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The Race for Iran


President Obama’s speech to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on Sunday, see here, predictably offered lots of “red meat” for pro-Israel constituencies.  But, in heavily veiled language, the President also made an enormously important point about the evolving character of international relations in the 21st century and what that means for the United States and Israel.  He also offered his listeners a more candid depiction than might have been expected of the tactical calculations guiding his approach to Arab-Israeli issues over the next several months. 

The most important strategic argument contained in President Obama’s AIPAC address was embedded in the following passages:   

“[T]he current situation in the Middle East does not allow for procrastination…Here are the facts we all must confront.  First, the number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories.  This will make it harder and harder—without a peace deal—to maintain Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state.

Second, technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself in the absence of a genuine peace. 

And third, a new generation of Arabs is reshaping the region.  A just and lasting peace can no longer be forged with one or two Arab leaders.  Going forward, millions of Arab citizens have to see that peace is possible for that peace to be sustained.  

Just as the context has changed in the Middle East, so too has it been changing in the international community over the last several years.  There is a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations.  They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process—or the absence of one.  Not just in the Arab world, but in Latin America, in Europe, and in Asia.  That impatience is growing and is already manifesting itself in capitols around the world…

[T]he march to isolate Israel internationally—and the impulses of the Palestinians to abandon negotiations—will continue to gain momentum in the absence of a credible peace process and alternative.  For us to have leverage with the Palestinians, with the Arab states, and with the international community, the basis for negotiations has to hold out the prospect of success.” 

The first two points—about Israel’s demographic “time bomb” and the ways in which technology have undermined the utility of occupied territory as a security buffer—are not new, not even in American presidential rhetoric.  Obama’s third point—about the need for peace with Israel to be legitimated not just by Arab autocrats but by Arab populations—is new and significant.  Among other things, Obama’s words (almost certainly inadvertently) bring the American position regarding the basis for resolving the Middle East’s core conflict closer to that of the Islamic Republic of Iran, HAMAS, and Hizballah. 

The President’s fourth point—about the changing international context for Middle East peace efforts—is new in presidential rhetoric and absolutely critical.  The language used by the President describes this changing context in terms of an “impatience” with continued irresolution that “is already manifesting itself in capitals around the world” and “is growing”.  At the same time, there is a subtly conveyed assessment that this impatience is growing not just in predictable places, like the Arab world and Europe, but also in Latin America (with Brazil in the lead) and Asia (where the world’s greatest concentration of rising powers is found).  In other words, impatience is growing in precisely the non-OECD parts of the world that will gain relative power and influence at the expense of the United States in coming years.    

That is why, in the President’s words, “we cannot afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades, to achieve peace.”  Obama justifies his position on the grounds that “the world is moving too fast” and that “the extraordinary challenges facing Israel would only grow”.  But what this really means is that, in coming years, America’s ability to continuing shielding Israel from the consequences of its own benighted choices will shrink.  America’s commitment to Israel’s security may be, as Obama described it, “unwavering”.  But the extent to which that unwavering commitment actually translates into incremental security for Israel will almost certainly decline in the future. 

From Obama’s perspective, the inference Israelis should draw from his words is:  strike a deal now, before the ability of the United States to protect you in the rather comprehensive way it does now erodes in strategically consequential ways.  We have no confidence that Israel, even under whatever ruling coalition follows the current Netanyahu government, will take Obama’s words to heart and act on them.  But we are struck that Obama has implicitly acknowledged a reality we have been highlighting for some time—that, in terms of its ability to affect on-the-ground outcomes and achieve its own stated policy goals in the Middle East, the United States is a declining power.   

On a more tactical level, the President’s AIPAC speech confirmed that, for the next few months, the Obama Administration’s focus in the Arab-Israeli arena will be forestalling what it anticipates could be a political train wreck for Israel (and, by extension, Obama’s own re-election bid) in New York this fall, where Palestinians may well ask the United Nations General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian state within the June 1967 lines.  In an interview with ABC aired on the same day that the President spoke to AIPAC, Obama’s outgoing Middle East peace envoy, George Mitchell, said, see here, that “a major objective of this [endorsement of the 1967 lines as the starting point for negotiating final borders between Israel and Palestine] is to prevent a disaster for Israel from occurring at the United Nations General Assembly in September, when the Palestinians have said they will see a unilateral declaration of statehood.” 

Clearly, the endorsement is part of Obama’s efforts “to have leverage with the Palestinians, with the Arab states, and with the international community”—in part, to slow down the drive to Palestinian statehood.  Obama explicitly acknowledged this at AIPAC when he noted that his decision “to speak about what peace will require” was taken “in advance of a five-day trip to Europe in which the Middle East will be a topic of acute interest.”  

In this context, we also see the tragedy of Barack Obama—a President capable of understanding better than most high-level American politicians the ways in which the world is changing and what that means for the U.S. position, but unwilling to take meaningful risks or spend the political capital it might cost to pursue policies which would actually serve U.S. interests under these conditions.

To assuage the “blow” of his endorsement of 1967 lines as the starting point for negotiating final borders between Israel and Palestine—which, as the President accurately pointed out to AIPAC, is “nothing particularly original”—Obama tanked on the equally important and politically more controversial final states issues of Jerusalem and refugees.  At AIPAC, he also made clear that border negotiations would allow “the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last forty-four years, including the new demographic realities on the ground.”  This signifies Obama’s acceptance of his predecessor’s position, conveyed in a letter to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, that major West Bank settlement blocs should be contained within Israel’s final borders with a Palestinian state—meaning that those borders would extend well beyond the 1967 lines. 

All of that is deeply disappointing for anyone with a serious understanding of “what peace will require”.  But even more disappointing—and damaging to U.S. interests—is Obama’s surrender to Israeli dictates regarding HAMAS.  As we wrote recently, see here, “It is now absolutely imperative for the United States to revamp its posture toward Islamist movements in the Middle East, including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah, as well as HAMAS.  By continuing the same dysfunctional approach as his predecessors—demanding, up front, that these groups recognize Israel’s right to exist and disarm before negotiations and surrender everything else that makes them distinctive as political actors—Obama is not isolating the Islamists.  He is only deepening America’s isolation from some of the most vital political forces in the Middle East today, whose leaders have precisely the kind of democratic legitimacy the President claims to want to encourage.”     

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. James Canning says:


    There is a significant split of opinion within the “ruling elite” of the US, regarding the merits of keeping permanent military bases in Iraq. If the Iraqi prime minister continues to object to any extension of the end-of-year deadline for withdrawal, keeping the bases will be impossible.

  2. Galen Wright says:

    UU and Masoud: Re: Missile Accuracy

    The reason I didn’t assume higher accuracy even in the presence of access to GPS or GLONASS is that these while these devices are accurate in terms of being able to identify it’s position perfectly, this doesn’t necessarily correspond to the same increase in accuracy with the missile itself.

    In the Shahab-3 the jet-vanes which control the missile are only controlling the path of the rocket during the boost phase. After the fuel burns out, probably around 60-80 seconds after launch, the missile relies on inertia and gravity to carry it to it’s target.

    A perfect example of this in action is the SCUD which when equipped with GPS only experiences a 20% increase in accuracy when compared to it’s ancient INS. Since the Shahab is basically a SCUD in terms of flight mechanics I think that’s reasonable to assume some sort of comparability.*

    The introduction of an independent, maneuvering warhead would significantly alter this calculus however but I don’t think Iran is at this point.

    The difference with the Khalij Fars (and by extensions, probably the Fateh-110) is that they use aerodynamic control fins on the outside of the missile. These tend to be less efficient then jet vanes but they’re also significantly cheaper and easier to produce (graphite jet vanes are subject to extreme stresses, and pairing them with a solid fuel rocket is extremely difficult). They also function during all stages of flight because (as far as I can tell anyway) the Fateh-110/KF doesn’t leave the atmosphere like the Shahab during flight. I also wouldn’t discount the importance of terminal homing on the KF whether it’s EO or radar.

    * = The Sejil is another beast altogether but I’m ignoring it for the moment because there are still some unknowns surrounding it.

    This does make it suitable for terror-bombing or even attacks against infrastructure.

    I’m still on the fence as to the effects of this however. Groups like Hezbollah and Hamas can get away with rocketing Israel because they’re non-state actors and like it or not, the world does hold nation-states to a different standard. Whether or not Iran could is an open question. It’s also questionable what kind of effect it would actually have on Israel whether it would demoralize them or embolden them.

    It may serve as a “punitive” measure though. If the primary goal of deterrence fails, then a retaliation with missiles against Israel may be needed to maintain credibility and clout even if there is no real tactical gain.

  3. Castellio says:

    James asks: “Is it an “imperial” object, the effort to keep permanent US bases in Iraq for the protection of Israel?”

    Yes. It relates directly to the American imperial era. It is the wishes of the American ruling elite. It is an expression of dominant American power.

    Hence, it fits three of the four usages defined below. It is, however, neither majestic nor magnificent.

    imperial |imˈpi(ə)rēəl|
    1 of or relating to an empire : Britain’s imperial era.
    • of or relating to an emperor : the imperial family.
    • majestic; magnificent : the bedroom is huge and imperial.
    • imperious or domineering : the party and its autocratic — many would say imperial — ways.

  4. Castellio says:

    UU… thanks. Appreciated.

  5. Photi says:


    Back in the day the support for Israel was very much an imperial effort. In today’s era of the global market being on Israel’s side seems much less advantageous. In today’s climate, Zionism may not have been so ‘successful’ if it had to start fresh but since it implanted itself back in the imperial era it was able preserve itself by co-opting the american political system. Zionism may have needed Western Imperialism to take root, but it no longer needs imperialism to sustain itself.

  6. James Canning says:


    I suppose one question that arises is, what in fact is “imperialism”? Many “pro-Israel” senators and congressmen in Washington support grotesque “defence” spending because they see it as being of advantage to Israel. And they ignore the damage such spending does to the interests of the average American. Is it an “imperial” object, the effort to keep permanent US bases in Iraq for the protection of Israel?

  7. Photi says:


    I guess i make a distinction between the ideals of humanism and American Imperialism. The imperialists will use whatever social material they can in order to advance their ends, regardless of which society those imperialists are living in. If they are living in a democratic society, they will use democratic means to achieve their ends. If they are living or operating in (as imperialists tend to be international) a tribal authoritarian society, then they will use tribal authoritarian methods to achieve their ends. Western Imperialism in its modern form developed parasitically on the back of humanist ideals. I am not sure if you (James) were agreeing with me.

  8. masoud says:

    Hi Galen,

    I wanted to say that I have been reading your site for years, and I’m a great. I have no idea where you get all your information from, but it’s clear you’ve put in a lot of time. I hope you keep it up.

    I would challenge the estimated CEP you offer for Iranian long range missiles(1000m). What exactly are these estimates based on? I’m going to lay out my reasoning on why I think we can safely assume their CEP is much smaller, and I would like for you to point out to me where I am going wrong.

    The Khalij-e-Fars missile, which you mentioned, while being quite a bit shorter range than than the the Sejil or Shahab series, is accurate enough to hit a floating ship, and apparently nimble enough to acquire it’s target mid-flight optically in order to make final course adjustments. Unless we are working under the assumption that the this a complete fraud of a weapon, it must have a CEP of about 10M.

    If we accept this CEP for the KF, then we are lead to question whether the KF is a testbed for telemetry experimentation, or rather a case of already developed technologies being miniaturized and installed on a smaller rocket.

    Let me layout my rationale for the above statement: Iran’s missile development has been roughly as follows: Shahab liquid fuel series culminating in Shahab 3C with 2000km range, Zelzal, Ghadr, Fateh culminating in the Sejil solid fuel missile having a similar range to the Shahab and meant to be more accurate replacement, the Safir SLV which is based largely on the Shahab and requires advanced telemetry, and finally the KF which is based on the Fateh rocket but has much smaller CEP. To me it’s clear that Iran’s solid fuel missile program served as the test bed for it’s telemetry research and this technology was then backported to to the Shahab and Fateh. Doing it any other way simply doesn’t make sense. But even if we assume the KF is the very first Iranian missile with advance telemetry capabilities, I see no real technical obstacle in applying that guidance system to it’s larger missiles. We are basically talking about a bunch of gyroscopes and and accelerometers(which don’t need to be scaled up), an on board computer(the very same one that’s on the KF would do), and a feed back system to the engines and guidance(not something that i believe would give Iran to much trouble).

    Now if the Sejil and the KF share the same telemetry subsystem, how reasonable is it to assume that the Sejil would have a CEP about 100 times larger than the CEP of the KF? The single largest contributor to the inaccuracies of the missile would would be the amount of time it spends in it’s terminal phase, when the warhead has separated and can no longer adjust it’s flight path. If we naively compare the flight ranges of these missiles(200 km vs 2000 km), we can guess that the Sejil’s terminal phase is about 10 times larger than the KF. This is a gross over estimate(mainly because the world is round), but let’s assume it’s realistic. The CEPs are both basically a 2D random walks, with different step sizes, and we’ll assume the Sejil is just as fast as the Fateh, even though it is faster(incorporating the higher speed in to our model would give us an even smaller CEP for the Sejil). With these assumptions, CEP would would scale with the root of ratio of the terminal phases of these two missiles, which we are generously pegging at 10, so the CEP of the Sejil due to the terminal phase of its flight would be something like 30 or 40 meters, a far cry from the 1000 that you site. Even if we assume we have been far two kind to the Iranians and double this number, and then triple it because we don’t think they can make or obtain gyroscopes or accelerometers of any quality we still get a number much smaller than 300m. How exactly do get 1000m?

  9. James Canning says:


    The delusional American “imperial project” has greatly weakened the financial status of most Americans. They, sadly, are too ignorant and foolish to recognise this fact.

  10. James Canning says:


    Another way to look at the situation is to say that Israel almost certainly cannot attack Iran, while Hezbollah remains strongly entrenched in southern Lebanon. I see this as an argument for making sure Hezbollah remains strong in southern Lebanon, at least for the next few years. (From a military standpoint; Hezbollah of course is alos a social services agency and a political party.)

  11. Photi says:

    B-i B

    The whole liberal humanism project in the West is a response against the tyranny and oppression of Catholic rule. It is not accurate to say a response against tyranny and oppression is the spawn of the devil. The assumption should be that there is haq in America and there is haq in Iran and that the two sides should seek each other out and communicate with each other. Writing us off as the Great Satan may mobilize your masses but it does nothing but work against world peace and alienates you from those of us in the West who actually believe our ideals.

    Imperialism predates modernity and so to blame imperialism on America instead of blaming it on the human greed found in us all will leave your society severely unprepared to deal with the power of Imperialism as that same greed sprouts its ugly head in Iranian society as well.

  12. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    What specifically do you believe prevents a good Muslim from being an American? Back in the days of the “No-Nothing” political party, before the American Civil War, the claim was loudly made that Roman Catholics could not be good Americans.

    In your view, can a good Muslim be French?

  13. James Canning says:


    The mandates issed to Britain and France after the First World War, by the League of Nations, obliged the UK and France to prepare the people living in those mandates, for self-rule. T. E. Lawrence wanted a large Arab kingdom, under Faisal, based in Damascus. But Lawrence could not control the outcome of the various conferences, nor could the US. France, of course, prevented Faisal from being king of a large Arab kingdom.

  14. James Canning says:


    The article you linked, in the Guardian, notes the claim of “pro-Palestinian” campaigners in the UK that public opinion regarding Israel is shifting, as people become more aware of Israel’s activities. This claim is quite true.

  15. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    May 30, 2011 at 10:49 am


    I came across this report yesterday: “David Cameron resigns as patron of the Jewish National Fund” http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/may/29/david-cameron-resigns-patron-jnf

    A week ago, we had the new catch phrase “essential relationship” being coined to describe US-UK shared interests. I doubt US-UK relations needed reinvigorating by a new slogan. I assume the new phrase is signalling the ascendance of trans-Atlantic interests over any other “special relationships” the US Congress may feel is deserving of lots and lots of standing ovations.

    I have a feeling something big is afoot. Palestinian declaration of statehood in September is going to be preceded by a general election in Israel bringing Obama’s name-sake to office in a coalition with Kadima. Within weeks the contours of a settlement between Israel and Fatah-Hamas will be hashed out, allowing US not to oppose Palestine’s move in the UN.

    I think the the “essential relationship” and the JNF news could be the opening salvos of a Europe-wide effort to unseat Netaneyahu and allow the inevitable unfold.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

  16. Photi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    And as i said in that discussion , your conclusion that America was spawned by the Devil is a conclusion which makes sense within your ideology but the conclusion does not hold up within the religion. The religion says Good and Evil are found everywhere. By your logic, the tension between being “iranian’ and being Muslim is also not sustainable in the long run. The Imam’s (ajf) government will not be a national government but a world government. If it is true that being American and being Muslim is unsustainable, then that is true of all nationalities including the Iranian.

  17. Fiorangela says:

    Broad overview of how Arabs came to lose faith with the United States

    Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of US-Arab Relations: 1820-2001 By Ussama Makdisi

    Most reviews of Makdisi’s work criticize his argument that the planting of zionist Israel in Palestine was the point of conflict between Arabs and Americans. Makdisi pinpoints that break in the Wilson administration and League of Nations promises and promises denied.

    I think Makdisi is correct in that assessment. I criticize his vague explanation as to WHY Wilson reneged on his promise for self-determination to the states of the former Ottoman empire. The facts seem pretty clear: Wilson was beholden to zionist Jewish power brokers, financiers, and influence-shapers, who sat at his elbow at Versailles.

  18. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    One exceptionalism is derived from the devil, the other from God (guess which one is which). That’s the difference.

    It’s not about the history of ideas and academic discourses, it’s about haq and batel. As the events in Karbala teach us, we all eventually have to pick sides and live with the consequences in this world and the next.

    As we discussed earlier, the tension between being American and being Muslim is not sustainable in the long run.

  19. pmr9 says:


    Your input is much appreciated. A few comments:-

    1. To guide a missile accurately to a ground-based target in an urban area without GPS, one possibility is for an agent to place a radio beacon near the target. It would be unwise for Israeli planners to assume that Iran doesn’t have the capability to do this.

    2. Even with a CEP of 1000 metres, there would be no need for Iran to resort to attacks on civilian areas. Missiles with cluster munitions would be devastating against aircraft parked in the open. Oil refineries and chemical works would also be easy targets, with vulnerable processes spread over a large land area. The Rafael nuclear weapons factory in Haifa might be a more attractive target than Dimona.

  20. Pirouz says:


    Right, but the “reactionary governments in the region” weren’t identified by name, as were the Western powers.

    That said, I do admit I found this speech more interesting than the one delivered 5/29.

  21. Photi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    thank you for the speeches you posted. i come away with the feeling that the leaders of Iran are much more progressive than the Western Left realizes.

    A quote from the second speech you posted:

    “The Islamic Republic is not just a republic similar to other governments and other republics and non-republics in the world. The Islamic Republic is a government that has a message. The message of the Islamic Republic is one that nations of the world are thirsty for. The Islamic Republic is different from other countries, other governments and other kinds of political systems that are preoccupied with a geographical territory and are ruled by people immersed in different human passions. It is a matter of values. It is a matter of humanity. It is a matter of saving nations from the yoke of interfering and domineering powers. Our Islamic system has a message for humanity. It is due to this message that the greedy powers of the world have deployed their forces against the Iranian nation. If today were the first day of this confrontation, some people might lose their confidence. But today is not the first day. This confrontation has been continuing for thirty one years in different forms – including military invasions, political attacks, economic sanctions and different other threats. Different rulers have come to power in hegemonic countries during the past 31 years, but the Iranian nation has been standing firm. This firm stronghold has been gaining more glory on a daily basis. This divine and fruit-bearing sapling, this immaculate tree, has been taking root in this fertile land on a daily basis.”

    The ironic thing is that I think the founders of the American Republic were inspired by the same lofty hopes and aspirations for humanity as are the Iranian leaders. The practical effect of this idealism in American Society has in part led to the attitude of American exceptionalism that so many nations such as Iran despise. Isn’t there a danger here of replacing one exceptionalism for another? Why should Americans be any more comfortable with Iranian exceptionalism than Iranians are of American exceptionalism?

    Just to be clear, i am very much in favor of these ideals of empowering the oppressed and I think Iran has an important role to play in empowering the oppressed nations, but as we see in American society lofty ideals have often been used by unscrupulous people for imperial ends.

    Why should the world think Iranians will be any different?

  22. Unknown Unknowns says:


    PS. I forgot to mention that I cannot help you with your request for book recommendations on the Iran-Iraq war. To my knowledge nothing exists of any value in English or French. Let me know if you find something, as the scrifice of the martyrs and the culture they fostered is indeed worthy of study.

  23. Unknown Unknowns says:


    Thanks for your response regarding the issue of first principles. I agree with you that it is indeed relevant and not “off topic”, but that the forum of a blog is not really very conducive to a good interchange of ideas… regardless, I will respond to your post before too long. Meanwhile, in gratitude to your referring me to Peter Munz, who seems like a very interesting thinker, I am returning the favor by referring you to Henry Corbin’s work, in case you are not aware of him already.
    Like your namesake, Corbin was a French protestant theologian, who was a student of Heidegger and the first person to translate him into French. He studies Islamic mysticism and fell in love with Islam and all things Iranian. His magnum opus is En Islam Iranien (in 4 volumes). An excellent introduction to his work is now available in Tom Cheetham’s *The World Turned Inside Out*
    The eversion is floating around somewhere out there. If you can’t find it and want to puruse it, I can email it to you.
    Also of possible interest to you:

  24. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Thanks for another great contribution.
    Just to be sure I understand you correctly: the CEP for current Iranian BM’s at the ranges involved (1200-1300 km) is <1000m, which means that half of the missiles fired are likely to land within a 2 km diameter (1 km radius) and the other half outside that circle. This, given that you “don’t think it’s that far of a leap at all to assume that the missiles have pretty good accuracy,” and that this CEP assumes that US GPS will be unavailable, that GLONASS availability is not part of the equation, and that “we know Iran has procured relatively accurate INS systems like laser-ring gyroscopes.”
    Of course, if the Russian GPS was made available (perhaps it already is?) and that this availability is sustained (at least for the first day or two of the conflict), the situation would be very different, as it is my understanding that these systems provide accuracy “within the width of a street (20 m +/-). If this was the case, then I assume Iran would be able to saturate Israeli infrastructure with sufficient BM’s as to wreck total chaos on the state, (paving the way for Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas to go on the offensive???) This possibility is surely a sufficient deterrent for decision makers who base their decisions on reason.
    But again, going back to the earlier assumption that the CEP is <1000m and not <20, then what I got from your post is that this CEP may not bode well as a potential threat against, say, Dimona (or any other strategic asset, such as an airport), but that this CEP *is* in fact very menacing indeed as a potential threat to be used against major population centers such as Tel Aviv, where all sorts of damage would result even if that rather large CEP was doubled. This is even more the case if multiple warheads were used, turning Tel Aviv into a carpet-bombing bonanza.

  25. Unknown Unknowns says:

    PB says:
    May 30, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I think that sums up the situation rather nicely.

  26. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    In the speech to Army Cadets:

    “…Reactionary governments of the region were supporting it. They used to provide it with money. They used to provide it with weapons. They used to provide it with intelligence. They used to provide it with manpower. They were doing all of these things in order to defeat the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation…”

  27. PB says:

    Galen Wright

    Very interesting read on Iran’s missile capability. I think your writing shows really why Iran’s response to any Israeli attack is likely to come from Lebanon. And that may be combined with an Iranian Shahab-3 response. This is why Israel’s only objective in 2006, and now, has been to eliminate the Hezbollah factor. Because their Lebanese strategy has failed, it has become important to destabilize Syria by sending armed Arab Wahaabis, just as the Saudi’s did in Iraq, and capitalize on the inherent public dissatisfaction that exists in Syria. That’s where we are now. Only those who dared to be independent (despite being dictatorial) are being deposed (Libya and Syria). While the situation in Egypt is being managed, the rebellion in Bahrain, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia have been crushed. Tunisia, like Egypt, the military remains in firm control. It was necessary for Obama to give a conciliatory speech toward the Arab Awakening while giving no specifics and not even mentioning the Saudi’s. This is consistent with the over all strategy of turning or using the Arab Awakening to remove “unsavory” regimes and while finding a way to keep the status quo. The upheaval has been turned violent for this purpose.

  28. PB says:

    FYI and James Canning

    If there is precedence then that gives me hope. Although it seems they are slightly different situations. But I do accept it as evidence. Thanks.

  29. Kathleen says:

    oops sorry for the duplicate

  30. Castellio says:

    Galen… I truly appreciate the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of your response. I will read closely and consider.

  31. Castellio says:

    UU, you are right that this isn’t the right forum. However, in terms of the confrontation between Islam and Western thought its inevitable that first principles come up.

    Quickly then, so you don’t think I’m avoiding the topic: I do realize the radical nature of Xeno and Hume.

    Having logically proven the impossibility of movement, Xeno’s terms and process should be questioned. It took a while for human thought to realize that all nouns are verbs in a different time reference. His argument really posits a difference between the action (moving) and the noun (distance), but “distance” itself is only a generalization of many actions, and what seems profound in his argument reduces to a confrontation between the actual and (a slightly falsified) generalization.

    There is movement, our bodies are shaped for it, as are all bodies. The conceptual framework we use to discuss movement, however, has innate difficulty in grasping that dynamic because our experience of actions is generalized as a fixed noun. This is true of the contradiction within the Heracletian saying as well (the river as noun is not actually a noun, but a process).

    Calculus is the moment when mathematics abandons the false generalizations assumed by Xeno. The point “only approaches” our solution, but we take the limit as our solution.

    Hume is different, and all in all more “usual”. Rational (reason) in his usage is challenged correctly for not being truly deductive. We move from the perfection of reason to the probability of useful answers. Hume’s thinking, from this perspective, actually opens us up to the acceptance of evolution as an on-going self-corrective between thought and the world.

    It is true that we cannot conclusively prove anything, but we can create extremely reliable probabilities, and trust the outcomes, as we do.

    As for Kuhn, an extremely limited thinker, not much need be said other than to agree with you that the foundational epistemology of the west has been greatly weakened, and that this is part and parcel of institutional decay. For the corrective, do read “Our Knowledge of the Growth of Knowledge : Popper or Wittgenstein?” by Peter Munz. You will enjoy it. His more important book is “Philosophical Darwinism : On the Origin of Knowledge by Means of Natural Selection”.

    Munz was a medieval historian who became one of the most important twentieth century philosophers, and yet as such he is barely known. (It’s not my fault.) In any case, he avoids positivism (and claims, correctly I think, that it isn’t the main western tradition), and therefore manages to steer clear of the most appealing critiques of positivism, which is where ahistorical Kuhn and French idealism have landed us. I do have some problems with Munz, but not substantial enough to relay.

    This is all relevant to relations between Iran and the west, although perhaps not immediately visible to all.

  32. Galen Wright says:


    The threat of Iranian missiles being used against the Israeli nuclear program in Dimona is a very real one at least to policy-makers. The Israelis were afraid of Syrian retaliation against the facility after they had bombed the Syrian nuclear plant under construction. It’s also been the subject of quite a few columns and reports by various organizations which means it’s at least on somebody’s radar. We also cant forget 1991 when Saddam fired several (three I believe) SCUDs at the nuclear facility, but missed.

    Whether or not Iran could do it and be successful is another story however. Iran has threatened that in response to an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, that they would strike back at Dimona. Even though Iran’s strike aircraft might theoretically be able to make it, long range missiles like the Sejil or Shahab-3 are the most logical choices. I think this is a relatively safe scenario to assume.

    The primary challenge is of course getting the missile onto the target. If indeed this is an established Iranian strategy of retaliation then they most likely already have established units who have trained to do this and are equipped with all the necessary targeting data in the same way strategic targets were allocated during the cold war. In other words, these aren’t going to be units in the field using missiles tactically against battlefield targets. The Sejil might be the more likely of the two because it can be stored ready as compared to the Shahab-3 which needs to be fueled before launch. In this scenario response time would be paramount as Iran would need to get in a knock-out blow as quickly as possible.

    They have that going for them, but Dimona is also a relatively small place a long way away and hitting it with a conventional warhead would still be pretty difficult. While the true accuracy of Iranian missiles isn’t known we can take a few guesses. Internal documents reveal that Iran does indeed use GPS on their missiles (though not exclusively due to the risk of the US shutting it “off”), GLONASS is another possibility though not confirmed to the best of my knowledge. If Israel launched the raid without the US’s cooperation and Iran was able to retaliate quickly they might well be able to take advantage of the civilian GPS network. Even if this wasn’t possible we know Iran has procured relatively accurate INS systems like laser-ring gyroscopes. Given the capital invested in the missile program and domestic science industry I don’t think it’s that far of a leap at all to assume that the missiles have pretty good accuracy.

    That being said, “pretty good accuracy” for a ballistic missile means being able to drop a nuclear weapon in the vicinity of the target, not putting a conventional warhead through a reactor core. Without going into too deep a technical discussion I think it’s safe to say that at the ranges involved (around 1200-1300 km)the CEP (circular-error probability: radius of the circle where half of all rounds fired will land in. It’s an arbitrary measure of accuracy, but it’s fairly standardized so it’s all we’ve got) would probably be around <1000 m. Of course that's just the most general of estimates.

    Poor accuracy can be corrected for by saturation which would be needed to reliably overcome the ABM defenses anyway. For the sake of simplicity I'm going to ignore the ABM systems and just focus on the missiles themselves.

    The Dimona facility itself is about 700 m x 700 m and contains numerous different buildings to house the various equipment needed for the nuclear process. They don't appear to be subject to any remarkable hardening procedures. The exceptions are the reactor tower and the underground portions. However the buildings are reported to be failing after decades in the desert and as a consequence may be weakened. A direct hit on any of the structures, including the reactor tower, would likely be devastating as the total energy, both explosive and kinetic, would be somewhere around 1500+ kg TNT-equivalent (assuming a separating warhead). A near miss would still destroy light buildings out to 40 m and heavier ones up to 30 m away.

    For comparison, the total area of the 800 m CEP is 3,141,592 m^2, while the total area for the missiles threatened area is 3,848 m^2. In other words, it would theoretically take 1,282 missiles to guarantee total destruction of the facility.

    Even in the event of a direct hit on a critical location, the radiation risk to surrounding communities and to Israel and surrounding areas (like Jordan and the West Bank) would be relatively minimal, if only because Dimona is a small facility in an isolated location.

    It is my conclusion then that, with the information we have available to us, attempting to disable or destroy the Dimona nuclear facility with ballistic missiles isn't feasible at this point because of the exorbitant number of missiles it would require.

    The underlying implication here, and one that is a persistent thread through our discussion here I feel, is that the true value of the missiles isn't in their destructive capability, but in their destructive potential. It's unlikely to the point of impossible that Iran would be able to use conventional BMs to substantially cripple the Israeli military or political establishment simply because ballistic missiles are inefficient bomb-trucks.

    However these missiles give Iran the potential to strike Israel or other strategic targets with virtual impunity. The sheer fact that Iran might be able to bombard Israeli cities is powerful. Risk assessment is a crazy thing and threats with a high magnitude but low probability very often elicit irrational responses. In this case, Iran's missiles pose a high magnitude/low probability risk to Israel and the US and are being treated as such(note that this discussion is independent of the possible development of a nuclear weapon).

    Some have pointed this out and have indicated that this is a failure in strategy for Iran. I don't necessarily think so because they've accomplished a very real political goal which is deterrence and I don't think there's anything illusory about that.

    It was not the impetus for the development of Iron Dome, that was driven by the threat of short range rockets from the occupied territories. You might be thinking of the Arrow ABM system which was driven by the acquisition of ballistic missiles by neighboring Arab states in the 1980s.

  33. Castellio says:

    A thumbnail history of bank mergers in the anglo world.


  34. Castellio says:

    Pirouz, UU et al.

    I am dreadfully ignorant of the Iraq-Iran war as perceived/lived in Iran, not only as a history of the battles and strategies, but as a history of the social transformations within the countries and their foreign relations.

    I think you’ve referenced “best” books before, but can you share that information once again with publications in either English or French?

    Thanks in advance

  35. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela at 7:40 pm

    Understood. Thanks for the suggestion.

  36. Rehmat says:

    “These changes (in the Middle East) have been followed by demonstrations against US domination and Zionism. They politically benefit the ‘Axis of Resistance’, comprised of Iran, Syria at the state level and at the non-state level by Hezbullah and Hamas. To lead the counter-revolution in this region, Washington and Tel-Aviv have relied on their best support: the Sudairi clan which embodies despotism at the service of imperialism unlike any other,” wrote Thierry Meyssan, a French intellectual, author and columnist.


  37. Pirouz says:


    Khamanei intentionally gave a partial accounting of the powers that lined up against Iran during the Imposed war. He didn’t mention the Soviet Union (Russia) and East Germany (Warsaw Pact), nor did he mention the financial backing of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

    I suppose these students’ parents have provided family histories of the war. The battle of Khoramshar was significant, perhaps the greatest muslim offensive battlefield victory, post WWII. But it wasn’t a war winner.

  38. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio at 3:27 pm: tried, failed. sigh.

    You may be interested in the work of Chris Van Gorder. he traveled to Iran w/ our group. Great guy. http://www.baylor.edu/religion/index.php?id=66251

  39. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    Many of those in the west who supported Saddam Hussein during his bloody war with Iran, did so with a view toward slowing down the revolutionary impulses of Iran. Some may have hoped for an overthrow of the Islamic government of Iran, but most seem to have been seeking a draining of strength from both Iraq and Iran.

  40. James Canning says:


    I did not mean to suggest Israel was working toward ending the occupation of the West Bank. Quite the contrary, sadly. Yes, a series of Bantustans is what Netanyahu has in mind. No question about it.

  41. James Canning says:


    Courage and determination under fire, that is what sustained Hezbollah.

  42. James Canning says:


    Let’s hope there will not be another Israel war on Lebanon. Israel smashed infrastructure that had nothing to do with Hezbollah. Billions of dollars in gratuitous destruction. A real frenzy.

  43. Rehmat says:

    Photi – if you ask the same question to Israel Army deserters – those who fought in 2006 Israel-Hizbullah war – would also prefer to fight along Hizbullah during the next Isral-Hizbullah war.


  44. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    May 29, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Would you rather have an army comprised of Hizbollah’s soldiers or the KSA’s soldiers?

    To be fair, the world has never seen the KSA’s army in action (other than the infamous “policing” of the Bahrainis), but if I were the commander of an Army I think i would prefer Hizbollahis over Saudi Arabis any day. Hizbollah have accomplished much through tactics and organization proving to the world you do not need big guns to achieve big success. Though of course big guns couldn’t hurt.

  45. Deanz says:

    Oh isnt this sweet hypocrisy.

    US support the rotten arab dictators that the people in the region, wants to step down.

    UK welcome Bahrain prince to UK:

    And the same P(UK)E train the same saudi forces that kill, maim, torture the civilian protesters in Bahrain with weapons from the west:

  46. Castellio says:

    James, you write, “Israel’s primary problem is it’s inablility to end the occupation of the West Bank.”

    Perhaps your wording is right, if we acknowledge and keep in mind that they want to solve the problem of the occupation by getting rid of the people who are occupied, not withdraw their occupying forces and colonies.

    Without that understanding, your way of putting the situation misrepresents the fundamental issues and creates the impression that Israel is working to end the occupation. No, it’s not. It is willing to give local authority to small, weak, isolated yet allied bantustans – which has been made very clear by Natanyahu – and that doesn’t end the occupation.

    They see their primary problem as how to keep the land but get rid of the people, or at least keep the Palestinians contained and quiet enough until they can be shipped elsewhere eventually.

    To deny this is to deny at least 100 years of history.

  47. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Supreme Leader’s Speech to Students of Imam Hussein (a.s.) University

    The following is the full text of the speech delivered on May 24, 2010 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with the students of Imam Hussein (a.s.) University on the occasion of liberation of Khorramshahr.

    In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

    I would like to congratulate you dear youth – who are the sources of hope for the future of this country – for the achievements you have made during your studies. I would also like to congratulate you on the 3rd of Khordad – which is an unforgettable day in the history of the Revolution and even in the history of our country.

    Today’s ceremony was very good, and just like the Army of the Guardians of the Revolution, it was a combination of spirituality, spiritual and physical capabilities and practical and intellectual preparedness. It was a sign of the progress that the Army of the Guardians of the Revolution has made.

    My dear ones, liberation of Khorramshahr – which was in fact the peak of Operation Beitol Moghaddas in the year 1361 – holds lessons for all of us and for our past and future. This is because on that day the brave members of the Army and the Army of the Guardians of the Revolution managed to deal a great blow to the enemy through their amazing and praiseworthy harmony and their indescribable bravery and selflessness. The blow did not just harm the Iraqi army, but it also harmed the system of global arrogance, which had deployed its forces behind the war machine of the Ba’ath Party. Nobody could predict such an event, but it happened.

    What was the main factor that gave rise to that event? One can enumerate some factors, but the spirit of trust in God and confidence in one’s capabilities were the main factors behind that event. Through conventional calculations, nobody could predict that such an event would take place. But our youth, our faithful men and our soldiers serving in the Armed Forces entered the arena with their determination, faith, reliance on God, selflessness, bravery and death-defying spirit, and they gave rise to that great event. Liberation of Khorramshahr is the peak of these achievements. It is the outcome of these achievements. There were hundreds of amazing manifestations of selflessness during the time Operation Beitol Moghaddas took place.

    I ask you dear youth to read the available accounts of this operation. Some accounts have fortunately been published in this regard. Read them carefully and see what happened in the operation. See what our youth and men did. It would take a big book to list their names, but as an example, I would mention the names of people like the brave, liberated and selfless commander, Ahmad Motavaselian. See what they did in this great confrontation and what sources of power they used. The famous quotation by our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) – that is, “Khorramshahr was liberated by God” – is the most accurate and the wisest comment that has been made in this regard. Just like the verse “So you did not slay them, but it was Allah Who slew them, and you did not smite when you smote (the enemy), but it was Allah Who smote.” [The Holy Quran, 8: 17] The power of Allah the Exalted was manifested in the hearts, iron determination, patience, strong arms and innovation of our soldiers. The enemy was dependent on its material power. It goes without saying that material power cannot stand up against such manifestations of spirituality and humanity. This has always been the case, and today material powers – with all their power, money, industrial development, advanced technology and scientific advances – are not able to stand up against a group of people who rely on faith, determination, effort and selflessness as their standard.

    The same people who fought the Iranian nation and its soldiers at that time are now opposing the Iranian nation again. We should recognize them. America, NATO, England, France and Germany were fighting us at that time too. They provided Saddam Hussein with military weapons, chemicals, planes, war plans and updated intelligence about the battlefields. They had thrown their weight behind him in the hope that they will manage to defeat the Islamic Republic of Iran, the lofty system of monotheism and spirituality, the flag of monotheism and humanity that had been raised in Iran and the nation’s shout for liberation and independence. They were the same people who were behind Saddam Hussein, and they are the ones who oppose us today. Today the same people who are trying to stand realities on their heads through their propaganda are the source of insecurity in most parts of the world. The same people who are threatening the world are trying to convince the world that Iran is a threat. Those who commit crimes in Pakistan on a daily basis, those who have been killing and imprisoning people in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who are behind the evil forces of the usurping Zionist regime – the same people are against the Iranian nation today. The same people were behind Saddam Hussein in the year 1361. They were defeated at that time, and I assure you that they will be defeated today as well.

    The Islamic Republic is not just a republic similar to other governments and other republics and non-republics in the world. The Islamic Republic is a government that has a message. The message of the Islamic Republic is one that nations of the world are thirsty for. The Islamic Republic is different from other countries, other governments and other kinds of political systems that are preoccupied with a geographical territory and are ruled by people immersed in different human passions. It is a matter of values. It is a matter of humanity. It is a matter of saving nations from the yoke of interfering and domineering powers. Our Islamic system has a message for humanity. It is due to this message that the greedy powers of the world have deployed their forces against the Iranian nation. If today were the first day of this confrontation, some people might lose their confidence. But today is not the first day. This confrontation has been continuing for thirty one years in different forms – including military invasions, political attacks, economic sanctions and different other threats. Different rulers have come to power in hegemonic countries during the past 31 years, but the Iranian nation has been standing firm. This firm stronghold has been gaining more glory on a daily basis. This divine and fruit-bearing sapling, this immaculate tree, has been taking root in this fertile land on a daily basis.

    Even if the enemies of spirituality and Islamic values and the enemies of our dear Islamic Iran had some hope at that time, they are totally desperate today. They are making efforts in desperation. They do not know the path. They do not know the Iranian nation. They are comparing their calculations to the calculations of 30-50 years ago, the era of superpowers’ unrivaled domination. This comparison is wrong. The world has changed, and nations have awakened. Therefore, today the people of Iran and their prominent youth – the dear youth serving the Army of the Guardians of the Revolution – fill the hearts of people of the world with hope. Many of the governments in the world have pinned their hopes on you. Although they know that the Islamic Republic is not the kind of government to interfere in internal affairs of other countries, these messages and this resistance and spiritual power – which are manifested in all arenas -make them hopeful and encourage them to resist. Today in Asia, in Africa, in America and even in Europe, many peoples have pinned their hopes on you and praise you.

    My dear ones, you should appreciate this youth and this youthful energy and talent. You should appreciate this opportunity and use it for growth and development. You dear youth, the youth who are serving the Army, the youth who are serving the Police and the youth who are active in the sacred and immaculate Basij organizations enjoy facilities today that our prominent, faithful and sincere youth never had access to. Try to make use of these opportunities. Making good use of these opportunities is the best way to express your gratitude to God.

    Dear God, bestow Your grace and mercy on this organization. Dear God, bestow Your best blessings and grace on our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) who opened up this path in front of us. Dear God, improve the position of our dear martyrs who are alive and will remain alive. Associate us with those honorable people, and convey the greetings of this organization to the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake).

    Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

  48. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Weapons are important, but the most important thing in war is the soldier…

    From khamenei.ir:

    Supreme Leader’s Speech to Army Cadets

    The following is the full text of the speech delivered by Ayatollah Khamenei on November 10, 2010 at the graduation ceremony held at Shahid Sattari University.

    In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

    I would like to extend my congratulations to the dear graduates and the faithful youth who have finished their dignified studies and will start their services as members of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces and the honorable Army of the Islamic Republic. I would also like to extend my congratulations to the dear youth who received epaulets, and I hope they will continue their education successfully.

    When looking at the issue objectively, our Armed Forces and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army are at a very favorable level. You are superior to other armies in terms of two things. First, your goal is a divine and human goal. Second, there is a strong heartfelt bond between you and the people. In order to provide security, tread the path of glory and achieve material and spiritual well-being, all societies and countries throughout the world are in need of power, and one important part of this power is provided by the armed forces in all societies and countries. The main difference lies in the fact that the paradigm of power in material systems – which is prevalent in today’s world – is different from the paradigm of power in the Islamic system. In material systems, power rests on the foundations of material power – it is based on money, weaponry and deceptive and even hypocritical propaganda, if necessary. But in the Islamic and spiritual paradigm of power, this power is based primarily on spiritual factors and spiritual and divine values. It is based on faith. It is based on trust in Allah the Exalted. It is based on sincere efforts to achieve lofty ideals. This does not mean that we should ignore weapons. This does not mean that we should view discipline, weapons and training as insignificant. All these things are necessary, but the spirit of these things is the divine sense of responsibility, the feeling of reliance on Allah the Exalted. This is the factor which makes an army and a nation so strong that material powers become unable to bring them to their knees, and ultimate divine assistance and ultimate victory belong to that nation and army.

    This is not just at the level of theory. This is not just an expression of our ambitious dreams. This is what we have experienced in practice. You dear youth can study these realities carefully in the recent history of the country. The victory of the Iranian nation in the face of the taghuti system is a perfect example of the triumph of spiritual factors over material factors. In this beloved and oppressed homeland, the taghuti, dependent and corrupt regime depended on different means of material power provided by international powers, but it was defeated by an unarmed nation that was equipped with faith and self-confidence.

    The second experience is the one that the Iranian nation went through during the Sacred Defense Era. Both west and east were supporting the corrupt Ba’ath Party at that time. America was supporting it. NATO was supporting it. The U.S.S.R. was supporting it. Reactionary governments of the region were supporting it. They used to provide it with money. They used to provide it with weapons. They used to provide it with intelligence. They used to provide it with manpower. They were doing all of these things in order to defeat the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation. But amid comprehensive sanctions, especially sanctions on weapons and military equipment, the Iranian nation managed to defeat the enemy that had a mountain of weapons and military equipment at its disposal by relying on its faith, the faith of its youth and the valor of its Armed Forces. The Iranian nation managed to obliterate all the money that had been showered on that taghuti regime.

    The same is still true today. The world of arrogance has not yet found a way to confront Islamic Iran. They rely on material power and equip their friends and allies with weapons. Just see how much modern weaponry is exported to this region, how much money the countries of the region are spending on this weaponry and how much this profits the owners of military industries of America and the west. But their efforts are futile. “The unbelievers spend their wealth to hinder (man) from the path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend, but in the end they will have (only) regrets and sighs.” [The Holy Quran, 8: 36] They spend all this money, but they will not benefit from it.

    Relying on its religious faith, Islamic Iran managed to overtake others in the arena of material means as well. Of course the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army and its honorable martyrs – such as Shahid Sattari, Shahid Babai, Shahid Khazrai, Shahid Doran and many others – were pioneers on this path. The first institute for self-sufficiency jihad of the Armed Forces was established in the Air Force. Both flight crew and technical support crew created values in one way or another. The Islamic Republic will never forget these services. In this arena, the Army stood up. The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution stood up. Different officials of the Armed Forces stood up. Universities helped, and scientists of the country cooperated. Today besides relying on its faith and spiritual values, the Iranian nation is relying on the material means that it has built on its own. This is a source of pride.

    We want our youth to feel that they can rely on themselves and on the assistance of Allah the Exalted. We want them to feel that they can be independent of the arrogant powers of the world and that they can build Armed Forces that are equipped with the products of indigenous ideas and innovations. Look at everything from this perspective. Continue your studies with this principle in mind. Continue your research with this orientation. Rely on yourselves. This is the experience gained by you, your country and veteran members of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army and the entire Armed Forces. When you rely on yourselves, your talents flow like an inexhaustible spring and offer their outcomes to you, your organization and your nation.

    The report that was presented by the commander of this university was a good report. What he reported has been done in different areas, and this is good. But you should not be complacent about these things. The path of perfection is an endless path. The more you move ahead, the more you will experience the pleasure of perfection. This is true of material issues as well as spiritual virtues – such as closeness to God, attention to God, love for God and spirituality, and treading the divine path. The more you move ahead, the more powerful and delighted you will feel. This path is the path of you dear youth. The country belongs to you. The Army belongs to you. The future belongs to you. Study hard. Engage in research seriously. Try hard to gain experience.

    Allah the Exalted has promised that He will assist you if you promote His religion, tread His path and seek divine goals. God’s assistance means the assistance of the forces of nature – all of them will help you. Even supernatural forces will come to your aid. You will be assisted, and you will move ahead – just as you have up until today.

    You should know that today your country is very different from 10 years ago and that it has made a lot of progress. It has made more progress compared to 20 years ago. It has made even more progress compared to the early years of the Revolution – thirty years ago. This progress is the result of the determined efforts of our nation, our people, our youth, their reliance on Allah the Exalted and their efforts on this holy path. Continue these efforts.

    Universities affiliated to the Armed Forces are among the most promising social and scientific centers of this country. This university was named after Shahid Sattari – the honorable, hardworking, active, innovative, faithful and mujahid martyr. During the Sacred Defense Era, before he was appointed as an Air Force commander, Shahid Sattari made many valuable efforts without many people knowing. He also rendered a lot of services as a commander. Similarly, the rest of our dear martyrs – from the Ground Force, the Navy, the Air Force and different other parts of the Armed Forces – rendered great services. You should appreciate this university. The plans should always be up-to-date and forward-looking, and they should be clearly formulated. The honorable teachers should make as many efforts as they can. The dear students should try their hardest. The senior commanders should visit such universities and speak with these dear youth in person. This is beneficial both for them and for these youth. We become dynamic when we look at you dear youth, and you can benefit from the experience of the veterans.

    Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household, bestow Your grace and blessings on these dear youth. Dear God, bestow Your support and assistance on our Armed Forces, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army, the Police and the Basij.

    Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

  49. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela, did you send that post to Sic Temper Tyranus?

  50. James Canning says:


    Yes, Israel has done some stupid things, but an attack on Iran using nukes seems highly unlikely. For that matter, Israel is very unlikely to attack Iran. Israel’s primary problem is it’s inablility to end the occupation of the West Bank.

  51. Fiorangela says:

    Dutch radio Argusoogradio spent two jampacked hours interviewing Gilad Atzmon. At the very end of the broad-ranging session, radio host T Zeevat asked Atzmon if he thought Israel would attack Iran.

    Atzmon responded that he thought it was possible, that Israel had done such stupid things in the past. Gilad commented on all the consequences, in terms of human suffering, nuclear devastation, etc. that would result. And, he concluded, the world would look at the horror that Israel had unleashed and, possibly, conclude that “Hitler was right” about the Jews.


    That is one more reason why censoring critical commentary and criminalizing research into holocaust are such a self-defeating policies; it is like strangling the canary in the coal mine. Honest human beings attempt to take lessons from history in order to avoid the terrible mistakes of the past, and the human destruction caused by those actions. To prevent decision makers and citizens in a participatory form of government from full access to complete information is akin to a vandal smashing the fire alarm system.

    Gilad Atzmon’s point is courageous and is well taken, but why should the world — and the Iranian people — be forced to live their lives under threat of attack by Israel, and why should the world find it acceptable that a nation of 70 million be punished, perhaps with nuclear attack, before truth is permitted to emerge?

    How about some pre-emptive truth-telling instead of pre-emptive killing?

  52. James Canning says:

    Max Hastings has some good comments about the situation in Afghanistan, in the weekend Financial Times. He refers to the memoirs of Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, which have just come out. Cowper-Coles was British ambassador in Kabul until the middle of last year. He thinks the Nato military mission is virtually certain to fail. Hastings shares that viewpoint.

  53. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    I think the CIA opposes any attack on Iran, but there are various potential rogue elements in the ME that could try to pull a “false flag” operation, in effort to set up an attack on Iran.

    I also think it is obvious that stability in Afghanistan, even of a minimal sort, will not be achieved without help from Iran. But this fact is not even mentioned by most American politicians and analysts.

  54. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    May 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I am almost there (pending Galen’s response to Castellio and myself). However, that is only one (important) facet: the rational.

    Then we have the irrational, the known unknowns, such as a rogue element or faction within CIA, Mossad or some other nefarious organization’s false flag operation, forcing a “response” by Israel or the US.

    And last but not least, we have the Unknown Unknowns.

  55. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    I very much agree with you that an American or Israeli attack on Iran would result in the closure of the Persian Gulf to shipping, thus sending oil prices so high the world economy would be badly injured, to say the least.

    I continue to think the chances of an American attack on Iran are extremely low, assuming Iran continues not to try to build nukes.

  56. James Canning says:


    Any US attack on Iran, in the absence of an Iranian attack on US forces (or an Iranian missile attack on Israel), would be illegal, given that the NIE on Iran continues not to say that Iran is secretly building nukes. This is the reason the neocons and other American warmongers keep trying to change the NIE.

  57. James Canning says:


    I too see no connection between the illegal (and idiotic) Iraq War, and the Arab Spring. I think cheap, easily available communications explain the latter situation.

    Mainstream American news organisations have been compromised, partly by becoming under the control of huge corporations with financial interests that oblige them to cooperate with the government even if this means helping to cover up one of the greatest criminal conspiracies of recent decades. Another factor, of course, is that the financial power of the ISRAEL LOBBY, and its political power, are so great that it can suppress the truth, with enormous help from mainstream US news organisations.

  58. Pirouz says:


    It should be taken into account that two top US leaders considered attacking Iran in the late 2000s, those leaders being GW Bush and Dick Cheney. Bush’s staff was against it, mainly based on the deterrent force of Iran and the risks involved for the region. Bush himself, in his memoir states that the decision not to attack Iran was for lack of justification brought on by the 2007 NIE. Cheney, on the other hand, was hell bent for (another) war in 2007; risk and justification be damned. Cooler heads, however, prevailed.

    War is most always fraught with risks and uncertainties. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have proven that to recent US leaders.

    The Iranians have a deterrent force capable of inflicting enough pain to an attacker, to make those averse to such risks think twice. This risk assessment includes IRGCASF ballistic missile forces, IRGCN forces (which are AShM equipped), IRGC/Quds special forces and allied paramilitaries in the region (including Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon).

  59. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi says:
    May 29, 2011 at 4:23 am

    I don’t know what you mean.

  60. Fiorangela says:

    fyi at 10:28 pm May 28:

    ‘Stupid’ is not the word that springs to mind when I think of Israelis.

    but then, I just listened to Ilan Berman on C Span Washington Journal spew more lies and agitprop than my new voice software could keep track of; systems are overloaded and need a cleansing rosewater sorbet before applying any thought processes to Israel.

  61. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I don’t know what you mean.

  62. Photi says:

    Maybe ‘balance of power’ should actually have something to do with balance. A multi-polar world would seem to be the natural outcome of a world thoroughly transitioned to modernity (barring anything catastrophic).


    A world of regions

    Recent events in the Middle East and Central Asia reflect the decline of US dominance and influence.

    Jeffrey Sachs

    “We are, in short, moving to a multi-polar world. The Cold War’s end has not led to greater US dominance, but rather to the dissemination of global power to many regions. East Asia, South Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East have new geopolitical and economic influence. Each region, increasingly, must find its own path to economic development, energy and food security, and effective infrastructure, and must do so in a world threatened by climate change and resource scarcity.

    Each region, therefore, will have to secure its own future. Of course, this should occur in a context of cooperation across regions as well as within them.

    The Middle East is in a strong position to help itself. There is a high degree of economic complementarity between Egypt and the oil-rich Gulf States. Egypt can supply technology, manpower, and considerable expertise for the Arab region, while the Gulf provides energy and finance, as well as some specialists. The long-delayed vision of Arab economic unity should be returned to the table.

    Israel, too, should recognise that its long-term security and prosperity will be enhanced as part of an economically stronger region. For the sake of its own national interests, Israel must come to terms with its neighbours.

    Other regions also will find that the decline of US power increases the urgency of stronger cooperation between neighbors. Some of the greatest tensions in the world – say India and Pakistan, or North and South Korea – should be defused as part of region-wide strengthening. As the EU shows, ancient enmities and battle lines can be turned into mutually beneficial cooperation if a region looks forward, to resolving its long-term needs, rather than backward, to its long-standing rivalries and conflicts.”

    Jeffrey D. Sachs is Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals.

  63. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    May 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm


    I remember quite vividly during the American media propaganda campaign leading up to the illegal invasion of Iraq that there were dissenters who were saying the evidence against Iraq was clearly fabricated and we were heading into a Big Lie. No one in the mainstream seemed to care and kept themselves blissfully unaware of the implications of the Bush Doctrine.

    I am curious to know the correlations, if any, between the Iraq War and the Arab Spring. My gut feeling says one is not the cause of the other and that instead they are both brought about by the ill effects of Imperialism which is in most recent times sustained through Zionism.

  64. Photi says:

    fyi says:
    May 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    “In April, the head of Mosad was in Iran, meeting with Larijani; apparently receiveing assurances about Iranian intentions regarsing Israel.”

    did i miss a joke somewhere? please elaborate.

  65. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    You said:

    “I must say that I am reassured that the reason the US has not attacked is indeed because of Iran’s native ability to deter her.”

    The National Defense is a state of mind. In the event of Iranian forces invading America or American forces invading Iran, the invading army will be slaughtered. Machetes or M16s, whatever it takes.

  66. Fara says:

    An analysis by Pepe Escobar on China-factor on US-Pakistan interactions (following recent events)

    Do the China-Pakistan pipeline shuffle


  67. Unknown Unknowns says:


    A warm welcome to you, and thank you very much for your comments, which are much appreciated.

    I never could understand the problem with the S-200 system with the claimed range (which should, in theory, overcome its immobility), but now that I know that “each site only has a handful of missiles ready to launch at a given time” it becomes clear that the sites are sitting ducks once they run out of missiles. And the fact that the S-300’s are mobile changes that (as well as theirgreater range and detection capabilities, I assume)…

    I would like to second Castellio’s question and pose a similar one of my own:

    Without (hopefully) putting words into the mouth of one of our regulars here, fyi [that’s his handle], believes that Iran does NOT have a conventional military force sufficiently developed to deter a US attack. He therefore (very controversially) advocates that Iran become nuclear-capable immediately. One of the reasons I disagree with fyi’s stance (besides my religious convictions, which are the primary reason) is that I believe Iran’s geographic position combined with her present state of military preparedness (especially her missle capabilities) does indeed pose formidable deterrence. To wit: her ability to

    1. Make insured passage through the Straight of Hormoz prohibitively expensive (thus putting an end to commercial oil tanker traffic)
    2. Destroy or put out of service for months not weeks the only Saudi deep water port (at Damman) in teh Persian Gulf
    3. Inflict heavy casualties on US military personnel in their bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, etc.

    So I guess my request would be for you to elaborate not only on Castellio’s question regarding Demona and Iron Dome, but on the extent of deterrence provided by the above three items.

    I must say that I am reassured that the reason the US has not attacked is indeed because of Iran’s native ability to deter her.


    For those RFI regulars who have not yet had the pleasure of reading Galen’s blog and learning from his expertise, I give you just a link to just one page of many, many fascinating pages of expert analysis on the Iranian military (this one on anti-ship missiles):


  68. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: May 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Why, you think Israelis are stupid?

    Washing machines and pistachios are making their way to Israel from Iran via Turkey.

    In April, the head of Mosad was in Iran, meeting with Larijani; apparently receiveing assurances about Iranian intentions regarsing Israel.

    Leave it to the yahoos in US Congress to be more Catholic than the Pope.

  69. James Canning says:


    The West Bank is 22% of the total area of Palestine as of 1947. Thus, Israel within 1967 borders is 78% of what was Palestine prior to creation of Israel. This is the reason I say the 2002 Saudi peace plan is generous toward Israel, allowing retention of that 78%.

  70. James Canning says:

    I recommend Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles’ comments on the situation in Afghanistan, as viewed through the lens of his recent spell as British ambassador in Kabul, in the Sunday Times May 22nd. He thinks the Americans, the Brits, and the rest of Nato will have to leave the country without having defeated the Taliban.

  71. James Canning says:

    Galen Wright,

    The neocons and other warmongering Americans were foiled in their hopes of arranging a US attack on Iran by the simple fact the NIE on Iran concluded the Iranians were not building nukes. And yes, the catastrophe in Iraq eroded the stature of the warmongers.

  72. Castellio says:

    Galen, how real is the threat of conventional Iranian missiles hitting Dimona? Should missiles hit Dimona, is that a significant threat to Israel? Is that threat one of the motives for Iron Dome? Can Iron Dome be successful, and when will it be considered fully installed?

    With thanks in advance.

  73. Voice of Tehran says:

    Galen Wright says:
    May 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    “I look forward to contributing many more comments in the future”

    Let me be the first to thank Galen Wright for his valuabe expertise.
    It is fascinating to hear the opinion of an expert regarding the military aspects and I think all regular commentators here look forward to a continued contribution of GW in RFI.
    Thanks also to our esteemed UU , who brilliantly initiated this matter.

  74. Galen Wright says:

    Greetings UU

    I have to agree with Pirouz on the fundamentals of “why” the US hasn’t attacked Iran; it comes down to deterrence. One of the key areas that I’ve focused on because it’s so remarkable is Iran’s use of “weapons of spectacle” that are big and terrifying and exist with the intent to send a very precise message. The “Khalij-Fars” tactical ballistic missile is a perfect example of it, down to it’s name.

    But to flesh that out a bit and explore other possibilities, I believe part of the reason that an attack on Iran hasn’t occurred is because of the gradual evolution of the way that Washington policy-makers view foreign policy during the 2000s. As Bush was coming into office we were riding the waves of the 90s, the heyday of US-leadership and supremacy. We were brokering international accords left and right; any of the military conflicts we engaged in were outright successes, virtually painless and illustrated the sheer degree of US power over countries like Iraq, Serbia, Somalia, etc. Moreover, the economy was booming and the AVF sustained the military without a draft; in other words, nothing could go wrong. (Somalia was a notable exception but the fact remains that it was still virtually painless for the country as a whole).

    Cue the entry of the new Republican administration who fills their cabinet with neo-conservatives. Immediately afterwords are Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks.

    This really was a convergence of factors all coming together at the right moment to produce the Bush Doctrine – the notion of unilateral US action across the globe in order to produce the vision of post-Cold War Western Liberalism that Fukayama predicted.

    This leads to the entry into Afghanistan (which only should have ever remained a CT operation) which appears to be a success for the first couple years. Then there’s Iraq which also appeared to be a magnificent success early on.

    The greatest threat to Iran was probably during this time when it appeared that the Bush Doctrine had been legitimized. To put it simply: we were going to be able to go across the world and forcibly impose our version of democracy on the world and no one could do a damn thing to stop it.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that this is at least part of the reason that Ahmadinejad took office in 2005. (in addition to the general failing of reformists during the previous decade and Ahmadinejad’s other populist policies)

    However it wasn’t soon afterwords that overstretch began to show and the insurgency began to escalate in Iraq and to a lesser degree Afghanistan. After 2003 the Bush Doctrine was worn down by all these factors, combined with Bush’s plummeting popularity at home (no thanks in part to the wars)and other domestic issues. These forces culminated to deprive the Bush administration of the political capital required for invading Iran. There was just no support for it at home.


    Libya presents an interesting turn of events because it would appear that the idea of liberal humanitarian intervention isn’t quite as dead as we might have thought. But I feel Libya is simpler then that. I think that this is a matter of real politik. We (the US) saw a genuine revolution unfolding against on of our weakest adversaries and saw a chance to gain, or at least recover, as much of an advantage out of the whole Arab-Spring debacle as we could and we grabbed it.

    A lot of people have brought up the issue of the “hypocrisy” of the US by attacking Libya but ignoring the repression in Syria and even tolerating in the GCC countries. But I don’t think this is hypocrisy because the US has made it clear that the reason they’re not going into Syria or Bahrain is that it’s not in their interest. Libya had an extremely weak military and was diplomatically isolated (as compared to Syria)and was definitely not directly allied with the US (as with Bahrain). It’s very simple: It’s not in the US’s interest to attack Syria or Bahrain which means they’re not going to.

    Likewise with Iran we have to ask ourselves “Is it in the US’s interest to attack Iran?”. I have a fair amount of faith that enough people in the US intelligence community know the implications for attacking Iran which means that the Libya conflict probably hasn’t radically changed the US-Iran dynamic. And this is assuming the operation is a success, if it’s a failure an Iran attack would be even unlikelier.

    Regarding some of your specific questions:

    Iranian weapons announcements are, as always, cryptic, so discerning actual capability from them is difficult. I don’t believe the upgraded S-200 represents a game changer because no matter how much they improve it the S-200 is only part of an integrated air defense system (IADS)and while it can provide high-level defense against large targets it is unable to function against small nimble targets, that’s just the nature of the missile regardless of upgrade. More importantly, it’s immobility is really a nail in the coffin. We can look at Google Earth and pretty much identify everyone of Iran’s S-200 sites with little difficulty. The existing sites are also limited in their coverage. While they might have an extremely long range, each site only has a handful of missiles ready to launch at a given time.

    The S-300 on the other hand really does represent a game-changer and plugs a critical hole in Iran’s air defense network (though it must be emphasized that the S-300 system is only one component in this network). But as always, whether or not Iran has it remains unknown. They paraded some questionably operable equipment before, but as always Iran’s official position remains ambiguous with most of their chatter talking about a domestic S-300 equivalent. But no tests have been publicly seen and no existing sites can be identified. This case study is perfect representation of Iran’s strategy of deception when it comes to their capability.

    Hope I could shed some light on the subject.

    I look forward to contributing many more comments in the future.

    – Galen Wright

  75. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    May 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Unknown Unknowns,

    The Libyan oil ministry made various deals with oil companies from Europe, North America, China, etc. None called for trading oil for weapons, that I am aware of.


    Fair enough, but what about snakeoil? Hmmmmmm?

  76. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    The Libyan oil ministry made various deals with oil companies from Europe, North America, China, etc. None called for trading oil for weapons, that I am aware of.

  77. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknows,

    I doubt very much that US oil companies buy ME oil at a better price than that paid by British, French, Italian, Chinese, Russian oil companies.

    The western military intervention in Libya had nothing to do with gaining better access to Libyan oil. I think all the oil companies active in Libya had strong reservations about any intervention by “the west”.

    I have a very good friend who has known Prince Bandar bin Sultan for many years. I can assure you Bandar loathes the Zionists and the neocons in Washington, who blocked Saudi efforts to resolve the Israel/Palestine problem.

  78. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    May 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm
    Unknown Unknowns,
    Does the US actually “need” to control the oil of the Middle East? I don’t think so. The US could easily get by without buying any oil from the ME.
    I would suggest the claim that the US “needs to control ME oil” is a cover story used to dupe the American public into supporting grotesquely expensive military deployments that have more to do with “protecting” Israel, and enabling continuing oppression of the Palestinians. The racket is hugely profitable to the insiders pulling the scam on the ignorant American public.
    Your thinking is sound as far as it goes. But recall that oil is not an ordinary commodity; it is a *strategic asset*, and as such, the US, rightly or wrongly, believes it needs to and wants to control it. Additionally, it wants to have pecking order rights, meaning that it gets to make the long-term deep-discount deals while its competitor, China, gets to pick at the scraps at teh open market rate. That, I bleieve, was one of the main reasons the US declared war on Libya: China has started to make upstream investments to the tune of billions of dollars, and ‘Daffy insisted on greenbacks for his oil rather than obsolete aircraft and other such military snakeoil.

    By the way, in response to your thing about Prince Bandar being “anti-zionist” and a neocon hater or whatever: I don’t know what your way of thinking about the big picture is, but in my neck of the woods (the Middle East), there are two camps: the Axis of Evil (Iran and her allies: Syria, hezbollah, hamas) and the rest of the clowns who are house niggers doing the bidding of Massa’ Sam and his dominatrix, Israel. Needless to say, Prince Bandar, does not beling to the former camp.

  79. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Compliant mainstream US news media in effect colluded with the neocons and others, to dupe the American people and set up the illegal invasion of Iraq on knowingly false pretenses. Repeating this criminal conspiracy, for that is what it was, would be much more dangerous and difficult. So long as there is no evidence the Iranian government wants nukes and is trying to build them on the sly.

  80. James Canning says:

    PB & FYI,

    Yes, as FYI notes, the US closed its gigantic bases in the Philippines, on demand of the government. The largest US airbase in the ME, in Libya, was closed after Gaddafi overthrew the monarchy.

  81. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Pirouz says:
    May 28, 2011 at 9:46 am
    Your question to Galen has actually been addressed and answered here at RFI many times, in particular by Arnold Evans.
    In a nutshell: Iran has just enough military power to make things too painful for the US and global economy should the US/Israel initiate a war. Moreover, its defense is based on deterrence and to this day it has worked.
    Plus, what would be the justification for putting this nightmare into action? The US would go to war against a state that has signed the NPT, over uranium enrichment? That’s pretty flimsy grounds for a war.
    Thanks for pointing that out. It makes sense. I would still like to hear it from the horse’s mouth (i.e., a military expert’s point of view).
    By the way, you say “flimsy grounds for war” as if there has ever been anything but just that for the wars the US has initiated.

    fyi says:
    May 28, 2011 at 11:24 am

    What you say makes sense on some levels at any rate. I hope you are right. Needless to say, Moqtada is not as confident…

  82. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Does the US actually “need” to control the oil of the Middle East? I don’t think so. The US could easily get by without buying any oil from the ME.

    I would suggest the claim that the US “needs to control ME oil” is a cover story used to dupe the American public into supporting grotesquely expensive military deployments that have more to do with “protecting” Israel, and enabling continuing oppression of the Palestinians. The racket is hugely profitable to the insiders pulling the scam on the ignorant American public.

  83. James Canning says:


    Excellent points. I tried to make clear the opinion (about a “threat” of Iranian invasion of Iraq) was expressed by George Friedman.

    I think the government of Iraq would be foolish in the extreme, not to have good relations with Iran.

    I very much agree it is a matter of a disoriented mindset on the part of so many American analysts and politicians, the obsession with “control”.

  84. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fiorangela says:
    May 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Wow. What a devastating indictment of a culture gone awry.

  85. James Canning says:


    Neocons, other delusional “supporters” of Israel, and most American warmongers, are dismayed that the US will be unable to control the government of Iraq. But this situation was virtually a certainty all along. Promoters of the idiotic and illegal war do not want the American people to recognise how they were “had” (duped).

  86. Neo says:


    In what sense is the lack of street protests in favour of Ahmadinejad and against Khamenei any ‘proof’ of fraud in the 2009 elections? This kind of argumentation weakens your case.

    I voted for Moussavi, but have seen no convincing evidence of fraud. I think those who protested against the results are basically anti-democratic in character. Not that I see nothing wrong with the Iranian regime, but I would respect the wishes of the majority in Iran.

  87. fyi says:

    PB says: May 28, 2011 at 1:20 am

    US left Viet Nam and closed her bases in the Philppenes.

    There is precedent.

    Unknown Unknowns says: May 28, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Americans always build big.

    They are clearly withdrawing their forces, the tempo of operations has declined, and if they could not dominate Iraq with the forces they had, they cannot dominate her with a token force now.

    Many US leaders know that Iraq is strategically lost to them but there is still some who have the rather forlorn hope of salvaging their strategic position.

    But consider: a country that aides, abets, and endorses the apartheid reginme of Jews against Muslim and Christian Arabs in Palestine, who subjected the Iraqi people to death and misery of the sanctions regime between 1991-2001, and waged 2 war against Iraq cannot be expected, in my opinion, and in the absence of a real and credible threat to people of Iraq, to become their strategic allie.

    To this must be added the fact that even during Iran-Iraq War, at least half of the Shia of Iraq were on the side of Iran,

  88. Neo says:

    James Canning,

    Regarding US withdrawal and Stratfor’s ‘warning’ on Iran being next in line to ‘dominate’ Iraq: It appears that in Stratfor’s world, there is no mid-way between ‘domination’ and ‘withdrawal’. For them either the US ‘dominates’ or someone else does. Being shameless proponents of US domination (under the guise of geopolitical ‘realism’), they keep stressing the ‘threat’ of Iranian domination. This is where the Leveretts’ approach is far superior, to me.

    To be fair to Stratfor though, they are also strong proponents of a deal between USA and Iran, again, as a geopolitical necessity. And they have been highly critical of the futility of the Western war in Libya.

  89. Fiorangela says:

    BiBiJon said, at 8:39 on May 25:

    “The racket is even more bizarre if one considers that money is fungible. Another words, the “bought” are paid for by US tax payer monies they allocate in aid to Israel.”

    The racket is even more pernicious than you state.
    Netanyahu mentioned (to wild applause) that Israel purchased $50 billion (+- not gonna waste time fact-checking hasbara) of US goods/services.

    Israel has another racket going: it “invests” in down-and-out US cities like Akron and Youngstown, Ohio, two of the hardest-hit rust belt cities.

    Here’s how it works: two or three members of an Israeli trade delegation visit, ie, Akron. They make presentations about all the great things going on in Israeli industry incubators. They invite the mayor and key leaders on a subsidized trip to Israel to check it out (a deal no leader of an impoverished city can refuse). They take the US delegation to a Potemkin incubator/industrial park and talk up the possibilities of an Akron-Israel partnership.

    They explain the deal: All you have to do, Mr. mayor of Akron, is invest $1.5 million in this Israeli business incubator. We are soooo good that me turn outdo Rumpelstiltskin in weaving straw into gold; when we do, in return for your $1.5 million investment in our Israeli research incubator, we will give first consideration to your city as an American location for the business that emerges.

    The mayor of Akron comes home exultant: Did we make a deal or what! Employment for thousands of you out-of-work Akronites, PROMISED to Akron, just as soon as the business geniuses in Israel incubate a kewl idea. All WE had to do is front $1.5 million of your tax dollars. Such a deal we made!

    Take a look at the businesses Israel planted in Akron:

    Airport security; cell phone monitoring.

    Information and intelligence gathering portals. Funded by citizens of Akron. Who do you suppose maintains the databases on people traveling and communicating?

    The mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, was similarly approached and traveled in Israel, in 2010, iirc.
    Jamestown, PA, location of Combined Systems International, which manufactured the tear gas canisters used against protesters in Cairo, :http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/28/company-tear-gas-egyptian-police/ is in the Youngstown Metropolitan Statistical area :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamestown,_Pennsylvania

    The CSI building flies the Israeli flag and the US flag.

    A Huffpo article in January 2011 reported that Israeli defense forces use CSI tear gas against Palestinian protesters, killing at least two. :http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ira-chernus/israels-deadly-tear-gas-m_b_804666.html

    A brief item at Politico :http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0111/Dept_of_exports_Tear_gas_from_the_Carlyle_Group.html
    states that Combines Systems International is owned by the Carlyle Group. Carlyle Group advisors have included George Bush Sr. and James Baker. :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlyle_Group The wikipedia entry is chock full of Carlyle’s interrelationships; it reflects what big money does: maintains networks of powerful decision makers, and is deeply entrenched in governments that have the ability to spend other people’s money and use force to impose its will. I was particularly intrigued with the transaction between Booz Allen Hamilton and Carlyle, that is mentioned in the Wikipedia article. Rabbi Dov Zakheim, formerly a financial director in US Department of Defense (at a time when trillions of dollars in defense spending was unaccounted for), is now a director at Booz Hamilton.

    The wikipedia entry also notes that pension funds in California and New York state are –or were– heavily invested in Carlyle. The New York pension investment was the subject of a legal action alleging that business acquisition involved bribes and kickbacks. Carlyle paid $20 million to settle the conflict and promised to mend its ways.

    The Iran Task Force is a project of the World Jewish Diplomatic Corps, which is, in turn, part of the World Jewish Congress, an organization supported by the state of Israel, with the mission to “advance Jewish interests throughout the world.” WJDC members are not registered as foreign agents in the US, where they operate. :http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/uploads/materials/ba02b9e558ee334b961445fcb66b7b807623091f.pdf
    Iran Task Force activities network closely with United Jewish Federation, a major fundraising arm of Jewish people in the US, and with Zionist organizations. The mission of Iran Task Force is to demonize Iran — “to educate Americans on the threat to humanity posed by Iran.” The major action item that Iran Task Force promotes is DIVESTMENT of state pension funds from businesses that do business with Iran.

    Everybody gotta make a living. Making a living is hard work. Sustaining pension funds is hard work.

    American values used to be about making a living by working hard and competing robustly, but honestly, not by running roughshod over the social contract.

  90. Pirouz says:


    Your question to Galen has actually been addressed and answered here at RFI many times, in particular by Arnold Evans.

    In a nutshell: Iran has just enough military power to make things too painful for the US and global economy should the US/Israel initiate a war. Moreover, its defense is based on deterrence and to this day it has worked.

    Plus, what would be the justification for putting this nightmare into action? The US would go to war against a state that has signed the NPT, over uranium enrichment? That’s pretty flimsy grounds for a war.

  91. Unknown Unknowns says:

    “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”

    David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), p 121.

  92. Bala says:

    Eric and his followers (including the Leveretts),

    I don’t know if you’re following Iranian politics these days – but one question that keeps coming to my mind is this:

    where the heck are the alleged 24,000,000 people who voted for Ahmadinejad?

    All your blog entries and “research reports” fall flat now that Ahmadinejad and his gang are being let go by the SL. And not even a fraction of his 24,000,000 alleged supporters or voters bother to take to the streets.

    Further proof that you were wrong on Iranian elections.

    Just as you were wrong about Syria.

  93. Unknown Unknowns says:

    This question is posed to Mr. Galen Wright, the esteemed expert on Iranian arms issues, who blogs at http://thearkenstone.blogspot.com/ which regular readers know I have recommended highly in the past. Galen has agreed to chedck out our little watering hole here at RFI and perhaps post some comments. Here’s my question to you, Galen:

    Pretty much all the regulars here believe that what is going on between Iran and the US is the tension that naturally exists between a declining world power (the US) and an emerging regional power (the Islamic Republic of Iran). We also pretty much agree that Iran is in the US’s telescopic sight because it cannot afford to lose its hegemonic full-spectrum domination in the middle east (it needs to control the supply of oil), AND, now that Iran’s revolution and independence movement has not been strangled by 8 years of war and 32 years of sanctions, it will not do to allow it to act as a role model for other nations in the region (especially Egypt). Anyway, regardless, the main question here that remains unasnwered is this:

    Why has the US not attacked Iran yet?

    If we grant that it wants and/ or needs to do so to protect its “national” interests, is the reason for teh delay simply tactical? In other words, is it waiting to finish lining up all the pieces (such as the bases and materiel in Iraq and Afghanistan)?

    Or is it the case that the the Cheney/ Rumsfeld/ Wolfowitz junta wanted to attack Iran back in 2008 but that the decision was nixed by Pentagon top brass? (see Mark Gaffney’s fascinating article: ,http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm )

    You have done extensive research on the possibility of using ballistic missiles agaist US aircraft carriers. Given the latest developments in Iran’s guidance systems and GPS availability, and given the number of ships and US bases (as well as Saudi deep water tanker ports) that are in range of these missiles (as well as teh Sunburn and Noor anti-ship missiles, of course), do you think that it is Iran’s military capabilities that are acting as a deterrent (or would act as a deterrent given teh US desire to attack Iran)?

    Another related question has to do with the reports of Iran’s successful testing, manufacture adn deployment of their own natively developed and built S-200 air defense system, as well as reports that Iran has aquired Chinese clones of the Russian S-300 system (The FD-2000, also known by its original Chinese designation as HQ-9) – are these developments, in your opinion, a game-changer? In other words, by virtue of these two systems, as well as all the developments in Iran’s ballistics missile programs, and the Sunburn and Noor anti-ship missiles, is Iran no longer a “soft target” in the eyes of CENTCOM?

    Thank you in advance for your considered response.

  94. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Venezuela oil chief says US can ‘go to hell’
    (AFP) CARACAS — The head of Venezuela’s state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) said the “imperialist” United States could “go to hell” after it slapped sanctions on the company over alleged ties to Iran.

    “The imperialists can go to hell. Their sanctions mean nothing us. No one is going to impose this kind of action against us,” Rafael Ramirez, who also serves as energy and petroleum minister, said late Wednesday.

    “We do what best serves the people of Venezuela and what best serves the interests of the Venezuelan state,” he added.

    The United States imposed sanctions this week on PDVSA and six other companies — including firms from Singapore and Israel — that it accused of supplying gasoline and petroleum products to Iran.

  95. Unknown Unknowns says:


    F*ck that. I say clear the damn square and make way for the important stuff:

    Kick off time Manchester United vs FC Barcelona
    Match scheduled :
    kick off time : 18:45 until 22:00 GMT
    Kick off Date: 28-05-2011
    League : UEFA Champions League

    I think that puts it at 10:15 pm our time.

  96. Unknown Unknowns says:

    The syntactical impossibility of maintaining an atheistic position, as demonstrated by the Iranian.com motto:

    Nothing is Sacred


  97. Voice of Tehran says:

    TAHRIR IS EVERYWHERE – “The Show begins”

    Brutal police violence and crackdown in Barcelona:


    and hundreds more….

  98. Voice of Tehran says:

    TAHRIR IS EVERYWHERE – “The Show begins”

    Brutal police vilolence and crackdown in Barcelona:


    and hundreds more….

  99. Unknown Unknowns says:

    PB: “I must admit I was still tempted to put it in FULL CAPS”


  100. PB says:

    Unknown Unknowns said:

    “I’m curious to know why you are so certain about the US’s exit from Iraq. With the trillion plus dollars they have spent, with the 17 huge military bases they have built, and the largest US embassy in the world having been built there, surely your position is counter-intuitive?”

    I think that is well put. ( I must admit I was still tempted to put it in FULL CAPS).

  101. PB says:


    I don’t necessarily disagree but it bears to remember that in order to bring chaos to Syria, the Arab fighters were sent through Iraq. Iraq remains pivotal in the region in order to bring border unrest both in Syria and Iran. Therefore, I don’t believe there will be a quiet transition out of Iraq. It is also important to remember that there is no historical precedence for massive US bases being evacuated anywhere in the world. That has been one of our problems which is why we have a large number of bases around the world.

    Unknown Unknowns

    You may be right, but I was trying to accentuate the point.

    Anyhow, I believe the overwhelming historic record is self evident that the three religions are quit violent and spouse such ideology. For one thing, they all proclaim God has a spokesperson on earth (the rabbis, Mullahs, and the priests). The only evidence of God’s word on this planet is mother nature itself. If this proclamation sounds like a religion by itself, then be it.

  102. Unknown Unknowns says:


    I’m curious to know why you are so certain about the US’s exit from Iraq. With the trillion plus dollars they have spent, with the 17 huge military bases they have built, and the largest US embassy in the world having been built there, surely your position is counter-intuitive?

  103. fyi says:

    PB says: May 27, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    US will be out of Iraq.

    There will be no flash point there.

    Egypt, on the other hand, bears watching.

    Syria too.

  104. Unknown Unknowns says:

    PB says:
    May 27, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Full CAPS, silly.

  105. PB says:


    I wonder what will happen this year in Iraq. It clearly has the potential to be a flash point. The US forces are not even preparing to leave despite the fact that there are only a few months left.

    There must be something in Iraqi politics, behind the scenes, that gives confidence to Bob Gates and his desire to stay.

    What is most shocking is the fact that there is no discussion about US’s obligation to leave Iraq this year by any of the major news outlets.

    I have also always believed that once Bin Laden was killed, it meant that a new evil was going to created to justify our military expenditures for the next decade. At this point, I think that requires a new military confrontation.

  106. PB says:

    unknown unknowns

    how did you determine I was “shouting?”

  107. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – According to some Russian sources, Medvedev, is Crypto-Jew like French President Sarkozy.

    If you see 1947 World Atlas – you might be surprised to find out that Palestine is much more than the West Bank.

    Medvedev, like Putin and earlier USSR dictators had asked Jews to withdraw from Golan Heights – not a moral basis but Syrian is ruled Baathist-Communists, who acted as a Russian proxy against the western-puppets in the region.

    Moscow recognized the Jewish occupation of Palestine a few hours after Washington blessed it. Russia is the major source of illegal Jewish settlers in occupied Palestine.

  108. James Canning says:


    Why do you call Medvedev a “Zionist”? I think it clearly is fair to call Harper a Zionist, but Medvedev? Doesn’t Russia want Israel out of the West Bank and the Golan Heights?

  109. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    Wasn’t BP already in Libya, and thus the company had no “need” for British military intervention? And BP certainly was not in a position to “control” Libya’s oil, and won’t be even if Gaddafi is forced out.

    Why are you so hostile toward Sir Anthony Eden?

  110. Dan Cooper says:

    Iran warns of US plots to save Israel

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned against plots hatched by the United States to save Israel, urging world nations to remain vigilant.

    “The US seeks to save the Zionist regime (Israel) with deceit. Everybody should know that the survival of the Zionist regime and its existence even in one span of the Palestinian soil is like preserving a cancerous tumor in the body of regional nations, and [is] a permanent threat against them,” said President Ahmadinejad in the Iranian city of Qom on Thursday.

    He added that the Iranian people and world nations are awakened and demand justice, freedom and the complete elimination of Israel, IRNA reported.

    The Iranian chief executive pointed to new plots of the US against the Palestinian people and its support for Israel and said, “Nations should choose officials who explicitly express their opposition to the presence of the US and Zionists in the region.”

    President Ahmadinejad warned regional countries against an escalation of the situation in the region, stressing, “They should be cautious not to jump out of the frying-pan into the fire.”

    He said the US foreign policy after Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979 has been aimed at stopping the progress of the Iranian nation and stressed that US President Barack Obama will “fail and become history with humiliation.”

    “The enemy has worn the mask of deceit and is chanting the slogan of peaceful coexistence… but in fact intends to impose American ideas on nations,” Ahmadinejad added.

    “Today, the plots of enemies have become more complicated than [those of] the past.

    They smile and threaten at the same time. They use their political, military and economic capabilities against nations while claiming to be flagbearers of defending human rights.”


  111. Dan Cooper says:

    Like the attack on Yugoslavia and the charade of Milosevic’s trial, the International Criminal Court is being used by the US, France and Britain to prosecute Gaddafi while his repeated offers of a ceasefire are ignored. Gaddafi is a Bad Arab.

    David Cameron’s government and its verbose top general want to eliminate this Bad Arab, like the Obama administration killed a famously Bad Arab in Pakistan recently.

    The crown prince of Bahrain, on the other hand, is a Good Arab. On 19 May, he was warmly welcomed to Britain by Cameron with a photo-call on the steps of 10 Downing Street. In March, the same crown prince slaughtered unarmed protestors and allowed Saudi forces to crush his country’s democracy movement.

    The Obama administration has rewarded Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes on earth, with a $US60 billion arms deal, the biggest in US history. The Saudis have the most oil. They are the Best Arabs.

    The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain’s 46th military “intervention” in the Middle East since 1945. Like its imperial partners, Britain’s goal is to control Africa’s oil. Cameron is not Anthony Eden, but almost. Same school. Same values. In the media-pack, the words colonialism and imperialism are no longer used, so that the cynical and the credulous can celebrate state violence in its more palatable form.

    And as “Mr. Hopey Changey” (the name that Ted Rall, the great American cartoonist, gives Barack Obama), is fawned upon by the British elite and launches another insufferable presidential campaign, the Anglo-American reign of terror proceeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the murder of people by unmanned drones – a US/Israel innovation, embraced by Obama.

    For the record, on a scorecard of imposed misery, from secret trials and prisons and the hounding of whistleblowers and the criminalising of dissent to the incarceration and impoverishment of his own people, mostly black people, Obama is as bad as George W. Bush.

    The Palestinians understand all this. As their young people courageously face the violence of Israel’s blood-racism, carrying the keys of their grandparents’ stolen homes, they are not even included in Mr. Hopey Changey’s list of peoples in the Middle East whose liberation is long overdue.

    What the oppressed need, he said on 19 May, is a dose of “America’s interests [that] are essential to them”. He insults us all.


  112. Rehmat says:

    According to Israel’s daily Ha’aretz (May 27, 2011) – The leaders at the G8 summit in Deauville (France) had omitted in their final statement – mentioning Barack Obama’s earlier vision of a demilitarized Palestinian state along Israeli borders based on 1967 borders.

    “Group of Eight leaders had to soften a statement urging Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations because Canada objected to a specific mention of 1967 borders, diplomats said on Friday,” reported Ha’aretz.

    Diplomats involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit said Canada had insisted that no mention of Israel’s pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders’ final communique, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention.

    Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is a staunch ally of the Zionist regime and is listed as ‘Author’ on Israel Hasbara (propaganda) Committee.

    On Thursday and Friday the leaders of Britain, the United States, Germany, Russia, Italy, Japan, Canada and France are convening for their annual discussion of world affairs. Barack Obama, Angela Markel, Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron, Stephen Harper and Dmitry Medvedev are all committed pro-Israel Zionists. The leaders also discussed the anti-West spring in the Middle East and North Africa and the appointment of new IMF head to replace the former French Jewish head of IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was forced to resigned as result of rape scandal.


  113. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Meyssan also states that Lawrence of Arabia “never managed to make a nation [out of Saudi Arabia}.” How could he? The British emerged with mandates for Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq. No mandate for Nejd could have been created because it was not an Ottoman province detached after the First World War. The Hejaz emerged as an independent kingdom, with no mandate.

    I might add that Lawrence of Arabia (T. E. Lawrence) had not control over the outcome of the First World War, as seen in the various mandates that were created.

  114. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm


  115. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    In the article you linked, Thierry Meyssan states: “Saudi Arabia is a legal entity created by the British during the First World War to weaken the Ottoman Empire”. Rubbish! Ibn Saud was in control of the Nejd years before the outbreak of the First World War. And he conquered the Hejaz in the early 1920s, but this was not an act Britain supported. The combined country of the Nejd/Hejaz was named Saudi Arabia in 1935.

    Are you familiar with Prince Bandar bin Sultan’s fights with the neocons in Washington? And his loathing of the Zionists?

  116. James Canning says:


    Are you saying the US and the EU do not have the power to force Israel out of the West Bank? Or are you saying the Israel lobby has so badly compromised the ability of western countries to act, in matters involving Israel, that the US et al have the power but cannot employ it.

  117. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    May 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm
    The Wall Street Journal article you linked mentioned that Prince Bandar bin Sultan had been seeking diplomatic support in Malaysia, Indonesia, and China, for the Saudi effort to contain the situation in Bahrain. Prince Bandar has been a strong supporter for justice for the Palestinians, for many years now.
    James: I suggest you read the article I linked a half dozen or so posts back, which has quite a lot to say about Price Bandar and let us know if you still think he “has been a strong supporter for justice for the Palestinians, for many years now.”

  118. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    These are excellent positions for the Islamic Republic of Iran:

    Axis Powers are endorsing the violent enforcement of the apartheid regime of Jews against Muslims and Christian Arabs.

    While they no longer have the power to end the war, they seem bent on aiding its continuation.

    That was preceeded by another war of choice against Libya.

    And then there is the initiative to fan the flames of sectarian Shia-Sunni divide, directly threatening Axis Powers friends: Kuwait, Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanisatn, Bahrain – osetnsibly to harm Iran.

    These policies gives Iranian leaders ample opportunity to further wrap themselves in the flag of Islam, uholding Islamic Unity against Fitna/Division, and whispering about the dangers that Hypocrites and Khwarej are yet again posing to Islam.

    Another year of this and Islamic Iran will be the de facto leader of Muslims; no doubt.

  119. James Canning says:

    I recommend Michael A. Cohen’s “Blinded by the Right”, regarding the dangerous and foolish Republican support for Netanyahu that led to the spectacle this week in the US Congress.


  120. James Canning says:


    What a surprise, that Stratfor (via George Friedman) would warn that US withdrawal from Iraq will open the door to Iranian domination of Iraq. What rubbish.

  121. James Canning says:


    The Wall Street Journal article you linked mentioned that Prince Bandar bin Sultan had been seeking diplomatic support in Malaysia, Indonesia, and China, for the Saudi effort to contain the situation in Bahrain. Prince Bandar has been a strong supporter for justice for the Palestinians, for many years now.

  122. James Canning says:


    It does appear that the Israel lobby in Canada is causing the same sort of damage the Israel lobby in the US achieves. What a spectacle: no mention of 1967 borders in a G-8 statement! Incredible, and sad.

  123. James Canning says:

    In the Wall Street Journal today, the head of WINEP (an AIPAC off-shoot) claimed that Iran supports Hezbollah in Lebanon in order to undermine democracy and threaten Israel.

  124. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Finally, an article based on deep research that helps shed some light on the mess that is going on in the Middle East. The part about the Sudairi role in the Syrian agitation is especially enlightening and welcome.

    I would normally select a “money” quote or two from the article and include it here with the link, but every sentence of the article, despite its length, is well worth reading.

    Another brilliant piece of investigative research by the great Thierry Meyssan, the gentleman who was teh first to question and expose the lies of the official 9/11 account.


    For those who don’t know, there is a 2011 film made by an Iranian film director (Mohammad-reza Eslamloo) about Thierry Meyssan starring himself called “The 9/11 Black Box”, for which Thierry won a prize at this year’s Fajr film festival here in Tehran a couple of months ago. The film has been selected for showing at Cannes. Here’s more on that:


  125. Unknown Unknowns says:

    PB says:
    May 26, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Sounds like a religious conviction to me, PB. Besides, why are you SHOUTING??

  126. fyi says:


    As I had predicted:

    “G8 leaders omit mention of 1967 borders in Middle East statement
    Diplomats say that Canada objected to a specific mention of the 1967 borders in statement issued by world leaders calling for resumption of Israel-Palestinian peace talks.”


    I am led to conclude that the Christains are supporting Jews in the religious War in Palestine.

    Muslims, Arabs and non-Arabs, are on their own. They must devise their own strategies for advancing their inetrests in Palestine.

    This article also serves to undermine the moral and political position of those who have predicated their public diplomacy on the “International Community”; i.e. the Axis Powers.

    Islamic Iran is indeed fortunate as the Axis Powers publicly and with arrogance shred the instrumentalities of International Law and systematically weaken the International Institutions that they themselves had built – with great effort – for the 40 years after the end of World War II.

    If I were a propagandist, I would be casting this as the “White Christians” against the rest of Mankind.

  127. BiBiJon says:

    Enemy of my enemy happens to be friends with my friends

    Pepe Escobar came to my rescue yesterday: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ME28Ak01.html

    He writes:

    “They are a shish kebab of hereditary monarchies, emirates and outright theocracies. Most sit on oceans of oil (45% of the world’s reserves). They are addicted to the West’s glitter and glamour – from London to Monte Carlo, from the delicacies of Paris to the weaponized delicacies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO. They abhor democracy like they abhor poverty. Some would be glad to topple their own people – as indeed they do. And they view Shi’ite Iran as worse than the anti-Christ.”

    The funny thing is the gulf counter-revolutionary club’s credo doesn’t seem to garner enough indigenous adherents to raise a decent size army. This is a replay of 1000 years ago, when the unloved caliphs, tormented by their own shadows, projected their self-hate onto the Arab masses, and therefore relied on Turkic soldiers and Persian administrators which ultimately led to the rise of Ottoman and Safavid empires.

    Give credit where its due. Avoiding mistakes of the past, they are now relying on Eric Prince, Sarkozy, and Pakistanis. It is completely different (not).

  128. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 26, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    You are directing your ire at the wrong person.

    The freely elected representatives of the American people, sitting in Congress, 32 times applauded the apartheid regime of Jews against Muslim and Christian Arabs. They endorsed continuous war.

    Just one example.

  129. BiBiJon says:

    When the enemy of your friend’s enemy starts making friends with with your current enemy which was your friend until you discover it was also friends with your enemy, then … actually I need help figuring all this out. Anyone?


  130. Photi says:

    For that matter, a defense strategy coordinated between Egypt, Turkey, Iran , Iraq and Saudi Arabia should get the wiser of the Israelis to seriously think about capitulating to 1967.

  131. Photi says:


    What is to stop an independent Palestine from coordinating its defense strategy with an independent Egypt? Any breach by the Israelis of any future peace deal will come at a cost. All the better to maintain peace with.

  132. Photi says:


    America is obsessed with having an enemy. The weapons industry and zionists unite. Perpetual war makes all sorts of enemies.

  133. James Canning says:


    You made some good comments May 25th, 11:06 am. I very much agree with you it is in the Islamic interest for the Israel/Palestine problem to be resolved, and Iran has given signals it will accept the 1967 borders if the Palestinians accept them (in conjuction with approval of other issues). Iran has enough challenges to deal with domestically, and of course other foeign policy issues.

  134. pirouz_2 says:

    @BiBiJon, Iranian and Liz;

    I must say that I am appalled by you people’s ignorance about the basic concepts of “democracy”!
    “Democracy” is NOT possible without the following:

    1) Bowing to USA and seeing the USA as your master and kissing the feet of Israelies

    2)Having neckties and miniskirt!!

    It doesn’t matter if all parties in your country are in reality the representatives of the same powerful elite, and that you don’t have any real choice in elections. It doesn’t matter if in your country a party can build the next majority government with less than 1/4th of the population. Nor does it matter if your academics are fired from universities because of their political views, just as it does not matter that your whole media is owned by the powerful elite which runs the country.
    What matters in the evaluation of your “regime” as a democracy, is that as I said before, you MUST be a lackey to USA and serve Israel and you MUST have neck ties and wear mini skirt. Ladies should be as “liberated” as Carla Bruni and men should be as “democratic” as Sarkozy and Berlusconi!

  135. Iranian says:


    If that had happened in Iran, the US media, congressmen, senators,…would have a field day.

  136. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    “Dick Cheney kept this intelligence out of the White House, to help set up the illegal invasion of Iraq.”

    To my mind, there are 2 immutable equations:

    E= MC squared


    prosecution of Cheney = One million Obama speeches

  137. BiBiJon says:

    Liz says:
    May 26, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Liz, compare and contrast to this ‘protest’. The gentleman berating Larijani has not been reported to be roughed up/arrested, or whatever it is that qualifies ya to be a democracy.


  138. BiBiJon says:

    Liz says:
    May 26, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks Liz, it say it all!

  139. James Canning says:


    Bravo. Yes, I was condensing. One might add that the CIA analysts did not think Iraq had WMD, or at the very least had very strong reservations based on solid evidence obtained from the families of Iraqi scientists known to have worked on Iraqi weapons systems. Dick Cheney kept this intelligence out of the White House, to help set up the illegal invasion of Iraq.

  140. James Canning says:


    War cheap? The cost of the Libyan intervention is over $1 billion, just for military aspect. If it put up oil $20/barrel, is the true cost at least $100 billion already?
    Iraq War will have cost maybe $3 trillion, just for the US taxpayers!

    Politically speaking, war is cheap, and peace is expensive. Cowards in the US Congress are preventing US from forcing Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

  141. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    “The CIA blocked any attack by concluding there was no evidence the Iranian government was building nukes or trying to do so.”

    To be fair, it was not just the CIA, but the considered judgement of all 16 intelligence agencies under the auspices of NIC, the National Intelligence Council.

    To be fairer still, the other canard that was being promulgated as a casus belli was the business about Iran arming Iraqi insurgents who were responsible for killing American soldiers. Well, Multi-National Force Iraq’s (MNFI) Task Force Troy were directed to examine all weapons caches found in Iraq beginning in early January 2008 to identify Iranian-made weapons. The resulting database was released by MNFI in July 2008 to the Empirical Studies of Conflict project, co-sponsored by the U.S. Military Academy and Princeton University. According to Gareth Porter:

    “The extremely small proportion of Iranian arms in Shi’a militia weapons caches … a fraction of one percent … further suggests that Shi’a militia fighters in Iraq had been getting weapons from local and international arms markets rather than from an official Iranian-sponsored smuggling network.”


  142. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Indeed Mr. Canning, indeed!

    The Axis Powers have made peace expensive and war cheap in the Middle East.

    Surely this must be recognized as the pinnacle of their statesmanship.

  143. James Canning says:

    Henry Kissinger told the Financial Times recently that the American politicians he talks to generally know very little history and usually lack any understanding of it. Helps explain the spectacle in the US Congress the other day.

  144. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Yes, neocon warmongers in the G W Bush administration wanted to attack Iran, as part of their scheme to “protect” Israel. Meaning, to enable the Israelis to oppress the Palestinians into perpetuity. The CIA blocked any attack by concluding there was no evidence the Iranian government was building nukes or trying to do so. And yes, an attack obviously would have brought retaliation.

  145. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Washington neocons warn the ignorant American people that the government of Iraq is too friendly with Iran. And then the same neocons will claim Iran is a threat to Iraq requiring permanent presence of US troops!

  146. James Canning says:

    I recommend the leader in today’s (May 26) Fiancial Times, on Israel/Palestine: “Bibi savours his tactical triumph”. Quote: “The gravest threat to Israel . . . lies in its growing international isolation. Mr Netanyahu behaves as though the existential threat to Israel were peace.”

  147. Photi says:

    fyi says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm


    You wrote:

    “The Islamic point of view is internally consistent” – in what manner is it internaly consistent?”

    Islam is internally consistent, our various understandings of Islam may not be.

    Islamic theology is internally consistent. The story of the Jewish Prophets and Prophets generally (may God’s peace be upon them) within Islam is internally consistent. The Usul al-Din (Principles of the Faith) is internally consistent, the fiqh is derivative of that and as such is subject to human error in interpretation and understanding.

    There is an essence in Islam which is immutable and is where the Quran attempts to lead humanity. There is the essence, and there is the understanding of that essence. Like moths around a light, humans are attracted to that essence but are limited by our understanding of it. Our limited understanding does not itself limit the essence. The Quran says good can be found in the People of the Book, and that their religions were inspired by that same essence.

    As people of the Book, as people with who share an attachment to the Essence of Existence, we should all be able to find the stable ground on which to build a viable peace.

  148. PB says:


    There is simply no room for such backwardness if we are to build world based on peace and mutual respect.

    The basis of all three major religions is “conversion.” As long as they seek to convert people in the “right path” they are violent at very core of their beliefs. For non-converters are sinners and will inevitably require death.

  149. PB says:



  150. Photi says:


    The horror of the punishment alone would seem to justify its abolition. My God, what if the person is innocent?

  151. Castellio says:

    Photi: so why wouldn’t Islam ban stoning on the basis of Jesus, a true revelation, surely, within the Islamic world?

  152. Photi says:


    i have never understood the concept of stoning in Islam and have never argued in favor of it. It comes from Jewish law i believe and cannot really comment other than being physically repulsed by such punishments. In my mind those sorts of punishments are from a different era and are anathema to my understanding of the world.

  153. fyi says:


    You wrote:

    “The Islamic point of view is internally consistent” – in what manner is it internaly consistent?

    Circumcision is not in the Quran nor is stoning of women.

    You also wrote:

    “the Message was preserved for humanity in its most pure form with Islam. ” What are the basis of your claim?

    Jesus forgave the adulterous woman on behalf of God; it is Jesus who has made the “Islamic” punishment of stoning obsolete.

    Are you claiming that this specific story of Jesus is wrong and corrupt?

  154. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    May 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm
    Fred Kagan, a well-kown Washington neocon, yesterday put out a paper arguing that the US needed to keep troops in Iraq to deter an invasion from Iran. Wall Street Journal today had short report touching on this lunacy.
    As if Iran needs to stoop down to such amateurish means as invasion to foster and protect its interests in Iraq, the capital city of which we founded (and gave an Iranian name to) in the mid- 9th C. Unlike your American cousins’, our grandfathers were not gaav-cheroons.

    BiBiJon says:
    May 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Indeed. As I tried to convince Richard some time back, at the height of the neocons’ push for exporting “democracy” (= chaos, death and destruction, imperialist domination), around the 3rd year of Bush the Younger’s second term, the Cheney-Rummy-Wolfowitz junta were eager to Invade Iran, but the military top brass over-ruled them based on a war game that cost in the neighborhood of $50 million to stage, and in which the US “lost” (aircraft carriers sunk, heavy loss of life, devastating impact to US economy, etc.)
    This is the article I referenced in my earlier post by Mark Gaffney, who is an interesting character in his own right: http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm

    And truer words were not spoken when you said that video clips of the US congress giving that Zionist thug and terrormonger Nathan the Yahoo a standing ovation when he took PRIDE in his false assumption that the Zionist Entity will not go back to the 1967 borders – that and other video clips will go viral, just as the Abu Ghurayb pictures did. Again, methinks that the significance of the current developments is not in the consciousness of the reality of USrael’s dastardly deeds and policies, but in the gradual awakening to the reality that the imam, may he rest in peace, was right, and that Amrika hich ghalati nemitune bokone [Amerika can’t do a fucking thing – I paraphrase, as I don’t remember the *exact* words he used ;o) ]. Iran, Turkey, and now the good beebol of Egibt; the only thing left to do now is to sweep the aal ash-shaykh and aal as-sa’ud vermin back under the sands of the Najd desert under which they crawled out of in 1751 thanks to an unholy takfiri alliance that was subsequently fostered and supported with British arms and funding.
    Dean says:
    May 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm
    I think “new egypt” is doomed, the Gaza border would hav been open by this time, talks between Iran and Egypt should have progressed…money talks, and those money come from US/israel that trying to create a new mubarak.
    No. The tide has turned. But being the tide, it takes a while for it to receed.
    Voice of Tehran says:
    May 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm
    The Real face of losers :
    “”The US has vowed to “tighten the screws” on Iran to abandon its peaceful nuclear program on the backdrop of the recent sanctions against seven foreign firms.””
    Were I in the US press conference that announced these pathetic tell-tale measures, I would have congratulated them on the timing of their decision: ,http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9003041023
    Iran’s self-sufficiency in the production of high-quality gasoline and in sufficient quantity even to export is a direct-hit kick in Uncle Sam’s groin. Everyone knows that all Uncle Sam is doing with these rubber-toothed “sanctions”, having received this direct hit to his crown jewels, is turning around and saying to Iran: “Hah! Missed both my legs!!”

    Voice of Tehran says:
    May 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm
    “”John Pilger – The War You Don’t See””
    I would have advised Mr. Pilger to rename his film to the only slightly less awkward:
    The War You the American Sheeple Don’t See, but that Humanity (You Know, The Vast Majority who are actually Awake and not Sleepwalking like you Brainwashed Morons ) Sees as Clearly as the Light of Day

    Seriously though, Pilger is one of the few brave souls doing real journalistic work these days.

  155. Photi says:

    *their misdeeds, meaning the misdeeds (of changing the message) of the Jews and Christians.

  156. Photi says:

    *Importantly, Quran 5:13 concludes by telling the Muslims to overlook their misdeeds as God loves those who are kind. Can the crimes of Zionism be considered among the misdeeds of the Jews? From my angle it appears the Islamic preference is for peace with the Jews and Christians.

  157. Photi says:

    fyi says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

    “I also think that the continuation of the (religious) War in Palestine serves the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran. “

    The Islamic interest as I understand it argues in favor of ending this stupid war. If there are those short-sighted nationalists in Iran who say otherwise then they need to take a moment to think about the bigger picture. In a world where ideas and not bombs reign supreme, the Muslims have nothing to worry about. Nor do the Americans. Thus the war is nonsense. How stupid the Jews are, they have what they want, all they have to do is halt and defend, and yet they cannot keep themselves from taking just a little bit more.


    As long as that war continues, it will poison (more and more so) the relationship of the United States with the World of Islam; with the added advantage of weakening of the Saudi position both locally and inthe World of Islam.”

    In the absence of that war, the poisonous relationship will have no need to exist; or, the war is the poison. The Iranians have been asking for a relationship based on mutual respect for some time now. Each time in not so many words the US says the relationship can only exist if the Iranians accept the perpetual war. The perpetual war is a tactic of Zionism (or is it the goal itself?). Iran is merely getting sucked into its vortex.

    “It supplies ample opportunities to Iran to pose as the Champion of Islam and the Palestinians

    It serves as a continuous drain on US position (and resources) in the world; diplomatically, militarily, and financially.

    It serves as a continuous distraction for the United States with opportunities for Iran to create trouble for US.

    Iranian leaders must be stupid to wish for a Just and Enduring Peace in Palestine; war servers their interests far better.”

    If the leaders of the Islamic Republic actually feel this way, then that is tragic. At some point the world needs to consider the human interest. Again, the drain on the American resources is only a benefit for Iran in the context of the war of aggression being conducted by the Zionists against the Islamic Republic. In the absence of the war against Iran and Islam, and assuming the Americans weren’t so belligerent on the international diplomatic scene, then Iran would have no need for the drain as there would no longer be any sewage to expel.

    fyi says:
    May 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

    “We have to disagree: Reason tells me that when a message is sent through a communication channel, it is subject to deterioration and loss of fidelity. When the noise level is comparable to the level of the message, then the message is completely corrupted and thus beyond recovery.

    And when the noise level is less, some part of the message is corrupted and some parts are not and there is a chance for recovery of at least part of the initial message.”

    From an academic point of view, ‘recovery’ of the previous messages is an interesting subject and who am I to discourage that pursuit? ‘Islam’ as a field of study should in my opinion encourage such endeavors.

    ‘Islam’ as a religion, on the other hand, has no need of such ‘recovery.’ The Quran makes obsolete that need. They are not echoes of the Old Testament which you hear in the Quran, they are echoes of the Quran which are heard in the Old Testament. God knew all along the Final Message would be preserved in the form of Islam, and so preservation of His previous messages (which entails interrupting human free will) was not part of his plan. If you think this assertion is lazy, then we disagree. The assertion is brought about by a straight forward argument and is consistent with an Islamic world view.

    **It is not because of the Muslims we have a preserved Quran, rather it is because of God. **

    The Quran gives a plausible explanation for the presence of the previous Prophets. As a religion whose Author is God, Islam does not have to ‘recreate’ the messages which have been previously lost. The message is being received straight from the source. [Or, if you wish, the ‘restoration’ of the previous Revelations has been accomplished with God’s sending of the Quran.]

    In the verse I quoted before, the Quran says a good part of the previous messages have been **forgotten**. In order to recover the previous Revelations then with the fidelity such Revelations would need in order to be satisfactory would require the sending of another Prophet.

    “Reason further tells me that the referent of the verses here are the Jews who has misplaced the Words (of God). Thus, it might be possible through the application of Human Reason, to restore the Words (of God) to their rightful places. “

    Not if many of those words have been forgotten.

    “Now pay attention here: I do not believe that all of the Torah or Mishna is corrupt – which is what these verses are referring to; much may still be recoverable.”

    Academically, that’s great. Religiously, these recoveries will never be Canon for the Muslims. The Islamic point of view is internally consistent; the Truth of the previous Revelations will be found in Islam.

    fyi says:
    May 25, 2011 at 10:11 am

    “You are hiding behind formulations that avoid the issue:

    There is no “legacy” here; the (prior) Revelations are Living. They are not dead.”

    I never said those legacies were dead. The Prophets did their Divinely ordained duty and dispatched the Message. We see indications of these living legacies in the form of the World Religions and the communities they bring forth. In Islam we see the legacy of Muhammad, saying so does not proclaim Islam’s death.

    “I am aware of the more-sophisticated position of Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr who compares the 4 Gospels to the Sunnah of the Prophet. I depart from that position as I explained before: the Acts and Words of the Immaculate Perfect Man, Jesus, the Blessed Son of the Virging, where those of God’s for he was co-participating in the Life of the Universe with God. Those Acts and Words have been the Revelations of Jesus. His Revelations are in a different form than the Quran’s, but they remain so.”

    The Muslims understand “co-participating in the Life of the Universe with God” as the ultimate submission of one’s soul with the Will of God. As a Prophet, Jesus exemplified that ultimate submission so no doubt he was (and still is) a living representation of the Gospel. However, the Message was preserved for humanity in its most pure form with Islam. That is the position of Islam, a position which is internally consistent with the rest of the Islamic world view. Disagreeing with that world view is your choice, but at least make sure it is for the right reasons and not for wrongly perceived contradictions. The Islamic position regarding the Prophets is entirely plausible without resort to leaps and bounds of the imagination.

  158. James Canning says:

    Some of those who attended the Aipac conference apparently did not know the difference between Palestine and Pakistan. Others denied Israel was occupying any part of Palestine.


  159. James Canning says:

    Simon Jenkins had some excellent comments in the Guardian yesterday (“Obama and Cameron must break this addiction to war”).

  160. James Canning says:


    Yes, there are strong differences between northern Kazahkstan and southern, and between western Ukraine and eastern. But breaking countries apart is no easy thing, to say the least. I can see the “logic” of Russia annexing eastern Ukraine and northern K-stan, but I doubt very much this will come to pass. And Russia continues to have a difficult struggle keeping the Russian Federation intact.

  161. James Canning says:


    Yes, many Israelis and foolish US supporters of Israel right or wrong, would welcome a US attack on Iran, to smash the Iranian economy. The claims about an Iranian nuke programme provide cover for the scheme. But I do not think Israel believes itself capable of “taking out” Iran’s nuclear facilities.

  162. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    James, sorry if calling the nuclear issue an ‘excuse’ is unclear.

    What I mean by it, is that Israel/US were unlikely to be targeting nuclear facilities for the sake of nuclear facilities. Even in the unlikely event that their target list was confined to nuclear sites, then the real aim was psychological emasculation/humiliation of the country.

    Much more likely, the military strategy was/is to go for an all out attack, ‘10,000 flashes of light’.

    Either way, the nuclear issue, widely dispersed, or concentrated, did not have anything to do with why they were putting war on Iran on the table, and now seem to be walking the bravado back.

  163. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I am certain, with metaphysical certainity, that Kazakhstan will disintegrate.

    Northern Kazakhstan is Orthodox Russian and Ukranian.

    Southern part is Muslim Kazakhs.

    There is nothing that could possibly bind these 2 communities.

    Ukraine can be a bit more complex but Western Ukraine is Catholic and anti-Russian.

    Eastern Ukraine is Russian and Ukranian Orthodox.

    Russia needs only to carefully partition that country.

  164. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: May 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Thank you for your comments.

    The extended peace in Europe from the Congress of Vienna to August 1914 was based on the commonality of peace interest among the European powers. Once that oeace interest disappeared, the war became a very strong possibility which, in a few years, became an eventuality.

    That course of the war and that it took 4 years with millions of dead, indicates at least to me, that the European belliegerents were more or less evenly matched; that there was a indeed a Balance of Power that obtained in Europe prior to 1914.

    The war was not caused by absence of Balance of Power but despite it.

  165. James Canning says:


    Israel’s military strategists know they cannot ascertain all of Iran’s nuclear facilities sufficiently to be able to take them out with a surprise attack. I would not scorn prudence on the part of Israel.

    I too think the blather about a supposed nuclear weapons programme is just a device to frighten people so that the game plan of trying to injure Iran so it stops helping the Palestinians can continue.

  166. James Canning says:

    Spiegel.de online today has story “Netanyahu had his triumph but Israel will pay”. German commentators say Netanyahu’s performance before the US Congress was disastrous for the peace process. Which of course it was.

  167. BiBiJon says:

    Israelis See Netanyahu Trip as Diplomatic Failure

    Ben Caspit, a columnist for the newspaper Maariv, who spends much of his time attacking the prime minister, wrote, “This was a good speech, brilliantly delivered, with all the tricks and shticks and highlights in the right places.” He said Mr. Netanyahu was “focused, charismatic and self-confident” and called his address to Congress “a sweeping personal victory.”

    But Mr. Caspit asked whether it was also a national victory. His reply: “O.K., it depends whom you ask, from what angle you look, and what you’re scared of. Those who are scared of peace yesterday got their wish. Those who are scared of war will be a lot more scared today.”

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/world/middleeast/26mideast.html?_r=1&hp

  168. Rehmat says:

    Rd. – The miltary junta with the help of USrael could postpone the September elections permanently – it might accept Ben-Obama’s additional $1 billion bribe and decide not to open Rafah border permanently. We know, the Zionist traitors ruling the US – know how to skin tha cat if it refuse to moaw for the Zionist entity.


  169. Voice of Tehran says:

    “”John Pilger – The War You Don’t See””


  170. Voice of Tehran says:

    The Real face of losers :

    “”The US has vowed to “tighten the screws” on Iran to abandon its peaceful nuclear program on the backdrop of the recent sanctions against seven foreign firms.””


    “We are going to be stepping up the pressure – it is not going to pause,”…” We are continuing to look for ways to tighten the screws,” Deputy US National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said during President Barack Obama’s state visit to Britain on Tuesday.

    Rhodes said the sanctions imposed on the foreign firms were aimed at discouraging international organizations from trading with and investing in the Islamic Republic.

    All seven firms subjected to sanctions by the US cooperate with Iran in the supply and transfer of refined petroleum products.

    According to a statement released by the State Department, the sanctions are part of the growing pressure that on Iran’s energy sector.

    The Islamic Republic has reached self-sufficiency in the production of all oil products including gasoline, despite mounting Western pressure on the country over its peaceful nuclear program.

    Based on false allegations regarding the nature of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, the US and a number of other Western countries imposed unilateral sanctions, mainly targeting the Iranian energy and financial sectors.

    Tehran has repeatedly stressed that its nuclear program is civilian in nature, adding that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency it has the right use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

  171. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    Let’s hope Egypt reopens the Rafah crossing to Gaza and keeps it open.

    Egypt ‘to open Rafah border permanently. I wonder if some one heard the BN speech in congress!!!


  172. Dean says:

    I think “new egypt” is doomed, the Gaza border would hav been open by this time, talks between Iran and Egypt should have progressed…money talks, and those money come from US/israel that trying to create a new mubarak.

  173. BiBiJon says:

    A new chapter has opened for Iranian artists enjoying a boom in sales and interest from major international auction houses such as Christie’s despite a global economic malaise and sanctions hitting Iran.

    From http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/25/us-iran-art-idUSTRE74O2I120110525

  174. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I think you know as well as I that Iran’s nuclear program has always been just an excuse for regime change which itself has always been an excuse to put Iranian people back in the butler quarters.

    When Israeli military strategists say an attack would not stop Iran’s nuclear programme, they are just using the same (nuclear) excuse to cover up their cowardice.

  175. James Canning says:


    The Israel lobby can stage a US Congressional love-fest for Netanyahu, but I agree more and more Americans are seeing the Israelis as the oppressor in the Israel/Palestine context.

    Let’s hope Egypt reopens the Rafah crossing to Gaza and keeps it open.

  176. James Canning says:


    I think an Israeli attack on Iran is unlikely and it seems clear Israeli military strategists recognise it would not stop Iran’s nuclear programme. I also think a US attack is unlikely, barring something really stupid (such as an Iranian push to develop nukes).

  177. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm


    I think the power of Israel Lobby is sometimes conflated with their desperate efforts.

    The “rapturous reception of Netanyahu in the US Congress” ought not be divorced from US voting records which show since 1974, non-presidential election years have scored less that 40% voter turnout. Please see http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html

    Furthermore, public opinion surveys show the (lack of) esteem the public at large accords to the congress.

    Please see ,http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/congressional_job_approval-903.html

    IMHO, the Lobby tries very very hard, but it hs less and less traction.

  178. BiBiJon says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    May 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    A lot of the static dogma about eminent war on Iran is routed in imagining Iran is a potted plant, surviving from day to day with a song, a prayer and oodles of sheer good luck.

    It is engineers such as Uzi who know full well the fighter jet that goes to bomb a target in Iran will cross paths with Iranian missiles headed for the airstrip it took off from. War of aggression on Iran has been undoable for as many years as it hasn’t been dared, criminal desires notwithstanding.

    Also, I hope folks who harp about Iran’s lack of managers, brain-drain etc, read your post, and reassess their jaundiced view of Iran.

  179. James Canning says:


    The power of the ISRAEL LOBBY to control US foreign policy in the Middle East grows year by year, and the rapturous reception of Netanyahu in the US Congress attests to this fact. Sadly, this situation will only grow worse in years to come.

  180. James Canning says:


    It is unlikely that Kazahkstan will fragment and that Russia will annex the northern part of the country. And Russia will not annex Ukraine. Neither action is necessary for Russia to rise to the front rank of economic powers on the planet.

  181. James Canning says:

    Fred Kagan, a well-kown Washington neocon, yesterday put out a paper arguing that the US needed to keep troops in Iraq to deter an invasion from Iran. Wall Street Journal today had short report touching on this lunacy.

  182. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack: I shit you not.

    More from Mr. Rubin Uzi

    Iran’s missile program making steady progress
    An interview with Uzi Rubin

    September 17, 2009

    Mr. Uzi Rubin, an Israeli engineer who formerly ran Israel’s “Arrow” program for missile defense, gives high marks to Iran’s recent success in making long-range missiles, and predicts that Iran would use these missiles in saturation attacks with high explosives in time of war.

    In a recent interview with Iran Watch, Mr. Rubin emphasized that Iran successfully developed the design for both its solid-fuel ballistic missile and its liquid-fuel space launcher after only a few test flights, showing that the Iran’s missile industry is capable of recovering from test failures in relatively short time

    Mr. Rubin believes Iran largely has the capability to build longer range missiles. He predicts that Iran will focus increasingly on solid fuel technology, which is easier to scale up in order to reach longer ranges. However, for political reasons, Iran is playing down this capability for fear of alienating Europe and Russia. With a range of 2,000 km, Iran’s two-stage, solid fuel Sejil [and variants] can already reach all mid eastern targets from eastern Iran.

    The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.

    Iran Watch (IW): What do you think about Iran’s space program, and the recent rocket tests?

    Uzi Rubin (UR): I was impressed by the space launcher, especially its design. The first stage is a souped-up Shahab 3. The second stage is liquid fuel, but it’s storable liquid fuel. This is one step beyond basic, non-storable liquid fuel like what’s used in Scuds. And it’s not only storable, it’s also hypergolic. That means you don’t have to light the propellant, you just pump it into the motor and it spontaneously ignites. Iran managed to design a very elegant second stage – and also very light. The overwhelming majority of countries starting out with space launch technology started with three stages. Why? Because it’s easier to reach orbital velocity with three stages than with two stages. Doing it with only two stages places very stringent requirements on the second stage. But Iran did it. Everyone was surprised. This is something we didn’t expect. I’d say it was an audacious achievement for a starting country.

    IW: Were you surprised that Iran had mastered staging? Staging is not easy.

    UR: Well, staging is challenging, but I’m not surprised. When Iran announced its space program back in 1998, this obviously meant they were going to rely on staging. So I wasn’t surprised that they did it. Staging is key to a space program. I was surprised that it worked so well the first time.

    I was also surprised that Iran progressed so quickly. In February 2008, Iran fired a missile it called Kavoshgar, which was a Shahab-3, probably with a slightly stronger motor and painted in blue and white because it was flown by the space agency, not by the military. It had a typical triconic front end – what’s called the baby bottle front end – but with some changes. This test flight showed all the signs of failure. I tracked the video frame by frame. You could see pieces falling off while it was taking off, and then the whole thing exploded violently. That was the first launch. Iran claimed the test was successful, but we saw it as a dismal failure. Six months later, in August, Iran fired its first space launcher [Safir]. No pieces fell off. That indicates ample telemetry data from the failed test, which allowed Iranian engineers to figure out what went wrong in February. They than displayed good engineering: they fixed the problem. Finally, the short recovery time – only six months – indicates vigorous program management. While Iran’s regime is radical and belligerent, and the success of its endeavors is bad news for the Middle East and the international community – as an engineer, I take my hat off.

    But the August test was still a failure. Six months after that, in February 2009, the rocket worked. Within one year Iran had moved from a failed design to a successful one and launched a satellite into good, stable orbit. Again, this progress is a sign of good system engineering and good program management. Both are crucial. Not the technology. You can acquire technology. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTRC) appears to be dysfunctional as far as Iran is concerned. They seem be able to buy anything from anywhere. Perhaps not from the United States, and there may be some difficulties in Europe. But they apparently have other venues for acquisition of missile related materials and components. .

    IW: Is this space launcher an indigenous design?

    UR: I am not sure. But look, even if somebody designed it for Iran, if Iran had access to this design, then it’s like having the design capability at home. The legacy for the overall design is Soviet. But when I say Soviet, it doesn’t mean Russian.

    I think the Iranians have taken off. They have learned what they were taught and are proceeding.

    IW: Could Iran’s success depend on technical assistance received remotely, from experts who are not physically present in Iran?

    UR: No, to support a program you have to be there physically to communicate face to face with the technical teams. It’s my guess that what we are seeing is already largely indigenous Iranian capability. They’re developing a technological culture, which is unique in the Middle East. They’re adapting science as part of their national policy. Iran hosts aerospace conferences, once or twice a year, and Iranian engineers contribute papers to American conferences. So, Iran is developing a strong scientific base.

    Iran’s missile program is now 20 years old. There has been enough time to graduate a number of engineers from Iranian universities. Those who graduated 15-20 years ago are now program leaders.

    IW: Is Iran ahead of North Korea?

    UR: So it would seem. In addition to the space launcher’s liquid fuel technology, Iran also has a solid propellant missile: the Sejil, or Ashura or Sejil 2. Iran changes the names, but that’s just psychology. It’s the same missile. In 2005, Iran’s defense minister made a statement claiming to have made a solid propellant rocket motor for the Shahab missile. Obviously what he meant was that Iran was working on solid propellant rockets with the diameter of the Shahab. Thirty months later, the first Iranian solid propellant, two-stage ballistic missile made its first flight.

    The solid fuel missile is a breakthrough, because it gives Iran a growth potential that it didn’t have with liquid fuel rockets. In liquid rockets, there are difficulties in making rocket motors that are large enough but still stable. When you increase the combustion chamber of a liquid fuel motor, you can get severe combustion instability problems. With solid fuel, once you have a breakthrough and you can make rocket motors, increasing their size is pretty straightforward.

    IW: What is the diameter of the current solid fuel missile?

    UR: The same as the diameter as the liquid fuel missile: 1.25 meters.

    The most important dimension of a missile is its diameter. The production line is geared to this diameter. If you change the diameter of a missile by even by a couple of inches, you have to redo much of your infrastructure. So, once you have a diameter you stick to it. This is especially true for missiles on mobile launchers, because if you change the diameter, you have to make significant changes to the launcher as well. So, the diameter of Iran’s solid fuel missile is 1.25 meters, which is the same as the space launcher and the same as the Shahab-3 missile. This diameter was inherited from North Korea. The North Koreans did the trick of enlarging, or scaling up the Scud. So it makes sense that the solid fuel missile has the diameter of the Shahab, which came from North Korea, and of the launcher of the Shahab, slightly adapted, and that it has two stages with the same diameter.

    IW: How would you rate the solid fuel missile?

    UR: I compare Iran’s solid fuel missile to the U.S. Minuteman-1, of 1961. I claim these missiles are comparable. Americans are shocked when I say this, but remember that Minuteman-1 was a first generation solid propellant missile, first flown half a century ago and therefore primitive compared to what the United States can do today. In fact, in some sense the Sejil is more advanced, not because the Iranians are so smart, but because of the march of technological innovations between than and now. Previously, achieving accuracy was a daunting challenge that required the top technological brains in the United States and the Soviet Union. Today, you can buy GPS accuracy in any consumer electronics shop for less than $200. You still have to design a GPS system that will withstand acceleration and work in a vacuum, but that’s a project for graduate students in aeronautical engineering at Tehran University. It doesn’t require any great ingenuity. So, Iran can make the missiles as accurate as they wish. An off-the-shelf GPS is accurate to the width of a street – 20 meters.

    IW: Is there anything unique about Iran’s design for the solid fuel missile?

    UR: The jet vanes are an interesting design feature. In solid fuel missiles, jet vanes are usually used for the initial phase of the flight. But the Iranians managed to make jet vanes that survived the full 50 or 60 seconds of the first-stage flight. Solid propellant exhaust contains aluminum oxide; it’s very abrasive. If the jet vanes don’t survive during the entire burn, missile control is lost. That’s why in some solid propellant rockets, like in Russia, jet vanes are discarded after a few seconds and control is done either by air vanes or by some other means, for instance by secondary injection.

    IW: What about the missile casing? What is it made of?

    UR: Probably maraging steel. Iran is on record trying to buy it. Some attempts were foiled. But again, the Indians bought maraging steel for their missiles. The only problem with maraging steel is that Iran would need to get maraging steel forgings as well. This may be difficult. But the fact that the Indians got them means that somebody is offering them on the market.

    IW: Is there any other specialized equipment or material that Iran needs to buy in order to improve or scale-up the missile?

    UR: Sure, you need some blenders, big mixers. You also need casting pits, test stands, and big x-ray machines for inspections. To develop these things on your own is difficult – they are very specialized. So, you need to buy them. By the way, all of this equipment is strictly controlled by the MTRC. But the fact that the Sejil took off successfully and completed its mission means that the Iranians have this infrastructure. They bought it. It shouldn’t be in Iran but it is.

    So, the proficiency is there and it can be scaled up. Based on an analysis of the Sejil’s first flight, I estimate ten tons for the first stage and a five ton second stage. This is the optimum proportion. Now, to make a 20 ton first stage, if you have the infrastructure, it’s straightforward. Any well run program could have the first motor on the test stand in two years from green light.

    IW: Is there anything stopping Iran from scaling up this missile, from a technical perspective?

    UR: Iran has everything it would need for such a program except perhaps external thermal protection for the re-entry vehicle. They have a triconic shaped re-entry vehicle that works for 2,000 km but not for intercontinental ranges. It may still be dependant on internal insulation like the old Soviet-era Scud design. Images of the Sejjil show it with a black nose tip, probably made of some ablative graphite material, but with no external insulation. Right now, I would estimate that this missile could carry a 1,000 kg payload to a range between 2,200 and 2,450 km. But, if Iran decides to go for ranges beyond 2,000 km, it will need an external heat shield. This is a challenge, but the Iranians already have the key to overcome it. Their capability to make a 50 – 60 second, 10 ton rocket motor which survives the full burn time means they can do internal heat shielding. From this, the leap to external heat shielding is not too great. Eventually they’ll be able to do an external heat shield for longer ranges. I’d say that Iran has either fully formed technology or embryonic technology for every aspect of a very long range missile.

    IW: You said that Iran has managed to circumvent control regimes like the MTRC to buy what it needs; who is selling to Iran? What are they selling?

    UR: The open record shows that they managed to buy bars of tungsten copper alloy from China – exactly the MTCR controlled material used for solid propellant missile jet vanes. Iran may have imported tungsten copper plates and cut them into jet vanes. The Iranians might also try to get tungsten copper powder and sinter the material themselves. This is another hallmark for Iran: self reliance.

    IW: How far has the solid fuel missile been tested?

    UR: A few hundred kilometers. But that’s not important. Iran is testing the technology. The range potential is probably at least 2,000 km.

    IW: Does Iran have space inside its country to test a missile to 2,000 km?

    UR: I’m not sure but I don’t think so. I believe that to fire to 2,000 km or more from its Semnan test site, outside of Tehran, Iran would have to go into splash down – the missile would come down in the ocean. Bur Iran has a free ocean all the way to the South Pole. And no part of the missile would fall in any other country. So, Iran has no issue in terms of testing an intercontinental-range missile.

    IW: Do you think Iran will test to 2,000 km?

    UR: If they do so it will not serve their interests at present, because firing to this range may be politically sensitive. Yet Iran might eventually find some excuse to test to longer ranges, by citing changed circumstances. The range within Iran is about 1,800 km. That’s the longest range point to point. There is no need at present for Iran to test further than that. If the missile flies successfully to 1,800 km it stands to reason that it will be able to fly to 2,000 km too.

    IW: So 1,800 km is sufficient to test the re-entry vehicle and the guidance system for longer ranges?

    UR: Up to a point. You don’t need to test to the full range to see if it will fly to the full range, provided that the shorter range is stressing enough. Of course, you couldn’t rely on a 300 km test flight to know how the missile would perform at a range of 2,000 km, but if you cover 80% of the range, then you are in the right ballpark.

    IW: Could the current missile carry a nuclear warhead?

    UR: If you are talking about the weight requirements – that is, if your question is whether the current missile has the lifting capability to sufficient to carry a first generation nuclear warhead, I think that the answer is positive. The question whether the current missile has the special adaptation to interface and successfully activate a nuclear warhead is another matter, and I’m not sure that they are there yet. But I must be clear on one important point here. The new triconic warhead is not a move toward accommodating a nuclear warhead. This warhead has less volume than the conical warhead Iran was using before. And the diameter of the central section is about 60 cm, which is very constrained for a nuclear bomb. It could be a gun type, but that would be heavy. I’m guessing that the conical nosecone had a stability problem that was stressing the missile and harming its accuracy. The triconic shape is naturally stable if designed correctly, which would improve accuracy. I’d say the new shape is designed for simplicity and accuracy, not necessarily for nuclear capability.

    IW: But why else would Iran need such a missile if not to carry a nuclear weapon?

    UR: From a western point of view, long range ballistic missiles make sense only when they carry a nuclear weapon. This is a legacy of Cold War thinking. The Iranians don’t see it that way. Missiles are for them what both tactical and strategic air power are for the West. You can see this from what Iran displays in military parades: old hardware, old tanks, some of them from the 1950s, and half of the aircraft were bought before the Islamic revolution. Iran is building long range strike power through missiles. And not only Iran is doing this, so is Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas…for them, the rocket is king, not the combat aircraft.

    IW: So the money is not there for the aircraft?

    UR: No. The money is in missiles and in nuclear technology. In the missile program, you see the effect of this huge investment. Today, Iran has made a great leap forward in technical proficiency and in its capability to design and integrate ballistic missiles. The key ingredient here is not just the building of a rocket motor or a re-entry vehicle, the key is system engineering, along with system integration, and program management – all three are important and tied together.

    IW: Would Iran use its missiles, armed with conventional warheads, in some sort of saturation strategy?

    UR: Saturation in war time, yes. Iran will use its missiles if it is attacked. And they’ve developed bomblet warheads. Iran claims the results would be very destructive.

    IW: So, Iran would arm its missiles with such warheads and use them as a sort of long range air power, an alternative to aircraft?

    UR: Yes, why not? Iran is making a lot of missiles. The Iranians believe in conventional missiles. Not just for saturation but also to take out specific targets. They believe that their cluster warheads can take out airfields. Remember, they have practically no air force to do it. Their main striking power is based on missiles.

    IW: So Iran would have to manufacture a lot of missiles and arm them with these warheads. And with the 2,000 km range, Iran would be able to base the missiles further east.

    UR: Yes, giving them survivability. And the Iranians are not hiding it – on the contrary, they are bragging about it openly. . They are transparent; they want to deter any U.S. or Israeli attack. Iranian leaders openly wish for U.S. satellites to take pictures of their weapon sites and to see their capability. Mark this: for Iran, ballistic missiles are not weapons of last resort. They see them as legitimate weapons of war to be used in any conflict.

    IW: What’s next for Iran in terms of missile development?

    UR: Watch for Iranian long range cruise missiles. I think that air breathing cruise missiles will be the next long range missile to appear. The Iranians will probably reverse engineer the KH-55s they got a few years ago via Ukraine. The main problem here is the jet engines. Making small fan jet engines is an expertise. Iran will need to buy it. The United States and France won’t sell, so Iran will have to find other sources. The initial design for these missiles will not be nuclear-capable because their carrying capacity would likely be small. So they would be armed with conventional warheads as well. Later generation could become nuclear-capable.

    Otherwise, expect Iran to pursue solid propellant. We’ll probably see the liquid propellant program dying out. There won’t be a long-range, liquid fuel missile. The Iranians will keep liquid fuel for the space program for now, but for ballistic missiles they’ll be drawn to solid propellant. And if they want to put larger, heavier satellites into orbit, they may use a modified Sejil.

    We’ll see more and more variations of the Sejil, just as we saw with Iran’s Shahab-3, which has three sub-variations that we can identify. The original Shahab-3 missile could hit Israel from western Iran. The more advanced variations can strike from further east. Sejil is the first generation and we’ll see a second and third generation.

    IW: Do you have an idea of production volume for the Sejil?

    UR: No. But I predict that the next step on this missile will be a move to better solid propellant rocket motors, and to filament winding in order to take advantage of composite materials. Whoever sold Iran the infrastructure to make metal casings will sell them the infrastructure to make composite materials. Also, better metals will be used for thrust vectoring.

    IW: Will Iran seek to add a third stage to the solid fuel missile?

    UR: This is not a technical question, it’s political. Iran has the infrastructure, it has the proficiency, and it has the design know-how. So, it is a question of intention. Will Iran add a third stage? Or make a bigger first stage motor? Iran is probably not eager to do this overtly because it is aware of the political implications. The Iranians are very aware of the meaning, for Europe, of longer range missiles. So, right now I don’t think it’s in their interest to do it openly. Actively running a full scale long range missile program may not be on the agenda, for now. But the Iranians may have a paper program for longer range missiles.

    IW: There is a parallel here with the nuclear program. In both cases, Iran is seeking to build up its capability without causing alarm.

    UR: Yes, the Iranians are careful to remain within the limits of legitimacy. They push the outer limit, but they are careful not to go beyond it, at least openly. This is the case in their nuclear program and – for the time being – in their missile program. You can expect this policy to continue as long as it serves Iran’s interest. What they are planning behind closed doors is another question – and a very troubling one.

  183. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    May 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    “I do not believe that the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran or very many people are interested in the “destruction of US” as you put it. Rather, they are opposed to the strategies that US is pursuing in the Middle East.”

    Then we are on the same page, and thanks for the clarification. BTW, Russia has taken back Ukraine, kind of. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/7184349/Ukraine-election-Viktor-Yanukovych-claims-victory.html

    Balance of peace, indeed. As all idealists, I resent calling myself one. And, so find myself disputing (like you) the efficacy of balance of power, a doctrine that at exorbitant on-going expense perches you on a sharper, and sharper knife’s edge, one natural/banking/revolutionary disaster shy of chaos.

  184. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I love it when Uzi Rubin talks dirty:


    Note that this video is from two years ago, and many many improvements and breakthroughs have been made since then.

    (If my name was Uzi Rubin I would change it to Rubin Uzi :D )

  185. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: May 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I do not believe that the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran or very many people are interested in the “destruction of US” as you put it. Rather, they are opposed to the strategies that US is pursuing in the Middle East.

    Furthermore, Russia is not going to rise anytime soon. Just ask yourself when Russia will re-absorb Ukraine or Northern Kazakhstan. Until then, the news of the Russian revival are premature.

    I do agree with you that the construction of Peace Interest, to which you have alluded, is the best way forward; for US, for Russia, for Iran, for Israel, for EU. And indeed for the entire world.

    But the games of states has been played since the time of Hamurabi in a zero-sum manner. Americans are no different. What is amusing about US leaders and their advisors is their obsession with the trite notion of Balance of Power. They seem to have all attended the same schools and been taught by the same instructors from the same text books. They seem to have utterly missed the importance of the “Balance of Peace” or “the Peace Interest” in the affairs of states.

    In the Middle East, they are have made war cheap and peace expensive; an splendid achievement in its own right.

  186. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    May 25, 2011 at 11:06 am


    You are echoing the same Machiavellianism (the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft) to Iran, that her most devoted enemies do everyday.

    It is nonsense. But, even within that kind of framework, Machiavellianism fails to apply except in the most shortsighted, narrowly focused sense of self-interest.

    It cannot be lost on Iranians that ‘destruction’ of the US, is in no small measure, equal to rise of Russia. Or, causing social/sectarian mayhem in one’s immediate neighborhood, while deliciously troublesome for the unfriendly governments, has the distinct potential to blow back in one’s own face. Just like the Taliban, and al Qaeda turned their murderous attention to the same US that nurtured them into existence.

    Where at all possible, non-interference, trade, and cooperation across all fields seems to me is what drives Iranian foreign policy.

  187. Rd. says:

    Photi says:
    “Rather than viewing Israel as a vital American asset, an increasingly vocal group of foreign-policy analysts insists that support for the Jewish state, including more than $3 billion in annual military aid, is a liability. Advocates of this “realist” school claim that the United States derives little strategic benefit from its association with Israel.

    Realistically, those analysts are wrong. The US does benefit. Except, the benefit is only for those “wall street” bankers and their backers. These parasites are living within this body of ‘America’ and using her richness, mil power and her blood to live their own dream at the expense to all others. At the end of the day, it is not Israel that needs to be separated, it is the parasites related to Israel that need to be removed. When we get there, the liability of Israel will become real.

  188. fyi says:

    Photi says: May 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I think that a US-imposed peace is not politically possible for the reasons of the internal politcal scene in the United States as well as the external world situation.

    I also think that the continuation of the (religious) War in Palestine serves the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


    As long as that war continues, it will poison (more and more so) the relationship of the United States with the World of Islam; with the added advantage of weakening of the Saudi position both locally and inthe World of Islam.

    It supplies ample opportunities to Iran to pose as the Champion of Islam and the Palestinians

    It serves as a continuous drain on US position (and resources) in the world; diplomatically, militarily, and financially.

    It serves as a continuous distraction for the United States with opportunities for Iran to create trouble for US.

    Iranian leaders must be stupid to wish for a Just and Enduring Peace in Palestine; war servers their interests far better.

  189. fyi says:

    Photi says: May 25, 2011 at 9:46 am

    We have to disagree: Reason tells me that when a message is sent through a communication channel, it is subject to deterioration and loss of fidelity. When the noise level is comparable to the level of the message, then the message is completely corrupted and thus beyond recovery.

    And when the noise level is less, some part of the message is corrupted and some parts are not and there is a chance for recovery of at least part of the initial message.

    Reason further tells me that the referent of the verses here are the Jews who has misplaced the Words (of God). Thus, it might be possible through the application of Human Reason, to restore the Words (of God) to their rightful places.

    Now pay attention here: I do not believe that all of the Torah or Mishna is corrupt – which is what these verses are referring to; much may still be recoverable.

    Human Reason may fail, one man’s application of Human Reason may fail, but others ought to try and try again. You will never find out unless you try.

    And likewise for the Revelations of Jesus as they are recorded in the 4 Gospels (but not in the revelations of Saint John, or the Epistles, etc..)

    Your quotation of the Quran, in my opinion, does not necessarily imply the statements that follow it. For your assertions are, in my opinion, a recipe for intellectual laziness and complacency. For a common man or woman, wishing to live their lives in tranquility and peace, Quran could suffice. But for a Doctor of Islam, no. Doctor of Islam has to grapple with both the World and the Word. He has the duty to search for Religious Truth and not spend his life on the zakat of the three-year-old female camel (a fine point in fiqh).

    The Confucian Scholars of China and Korea failed in their analogous duty. Their civilization was shattered.

    That is my opinion.

  190. fyi says:

    Photi says: May 25, 2011 at 9:36 am

    You are hiding behind formulations that avoid the issue:

    There is no “legacy” here; the (prior) Revelations are Living. They are not dead.

    The central issue is not interaction with Jews, Christians or others – however important that might be – but rather what do prior Revelation tell us? How can we recover them?

    I am aware of the more-sophisticated position of Dr. Seyyed Hussein Nasr who compares the 4 Gospels to the Sunnah of the Prophet. I depart from that position as I explained before: the Acts and Words of the Immaculate Perfect Man, Jesus, the Blessed Son of the Virging, where those of God’s for he was co-participating in the Life of the Universe with God. Those Acts and Words have been the Revelations of Jesus. His Revelations are in a different form than the Quran’s, but they remain so.

  191. Photi says:

    * that was Surah 5, Verse 13 from the Holy Quran.

  192. Photi says:

    YUSUFALI: But because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard; they change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them- barring a few – ever bent on (new) deceits: but forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind.

    From the believer perspective the Quran is sufficient as a place from which to draw knowledge. The Quran says (aka God says) the previous messages were corrupted. The Quran says it is so and so it is so. Whether or not one believes the Quran and the true Revelation of God is a different subject.

  193. Photi says:

    fyi says:

    “But a millenial-long habit of not-thinking cannot be overcome here.”

    You are over-thinking it here. An encyclopedia does not have to justify having had previous editions in order for it to claim its most recent edition as authoritative. Legacies of those prior Revelations remain, and from the Islamic point of view there should be no problem interacting with those legacies (eg, the Christians) so long as the relationship is built upon mutual respect.

  194. fyi says:

    Photi says: May 25, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Per your statements, one has to conclude then that the prior Revelations are not suprseded by the Quran, that they are as relevant today as when they were initially revealed.

    That brings us to the Principle of Unitarity of Revelation and therefore makes the task of the recoery of prior Revelations one of central activities of Muslim Scholarship.

    Facile and lazy claims that the extant Revelations are corrupt are just that: facile and lazy.

    I posted on this forum a few threads ago two Psalma of David and cliamants to obsolesence of the prior Revelations could not point out in what manner were they corrupted or in which way had the Quran had either superseded them or negated them. And this is just for 2 of the Psalms; the Injil still remains to be explored from this point of view.

    But a millenial-long habit of not-thinking cannot be overcome here.

  195. Photi says:

    *Sorry, that’s way dated, my bad.

  196. Photi says:

    Th Ultimate Ally

    By Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the US.


    “Rather than viewing Israel as a vital American asset, an increasingly vocal group of foreign-policy analysts insists that support for the Jewish state, including more than $3 billion in annual military aid, is a liability. Advocates of this “realist” school claim that the United States derives little strategic benefit from its association with Israel. The alliance, they assert, arises mainly from lobbyists who place Israel’s interests before America’s, rather than from a clearheaded assessment of national needs. Realists regard the relationship one-dimensionally — America gives Israel aid and arms — and view it as the primary source of Muslim anger at the United States. American and Israeli policies toward the peace process, the realists say, are irreconcilable and incompatible with relations between true allies.

    By definition, realists seek a foreign policy immune to public sentiment and special interest groups. In this rarefied view, the preferences of the majority of the American people are immaterial or, worse, self-defeating. This would certainly be the case with the U.S.-Israel alliance, which remains outstandingly popular among Americans. Indeed, a Gallup survey this February showed that two out of three Americans sympathize with Israel. Overall, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and in spite of Israel’s responses to the second intifada and rocket attacks from Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008 — support for Israel in the United States has risen, not declined.”

  197. BiBiJon says:

    Rd. says:
    May 25, 2011 at 8:39 am

    The racket is even more bizarre if one considers that money is fungible. Another words, the “bought” are paid for by US tax payer monies they allocate in aid to Israel.

  198. Rd. says:

    Castellio says:
    “Well, does anyone want to comment about Netanyahu owning the American Congress?”

    That’s a great enterprise, isn’t it? AIPAC pays to cover the election campaign funds for most in congress. Then congress provides the freebee and obedience to Israel and her wishes. What a racket!

    The irony is, they can’t stop or change it. Like a magnet, they are stuck in buying anyone and every one, and the bought are obliged to do their bidding. They simply can not think or imagine anything out side of that box. In an ever increasingly changing world, this racket is not sustainable. Hence, the continued failure of US policies in general.

  199. Photi says:

    The friendliest thing the US could do right now for Israel would be to impose peace on the Green Line. The Israelis should have been suing for peace yesterday. As we speak, Israel is sharpening the knives with which to castrate itself.

  200. paul says:

    It would be great if the world woke up from its long nightmare of domination by the US/Nato/Israel. A better world without such domination is possible. But people everywhere have to demand it.

  201. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Israel is in her death throes, and is losing it. A parasite whose host has rejected it despite all the Arrogant Powers of the world willing its caustic and cancerous presence in the heart of Islamdom, its desparation shows as its lashing out and clutching at straws reveals the higher and ever higher heights of the absurdity of its tenuous position.

    For 32 years, Iran’s example resonated in unmistakeable terms: “The Arrogant Power cannot do a damn thing; there is nothing to fear from this toothless paper tiger,” until the Turks, rejected for 50 years by Christian Europe, started to stand on their own feet, and finaly broke with the Zionist entity over the murder of ther activists on the Marmara.

    And now, finally, the third leg of the heartland of Islamdom’s tripod, Egypt too has shed its fear. And the Zionist entity is shaking in its boots for it knows that it does not beling and is utterly powerless now that its scarecrow is seen for what it is.

    The zionist entity is dead; in fact, it was a still birth, but only a few had the eyes to see that. The only questions that remain are the timing of its collapse, and whether it will bring the American Scarecrow down with its filthy clammy claws.

  202. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    May 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    “Well, does anyone want to comment about Netanyahu owning the American Congress?”

    I watched the spectacle on c-span. I noted the standing ovations for declarations such as Jerusalem will never be divided, or Arabs are the cause of conflict, etc.

    I dare say, the spectacle will be up there with leaked pictures of Abu-ghraib, in harming the American image in the eyes of the world (not just the Arab world).

  203. Fiorangela says:

    Former senator Hagel calls for a new realism overseas

    “He observed that the United States is no longer dominant in the world and asserted that its primary focus should be economic, rather than military or political. He said, “Budgets drive policy,” and that should be the core reality of U.S. international relations. He said America should now focus its attention on countries such as Egypt and Turkey as critical future partners, including accepting and following up on the new Egypt’s admonition to America to talk to Iran.

    Asked what today’s Republican Party brings to the national dialogue on foreign affairs, his answer was, basically, nothing. There is no Republican foreign policy as such and no leader of the party at this time. Perhaps a leader and a policy will emerge as the electoral campaign proceeds.

    Mr. Hagel’s comments carry particular credibility. After having won elections with big margins in 1996 and 2002, he left the Senate in 2009 to respect a pledge to serve only two terms. His candor was underscored by his startling observation that, “In American politics you are penalized if you think.”

    Americans have much to learn from Mr. Hagel and, at 64, he can still be of use. For one thing, he could be the successor to former Sen. George J. Mitchell Jr. as the president’s envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

  204. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Dear Castellio,

    I think, no, I KNOW, that we have waded into waters that are over my head. I am no philosopher, nor even an amateur one. But I daresay that, at least from my limited in teh extreme understanding of Xeno and Hume, your take of both undersetimates the radicality of their epistemology and skepsis.

    To repeat: this is outside of my realm of expertise (which, as you know, is clowning around), but having said that:

    Xeno’s position, based on one of his famous paradoxes, is that movement is not possible. He also said that communication is not possible. The latter because each person’s understanding of words is different, and the latter becuase in order to get from A to B, one has to get half way there first (to 0.5B), and in order to get there, one has to get half way their again first (0.25B), etc. So if movement is not possible, evolution is not possible, and time itself is not possible. And even if it were, it would be meaningless in any objective sense due to the impossibility of (objectively verifiable) communication.

    Hume adds to these two problems with a couple of shiners of his own. He maintains that there is no way to demonstrate causality objectively. That Affect B has always been observed to follow Cause A does that mean that (a) it will always do so in the future, and (b) that even if it did (and this is more devastating), this is not an empirical ground upon which to conclude a causal relationship.

    Hume also went on to say that regardless, there are no such tings as “rational” arguments or positions (i.e., arguments which are based on reason, and defensible through rational means that can bring about an “objective” consensus), becuase if you take a position and say that you have arrived at it through reason, then you will have to give a reason for that reason, adn a reason for THAT one, and so on ad infinitum, which you cannot do, and would be forced to admit that there comes a point that you must admit that your position is not, ultimately, based on reason.

    Add to that Heraclitus’s adage that you can’t step into the same river twice (the impossibility of the restoration of initial condition {in order to “redo” the “scientific” experimenht} to which Terrance McKenna rejoined that you can’t step into the same river ONCE!), and Popper’s criterion of falsifiability, and Kuhn’s paradigm shifts, and all of the PoMo critiques – all of these have a fatal affect on Western foundational epistemology.

    I guess that is all for now.

    Generally speaking, Moslems do not believe in natural laws, and agree with Whitehead that these are merely tendencies or long-term tendencies and that “a leaf does not fall from a tree without God willing it. Reality is His wake, like the streak of a comet, and if He wills something different than the observations of mere mortals, than so it shall be.

  205. Castellio says:

    UU. You state: the “objective” reality cannot be “objectively” demonstrated.

    I disagree. The objective reality of the nourishment in air is found in the fact that we must constantly breath. The objective reality of gravity on earth is that when we toss a ball it falls back down. The objective reality of water pressure is demonstrated in the shape of most fish. Alternate shapes deal with the same objective problem in a different way, without fail. The reality of our eyes, and the eyes of all other species, indicates the objective reality of light rays.

    Other sentient creatures have many of the same abilities due to their sharing the same objective world.

    We do not have final knowledge, but we have some knowledge of objective conditions.

    “What we have s a subjective reality, and more important, inter-subjective reality.”

    Yes, in the obvious sense, but most of what we call subjective reality is inter-subjective in its definition, a result of culture and acculturation expressed as such.

    What is actually most “subjective”, that is, linked solely to the individual, is a complex of feeling states which are entirely objective and physical.

    The correlation between feeling states and cultural inter-subjective values is often taken as “subjectivity”, but that “subjectivity” is the interface of objective feeling states within the individual given meaning by the inter-subjective value system. (It takes time to grasp this, but when you do it won’t leave you.)

    There is much play in inter-subjective value systems, but there is objectivity both within the individual, and within “the process” (not the defined result) of inter-subjective relations.

    Xeno, who I quite like, never really grasped simultaneous action, or perhaps he did and leveraged off his clear understanding to mock those who couldn’t follow him. Hume was unaware of the nature of biological evolution. If he had been, he’d be saying things very close to what I’m saying now. In fact, he was an important step along the way to this understanding.

    “I believe the nature of world to pluralistic, i.e., made up of various inter-subjective realities (religious formations), each of which has its own ontic legitimacy, which are nonetheless mutually exclusive. this mutual exclusivity is at the foothills and stepps of the mountain, but the exclusionary nature of each religion’s reality diminishes as we climb the mountain adn approach the summit, where all perspectives merge into one Ultimate Reality aka God.”

    There is some truth in all of your comments. As you know, not all monotheists see God as the ultimate reality, but rather as a meddling personage of vile tempers and prejudices. Would that I were joking.

    Certainly the world is made up of inter-subjective realities, certainly many (silly and/or proud) claim ontic primacy, and while much is made of the mutual exclusion of these ontic worlds, in the dealing with physical realities all the basics are shared. Speech, fear, the need to eat, breath, etc. ie, that which is a biological reality conditioned by our shared evolution in an objective physical reality.

    We leverage great “difference” off of very small differences. There has been, unfortunately, a cultural competitive value to that. But as the physicality of the world objectively changes due to our presence (over fishing, lack of clean water, nuclear radiation, etc) we may find that a past cultural adaptation condemns us.

    This understanding, clear and well thought through, is no longer part of the American liberal academic tradition, but that’s another story.

  206. Photi says:

    fyi says:
    May 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    fyi, your logic is faulty regarding these apparent contradictions in Islam.

    1- The prior Revelations were defective; i.e. the Word of God was defective. Which could mean that God was/is defective and not Perfect.

    All the Prophets of God (as) have been infallible. There was never anything defective about the message they brought. Man was given free will and chose not to preserve each message, and so man was responsible for the transience of each scripture after those scriptures arrived pure. God simply chose not to preserve the Message until the Message brought with Muhammad (as). Any differences in the previous Revelations prior to Islam and Islam itself would be accounted for an increased sophistication in human society in our movement away from our evolutionary/animal history.

    2- The prior Revelations were defective, God is Perfect, and the imperfection of the Revelations were intentional acts of God. Therefore it will now become a task of Islamic Theology to explain why people have been misled intentionally by God.

    The prior Revelations were less sophisticated for a less sophisticated humanity. There was nothing defective about them.

    3- Since the Quran is claimed to be the Un-created Word of God, it follows that the prior Revelations must be – in some sense – inferior to Quran – unless it is admitted that they also have been Uncreated Word of God. Either way this leads to contradictions. Such as the other Prophets were preaching an imperfect message.

    No contradiction at all. The prior Revelations (which from the Islamic point of view are no longer extant in their original forms) were preludes to the Quran as delivered to humanity. Your faulty logic is causing you to see contradictions where none exist.

  207. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fior Khanum:

    Pennsylvan-i-ay sounds good and I might just take you up on that! My first stop will be NYC where my rich sister has a 5th Avenue apartment and a big house in Short Hills. She is very active leader in the Presbytarian israeli divestiture movement, and I am sure you two would hit it off. When I get over there (probably mid-July), we can make contact and maybe my sister will drive me to Pennsylvan-i-ay for a day visit. It would be a privilege to meet you :o)

    And you must be thinking of Southern Californ-i-ay. Mark Twain told me the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.


    “In my opinion, we have witnessed a coup d’etat, a capitulation of the entire structure of the US federal government to a foreign power.”

    Hijacked is the word I usually use, but same exact concept. And you are right: it is a crying shame, given the potential and promise that the republic once showed. Of course, people like Howard Zinn and Ward Churchill would disagree, but that’s a story for another day.

  208. Fiorangela says:

    Unknown Unknowns, who in the world told you that Califor-ni-ay was a cool place to wait out the summer? California is hot; you want summer cool, y’ns travel to Pennsylvan-i-ay. Bring your bike. And shoes to run/walk/jog along the rivers. don’t need a sleeping bag, the guest room is fully equipped.

  209. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio, quite right. It is impossible to understand Spengler’s article, or Netanyahu’s speeches, any other way.

    Quite honestly, and with apologies to the Iranian people as well as to the Palestinians, my concerns and fears are focused on the imminent demise of the USofA. In my opinion, we have witnessed a coup d’etat, a capitulation of the entire structure of the US federal government to a foreign power. And most of the American people are blissfully unaware of what is happening or why.

    Zionism has been around for at least 130 years; perhaps 300 million people have died in wars in which zionism was a hidden causal factor — and beneficiary. But if you ask a friend or family member or congressperson if they know what zionism is, the answer will likely be the same as I heard from a friend last week: “Doesn’t zionism have something to do with Jewish people?” And the moment that J word crosses lips, the conversation is SHUT DOWN. I listened to a man from Kansas tell the C Span audience that he “is willing to compromise his principles to achieve victory over those savages” [in the context of the assassination of bin Laden], so that pesky Fifth Commandment is no longer indefensible,* but Thou Shalt Not Take the Name Zionist in ANY way, shape or form.

    *what does that mean, anyway — indefensible — in bibi’s context, does it meant that Jewish possession of Jerusalem cannot be defended?

  210. Dean says:

    James: I think you are naive, EU follow US (which follow israel), EU doesnt care about the conflict if its getting solved or not, they are just blindly following US diktat.

  211. Castellio says:

    James, America continues to move to the hard right, and this will only speed up the process. I would love to believe Europe will grow some cajones, but I don’t believe it. How can such a continent be so emasculated?

  212. James Canning says:


    The pathetic display of the US Congress was of course entirely to be expected. Which is a very good reason European countries are recognising that if the Israel/Palestine problem is to be resolved, do not expect to to result from significant leadership from the US.

  213. Castellio says:

    Well, does anyone want to comment about Netanyahu owning the American Congress?

    If there was ever a total and very public abandonmnet of the principles of the Declaration of Independence, this was it. Historic in its own way.

    I don’t think America can recover, to be honest. It has taken on, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, a moral obligation to prosecute a relgious war based on racist principles and aggressive colonialism of Arab land. The crudest forms of racism have been accepted not only as legitimate, but providential.

    Dark days.

  214. James Canning says:


    Yes, emigration from Israel is a demographic factor needing to be considered. And another is that the highest Jewish birthrate is among the ultra-Orthodox who do not serve in the Israeli army.

    That the Palestinians will soon be the majority population of Israel/Palestine, is the primary fact of the matter.

  215. James Canning says:


    If you are saying that Cameron accepts that Obama will not do what Cameron thinks should be done, I very much agree. I think Cameron and Hague have a good understanding of the degree of control the neocons and other elements of the Israel lobby possess over US foreign policy.

  216. Unknown Unknowns says:

    You have an open invitation. And yes, I have a place where you can stay: my guest bedroom. But I am leaving for the states in about a month and will probably wait out the hot summer in cool Californ-i-ay. A friend of mine is planning on visiting in the fall, and we hope to do some travelling inside Iran. Keep that in the back of your mind. Well, its almost 1:30 AM here, and i need my beauty sleep :o) over and out from Tehran for now.

  217. BiBiJon says:

    re the Asia Times article Castellio linked at 1:38 pm May 24 –

    To add to Fiorangela’s darts, ….

    Projected population growth must net all significant factors, including emigration.

    “Emigration solution for many [Isarelis]”

    “Israeli couple: There is too little bread in the Jewish community and we wind up eating each other. Abroad, people eat the bread”
    From http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3309557,00.html

    Also, to echo Castellio, when a guy writes “the last country standing”, it could not be clearer why young Israelis want no part of a country whose propagandists marketing ploy is to promise endless war.

    Lastly, if numbers alone explain everything, then the small number of Hezbollah fighters beating IDF into retreat will forever be unexplainable.

  218. Unknown Unknowns says:


    I guess my first question would be to try to clarify our respective ontological positions. Speaking from an etic viewpoint (outside of my own) I would say (were I to speak in philosophical terms, which I am loathe to do) that “objective” reality cannot be “objectively” demonstrated (after Xeno & Hume, to name a couple of insurmountable skeptical positions. What we have is subjective reality (solipcism), and more importantly, inter-subjective reality. From an etic standpoint, this latter is subjective still. But its subjectivity is shared by members of a community. But from an emic viewpoint, this reality shared by the community of believers is based on the firmest of objective grounds, becuase, by definition, it cannot be assaulted by skepsis.

    I believe the nature of world to pluralistic, i.e., made up of various inter-subjective realities (religious formations), each of which has its own ontic legitimacy, which are nonetheless mutually exclusive. this mutual exclusivity is at the foothills and stepps of the mountain, but the exclusionary nature of each religion’s reality diminishes as we climb the mountain adn approach the summit, where all perspectives merge into one Ultimate Reality aka God.

  219. Castellio says:

    If you’re willing to put me up or find a relatively inexpensive place to stay, I may just do that. (However, I think very slowly and may be intolerably boring face to face.)

    In the interim, feel free to respond at your leisure and, should it suit you, obliquely or in short hand… I’ll probably get it. It doesn’t have to be closely argued or long (although it could be), and it doesn’t have to be now. Same rules for both of us.

    The point, I think, is not to win the argument, but rather to jog one’s thinking every now and then.

  220. Unknown Unknowns says:


    Castellio says:
    May 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm
    Sorry, rather FYI at 3:11…. thanks. I do appreciate it.
    (You can bank that thanks, James, and use it on another occasion)

    I say: bank it and leverage it at 1000% based on the fractional reserve system’s modus operandi, then charge Castellio exhorbitant interest (luring him in with a special low low introductory adjustable rate), so that he will have to keep on thanking you until doomsday or The Rapture (whichever comes first), whether you deserve the gratitude or not. Why? Because you CAN, man!

  221. Unknown Unknowns says:


    David Goldman aka “Spengler” (as if) is a Zionist horse’s ass. He really does not belong in ATOL.

    As far as your longer post, I really wish we could have this conversation face to face, as it is difficult for me to have it in this kind of forum. Any chance of your stopping buy tehran for a couple of weeks?

    If not, I will try to understand what you have said and respond. Thanks.

  222. Dean says:

    Why do you speak and honor the september vote so much? Even if a majority of states vote pro-palestine (which I think is highly likely) it wont matter, why would israel all of a sudden follow a non binding resolution?

  223. Castellio says:

    Sorry, rather FYI at 3:11…. thanks. I do appreciate it.

    (You can bank that thanks, James, and use it on another occasion)

  224. Castellio says:

    James at 3:11… thanks.

  225. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Your hope will be stillborn; Germany will never ever vote for the Palestinian state.

  226. fyi says:

    Castellio says: May 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    It is pathetic; positioning Jews as worthy soldiers of the Empire.

  227. fyi says:

    Castellio says: May 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm


    Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Volume 2 by F. E. Peters

    Judaism And The Koran Biblical And Talmudic Backgrounds Of The Koran And Its Commentaries by Abraham I. Katsh

    Not stricly about Islam or Judaism, it point to the common image of God in their Revelations (as well as in Hinduism):

    Our savage god: The perverse use of eastern thought by R. C Zaehner

  228. Castellio says:

    James, Obama can only deliver what Netanyahu allows. Will Cameron accept that? Well, yes, I think he will.

    At best all Cameron and Obama can leverage is a few softer words from Israel. But there will be no change of Israeli expansionist policy, nor of the American underwriting of that expansion.

    People really refuse to see the present if they think something else is happening.

  229. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela, Spengler (David P. Goldman) assumes, then, a Greater Israel. No? Isn’t his article predicated on unstoppable aggression and territorial growth? (At a minimum up to the Litani and parts of the Sinai.)

    To be honest, I don’t understand it any other way.

  230. Fiorangela says:

    re the Asia Times article Castellio linked at 1:38 pm May 24 —

    Obama should have that bit of fantasy on a dartboard in some pub on his Irish travels; here’s one easy winner:

    Spengler prognosticates that by century’s end, Israel will have a population of 24million.


    Israel encompasses 7992 sq miles, of which 172 sq miles is water, thus, 7820 of terra firma, for a population density of 3,069.05 per square mile, which is 5% more densely populated than Bangladesh, the sixth-most densely populated nation on the globe.

    Those states that are MORE densely populated than Spengler projects Israel will be, are predominantly mono-ethnic states or united by a common religion, in contrast to Israel whose Jewish peoples have been in a state of civil war, Jew vs Jew, throughout their history, starting with Abraham’s expulsion from Ur for smashing other people’s icons, and Joseph having been tossed in a well by his vengeful brothers.

    In addition to their frequent civil wars that saw the elimination of ten of their twelve original tribes, these are a people who have not scored well on the “Gets along well with others” side of the report card. How are 24 million of them going to survive, packed 3,069 to the square mile, with water so scarce that neighboring states, with whom Israelis have been unable to achieve peaceful relations over the past 103 years (since Arthur Ruppin built up Tel Aviv in a bid to dislocate Arab trading facilities at Joffa) must be plundered to supply Israel’s current needs?

    That’s dart Number 1.

    I would vector Dart Number 2 with the aid of Nesta Ramazani’s discussion of Iran’s population development and sustainability programs. Iranians tend to be future oriented, and family oriented.

    http://www.wvtf.org/news_and_notes/feeds/wvtf_ee_rss.php Evening Edition For June 30th, 2009 – part one Tuesday, June 30, 2009 8:00 PM 200907271747480.200907011613230.EEpersiapartone.mp

    In contrast, Spengler’s predictions are based on hate and supremecist longings. It’s sad, really; and one wonders how Israeli Jewish women feel about being though of as the production facility for a warlike state.

  231. Castellio says:

    James, I hope so too. Only a firm wedge between the US and Europe will allow Europe the remotest chance of a more sane social development. The US, as a leader of political thought or organization, is dead dead dead.

  232. James Canning says:


    I hope most of the EU countries vote in favor of independent Palestine resolution. I think it fairly likely.

  233. James Canning says:


    Don’t miss Philip Stephens’ comments in the Financial Times today. David Cameron wants the Israel/Palestine problem resolved, and this would benefit from a clear expression from Obama of what the resolution would be. Obama will try to waffle, to some degree. Of that we can be sure.

  234. James Canning says:


    Asselborn reflects opinion within EU fairly accurately. He concedes that Hamas should not have been isolated after it won the Palestinian elections and he favors EU engagement with Hamas. This obviously is not the US or Canadian position.

  235. Castellio says:

    How important is Luxembourg? That is, will Italy, France, Germany and the UK all support the US? Might Poland as well? Canada and Australia will. Palestine might win the vote, but not carry “the northern west”.

    The Muslim nations must continue to create their own allegiances with South America and the Asian nations, and while maintaining membership in western driven international organizations, actually work to replace them with different international systems and structures.

    New leadership is required.

  236. BiBiJon says:

    O’Bama in the middle

    James Canning says:
    May 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm


    There are a lot of things various actors want. I am sure, for some of their desires they’d willing to go to war.

    However, I propose reality will take shape regardless of wishes/desires/extraordinary efforts, etc.

    If the US finds herself not leading, and she is too proud to be led, then there is only one place left for her, the middle.

    Being in the middle will lead to only one desire: extricate yourself. If I’m right, then over time we will see more ‘exits’ through the nearest door, than hand wringing about consequences.

  237. Rehmat says:

    During the 20th century, Russian, Japanese and the British had built separate Jewish Homelands to implement their imperial agenda.

    On May 7, 1933 – Russian dictator and mass-murder, Joseph Stalin created an autonomous Jewish state in Birobidjan (or Birobidzhan) within communist Russia.

    Japanese created Jewish settlements in their Chinese colonies, during the period of 1934-45. The settlements in Harbin (Manchuria) were envisaged as an ‘Israel in Asia’ contained from a distance by Japanese military rule.

    On May 15, 1948 – British with the American and Russian collaboration succeeded in the creation of present-day Zionist Entity (Israel) on Arab land.


  238. James Canning says:

    The Luxembourg foreign minister also has an important warning today: “Large parts of the Republican Party [in the US] are opposed to the two-state solution. That [sentiment] cannot be allowed to cross over to Europe.”

  239. James Canning says:


    I laughed out loud while reading the preposterous arguments set out in the Asia Times online article you linked! Ludicrous!

  240. Fiorangela says:

    Unknown Unknowns, thank you for the information on Abraham Lincoln’s banking crises.

    In turn, you may be interested in this narrative of the tribulations of Jewish cotton merchants and plantation owners in Charleston, Sumter, and other Southern US cities in the US Civil War.
    Jews and Antisemitism in the American Civil War from the Jewish Magazine.

  241. James Canning says:

    Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg, has some excellent comments today (interview spiegel.de): “Netanyahu’s rejection of peace based on the 1967 borders is self-important and arrogant . . . Netanyahu is suppressing the political reality and betting on a stalemate instead. For the peace process, that is deadly.”

  242. Castellio says:

    Any comments on the article below are welcome. I am no fan of the writer, I’m just wondering how real are his arguments and how persuasive might be a rebuttal.


  243. James Canning says:


    Obama will do his best not to force Israel to “get back in the box” (get out of West Bank and Golan Heights). The Israel lobby wants to block UN recognition of indpendent Palestine, but this desire seems unlikely to be satisfied. David Cameron would like Obama to spell out what the resolution of Israel/Palestine problem would be, in the eyes of the US. This is not likely either.

  244. James Canning says:


    Yes, the neocons (and other elements of the Zionist lobby in the US) did their best to confuse the American people, and to frighten them, so that they and Israel were seen as fighting the same “enemy”. Preposterous.

    In the Lebanon, the power of the Christians inevitably declined as so many of them emigrated over the past several decades. And Shia birthrate is much higher than Sunni, relecting lower levels of education and economic circumstances. But the Saudis do not want Israel to smash Lebanon again, and only a strong Hezbollah can deter another Israeli attack.

  245. Castellio says:

    FYI… thanks. As other thougths or references pop to mind, don’t hesitate to share them.

  246. fyi says:

    Castellio says: May 24, 2011 at 11:03 am

    That is my personal opinion based on a (limited) study of the Quran, the Torah, and the Christian Bible.

    There is support for my position based on a Tradition in Islam that states that True Religion is always and has always been Islam; that the religion of Adam, that of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus were all Islam.

    Furthremore, the Quran never states, to my knowledge, that previous Revelations have been superseded by Islam – only laws of previous religions. Quran also states that the previous Revelations have been corrupted by the followers of those religions; sort of like the position of Budha with respect to Hinduism.

    The common-place position of Muslims who claim previous Revelations have been suprseded by the Quran would lead to the following conclusions:

    1- The prior Revelations were defective; i.e. the Word of God was defective. Which could mean that God was/is defective and not Perfect.

    2- The prior Revelations were defective, God is Perfect, and the imperfection of the Revelations were intentional acts of God. Therefore it will now become a task of Islamic Theology to explain why people have been misled intentionally by God.

    3- Since the Quran is claimed to be the Un-created Word of God, it follows that the prior Revelations must be – in some sense – inferior to Quran – unless it is admitted that they also have been Uncreated Word of God. Either way this leads to contradictions. Such as the other Prophets were preaching an imperfect message.

    [The inter-connections among Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroarstrianism are quite clear to even non-specialists like me. However, the theology is very different; the Old Testament Theology is not compatible with Islam and neither is the Theology of New Testament.]

    The interpretation of the Acts and Words of Jesus, the Immaculate Perfect Man, born of the Virgin, as the Revelations of Christianity is original to myself although it is present in an implicit form in the Sufi literature.

    I was inspired by the Quran’s exaltation of the Words of God: “[018:109] Say, `If every ocean become ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even though WE brought the like thereof as further help.”

    Generaly, people are lazy (“C” average) so they do not want to think and disturb their tranquility. They wish to continue in their slumber and do not take too kindly to someone who would attempt to disturb their slumber.

    I think once one admits the Principle of the Unitarity of Revelation, then Jews, Christains, or Zoroastrians will cease to become religious affronts to the True Religion; they are just conforming to another Revelatory Manifestation that is equally valid; although their laws might have been superseded.

    Furthermore, it opens new venues for the interpretation and the understanding of the Quran; Sky would be the limit.

  247. Dean says:

    Did anyone watch the warmonger netanyahu in congres? That reminded me of when hitler spoke and the brainwashed people in front of him reminded me of the naziparty.

  248. Castellio says:

    UU: The indent didn’t stay. So what you wrote is quoted, my response is unquoted.

  249. Castellio says:

    UU, what you wrote is unindented and quoted, my response is indented.

    “But I guess we can try. My position is that the ambit or jurisdiction or efficacy if you will of reason and dialectical (Arestotalian/ sylogistic) logic (either/ or) is not sufficiently broad to be able to cover all of the needs not just of man as individual, but the family of man, including the various social and religious formations therein.”

    I agree, but I really don’t think western thought is still Aristotelian or that its logic is syllogistic. Buddhist (or classical Indian, hard to tell them apart) logic is and has been much broader and better rounded than classical western logic, and it has largely been incorporated into western logic in the scientific fields. That is, the law of the excluded middle has been perceived as an unnecessary limitation on the laws of association, and the existence of contradiction is accepted as an appropriate dynamic definition of a system in change. Language is understood to be a projection of human culture rather than a divine gift which determines the universe. Some humility has been allowed. (Wittgenstein is the 20th century popularizer of this tendency in western philosophical thought…. implicit in the move from the Tractatus to the Philosophical Investigations)

    “For order to obtain, for man and society to be in sync with Nature or Reality, another episteme altogether is required, and another faculty of gnosis or knowledge, and that is Revelation.”

    I disagree. What is needed is an on-going questioning of the historical relations that have formed us. We are the result of historical forces: our shape (both biological and cultural) reflects the reality imposed by the historical process. It is only a full and open engagement with that fundamental truth that allows the development of rational thought. There is no rational thought that isn’t historical in origin, that is, evolution itself has created reason as a means of adaptation not only for our species, but other species as well. Again, a little humility goes a long way.

    “Now, with the “death of God” and all that, this necessary compass has been lost to “post-Christian” man. So I don’t agree with what I interpret your presupposition to be, namely that by the death of God or objectivity, we are left with a subjective world in which we can come to accords with which to run society.”

    The world is not subjective, our understanding of it is. Big difference. Hence there are gradations of truth and objectivity. You claim I am only a relativist – I am not. But I also have the humility to realize I am not objective.

    “My critique is (1) that God is only dead in the minds of moderns such as yourself (?), (2) that this formation is itself a synthetic religious phyle of (spiritually) degenerate thetes (aestheticism being the refuge of all non-foundational ethical systems), (3) that competing subjectivities have their place, but only within the context of a society that shares sufficinet inter-subjective common ground, and that (4) the nature of reality is pluralistic, so that each inter-subjective formation (religion) has its own ontic objectivity.”

    I am interested in your use of the word ontic. My response is to point to the book “Cultural Materialism”, the book by the anthropologist Marven Harris way back in 1968 which I highly recommend.

    To conclude, I’d say that the demise of critical historical thought in the Anglo-American empire marks the last century profoundly. While Obama pretends to present a historical analysis of the Middle East judged by the best of rational virtues, we know it is not the case, neither the historical analysis nor the “rational virtues” applied.

    Can Islamic thought support an evolving critical historical tradition? I know that Confucianism (or if you prefer, classical Chinese thought) most definitely can.

  250. Castellio says:

    FYI, I’m not in a rush, but I’m interested in any information that supports your thesis of Islam incorporating previous revelations, and that subsequent revelations act as interpretive guides to previous revelation, rather than as replacements.

    It becomes much more like the history of Confucianism, where the great changes in political thought are undergirded by commentaries that re-arrange the priority of documents and explanations.

  251. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela, this is from an introduction to an excerpt of Richard Lapiere’s The Freudian Ethic, in the book An Age of Controversy (1973):

    “LaPiere, emeritus professor of sociology at Stanford University, builds his case around a contrst between the Protestant ethic – whic, he believes, was the code of values that dominated western culture until the 20th century – and the Freudian ethic” – which has rapidlybeen smothering what is left of the older values. He focuses primarily oupon the American scene, and finds evidence to support his case in child-rearing practices, educational theory, the treatment of criminals, the downgrading of private enterprise, the growth of “political materialism” and so on. All of these changes, LaPiere contends, are “malfunctional” and constitute “our unrecognized road to disaster”. ”

    And this is from the piece itself:
    “The premise upon which the Protestant ethic evolved was the secular supplement to Luther’s insistence that the individual human being has a conscience, which can and should be his guide to conduct – the idea that he is capable of independent, rational conduct. The idea was embodied, nearly three centuries later, in the Declaration of Independence as the self-evident truths “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”…

    “The rise of Freudian doctrine as the prevailing concept of the nature of man is at once a measure of the decline of the Protestant ethic and a denial of the idea that man is a creature of reason. Freud’s idea of man is one that in many respects resembles what which prevailed through the Middle Ages and which was sanctioned by the medieval church.”

  252. kooshy says:

    ‘Bibi’ Votes Republican

    by Patrick J. Buchanan, May 24, 2011


  253. kooshy says:

    WHO defers fixing date on destroying live smallpox

    The issue had deeply divided the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, with Iran spearheading opposition to a U.S. and Russian-backed plan to postpone setting a date for destruction for five years.


  254. BiBiJon says:

    O’Bama in the middle

    One of the consequences of “the decline of American power”, is that the US increasingly will find herself not leading things, but in the middle of things.

    In that unenviable position, US is blamed as the bane of resolution to any and all issues. However, from the ‘middle’, US has twice as many options as before — E.g. both the destruction of the resistance block, and alternatively, corralling Israel behind 1967 lines will be equally thankless endeavors, leaving the US to choose a path ‘out’ on the basis of required effort as the only consideration.

    I wonder what Obama has chosen?

  255. Arnold Evans says:

    Obama will pay some political penalty for mentioning the 1967 borders even though his statement was, in effective terms, no less pro-Israel than any US policy under any president.


    Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008; Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary under former President George W. Bush, acknowledged that Democrats will win a strong majority again in 2012. But, he said, if the ratio of Jewish votes for Obama compared to the Republican presidential nominee drops to 3-1, it would have a major impact in Florida and Ohio.

    “I think it is likely to impact the Jewish vote — it was an unnecessary wound, a self-inflicted wound and a wound that will not heal very quickly,” said Fleischer, a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board of directors.

  256. Unknown Unknowns says:

    another take on the reason for the war on Libya (from RT):


  257. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fior Khanum: As our resident Secret Historian, this article might be up your alley.
    It is precisely the fact that this kind of history remains in affect secret (not studied and discussed in academia) that underscores its importance to the oligarchs and their fear of the truths that are its subject. And it is the people’s ignorance of this history that is the bond that keeps them enslaved.
    “Money” quotes:
    Lincoln was forced to watch his country fall under the complete control of the free-trade faction. Instead of government-fostered industrial development edging out the slave plantation system, plantation cotton, supported by anti-industrial bankers in New York and London, spread westward and dominated national politics. The banking system itself was an unregulated, chaotic swindle. Each bank printed its own notes, redeeming what it would. There was no national currency. Bank-fed speculation exploded in 1857, collapsing much of the factory system.
    Lincoln, the respected political leader of the Henry Clay tradition, was elected President in 1860, prompting the anti- nationalists to launch secession and civil war. It was a two-front war, militarily in the South…and politically against the London-allied Northern bankers, only recently the main brokers of slave cotton. The Associated Banks of New York were led by James Gallatin, a resident of Switzerland and the son of Albert Gallatin.

    “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” [Lincoln]

    National Banking was, in truth, only a compromise with the old European oligarchs. But it was a bold and necessary stride toward national sovereignty.

    Each bank was limited, in the interest rate it could charge, by the strictures of its state’s usury laws; or if none were in effect, then to 7%. If it were caught exceeding this limitation, it would forfeit the loan in question and would have to refund to the victimized borrower twice what he had paid in interest.
    Banks could not hold real estate for more than five years, aside from bank buildings.
    [And it concludes:]
    Today, 125 years after President Lincoln’s inauguration, the world is divided between a slave-system — the Soviet bloc — and the Western area dominated by a lawless banking system, a system more criminal and unstable than that of the King Cotton era of the 1850s. Illegal narcotics profits pour through the system as its major prop of liquidity. Over 100 major American banks have been found guilty of “money laundering” for the dope mob. Speculation increases in hot Eurodollars and in the worthless debts of starving tropical countries, while industrial plant construction is simply not funded. Since the Kennedy administration, debt-service payments have climbed from 6% to about 30% of the national income. In this destructive work the de facto privately controlled Federal Reserve Board is complicit.
    The present, chaotic tyranny of unregulated international banking creates, in Lincoln’s words, a “great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, belching forth the lava of political corruption.” Have we the courage, and can we revive the cultural and political heritage of Lincoln’s day, to restore freedom to our country?
    For those of you who might be interested in wading deeper into the murky waters of Secret History (and this means YOU, Castellio), check out the quotes and table of contents pages of the site:
    And give us your reaction!

  258. paul says:

    When Obama makes a speech on any topic, even though his policies are virulently and relentlessly regressive, he invariably throws in a few words that he knows progressives put under their pillows at night, like teddy bears, little dreams of hope to keep them from waking up to reality.

    The Leveretts do a great job here of teasing some of those progressive bits out of Obama’s speech. The Leveretts are also wise enough to recognize that Obama will not follow through on any of that in terms of actual policy. But when, I ask, will they take the next step? The one where they recognize that this isn’t a tragedy; it’s Obama’s GAME PLAN. Those constituencies that might force Obama’s hand towards more progressive policies are bought off with a few words. We’ve seen this again and again now. It’s time to get hip to it.

  259. fyi says:

    Castellio says: May 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    The second chapter of the Quran – the little Quran – is a recapitulation of the Torah, Mishna, Hagadah.

    Muslims were an intellectually active and inspired people in the first few centuries of Islam, but as the more successful they became the lazier they became. That they did not conquer France was not due to Charles Martel, it was due to the fact that their life was already too comfortable on the Iberian Penninsula.

    In the 15-th century, a Muslim scholar wrote that he had heard that the science of Arithmetic had indeed progressed a great deal among the Franks but that “Muslims have no need of the knowledge of the infidels”.

    In all of the Muslim world – 1.2 billion and all – there are only 2 place that you can practice Muslim Philosophy without restriction; Tehran and Istanbul.

  260. Rehmat says:

    Castellio – In reality there is no animal in this world by the name “Judeo-Christian”. Both Jews and Christians have always hated each other. Christians have the history of expelling Jews from every European country. The term “Judeo-Christian” is as much recent invention as Dr. Shlomo Sand has called the term “Jews”.

    The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is prophesized in Torah (OT). His knowledge of Yahud and Nasara was based on the revelations he received from angel Gabriel. Otherwise, he never lived among Yahud or Nasara during the 50 years of his stay in Makkah. He meet two Christian monks during his journey to Syria when he was 10 and 16. Both times his uncle Abu Talib was warned by the Monks to make sure Yahud don’t find out that the kid was the messenger mentioned in Torah because being not from Israelite tribe – they will murder the kid.

    The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was an unlettered person all his life. He nor the Revelation ever accepted the Yahud and Nasarah as the true followers of Moses and Christ. Both communities had changed the earlier messages to serve their human needs, especially greed and porn nature. The only intimate contact the Prophet had with Yahud and Nasara – was two of his wives being from Yahud tribes and one a Nasara from Egypt.

    However, the idiot whose all knowledge comes from Zionazi Daniel Pipes website – cannot know the above truth.

  261. Castellio says:

    I think this was referenced on the site earlier. But I can’t help notice its particular relevance to FYI’s thoughts on re-integrating (for lack of a better word) previous revelations into Islam.

    “No serious researcher denies that Muhammad came to a milieu that was highly influenced by Judeo-Christian ideas. Indeed, the Qur’an presupposes familiarity with Judeo-Christian ideas to the extent that it often does not give the full version of a narrative; there is no need to identify what is supposed to be common knowledge.[3] A typical example is in the verse that was only partially cited by Muslims commenting on news programs in the wake of the 9-11 terror attacks: “Whoever has killed a single human without just cause, it is as if he has killed the entire humankind.”[4] In fact, the full verse is: “And for this reason, we ordained for the children of Israel that whoever has killed a single human without just cause, it is as if he has killed the entire humankind.” Significantly, the complete verse refers to a divine edict not found in the Torah, but rather in the Mishnah, part of the Jewish oral tradition.[5]

    Evidence of Muhammad’s familiarity with Judaism is present in the Qur’an. One verse suggests that his contemporaries accused him of having a Jewish teacher.[6] When some Arabs challenged Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet based on his mortality, he suggested that they consult Jewish scholars about history.[7] Early Muslims resorted to Jewish lore so heavily that they produced a genre of literature: the Isra’iliyat, loosely translated as the Judaic traditions.[8] An oral tradition was even attributed to Muhammad wherein he supposedly said, “Relate from the people of Israel, and there is no objection,”[9] thereby enabling Islamic scholars to cite precedents from Jewish scholarship.[10]

    By the ninth century, this began to change. Muslim jurists, increasingly opposed to reliance upon Jewish lore, created new sayings from the Prophet and his companions that contradicted the original allowances. In one of these apocryphal traditions, Muhammad’s face changes color when he sees his follower Umar reading the Torah. Muhammad declares that had Moses been their contemporary, he, too, would have followed the Muslim prophet.[11] An alternate version claims that the Prophet asked Umar, “Do you wish to rush to perdition as did the Jews and Christians? I have brought you white and clean hadiths [oral traditions].”[12] Despite the unreliability of this hadith, it has evolved into a position that any Muslim who questions it could be accused of heresy.”


  262. JohnH says:

    There are a lot of people who would disagree with you opinion that “King Abdullah of SA remains committed to an independent Palestine in West Bank and Gaza Strip,” particularly after Hosni Mubarak’s stonewalling of the peace process became evident lately. There is little reason to think that Abdullah would think any differently.

    What Abdullah fervently wishes, like Israel, is that the Palestinian issue would magically disappear. Short of that, he’s willing to go with whatever solution or process creates the least turbulence among his subjects.

  263. JohnH says:

    I agree that Saudi fear of Iran is overstated. But there is real concern about the “Iranians” within, particularly with the reverberations of the Arab Spring in the Gulf, which was mostly about Shi’a rights, and with the prominence of Hezbollah.

    Even so, the threat arising from Arab “Iranians” may be grossly exaggerated. I seem to recall that Israel and their neocon fellow travelers fanned the flames of “Islamo-fascism” to make sure that everyone knew that Israel and the US were fighting the same war on terror, Israel fighting the terrorists on its borders, the US fighting them in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. It was a very convenient blurring of two distinct situations.

    I think the same is happening with the “Iranians.” It seems that Israel and its captive American media have been fanning anti-Iranian flames particularly intensely ever since Hezbollah stood up to Israel in 2006. A core part of the effort is to make sure that latent fears of “Iranians” in Saudi Arabia come alive, so that Israel can convince the House of Saud that they are fighting on the same side.

    The brilliance of this maneuver is that most Americans (and most policymakers) probably don’t realize that the term “Iranian” means different things to different people. For ME Sunni, Iranians often means any Shi’a. For Americans it means Iranians, period. While Americans think that we’re being set up to fight Iran, Israel and the Sunni tyrants are most concerned about Hezbollah and other Shi’a in their midst. Same terminology, two different wars. Again, this is a very convenient blurring of two distinct situations, and Obama’s Zionist handlers are not likely to enlighten him about it.

  264. James Canning says:


    I am afraid Obama will do his best to cause European countries to vote against the UN resolution. I think William Hague favors the resolution, and of course the UK, France and Germany supported the UNSC resolution vetoed by the US recently.

  265. James Canning says:


    I think King Abdullah of SA remains committed to an independent Palestine in West Bank and Gaza Strip, no matter how much lobbying Israel does.

    It would not be too great a stretch to think that there could be subtle or not-so-subtle threats by some of Israel’s “supporters”, to hurt SA if the Saudis continue to push their peace plan.

    And yes, the Saudis saw as a disaster the US overthrow of Sunni regime in Iraq and replacement by Shia government some Saudis see as too friendly toward Iran.

  266. JohnH says:

    The “news” is that Obama will be pushing Europe to vote against a Palestinian state. Let’s hope that his private stance is just the opposite, as often seems to be the case. Our leaders talk one way and act the other.

    Nothing could humiliate Israel more than a unanimous European vote for Palestine. And Israel certainly needs to learn a little humility…

    The US is certain to vote against Palestine, for whatever that is worth in the General Assembly.

  267. James Canning says:


    I think the Saudi fear of Iran is overstated too frequently. Did you see William Beeman’s recent comments touching on this?


  268. James Canning says:


    Obama is of course an excellent politician, and I fear he bowed to domestic political considerations when he followed the advice of Hillary Clinton and General Petraeus to treble the US military presence in Afghanistan.

    I think Obama could stand his ground re: 1967 borders for Israel, but of course he already has waffled before Aipac and we can be sure of seeing more to come.

  269. JohnH says:

    James Canning–indeed, the Israelis stiffed the Saudis on their peace plan. But I think that the Saudis are much more concerned about their own Shi’a populations (the “Iranians”) than about Israel. Both Palestinians and Shi’a pose problems because of their potential form radicalizing Arabs. But the Saudis, like Israel, have learned to manage the Palestinian problem.

    Since the Saudi’s Arab Peace Initiative, the Middle East has changed. The US has enabled a Shi’a majority government in Iraq. Hezbollah has surged to prominence as a model of resistance. So the big problem – in the eyes of the Saudis – has become the “Iranians” in their midst and their aspirations for an Arab Spring.

    Israel talks constantly about “the Iranian threat,” partly as a way to divert attention from the Palestinian issue, partly as a way to reinforce its need for foreign aid, and partly as a way to exploit Saudi discontent with the US, hoping to make an alliance based on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    IMHO the best thing Obama could do is start to punish Israel by exploiting perceptions of US weakness. I mean, look at the examples of Turkey and Egypt. And what about Europe? What would prevent them from having increasingly chilly relations with Israel, tacitly approved by the US? And Obama could claim to be powerless to change things–unless, of course, Israel changed its behavior. And any hostility on the part of Europeans would have a major impact on Israel, given that Israel depends heavily on European markets.

    But Obama is probably blind to Israeli efforts to suck up to the Saudis. I mean, which of his ME experts, Zionists all, would enlighten him? So, Israel gets to continue playing its game, trying to leverage potential cleavages between the US and Saudi Arabia, inflating the Iranian “existential” threat, and trying to reinforce the phony impression that Israel is the US’ only dependable ally in the region.

  270. Voice of Tehran says:

    Reza Esfandiari says:
    May 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm
    “”I think Senator Chuck Hagel and Congressman Ron Paul are the only U.S politicians who can deliver a foreign policy in the interests of the United States and its people.””

    Although I have respect for both politicians ,Paul and Hagel , I am asking myself over and over again , the same question.
    Is this really the BEST America has to offer , 2 men out of a huge 300+ million country with unimaginable human and natural resources ? A ranking of worldwide universities taking nearly half of the top 100 places ??
    Isn’t this a disaster that the world has to deal with “Cretins” ,like Bush Jun , Obama , Reagan , Billary , Rumsfeld etc. ?? With absolutely no end in sight ??
    I really hope , and the day is not far , that one has to go to Wiki to find out the name of the American president , as America does not derserve to be on the world stage , due to chronic stupidity and ignorance , I will still drink Pepsi , I’ll swear…

  271. Kil says:


    Good initiative by Iran, they need to find out ways to pinpoint these leaders though.

  272. BiBiJon says:

    “No serious predictive analysis could have ever averred that Morocco and Jordan would be considered for membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Not even the amazing astrologer Maguy Farah could have predicted it. The GCC’s invitation for Morocco and Jordan to join its ranks has the subtlety of a Saudi tourist in a Thai whorehouse right after Ramadan. The approach is undoubtedly exceptional for it seems discordant with the rich petro-states identity we have grown accustomed to. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the plan to integrate Morocco and Jordan into the GCC is in the execution phase.”

    From http://www.moroccoboard.com/viewpoint/60-ahmed-tb/5258-gcc-scrambling-for-allies

  273. Castellio says:

    When we engage in the speeches of Netanyahu or Obama or Clinton, or the presentatations at AIPAC, we’re not actually watching the boundaries of Palestine or Israel being discussed, but rather the boundaries of free speech being discussed.

    It is still possible to say that the boundaries should be the 1967 borders, even though America helps pay for settlements within those borders, and protects Israel from any international consequences.

    It is not yet possible to say that America supports Israel’s expansion into the west bank and East Jerusalem, although it does.

    And all of the subsequent debate is not about what is happening, but about what is said to be happening.

  274. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    The Saudi Peace Plan was not a plan that had enough concrete items in it to move the Israeli Government. I think it was more like a vision. It would have been useful in 1995 but many Arab states chose not to support Arafat at that time openly.

    While one could and should blame US for her misguided policies in the Middle East, one should not go so far as to absolve persumed US friends in the region from their actions or lack thereof.

  275. Castellio says:

    Let’s remember that Truman paid no attention to all of his advisors.

  276. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    One could argue that the decline in US power was an inevitable consequence of the Rise of the Rest!

    But one can also argue that the Axis Powers game in their Middle East sandbox has nothing positive for the people and polities of that part of the world. The Middle Eastern people clearly, however powerless they might be considered from the vanatge point of Axis capitasl, have formed their own opinions:


  277. James Canning says:


    Yes, most US Senators and Congressmen fear that if they oppose the wishes of Aipac, their career in the Congress may end with the next election. I know former fundraisers for senators, and they say that rich Jews often demanded that Israel be allowed to keep the West Bank.

  278. James Canning says:


    Seymour Hersh is spot on, regarding how the neocons literally subverted the normal processes of the government, in setting up the illegal invasion of Iraq. Even Richard Perle, a neocon himself, says in effect that Bush was a dupe or stooge of the neocons. And big corporate media in the US made it happen and covered it up.

    Let’s remember that all of Truman’s foreign policy and military advisers opposed early recognition of Israel in 1948. One very big reason was BORDERS.

  279. Kil says:

    As much as I love Paul, Hagel, Kunchich(spelling?)..it would be a lost cause for such ideas because the congress are filled with jewish and christian zionists plus that politicians getting cut off if you dont support the israeli cause. We need a paradigm shift away from this perverted ties to israel.

  280. Kil says:

    UK is trying to get PressTv closed as it seems…

    Anyone have the Sunday Times article, its on their webpage but you need access.

  281. James Canning says:

    The decline in American power owes a great deal to the squandering of trillions of dollars on ill-considered US military adventures in the greater Middle East. And these ill-considered military adventures owe a great deal, in turn, to the ISRAEL LOBBY and the neocons.

  282. James Canning says:


    Let’s remember that the ISRAEL LOBBY has done its best since the launch of the 2002 Saudi peace plan, to keep that plan from even being discussed by an American president in a speech. The eminently fair plan crafted by then Crown Prince Abdullah, is anathema to Aipac and other Zionist organizations in the US.

  283. James Canning says:


    I too am a fan of Chuck Hagel. And of course I thought Hillary Clinton was a poor choice to head the State Dept. And I still think she was a poor choice. The evolving disaster in Afghanistan can be laid at her feet, to some degree.

  284. James Canning says:

    In his Aipac speech, Obama seemed to waffle a bit about the 1967 borders. Mortimer Zuckerman (on McLaughlin Group, PBS TV in US) said Israel wants to hold the border issue to last, so that it can try to force the Palestinians to compromise on various issues in the hope of getting decent borders.

    I actually think it would a good thing for Israel, if the UN recognises independent Palestine with 1967 borders.

  285. BiBiJon says:

    And, the BBC is among the better western media outlets ….


  286. BiBiJon says:

    Reza Esfandiari says:
    May 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Obama’s big mistake was not asking Chuck Hagel to run the state department.

  287. Fiorangela says:

    fyi wrote: “Mr. Obama, as an extraordinary gifted politician, knows what he can and cannot accomplish within the political structure of the United States.”

    gifted politician, perhaps, but not an ounce of leadership in him.

    The hospital where my children were born is in the center of a state’s capitol city. The dome of the state capitol could be seen from the hospital windows. I carried my babies to the window and showed them the capitol dome, and told to grow up to leaders. I told them that it would take courage; that they must respect the needs of the people that they lead, but that THEY must summon the wisdom to formulate the vision of where the people should go. It was their job as leaders to persuade their people/followers that the vision was right and righteous.

    Mothers with newborn babies have nothing but words and love to shower on their children. Mothers with adult children have nothing but hope that their words took root.

    I wonder if Obama’s mother ever counseled her son to be a leader, or if she told him to take the course of political expedience.

  288. Reza Esfandiari says:

    I think Senator Chuck Hagel and Congressman Ron Paul are the only U.S politicians who can deliver a foreign policy in the interests of the United States and its people.

    The rest are just bought and paid to be stupid.

  289. JohnH says:

    Israel’s paranoia about Iran seems to be driven mostly by a desire to seek a new, powerful patron–the House of Saud–as insurance against a future loss of support in the “international community.” As recent events have shown, the House of Saud makes no distinction between Arab Shi’a and Iranian ones. They are all “Iranians.”

    And so, the “Iranian threat” is not really about Iran’s nuke program or anything else Iran does. It is all about restive Shi’a populations in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other Gulf states. Recent wikileaks documents about Saudi Arabia revealed the depth of concern about those thoroughly repressed Shi’a populations.

    Israel’s constant noise about Iran plays into Saudi paranoia. It tries to convince them that Zionists are more trustworthy than Shi’a. And it tries to exploit the situation to derive benefit and potential partnership with the oil rich Arab states in the Persian Gulf. The constant message of the past decade has been “look how bad Iran is. By implication, Israel is nowhere near as bad. In fact, Israel can be a very useful ally to the House of Saud.”

    In the US, the anti-Iran (suck up to Saud) plan coincides with a parallel plan in the US, spearheaded by neocons and AIPAC. Republicans are anxious to get at the treasure trove of Jewish campaign contributions, and deprive Democrats of one of their principal sources of money. Republicans will endorse the most outrageous Israeli behavior–even bombing Iran–as long as it contributes to Jewish paranoia and shows Jews that Republicans are not all that bad. “In fact, Republicans can be Israel’s most useful ally.”

    Of course, the Democrats have no choice but to be as rabid as the Republicans, for they dare not risk that treasure trove of Jewish contributions.

    And so, Israel assures itself of US support, holding Democrats hostage to Jewish campaign contributions. And Israel seeks to enlist the House of Saud, historically as a “moderate,” tacit supporter, but increasingly as a reliable partner against the Shi’a bogeyman, which the US helped empower in Iraq.

    Strange bedfellows Israel-Saud and Israel-Republicans. But those are the bizarre relationships that Israel and its corporate media outlets seem to be fostering.

    Increasingly, Obama looks like a deer in the headlights, confronted with the contradiction of supporting the Shi’a majority in Iraq and the Sunni kingdoms of the Gulf, a contradiction Israel exploits. Similarly, Obama is paralyzed by the prospect of the Arab Spring, which translates into Shi’a empowerment in the Gulf, and its implications for relations with the tyrants of the Gulf, which both Israel and Republicans are exploiting to the max.

  290. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    May 23, 2011 at 11:01 am

    “For over 3 generations the American electorate has selected political representatives that have largely supported Israel.”

    To echo Pirouz, the electorate did the voting for names on the ballots, not the ‘selecting’ of who wound up on the ballots.

    For generations Americans have been electing millionaires to high places, it hardly means Americans are all millionaires.

  291. Pirouz says:


    You’re referring to the political vetting process here in the US, not the public opinions of ordinary Americans. Two different things, with regards to popularly elected figures of the USG.

  292. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: May 23, 2011 at 10:52 am

    For over 3 generations the American electorate has selected political representatives that have largely supported Israel.

    The results of these polls do not seem to affect the candidates that have been elected to the political office by the people of the United States.

    This is the salient fact that must be faced.

  293. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    May 23, 2011 at 10:20 am

    “He knows that US is powerless to prevent or even delay the decline of her position in the Middle East. He knows that US support for Israel is harming her but why propose policies that will be opposed by large segments of US population as well as members of his own party?”


    Read KVoorhees’ comment at 1:15 am, and in particular read page 21 of the poll results in http://media.economist.com/images/pdf/TabReport20100322.pdf

    Also take a peek at ,http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2010/11/60-minutes-poll-201011?currentPage=1

    You may decide to reframe/rephrase what you are saying.

  294. fyi says:

    The Leveretts:

    “Tragedy”, in ancient Greece, entailed the observation of of how a righteous human course would, nevertheless and despite enormous effort, cause the destruction of this or that human being.

    Mr. Obama is not, in that sense, a protogonist of a Tragedy.

    He, like many other politicians, understands that there is no margin in going against the grain of support for Israel in the United States.

    He knows that US is powerless to prevent or even delay the decline of her position in the Middle East. He knows that US support for Israel is harming her but why propose policies that will be opposed by large segments of US population as well as members of his own party?

    When the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1999, there were a few thoughtful men who opposed it as they knew that inevitably it would harm the United States. They made some noises in that regard but were ignored until the econom ic crisis of 2007 forced a re-evaluation of those actions.

    Likewise, sometime in the future, a President of the United States and the people of the United States, by the force of events, will be faced with the task of altering their approach to the Middle East, to the War in Palestine and probabaly a host of other or similar issues.

    Mr. Obama, as an extraordinary gifted politician, knows what he can and cannot accomplish within the political structure of the United States.

  295. Bob Marshall says:

    how can we deny that our foreignpolicies have been graetly influnced in the Middle East by AIPAC. I want to see peace between Israel and Palestine. I never thought Israel woul go to such extremes to remove their emenies as to involve the US into attacking Egypt to acheive that goal. All one has to do is read about The USS Liberty incident. The real shame is president at the time LBJ was involved.America needs to know the truth. Iranian Flight 655 is another incident..We have been removing the enemies of Israel while at the same time destroying countries like Iraq who were no threat to us. War for the US is a business. A dirty business where many men and women die and are wounded both phsyically and mentally. Millions of civilians have been killled. The number one arms dealer and the number one drug dealer is no surprize. The US. One one talks about all the atrocities that have occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than one million men, women,and children lilled not to try to image the wounded. Now we know that half of the American and US deaths were not by the Revolutionary guard but accidents ,friendly fire, and even disease. Water unfit to drink. 47%of the Iraqi children are orphans.refugeesin the millions. Bombs dropped by by the US containing depleated uranium has made the land worthless for years. Our troops are feeling the effects much like we did in Vietnam from agent orange. last report i could find stated that since the war in Iraq 500,000 babies have been born deformed. There are picture on the internet if one has the stomach.having served three tours in Veitnam i know the horrors of war. In Vietnam the number of civilian causalities were 50% but in Iraq the number is 90% Like the great MLK said America there is something wrong here. We now know Vietnam was a lie. We knew going the Iraq War was a lie. Bombing Kuwait wa a lie. when is the killing going to stop. esienhower warned us about the military industrial complex. Martin Luther king Jr. spoke of this .Will we never learn? I counted almost two hundred companies that benefit from wars. I like this statement. Patroitism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it. Many Americans are citizens but not all are Patroits.

  296. Guest says:

    These are pretty strong comments from Obama.

  297. Guest says:

    These are pretty strong comments from Obama.

  298. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Best analysis on the subject remains:

    Professor Mearsheimer
    The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners,5&as_ylo=2009

  299. Kil says:

    Hezbollah is elected by the people, Hamas is elected by the people, The muslim brotherhood will def. gain a large percentage of seats in Egypt, same thing in Tunisia, if Syria falls Muslim brotherhood will gain power etc

    With that being said obama is like LEveretts point out, way out on whats going on the mid-east, he havent gripped the new reality of the mideast, namely that the islamic parties are the ones that the people of the region support. Namely, the same people US say they represent.

    Also US thinks they still think they could manage the world through bullets and a clenched fist. Those days are history, US must accept the new reality instead of being delusional and being keen and glorifying for the stateterror and apartheid regime in israel.

    I think Chomsky points out the sheer hypocrisy being carried out by the US in this new vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD0lf-TugxY

  300. Castellio says:

    What is missing is a deep understanding of the nature of revisionist Zionism; how it succeeded in Israel against all other ideological tendencies, how it conquered over and intimidates all other movements in the Jewish North American community, and how it has been made sacred by nationalist and religious zealots both here and there, both Jewish and Christian.

    The more than 400,000 “settlers” in Israel would prefer civil war to leaving the West Bank or East Jerusalem. And they would have the support of the current government and the majority of Jewish Israelis.

    Israel will deflect the US, stall on its obligations, and continue to strangle both the West Bank and Gaza. It may say something else, it may accept money to do something else, but that is what it will do… and Obama offered nothing to change that trajectory other than a warning speech.

    So it is up to the Palestinians and their supportive neighbours to do something, but Obama has already promised to ensure that israel will maintain military supremacy over all opponents or configuration of opponents and will oppose all “symbolic actions” at the UN. So, really, what was actually said?

    What was actually said was that the US would protect Israel’s back 100% all the while protesting it didn’t agree with what was being done. No different than Wilson’s position, or Truman’s, or than… well, you get the point.

  301. KVoorhees says:

    Less than 40% of Americans even consider Israel an “ally,” despite being told over and over that Israel is our most valued, beloved, important ally.


    On Meet the Press this morning, a Democrat countered the Republicans criticism of Obama on Israel (Romney: Obama threw Israel under the bus, etc.) by saying that support for Israel has always been bipartisan and it would not be good for Israel or the United States if it became a partisan issue. In other words, if the American people should never be allowed to have a say.

  302. Rehmat says:

    The US had lost its political indepedence to the Jewish Lobby since the WW I. The US entered WW II under Jewish Lobby’s pressure as result of Britain’s promise to create a Jewish state in British mandate Palestine.

    No US politician can dream of putting his/her country’s interest over Israeli interests.

    In his address at the Georgetown University, Doha on January 17, 2011 – The Pulitzer Prize winner American-Jewish investigating journalist, Seymour Hersh, exposed the control of the ‘Israel-First’ anti-Muslim neoconservatives (mostly Jewish) cabal over American foreign policy in the Middle East.

    “What I’m really talking about is how eight or nine neoconservatives , radicals (Jews) if you will, overthrew the American government. Took it over,” he said. “It’s not only that the neocons took it over but how easily they did it – how Congress disappeared, how the press became part of it, how the public acquiesced.”