopholes that benefit corporations and the wealthy were largely regarded by the financial aristocracy as a minor inconvenience that would provide a political cover for the overall budget cutting. . . . Moreover, the multimillionaires have been assured that any small charges on their wealth incorporated into an eventual deficit-reduction package will be more than recouped in tax reform proposals that will slash overall tax rates on corporations and high-income households” [source].

    In return for his unflinching service to big business, Mr. Obama has been handsomely rewarded through generous infusion of cash contributions to his reelection campaign, more than twice as much as that of all the Republican candidates combined.

    Despite his success in outdoing his Republican rivals in winning the trust and the cash contributions of the Wall Street, Mr. Obama has nonetheless been uncharacteristically agitated during the ongoing budget negotiations. For example, he angrily walked out of a meeting with the Republican leaders on July 13 when the discussion to raise the debt ceiling broke down. Lashing out at the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the President blurted out, “don’t call my bluff,” adding that he would veto any short-term bill that Cantor sent him. The president “lit up Eric Cantor like he’s never been lit up,” wrote Joe Klein of the New York Times. The question is why? Why has the usually unflappable President been unusually edgy during these negotiations?

    I suspect the reason is that his plan to camouflage his big cuts in social spending by wrapping them up in a token or fake tax hike on the wealthy has been exposed by the Tea Party elements of the Republican Party who adamantly opposed any change in taxation, thereby depriving him of the cover he needed to misrepresent his budget plan: pretending that he was fighting “the Republican budget cutters” on behalf of the working people while feverishly working to serve the corporate welfare system.

    Two conclusions can be drawn from this brief discussion.

    First, it is obvious, as many others have pointed out, the debt ceiling “crisis” is used as a charade by the bipartisan policy makers in both the White House and the Congress in order to recoup from the working and needy people the trillions of dollars they gave (and are still giving) to Wall Street gamblers, to the beneficiaries of war and militarism, and to the super-rich (in the form of huge tax breaks). By the same token, it is also obvious that most of the bipartisan posturing and wrangling, significantly heightened and mystified by the corporate media, is designed to scare the people of a “looming debt crisis,” to hide their real intentions of cutting the people’s bread and butter, and to endear themselves to big business in pursuit of cash contributions for their reelection.

    Second, the labor and liberal supporters of President Obama have an important lesson to learn from these budget negotiations: that his economic (like his foreign) policies are not any different than those of his Neoliberal/Neoconservative colleagues in the Republican Party, that his allegiance and dedication is primarily to the corporate welfare system, and that it is time to come out of the denial of these facts, and not waste their votes on Obama in the next presidential election.

    Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007) and Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). He teaches economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

  79. Humanist says:


    The books you are reading by “…Brian Greene, Dennis Overbye, Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Richard Dawkins, … Jared Diamond..”, because of the fame and intelligence of their authors, must be all informative books. I know some of them are not easy to read, especially those written by Roger Penrose who is a mathematical physicist.

    This is what a reader who is familiar with calculus wrote on PhysicsForums.com about his ( latest?) book:

    “Roger Penrose’s book is kinda hard to understand. I had to read the second chapter twice . Any way, I stopped reading the book since im reading other books right now. BTW, if you know a little calculus, you could try The Feynman Lectures on Physics”.

    I have seen the book in question. It is far beyond me. I guess it is at least in PhD level of math and physics

    What is the title of Penrose’s book you are reading? I would like to find any easy to read book by Sir Roger Penrose who is indirectly praised in Hawking’s “A brief History of Time” (another difficult read)

  80. Fiorangela says:

    JAnas @ July 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm wrote:

    “Right, some people, not just here assume Norway will vote for a state but as stated, thats not really what the minister said.”

    HERE is what the minister said:

    Norway to be First European Nation to Recognize Palestine “In January 2011, Jonas Gahr Stoere, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said Norway will be a leading country in recognising the Palestinian state once the Palestinian institutions are set up.” :http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2011/07/norway-hit.html

    Stoere’s declaration was not the kick-the-can-down-the-road rhetoric that is Bibi’s speciality; Stoere was addressing Palestine’s Salaam Fayaad and

    “”I have already informed the Palestinian officials that Norway will a leading country in recognising the Palestinian state once the new state’s institutions and infrastructure are created and set up as per the programmes announced by the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

    by”This hopefully is to be matched with a successful peace process. We should all recognise the new facts on the ground,” he said.

    “During the coming September and October, there will be a new situation and ground reality regarding the Palestinian state and that new situation should be handled and dealt with,” he said. “We hope the Palestinian state will be a part of the international community by that time,” he added.
    Stoere said that the outstanding accomplishments of the Palestinian Authority should motivate the international community and donors’ countries providing the financial support to the Palestinian Authority to show more and better political support to the Palestinians to enable them create their own independent state.

    “Norway as the head state of the donors’ committee will exert more efforts with all the parties concerned, mainly the US and the EU to increase their financial and political support to the Palestinians,” he said.”

    When a key political figure makes a public declaration of the intentions of the state he represents, reneging is not an option– going back on your word is very bad form. Norway took a courageous step in declaring support for a Palestinian state and encouraging Palestinian leaders and people in their struggle for dignity and independence.

  81. Persian Gulf says:

    Castellio says:
    July 21, 2011 at 3:22 am

    “And history is a waste of time. And the principles of change are a waste of time. And intellectual courage must inevitably fail so why think?”

    I really don’t know. I am too confused to answer this legitimate question. I am still thinking about this. perhaps we are forced to. this could also be part of the evolution.

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

    الحجرات (18)

  82. Persian Gulf says:

    Humanist says:
    July 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    So, you are still alive! ;)

    did you read my last post carefully? if not, please go back and check it again. where did I deny evolution? I have pointed out the outcome of the theory and the inevitable inconsistency inherent in this theory. as I said before, people, me included, often look at the evolution and all these stuff scientifically, but not philosophically. it’s sexy, you know. for a while now, I have been reading what people like Brian Greene, Dennis Overbye, Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Richard Dawkins, … Jared Diamond… wrote. and I still read them. They lead you nowhere even though they write, and talk, quite miraculously for non-experts in the field i.e. like me.

    You brought an example for to prove evolution! I thought you have read “the origin of species”. Apparently, Darwin was able to offer a bigger pic than what you have introduced without any knowledge of genetics. and he had paid attention to the philosophical aspect of it as well.

    as for the diversity mentioned at the end of the video:

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ


    Probably you have read it already. if not, then read Jared Diamond’s famous book about human history and the environment’s effect on it (Guns, Germs, and Steel). some of his other books are also worth reading specially “the third chimpanzee”, “collapse”….

    Castellio, who looks pretty smart, obviously understood what I said. don’t know why he is trying to evade from this point and attack it rather than giving a thought to it.

  83. James Canning says:

    Since I have noticed increasing evidence of an effort in US news media to understate considerably the number of civilians killed as a result of the idiotic and illegal US invasion of Iraq, I read with interest Russ Wellen’s comments on this same issue. Wellen notes that the same people pushing to understate the number of civilian deaths also seek to strengthen the foolish claims that it was “worth it” to take out Saddam Hussein. In other words, propaganda to cover the backsides of the warmongers and other idiots who created the catastrophe.


  84. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Thanks. And I continue to think Iran is best off by keeping the moral high ground, condemning WMD including nukes.

  85. James Canning says:


    I think “the world” pays more than enough attention to Israel’s expressed concerns about Iran. And I think the fact Israel expresses a concern does not in itself mean the concern is meritorious.

  86. JAnas says:


    Right, some people, not just here assume Norway will vote for a state but as stated, thats not really what the minister said.

  87. Fiorangela says:

    JAnas, whew, 12 minutes.

    thanks for the cool breeze from your rapid response to the mere suggestion that Norway would seek to recognize Palestine. I hope you didn’t generate that spin with your head — such fast action can make you dizzy — all in service of the zionist compulsion to counter any indication that a large swathe of the world sees the justice of the Palestinian cause.

    Here’s what the Norwegian Labor Youth leader told the thousand young Norwegians gathered at Otoya, before 90 of them were gunned down by an afficianado of Daniel Pipes and Pam Geller:

    AUF leader Eskil Pedersen believes it is time for stronger measures against Israel.

    alexander.stenerud @ dagbladet.no
    20.07.2011, kl. 6:56 p.m.

    BOYCOTT: AUF leader Eskil Pedersen believes the time has come for more drastic measures against Israel, and wants the Foreign Minister to impose an economic boycott against the country. Photo: Eirik Helland Urke / Dagbladet

    BOYCOTT: AUF leader Eskil Pedersen believes the time has come for more drastic measures against Israel, and wants the Foreign Minister to impose an economic boycott against the country.
    This week is about a thousand members of Labour Youth (AUF) collected Utøya to discuss politics. On Thursday comes Jonas Gahr Store to Utøya to debate the Middle East.

    The foreign minister believes in dialogue in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but the leader of AUF Eskil Pedersen has a clear message to the Minister.

    We like to talk, but as we have seen so has Israel not been interested, and have not listened to any of the clashes that have been made. The peace process is the wrong way, and though the whole world screaming for Israel to comply, they do not. We in Labour Youth will have a unilateral economic embargo of Israel from the Norwegian side, says Pedersen.

    AUF leader says dialogue can no longer have anything to offer in the face of Israel, and believes it is high time that the new measures are adopted. Pedersen believes that the Israeli authorities have now moved so far right that it is impossible to have any conversations with them.

    – Norway has little opportunity to influence in any way, and we are no closer to any peace in the conflict. Rather the contrary. Israel has moved very far to the right, which means that it will get the dialogue partners. I would dare say that even foreign politicians from the Progress Party will struggle to find conversation partners in Israel. There is no call web anymore. I mean is that we should talk to everyone, but we can not sacrifice our principles and our policies, just to talk, he said.

    AUF has long been [proposing] an international boycott of Israel, but the decision at the last congress, demanding that Norway imposes a unilateral economic embargo of the country, was sharper than before.

    – I acknowledge that this is a drastic measure, but I think it gives a clear indication that we are tired of Israel’s behavior. Large parts of the world react all the time, but Israel will not listen. I think the decision is a sign that we in the AUF is tired of Israel, quite simply, he says.

  88. Against zionism says:

    Obama is a zionist stooges and these WARS ARE ZIONIST DRIVEN WAR FOR THE INTEREST OF ISRAEL. WHOEVER DOES NOT TALK ABOUT THE MAIN ISSUE AND ONLY FOCUS ON “American empire’ like Chomsky and his ilk does to divert attention, then cannot be trusted.

    Empire and Zionism
    by Gilad Atzmon / July 23rd, 2011


    Political Zionism found itself negotiating extensively with the leading empires at the time, most of whom were modernist by definition. It is only reasonable to assume that Zionism, manifesting itself as a modernist ideology, would be opposed by other 19th century anti-colonial modernist ideologies such as Marxism, ‘working class politics’, dialectical materialism, cosmopolitanism or Left thinking in general.

    Yet, unlike the Left thinking that is in constant danger of structural and intellectual stagnation, Zionism has proved to be an inherently dynamic political movement: it has never stopped evolving and reinventing itself. The history of Zionism reveals a clear success story. Within just six decades, Zionism fulfilled its initial promise and founded the ‘Jews only’ State, at the expense of the Palestinians. It achieved its initial goal with the vast support of the world’s richest nations and leading superpowers. By 1967 it had managed to mobilise the entirety of world Jewry, and had transformed Jewish elites into a fierce fist of Jewish power. By then, Zionism had also changed its course — instead of schlepping Jews to Palestine, it gathered that Israel would actually benefit if Diaspora Jews stayed exactly where they were, and mounted pressure on their respective governments. By the end of the 20th century, Israel has managed to transform the English-speaking empire into an Israeli mission force. In 2003 Britain and the USA sent their sons and daughters to destroy Iraq, the last fierce enemy of Israel in the region. And yet, at the time there was hardly any critical theory that could shed light onto the immense power of Israel and its lobbies within the Anglo-American political world. There was no political theory that would explain the Anglo-American’s suicidal decision to fight illegal wars for Israel. There was also a noticeable and substantial lack of scholarly work that could throw some light on the sudden twist within Western elites against Islam and Muslims. Being modernist, Eurocentric and secularist, the Left found it hard, or even impossible to deal with the complexity of both Islam and Jewish ideology.

    Yet, unlike Marxism, or any other form of progressive thinking, Zionism has never been truly committed to any structural modernist way of thought. Zionism is primarily loyal to Jews and what it perceives as their needs. The simple truth is that Zionism was very quick to drift away from modernism. The deeper truth is that Zionism has never been a genuinely modernist precept. Zionism is basically a Zelig populist-pragmatic outlook, which goes through rapid metamorphic shapes, incarnations and affiliations, just to fit into any given discourse that suits its purposes. Indeed, Zionism masked itself as a modernist political ideology when it was needed, and it was secularist and rational when these ideas were broadly appealing. But it also easily developed a religious-evangelist flavour — when the prospects of such transitions could be translated into power.

    Zionism was also very quick to grasp postmodern conditions; it may even be argued that it has been the first to define these conditions. Zionism allows itself to be contradictory,4 irrational at times, tribal and emotional on other occasions. These facts alone may explain why the Left has failed to offer an adequate criticism of Zionism and Israel, for if Zionism and Israel belong to the realm of post modernity, then we could hardly expect any modernist scholarship to provide a comprehensive reading into the complexity of the situation.

    In recent years we have seen a few successful attempts to break away from the traditional Left, materialist and modernist political analysis of Zionism and Israeli politics. James Petras, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were among the first to publish academic work on the immense and disastrous impact of the ‘Israeli Lobby’ (a politically correct wording for Jewish power). Two years ago Shahid Alam published Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilising Logic of Zionism, an incredibly courageous scholarly attempt to grasp the destructive role of Jewish power in America and beyond. Petras, Mearsheimer, Walt, and Alam operated out of the box: their criticism of Israel, Zionism and Jewish power was not restricted by a party-line or by any given political consensus or paradigm. Quite the opposite, their work broke away from their contemporaneous paradigms and brought into life a new discourse that now shapes itself into an extensive body of thought, as well as providing politically pragmatic applications.5 As one may expect, Petras, Mearsheimer and Walt were criticised by elements within the Left, and especially by prominent Jewish voices within the Left. But they prevailed. Wisdom and true intellectual insights cannot be contained. At the most, these voices can be silenced or suppressed for a short while but they always hit back with much greater rigour.

  89. JAnas says:


    “What is the question you think I fear to answer?

    If you think the world should heed israeli concerns about Iran more.


    Also Norway havent said they will recognize Palestine (regarding the UN-vote), they have only said that they think its legit to raise the question through UN and will recognize Palestine when the time comes. Thats the same rhetoric the other western world use pretty much.

  90. Fiorangela says:

    New America Foundation must be called to task for the comments of Bryan Fishman relative to the terror acts in Norway —

    The omnipotence of Al Qaeda and meaninglessness of “Terrorism” by Glenn Greenwald:

    “But now it turns out that the alleged perpetrator wasn’t from an international Muslim extremist group at all, but was rather a right-wing Norwegian nationalist with a history of anti-Muslim commentary and an affection for Muslim-hating blogs such as Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugged, Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch. [:http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/07/22/rightist-wreaks-terror-through-norway/%5D Despite that, The New York Times is still working hard to pin some form of blame, even ultimate blame, on Muslim radicals (h/t sysprog):

    Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking Al Qaeda’s brutality and multiple attacks.

    “If it does turn out to be someone with more political motivations, it shows these groups are learning from what they see from Al Qaeda,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New America Foundation in Washington.

    Al Qaeda is always to blame, even when it isn’t, even when it’s allegedly the work of a Nordic, Muslim-hating, right-wing European nationalist. Of course, before Al Qaeda, nobody ever thought to detonate bombs in government buildings [:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article690085.ece%5D or go on indiscriminate, politically motivated [:http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/25/newsid_4167000/4167929.stm%5D shooting rampages. [:http://articles.cnn.com/1999-07-05/us/9907_05_illinois.shootings.02_1_illinois-drivers-license-driveby?_s=PM:US}”

    Several days before they were gunned down by a shooter in a policeman’s uniform, the young people at the camp in Norway had made clear their demand that Norway recognize a Palestinian state, and they called for a boycott of Israel. [:http://politisk.tv2.no/nyheter/st%C3%B8re-om-israel-palestina-konflikten-%E2%80%93-okkupasjonen-ma-opph%C3%B8re-muren-ma-rives-og-det-ma-skje-na/%5D

    It’s an asinine thing to say. The Norwegian terrorist was a fan of Daniel Pipes and Pam Geller, not Al Qaeda.

  91. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: July 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    My opinions have been heard by many, including you.

    And if God so wills it, it will be heard and assimilated by those who can act upon them.

    My criticism is quite constructive: North Korea is not bombed, Iraq, Yugoslavia, and now Libya are.

    If you want Islamic Iran – any Iran for that matter – to survive and prosper you will pay attention to what I have stated.

    The fatwa of Mr. Khamenei is only valid during his life time.

    After his death, it becomes null & void.

    Things change, but teh Fallen Nature of Man will not.

    If I am wrong, Iran will have become a nuclear power and paid the cost for nothing.

    If I am right, Iran will survive as a unitary state well into the future and her exsitence will not be threatened by super-powers.

  92. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Is Thierry Meyssan the only one doing any real investigative reporting on Libya, or is it just me?


  93. Unknown Unknowns says:


    Well, if and when you become the vali of the Shi’a, maybe you can issue a ruling to that affect. Meanwhile, you should start making constructive criticisms to people in positions of authority in the country to try to convince them of the error of their ways. But good luck with that one, as your voice is likely to land on deaf ears if your tone is that of an outsider that has no respect for the revolution and its values. Is it not just another voice of irrelevance that has been echoing throughout various and sundry chambers of Orange County for the past 32 years?

  94. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James: yes, it is unimaginable for the religious leader of the Shi’a of Iran and elsewhere to state time and again that WMD’s are *haram* [forbidden], while at the same time authorizing covert programs to develop same. It would be like the pope doffing a loaded Trojan during mass.

  95. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: July 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Iranians need to have several tens of nuclear weapons, they need to put into place survivable command, control, and communication networks, they must have mobile, solid fueld rockets as well as nuclear-armed cruise missiles.

    They also need to publish their nuclear doctrine.

    As for the current pin-pricks and provocation; their designers and planners must ask themselves what, if any, benefit is acruing to them provoking a nuclear-armed state.

    Of course, right at this moment, Iranians are already planning their own retaliations. But my suggestion is that they need to approach it from the point of view of “prevention” – an ounce of prevention is better than a ton of cure – as the saying goes.

    Having deployed tens of nuclear weapons, Iranians will face reduced actual threats.

    Certainly journalistic discussions of air campaigns against Iran, talks of alliance against iran, etc will evaporate (like the evil mist that it is).

    There is no other way to maintain state integrity and cohesion for Iran.

    Cocneptualy, you have to bring back the Safavids, or the Seljuks, or the Sasaanids. You need to create a formal alliance structure with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The major aim of this alliance will be to keep the Evil doers outside of the historical lands of Islam. The EvilDoers could include the Axis Powers, israel, Russia, India, China and others.

    I personally think that the Seljuks are the best example to emulate: ideally between the Hindu Kush to the the Mediterranean sea there has to be a single state.

    Otherwise, you will always be at the mercy of these foreign people that are much more powerful than you and when they get bored and do not know what to do with their enormous power they come into the lands of Islam and fight for a while and then go back home.

    Your choice.

  96. James Canning says:


    Fine commentary you linked, regarding effort of neocon warmongers to discredit the NIE and to deceive the American public into believing Iran is building nukes on the sly. Or getting ready to do so.

    Has anyone seen figures on what percentage of necon warmongers are Jews? I would guess 70%.

  97. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Good points. And Iran continues to insist that it does not want nukes, and is not trying to develop them on the sly. Which I think is what obtains.

  98. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi: how would Iran’s possession of one or two or a few nuclear weapons stop the US from bullying Iran? Becuase the US would fear Iran’s use of them? And what would happen to Iran if she DID use said weapons?

    Besides the moral repugnance and unacceptability of the mere possession let alone use of such weapons, methinks your logic fails on your own terms.

  99. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Another fine article by our friend Nima taking on MSM.

    Summary: “Oh dear, the Persians!”


  100. James Canning says:


    I find it hard to imagine Iran attacking Saudi Arabia in any event. What would be the purpose? I think the Saudis have a much bigger problem internally, and externally a significant problem is illegal migration from Yemen.

  101. James Canning says:


    I think I have a well-established record of being an ardent enemy of Zionist expansionism. I would put myself in the category of arch-enemy of Zionist expansionism. And I detest religious fundamentalism. Detest. Loathe. Deplore in the extreme.

  102. James Canning says:


    What is the question you think I fear to answer?

  103. James Canning says:

    Lionel Barber of the Financial Times has interesting review of several recent books on Afghanistan, in the FT today (“The Afghan misadventure”). He mentions that he was in Afghanistan in early 2010 and asked a top Nato officer to define success of mission. Response? “When Afghanistan becomes like any other normal third-world basket case.” Grim humour.

  104. James Canning says:


    Norway has worked hard in effort to achieve justice for the Palestinians. Latest reports have Norway supporting the UN resolution on independence.

  105. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: July 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

    There is an economic, political, financial, intelligence war being waged by the Axis Powers against Iran.

    The late Professor Rezae is the latest Iranian casaulty.

    As I stated before, Iran must deploy nuiclear weapons for these provocations to stop.

    There is no other way.

  106. JAnas says:

    the zionist regime keep on with their terror in Iran. Despicable.

    “Iran scientist assassinated in Tehran´”


  107. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Iran: Nuclear scientist ‘shot dead’ in Tehran

    An Iranian nuclear scientist has been shot dead in the capital, Tehran, Iranian media sources have said.

    The scientist, who has not yet been named, was shot outside his home, the Isna news agency reported, adding that his wife was wounded in the attack.


    Chomsky: “The best way for the West to stop terrorism is to stop practicing it”


    Bunch of panicing losers.

  108. Rehmat says:

    Israeli ‘Venegeance’ strikes Oslo

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


  109. Rehmat says:

    JAnas – Yes, Saudi ‘royals’ have nothing to fear from the non-existent nukes because they’re protected by nuclear arsenals of US and Israel in addition to UK.


  110. JAnas says:

    “Are you saying that the Saudis need not worry about Iran’s nuclear programme, and that Iran’s enriching of U to 20% is not their proper concern? Or that Saudi Arabia lacks legitimacy because it is a monarchy?”
    No on both, you assume alot of things, it doesnt benefit you. Again why are you scared anwering a simple question? Are you a zionist or a follower of wahabbism?

  111. James Canning says:


    Good points. And I of course agree that if Iran is not intending to stockpile a large amount of 20% U to enable a faster accumulation of weapons-grade U, then there is no need for alarm.

    And I too think the focus should be on achieving a Middle East free of nukes — meaning, pressuring Israel to sign the NPT and get rid of its nukes.

  112. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    July 22, 2011 at 7:08 pm


    Iran signed a deal to swap 1,200 kilograms of 3.5% U for 19.75% U needed for TRR. The deal was struck between Iran, Turkey and Brazil. It was answered by a new set of sanctions.

    Until such time as Iran has converted more than 1,200 kilograms of 3.5% U stocks to 19.75%, then Mr. Hague is fear-mongering over nothing. By the time Iran is done, several years worth of TRR fuel would have been fabricated. In all likelihood, Iran will offer to sell any surplus capacity for 19.75% EU to counties such as Belgium who also operate similar reactors for manufacturing medical isotopes.

    Or, if there is no market for that EU, Iran will reconfigure the cascades back to spinning for 3.5% EU.

    nuff said.

    On Saudi Arabia, please explain why would the custodian of Islam’s 2 holiest sites be concerned about hypothetical future Iranian nukes, to a point of distraction from the very real and present Israeli nukes?

  113. James Canning says:


    The specific issue I asked JAnas to explain, was what response William Hague should give to those asking why Iran is enriching to 20%. Is the purpose the stockpiling of a large amount of 20% U, to enable a quicker achieving of 90 or 95% U if Iran decided to build nukes?

  114. BiBiJon says:

    Anything that makes David livid, and raises Sanger’s anger, is probably a good thing.

    “Survivor of Attack Leads Nuclear Effort in Iran”

    While I am not certain how long it will take the west to realize Iran is not going to genuflect on any issue, I am confident Sanger’s anger will not subside for a long time after that realization.

  115. fyi says:

    Humanist says: July 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    And if you have faith in Evolution I suggest you read the “Mathematics of Evolution” by the late Fred Hoyle.

    Mr. Humanist, I have no problem with Evolution or anything else, I do have a problem with Scientism – a belief that modern Empirical Sciences embody metaphysically Certain Knowlege.

  116. Humanist says:

    Persian Gulf , fyi

    Although great majority of bio-scientists knew Evolution is a fact, in the last decade, after advances in Gene sequencing it was established beyond any doubt Evolution is not a theory anymore, it is as factual as sun and stars.

    Attentively watch this 2 and half hour PBS video:


    If after watching it you still have doubts on Evolution then be absolutely sure your dogmatism and zeal prevents you from comprehending the scientific realities.

  117. MHF says:

    Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett-

    You say that “They [meaning the Obama Administration] are oblivious to the reality that both Iran and Syria are critical subjects of that competition, with legitimate interests of their own and considerable reservoirs of domestic and regional legitimacy from which to draw.”

    If this “…considerable reservoirs of domestic and regional legitimacy…” is your opinion, based on your analysis of what is going on in Syria (or Iran,) then you either do not know S..t, or acting on behalf of Assad and the Iranian mullahs as their disinformation agents.

    I have advised you in previous occaisions, too: YOU need to wake-up!

    BTW, the correct name of the ancient area referred by Alister should be written as “Shaam,” not Sham.

  118. Rd. says:

    James Canning says: “what response William Hague should give to other members of his party, when they ask what Iran is doing with its nuclear programme.”

    James, from the horse’s moth;


  119. James Canning says:

    Colum Lynch has some interesting comments on Israel’s effort to block Un recognition of Palestine with 1967 borders:


  120. James Canning says:


    And Britain most definitely did not create Saudi Arabia. The Sultan of the Nejd, Ibn Saud, conquered the Hejaz, a kingdom ruled by a friend of Britain. Britain was not in a position to prevent that conquest or to reverse it. Ibn Saud then ruled as Sultan of Nejd and King of the Hejaz, until he later renamed the combined entity Saudi Arabia.

  121. James Canning says:


    Britain did not set out to create a “Jewish” state in Palestine, at the ouset of the League of Nations Mandate after the First World War.

  122. James Canning says:


    I agree with you the purpose of the sanctions, from the standpoint of neocon warmongers and other “supporters” of Israel right or wrong, is to prevent normal relations between the US and Iran. They need to present Iran as a “threat”, so that continuing oppression of the Palestinians by the Israelis, is in effect condoned and rewarded by the US.

  123. James Canning says:


    Sound analysis by Karon that you linked. I continue to think Israel in any event would be unlikely to attack Iran when Hezbollah is able to retaliate. That said, Hezbollah has stated it will not launch a first-strike against Israel.

    To me, the primary object of Netanyahu is to keep significant portions of the West Bank permanently. No matter how many hundreds of billions of dollars, or even trillions, this costs the American taxpayers.

  124. James Canning says:


    John Hagee professes to believe that most Christians will be consigned to hellfire and damnation, not just Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, after the Jews drive all the Christians and Muslims out of the “Land of Israel”. In other words, he is possibly an idiot, but more likely a scheming, dishonest manipulator of ignorant and rather stupid Americans.

  125. James Canning says:


    Are you saying that the Saudis need not worry about Iran’s nuclear programme, and that Iran’s enriching of U to 20% is not their proper concern? Or that Saudi Arabia lacks legitimacy because it is a monarchy?

    You have not answered my questions, as to what response William Hague should give to other members of his party, when they ask what Iran is doing with its nuclear programme.

  126. Rehmat says:

    “Mr. Ahmadinejad, don’t threaten Israel. What you do to the Jewish people, history proves, will be done to you,” Pastor John Hagee, July 19, 2011. I bet the Islam-hating bigot must have German Christians in his evil mind.


  127. BiBiJon says:

    Tony Karon has weighed in on the Robert Baer’s speculative prediction that Israel probably will attack Iran this September, before the UN vote on Palestinian statehood.

    Tony’s thesis is captured in the title “Israel’s ‘Threat’ to Bomb Nuclear Facilities is Central to its Iran Strategy”

    Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/07/22/israels-threat-to-bomb-nuclear-facilities-is-central-to-its-iran-strategy/#ixzz1Sq2bsvyV

    Beg to disagree. The bluffs and counter bluffs are instruments for frying a bigger fish. Namely, if you (Israel) are faced with losing your strategic relevance in a contrived special relationship, then ensuring your partner has no friends, and whipping up antipathy towards your partner from every direction as far as the eye can see is the only way to mask the strategic burden that Israel has become since the end of the cold war.

    Notice how time limits and all manner of other limits were imposed on the furtive Iran ‘engagement’ gambit. Conversely, notice how no holds are barred in the openly celebrated collective economic punishment of ordinary Iranians. No one expects ‘sanctions’ to work. The coercive policies are meant solely to aggravate a (previously) US-friendly Iranian population.

    Got to hand it to Mr. Ross. Recent polls show the US has become as friendless as a skunk in the greater mid east. See ,http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175420/

    So, next time you hear a threat of military action, or an actual ‘kinetic’ bombing run, consider for a moment that folks are not being stupid, they are making sure Israel will emerge as the US’ only friend. You don’t fully appreciate the beauty of a cactus in a rose garden, only in a desert.

  128. JAnas says:

    Rehmat: I fully agree with you.

  129. Rehmat says:

    JAnas – Here is response to your curiousity.

    Both Israel and Saudia are artificial entities, created by British colonial power to keep Muslim world divided. So who cares what they or their ‘creator and protectors’ think.

    China, Russia and Turkey are playing ‘friendly’ with Islamic Republic for their regional interests, oil/gas and fear of Zionfascism. All these three countries are doing far more business with Iran than they do with Israel or Saudia.

  130. Dan Cooper says:

    Iran Opens Oil Bourse – Harbinger of Trouble for New York and London?

    The last three years of global recession have dealt a major blow to American capitalist ideas trumpeted throughout the world on the value of “free markets.” Wall St has been revealed as a form of casino economy, with the bankster insiders gambling with other people’s, and eventually, the government’s money in the form of bailouts. As the Republicans in Congress, scenting victory in the 2012 presidential elections, hold a gun to the Obama administration’s head and rating agencies consider downgrading U.S. government bonds in light of Washington’s possible defaulting, many ideas around the world that previously seemed implausible because of the dominance of the U.S. economy are garnering renewed interest.

    Not surprisingly, many of these concepts originate in countries not enamored with Washington’s influence, perhaps none so more than “Axis of Evil” charter member Iran, which has seen its economy hammered by more than three decades of U.S.-led sanctions. Now Iran is working a program, that, if it succeeds, could help undermine the dollar’s preeminence as the world’s reserve currency more effectively than a Republican filibuster.

    Iran’s sly weapon against the Great Satan’s currency? An oil bourse on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, which has now begun selling high-grade Iranian crude oil.

    Mohsen Qamsari, deputy director for international affairs of the Iranian National Oil Company was modest about the exchange’s initial capabilities, saying, “The commodity stock exchange has been pursuing a mechanism for offering crude oil on the stock exchange for a long time, and it has taken the preliminary steps, to the extent possible. Considering the existing banking problems, foreign customers are not expected to be taking part in the first phase of offering crude oil on the stock exchange, and this will be done on a trial basis. Today Bahregan heavy, high quality, low sulfur crude oil with less sourness will be offered on the stock exchange for the first time. In the first phase, a 600,000 barrel shipment will be offered.”

    Given that the world currently consumes roughly 83 million barrels of crude oil each day, the initial oil offerings at the Iranian stock exchange are hardly going to make or break the market, but they do represent an attempt by a significant oil producer to divert revenue streams from New York Mercantile Exchange, the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange, which handles West Texas Intermediate benchmark futures, and London’s Intercontinental Exchange, which deals in North Sea Brent. All trades are in dollars, effectively giving the U.S. currency a monopoly.

    The Kish Exchange dates back to February 2008, when instead of Tehran, Kish was chosen because it had designated as a free trade zone. The Exchange was set up to trade contracts in euros, Iranian rials and a basket of other currencies other than dollars. The previous year, Iran had requested that its petroleum customers pay in non-dollar currencies. But the Exchange initially traded contracts only for oil-derived products, such as those used as feedstocks for plastics and pharmaceuticals. Now the institution has taken the next step.

    Even as Congress remains tone-deaf to the recession’s effect on American jobs and the economy, others have taken careful note. On 17 June 2008, addressing the 29th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the OPEC Fund for International Development in the Iranian city of Isfahan, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told those in attendance, “The fall in the value of the dollar is one of the biggest problems facing the world today. The damage caused by this has already affected the global economy, particularly those of the energy-exporting countries. … Therefore, I repeat my earlier suggestion, that a combination of the world’s valid currencies should become a basis for oil transactions, or (OPEC) member countries should determine a new currency for oil transactions.”

    What it would take for Iran’s new exchange to survive and flourish are some heavy-duty customers that Washington would be wary of picking a fight with, and Tehran already has one – China.

    China, the world’s largest buyer of Iranian crude oil, has renewed its annual import pacts for 2011. In 2010 Iran supplied about 12 percent of China’s total crude imports. According to the latest report of the China Customs Organization, Iran’s total oil exports to China stood at 8.549 million tons between January and April 2011, up 32 percent compared with the same period last year. Iran is currently China’s third largest supplier of crude oil, providing China with nearly one million barrels per day.

    China simply ignores Washington’s squeals about sanctions, but it is concerned about the bottom line, and unless Iran makes its oil prices more attractive versus competing supplies from the rest of the Middle East or South American exporters, it may be hard for the OPEC member to boost its share in the rapidly expanding Chinese market.

    Enter the Kish Exchange.

    China’s Ambassador to Tehran Yu Hung Yang, addressing the Iran-China trade conference in Tehran on Monday, said that the value of the two countries’ trade exchanges surged 55 percent during the first four months of 2011 over the same period a year ago to $13.28 billion and further predicted that the figure would surpass $40 billion by the end of the year.

    So much for sanctions, eh?

    So, while Washington prepares to commit political hara-kiri, Iran is preparing to take away a little of the capitalist glow from New York and London. If the Chinese decide to start paying for their Iranian purchases strictly in yuan, expect the trickle away from the dollar in energy pricing to become a stampede. That ought to give Washington politicos an issue to think about besides gay marriage.

    By. John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com

  131. paul says:

    The Saudis have no business being concerned about Iran. Their reason for PRETENDING to be concerned about Iran is that they wish to keep their own people subjugated, and Iran is popular with their people, because it ACTUALLY opposes Israel’s crimes, unlike the Saudi rulers, who pretend to oppose Israel’s crimes, while actually supporting them. Israel is in the same business the Saudi’s are: oppressing the people. The situation in Iran is much more complicated. Just imagine the unrest there would be in Saudi Arabia if the US and Israel were sowing unrest there, as they do in Iran. But it would be a lot harder, since Iran has an actual political process, that is somewhat open, and involves actual elections, however carefully hedged they might be (and if you want to see some hedged elections, how about looking at US elections).

  132. paul says:

    It’s looking like the arc is rising towards war with Iran again. The war on Libya and threatened war on Syria point that way. Israeli rumors point that way. A US drone reported found near Qom points that way. Reports of three US carriers converging on Iran point that way. Report that Iran is opening the oil bourse which will challenge the petro-based dollar points that way. Report that Iran will be heading the non-aligned movement next year points that way. Let the last point not be underestimated. Iran’s leadership could potentially do a lot to bring the NAM out of its slumber, and recent events encourage that too. For one thing, how many countries in the world are able to look upon Nato’s war of aggression against Libya with equanimity? Who will Nato or the US and allies attack next, given a target of resource/strategic interest and a handy excuse?

  133. Fara says:


    Is Pakistan next?

    Next front in America’s war

  134. JAnas says:


    The question is very simple, just like you push that saudi have a legit “concern” you also in the same time push the zionist “concern” since its the same “concern” as KSA.
    That is, you think that the world should listen to israels concern about Iran?

    “Are you saying that Russia, China and Turkey have no reason to be concerned about the Iranian nuclear programme, while the Saudis and the Israelis do?”

    No I just said that the concern between the 2 camps are not the same type of concern.

  135. James Canning says:

    An interesting report on high unemployment rate among young Saudis, especially college-educated women:


  136. James Canning says:


    Are you saying that Russia, China and Turkey have no reason to be concerned about the Iranian nuclear programme, while the Saudis and the Israelis do?

  137. James Canning says:


    You ask if I think “the world” should “heed” Israel’s concerns about Iran. I do not understand what you mean by the question. Are you asking if I think the course of action taken by the “world” should be the course advocated by Israel?

    I think Israel should get out of the West Bank. Full stop. Period. I think Israel’s refusal to end the occupation poses a serious threat to the peace of the entire Middle East. This is also the position of the Saudis.

  138. JAnas says:


    Russia, Turkey, China etc dont share the same kind of concern as israel and saudi do, so please man, for God sake reply to my very simple question.
    You dont even follow up on my replies. What are you doing?

  139. James Canning says:

    Netanyahu has told the annual meeting of the foolish Christian Zionists that Israel and the US have the same enemies. Rubbish. We should bear in mind most Christian Zionists are badly educated and extremely stupid to boot.

  140. James Canning says:

    Ahmadinejad says Iran will consider the Russian plan for staged reductions in sanctions subject to certain conditions.

  141. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    July 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    As usual you make great points which explains the affliction of those who twist Realists theories, balance of power, etc. to be prescriptive.

  142. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: July 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Hawking is not modest, he pretends to be.

    In regards to your question about US; her European populace has been narcisstic even in the 19-th century. Just look at the US politicans going around and – in effect – telling people hwo great they are. No Iranian politican seeking votes can do that.

    US is a country of uprooted larlely low-class immigrants.

    They gave up a lot to come to US – roots, family, culture, language, religion etc.; to varying degrees.

    Now, having lost all that, if US is not that unique, exceptional, New Jerusalem, City on the Hill, Indispensible Nation etc. then what have they gained but a modest life in a decent country that is run relatively well and decently?

    For many, such as myself, that ought to suffice.

    But clearly very many Americans – specially those with ancestory from Europe who live North of the Mason-Dixon Line, that is not sufficient. They want US to be grander than she actually is. An Un-Exceptional US will be an emotional affront that they cannot easily deal with.

    It is sad, in a way, but that seems to be the case – in my opinion.

  143. James Canning says:


    Maybe I should put the matter a different way. Since Russia, Turkey, China all make clear they do not want Iran to develop nuclear weapons, do you think their opinion should be ignored, merely because Israel has the same position on that issue? And keep in mind Iran says it opposes nukes and wants them eliminated from the ME and the entire planet.

  144. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    July 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks again. You’re getting closer to opining on my point.

    Hawking, who I quoted, candidly cites “modesty” as the only arbiter for deciding whether or not it is only from the view point of an observer in the Milky way that the universe seems to be the way it is.

    I assume Hawking regards “modesty” as a facet of what he judges to be tasteful, and beautiful, justifying his particular judgement that for the Milky way to be unique would be “most remarkable.”

    My point was that in the same way that even with what little has been discovered so far about the universe, its size, and diversity it would be preposterous to assign singular importance to where the observer happens to be, does it not sound painfully self indulgent for an American to ask who better than the US … given a world history that is the graveyard of bygone empires and civilizations?

  145. James Canning says:


    I keep trying to clarify your question. If you are arguing that any position taken by Israel should be ignored, on grounds the position is taken by Israel, I think that approach is wrong. The issue always should be, what merit does the given position have.

    Do I take it you think Iran should produce huge quantities of 20% U? Far beyond the needs of the TRR for the next five years?

  146. JAnas says:


    Again, why do you ignore my question (also my replies), the question is very easy. Do you James think that the world should heed the zionist regimes voice regarding Iran?

  147. James Canning says:


    You seem to be arguing that if a position is advanced by “Zionists”, it should be ignored? What do you thinl William Hague should say, to other members of his party, who raise concerns about Iran’s enriching of U to 20%? That this is not a problem, so long as no more than, say, five years’ supply for the TRR is produced?

  148. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: July 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Pierre Duhem, late professor of Physics at the University of Bourdeaux, had delved deeply into the aims and structures of physical theory. There is too little room here for me to explain his ideas but essentialy he points out the significant and decisive roles that non-rational elements such as taste, beauty, judgement etc. play in the construction of physical theories.

    In his Le System de Monde, he further develops and sustains his ideas, chief among them the rehabilitation of Medieval Sciences in Europe and the crucial and critical contribution of Christian Thought/Philosophy to the emergence of the Modern Empirical Sciences.

    I actually agree with him that the rationalist position, as well as the positivist claims to Truth are invalid – there is more to Epistomolgy and how we know what we think we know than application of axioms or construction of calaulation schemes based on raw sensory data.

    I think he was very much and correctly (in the sense of Absoulte Trth) by Pascal’s Meditations; which has been available in Persian for 40 years.

  149. James Canning says:

    James Bovard has an interesting review of John Mearsheimer’s book, Why Leaders Lie, in the August 2011 American Conservative magazine. He reminds us that Abram Shulsky, the warmongering neocon put in charge of the unit of the Pentagon created to feed false intelligence to the American people (to set up the Iraq War), was an advocate of calculated lying to the public by American leaders. Shulsky has been rewarded for his contributions to the destruction of the American Republic. Shulsky had a special interest in manipulating the media to deceive the public.

    What a spectacle! Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and Abram Shulsky, working together to “benefit” Israel, deceive the American people, and undermine the Republic itself. And all of them are protected by rich and powerful Jews in the US.

  150. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    July 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for the reply. Any thoughts on the actual point I was making:

    rational thought in other fields?

  151. James Canning says:


    Are you arguing that Iran should enrich large amounts of 20% U, even if Iran has no use for the 20% U?

    Is Iran underminging the effort to obtain justice for the Palestinians, by enriching large amounts of unneeded 20% U? Or is the idea to enrich perhaps a five-year supply for the TRR? Or for export to other countries?

    I think my record of sustained hostility to Zionist expansionism is quite clear.

  152. JAnas says:

    Why do you keep ignoring my questions? Once again, do you think we should care the zionist calls about Iran?

    “Are you claiming that Iran is enriching U to 20%, beyond its needs for the TRR, to demonstrate its right to enrich to 20% in any amount?”
    It claims its inherit right, that is, again, to produce low-enriched uranium.

    “Do you think that Iranian hostility toward Saudi Arabia benefits the Palestinian effort to obtain UN recognition (independence with 1967 borders)?”
    Iran has no “hostility” towards Saudiarabia. Again Iran has nothing to do with Palestinian statehood, why did you even brought up Palestine? You seems to be confused.

  153. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    July 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Where can I find information on the claim that Iran is enriching U to 20%, beyond its needs for the TRR?

  154. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    July 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Also by Arshin:

    Iran: this is not a revolution
    Tuesday 23 June 2009

    The unrest in Iran is about deciding the future path of the Islamic Republic – not about overthrowing the system


  155. James Canning says:


    Are you claiming that Iran is enriching U to 20%, beyond its needs for the TRR, to demonstrate its right to enrich to 20% in any amount?

    Do you think that Iranian hostility toward Saudi Arabia benefits the Palestinian effort to obtain UN recognition (independence with 1967 borders)?

  156. BiBiJon says:

    Realists, and clash of civilizations

    Also raging a few weeks/threads ago was the neoconservative embrace of Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilizations, and realism as a dominant discourse in I-R.

    I am always amazed that theories that are in fact proscriptive, or at least descriptive with a big dollop of foreboding, end up being usurped as being prescriptive, and used as justification for asinine policy formulations with few questions asked.

  157. kooshy says:

    On further search his name is correctly printed and indeed is Arshin

  158. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: July 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    The cosmic background radiation is (cosmologically) model independent.

    It can be accomodated both within the Big Bang Theory or the Steady State Theory.

    As regards to funding for science in US; there are far too many researchers and not enough money.

  159. kooshy says:

    I just read this short analysis that might interest some on this board, I suspect the author’s first name is Afshin and it was originally miss printed by the publisher?

    Revolt in the Arab World, But Not in Iran — Why?
    by Arshin Adib-Moghaddam


    Iran is a different case because the country already had a revolution in 1979. Even those Iranians who are in the opposition called for reform within the system rather than revolution. It is not a climate of fear that explains the survival of the Islamic Republic but the absence of revolutionary fervour. No state can cling to power merely through brute force.
    What we are experiencing in Iran is what I have called a ‘pluralistic momentum’ in my book, “Iran in World Politics”. The state is not a monolith. Rather the contrary it is being dissected from within and under the pressure of an embattled civil society. Hence, the political process in Iran cannot be monopolised by one single actor. Neither can the politics of the country be determined by the use of systematic violence. . . Yes, the state has an imperfect and arbitrary judicial system, yes at the height of the demonstrations it used systematic violence to subdue the demonstrators and yes the current administration of President Ahmadinejad cannot shirk the responsibility of what happened, but that is as far as it goes.
    There is no penchant for revolution in Iran. The Green Movement was the reincarnation of previous reform movements. But its leaders, especially Moussavi made several tactical mistakes which I believe was due to a lack of political strategy. I would say that a) there is no clear cut backing of the Green Movement that runs through all strata of Iranian society and classes and b) that the Iranian state is sufficiently endowed with hard power — military, police, intelligence services etc — and soft power, such as ideological devices, to navigate through occasional outbursts of dissent.
    The Green Movement is politically dead but socially active, that is to say the calls for reforms articulated by its leaders continue to reverberate within Iranian society, but as a political force they are discredited.
    I think the Iranian state will continue to be challenged by the Iranian population, young and old. The demands for due judicial process, more individual freedoms, and Islamic democracy are just and legitimate. These demands, rather than the movements — green or other — that claim them, have a strong backing in Iranian society. Many members of the Iranian state itself are aware that changes are needed, so hope is merited.
    Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is lecturer in the comparative and international politics of the middle east at SOAS, London. His latest book is A Metahistory of the Clash of Civilisations: Us and Them beyond Orientalism (C Hurst/Columbia University Press, 2010). His previous books include Iran in World Politics: The Question of the Islamic Republic (C Hurst/Columbia University Press, 2008). The text above was adapted from John Thornton’s interview with Arshin Adib-Moghaddam published in TheFreshOutlook on 12 July 20111; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.

  160. BiBiJon says:

    Who better than USA to define, and impose world order?

    This debate was raging a few weeks/threads back when I was reading, but was unable to put my 2 cents worth. So, apologies for being late.

    Politics, social sciences and international relations are not the only academic subjects that deal with intangible and uncountable entities, and which require generalizations, and abstractions to avoid inchoate debates.

    One such area is theoretical physics. The subject matter, the universe, has a tad more moving parts than the total number of human beings that have ever lived here on earth. So, I thought it might be instructive to see how deep thinkers in this field approach rational thought. I found it in Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Writing about discovery of background microwave radiation proving Friedsmann’s theory of an expanding universe, Hawking writes:

    “Now at first sight, all this evidence that the universe looks the same whichever direction we look in might seem to suggest there is something special about our place in the universe. … There is, however, an alternate explanation: the universe might look the same in every direction as seen from any other galaxy, too. … We have no scientific evidence for, or against this assumption. We believe it only on grounds of modesty: it would be most remarkable if the universe looked the same in every direction around us, but not around other points in the universe!”

    Can anyone imagine raising a a red cent’s worth of a grant from any science foundation to conduct research in the cardinality of the Milky way in the universe? You’d be laughed out the room. There’s no ‘PNAC’ in theoretical physics.

    The apparent ‘exceptionalism’ at the root of the question: who better than US…, ought be defined as a temporary state of relative achievement that can be and will be evened out by a combination of the high achiever’s regression, and the laggards’ progress. To my mind, equating exceptionalism with some sort of unmeritorious entitlement and striving for it be a permanent state is indistinguishable from fascism. But, the argument is not a moral one. Such a mindset, and its attendant wars of aggression are precisely what hastens the inevitable regression.

  161. fyi says:

    Rehmat says:July 21, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Almost certainly the Axis Powers are giving these passports to the Israelis; they are not fabricated by Israel.

    Australia and New Zeland also are supplying them to Israel, living a fantasy of being Champions of Israel, saving Anne Franck from the NAZIs etc.

    It is pathetique.

  162. Rehmat says:

    Every time the Zionist-controlled mass media tries to cover some Israeli crimes – I naturally get suspicious. To cite a few of media-protected stories like Holocaust and Sept. 11.

    In February 2011, a severe earthquake hit Christchurch where, according to Israeli daily Ha’aretz, 120 Israeli Jews lived. Three of Israelis were found dead while one of them, Ofer Benyamin Mizrahi, had five passports in his pockets. The earthquake reportedly killed 181 people.

    Mizrahi along with three other Israelis, one man and two women, were sitting inside a vane which was crushed by falling pillar, killing Mizrahi. However, the other three Israeli Jews survived, took some photographs of the vane – and hurriedly departed to Israel. Reminds those five Israeli photographing the falling Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 while dancing, doesn’t it?

    New Zealand authorities later confronted an “unaccredited Israeli search and rescue squad” and removed it from the sealed-off area in the city, the Times said. This squad was one of two private search parties brought from Israel to New Zealand, without prior coordination with local authorities in New Zealand, Haaretz reported. Reminds me AMIA bombing in Argentina.

    Now, New Zealand’s prime minister John Key who is on visit to the US – with some hesitation has declared that those Israeli Jews were not found to be involved in espionage in his country. This news was carried out by NYT, Huffington Post and other Zioncon media outlets.

    John Key’s mother was an Austrian Jew. That adds some sweatener to the story.

    Mossad agents are known for stealing or using forged passports of New Zealand, Canada, Britain and several other countries. In 2004, two Mossad agents were jailed in New Zealand and as a result country’s prime minister Helen Clark had angrily denounced Israel and imposed diplomatic sanctions on it (Guardian UK, July 16, 2004).


  163. BiBiJon says:


    On the question of KSA’s (or anybody else’s) concern about Iran’s nuclear programme, I think a little deconvolution may help your analysis:

    “While a necessary condition, [nuclear weapons potential] however is not a sufficient cause for Iran’s nuclear issue becoming controversial. After all there are a number of other nuclear threshold countries in the world, not to mention nuclear-armed states, whose nuclear programs have not drawn any international controversy. What makes Iran’s nuclear program controversial is Iran’s political identity as a state or who Iran is or what it stands for. The combination of seeking nuclear threshold status and Iran’s political identity has turned Iran’s nuclear program into a controversial issue. Speaking in the language of social sciences methodology, there is an interactive effect between these two variables in the sense that each of these two variables [Iran’s political identity, and the dual use nature of nuclear technology] is significant only in combination with the other variable or its effect is intensified in interaction with the other. Iran’s political ideology as practiced in its foreign policy, especially in regard to the Middle East region and the United States, largely represents Iran’s political identity.”

    From http://www.nl-aid.org/continent/middle-east/israeli-leaders-understand-the-futility-of-military-adventure-against-iran-interview-with-abolghasem-bayyenat/

  164. JAnas says:

    Sure saudi have put forth some peace-proposals but other than that they are shut on the israeli question of obvious reasons. Again, saudi lack of protests against the israeli occupation has nothing to do with Iran.

    Also you do not approach my question, again, if you think that the saudi-concern is legit you obviously think that the israeli concern should be heedded too.
    Also and again, Iran got the legal right to enrich uranium to this extent, who cares what saudiarabia, israel etc thinks? What is your agenda?

  165. Castellio says:

    Right, we should all commit suicide because we are not loved in the eyes of the Lord. Brilliant.

    And history is a waste of time. And the principles of change are a waste of time. And intellectual courage must inevitably fail so why think?

    If you think evolution proves that you are a block of wood….. well, at that point I just might agree with you.

  166. Persian Gulf says:


    Over the years of debate with a close friend of mine, who is in fact a biologists and a medical doctor as well, we have come to the point that every one TRULY believing in evolution should NOT hesitate to commit suicide immediately (it wouldn’t even make sense to write over here!). the fact that we, presumably thinkers or better to say readers, of these theories don’t do that is bc we want to believe it’s not fully correct and there is a little hope. it’s an illusion that we all have. in that sense, it makes me laugh when I see people ridiculing all religious beliefs based on Darwinian world view while they themselves are in the state of denial. we are all in the state of denial.

    People often look at the evolution scientifically and physically (with all those flaws that exist in these empirical sciences), so to try to resolve the little difference here and there, but less philosophically. even the starting point is not the issue here, though somehow critical for the theory of evolution per se. evolution is not just about the difference between human and a chimpanzee which is of secondary importance. it’s the fact that human being is not fundamentally, based on the evolution, different than a stone, a piece of wood, this keyboard that I am typing with!…. It’s all about time. that inevitably leads us to the long time question of whether we actually have free will or not, which continuing this trend should lead to the point of saying no, we don’t. a fully materialistic world view is not inherently consistent, at least not to me as yet. I can’t resolve human reactions under a very stressful situation or a very pleasant one.

    I was going to write it to Castellio regarding the book he had recommended before. I have read almost one third of that book and found it waste of time to continue. I understand the concept of inchoate consciousness Peter Munz talked about. but it sounds like he didn’t get it fully specially seeing him making distinction between two dimensional and three dimensional languages and its effect on human life.

    Investing too much on evolution doesn’t seem to pay back well :)

  167. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – William Hague is an Israeli poodle. After being appointed Foreign Secretary, he assured the British Friends of Israel: “I am a natural friend of Israel”, and to prove it he asserted that “it would be a mistake to ever rule out military action against Iran”.


  168. James Canning says:


    Many leading Saudis are deeply committed to bringing justice to the Palestinians, in so far as it is possible. And many of them detest the Zionist expansionism, growth of illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank, etc.

    Are you arguing that the Saudis have no reason to express concern about Iran’s enriching of U to 20%, well beyond what is needed to refuel the TRR over the next year?

  169. James Canning says:


    I think this article is fair, in criticising Hague’s recent comments regarding the Iranian production of 20% U.


  170. JAnas says:

    Well since you share saudis concern, you share the zionist concern too? Since its the same “concern”.

    Your second question…Ok now you try to scapegoat again, you basically say “oh its Irans fault that Saudi doesnt care about palestinians”. Well Saudi have never really cared about the palestinians to begin with since they are deeply-connected to the US-interest for the region, thats why we never hear any criticism against the zionist occupation by the saudi leaders. Also I dont see why we shifted attetion to Palestine.

  171. James Canning says:


    Bravo! Of course, we know the rules are completely different, if the influence buying is intended to benefit Israel.

  172. James Canning says:


    Are you asking if I pay attention to the actions of Israel? Or are you asking if I approve of those actions? There is a difference.

    Has it occurred to you that the Saudis would have an easier time bringing pressure to bear, in favor of the Palestinians, if they did not have to be concerned about Iran?

  173. James Canning says:


    Are you saying that Iran is enriching to 20% to supply its own needs for years to come, or for export?

    I’m not related to Hague but I know a number of people who know him, and apart from that his record shows that he would prefer to have better relations between Iran and the UK, if this is possible. He has to work within the political constraints that obtain, and I do not think Iran could hope for a British foreign secretary better suited to understanding the situation in the Middle East, and what to do to avoid disaster.

    Why do you believe the opinion of Saudi Arabia is not important? Or the opinion of Dubai (or UAE)? Or Qatar?

  174. Fiorangela says:

    Eliza Griswell and Lawrence Wright expressed points of view about Islam that expanded the usual narrative. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Futureofal

    How hopeful these speakers were in Fall 2008.

    Griswell is author of “The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam.” The daughter of an Episcopalian priest, Griswell took her Princeton education and spent 7 years travelling through SE Asia, Africa, Indonesia, between the 10th parallel and the equator. Key observations: the clash of civilizations thesis is unhelpful; the real religious clashes are within the religious groups, and are as prevalent within Islam as they are within Christianity. Further, Griswell notes that the full range of community interaction can create the conditions for conflict — water supply controlled by Christians not Muslims can provoke Muslim-Christian conflict; THIS Muslim group’s control of another economic resource can cause conflict with THAT Muslim group. Pretty basic stuff; wonder why it never occurred to the folks in the State Department.

  175. Humanist says:


    I do not agree with some of the concepts we were discussing in the previous thread. However since the related subjects might not be in the scope of this website discussing them further seems pointless

    But you also hinted on Evolution of Knowledge explained by Darwin’s Natural Selection.

    I think on us humans and all living organisms the Darwinian Natural Selection is the most influential and most profound idea that has FULLY shaped my own abstract mind. Before encountering DNS, I had dozens of perplexing questions which apparently didn’t have any hard convincing answer. Now, as an example, I see clearly why there are so many forms of life. Also under the light of DNS I can vision (more objectively?) why people do what they do, even going further and guess why acts instigated from our mammalian brain are not in sync with the realities and complexities of modern time surroundings etc etc.

    May I ask, do you believe in DNS? Have you ever heard of or read about ‘culturally evolved humans’?

  176. fyi says:

    Humanist says: July 20, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    The fact remains that murder, theft, incest, rape, war, and poverty have been empirically observed features of human societies.

    Once could then invoke the Principle of Incomplete Induction and conclude that these are permanent features of human societies.

    Note that all of empirical sciences, in Truth, rely on the Principle of Incomplete Induction for the validity of their generalizations.

    Alternatively, you can conclude that the idea of the Fall of Man actually is saying something relevant about the human condition.

    You are also putting too much stock in the latest pronouncement of scientists. Very many of them have a anti-religion agenda as part of which they never miss a chance to denigrate the dignity and worth of the Human Individual – bestowed on him by the Lord God Almighty.

    What difference does it make if 10% of Human Genome is what distinguishes him from a Chimpanzee? Is the Chimapanzee only 10% different than a human? There is chasm separating the Man and the Beast – Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd and even Aristotle knew that.

    I do not care – beyond knowing the survival of humankind – one bit about Humanity as an Evolving Enterprise for I am always concerned about the individual human being. Even if Mankind becomes capable of playing with stars as a child plays now with lego bricks; I would be interested in knowing how the individual human beings of that era are fairing.

    Not humanity, but the human.

  177. Humanist says:


    I noticed last week in your response to my comment you wrote” There are static features of human beings that do not change; 10,000 years of warfare seems to have been one such constant”

    So you believe warfare is a static (permanent) feature of humanity and has berm with us from 10,000 years ago and will be with us forever?

    Do you believe there is a possiblity France and Germany going to war soon, or in future?

    My answer to that question is “not likely”since after centuries of intense hostilities and painful deaths and destructions both nations have MATURED realizing that ‘warfare is the manifestation of extreme foolishness and barbarism of primitive humans, farsighted humans can solve their disputes without resorting to violence or trickery ’

    Don’t you agree humanity is a dynamic enterprise and it is ever-maturing?

    And about you figure of 10,000 years, science proves warfare has been a characteristic of mammalian life from millions of years ago. Watch a National Geographic film on Jane Goodall and Chimps. There you’ll see how a chimp tribe attacks another tribe savagely beating their members to death. Note that science (Gene Sequencing) proves beyond any doubt that about 99% of genes of humans and chimp are IDENTICAL.

    Put all of the above together, do you still believe humans have static features that never change?

  178. JAnas says:

    JAMES: Either you are related to hague or ..well I dont see a reason why support his belligerent approach to Iran.
    Also, Iran have the FULL LEGAL RIGHT to enrich low-enriched-uranium, that is uranium up to 20%.
    Also why would you care what the dicator us/israeli-puppet regimes in the gulf thinks? Do you care what the nuclear zionist regime thinks too?

  179. Fara says:

    ‘US charges 2 illegal Pak lobbyists’
    “The US Justice Department has charged two Pakistan-born American citizens with illegally funneling millions of dollars to attract Washington’s support on the issue of Kashmir.”

    I wonder if there are any other foreign lobbyists required to be investigated.

  180. James Canning says:


    There are many Jews in the lead in the effort to contain Zionist expansionism, and of course many Jews, expecially in America, working hard to deceive the American people about what the real issues are, regarding the Israel/Palestine problem, in hopes of facilitating the delusional Zionist expansionism.

  181. James Canning says:


    If you put William Hague in the same category as Hillary Clinton and Bibi Netanyahu, you have very little understanding of Hague. Very little indeed. Are you in effect arguing that Iran’s enrichment of 20% U should be of no concern to Saudi Arabia or any of the other Gulf coumntries?

  182. James Canning says:

    Lysander & FYI,

    Turkey and Iran have many interests in common and their mutual advantage will come from even greater trade and other connections. And both countries work together to ensure no independent Kurdistan is created.

  183. Rehmat says:

    “If Murdoch sells up shop, it would be a blow to Israel’s fortunes,” wrote Robin Shepherd in London Jewish Chronicle on July 14, 2011.

    Murdoch trail terrifies Israel Lobby

  184. Castellio says:

    FYI at 10.25 AM

    I agree.

  185. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: July 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    To a certain extent, US is not very dissimilar with Iran.

    You can watch some of the proceedings of US Congress in which the Congressmen are asked to vote on topics that they clearly do not understand and never will.

    Twnety years ago, they had a fellow with a license in Public Relations on the Science Committe – deciding which scientific projects to fund.

    Most people are “c” – 10/20; so what do you expect.

  186. fyi says:

    Lysander says: July 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    I think the part about Turkey as a strategic counter-weight to Iran was a bit of wishful thinking on part of the author.

    Moreover, notice the underlying paradigm: balance of power – stupid freshman Political Science 101 in US unviversities.

    The imperative of the Middle Eastern states has been development – for the last 150 years. Fools like the late Mr. Hussein of Iraq and the leaders of Pakistan who chose to curry favor for the Axis Powers prove the point; they gained nothing.

    Tureky has nothing to gain by confronting Iran – implicitly or explicitly – neither does Saudi Arabia or PGCC or Jordan.

  187. fyi says:

    Pirouz_2 says: July 20, 2011 at 8:13 am

    You let it fly to find out its target. Moreover, you do not want to activate your radar sites since this could have been a bait to examine Iran’s air-defences.

    There could be more reasons.

  188. Pirouz says:

    Big question is whether it would transit north Atlantic (via Gibraltar) or south Atlantic (the Cape).

    One ship would likely be IRINS Kharg (AORH 431) and the other a frigate, comparable to the task force that recently transited the Mediterranean.

  189. Pirouz_2 says:

    Irshad says:
    July 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Personally I think that’s not really good news for Iranian air-defence systems. The main question to answer is: “How the hell did it manage to fly deep into Iran to Qom, before it was shot down?”

  190. JAnas says:

    JAMES: Oh please stop keep defending one of the most pathetic anti-Iran leaders along with netanyahu and hillary clinton.

  191. US has no credibitly says:

    KATHLEEN: said on July 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    {Have folks read this?}

    Please don’t repeat the zionist’s lie around. Israel IS NOT IN ANY POSITION TO BE ABLE TO ATTACK IRAN.
    This propaganda is spread around to fool people. They want to divert attention from Israel’s war crime activities onto other issues. All the propagandists, including Hersh, are involved in this zionist project, many of whom are Mossad agents.

    If Israel was able to attack Iran, then the apartheid state and its 5th column, the Jewish Lobby, would have not carried the same stupid propaganda over and over. They want to scare people and to test how stupid people react. Israel is much prettier than that to dare to attack Iran without US help. Fortunately, there are enough Americans who have not sold themselves to Zionist traitors and are against the zionist project because they know this is NOT AMERICAN INTEREST, ONLY ZIONIST INTEREST.

    ISRAEL cannot ATTACK IRAN by itself, AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT. The regular neocons are hated by the majority of American people and they know it. You should tell them SHUT UP AND GET LOST.

    The zionists love what you are doing because they want people to spread their propaganda around. You are doing them a favor.

  192. kooshy says:

    Lysander says:
    July 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Lysander- with a few considerations I can generally subscribe to your overall analysis of current relationship between Iran and Turkey, one strategic point to consider is that Turkey is an energy dependent state and will remain so in foreseeable future, for this reason Turkey’s policy vis-à-vis Iran, had more strategic weight when Saddam was still in power in Iraq, since turkey was the only available rout to the west for Iran like in the Safavied period and on. To recover this 500 year old balance Turkey will want to swing Syria away from an strategic alliance with Iran, since Iraq after the fall of Saddam is now more difficult to tilt away from Iran.

    Like during the Ottoman Empire Iran has became eastern centric but this time not due to the Turks behavior but rather the west’s, this is a necessary strategic move by Iran which perhaps will have less consequences than it did during the last five centuries, due to this reason I believe Iran’s current policy toward Turkey is still a tactical move rather than an strategic alliance of sort. I believe strategically at this time Shaam is more important to Iran than the Asia Minor is.

    Basically, this time around, and if the current situation remains, the Turks will need Iran more than the Iranian will need the Turks, for this reason to maintain the balance Turks will need to strategically block the new corridor which was opened with the fall of Saddam. This is the reason Turks are hosting the Syrian opposition.

  193. Humanist says:

    masoud, James

    What do you think about the following thoughts crossing my mind I was reading your comments?

    I believe zealous neocons and Likudniks who are holding the helms of the big ships are the most dangerous enemies of all humanity. Yet I believe:

    — From a scientific perspective three are no good guys / bad guys (if I am forced to pick 3 of the worst individuals in present time I’ll pick 3, 2 of them are Jewish. Accidentally if I am forced to pick 3 of the best human beings I’ll pick 3, 2 of them are also Jewish)

    Carefully watch 114 minute video of “The Journey of Man”. Then study why we can easily get indoctrinated to hate or love some tribes. The video stipulates, from the modern genetic viewpoint (DNA analysis) we are all the same


    What a profound discovery which indirectly demonstrates the folly of wars and the great benefits of all types of peaceful coexistence.

    – I never get upset watching debates involving hardcore neocons. It is absorbing to see their delusional / psychopathic side. They make me think. They teach me new lessons on the ugly side of our humanity. On the same time I see them as victims of their own culture. No good guys / No bad guys

    When in the Rubin/Brock video I noticed they were (gleefully?) referring to Iran sanctions I remembered a recent unpublished study in it the author concludes “….sanctions…..especially those in the last two centuries imposed on the oppressed people by the colonial powers fit more to the SADISTIC category….”

    What would you do when you watch an interesting documentary about sadistic serial killers? You stop watching or you become curious about how the brains of some humans work?

  194. Kathleen says:

    Rehmat as you must be aware of millions of Americans did not want to witness the unnecessary and immoral invasion of Iraq and the subsequent deaths, injuries and millions displaced. Too many bought the Bush bull and the MSM’s willingness to go along with their agenda

    But millions of us marched, lobbied, some of us were arrested.

    The same stands for an attack on Iran

  195. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    July 19, 2011 at 11:41 am

    “…and the Islamic Disaster of Iran have put …”.

    این دو بیت فکر کنم زبان حال نسل شما باشه که انقلاب کرد.

    دل می رود ز دستم صاحب دلان خدا را — ما انقلاب کردیم یا انقلاب ما را// حافظ ز غیب گفتا ، جانا خبر نداری ؟— آخوند های این قوم کردند هر دو تا را

    نسل ما که یا فلنگو بسته یا داره میبنده که در بره. بقول چند تا از دوستام تو ایران مملکت داره از ژن باهوش ها تهی می شه. و این اصلا حرف بی خودی نیست. وقتی شما اون 500 نفر بالای حکومت رو که نگاه می کنی، 5 نفر هم توش آدم با قابلیت پیدا نمی کنی که سرش به تنش بیارزه، این روند کاملا طبیعیه.

  196. Rehmat says:

    Kathleen – We have been listening to Israel military threats to Islamic Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. I wish Israeli Jews put their actions where their Zionist mouths are.

    Only last month former Mossad chief Meir Dagan told both Bibi and Rabbi Lieberman that attacking Iran without America’s active involvement is “the most stupid thing” he ever heard.

    TIranian people and myself would love to hear from you – How Israel can fight 8-year war hardened nation when the 30,000 Jewish soldiers could not defeat 1500 Hizbullah rocket-carrying fighters?


  197. Rehmat says:

    The western Zionist-controlled mainstream media will never like you to know the evils behind the recent break-up of Africa’s largest Muslim nation, Sudan. It has nothing to do with Arab-African or Shari’ah conflict. It’s part of western imperialists’ desire to recolonize part of Sudan and exploit its natural resources, mainly, oil, Gum arabic, Nile water for Israel and uranium.

    The US politicians, Christian Right, Jewish Lobby and Israel have played the role of midwife for the creation of South Sudan on July 7, 2011 and became 193rd member of United Nations. Watch a video below.


  198. Lysander says:

    fyi says:
    July 19, 2011 at 10:28 am

    That was a very informative article, thanks for bringing it to our attention. Regarding Turkey as a counterweight to Iran, I think that is plausible but certainly not in the sense that Iraq under Saddam was. For turkey to have influence in the Arab world, it will have to have a strong Pro-Palestinian stance. Being a tool of the west will not enhance Turkey’s regional stature at all. Also, Turkey and Iran are ideal business partners. For Turkish firms, Iran is a market where they, thanks to sanctions, don’t have to compete with the west as well as a source of energy security in an unsure world. For Iran, Turkey is another loophole out of the sanctions regime imposed on it. So I can see the two nations becoming competitors, in a positive sense, but not really adversaries.

    More favorably, Turkey will act as a counterweight to Saudi Arabia. It will be an example of a sort of Sunni Islam much more modern, accepting and sophisticated than the Wahhabism SA is always peddling, and it will have no interest at all in the Sunni-Shia sectarianism SA is always trying to promote.

  199. James Canning says:

    Ken Timmerman has an interesting report (July 19th on newsmax.com), stating that Turkish counter-insurgency officers have been advising the Iranians on their current incursion into Iraq to attack the Kurdish bases.

  200. James Canning says:


    William Hague is probably as reasonable a person as we can hope to see as foreign secretary of the UK, especially regarding the Middle East. Hague has expressed concern about Iran’s enriching to 20%, and this expression of concern is made partly because the Saudis do not want to go forward with their own nuclear programme, but they will if they believe Iran is trying to build nukes on the sly.

  201. James Canning says:

    Those following Israel/Palestine should read Didier Jacobs’ new piece, touching on possible benefits from UN recognition of Palestine with 1967 borders.


  202. Kathleen says:

    Have folks read this?

    CIA veteran: Israel to attack Iran in fall
    The Israeli security establishment is increasingly worried by Netanyahu’s bellicose stance towards Iran.
    A longtime CIA officer who spent 21 years in the Middle East is predicting that Israel will bomb Iran in the fall, dragging the United States into another major war and endangering US military and civilian personnel (and other interests) throughout the Middle East and beyond.

    Earlier this week, Robert Baer appeared on the provocative KPFK Los Angeles show Background Briefing, hosted by Ian Masters. It was there that he predicted that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is likely to ignite a war with Iran in the very near future.

    Robert Baer has had a storied career, including a stint in Iraq in the 1990s where he organised opposition to Saddam Hussein. (He was recalled after being accused of trying to organise Saddam’s assassination.) Upon his retirement, he received a top decoration for meritorious service.

    Baer is no ordinary CIA operative. George Clooney won an Oscar for playing a character based on Baer in the film Syriana (Baer also wrote the book).

    He obviously won’t name many of his sources in Israel, the United States, and elsewhere, but the few he has named are all Israeli security figures who have publically warned that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are hell-bent on war.

    Most former Mossad chiefs wary of Netanyahu

  203. JAnas says:

    that little desipicable william hague try to shift attention away from UK support in Bahrain, israel, yemen, saudiarabia and from israeli nukes to Iran.

    and the americans warmonger again with drones, enough for Iran to attack back.

  204. James Canning says:


    Interesting story you linked (about Iranian effort to sell oil directly, from Kish).
    It states that China’s oil imports from Iran in 2011 are 32% higher than same period 2010.

  205. James Canning says:


    Did you notice the presstv story on Iran’s not having received yet Sergei Lavrov’s proposal (for staged reductions in sanctions)? This story has received very little coverage in the US or the UK.

  206. James Canning says:


    Are you asking why I think rail transport is a better choice than motorways? It is more efficient if volume is large. However, if the idea is to facilitate movement of pilgrims to Mecca, maybe the roadway bridge is necessary. Maybe dual?

  207. Irshad says:

    Wheres our on site TROLL, SL aka Scotty Lucas?

    News for him (not that he cares anyway)


    ’20 Uighurs killed’ in China clash

    Xinjiang official calls incident a “terrorist” attack and says four people including a police officer were killed


  208. Irshad says:

    James Canning says:
    July 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm


  209. Irshad says:

    sorry mean to say Pirouz!

    @fyi – the article you linked fails to mentions the potential spoilers for any such re-approachment either between USA and KSA – namely Isreal and her whores in AIPAC and other lobbies – or to quote James C. “Isreali lobyy!”

    The other angle you should have mentioned is Pakistan tilte closer to Iran and India been more or less being kicked out of Irans orbit – Iran is now threathening to cut off oil supply to India if $5billion India owes Iran is not paid by the beginning of Aug.


    Funny how Pakistan will soon be recieving Iranian gas and India will be losing Iranian oil!

    Also, do you really see Turkey and Iran clashing over Syria? Everyone is now mentioning Turkey – only becuase its got the AKP in power, what happens, if in the next election they lose and the MHP takes over – will it be popular in the Arab and Islamic world? I somehow dont think so.

  210. James Canning says:


    I too favor rail over roadways, where possible.

  211. Irshad says:

    Priouz, fyi et al.

    what you think of this:


    ‘Iran shoots down US spy drone’

    Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has shot down a US spy drone which was flying over the central Iranian province of Qom, an lawmaker says.

    A member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Majlis (Parliament), Ali Aqazadeh Dafsari, said on Tuesday that the unmanned spy plane was flying near the Fordo nuclear enrichment plant in Qom province when the IRGC’s Air Defense units brought it down, Javanoline.ir reported.

    The official stated that the US drone was on a mission to identify the location of the Fordo nuclear enrichment plant and gather information about the newly constructed nuclear facility for the CIA, Dafsari stated.

    Earlier in the day, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, had said that the country is installing a new generation of uranium enrichment centrifuges in the country’s nuclear facilities to enhance the Islamic Republic’s peaceful nuclear program.

    As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has every right to develop and acquire nuclear technology meant for peaceful purposes.

    In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Iran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.

  212. Pirouz says:

    I’ve been considering the IRGC cross-border op further.

    This appears to have been initiated by the KRG publicly providing the equivalent of an AO for PJAK on the Iran-Iraq border. Was this actually a result of USG instigating? Speculation, but such could possibly have been a bait in provoking an IRI military response which could be played out, psychologically upon the Iraqis, for the benefit of a renewed US military presence in Iraq beyond the current SOFA agreement.

    For their part, the IRGC operation appears to be unusual in its preceding public declaration of intent, scope and apparent duration.

    Could the IRIG have swallowed a USG instigated bait, I wonder.

  213. masoud says:


    You’re a trooper. I barely edged Fiorangela out at 12 minutes 35 seconds. I decided to spare my own health. Sometimes people’s connections to reality are just so tenuous, they’ve actually managed to make their internal logic mostly consistent and point to their desired policy outcomes. It just makes your head spin.

  214. Castellio says:

    Thanks, Humanist… will respond on the previous post when I catch a moment…

  215. Pirouz says:

    So a KRG spokesman has now objected to IRGC cross-border military ops into Iraq. Anybody heard any objections from top level authorities in Baghdad?

  216. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I think a network of rail-roads is a better use of that money.

  217. James Canning says:


    A large part of the scam – – a scam as large as any in history – – is that the hatred of Iran is fostered in large part by delusional American Zionists who think Israel can keep large parts of the West Bank permanently. So long as the US taxpayers are duped by the Washington Post and other newspapers.

  218. James Canning says:


    Egypt was just hitting its stride, for resort development, when recent instability arose. Have you seen the plans for a bridge to Saudi Arabia, from Sharm el-Sheik? $5 billion projected cost. (Maybe 5 billion euro)

  219. Humanist says:

    Pirouz_2, Castellio, Arnold

    Just to let you know: My (late) responses to your July 16 comments are posted in the previous thread..

  220. James Canning says:


    I agree completely, that Iran has sensational potential for resort development. Potential being key word. Turkey makes billions of dollars every year from this source.

  221. Humanist says:


    I watched the video on the link in your July 18, 10:270M post. The whole video and the fact that Josh Brock was in a White House meeting last week are all very telling

    I posted a comment. Not surprisingly it wasn’t approved by HP or by Rubin.

    Here is that comment:


    Why, instead of repeating MSM propaganda stick with facts:

    In the link below Eric A Brill in his 40 page report proves “not a single credible evidence of fraud was found on June 2009 Iranian election” and Paul Craig Roberts shows how the uprising in 2009 was orchestrated by outside forces (like top levels of Josh Brock’s organization?). Just Google “paul craig roberts iran” and read his articles.


    Additionally American pollsters prove the election results declared by Iran are statistically the same as they had predicted: See this:


    And on the nuclear issue: The big lies of MSM is backfiring. NIE 2007 and NIE 2011 show Iran is not after the bomb. Read six page Sy Hersh’s June 6, 2011 New Yorker article on that topic (an article which is skillfully ignored (hidden) by MSM)

    It seems as Gareth Porter once told Amy Goodman something like “Iran has been telling the truth all along” the determined warmongering enemies of Iran have been telling lies all along …..and that is not a small issue from any angle you look at it.

    Amazing crazy world,…. amazing crazy, delusional and zealous Iran-haters who maybe believing their own amazing big lies

  222. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    About a 75 miles or so West of Shiraz, there are a range of mountains that are excellent for vacation homes and apartments.

    The late Rafik Hariri, in fact, successfully developed analogous sites in Lebanon and sold the apartments to all who could afford them.

    Iranian business environment is not yet ready for it.

    Having an awareness of a number of European, East Asian, and North American countries, I whole-heartedy recommend Iran to everyone – Iranian and non-Iranian – due to the climatic and topographic diversity of Iran.

    Only New Zealand and South Africa can comapre.

    Her potential is much undeveloped – there is neither capital nor that many men of vision – excepting myself.

  223. James Canning says:


    It will be a good thing, if Iranian resorts gain fashion, and if this is promoted by the Iranian elite. The Shah dreamed of hosting the Winter Olympics.

  224. James Canning says:

    At the amconmag.com/blog today, Philip Giraldi has great piece, focusing on the fact the new US ambassador to Israel pledged to the US Congress that his “top priority” will be the security of Israel. And is there any comment on this in US newspapers?

  225. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    They majority of the Iranian elite will buy their pleasure houses in Iran.

    Unless they have business that causes them to live abroad for extended periods of time.

    (self-)Exile in Europe or North America is not very appealing – Iranians have had 30 years of experience with the ex-patriots.

    Attractive for the young for obvious reasons but no so much when you are older and established.

  226. James Canning says:


    Do you agree with Reva Balla’s contention that “Sunni Islamist militants [are] by definition at war with Iran”? For heaven’s sake. Or good grief, if you prefer.
    Is the Muslim insurgency in Daghestan a threat to Iran?

  227. James Canning says:


    The Qajars sought British support two centuries and more ago, to improve their ability to resist incursions by the Russians. British military trainers, artillery and fortifications experts etc. played important roles for many years in the early 19th century, in Persia.

    If the issue is how to install water lines effectively and with minimum expense, it probably does not matter whether the expertise is German or Chinese. Ditto oil and gas pipelines. I understand that the quality of what is obtained from China often is lower than that which was obtained from Germany or Italy, or Switzerland (or the US or UK). But China is fast improving the quality of its cars, and now we see large civilian airliners on the horizon.

    Where do you see the Iranian elte as buying their second, third or fourth houses?

  228. James Canning says:


    Significant Iranian influence in Iraq is virtually guaranteed even if Iran does very little overtly to ensure this situation continues.

    Reva Bhalla is dead wrong to argue that “a nuclear deterrent, if actually achieved, would certainly enhance Iranian security”. Pursuing nukes is the one way Iran could ensure catastrophe for itself.

    One reason the neocon warmongers want to keep US troops in Iraq is simply to delay the day the American people see that their leaders created a catastrophe by gross stupidity almost beyond belief, brought about by the neocon warmongers themselves.

    The Saudis comprehend that the Shia will retain control of the government of Iraq, no matter what SA or the US do in the Gulf.

  229. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Yes, Britain.

    And that attitude also diffuses all the way down to others; landlords, professionals, intellectuals and many others.

    Their mental space is dominated by Britain.

    In Iran, in contrast, there no longer is – in my judgement – such a form of domination.

    Prior to the Islamic Revolution you had a combined US/Europe sort of mental domination since Iranians have been exposed to various European countries for at least 150 years (and later the United States). So no one single country dominated.

    Now, of course, there is a mish-mash of ideas and mental trends in Iran; from Talibanism to Anarchism and anything in between but no single country dominates.

    And since US and EU have been slapping ordinary Iranians for the last 30 years, the cache of these polities in the Iranian society has been considerably diminished.

    Furthermore, very many Iranian students have been studying now in non-Western states such as India, China, Korea, the Philppenes further adding to the diversity of the Iranians’ mental universe.

    I do not know the situation in Turkey but I cannot think of any other Muslim-majority polity that has been exposed to alien ideas and cultures over the last 30 years.

  230. James Canning says:

    A bit off-topic perhaps, but we should note that Sergei Lavrov at the Quartet meeting in Washington last week defended the Palestinians’ refusal to recognise Israel as a “Jewish” state, at this time. This got next to no attention in American newspapers.

  231. James Canning says:


    I agree with you that the US Congress is controlled by the armaments manufacturers in alliance with the ISRAEL LOBBY. Years ago, Jews often were in the vanguard of attacks on excessive “defence” spending, foolish wars, etc., by the US. Now, many Jews keep quiet because they see the insanely expensive ME policies of the US as beneficial to Israel.

  232. James Canning says:


    Re: your comment to masoud that Iranian elite and Pakistani elite have different worldviews. Which countries are favored by the Pakistani generals who make millions of dollars from their positions, for second or third (or fourth, or fifth) houses? Britain? Switzerland?

  233. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: July 19, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Iranian leaders must articulate a positive vision of Islam that could engage all Muslims and not the narrow minded, the bigot, the coward, the fool, the knave, and the stupid.

    Taliban on teh one side and the Islamic Disaster of Iran have put the fear of Islam in the hearts of the Muslims.

  234. Rehmat says:

    Uncle Sam has been a ‘subverted nation’ for a long time. It’s ruled by Zionist Lobby and the Armament Establishment. The election contribution records released the other day showed Ben-Obama bagged the highest Jewish contributions. His Republican Black opponent, Herman Cain told Jewish Lobby on Monday that he could serve Israel better than Ben-Obama – by boming Iran without asking United Nations’ permission.

    With all this power over US, Israel will never like to repeat its 2006 mistake against Hizbullah, by attacking Syria or Iran without the US, Britain and France prtecting its back.


  235. Rehmat says:

    fyi – In reality, if Tehran could “re-shape” the Middle East – it would be a bigger DILMMA of the Zionist entity than Saudi Arabia. Tehran has no intention of taking Saudi Arabia ‘off the map’ as its intention to ‘wipe off Zionist regime from world’s map’ – is part of its Revolutionary Idealogy’.

  236. fyi says:


    Off-Topic but relevant

    The U.S.-Saudi Dilemma: Iran’s Reshaping of Persian Gulf Politics

    July 19, 2011 | 0853 GMT


    Text Resize:


    By Reva Bhalla

    Something extraordinary, albeit not unexpected, is happening in the Persian Gulf region. The United States, lacking a coherent strategy to deal with Iran and too distracted to develop one, is struggling to navigate Iraq’s fractious political landscape in search of a deal that would allow Washington to keep a meaningful military presence in the country beyond the end-of-2011 deadline stipulated by the current Status of Forces Agreement. At the same time, Saudi Arabia, dubious of U.S. capabilities and intentions toward Iran, appears to be inching reluctantly toward an accommodation with its Persian adversary.

    Iran clearly stands to gain from this dynamic in the short term as it seeks to reshape the balance of power in the world’s most active energy arteries. But Iranian power is neither deep nor absolute. Instead, Tehran finds itself racing against a timetable that hinges not only on the U.S. ability to shift its attention from its ongoing wars in the Middle East but also on Turkey’s ability to grow into its historic regional role.

    The Iranian Position

    Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said something last week that caught our attention. Speaking at Iran’s first Strategic Naval Conference in Tehran on July 13, Vahidi said the United States is “making endeavors to drive a wedge between regional countries with the aim of preventing the establishment of an indigenized security arrangement in the region, but those attempts are rooted in misanalyses and will not succeed.” The effect Vahidi spoke of refers to the Iranian redefinition of Persian Gulf power dynamics, one that in Iran’s ideal world ultimately would transform the local political, business, military and religious affairs of the Gulf states to favor the Shia and their patrons in Iran.

    From Iran’s point of view, this is a natural evolution, and one worth waiting centuries for. It would see power concentrated among the Shia in Mesopotamia, eastern Arabia and the Levant at the expense of the Sunnis who have dominated this land since the 16th century, when the Safavid Empire lost Iraq to the Ottomans. Ironically, Iran owes its thanks for this historic opportunity to its two main adversaries — the Wahhabi Sunnis of al Qaeda who carried out the 9/11 attacks and the “Great Satan” that brought down Saddam Hussein. Should Iran succeed in filling a major power void in Iraq, a country that touches six Middle Eastern powers and demographically favors the Shia, Iran would theoretically have its western flank secured as well as an oil-rich outlet with which to further project its influence.

    So far, Iran’s plan is on track. Unless the United States permanently can station substantial military forces in the region, Iran replaces the United States as the most powerful military force in the Persian Gulf region. In particular, Iran has the military ability to threaten the Strait of Hormuz and has a clandestine network of operatives spread across the region. Through its deep penetration of the Iraqi government, Iran is also in the best position to influence Iraqi decision-making. Washington’s obvious struggle in trying to negotiate an extension of the U.S. deployment in Iraq is perhaps one of the clearest illustrations of Iranian resolve to secure its western flank. The Iranian nuclear issue, as we have long argued, is largely a sideshow; a nuclear deterrent, if actually achieved, would certainly enhance Iranian security, but the most immediate imperative for Iran is to consolidate its position in Iraq. And as this weekend’s Iranian incursion into northern Iraq — ostensibly to fight Kurdish militants — shows, Iran is willing to make measured, periodic shows of force to convey that message.

    While Iran already is well on its way to accomplishing its goals in Iraq, it needs two other key pieces to complete Tehran’s picture of a regional “indigenized security arrangement” that Vahidi spoke of. The first is an understanding with its main military challenger in the region, the United States. Such an understanding would entail everything from ensuring Iraqi Sunni military impotence to expanding Iranian energy rights beyond its borders to placing limits on U.S. military activity in the region, all in return for the guaranteed flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz and an Iranian pledge to stay clear of Saudi oil fields.

    The second piece is an understanding with its main regional adversary, Saudi Arabia. Iran’s reshaping of Persian Gulf politics entails convincing its Sunni neighbors that resisting Iran is not worth the cost, especially when the United States does not seem to have the time or the resources to come to their aid at present. No matter how much money the Saudis throw at Western defense contractors, any military threat by the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council states against Iran will be hollow without an active U.S. military commitment. Iran’s goal, therefore, is to coerce the major Sunni powers into recognizing an expanded Iranian sphere of influence at a time when U.S. security guarantees in the region are starting to erode.

    Of course, there is always a gap between intent and capability, especially in the Iranian case. Both negotiating tracks are charged with distrust, and meaningful progress is by no means guaranteed. That said, a number of signals have surfaced in recent weeks leading us to examine the potential for a Saudi-Iranian accommodation, however brief that may be.

    The Saudi Position

    Not surprisingly, Saudi Arabia is greatly unnerved by the political evolution in Iraq. The Saudis increasingly will rely on regional powers such as Turkey in trying to maintain a Sunni bulwark against Iran in Iraq, but Riyadh has largely resigned itself to the idea that Iraq, for now, is in Tehran’s hands. This is an uncomfortable reality for the Saudi royals to cope with, but what is amplifying Saudi Arabia’s concerns in the region right now — and apparently nudging Riyadh toward the negotiating table with Tehran — is the current situation in Bahrain.

    When Shiite-led protests erupted in Bahrain in the spring, we did not view the demonstrations simply as a natural outgrowth of the so-called Arab Spring. There were certainly overlapping factors, but there was little hiding the fact that Iran had seized an opportunity to pose a nightmare scenario for the Saudi royals: an Iranian-backed Shiite uprising spreading from the isles of Bahrain to the Shiite-concentrated, oil-rich Eastern Province of the Saudi kingdom.

    This explains Saudi Arabia’s hasty response to the Bahraini unrest, during which it led a rare military intervention of GCC forces in Bahrain at the invitation of Manama to stymie a broader Iranian destabilization campaign. The demonstrations in Bahrain are far calmer now than they were in mid-March at the peak of the crisis, but the concerns of the GCC states have not subsided, and for good reason. Halfhearted attempts at national dialogues aside, Shiite dissent in this part of the region is likely to endure, and this is a reality that Iran can exploit in the long term through its developing covert capabilities.

    When we saw in late June that Saudi Arabia was willingly drawing down its military presence in Bahrain at the same time the Iranians were putting out feelers in the local press on an almost daily basis regarding negotiations with Riyadh, we discovered through our sources that the pieces were beginning to fall into place for Saudi-Iranian negotiations. To understand why, we have to examine the Saudi perception of the current U.S. position in the region.

    The Saudis cannot fully trust U.S. intentions at this point. The U.S. position in Iraq is tenuous at best, and Riyadh cannot rule out the possibility of Washington entering its own accommodation with Iran and thus leaving Saudi Arabia in the lurch. The United States has three basic interests: to maintain the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, to reduce drastically the number of forces it has devoted to fighting wars with Sunni Islamist militants (who are also by definition at war with Iran), and to try to reconstruct a balance of power in the region that ultimately prevents any one state — whether Arab or Persian — from controlling all the oil in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. position in this regard is flexible, and while developing an understanding with Iran is a trying process, nothing fundamentally binds the United States to Saudi Arabia. If the United States comes to the conclusion that it does not have any good options in the near term for dealing with Iran, a U.S.-Iranian accommodation — however jarring on the surface — is not out of the question.

    More immediately, the main point of negotiation between the United States and Iran is the status of U.S. forces in Iraq. Iran would prefer to see U.S. troops completely removed from its western flank, but it has already seen dramatic reductions. The question for both sides moving forward concerns not only the size but also the disposition and orientation of those remaining forces and the question of how rapidly they can be reoriented from a more vulnerable residual advisory and assistance role to a blocking force against Iran. It also must take into account how inherently vulnerable a U.S. military presence in Iraq (not to mention the remaining diplomatic presence) is to Iranian conventional and unconventional means.

    The United States may be willing to recognize Iranian demands when it comes to Iran’s designs for the Iraqi government or oil concessions in the Shiite south, but it also wants to ensure that Iran does not try to overstep its bounds and threaten Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth. To reinforce a potential accommodation with Iran, the United States needs to maintain a blocking force against Iran, and this is where the U.S.-Iranian negotiation appears to be deadlocked.

    The threat of a double-cross is a real one for all sides to this conflict. Iran cannot trust that the United States, once freed up, will not engage in military action against Iran down the line. The Americans cannot trust that the Iranians will not make a bid for Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth (though the military logistics required for such a move are likely beyond Iran’s capabilities at this point). Finally, the Saudis can’t trust that the United States will defend it in a time of need, especially if the United States is preoccupied with other matters and/or has developed a relationship with Iran that it feels the need to maintain.

    When all this is taken together — the threat illustrated by Shiite unrest in Bahrain, the tenuous U.S. position in Iraq and the potential for Washington to strike its own deal with Tehran — Riyadh may be seeing little choice but to search out a truce with Iran, at least until it can get a clearer sense of U.S. intentions. This does not mean that the Saudis would place more trust in a relationship with their historical rivals, the Persians, than they would in a relationship with the United States. Saudi-Iranian animosity is embedded in a deep history of political, religious and economic competition between the two main powerhouses of the Persian Gulf, and it is not going to vanish with the scratch of a pen and a handshake. Instead, this would be a truce driven by short-term, tactical constraints. Such a truce would primarily aim to arrest Iranian covert activity linked to Shiite dissidents in the GCC states, giving the Sunni monarchist regimes a temporary sense of relief while they continue their efforts in trying to build up an Arab resistance to Iran.

    But Iran would view such a preliminary understanding as the path toward a broader accommodation, one that would bestow recognition on Iran as the pre-eminent power of the Persian Gulf. Iran can thus be expected to make a variety of demands, all revolving around the idea of Sunni recognition of an expanded Iranian sphere of influence — a very difficult idea for Saudi Arabia to swallow.

    This is where things get especially complicated. The United States theoretically might strike an accommodation with Iran, but it would do so only with the knowledge that it could rely on the traditional Sunni heavyweights in the region eventually to rebuild a relative balance of power. If the major Sunni powers reach their own accommodation with Iran, independent of the United States, the U.S. position in the region becomes all the more questionable. What would be the limits of a Saudi-Iranian negotiation? Could the United States ensure, for example, that Saudi Arabia would not bargain away U.S. military installations in a negotiation with Iran?

    The Iranian defense minister broached this very idea during his speech last week when he said, “the United States has failed to establish a sustainable security system in the Persian Gulf region, and it is not possible that many vessels will maintain a permanent presence in the region.” Vahidi was seeking to convey to fellow Iranians and trying to convince the Sunni Arab powers that a U.S. security guarantee in the region does not hold as much weight as it used to, and that with Iran now filling the void, the United States may well face a much more difficult time trying to maintain its existing military installations.

    The question that naturally arises from Vahidi’s statement is the future status of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain, and whether Iran can instill just the right amount of fear in the minds of its Arab neighbors to shake the foundations of the U.S. military presence in the region. For now, Iran does not appear to have the military clout to threaten the GCC states to the point of forcing them to negotiate away their U.S. security guarantees in exchange for Iranian restraint. This is a threat, however, that Iran will continue to let slip and even one that Saudi Arabia quietly could use to capture Washington’s attention in the hopes of reinforcing U.S. support for the Sunni Arabs against Iran.

    The Long-Term Scenario

    The current dynamic places Iran in a prime position. Its political investment is paying off in Iraq, and it is positioning itself for negotiation with both the Saudis and the Americans that it hopes will fill out the contours of Iran’s regional sphere of influence. But Iranian power is not that durable in the long term.

    Iran is well endowed with energy resources, but it is populous and mountainous. The cost of internal development means that while Iran can get by economically, it cannot prosper like many of its Arab competitors. Add to that a troubling demographic profile in which ethnic Persians constitute only a little more than half of the country’s population and developing challenges to the clerical establishment, and Iran clearly has a great deal going on internally distracting it from opportunities abroad.

    The long-term regional picture also is not in Iran’s favor. Unlike Iran, Turkey is an ascendant country with the deep military, economic and political power to influence events in the Middle East — all under a Sunni banner that fits more naturally with the region’s religious landscape. Turkey also is the historical, indigenous check on Persian power. Though it will take time for Turkey to return to this role, strong hints of this dynamic already are coming to light.

    In Iraq, Turkish influence can be felt across the political, business, security and cultural spheres as Ankara is working quietly and fastidiously to maintain a Sunni bulwark in the country and steep Turkish influence in the Arab world. And in Syria, though the Alawite regime led by the al Assads is not at a breakpoint, there is no doubt a confrontation building between Iran and Turkey over the future of the Syrian state. Turkey has an interest in building up a viable Sunni political force in Syria that can eventually displace the Alawites, while Iran has every interest in preserving the current regime so as to maintain a strategic foothold in the Levant.

    For now, the Turks are not looking for a confrontation with Iran, nor are they necessarily ready for one. Regional forces are accelerating Turkey’s rise, but it will take experience and additional pressures for Turkey to translate rhetoric into action when it comes to meaningful power projection. This is yet another factor that is likely driving the Saudis to enter their own dialogue with Iran at this time.

    The Iranians are thus in a race against time. It may be a matter of a few short years before the United States frees up its attention span and is able to re-examine the power dynamics in the Persian Gulf with fresh vigor. Within that time, we would also expect Turkey to come into its own and assume its role as the region’s natural counterbalance to Iran. By then, the Iranians hope to have the structures and agreements in place to hold their ground against the prevailing regional forces, but that level of long-term security depends on Tehran’s ability to cut its way through two very thorny sets of negotiations with the Saudis and the Americans while it still has the upper hand.

  237. Pirouz says:

    And here’s the other YouTube video of that SyA mechanized brigade, on the move from Damascus region to Homs. There is no equivalent in the Iranian law enforcement response to unlawful assemblies, post 2009 election.


    The closest comparison being the current Iranian cross-border operation into the Iraqi Kurdistan region consisting of one to two IRGC brigades (5,000 troops). However, this is being directed at an external force, whereas in the Syrian case, and according to Crooke, armed, anti-regime elementsin Syria are actually occupying interior municipalities.

  238. Pirouz says:

    YouTube videos that contribute to Crooke’s report:


    Here we have evidence of a Syrian army field grade officer and staff directing a police unit. Note the postures of policemen, which are different than their Iranian counterparts, suggesting no linkage between NAJA (or misidentified as IRGC) to Syrian police tactics. Moreover, no open-sourced video/photo evidence has surfaced depicting a street level or in the field direction by the Iranian military toward police elements, as is the case in this video depiction of such in Syria.

  239. paul says:

    As always, you utterly fail to even allude to, much less take seriously, covert US/Israeli involvement in situations, ranging from Iran to Libya, even though only the extent and exact nature of such involvement is a matter for speculation: the fact of it is not.

    In particular, you continue to refuse to recognize the multiple, and VARYING, roles played by Al Quaeda and Al Quaeda type groups, as assets that are covertly manipulated by the US and Israel (and others, such as Pakistan, in particular situations). We’ve seen Al Queda used as an ally in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Libya. We’ve seen them in the role of ‘enemies’ in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen. They role they play, in connection with US geopolitical strategies, is clearly very flexible. In Libya, some of the VERY SAME PEOPLE who fought ‘against’ us in Iraq are painted as our beloved allies, have been repainted as ‘freedom fighters’. This flexibility of role and framing ought to tell us something.

  240. paul says:

    As always, you utterly fail to even allude to, much less take seriously, covert US/Israeli involvement in situations, ranging from Iran to Libya, even though only the extent and exact nature of such involvement is a matter for speculation: the fact of it is not.

    In particular, you continue to refuse to recognize the multiple, and VARYING, roles played by Al Quaeda and Al Quaeda type groups, as assets that are covertly manipulated by the US and Israel (and others, such as Pakistan, in particular situations). We’ve seen Al Queda used as an ally in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Libya. We’ve seen them in the role of ‘enemies’ in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen. They role they play, in connection with US geopolitical strategies, is clearly very flexible. In Libya, some of the VERY SAME PEOPLE who fought ‘against’ us in Iraq are painted as our beloved allies, have been repainted as ‘freedom fighters’. This flexibility of role and framing ought to tell us something.

    Right now, Al Quaeda seems to be in the ally role in Syria. Whether ‘ally’ or ‘enemy’, their role is always to disrupt, creating turbulence which potentially provides an excuse and space for the US and Nato to insert themselves. This has worked brilliantly, from the vantage point of US/Nato/Israeli global realpolitik, again and again. In Eastern Europe, sectarian turbulence helped the US step in, crushing Russian influence in a crucial region. In Central Asia, sectarian turbulence, particularly in Afghanistan, has been the wedge that has been used to plant US forces throughout the region. Currently sectarian turbulence is giving the US/Nato a key foothold in Africa, via Libya. It looks as though the hope is that such turbulence will allow the US to intervene in Syria, breaking the back (so it is presumably hoped) of Iran’s regional influence. It’s impossible to miss the fact that Al Quaeda and similar groups are, at least to some extent, US assets. To continue to ignore this factor is really reprehensible.

  241. tg says:

    Thank you for linking to Mr. Crooke’s article. Indeed, it’s difficult to find intelligent commentary regarding Syria that does not devolve into formulaic thinking that goes Iran is bad, Assad is Iran, therefore lets push for the downfall of Assad.

    President Obama is now viewed less favorably than Osama Bin Laden in Egypt. The so called “foreign policy experts” in Washington who have time after time failed to reflect on their failures in analysis are partly responsible for this abysmal state of affairs.

  242. Bassam says:

    LONDON (AP) — Police say Sean Hoare, the whistleblower reporter who alleged widespread hacking at the News of the World, has been found dead.

    Police said Hoare’s death at his home in England was not considered to be suspicious, according to Britain’s Press Association news agency.

  243. Pirouz says:

    Crooke’s narrative is helpful in including a pro-regime perspective not commonly found in mainstream Western reporting.

    From what I can discern in interpreting some of the more recent YouTube videos, the Syrian Army (SyA) appears to be directing operations, and this includes directing police forces.

    By comparison, Iran’s police forces directed operations (with Basij support) and there has been no major military component.

    There are videos uploaded of a SyA mech brigade on transports being deployed from the Damascus region in the direction of Homs. In addition, there are numerous previous uploads of armored and mechanized infantry brigades, consisting of T-55MVs, T-72s, T-62s and BMP-1s.

    Something Crooke doesn’t mention with regard to “Russian training” are previous SyA applications of internally directed force in 1982, as well as Warsaw Pact applications in Czechoslovakia ’68, Hungary ’56 and East Germany ’53.

    The current security situation in Syria is very much fluid, and from a pro-regime perspective, a challenging situation.

    I’ve done a brief survey of alleged Iranian support for Syria’s security operations. From what I can discern, it’s all pretty vague.

    There’s an Israeli contention of Iranian sniper rifles being rushed to Syria (presumably Nakhjir Sniper Rifle SVD (locally produced Dragunov units) but no video or photo open-sourced evidence supports this claim.

    Then there are the contentions of advisors, internet specialists, security auxiliaries but actual open-sourced evidence containing key details or video/photo evidence are lacking.

    One thing I’ve always mentioned about specific Arab responses to demos is that when the regime calls upon its military, it represents a final trip wire. That is to say, there is no further escalation available. And Crooke alludes to this in his report, in identifying some of the shortcoming of this application of power.

    For Iranian authorities, post-2009 election, they never resorted to their military. And, they offered restraint in the form of a less lethal policy of crowd control. (Paradoxically, the EU and US have actually sanctioned them for this less-lethal implementation).

    The nature of armed threats against Syria and Iran are also different. Crooke’s report depicts a relatively serious challenge in the form of an internal, armed resistance. Fortunately for Iran, this sort of thing is more or less an external challenge, as is the current situation of cross-border strikes into Iraq, against PJAK. (Interesting that Iran made a public declaration preceding the strike, and to my knowledge no official Iraqi objections have yet been forthcoming.)

    It’s difficult to interpret the SyA perspective, and this is where Crooke’s report is valuable. Our mainstream Western reporting is heavily reliant on accounts provided by “activists” which are not the most reliable, nor are they objective.

  244. Castellio says:

    Fara: Do you agree with Tarpley that the uprising in Egypt was a colour coded revolution organized by the US?

    I think that interpretation of events just so bizarre….

  245. Fara says:

    A video worth watching;

    Saudi Arabia alarmed by US intentions

    Press TV talks with Webster Griffin Tarpley, author, journalist and lecturer from Washington.

    An Excerpt:
    Webster Griffin Tarpley: Well, I think we have to start from the premise that the Saudi royal family is very afraid and they’ve been afraid of course for decades, but more recently they’re very afraid because they’ve seen the Mubarak government brought down by a US-sponsored colored revolution run by Samantha Powell and Michael McDowell here from the National Security Council in the White House and they’re horrified by that.

    So you could say that Saudi Arabia is in play and that’s the big strategic factor at the present time. At the beginning of June we had a very interesting op-ed here in the Washington Post by Prince Turki al-Faisal saying that if the US blocks the creation of a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly in September there would be disastrous consequences for US Saudi relations.

    And I take it that you look at Prince Bandar — his trip to Pakistan and China — Saudi Arabia is trying to find security solutions, which do not involve the US because they can see that the US is fomenting the troubles in Yemen; that the US has fomented the troubles in Bahrain — both of those are means to destabilize the kingdom.

    But if we look a little bit beyond this, if Bandar is a realist, Bandar once said he’d go to the right of Bin Laden, he’d go to the left of Gaddafi; he would kiss Saddam Hussein to survive. If President Ahmadinejad is a realist, isn’t there some way to put an end to the eternal squabbling between Iran and Saudi Arabia from which only the US, the British and the Israelis benefit?

  246. Way off topic, but I can’t resist, since this sentence ranks very high on the All-Time Most Obnoxious list.

    It appeared on the New York Times on-line front page, as the single-sentence description of an article about Yao Ming, a Chinese basketball player who’s retiring after a long career in the U.S. National Basketball Association:

    “Yao Ming’s retirement from the [National Basketball Association] is forcing many Chinese to acknowledge that they have relied on him alone for national pride.”

  247. Fiorangela says:

    Unknown Unknowns, Do you have time to set up another contest on RFI? Rough outline: How much of the video that Masoud linked (July 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm) were you able to watch before kicking the cat, smashing the computer screen, signing up for extra yoga sessions . . .

    8 minutes was all I could stomach.

  248. masoud says:

    To see how absolutely backwards most Americans still are on the issue of Iran, have a look at this:


    A J Street guy, and an AIPAC guy, squaring off on Iran. Absolutely incredible. The J street guy starts off the discussion by taking personal credit for the Arab spring. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t get any better.

  249. fyi says:

    masoud says: July 18, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Saudi Arabia has deeper pockets than Iran and the relationship is a long one, dating to before 1980s.

    Iranians are pragmatic; they want to sell their natural gas.

    And Pakistan needs it.

    There is really nothing strategic in this, in my opinion.

    I think that the cultural affinities that yiou rightly point out are quite important but I do not think that the elite in Pakistan and Iran view the world the same way.

  250. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: July 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Yes, that is the self-image of Sikhs of themselves.

    Some of their scripture actually is in Persian – mystical Persian poetry that – unfortunately – is written in a script that I cannot read.

    They believe in transmigration of souls – and some ayat can be interperted to support that.

  251. masoud says:

    Iran to send fleet to Atlantic Ocean

    This is what I love about Ahmadinejad. He keeps on pushing the envelope.

  252. Rehmat says:

    Alan Sabrosky: ‘Israel did 9/11′

    Do we take Sabrosky seriously because he is a Marine or a Jew? Do we wonder why the things he says reach so few? Is American in a shooting war where our biggest enemy sits behind us, killing us off, robbing us blind and whispering gently in our ears how much they love us?


  253. Rehmat says:

    It’s a great misconception that Alawites are Shias. They’re not. They don’t practice many of Islam’s pillars. For example, one don’t find a mosque within Alawite communities. They don’t pray nor they fast. Alawite, like the Iranian Bahais – are creation of the ruling class. Alawites follow an Abbaside Caliph and don’t believe in Islamic Shariah. Ayatullah Khamenei once called “Shias without Shari’ah”.

    On July 4, a conference of Syrian anti-regime groups was held in Saint-Germain in France. The meeting was attended by 200 people representing none of the Syrian groups calling for reforms in Syria – the ‘Democratic change in Syria’. The meeting was organized by La Regle du Jeu (The Rule of the Game) magazine and website which is headed by Zionist Jew Bernard-Henri Levy. The other Zionist Jews who attended the meeting included Bernard Kouchner, former French foreign minister, Frederik Ansel, a member of Israel’s ruling Likud Party, Alex Goldfarb, former Knesset member and adviser to Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak and Andre Glucksmann, an Islamophobe French writer.

    Levy became world famous when in 2009, he ran a campaign The Polanski Liberation Front against Swiss authorities for jailing Jewish award-winning director, Roman Polanski, on charges of raping a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s. Polanski had fled from the US in 1978 to avoid prosecution.

    The symbolic Syrian attendee was no other than Moulhem Droubi, the Muslim Brotherhood representative in Paris. That show how much threat Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria poses to the Zionist entity.


  254. masoud says:

    fyi says:
    July 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    We are still a long ways away from the severing of the Saudi-Pakistani split. But it is impossible for Pakistan to have a strategic partnership with both the IRI and Saudi Arabia. There is nothing Saudi Arabia can offer Pakistan that Iran can’t, but there are a variety of thing Iran can offer it that Saudi can’t(substantive economic cooperation as opposed to bribes, security cooperation along the border, cooperation on Afghanistan land routes to Iraq and Turkey, diplomatic heft visavis Inida etc). Not to mention the genuine cultural relationships between the two countries.Muhammad Iqbal, for example, wrote most of his poetry in Farsi. Pakistan’s national anthem is in Farsi,(a kind I can’t quite understand of course), Zardari himself is a Shiite Balouch who married a half a Isphahani Kurd. Over 90% of Pakistan wants Iran to develop a nuclear bomb(that last one really takes my breath away). I think the improvement in ties is going to happen.

  255. Rehmat says:

    fyi – Sikh “warrior of God”!!

    Neyth – Like Zionist Jews, they also don’t believe in God. While Jews worship Holocaust – Sikh worship thie second Guru Gobind Singh. a great majority of Sikh like Jews don’t know much about the so-called founders of their faith – Guru Nanak who not only studied Holy Qur’an but also made pilgrimage to Makkah.


  256. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: July 18, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Yes, like Sikhs, they cannot govern.

    Sikhs, however, know that they are warriors (of God) and not administrators.

    You are right about joining TSA – what a disgrace.

  257. Fiorangela says:

    one profound tragedy of American foreign policy is that the intellectual capital exists within the United States to coherently analyze these situations — Flynt and Hillary Leverett, Chas Freeman, John Tirman, John Mueller come to mind — but those voices have been bullied out of hearing by the Israelists.
    Ron Radosh, among others, boasts of the effectiveness of Jewish activists who purged the State Department of “Arabists” and replaced them with persons supportive of Israel and Jewish concerns. Radosh does not consider two facts:

    1. The displaced “Arabists” worked for American interests, and while they did, America had friends in the Arab and Iranian world; their replacements answer to the mantra, “Is it good for Jews?”

    2. Despite the vaunted intellectual superiority of Jewish intellectuals, whom Phil Weiss insists have replaced the WASP intellectuals of an earlier day and taken over the position of elites in the US, the historical reality is that Jewish people have never, in their entire history, been able to form and maintain a stable, peaceful, representative government — not of themselves, not of other peoples. Patterns of history demonstrate that governance and organization are Persian and Roman gifts; they are not the gifts of the Jewish people.

    Domestic political manipulations have put people of lesser competence, and of questionable motives, at the most critical position of decision making in US government.

    The problem is not merely one of immediate policy-making concern, although the repercussions from that problematic situation will continue for another generation. The follow-on problem is that young people who are being educated for positions of decision-making and leadership are being trained in the ideology of a Charlie Hill and a Michael Mandelbaum, while voices like Drs. Leverett and Chas Freeman are censored or shunted aside by bullies with big bucks to lavish on mediocre intellects.

    The other day I heard a former functionary in Homeland Security urge young Americans to “get involved in TSA; join in the forces that provide security for our country.” How tragic, how very tragic; to think that for all the effort that goes into raising our children and trying to provide a fine education for them, and all the hopes we vest in their future, the best Clark Kent Ervin can offer is, “When I grow up I want to be a TSA agent.”

  258. Rehmat says:

    fyi – your Zionist Pakistani brother Rehman Malik, the interior minister said yesterday that arms used by terrorists in Karachi were made in Israel.


  259. Rehmat says:

    The regime change in Damascus is 101% Israeli Project.

    Having failed to depower Hizbullah and bring a regime change in Tehran – Israel thought Syria to be a ‘soft belly’. However, in Syria, too, the Israel-US-France fascism has failed.


  260. fyi says:

    masoud says: July 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Pakistan is not shifting from its Saudi relationship.

    She cannot afford to do so regardless of institutional inertia.

    What she does is out of necessity – she need energy and Suaids and Americans cannot give it to her.

  261. fyi says:

    No Mr. Canning:

    US & EU are doing this not AIPAC – look at the mess they have made of things in Libya.

    Kosovo War is their template.

    Thus independent minded states must be able to take the war back to the European Capitals.

    The Axis Powers, over the last 20 years, have made teh world a much more dangeorous place. The Blow-back will take decades to complete its course.

  262. masoud says:

    I think it’s funny that not even Raceforiran can keep up with the pace of Obama’s strategic failures any longer. The newest is Pakistan. If Zardari does indeed through with this shift from the US-Saudi ship to the Iranian one, it will be an epic defeat for US strategy in the region.

  263. James Canning says:


    Don’t you mean Aipac, Israel, and other warmongering groups supporting Zionist expansionism even at the cost of endless war in the Middle East?

  264. James Canning says:

    Is it fair to ask whether Aipac and other delusional groups supporting Israel are trying to create yet another vicious civil war in the Middle East, to “benefit” Israel?

  265. fyi says:

    The Leveretts:

    There is also Sunni extremism threat to the Turkish Republic.

    There are at least 16 million Alawaites and several million Shia in Turkey.

    As I said before, the Axis Powers have no program for the Middle East except war and bloodshed – eveb for their own nominal alliance members.

  266. James Canning says:

    And what utter stupidity by the US, to provide millions of dollars in funding for groups trying to bring about the overthrow of the Syrian government. By contrast, the Conservative Party in the UK was trying to improve relations between Syria and the UK, in aprt by seeking ways to send Conservative MPs to Syria.

    The US, of course, runs shuttle busses across the Atlantic, so US congressmen and senators get the full Israeli propaganda treatment first-hand.

  267. James Canning says:

    Very interesting piece, and it does nothing to erode my belief that an overthrow of the government of Syria would be a bad thing indeed.

    One might add that some Israeli expansionists think a new government in Syria will enable Israel to make a deal allowing retention of the Golan Heights, or for Israel to be able to keep the GH without any deal, for decades more to come. I doubt this very much.