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The Race for Iran

OBAMA’S EMBRACE OF THE “NEOCON-LIBERAL ALLIANCE”

We commend the piece below, written by our colleague, Steve Walt, in Foreign Policy.  It can viewed at Foreign Policy by clicking here. Steve is the Robert and Renee Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.  His analysis of the “neocon-liberal alliance” has very powerful applications to understanding U.S. policymaking with regard to Iran.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

What Intervention in Libya Tells us About the Neocon-Liberal Alliance

By Stephen Walt

Last Wednesday I spoke at an event at Hofstra University, on the subject of “Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy.” The other panelists were former DNC chair and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean and longtime Republican campaign guru Ed Rollins. The organizers at Hofstra were efficient and friendly, the audience asked good questions, and I thought both Dean and Rollins were gracious and insightful in their comments. All in all, it was a very successful session.

During the Q & A, I talked about the narrowness of foreign policy debate in Washington and the close political kinship between the liberal interventionists of the Democratic Party and the neoconservatives that dominate the GOP. At one point, I said that “liberal inteventionists are just ‘kinder, gentler’ neocons, and neocons are just liberal interventionsts on steroids.”

Dean challenged me rather forcefully on this point, declaring that there was simply no similarity whatsoever between a smart and sensible person like U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and a “crazy guy” like Paul Wolfowitz. (I didn’t write down Dean’s exact words, but I am certain that he portrayed Wolfowitz in more-or-less those terms). I responded by listing all the similarites between the two schools of thought, and the discussion went on from there.

I mention this anecdote because I wonder what Dean would say now. In case you hadn’t noticed, over the weekend President Obama took the nation to war against Libya, largely on the advice of liberal interventionists like Ambassador Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NSC aides Samantha Power and Michael McFaul. According to several news reports I’ve read, he did this despite objections from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. 

The only important intellectual difference between neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is that the former have disdain for international institutions (which they see as constraints on U.S. power), and the latter see them as a useful way to legitimate American dominance. Both groups extol the virtues of democracy, both groups believe that U.S. power — and especially its military power — can be a highly effective tool of statecraft. Both groups are deeply alarmed at the prospect that WMD might be in the hands of anybody but the United States and its closest allies, and both groups think it is America’s right and responsibility to fix lots of problems all over the world. Both groups consistently over-estimate how easy it will be to do this, however, which is why each has a propensity to get us involved in conflicts where our vital interests are not engaged and that end up costing a lot more than they initially expect.

So if you’re baffled by how Mr. “Change You Can Believe In” morphed into Mr. “More of the Same,” you shouldn’t really be surprised. George Bush left in disgrace and Barack Obama took his place, but he brought with him a group of foreign policy advisors whose basic world views were not that different from the people they were replacing. I’m not saying their attitudes were identical, but the similarities are probably more important than the areas of disagreement. Most of the U.S. foreign policy establishment has become addicted to empire, it seems, and it doesn’t really matter which party happens to be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue.

So where does this leave us? For starters, Barack Obama now owns not one but two wars. He inherited a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, and he chose to escalate instead of withdrawing.  Instead of being George Bush’s mismanaged blunder, Afghanistan became “Obama’s War.” And now he’s taken on a second, potentially open-ended military commitment, after no public debate, scant consultation with Congress, without a clear articulation of national interest, and in the face of great public skepticism. Talk about going with a gut instinct.

When the Security Council passed Resolution 1973 last week and it was clear we were going to war, I credited the administration with letting Europe and the Arab League take the lead in the operation. My fear back then, however, was that the Europeans and Arab states would not be up to the job and that Uncle Sucker would end up holding the bag. But even there I gave them too much credit, insofar as U.S. forces have been extensively involved from the very start, and the Arab League has already gone wobbly on us. Can anyone really doubt that this affair will be perceived by people around the world as a United States-led operation, no matter what we say about it?

More importantly, despite Obama’s declaration that he would not send ground troops into Libya — a statement made to assuage an overcommitted military, reassure a skeptical public, or both — what is he going to do if the air assault doesn’t work? What if Qaddafi hangs tough, which would hardly be surprising given the dearth of attractive alternatives that he’s facing? What if his supporters see this as another case of illegitimate Western interferences, and continue to back him? What if he moves forces back into the cities he controls, blends them in with the local population, and dares us to bomb civilians? Will the United States and its allies continue to pummel Libya until he says uncle? Or will Obama and Sarkozy and Cameron then decide that now it’s time for special forces, or even ground troops?

And even if we are successful, what then? As in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, over forty years of Qaddafi’s erratic and despotic rule have left Libya in very poor shape despite its oil wealth. Apart from some potentially fractious tribes, the country is almost completely lacking in effective national institutions. If Qaddafi goes we will own the place, and we will probably have to do something substantial to rebuild it lest it turn into an exporter of refugees, a breeding ground for criminals, or the sort of terrorist “safe haven” we’re supposedly trying to prevent in Afghanistan.

But the real lesson is what it tells us about America’s inability to resist the temptation to meddle with military power. Because the United States seems so much stronger than a country like Libya, well-intentioned liberal hawks can easily convince themselves that they can use the mailed fist at low cost and without onerous unintended consequences. When you have a big hammer the whole world looks like a nail; when you have thousand of cruise missiles and smart bombs and lots of B-2s and F-18s, the whole world looks like a target set. The United States doesn’t get involved everywhere that despots crack down on rebels (as our limp reaction to the crackdowns in Yemen and Bahrain demonstrate), but lately we always seems to doing this sort of thing somewhere. Even a smart guy like Barack Obama couldn’t keep himself from going abroad in search of a monster to destroy.

And even if this little adventure goes better than I expect, it’s likely to come back to haunt us later. One reason that the Bush administration could stampede the country to war in Iraq was the apparent ease with which the United States had toppled the Taliban back in 2001. After a string of seeming successes dating back to the 1991 Gulf War, U.S. leaders and the American public had become convinced that the Pentagon had a magic formula for remaking whole countries without breaking a sweat. It took the debacle in Iraq and the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan to remind us of the limits of military power, and it seems to have taken Obama less than two years on the job to forget that lesson. We may get reminded again in Libya, but if we don’t, the neocon/liberal alliance will be emboldened and we’ll be more likely to stumble into a quagmire somewhere else.

And who’s the big winner here? Back in Beijing, China’s leaders must be smiling as they watch Washington walk open-eyed into another potential quagmire.  

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478 Responses to “OBAMA’S EMBRACE OF THE “NEOCON-LIBERAL ALLIANCE””

  1. Humanist says:

    Pirouz_2

    Re: your March 29, 4:25pm post

    I think, capitalism, voodoo religions, collective atrocities, fascism etc…. even individual crimes, rapes are all the ‘symptoms’ of our defective brains. On that basis, under present conditions and with existing human beings, if hypothetically a faultless, just utopian global system is imposed on us by say extraterrestrial big-heads, such a perfect establishment will collapse quickly and with high probability in couple of generations we will end up with fragmented imperfect societies. Maybe not as bad as before yet imperfect from any angle you look at it.

    The basic constituent of humanity is the average individual with flexible ever- changing brains. Take a typical devoted foot-soldier from any Socialist Camp. Make them rich and fulfill all their conscious or subconscious fantasies of pleasure then, you’ll notice the wiring of their brains change gradually making them believe nothing is wrong with the inequality even wars. As science is progressively proving excepting a tiny tiny minority that is who we are, born as ego-centric, delusional, dishonest hypocrites.

    Extrapolating from the past we can easily conclude the human evolution along more constructive ways will continue. Maybe couple of hundred or couple of thousand years down the road we, the humans, can live in truly civilized societies where those who advocate wars or free-enterprise are kept in psychiatric wards.

  2. Fiorangela says:

    While google translator is better than distant remnants of high school German, the translation is still rough.
    But it’s not so rough that the key point is not apparent: Amnesty International distorted data about executions in Iran to make it appear as if an explosion in executions had occurred in Iran in the immediate aftermath of the 2009 election, and compounded the felony by supporting the correlation that those executed were punished for protesting the election.

    Amnesty International and Executions in Iran, 2009, from Irananders, Germany
    http://irananders.de/nc/analysen/news-analysen/article/amnestie-international-jahresbericht-2009-ueber-iran-ueberzogen.html

    The most respected and most prestigious human rights group Amnesty International demanded by all countries in the world is transparency, but even seemingly not in a position to ensure transparency. What happened? In March of this year (2010) Amnesty International published its annual report on worldwide executions, enforced in 2009. Iran is, unfortunately, as in almost every year to the countries where the majority of executions take place. A closer look at the report reveals, however, inconsistencies.
    Is striking about the statistics, there are exactly on the day of the presidential election of 2009 until the inauguration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – that is, within eight weeks – the number of those executed was reportedly twice as high as usual, namely, at 112th However, this is very surprising, because until now no one has been executed in Iran because of the election unrest. Dieter Karg, responsible for Iran at Amnesty International Germany confirmed to us that the first “political killings” took place before the end of the year, with these convicts have not been executed per se because of their political beliefs, but because they have a bomb attack on a mosque in Shiraz in 2008 committed. They sat before the elections in Gefängnis
    Since April this year we stand with Amnesty International in Germany to learn to contact, as it may, that the executions may be increased within two months explosively – with, for example, the death toll in the demonstrations to have taken into account. This was against us is excluded by Dieter Karg explicitly. Another option would be – and such a story ran on Iranian TV – that exile groups have taken advantage of the heated emotional atmosphere and the anti-Iranian sentiment in the eight weeks to obtain bona fide human rights groups correctly, but zuzuspielen also invented reports. Shall state the Iranian intelligence service’s e-mail traffic of activists, including the mail of the well-known activist Ahmad Batebi has intercepted. These indicated that exile groups like the MKO, which (in their view) the ideal situation would not pass up, and have actively false reports circulated.

    The Iranian intelligence is certainly not a reliable source, but the direction is to seek the solution need not necessarily wrong reason. If the entire Western world unaudited – due to amateurish analysis of the Chatham House or by a number of acrobatic à la Benford Laws, which was already from the Carter Center years earlier, falsified as an indicator of electoral fraud – believed in election fraud, why is the guarantee that one does not from all sorts of good faith reports of human rights violations in Iran during this amazing period accepted or at least had a much lower threshold for classification as credible?

    It is the view of the Iranian judicial system is simply implausible that within eight weeks, the number of those executed is to be increased rapidly. For there is no classic death row in Iran, where the purpose of intimidating political opponents to death, depending on demand long-time residents. When justice would want to intimidate the opposition, it would anyway have to take political prisoners and they have publicly executed. This is not done, and a plausible explanation for this unusual event in the statistics had not been produced to date.

    Nevertheless, some media even brought the increase in number during the eight weeks of the election turmoil here. Amnesty International, Germany in late May – unnoticed by the public – changed his report later. Even if now is still noted the rapid rise during the election turmoil and this has been irresponsible in two passages brought the unrest during the elections in connection so you have deleted at least the number 112th In the original English version, however, everything remains the same. Also a demand in the London headquarters brought to date, no plausible explanation (in reality they have responded after two months still not had the necessary patience while waiting for a response we already attuned Mr. Karg, as the situation in Iran the resources of Amnesty International heavy duty).

    Conclusion: Amnesty International publishes although the number of those executed, but there’s reports – on demand – no information about who, when, where and why was executed! The most respected and most prestigious human rights group calls on all countries in the world of transparency, but shows itself not transparent. From an organization with such high ethics, what expectations and hopes are attached, which is also for transparency, it is expected that systematic – that is, without being asked – the highest possible transparency in its work and submit its reports to the day. Finally, (directly or indirectly) to their reports based policy operated under sanctions and even war out.

    The biggest threat to universal human rights – a far larger than isolated rogue states – the political use of human rights through our free world. It would be of interest in this context, when human rights groups to bring out statistics on proven false assertions and unexplained cases and would explain why they are obscure.

    With such a sensitive issue should not go unnoticed that the authors complain of this paper each execution (be it 112 or just one) have, and therefore also supports has often petitions against executions.

  3. Rehmat says:

    Liz – Why you expect Scot Lucas to be ashamed of being on Zionist Lobby’s payroll when almost entire US political system is ‘Poodle Zionism’.

    “So Who’s Afraid of the Israel Lobby? Virtually everyone: Republican, Democrat – Conservative, Liberal. The fear factor is non-partisan, you might say, and palpable. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee brags that it is the most influential foreign policy lobbying organization on Capitol Hill, and has demonstrated that time and again, and not only on Capitol Hill,” Ray McGovern, March 2009.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/iran-at-a-crossroads/

  4. Liz says:

    If there was a single picture like this from Iran, filthy people like Scott Lucas would write an endless number of articles…

  5. Liz says:

    Creatures like Scott Lucas, agents of US soft power, should be ashamed:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/photos/the-kill-team-photos-20110327

  6. kooshy says:

    Rd

    “Eventually, will be some form of boots on the ground. These are just prepping noises. How good would be these mil assistance, if the rebels, as they claim, do not have proper mil training?”

    Eric / Rd This is what I meant when earlier I wrote to Eric that the new negative stories that began to surface after Obama’s speech on the MSM (some reports say that rebels have been infiltrated with Al Qaida elements, yesterday on NPR) is to prepare us for what is next to come, sure to go after those bad guys we have to go in and smoke them out.

  7. Fiorangela says:

    yesterday Foreign Policy in Focus published an article by John Feffer titled Gambling in Japan. Feffer’s thesis is that the Japanese have a cultural tendency to high-risk behavior. To support his argument Feffer lists risk-taking patterns from the personal — a high degree of heavy drinking; to the situational –foot-dragging in disseminating anti-radiation exposure medicines; to the national — nearly total reliance on nuclear energy, coupled absurdly with low-quality construction of those facilities on earthquake-prone terrain.

    I suggest that Mr. Feffer missed the riskiest behavior of all of Japan’s risk-prone behaviors: Japan hired Israeli company Magna BSP to provide computerized surveillance and security for its Fukushima nuclear reactor. Furthermore, Japan has contracted to turn over ALL of its nuclear facilities to ‘security’ monitoring by the Israeli company.

    Why is this a problem? It is a problem because Israel:

    -characteristically uses Israeli businesses as arms of the state and extensions of Israel’s ubiquitous intelligence-gathering apparatus;
    -has nuclear weapons;
    -has been accused of having secreted uranium from US-based NUMEC company to serve Israeli nuclear demands (Zalman Shapiro, then-owner of NUMEC, was protected from prosecution as one of the last acts of former Sen. Arlen Specter’s long tenure in the US Senate :http://www.irmep.org/ila/nukes/specter/default.asp);
    -deceived American inspectors on the occasion when they were (officially) permitted to inspect Israel nuclear facilities;
    -has carried out rogue missions of destroying the nuclear facilities of other sovereign nations (Osirik), setting in train the heightened quest for nuclear weapons on the part of Iraq, and Iran’s parallel, defensive quest for ways to counter Iraq;
    -has displayed a pattern of disdain for the rule of law in international affairs;
    -is not a signatory to NPT;
    -has developed and deployed STUXNET, by stealth, against a sovereign state, a weapon of mass destruction whose reach and destructive potential are not known :http://www.raceforiran.com/obamas-embrace-of-the-neocon-liberal-alliance#comment-44366

    Why does the world — not least the Japanese head of the IAEA, permit a company from Israel anywhere near a nuclear facility?

    Japan may be willing to take that risk.
    I’m not. I don’t think the American people should be put at risk of a possible STUXNET-induced nuclear disaster.

    I think the US Senate and the Congress have got to be forcefully reminded that their responsibility is to the American people, not to Israeli business interests or their campaign donors.

    Israel should be sanctioned from any and all involvement with nuclear facilities UNTIL it becomes a signatory to NPT and is certified to be in full compliance with the terms of the treaty.

  8. From Al-Arabiya:

    “Al-Qaeda’s most influential English-language preacher [Yemeni-U.S. cleric Anwar al-Awlaki]:

    ‘Our mujahideen brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and the rest of the Muslim world will get a chance to breathe again after three decades of suffocation,’ he wrote, using a term that refers generally to Islamic guerrilla groups or holy warriors.”

  9. From NY Times today:

    “The [rebel] spokesman, Col. Ahmad Omar Bani…acknowledged that the rebels had no answer to the heavy artillery beating his fighters back, unless foreign governments provided some parity in arms.”

    I don’t understand: Didn’t he know this several days ago? When the rebels were rolling west without resistance a few days ago, how, exactly, did he think they were going to take Tripoli when they got there?

    There needs to be a stronger adjective than “incompetent” to describe these guys.

  10. Rd,

    “Eventually, will be some form of boots on the ground.”

    Sure seems that way. Poor old Obama. He’d hoped the US could just drop a few bombs and call it a day. Looks like he’s got to make a bit tougher choice.

    I guess one might describe this as “unintended consequences.” Sometimes that happens when you get into a “shoot first, ask questions later” sort of war.

  11. Rd. says:

    Eric A. Brill says
    “, I can’t help but think it means something quite different.
    Something military, but not lethal.”

    Eventually, will be some form of boots on the ground. These are just prepping noises. How good would be these mil assistance, if the rebels, as they claim, do not have proper mil training?

  12. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    And what evidence does the Israeli ambassador in Washington have, to support his assertion that Iran is developing nuclear weapons? None? Stooges of the Israel lobby in the US Congress will welcome this latest Iranophobic rant from Michael Oren.

  13. James Canning says:

    Liz,

    If the Egyptian foreign minister pursues and achieves better relations with Iran and Hezbollah, it will be a good thing for the entire Middle East.

  14. Pak says:

    Dear pirouz_2,

    You are a Marxist, I get it.

    Marx was right about most things (who does not want a more just society?), but the failure of Marxism is that it has never offered a practical, workable solution, and it simply impoverishes the proletariat even more while enriching the ruling bourgeois. It is quite ironic really.

    As I keep saying, capitalism is a means, not an end. Only once we have a highly productive, low (natural) capital intensive economy – an inevitable product of capitalism – will we have enough wealth to realise our inherent egalitarian dreams.

    For future reference, do not post something full of anomalies without caring for the response you get. Your failure to respond, as well as your aggression, shows that you have nothing to say, which implies to me you know that you are wrong. So be it.

    Just to clarify a few things:

    1. “…nor is he suggesting that it should be “fixed”.“

    From the horses mouth, about communism:

    Private property must… be abolished and in its place must come the common utilization of all instruments of production and the distribution of all products according to common agreement – in a word, what is called the communal ownership of goods.

    That sounds pretty fixed to me.

    2. “Nor does he even deny supply and demand (by the way, price and value are two different things).”

    Firstly, I know, I never said that he denied supply and demand. Secondly, to say that price and value are different things is a Marxist theory, it is not the absolute truth, so do not treat it as such. In neoclassical economics for example, since price is an equilibrium derived from market forces, price is value.

    You tried to raise an argument earlier about exchange value and use value, which I now notice, but your argument was really confused and nonsensical. Anyway, for the millionth time, Marx conceptualised the differences in value with his idea of consumer fetishism, i.e. giving a commodity an inherent value, when in fact we have total control over it.

    From the horses mouth:

    A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties. So far as it is a value in use, there is nothing mysterious about it, whether we consider it from the point of view that by its properties it is capable of satisfying human wants, or from the point that those properties are the product of human labour. It is as clear as noon-day, that man, by his industry, changes the forms of the materials furnished by Nature, in such a way as to make them useful to him. The form of wood, for instance, is altered, by making a table out of it. Yet, for all that, the table continues to be that common, every-day thing, wood. But, so soon as it steps forth as a commodity, it is changed into something transcendent. It not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than “table-turning” ever was.

    3. “Demand elasticity does not mean “unlimited demand”

    I know, who said it did? I mentioned elasticity to provide another example of market forces that determine price.

    4. “And finally go check to see the GROWTH NUMBERS for Kuwait. As the name itself says it is Kuwaits GROWTH.”

    I know, did I not already tell you that I agree with you on Kuwait’s economic growth? But, since you simply cannot fathom what I am saying, let me explain it to you one more time, in layman’s terms:

    – Kuwait is oil rich
    – Kuwait’s economy has high barriers to entry
    – as a result, Kuwait’s economy is incredibly unproductive, but it is protected by the high barriers to entry
    – Kuwait uses its oil money to keep the economy functioning (by overpaying under-trained state workers, by using cash handouts, by subsidising utilities, etc)
    – if Kuwait’s oil money runs out, then it will be left with an incredibly unproductive economy that will not be able to replace the loss of rent income
    – As a result, Kuwait’s post-oil economy will shrink dramatically

    Thus short-run economic growth is fuelled by what you call ‘profit’, but long-run economic growth is fuelled by what I – and economists – call ‘productivity’.

    I do not expect a reply, as I know that you do not have one. Godspeed!

  15. pirouz_2 says:

    Pak;
    Consider this as my last message to you on this subject; I don’t give a farthing to what you believe or you don’t, my time is limited and I cannot spend this much of time to address your misunderstandings. I have got a job to do and I also want to read in my spare time, so my time for writing is limited (contrary to yourself who apparently have a lot of time to write with no time read).

    You really have not understood Marx, go back and read it again. Marx neither denies the value of commodities nor is he suggesting that it should be “fixed”. Nor does he even deny supply and demand (by the way, price and value are two different things). The labour theory of value is FAR from attributing a fixed price to a commodity, it just defines the value as the labour contained in it. It was not the invention of Marx. Ricardo too worked along the lines of defining the value of goods based on the labour contained in it (in fact a lot of classical economists did that). In Marxian terms, the value is determined by the socially necessary time expended to produce it (CHANGING WITH THE SOCIAL PRODUCTIVITY).

    Demand elasticity does not mean “unlimited demand”.

    And finally go check to see the GROWTH NUMBERS for Kuwait. As the name itself says it is Kuwaits GROWTH.

  16. I haven’t checked, but I’m fairly sure that France is one of the 158 countries that’s pledged not to use land mines. Conspicuously missing from that list, of course, is the United States, which continues to think that doing without land mines would amount to fighting a war with one are tied behind your back.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if France, foaming at the mouth over Libya, were faced with an offer by the United States to provide land mines for rebel use – to match Gaddafi’s reported use of land mines?

    Perhaps the US could explain that land mines are merely a form of “non-lethal assistance.” I understand they’re not lethal at all, as long as you don’t step on them.

  17. paul says:

    It would indeed be refreshing if, finally, the people of America have learned not to take anything any Prez says at face value.

  18. Kooshy,

    “Eric for some reason since the big O’s speech, one can see more negative stories on the subject [of “Who are the rebels?”] in the MSM, do you see the same?”

    Yes. I’ve gone about this in a very “scientific” way: by doing a Google search on these two terms, beginning about 16 days ago:

    “Libya” AND “Who are the rebels?”

    It’s up from 2,090,000 to 3,410,000.

  19. Irony:

    QUOTATION FROM NY TIMES STORY TODAY:

    “A new element also entered the military campaign on Wednesday when a prominent human rights watchdog urged Colonel Qaddafi’s forces to abandon the alleged use of landmines, outlawed in many parts of the world. In a statement from Benghazi on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch, based in New York, said Colonel Qaddafi’s forces have laid both antipersonnel and antivehicle mines.

    “Libya should immediately stop using antipersonnel mines, which most of the world banned years ago,” said Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.

    END OF QUOTATION.

    Tsk, tsk, Libya. 158 countries have outlawed land mines. Not including, of course – the United States.

  20. kooshy says:

    Eric A. Brill says: March 30, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Eric for some reason since the big O’s speech, one can see more negative stories on the subject in the MSM, do you see the same? Even on NPR there was a story of rebels being infiltrated by the big scary Al Qaida terrorists, and I suspect may be even some old bad Martians from the 50’s TV series are mixed in by now, I think we are being prepared for the next step.

  21. Matt says:

    Mr. Brill,

    This latest tidbit from Pepe Escobar reminds me of an earlier point of contention you had with a poster on this board:

    “…If the Anglo-French-American consortium really wanted to stop the violence in Libya the sensible solution would have been to dispatch an UN fact-finding commission to really analyze the facts on the ground. No one really knows how many civilians Gaddafi forces killed, or how many air strikes his regime conducted. No one really knows how many black Africans have been raped or murdered by the “rebels”, who assumed they were Gaddafi mercenaries.

    Gaddafi himself agreed to an independent UN commission. The first measure of R2P is not to exercise the Tomahawk option; it is to mediate, call for a ceasefire and start negotiations. …” (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC31Ak02.html)

    Or maybe my memory serves me wrong…

  22. Matt says:

    Dear Pak,

    I suggest you re-read your Marx.

    Sincerely,

    Matt

  23. Liz says:

    Egyptian foreign minister calls Iran a friend and shows respect for Hezbollah:

    http://www.jahannews.com/vdccexqs02bqe48.ala2.html

  24. Rehmat says:

    The call for ‘Arab Rage’ protests in Israel is ‘anti-Semitic’

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/the-call-for-arab-rage-protests-in-israel-is-anti-semitic/

  25. Pak says:

    “No. But is profit possible with growth? Yes.”

    I meant:

    No. But is profit possible without growth? Yes.

  26. Pak says:

    Dear Pirouz_2,

    I get it: you have no training in economics. The fact that you do not know the most fundamental dilemma in economics – finite resources, infinite demand – makes this clear. So I do not believe that you do not have the time to read what I said, instead you simply do not have a reply.

    You are starting to remind me of the time when you asked me to “think hard enough” about something so that I could believe it…

    Here are some quick demonstrations of your lack of economics knowledge:

    “The whole idea behind demand and supply is their finite nature.”

    Who told you that? The whole point of demand and supply pricing in a competitive market is to have an equilibrium between price and quantity demanded. And then we have elasticities of demand and supply (simply put, a consumer’s willingness to pay more for the same product). Otherwise, supply is finite, but demand is infinite. If you do not believe me about infinite demand, just imagine what would happen if the new iPad was priced at $1.

    This is what Marx calls consumer fetishism. He argued that capitalism arose from our ‘fetish’ in believing that objects have inherent value (or what capitalism calls market forces). Basically, he argued that we *should* price iPads at $1, i.e. communism.

    “Everyone uses his cell-phone until it becomes at least relatively obsolete.”

    Who determines when a mobile phone becomes obsolete? The first mobile phones still perform their primary function: calling, and receiving phone calls.

    “The want of more ex-change value (money or social power) is limitless, but the want of “use-value” is very much limited. In fact that is the whole drive behind his argument regarding the instability of Capitalism (a limitless want for exchange value and social power versus limited want of use-value).”

    Marx was full of contradictions. He did not like capitalism, but he argued that capitalism was a means for the proletariat to gain control of private production means, in order to reorganise society into a classless society (capitalism is a means, not an end).

    The same contradiction appears in your argument about use-value: according to you, it is the limited demand for use-value that causes the instability of capitalism. Yet the result of productivity in capitalism – an advancing/advanced economy – is innovation, which creates new use-values. Again, explain to me why mobile phones become obsolete, even though they still perform their primary function.

    “True you cannot consume all your profit, you accumulate most of it by re-investment but that again is your property, and hence you have got wealthier.”

    Yes – the business owner gets richer, but a consequence of this is wealth creation in the economy, enabling others to get richer too. Or are you against the principle of getting richer?

    “I don’t know how else I can explain this.”

    Because there is no other way of explaining it. You are right, but you are short-sighted. Wealth creates wealth, simply put (fiscal multiplier – please check it out).

    “Actually Kuwait is an excellent example it has had an excellent real growth rate”

    I did not deny this. But Japan also had excellent growth in the 90s, until everyone realised that it was a bubble, leading to a collapse in the economy.

    I insist we make a wager: I bet you that when Kuwait’s oil runs out, its economy will shrink massively, because its economy is highly unproductive, and only functions because it is flooded with oil money.

    The Shah was in a similar position, although he also invested heavily in indigenous industry, which the Kuwaitis are not doing (the Saudis are trying). This, along with the regime’s drive for self-sufficiency, and Iran’s highly educated population (unlike Kuwait), will help Iran achieve long term, sustainable economic growth, based on productivity (although the regime’s drive for self-sufficiency is poorly, poorly designed, because it is ideological, and not logical).

    “Is growth without profit a possibility (in a capitalist society)?”

    No. But is profit possible with growth? Yes.

    “Can a capitalist country’s sum of capital continously increase (in real value) but its growth rate stagnate?”

    No, but you did not read my original post. As human capital replaces natural capital, the continuous growth of capital is possible.

    Your problem is that you are stuck in an old paradigm, one where you imagine mines to run out of raw materials, endless queues of hungry workers, and an eventual breakdown of society.

    It is the same problem that Marx had, which leads me to believe that you are a Marxist. And I love to debate with Marxists.

  27. Kooshy,

    Thank you for the link to Andrew Levine’s story. I see at least one reporter in your town has a low regard for the rebels:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-libya-counterattack-20110330,0,3358498.story

  28. kooshy says:

    Eric, here is another good article on Cole’s position you may want to read I agree, he should be ridiculed

    On Libya, Who Does Obama Think He is Fooling?
    By ANDREW LEVINE
    http://www.counterpunch.org/levine03292011.html

  29. Pirouz_2 says:

    Pak;
    I am not trying to be rude or anything, just don’t have the time and what you say is plain wrong, but I don’t have the time to go into details.
    Just three simple things which just stand out as plain wrong:

    1)The whole idea behind demand and supply is their finite nature. It is not about howmany cell phones you have changed. It is about howmany cell-phones you have currently. Everyone uses his cell-phone until it becomes at least relatively obsolete. Some people even extravagantly use cell-phones and perhaps every year buy a new one, but the total amount of demand for cell-phone cannot go unlimited. There is a limit to it, just to make it clear, I repeat: One person, at the same time cannot possibly have 6000 cell-phone, therefore you can say that in a world of 6 billion people, 6000 billion cell-phones cannot be produced each year. THERE IS SIMPLY NO DEMAND FOR IT.
    I don’t think that you have understood Marx correctly. Marx never talks about the existance of “infinite” demand.
    The want of more ex-change value (money or social power) is limitless, but the want of “use-value” is very much limited. In fact that is the whole drive behind his argument regarding the instability of Capitalism (a limitless want for exchange value and social power versus limited want of use-value).
    Just to give you ONE quotation of many so that you understand Marx’s position on the matter:

    “…If the community’s want of linen, and such a want has a limit like every other want, should already be saturated by the products of rival weavers…. ”
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch03.htm

    2)There is no sense in playing with the words, when you own a factory, it belongs to you. True you cannot consume all your profit, you accumulate most of it by re-investment but that again is your property, and hence you have got wealthier.
    I don’t know how else I can explain this. It doesn’t matter that you pay wages from that re-investment, what matters is that you put the surplus-value in your pocket (either as the goods you consume personally or as more means of value being bought by you).

    3)Actually Kuwait is an excellent example it has had an excellent real growth rate (with the exception of the years 2010 and 2003), another example is S. Arabia again with an excellent growth rate (again with the exception of 2003 and 2010.
    Another example our own Iran which had a very high growth rate in the last years of Shah. None of them produces anything other than oil, all of them make a hell of a profit and all of them have high GDPs and very high growth rate.
    But let me put it to you in terms of logic:
    a)Is growth without profit a possibility (in a capitalist society)? No.
    b)Can a capitalist country’s sum of capital continously increase (in real value) but its growth rate stagnate? again no.
    Well…you do the conclusion

  30. Rehmat says:

    “What if Ahmadinejad had gone nuclear?” cries Israeli ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/what-if-ahmadinejad-had-gone-nuclear/

  31. kooshy says:

    Tracking Our Downward Spiral
    The Ways in Which America Still “Leads’ the World

    By Richard Clark
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27785.htm

  32. kooshy says:

    Obama Raises American Hypocrisy To A Higher Level

    By Paul Craig Roberts

    In his war against Libya, Obama has taken America one step further into Caesarism. Obama did Bush one step better and did not even bother to get congressional authorization for his attack on Libya. Obama claimed that his moral authority trumped the US Constitution. The hypocrisy reeks. How the public stands it, I do not know:
    “To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and–more profoundly–our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

    This from the Great Moral Leader who every day murders civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia and now Libya and who turns a blind eye when “the
    great democracy in the Middle East,” Israel, murders more Palestinians.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27783.htm

  33. Pak says:

    Dear Pirouz_2,

    I really do hope that you read the rest of my original post.

    In response to what you said:

    “re-investing already means putting it into his pocket! When you re-invest your profit from company A and create company B, that company B does not belong to someone else, it belongs to you, meaning that it is in your pocket.”

    Yes – and no. As I said, you have to consider the fiscal multiplier. In other words, even though the business owner is getting richer, he is still re-investing his money, which generates new wealth. Think of it like this: who builds his new factory? Or who extracts the raw materials required to build his new factory? Who pays the workers who built the new factory, or extracted the raw materials? What do the workers spend their incomes on? Etc.

    “Again I think you are mistaken: productivity itself is about PROFIT! If there is no profit there will be no growth. What is the point of producing (in a capitalist society) if it does not bring profit? to admire the beauty of the final product???”

    I said that growth is *not only* about profit, not that growth is not about profit. Economic growth is primarily about productivity (which as you correctly point out, is driven by profit), and it is a long term phenomenon. But the best example to demonstrate how growth is not only about profit is a rentier state, say Kuwait, which makes ridiculous amounts of profit from oil, but has a dangerously unproductive economy. In the short term, the oil money will prop up the economy. But in the long term, when oil money runs dry, their economy will suffer greatly (i.e. an economic bubble).

    “Again I disagree, it is not his “factory” which creates the value, it is the workers inside the factory who do. The factory itself is the product of the workers who created it (its building, infrastructure and its machinery are all products of labour).
    Machines create no value, HUMANS (workers) do.”

    If you read the rest of my post, you would see that I basically agree with you (human capital).

    “I’d put it differently: increasing GDP in developing countries is much easier because labour is dirt cheap and there are no environmental restrictions making investment much more PROFITABLE (there goes the direct relationship of profit to growth again!).”

    Again, if you read the rest of my post, you would see that I agree with you. A totally undeveloped economy with no valuable resources would have no wealth, therefore labour costs would be minimal. As the economy develops, wealth is created, which improves productivity, which again creates more wealth, etc, until eventually workers either get paid more (in a perfect economy), or use their increasing bargaining power to demand more, through trade unions, and so on.

    The same goes with regulation: either through more awareness, or learning the hard way (e.g. desertification), regulations will be put in place. In capitalism, this is the trend that economies follow as they progress.

    “Demand is infinite?? So you are telling me that in the world with a population of 6 billion we may have 80 trillion cell-phones?
    Where does Marx say that exactly?”

    I wonder: since the invention of mobile phones, how many have been produced? I have personally been through at least 5 myself. And consider that in 2008, there were 4.1 billion subscriptions to mobile phone services, almost 3/4 of the total global population.

    Demand is infinite. In a capitalist economy, consumers always want more, whether it is a new mobile phone with a camera, or a 3D television, or the latest fashionable shoes. Marx identifies this in his idea of consumer fetishism.

    (His idea of consumer fetishism is a bit more complicated. One particular aspect I like of it is the ‘fetish’ bit, because he says that we create objects, and we then believe that these objects have an inherent value, when in reality we can have total control over its value. The same could be argued with our perception of God: we created him, and then determined that he actually created us.)

    “I am sorry but I really hate long messages and I have already posted two messages today (one of them very long).”

    It is a shame, because I am genuinely interested to hear back from you.

  34. Ah, mission creep – what would America be without it!

    Others may have noticed a careful phrasing by Obama and Clinton today in responses to questions about supplying arms to the rebels. Both say no decision has been made, which of course leaves open the possibility. Most commentators have seized on that door-left-open.

    None that I’ve read or heard, however, has mentioned the potential significance of a brand-new term: “non-lethal assistance,” which both Obama and Clinton used in the tail ends of their answer to the “Will the US arm the rebels?” question. If the context of that phrase had been, humanitarian aid, non-lethal assistance might mean, say, blankets, or food, or medicine. But when it comes up in the context in which it came up today, I can’t help but think it means something quite different.

    Something military, but not lethal.

    What might that include? With my limited imagination, I can think of a few things: vehicles, ships, electronic gear of all kinds, training – the list can go on. With a little more imagination, perhaps weapons without ammunition, or ammunition without weapons.

    In any case, I think the US has already decided to arm the rebels, and this will be the first step – and a big step it will be.

  35. Photi says:

    James,

    Egyptian and Turkish citizenry can take responsibility for reaching out to the Saudi ulema. If the light of enlightenment can shine forth in their minds, then the KSA may stand a chance to evolve with their Egyptian and Turkish counterparts.

  36. Pirouz_2 says:

    Pak:
    in my previous message when I said:
    “I never said that there wasn’t. I merely said gross ‘product’ ”

    I meant to write gross ‘profit’, instead by mistake wrote ‘product’.
    See what writing long messages can do to you? :)

  37. Pirouz_2 says:

    Pak;
    I really hate writing long messages, which is why I left quite a few points to the understanding of the reader (given the high level of knowledge of our company on this site) rather than going into every single minute detail until I give everyone a headache.
    As a result I am afraid I did not finish reading your comment either. I will just briefly try to answer the parts that I did read:

    “Firstly, there are more costs than just labour – raw materials is one example. This has implications for what I am going to say next.”

    I never said that there wasn’t. I merely said gross product (ie. the value difference between the final product and the means of production -including the raw material) minus the price of labour power is the net profit.

    “Secondly, to say that the business owner simply pockets his money is incorrect. The whole point of capitalism is to encourage spending – i.e. fuel the economy – so it is likely that the business owner will reinvest his money, both to encourage the business to grow so he can maintain/increase competitiveness (through R&D, modernisation, expansion of production means, etc), and also to improve his own standard of living (or what Marx called the consumer fetish). His eagerness to spend is called the marginal propensity to consume; his actual spending, along with everybody else in the economy, is called aggregate demand.”

    I dont think that you quite understood what I said. re-investing already means putting it into his pocket! When you re-invest your profit from company A and create company B, that company B does not belong to someone else, it belongs to you, meaning that it is in your pocket.

    “And now about economic growth: you are wrong to suggest that economic growth is measured by profit, because it is not that simple. An economy is essentially measured by productivity – the capacity to produce goods and services – so growth occurs when there is an increase in productivity. This is what we know as Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

    Again I think you are mistaken: productivity itself is about PROFIT! If there is no profit there will be no growth. What is the point of producing (in a capitalist society) if it does not bring profit? to admire the beauty of the final product???
    In fact you are the first person whom I see suggesting that there can be capitalist growth without profit!

    “because in theory the injection of money into the market should create greater wealth than the nominal value of the loan,”
    Again, not correct. It is not the money which creates value, it is the human labour which creates the value.
    In other words, if the investment by the business owner I talked about earlier results in increased competitiveness, it means that his factory can increase its output without changing any inputs, thus generating more wealth. ”

    Again I disagree, it is not his “factory” which creates the value, it is the workers inside the factory who do. The factory itself is the product of the workers who created it (its building, infrastructure and its machinery are all products of labour).
    Machines create no value, HUMANS (workers) do.

    “Higher economic growth – increasing GDP – is easier in undeveloped/developing economies, because productivity is extremely low. This is also partly why innovation is slowly shifting away from developed economies towards developing economies (as identified by kooshy earlier), because production generates innovation, as people look to improve productivity.”

    I’d put it differently: increasing GDP in developing countries is much easier because labour is dirt cheap and there are no environmental restrictions making investment much more PROFITABLE (there goes the direct relationship of profit to growth again!).

    “Firstly, demand is technically infinite in capitalism (remember Marx).”

    Demand is infinite?? So you are telling me that in the world with a population of 6 billion we may have 80 trillion cell-phones?
    Where does Marx say that exactly?

    “Secondly, what you are describing is a shift in the economy, and not the end of the world. As technology advances, the economy adapts, as described by my mini taxonomy below:”
    I am sorry but I really hate long messages and I have already posted two messages today (one of them very long).
    So you will have to forgive me for stopping here.
    It is a very serious problem in capitalism. 60% of the job losses in USA are not due to them flying overseas but rather because of the advancement of the technology.
    It does not necessarily have to mean an end to Capitalism, but it is very serious factor in creating crisis.

  38. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    Egypt would do well to emulate Turkish foreign policy in the ME. Saudis are kind of stuck with their deal with the Wahabi clerics.

  39. gattuso says:

    He PAKman!

    Are you blue (abyeteh) or red (ghermezeteh)? Who do you like tomorrow? I am a red fan however I believe at this time EsEs has a better team and players, henceforth they will prevail. Of course if the government does not desire yet another draw!

    Here is my prediction EsEs 3 Persepolice 1

  40. Photi says:

    The global spread of anti-liberal Wahabbi Islam is yet another reason why it is in the interests of World Peace for Turkey and Egypt to become the prominent leaders in the Sunni Middle East. Let the Sunnis clean their own house.

  41. From Al-Arabiya:

    “Meanwhile NATO’s top commander … Admiral James Stavridis, speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the alliance was working to get a clearer picture of the rebels and the key “personalities” waging war against Gaddafi’s troops. “We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al-Qaeda, Hezbollah. We’ve seen different things.”

    My goodness – how inconvenient that would be! One can only imagine that these “flickers” will remain just flickers for as long as possible – ideally, forever. And if they just can’t be prevented from bursting into an embarrassing flame, can anyone guess which of the two choices they’ll be?

    Al Qaeda, which would mean the West was duped by the rebels but the West can’t blame it on Iran.

    OR

    Hezbollah, which would mean the West was duped by the rebels but …

  42. Pak says:

    Wow, I did not realise that my previous post would be so long. I apologise, but I hope you still read it.

  43. Pak says:

    Dear pirouz_2,

    You raise some interesting points, but I believe that your fundamental arguments are flawed. Let me explain (I will reorder your points to be clearer):

    “The business owner, gives part of the gross profit to the workers (as the wage) and the remaining constitutes the net profit which goes to his pocket, and the ratio of this net profit over the original capital invested (including the wages paid) constitutes the so-called “rate of profit”. This “growth” that everyone seems to be so crazy about -in a capitalist society- is determined by this rate of profit.”

    You have oversimplified the process you are describing – and misrepresented what constitutes as economic growth. I will start with the process you are describing.

    Firstly, there are more costs than just labour – raw materials is one example. This has implications for what I am going to say next.

    Secondly, to say that the business owner simply pockets his money is incorrect. The whole point of capitalism is to encourage spending – i.e. fuel the economy – so it is likely that the business owner will reinvest his money, both to encourage the business to grow so he can maintain/increase competitiveness (through R&D, modernisation, expansion of production means, etc), and also to improve his own standard of living (or what Marx called the consumer fetish). His eagerness to spend is called the marginal propensity to consume; his actual spending, along with everybody else in the economy, is called aggregate demand.

    Putting his money back into the economy encourages the creation of wealth elsewhere, and this is what economists call the fiscal multiplier (although you should bear in mind that there are numerous different applications of the multiplier, but for the purpose of my arguments I will keep it simple). This is why borrowing (both private and public) is so important to capitalism, because in theory the injection of money into the market should create greater wealth than the nominal value of the loan, on the one hand allowing the loan to be paid back along with interest, and on the other hand allowing the newly generated wealth to be reinvested into the economy, thus triggering another chain of wealth creation.

    And now about economic growth: you are wrong to suggest that economic growth is measured by profit, because it is not that simple. An economy is essentially measured by productivity – the capacity to produce goods and services – so growth occurs when there is an increase in productivity. This is what we know as Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    In other words, if the investment by the business owner I talked about earlier results in increased competitiveness, it means that his factory can increase its output without changing any inputs, thus generating more wealth. This results in innovation, higher quality goods and services, and greater wealth. Higher economic growth – increasing GDP – is easier in undeveloped/developing economies, because productivity is extremely low. This is also partly why innovation is slowly shifting away from developed economies towards developing economies (as identified by kooshy earlier), because production generates innovation, as people look to improve productivity.

    The higher the wages and benefits the workers gain the lower will be the rate of profit.
    Therefore if for the purpose of creating a wealthy middle-class (constituting the majority of the society) and creating social and political stability (no capitalist would want a riot on his hand in the middle of the core countries which dictate the global order and maintain his hegemony) a “part” of the gross profit is returned back to the workers as higher wages and more plentiful benefits. This will result in lower rates of profit, and as a result MUST BE COMPENSATED. How can this be compensated? Well the answer in my humble opinion is to extend the scale of the production by “conquering” new markets, new sources of labour power and new sources of raw material (ie. global expansion).

    What I said above helps answer your points here, although the trend in capitalism you are describing is partly true (and what Lenin described in his pamphlet, “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”). Basically, workers will earn more money as a result of better productivity. I will explain Lenin’s point below.

    “Given the state of technology and the demand of the market (which has a limit) there is so much labour which can be absorbed into the cycle of production, and the further technology advances the fewer workers will be needed to produced the same (or even more) quantity of the same product.”

    Firstly, demand is technically infinite in capitalism (remember Marx).

    Secondly, what you are describing is a shift in the economy, and not the end of the world. As technology advances, the economy adapts, as described by my mini taxonomy below:

    Production economy  service economy  information economy

    Developing economies such as China are at the production stage, as they increase their productivity and wealth (GDP). In the process they innovate. Developed economies who have innovated now either shift their production to cheaper places, or focus their production on what they are exceptionally good at.

    (At this point, production needs to be exported to countries with low costs, and this is what Lenin despised. He said that developed countries [citing England as one of his main examples] had to conquer undeveloped countries in order to continue their own capitalist model, and maintain input into their economies. Keeping it simple, it is the principle of imperialism that he protested against. Of course, he failed to mention that the likes of England could not simply conquer undeveloped countries to enslave them, as this would only cost more money instead of generating new wealth [this is what Portugal did to Brazil, and look at Portugal now]. So what England did was conquer India for example, and then build one of the greatest railway systems in Asia, as well as numerous other infrastructures, in order for India to have the capacity to produce. This was still comparatively bad for India, as the English took advantage of them [for example by taxing salt to the point that Indians could no longer afford it, causing widespread disease]. But the infrastructure and knowledge left behind in India has now allowed their economy to grow massively, pulling roughly 40 million people out of poverty every year. It is up to you to decide if Lenin was right or wrong.)

    This stage of shifting production away demands services (banking, consulting, investing, logistics, etc), which is what many developed economies have become good at, especially the UK. But what we are seeing now is a new stage in developed economies, towards information. For these services to succeed, and given the advances in technology, access to information has become vital, so resources are being heavily invested into information (Google and Facebook are the famous innovations, but numerous other means of information are being created in the background).

    These shifts in stages naturally reallocate labour, away from manual labour towards more skilled labour (increasing the middle class). So while you are imagining a long queue of unemployed factory workers, and thinking this is the end of the world, I am imagining these workers are being re-trained for new skills. And this is what is happening in developed economies, although not always successfully (the Americans like the purest form of capitalism, and leave workers to fend for themselves in order to “encourage” them to re-train; the Europeans lean towards socialism by using a massive welfare system to soften the blow, inadvertently making the population a bit too comfortable, especially now that an economic downturn has hit).

    HOW MANY JAPANS AND SOUTH KOREAS COULD WE POSSIBLY HAVE?

    In a perfect world, everyone can be a Japanese or South Korean. The man who developed the idea of GDP is the same man who developed the idea of the self-named Kuznet’s curve. In its simplest form, the curve describes how inequality increases as wealth increases (think of China, India, and Brazil), but eventually inequality falls like in Japan and South Korea (think of the arguments I have given above).

    This curve can also be applied to the problem of environmental degradation. Basically, think back to my mini taxonomy:

    Production economy  service economy  information economy

    What Kuznet argues is that the production economy is essentially based on natural capital (finite raw materials). The progressive stages in economic development towards service/information economy represent a shift away from natural capital, and towards human capital (our intellect). So the reason why inequality falls – increased productivity because of innovation – is the same reason why economies will eventually shift away from natural capital, and the environment will be spared.

    One must always remember the crucial word called “population”!

    Simply put, population growth declines as wealth increases. I guess you believe in a Malthusian catastrophe, where population growth will outgrow capacity until populations are no longer sustainable (or what Paul Erlich calls a population bomb). This idea is based on the notion of the tragedy of the commons, where individuals loot communal resources, which eventually leads to a collapse in society.

    But there are also many optimists, who argue that population growth can easily be accommodated, given that we have already witnessed a four-fold increase in world population in less than a hundred years. They base their arguments mainly on the trend of population growth in relation to wealth (i.e. down), and on the fact that humans are innovative, and will always find solutions to problems. If you want to read more, check out a guy called Julian Simon.

    Basically, I could write a whole book in response to your points. In light of this, I have missed out numerous, numerous other arguments, and counter-arguments. But I hope you get the gist of what I think, and an reply would be nice.

    My concluding remark: capitalism is a means, not an end.

  44. Empty says:

    RE: “Israeli company Magna BP had the contract for security systems in the Fukushima plant.”

    Thank you for posting the video. The program mentioned by the fellow in the video (i.e. HAARP) is not actually unbeknownst to the congress. It’s a fully-funded government program. It has both military and civilian [IOW, covert/overt] components.

  45. Photi says:

    James Canning,

    One aspect of Saudi legitimacy rests in pleasing their ulema. Shias are not any better than dogs in their view.

    American interests in Central Asia are tied to legacies from the cold war as well as Caspian Sea resources. I remember reading a report a year or so ago that predicted $1 trillion US in mineral reserves in Afghanistan. The US does not want a pipeline through Iran, and Afghanistan and Pakistan is their preferred route. Good luck with that one. At some point the US needs to acquiesce to Iran’s political stability and strategic importance. Iran is not the enemy, the sooner the US sees this the better.

  46. James Canning says:

    pirouz_2,

    The rise of one country to wealth and power, while another remains fairly stagnant, is a conplex equation. Why has South Korea risen so high while the Phillipines have performed comparatively poorly?

    A significant problem in the Arab world is that the workers are not able to match the cost and productivity of their Asian competitors.

    The relative decline of the US over the past ten years owes a good deal to idiotic decisions regarding national security.

  47. Photi says:

    Bussed-in,

    Do you think Agha Sistani served tea or coffee? Inshallah, the topic of discussion was Peace.

  48. Fiorangela says:

    the vulnerable nuclear facilities that the TED speaker mentioned included nuclear plants in Japan.

    Israeli company Magna BP had the contract for security systems in the Fukushima plant.

  49. Fiorangela says:

    DonkeyInTheWell, wow, that TED video is so cool!

    I like this part especially: (at about 8:15) “You can interrupt the safety system!! If you have a problem a human cannot shut the system down quickly enough so there are automatic safety features. STUXNET blocks those, so the whole system can blow up.”

    Kapowie, it’s fourth of July!! Huzzah!

    Question: “The rumor is that Mossad created STUXNET.”

    Response: “Fortunately US is involved, not just Israel. [If it were just Israel] OUR PROBLEMS WOULD BE EVEN BIGGER.”

    “Thank you for scaring the daylights out of us.”

    Clap clap clap

    About that campaign donation from Republican Jewish Coalition, Mr. Senator . . .

  50. Dan Cooper says:

    The US-Nato intervention in Libya, with United Nations security council cover, is part of an orchestrated response to show support for the movement against one dictator in particular and by so doing to bring the Arab rebellions to an end by asserting western control, confiscating their impetus and spontaneity and trying to restore the status quo ante.

    It is absurd to think that the reasons for bombing Tripoli or for the turkey shoot outside Benghazi are designed to protect civilians. This particular argument is designed to win support from the citizens of Euro-America and part of the Arab world. “Look at us,” say Obama/Clinton and the EU satraps, “we’re doing good. We’re on the side of the people.” The sheer cynicism is breathtaking. We’re expected to believe that the leaders with bloody hands in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are defending the people in Libya. The debased British and French media are capable of swallowing anything, but the fact that decent liberals still fall for this rubbish is depressing. Civil society is easily moved by some images and Gaddafi’s brutality in sending his air force to bomb his people was the pretext that Washington utilised to bomb another Arab capital. Meanwhile, Obama’s allies in the Arab world were hard at work promoting democracy.

    The Saudis entered Bahrain where the population is being tyrannised and large-scale arrests are taking place. Not much of this is being reported on al-Jazeera. I wonder why? The station seems to have been curbed somewhat and brought into line with the politics of its funders.

    All this with active US support. The despot in Yemen, loathed by a majority of his people continues to kill them every day. Not even an arms embargo, let alone a “no-fly zone” has been imposed on him. Libya is yet another case of selective vigilantism by the US and its attack dogs in the west.

    They can rely on the French as well. Sarkozy was desperate to do something. Unable to save his friend Ben Ali in Tunisia, he’s decided to help get rid of Gaddafi. The British always oblige and in this case, having shored up the Libyan regime for the last two decades, they’re making sure they’re on the right side so as not to miss out on the division of the spoils. What might they get?

    The divisions on this entire operation within the American politico-military elite have meant there is no clear goal. Obama and his European satraps talk of regime change. The generals resist and say that isn’t part of their picture. The US state department is busy preparing a new government composed of English-speaking Libyan collaborators. We will now never know how long Gaddafi’s crumbling and weakened army would have held together in the face of strong opposition. The reason he lost support within his armed forces was precisely because he ordered them to shoot their own people. Now he speaks of imperialism’s desire to topple him and take the oil and even many who despise him can see that it’s true. A new Karzai is on the way.

    The frontiers of the squalid protectorate that the west is going to create are being decided in Washington. Even those Libyans who, out of desperation, are backing Nato’s bomber jets, might – like their Iraqi equivalents – regret their choice.

    All this might trigger a third phase at some stage: a growing nationalist anger that spills over into Saudi Arabia and here, have no doubt, Washington will do everything necessary to keep the Saudi royal family in power. Lose Saudi Arabia and they will lose the Gulf states. The assault on Libya, greatly helped by Gaddafi’s imbecility on every front, was designed to wrest the initiative back from the streets by appearing as the defenders of civil rights. The Bahrainis, Egyptians, Tunisians, Saudi Arabians, Yemenis will not be convinced, and even in Euro-America more are opposed to this latest adventure than support it. The struggles are by no means over.

    Obama talks of a merciless Gaddafi, but the west’s own mercy never drops like gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It only blesses the power that dispenses, the mightiest of the mightiest.

    Libya is Another Case of Selective Vigilantism by the West.

    Bombing Tripoli while shoring up other despots in the Arab world shows the UN-backed strikes to oust Gaddafi are purely cynical.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27782.htm

  51. Fiorangela says:

    Thanks Empty. Yes, why didn’t the “know how club” dump sacks and sacks of cement on the fuel rods?

  52. pirouz_2 says:

    Humanist, Arnold, Kooshy, Castelio and everyone else;

    Regarding the ‘development’ of Japan, S. Korea, etc.:

    As I have said a number of times before, for me the best explanation of the global on goings comes from the cycle of accumulation of capital.

    Let’s look at the whole global production over all. Based on capitalist mode of production, raw material is processed by the labour and is turned into a product of a higher value, and this product in turn could be consumed as it is, or be used as the raw material (to be processed by further labour) and turn into another product(of a still higher value).

    Given the state of technology and the demand of the market (which has a limit) there is so much labour which can be absorbed into the cycle of production, and the further technology advances the fewer workers will be needed to produced the same (or even more) quantity of the same product.

    The business owner, gives part of the gross profit to the workers (as the wage) and the remaining constitutes the net profit which goes to his pocket, and the ratio of this net profit over the original capital invested (including the wages paid) constitutes the so-called “rate of profit”. This “growth” that everyone seems to be so crazy about -in a capitalist society- is determined by this rate of profit.

    The higher the wages and benefits the workers gain the lower will be the rate of profit.
    Therefore if for the purpose of creating a wealthy middle-class (constituting the majority of the society) and creating social and political stability (no capitalist would want a riot on his hand in the middle of the core countries which dictate the global order and maintain his hegemony) a “part” of the gross profit is returned back to the workers as higher wages and more plentiful benefits. This will result in lower rates of profit, and as a result MUST BE COMPENSATED. How can this be compensated? Well the answer in my humble opinion is to extend the scale of the production by “conquering” new markets, new sources of labour power and new sources of raw material (ie. global expansion).

    Now, the over-all state of technology at a given time is a known constant, and the total demand of the market is also known. Therefore how many workers could be employed, based on the state of technology and the global demand could only be so much manipulated (sometimes by manipulating the wage of the workers, sometimes by conquering new markets etc.). The global population is well known, the progress of the state of technology and the decreasing necessary labour to produce any commodity is also a well-known trend. Therefore the question now becomes:
    HOW MANY JAPANS AND SOUTH KOREAS COULD WE POSSIBLY HAVE?

    If we give plentiful benefits and high wages to all global labour, what will happen to the rate of profit and the global growth?
    The bottom line is that for a few to prosper and become “billionairs” and to have a few 10’s of millions live the middle class standards of S. Korea, YOU MUST HAVE BILLIONS IMPOVERISHED!

    If based on the threat of communist expansion (and after the debacle in Vietnam) the western imperialism “shared” a fraction of its profit with the workers in countries such as S. Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore for the prupose of “show-casing” in a desparate measure to prevent the spread of communism (once again EXCELLENT COMMENT HUMANIST), this does not mean that this can go on on a global scale.
    One must always remember the crucial word called “population”!
    Singapore and Hong Kong are tiny countries with the populations of 7 million and 5 million respectively; Tehran alone has a population of roughly 13 million!
    What are we going to do? Bring the life standards of all 6 billion people on the earth (from China and India to Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia) to the level of S. Korea and Japan?!?!?

    If the core capitalist countries (ie. Western block) wants to maintain its life standards based on the current productive relations, FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHICH IT RAISES TO THE LEVEL OF S.KOREAN MIDDLE CLASS IT HAS TO SINK 10’S OF PEOPLE INTO ABJECT POVERTY!

  53. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Speaking of Stupidnet

    http://www.ted.com/talks/ralph_langner_cracking_stuxnet_a_21st_century_cyberweapon.html

    be warned of extreme gloating

  54. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    News from the real world:

    Erdogan visits Ayatollah Sistani…excellent move.

    http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=71817

  55. From Al Jazeera:

    Clinton says that a decision has not been made on whether or not the US will be arming the opposition in Libya. She says it is the US’s interpretation that the UN Security Council resolution 1973 “amended or overrode the absolute prohibition of transfer of arms to anyone in Libya, so that there could be transfer of arms”.

  56. Empty says:

    Fiorangela,

    There is no safe level for radioactive exposure. That means at any level, it would cause cell damage. We are naturally exposed to it in very little amount but the immune system has learned to repair the cells (unless a person is immunocompromised). Once released into the atmosphere, it will enter the food/water/life cycle. How long it remains in the cycle depends on the half life of material as well as the source (continuous source or one time release). As far as I know, the sites in Japan still are not fully secured which means there are still releases into the atmosphere/media surrounding it.

    For your locality, what you want to find out is what type of radioactive material it is. That could help with finding out the half life is and estimating how long it takes for the contamination to remain in the three media (and life cycle) and in the rain water, uptake by plants, and other forms that you mentioned. Unfortunately, your local town/water treatment facility won’t be able to do much. The scope of this disaster is national/international. Frankly, I was quite surprised that all efforts were not made by the “nuclear know-how club” at the international level to fully secure those plants within hours.

  57. kooshy says:

    Congratulations

    Iran is “top of the world” in science growth
    29.03.2011 13:52

    With scientific output rose 18-fold between 1996 and 2008, from 736 published papers to 13,238, Iran has the fastest rate of increase in scientific publication in the world, New Scientist magazine reported.
    According to the magazine, in spite of political strain between Iran and the US, it seems that the two countries’ scientists are getting on fine: the number of collaborative papers between them rose almost fivefold from 388 to 1831 over the same period.
    In February, Iran announced two achievements in the nuclear field – development of the fusion technology and production of new radioactive drugs.
    Development of the fusion technology named IR-IECF has been started since March 2010. This technology is used in cancer treatment, too.
    New type of anti-prostate and lung tumor radiopharmaceuticals Bombesin Gallium-68 (68 Ga-bombesin) was produced at medical, industrial and agricultural research center located in town of Karaj affiliated to Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
    http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1851964.html

  58. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    (Re: 10:59am) – Are you arguing that it is in the national interest of Saudi Arabia to enlarge the split between Sunni and Shia?

    The US has no national interest that would benefit from retaining permanent military bases in Central Asia.

    There was considerable inter-marriage between Sunni and Shia in Iraq, before the idiotic US/UK invasion. And Shia were in the majority in the Ba’ath party (though not in the higher levels).

  59. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy, when my tour group was in Yazd, we were told that Yazd had purchased a steel plant from Italy, and was producing steel to supply a Japanese-partner automobile factory. Yazd was explained as a study in old meets new: the ancient bazaar and wind towers, and the Zoroastrian temple and Tower of Silence, from which you can look out and see the new office buildings and industrial plants. The young people are said to be struggling to adjust to such a forward thrust, but the young people I met seemed to love life and were delightful.

    We stayed in a renovated caravansarie. As we arrived, a birthday party was in progress for a young girl of about 9. Her friends were dressed in the most elegant birthday finery; apparently, young girls are not required to wear veil until they are older. They were doing all the things that young girls do — laughing, posing, dashing about. Imagine that. Regular people.

  60. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    American businessmen were only too happy to sell virtually anything to Iran under the Shah. There were many many thousands of American sales agents and support staff in Iran in the mid-1970s. Iran was the largest buyer of American-made weapons.

  61. Fiorangela says:

    thanks for the advice, Empty. I called the mayor’s office this morning; that office referred me to the public water utility. Public Water utility referred me to the Purification plant “which handles water safety issues.”

    Nobody answered the phone at the Purification plant.

    How much radiation in the water supply is “a little?” What if I collect rain water — is it radiated in the atmosphere? If plants are watered with irradiated water, what then? Is it ok if the grandchildren play in the spring rain? Or drink a cup of tea?

    I’m not a chicken little, but there are some situations where panic is called for. This is one. My government’s job, as dear leader just intoned, is to protect the humanitarian rights of all people everywhere. That means he and the other government leaders to whom I pay taxes should be protecting my children’s right to radiation-free drinking water.

    The relationship to US foreign policy is unavoidable.

    If members of US Congress cannot be stirred from their star of david lead butts by any other means, perhaps the demand for radiation free water will motivate them.

  62. James Canning says:

    Humanist,

    During the 1970s, the Shah was confident Iran would emerge as one of the seven or eight most powerful countries on the planet, before the end of the century. He foolishly squandered billions of dollars on unnecessary weapons and in so doing injured the economic strength of his country.

    Singapore has risen to a position of great wealth by extremely clever ecnomic/social/political strategy that dispensed with part of what is regarded as “democracy” in favor of the greater good.

    Have you read much about the Soong “dynasty” and its role in making the defence of Formosa a primary element of American defence strategy? You might find it interesting.

  63. kooshy says:

    Arnold

    Regarding global trade with USSR, it might interest you to know that for almost 40 years the west refused to provide Iran with any steel manufacturing plant and related technology, although Iran is very reach with iron ore and many years was an exporter of Iron ore Iran was a net importer of steel mostly from eastern Europe and India, today Iran is the 12th largest world still producer.

    During the first Pahlavi the British sank the ship that was delivering the first steel manufacturing plant to Iran and confiscated the rest of equipments that was shipped from Germany, guess who finally supplied, delivered, and installed Iran’s first steel mill in late 60’s it was the Soviets for their own interest and against the American preventions.

    At the time it was in the interest of USSR to open trade, transfer technology and devolve countries like Iran, India, etc and to expand its trade with non Iron curtain countries which were not dependent on USSR to make them more independent from the west, but it was clearly against the US interest for these countries to become more developed and eventually become more independent as it still is today. This all was not to protect the Israel state and only for the love of the Jewish faith but it was rather to protect the “Israel project” in other words Israel as a project and Iran were used to protect and prevent the USSR expanding outside of the iron curtain. That, the American achieved.

    http://www.iranica.com/articles/steel-industry-in-iran

  64. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The purpose of the illegal US/UK invasion of Iraq was not to “crush” that country. To the contrary, the neocons who conspired to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq thought they could convert Iraq into a strong and stable ally of Israel! This fact is edited out of virtually all American news reporting about the Iraq War.

  65. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I too deplore the foolish gloating about Stuxnet.

    The effort by many “whites” in the American South to retain total political power even when “blacks” often were in the majority, obviously was destined to fail.

    Did you happen to see the maps in the Wall Street Journal the other day, illustrating the results of the US 2010 census? In ten states, the “non-Hispanic white” population declined. And over the past ten years in the US, the “black” population increased NINE TIMES FASTER than the “white” population.

  66. Empty says:

    Fiorangela,

    RE; radiation in Midwest…

    That is not surprising. In order not to create public panic, I do believe the true adverse impacts are understated. The question you raise at the end is quite legitimate.

    [Just as a side note and a short-term precautionary measure, to reduce your/your families exposure to the radiation, you should reduce the frequency and length of the showers taken, no steam baths or use of humidifiers, obtain most of the daily water requirement from fruits and vegetables, increase the intake of dark leafy green vegetables to many folds–these veggies have chelation effects– and consume iodized salt –iodine binds to the sites in thyroid where radiation would affect– for the time being.]

  67. pirouz_2 says:

    Humanist:
    Re your message on March 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm
    “As I have mentioned in my last reply to Arnold, I think US mainly for achieving hegemonic goals picked Japan, South Korea and Taiwan for making them show-cases to stop the spread of communism.”

    Excellent comment, you took the words right out of my mouth. A bit later during the day I will give my own perspective which will be a more general explanation; an explanation that answers “my” questions, whether it will make anybody else happy or not will remain to be seen.

  68. Rd. says:

    Rehmat says:

    “the release of American Jewish Alan Gross who was given a 15-year jail sentence for being involved in anti-Cuba activities”

    If they want justice, they should release the Cuban five. The Cuban -5 were falsely convicted were gross deserves his sentencing.

    http://www.freethefive.org/meet5.htm

  69. Humanist says:

    Castellio,Kooshy

    Re: Philippine, South Korea

    As I have mentioned in my last reply to Arnold, I think US mainly for achieving hegemonic goals picked Japan, South Korea and Taiwan for making them show-cases to stop the spread of communism.

    Singapore’s case was slightly different.

    I have also read (or heard?) at one point after 1947 Iran was also a candidate for becoming a show-case state. That idea was abandoned because of the creation of Israel.

  70. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: March 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    It was frustrating reading Americans, Israelis, and assorted members of the Axis Powers gloat over the Stuxnet attack against Iran.

    It was as if they had not grasped the strategic implications of yet another escalation to nowhere against Iran.

    Really, if they were smart, they would discard their Grand Startegy, end their cold war against Iran forthwith, and fly to Tehran to chart a new course.

    Of course, just like the situation that obtained between White Americans and Black Americans in Selma, rational cost-benefit analysis will not peneterate the minds of people who enjoy overwhelming strategic dominance.

    They are, as befitting Men in the State of Fall, want to crush the other side and not engage in a dialectical process of give-and-take.

  71. Fiorangela says:

    this morning it was reported that state officials have detected radioactive elements traceable to the Fukushima reactor in the drinking water in my midwest USA city.
    _________________________

    The US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, chaired by New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, is hearing testimony from Peter Lyons, Acting Assistant Energy Secretary for Nuclear Energy, and Bill Borchardt, Operations Executive Director of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    The experts reported that it was not known where irradiated water from the damaged cooling pond was flowing.

    Later, Sen. Bingaman asked about the possibility of radioactive contamination of resources and was assured that there was no serious threat. Bingaman responded that we have been told before that certain events were not probable.

    In a later panel, Anthony Pietrangelo of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that the NRC has “identified [all possible threats] and designed around them.” Dr. Pietrangelo did not list STUXNET in the “possible threats” that had been designed around. Pietrangelo did say that “Our hallmark is learning from experience and designing for the future.”

    In the Summer of 2010, the word “STUXNET” entered the American vocabulary: it was reported as a killer virus that could attack industrial power plants, electric grids, and the like.
    On Nov. 17, 2010, Sen. Joe Lieberman convened a hearing of the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security, to urge that the US accelerate its research into defense against cyber attack. Bemoaning the inability of the Committee to enact legislation, Lieberman said, “the STUXNET story takes the reality of the threat to a critical level.”
    In her comments, Senator Susan Collins stated that “whoever had designed STUXNET was very well financed,” and had created a weapon that could unleash “the next 9/11.”

    On January 16, 2011, New York Times (and Huffington Post) reported that STUXNET had been used to attack nuclear facilities in Iran, and that STUXNET was created and tested in Israel’s Dimona nuclear facility. Americans as well as and German company Siemens, which is involved in the operation of Iran’s nuclear plants, participated in the development of the computer software weapon.

    Various experts in the US computer engineering field and the defense department have stated that the full implications of the STUXNET virus are unknown.

    An Israeli company designed and manages security functions at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.

    Israel has behaved irrationally in the past.
    Israel has nuclear weapons.
    Israel has demonstrated the proclivity to spy on other sovereign states.
    Israel is not enrolled in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime.

    What degree of confidence should any reasonable person have that the Israeli company involved in the Fukushima nuclear plant was not spying or engaging in some other extracurricular activity?

    Why should a world so closely interconnected that irradiated water from Japan would find its way into the water supply of a midwestern city in the United States, be forced to rely for its security, on a state that has a 50-year history of defying international law?

  72. Humanist says:

    Watch this to see the size of the gathering in support of Syrian Government / Assad

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSqLK29TFNk

    Do Syrian (and Iranian) people deserve a ‘better’ Government? Even if the answer for that question is yes I believe they are wise enough to wait until the threats of war, ‘regime change’ or hegemonic interventions are totally diminished, then they might adapt Turkey’s model (or better, in the form of a federal system) .

    Polls show both Assad and Ahmadinejad are popular in the Arab streets.

  73. Kooshy,

    Thank you for posting Mel Rothenberg’s eloquent critique of Juan Cole’s humanitarian imperialism. Please pass on my thanks to Mr. Rothenberg.

    Eric

  74. kooshy says:

    Pak

    As is said in our beloved language

    تو اگر طبیب بودی سر خود دوا نمودی
    “If you were a doctor, you would have cured your own headache”

  75. fyi says:

    Photi says: March 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Yes, indeed.

    But the Axis Powers will have to discard their current Grand Strategy; which, among other things, entails the destruction of Islamic Iran.

    They will not.

    The security aspect of this, for Iran, is that the war-fighting doctrine of the Axis Powers is based on strategic air bombardment. It seems to me then independent-minded states will have to develop the ability to bomb the cities of the Axis Powers to deter them.

    This is the gift of Axis Powers Grand Strategy which will keep on giving for several more decades.

    The exercise of unbridled power during the last 20 years by the Axis Powers has made the world a more dangerous place.

    [Had the Axis Powers succeeded in crushing Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, they would have made the world more stable and safe – just like a police state makes its polity safe.]

  76. Photi says:

    fyi,

    the National Interest article you linked to pairs nicely with kooshy’s analysis on militant Islam. The American interests in Central Asia and the Wahabbi interests in “purifying” Islam have coincided in their willingness to use militancy to achieve their respective (though hardly respectable) ends. First a quote from kooshy, then one from the article:

    kooshy says:
    March 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    ” Regarding the war on militant Islam, After all, as you know and per Mr. Zbig US is the creator of the militant Islam right there in Afghanistan, can you imagine that today if it was not for the militant Islam under what pretext would US be in central Asia, to be direct I argue that even today if the US and her western allies leave the entire Muslim region and end their occupation of Muslim countries their will not be any attack directed at west, true Muslims will declare they won just like Vietnamese did, but they will not try to re instigate a war with the west. So why is it that US wouldn’t want to leave the region?”

    National Interest:

    “Today, the growing division between Shia and Sunnis in the Persian Gulf has been in large part fomented by the Al-Sauds. In the past, the Shia could travel everywhere in the Persian Gulf, except in Saudi Arabia, without feeling that they were “different.” The Al-Sauds have changed all that by sowing the seeds of discord within Islam throughout the Persian Gulf. They have drawn a line in the sand in Bahrain that could ignite a regional war. In Iraq and in Iran, Sunni and Shia have intermarried, but with increasing discrimination being practiced in Saudi Arabia and spreading to the rest of the GCC, new divisions have appeared where there were none before.”

  77. fyi says:

    paul says: March 29, 2011 at 12:57 am

    If they had a reasonable opposition in US, they would not have dismantled the foundations of their economic and social life so glibly over the 40 years since the oil shock of 1973.

    The late Marxist economist, Paul Sweezy, the Editor of the Socialist Magazine Monthly Review consistently warned against the hyper-growth of financial sector in US; traceable to military Keynesianism.

    Later, the right-wing politician and commentator, took up the mantle of criticizing US economic policies and the hollowing out of US industrial might. “We are selling our jobs to fund the military.”

    Both noted that the prosperity of the US middle classes (all who have to work to maintain their standard of living) was financed by debt.

    There was another critic, whose name escapes me, who lamented the shredding of US social contract of hard work, loyalty, and reward.

    So, in US, many people on both the Right and the Left were aware of these problems and while they may not have agreed on specific remedies, they agreed that their country was marching in the wrong direction.

    But the bulk of the population was not willing to take any risks or change direction to address and redress these issues.

    The result is what you see; hollowed out and declining communities all over the United States; her poverty rate comparable to Iran.

  78. Liz says:

    This is for the US government mercenary Scott Lucas:

    http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9001020153

    The Bahraini regime is kidnapping young girls.

  79. BiBiJon says:

    Apologies for what might seem an attempt at making this thread into a Juan Cole bashing fest. But …

    Juan says: “Some have charged that the Libya action has a Neoconservative political odor. But the Neoconservatives hate the United Nations and wanted to destroy it.”

    I think a non-apologist would surmise from the past 10 years that there are no instruments, UN included, that Neoconservatives would not use to advance their PNAC cause. The only question for Neocons is: does a US/NATO action emasculate Arabs. The ‘means’ are not debated, nor are unintended consequences, costs, etc. All that matters are the ‘ends’.

    Juan Cole says: “To make ‘anti-imperialism’ trump all other values in a mindless way leads to frankly absurd positions.”

    The real question to answer is US/NATO legitimacy in the Mid East. If one points out Rush Limbaugh’s addiction to pain killers, s/he is not, ‘therefore’, suggesting Rush never has a tooth ache. The “frankly absurd positions” are concocted by the brilliant prof. so he can call them “frankly absurd.” The point is not legitimacy of use of force, the question is, I repeat, the legitimacy of US/NATO in the Mid East to do ‘anything’, let alone drop bombs.

    Folks, the only mind set that changed, has been the mind set of liberals to create the necon-liberal alliance. The rest is episodical, headline-grabbing irrelevancies to what Fiorangela describes as a jigsaw puzzle.

  80. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    Even by selectively quoting what I said, you fail to make your point. What you selectively quote from me basically still explains what I mean: that North Tehranis – and let me make it clear that we are badly generalising here, but you started it – have no reason to revolt, because they are living more than comfortable lives thanks to their ability to make vast amounts of money in a hostile economy, i.e. through nepotism and corruption, i.e. through their “contacts”.

    They are essentially the nouveau riche, similar to the class of Russians who have flooded western Europe over the past decade, or the Arabs who throw away their money in the South of France. From personal experience, I can tell you that these people are very open minded, and want democracy in principle, but in reality the status quo is more beneficial to them (I am still generalising here).

    Hence, they may “support” the Green Movement – note the inverted commas – but their support is much like my support for an English football club, or an American basketball team: I watch them play on TV, and may even watch them live once in a blue moon, but once the game finishes I forget about them. If they win the league, then yay. If not, or God forbid they get relegated, then I may shed a tear, but again after a few minutes I will forget about them.

    This is not what you should be afraid of, but this is how you are generalising the opposition.

    As I said before, take a look at the core opposition activists. The vast majority of them are humble, middle/lower class people who have sacrificed everything for their principles. Majid Tavakoli is a 20-something who has spent a good proportion of his adult life in prison. Nasrin Sotoudeh is a lawyer who is in solitary confinement for defending opposition activists in court; is she wielding a fake nose and Gucci bag? Mansour Osanloo is a trade unionist who is being punished in prison simply for trying to improve the lives of impoverished workers. The list is endless.

    And look at the dozens of martyrs of the Green Movement. Most of them are middle/lower class people who risked everything to have their voices heard. If you really insist on placing them geographically, I would think that most of them came from West and South Tehran.

    These people are the Green Movement, as was the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, and as are Grand Ayatollahs Nasser Marakem Shirazi, Saanei, and Hossein Vahid Khorasani, and numerous other Ayatollahs.

    These people are the ones defending the fundamental rights of the Iranian people, and these are the people you should be afraid of. People like me may talk about things that go beyond the Green Movement, such as secularism, but – while these debates are also raging on within Iran – the main driver behind the opposition is attaining fundamental rights and recognition. Read the Green Movement charter if you want.

    As I said, keep convincing yourself that the opposition are spoiled North Tehranis, and it will make you feel more comfortable. But it will only be a temporary comfort, one that will only isolate you from what is truly going on in Iran.

  81. Liz says:

    What does the sick US president have to say about this?

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172045.html

    In a country with a population of only a few hundred thousand.

  82. BiBiJon says:

    All,

    Did anyone notice Obama’s speech last night was a replica of Prof. Juan Cole’s Open Memeo a couple of days earlier?

    Similarities:

    1) The unconvincing rebuttal to ‘the fringe left’ that just because the US cannot intervene ‘everywhere’, ‘every time’, does not mean she should never intervene in any place. This ‘bleading obvious’ argument is surely intended to belittle Obama/Cole’s detractors who are not making such inane arguments.

    2) The glaring, head-turning out of context invedious reference to Iran.

    I assume Cole wrote Obama’s Libya speech.

  83. Liz says:

    How does Juan Cole justify the US criminal role in Bahrain or its role in Yemen?

    He has no shame.

  84. Liz says:

    kooshy,

    “Juan Cole’s defense of western military intervention in Libya is eloquent and articulate but ultimately a liberal defense of imperialist rule throughout the world. His argument in its essence states that if you can make an a priori case that a state is going to employ significant violence against against a section of its population, even when they are engaged in an armed uprising, that the US has the right to intervene with its overwhelming military force, liquidate the existing state, and replace it with one more to its liking.”

    So should we liquidate the US government and replace it with something to our liking?

  85. Liz says:

    “Juan Cole’s defense of western military intervention in Libya is eloquent and articulate but ultimately a liberal defense of imperialist rule throughout the world. His argument in its essence states that if you can make an a priori case that a state is going to employ significant violence against against a section of its population, even when they are engaged in an armed uprising, that the US has the right to intervene with its overwhelming military force, liquidate the existing state, and replace it with one more to its liking.”

    So should we liquidate the US government and replace it with something to our liking?

  86. Castellio says:

    Kooshy:

    Why is the Philipines poor and South Korea relatively wealthy? Both are capitalist. Both are US friendly. In fact, both have been occupied by the US.

    It is not the good intentions of the US which were different in these cases.

    It was how these countries responded to creating capital structures owned and directed by natives, and the role of American capital interests.

    Soth Korea effectively limited American capital interests when it offered too many competitive advantages against South Korean firms. It would take time to give these cases the time they deserve, but you’ll find it hard to find an American car on South Korean highways. Finally, GM bought into KIA. (South Korea, a tiny peninsula, had four car companies at the time.)

    China, South Korea and Japan found ways to maintain native capital infrastructures WHILE serving American corporate interests AND strictly limiting American control of its economic strategic thinking.

    The Phillipines did not.

    The US policy makers are not to be thanked for the accomplishments of South Korea, Japan and China. They have earned their own accomplishments.

  87. kooshy says:

    New countries emerge as major players in scientific world

    Turkey has improved its scientific performance at a rate to almost rival China – the R&D spend has been increased nearly six-fold between 1995 and 2007, during which time the number of researchers increased by 43%. Four times as many papers with Turkish authors were published in 2008 as in 1996.

    Iran is the fastest growing country in terms of numbers of scientific publications in the world, growing from just 736 in 1996 to 13,238 in 2008. The Government is committed to a “comprehensive plan for science”, including boosting R&D investment to 4% of GDP by 2030 (it stood at just 0.59% of GDP in 2006).

    http://royalsociety.org/News_WF.aspx?pageid=4294976139&terms=iran&fragment=&SearchType=&terms=iran

  88. kooshy says:

    Eric/ Arnold here is an e mail I got regarding Juan Cole’s position on Libya which may interest you

    “Juan Cole’s defense of western military intervention in Libya is eloquent and articulate but ultimately a liberal defense of imperialist rule throughout the world. His argument in its essence states that if you can make an a priori case that a state is going to employ significant violence against against a section of its population, even when they are engaged in an armed uprising, that the US has the right to intervene with its overwhelming military force, liquidate the existing state, and replace it with one more to its liking. Thus the US and its allies are in fact, and justifiably so, not only the military but also the moral and humanitarian guardians of humanity. This is the essential moral justification of liberal imperialism.

    In making his argument Cole distorts clear facts. The notion that the protesters were initially citizens spontaneously and peacefully demanding rights and were shocked into rebellion by Qaddafi’s brutal response is sheer nonsense. Of course the protest organizers mobilized large sectors of the population fed up with the corrupt and dictatorial regime, but the leadership of the protests represented forces who have for many years opposed Qaddafi’s rule and joined by defectors from the government, had rebellion in mind from the beginning. They quickly seized control of Eastern Libya and its major city Benghazi , running Qaddafi’s weak security forces in that traditionally anti-Qaddafi region out. Qaddafi in turn gathered his core security and military apparatus and moved to crush the insurrection, first in his base in Tripoli, and then moving eastward to destroy the rebel forces in Benghazi. This is what regimes facing armed insurrections do. Qaddafi accompanied his campaign with blood curdling threats to strangle the opposition in their beds, characteristic of his thuggish style of rule, and gave the rebels sympathy and the imperialists cover to intervene, but it is a general rule that regimes putting down rebellions are rarely gentle with the rebels. The recent crushing of the Tamil Tiger rebellion by the Sri Lankian regime ended with a bloody massacre of ten of thousands on Tamil civilians, yet this occurred with hardly a peep from our humanitarian imperialists.

    I do not question the sincerity of Cole’s personal “humanitarianism”. Yet the decision of western imperialism to intervene militarily in Libya used humanitarian concerns only as a cover. The true motives are cold, calculating, and geo-political. The decision to replace Mubarak in Egypt, a long time imperialist ally and favorite was deemed necessary to pacify mass Egyptian sentiment but was painful to US core supporters in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia and Israel. They smelled weakness and sellout. Ridding the region of Qadaffi, who had made peace with imperialism and western oil interests, but was still regarded as troublesome with his occasional anti-imperialist rhetoric and bombast, would balance the exit of Mubarak, and reassure our core allies we had not gone soft. Further, at the early stage of the Libyan uprising it appeared that Qadaffi could be pushed out by threats, and the administration made the public declaration that he must go. When he decided to fight back, Obama’s word was on the line, and when Qaddafi’s army pushed toward Benghazi, and threatened to extinguish the rebellion, the US decided it had to act to militarily to save the insurrection. The rest was maneuver and spin, as Obama already bogged down in two unpopular wars, and facing a tough re-election campaign in 2012, organized a very clever diplomatic cover in the UN, with NATO, the Arab League so as not to be overly exposed. One has to admire the slickness and smoothness of the operation, as well as being disgusted with the hypocrisy of the appeal to humanitarian sentiment.

    If Cole’s humanitarian sentiment cannot be challenged his choice of language in describing the events certainly can be. To describe the military intervention as a limited UN operation if false on two obvious counts. The fact that many on the security council abstained from the vote, testify not to any genuine international outpouring of sympathy for the rebels or an international taking responsibility for a tough situation, but cynical calculation on the part of the abstainers who are free to dissociate themselves from the unsavory aspects while remaining aloof. Let the US and its allies do the dirty work, and when it turns sour they will pay the price. It is not UN soldiers which are involved but the US and its NATO allies who are providing the force and are in command of the operation. There is no time limits to the operation and it will be only concluded when Qaddafi is removed from power. That the declared mission of the operation is to protect civilians from Qaddafi’s forces, in the middle of a civil war, is bizarre. What about the civilians who support Qaddafi? Are there not any?. Who will protect them from the wrath of the rebels?. As the Qaddafi forces retreat, the air strikes are being used as an air force promoting rebel advance, focusing their raids on destroying troop columns and equipment. When Qaddafi’s forces stand and fight, and this will happen in cities and towns, the NATO air force will concentrate on killing as many of them as possible. There will be many civilian casualties and massive destruction as the bombs don’t distinguish civilians from troops. Reports indicate that already many towns and homes have been destroyed in this unrelenting bombardment.

    It is revealing that Cole’s interventionist instincts go back to the suppression of the Prague rebellion in 1968 by Soviet forces. He thinks the only reason not to have supported sending US marines into Czechoslovakia, was the danger of igniting of WW3. He welcome the change in environment which now allows such intervention. His instinctive, almost chemical, reaction is that the key to supporting a popular uprising is to bring in the armed might of imperialism. He has no other proposals. This is a sad, bankrupt position for someone who considers himself an anti-imperialist.

    The issue of mass repression and violence against their people by dictatorial and oppressive regimes is a serious one. More serious to me is the issue of violence and mass slaughter of foreign populations by imperialist powers whose own citizens are protected by traditions and rights. The slaughter of Vietnamese or Iraqi’s by the US, in the course of military invasion and occupation, and the slaughter by the their allies around the world in the permanent struggle to repress just resistance and rebellion never some how rises to the level of war crime or atrocity that the much smaller efforts of the pariah states such as Libya engage in. When Juan Cole advocates armed intervention against the US invasion of Iraq, then I will be prepared to take his arguments for intervention in Libya seriously.”

    Mel Rothenberg

  89. paul says:

    When a country eliminates its Left, it has eliminated its conscience. America no longer has a Left, not in any politically meaningful sense. I think that is part of the reason why the US seems to apply force, ranging from economic war to blowing-things-up war, with increasing impunity, in pursuit of seemingly insatiable global ambitions.

  90. Pirouz_2 says:

    Arnold and Kooshy;

    I some parts of part of Arnold’s reply to Kooshy regarding political Islam and people such as Ataturk and Nasser.
    I am a bit tight on time and therefore won’t be able to write too many long messages so I’ll try to make it as brief as I can (lucky for you guys! :) )
    Re: political Islam
    I wrote a message on this subject some time ago on another thread but I highly doubt that any of you guys read it, so here I go again:
    It was once said that religion is the opium of the people.
    As cocky as I may sound, I believe that most people have misunderstood what that sentence actually means. Most people concentrate on the opium’s narcotic effect. I on the other hand believe that opium in that sentence means more a ‘pain-killer’ (mind you opium to this day is considered as one of the most potent pain-killers and in 19th century there weren’t any advils and tylenols).
    What that sentence means -in my opinion- is that when people face immense social distress, in the absence of a ‘cure’, in their despair they resort to the ‘pain-killer’.
    Now if you look at the rise of religious fundamentalism in the middle east, you’ll see that it very much coincides with the “secular opposition’s” submission to the system. When the left quits being the left and becomes a moderate version of the right, when it no longer addresses peoples problems and distresses, people are forced towards the ‘pain-killer’.
    As a person who witnessed the rise of fundamentalism in Turkey (Mr. Erdogan is being romanticized way too much in the west. Are you familiar with the date: July 2nd, 1993?) as a direct result of the 1980’s coup and the application of neo-liberal policies by the famous thief called T. Ozal (the Turkish version of Rafsanjani) and the impoverishment of the Turkish masses, I can tell you: when the left in Turkey quit being “the left” and became the “liberal party”, the result was the rise of the AK party and Mr. Erdogan.
    Up until 1978, the true nightmare of the West was not “political Islam”. Clerics are infamous for their tendency to be bribed and bought by the foreign powers! The true nightmare of the west was secular people who fought fiercely against imperialism.
    It was not until PLO became a lackey to the west that HAMAS started to rise! In fact so far as I know Israelies at the beginning helped HAMAS quite a bit in a bid to weaken PLO.
    Well those fiercely anti-imperialist secular people one by one were brought down by the West (in middle east this was achieved in no small part with the help of Israel).
    And in their absence people went to political Islam.
    In Latin America, where you see any left-wing alternative with a serious anti-imperialist potential, you see the very same old US policies of coup attempts and attempts at destablization of the country. And wherever the US ‘seems’ to have won the battle (at least for the moment) you see a gentler approach (after all Hitler had no problem with the Vichy government either). You have to remember the communist alternative is ‘gone’.
    Well, in case of middle east, there is a viable alternative of political Islam still very much alive and kicking.
    As a result, the approach is some what different.

  91. kooshy says:

    Kooshy posted
    Pak the Mac, bellow is what you wrote in your last comment, please read carefully and let us know if you see any contradiction in what you wrote.
    “The North Tehranis you are talking about may indeed be snobs who look down on other Iranians, but they are hardly Greens. If anything, they are probably more closely associated with the regime, given that their expensive North Tehran homes and imported cars have to be paid for with money that is near impossible to make in the post-revolution economy, unless of you course have the right “contacts”, if you know what I mean.”
    “And why would rich, spoiled North Tehranis want to revolt anyway? They already have all they need, including enough money to leave Iran whenever they want (to LA a lot of the time). They have wild parties with bottomless shot glasses. They have Gucci bags, nose jobs, Ferraris, the lot.”
    “Sure, they probably “support” the Green Movement, but probably because it is cool to be anti-establishment, not because they have any particular belief.”
    —————————————————–
    Pak replied
    ——————————————————
    “Dear kooshy,
    I read, re-read, and re-re-read what you posted, but I fail to see a contradiction. Please, enlighten me.
    —————————————————–
    End quote

    So Pak, you assert that at least some Iranians are green just because it is fashionable to be green, and as you have previously claimed, these same so so green people, they go out to demonstrations and get beaten up by the Basijies just to be cool, and you don’t see any contradiction in this statement of yours, and these are the same green people that are actually benefiting and are closely associated with the regime they are demonstrating against and want to topple their own source of richness since its cool to be anti establishment. Dear Pak are you really doing your thesis on Iran with “Professor Lucas” if so you will pass.

  92. Fiorangela says:

    Mondoweiss posted this today:

    Israeli prof says Israel is committing suicide like Germany– and lobby ‘coerced’ Obama to go along

    by Philip Weiss on March 28, 2011

    This commentary was published by Haaretz in Hebrew, “No to Boycott, Yes to Suicide,” by Moshe Shoked a professor emeritus of anthropology at Tel Aviv University. He responds to the boycott bill, which would make it a crime to push for boycott of Israeli institutions. Excerpts, focusing on the German analogy.

    The Knesset is entitled to believe that the entire world is against us, and make laws in that spirit, but in the Middle East’s only democracy, one is still allowed to argue that the state is committing suicide.

    It is hard not to recall the 1930s and 1940s, when another great nation took its own life under a mad vision of border expansion. And the most terrible aspect of this is that before Berlin was destroyed, Germany’s leaders, as well as the majority of its citizens, had not turned their backs on the insanity of the Greater Germany dream. Like the postcards circulated by the protagonists of Hans Fallada’s book, “Alone in Berlin”, my articles, and articles written by others, are disturbing the peace of the real patriots, the believers in the divine promise to Abraham, those who distort the lessons of the Holocaust, and the silent majority sheepishly following the vacuous, frightening slogans of the right wing.

    …As part of the nationalist education at our schools, we lead our youth on expeditions to the killing furnaces of Poland, for the upkeep of the belief in our right way, and we lead them on visits to the tombs of our ancient patriarchs in Nablus and Hebron, to reaffirm the mythological right.

    We have managed to coerce US President Barack Obama into making a fool of himself for us, in front of the whole world. Who will not believe now that the world is indeed ruled by Elders of Zion languishing on heaps of dollars, which serve them in the moving and shaking of the globe? Who will not look forward eagerly to the day when the Jewish lobby’s power is eroded, and its “Zionist extension”, guarding its patriarchs’ tombs is left abandoned, exposed to the vengeance of its enemies?

    Translated by Ofer Neiman.

    Prof Moshe Shoked DID have some difficulty “recalling the 1930s and 40” —
    -he apparently did not recall that Jews declared a boycott on Germany with the stated intention of depriving Germany of its economic lifeblood, export.

    -he apparently did not recall that Allies destroyed Dresden and over 100,000 German civilians, whose bodies were bulldozed onto pyres.

    -he apparently did not recall that Hitler offered peace terms to Churchill, which Chamberlain and Lord Halifax urged Churchill to accept, but Churchill declined, because to have ended war would have cast him adrift with no chance to redeem his 1921 blunder in the Dardanelles.

    When are zionists going to take responsibility for their own acts without the childish, and by this point sociopathic compulsion to make themselves the perpetual victims even as the world sees them with the smoking pistol in their hands?

  93. kooshy says:

    Arnold Evans says: March 28, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Thank you for your reply, I do have a great respect for your opinions and mostly agree with your views on regional matters, however we often do not agree on the issue of the strategic value of Israel for US’s regional strategic architecture, and the reason US saw its benefit after the WWII and during the cold war.

    “I think the US is fighting in Afghanistan pretty much why it says it is. To ensure that it cannot be used as a base for Muslim groups that are angry with the US (mostly directly or indirectly over Israel) to attack the US.”

    Respectfully I don’t agree, I think Afghanistan has a strategic value for the US/NATO’s control of central Asia/ Eurasia, especially if one wants to have a control on the air and land connections between the western and eastern Asia. Regarding the war on militant Islam, After all, as you know and per Mr. Zbig US is the creator of the militant Islam right there in Afghanistan, can you imagine that today if it was not for the militant Islam under what pretext would US be in central Asia, to be direct I argue that even today if the US and her western allies leave the entire Muslim region and end their occupation of Muslim countries their will not be any attack directed at west, true Muslims will declare they won just like Vietnamese did, but they will not try to re instigate a war with the west. So why is it that US wouldn’t want to leave the region?

    “Do you think Israel really prevents a unified Islamic state from forming? How? Without Israel would it be more difficult to prevent Iran from conquering Iraq or Iraq from conquering Saudi Arabia?”

    Iran can’t and shouldn’t ever conquer any Sunni or Arab land, hasn’t done so for over a thousand years the last time Iranian armies were in any Arab land (Iraq) was for a short period over 500 years ago, but the rest of Sunni nationalist Arabs can be unified or allied like some more independent ones almost did under Nasser (Egypt, Syria, Iraq), guess what messed it up the 1967 war.

    “It seems to me that like every supposed strategic benefit of Israel, this doesn’t work. Like most of them, it actually goes in the opposite direction. In 1945 if you asked, how can we ensure that no single state dominates the oil regions to the East of the Palestine mandate, nobody would answer create a state like Israel that would unify all of the people in the region in the opposition to it.”

    Your statement would have been correct if only all this Arab states were independent at the time, but the majority of Arab states were not independent of the west to serve their self interests, same scenario as it exist today which you often bring up that I agree with. Don’t forget that regarding Israel and the western colonialism the Arab street is completely unified in the region, is the Arab governments rule to contain and derail this unification.

    “The people who made that decision say there were US domestic considerations – a politically influential group supported Zionism. That has to be at least part of the reason. So if the US thought it would be slightly more difficult to govern the Middle East with Israel, but was willing to make the sacrifice for other reasons, it would have done do. I say it did so.”

    I would say the US did so for at least three reasons one was as you said to support the Zionism, fine but for greater reason was to prevent and block any soviet influence in the Arab region which eventually did (Egypt) and thirdly as a spike in Arab/Muslim unification front. And I add that it really worked for as long as USSR existed.

    “Kooshy-I actually argue that if the Middle Eastern countries would have been left to be self distained, for multiple reasons that would have enhanced the longevity of the USSR, for just as an example, during the Shah’s Iran one couldn’t obtain permit to travel to USSR not because of religious reason’s but because of the state.”

    “Please explain this in more detail. Israel turned the Shah against the USSR in what way? I’m quite sure the US could have gotten better compliance with its desired policies regarding the USSR from the Shah at least as easily and actually much more easily if it was not identified as the champion of Israel at the time.”

    Arnold- I did not claim that Israel was the reason that Iran was prevented to trade with USSR, I meant US policy of isolation was the reason that Iran was prevented to trade with the USSR, and simply if the USSR was not economically isolated and contained from the middle eastern and world trade it would have been more prosperous.

  94. Dan Cooper says:

    Barack Obama fiercely defended US involvement in Libya, saying that when America’s interests and values are at stake “we have a responsibility to act.”

    Obama said:

    “To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,”

    “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries.

    The United States of America is different.

    And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

    We need a brave journalist like Helen Thomas to ask Obama some simple questions like these?

    1) “Why are you turning a blind eye to Israel’s murderous atrocities in Palestine?”

    2) “If you really care about our fellow human beings in Libya, why don’t you care about our fellow human beings in Palestine?”

    3) “Aren’t Palestinians our fellow human beings?

    4) “Why do you not take any action against Israel and its criminal leaders who are slaughtering innocent women and children and wiping Palestine off the map?

    Mr President, I now understand you perfectly when you say; The United States of America is different….lol

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/18/20110328/twl-us-interests-values-at-stake-in-liby-2802f3e.html

  95. Humanist says:

    James,

    You are saying”..US policy, in effect, and to someextent by default, is to increase the wealth and power of China as rapidly as possible…”

    Interesting thought. Have you read it in some place? Could you share with us any evidence you’ve got?

  96. Fara says:

    Well, well, well… The Libya no-fly zone was approved and implemented very quickly, because the Arab world also strongly advocated for it. At least, this is what is being told as a justification. Let see if the UN will listen to the Arab world in this case, as well (not that I really believe the Saudis are honest here. They may just want to please the arab world, trying to catch up with Iran and Turkey).

    Kingdom denounces Israeli raids on Gaza

    “RIYADH: The Council of Ministers on Monday denounced Israeli airstrikes on residential areas in Gaza, killing innocent people, and urged the international community to take immediate action to stop the continuous Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.”

    http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article333581.ece

  97. Humanist says:

    Arnold,

    Re: your March 28, 1:25am post

    You say “…What I mean is there is no secret organization that tasks US politicians and generals to go before the US press and lie. As far as I know. I mean you don’’t need to believe in a secret organization to understand US policy…..”

    It seems our thoughts ride on dissimilar opposing curves. I never said for every single political issue the puppet masters are pulling the strings tied to their politicians. Sometimes what you hear on TV is honest reflection of the reality but other times, especially on ME and anything related to Israel what is told to public is either the twisted honest thoughts of the zealots or a mix of truths, half-truths or outright deliberate lies. I don’t have to mention outstanding examples of the latest invasion of Iraq or any subjected related to Iran. Just refer to polls and see how the perceptions of the majority of American people is masterfully manipulated by lies of those who are behind the scenes.

    Before further explanation, I have to say that I have no intention of insulting, criticizing or advising you or anyone. Also I strongly believe self-righteousness in friendly mature debates is totally unacceptable yet at times I feel an obligation to say what I think your enemies might hide from you. Please, in the following lines do not misinterpret my apparent harshness and try to ignore my grammatical English errors and concentrate on the content of what I am trying to say and not on the form they are told.

    Through years of curious amateur studies I have noticed as far as the poor countries are involved it is disheartening to encounter so many American Liberal Intellectuals who see only their side of story by honestly defending their ruling system which, in the eyes of many outsiders is steadily becoming more corrupt, infiltrated, immoral, heartless, ruthlessly exploitative and arrogantly defiant.

    Forget about the rest of the world, how can you say politicians are generally honest when multitude of researchers in the field of social science show clearly the gap between the poor and the rich Americans are increasingly widening….when more and more (millions) of American children suffer from malnutrition, so many millions are not protected by health care system, when grand thieves of Wall Street never go to prison and so on?. That list is so long…. a more telling indication for me is this: the majority of Americans believe Israel is the victim and Palestinians are criminal terrorists!

    So how many times do you hear on Sunday shows like Meet the Press a politician reveals to his/her fellow Americans that they are continuously being lied to? Not too often, occasionally we see Ron Paul of Kucininc…even then ,I think, they don’t dare to expose all the relevant critical facts.

    You also say “..US consumers have certainly benefited from Japan’’s industrialization and modernization. The public US consensus is both that Japan’’s wealth is a good thing and that if there were more Japans US consumers would benefit even more….”

    Here is another example of why you and I differ, this time in a more profound way. I fully agree with you that rapid development of few chose countries like Japan, Germany, South Korea and Taiwan was immensely beneficial not only to US but to all the world. Here you are seeing only one side of the coin, the side you are subconsciously inclined to see. Let me explain what I mean by giving you just one example (out of so many). In the 70s I met an Iranian conscientious government manager who knew so much about the inner workings of the Iranian puppet government. I guess he trusted me because he knew my parents and through a few brief discussion he concluded my soul is not for sale regardless of the price.

    He told me in mid 50’s the ‘order’ flowed from top down to buy sugar ONLY from Taiwan. At the time he was working in an office which was in charge of the Imports. He told me he was shocked when he saw the Taiwanese Invoice. The price per ton was about five time more than what Iran could have bought from Latin America. He quietly told this to one of his trusting friends seeking advice of signing the invoice or not. He was told something like “just shut up and sign the invoice, else…you know..”.

    At the time the price of oil was very low (I guess it must have been below $2 a barrel), so Iran was relatively an underdeveloped POOR country. He knew from other reports there was noticeable starvation and severe malnutrition in the South of Iran.

    So how could you describe pouring 10s of millions of dollars to the coffers of the prosperous Taiwanese by Iran which was poor at the time? How do you describe the above? Were Iran and Taiwan treated in the same way by the US? Wasn’t this in effect stealing from the poor, making them poorer while trying to inject cash to a Chosen Country to instigate (rapid) progress in order to fulfill hegemonic plans and combat the enemies?

    Money doesn’t grow on trees. If you get rich someone has to pay for it, so in the existing global system you have losers and winners….the coin has two sides.

    If you can see both sides of the coin then your ability to predict improves noticeably, if you can’t then you are up to get surprised repeatedly…many of the American Liberal Intellectuals are surprised of what is happening in ME….I can list some in the oppressed countries who were foreseeing it coming clearly….even I, someone with no education or background in politics could see it coming as I was repeatedly reminding the elite in my comments here or other sites “no human entity is capable of stopping the immensely powerful evolutionary forces that are driving our humanity”

    This story is way too long…it can’t fit to just a few limited pages here………

  98. Rehmat says:

    “When US globalists (aka Zionists) pose as friends of Muslims, the latter should sup with the Great Shaitan with an exceedingly long spoon,” Dr. K.R. Bolton.

    French Muslim Revolution: ‘Made in USA’
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/french-muslim-revolution-made-in-usa/

  99. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    I read, re-read, and re-re-read what you posted, but I fail to see a contradiction. Please, enlighten me.

  100. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    I do not see myself as superior to masoud. I see myself as having a better grasp of the English language than masoud, although I am by no means perfect at it. And I hate to say it, but you might want to sign up for a few lessons yourself. I am sure that LA is full of good schools.

    Judging by your measure of character and generalisation, does that mean that pious, traditional supporters of the regime in Iran are dirty-mouthed hypocrites, who accuse their opponents of being disabled bowl-dwelling parasites? Oh, and who mostly live abroad anyway?

    You can generalise all you want. As I said, I know for a fact that the comfort you feel is the type that keeps you looking over your shoulder. That much is enough to keep me happy.

    Enjoy the burger – good thoughts are coming your way.

  101. kooshy says:

    Pak the Mac, bellow is what you wrote in your last comment, please read carefully and let us know if you see any contradiction in what you wrote.

    “The North Tehranis you are talking about may indeed be snobs who look down on other Iranians, but they are hardly Greens. If anything, they are probably more closely associated with the regime, given that their expensive North Tehran homes and imported cars have to be paid for with money that is near impossible to make in the post-revolution economy, unless of you course have the right “contacts”, if you know what I mean.”
    “And why would rich, spoiled North Tehranis want to revolt anyway? They already have all they need, including enough money to leave Iran whenever they want (to LA a lot of the time). They have wild parties with bottomless shot glasses. They have Gucci bags, nose jobs, Ferraris, the lot.”
    “Sure, they probably “support” the Green Movement, but probably because it is cool to be anti-establishment, not because they have any particular belief.”

    Pak- does Professor Lucas, more importantly yourself read what is asked you to write, or you are required to post certain No. lines on daily bases, how that works, taken that to consideration now even I believe in this regard you are exceptional. I do believe you do have a good command of English, but perhaps and just perhaps you will need to get the command of your thoughts.

    Cheers

  102. kooshy says:

    Pak

    “masoud, if you are still confused, I recommend you go back to school. While you are at it, sign up for some English classes please.’

    Pak do you see your statement above, this is the same exact problem of intellectual Iranians that I was alluding to earlier, which is very common to the green zone, the greens see themselves better educated therefore superior to the others, it sounds to me that you have been well adopted to one of the two or both of the exceptional people since the beginning of history, as is the standard curriculum in the US’s educational system, being of the American type or the good old Chosen People, both think are better than the rest. Now including even you.

  103. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    The North Tehranis you are talking about may indeed be snobs who look down on other Iranians, but they are hardly Greens. If anything, they are probably more closely associated with the regime, given that their expensive North Tehran homes and imported cars have to be paid for with money that is near impossible to make in the post-revolution economy, unless of you course have the right “contacts”, if you know what I mean.

    And why would rich, spoiled North Tehranis want to revolt anyway? They already have all they need, including enough money to leave Iran whenever they want (to LA a lot of the time). They have wild parties with bottomless shot glasses. They have Gucci bags, nose jobs, Ferraris, the lot.

    Sure, they probably “support” the Green Movement, but probably because it is cool to be anti-establishment, not because they have any particular belief.

    If you look not that carefully or particularly hard, you will see that the core of the Green Movement activists are anything but rich, spoiled kids. Look at the imprisoned Majid Tavakoli, a humble student from Shiraz who has probably never set foot outside of Iran. Look at Nasrin Sotoudeh. Look at Mansour Osanloo. Look at Ronak Safazadeh. Look at the martyred Sane Jaleh. And of course, look at the figureheads themselves, who come from the heart of the “proletariat” regime.

    It is a fallacy, and quite lazy, to say that the opposition are simply spoiled kids who look down on others. Convincing yourself of this will make you feel more comfortable, but not the sort of comfort you experience when you lie down under the lethargic sun on a yacht, slowly rocking and rolling over a turquoise sea; more like the sort of comfort that requires you to constantly look over your shoulder, and repeat to yourself “I am comfortable, I am comfortable!”

    Oh wait, no, you are fine, because you are in LA! Please have an In’n’Out burger on my behalf. I will reimburse you will good thoughts.

  104. Rehmat says:

    Here is something Iranian ‘Green Movement’ can learn from American democracy

    On March 3, 2011 – Former US Secretary of State (1973-77), Henry (Heinz) Kissinger, sent a letter to US Presideni Barack Obama asking him to pardon the convicted Jewish-American spy, Jonathan Pollard. Pollard is in prison since 1985.

    Now, former President Jimmy Carter along with his wife, Rosalynn, arrived in Havana (Cuba) to discuss the release of American Jewish Alan Gross who was given a 15-year jail sentence for being involved in anti-Cuba activities. The sentence has made US-Cuba relations more tense than ever.

    Jimmy Carter is schedule to meet Cuban President Raul Castro, other government officials and Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega before leaving on Wednesday.

    Alan Gross, was arrested in December 2009 while working for Bethesda, Maryland-based Development Alternatives Inc. on a so-called “USAID-backed democracy-building project”. During the trail, Alan Gross claimed that he was trying to improve internet access for Cuba’s small Jewish community. However, the Cuban Jewish leaders have denied working with him.

    As expected, the reaction from Obama’s subverted administration was: “Today’s sentencing adds another injustice to Alan Gross’s ordeal,” Tommy Vietor, the Israel-Firster US National Security Council spokesman, said in a statement. “He has already spent too many days in detention and should not spend one more. We urge the immediate release of Mr. Gross so that he can return home to his wife and family.”

    Both the State Department and Gross’ family have expressed hope that Carter’s trip may help in the early release of Alan Gross.

    “We have repeatedly urged the government of Cuba to release Mr. Gross and we encourage others who meet with Cuban officials, including President Carter, to also voice their concerns and make this request,” State spokesman Mark Toner said last week.

    Cuba calls Gross a mercenary working on a program paid for by Washington that aimed to bring down Cuba’s socialist system, and it has presented him as evidence of US intentions to unleash a “cyberwar” to destabilize the island.

    US officials say no rapprochement between the Cold War enemies is possible while Gross remains jailed. That shows whom Obama administration represents – 94% American Christians or 3% American Muslims or less than 2% American Jews!

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/carter-i-can-do-better-than-kissinger/

  105. Pak says:

    Dear masoud,

    Well done, you are improving. I hope you continue this positive trend.

  106. masoud says:

    Pak,

    I don’t think you would approve of the English teachers around here. Most of them are of the opinion that ending a piece of writing with a statement that begins ‘In conclusion’ makes you sound retarded.

  107. Fiorangela says:

    do most houses in Iran have basements?

  108. Pak says:

    Dear masoud,

    I have having a hard time deciphering you.

    As a result, I cannot understand your point (nor your apparent insults), but let me explain what you just copy-and-pasted from the Marandi article, i.e. this:

    =======================
    Pak says: (A)
    January 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Pak says: (B)
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm
    Here is my post that is awaiting moderation, without a link this time…

    There you go, now do you believe me?

    Why should the Leveretts feel intimidated? Who am I compared to two people who have training from the CIA and WINEP? (C)
    =======================

    Exhibit (A) shows the date that I tried to prove to Arnold that my posts were being censored, by copy-and-pasting a clip of my censored comment. As you can see, I posted this on January 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm.

    (You are welcome to view the whole comment, which I reposted on this article today at 4:20 pm)

    Exhibit (B) proceeds to show this clip of my censored comment. As you can see, it was originally posted on January 14, 2001 at 2:15pm, almost 24 hours before I posted exhibit (A).

    Exhibit (C) was a comment in response to accusations that I was intimidating the Leveretts. As you can see, I questioned why they should feel intimidated by me (and my harmless comments) when they have the most formidable secret service, and most powerful, ruthless lobby, on their side.

    In conclusion, I am not a liar, my posts were in chronological order, and I did not engage in some devious act to trick people into believing that my comments were being censored. As I said before, I have no reason to lie, given my already crap reputation here.

    masoud, if you are still confused, I recommend you go back to school. While you are at it, sign up for some English classes please.

  109. Fiorangela says:

    if Iran did not exist some marketing drone would have to invent it.

    George Friedman tantalizes:

    “We have all seen footage of this devastating world event. It’s important to watch. But the real advantage comes from understanding how the tragedy will go on to affect the big picture, such as Japan’s reliance on Persian Gulf oil or its alliance with the U.S. ”

    Oh no! Japan might actually do business with a Persian Gulf state like —

    Well folks, step right up.
    For Just $129, you TOO can find out what Persian Gulf state might supply oil to Japan, thereby bring about the end of civilization as we know it.

    first 50 callers to repeat, “Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off the map” get FREE ginzu knives ($18.95 postage and handling).

  110. masoud says:

    Pak
    “Now, who does that remind you of?”(re doggish loyalty)

    It reminds me of Greens who will always treat the words of Mousavi and Karroubi and Obama like scripture no matter how much double-think the task demands.

    I find your latest comment interesting because you knew your posts were going to be able to get through this time. The comment of yours from some months back I linked reads as follows:

    BEGIN QUOTE
    =======================
    Pak says:
    January 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Pak says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm
    Here is my post that is awaiting moderation, without a link this time…

    There you go, now do you believe me?

    Why should the Leveretts feel intimidated? Who am I compared to two people who have training from the CIA and WINEP?
    =======================
    END QUOTE

    Back then, it seems like you were able to pre-emptively determine that you were going to be filtered. Today it seems you made the opposite assumption. I find that curious.

    To tell you the truth, i’m having a hard time deciding whether i should expand my initial comparison of dogs to greens. On the one hand, dogs have no guile either. On the other hand, I’ve never known a dog to try their hand at it.

  111. James Canning says:

    Sarah Palin, as about everyone paying attention to American politics is aware, recently visited Israel to kiss Netanyahu’s backside and other prove herself worthy of the Republican nomination for the presidency. But did she actually chastise Obama for being critical of the illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank because it “was a zoning issue”? In America, “zoning” controls land use (or tries to).

  112. kooshy says:

    Nahid
    “last summer, when I was in Tehran the word was “DAHATI” which it means farmer but in a nagative way”

    That has not been changed as of last week when I was in Tehran’s green zone, and I suppose it has not been changed since the first groups of Iranians were sent to Europe to get modern education back in the Ghajar period. This is the major problem with the Iranian’s upper class that are only willing to associate themselves within a limited circle of non “Dehaties” as the result they are continuously living in a dreamed up society that in reality is not Iran.

  113. James Canning says:

    The Wall Street Journal over this past weekend (March 26-27) could not resist an Iranophobic rant of its own. In an editorial (“The Syrian Revolt”), the WSJ declared that: “Syria has helped to re-arm Hezbollah in Lebanon with thousands of rockets that it would launch toward Israel when Iran requests it.” In my view, this claim is contrary to the facts of the matter.

  114. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    Yes, if one wants to look at the situaton toward the close of the Second World War, American blunders (to be kind) were colossal. For example, Japan recognised as soon as Germany surrendered that Japan would be obliged to follow suit, and Japan tried to do so. The Americans foolishly insisted on abolition of the monarchy and thereby delayed surrender until, as you say, hundreds of thousands of people were incinerated.
    Not to mention the occupation of Manchuria and North Korea by the Soviet Union which led, in turn, to the Korean War. The USSR would not have joined into the conflict if the USA had not been so foolishly stubborn about the monarchy.

  115. kooshy says:

    Pak, Paneer jan e aziz Del,

    Are you keeping track of my where about? if so I hope that is not an assignment , yes I am back home in LA but , the Del is there

    ما در درون سینه هوا ای‌ نهفته ایم
    گر بر با د رود سر ما ز ین هوا رود

  116. Pak,

    “And [Hillary’s] “views” in 1997 were not simply “views” or opinions; she was publicly advocating an anti-Iran, pro-war policy in an influential sphere (an AIPAC-established sphere no less).”

    Sounds like a “view” to me – and one that has apparently changed in the 14 years since then.

    “I wonder if Tony Blair today said that Iraq was a mistake (which, unfortunately, he still refuses to admit) would you forgive him, and accept that his “views” have since changed?”

    I’m not sure you’ve really picked a good example here, Pak. I’d be very pleased to hear such words from Tony Blair.

  117. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning,

    “In discussing Harry Truman, we should bear in mind that all of Truman’s foreign policy and national security advisers opposed early recognition of Israel. . . Truman, of course, had a deep sympathy for the Jewish people in the wake of the European catastrophe”

    James, to call Harry Truman a sympathetic man is a gross disservice to the memory of hundreds of thousands whom were incinerated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A sympathetic man would have never obliterated whole cities when for all intents and purposes Japan had imploded and was ready to surrender, and US was fully aware of this.

    By the way, isn’t it ironic that US has nuked Japan a third time now. This time by GE built reactors.

  118. nahid says:

    For those who wants to know about Iranians at the present how they think about GREEN and the Presiden Ahamadi Nijad

    http://www.goftamgoft.com/?Pn=view&id=937

  119. nahid says:

    kooshy says:
    March 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    last summer, when I was in Tehran the word was “DAHATI” which it means farmer but in a nagative way, and you look to the person who has been in London for 3 month and his daddy got some money out of subsidi . Thanks for mentioninig it very true, pak sort of reminds me of those gauys :))

  120. Liz says:

    Pak,

    Practice being honest.

    :)

  121. Pak says:

    *points to the fact

  122. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    Are you happy to be back at home in LA? How is the weather?

    Dear Eric,

    I was responding to a commenter who said that “[t]he Leveretts have been right all along”.

    And her “views” in 1997 were not simply “views” or opinions; she was publicly advocating an anti-Iran, pro-war policy in an influential sphere (an AIPAC-established sphere no less). I wonder if Tony Blair today said that Iraq was a mistake (which, unfortunately, he still refuses to admit) would you forgive him, and accept that his “views” have since changed?

    By the way, I see that both my censored comments have passed through fine this time, which points to the face that they were selectively censored last time.

  123. Pak,

    Not to intrude into your dispute with Masoud, but I noticed you were linking to an article written by Hillary in 1997. I wonder whether that reflects her current views. In 1997, I remember having many different views than I hold today.

    It would probably be more useful to you if you could find something more recent. Your intended audience – whoever that might be – would probably take you more seriously.

  124. kooshy says:

    fyi says: March 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Fyi- once again it’s easy for you to point out all the ethnic differences within the greater Middle East, but somehow you fail to mention what is common within all this ethnicities you mentioned, there are lot that they have in common, which should be easy for you with your background to spell out.

    I can claim that currently without any major land disputes, there is zero animosity between the majority of the Iranians with any of the Muslim ethnicities you mentioned, except for a small group of western oriented intellectuals who think since they are modernized, they see themselves above ordinary Iranian’s and if you have lived in Iran before or after revolution you should be able to identify this group, this same group although a minority believes to have the right to govern, since they believe they are better educated and have progressed more than the rest of Iran, majority of people who belong to this group currently live in northern Tehran which I call the green zone.

  125. Pak says:

    Dear masoud,

    With respect, what are you talking about?

    Anyway, thank you for finding the article in question. I can see that my comments are still awaiting moderation. I will copy and paste them for you:

    Pak says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm
    Dear Steve,

    The Leveretts have been right all along? Does that mean they were right about this:

    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=1124

    “With American credibility on the line, Washington should make it clear at the highest levels that the U.S. intends to enforce ILSA vigorously to deter further investment in Iran and to make Iran’s leaders actually pay a real economic price for their sponsorship of international terrorism.”

    The Leveretts clearly have an anti-Iran and warmongering past, given their work with WINEP, the CIA and the Bush Administration, among others. Hillary Mann has also lied about her biography on this website, conveniently skipping the part where she worked for a think tank established by AIPAC. The desperation of those who support the dictatorship in Iran is exposed by this alliance of convenience.

    During the elections last year, Marandi was prostituting himself to Western media, i.e. seditionist media, declaring on the one hand that there were no protests in Iran, and declaring on the other hand that there were rioters on the streets who “killed, maimed, and humiliated police officers”. Killed and maimed, really!? Humiliated – definitely.

    Here is my second attempt:

    Pak says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm
    Here is my post that is awaiting moderation, without a link this time:

    Dear Steve,

    The Leveretts have been right all along? Does that mean they were right about this:

    www(dot)washingtoninstitute(dot)org/templateC05.php?CID=1124

    “With American credibility on the line, Washington should make it clear at the highest levels that the U.S. intends to enforce ILSA vigorously to deter further investment in Iran and to make Iran’s leaders actually pay a real economic price for their sponsorship of international terrorism.”

    The Leveretts clearly have an anti-Iran and warmongering past, given their work with WINEP, the CIA and the Bush Administration, among others. Hillary Mann has also lied about her biography on this website, conveniently skipping the part where she worked for a think tank established by AIPAC. The desperation of those who support the dictatorship in Iran is exposed by this alliance of convenience.

    During the elections last year, Marandi was prostituting himself to Western media, i.e. seditionist media, declaring on the one hand that there were no protests in Iran, and declaring on the other hand that there were rioters on the streets who “killed, maimed, and humiliated police officers”. Killed and maimed, really!? Humiliated – definitely.

    It is funny you should compare me to a dog, because the one characteristic that makes a dog such a popular pet is their unwavering loyalty to their owners. Beat them, neglect them, do what you want to them, and they will always come back to you with their tongue hanging out, and their tail wagging.

    Now, who does that remind you of?

  126. Rehmat says:

    Rd…..Moscow is no friend of Muslims. Russia and China are still occupying Muslim lands. The tactics of Russia may be different from the US, France, Britain or Germany – but they all are with Israel when it comes to the destruction of Muslim nations.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/should-tehran-trust-moscow/

  127. Rehmat says:

    Wikipedia is one of many Israel Hasbara organs – busy ti rewrite the history to fit into Zionist agenda.

    http://radioislam.org/islam/english/jewishp/internet/camera_plan.htm

  128. Rd. says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    “I have almost no doubt the Russians would have vetoed Resolution 1973 had they suspected this adventure would so quickly and flagrantly go beyond what the Resolution actually authorized. This may be the very last blank check the US gets from Russia and China.”

    I think they were blind sided by the “bending over” of arab league. It would not have seen right for them (ru, ch, etc) to object, while the AL was on their knees, manner of speaking.

  129. Fiorangela,

    I know I need not mention this to you, but for others who aren’t familiar with the tendency for Wikipedia articles on current events to be “appropriated” by one side or the other, note this warning at the beginning of the Wikipedia article on the current Libya conflict:

    “The neutrality of this article is disputed. Please see the discussion on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved.”

  130. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says: March 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    It could be that the Axis Powers Grand Strategy will crash and burn on the rock of the Afganistan-Pakistan War.

    If I were them, I would pack and leave; they can never gain anything in that part of the world.

    I mean, tens of millions of Muslims in Pakistan believe that the Axis Powers want to destory Islam. How can any state or combination of states operate in this type of environment?

  131. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says: March 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I doubt it.

    If it goes bad, the Axis Powers are tied up in another mess.

    If it goes well, they can say they did not oppose preventing a humanitarian disaster.

    In the meantime, they have extracted a few IOUs from the Axis Powers.

  132. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    The Turkish Republic cannot accept the manifestations of other ethno-linguistic groups.

    Who are Kurds?

    Sunni Muslims that cling to the vestiges of their Ancient Iranian heritage.

    Who are Turks?

    Newcomers to Anatolia that adpoted the Persian Civilization.

    Who are Iranians?

    Mostly Shia Muslims that have tied themselves to the idea of Ancient Iran, while at the same time, despising the Arabs who brought them their religions (including Omar).

    Who are Israelis?

    A heterogeneous people from all over the world that are trying to live a fantasy project against Arabs.

    Who are Arabs?

    Semitic Muslims with no prior claim to any authentic culture or civilization prior to Islam who think they own Islam.

  133. Fiorangela says:

    from the Wikipedia entry on the Libyan conflict.

    I had not heard any main stream media report on Libyan government’s efforts to quell discontent, ie. by pumping $24 million into housing project, by meeting with disaffected citizens, by issuing warnings to protesters, so the Wikipedia information was useful in that regard.

    Wikipedia also notes a rough chronology (no dates given) of Libyan govt. actions to quell rebellion and retake towns occupied by rebels, but in that listing no casualty numbers are reported.

    However, in a separate section, various estimates of casualties are noted, but no source or evidence for the numbers are stated.

    As I read the Wikipedia entry, I thought that an enterprising journalist might do well to parallel Qaddafi’s harassment of journalists, detention of “peaceful protesters,” killing of journalists, arrest on extraneous charges of peace activists, etc., with similar actions carried out by Israel, including Israel’s killing of 9 peace activists –one of whom was American– aboard Mavi Marmara; the recent kidnapping by Israeli agents from a European location of a Palestinian peace activist, and the rendition of that Palestinian to an undisclosed Israel jail.

    Richard Silverstein at Tikun Olam and Phil Weiss at Mondoweiss chronicle the many abuses of human rights, including murders of old people in their beds and children playing soccer, carried out against Palestinian civilians and peace activists in Palestine, by both state agents of the Israel government, and armed Jewish Israeli citizens on occupied Palestinian land that the settlers have stolen.

    WHY HASN’T THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CALLED UPON THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO INTERVENE, imposing a “NO KILL ZONE” in Gaza and occupied Palestine?

    below is some of the information reported in Wikipedia:

    precipitating events leading up to Libya protests; Libyan government’s attempts to resolve grievances; escalation of protests; spiraled out of control upon insertion of mercenaries (which Voltairenet discusses here); US intervention humanitarian imposition of no-fly zone to protect from slaughter, massacre.

    Jan 13 – 16 upset at delays in the building of housing units and over political corruption, protesters in Darnah, Benghazi, Bani Walid and other cities broke into and occupied housing that the government was building.

    Jan 24, Libya blocked access to YouTube after it featured videos of demonstrations in the Libyan city of Benghazi by families of detainees who were killed in the 1996 Abu Salim prison massacre. The blocking was criticized by Human Rights Watch.

    Jan 27 , the government had responded to the housing unrest with a US$24 billion investment fund to provide housing and development.

    In late January, Jamal al-Hajji, a writer, political commentator and accountant, “call[ed] on the Internet for demonstrations to be held in support of greater freedoms in Libya” inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings.

    Feb 1 al-Hajji arrested by plain-clothes police officers, and charged on 3 February with injuring someone with his car. Amnesty International claimed that because al-Hajji had previously been imprisoned for his non-violent political opinions, the real reason for the present arrest appeared to be his call for demonstrations.

    Early February, Gaddafi, on behalf of the Jamahiriya, met with political activists, journalists, and media figures and warned them that they would be held responsible if they disturbed the peace or created chaos in Libya.

    Feb 15 between 500 and 600 protesters chanted slogans in front of the police headquarters in Benghazi. The protest was broken up violently by police, resulting in 38 injuries.
    The novelist Idris Al-Mesmari was arrested hours after giving an interview with Al Jazeera about the police reaction to protests.
    In Al Bayda and Az Zintan, hundreds of protesters in each town called for an end of the Gaddafi regime and set fire to police and security buildings.
    In Az Zintan, the protesters set up tents in the town centre.

    Feb 16 protests continued in Benghazi, Darnah and Al Bayda, leading to four deaths and three injuries. Hundreds gathered at Maydan al-Shajara in Benghazi, and authorities tried to disperse protesters with water cannons.

    Feb 17 “Day of Rage” in Libya and by Libyans in exile is planned for 17 February. The National Conference for the Libyan Opposition asked that all groups opposed to the Gaddafi regime protests on 17 February, in memory of demonstrations in Benghazi two years earlier.[63] The plans to protest were inspired by the 2010–2011 Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings.[63]

    Many opposition participants called for return to the 1952 constitution and transition to multi-party democracy. Military units who have joined the rebellion and many volunteers have formed an army to defend against Jamahiriya attacks and to work to bring Tripoli under the influence of Jalil. In Tobruk, volunteers turned a former headquarters of the regime into a center for helping protesters. Volunteers reportedly guard the port, local banks and oil terminals to keep the oil flowing. Teachers and engineers have set up a committee to collect weapons.

    Feb 21 The New York Times reported that Gaddafi had tried to impose a blackout on information from the country. Several residents reported that cellphone service was down, and even landline phone service was sporadic.

    Feb 26 UN Resolution 1970 voted upon; would prosecute Qaddafi in International Criminal Court

    Feb 27 The National Transitional Council established in an effort to consolidate efforts for change in the rule of Libya. The main objectives of the group do not include forming an interim government, but instead to coordinate resistance efforts between the different towns held in rebel control, and to give a political “face” to the opposition to present to the world.[

    >>>The Benghazi-based opposition government has called for a no-fly zone and airstrikes against the Jamahiriya.<<< The council refers to the Libyan state as the Libyan Republic and it now has a website.

    Former Jamahiriya Justice Minister said in February that the new government will prepare for elections and they could be held in three months.

    An independent newspaper called Libya appeared in Benghazi, as well as rebel-controlled radio stations. The movement opposes tribalism and defected soldiers wear vests bearing slogans such as "No to tribalism, no to factionalism". Libyans have said that they have found abandoned torture chambers and devices that have been used in the past.

    Mar 26 Iman al-Obeidi, a Libyan woman who had been forcibly silenced and detained after she attempted to tell the international media of her alleged gang-rape by Gaddafi's troops, was seen by the media as representative of the trend.

    Gaddafi has accused his opponents as those who have been influenced by hallucinogenic drugs put in drinks and pills. He has specifically referred to substances in milk, coffee and Nescafé. He has claimed that Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda are distributing these hallucinogenic drugs. He has also blamed alcohol.[78][79][80][81] He later also claimed that the revolt against his rule is the result of a colonialist plot by foreign countries, particularly blaming France, the US, and the UK, to control oil and enslave the Libyan people. Gaddafi vowed to cleanse Libya house by house until he had crushed the insurrection.[82][83][84][85][86] Gaddafi declared that people who don't "love" him "do not deserve to live".[83][85] A Swedish arms trafficking watchdog organization observed flights between Tripoli and Belarus, including visits to a dedicated Belorussian military base that only handles stockpiled weaponry and military equipment.[87]
    Muammar Gaddafi vowing to hunt down and execute any opposition members.

    Gaddafi shut down all Internet communications in the country, and arrested Libyans who had given phone interviews to the media.[88][89] International journalists were banned by the Libyan authorities from reporting from Libya except by invitation of the Gaddafi government. International journalists who have attempted to cover the events have been attacked by Gaddafi's forces. A BBC News crew was beaten and then lined up against a wall by Gaddafi's soldiers, who then shot next to a journalist's ear and laughed at them. A journalist working for The Guardian and another Brazilian journalist have been detained. An Al-Jazeera journalist Hassan Al Jaber was murdered, and was apparently deliberately targeted.

  134. An unrelated observation on Ross Douthat’s passage on Jeffrey Goldberg quoted earlier:

    ““Last week, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg rank-ordered Mideast trouble spots that “demand more American attention than Libya.” He came up with six: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen’s Qaeda havens, post-Mubarak Egypt and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

    Have others noticed how frequently these days the Afghanistan war is referred to as the “Afghanistan-Pakistan” war?

    Thank goodness the US government is so distracted with Libya these days.

  135. James,

    “Bravo! What total cr*p, Iran as Problem #2 in ME! Routine Iranophobic rubbish from Jeff Goldberg.”

    I also thought you might find it interesting to see which Middle East problem was at the very bottom of Mr. Goldberg’s priority list.

  136. Russia’s view:

    “On Monday, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, strongly criticized the allied attacks, saying “we consider that intervention by the coalition in what is essentially an internal civil war is not sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council resolution,” news agencies reported.”

    I have almost no doubt the Russians would have vetoed Resolution 1973 had they suspected this adventure would so quickly and flagrantly go beyond what the Resolution actually authorized. This may be the very last blank check the US gets from Russia and China.

  137. James Canning says:

    Humanist & Arnold,

    US policy, in effect, and to someextent by default, is to increase the wealth and power of China as rapidly as possible. Some might see China as a potential threat.

    Is China capitalist? Does China attempt to buy commodities on world markets at lowest possible price?

  138. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Bravo! What total cr*p, Iran as Problem #2 in ME! Routine Iranophobic rubbish from Jeff Goldberg.

    fyi,

    I think Saddam Hussein qualifies both as exceedingly evil, and as grossly incompetent.

  139. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The expulsion of the “Greeks” from the Ottoman Empire (and the “Turks” from Greece), resulted directly from catastrophic blunders caused by Venizelos, the opportunist from Crete who tried to make good on Greece’s “gains” from the First World War.
    The Pontic Greeks were descendants of Christians who had maintained their faith. Those who converted to Islam had become “Turks”. The same applied in Greece, where “Turks” were expelled because they had remained Muslim. But many of these “Turks” would have been Christians centuries earlier.

    Are Kurds denied the right to be Turks, because they are Kurdish? No.

  140. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    In discussing Harry Truman, we should bear in mind that all of Truman’s foreign policy and national security advisers opposed early recognition of Israel. And that his Republican challenger, Tom Dewey, had promissed rich New York Jews that he would recognise Israel. And that Truman was told that rich New York Jews “would run him out of town” if he failed to recognise Israel early on. (The threat was made by Congressman Cellar of New York, in company with other powerful Jews, in the White House.) Truman, of course, had a deep sympathy for the Jewish people in the wake of the European catastrophe.

  141. fyi says:

    All:

    A Brazilian view point of the fuel-swap deal.

    http://www.twq.com/11spring/docs/11spring_Santos.pdf

  142. Pak,

    YOU WROTE TO ARNOLD ABOUT THIS WEBSITE’S REJECTION OF YOUR COMMENT:

    “I initially posted a comment with 1 link, which was rejected. I then posted the same comment but without the link, which was still rejected.”

    I’ve got a suggestion, Pak. Whatever it was you wanted to say, put something like this in front of it:

    “Flynt and Hillary: As many others have pointed out so often that you must tire of hearing it, the English language lacks the superlatives necessary for me to properly describe my awe at your intellectual radiance. I rarely go to the bathroom – much less order a meal or refinance my mortgage – without checking your website for guidance. Though I had thought it impossible, your most recent piece was an even more sparkling jewel than the hundreds of brilliant essays that had come before it – just as I am certain your next essay will outshine even this one. Though I feel inadequate even to bask in the glow of your eminence, I hope you will deign to consider just one question that has come to my mind …”

    I can’t guarantee that preface will get your comment posted here, Pak. But if it doesn’t work, just change “Flynt and Hillary” to “Professor Cole,” and give it a try on Juan Cole’s website.

  143. Liz says:

    fyi,

    He never said that.

  144. masoud says:

    I remember Pak being censored, here’s the link:
    http://www.raceforiran.com/the-islamic-republic-of-iran-the-united-states-and-the-balance-of-power-in-the-middle-east#comment-33779

    That 12:07 post is sandwiched between a 12:03 post and 12:08 post.

    I found it very interesting. Pak is underplaying what happened. After his initial censorship, Pak posted the article again, and it was edited in real time by the censors of this cite, with the offending material removed. Those sinister censors were waiting for Pak to finish his post, and within one minute had his post edited to remove the mysterious banned material, and posted it, instead employing their usual trick of simply not allowing the offensive post to be seen at all. What was even more impressive was that Pak had anticipated this exact behavior with enough confidence to end his post by asking rhetorically, “well, now do you believe me?”. I was very impressed. It struck me as highly memorable event.

    But Pak did ask one question I feel I have a responsibility to answer. He asked: What could my motivations for lying possible be? Answer: You’re a Green, it’s embedded in your nature, the same way dogs are programmed to stick their noses up into each others rear ends.

  145. Pak,

    “I then asked:“Regarding the oil argument: do you believe that Juan Cole is wrong? If so, why?”

    To be honest, Pak, I don’t know what Juan Cole’s “oil argument” is, nor do I care enough to find out. If it helps you, I’ll mention that I don’t put much stock in “It’s all about oil” arguments.

  146. fyi says:

    Photi says: March 28, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Yes, I agree.

    I recall the late mr. Khomeini once stating that he could contemplate someday forgiving US but he could never forgive Saddam Hussein.

  147. From Al Jazeera:

    “The rebels, backed by international coalition air strikes, have advanced largely unchecked since Friday but claims in Benghazi, the rebel’s eastern stronghold, earlier on Monday that Sirte had also fallen were premature.”

    This is hardly the first time we’ve heard conflicting reports about which side controls a city. At various times during the past several weeks, rebel spokesmen have seemed quite unsure whether the rebels or the government controls such cities as Sirte, Ajdabiyah, Misurata, Zawiya, Zintan, Brega and Ras Lanouf.

    On certain other matters, though, rebel spokesman are far more confident of their facts:

    1. 8,000 civilians have been killed by Gaddafi’s troops.

    2. No civilians have been killed by Western air strikes.

  148. Photi says:

    fyi, just to add, it would be messy business to go through history saying who is and who is not evil. Definitely not my jurisdiction. We can say that Shias have good reason to have much animosity towards Saddam and his imposed war.

  149. Photi says:

    fyi, i agree, God will judge.

  150. fyi says:

    Photi says: March 28, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I cannot answer your question about Hitler.

    Was Nixon an evil man?

    Or Turman?

    I imagine God will judge them.

  151. fyi says:

    All:

    Professor Walt on Regime Change in Libya.

    Note the references therein – specially the papers of Professor Downes.

    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/24/social_science_and_the_libyan_adventure

  152. Pak says:

    Dear Arnold,

    I initially posted a comment with 1 link, which was rejected.

    I then posted the same comment but without the link, which was still rejected.

    I then copy and pasted my comment title (i.e. Pak says:/awaiting moderation/the date) for you to see.

    I cannot remember the exact content of the comment, but it had something to do with Hillary Mann’s previous anti-Iran, pro-war work with WINEP. A new contributor had accused some politicians – I forgot who – of making u-turns with their policy proposals. I responded by saying that the owners of this blog are just as guilty. I think I also questioned Hillary Mann’s agenda, given that she heads a shady “political risk consultancy” called Strategic Energy and Global Analysis (STRATEGA). I may have also said something along the lines of ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’, but replacing the word cheater with another adjective.

    I have no reason to lie, so you have no reason to be suspicious.

  153. Pak says:

    Dear Eric,

    I originally said that Juan Cole raised a good point about the false oil argument – that is, that the intervention in Libya was driven by the want to control Libya’s oil.

    You then said that my agreement with Cole was because I am young, therefore implying that I am misguided or naive.

    I then asked:

    “Regarding the oil argument: do you believe that Juan Cole is wrong? If so, why?”

  154. Liz says:

    I’ve never respected Juan Cole.

    At the end of the day people like him and minor leaguers like Scott Lucas want to be seen as intellectuals and at the same time they want to be influential (and wealthy). At the end of the day, they lose credibility, because they are constantly caught lying and acting against their own declared principles.

  155. Photi says:

    fyi,

    “The late Mr. Hussein was not an evil man.”

    Do you also say that Hitler was not an evil man?

  156. fyi says:

    Photi says: March 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

    The late Mr. Hussein was not an evil man; he was a foolish one who pursued a course of policies that led to more and more evil being committed by his government.

    In 1950s, the only neighbour of Iran that was less developed than Iran was Afghanistan; Iraq was ahead of Iran in development.

    Iraq was capable of 2 harvests a year, there was no doubt in my mind that it could be the bread-basket of the Middle East.

    Furthermore, she had plenty of oil income for a much smaller population than Iran, permitting her rapid modernization and industrialization. But the Ba’athist Leaders – including Mr. Hussein – just had to be against Iran and go to war with her. This was a fool’s errand, like the late Lon Nol in Cambodia.

    Mr. Mubarak, the late King Hussein and now his son, the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, are all have been carrying water for the Axis Powers. I expect the same to befall these leaders.

  157. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm and Pak:

    The late Mustapha Kemal expelled hundreds of thousands of Pontic Greeks from their ancestral lands around the Black Sea – where they had lived for over 2000 years, as part of the Treaty of Lausanne.

    To this day, the model of Turkish state, based on Turkicness, excludes the 20% of the population that is Kurdish.

    You people live in a dream-land if you think Turkey can be a model for other Muslim states.

    Poor Lebanon, with its confessional-based constitutional system is a better model for Syria, for Indonesia, for Malaysia, and for the future Palestine Republic.

    Pak:

    You do not like the dead-weight of the Islamic Tradition, that is clear. But you cannot fight something with nothing. The Islamic Tradition can only be altered with a lot of intellectual labor and after many years of hard practice.

    Bayonet Secularism will not last among Muslims.

  158. From Ross Douthat’s column in today’s NY Times:

    “Last week, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg rank-ordered Mideast trouble spots that “demand more American attention than Libya.” He came up with six: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen’s Qaeda havens, post-Mubarak Egypt and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One can quibble with Goldberg’s ordering…”

    One can, can’t one?

  159. Photi says:

    Arnold,

    You said “This is another subject I had been thinking about. Nasser, Attaturk and even Hussein’s animousity against political Islam is hard to understand today. ”

    I enjoy reading your thoughts about the Middle East. Saddam is who he is. Whether you call him Saddam, or whether you call him Hussein, he is still that evil bastard Saddam Hussein. He does not deserve the name Hussein, so a small request would be to please start referring to him as Saddam. Especially if you are going to be talking around a bunch of Shias;)

  160. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    This is from wikipedia about Tiananmen square:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989

    According to an analysis by Nicholas D. Kristof of The New York Times, “The true number of deaths will probably never be known, and it is possible that thousands of people were killed without leaving evidence behind. But based on the evidence that is now available, it seems plausible that about fifty soldiers and policemen were killed, along with 400 to 800 civilians.”

    Juan Cole says there were peaceful protests in Libya that Gadafi put down by killing 8000 civilians, if not 8000, then thousands. Tanks were used to put down the Tiananmen square protests probably with fewer than 1000 deaths. Juan Cole is a professional historian who knows both that he has no evidence to support a claim like this about Gadafi and that if the claim was true, there would be evidence to demonstrate it.

    Deleting comments I don’t really care about. Angry Arab, whom I now respect more than Cole, shut down his entire comments section.

    But to be a trained historian and make a statement like that, and then to support it – well if you don’t believe the rebel spokesman, ask Amy Goodman, who got her information form the rebel spokesman – and for this not to be even an unusual position, meaning there are multiple other recent examples really boggles my mind.

    It is deliberately going against his training.

    But your idea that he doesn’t want to feel like a wimp can well be right. But what he’s doing is nothing like skipping the easy part of a rock climb.

  161. Castellio says:

    Arnold writes: “Does the US have a per se interest in poor countries remaining poor? If you think it does, what makes you believe so? If it does, what tools does the US have and use to pursue that interest?”

    I’m not sure, Arnold, if you’re serious.

    And once again I’m not quite sure who and what you mean by the ‘US’, but let’s assume professional policy makers. (The US as the innocent children within it have no moral interest, per se, in the poverty of others.)

    There are two forms of active impoverishment: one simply the political interests of keeping ‘enemies’ poor through trade embargoes and financial isolation (and there is a long list of such enemies); and the second, helping the major American corporations profit take from foreign countries, and arranging the economies of those countries to facilitate that – Monsanto being perhaps the prime example.

    And frankly, there is a clear relationship between the two forms of impoverishment: if you don’t allow the second then the situation defaults to the first.

    How about Cuba for a start? Then North Korea, which is treated the same way. Trade embargo, and the closing of international financial transactions to and with the country.

    And historically targeted through the IMF and the structuring of loans, debt and government social investment: Central and South America. Argentina was a prime example. And Argentina’s economic turn around is clearly linked to its defaulting with and new independence from the IMF. But the policy of impoverishment is still alive throughout central and South America. San Salvadore is a good example, Honduras for other reasons.

    And America still works hard at trying to limit the economic growth of Russia. You might start with asking why the world’s primary exporter of oil is not in the World Trade Organization. (We won’t even start with the relation of the IMF to Yeltsin and the immediate and cynical impoverishment of Russia during those years.)

    You do openly acknowledge that the US prefers poorer and impotent countries in the Middle East. You correctly state: “The US wants Egypt, Syria and what is now Saudi Arabia along with Iraq and Iran to be as undeveloped and relatively poor as they are because and only because otherwise they would pose an intolerable threat to Israel.”

    (I would argue that the financial crippling of Iraq and Iran were clearly motives for the embargoes and for the 2003 invasion… )

    Lets talk intent and confusion, however briefly. If the good doctor is happy giving a patient medicine that doesn’t work, and insists it is good for the ailing, who for some reason continue to suffer … are we sure the doctor shares criminal intent? Maybe the US policy makers actually believe, as they claim they believe, that the restructuring of other countries’ economies to facilitate corporate profit taking is the way to the host countries’ economic development? And surely trade embargoes and financial isolation is the way to ensure the reluctant country’s freedom?

    But when we realize that the sales of the false medicine is what the good doctor lives on, we must ask if the sales pitch is not just part of the process, not only to facilitate an easier entry into foreign markets, but to manage the class tensions at home.

    The two forms of impoverishment have different rhetorical flourishes, but they work very well together.

  162. Arnold Evans says:

    kooshy says:
    March 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    In the fifties the middle easterners did not think they can use religion as a shield to protect themselves from colonialism of left or right, the political resistance by way of Islam came to play (full force against colonialism)

    This is another subject I had been thinking about. Nasser, Attaturk and even Hussein’s animousity against political Islam is hard to understand today. I think because the 1979 Iranian revolution and the events following have demonstrated in a way that had not been demonstrated earlier, that Islam is not necessarily backward, anti-modern and especially a weakening influence on states.

    It may be that the vigor with which all Muslim states have worked to keep religion away from state politics has been falling, which made Erdogan and the current Egyptian revolution possible when they would not have been in the 1970s – because today, unlike generations ago, people do not believe that religion leads to countries being more prone to subjugation by outsiders.

    Israel’s creation did have a strategic benefit for US as the US thought Afghanistan now has, would you think US military is fighting in Afghanistan is to protect the Israel?

    I think the US is fighting in Afghanistan pretty much why it says it is. To ensure that it cannot be used as a base for Muslim groups that are angry with the US (mostly directly or indirectly over Israel) to attack the US.

    The strategic benefit of Israel was and is to protect against a unified Sunni mega state like the Ottomans, this idea was elevated in Europe just about the time of WWI and after the oil was discovered in the Middle East. People of the region never will believe is just for the love the westerners have for the Jewish people, or the garbage like the Judeo-Christian rhetoric.

    Do you think Israel really prevents a unified Islamic state from forming? How? Without Israel would it be more difficult to prevent Iran from conquering Iraq or Iraq from conquering Saudi Arabia?

    It seems to me that like every supposed strategic benefit of Israel, this doesn’t work. Like most of them, it actually goes in the opposite direction. In 1945 if you asked, how can we ensure that no single state dominates the oil regions to the East of the Palestine mandate, nobody would answer create a state like Israel that would unify all of the people in the region in their opposition to it.

    If the US thought it will be easier to govern the Middle East without Israel it would not have agreed to her independence back in 48 in the middle of night, when the USSR was strong and thirty years already in existence.

    The people who made that decision say there were US domestic considerations – a politically influential group supported Zionism. That has to be at least part of the reason. So if the US thought it would be slightly more difficult to govern the Middle East with Israel, but was willing to make the sacrifice for other reasons, it would have done do. I say it did so.

    Israel really does not make the Middle East easier to govern and nobody ever seriously thought it would. How could it? In 1948, the European-descendant world’s lead over the non-European world was much greater than it is now, and the threat posed by angering non-Europeans was dismissed to a far greater extent than it is now. 1948 was different from today. There was a somewhat greater disdain for opinions and concerns of the people of the Middle East in the US than there is today – but that didn’t turn a negative into a positive. Nobody was concerned that the native reaction to establishing a Jewish state would significantly hurt. But that does not mean they believed it would help. The benefits of Israel were purely regarding the US and Europe.

    I actually argue that if the Middle Eastern countries would have been left to be self distained, for multiple reasons that would have enhanced the longevity of the USSR, for just as an example, during the Shah’s Iran one couldn’t obtain permit to travel to USSR not because of religious reason’s but because of the state.

    Please explain this in more detail. Israel turned the Shah against the USSR in what way? I’m quite sure the US could have gotten better compliance with its desired policies regarding the USSR from the Shah at least as easily and actually much more easily if it was not identified as the champion of Israel at the time.

    Humanist says:
    March 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Do you really believe say American Middle East policies are along the same lines as other regions like Africa or East Asia…..and….all work substantially in public? No secret covert operations involved in shaping and executing those policies?

    Let me be more clear. Substantially in public does not mean there are no private meetings or covert operations. Substantially in public means that the broad thrust of US policy is executed for the reasons policymakers discuss on Sunday talk shows and write in articles in their media outlets.

    What I mean is there is no secret organization that tasks US politicians and generals to go before the US press and lie. As far as I know. I mean you don’t need to believe in a secret organization to understand US policy.

    In my experience that statement is not true. Have you read “The Confessions of an Economic Hitman”.

    I did read that book and I don’t remember it to say there is a per se US interest in poor countries being poor. Do you think there is? Do you think the US would rather Japan be poorer? What makes you think this?

    US consumers have certainly benefited from Japan’s industrialization and modernization. The public US consensus is both that Japan’s wealth is a good thing and that if there were more Japans US consumers would benefit even more. This is my question though. What do you think the United States wants, and what makes you think what you think?

    This is a subject I don’t read discussed enough, so I’m very interested in your thoughts on that question.

  163. Arnold,

    If, as you recall (I did not, but I’ll accept your better memory) Juan Cole helped to derail the “wipe Israel off the map” campaign, he deserves credit – and on two bases:

    1. The obvious basis: he pointed out that Ahmadinejad’s remark was mistranslated, taken out of context, misinterpreted, or all of these.

    2. The less obvious basis: he undoubtedly has endured considerable frustration because his debunking efforts have changed far fewer minds than they ought to have.

    The same can be said for anyone who tried to debunk the “fraudulent election” stories about the 2009 Iranian presidential election. As you pointed out, there indeed has been a shift in media stories from “fraudulent election” or “rigged election” to “disputed election” or “allegedly fraudulent election,” but the shift hasn’t been as extensive, nor as effective, as it ought to have been. Most well-read and intelligent observers still believe the election was fraudulent. Even many writers who pride themselves on being intellectually honest (or at least imagine themselves to be) still reach the same conclusion by broadening the bases of their argument to include touchy-feely factors that self-respecting intellectuals ordinarily would be ashamed to cite. The prize in that category, hands down, goes to the New York Times’ Roger Cohen, who shoved aside all competitors with this memorable sentence: “Sometimes you just have to smell the truth, to breathe it.” Please. (Incidentally, I barely rolled my eyes when I read that sentence in a Times column by Mr. Cohen in February 2010. While I certainly don’t claim any close relationship with him – far from it – he’d sent me an email months earlier which included the very same statement. Apparently he liked it well enough to re-use it.)

    To his credit, Juan Cole must have endured – indeed, still must be enduring – the very same frustration on the “wipe Israel off the map” issue. No matter how many times he and others explain it, the vast majority of even well-read and intelligent people believe that that is what Ahmadinejad said – literally said, not just what he meant, even though neither was true. In short, Dr. Cole deserves our admiration – both for having made that effort and for having endured considerable frustration at its limited impact.

    But enough praise for Dr. Cole – deserved praise, but enough for now. Turning to his recent hawkishness on Libya (and soon maybe other countries – Syria and Iran, after all, are also shaping up as potential targets of America’s military humanitarianism), I can’t help but think he’s yielded to an urge to rage, rage against that inescapable wimpiness that all good male liberals feel once in a while. There is something about being liberal that inclines males away from war, but there also is something about being male that inclines male liberals toward war every now and then – especially when it’s been a long while since one has found a sufficient excuse to pound his chest.

    On this point, I was thinking about Juan Cole just this afternoon, as I and my wife were sitting in a rock-climbing gym in San Francisco, watching two of our sons scale artificial “boulder walls.” We noticed a young woman climbing an extremely tough wall – by far the most difficult climb in the entire building, and one that all of the expert male climbers were avoiding. She got about 2/3 of the way up the wall, to the point where it actually became relatively easy from there on up. Instead of clambering to the very top, however, she reversed course, working her way carefully back down the wall and dropping unceremoniously onto the floor mat.

    I turned to my wife and said: “No man would ever do that.” She seemed puzzled by my remark, and so I thought it best to make my point by example. I looked around until I spotted a male climber half-way up a wall that was nearly as difficult (but not quite). “Watch this guy,” I said. Sure enough, he puffed and struggled until he’d reached the very top. He stood up straight on the top of the wall, hands on his hips with his chest puffed out just a bit but not too much, and waited there just long enough to be sure that everyone in the gym had noticed. Then he climbed gracefully back down, his face bearing that mock-modest expression that is called for at this penultimate step of the ritual, and graciously accepted congratulatory back-slaps from his male buddies waiting at the bottom.

    In other words, he was a guy.

    And now Juan Cole is a guy. Juan Cole is standing on top of that wall now, his chest puffed out just a bit but not too much.

    Sometimes it’s right to be a guy in international affairs. I think it’s very often the right thing to be – more often than most, I believe (even if “guyness” is not always evident in my views – I try to fight it).

    But someone like Juan Cole inevitably is torn, obliged always to remember that he’s an intellectual too. Intellectuals require intellectually defensible reasons for being a guy – or at least an excuse vague enough that few if any will recognize it’s indefensible. Sometimes when the guy urge becomes overwhelming, an intellectual is forced to grasp a bit, and often quickly, for adequate reasons: fill in a few gaps here and there with baseless premises, neglect to think through the consequences, discount or ignore objectionable facts – including even an utter absence of evidence to support the guy position that his testosterone is compelling him to take.

    The urge to do all this is nearly irresistible even when a male liberal intellectual first feels the stirrings of guyness within him. But once he’s actually taken the step to be a guy, the “nearly” part disappears. No matter what happens after that – even a sober recognition that he had no basis for climbing aboard the war wagon, high-fiving John Bolton and Glenn Beck, can divert him from his martial plan. And the very last thing a male liberal intellectual who’s crossed the “guy” line will want to hear is a suggestion that he’s made a mistake – that maybe this wasn’t the right time for him to be a guy. One who considers making such a suggestion should be sure the male liberal is not within arm’s reach of a weapon.

    Fortunately, few male liberals have actual weapons. But most of them do have a “delete” key on their computer keyboards. Dr. Cole has such a key, of course, and, by golly, he knows how to use it. He presses it often these days – and extra hard – so that no one will ever forget he’s a guy.

  164. Pirouz_2 says:

    Arnold;

    This conversation is getting to an extremly interesting point in my opinion (and it seems that you share the same feeling), a point which is not very often discussed (except for perhaps some very limitted and isolated groups of people).

    Before going through parts of your post and explaining my thoughts about each, I would like to explain my thought regarding the issue of “national interests”.

    In my humble opinion, “national interests” (eg. US interests or Iranian interests) do not exist. What does exist is “class interests” which exist within any nation and contradict each other (ie.class interests contradict each other). Just as the interests of the greens in Iran are the same as the interests of the Goldman Sachs and Wall Street, the interests of the vast majority of those who voted for Ahmadinejad is the same as the interests of the unions in Wisconsin and the main street.

    Don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to claim that Ahmadinejad is a populist leader or that he is a leftist (although he has been very much accused of being so by his opponents); he is a very right wing figure. But those who voted for him, did so because they thought he represented their interests, and THOSE INTERESTS very much coincide with the interests of the working class in USA.

    What the term “US interests” has come to mean is the interests of the rulling elite who control the state aparatus. This rulling elite define a set of “US interests” based on their own strategic interests, and get the state to pursue those goals/interests.

    So what are the interests of the rulling elite in US (or in the West in general)? As I mentioned in a few of my previous posts, it is the cycle of the accumulation of capital, ie. raw material + labour –> product. This cycle already means poverty for those who provide the labour and more wealth for those who are wealthy enough to own the means of production.

    Pretty much all of the leaders that I mentioned in my previous comment (if memory serves right all of whom except for Nasser, went victim to military coups) were disrupting this cycle of capitalist accumulation, on all three levels by refusing to become entities whose sole products would be raw material for the Western capitalists, by refusing to dispense their labour power to become a source of profit for the Western Capitalists, and finally by refusing to become a market for the Western finished goods.

    In fact the whole history of colonialism (pursued first by the Europeans when they were the giants of Capitalism, and then after the WWII when they lost their position as the centre of gravity for the global capitalism to US, it was pursued by USA) was to make the periphery countries produce ONLY raw material (and hence uni-product countries) for the mother countries and to provide them with labour and in the end to act as the market for the finished western goods.

    “The strategic cost or benefit of Israel to the United States is an interesting topic. My contention is that if not for Israel, the Middle East and the Muslim world would have been a strategic nightmare for the USSR during the cold war. So much so that the Western victory would have come earlier, possibly much earlier. Instead, because of Israel, the Middle East and the Muslim world were a strategic irritant for the United States, that the US was only able to tolerate because it had such a huge lead over the rest of the world after WWII.”

    I don’t think that the issue of religion plays as important a role as you describe here. What matters is people’s pursuit for a system where they could own the fruit of their own labour. Religion only becomes an issue when it becomes the representative of the interests of those who are being exploited, or when it becomes the representative of the interests of those who exploit.

    The main threat which the westerners faced until pretty much 1978, was NOT the religious fundamentalists who fought against the Western hegemony, but rather more or less secular movements whose main ideas in economy were based on “nationalization”, and becoming self-sufficient in processing their own raw materials into the socially needed goods as opposed to being dependent on the Western produced goods. Most of these leaders were after land-reforms, and to return the means of the production back to the producers which is a big “no no” for any western capitalist.

    You can very well see where the loyalty of the peasents would lie, with pro-socialist reforms or with the Western capitalism? I think that those interests would completely out-weight any stigma of “atheism” which the Westerners tried so hard to put on socialist movements.

    To say that USA could have given up its imperialistic ambitions to gain allies against the USSR, is tantamount to saying that the lion could have gone vegeterian to gain the alliance of the deers and goats against the tiger (although I must say that in all due fairness to USSR, it was not as much a tiger as the USA was a lion).

    “If Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran were balanced more the way Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were during the cold war, each able to hold its own against the others while remaining fundamentally aligned with the United States, they could have wrecked havoc against Soviet positions in Afghanistan and regarding Muslim minorities actually inside of the Soviet empire.”

    With this part I completely disagree. It is simplly IMPOSSIBLE for all the world (or even a majority or even some thing ‘close’ to half) to become as wealthy as the developed countries, in order for a few to accumulate wealth, the vast majority has to work and be paid for a fraction of their work, and this -I believe- is the simple law of the nature.

    I refer you to Gandhi and what he said: “If it took Britain [with its population] the rape of half the world to be where it is, how many worlds would India [with its population] need?”

  165. Humanist says:

    Arnold,

    You write”…It seems to me that the US foreign policy establishment works substantially in public.”

    Don’t you think that is a (remarkable) oversimplification of a fragmented, convoluted and complex sets of activities that can be called “US foreign policy network”? Do you really believe say American Middle East policies are along the same lines as other regions like Africa or East Asia…..and….all work substantially in public? No secret covert operations involved in shaping and executing those policies?

    Also you write”… I’ve never seen a desire to keep anyone else poor directly expressed by any member of the US foreign policy establishment. What I have seen expressed is a strategic US interest in ensuring that no power or potential power amasses enough resources to threaten the US….”

    In my experience that statement is not true. Have you read “The Confessions of an Economic Hitman”. Have you traveled to poor areas of any of the countries mentioned in that book to find out the effects of the economic genocide perpetrated by American Government / Financial and buisiness institutions in conjunction with CIA as explained in that book? There is abundance of literature that could shed light on the crimes of global capitalism where the US segment is a major player.

    I agree with you often yet I am not sure about the validity of many of your other assertions in that commentary since, most probably, they are based on your personal impressions but not backed by any accompanying convincing evidence.

  166. kooshy says:

    Arnold

    I actually argue that if the Middle Eastern countries would have been left to be self distained, for multiple reasons that would have enhanced the longevity of the USSR, for just as an example, during the Shah’s Iran one couldn’t obtain permit to travel to USSR not because of religious reason’s but because of the state.

  167. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    James,
    From where I sit, there is no difference between Labour and Tories in foreign policy. The issue is whether British elites today are capable of identifying themselves as anything other than a US appendage in global affairs. What happened in 1954 is ancient history.

  168. kooshy says:

    Arnold

    “The strategic cost or benefit of Israel to the United States is an interesting topic. My contention is that if not for Israel, the Middle East and the Muslim world would have been a strategic nightmare for the USSR during the cold war.”

    Back in the fifties and just a few years after the WWII and just about when Israel was created, and when there was a huge phobia about the communism in the US (late 40’s and early 50’s) the middle easterners were not as scared or concerned as US was with communism, not even concerned with religious freedom in USSR’s Muslim republics. In the fifties the middle easterners did not think they can use religion as a shield to protect themselves from colonialism of left or right, the political resistance by way of Islam came to play (full force against colonialism), when the US after the Vietnam failure try to use Islam as a natural shield against the communism, which now eventually is adopted and is being used to protect against the western imperialism. Israel’s creation did have a strategic benefit for US as the US thought Afghanistan now has, would you think US military is fighting in Afghanistan is to protect the Israel?

    The strategic benefit of Israel was and is to protect against a unified Sunni mega state like the Ottomans, this idea was elevated in Europe just about the time of WWI and after the oil was discovered in the Middle East. People of the region never will believe is just for the love the westerners have for the Jewish people, or the garbage like the Judeo-Christian rhetoric.
    .
    If the US thought it will be easier to govern the Middle East without Israel it would not have agreed to her independence back in 48 in the middle of night, when the USSR was strong and thirty years already in existence.

    Arnold I think you are looking at the US’s cost benefit equation of Israel, with a new set of glasses that you are wearing of today and not the one that was used in year 1948.

  169. Rehmat says:

    One wonders why Zionist Jew George Soro’s Freedom House would be so worried about the human rights of Syrian Muslims, while it never gave a hoot to the gross Israeli violations against Native Muslims and Christians for the last 60 years?

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/syrias-color-revolution/

  170. Humanist says:

    James,

    I am almost totally illiterate on subject of American Revolution. I wish I knew Spanish being able to read some of the Latin American literature on that subject. I remember reading long ago that Howard Zinn’s “The Peoples History of America” is not sufficiently analytical on the topic of evolution of American Capitalism. Have you or anyone in this site read Zinn’s book? Any comments?

  171. Arnold Evans says:

    Pirouz_2, and everyone else:

    The strategic cost or benefit of Israel to the United States is an interesting topic. My contention is that if not for Israel, the Middle East and the Muslim world would have been a strategic nightmare for the USSR during the cold war. So much so that the Western victory would have come earlier, possibly much earlier. Instead, because of Israel, the Middle East and the Muslim world were a strategic irritant for the United States, that the US was only able to tolerate because it had such a huge lead over the rest of the world after WWII.

    The USSR and communists are militant atheists, while the US supports a population containing many intensely religious people. Were it not for Israel, Middle Eastern populists and demagogues would naturally have gravitated toward the distant monotheistic people of the book against the nearby proselytizing atheists.

    If Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran were balanced more the way Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were during the cold war, each able to hold its own against the others while remaining fundamentally aligned with the United States, they could have wrecked havoc against Soviet positions in Afghanistan and regarding Muslim minorities actually inside of the Soviet empire.

    The US keeping the potential Muslim powers weak enough that they could not threaten Israel also meant keeping them weak enough that they could not complicate the Soviet strategic situation, which was a miracle for the USSR. The Middle East had a strong ideological reason to be antagonistic to the USSR, and only Israel redirected Muslim antagonism against the United States and prevented the US from being able to use its religious commonality to its advantage.

    But beyond that, Pirouz_2 especially, you raise a very interesting point that I don’t see discussed often. To what degree does US capitalism depend on the rest of the world being poor?

    It seems to me that the US foreign policy establishment works substantially in public. I’ve never seen a desire to keep anyone else poor directly expressed by any member of the US foreign policy establishment. What I have seen expressed is a strategic US interest in ensuring that no power or potential power amasses enough resources to threaten the US.

    That strategic interest does translate to ensuring that no other power becomes “too rich”. On the other hand, that strategic interest would be focused on the US’ near rivals more than on countries that are poor today.

    It is also not clear what mechanisms the US can employ to pursue that strategic objective. Assuming the US wants to prevent Germany, Russia, China or Japan from going outside of some boundary of resources, what can the US do? The United States is open that it does not want any of these countries to grow to surpass the US, but what can the US do to prevent that?

    Outside of the US’ near rivals, I don’t agree that the US has a strategic interest in poor countries remaining poor. If what is now Saudi Arabia, along with Iraq and Iran were as industrialized as Taiwan, South Korea and Japan or as Britain, France and Germany or even just more developed than they are now, they would provide US consumers with more goods, they would purchase more from a wider variety of US firms.

    There is a clear US consensus that more trade is better. The US wants Egypt, Syria and what is now Saudi Arabia along with Iraq and Iran to be as undeveloped and relatively poor as they are because and only because otherwise they would pose an intolerable threat to Israel.

    The poor world is far from the limit, at least in my opinion so far, that would cause the US to have a strategic interest in limiting its growth.

    But this subject is not discussed enough, so I ask for thoughts from the floor: Does the US have a per se interest in poor countries remaining poor? If you think it does, what makes you believe so? If it does, what tools does the US have and use to pursue that interest?

  172. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric:

    I remember about a year ago, I noted that Juan Cole had switched the voice claiming Iran’s election was stolen from his own to “some people” so that in 2009 he would say “Iran’s elections were fraudulent” and then in 2010 he would say “Iran’s elections were claimed to be fraudulent”.

    At that time you said that was interesting but you don’t pay much attention to that site. By that time I didn’t either, but probably subconsciously I paid even less attention to that site after you put that thought into words.

    But Cole truly was probably the most important academic in reversing the “wiped off the map” campaign which has had a real impact on the conversation in the United States about Iran.

    Incidently, I consider you, along with the Leveretts among the most important individuals in reversing the “2009 elections were fraudulent” campaign which also has impacted the US conversation regarding Iran.

    Since then though, maybe since the election of Barack Obama, or since the 2009 Iranian election Cole has been almost a different person.

    The excerpt you pointed to here, “if you don’t believe the unsubstantiated numbers of a resistance spokesperson, Amy Goodman says the same thing” is beyond belief. That statement struck me earlier today as well. This is a trained professional historian. He knows Amy Goodman isn’t a separate source.

    This is the key premise of his argument that Gadafi is uniquely murderous and therefore the US intervening in the Libyan conflict is justified. But he knows as he writes that he does not have support for this statement.

    This recent willful dishonesty – his claim last week or two weeks ago that a plurality of Iranians believes the election was fraudulent, you say he asserted earlier, again without support that 80 to 90 percent of Libyans oppose Gadafi – is really confusing. These are not mistakes professional historians make.

  173. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    Cameron and Hague are deeply sceptical of the neocons and they both see the dangers to peace in the ME that stems from US inability to act in its own best interests due to the power of the Israel lobby, in matters involving Israel/Palestine.

    Hague has a deep understanding of British history and he has what is called “bottom”. This makes him a much more serious student of the situation in the ME than, for example, Tony Blair – – even though Blair in in the ME a good deal of the time.

    The UK played a key role in preventing catastrophe in 1954, when the China lobby and fanatical anti-Communists in the US were pressing for American intervention in the Vietnam war, including blockading China. Maybe the UK can play a similar crucial role today. In 1954, British opposition blocked the war plans of the American military.

  174. James Canning says:

    Liz,

    I don’t think the US is “afraid” of Iran. Instead, the crux of the matter (in my view) is simply that powerful Jews want to help Israel continue to oppress the Palestinians and perhaps keep the Golan Heights. Iran interferes with this programme. The grossly ignorant American public are played for fools.

    Another element in the equation is that some of the Gulf monarchies fear Iran, whether for good reason or no.

  175. James Canning says:

    Humanist,

    Interesting comments on America’s drift toward Empire – – a development promoted by Aipac, in my view.

    Regarding the American “Revolution”, it is worth remembering that only one-third of the Colonists supported the break with Great Britain, while another third opposed it, and the remainder stayed neutral. Much of the impetus for revolt came from Scotch-Irish on the western frontier who wanted to continue to take land from the Indians, and resented British efforts to protect the native peoples.

  176. Arnold,

    Hillary now says “tens of thousands” were killed? That’s at least 20,000.

    And still no photos?

    When I read this quote, I was reminded of this passage from Juan Cole’s latest piece:

    “Members of the Transitional Government Council in Benghazi estimate that 8000 were killed as Qaddafi’s forces attacked and subdued Zawiya, Zuara, Ra’s Lanuf, Brega, Ajdabiya, and the working class districts of Tripoli itself, using live ammunition fired into defenseless rallies. If 8000 was an exaggeration, simply “thousands” was not, as attested by Left media such as Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!”

    When I read that, it occurred to me that “the Transitional Government Council in Benghazi” was probably kicking itself for not having predicted that its entirely unsubstantiated estimate of 8,000 deaths would be discounted even by those who otherwise would accept it on faith – in Juan Cole’s case, down to as low as 2,000, a 75% reduction.

    Hillary, more savvy, therefore boosted her estimate in advance. If Dr. Cole knocks down her number by 75%, she’ll still be left with 5,000 massacred civilians.

    Still no photos or other evidence, of course, but she’d undoubtedly argue that evidence is not necessary if one is willing to accept a 75% reduction in one’s estimate.

  177. Pak,

    “Shahram Amiri is apparently on trial for being kidnapped by the CIA. Damn – I was really looking forward to seeing his supposed documents that proved his kidnapping!”

    I don’t claim to know the truth about what happened to Shahram Amiri, and I assume you don’t claim to know any more than I do, though.

    This I do know, however: If I were engaged in a game of charades and the answer I was trying to elicit from the other players was “Shahman Amiri,” I would do my best to get them to think of the word “flake.”

  178. Arnold Evans says:

    Hillary Clinton:

    “Imagine we were sitting here and Benghazi had been overrun, a city of 700,000 people, and tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered, hundreds of thousands had fled… either with nowhere to go or overwhelming Egypt while it’s in its own difficult transition,” she said.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hAVk4-vNdW4ZIrmdLQrbtLACOtWg?docId=CNG.82fce0d1e069b2865b114176f57c0264.21

    I have to say, probably in agreement with Eric, that this statement is just as outrageously ridiculous as Condi Rice’s “smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud” statement.

  179. Pak,

    “By the way, you did not answer my question earlier.”

    I don’t recall any question directed to me.

  180. Arnold Evans says:

    Pak says:
    March 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Pak, post all you want. Just please try not to post a lot in a row.

    Eric – if 33 out of 73 (around 45%) comments had positive things to say, does that mean the rest (40 comments, or around 55%) had less-positive/negative things to say?

    Now, I’ve written some posts that said “Great post Leveretts” but neither this thread here nor any I’ve ever seen even reached 10% of the volume making that or equivalent statements. Other than posts about the blog itself, such as its anniversary or such, posts announcing some accomplishment or recognition of the bloggers.

    Given that Cole’s blog is known by its commenters to be actively censored based on content and this one is not, it is interesting to note the comment culture that developed.

    Speaking of which, Pak. Do you admit you were lying when you claimed you made some statement about Dr. Marandi that was censored because of its content?

    I can’t figure you why you would lie about that, who you think would care and who you think would believe you making that statement when comments that do not have hyperlinks appear immediately.

    Pak, what was that all about?

    If you claim you were not lying, then make the statement over at Scott Lucas’ blog and email two or three of the regulars here with links to the supposedly censored statement.

  181. Pak,

    “Eric – if 33 out of 73 (around 45%) comments had positive things to say, does that mean the rest (40 comments, or around 55%) had less-positive/negative things to say?”

    Yes, and even those who effusively praised Dr. Cole sometimes had a few critical things to say. But all of their criticisms carefully avoided the essential underpinnings of Dr. Cole’s interventionist position: (1) 80-90% of Libyans support the rebels; and (2) Gaddafi was massacring civilians.

    Don’t take my word for this, Pak: check for yourself. You’ll find plenty of criticism, but it’s of the sort that ends up strengthening Dr. Cole’s conclusion in the eyes of many readers, because the arguments against him can’t overcome his “humanitarian intervention” argument.

    Here are the sorts of arguments he permits:

    – Congress didn’t authorize this war.
    – It’s all about oil.
    – Let the Arabs fight it out themselves.
    – Won’t we just get ourselves into a quagmire/stalemate?
    – Spend money on teachers, not bombs.
    – How do we know these rebels really care about democracy?
    – We’re bombing people to save lives?

    I may be missing a few, but these and any arguments I’m missing have one common feature: They fail to overcome Dr. Cole’s argument that intervention was necessary to prevent “civilian massacres.” Defeating that argument requires a commenter to ask Dr. Cole whether he really has reason to believe these massacres have actually occurred.

    You’ll find that Dr. Cole allows no comments that challenge this basic assumption. If you want to see the best-put argument of this disallowed sort, search right now on this website for “Brisbane” and read the long comment by “Dave, of Brisbane, Australia” that I reproduced there.

    If you want to read “Dave’s” comment, you’ll have to read it here: You won’t find anything remotely like it on Juan Cole’s site.

  182. Humanist says:

    This might sound condescending but whenever I read articles by Stephen Walt I find them interesting yet at times incomplete or partially flawed..

    This one is no exception. On the subject of Alliance of Liberals and Neocons on the ME foreign policies, the role of one of the main (or the main) culprit is, intentionally or otherwise pushed behind the view. To my surprise he doesn’t mention the role of AIPAC which is probably the most influential element whenever the Middle Eastern subjects are in question, something that Libya is a major constituent especially since, on top of Israel, it also has the ‘excessively saliva producing’ substance…ie OIL.

    If he had analyzed the topic of this article with an eye on the ‘Israel Lobby’ then he didn’t have to elaborate in length why there are no consequential differences between Democrats or Republicans (or any other influential political institution in the US).

    He writes about those with big-heads who adhere to principals of Manifest Destiny or American Exceptionalism “….get[ting] us involved in conflicts where our vital interests are not engaged….”. I wish I knew what he really means by “vital interests”. If I am right in assuming that he means American economic and hegemonic interests then I wonder if he realizes that an empire’s vital interests are contradictory to the interests of the victims of that empire. In such a case he is not inordinately different from those who are the subjects of his criticism.

    When I read “….Most of the foreign policy establishment has become addicted to empire….” I thought addiction is a curable disease, the US problem is in a class of fatal cancers that can only be cured by radical surgeries such as a thunderous revolutions else there must exist some unpleasant consequences.

    I believe, unlike any monotone nation, USA is a complex dynamic existence which can never die (unless it allows, as Carl Sagan said, the destruction of all life forms on earth by some stupid choices). On those bases I believe soon Americans are going to wake up and fathom the depth of the hole a few extremely powerful corrupt and psychotic entities have dug for them (especially after the end of the 19th century). In other words what is happening these days in the Middle East will happen in America in different form since from any angle you look at it, the abuse of the ordinary Americans by those who pull the strings is entering the nightmarish arenas.

    I believe in evolution. Just a quick glance at American history and how it evolved to an empire tells me soon Americans will sober up and find out their hegemonic system is the same or worse than what their founding fathers fought so hard to oppose.

    I believe in the new scientific assertion that as Gene Sequencing proves “the genetic variations inside the races are more severe compared to one for among the races”. Or in simple terms all human beings from the points of view of creativity, capability, intelligence etc are the same.

    Science now proves nationalistic and racist convictions are all utterly nonsensical. Many example of that are abundant in human history. Among them are Nazi certainty that “Deutschland ist uber Alles”, the inhumane attitudes of superiority of the British imperialists, the Japanese adherence to Kokugaku philosophies, Arabs being sure Allah prefers them to Ajams (non Arabs), orthodox Jews confiding they are the only people chosen by god and similar belief orders among many primitive tribes such as the ones in Amazon

    I believe the American Exceptionalism is no different from any of the above destructive backward ideologies. I skip mentioning the enormous suffering it has caused for all humanity including for Americans themselves and that is why, based on the principal of “for every action there is a reaction” I maintain again that a grand American revolution can be seen on the horizons.

    Too bad, at the time of American Revolution about two centuries ago the likes of Tom Paine were not the originators of American destiny. He was a visionary who, unlike those who took power later, knew a fraction of the colossal value of the resources spent on WARS is enough to provide peace and prosperity for all.

    Paine also felt ‘old’ disastrous ways have failed miserably and in order to stop the madness of wars and destructions we have to devise new wise humanistic conceptions..

    And about the big hammer:

    Only a vicious bully or a brainless moron swings the big hammer and pounds it on the heads of others. Americans can do better than that unless they trust the helm of the ship of their destiny on the hands of soles like Harry Truman who thought “Atomic bomb is the gift of God to America”…or the likes of Ronald Reagan..

    Maybe humanity is approaching a crucial cross-road where To be or Not to be depends on which route the people will select. I just hope, if such an assumption is valid then the true nature of hegemonists and capitalists will get exposed before reaching to that critical cross road.

  183. Liz says:

    Pak gets his information from the Saudi AlArabia. How sad.

  184. Liz says:

    Pak,

    You blindly support whatever the US does and you can’t even accept that Turkey is moving away from secularism. Also, if Iran was so weak, then why is the US so afraid. Regarding Syria: I oppose any foreign involvement in the internal affairs of any country. Period. The fact that the US and the Saudis crushed the Bahraini people’s revolution is a crime against humanity. Bahrainis, Syrians, Jordanese, and others must choose for themselves what they want. However, you support your government (yes the US government) no matter what it does.

  185. Fiorangela says:

    Eric — 50 million Yes-men can’t be wrong.

  186. Pak says:

    Sorry, last post.

    Eric – if 33 out of 73 (around 45%) comments had positive things to say, does that mean the rest (40 comments, or around 55%) had less-positive/negative things to say?

    Oh my, what a conspiracy!

    By the way, you did not answer my question earlier.

    Final point:

    http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/03/25/142990.html

    Shahram Amiri is apparently on trial for being kidnapped by the CIA. Damn – I was really looking forward to seeing his supposed documents that proved his kidnapping!

  187. One “highly confident” prediction about the imminent confrontation in Gaddafi’s home town of Surt:

    1. The “human shield” stories will start almost immediately.

    2. Rebel and NATO spokesmen will claim to have sound intelligence that most civilians have left Surt.

    3. Ergo, anyone still in Surt must be a Gaddafi fighter.

    $. Ergo … Well, I don’t need to tell you the final step in this reasoning.

  188. Pro-interventionists such as Juan Cole may find themselves intellectually taxed now that the battle has shifted to Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte (sometimes spelled “Surt”). To my knowledge, there have been no reports whatsoever of attacks on civilians in Surt, and it’s highly unlikely that Gaddafi is going to start massacring civilians in his hometown.

    The only people attacking Surt will be:

    1. The rebels.
    2. NATO planes.

    I’m nonetheless confident that it will all be duly explained to us.

  189. Want to get a comment published in Juan Cole’s blog?

    Here’s some practical advice.

    1. Stick with criticism that doesn’t challenge Dr. Cole’s insistence that 80-90% of Libyans support the rebels and that Gaddafi’s troops were “massacring civilians.”

    2. Find some way to do what 33 of the 73 posters did in comments to his most recent essay. Here they are:

    I agree, on the principles at least.
 My reservations on the intervention are entirely practical.

    Juan, I love this piece. Your thinking is outstanding, and your positions courageous.

    Thanks for another excellent article, and for your work on our behalf.


    just want to thank you, Prof. Cole, for saying, and saying well what so many of us have been thinking throughout these events.

    Extremely well-said. It’s a thoughtful and cogent argument, and I hope it gets spread around the Left blogosphere. 


    Amen. Well thought out and reasoned.

    Thank you for this.


    well said, that’s my view almost word for word


    Thanks for this thoughtful analysis.


    Thanks for all the thoughtful analysis and values clarification.

    A truly excellent article.

    Dear Professor Cole, 
I read your diligent and nicely put analysis with some delight also because I am somewhat nauseated by the german branch of the Left …

    I‘m impressed. While I don’t agree with everything you’ve put together, two things were impressive: …

    I completely agree about the Left’s gum-chewing/walking limitations.

    Concider this my written version of a standing ovation. I agree with absolutely everything in this piece absolutely.

    You have made some powerful and compelling arguments which I appreciate …

    Though I am indeed an anti-interventionist on the Left and have doubted the motives behind the military campaign, I find your argument wholly persuasive. I will debate and encourage my friends to adopt your suggestions and provide support to those who would implement them. Thank you for setting the record straight.


    Agree.

    Thanks,
 This needed to be said, and you have done so eloquently and documented your positions.

    As a daily reader of Informed Comment I applaud your vast knowledge of the middle east and it’s nuances. However, I resent the statement about walking and chewing gum.

    Excellent

    Good stuff, Juan, your take on the Libyan conflict is insightful, and useful to someone trying to make heads or tails of it.

    Professor Cole,
 I wholeheartedly agree with your comments, both as a Muslim and as a progressive American. I think the left is simply confused.

    Thanks for this reasonable summary.

    Thank you. My only fear is that the Left will succeed in stopping what’s been begun. 


    Professor Cole, 
I want to qualify my criticisms by saying I enjoy your blog, think you are one of the best sources of analysis on the Middle East, and respect your opinion.


    You’re so right about this juan.

    Excellent article and summary–thanks for posting.

    Outstanding post; it covers all or most of the bases that lefties will invoke if they are being knee-jerk.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
 I am a generally pacifist leftist but I have thought this was the right thing to do – and should have been done sooner. But I have had a very hard time with my friends and colleagues. Thank you for articulating the argument much more clearly and completely than I can! I am now going to share it with everyone I can!


    Thanks Professor. This note ought to be required reading.


    I agree with Juan Cole…

    Thank you! This also pro-interventionist leftist (who is in fact also at UM) agrees wholeheartedly with what you have to say. I’ve been surprised by all the arguments against interventionism.

    Superbly well said, sir.

  190. Photi says:

    Fiorangela,

    “This dissertation is of phenomenal importance, in my estimation. It presents the evidence that the zionist project was well under way by at least 1908; had a eugenic agenda from the outset; intended to dispossess Arabs from the very beginning; was supported by wealthy financiers from the planning stage.”

    If there is any accuracy to speculation I gave about the Quranic prophecy about modern Israel, then political prerequisites would have needed to be established before Israel could become a reality at the UN in 1947. The Islamic reading is that God does not need to do injustice to bring about His Will, and so therefore the greed surrounding early Zionism would hardly be sanctioned by God. The greed and violence was gratuitous and unnecessary and makes the whole conflict in the Holy Land all the more tragic,.

  191. From Associated Press:

    “Libyan state television reports that international airstrikes are targeting Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown and stronghold of Sirte for the first time.”

    Well, this will call for some imaginative reporting from Western news media. Has anyone heard of attacks on civilians in Gaddafi’s home town?

  192. Fiorangela says:

    Photi —

    I typed a bunch of stuff but got tangled up in words, so I’ve deleted all but this:

    Arthur Ruppin and the Production of the Modern Hebrew Culture.

    This dissertation is of phenomenal importance, in my estimation. It presents the evidence that the zionist project was well under way by at least 1908; had a eugenic agenda from the outset; intended to dispossess Arabs from the very beginning; was supported by wealthy financiers from the planning stage.

    I’ve not thoroughly researched Ahad Ha’am. A Russian Jew, Ha’am wrote in 1891 against the “brutality” with with Jews in Palestine treated Arabs.

    The timeline of zionist activity in Palestine, laid parallel to timelines of, for example, the rise of Nazism, force some speculations that, if followed through, could shatter the accepted narrative.

    Inasmuch as the accepted narrative is not merely accepted but that deviation from it is criminalized, in some places, a twisted mind has to ask, What is being hidden?

    I don’t remember exactly the plot of “Poltergeist,” but I think that the moral of the story is You Can’t Bury the Truth.

    Perhaps it’s just my wish or hope — I think the Palestinian and Muslim people could bear much of physical and material dispossession if the truth of history could be told. Also in my speculative mind, I suspect Ahmadinejad and many Iranians understand not only the capacity of Muslims to bear hardship, but also some real truths of history — Iranians were friends of the Jewish people from the beginning of the recorded history of Jewry, and Iranians were friends of Europeans and the German people in the nineteenth century, the twentieth century, and today. Unlike Americans, Iranians were an eyewitness to an historic reality that is different from the narrative Americans are taught. It may be that some of the roots of the Iranophobia amongst Israelis are tangled around truths that Iranians know.

  193. Photi says:

    Fiorangela,

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. In the statement about Mecca, I should have included the Hijaz. Jerusalem and Israel are equivalent to Mecca and the Hijaz in that analogy.

    You said “I also believe that in the real world, it’s important for whatever we rely upon as processes of justice to take place, otherwise even the most generous soul may eventually eat itself away in resentments. My mother lost her home in Italy, and I never heard her complain and she did her best to live a full and happy life. But the efforts took a toll on her and made her far less a person than she could have become. ”

    I may have indeed sounded too willing to throw justice aside. I do want to see justice in Palestine, i am just worried that if too much justice is demanded (say in the form returning all the stolen land) the demands will not only be impractical but will also require further injustices to implement those demands. Not only that, if the demands are again too demanding, then I am afraid Israel will determine the only solution is more war and a big one at that. So somewhere a balance must be found. Personally i am in favor of a one state solution there with the abolishment of all racist laws. Money smartly invested into the Palestinians sectors encouraging an economy based off such industries as Information Technology will go a long way towards Palestinian appeasement. They Zionists stole the agrarian livelihood from the Palestinians, and so if they are not prepared to give that land and agrarian livelihood back then at least they should have the decency to create new livelihoods coupled with quality urban living.

    More on justice from the same discussion referred to in my last post:

    The Israeli army at the time of independence consisted of soldiers whose minds had been formed by the Holocaust. They had either personally been at the death camps or they had family and friends who were. So many of the children of the holocaust must have been psychologically warped. Warped children become warped adults. The Israeli behavior was bound to be extreme. This does not justify oppression, nothing ever does. However, from an anthropological point of view, the Holocaust will help us to understand Israeli behavior. [Note: “understanding” behavior is not the same thing as morally justifying it. ]

    I don’t have a direct connection to the Jews and I don’t have a direct connection to the Palestinians and yet I have sympathy for the the holocaust survivors and I have sympathy the Palestinians. The two sympathies are part of same need to reject oppression wherever it occurs. This is moral consistency.

    . In the case of the Palestinians, I did not truly listen to their story until I was in my mid-twenties (i am 37 now). Prior to that,my knowledge of the conflict and of Palestine generally was quite limited.

    When I was growing up (in the USA), my knowledge of the Jews was mainly limited to emotional Nazi Holocaust stories as seen through countless documentaries and through the cinema (eg, Shindler’s list). These stories are heart-breaking to me and engendered much sympathy.

    I lost most of my sympathy for the Jews when I became aware of the oppression being directed at the Palestinians by the Israelis, . I felt betrayed by their Holocaust propaganda. They present to the world this heart-breaking story of Nazi cruelty, and then they turn around and oppress their own “jews” for what has been decades now with no end in sight. This is nothing short of emotional blackmail and leaves a sour taste in my mouth for any sort of propaganda issued by anyone anywhere. In this case, the same propaganda that is used to teach the world about the virtues of tolerance and the evil of hate is the same propaganda used to create sympathy so that their crimes on Palestine are overlooked.

    I am no longer able to view or read anything having anything to do with the Nazi holocaust for this reason. The Holocaust survivors have betrayed the world with what they have going on in Palestine.

    Despite feeling like I have been betrayed, I still feel sympathy for the Jews for what they had to endure in the Holocaust. It is my belief that during the incarceration of the European Jews by the Nazis, the chorus of Jewish prayers that must have been directed towards Allah the Merciful on a daily basis must have been huge. I believe it is possible the Divine answer to those prayers is the Israeli state. If that is the case (I am going off Aga Pooyah commentary referenced in my previous post), then I believe the Jews had only to defend themselves from 1947 onward. The oppression in Palestine was never necessary for Israel’s survival.

    The expansionist violence and oppression we have witnessed by the Zionists has been gratuitous and immoral and in no way do I see such behavior as something sanctioned by Allah. The Israeli posture from the get-go should have been defensive. Had the Jews lived by their Jewish principles since the inception of Israel, today the Middle East would be much more peaceful. So much mischief and bloodshed has been caused by Zionist policies.

    None of this changes the fact that peace still needs to be found.

  194. Pak says:

    Dear Fiorangela,

    Firstly, sorry for flooding this thread – this will be my last post for today.

    You said:

    “What I DID support was the evidence that Iranian leaders are free to disagree with one another in a very open, loud, boisterous, even inelegant manner.”

    I am sorry to say – and I am not insulting you – that you are completely off the mark. The events in parliament that day were not an example of disagreement! They were an example of total agreement – some would say totalitarian agreement – that opposition leaders should be executed. Just because they “disagree” with the opposition does not mean that the political system in Iran is healthy!

    Disagreement – political discourse – should be accommodated in a political system in order for the system to be healthy. That means allowing protests, much like what happened in the UK and Germany yesterday. That means allowing opposition voices to have an opinion in the public sphere. That means allowing the opposition to organise in freedom. Etc.

    The parliament’s “disagreement” with the opposition that day is much more like the type of “disagreement” we are seeing across the Arab world lately, with many Arab leaders “disagreeing” with their populations.

    By the way, when they said “death to…” they really meant it. Many MPs are pissed off that Khamenei has not allowed the opposition figureheads to be executed.

    Much like when many protesters say “death to the dictator” they really mean it too.

  195. Fiorangela says:

    meant to add — I didn’t support “one faction over another” because I have no clue who represents which faction and what each faction stands for. I don’t bother my pretty little head with such trivia; it’s too much, what with Britney Spears fan club to keep up with and Melrose Place to watch . . .

  196. Fiorangela says:

    Pak — re the Parliamentary fracas — I vaguely recall it, but I’m certain I did not support one “faction” over another, and I certainly did not support anyone’s execution.

    What I DID support was the evidence that Iranian leaders are free to disagree with one another in a very open, loud, boisterous, even inelegant manner. I think that’s healthy. I have to think the calls for “executions” were about as specifically meaningful as Iranian chants of “death to America.” They are words spoken in anger, perhaps rashly. The sequence of events shows the words were not acted upon — the anger was abated. Presumably, Parliament is more or less functioning again.

    Governing is not a text book exercise, it is messy because human nature keeps intruding. In that instance, Iranian leaders demonstrated to a world that luuuvs to claim that Iranians are fanatic barbarians, that Iranians know how to disagree strongly, to manage their anger, and that they are NOT murderous thugs. THAT is what I cheered.

  197. Pak says:

    Dear Fiorangela,

    I did not insult you, unless asking you to try harder is an insult?

  198. Pak says:

    Dear Persian Gulf,

    Because:

    1. The protests in the UK we organised months in advance, and in total freedom
    2. There were human rights monitors both at the protests, and at police control rooms
    3. The protests were about budget cuts, not about fundamental political freedoms (other than exercising freedom of speech and assembly of course)
    4. The ones being discussed in the BBC article broke away from the designated protest routes (routes previously agreed upon and shared with the police)
    5. The media were free to cover the protests, including Press TV
    6. The protests have been openly discussed in public
    7. Governmental/non-governmental organisations have the freedom to assess and critique the protests
    8. 200 people were arrested and will be treated by a trusted police force. If they are charged, they will be tried by an independent and trusted judiciary
    9. Nobody was fired upon or killed, and nobody accused security forces of torture and rape
    10. Overall, the protests were about exercising fundamental rights, not demanding fundamental rights

    Otherwise, it is exactly the same, and you are totally right!!!!!!!!!

  199. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    James,
    I disagree- there is no substantial difference between Labour or Tories when it comes to foreign policy. Maybe in style or rhetoric, but not on substance. The problem is deep and relates to the inability of the British elites to formulate an independent global identity that is not an appendix to the US. I would be happy to listen to any thoughts you might have in this regard.

  200. Fiorangela says:

    Pak, I asked for information, you gave me insults.

    Yes, I do believe that Ahmadinejad stands up for the rights of the “little guy.” And I applaud that. I also recognize that every culture has both “little guys” and elites, and both demand accommodations from the state.

    No, you don’t need to “answer my question,” and I don’t need to spend my time advocating for your pissant country. Iran sucks. I’m an American. All better now?

  201. Persian Gulf says:

    off topic:

    Lights off as ‘Earth Hour’ circles the globe:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110327/sc_afp/climatewarmingearthhour_20110327032642

  202. Persian Gulf says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12873191

    ‎””No government – coalition, Labour or other – would change its fundamental economic policy simply in response to a demonstration of that kind.”” !!!!
    .
    .
    .

    ‎”Commander Bob Broadhurst, who was in charge of the Metropolitan Police operation, said his officers had to deal with “mindless yobs” in and around Trafalgar Square in central London.

    “We’ve had a number of – I hesitate to call them protesters – a bunch of people that ended up in Trafalgar Square,” he said.” !!!!!
    .
    .
    .
    ‎”Commander Broadhurst said a group of about 100-150 people had run off, ripping open litter bins and throwing bottles and bricks at police.

    He added: “This is just mindless vandalism, hooliganism, it’s nothing to do with protest.””

    oh yeah, so, why is it different in Iran’s case?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  203. Fiorangela says:

    Photi — one brief thought on your profoundly generous admonitions to Muslims. I wish I could share that generosity of spirit — I can’t. I also believe that in the real world, it’s important for whatever we rely upon as processes of justice to take place, otherwise even the most generous soul may eventually eat itself away in resentments. My mother lost her home in Italy, and I never heard her complain and she did her best to live a full and happy life. But the efforts took a toll on her and made her far less a person than she could have become.

    I think the Jewish/zionist people have committed a grave harm against Palestinians. If they are permitted to ‘get away with’ their acts, then there will be no future basis for demanding that others not steal the land of an indigenous people. Some form of justice, however imperfect, must be attempted, and truth should be sought and guilty persons punished, just as the Nuremberg trials attempted to achieve some measure of justice, and just as the Truth and Reconciliation movement in Rwanda attempted to heal a broken society.

    You wrote:

    “If Mecca were being ruled by Jews, would Muslims be pushing for the liberation of Mecca? Do Muslims claim a right to rule over Mecca? If so, does that claim ever expire? If the Muslims lost Mecca a thousand years ago and were left to wander the world, would they still claim the right to rule over Mecca today?”

    If Jews had taken only Jerusalem, your analogy would apply. Unless I misunderstand what is encompassed by “Mecca,” Jews have NOT taken only the Mecca equivalent, they have dispossessed thousands of people from their homes, farms, and businesses. That’s a far different reality. It should not be permitted to stand by a world that calls itself civilized.

    Palestinians will have enough suffering to bear to create a life in whatever form of sovereignty they achieve in the Levant. To call upon Palestinian Muslims to engage in that generosity of spirit that would cede not so much material property, but truth, to their usurpers, is a bridge too far.

    Jews and Muslims lived side by side in the Levant for hundreds of years. But for the attitude of European Jews that they wish to recreate Ashkenazi Berlin in the East, and call it West, and remain the Western culture in the East but separate and apart from the east, Jews and Muslims could live side by side in the Levant, in one state with equal rights for all, again.

  204. Pak says:

    Dear Fiorangela,

    I respect that you do not want to get involved in domestic Iranian affaris, but you still do. Only recently you supported the Iranian MPs who were dancing around parliament, calling for the executions of other Iranian politicians. That to me is getting involved, and also explicitly supporting one faction over another.

    Anyway, try harder.

    Also, you said:

    “But you tell us, Pak; educate us: Who among Iran’s leadership or in the wings of leadership has no alliances with millionaires, no alliances with Revolutionary Guard, and only alliances with the poor and trade unions?

    I once had a conversation with an Iranian friend, an ex-patriot whose US naturalization ceremony I was proud to attend. I said that I thought Rafsanjani was not a good person to have political power because he was regarded as a corrupt billionaire.
    My friend nearly took my head off. “So what? He knows how to get things done; that’s what matters.””

    You were the one who implicitly said that Ahmadinejad is a fighter against corruption, and a voice for the workers, not me. Therefore I do not need to answer your question.

  205. Pak says:

    Dear Eric,

    Here is a report by RAND, regarding the role of the Revolutionary Guards in the Iranian economy (as well as other things):

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG821.pdf

    There are numerous reports by investigative journalists as well, but I do not have the energy to find them for you right now.

    Regarding Juan Cole: my use of the term “another good point” was not to say that his article is full of good points, but rather to say that the good point I quoted (about the oil) was in addition to the earlier good point I quoted for Fiorangela (about leftists), if you know what I mean.

    Regarding the oil argument: do you believe that Juan Cole is wrong? If so, why?

    Regarding censorship: shit happens. I have been censored here, on Press TV, and even on Professor Lucas’ site. It pisses me off, and I am against censorship, but there is only so much I can do about it.

  206. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    I agree with you that the allied attacks on Libya were not driven by major oil companies. BP, ENI et al were trying to make the best of what was at hand. Gaddafi government clearly not the easiest to deal with.

  207. Fiorangela says:

    Pak, you got me dead to rights; I don’t know anything about internal Iran politics, alliances, etc. I wish Richard Steven Hack would come back to remind you, AGAIN, that Iran’s internal affairs are not the business, the prerogative, the responsibility, or the right of an American to influence. My concern is about US demonization and unfair treatment of Iran. What happens inside Iran is up to Iranians.

    Richard!! Where are you??

    But you tell us, Pak; educate us: Who among Iran’s leadership or in the wings of leadership has no alliances with millionaires, no alliances with Revolutionary Guard, and only alliances with the poor and trade unions?

    I once had a conversation with an Iranian friend, an ex-patriot whose US naturalization ceremony I was proud to attend. I said that I thought Rafsanjani was not a good person to have political power because he was regarded as a corrupt billionaire.
    My friend nearly took my head off. “So what? He knows how to get things done; that’s what matters.”

  208. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    I think Turkey was quite right to try to achieve peace between Syria and Israel, to help clear the way for a final settlement on Israel/Palestine. Surely the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (aka Saudi peace plan) is a sound basis for a deal. I assume compensation would have to be paid to Palestinians not allowed to return to Israel w/in 1967 borders.

  209. Pak,

    “Another good point made in the Juan Cole article…”

    You claim to be young, and this comment makes me believe you are. Quite. Cole’s article sets up all the arguments one can easily knock down (for example, the “It’s all about oil…” argument you cited in your comment). He declines to post comments from people who challenge the assumptions on which his position really depends:

    1. His claim that “civilian massacres” were occurring.

    2. His claim that 80-90 percent of Libyans support the rebels.

    He simply asserts that both facts are true, and ignores posters who ask him why we’ve seen no evidence of these massacres or this 80-90 percent support.

    If someone has control over what gets printed and is intelligent, he doesn’t simply print comments from sycophants (though Dr. Cole does that so often that I’m almost embarrassed on his behalf). He knows readers will stop taking him seriously if he does that. Instead, he sets up all the straw man arguments and knocks them down.

    With luck, the readers will get so engrossed in this simple exercise that they’ll never notice that he ducks entirely the tougher arguments.

  210. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    The UK has beem trying to improve its relations with Hezbollah and Hamas, and obviously I think the US should follow suit. The Israel lobby, of course, fights it tooth and nail. Even if quite a few in Washington see it as making good sense.

  211. Pak,

    “Firstly, let us ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad has awarded billions and billions of dollars worth of no-bid contracts to companies affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards.”

    I wasn’t aware of this. Can you explain more?

  212. Photi says:

    The following are some thoughts about peace in Palestine that I posted on an Islamic forum back in January prior to the Arab revolts. The voice is obviously as a Muslim speaking to Muslims, but I would still be interested in comments from non-Muslims as well and so I am posting this here. It may read a bit awkward because the comments are largely cut and pasted from an (at the time) on-going discussion though I have tried to edit for continuity.

    If Mecca were being ruled by Jews, would Muslims be pushing for the liberation of Mecca? Do Muslims claim a right to rule over Mecca? If so, does that claim ever expire? If the Muslims lost Mecca a thousand years ago and were left to wander the world, would they still claim the right to rule over Mecca today?

    Jerusalem and Israel are to the Jews what Mecca and the Hijaz are to Muslims. If the Muslims claim an eternal right to govern over Mecca, shouldn’t the Muslims expect the Jews to claim the same right to govern over Jerusalem?

    Israel is a reality that is not changing anytime soon, so instead of accepting the Zionist argument to achieve peace, the Muslim ulema could attempt to articulate an Islamic/religious argument in order to achieve peace with the Jews generally (beyond the borders of the Israeli state). By making peace with the Jews, the Muslims will be in a much better position to end the violence in Palestine.

    The following verses from the Quran are quoted to illustrate a possible Quranic justification for modern Israel (translation taken from the USC.edu website). The two promises referred to in the quoted verses below are the two times the Jews ruled over Israel. The Qur’an gives a prophecy in 17:8 about a third time the Jews might rule over Israel as a result of God’s mercy. Aga Mahdi Puyah (who discusses Shia tafsir in a widely circulated translation of the Qur’an) says verse 17:8 prophesizes modern Israel :

    017.001
    SHAKIR: Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.

    017.002
    And We gave Musa the Book and made it a guidance to the children of Israel, saying: Do not take a protector besides Me;

    017.003
    The offspring of those whom We bore with Nuh; surely he was a grateful servant.

    017.004
    And We had made known to the children of Israel in the Book: Most certainly you will make mischief in the land twice, and most certainly you will behave insolently with great insolence.

    017.005
    So when the promise for the first of the two came, We sent over you Our servants, of mighty prowess, so they went to and fro among the houses, and it was a promise to be accomplished.

    017.006
    Then We gave you back the turn to prevail against them, and aided you with wealth and children and made you a numerous band.

    017.007
    If you do good, you will do good for your own souls, and if you do evil, it shall be for them. So when the second promise came (We raised another people) that they may bring you to grief and that they may enter the mosque as they entered it the first time, and that they might destroy whatever they gained ascendancy over with utter destruction.

    017.008
    It may be that your Lord will have mercy on you, and if you again return (to disobedience) We too will return (to punishment), and We have made hell a prison for the unbelievers.

    017.009
    Surely this Quran guides to that which is most upright and gives good news to the believers who do good that they shall have a great reward.

    Quranic commentator Aga Mahdi Puya says concerning verse 17:8:

    “The misery of the Jews lasted from the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus to the establishment of their state in 1948. If they again make mischief in the world, there will be no respite for them. It is a prophecy.”

    Among the major obstacles standing in the way of the Muslims acquiescing to peace with Israel are the on-going injustices committed against the Palestinians and the Muslims generally in the name of Zionism. Human history is littered with injustice. Most of that injustice will go unpunished until the Day of Judgment. This is a simple fact of life. Insofar as possible, justice for the oppressed should be sought in the Dunya. So often though, those who want to see justice must decide where to place their efforts. Efforts spent in one direction, though noble, might be better spent in another direction.

    We can continue to get lost in history and lament the injustice which has occurred towards the Palestinians of yesterday, but while we are doing that we (the Muslims) are doing nothing to secure some semblance of justice for the Palestinians of today and even more importantly justice for those Palestinians who will come tomorrow.

    If the Muslims are the hegemonic power in the region, then the solution in Palestine will be one way. If they are the weaker power in the region, which they are, then the solution in Palestine will have to be another way. Effective use of power requires this sort of adaptability.

    Whatever the solution in Palestine is, genuine justice itself will not be seen until the Day of Judgment. So yes, the Muslims will have to accept something less than perfect Justice, but that has been the case throughout all of human history so none of us should be shocked that the same will be true in Palestine.

    With a clearly spelled out Islamic justification for modern Israel based not on secular Zionism but instead on a recognition of the historical Jewish homeland and a recognition of their suffering in Europe (desperate people do desperate things), and also a Quranically based justification, a justification which does not require regime change in Israel, the Muslims will in clear and certain terms take ownership of 100% of the moral argument (as viewed by the international community).

    With such an argument where it is clear the Muslim nations do not hold onto any dreams of Israel’s destruction, political activists the world over (Muslim and not) will be much more effective in their work to change official policies of the Western nations. As it is now, with all the ambiguous statements made by Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran about their position on Israel, those who are currently active in working to change policy in the Western nations are always at risk of being labeled either as terrorists or as terrorist sympathizers and so those activists and potential policy makers are therefore marginalized.

    If a power bloc and vision for peace were to emerge led and articulated by Turkey and Iran [and now Egypt post-Mubarak) which also included Hamas and Hezbollah, and also included friendly overtures towards the relevant Arab nations for their involvement, a vision which clearly spells out acceptable terms for peace between the Muslims and the Jews along with their Israeli state, then all of a sudden you have so much fresh, relevant material on which to build a viable peace.

    The continued “they will never make peace until Islam is neutered” mantra the Muslims and Muslim nations have towards policies in their own region is pathetic and embarrassing.

    The way to stop the injustice is to focus on the present and the future with leadership from Iran and Turkey [and now Egypt post-Mubarak]. Focusing on the past only lets the injustice continue. Focusing on the past stops everything from moving forward. The verse says “It may one day be that God will have Mercy on you…’ speaking to the Jews about a possible future state. If modern Israel is the Mercy being spoken about in that verse then we have an Islamic justification for the Israeli state and an obligation (as Muslims) to accept it. If not the Nazi holocaust, what then would qualify the Jews for receiving God’s Mercy? How many prayers must have been said in those death camps? It seems logical that the Divine test about the Jews’ mischief making (the verse says if the Jews again return to mischief in the land God will again remove them from power) will begin only after they secure genuine peace, which the Israelis have not yet had.

    Securing peace with Israel and halting her expansion will make the Muslim nations stronger over time as policies directed at weakening those nations will no longer have the sort of support those policies have today. Obviously, the ultimate responsibility on strengthening the Muslim nations will fall on the citizens themselves, but decreasing the amount of sabotage from the outside world will make the citizens’ job that much easier.

    Why do the leaders of the Muslim nations think it is okay to abandon Palestine? The US will never abandon Israel. Palestine needs more powerful allies at the negotiating table. Those new allies will be able to offer incentives to Israel that Palestine couldn’t possibly offer. Those incentives will make all the difference. Expecting America to be impartial on Peace there is absurd.

    Ultimately, peace in Palestine seems impossible until the peace agreement is put into the context of a region-wide peace between the Muslims and Jews. Anyone reading history honestly knows the Muslims do not have the same sort of virulent anti-Semitism as has been witnessed in Europe, and so to treat the Muslims or the Iranians as the next Hitler is absolutely absurd.

  213. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    I very much agree: Turkey is secular, and it benefits hugely from being secular. The concept of being a Turk is independent of religion or “national” origin, thus Armenians are Turks, as are Kurds, and Jews, if they were born in Turkey etc.

  214. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    Yes, terrible things have happened, both before the fall of the Shah, and after.

    I think Cameron and Hague are much better people to have in charge of British foreign policy, than Tony Blair. Concluding there is no difference is a significant mistake.

    Dick Cheney and his gang (mostly lawyers) set out to compromise US intelligence by preventing key facts from getting into the White House. I think they intentionally duped George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell, to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq. The more this issue can be explored, the better it is for the US and for the entire world.

  215. Pak says:

    Dear Liz,

    Turkey has become stronger because of a re-orientation of its foreign policy. You should read the works of Ahmet Davutoglu if you want to know more.

    By the way, Liz, what do you think about the protests in Syria?

  216. Pak says:

    Dear fyi,

    “Turkey was never secular. It was an anti-Islam state in which the military enforced that orientation.”

    True – secularism was somewhat forced upon Turkey by Ataturk’s (popular) revolution.

    But Turkey was – and is – secular. It has nothing to do with the religiosity of the people, which is a popular misconception of secularism. Instead, it has everything to do with the political system, which is definitely secular.

    The current ruling AKP party is more religious than previous parties, but it does not make Turkey’s political system Islamic.

    Article 2 of the Turkish constitution:

    The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state…

  217. Pak says:

    Oh, and Fiorangela, let us thirdly ignore the fact that a) independent trade unions are banned in Iran, and b) trade unionists – such as Mansour Osanloo – are in prison.

    Then we can totally conclude that Ahmadinejad is one with the workers.

  218. Pak says:

    Dear Fiorangela,

    “true, so true. disgusting how Ahmadinejad is so buddy-buddy with bankers and corporatists…”

    Firstly, let us ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad has awarded billions and billions of dollars worth of no-bid contracts to companies affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards. Secondly, let us turn a blind eye to his buddies who have been/are currently in government, including his good ol’ friend Sadegh Mahsouli (interior minister during the 2009 presidential elections) who is a multi-millionaire (some would say billionaire). Oh, and his top VP – Mohammad-Reza Rahimi- who was charged with being the head of a multi-million (some would say multi-billion) corruption gang.

    Then yes, you are totally right. And no – he “never tosses even a (cake) crumb to workers”, only potatoes.

  219. Fiorangela says:

    fyi — it is my impression that there IS a system of taxation in Iran — bazaaris are taxed, aren’t they?

    I believe Kooshy brought to my attention the good feelings many Iranians have for Baskerville. I think W. Morgan Shuster also tried to be a good person and a good American and a good friend to Iran in attempting to set up a system of taxation and organize Iran’s finances, back in 1911. The British and Russians wanted none of that, and forced Iranians to send Shuster back home. Shuster wrote The Strangling of Persia, expressing his affection for the Iranian people and his disappointment that his efforts had failed.

    Interesting that he wrote the book in 1912. To the timeline that Rehmat suggested earlier today, namely, that on Mar 24, 1933, Jews declared war on Germany, I would have added two facts:

    1. Samuel Untermyer spearheaded the boycott.
    2. In 1913, Untermyer was a key figure in placing an ardent zionist, Louis Brandeis, at Woodrow Wilson’s elbow and the US Supreme Court. Untermyer was also involved in getting US into Federal Reserve/central banking system. Siegfried Warburg was one of the partners in the Jekyll Island conference that set that ball in motion; Warburg was also a key financier and participant in creation of zionist Israel in Palestine. Untermyer was a key figure in promoting “Christian zionism,” by means of the Scofield Bible (Clifford Kiracofe, who posts on Pat Lang’s blog, authored “Dark Crusade,” a history of the evolution of Christian zionism in Great Britain. :http://cliffordkiracofe.posterous.com/ This is important information, inasmuch as the early zionists and financiers — and they were very closely tied — worked first through British connections to try to establish the zionist state — way way way before holocaust and before the “terrible” pogroms in Russia (that killed 2 Jews) drove Pinsker into high dudgeon at the lack of “nationalist fervor” in Jewish people. As one commenter noted on Lang’s blog, zionist is perhaps the biggest con of the century. I would agree, except that the con spans 1.3 centuries and counting.

    in summary, 1913 was a pivotal year in American history, and Samuel Untermyer was a prime mover in many of the events that took place.

  220. fyi says:

    Pak says: March 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Turkey was never secular.

    It was an anti-Islam state in which the military enforced that orientation.

    Which is what I have been syaing: only form of secularism in Muslim polities is one that is enforced by bayonets.

    There is a fundamental challenge that Turkey faces as its Muslim character re-asserts itself: “Whose Islam is Islam?” In other words, in an Islamic Turkey what will be the situation for the Shia, for the Ismaili, and for the Allawaites?

  221. Liz says:

    Pak,

    You should become the new US State Department spokesman.

  222. Liz says:

    Iran is the strongest Muslim state and ever since Turkey has become more Islamic, it’s become much stronger.

  223. Pak says:

    Dear fyi,

    “The strongest Muslim state, Turkey, is the one most reliant on tax collection but even Turkey requires injection of funds from EU from time to time.”

    The strongest Muslim state – Turkey – is also the most secular Muslim state.

  224. Fiorangela says:

    Pak — from the quoted material:

    “As the pillar of a repressive Theocratic order that puts down workers, he is a man of the far Right, and that he doesn’t like the US and Western Europe doesn’t ennoble him.”

    true, so true. disgusting how Ahmadinejad is so buddy-buddy with bankers and corporatists, and never tosses even a (cake) crumb to workers.

    Unlike Obama, of whose visit to Brazil Bastiat-prize winning journo Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote:

    “Millions of Brazilians climbing out of poverty is something to celebrate. But it is troubling when the leadership of a formerly isolated sleeping giant announces that it seeks alliances with tyrants. That’s what was happening during Lula’s time in office.

    Lula had a thing for thugs. Given his roots in the left-wing labor movement, his soft spot for Cuba’s Fidel Castro was understandable. But his decision to act as a flack for Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the world stage was not. Fortunately, it was ineffective. On the other hand, his support for Hugo Chávez—who is antidemocratic at home and supports Colombian terrorists beyond his borders—damaged multilateral efforts to contain the Venezuelan menace.

    Now Ms. Rousseff wants to shape a new foreign policy that, while far from aligning itself with the U.S., is not so likely to actively pursue dictators and authoritarians. The U.S. should nurture this effort. In the struggle for hemispheric stability, Brazil is a crucial player.”

    “Lula, with roots in the labor movement” — heaven forefend, someone with “roots in the labor movement” is pals with what Cole apparently thinks is a Wall Street wannabe, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    nb. “Fortunately, it was ineffective.” [Brazil-Turkey-Iran nuclear deal] Nice touch. That’s how Bastiat prizes get won. Much like Nobel Peace prizes.

    By the way, Slavin did not even allude to the BTI nuclear deal in her comments at Atlantic council.

  225. Pak says:

    Another good point made in the Juan Cole article, one which I tried to make on Press TV numerous times, but constantly had my comments rejected:

    “Another argument is that the no-fly zone (and the no-drive zone) aimed at overthrowing Qaddafi not to protect his people from him but to open the way for US, British and French dominance of Libya’s oil wealth. This argument is bizarre. The US declined to do oil business with Libya in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, when it could have, because it had placed the country under boycott. It didn’t want access to that oil market, which was repeatedly proffered to Washington by Qaddafi then. After Qaddafi came back in from the cold in the late 1990s (for the European Union) and after 2003 (for the US), sanctions were lifted and Western oil companies flocked into the country. US companies were well represented, along with BP and the Italian firm ENI. BP signed an expensive exploration contract with Qaddafi and cannot possibly have wanted its validity put into doubt by a revolution. There is no advantage to the oil sector of removing Qaddafi. “

  226. fyi says:

    Pak says: March 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    The major source of weakness in Muslim states is that their governments are not supported by taxes collected from the population. That is, the state is not or cannot be entirely funded by transparent and cosistent tax revenue from the citizens.

    The strongest Muslim state, Turkey, is the one most reliant on tax collection but even Turkey requires injection of funds from EU from time to time.

  227. paul says:

    I find it entirely charming that Cole calls for sweetly calm discussion while war rages. Oh yes, I’ll have some tea and crumpets too.

  228. paul says:

    One has to admire this kind of brazen propaganda:

    “just a ruse to pursue “us domination..” really. with all due respect, that’s a fatuous argument. it’s too easy to dismiss a un-backed multilateral military intervention to stop gaddafi’s attacks against civilians as a cat’s paw intervention. juan cole has an excellent rejoinder to the argument that you’re making. i strongly suggest you and others who agree with your POV consider what he has to say.

    Notice that if you point out what is all too obviously going on, your point of view is “fatuous” and “too easy”. Apparently we are expected to believe that ‘serious’ thinkers are careful to focus on trees, where real or fake, while ignoring the forest.

    And then we lectured not to “dismiss” the arguments of others, while our own are dismissed!

    And then we are regaled with bracing tales of a “multilateral” force, even though this Coalition of the Killing is far less multilateral than the one that invaded Iraq!

    Notice how we never have wars anymore? It’s always an “intervention” now.

    And then we are instructed, in an insulting appeal to our credulity, that the attacks on Gaddafi are intended to stop attacks on civilians – even though it is clear to anyone .. including the cheerleading mainstream media, who are enthusiastically open about this, in quite a celebratory mood, one might say … that the attacks on Libya are intended to provide air cover to a proxy ground assault by rebel forces, and that any ceasefire or prevention of attacks is entirely one-sided, and even though emerging reports show that the rebels themselves are (predictably) doing reprisals…

    Ah, and then there is the clinching reference to Juan Cole. He is the one who, because he once criticized Bush’s Iraq war, gained such massive ‘cred’ with the Left that he can now advocate for martial policies without question!!

    And how is all this relevant to Iran? Well, ‘humanitarian intervention’ is already being put forward as good idea for Syria, and with a ‘human rights monitor’ having been created for Iran (as if Iran were the only country where there are human rights issues to monitor!), we can be sure it won’t be long before ‘humanitarian intervention’, that of course has nothing whatever to do with US domination (!!), is recommended universally by the ‘responsible ones’ for Iran … and with Juan Cole (presumably) cheerleading, will the Left once again show that it’s rage against war is politically selective?

  229. Pak says:

    Dear fyi,

    That many of the most recent wars have been fought by the West against Muslim states is not a sign of a clash of civilisations. It is a sign that Muslim states happen to have valuable resources, yet they are too disastrously weak to defend themselves.

    One then wonders: why are Muslim states so weak?

    P.s. there have been numerous acts of aggression by Muslims on Muslims.

  230. Pirouz says:

    John Cadidy,

    Here’s Juan’s “kicker”:

    ” I hope we can have a calm and civilized discussion of the rights and wrongs here.”

    How is that possible when according to Eric (and my own experience) Juan “censor[s] comments which challenge the fundamental but unexamined assumptions on which some of your views are based”?

    It isn’t. Juan no longer appears honest.

    BTW, he makes a reference to Czechoslovakia in ’68. I really wonder if he ever toured Soviet republics as a young man before their economies tanked in the 80s. I did. And I’ve befriended soviet supporters from those countries, as well, some even after the fall of the soviet system.

    Juan’s become something of a left wing Victor Davis Hanson, which is not intended as a compliment.

  231. Pak says:

    Dear Fiorangela,

    This one is for you (from the Juan Cole article posted below):

    “To make ‘anti-imperialism’ trump all other values in a mindless way leads to frankly absurd positions. I can’t tell you how annoyed I am by the fringe left adulation for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the grounds that he is ‘anti-imperialist,’ and with an assumption that he is somehow on the Left. As the pillar of a repressive Theocratic order that puts down workers, he is a man of the far Right, and that he doesn’t like the US and Western Europe doesn’t ennoble him.”

  232. fyi says:

    john caddidy says: March 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

    The Axis Powers, no doubt, are involved on the ground on behalf of the anit-government forces.

    What is not clear is their program for post-Qaddafi Libya and the amount of infuence they would have there.

    I expect a prolonged period of lawlessness in Libya (at least a year) as the tribes and urban resident try to gain control of the oil money in that country. It might take longer.

    I personally think that the Axis Powers will not have much political influence since Libyans are indpendently wealthy and do not need Western patronage.

    The Iranian leaders, of course, are powerless to do anything and are watching another exercise of non-Muslim military power against a Muslim state. They saw this in Afghanistan by USSR, in Iraq by Axis Powers, in Lebanon by France and later by US, in Lebanon by Israel over decades, in Gaza by Israel, in Afghanistan by Axis Powers, and now in Libya.

    The lands of Islam have been the palygorund of non-Muslims’ militaries for the last 100 years. This will have to change; the costs of such military interventions have to be increased.

  233. Fiorangela says:

    will Juan Cole research the relationship — if any — between Israeli firm CST Global, said to have hired African mercenaries to fight for Qaddafi, and mercenaries that Le Monde reports are perpetrating “mau mau like” acts? :http://www.lemonde.fr/libye/article/2011/03/25/sur-la-route-d-ajdabiya-les-macabres-decouvertes-des-insurges-libyens_1498258_1496980.html#ens_id=1481986

  234. Photi says:

    Fiorangela says:
    March 27, 2011 at 10:59 am
    ” [sotto voce: they will foot the bill. In fact, this is what it is all about: the Arab League bought the US Army to depose a dispensable dictator, in exchange for enough funds for US to pay Japan on the notes that Japan needs to turn into yen in order to rebuild the world’s third-largest economy]”

    Tinfoil hat or not, who could disagree with this conclusion. Does that mean the USA has become a proxy of Saudi Arabia?

    Also, last week the yen was flat. So the conversion has effectively pegged the USD/JPY, interesting. Any predictions for this week re: currency? More of the same?

  235. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: March 26, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    1. In answer to your first question, Mr. G H W Bush convened the Madrid conference and froced the Israelis to meet with both Syrians and Palestinians. It was a beginning which was not followed up with the expansion of the participants and the agenda to include non Arab states of Iran and Turkey as well as th e terms of withdrawal of Israeli forces to the armistice line of June 1967.

    2. In my opinion, the United States, for decades, has posited that she was the only state that had leverage with Israel and thus, could, in ripeness of time, get the Arabs what they wanted from Israel. Thus the Arabs, for decades, listened to US, expecting her to deliver Israel – so to speak – sometime. And US would put just enough effort into this to keep hope alive.

    Just imagine that the war in Palestine had eneded in 1981 per the paramteres Camp David. Then US would have lost a big inducement and leverage vis-a-vis Arabs. Her significance to Arabs would have been diminished and thus her political influence.

    I think we have either reached the point or have already passed that point where a return to 1967 borders and giving up Jerusalem will end the war. I am afraid that even a return to 1948 borders for Israel will not bring Peace.

    Peace is now on obtainable at any price; ceasefire is the only choice; just like the Korean Penninsula.

    That is acceptable.

  236. john caddidy says:

    just a ruse to pursue “us domination..” really. with all due respect, that’s a fatuous argument. it’s too easy to dismiss a un-backed multilateral military intervention to stop gaddafi’s attacks against civilians as a cat’s paw intervention. juan cole has an excellent rejoinder to the argument that you’re making. i strongly suggest you and others who agree with your POV consider what he has to say.

    open letter to the left

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/03/an-open-letter-to-the-left-on-libya.html

  237. Fiorangela says:

    speaking of timelines — haven’t done all the research, but how do these facts relate in time:

    -Qaddifi rebels arm themselves
    -Qaddafi uses his army to attempt to quell the rebellion
    -tsunami in Japan
    -UN Resolution 1970, Take Qaddafi to the International Criminal Court
    -nuclear reactors in Japan spew radiation into water and atmosphere
    -yen soars, momentarily.
    -Bahrainis stage protests
    -[sotto voce: Japan calls its notes to US]
    -Israeli company contracts with Qaddafi for mercenary soldiers to defend Qaddafi. Mercenaries are drawn from Africa, etc.
    {recall that UNRes 1970 exempts certain parties from prosecution before ICC}
    { Sur la route d’Ajdabiya, les macabres découvertes des insurgés libyens US and British press not reporting the Mau Mau style mutilation and torture of Libyans by the African mercenaries, but LeMonde Is}
    -Barack Obama organizes coalition of the complicit to pass UN Res 1973, declaring a no-fly zone over Libya. Arab League is part of the coalition [sotto voce: they will foot the bill. In fact, this is what it is all about: the Arab League bought the US Army to depose a dispensable dictator, in exchange for enough funds for US to pay Japan on the notes that Japan needs to turn into yen in order to rebuild the world’s third-largest economy]
    -Barack Obama goes to Brazil. According to Wall Street Journal, the visit was about ensuring that Brazil would not get too palsy with Lula de Silva/Iran; and that Brazil was still in the central bank mode:

    “As to the good reason for such a trip, consider the shared geopolitical interests between the U.S. and the biggest democracy in Latin America. Although former President Lula da Silva, also from the Workers’ Party, did almost nothing to deregulate a mostly unfree economy over his eight years in office, he did manage to respect the central bank reforms carried out by his predecessor, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. As a result, after decades of inflationary chaos caused by central bank financing of government deficits, Brazil has now had vastly improved price stability for more than a decade. Ending the cycle of repeated devaluations is enabling the formation of a substantial middle class, and it is shaping a nation that increasingly wants to be part of the modern, global economy.” :http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704608504576208691881359896.html

    Recall that in ~2009, Brazil was loaned $2 billion to buy US oil drilling technology. Speculation was that George Soros was involved in the loan.

    My speculation is that Soros is rehearsing for the role of J P Morgan and has agreed to bail out the US in its debt to Japan, in exchange for protecting the Brazil oil project and Brazilian central bank.

    tinfoil hat off.

  238. Fiorangela says:

    Rehmat, Timelines, like facts, are pesky things. Lipstadt’s latest bout of hysteria can signal only that more and more people are putting together more and more pieces of the puzzle. Lipstadt’s job in zio, inc, is to periodically smash her fist on the table and scatter the fact/pieces.

    I would draw even more radical conclusions than you did, but — and here’s the two-edged sword of Eric’s injunction that RFI should not be used for one-line advertising — it is important that RFI remain close to neutral in order to gain more and more access for Flynt and Hillary Leverett — it being their blog and all. But it is also important to bring to the public’s attention information such as the fact of a banner headline declaring “Judea’s War on Germany” on March 24, 1933. How to manage both?

  239. Rehmat says:

    Ahmadinejad is Eichmann, now!

    On March 24, 2011 – Deborah L. Lipstadat the author of book ‘The Eichmann Trail’ wrote an Israeli Hasbara (propaganda) piece, entitled ‘Trail and Error’ in the Jewish Tablet magazine, targeting Iranian President Ahmadinejad as the new Adolf Eichmann.

    In my earlier post, entitled Hannah Arendt and Eichmann’s ‘show trial’, I had proved that Adolf Eichmann was in fact a supporter of the World Zionist movement’s dream of a Jewish state in British occupied Palestine. My claim was based on Hannah Arendt’s book Eichmann in Jerusalem.

    Deborah L. Lipstadat in her article claims that deniers of ‘Six Million Died’ are ‘anti-Semite’ and ‘Jew-haters’. The truth of the matter is that no prominent personality has denied the Jewish sufferings under Nazi regime. However, some of them do question the exclusiveness of Holocaust (only Jewish sufferings) and the number ‘Six Million’. Some westerner (Norwegian MP Anders Mathisen, Hutton Gibson, etc.) has gone on the extreme by saying that the Jewish Holocaust never happened.

    “In the 1930s and 1940s, of course, observers—and the potential victims—could not fathom where Hitler and his cohort’s anti-Semitism might lead,” wrote Deborah.

    I am sure the ‘self-denying’ Zionist expert on Holocaust must have known that on Friday, March 24, 1933, the headline “Judea Declares War on Germany” was splashed across the front page of the British newspaper Daily Express. The subheads read: “Jews Of All The World Unite In Action”; “Boycott of German Goods”; “Mass Demonstrations in Many Districts”; and “Dramatic Action.” Israel and the rest of the Zionist thugs are forcing the western world to repeat the same actions against the Islamic Republic now. At that point of history, both Adolf Hitler and Adolf Eichmann were not in power.

    “Most of all, the actions of not just Adolf Eichmann but all those who played a role in the Final Solution remind us that we should pay particular heed to threats that emanate from those who have the ability to do real harm,” wrote Deborah.

    Do you think Deborah never heard of the book Hitlers Jewish Soldiers in which its author, Dr. Bryan Mark Rigg has documented that about 150,000 German Jews served in the Nazi Army, some at the highest ranks.

    “During the past five years we have heard a stream of Holocaust denial, overt anti-Semitism, and threats against Israel emanate from the mouth of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Many people have dismissed him as a deranged person whose crazy comments are best ignored. Some scholars have gone to great efforts to explain away his threats against Israel. That is to engage in a form of self-delusion,” whined Deborah.

    Anyone who have read objective sources outside the Zionist-controlled mainstream media – knows that Ahmadinejad never denied the Jewish sufferings under Nazi regime or called for the “wipe out Israel from Map”. What Ahmadinejad had said was:

    1. Removal of the Zionist regime from the Middle East and death to Zionism. Anyone, who has read the Zionist history from objective sources, he would know that most of Zionist leaders happened to be Atheists and great anti-Semites themselves.

    2. Dr. Ahmadinejad including many Christian historian and even some Rabbis have questioned the number ‘Six Million’. Ahmadinejad had challenged Olmert to provide some concrete proof of the death of such large numbers of Jewish people killed by Nazis which can be used in a court of law. Ahmadinejad even offered to send a team of experts to Poland on Tehran’s expenses to investigate the truth. Polish Foreign Minister, under Israeli pressure – refused to allow any such team to visit Warsaw.

    What really irked the Zionist thugs was Ahmadinejad’s comments that since Palestinians did not take part in the genocide of Jews in Europe – why should they be forced to pay the price for the crimes committed by the Judeo-Christian Nazis in Europe.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/ahmadinejad-is-eichmann-now/

  240. Pak says:

    You guys are really cool, threatening each other and all.

    To whoever accused me of being Hadid: rest assured, you will never find me talking about Imam Zaman, Velayate Faghigh, or any sort of crap like that. I have better things to do.

  241. BiBiJon says:

    Juan Cole’s lets it hang out:

    ” To make ‘anti-imperialism’ trump all other values in a mindless way leads to frankly absurd positions. I can’t tell you how annoyed I am by the fringe left adulation for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the grounds that he is ‘anti-imperialist,’ and with an assumption that he is somehow on the Left. As the pillar of a repressive Theocratic order that puts down workers, he is a man of the far Right, and that he doesn’t like the US and Western Europe doesn’t ennoble him.”

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/03/an-open-letter-to-the-left-on-libya.html

    This ought to be part of InformedComment’s comment policy:

    Any pest-like insistance on pesky facts that in anyway may humanize, let alone, legitimize, individuals that happen to be the object of the professor’s unshakable hate, will not be tollertaed. So, please do not annoy the professor with questioning his non-facts about the 2009 presidential elections.

  242. hans says:

    It seems that PressTV in it’s quest to be as anti-ghaddafi as the rest of the western media is parroting stories being put out by the west. Stories like MQ on his way to exile to Venezuela, now the mysterious rape woman. See this excellent piece by Scott Creighton about “The Libyan Rape Victim Street T heater” excellent report.
    :http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/theatrical-review-the-libyan-rape-victim-street-theater/

  243. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Masoud-jan,
    Rest assured that Jadid has nothing to do with any security organization in Iran. He is a munafeq working out of Tel Aviv trying to get info. Don’t be embarrassed for any reason.

    If you review the posts, Mr. fyi and I were having a discussion which as usual on this forum dealt with all and every subject under the sun. Jadid decided he had to set me straight and I responded.

    If you review the posts you will also see that I was the first person to suggest limiting posts in each thread to the subject of the discussion, but the owners of this blog don’t want to do this. It is what it is.

    Also, you can call me chomaq-dar if you like, but I prefer Dr. Chomaq-dar (it’s called irony).

    Jadid,
    Ask your mother about my IP address. The only thing you did in Mersad was have your Saddam loving ass kicked by a munch 14 year old Basijis. Polite enough for ya?

  244. حدید says:

    Fiorangela,

    Out of respect for you, others here, and the Leveretts, I will stop, as I have made my points. I was not threatening anybody, including our 14 year old wanna be pseudo-Basiji who is کاسه داغتر از آش. I simply would like to have a chat with him, face to face, here in Tehran in line with our policy of جذب حداکثری and دفع حداقلی.

    Masoud – your post was funny and amusing, thank you. However I had no plans to ‘kahrizak’ anyone, and in any case Kahrizak was an anomaly in the system which was dealt with promptly and professionaly. I have not raised my hand against an Iranian, discounting operation Mersad, during which we confronted pure traitors.

    Iran is not heaven on Earth, but we are independent, strong, and on an evolutionary path towards an ideal our people, olama, and scholars have had in mind for a long time.

    عزت زیاد

  245. masoud says:

    Eric,

    You’re a fair bit more diplomatic than I am. Before the 2009 election my impression of Juan was that he was a relatively harmless Liberal, though at times frighteningly misinformed at times. I had read his comment policy before, it used to be much more prominently displayed, so I rarely posted if ever, mainly because he came off as a bit of an douche. His idiotic arguments and outright lies about the election stunned me. It wasn’t his conclusions, as much as his lightning quick decision on the matter, and uncritical parroting of every green talking point, which is all the more infuriating because many would then point to his previous record of relative restraint at Iran that he must be principled. Since then, he’s gone on to say some frankly shockingly racist things about the Shi’ah, Shi’ism being one of his academic areas of specialty! It’s mind boggling.

    He’s a wannabe celebrity intellectual, not entirely unlike a politician. He knows his demographic and what they want to hear, and systematically goes about giving them what they want, complete with a sense of ‘robust debate’. Someone should really do some serious research about this type of propagandist, because I think it’s a new phenomenon. I think traditionally the academic-as-propagandist(eg Bernard Lewis) would typically try and determine what message people in power want to be disseminated, and go on disseminating that very message, and subsequently get rewarded through indirect channels. On one hand there were structural academic pressures that kept them somewhat more honest than they otherwise would have been, and they even took open part in policy formation which meant lying too much would land them under some severe scrutiny, on the other hand they had a very specific agenda of what lies to spread and who’s lead to follow.

    Juan, Scott, and company seem to subscribe more to the Paris Hilton school of living prosperously. A sign of the times, I guess. Their main goal seems to be to become a prominent ‘commentator’ to the blathering classes, and cash the opportunities such designation would bring with itself. If not as directly subordinate to particular currents within politics at large or what can be loosely denoted as ‘state planners’ or the ‘strategic thinking community’ as their forerunners, they are a good deal more vapid, thought not the non-expert. And given their lack focus, they are good bit more arbitrary and reckless in what they claim to know and the advice they dispense. I think that combination makes them even more dangerous than their more traditionally minded forerunners.

    Masoud

  246. masoud says:

    Hadid and B-in-B,

    I imagine many people who frequent this site might be a little embarrassed over the back and forth going on between you two(not to mention some of the other regular unfortunate banter that goes on). I would count myself in this group, however I urge you guys to keep at it for one very simple reason: I also find it highly amusing. I’ve been laughing myself silly for the past forty eight hours, and I know I can’t be the only one.

    I imagine some progressive church peace group type passing through to see what all the buzz around former US state department officials arguing that it is essential for America to find reasonable partners in Iran to stabilize it’s Mideast policies is all about, to find a couple of chomag-dar’s goading each other into revealing their true identities so that they can kharizak one another, all over some weird theological disagreement about the fall of man and the necessity of implementing the word of the Bible as Law. I have to work hard not to piss myself. I mean, that’s just the kind of stuff you can’t make up, and people do try.

    I imagine such a visitor promptly getting on the United Against Nuclear Iran email list that very night, signing up for one those ‘discover Israel’ trips most synagogues will send on for free the next day.

    But that damage is already done, so if one of you two is going to get his ass kicked,
    I urge you both to try and get it on tape, so we at least have one copy of what happens, and the rest of us busily engaged face palming ourselves at the moment will at least have what is bound to be a hilarious youtube video to lighten the load. Who knows? It might even go viral.

  247. Fiorangela says:

    Hadid — Matt reminded this forum in a very circumspect way to stick to the rules.

    Your threats are unpleasant. Please stop.

  248. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    March 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    “I think it clearly is in Iran’s own best interests for the CIA to be able to continue to say that Iran’s government has not decided to build nukes. ”

    Internal strife is the price the Islamic Republic must pay in order for the CIA to be able to continue such things. How is that in Iran’s interest?

  249. حدید says:

    Bussed-in Idiot,

    I assure you, you will not find me or any of the other brothers here funny at all after a face to face meeting. Post your IP address in Iran and we will meet, as simple as that, perhaps this week depending on my schedule.

    If you’re a chicken when it comes to posting your IP, head over to اداره اماکن
    any time and ask to be sent over to us.

    My last advice again for your partially deaf ears: exercise better judgement in your postings, and grow up. We will meet one day.

  250. Rehmat says:

    The ‘Jewish influence’ on ME Revolutions

    Gene Sharp has been behind the ‘Color Revolutions’ from Ukraine to Burma and from Iran to Egypt. For two decades, Gene Sharp’s writings have been translated by NATO and CIA into over 20 foreign languages which have been used to overthrow unwanted regimes without provoking international outrage. In 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused Sharp for stirring unrest in Venezuela. In February 2008 – Tehran showed a video on foreign intelligence agencies (CIA, Mossad, MI6) involved in stirring up violence in Iran which highlighted Gene Sharp’s dirty fingers…..

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/the-jewish-influence-on-me-revolutions/

  251. Pirouz_2 says:

    Arnold;
    “3) what geostrategic benefits are you talking about? I’ve read claims that Israel defeated Nasser, but so what? What geostrategic interest other than Israel did the US have in defeating Nasser? I also read that Israel supports the dictatorship over Jordan. So what? What first order geostrategic interest does the US have in Jordan being ruled by its current dictator?”

    The interest that USA has (and the British had before the USA) is what I explained in one of my earlier messages in another thread:
    People such as Mosaddegh, Arbenz, Sukarno, Nasser, Allende etc. were extremely bad news for the Western Capitalism, they were breaking the cycle of:
    raw material + labour —> product
    And they were breaking it in all three links: By refusing to take the function of raw material provider for the western Capitalism, by refusing to provide labour, and finally by refusing to provide the market for the produced goods.

    However, I must say that your question is very much to the point when it is asked to FYI, because so far as I understand he has no problem with capitalism.

  252. Arnold Evans says:

    fyi says:
    March 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Excepting Mr. G H W Bush’s administration, none, in my opinion, did a damn thing to resolve the core war.

    Three questions:

    1) What do you think GHW Bush did to resolve the core war?

    2) What specifically do you think the others could have done that they have not?

    For question 2, I want to note that the Apartheid South Africa put the post-colonial African world into a state of conflict with the West that was resolved by the West, reluctantly, completely abandoning White-majority South Africa. Short of that, there could have been no resolution to the conflict and so, of course, until then no US president had done anything to resolve the conflict.

    If ten US presidents failed to completely abandon Zionism, it seems to me that can still be explained by the well understood and documented US identification with Zionism and with the influence of the US’ most wealthy ethnic group that identifies much more strongly with Zionism even than the US society at large.

    3) what geostrategic benefits are you talking about? I’ve read claims that Israel defeated Nasser, but so what? What geostrategic interest other than Israel did the US have in defeating Nasser? I also read that Israel supports the dictatorship over Jordan. So what? What first order geostrategic interest does the US have in Jordan being ruled by its current dictator?

    In your equation, X has been negative pretty much entirely since 1948. Not hugely negative and not more than the dominant world power could choose to bear if it wanted, but never positive.

  253. Fiorangela says:

    not that facts matter all that much, but we have been told that the 19 hijackers who caused the 9/11 tragedy were from Saudi Arabia, that place that Ignatius writes, “Saudi Arabia has its problems, but it isn’t an Iran-style menace, either.”

    Thank goodness Saudi Arabia merely generated 19 hijackers who, we are told, brought down three planes with passengers and four buildings, killed 3,000 civilians and led to two wars that cost 4000+ American lives, 30,000 American injured, >100,000 Iraqi lives, destruction of untold Iraqi homes, cost of several trillions of dollars, but is NOT an “Iran-style menace.”

  254. Fiorangela says:

    Arnold Evans — you are welcome.

    Eric Brill — thank you for quoting the on-target comment from an Australian.

    Hans, re Ignatius in Washington Post: he wrote this:

    “l Second, Obama shouldn’t be shy about defending America’s friends, even when they are conservative monarchies and have lots of oil. The United Arab Emirates may not be a perfect place, but it’s a lot freer and more progressive than Iran, say, or Russia or China. Saudi Arabia has its problems, but it isn’t an Iran-style menace, either. Encouraging change doesn’t mean throwing a stick of dynamite into the oil barrel and blowing up the world economy.”

    In 2002, Bibi Netanyahu said Iran was the most open society in the region.

    In 2010, Stephen Kinzer said the amazing thing about elections and protests in Iran is that occur at all; such is –or was– not the case in other states in the region.

    Yesterday, Barbara Slavin said much the same thing: Iran is the closest to a democratic society and will do best with democracy of other states in the region.

    It appears Ignatius’ analysis — that Iran is in need of revolution just like the other Arab states — is as wrong as his facts.

    As for Ehud Barak’s comparison of the revolutions in the region with the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, I’d be wary: it was the weakness of the Ottoman empire and the rising nationalist claims that inspired Judah Pinsker to create in their minds the yearning for a nation, and to settle on Palestine as the locus of that yearning:

    “the greatest impediment in the path of the Jews to an independent national existence is that they do not feel its need. Not only that, but they go so far as to deny its authenticity.
    In the case of a sick man, the absence of desire for food is a very serious symptom. It is not always possible to cure him of this ominous loss of appetite. And even if his appetite is restored, it is still a question whether he will be able to digest food, even though he desire it.
    The Jews are in the unhappy condition of such a patient. We must discuss this most important point with all possible precision. We must prove that the misfortunes of the Jews are due, above all, to their lack of desire for national independence;** and that this desire must be awakened and maintained in time if they do not wish to be subjected forever to disgraceful existence — in a word, we must prove that they must become a nation.”

    ** Most histories of zionism point to pogroms –anti-Jewish riots — in Russia as a crucial precipitant to Jewish requirement of a homeland where they could feel safe. According to wikipedia, the pogroms between 1881-1884, the time that Pinsker was writing, resulted in the deaths of two Jewish people and the destruction of a great deal of property. Without drawing a strict cause-and-effect relationship, wikipedia does point to some correlated events and undercurrents related to Jewish activities, not the nature of Jewish existence:

    “The trigger for these pogroms was the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, for which some blamed “the Jews”.[4] The extent to which the Russian press was responsible for encouraging perceptions of the assassination as a Jewish act has been disputed.[5] Local economic conditions (such as ancestral debts owed to moneylenders) are thought to have contributed significantly to the rioting, especially with regard to the participation of the business competitors of local Jews and the participation of railroad workers, and it has been argued that this was actually more important than rumours of Jewish responsibility for the death of the Tsar.[6] These rumours, however, were clearly of some importance, if only as a trigger, and they had a small kernel of truth: One of the close associates of the assassins, Gesya Gelfman, was born into a Jewish home.”

    About ten days ago several members of a Jewish Israeli family were killed, possibly by the disgruntled Thai employee of the deceased family. The Israeli state immediately blamed Palestinian terrorists; last week, Israeli soldiers killed several Palestinians children who were playing soccer, then hunkered into maybe- we- have to- go- to- war- on- Gaza mode. That reaction is similar in its logical fallacy to Pinsker’s conclusion that the response of Russian Jews to having been targeted in riots in Russia, due to perceived economic and political injustices, is to arouse in all Jewish people everywhere the urgency of demanding a state of one’s own, and eying the breakup of the Ottoman empire, settling on Palestine as the place to actualize that desire.
    Since the Jewish people now HAVE a state of their own, one wonders whether that same mental trick of believing themselves bereft of appropriate respect and nationhood, will marry with weakness of states in the region that Barak perceived, “like the breakup of the Ottoman empire,” to inspire expansionist visions and dreams.

  255. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    A very complex, if not to say Byzantine, situation obtains in Washington with numerous intelligence agencies, Congressmen who “freelance” their own operations, etc etc etc. I think it clearly is in Iran’s own best interests for the CIA to be able to continue to say that Iran’s government has not decided to build nukes. The support, whatever it is, for dissident politicians and others in Iran, should not be that big a deal, in and of itself. On the other hand, I condemn US support for any terror groups operating in Iran, any assassinations, etc.

  256. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Mossadegh’s own blunders brought on the coup. His primary mistake, perhaps, was to refuse arbitration for the value of the assets of Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. that he had nationalised.

  257. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I very much agree the X of geopolitics has declined over the years, and the Z of Christian Zionism has increased. The latter, of course, due to the decline of mainstream Protestant churches such as the Anglicans and Presbyterians.

  258. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    My understanding is that powerful Jews threatened Lyndon Johnson if he did not cover up the Israeli attack on the Liberty and temper American support for Britain’s effort in the UN to get Israel out of all the occupied territories. They could have ended the Vietnam war and humiliated him (which happened later anyway, thanks largely to Eugene McCarthy). Another issue of course was the Cold War and Soviet/US rivalry.

  259. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Jimmy Carter of course got Israel out of the Sinai, and but for being defeated in 1980 – – thanks in no small way to Jewish support for Ronald Reagan – – he might well have achieved success in getting Israel out of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights. Carter was punished for forcing Israel out of the entire Sinai.

    Dwight Eisenhower’s Sec of State certainly wanted to settle the Israel problem and he wanted Israel out of part of what was taken in 1948-49. And Eisenhower forced Israel out of the Sinai after the 1956 war. Nasser’s alignment with the USSR wrecked American efforts to force Israel out of part of the 1948-49 conquests. (Not to mention Nasser’s campaign of assassination of foreign leaders in the Middle East who did not accept his leadership.)

  260. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    US has had the following Presidents furing the time period in which she presided over the transformation of a communal war in Palestine between European Jews and the Arab Muslims and Christians:

    Eisehhower,
    Kennedy
    Johnson,
    Nixon,
    Ford,
    Carter,
    Reagan,
    Bush,
    Clinton,
    Bush II,
    Obama

    Excepting Mr. G H W Bush’s administration, none, in my opinion, did a damn thing to resolve the core war.

    One could only conclude that the Americans thought that they derived geopolitical benefits that were worth the continuation of that war. Thus the attack on USS Liberty was ignored. [US, also for geopolitical reasons, had white-whashed the attack on USS Panay by Japan in Yangtze River in China in 1937.]

    I am not suggesting that this was the whole reason behind the US policy but certainly is a plausible cause.

    Let us say: X % geopolitics, Y % Jewsih Lobby, and Z % Protestanism.

    Clearly, the Z percentage must have been much smaller at earlier times but as the Persebyterians and Anglican Churches declined, Z increased; perhaps at the expense of the X.

  261. Photi says:

    Rehmat, I think you are objecting to James Canning’s comment in the quotations. My own comment said nothing about Mossad or the innocence of the CIA.

  262. Rehmat says:

    Photi – CIA sleeps in bed with both Mossad and MI6. all three of them have been ploting against Iranian nation even before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. These three ‘Axis of Evil’ are behind the removal of elected prime minister Dr. Mosaddekh, Mujahideen Khalaq terrorist group and Jundallah terrorist group and the Green Revolution – to name a few.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/western-terrorism-against-iran/

  263. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    March 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    “The CIA played a key role in blocking Bush administration neocon warmongers from attacking Iran in 2007. I think you make a mistake by trying to equate CIA with Mossad when their objectives are at times directly in opposition to each other. The Iraq catastrophe was direct result of political (Dick Cheney’s gang) suppression of compelling evidence obtained by CIA that Saddam had destroyed his WMD in the 1990s.”

    The Bush administration and now the Obama administration have made no secret about CIA involvement in the domestic politics of Iran. Is that nothing but psyops? Wouldn’t CIA destabilization efforts in Tehran naturally extend into the blogoshpere as well?

  264. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Jadid (probably in Tel Aviv),
    You’re a funny guy…I’m really laughing at how stupid you are…and BTW unlike you I am in Tehran…in my own office…and I took the bus (get it!)…and I ate a sandwich on the way with sundis and stopped by Imamzadeh Saleh for a prayer and ziayarat where I visited the grave of Shahid Shahriyari and where I prayed for the destruction of all enemies of Islam, especially the munafeqeen.

    OK hot shot, if you tell me which one your office is, I can visit you tomorrow morning and give you a nice Basiji spanking…

  265. Pirouz says:

    Eric,

    Good overview on Cole’s blog. His censorship efforts appear to be something new. Over two years ago, I failed to see one of my comments appear on his blog so I wrote him an email about it. He returned my email, saying for some reason it he hadn’t got it and to try posting it again. If memory serves me correctly, he even made a remark to the effect that he didn’t censor for political content.

    But a couple of months ago I noticed my comment referring to the 2009 Iranian election and the cultural heritage of Bahrainis were not posted, and so I emailed him. To my surprise, he ignored my email this time around.

    I think he looks upon himself more as a “liberal” advocate these days, rather than a true analyst. But I don’t know that for sure. What I do know is–you’re right–competent opposing views in his blog’s comments section are being censored.

    That said, I do have good news over at Tehran Bureau. They had begun censoring my opposing views, as well, even though TB is associated with PBS, a publicly funded site. After a few correspondences exchanged between myself and PBS Frontline, the senior editor of PBS Frontline assured me that such will not be the case.

  266. Incidentally, my reference to the dialogue in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead should not be misinterpreted as an endorsement of Ayn Rand or the book. Frankly, I haven’t given her work any more thought than Howard Roark gave to Ellsworth Toohey’s writing.

  267. Masoud,

    YOU WROTE:

    “Eric, I’ve said before how little I think of Juan Cole. I think previously you disagreed … I wonder if you’ve changed your opinion of him? I see him as little different than a slightly more informed version of Scott Lucas, e.g. an echo machine for what he thinks main stream media want to hear.”

    REPLY:

    I probably got across my current impression of Juan Cole’s blog in my long post of March 24, at 1:42 PM. I say “Juan Cole’s blog,” rather than “Juan Cole” because a blog owner gets to decide which comments to post. Some websites, like Race for Iran, shoot for a robust debate, and thus are censored very little. A few commenters here abuse that freedom – to advertise the commenter’s own blog, or to engage in personal attacks – but we’re all big boys and girls here, capable (usually) of ignoring that sort of thing. And we’re rewarded for it with a great and always-getting-better forum.

    I’d thought Juan Cole considered his blog to be a similar forum – and it may be that he sincerely believes it is. To his credit, he warns readers that not all posts will be accepted. See his “Comment Rules” here: http://www.juancole.com/comment-rules

    Some of his rules are good ones that I’d like to see followed here:

    “Short messages that are mainly sent just to include the author’s URL will not be accepted. A substantive message that points to a URL will be entertained.”

    This distinction, applied here, might weed out Rehmat’s one-line advertisements of his own website that Zach recently mentioned. (By the way, Zach’s comment seems to have induced Rehmat to beef up his posts recently so they satisfy the test in Dr. Cole’s second sentence.)

    What was not clear to me until recently, however, is that Dr. Cole excludes many comments based solely on his disagreement with the views expressed. Here is what he claims to want:

    “The ideal comment would be meaty, with some analysis or information that contributes to the topic, and would be one or two paragraphs in length.”

    Every writer believes, of course, that his own comments are meaty and include “some analysis or information that contributes to the topic.” Each reader or blog owner must judge that for himself. Nonetheless, I’d be willing to let a panel of independent reviewers judge the half dozen comments I’ve had rejected by Juan Cole in just the past week. I’m confident that any fair judge would conclude that each of my offered comments passed Juan’s test with flying colors. And most of them were the desired one or two paragraphs in length. All were rejected. They failed another test which, on close examination, I now understand is imposed by Dr. Cole.

    It is by no means necessary that a poster agree with Dr. Cole. Take Libya, for example, on which he’s become quite the hawk. He welcomes commenters who disagree with him but keep their complaints within a range that appears broad at first glance but is in fact quite narrow. For example, he will gladly post comments along the lines of “Why aren’t we also intervening in Bahrain or Yemen?” Or “We should be spending all this money on teachers, not bombs.” Or “It’s all about oil.” Or “All these people complaining about Gaddafi were cozying up to him just a short while ago.” Or “Why don’t we let the Arabs handle their own problems?” He’s got ready answers for cream-puff comments like those, and usually can even find some another commenter to do his dirty work for him.

    As a result, the debate on Dr. Cole’s blog may at times appear so robust that few readers notice how expertly he keeps it within a narrow band. To be sure, the band gets widened a bit if the poster strokes Dr. Cole’s ego a bit before he begins: Here are some recent examples: “Dear Mister Cole,
 First I would like to point out that I like your blog a lot. It is very instructive. 
I can agree with 8 out of your 10 points, but not with point 8 and 10 however…” And this: “I’ve been following Prof. Cole’s blog since before it was big and have always respected his opinion. He’s been my main source on the Middle East. That’s why I’m a bit surprised to find myself disagreeing substantially with him…” Anyone who reviews my March 24, 1:42 post here will probably be impressed at the extent of such fawning (which the Leveretts appear not to require here, even though nearly all of us think very highly of them), and the predictably inverse relationship between the extent of the fawning and the quality of the comment that follows it.

    But Dr. Cole draws the line sharply at any post that would challenge the fundamental but unexamined assumptions on which his hawkish views are based. For example, if one were to question his claim that there “was an ongoing massacre of civilians,” or that “80-90 percent of the country” was supporting the Libyan rebels before the US bombing began, one could rest assured that his comment would never see the light of day on Dr. Cole’s blog.

    One way to ensure this is to take Dr. Cole up on his rare offer of proof – such as when he recently wrote: “For a refresher on what kind of danger Benghazi, pop. 700,000, was in only a week ago, look again at this Aljazeera English video…” Dr. Cole probably was confident that no reader would actually do this, but I did. The cited video had two parts. The first showed a jet plane crashing in Benghazi, which the announcer misdescribed as a Libyan government plane (it was a rebel plane, as Dr. Cole certainly must have known by the time he cited this video). The second part was a hospital scene in which an on-the-scene narrator described a blurry-faced but clearly bearded patient as “five years old,” and claimed that another patient – who was not shown on camera, even though he was said to be lying right next to the “five year old” – was “four years old – four months old.” The large red splotch on the bearded five-year old’s bedsheet was several shades too bright to be real blood – a comical effort probably made by someone who’d never actually seen dried blood.

    I politely pointed all this out in a comment on Dr. Cole’s blog, but he excluded it. The same has been true for several other offered comments that questioned the rebels’ popular support, or his assertions that “civilian massacres” or “genocide” were occurring. Those assumptions are simply too important to Dr. Cole’s hawkish views for him to entertain any questions about them.

    And so my view of Dr. Cole’s blog now amounts to this: If one agrees with his strong support for the US’ attack on Libya, and is merely looking for help in responding to the simpler objections (see my examples five paragraphs above), Dr. Cole’s blog may be a good place to spend some time. If that is one’s only objective, however, there are many other blogs that will fit the bill just as well or better. If one instead wants a real debate, censored very little – and only for reasons that don’t include the commenter’s point of view – this website is far superior.

    Since I’m much more interested in the latter type of website, my present view of Dr. Cole’s blog can best be summed up by this memorable exchange that appeared Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead (which I’ve mentioned here before), between the young architect, Howard Roark, and the distinguished architecture critic, Ellsworth Toohey, who’d taken it upon himself to destroy Roark’s career by skewering him in Toohey’s influential newspaper column, and now wondered whether Roark had been duly impressed by the power of Toohey’s venomous pen:

    “Toohey: Why don’t you tell me what you think of me, in any words you wish.

    Roark: But I don’t think of you.”

  268. حدید says:

    Bussed-in Idiot,

    Next time you’re in Tehran, post your IP address here. I’ll have you brought in for a nice chat to my office. Pack for a few days. In the interim, learn to be polite, and try to accelerate your mental growth from a 14 year old, to a 19 year old.

  269. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    James,
    Agree, no linkage implied, only responding to a person who accused me of a pretty nasty thing in these parts of the world. If you should visit Iran one day, we can go visit the gentlemen (and unfortunately some ladies ) who were directly tortured by CIA people during the Shah era.

    James the relevant question in all this is how to evaluate a country that has a system of governance where the likes of Cheney can become so powerful as to cancel the entire intelligence apparatus with a few well placed allies in key jobs. It’s a farce to mention words like freedom, democracy, human rights for such a country. Let’s be honest and call it an empire- if we take recent events in Bahrain as just one example. And once we do that, we see that resistance- militant resistance- to this empire is the most natural, logical and common sense response by any mentally healthy human being.

    So yes the Israelis do there evil bit, but the real evil is none other than Uncle Sam himself. It’s a shame that British elites seem incapable of developing an independent global identity from their American cousins. Cameron and Hague no better than Blair and you and I know how bad that was.

  270. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Powerful Jews will ensure that the Israel lobby keeps control of the Iran topic in public discussions in the US. This is guaranteed; it is all about the money, and they have the money.

    And the American public is appallingly ignorant, with this problem getting worse year by year.

    Did you hear that 2000 American ’11th and 12th graders’ were polled in 2008, and asked to name the ten most important Americans in US history, excluding prsidents. No. 1 was Martin Luther King, Jr. No. 2, Rosa Parks (!). No. 3, Harriet Tubman (1).
    Cleary ZERO sense of American history and thus no possible comprehension of the world or the Middle East.

  271. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    In 1991, G H W Bush was pressing hard to get Israel out of the West Bank and Gaza, and the Golan Heights. Powerful Jews made sure he was defeated in 1992. Bill Clinton was beholden to powerful Jewish interests and did not really get serious about settling the Israel/Palestine problem until it was too late in his second term of office. Then G W Bush came in, and he was too ignorant to comprehend the importance of completing the work Clinton had underway. And Bush’s appallingly incompetent national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, also failed to see the importance of getting the job done.

  272. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    After the 1967 Arab-Israel war, Britain worked diligently in the UN to achieve Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories. American gave some support but failed to ensure the job got done. My understanding is that Lyndon Johnson was pressured or blackmailed by elements of the Israel lobby. Johnson was pre-occupied by his growing catastrophe in Vietnam, and I understand he was told that powerful Jews would wreck his effort to continue the Vietnam war if he pressed Israel to get out of the occupied territories. And we know that the Johnson administration lied repeatedly to deceive the American public to cover up the deliberate Israeli attack on the USS Liberty during the 1967 war.

  273. James Canning says:

    Fara,

    Gul (and Turkey) obviously have solid grounds for their concern that the allies will go beyond the UNSC resolution. Which would be a major mistake, in my view.

  274. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    The CIA played a key role in blocking Bush administration neocon warmongers from attacking Iran in 2007. I think you make a mistake by trying to equate CIA with Mossad when their objectives are at times directly in opposition to each other. The Iraq catastrophe was direct result of political (Dick Cheney’s gang) suppression of compelling evidence obtained by CIA that Saddam had destroyed his WMD in the 1990s.

  275. Matt says:

    I’m just a lurker, but in light of the direction some of the comments have been heading in the last couple days, I thought it might be useful to re-post a section from the “Rules and Regulations” section:

    “Personal attacks against other contributors;

    Racist, sexist, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language;

    Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments;

    Links to commercial sites or posting of commercial messages;

    Threats of death or violence.

    Finally, we ask commentators to maintain a respectful tone with others and to be tolerant of opinions that may differ from their own.”

  276. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Jadid,
    I can read Farsi fine- you see it’s just that your too dumb to understand the play of words I did on your name. In fact, the probability that you are a CIA-Mossad ass-licker taking on a revolutionary persona is much higher than me.

    And if that is the case, then it’s kinda scary for you to know that are basijis that blend in really easily into the US or Israel- you know not like those al-Qaeda misfits that you can spot from a mile away- come on a-hole, be honest about how scared you are…

  277. Fara says:

    Gul (Turkish President) warns of ‘hidden agenda’ on Libya

    “The aim (of coalition forces) is not the liberation of Libyan people. There are hidden agendas and differing interests. We should light the fire, the rest will follow is a wrong mentality, and unfortunately I suspect the presence of such a mentality (on the side of coalition forces),” he said in a three-day tour to Africa.

    “I worry that the things that happened in Iraq may repeat itself in Libya. Iraq was looted; now I am afraid that the same will happen in Libya” the Turkish president noted.

    Turkey “neither wants the division of Libya, nor bloodshed, nor the continuation of the current administration (in Tripoli),” he further explained.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/171696.html

  278. Unknown Unknowns wrote:

    “I heard over lunch today that al-Qaeda is now offering rewards to anyone who brings them US citizens in the ME, $20,000 dead & $40,000 alive. Anyone know anything about this? It could be nothing but a wild rumour as nothing seems to come up in google and bing, but even if not true, the fact that this can quite easily become a tactic, and the chilling affect it will have on US executive travel in the ME, is significant in itself.”

    Who knows, but I seriously doubt it. I heard similar rumors several decades ago, and several times since, when I traveled in the Middle East. There are very few Western travelers there in any case. Here’s an eye-witness report from one of them – my son – describing part of his bicycle ride today on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, Egypt, on route to the Valley of the Kings, where Tutankhamen’s tomb is located:

    “I stopped to snap a picture of the Colossi statues. There is this decent sized parking lot, maybe the size of the property that our house sits on, and I overheard another tourist comment that the last time he was there the parking lot had been full. He said this as he exited the only van in the parking lot.”

  279. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: March 26, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    At any time between 1956 to 1980 and from 1991-2000 US leaders could have ended the War in Palestine.

    They chose not to; there can be no disputation in this.

    One has to ask “why”?

    I furnished my opinion; other can state theirs.

    In regards to Rabbi Ken Spiro’s comments:

    No one argues if very many Jews would like to view themselves as the “Light onto Nations”.

    [For me, the “Light” metaphor is a touching reminder of what Judaism owes to the Vision of Zorastaer of the Wise Lord of Light.]

    Those Jews, then, need to be preaching God in parts of Africa, in Europe, in China, in Jpana, in Korea, and many other places on Earth.

    There is an enormous spiritual hunger in the world and we could all use more such people.

    But the notion of a people permanently designated as “light onto the Nations” is no longer sustainable since the “Light” has been lit by the Revelations of Jesus and those of the Quran among very many people.

  280. Kathleen says:

    Fio “**A guest on C Span Washington Journal this morning, a professor from Georgetown Univ., discussed US policy toward Libya. Responding to a question about the impact of social media in motivating Arab revolutions, he explained that “US diplomats deal with the elites in a country. But we also want to influence the young people. So we use whatever media is available to us to let the young people see American life; they can see how much they are missing out on . .

    Saw that 7:45am – Paul Sullivan, Georgetown University, Security Studies Adjunct Professor

    Thought he was one of the more reasonable and full of information folks on Cspan that seemed reliable about Libya. But was definitely on the side of the military intervention being good list. Did not say anything about the contradictions that are so obvious. Which folks the UN and the US decide to protect from “massacres” or folks that have been “massacred” by the US or Israel etc.

    Or who has done a great deal of business with Gaddafi

  281. Kathleen says:

    James Canning/ all. Was just so amazing that that task force is so lop sided. Seems like nothing has changed. Israel lobby still driving Iran foreign policy discussion and debate.

    Although Hagel kept bringing up “widening the framework, the strategy” Hagel also said “engagement is not appeasement”

  282. Fiorangela says:

    fyi — I think your prognostications are flawed in several ways; for one example, if you’re thirsty, are you willing to wait for a drink of water for 40 years?

    but your metaphor intrigued me:

    “They acted like the proverbial eye doctor who would leave the bone fragment in the butcher’s eye for repeated visits….
    Now they have lost the control of that dynamics (the eye has become gangerous)and the value of geopolitical gains that they could obtain must be weighed against the enmity of the World of Islam.”

    I’m reading E L Doctorow’s “The March.” It’s about Sherman’s devastating march through the South, slashing and destroying Southern plantation culture.

    A soldier is injured when an explosion caused a railroad spike to pierce his skull, penetrating about 7 cm but still projecting 6 cm. The proud Army doctor refuses to attempt to remove the spike, preferring to observe the functioning of the conscious and partially-functioning soldier, in order to learn more about brain activity.

    The doctor takes elaborate measures to protect the soldier, including having a special box built to ensure that the spike will not move. While in this box, the soldier’s hands are bound so that he can’t wriggle the spike, either.

    However, the soldier has enough brain function to convince someone to free the soldier’s hands, whereupon the soldier drives the spike into his skull.

  283. Kathleen says:

    Pirouz she seemed a bit more reasonable than her generally all knowing lets go get Iran self. She did say something about “talks with Iran” But both she and Eizenstat spoke as if Iran all ready has nuclear weapons.

    Oh now I am remembering one of her more reasonable statements something like Iran has the right to feel nervous or be concerned about how the US is surrounding them.

    During the question and answer period (mostly softball questions) Kept wondering if anyone would ask “would Iran relax a bit if Israel signed the Non Proliferation treaty the way Iran had long ago”

  284. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Obama is in re-election mode, meaning he cannot afford to offend powerful Jewish financiers who demand that the US ignore Israeli oppression of the Palestinians.

  285. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Financial Times March 25th (“Why the military is right to fret over Libya”), Max Hastings noted that: ‘Commanders acknowledge that politicians, especially in Britain, responded to a surge of sentiment, the belief that “something had to be done” as Col Gaddafi’s forces slaughtered the Libyan insurgents. They worry that the allied governments have failed to meet the key test before launching any military operation: defining clear and attainable objectives.’

  286. Kathleen says:

    Let’s hope that on Monday President “drone” Obama does not keep repeating the mantra we did this to stop a “massacre…slaughter” hooey.

    Hope he goes for more of what General Clark put forward on Washington Journal. “Wave of democracy” (wave of revolution) movement. Gaddafi gets in the way. Admits that the US and European countries have done some sleazy business with brutal dictators.

    And addresses the very serious contradictions about which people and which “massacres” Obama and other administrations and the UN decide to respond to.

    Un sanctions against Iraq killed thousands “collateral damage” in their twisted views
    US caused a “massacre” in Iraq
    Israel’s “massacre” of Palestinians
    Drones killing innocents.
    Wonder if he will be ballsy enough to go there

  287. Pirouz says:

    Slavin is such an airhead. Consider this statement (Fio’s summary):

    “Iranian pattern: willing to fight to the last Arab, but not willing to put Iran lives on the line unless they are directly attacked.”

    Does Slavin think it in any way advantageous for Iran to intervene with troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine or Lebanon? Would it have brought about the excellent results yielded from soft power? Wouldn’t it have been terribly counterproductive?

    And for the sake of accuracy, didn’t the Islamic Republic of Iran send a IRGC/Basiji expeditionary force to Lebanon in the 1980’s, a force estimated at 10,000?

    Slavin is so full of hot air, especially after the 2009 election. Her views are knee-jerk; she’ll spout anything.

  288. Kathleen says:

    Fio “However, Slavin still projected the sense prevalent in Israel and in the US that others have the right to determine what an acceptable “democratic” government looks like. (Hagel did not project that attitude in this video, but he only spoke in generalities — I got the sense that he was trying to move the ball in a different direction from Eizenstat and wanted to do so without antagonizing anyone and without laying down specific positions.)”

    Her arrogance was still astounding. Second nature to make decisions for other countries and what they should and should not do. All in a days work for Slavin. She brought up how the US should continue to “embarass Iran” Also kept referring to the “disputed elections” and the “huge demonstrations” in Iran.

    A few more of her comments “Power in the green movement, you can not decapitate it”
    “70% of the population is under 30, they don’t remember the Shah”

    She sure did not get off the throne when she said that the US should “allow Iran to have assets”

    Hagel is the voice of reason out of that group. Why no Leveretts on that task force?

  289. For what it may be worth to others (a lot, in my view), here is a comment made by someone else on Nicholas Kristof’s recent article “Hugs from Libyans” in the March 23 New York Times. I’ve not changed or deleted a word, though I’ve inserted paragraph breaks because I suspect the writer himself probably did but they were not retained when the comment was printed.

    I don’t agree with every statement, but my disagreements are very few.

    REPRODUCED COMMENT BY DAVE, OF BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA:

    Comment #29, by Dave, of Brisbane, Australia, March 24, 2011 at 10:01 AM, commenting on Nicholas Kristof’s article, “Hugs from Libyans,” published in New York Times (on-line) March 23, 2011:

    While everyone here seems to agree with the main point that (quoting Mike O’Brian) “quick action in Libya by our president and allies has saved many innocent lives”, I am yet to see any convincing proof that it was in fact the case, presented by media or participating governments. We are just supposed to take on faith that, since Qaddafi is an “evil dictator”, his only intention is to massacre “his own people” and that was what he was about to do if not stopped by the great Western humanitarians.

    But the genesis of this narrative is too easily traced to the coordinated demonization campaign conducted against any anti-Western leader by the union of western mass media and governments. The western public is led (successfully) to believe that Qaddafi (and also Chavez, Moralez, and before them Milosevic and Saddam Hussein) is somehow more evil and autocratic than the friendly Saudi, Jordanian or Bahraini royals. In reality, the only feature that distinguishes Qaddafi from the other friendly dictators is his willingness to publicly and forcefully oppose American interests. Is it not then only logical to attribute this very different treatment he gets to this sole substantive difference?

    How am I supposed to believe the claim about the need for military intervention in order to avoid civilian casualties, if before the bombing the Libyan government itself invited the UN observers into the country to monitor the situation. Why was that very reasonable offer turned down? Was it not much better to send the UN monitors into all Libyan cities rather than bomb them?

    Even now, it shouldn’t be too hard to convince Qaddafi, in exchange for stopping the bombing, to conduct an internationally monitored all-Libyan referendum on his rule. Why is it not the goal, instead of the regime change? Are we afraid that between him and the rebels the people may choose Qaddafi? How do we even know that those “revolutionaries” have any broad popular support among the people?

    If Qaddafi’s “killing his own people” was the main reason for intervention, may I ask whose people the armed rebels are killing in Libya if not “their own”? If saving innocent lives was the goal, would not the same goal be much easier achieved by demanding that the rebels laid down their weapons in exchange for amnesty or exile?

    No matter how you look at this, it is clear that from the get-go the goal was (and remains) regime change in Libya, the same as the goal of Iraq war was regime change in Iraq. As always our leaders do not trust us to appreciate and share their goals, so they choose to present us with the fictitious reasons (Saddam’s WMDs and Qaddafi’s bloodthirstiness). I would say they are right in doubting their public – the interests that Saddam and Qaddafi so foolishly opposed are the interests of the American and Western elites, the only true constituents of their respective governments. We, ordinary people, do not share those interests and would not kill (much less die) for them.

    END OF REPRODUCED COMMENT BY DAVE, OF BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA.

  290. Fiorangela says:

    nahid — I don’t understand those posts that are labelled, “@ nahid” and “@ fyi” and one that bore my moniker, “@ fiorangela.”

    Whoever is doing that, it’s confusing. Also unimaginative. Please stop doing that.

    One of the beauties of the blogosphere is that persons can don any mask they choose. For example, I am actually a 29-year old supermodel; I just pretend to be a grey-haired granny wanna-be.

  291. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I heard over lunch today that al-Qaeda is now offering rewards to anyone who brings them US citizens in the ME, $20,000 dead & $40,000 alive. Anyone know anything about this? It could be nothing but a wild rumour as nothing seems to come up in google and bing, but even if not true, the fact that this can quite easily become a tactic, and the chilling affect it will have on US executive travel in the ME, is significant in itself. In other words, a lightbulb has gone off in someone’s otherwise dim brain: “Don’t have your followers kill themselves; have them kill Amerikans for money.”

    The money, for those who don’t know, comes from the AAl as-Sa’ud petrodollars which they pay as hush money in the billions per month not year to the AAl ash-Shaykh, their evil twin (the House of Muhammad ibn abd al-Wahhab, may God curse kollehom ajma’een)

  292. Fiorangela says:

    regarding Slavin’s comments in the Atlantic Council discussion:

    I was impressed that Slavin was not as negative toward Iran as she has been on several occasions, particularly when she is wearing her Washington Times hat.

    However, Slavin still projected the sense prevalent in Israel and in the US that others have the right to determine what an acceptable “democratic” government looks like. (Hagel did not project that attitude in this video, but he only spoke in generalities — I got the sense that he was trying to move the ball in a different direction from Eizenstat and wanted to do so without antagonizing anyone and without laying down specific positions.)

    Slavin displayed this attitude when she said, “When that day comes when the regime in Iran is changed, Iran stands a chance of becoming the most stable democracy in the region . . .the revolution had a lot of democratic elements but it was hijacked by religious element.” Slavin went on to explain that “scholars are writing papers reconciling democracy & Islam. Democracy could work in Iran better than anyplace else in region.”

    So, Iran has Slavin’s imprimatur for an Islamic democracy, but the “regime” still has to “change” before it can pass US-Israeli muster.

    The question becomes, What do women Westerners -US and Israel- want of Iran? What does the ruling “regime” in Iran of US-Israel fantasy LOOK like? Do the US-Israelis KNOW what they want Iran’s “democratic” government to look like?

    The Jewish historical experience has been one in which Jewish people as a minority in other states have been most secure and prosperous in non-democratic settings, where Jews are protected by a patron monarch or prince. Prof. David Ruderman explains that the Jewish experience in Poland is a model for the way Jews would like to be treated in other states. In Poland, Jews were invited by Prince Boleslav to farm taxes and administer government functions over the indigenous Polish people. Many Jews never learned to speak Polish, thinking it a lesser culture and disdaining relations with Poles as a master would disdain relations with servants. Polish people came to resent this arrangement.

    When “democracies” — the people — make choices, they frequently are not aligned with the preferences of those who are accustomed to having their privileged position protected by the sovereign, and who have full control over the host state’s finances.

    Thus, when Arafat was in charge, Israel said there was no partner for peace — that is, the leader could not be made to conform to the preferences of Israel, and while Arafat was financially corrupt, his corruption was self-serving and of no benefit to Israel. When Hamas was democratically elected, Israel and the US refused to acknowledge the expressed will of the people since it failed to conform to the preferences of Israel. Israel reacts by collectively punishing the Palestinian people of Gaza and by dangling financial enticements before Abbas, in the form of a Potemkin West Bank on the margins of an open air prison in Gaza.

    I recently heard a former Bush administration official complain that Bush’s foreign policy team spent many, many hours trying to figure out the power levers in the Iranian government. The zionist-dominated Bush administration could not figure out how to corrupt an Iranian government official (in the way that zionists have corrupted almost the entire US Congress & admin). Thus, the approaches the US-zionist foreign policy team takes toward Iran include actions to ‘soften’ the demos and actions to destabilize the government.

    -subvert and corrupt Iranian culture through their young people: demand that Iranian schoolbooks comply with US-zionist standards (Jeffrey Feltman); beam “subversive” consumption-oriented fiction to Iran’s young people (Benjamin Netanyahu).**

    -blackmail governments: so impair the ability of a government to “feed its people” that the government must capitulate to the demands of the blackmailer or suffer the starvation of its people (Ephraim Sneh).

    -Collective punishment: so constrain the economic vitality and opportunities available to a nation’s people that they will become so enraged that they will riot and overthrow their government.

    The next question is, By what right? What gives US and Israel the right to think they can rearrange another state’s government and people to suit the inchoate expectations of the hegemon?

    One approach to answering that question comes from Rabbi Ken Spiro:

    “The basic view that the Jewish people have is that from Abraham onward the Jewish people have a unique mission in this world — to connect the world to god, to absolute meaning; elevate the world morally and spiritually; to be a nation that’s a light unto the nations. Which means, to take responsibility to teach the world values, spiritual values, ethical values, that’s what ‘chosen people’ has always meant to the Jewish people: Chosen for unique responsibility to fix the world …

    “Throughout history the national historic mission of the Jewish people has been to bring the world back to god, often kicking and screaming because we see there’s a constant battle between the values that the Jewish people have been trying to bring into the world, that’re based on a relationship with god, value [sic] of life and peace and social responsibility, forces fixing the world, and the forces that are constantly against that.

    Early American Puritans shared the vision of themselves as “a light unto the nations.” When Samuel Untermyer*** co-opted Cyrus Scofield to shift the emphasis in certain American Christian bible commentaries that gained large acceptance, that vision of America as a ‘chosen’ and ‘exceptionalist’ people was emphasized. Ronald Reagan pandered to that nascent “moral majority” to gain political power, the presidency, and a dramatic shift in US domestic and foreign policy: Reagan was no friend of unions — the demos — but befriended elites and major corporate interests.

    Rabbi Spiro continues his discussion by examining the example of Hitler’s resistance to the moral force of the Jewish people. Spiro says, inaccurately, in my opinion, that when Hitler said that “Jews control England, France, and Germany . . .he wasn’t claiming that the Jews controlled physically the economy or the political systems of Western European countries, but Hitler recognized that behind liberal democracy . .that Hitler and national socialism was at war with, was an ideology that comes essentially from the Jewish people. . . .Hitler understood that the very values –conscience, right and wrong, in an absolute sense, come from . . .the Judeo-Christian ethic, the products of the Jew.”

    Spiro’s estimation of Hitler is demonstrably wrong. In what is usually characterized as Hitler’s “threat” to annihilate Jews, Hitler says:

    if the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevizing of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!” Adolf Hitler – January 30, 1939

    The contingent actions against which Hitler warns Jews were precisely economic and political activities, not matters of “conscience” or values of “right and wrong.”

    The third question is, Has this scheme of the US and Israel of changing regimes or of manipulating the demos to fit the model of the “light unto the nations” ever been successful? That’s for the reader to research, assess, and decide.

    __________________________
    **A guest on C Span Washington Journal this morning, a professor from Georgetown Univ., discussed US policy toward Libya. Responding to a question about the impact of social media in motivating Arab revolutions, he explained that “US diplomats deal with the elites in a country. But we also want to influence the young people. So we use whatever media is available to us to let the young people see American life; they can see how much they are missing out on . . .”

    I have never seen a camera crew from VOA shoot footage of the many, many people who sleep under bridges and eat out of dumpsters in the neighborhood just two blocks from my front door.

    ***Intriguing factoid: Untermyer was born and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia, (later) home of Jerry Falwell and his Liberty University, among the first emanations of the moral majority.

  293. Kathleen says:

    This morning on C Span I watched the panel “Atlantic Council Iran TAsk Force”

    Barbara Slavin was far more reasonable more than I have ever heard her before. Several years ago she kept repeating one unsubstantiated claim about Iran after another. She seems far more reigned in. Facts on the ground must be getting in her way. She did make a few out of the park comments.

    Is any of this true?

    Barbara Slavin:
    “Iran is executing people at an alarming rate”
    “no Arabs love Iran”

    Former Senator Chuck Hagel (Atlantic Council Chairman and Iran Task Force Co-Chairman) is so reasonable… “Engagement is not appeasement”

    Are the Leverett’s involved with this group? Sure seemed like one of them should have been on this panel about Iran and the direction of US foreign policy.

    Sure seemed like Stuart Eizenstat was representing Israel on this panel. Which is how Slavin always comes off. Are they representing Israel or the US when it comes to engagement with Iran?

  294. Empty says:

    Fiorangela,

    Unfortunately (for Turkish people and other people in similar situation including the example of Iraq with GM seeds you used), you are quite close/on the mark with your final assessments/conclusion.

    Along the same line, with the exception of a few, I doubt that most Iranians have fully grasped yet the protective effects of the sanctions. They will begin to see though in the next 15-20 years.

  295. Kathleen says:

    Walt “So if you’re baffled by how Mr. “Change You Can Believe In” morphed into Mr. “More of the Same,” you shouldn’t really be surprised. George Bush left in disgrace and Barack Obama took his place, but he brought with him a group of foreign policy advisors whose basic world views were not that different from the people they were replacing.”

    Listening to Clinton, Kerry, Rice etc repeat we went in because of or to stop a “massacre…slaughter”. How can one not think Clinton, Kerry voted for the 2002 Iraq war resolution and were part of the “massacre” using their words in Iraq. They have their finger prints all over that “slaughter” that they all like to refer to as “collateral damage” if the hundreds of thousands dead, injured in Iraq are even whispered about.

    And Susan Rice voting against the illegal settlement resolution at the UN. The Obama administration sure did not respond to the Israeli “massacre…slaughter” (using their words) of Palestinians in the Gaza.

    Un sanctions against Iraq caused how many deaths?
    Drones in Pakistan elsewhere have caused how many deaths?

    The hypocrisies just hit you upside the head if you have a conscience.

  296. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: March 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

    In principle, there is nothing wrong with Turkish-Israeli economic cooperation.

    And the Netsle deal is not a threat to Turkey.

    This could be viewed as an example of what could obtain in the Near East if there be generalized peace in that region with the attendand regional cooperation.

    Unfortunately, that vision cannot be realized anytime soon.

    The Americans, over 40 years, used every trick up their sleeves to isolate Israel from the Arab and Muslim world so that they could sell geopolitical protection to the surrounding states and extract concessions from them: “Look, we are the only ones with leverage over these Mad Jews in Israel with nuclear weapons….”.

    They acted like the proverbial eye doctor who would leave the bone fragment in the butcher’s eye for repeated visits….

    Now they have lost the control of that dynamics (the eye has become gangerous)and the value of geopolitical gains that they could obtain must be weighed against the enmity of the World of Islam.

  297. nahid says:

    I did not post this

    @nahid says:
    March 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

    I have great respect to FYI , and have great respect to most of participant in this site.

  298. حدید says:

    و مکروا و مکرالله والله خیرالماکرین

  299. Fiorangela says:

    Empty – mind if I repeat this extremely important information:

    “B) Turkey needs tight control over its surface/sweet waters. Currently, one of the biggest holder of Turkish water is Nestle (an Israeli corporation) which, for decades to come, has control over vast majority of the water in Turkey, bottling it, and selling it back to Turkish people (as well as exporting it). This has come at the expense of many farmers/farm lands losing that water;”

    In other words, Israel owns Turkey’s water.

    “C) Turkey needs solid plans for food security. Unfortunately, however, Turkey was transformed from one of the most significant producers of critical agricultural products in the region (during early 80s to one of the most significant consumers/importers). This is not health at all for Turkey. Furthermore, several multinational corporations (especially in the area of agriculture) have begun the fast-paced “land grab” in Turkey. That means, they will also fully control the means of production rendering the Turkish population rather helpless and dependent, for their food, on those corporations. These are hard facts.”

    In other words, Turkey is not in control of its own food supply.

    I recall that at the peak of US war on Iraq (in which Turkey refused to give US transit rights), Turkey lost a great deal of business as supplier of produce to Iraq. Networks and businesses, warehouses, etc. that Turks had built up and functioned for decades were forced to close their doors because they could not trade their produce across borders into Iraq.

    Also recall that one of the key ‘laws’ that Coalition Provisional Authority administrator Jerry Bremer imposed on Iraq was Order 81, which requires that Iraqi farmers no longer save their seed but must use GM seed and could not harvest it for replanting.

    Israel uses restrictions on food supply as a weapon to keep Palestinians in Gaza from thriving; in 2008, former Israeli Knesset member (and physician) Ephraim Sneh suggested that Iran’s leaders be forced to worry about feeding Iran’s population. I find such actions and sentiments the expressions of a monstrous mentality.

    Turkey should be very concerned if it is dependent upon Israel for its daily bread.

  300. Arnold Evans says:

    Fiorangela says:
    March 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I just want to thank you for that summary.

  301. @Hadid says:

    Speaking of humor, in a clownish sense, what’s up with the new name Pak?

    “I don’t care much for the character fights going on.”
    You are a character fight

    “and speculating on age, education, etc.”

    That was me, not mr Basiji, and if I may add–with my cunning “impeccably correct slang and idioms”–a light hearted attempt to poke mr fyi.

    “Frankly some of your comments and opinions are hotter than our Supreme Leader’s views, and such overzealousness appearing here”

    Yeah, unlike wise people like you that unconditionally support anti-Iran and pro-Western stance. Oh we silly misguided Supreme Leader groupies. We don’t know anything. Oh please ms Hadid lead us to the correct path of enlightenment.

    “in such perfect English, with impeccably correct slang and idioms and knowledge of the Western social scene, makes me wonder who you are and where you are.”

    Funny, the same could be said about you. Except the part of “knowledge of the Western social scene”. Or knowledge. Period.

    “Cool down; the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran does not need defenders like you.”

    Kind of true. Not at least when it has incompetent hateful ignorant enemies like you.

    How does that saying go? “the enemy of mine that is a retard is also my best friend” (I think sums up US foreign policy vis-à-vis their “friends”)

    “We are watching too.”

    Yeah mate that doesn’t sound sinister-secret-police at all. Very subtle. You must be the “good guy”. Bravo sir. You just won all of our trust. I applaud you. *clap* *clap*

    Wait a minute! I must have really rattled your cage with that “fyi profile” of mine, lol. Didn’t I? Mate, it was a joke, chill out.

    میمون می خورد کفش، ایجاز است روح شوخ طبعی، مادر شما میمون است

  302. @nahid says:

    Haha, I wasn’t that far off :)

    My disagreement with fyi is that his admiration for the “political achievements” are a result of ignorance about how the system actually works etc. But that discussion is moot already.

    Otherwise I do enjoy his opinions, and I have a lot of respect for most people on this forum, and their input. (Even you mr Hack :)

    Anyway, let’s hope he has some sense of humor left.

  303. Empty says:

    Fiorangela,

    Thank you for posting the video. I watched the presentations and agree that Slavin and Hagel had a more sober stance and Eizenstat had an antagonistic one. I thought, however, that Slavin’s evaluation/assessment of the events and position of the countries lacked substance and depth. I list some of the responses (thought they are not exhaustive):

    1. Slavin’s assessment of wins/losses for the regional stakeholders and beyond was cross-sectional and quite hasty. This is symptomatic of how most US analysts assess old and emerging developments/events (sort of fast food/McDonald mentality as is prevalent in other aspects of the US society) and not unique to her. Her predictions, therefore, resembled those of a gambler rather than an analyst. She used false evidence to support her points. For example, she blamed Iran for the failure of the 2009 nuclear program negotiation and did not even mention Obama’s duplicity and his administration’s lie to Brazil (something that has already been discussed by the Leveretts here).

    2. She explained that demonstrations had continued since Feb. 14th which was not correct in the first place; however even more significantly, she did not mention multimillion mass demonstrations in favor of the system and completely ignored them. It is like pointing to a candle and emphasizing how its flicker has lit up the universe around it in high noon with the sunlight shining intensely.

    3. She said that Mr. Rafsanjani was put aside by the government which is false. He played an active role in the candidacy and election of the new head of the Assembly of Experts. A messy transition was in fact hoped for (and advertised a priori) by the US/West but did not materialize.

    4. There was one key point that she raised that I would like to highlight and I think it is noteworthy to deconstruct. She implied that the opposition was more “networked” and did not have a head, so to speak, “to decapitate”. Therefore, it is harder for the regime to get rid of them. Two things are unique about “networks”: 1) all “networks” have a central headquarter to which they are connected through specific “nodes”. She was correct that “there was no head to decapitate” (inside Iran that is), however, she deliberately did not explain that the “headquarter” of that “opposition network” is outside of Iran (and in fact the US); 2) correct identification and appropriate attention to the specific “nodes” (something that Iran has very much control over) could in fact lead to not only succeeding to neutralize the “orders from the headquarter” but also to reverse the flow and weaken the headquarter and perhaps exact major damage as far as the “methodology” is concerned.

    5. She mentioned Turkey to be the biggest winner (so far at least). However, I think, this is not accurate. Turkish government in her effort to please everyone (with zero problem policy) will eventually please no one (not even herself). Turkey, like any other nation in the world, needs to pay attention to 3 critical factors: A) energy security with solid plans to build her capacity to produce energy independently (not by being fully dependent on foreign Western powers and corporations as it is now) — their limited medium- to low-quality coal reserves with severe public health consequences of their use will not do; B) Turkey needs tight control over its surface/sweet waters. Currently, one of the biggest holder of Turkish water is Nestle (an Israeli corporation) which, for decades to come, has control over vast majority of the water in Turkey, bottling it, and selling it back to Turkish people (as well as exporting it). This has come at the expense of many farmers/farm lands losing that water; C) Turkey needs solid plans for food security. Unfortunately, however, Turkey was transformed from one of the most significant producers of critical agricultural products in the region (during early 80s to one of the most significant consumers/importers). This is not health at all for Turkey. Furthermore, several multinational corporations (especially in the area of agriculture) have begun the fast-paced “land grab” in Turkey. That means, they will also fully control the means of production rendering the Turkish population rather helpless and dependent, for their food, on those corporations. These are hard facts. Real tangible needs for the Turks (not access to 50 different channels showing Desperate Housewives, Lost, and the like designed to create social cognitive lethargy and slumber). A dependent overall national policy for Turkey has meant that Turkey is quite behind in making substantial progress/building capacity to address these dire problems. Hard choices always have heavy prices attached to them in short- and medium-terms. But governments with foresight must take their responsibility quite seriously.

  304. Persian Gulf says:

    kooshy:

    Thanks a lot.

    btw, we call it Mazani not Mazandarani ;)

  305. Empty says:

    1. Even the most beautiful roses have piercing thorns (which have an important purpose and particular function). If we set up to eliminate all roses for their thorns, we would be eliminating a wondrous beauty and depriving ourselves of the enjoyment of their existence (not to mention that we’re not so perfect ourselves and would be next in line.)

    2. Who anyone is certainly has an impact on his/her worldview and could clarify, to some extent, why s/he has adopted a specific position. However, to focus one’s response to who the person making a statement is, rather than addressing the content of his/her statement, is considered ad hominem and not a useful way to create better understanding of issues.

  306. حدید says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    Nobody’s threatening you, but you are acting in even more suspicious ways. Your fake anger is very amusing and brought a smile to my face. You should exercise better judgement in your postings, and learn how to read Persian. It’s not Jadid my friend, it’s Hadid. And you can look up the meaning in your favorite dictionary, or read the Holy Qur’an, and give up the mission you have on this blog with your terrible “defense” of the Islamic Republic, worst than any offense. I hope it pays well; how much did you sell yourself for, and if I may ask, to who? CIA? MI5? Or are you in Tel Aviv?

  307. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Bush doin’ the Saudi sword dance…it’s a classic
    m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/results?q=bush%20saudi%20dance

    Jadid,
    If you are sarbaze gomnam Imam Zaman (as), then I’m the freakin pope…funny, the ones I know don’t even tell their wives, much less announce it publicly. Also everything I wrote is not my opinion but either constitutional law and legal discussions among the fuqaha about the role of the Valiye Faqih.

    So let me spell it out for in clear idiomatic English- kiss my Shia Muslim Iranian North Tehran well-educated, world-travelled ass and if you dare to threaten me again I will pay you one of the infamous Basiji visits. YOU’RE THE ONE THAT’S BEING WATCHED ASSHOLE!

  308. Fiorangela says:

    raw notes on the discussion that just took place:

    A task force with the Atlantic Council is releasing a new report examining its relations with Middle East countries, and what the implications of political unrest in the region mean for the country and the U.S. The panel also examined a proposal for including Iran in regional diplomatic talks with countries including Afghanistan. The task force is co-chaired by former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and former ambassador Stuart Eizenstat.

    Chuck Hagel

    Eizenstat: “The relationship between US and Iran is crucial for world peace. . . .We sought three goals for the US: 1. stabilize the region in a sustainable way;
    2. prepare for a 2014 withdraw of 3. encourage Iran to be less confrontational toward US and US allies in the region.
    Need for enhanced pressure as Iran finds ways to get around sanctions, and keep pressure on Iran to de-nuke, and find areas where Iran is interested in engaging. Risk of engaging giving signal that we’re letting up on nuclear pressure. With Soviet Union, we were able to both pressure on the “confrontation” and de-nuke.

    Iran thinks uprising to its interest but whole iranian autocratic model may become a victim to the democratizing model and may fit interests of US and Iran.

    Mark Brzezinski has pulled this together and found the experts. Iran might be impacted since Syria is rebelling.

    Slavin, 7 trips to US; author of Mullahs, Money & Militias, Iran in the Middle East, for US Institute for Peace.
    Iran is pivotal. Because all of these intifadas are in train, this is just a snapshot. Tehran says Iran is the victor, but that’s simplistic. What’s really going on is Iran takes advantage. Shireen Hunter says Iran is strategically lonely. Pre-revolution, Iran had ties with US, Israel, etc. SINCE revolution, Iran’s closest ties w Hezbollah. Iran has become member of no major defense alliance – no one would go to war to defend Iran. Iran rejected from membership in ??? because of sanctions

    Iran ties w Iraq & Afghanistan have improved over last decade, but not thru Iran efforts.

    Iran exports to Afghanistan have increased 20X; Herat prosperous due to Iranian business. Iran could do much better but for sanctions. Irritants in relationship w Afghanistan: “millions of Afghanis sought refuge in Iran but not treated well; Iran held up fuel trucks to Afghanistan — different messages; result = 70% increase in fuel prices.

    Iran benefited from toppling Saddam; Iran is most powerful actor in Iraq. But Iran has shot itself in the foot repeatedly: support for Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq; support for Sadr; splinter groups from Sadr’s army which attacked American troops, Sunnis. Sadr is a special study: threatened by a group in Iran; plays multiple roles — is Iran renting him and is he staying bought?
    Why hasn’t Iraq paid reparations for Iran Iraq war? Why hasn’t Iraq signed treaty re Iraq Iran war?
    Panic thru Sunni world over rise of Shiia Iran. Heightened w/ Bahrain.
    Cynical to say Iran = instigator of Bahrain eruption.
    Hysteria of Saudi propaganda; but Iran state media was paying scant attention until Saudis sent troops into Bahrain, then Iran state media paid attention.

    “Iranian pattern: willing to fight to the last Arab, but not willing to put Iran lives on the line unless they are directly attacked.”

    Iran has good ties w Oman & Qatar. Oman helped get US hiker out. UAE deals w Iran imports; Turkey rising on this front.

    Iran is benefiting from rise in oil prices, but too soon to say Iran is victor. Iran a porcupine to hide soft inner core; protests boomeranging — not seen because protesters under pressure. Have been protests every week since Feb 14. Govt has been so terrified that have been executing people at an unprecedented rate. Hauled off Mousavi & Karoubi; removed Rafsanjani from key post. As scholars know, the more one faction consolidates power, the more it splinters.
    Watch out for Rafsanjani who has been pushed into opposition; he could have been a mediator.

    re Winner & Losers, Israel is a loser, it will have to behave more carefully. New govts will not be accomodating if Israel tries to attack Leb or Gaza in response to terror attacks which Israel has just experienced in last week.

    re Egypt: Mubarak was not that great a friend to Israel.
    Syria is destabilizing, not a win to Iran since

    Turkey greatest winner, has good ties with everyone in the region.

    Iran will become more risk-averse. Iran was unable to complete nuclear deal in 2009 because of domestic opposition to Ahmadinejad.

    Obama has pivoted to sanctions.

    Iran’s four goals: 1. keep taliban from taking over; 2. stem drug flow 3. do something about sunni militancy in Baluchistan; 4. US withdraw troops from Afghanistan, tho Iran might want some US troops to remain if promises no US attack on Iran.

    Top UN rep in Afghanistan has launched “Silk Road Initiative,” including Iran and US diplomat for Afghan. Will meet in Turkey later this year and next year in Bonn.

    New report from Century Fund on Afghanistan: international facilitator and US-Iran bilateral dialog on Afghanistan.

    “This is the tricky part.” Can US get Iran to help in Afghanistan while

    energy pipeline to Iran;
    Pakistan is far more unstable than Iran is.

    Engagement doesn’t have to be a zero sum game; Iran will change; governments can change. Time to lay groundwork for better relations w Iran.

    Re Libya: Do NATO actions give Iran pause?
    Slavin: Iran had had a relationship w Qaddafi. Was a theory that Iran contracted w Q. to bring down Pan Am in retaliation for Iran air over gulf.

    N Korea saying Q was a fool to give up nukes, but Q hadn’t really developed bomb.

    but Libya has to unsettle Iran.

    Q: re quest in 1st paper, that Iran has best chance to become durable democracy. What’s the story?
    Degloo & Italian amb, “when that day comes that regime comes in Iran, better chance of Iran becoming a stable democracy, because better educated, history of seeking democracy; Iran had first parlaiment in ME; revolution had lot of democratic elements but hijacked by religious element. Scholars publishing reconciling democracy & Islam. Democracy could work in Iran better than anyplace else in region.

    recent meeting betw Iran US in Sweden.

    Q: Will Chinese experience democratization? Can US do all these things?

    Hagel: re Boots on the ground, I would ask a diff question: What is the objective? Gates says we are engaged in an act of war. What is the objective?

    Brzezinski: Chinese worried about explosion in ME because need continuity in energy supply — most of China energy comes from Iran.

    Q: Today friends, tomorrow enemies, because of misunderstandings. Zbig Brzezinski’s book: ‘what can be done to understand cultural differences?”
    Slavin: Many common bonds between Iran and US. Americans liked in Iran more than anyplace in ME; but govts have been fighting and current govt “has to have an enemy.”

    Q: Polish journalist — 1. re spreading of revolution TO Iran; but the Facebook revolutions STARTED in Iran after 2009 election; 2. change of balance in power in ARab League, will they be affected by revolutions, and

    Slavin: I have written that 2009 started the current revolutions — facebook twitter, Iran says 1979 is model but that’s absurd. what willrevolutions mean for ARab league & its relations w Iran? Haven’t thought about it.
    Egypt let ships thru, which worries Israel that more weapons thru, which is a real concern, but ARab

    ARab league will remain friends w US — Sunni Shia divide, Arab-Persian divide.

    Q: Iran will be the loser because Egypt has been in the background but will now come to fore. Egypt will say, we don’t want to be like Iran. Iran won’t be strong enuf to overthrow govt, insiders must reach out to them.

    Slavin: Not sure how change will come. tremendous power in Green movement bcz leaderless therefore can’t decapitate. depends on how Basiji go. New supreme leader will make a difference. 70% do not remember shah. I hope it will be peaceful. this will evolve. next 5 or 10 years.

    Q: I was summoned back to Washington — pipelines thru Iran — I take issue with pipelines thru Iran. Need to reduce dependence on Russia is key;

    Slavin: Shireen Hunter has written good book. If you want a country to participate you have to give them assets to jeopardize — ie pipelines, the Conoco deal. Mistake on US part. Have to end this policy of trying to strangle Iran. It’s in everybody’s interest. John Star has written about Silk Road.

    Eizenstat: I disagree w Slavin. Sanctions have started to bite, we need to keep up the pressure.

    Slavin: We should stop stopping others.

    Eiz: crossroads whether sanctions will hurt enuf to deter Iran from nukes. either military, US or Israel, or sanctions, multilaterally. Until we have a more definitive cooperation on imposing sanctions seeing if they work . . .

    Hagel: we should not be stuck in an either-or situation. We haven’t had real strategic thinking in our US foreign policy.l broaden framework, take advantagge of situations as they are. Clear early 21st century of great power limitations. something is happening NOT, fallout will occur, it will stabilize. we should be creative in ways we haven’t. we owe it to our poeple. we’re better than that as a country. the world is complicated & adjustments are required like never before in human history.

    Q: Iran goal of expelling us from Iraq trumped all in 2007. Your list of 4 Iran insterest in Afghan — doesn’t Iran expelling US trump all else? Isn’t Iran backing a militant faction in AFghan?

    Slavin: US wants to get out of Afghanistan. There will be a diplomatic settlement w/ multiple parties involved. Yes, Iran wants US out — Iran is pushing on an open door. US has not been doing much on drug front which Iran resents. If US

    “We never look at our own actions, we always blame Iran. We surround Iran and demand that Iran not hedge its bets. We need to look thru Iran’s eyes.”

    Q: WINEP: Re engaging Iran re Afghanistan, w/ Greens benefiting from revolutions, won’t we jeopardize Greens if we negotiate w/ Iran?

    Slavin: NO. We need to pressure on human rights. Rapporteur at UN on human rights; Obama’s NowRooz message — we can do both.

    Hagel: We need to play all these factors on what we want, what our strengths are, factoring all our elements of power, our strengths. Our budgets, our
    question is where do we go from here. we will be forced into new areas of thinking. engagement is not appeasement or weakness. what’s the objective? do you want to go to war with Iran? I’m not sure the American people want that. THINK what’s down the road. be a little smarter. think thru our past actions. political relaity will dictate some of these — Haley Barbour: budgets will be central to GOP candidate & DEmocratic; differences will be on foreign policy. We have to get out in front of that.

    Q: gaining nukes has been a central quest w Iran. How has Japan impacted Iran?

    Slavin: Iranians are concerned that their nukes are a patchwork. . . .I would bet that no nuke facilities will start up for a long time; if that’s so, then why enrich? Talk that there was some sabotage, and STuxnet, assassinations suggest they might slow down but they won’t give up a program and RIGHT to a program –it’s a nationalism thing. . .. Japan nuke disaster should give everyone pause.

    Q: Doesn’t Pakistan have more influence on Afghanistan, and re Iran relation w Palestinians?

    Slavin: Afghanis speak Parsi; share poetic culture. Iran can have spoiler role — that’s how Iran gets back at ROW for isolating Iran. Palestine = 1. co religionist ties, and way to show you can’t ignore Iran. If Arab states become supportive of Pales, then Iran will fade from picture. No Arabs love Iran, they just take Iran’s money.

    Brzezinski: Barbara, talk about Bahrain/Saudi/Iran?

    Slavin: In ’80s Iran was a spoiler in Bahrain, etc., but not now. Bahrainis have said this is not about Iran, we want our own Parlaiment, etc. There is a big divide between Arab Shia and Persian Shia. [repeats] It’s cynical to say the Bahrain uprising was managed by Iran; not so; Bahrainis did this themselves. There’s actually little love between Baharaini ARab Shia and Persian Shia.

    Mark: Administration is wrestling w how to channel popular will in ME. Case of first impression. What advice would you give administration? Goal of change in Iran:

    Slavin: emphasize human rights. reach out to Iran. don’t totally pivot to sanctions. US should be looking for avenues for dialog, esp. as we see these revolutions developing in the region. Iran will be looking for people in the US to lay groundwork as Iran changes, and Iran’s govt will change.

    ____________

    my 2 cents: Eizenstat was the odd-man out. Slavin and Hagel both pushed back against Eizenstat’s eagerness to punish Iran, to threaten Iran.

    Eizenstat works closely with Dennis Ross; he wrote one of the first, formative papers for the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute of which Ross was founding chairman.

  309. Rehmat says:

    fyi – It’s hillarious that the Jews who don’t know their own Torah – know so much about Holy Qur’an – which doesn’t curse Jesus or his mother Mary – which according to the Talmudic Jews – have to cursed and spit-on.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/virgin-mary-painting-irks-zionists/

  310. حدید says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    I don’t care much for the character fights going on. Respond to the points raised (as you’ve done in the past) or keep your silence, instead of asking for this person’s nationality, and speculating on age, education, etc. Frankly some of your comments and opinions are hotter than our Supreme Leader’s views, and such overzealousness appearing here in such perfect English, with impeccably correct slang and idioms and knowledge of the Western social scene, makes me wonder who you are and where you are. Cool down; the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran does not need defenders like you. We are watching too.

    یکی‌ از سربازان گمنام امام زمان (عج

  311. Rehmat says:

    Western Déjà vu: ‘Liberating Libyan’

    American proxy Crusaders (Britain, France, Germany and Canada) have liberated over 1,000 Libyan civilians from their lives and pushed over 300,000 Libyans to take refuge in the neighboring Arab countries, in order to escape the western carpet-bombing of Libyan cities since they started the ‘no fly-zone’ (humanitarian) operation aka Odyssey Dawn aka Mission Creep on March 19, 2011.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/western-deja-vu-liberating-libyan/

  312. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: March 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Then the basic view of Islam that claims that Quran has negated other Revelation is wrong.

    There is no other way.

    The Quran, as far as I know it, makes no such claim.

  313. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Ya’ll are taking this religion thing too seriously.

    Let’s all do some pole dancing for Jesus.

    http://thedailywh.at/2011/03/22/things-that-are-real-of-the-day-2/

  314. masoud says:

    Another fine primer on Iranian culture:
    http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/6189416562.html

    Thank God for the free press.

  315. Empty says:

    Liz & James Canning,
    No problem. I should have been more careful in the first place.

    Bussed in Bassiji,
    This is much better. Thank you for posting it.

  316. Fara says:

    There will also be no-drive zone in Lybia, in addition to the no-fly zone currently in place. I guess there will be no-man zone (applicable only to Lybians) after that.

  317. Empty says:

    fyi,

    RE: “It seems to me patently clear that you either have to reject the records of the Revelations of Jesus as being completely false or have to accept that some of those records to be true. In the latter case, then, theoretically, what Jesus states (The Acts and Speeches of the Immaculate Perfect Man) could abrogate Islamic Law.”

    Your argument is devoid of any logic even by the most basic standards of reason.

    1) That which precedes cannot abrogate that which has succeeded it in an evolutionary and ever perfecting manner. However, if you do not believe that Quran is truthful and it is from God revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SA) as the خاتم الانبیا (the final prophet), then you just need to admit that (unless you have other intentions). Even in the world of imperfection, an old antiquated computer, for example, cannot abrogate the newer and more improved models. Moreover in nature, the rules that govern single-cell organisms cannot possibly abrogate those that govern complex multi-cellular organisms that succeed them.

    2) Even based on the most simplistic understanding of the narration by Quran of previous scriptures, multiple verses describes the original scripts, explains exactly how they were altered (تحریف), and provides the accurate version. You must accept this unless you do not believe Quran to be the Final Book. Again, if you do not believe, you should be honest about it (unless you have other intentions).

    3) To accept or reject which parts of the revelation by Jesus (AS) are in fact correct and which parts have been altered (تحریف) must be based on clear formulas as accepted by many learned, فقها, and Islamic scholars of jurisprudence. You cannot pick and choose which ones you want to accept as correct and which ones you want to reject as false. Doing so carelessly amounts to intellectual and moral laziness. Doing it deliberately is unethical. Even the simplest forms of scientific knowledge follow the same procedure.

  318. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    Thanks for clarification/correction re: contents of Khamenei’s speech (re: Libya).

  319. nahid says:

    @Bussed-in Basiji
    :))

    He is from Shiraz or fars his wife from azarbayjan . He is late 60 or early 70 and used to be professor in colleg in usa. He is in exile. But he is a good man harmless. Boa in foreign polecy.

  320. @Bussed-in Basiji says:

    He is without doubt Iranian, educated, 40-50 years.

    He is disillusioned (fall of man, nekbat, etc.) about religion, society and life (humanity in general and Iran in particular). So he must have been married (and divorced) at least once.

    I would guess he has worked or lived under the Shah’s regime. Fled when he wasn’t allowed to have long hair (although he now has no or little hair). That is important you know, right to have long hair = rule of law.

    He probably now lives in Canada, USA or Scandinavia. Hard to say.

    He reminds me a lot of “Pak”. They both hold the West in extremely high regards. Although fyi is more domesticated.

    All and all, Iranian definitely. But an exiled one, for a long time.

  321. Irshad says:

    Why I Oppose the US-led Intervention in Libya

    By Imam Zaid Shakir on 24 March 2011

    Some days before the U.S.-led intervention in Libya began; I was forwarded a copy of an open letter directed to President Barack Obama urging him to work in concert with U.S. allies, NATO, and the United Nations to immediately impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The organizers, a group of courageous individuals risking their lives to assist the rebel cause, were collecting the signatures of scholars and academics from the around the world, especially those studying Islam and the Middle East.

    Ater considerable deliberation, I decided not to add my signature to the letter because I could not lend my support to this particular plea to President Obama. I believed that even a limited U.S.-led intervention would still be an intervention, and I was troubled that it would take on a life of its own once it began—something that the League of Arab States, whose vote helped legitimize western intervention, now realizes.

    Still, my decision may be perceived as an unpopular one, not least because the Libyan rebels themselves called for—and have now received—military assistance from the West. This call has been consistently echoed since the initial gains of the rebels were rolled back by a punishing counteroffensive by pro-Qaddafi forces. It was further intensified as Libyan government forces were poised to attack the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

    One constant refrain accompanying this rebel call has been the insistence that, “We do not want any boots on the ground.” This qualification is understandable as “boots on the ground” could imply that the forces battling the Qaddafi loyalists, far from being revolutionaries ushering in a new dawn for their country, are nothing more than the junior partners in a US-led invasion of another Muslim country. I contend that the bombs we see today raining down upon Libya could well serve the purpose of boots in this regard. They could serve to delegitimize the Libyan revolutionaries.

    The Inconsistent Pattern of US Interventions

    Should the U.S.-led bombing campaign accomplish its objective, a result that is far from certain, the rebels will not be credited with saving Benghazi. Rather, U.S., French, and British bombs and missiles will have saved the city, possibly only temporarily. The history books will not record a Stalingrad-like rebel defense of Benghazi. They may well record the U.S.-led intervention as the event that consolidated the idea that the United States, under the legality provided by a United Nations resolution, can, unilaterally, or in collaboration with its western allies, militarily intervene in the affairs of a sovereign nation that poses no military threat to America in order to stave off a humanitarian disaster.

    This idea would be welcomed by many were not its implementation to date so tellingly inconsistent. There has been no direct western intervention in the Congo, the scene of the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster in recent history. When the people of Gaza were being pulverized by the Israeli Defense Forces, there was no intervention. Even in Darfur, the scene of an awful humanitarian crisis where the rebel forces once enjoyed immense popular support in the West, there has been no western military intervention. Similarly, in Somalia, which three years ago was the scene of a grave humanitarian catastrophe, there was no intervention. In fact, the American-encouraged Ethiopian invasion of Somalia helped precipitate that disaster. It should be clear from these examples that the protection of civilian life is not an operative principle in US foreign policy.

    The current intervention in Libya establishes a dangerous precedent in the context of the popular uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. If we accept intervention in Libya, what prevents us from accepting intervention in places like Iran? If demonstrators in Iran are violently suppressed by the regime tomorrow, what consistent moral argument can we forward to prevent an American or Israeli-led attack to pacify an Iranian regime deemed to be threatening its civilian population? The assessment of the circumstances of what qualifies for intervention will become arbitrary and will make a mockery of international law.

    Moreover, direct foreign intervention in Libya will likely lead to far more civilian deaths than would have occurred had the conflict remain a strictly Libyan affair. The ongoing bombing has already resulted in civilian deaths. This number will likely rise dramatically as the campaign is expanded to include civilian infrastructure deemed critical to the survival of Qaddafi’s regime, such as electrical generation stations, communication infrastructure, factories, and other installations more likely to be located near civilian neighborhoods.

    Yet more civilian casualties could result in the aftermath of the bombing campaign, when the desire for revenge by Qaddafi loyalists will likely lead to blind and bitter reprisals against civilians thought to be supportive of the rebels. The columns of burned out tanks, personnel carriers, pickup trucks, and other vehicles conveying Qaddafi loyalists towards Benghazi were not driven by robots. They were manned by human beings with friends, relatives, and tribesmen who will not take kindly to their deaths via western projectiles.

    Finally, there is no guarantee that Qaddafi’s forces will be repulsed by the rebels, even with western assistance. If a lengthy stalemate ensues, we can easily see Libya follow in the footsteps of the Congo, Darfur, and Somalia as it experiences its own war-related humanitarian crisis. Should such a stalemate be broken by a full-fledged western invasion and occupation of Libya? No one claims to want that. However, it is a prospect that has to now be realistically entertained in aftermath of the ongoing western intervention.

    If Not for the People, Then Why?

    If, as I am arguing, the U.S.-led intervention in Libya is not ultimately intended to protect civilians then what might the real motive be? For the United States, the answer is clear. President Obama said unequivocally that Qaddafi must go, making regime change the ultimate American objective. It is clear that way the conflict in Libya has unfolded provides an avenue for the United States to initiate a policy calling for the ouster of Qaddafi.

    Why would the ouster of Qaddafi be such a high priority for the United States? One reason could be that Qaddafi has been leading a Pan-African movement under the auspices of the African Union, similar to the unification effort spearheaded by Hugo Chavez in South America. Libya’s oil revenues have played a large role in supporting Qaddafi’s African initiative, which aims for Africa’s economic empowerment by breaking the vestiges of European economic control of Africa. This is a key reason why Qaddafi enjoys varying degrees of popularity in what is sometimes called “Black Africa.”

    Qaddafi’s Pan-African effort coincides with the rising economic role of China in Africa. Since 2001, trade between Africa and China has increased from $10 billion to more than $110 billion. The United States has noticed the growing influence of Libya and China in Africa and has responded, in part, by establishing a new American military command for Africa (AFRICOM) in 2006. A critical objective of AFRICOM is to unite the continent’s 53 countries into a unified, pro-American strategic and economic zone, which would involve both regime changes and “humanitarian” interventions to stabilize the continent. Some critics of U.S. policy in Africa say the ultimate objective of AFRICOM is to ensure that America—and not China—becomes the principal foreign beneficiary of Africa’s tremendous wealth.

    To date, no African nation has agreed to serve as the hosting country for AFRICOM’s primary base. All of that could change with the emergence of a post-Qaddafi regime in Libya that owes its existence to the US-led intervention. It should be noted that Libya was the home of Wheelus Air Base, the largest American military installation in Africa, before the coup orchestrated by Qaddafi against King Idris in 1969.

    While nationalization significantly curtailed the development of Libya’s petroleum and gas resources, Qaddafi has sought to expand exploration and production in partnership with major western oil companies in recent years. The Libyan national oil company, however, still controls the terms of trade, which most western companies view as prohibitive. Western energy companies consider Libya a risky investment climate and are seeking better terms from the Libyan regime. Optimal terms could only be obtained by something similar to an “Iraq oil law,” which remains unlikely in Libya while the Qaddafi-led regime is in power. A regime change is likely viewed by many foreign firms as a means to completely opening up access to Libya’s petrochemical resources.

    For France, the conflict in Libya offers an opportunity to reassert its control over Niger’s uranium deposits, a critical goal for a country that relies on nuclear power as its primary source of electricity. For decades, France had a monopoly over Niger’s uranium production. Today, France still imports 40% of its uranium from Niger, where it is currently completing the world’s largest uranium mine.

    A recent development that has raised the concern of the French and the Americans has been an effort on the part of Iran to gain access to Niger’s uranium. Although this Iranian initiative was terminated in 2010, the current conflict in Libya provides France with an opportunity to reestablish its control over Niger’s uranium, and to rekindle its neocolonial ambitions elsewhere in Central Africa, particularly in Chad, which like Niger, is a former French colony.

    Libya, which has lengthy borders with both Niger and Chad, has been steadily seeking to expand its influence to the south. The French have always been wary of Qaddafi’s ambitions in the region, and have intervened to save anti-Qaddafi forces in Chad, Libya’s southern neighbor, several times between 1978 and 1986. Hence, we should not be surprised to see France eagerly intervening in Libya. One could also see the French intervention as a means to gain easy access to Chad’s proven oil reserves of 1 billion barrels, although this likely would not be the most important factor motivating the French. In any case, with the elimination of Qaddafi, France would have an unhindered hand in the region.

    For Britain, intervention in Libya can be seen as no more than a repetition of her involvement in Iraq—tagging along to lend an aura of multilateralism to what is essentially a US-led initiative—and the possibility of an expanded role for BP in the energy sector of a post-Qaddafi Libya. Britain could also use Libya as a springboard for expanded trade relations in Africa. However, it is difficult to argue that such a prospect would be a major consideration in undertaking a risky intervention.

    British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his French counterpart, President Nicolas Sarkozy, who have both vocally echoed Obama’s call for the ouster of Qaddafi, can be viewed as using military action as a means to bolster their waning popularity. Sarkozy is the least popular French president since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958, and Cameron has orchestrated the deepest budget cuts in modern British history. Both have received a boost in the polls in the immediate aftermath of the western intervention in Libya, but if the conflict is a prolonged one, they may both suffer politically.

    Finally, one of the unspoken motivations for European intervention in Libya is xenophobic. The faster Libya becomes stable, the less chance there will be of a massive flow of brown-skinned North African refugees streaming into Europe, especially the southern European nations such as Italy and France.

    No Easy Answers

    Whatever the motivation, the western military intervention has already gone beyond the establishment of a no-fly zone, and Libya has already suffered civilian casualties as a result of the ongoing bombing. The experience in Iraq has shown that a no-fly zone can actually strengthen the targeted regime. In some eyes, the presence of western bombs raining down on Libyan targets has already transformed Qaddafi from villain to victim, further shoring up the support he has among certain segments of the Libyan population.

    To assume that Qaddafi has no support in Libya, an assertion we have heard frequently in recent weeks, is false and potentially deadly. Qaddafi has support among ideologically motivated Arab nationalists, socialists, and many anti-Muslim “progressives.” Many of the poorest segments of Libya’s society, although not attaining a lifestyle anywhere close to that found in some of the oil-rich Persian Gulf Emirates, have experienced improving living standards under Qaddafi and support him. Furthermore, he can mobilize an army of supporters from neighboring African states to the south where many have benefited from his largess.

    We should expect that Qaddafi will see the western attack as an existential threat, not just to his regime, but to his very life, and we should expect him to fight doggedly to the end. Under such circumstances history has taught us to expect the unexpected. Libya will likely prove no exception in this regard.

    For these reasons, I do not believe western intervention in Libya is solely motivated by humanitarian concerns, nor do I believe it will succeed. I cannot support it. However, I do not want my lack of support for the U.S.-led intervention to be viewed as a lack of support for those segments of the Libyan population who have suffered from Qaddafi’s abuses. It is not constructive to frame the conflict in draconian, zero sum terms, where opposition to the US-led intervention automatically translates into support for Qaddafi.

    I have many close friends with family members who are living in abject fear while barricaded in their homes in Tripoli and other Libyan cities. I am well aware of the grave danger they and many other people in Libya face. Still, I reiterate that I am against the current wars and interventions of the American military. These campaigns do not enhance the security of the United States. Rather, they create the conditions that lead more people to desire to harm America, and as has been demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere, they create conditions that eventually lead to great loss of civilian life and widespread suffering.

    So what about the segments of the population in Libya facing the fury of Qaddafi’s loyalists? Now that much of the regime’s armor and aircraft have been destroyed, there should be an immediate call for the cessation of all bombing missions by western powers. All warring parties in Libya should accept an immediate ceasefire. The United Nations, League of Arab States and the African Union should send in a joint peacekeeping force to maintain the ceasefire. Furthermore, the countries that are currently spending millions of dollars to bomb Libya should be be encouraged to make equal or exceeding commitments in humanitarian aid to assist the growing number of displaced individuals. Finally, a national referendum could either affirm Qaddafi’s “Jamahiriyya” or create a constitutional committee charged with drafting a new constitution. If the support for Qaddafi is as weak as it is claimed, the rebels should welcome such a proposal.

    Many will argue that these proposed measures are unrealistic. That may well be the case. But, I believe it is unrealistic to expect positive results from the intervention of western powers that have long histories of pursuing goals, objectives, and strategies that first and foremost serve their own interests. I hope that I am wrong.

  322. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    fyi,
    For the fourth time I will ask you your nationality because I doubt you are Iranian and your refusal to answer is a bit suspicious. Like I said, my guess is you are Indian. I will keep bothering you until I get a straight answer.

  323. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Empty, Liz
    Full official translation
    english.khamenei.ir//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1434&Itemid=4

    fyi,
    The revelation and laws brought by Jesus (as), or more precisely through the Prophetic agency of Jesus (as), were abrogated with the Prophethood and Ministry of Prophet Muhammad (sawa). This is the basic view of Islam and the fact that you have a personal problem with this is completely irrelevant. Also the Guards can arrest the Supreme Leader himself according to the constitution if it is to protect the revolution- unlike western democracy our system is not a suicide pact. That’s why the enemies of the revolution hate Sepah. Also read Imam Khomeinis letter to Ayat. Khamenei from the 1980s were Imam rebukes him when he said that the Valiye Faqih is limited by sharia. The only thing the Valiye Faqih cannot do is to declare najis ayni as pak. Otherwise the Valiye Faqih exactly the same legislative, enforcement and leadership duties as Prophet Muhammad (sawa), Imam Ali (as) and Hazrat Isa (as)- including offensive jihad. Again your opinion in this regard as a non-Faqih is irrelevant.

    UU,
    Remember W doing the Saudi sword dance…

  324. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Interesting point you raise, as to whether American presidents are allowed to be “smart”. It seems clear that US presidents are not allowed to speak clearly about American interests in the Middle East, where those interests clash with those of the Zionist-expansionists. Some mumbo-jumbo is allowed, but certainly no clarity of expression and penetrating analysis.

  325. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The overthrow of the monarchy in Afghanistan proved to be a catastrophic blunder (and one carried out by a member of the family!).

    And it is always worth noting that the Soviet generals opposed the invasion and predicted disaster would ensue.

  326. kooshy says:

    France expels Iranian journalist

    http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1847296.html

  327. Pirouz says:

    “Human Rights Watch’s London director Tom Porteus cautioned that even confirmed evidence of civilian deaths did not necessarily mean negligence or malice given the uncertainties of aerial bombardment.
    “Just because you’ve got a civilian body killed in an airstrike, doesn’t mean there’s been a war crime or even a violation of international humanitarian law,” he said.

    Can you believe this? It reminds me of the scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, where Lancelot hacks his way through a wedding party to unwittingly “save” a twink.

    That’s the British for you…

  328. Pirouz says:

    Speaking of US intelligence, here’s a link/report from a milblog I frequent, SWJ:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/03/25/134666365/a-new-tool-for-u-s-intelligence-google

    Anyone here a frequent Google Persian user? I’ve used it a few times with marginal success but that was over a year ago.

  329. Liz says:

    Thanks Empty

  330. Pirouz says:

    “Can any of you guys think of any one particular who often visits this site?”

    I gave his site an honest tryout for two straight weeks but as a consumer of news, I found it unsatisfactory. The reporting is entirely negative: sometimes mocking, sometimes even snide. I gave up on it.

    It’s too bad, too. That site does have potential. But you’re right, that sort of potential may not be in the script, if you know what I mean.

  331. Rd. says:

    Zach says:

    “Or is it that we have formed a nice little community where we all mostly agree with each other, criticize those with whom we disagree, and go about our daily lives, happy to have either contributed or vented?”

    There is also that un-measured “value” of the bystanders who disseminate this little community’s information according to their own….

  332. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: March 25, 2011 at 8:29 am

    When the Communists overthrew Davoud Khan, they plunged Afghanistan into a struggle that had nothing to do with the people of Afghanistan but had everthing to do with the Cold War between US and USSR.

    Analogously, the Saudi leaders and their cohorts in the Southern Persian Gulf states are also committed to a foreign policy that serves them not; trying to excludde and oppose the Islamic Iran on behalf of the Axis Powers.

    May be history will be kinder to them than to the Afghan leaders.

    I think it will be a good idea for them to take a much more neutral stand vis-a-vis Iran. When the oil runs out, the Western Christian states of the Axis Powers will leave, but Muslim Iran will still be there.

  333. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: March 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    The Law has to delimit and constrain the exercise of constitutional mandates.

    The Guards are not above the Law.

    So you admit that the law is derived from Revelation.

    It then follows that which is derived from the Quranic Revelation and the Hadith may be faulty since it is in contradiction with the Revelations of Jesus and others.

    It seems to me patently clear that you either have to reject the records of the Revelations of Jesus as being completely false or have to accept that some of those records to be true. In the latter case, then, theoretically, what Jesus states (The Acts and Speeches of the Immaculate Perfect Man) could abrogate Islamic Law.

    I do not have any quarrels with Usuli School of Jurisprudence; it is the sources of the Law that I question.

  334. Empty says:

    NOTE:Earlier, I had gone through the written speech (Persian text) by Ayatollah Khamenei and posted that I did not find any portion of the speech talking about providing arms, anti-aircraft missile help to the Libyans. Today, I downloaded and listened to both speeches in their entirety delivered as Norouz message and in Mashhad by Ayatollah Khamenei. In Mashhad speech (which is 73 minutes and 51 seconds, Ayatollah Khamenei says the following (@ 61 minutes and 45 seconds with “high resolution download). This, in fact, shows that he DID say about providing the Libyan people with arms and anti-aircraft. Here is verbatim from the audio of the Mashhad (posted: ;http://farsi.khamenei.ir/audio-content?id=11798) In my previous translation, I had used Farsi text from MehrNews. I apologize for not having gone to the audio of the speech. Note to self: always always always double check all available sources.

    “…there are two noteworthy points, one point is Libya and one point is Bahrain. With respect to Libya, we condemn the behavior of the government of Libya has adopted with respect to the people, the killing of the people, the pressure on the people, the bombing of the cities, killing of the non-military people, we condemn these one hundred percent. However, we also condemn one hundred percent the entrance of the Americans, the interference by American and the west. They claim, please note, they claim ‘we want to enter into Libya or conduct military operations to defend the people’. This is not acceptable/believable at all. These people if they were truthfully supporting the Libyan people, if their hearts were aching for the Libyan people, now it’s a month that the Libyan people are being bombed, you wanted to help them then, give them arms, give them help, give them anti-aircraft. Instead of these, they have sat for a month, they have watched the massacre of the people, now they want to “enter”. Then, you have not come to defend the people. You are after the Libyan oil. You are after establishing your foothold in Libya. You want to use Libya as a foothold so that you could keep an eye on the future revolutionary governments of Egypt and Tunisia which are located on two sides of Libya. Your very intention is a corrupt intention. We do not accept these moves that the westerners led by America are making. Regretfully, the public structures, the United Nations, that are supposed to be in service of all nations, they have been a tool at these people’s disposal….”

  335. Rd. says:

    kooshy says:

    “Can any of you guys think of any one particular who often visits this site?”

    One can endure, but thinking does not compute in that paradigm.

  336. BiBiJon says:

    On Bahrain:

    If al-Khalifa’s stupidity could be measured in dollars and cents …

    From http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-25/bahrain-choosing-violence-may-hurt-economy-as-shiite-rage-turns-on-monarch.html

    Instead of “stabilizing what is a highly charged political situation,” the government’s actions may have entrenched sectarian divisions, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said last week, explaining why it cut Bahrain’s credit rating by two levels. S&P forecast “damage to Bahrain as a tourist destination and, more importantly, as an offshore financial center in relation to other competing cities in the Gulf.”

    Yields on Bahrain’s benchmark 10-year dollar bond have jumped more than 1 percentage point this year, to about 6.3 percent, and the cost of insuring its debt through credit default swaps has almost doubled.

  337. kooshy says:

    “In the next years, if you find someone online defending the warfare state, it just might be a government propagandist. The web persona might be a complete fake, even the product of a computer program concocted by the US military “to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda,” reports the Guardian.”

    Can any of you guys think of any one particular who often visits this site?

  338. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I think the Saudi Sword Dance ditty is kinda catchy. Is that wrong?

  339. Rehmat says:

    Yesterday, Washington finally succeeded in diverting world’s attention from Israel’s human rights violations by blackmailing (US pays 22% of the UN’s annual budget of $1.18 billion) the 47-members UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Iran. Professor Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for the Palestinian Territories has been a thorn for both Tel Aviv and Washington.

    I suppose Israel-Firster and a major cheerleader for the US-led war on Iraq in 2003, John Bolton (born to a Jewish mother), former US ambassador at UN – could be the best Special Rapporteur on Iran to counter Dr. Richard Falk’s (with a Jewish family background) criticism of Israel’s human rights violations. John Bolton, whose mother was Jewish – showed his paranoid nature about Islamic Iran during his speech at CPAC meeting in 2009.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/special-unhr-watchdog-for-iran/

  340. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Looney Tunes Reports:

    The head of the UAE jet fighter squadron reported to NATO Command for duty. The NATO commanding officer greeted him: “Good morning, Sir.”

    “Sir morning good!” he is reported to have replied.

  341. kooshy says:

    So, what do you think, do we afford more wars?
    Do we want to hire this same type of folks again and again?
    I bet we will, you know we are the Americans.

    Feds: Household wealth down 23 percent
    http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/morning_call/2011/03/feds-household-wealth-down-23-percent.html

    Atlanta Business Chronicle – by Carla Caldwell, Morning Call Editor
    Date: Friday, March 25, 2011, 5:23am EDT – Last Modified: Friday, March 25, 2011, 6:45am EDT

  342. Empty says:

    Photi,
    Thank you for posting portions of Imam Ali’s letter to Malik Ashtar that highlights instructions and principles based on which a government should operate. Any government that could materialize even a portion of these would be a better government for its people in any part of the world.

  343. kooshy says:

    Greetings to the Dr.–e- Aziz Mazandarani

  344. Deadbeat says:

    Let’s call a spade a spade shall we? There is no “liberal-neocon” alliance. It’s a ZIONIST front or as Dr. James Petras refers to it — The Zionist 5th column.

  345. hans says:

    @PGone feels less antagonism toward Ahmadinejad, Ahmadinejado is a patriot he believes in the state of Iran not the multi nationals and is not corrupted by Zionism fiat dollars. Iran should seriously consider changing the constitution to enable Presidents to stay longer then 2 terms in times of crisis. Ahmadinejado is very popular in Iran and many other countries.

  346. Persian Gulf says:

    as I walk in the streets here and talk to family members, friends and ordinary people alike, it makes me laugh to remember all the talks about soon to be the demise of the Islamic Republic that one can hear in the West (I will have to explore Tehran in few days!). and what place green movement has in the mind of ordinary citizens here?(a big NOTHING) it’s really limited to the somehow more affluent segment of the society, at least as far as my experiences show here.

    I don’t deny there is a degree of dissatisfaction here, but to translate it as the sign of a revolution that would topple or even shake the system, is obviously a wishful thinking. and one feels less antagonism toward Ahmadinejad from those who used to oppose him in the past (at least those that I know of).

    and there is a very live political discussion everywhere here regarding what is going on in the Arab world; in particular Libya, Egypt, Bahrain….

    P.S, Kalameh is blocked here! at least I can’t get access to it without a “filtershekan”. I urgently need to find one! as there seems to be other websites such as facebook…that are blocked too. This filter stuff is going to my nerve sometimes! It’s a shame for the system I would say. depriving people of what they want to see and read is not an option obviously. why should the system be afraid of it while its stability is pretty clear? continuing this path just adds to the existing paranoia. The system has to find a way to solve this problem.

    greeting Mazandaran :D

    کـه مـازنـدران شـهـر مـا يـاد بـاد— هـمـيـشـه بــر و بـومـش آبـاد بـاد// که در بوستانش هميشه گل است— به کوه اندرون لاله و سنبل است

  347. Liz says:

    Zach,

    I know quite a few people who read the comments on this website, both in the US and Iran.

  348. PB says:

    zack

    Well, that is the true problem with the blogesphere, everyone is into their own world. There is very little interaction. Where there are differing opinions, people tend to attack each other to drive one another out of the blog, saying things like “you don’t belong here” etc.
    So, I would not be surprised that we are simply talking among each other.
    That is why I encourage people to post articles from this and other website onto the ones that are of the opposite camp. I have seen opinions shift.

  349. Paul says:

    NATO to “supersize” no fly zone
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03/24/libya.war/index.html

    So we may soon have ‘no-fly plus’, followed later by ‘no-fly professional’, then ‘no-fly premium’, and finally ‘no-fly ultimate’. ‘ground premium’ and ‘ground ultimate’ packages are also in line for production. Various platinum and gold enhancements are also in the works!

  350. Zach says:

    Another thing I wonder about: this blog, the Leveretts’ postings, and comments are all fine, and enjoyable to read, think about and discuss online and offline. However I wonder, does the Leveretts’ writings and media appearances have any effect, no matter how small, on US foreign policy/media policy/etc? Or is it that we have formed a nice little community where we all mostly agree with each other, criticize those with whom we disagree, and go about our daily lives, happy to have either contributed or vented?

  351. Zach,

    “Does anybody here ever read Rehmat’s one liner blog link postings (I don’t)? Just wondering.”

    Funny you should ask. I probably check once every three months or so, but I did check out his most recent one today, by Richard Falk.

    Even so, I don’t like Rehmat’s use of this website as a feeder to his website, which I’ll venture is your point. I think the Leveretts ought to charge him an advertising fee.

  352. Zach says:

    Does anybody here ever read Rehmat’s one liner blog link postings (I don’t)? Just wondering.

  353. masoud says:

    Eric,

    I’ve said before how little I think of Juan Cole. I think previously you disagreed on the basis that he didn’t falsify a translation of Ahmadinejad’s speech as the New York times did in one particularly notable case(although he has more than made up for it since then). I wonder if you’ve changed your opinion of him? I see him as little different than a slightly more informed version of Scott Lucas, e.g. an echo machine for what he things main stream media want to hear.

  354. kooshy says:

    Arnold
    “I also disagree with the third sentence. I no longer consider Barack Obama intelligent, at least by US presidential standards, especially regarding foreign policy. He is aligned with liberals but he has done nothing that indicates he has a deeper or more profound understanding of foreign policy than George W. Bush.”

    I no longer believe the US presidents are allowed to be smart, but I do believe they are required to be slick, he is as good as it comes being unashamedly slick.

  355. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Bravo on your post re: attempts to shut down PressTV English. Isn’t Lauren Booth the sister-in-law of Tony Blair? She has done some good work. Israel and the I-lobby often can be seen as trying to prevent fair presentation of what is going on in the ME.

  356. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    I can remember the funding of communist parties in France and Italy by the Soviet Union in the 1950s. CIA backed anti-communist parties in both countries.

    One reason so many American leaders wanted US military intervention in Vietnam in 1954 was concern that French military collapse and resulting loss of morale would cause a government to come to power in France that would take France out of Nato.
    Fortunately, the British blocked the programme (fearing World War III, since US admirals wanted to blockade China).

  357. Fiorangela,

    I don’t have any particular impression. I’m merely suggesting that a prohibition against political parties with “foreign affiliations” could easily be abused by the party or leader in power. In the US, for example, the Communist Party is permitted to operate, and even to run candidates for president and other offices. I doubt it would be difficult to bar the Communist Party based on its “foreign affiliations,” if the major US political parties were so inclined and had a law available to them that permitted this.

    Instead, those US parties tell voters that the CP is controlled by foreigners, and they count on US voters not liking the CP’s ideas very much. (These days, of course, the CP can safely be ignored entirely.)

  358. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    You might very well be right. On Sunday, Sec of Defence Gates said regime change was not the purpose of the allied attack on Libya. Next day, Obama said publicly that Gaddafi “had to go”.

    UNSC resolution was for purpose of enabling enforcement of a cease-fire. Not for regime change (though neocons would like to claim it was – – shades of G W Bush).

  359. Fiorangela says:

    Eric A Brill @ 12:10:

    I’m trying to discern what “political parties with foreign affiliations” are contemplated by Egypt’s law.

    Is it your impression that the intention is to ensure that no Iran-influenced, or Saudi-influenced, or Israeli- or American-influenced parties are formed, or that funding from those foreign states does not find its way into Egypt’s political system?

    Is that problem unique to the Middle East or do European states experience funding and affiliation of political parties from foreign sources?

  360. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Yes, what a surprise. We could have a world war. To please fantatical Zionist espansionists like Avigdor Lieberman. He fails to mention that Syria has offered peace to Israel for the past 30 years.

  361. http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/03/24/142888.html

    “Iran and Syria pose a greater security threat than Libya and the West should treat those countries in the same way as it has Muammar Gaddafi’s government, Israel’s foreign minister [Avigdor Lieberman] said on Thursday.”

    For those who’ve been wondering how long this would take, and who would say it first…

  362. Arnold Evans says:

    This seems like the heart of the Walt article to me:

    When you have a big hammer the whole world looks like a nail; when you have thousand of cruise missiles and smart bombs and lots of B-2s and F-18s, the whole world looks like a target set. The United States doesn’t get involved everywhere that despots crack down on rebels (as our limp reaction to the crackdowns in Yemen and Bahrain demonstrate), but lately we always seems to doing this sort of thing somewhere. Even a smart guy like Barack Obama couldn’t keep himself from going abroad in search of a monster to destroy.

    The first sentence hammer … target set is just brilliant prose.

    I disagree with the second sentence. Bahrain and Yemen, along with Tunisia and Egypt are or were led by US “allies” or countries I consider part of the US Middle East colonial structure along with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan and Kuwait. All of these countries are more accountable, especially in their foreign policy, to the US than to any domestic constituency and their policies embody US values more than those of their own countries. Libya’s historical opposition to US colonialism – though recently toned down – made it a special case for US policy. Even if the US had not attacked Libya, it would still be possible to say the US is intervening somewhere if only because of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I also disagree with the third sentence. I no longer consider Barack Obama intelligent, at least by US presidential standards, especially regarding foreign policy. He is aligned with liberals but he has done nothing that indicates he has a deeper or more profound understanding of foreign policy than George W. Bush.

  363. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    fyi,
    Answer to your post in last thread:

    You confuse “revelation” with “laws derived from revelation”. Also you seem not understand that constitutionally based mandates are the epitome of the rule of law. Spend time to educate yourself about Jafari usuli school- Shahid Sadr usul should do it if you can read Arabic. Like I said you are confused about many things, stick to analyzing global affairs, avoid analyses of religion- specifically Islam- and Iran (of which it is unlikely that you have recent first hand knowledge). Also you are avoiding to answer whether you are Iranian and whether you are Indian.

  364. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:
    “current tumult in the Mid East makes various labels (neo-conservative, neo-liberal, progressive) , and rigid lines of thinking (realist) useless.”

    I must be experiencing a UU Empty syndrome today!

    Around my house there are many very tall trees. There are also very many squirrels. A dozen or more would jump around at any given time. At one point they figured a way to the top of roof on the house. In my feeble attempt, I tried to setup a trap to capture and haul the offending ones away. I think I got a couple.

    It didn’t take long before the little smarty pests figured out how to avoid the trap. One even figured how to partially enter the trap, grab the bait and walk away. Then a pair of red tail hawks showed up. Great birds. The squirrel population decreased. Shortly there after, we had hurricane Ike coming thru and the birds were blown/flown away to other pastures.

    Late last year I had the trees trimmed from bottom up, to get more sun light and help with the mold build up. This spring as I walk around, often I see small broken end branches around the base of some of the trimmed trees! I get lots of those in windy days. However, I find them every day even after clean up. With a closer look at the branches, I see they are all cut in an angle and look very much the same. It turns out, the little smarty pants are pruning the trees to generate more food (acorn) for them.

    Such is the nature of life that we all live in. The western polity with its automation of war machinery has become delusional. Sure they can push a button and obliterate a whole nation. However, in their Borg like mind set of “Resistance is futile” they have lost touch with the reality around them. Hence they move about like a robot with its head cut-off. The rest of the organs functioning and running into things destroying without knowing the head is gone.

    In this lies their fall as the human mind is so hopelessly and helplessly born to be free of oppression. You can take the body and flesh away, but the spirit is a unique entity of its own will and nature and can not be mastered.

  365. Paul,

    In the confident expectation that the comment below will not make it past Juan Cole’s censor (Juan Cole himself), I thought it might be useful to post it here too — exactly in the form I just attempted to post it on Dr. Cole’s blog:

    Dr. Cole suggests this, in his March 24 blog entry:

    “For a refresher on what kind of danger Benghazi, pop. 700,000, was in only a week ago, look again at this Aljazeera English video…”

    By all means, do so. I did.

    The first half of the video shows a jet plane falling from the sky, shortly after the Security Council’s “cease fire” directive supposedly took effect. The narrator reports that it was a Libyan government plane that had been shot down by the rebels. Apparently Gaddafi’s troops were thumbing their noses at the Security Council. We now know, of course, that it was a rebel plane; rebel leaders explicitly conceded this.

    The rest of the video shows one person lying on a bed, covered up to his neck by white sheets, with a very bright red splotch on the sheet. The person’s face is too blurry to be recognizable, though it appears he has a beard and his body appears to be of adult height. Apparently not, though: the on-site narrator soon tells us he is five years old. He then points to another patient –– or at least he tells us that he is: the cameraman does not bother to show us — and he says that this other patient is “four years old — four months old.” The narrator tells us that this bearded five-year old and the not-shown four year old [four-month old?] were killed by Libyan troops.

    Is this really good enough for people? How is this any better than the “evidence” we had of WMD in Iraq?

  366. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Stephen Hack,

    first, I don’t think I “singled you out,” at least I tried to make my comment general and not personal. I had addressed a sarcastic comment to you personally in an earlier series, where I stated that I didn’t read that much of your material. When I saw the blizzard of information you posted this morning, I read it eagerly, gratefully, and with a bit of shame that I had not been more attentive earlier.

    Then I noticed that the information consisted of clips of 60-70% of the original AsiaTimes articles. Many websites anticipate and permit use of material found there — DailyKos states that material is NOT copyrighted unless otherwise indicated (ie. on an particular article or by a particular article). But AsiaTimes DOES post a copyright notice.

    The anarchist in me agrees with Empty — knowledge should be all for all. But since RFI is not my blog, that is not my decision to make. If I choose to post a copyrighted article on my own blog, I take the consequences. I don’t have the right to impair RFI’s reputation.

    I, too, think you are an important part of RFI and I hope that, by tomorrow noon, you will post some smashing article that will knock the socks off the combined wisdom of Stephen Walt, Dr. Marandi, and Flynt and Hillary Leverett. Or you can ease your way back and critique H Clinton’s latest inanity. No pressure.

  367. Liz says:

    Eric A. Brill,

    I really liked that. I think it was pretty funny.

  368. Paul says:

    I wrote to Dr. Cole (as a comment on his latest posting – Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone), asking, very politely, why he does such heavy censoring of comments on his site; comments which do not even attack his positions but rather ask questions as food for thought for all.

    The comment is yet to appear. I suppose it was censored!

  369. kooshy says:

    Cyber attacks launched against Iran-based English-language news site Press TV from Israeli sources have failed to take down the website.

    Over the past 10 days, Press TV news website has been hit by Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack (DDOS) from Israeli sources.

    The attacks, however, have failed to bring the site down, reportedly due to formidable security systems integrated into the website.

    DDOS attack is an attempt to keep an internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, thus making it unavailable to its intended users.

    Another popular Iran-based Arabic-language news website Al-Alam has also been the target of numerous cyber attacks from sources in Israel and a few US-backed Arab countries.

    Press TV and Al-Alam news websites are among the most active and prominent independent sources for coverage of developments on the recent uprisings in Middle Eastern and North African countries.

    The Iran-based websites also provide extensive coverage of events in occupied Palestinian territories.

    Documents released in 2010 by Wikileaks whistleblower website revealed that Britain had concentrated its efforts on halting Press TV Ltd from producing programs critical of Western Imperialism.

    In an article entitled The Secretive Campaign to Halt Press TV in the UK, British journalist and broadcaster Lauren Booth outlined UK’s efforts to support the US in shutting down the company that markets documentaries and series to the Iranian channel with an identical name.

    Having failed to find any legitimate problem with the quality or content of the programs produced by Press TV, the UK’s National Westminster (NatWest) Bank froze Press TV Ltd’s business account without any prior notice last month and stated that the accounts would be permanently closed in February 2011.

    Press TV has also been put off the air in several Western-backed regional states for covering the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North of Africa.

    Earlier in March, Bahrain interrupted the broadcast of Iran’s Arabic-language entertainment channel iFilm, following its violent crackdown on anti-government protests in the country.

    Press TV has gained popularity for its fair and in-depth coverage of the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly in Bahrain.

    Freelance journalist Johnny Miller, who covered the uprising in Bahrain for Press TV, was detained, harassed and eventually deported from the country earlier this month for no specific reason. His equipment was also confiscated by the Bahraini authorities.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/171502.html

  370. Photi says:

    Good governance according to Imam Ali (as):

    http://www.al-islam.org/nahjul/letters/letter53.htm

    Excerpts:

    Maalik! You must create in your mind kindness, compassion and love for your subjects. Do not behave towards them as if you are a voracious and ravenous beast and as if your success lies in devouring them.

    Remember, Maalik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have; they are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you. Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to, they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally without realizing the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you.

    Your worst ministers will be the men who had been ministers to the despotic rulers before you and who had been a party o atrocities committed by them. Such persons should not be taken into your confidence and should not be trusted because they have aided sinners and have assisted tyrants and cruel rulers.

    You must know, Maalik, that the people over whom you rule are divided into classes and grades and the prosperity and welfare of each class of the society individually and collectively are so interdependent upon the well-being of the other classes that the whole set-up represents a closely woven net and reciprocal aspect. One class cannot exist peacefully, cannot live happily and cannot work without the support and good wishes of the other.

    Then come the officers of your State. You must supervise their work. They must be appointed after a careful scrutiny of their capabilities and characters. These appointments must be made originally on probation without any kind of favouritism being shown or influence being accepted otherwise tyranny, corruption and misrule will reign in your State. While selecting your officers take care to select experienced and honourable persons, members of respectable families who had served Islam during its early days because these are usually of noble character and good repute. They are not greedy and cannot be easily bribed. They mostly have before them the ultimate result of their thoughts and their deeds. Keep them also well-paid so that they may not be tempted to lower their standard of morality and may not misappropriate the cash of the State which they hold in their trust and if after being paid handsomely they prove dishonest, then you will be right to punish them. Therefore keep a careful watch over their system of work and rule.

    The poverty of the people is the actual cause of the devastation and ruination of a country and the main cause of the poverty of the people is the desire of its ruler and officers to amass wealth and possessions whether by fair or foul means. They are afraid of losing their posts or positions and sway or rule and want to make the most during the shortest time at their disposal. They never learn any lesson from the history of nations and never pay any attention to the commands of Allah.

    One more thing about these officers: You must remember not to select them for very important posts and not to trust them completely simply because you have found them honest, diligent, trustworthy and intelligent and have formed a good opinion about them because there are some people who, when it suits them, pretend honesty, diligence and fidelity and can put on the garb of piety and virtue and thus find their ways in the hearts of the rulers, though actually they are neither honest nor diligent nor wise nor sagacious. Therefore, you must always look to the record or reputation of the services of such men during previous regimes; more importance should be attached to their good reputation. This kind of selection and supervision will prove that you are faithful to Allah and that you wish your Imam well.

    There may be local businessmen carrying on their trade in certain places or those who send their merchandise from one place to another. There may even be those who import and export goods. Similarly there may be industrialists and manufacturers as well as industrial labour or men engaged in the handicrafts. They all deserve sympathy, protection and good treatment.

    They all are the sources of wealth to the country. They provide goods for the consumers. Most of these traders carry and convey these goods from across deserts, seas and over open lands and mountains, their consignments are brought from distant lands, often from places which are not easy to approach and where usually people do not care or do not dare to go. These businessmen are usually peace-loving people, not given to mischievous disturbances and seditious fomentation. You must look after their interest and protect them whether they are trading in your cities or towns or whether they are travelling over the countries carrying goods from place to place.

    One more thing about these traders and industrialists. While treating them most sympathetically you must keep an eye over there activities as well.
    You know they are usually stingy misers, intensely self-centered and selfish, suffering from the obsession of grasping and accumulating wealth.
    They often hoard their goods to get more profit out of them by creating scarcity and by indulging in black-marketing. Such a condition is extremely injurious to the public on one hand and disgraceful to the ruler on the other.

    You must put a stop to all such practices because the Holy Prophet (s) has explicitly prohibited such practices. Remember that trade should go on between the buyers and sellers according to correct measures and weights and on such reasonable terms that neither the consumers nor the suppliers should have to face losses. But even with all the sympathetic treatments accorded to them and with all the facilities provided to them, if the traders and industrialists carry on hoarding and black-marketing, then you must punish them according to the intensity of their crime.

    Let me remind you once again that you are made responsible for guarding the rights of the poor people and for looking after their welfare. Take care that the conceit of your position and vanity of wealth may not deceive you to lose sight of such a grave and important responsibility. Yours is such an important post that you cannot claim immunity from the responsibility of even minor errors of commission or omission with an excuse that you were engrossed in the major problems of the State which you have solved diligently.

    Then treat these poor people in such a way that on the Day of Judgement you can plead your case successfully before Allah because of all classes of your subjects this class deserves more of your attention, sympathy and fair-deal.

    You must take care not to cut yourself off from the public. Do not place a curtain of false prestige between you and those over whom you rule. Such pretensions and show of pomp and pride are in reality manifestations of inferiority complex and vanity. The result of such an attitude is that you remain ignorant of the conditions of your subjects and of the actual cases of the events occurring in the State.


    You must never give lands in permanent lease with all proprietary and ownership rights to your friends and relatives. You must never allow them to take possession of the source of water-supply or lands which have special utility for the communes. If they get possession of such holdings they will oppress others to derive undue benefits and thus gather all the fruits for themselves leaving for you a bad reputation in this world and punishment in the next.

    Be fair in dispensing justice. Punish those who deserve punishment even though he may be your near relation or a close friend and even if such an action may give you pangs of sorrow and grief. Bear such a sorrow patiently and hope for Divine reward. I assure you this will bear good fruits.

    If your enemy invites you to a Peace Treaty that will be agreeable to Allah, then never refuse to accept such an offer because peace will bring rest and comfort to your armies, will relieve you of anxieties and worries, and will bring prosperity and affluence to your people. But even after such treaties be very careful of the enemies and do not place too much confidence in their promises because they often resort to Peace Treaty to deceive and delude you and take advantage of your negligence, carelessness and trust. At the same time be very careful, never break your promise with your enemy, never forsake the protection or support that you have offered to him, never go back upon your words, and never violate the terms of the treaty. You must even risk your life to fulfil the promises given and the terms settled because of all the obligations laid by Almighty Allah upon man (in respect to other men) there is none so important as to keep one’s promises when made.

    Beware of the sin of shedding blood without religious justification and sanction because there is nothing quicker to bring down the Wrath of Allah, to take away His Blessings, to make you more deserving of His Wrath and to reduce the span of your life than to shed innocent blood. On the Day of Judgement Allah will first attend to sins of bloodshed carried out by man against man. Therefore, never try to strengthen your power, position and prestige by shedding innocent blood. Such murders instead of making your position strong will not only considerably weaken it but may also transfer your power totally, taking it away from you and entrusting it to somebody else.

    You must always try to remember the good and useful things done in the past, activities of a just and benign regime, good deeds done by it, good laws promulgated, instructions of the Holy Prophet (s), commands of Allah given in His Holy Book and things that you have seen me doing or have heard me saying. Follow the good actions and advice found therein. Similarly, follow carefully the pieces of advice contained in these orders. Through them I have tried to teach you all that can be taught about a good regime. I have done my duty towards you so that you may not go astray and your mind may not crave for base desires. If it does then you will have no excuse before Allah.

    I beseech Allah that by His Limitless Mercy and by His Supreme Might He may grant our prayers, that He may lead both of us to the Divine Guidance of achieving His Pleasure, of successfully pleading our cases before Him, justifying our deeds before man, of gaining good repute, of leaving good results of our benign and just rule with ever expanding prosperity and ever increasing welfare of the State and of meeting our ends as martyrs and pious persons, as our return is towards Him only.

    May the peace of Allah be upon the Holy Prophet (s) and His chosen descendants.

  371. Some interesting passages from an Associated Press article on Libya:

    “Libyan state television on Thursday showed blackened and mangled bodies that it said were victims of airstrikes in Tripoli, the capital. Rebels have accused Gadhafi’s forces of taking bodies from the morgue and pretending they are civilian casualties.”

    And this:

    “But the rebels who largely control Libya’s east remain outgunned and disorganized — instead of handing out weapons at a checkpoint, they were distributing sneakers to would-be fighters on Thursday.”

  372. Fiorangela says:

    Paul @ 11:14 am quoted:

    “First, we must expand the focus of the pressure: from ire at the nuclear program to ire at Iran’s abuse of human rights. ”

    In 2002 Netanyahu had a different “focus of pressure” on Iran:

    Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Perspectives on Conflict with Iraq, Sept 12, 2002

    [The context is BN’s explication of why Bush is doing the right thing in planning to remove Saddam by military force, since Saddam/Iraq is the “lynchpin” in the network of “terror” in the Middle East. Iran is equally in need of regime change, but, when asked if, after Iraq is democratized, military force should be used to change the regime in Iran, Bibi says:]

    “This is not a question of values. Obviously we’d like to see a regime change –at least I would– in Iran, just as I would like to see regime change in Iraq. The question now is a practical question: what is the best place to proceed? . . .[W]hen should the [Iraqi] regime be taken out? It’s not a question whether you’d like to see a regime change in Iran, but how to achieve it?
    “Iran has something that Iraq doesn’t have . . .for example, 250,000 satellite dishes, it has internet use. I once said to the chair of –the heads of the CIA, when I was prime minister, that if you want to advance regime change in Iran, you don’t have to go through the CIA cloak and dagger stuff. What you want to do is take very large transponders and just beam Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210 and all that [laughter in audience & panel] into Tehran and into Iran, because that is subversive stuff. They watch it, the young kids, the young people, they want to have the same nice clothes, the same houses and swimming pools and so on.
    “And that is something that is available –internal forces of dissension that are available in Iran which is paradoxically probably the most open society in that part of the world. It is a lot more open than Iraq, which is probably the most closed society on earth. And therefore you have no ability to foment this kind of dynamic inside Iraq.”

    There are a dozen thoughts this bit of dialog summons.

    Among the most poignant has to do with the laughter with which Netanyahu’s suggestion was greeted. Did the American people on that committee and in that audience realize that THEIR children were being brainwashed and “subverted” by Melrose Place, etc., to want frivolous things, as a means to destroy THEIR government, their culture, their values?

    A second thought: last week I heard Peter Beinart speak about the disenchantment toward zionism and Israel among young American Jews. He was asked how to change that “dynamic.”
    Quick as a wink, Beinart answered, “Take them to Israel. The Birthright trips are great!”

    Sheldon Adelson and other Jewish billionaires in the US sponsor free trips to Israel for young American Jews, where they can become emotionally attached to the “houses and swimming pools” and ambiance of Jewish Israel. Beinart’s audience was with him: Yes! Take young Jewish Americans to Israel!

    “But they should also see the West Bank and Gaza,” Beinart added.

    Uh oh.

    The audience groaned.

    Show American Jewish kids reality and not a fantasy? That was subversive.

  373. James Canning says:

    Eric & R S Hack,

    The whole point of the Iraq War was most definitely not to “own Iraq”. Who would have been the owners, if that had been the purpose? Chinese oil companies? Russian oil companies? Iranian companies? Turkish companies? BP?

    Iraqi oil prices are not manipulated to lower them from what the market obtains. Who would do the manipulating?

  374. More on Juan Cole’s blog censorship:

    I do not mean to diminish the comments from intelligent critics who disagreed with Juan Cole’s recent essay, “Top Ten Ways that Libya 2011 is Not Iraq 2003.” He does allow some criticism, and much of it is well worth reading. But he tends to keep most of it within narrow bands, and then to favor commenters who promptly come to his defense. Most objectionable is his tendency to let any obsequious commenter through the gate, no matter how trivial the comment may be.

    Ask yourself this question: Given that, on the most recently closed RFI thread, there are were four times as many posts (548) as there were on Dr. Cole’s thread cited here (129) , would you find four times as many comments heaping praise on the Leveretts as you will see in the excerpts below? Would you expect to see the Leveretts keeping the criticism within such narrow bands?

    Excerpts from Dr. Cole’s thread cited above. Each paragraph is a separate comment, with a few noted exceptions. Bear in mind that, although I have not included remarks critical of Dr. Cole, these excerpts nonetheless were culled from only 129 total comments:

    I don’t agree with last point [Point 10 of 10]…

    … excellent! I see the world still knows by far not enough about Libya…

    I am Libyan, and i agree with all what you have said…

    Good for you for speaking out, [preceding commenter], and trying to explain your country to the outside world!

    But Juan, do you think the US and UN allies would have gone to war with Libya were the country not floating on a sea of light sweet crude? [Another commenter springs to Dr. Cole’s defense]: George – could you provide source for “Libya floating on sea of oil”?

    Glad you are pointing out these differences, Prof Cole.

    I think you are right.

    Thanks for this, Dr. Cole.… And is there anything the US or our allies can do to improve this situation?

    The opposition has made their democratic intentions fairly clear.

    Very well presented. Wish the media were as clear.

    Dear mister Cole,
 First I would like to point out that I like your blog a lot. It is very instructive. 
I can agree with 8 out of your 10 points, but not with point 8 and 10 however.


    Juan, 
In response to point 10…

    I never thought what is going on in Libya was anything like the invading of Iraq. …

    I’m not interested in debating constitutionality or economics…

    Isn’t it actually a tribal conflict, Qadaffi’s tribe and its allies against other tribes?
 [Another commenter defends Dr. Cole:] Tribal conflicts are significantly different from ethnic and sectarian ones ….


    Juan, I agree with this for the most part, but a few things I disagree with:
 [minor quibbles with Points 3, 7 and 9 of Dr. Cole’s 10 Points].

    [This one comes from a commenter who genuinely disagrees with Dr. Cole this time, and has figured out that first larding praise on Dr. Cole improves one’s chances of getting past the censor:] I’ve been following Prof. Cole’s blog since before it was big and have always respected his opinion. He’s been my main source on the Middle East. That’s why I’m a bit surprised to find myself disagreeing substantially with him…

    Prof. Cole, re point 8 [There follows only a question about Point 8, not criticism of Point 8 or any other Point]…

    In contrast to the first 9 points, point 10 seems rather speculative…

    I’ve been looking for a perspective in this complicated situation that I can be comfortable with. Yours goes a long way to helping me. But I’m still worried.


    I have been on the non-intervention side of this argument and feel like I’ve been taken by the shoulders and shaken to come to my sense, although I’m still skeptical. I have been trying to go over exactly how this violence began. …You are the only commentator I know who lays this out so objectively and politically without milking the humanitarian issue emotionally.

    Your points are fair enough until the last, which seems highly speculative.

    Juan, 
I also have to take issue with number 1 [of 10 Points].

    Why ten? Are you going on Letterman or are those just all the reasons? They all seem pretty solid though.

    The last point is rather weak. Libya cannot realistically influence neighbors too much. But the other [nine] points are valid and important.


    It’s amazing that this stuff has to be pointed out.


    Prof Cole has given us an excellent summary of the differences between Iraq and Libya. They could hardly be more different.

    Good commentary!
 I’m quite a fan of “alternative media” (e.g. “conspiracy theory”), but I’m quite saddened by the various reactions on the intervention in Libya.


    OH my thanks for educating many people with myopic lazy prototypical points of view. THANKS!


    Well said, sir!
 I’ve been somewhat dismayed at the way the media, especially the more leftist elements, have turned against the intervention in Libya in recent days.

    As an ardent leftist, I’m fully supportive of Western intervention, and I’m glad we seem to be on the side of progress for once. All the comparisons to Iraq have been rather annoying me.


    A million thanks for publishing this.

    Good analysis Prof. Cole. I read some idiot on another web site comparing Libya to Kosovo the other day and I laughed…

    Just a quicky for those opposing intervention: In what alternative way could the Libyan population … be saved from being slaugtered.

    Prof. Cole:
 You neglected to add several other ways in which this mission differs from that of OIF.
…

    yes i totaly agree with all this points and would like point that Qaddafi is has commited crimes for 42 years not only in libya but all over the world …

    Thanks very much for this, Dr. Cole.


    I think each of your ten points is correct, with the possible exception of the last…

    Dr. Cole: I consider you an intelligent and trustworthy source, and your 10 points are useful, though I harbor some of the same reservations as previous commentors.

    [Give the next commenter credit:] Oh dear. When people are reduced to telling you you are intelligent, it normally means you messed up big time!


    I love this article! Thanks!


    Other major difference not mentioned: …

    The American public will support wars for the wrong reasons, and will oppose them for the wrong reasons also. Gaddafi is the only one to blame for this…

    Juan Cole is right, on all eight points The blog is justly named “Informed Comnent”: that’s what Cole provided: informed comment, plus logic and sound, humane judgement. 
Just what we need when there is so much ill-informed sounding off taking place.


    Nice list. Makes sense.

    You know what, I am sick and tired of people who keep floating the oil issue with Libya- even people on the left who are so adamantly against another ‘American war’.


    Thanks for that, [previous commenter]! 
You put it very well and I totally agree.


    … Why even make comparisons. Obviously they are different.

    A superb column, Professor.
I shall post it on Facebook and recommend it to everyone (a surprising number of intelligent friends)….

  375. fyi says:

    Photi says: March 24, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Iran and Turkey cannot be allies.

    They do not face the same threats.

    But they can cooperate.

    In fact, the Axis Powers sanctions on Iran has been extremely beneficial to Turkish economy.

    As is often the case after a change in regime, there is an intense struggle for political power in Egypt. This will absorb Egypt for several years unless Israelis, as is customery for them, cause a problem.

    Iranians, I should think, will be concentrating in maintaining and enhancing their relationships with Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon.

    They would be using their NGOs (Qum, Najaf, Mashahd, Kerbala) to enhance their influence in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Pakistan.

    At this moment, with the Axis Powers in 3 wars among Muslims and with teh war against Iran on their long-term agenda, security will predominate in the Iranian and regional thinking.

    A positive vision of future must include the exit of the Axis Powers from among the Muslims. They only have war to offer.

  376. James Canning says:

    Did neocons in Washington work with powerful Jewish interests in the US and France to set up a French effort to overthrow the Libyan government, so that the neocons et al could then force Obama to join in that effort?

  377. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Re: March 24th, 4:42pm – – Libya forced Italy to agree to pay many billions of dollars for “reparations” but Italy was not seeking the overthrow of Gaddafi.

    Interesting comment from Idris Abdulla Abed al-Sononsi, apparently a member of the exiled Libyan former royal family. Not much has been heard from this direction during these events of late.

  378. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Yes, labels mean little these days, re: ME. William Lind, writing in The American Conservative (May 2011, “Worse Than Tyranny”) prescribes this course of action for the US: “End the war in Afghanistan, close the American bases, shrink the embassies, and stop legitimizing Likud’s expansionism [and] lower the profile of our relationship with Israel.”

  379. Empty says:

    BibiJon,

    I have a really good story about your questions but it would definitely be misunderstood and labeled as inappropriate if I wrote it. Anyway…..
    من که امیدم اینه که یکی از “سربازها” باشم! شما چطور!؟

  380. BiBiJon says:

    Everyone (Richard included),

    I wonder how many of you feel that the current tumult in the Mid East makes various labels (neo-conservative, neo-liberal, progressive) , and rigid lines of thinking (realist) useless.

    The intensity of hope (Egypt), disgust (Bahrain), delight (Tunisia), etc. have taken a life of their own for me. Unbounded by labels, whether Arab Spring, Arab/Muslim Awakening, etc. I cannot help feeling something far deeper is stirring within people’s hearts which defies all expectations, will rubbish the most meticulous plans, and will be globally contagious.

    USG’s actions (more appropriately: reactions) are as one would expect. Try and prevent our SoB’s from falling, failing that co-opt revolutions, see if you cannot get the sentiments to topple rulers we don’t like, etc.

    To my mind, US’ it is a wasting time harping about hypocrisy, because I see it as wholly expected self-interest-driven reaction to events by everyone, not just the US.

    The problem is no one seems to have a handle on what these ‘awakenings’ are. I wish folks would take up this question. What is stirring in people’s hearts? Why now? Why not last year?

  381. Empty says:

    Richard Steven Hack,

    You highlight the events from a very interesting angle. You are far more discriminating than an internet search engine in combing through various articles that clearly and exactly describe and discuss your points and bring them to the discussion. With respect to knowledge, I favor “Copy Left” to “Copy Right” as the former promotes a distributive justice with respect to knowledge and the latter promotes a severe commodification of knowledge which, by design, leaves out those who cannot afford access through usual channels. From a legal perspective, oh, well, let them sue New America Foundation. They sure can afford it! :)

    All that to say that your contributions are valuable and hope you don’t stop.

  382. Empty says:

    TDITW,

    RE: “If I understand you correctly, you say that any obstacles, if the law now is one, will only spur Muslims further?”

    I think the obstacles (including this one related to law) would provide them with opportunities to gain and polish their skills in overcoming such obstacles. The wisdom to recognize such opportunities and the courage to face them with Islam as the guiding light will in fact “spur Muslims further” in varying degrees over time. Imagine, if you will, you wake up in the morning and have a very tough day ahead. If you are truly motivated by a Love much greater than yourself, no fear can shake your resolve and no greed and short-term gain can distract you. I do not think this is something that can come about and bear fruit in the next few decades. However, I do think the direction and mass consciousness have dramatically shifted in favor of an Islamic Awakening.

  383. Fiorangela,

    “The new [Egyptian] law also prohibits political parties with foreign affiliations from being founded…”

    I wonder who gets to decide whether a political party has “foreign affiliations?”

    Suppose a similar “new law” were adopted in Libya, and the rebels were to lay down their arms and form a political party (which also would require a change in Libyan law, since parties presently aren’t allowed at all, but – hey – we’re hypothesizing here). Do you suppose that new rebel party would be certified as free of “foreign affiliations?” Or would Gaddafi’s government insist that it was a mere puppet of Al Qaeda and its new best friend, the US government?

    Same question for the Greens in Iran.

    I’m all for preventing manipulation by foreigners who couldn’t care less about the people who live in the country whose politics are being manipulated. But I think it’s better just to let the opponents of a “puppet party” point out the foreign affiliations. Sometimes they might not be able to prove those foreign affiliations – I acknowledge that. But even then, if the puppet party’s ideas are contrary to the best interests of the country’s people, that party’s opponents ought to be able to get that fact across to voters. And even if they fail in that effort, I still think such a system is better than one that flatly prohibits parties with “foreign affiliations” and then leaves it to the powers that be to decide whether an opposition party passes that test.

  384. Richard,

    You wrote:

    “I quit. Obviously I’m not wanted here. Bye.”

    I’ll guess you’re reacting to Fiorangela’s point about pasting in whole articles from other publications. If so, I hope you’ll reconsider. Needless to say, I am not one of your bigger fans, but I think some of your comments are impressive.

    Fiorangela points out that she’s not a lawyer. I am, but not a copyright specialist. Even so, I think all of us understand that “fair use” under the copyright laws doesn’t permit someone to write, for example: “Another great article by XYZ” and then paste in, verbatim, an entire 1,000 word article published somewhere else. I plead guilty to having done that once or twice myself, in an excess of zeal, but you do it as a regular practice and so I do think it’s fair here to single you out.

    Nor is that the best way to get one’s point across. I’d be more impressed by what Pepe Escobar writes, for example, if you’d simply post a link to his article and then add a few sentences that explain why you think we should all read it. Pasting a whole Pepe Escobar article into a comment on this website doesn’t make it more likely that I’ll read his words. It makes it more likely that I’ll just skip your entire comment – Escobar’s words and yours too.

  385. BiBiJon says:

    Rd. says:
    March 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Re Bhadrakumar’s piece in Asia Times suggesting a Turkish about face.

    I don’t see any Turkish ‘retreat’ and ‘realignment’.

    Turkey’s overarching foriegn policy is premissed on the ‘zero problem’ with anyone doctrine.

    This stance of course creates dilemas for Turkey. Everytime two regional countries are at loggerheads with one another, they both wind up insisting Turkey make a choice. Turkey naturally would maintain (and do quite well for herself) relationas with both adversories in every field except that which would help/hinder either side’s instruments of mutual hostility.

    Turkey has always maintained that she will abide by and international law and enforce UN decisions in her jurisdiction. Interdicting Iranian arms shipment to Syria is well within that frame and likely is a short-lived episode, not a harbinger of anything.

    If Turkey has secured a lucrative commercial deal with the Saudis by simply not taking sides in the Bahrain issue, then who can blame her. And, taking on a non-combat role vis-a-vis Libya in fact has given Turkey a more visible perch to show case ‘never will aim a weapon at a fellow Muslim’ to augment her soft-power.

    I think Bhadrakumar is looking for a sea change where there is only consistency.

  386. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Fiorangela

    I don’t question the law in itself, and fyi points to a good explanation why the law is a good thing.

    Empty says:
    >Donkey in the Well (hats off to your title),
    Thank you, credit goes to Rd :)

    >The questions you are raising are very good questions and in the right direction. This is the beginning of an “Islamic Awakening” as it was framed by Ayatollah Khamenei. to “awaken” after a long “sleep” to the realities of life within a global context in which every time you touch an Islamic principle, you burn your hand with severe pains and consequences is in fact a very good beginning to that Awakening.

    So cryptic. You must be Iranian :)
    If I understand you correctly, you say that any obstacles, if the law now is one, will only spur Muslims further?

    Rehmat says:
    >TheDonkeyInTheWell – Hey which country people like you live? The US, Israel, Britain, Germany and many other countries are ruled by Judeo-Christian religious fanatics and fundo racists.

    Maybe true, perhaps as Fiorangela said: “Americans would do well to enact such laws.” I suppose it goes for the Europeans too. (the part that forbids “foreign affiliations”?)

  387. Photi says:

    fyi says:
    March 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

    “Of course, ultimaletly, the Muslims and their leaders are responsible. Mr. Ahmadinejad was sincere in his “Gulf of Friendship” initiative. But the Saudis and other Arabs were not ready. They thought that their problems with Iran over her role in Iraq or her strategic aims were more important than the benefits that they could derive from the realization of the “Gulf of Friendship” vision.”

    I think the Saudis will show themselves to be the most chameleon-like in their foreign policy as their needs change with their regional environment. Egyptian citizens still have to cleanse themselves from years of Mubarak’s anti-Iran propaganda . Even so, Iran and Turkey should focus on an alliance with Egypt. Egypt is the natural leader of the Arab world. With the inclusion of Egypt, a new power structure will emerge to move the Near East in the direction it needs to go. Long term this will mean peace for everyone. The maintenance of artificially weak states in the region is in no one’s long term interests, even when considering Israel. This is such an opportune moment in history to throw realpolitik aside for higher ideals.

  388. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: March 24, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Given the fact that 10% of Egyptian population is Christian, this is a wise move.

    The last thing Egypt needs is Christian political party fighting in the streets with a Muslim political party.

    Muslims in India have wisely refrained from creating an All India Muslim Party.

    Even the Iranian factions are not, strictly speaking, primarily Muslim parties.

  389. Paul says:

    UN Council Agrees To Appoint Rights Investigator For Iran‎

    Flashback to a few months ago …

    http://nationalinterest.org/article/pariahs-tehran-4246?page=3

    “First, we must expand the focus of the pressure: from ire at the nuclear program to ire at Iran’s abuse of human rights. There are lots of countries that abuse human rights, and the Iranians will doubtless claim a double standard. But the past thirty years have demonstrated that the world is actually quite comfortable with double standards, harshly punishing some human-rights abusers while ignoring others. This is not to condone such hypocrisy, only to point out that it should not be seen as a practical obstacle to pressing the Iranian regime for its increasingly authoritarian behavior.”

  390. Rehmat says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell – Hey which country people like you live? The US, Israel, Britain, Germany and many other countries are ruled by Judeo-Christian religious fanatics and fundo racists.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/it-is-not-a-democracy-stupid/

  391. Empty says:

    Donkey in the Well (hats off to your title),

    RE: “I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you on this forum.”

    The questions you are raising are very good questions and in the right direction. This is the beginning of an “Islamic Awakening” as it was framed by Ayatollah Khamenei. to “awaken” after a long “sleep” to the realities of life within a global context in which every time you touch an Islamic principle, you burn your hand with severe pains and consequences is in fact a very good beginning to that Awakening.

  392. Fiorangela says:

    re DonkeyintheWell @ 9:49 am:

    on rules being made in Egypt:

    “Under the new law, the establishment of political parties based on religious or geographical grounds, or discrimination between citizens on grounds of sex, origin, language, religion or creed is forbidden.

    The new law also prohibits political parties with foreign affiliations from being founded, and it bans donations of any kind from foreign persons. It says parties can be self-funded through non-commercial activities under the condition that their main goal is to serve the principles of the party.”

    Americans would do well to enact such laws.

  393. fyi says:

    Photi says: March 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Islamic Iran, much earlier than Turkey, had presented a different view; that all development and progress of the Muslim polities must start with the salient fact that Islam is central pillar of their existence and therefor – by necessity – any and all future imporvements must be firmly tied to Islamic Tradition.

    With Mr. Rafsanjani and Mr. Ozal as leaders, both Iran and Turkey started to chart a course of action that envisioned a Commonwealth of the local states.

    But there have been political as well economical factors that hindered these developments. Politically, Muslim states are by and larger are led by people who do not believe that an Islamic order is either possible ro desirable. Thus their suspicion of Islamic Iran. Furthermore, most Muslim states do not produce anything that any one (including other Muslim states) would want to buy. They are all dependent on imports of manufactured goods from abroad. Turley and Iran have been the most industrialized Muslim states but they are no match for even Mexico.

    At the same time, you have teh Axis Powers that since the collapse of the Peace of Yalta, have turned the Middle East into their (Kindergarten) sand box to play their geo-political games.

    Of course, ultimaletly, the Muslims and their leaders are responsible. Mr. Ahmadinejad was sincere in his “Gulf of Friendship” initiative. But the Saudis and other Arabs were not ready. They thought that their problems with Iran over her role in Iraq or her strategic aims were more important than the benefits that they could derive from the realization of the “Gulf of Friendship” vision.

    [The more Muslims fight among themselevs, the farther behind they are going to fall.]

    In regards to Libya: it is a tribal society which would be difficult to govern without a parliamentary system. It has to be so to represent all these mercurial tribes and their leaders as well as enable the distribution of the oil wealth of Libya so that all tribes are more or less satisfied.

    Let us see if that is realized.

  394. Rehmat says:

    fyi – Iran is not comfortable with what is going on in Libya – but it will change its point of view if US-Britain-France-Canada attack the Zionist entity for it worse crimes than Qaddafi can implement in his next five lives.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/israel-democracy-or-fascism/

  395. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    To clarify,

    As I understand the Egyptian law, if this was in the USA then the entire conservative party would be outlawed. What is that you say? The conservatives are not a religious party, they only have strong religious values? You see the problem?

    There is a lot of talk about how these “revolutions” are going to change the Middle East and more or less be positive for Iran. I just don’t see it like that. And laws that forbids religious political parties seem to send a rather clear signal about the role of “Muslims” in political power. When is a party Muslim and when does it have “strong Muslim values”? How will this effect eg the Muslim Brotherhood?

    I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you on this forum.

    I find the unfolding of events dubious and I’m sceptical to what it will ultimately bring.

  396. Paul says:

    Eric,

    I don’t understand why Juan Cole censors the comments on his blog. I made one simple commment too a few days ago, asking his opinion on why the government of Libya was not given a chance to defend itself in front of the UNSC. That’s it. The comment was very polite, and asked a simple question. Censored.

  397. Empty says:

    Pirouz,

    RE: “It’s difficult for outsiders to grasp that. Added to that, there is this sense of nationalism that predates the very concept of nationalism, to that of a people and a land stretching back thousands of years. Come what may.”

    I agree; it is difficult for many to grasp. This is the sort of deep understanding/realization that comes through “experiential” rather than “theoretical” knowledge. Recent developments are great opportunities for such experiential knowledge for the masses (and the intellectual/theoreticians for that matter).

    RE: “While studying history at the university here in California, I would have discussions with my Iranian father during the Imposed War. Sometimes the ardor of his (predated) nationalism would astonish me.”

    I think the concept of “nationalism” (as conceptualized by modern Western fields) is a misapplication to what Iranians have come to understand as میهن, سرزمین مادری, وطن , etc. A deeper exploration into these concepts (in their Iranian context) would immediately make available a completely different view to that generated by “nationalism”. Therefore, I think, it would be interesting to look at your (مرحوم) father (may he rest in peace) and views similar to his if you looked at them through an Iranian lens enmeshed with Iranian culture and language.

    RE: “Something else: at one point we discussed the martial capacity of the Libyans. In some ways, my father subscribed to many of what we would consider typical Iranian biases and even prejudices, particularly for his age (if he were still alive today he’d be 74). Anyway, he had a very high opinion of the Libyans as fighters, remarking that they were clearly superior to the Egyptians in this regard.”

    Libya, is one of the lands where a system of “tribes” is very much strong. What it means to be a “tribesman” and a spirit of سلحشوری as opposed to urban/sedentary lifestyle is also very much alive and kicking in Libya both in theory and practice. Therefore, the quality of her fighters are not surprising. This fact, I think, is also one of the very key/critical factors that was overlooked/disregarded by the US/EU combo twins that will hurt them over and over again.

    RE: “Wars are tricky to predict. But so far these Libyan loyalists appear to show that fighting spirit and capacity my dad was talking about. I can only imagine the old resentments of European colonialism and domination being conjured and stirred in their minds, seeing all that fancy Western ordnance directed at them.”

    Yes. As a great Iranian thinker once said, “you (US/West) decide when to start a war but, once started, it is no longer up to you to decide how it will proceed and when to end it.”

  398. Rd. says:

    Fiorangela says:

    Is it too simplistic to conclude that the price demanded from Ankara for admission to the US-EU-Saudi ‘club’ that will reshape the Middle East, was Turkey’s relationship with Iran, and that Erdogan signaled his willingness to pay up?

    Turkey has her own interests, as it is such with politics. To consider turkey/erdogan purely in the resistance camp, would not be accurate. Turkey and Iran will always have some forms of relationship as they are neighbors. Even as nato member, western finance member, there is no reason for Iran not to have relationship with Turkey. Just not one where you place your principle bets.

  399. fyi says:

    paul says: March 24, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Such a massive attack is not realstic both for political and for logistical reasons.

    US will have to assemble all her air assets from all over the world.

    Iranian leaders are quite comfortable with Axis Powers war in Libya.

    Consider:

    This war could keep the Axis Powers occupied for at least another 5 or 6 weeks.

    In the event that Mr. Qaddafi’s regime collapses, the future of Libya will up in the air since there is no leader nor any political program and organization (there is no Libyan Aramy here that could serve as teh back-bone of the state – contrary to the cases in Indonesia, Egypt, and Tunisia) behind the opposition. One should expect a prolonged period of intra-Libyan political strife over which the Axis Powers will have little control.

    [In case Axis Powers introduce their troops in there, that is even better for the Iranians since they could point to it as another example of Axis perfifity. It also presents itself with opportunities for pinning the Axis Powers in Libya.]

    In the event that Mr. Qaddafi remians in power and succeeds in destroying the opposition to his rule, the Axis Powers have nothing to show for their intervention while they have an implacable enemy which will try to harm them as much as he can. This serves the Iranian interests since in the Zeor Sum game of Iran vs. the Axis Powers, one side’s loss is the other fellow’s gains.

    In the event of a stalemate, Libya will be de facto partitioned, like Ba’athist Iraq in 1990s or Somalia, with attendand security and political problems for the Axis Powers.

    Politically, this is bringing a number of states closer to Iran, such as South Africa.

    And, at some point, Iranians will start portraying this as another encroachment on the World of Islam by infidels because a local leader had left Islam.

    I do not see any downside to this for Iran.

  400. Photi says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell says:
    March 24, 2011 at 9:49 am

    ‘good thing or bad thing?’ concerning the banning of religion-based political parties.

    good thing. A believer needs to be a believer in all his or her actions, regardless if the group he associates with expressly states that need. A secular state does not have to be an immoral state.

    Note also in the article where the Egyptians are addressing campaign finance reform before there is anything to reform. +1 for that one.

    IMHO, the Egyptians should begin their constitution with something similar to the Bill of Rights found in the US constitution. If they truly want a functioning democracy, they need to have a way to protect minority rights from being compromised by the ‘will of the people.’

  401. Empty says:

    RE: “Religion-based parties banned in Egypt” from http://www.presstv.com/detail/171431.html

    1. Nothing worth having comes without challenges, sacrifice, and steadfastness.
    2. If Egypt or any other Muslim nation could have easily gained genuine independence rooted in their belief system without much sacrifice, prolonged resistance, and steadfastness, then, these concept would not have gained special meaning in Quran.
    3. If it were that easy, any Dick, Tom, and Harry would have been independent by now (even the United States).

  402. I quit. Obviously I’m not wanted here.

    Bye.

  403. Pirouz says:

    Empty @ 9:27

    It’s difficult for outsiders to grasp that. Added to that, there is this sense of nationalism that predates the very concept of nationalism, to that of a people and a land stretching back thousands of years. Come what may.

    While studying history at the university here in California, I would have discussions with my Iranian father during the Imposed War. Sometimes the ardor of his (predated) nationalism would astonish me.

    Something else: at one point we discussed the martial capacity of the Libyans. In some ways, my father subscribed to many of what we would consider typical Iranian biases and even prejudices, particularly for his age (if he were still alive today he’d be 74). Anyway, he had a very high opinion of the Libyans as fighters, remarking that they were clearly superior to the Egyptians in this regard.

    Wars are tricky to predict. But so far these Libyan loyalists appear to show that fighting spirit and capacity my dad was talking about. I can only imagine the old resentments of European colonialism and domination being conjured and stirred in their minds, seeing all that fancy Western ordnance directed at them.

  404. Richard,

    Your mention of Juan Cole in your 5:47 AM post made me think of something worth mentioning here.

    It’s up to the blog owner, of course, to decide what comments get printed. Nonetheless, I think readers here ought to be aware of just how much Dr. Cole censors his blog. One of his recent “Top Ten” columns (all touting the war on Libya) had 129 comments, It would have had at least four more after that — all from me (under a pseudonym), quite critical of Dr. Cole’s view but written without any inappropriate language whatsoever — except that Dr. Cole saw fit not to post any of them.

    As a result, the final comment on his essay starts out like this:

    “A superb column, Professor. I shall post it on Facebook and recommend it to everyone…”

  405. Fiorangela says:

    Richard, I’m not a lawyer, but neither am I the blog’s owner who would bear liability for infringement of copyright.

    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

    “Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

    1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
    2. The nature of the copyrighted work
    3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

    The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission. “

  406. Fiorangela says:

    rd, re the Bhadrakumar assessment that you linked —

    Is it too simplistic to conclude that the price demanded from Ankara for admission to the US-EU-Saudi ‘club’ that will reshape the Middle East, was Turkey’s relationship with Iran, and that Erdogan signaled his willingness to pay up?

    Where does that leave Iran, and Germany? Will the power alignments be: Russia, China, Germany, Iran, India, Brazil // US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Libya-Egypt-Emirates?

    When will we see a report on the deal Obama struck with Brazil the day after US initiated attack on Libya?

  407. Fiorangela: I rarely if ever post the entire article from Asia Times. Which means it constitutes fair use.

    Righthaven loses second fair use ruling over copyright lawsuits
    :http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/mar/18/righthaven-loses-second-fair-use-ruling-over-copyr/

    “An Oregon nonprofit did not infringe on copyrights when it posted without authorization an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal story on its website, a judge ruled Friday.”

  408. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Rd. I found your story inspiring :)

    Everyone: have you heard?

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/171431.html

    Good thing or bad thing?

  409. Empty says:

    Rd, excellent story.

  410. Empty says:

    Rd says,
    “What emerges is that there has been a steady shift in the past week in the way in which the Turkish leadership is viewing the regional situation.”

    Again, Turkish with 99.99% of its bankers and financiers being of Israeli origin and under a military coup for the past 31 years can never act independently. The sooner such things are exposed, the faster the Muslim people (including Turkish people) wake up. Therefore, such development is not surprising. Rather, they make full sense.

  411. Rd. says:

    For those who have Libya in their mind/Target, this may be a lesson to consider.

    One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

    Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

    He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

    A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

    As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.

    Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
    *****
    Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles are a steppingstone.

    Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

    Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

    Free your mind from worries – Most never happen.

    Live simply and appreciate what you have.

    Give more.

    Expect less

    NOW…….
    Enough of that crap. The donkey later came back, and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.

    MORAL FROM TODAY’S LESSON:

    When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.

  412. Empty says:

    Paul says,
    “If I were Iran, I would be terrified watching what is going on in Libya. I would be terrified by seeing how easy it is for Nato (basically) to pull off a massive attack on a country based on a pretext. Such pretexts are not hard to come by. The next time the Green Coup rises up in Iran could be such a pretext. I would also be terrified at seeing how completely defenseless Libya is to aerial attack. This aspect of what is going on is so horrifying. Of course, Iran is bigger and has better defenses than Libya, no doubt, but it amounts to the same. A country that lacks the most sophisticated modern defenses, has, it seems, basically no recourse when attacked from the air by the US and US allies. There is no recourse against slaughter and hellfire from the air.”

    1. If anyone truly understands/grasps why the Islamic Republic of Iran is not “terrified” under conditions a fraction of which would “terrify”–to the point of submission and enslavement– any other groups, individuals, and nations, then he/she has genuinely understood what it means to be Shi’a.

    2. The depth of meaning of an independent Islamic Republic of Iran and a culture of resistance based on belief in one God will not be well understood by all people unless they can genuinely understand the enormity of the hazards that Iran faces.

    3. One and 2 (above) are pre-requisites for the emerging Muslim nations to gain a deeper understanding of: a) the power of Ummah; b) the grave injustices that were committed against the Shi’a Imams under the guise of Islam. This would be حق الیقین.

  413. Rd. says:

    Turkey Iran relation exposure!

    Faisal helped Ankara view matters from a realistic perspective. Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia over the weekend where the first signs began appearing in the Turkish rhetoric that a relentless process of rethink was commencing.

    Erdogan has since back-tracked from his Karbala statement. Two days later, Turkey force-landed an Iranian aircraft en route to Syria and confiscated materials that breached United Nations sanctions on Tehran – rocket launchers, mortars, Kalashnikov rifles and ammunition

    What emerges is that there has been a steady shift in the past week in the way in which the Turkish leadership is viewing the regional situation.

    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC25Ak02.html

  414. paul says:

    If I were Iran, I would be terrified watching what is going on in Libya. I would be terrified by seeing how easy it is for Nato (basically) to pull off a massive attack on a country based on a pretext. Such pretexts are not hard to come by. The next time the Green Coup rises up in Iran could be such a pretext. I would also be terrified at seeing how completely defenseless Libya is to aerial attack. This aspect of what is going on is so horrifying. Of course, Iran is bigger and has better defenses than Libya, no doubt, but it amounts to the same. A country that lacks the most sophisticated modern defenses, has, it seems, basically no recourse when attacked from the air by the US and US allies. There is no recourse against slaughter and hellfire from the air.

    And perhaps most shockingly of all, the only question most people will ask when the dust settles is ‘did we win?’. Was it right to attack another country, on a pretext, for oil? That won’t matter. The important thing will be, ‘did we win?’. And of course we will ‘win’. We have military power that no country can face. And while we ‘win’, we never think about what we are losing. It once would have been possible to have an international order based on mutual repect, consent and consensus, on what is best for all, on enhancing both freedom and prosperity. Instead, we have chosen a world where power rules. Period. It’s all about who has the bigger gun. Again. We never learn a new way, it seems.

    Mullen was so nearly honest about it. Asked why we care about stopping oppression in Libya, but not in Bahrain, he stated that it was because we are pals with Bahrain. See, no need for regime change there.

  415. Fiorangela says:

    We should all try to be more attentive to respect for copyrighted material.

    AsiaTimes articles carry this notice: (Copyright 2011 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

  416. Empty says:

    RE: OBAMA’S EMBRACE OF THE “NEOCON-LIBERAL ALLIANCE” and the article

    To assume Obama “embraced/adopted/continued” the neocon-liberal agenda is to falsely assume that he was conceived outside of that framework. Obama is “the genetically engineered fruit” of neocon-liberal doctrine. He was designed to look like a particular fruit and act like a particular fruit. And, just like all genetically modified fruits, he is devoid of real taste, real smell, and nutritional value. If one likens him to hybrid Monsanto seeds designed to contaminate all organic seeds in order to bankrupt and drive to ruin all independent farmers, one cannot be faulted.

  417. Empty says:

    Someone mentioned Faucault and Islamic Revolution. Here is his original paper published in 1978. http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/007863.html

    In this essay, he posed two key questions (toward the end of the essay) the answer to both of which is “YES” by a strong and healthy majority after 32 years.

  418. Z.P. says:

    An interesting piece about the circumstances in Lybia. It`s in German, but worth to try.

    http://mideastmess.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/angriff-auf-lybien-parallelen-zu-irak/

  419. Yet more Pepe Escobar!

    Endgame: Divide, rule and get the oil
    :http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC25Ak01.html

    Quotes

    Odyssey Dawn is only happening because the 22-member Arab League voted to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The Arab League – routinely dismissed in Western capitals as irrelevant before this decision – is little else than an instrument of the House of Saud’s foreign policy.

    Its “decision” was propelled by Washington’s promise to protect

    the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) kings/sheikhs/oligarchs from the democratic aspirations of their own subjects – who are yearning for the same democratic rights as their “cousins” in eastern Libya.

    This is exactly the same GCC, posing for Saudi Arabia that invaded Bahrain to help the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty to crush the pro-democracy movement. The GCC gang is considered by the West as “our” bastards, while Colonel Muammar Gaddafi – according to the Western narrative – is a terrorist who went to rehab and is now a thug.

    The GCC comprises stalwart egalitarians Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was the GCC that first voted for a no-fly zone; then top dog Saudi Arabia twisted arms/promised bribes to extract an Arab League endorsement (Syria and Algeria, for instance, were seriously against it).

    For the opportunist Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa, who is already running for the presidency of Egypt, this was a great deal; he took his marching orders from Riyadh while at the same time polishing his CV with Washington.

    For Saudi Arabia this was a great deal; the perfect chance for King Abdullah to get rid of Gaddafi (the bad blood between both since 2002 is legendary), and the perfect chance for the House of Saud to lend a hand to a bewildered Washington.

    Odyssey Dawn – as in just imposing and maintaining a no-fly zone – will cost at least $15 billion a year. Members of the Arab League are supposed to be footing a substantial part of the bill – since the only one to have committed military forces is Qatar (two Mirage fighters).

    NATO already interfered in Somalia in 2010 – airlifting thousands of Ugandan troops. It is now conducting operation Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa. And before Odyssey Dawn had already placed Libya under 24-hour surveillance by its AWACS planes – part of the nearly 10-year-old Operation Active Endeavor.

    In the big picture, the combined role of the Pentagon global tentacles falls under the Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine, which aims to prevent any developing nation, or group of nations, from establishing alliances or preferential relationships with both China and Russia.

    China and Russia are among the top four BRIC countries, along with Brazil and India. All four abstained from the UN vote. Only 48 hours before the rushed-in vote, Muammar Gaddafi had threatened that if attacked by the West he would transfer Libya’s juicy energy contracts to companies from Russia, India and China.

    The Libyan opposition is a motley crew of disaffected tribes, the well-meaning youth movement, civilian and military defectors from the Gaddafi regime, Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored assets (such as sinister former justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil), Muslim Brotherhood-related (and unrelated) Islamists, and monarchist Senussi tribesmen. The Senussi is the top tribe in the Benghazi area; most of the keffiah-and-Kalashnikov “rebels” are Senussi, as was King Idris, overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969.

    The Libyan transitional council now calls itself an “interim government” – although still committed, in its own words, to a unified Libya. But partition cannot be ruled out – because historically Cyrenaica has always been at odds with Tripolitania. If Gaddafi can muster majority tribal support, the regime won’t crumble.

    All eyes will be on a “green march” now announced by the one million-strong al-Warfalla tribe, Libya’s largest; they had defected to the opposition but now are eager to show their loyalty to Gaddafi.

    There’s no guarantee the February 17 Movement, the political force at the forefront of the Libyan revolt, with a democratic platform for human rights, a state of law and free and fair elections, will have the upper-hand in a post-Gaddafi environment.

    The West will privilege a leadership speaking English, and cozy with Washington and European capitals. Preferably a pliable puppet. Oil may corrupt the new leadership to the core. Add to it the spicy bit of news of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) – arguably yet one more CIA front – with its maximum of 800 jihadis, already supporting the “rebels”. No wonder Armageddon scenarios swirl – the fall of Gaddafi having the potential to produce another Afghanistan or another Iraq.

    But the West’s motivation, above all, tastes like oil. Since Saudi Arabia is not on the market, Libya is a spectacular piece of real estate for the energy-hungry West; a giant gas station in the desert with very few people around.

    The bulk of Libya’s proven oil and gas reserves lie in “rebel” Cyrenaica. Oil and gas account for 25% of the economy, 97% of exports and 90% of government revenue. Sarkozy – as well as the West – fear a protracted war. France wants it to end now. Unlike Germany, Britain and Italy – they’re already in – France is salivating to get a huge piece of the oil action.

    There’s absolutely nothing humanitarian about the current casino inside the EU and NATO. The only thing that matters is the right positioning towards the post-Gaddafi era – the energy bonanza, geostrategic primacy in the Mediterranean and the Sahara-Sahel space, juicy business “reconstruction” opportunities.

    End Quotes

  420. Neo says:

    The photo above says it all!

    Why is it that so many ‘great’ articles these days seem so simple at the same time? No need for analysis. Just what people said and what’s been happening in recent years seem to be enough to satisfy.

    After all is said and done, it transpires that the ‘quest’ is Not for any ‘truth’.

    Is this why Foucault was so keen on Iran’s revolution?

  421. Looks like the US is getting ready for ground operations in Libya.

    Over 4,000 U.S. sailors, marines set sail for Mediterranean
    :http://en.rian.ru/world/20110324/163177047.html

    Quote

    “Amphibious ships are optimally suited for executing a wide range of missions, from humanitarian assistance to theater and maritime security operations,” BATARG commander Capt. Steven J. Yoder was quoted as saying.

    End Quote

    And invasions…What part of “22nd Marine EXPEDITIONARY Unit” doesn’t he get? What does the word “EXPEDITIONARY” mean here? It means what it always means – the Marines go in and shoot people in foreign countries.

  422. Juan Cole on “Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone”
    :http://www.juancole.com/2011/03/top-ten-accomplishments-of-the-un-no-fly-zone.html

    I find Juan’s use of the term “freedom movement amateur fighters” funny. Somehow it makes more sense than the term “rebel” since they’ve been fairly bad at it so far. Although they did do well in the beginning, mostly because of zero leadership over the Gaddafi troops in the early days as well as fear by those troops of a mass uprising by the civilians. So they fled. The overconfident “amateurs” then walked into an ambush, got their butts kicked and fled back.

    Still, they’ve been holding out well in several of the besieged cities. It’s still unclear if they can turn it around without major hand-holding by either defecting Gaddafi forces or US Special Forces, though.

  423. Off topic since it concerns South America, but the logic is the same in the Middle East.

    US military aid to Colombia serves to enrich defense companies: WikiLeaks founder
    :http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/15021-us-military-aid-to-colombia-serves-to-enrich-defense-companies-wikileaks-founder.html

    Quotes

    “What it’s about is that there are several powerful companies and lobbies in Washington such as Lockheed Martin, say Raytheon, Northrop Grumman; military intelligence contractors who lobby Congress and their contacts within the Pentagon and the CIA to engage in special programs in Colombia with provisos written to make sure that the money actually cycles back to the United States,” the WikiLeaks founder said.

    “It’s about transferring money from U.S. tax payers i.e. predominantly from middle class people back to company share holders and senior executives; people who are already rich. For example, by appearing to give the Colombian government aid to buy helicopters, but then attaching provisos so that the helicopters must be of a particular type that only a U.S. weapons manufacturer can provide. That’s what’s really going on in Colombia as far as military subsidy and what the United States calls the war on drugs is concerned,” Assange added.

    According to the WikiLeaks founder the publication of diplomatic cables will show that the U.S. are using actual problems in Colombia to favor the domestic military industry. This approach has a destabilizing effect in Colombia and the region, Assange said.

    “Of course there are real and difficult and legitimate issues in Colombia, which are used to legitimize that. Difficult issues with the FARC, difficult issues to do with drugs, difficult issues to do with Colombia and Venezuela relations, which are real, but are nonetheless seized on and inflated by these other groups for other purposes and that is having a destabilizing effect on democratic society in Colombia,” said the Australian.

    WikiLeaks in February shared 16,000 diplomatic cables on Colombia and Venezuela with Colombian daily El Espectador. According to Semana, the weekly received an additional 9,000 cables.

    The United States spent more than $7 billion in military aid to Colombia since the year 2000.

    End Quotes

  424. Those who think the US will use Libya human rights violations as an excuse in Iran are probably correct. I don’t doubt it’s true. The US will use any excuse to get a war with Iran. If they can’t prove nukes, they’ll fake sufficient human rights violations to justify it, just like they did with Saddam.

    US hoping for special UN investigator on Iran
    :http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/23/hoping-special-investigator-iran/#

  425. Interesting.

    Sanctions in 72 hours: How the U.S. pulled off a major freeze of Libyan assets
    :http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/sanctions-in-72-hours-how-the-us-pulled-off-a-major-freeze-of-libyan-assets/2011/03/11/ABBckxJB_print.html

    Guess Libya did have a stash of money in the US – in mostly one bank, at that.

  426. Oh, my…

    U.S. finds no organized Al Qaeda presence in Libya opposition, officials say
    :http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-libya-rebels-intel-20110324,0,5352122.story

    Quotes

    A U.S. intelligence-gathering effort that began shortly after anti-Kadafi forces started seizing towns in eastern Libya last month has not uncovered a significant presence of Islamic militants among the insurgents.

    “We’re keeping an eye out for extremist activity in Libya, but we haven’t seen much, if any, to date,” said a U.S. counter-terrorism official. A Defense official added that the U.S. had not seen a direct link between the opposition and extremists.

    A congressional staffer who receives intelligence briefings did not dispute those assessments. But the aide added: “There ought to be a concern and recognition that there may be such a linkage. There should also be an appreciation that the opposition is not a uniform, monolithic movement.”

    Islamic fundamentalists clearly are among the rebels, but no organized segment is pursuing a Taliban-style government or an Al Qaeda agenda, Libya experts say.

    “Who is behind the revolution? It’s not the Islamists or the jihadists,” said Noman Benotman, a former Libyan militant now with the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based group staffed by former Islamic radicals. “It’s ordinary people, moderates, liberals, lawyers and writers.”

    “There’s no evidence that any of the leaders are extremists, and to the extent that we know anything, they seem to be secular professionals,” said Robert Pape, a terrorism expert at the University of Chicago who has traveled to Libya.

    Charles Faddis, who led a CIA team in northern Iraq before the 2003 invasion, and who retired in 2008, questioned whether the U.S. intelligence community really understands who the rebels are.

    “Everyone wants to believe the opposition consists of individuals dedicated to a democratic revolution,” Faddis said. “Is that true?”

    “Is this a political movement or a tribal one? What we need is solid intelligence on the nature of the opposition, who the key figures are, who is going to emerge on top. I suspect we do not have that, because our collection inside Libya, a denied area, has probably been very weak for a very long time.”

    A Libyan journalist in Derna said in an interview last week that Islamic militants were seeking influence in that city. “In the beginning I was very optimistic about the possibility of reform and change, but there has been a violent takeover and now we are seeing foreign fighters, Islamists, from the Gulf and other Arab countries,” said Milad Hassani.

    The large number of Libyans who went to fight in Iraq is less an indication of a large extremist community than a social network that could be activated in a short period of time, said Brian Fishman, a terrorism expert who analyzed captured documents about the Libyan fighters for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

    End Quotes

  427. An interesting interview with one of the rebel political leaders (doesn’t seem to be an Al Qaeda supporter…)

    Rebel Insider Concedes Weaknesses in Libya
    :http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/world/africa/24minister.html?ref=world

    Quotes

    Those frank admissions came from Ali Tarhouni, who was appointed to the cabinet of the rebels’ shadow government on Wednesday as finance minister. Mr. Tarhouni, who teaches economics at the University of Washington, returned to Libya one month ago after more than 35 years in exile to advise the opposition on economic matters. The rebels are proclaiming his American credentials — he has a doctorate from Michigan State University — as they seek foreign recognition of their cause.

    “He understands the Western mentality,” said Iman Bugaighis, a spokeswoman for the fledgling opposition government.

    But more important, Mr. Tarhouni, 60, who briefed journalists on Wednesday night, appeared to be one of the few rebel officials willing to speak plainly about the movement’s shortcomings and challenges, after weeks of rosy predictions and distortions by some of his colleagues, especially regarding the abilities of the rebel fighters.

    In the early 1970s, as a student activist, Mr. Tarhouni was kicked out of college in Libya several times as he and his fellow students called for democracy and greater freedoms. He left the country in 1973, was stripped of his citizenship and sentenced to death in absentia a few years later, he said. He was put on a government hit list in 1981, he said.

    The rebel movement he returned to struggled with cohesion and made confusing announcements about its leaders and its function. “There was a total vacuum,” Mr. Tarhouni said. “I think it was reflected in the makeup of the council. We will clean it up, I promise you.”

    This week, the rebel leadership announced its latest evolution, a government in waiting led by Mahmoud Jibril, a planning expert who defected from Colonel Qaddafi’s government.

    End Quotes

  428. Kim is not impressed by the rebels – mostly for good reason.

    Kim Sengupta: The resistance has foundered on its own indiscipline and farcical ineptitude
    :http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/kim-sengupta-the-resistance-has-foundered-on-its-own-indiscipline-and-farcical-ineptitude-2251298.html

    Quotes

    The most glaring example was the opportunity offered by the air strikes carried out by the West which destroyed the regime’s tanks and artillery outside Benghazi and forced its soldiers into a terrified retreat to the next city, Ajdabiya.

    Rather than press home their advantage and retake Ajdabiya, the rebel fighters – known as the Shabaab – were too busy having their pictures taken with the wreckage or looting anything left intact from the supply trucks. A desultory attack late in the day was easily repulsed by the regime’s forces which then dug in around the city.

    The bombardment by the US, France and Britain was meant to break the regime’s forces and galvanise the rebels. Extraordinarily, it appears to have had the opposite effect, with the Shabaab retreating yet again in the next 48 hours.

    There is little sign of leadership on the issue from the political hierarchy at the opposition’s capital, Benghazi, where the provisional administration, with the prize of international recognition seemingly within reach, has been enmeshed in a bout of internal rivalry.

    Mahmoud Jibril – a former economics official – appears to have won the power struggle against former justice minister Mustapha Abdel Jalil, to head the de facto government. Mr Jibril has, however, already been heading the “crisis committee” covering military and foreign affairs, which does not, perhaps, offer great hope of immediate and radical improvement in the conduct of the war.

    The Western powers are now left with four choices. They can keep on bombing the loyalist troops until they are defenceless (a path US commanders have rejected), send in ground forces, train the rebels, or supply them with modern, heavy weapons. The last option is the one the rebels are clamouring for, but experience on the ground suggests that is anything but the answer.

    To date the Shabaab has wasted at least three times the ordnance than it has fired in anger by shooting into the air in celebration of often non-existent victories. It has blown up guns by using the wrong type of ammunition, crashed its few tanks into each other and shot down two of its own planes.

    And what, one may ask, has happened to the members of the Libyan military forces who, it was claimed, had defected to the revolution in droves? They, especially the officers, are increasingly scarce on the front line. The Shabaab claims that former soldiers were too slow in moving forwards, while the defectors in turn accuse the volunteer fighters of lack of discipline.

    The rebels’ operations are further undermined by an absence of command and control. On Monday two men standing within a hundred yards of each other, “Captain” Jalal Idrisi and “Major” Adil Hassi, claimed to be in charge of the fighters who were meant to be attacking Ajdabiya. A brief advance soon turned into a chaotic retreat. Major Hassi then claimed that the misjudgement in going forward had been Captain Idris’s idea. But why didn’t they liaise? “We haven’t got communications equipment” he responded. But the Captain is standing just over there, journalists pointed out. “I don’t talk to him,” said Major Hassi.

    End Quotes

    Not a sterling endorsement. I would agree that they need either 1) training and better weapons, or 2) get those Libyan military defectors off their asses, or 3) both.

    But then think about it – the US and NATO decided to bomb. So who in their right mind would go off to fight better armed and trained forces when you can lay back and let the US and NATO do it for you?

    Of course that isn’t going to work in the long run, but it makes sense that the rebels are infected with that notion.

  429. How it is inside the city.

    In Ajdabiya, Kim Sengupta reports from a hospital overrun as the rebel force flounders
    :http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/the-human-cost-we-cannot-treat-them-here-ndash-but-we-have-no-ambulances-2250170.html

    Quotes

    The absence of any coherent operational plans by the revolutionary forces and their reluctance to take on their opponents makes any tangible military gains unlikely in the short term, raising the prospect of a long-term commitment from the West in a mission which is already proving contentious and divisive.

    Meanwhile, there is a lack of political leadership in Benghazi, with the opposition’s provisional government engaging in a round of infighting sparked by the de facto recognition by the international community. “They are fighting over who gets to appoint ambassadors to where,” said a disgruntled official.

    In contrast to the Shabaab outside the gates of Ajdabiya, there is a resilient resistance inside the city which had driven the regime’s forces from some of the areas. They had protected the hospital from raiding parties on a number of occasions, the firefights evident by the damage to the building.

    The few remaining doctors and nurses – down to under 20 from 350 a few weeks ago – were keen to hear about the latest developments. Limited power from a generator has to be preserved for medical emergencies rather than news on a television set gathering dust in the staff meeting room.

    But they soon had to return to immediate concerns. The shortages have meant that serious cases have to be transferred to Benghazi and Tobruk for treatment during lull in the fighting. But Milad Mussa’s age and fragility has necessitated emergency care before he can be moved on. The 72-year-old retired driver was walking home after praying at his local mosque when regime troops opened fire with a heavy machine gun and he was injured in the leg. Dr Muswa Al-Majberi, said: “We did not think he would survive, there was trauma, a lot of blood lost, and the bones had shattered. I do not think we can save that leg. The main worry now is infection, we cannot treat that here, we need to send him somewhere they have the drugs. The problem is we have no ambulances at the moment.” Three ambulances sat outside, windscreens and tyres shot out, by Gaddafi’s troops, claimed the staff.

    Mr Mussa’s son, Jalad, was desperate to drive his father to Benghazi for treatment in his own car, but he was unable to do so because there was little petrol left in the city. Abdul Karem, on a makeshift stretcher, asked Jalad Mussa if there was any chance of taking him as well. “I had four days of waiting when every hour I thought it was the end,” he said. “They have done everything they can for me here, they cannot do any more and I need to go somewhere else for an operation.”

    Mr Karem was in his room attached to a garage where he worked when a tank of the regime forces opened fire blasting a hole in the wall and leaving him with shrapnel wounds to the stomach and legs. The roof collapsed in the room next to his, killing three of his colleagues. The 36-year-old mechanic lay on the floor, without food or water, until he was rescued four days later. “I was falling unconscious,” he remembered. “When I awoke I could see the outside through the hole, I was very afraid they would come inside and kill me.”

    It was not just the regime’s forces who filled Mr Karem with dread. He comes from Chad and a climate of paranoia whipped up by tales of Colonel Gaddafi recruiting mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa had led to lynchings of innocent migrant workers from that region. “I was lucky, the people who found me knew who I was,” he said. “They said I had to be taken to the hospital quickly, not just because of my injuries, but before other more suspicious people found me.”

    End Quotes

  430. Interesting piece on the mood of the Tripoli populace.

    In Gaddafi’s stronghold, enemies of the state begin to find a voice
    :http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/in-gaddafis-stronghold-enemies-of-the-state-begin-to-find-a-voice-2251295.html

    Quotes

    “The problem before was that no one trusted anybody. There might be three of you and you would be frightened one would tell; now there is just a little more trust [among active opponents of the regime],” he says. He thinks those on the missions to impose the no fly-zone have been doing a “good job” and that there is every chance that Gaddafi will fall; perhaps he will even commit suicide.

    Some of his claims, and those of other opponents, are just as hard to verify as the regime’s: that the young “volunteers” are paid to form the loyalist militias, that they are wired on drugs and alcohol, that bodies were brought from the fighting in Zawiyah to be used as evidence of civilian casualties from the bombing. But while he says that only 25 per cent really support him, there are those, particularly young people who have never known any other leader, who “think he’s in their blood”.

    That roster might include Milad Hussein, a lean white-haired and erect military spokesman in his 50s who has just a hint of the Maoist, in dress and ideological certainty. Hussein is also the officer in charge of “revolutionary courses and moral guidance” for the armed forces, a man honest enough in his own way to admit – amid all the propaganda about al-Qa’ida and foreign fighters – that many of those who seized weapons from military bases were Libyans who knew where to look from their own military service.

    But trumpet Gaddafi’s “freedom” to the civilised shopkeeper, who actually gives his name, and, provided no Libyan is listening, he will tell you that he too supports the no-fly zone, that Gaddafi is a “disaster” and that the “volunteers” are poor boys from the Buslin and Hadba districts who need the money. “All professional people, doctors, engineers are against him. If this [the international military intervention] goes on for a few days, his defences are knocked out, and if the people come from the east, then the people here will do something. But everyone is silent because they are afraid.”

    As well they might be when Human Rights Watch has recently reported an unknown number of arrests of oppositionists across the city, and their unknown fate.

    End Quotes

  431. Regime clan has £4bn in gold reserves, says IMF
    :http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/regime-clan-has-1634bn-in-gold-reserves-says-imf-2251296.html

    Quotes

    The Gaddafi regime is sitting on gold reserves of more than $6.5bn (£4bn) which could potentially provide the funds to pay a mercenary army to continue fighting for months.

    International Monetary Fund figures show that Libya holds about 143.8 tonnes of gold, putting it into the top 25 nations in terms of reserves held.

    There was speculation yesterday that some of the reserves could have been shifted south from the central bank in Tripoli to be moved more easily for sale across the border in Chad or Niger.

    But Jeffrey Robinson, a writer on money laundering, said it would be nearly impossible to move and sell the gold. “In a civil war you need cash,” he said. “As long as he has cash and the ability to murder people, he will have a following. As soon as he runs out of cash, then he’s in trouble.”

    End Quotes

  432. Wow – if this is true…

    Shady Dealings Helped Qaddafi Build Fortune and Regime
    :http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/world/africa/24qaddafi.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fworld%2Fafrica%2Findex.jsonp

    Quotes

    In 2009, top aides to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi called together 15 executives from global energy companies operating in Libya’s oil fields and issued an extraordinary demand: Shell out the money for his country’s $1.5 billion bill for its role in the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist attacks.

    If the companies did not comply, the Libyan officials warned, there would be “serious consequences” for their oil leases, according to a State Department summary of the meeting.

    Many of those businesses balked, saying that covering Libya’s legal settlement with victims’ families for acts of terrorism was unthinkable. But some companies, including several based in the United States, appeared willing to give in to Libya’s coercion and make what amounted to payoffs to keep doing business, according to industry executives, American officials and State Department documents.

    End Quotes

    NOW do you understand why Gaddafi had to go? He threatened the oil companies! Directly! He cut his own throat.

    More Quotes

    As American and international oil companies, telecommunications firms and contractors moved into the Libyan market, they discovered that Colonel Qaddafi or his loyalists often sought to extract millions of dollars in “signing bonuses” and “consultancy contracts” — or insisted that the strongman’s sons get a piece of the action through shotgun partnerships.

    “Libya is a kleptocracy in which the regime — either the al-Qadhafi family itself or its close political allies — has a direct stake in anything worth buying, selling or owning,” a classified State Department cable said in 2009, using the department’s spelling of Qaddafi.

    The government not only exploited corporations eager to do business, but willing governments as well. Libya’s banks apparently collected lucrative fees by helping Iran launder huge sums of money in recent years in violation of international sanctions on Tehran, according to another cable from Tripoli included in a batch of classified documents obtained by WikiLeaks. In 2009, the cable said, American diplomats warned Libyan officials that its dealings with Iran were jeopardizing Libya’s enhanced world standing for the sake of “potential short-term business gains.”

    End Quotes

    Another good reason the US would want him to go – he was helping Iran (for his own reasons, of course, but it’s the same effect.)

    More Quotes

    Libya became so flush with cash that Bernard L. Madoff, the New York financial manager who stole billions of dollars in a long-running Ponzi scheme, approached officials overseeing the country’s $70 billion sovereign fund a few years ago about an “investment opportunity,” according to a State Department summary of the episode in 2010. “We did not accept,” a Libyan official reported.

    Colonel Qaddafi, the State Department said, was personally involved in many business decisions. He worked with local “riqaba” councils, an oversight committee set up by the Libyan government to dole out business with foreign firms, and insisted on signing off on all contracts worth more than $200 million. He also learned how to hide money and investments in case sanctions were ever imposed again, as they recently have been.

    Colonel Qaddafi and his family set up accounts in banks around the world that are in the names of members of Libyan tribes that remain loyal to his government, said Idris Abdulla Abed al-Sonosi, a member of the exiled Libyan royal family, who is familiar with many of Colonel Qaddafi’s business dealings. (Some accounts may have been frozen by authorities, who have blocked access to tens of billions of dollars.) And Qaddafi relatives adopted lavish lifestyles — including posh homes, Hollywood film investments and private parties with American pop stars.

    When Colonel Qaddafi was not making the decisions, one of his sons — whom he has anointed to run various sectors of the country’s economy — often was.

    Daniel E. Karson, executive managing partner at Kroll, a risk-consulting firm, recalled in an interview that an international communications company he represented tried to enter the Libyan cellular phone market in 2007. From the outset, Libyan officials made it clear that the foreign company’s local business partner would have to be Muhammad Qaddafi, the eldest son of the Libyan ruler.

    “We advised them they would have to go through Muhammad Qaddafi,” said Mr. Karson, who declined to identify the client. “This was not going to be done on the basis of, as they say in retail, price, quality and delivery.” Fearful of going into business with the Qaddafis, he said, the company made no investments in Libya.

    Coca-Cola got caught in the middle of a fierce dispute between Muhammad Qaddafi and his brother Mutassim over control of a bottling plant the soda maker had opened in 2005, forcing it to shut down the plant for months amid armed confrontations, a diplomatic cable noted.

    And Caterpillar, the Illinois machine maker, was about to finalize a lucrative deal in 2009 to provide equipment for infrastructure projects when Libya demanded the company become a partner with a state-owned company controlled by the Qaddafis, according to the State Department documents. Caterpillar resisted and was blocked by Libya from the work after intervention by American diplomats failed to break the impasse.

    When Qaddafi aides demanded payment for the Lockerbie settlement from oil companies operating in Libya, a State Department cable in February 2009 reported, industry executives had indicated “that smaller operators and service companies might relent and pay.” Several industry officials and someone close to the settlement, all speaking only on condition of anonymity, said the payments went through but declined to identify the businesses.

    Other companies also struck costly deals with the government. In 2008, Occidental Petroleum, based in California, paid a $1 billion “signing bonus” to the Libyan government as part of 30-year agreement. A company spokesman said it was not uncommon for firms to pay large bonuses for long-term contracts.

    The year before, Petro-Canada, a large Canadian oil company, made a similar $1 billion payment after Libyan officials granted it a 30-year oil exploration license, according to diplomatic cables and company officials.

    End Quotes

  433. Interesting if true.

    Libya rebels coordinating with West on air assault
    :http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-fg-libya-rebels-20110324,0,3195209.story

    Quotes

    Reporting from Benghazi, Libya, and Washington—
    Leaders of the opposition national council in rebel-controlled eastern Libya say they are making regular, secure contacts with allied military representatives in Europe to help commanders identify targets for the U.S.-led air assault.

    The contacts, conducted through the council’s civilian representatives in France and elsewhere in Europe, are made by secure satellite telephone connections, according to spokesmen for the rebel leadership in its eastern base of Benghazi.

    “There is communication between the Provisional National Council and U.N. assembled forces, and we work on letting them know what areas need to be bombarded,” spokesman Ahmed Khalifa said in an interview Wednesday.

    They also highlight the diplomatic delicacy of the mission and the awkwardness of a military operation designed by governments with sometimes conflicting goals. The Obama administration and the Pentagon say the United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military action in Libya does not include airstrikes specifically to aid rebel forces.

    In addition, current and former American officials say that CIA operatives and equipment were sent into rebel-held areas to monitor the opposition forces’ activity even before the air bombardment began. It’s not clear whether those operatives are still in Libya, and if so, what their current role is.

    Jeffrey White, a longtime Defense Intelligence Agency official, said U.S. officials “are trying to maintain this fig-leaf cover that we’re not assisting their combat forces against the Libyans. But we’re clearly creating conditions in which they can operate better.”

    “This is a very fine line,” said White, now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “If they’re passing information for targeting purposes, that’s not necessarily formal coordination, but certainly cooperation for the same end.” He added that gathering information was “clearly the right thing to do.”

    Leaders of the political opposition also have been using satellite phones “and other secure means” to help identify civilian areas under assault by Kadafi’s forces, said Mustafa Gheriani, another rebel council spokesman.

    “We tell them of urgent situations in areas where we need help to protect civilians being attacked by the regime’s forces,” Gheriani said. “The lines of communication are open.”

    Gheriani said the council was still trying to bring its fighters under a unified central command. “It’s not an easy task to manage revolutionaries, and we’re still trying to organize them,” he said. “These are volunteers willing to die for their cause, and they can be difficult to control.”

    Council spokesmen have said the rebels are receiving light weapons, ammunition, supplies and communications equipment from other nations but have declined to name the donors.

    U.S. officials have acknowledged that they have been weighing whether to provide weapons, ammunition and other equipment to the rebels, a move they say could quickly make a difference in the war. A European official said that whether the coalition begins funneling arms to the rebels “really depends on how far Kadafi goes in his attacks.”

    Reports from the region suggest that the Saudis and Egyptians have been providing arms. Though U.S. officials could not confirm that, they say it is plausible.

    End Quotes

  434. The latest from Kaveh Afrasiabi on Iran:

    Obama fans flames of animosity in Tehran
    :http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC24Ak02.html

    Quotes

    “America’s chains of defeat in the region will continue,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei declared in his speech on the occasion of the dawn of a new Persian year, one day after a “new year message” by United States President Barack Obama that was for all practical purposes nothing short of a discrete declaration of war on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Accusing the US of supporting dictators until the last minute, and fanning the fire of a Shi’ite-Sunni rift in order to perpetuate its hegemony in the region, Khamenei portrayed Obama as ignorant and confused for comparing the Iranian masses at Tehran’s Freedom Square in 2009 to Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square this January. He reminded the White House that Iranians had congregated at the square in the Iranian capital for decades to celebrate their revolution and, that “their slogan is death to America.”

    Khamenei turned his attention to the US’s domestic politics, accusing Obama of selling out to corporate America and turning his back on working Americans. It was a tit-for-tat response to Obama’s Nawruz, or Persian new year, speech in which the US president singled out Iran’s youth for anti-regime mobilization, a strategy his administration is now pursuing with zeal and energy in part by relying on certain Iran-American organizations in the US to carry out its outreach objectives.

    Perhaps the most important aspect of Khamenei’s speech pertained to Libya, a country torn by a civil war and foreign intervention under the guise of a United Nations no-fly zone. According to Agence France-Presse, Khamenei said in a live broadcast from the holy city of Mashhad:

    Iran utterly condemns the behavior of the Libyan government against its people, the killings and pressure on people, and the bombing of its cities … but it [also] condemns the military action in Libya. The US and Western [allies] claim they want to defend the people by carrying out military operations or by entering Libya … You did not come to defend the people, you’ve come after Libyan oil.

    Khamenei said the US and the West also wanted to carve out a place for themselves in the country so that they could monitor the regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.

    Dismissing the notion that the US is genuinely concerned about human rights in Iran, the Tehran professor wondered aloud why Obama failed to show comparable concern about the violent repression of peaceful demonstrators in Bahrain, home to the US’s Fifth Fleet?

    In fact, Khamenei raised pretty much the same question in his Nawruz speech, asking why the US did not consider “the presence of Saudi tanks in Bahrain” as evidence of intervention and yet “recognizes the objection of religious leaders and well-wishing people to the massacres in Bahrain as [evidence of] Iran’s meddling?”

    Whether or not this will culminate in any open conflict, or remain restricted to proxy wars, as in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf and broader Middle East, remains to be seen. What is quite certain, however, is that the prospects for any short-term thaw, let alone detente, in US-Iran relations remain unambiguously bleak.

    End Quotes

  435. The latest from Pepe Escobar on Libya:

    The ‘optics’ of Odyssey Dawn
    :http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC24Ak01.html

    Quotes

    Even among the “allies”, the “optics” is positively of the basket case variety. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an ungodly mess. Turkey wants dialogue – not bombs. Germany is against a NATO intervention – stressing only bombing won’t do. France – clinging to neo-Napoleonic President Nicolas Sarkozy’s megalomania – wants to keep the illusion it is in command.

    Scared that France would usurp its place as Libya’s prime trading partner and scrambling not to let Mediterranean policy be dictated in Paris, the Italian government of Gaddafi pal, Prime Minister Silvio “Bunga Bunga” Berlusconi, reluctantly joined the “coalition” (and now, in private, Bunga Bunga is viciously trashing Sarko). Italian energy giant ENI has invested US$50 billion in Libya; thus ENI is keen on getting rid of Gaddafi after the colonel threatened to open Libyan oil and gas to BRIC members Russia, India and China.

    The top four BRIC members (South Africa is the fifth) wisely skipped the whole Odyssey. Brazil called for a ceasefire and dialogue. China expressed “deep concern” and warned of a “humanitarian disaster”. India said “no external powers should interfere” in Libya. And Russia, via Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, dismissed the “allow everything” resolution.

    The same applies for the 53-nation African Union (AU). The AU wants a diplomatic solution. Gaddafi has plenty of historical allies among AU countries. It helps that he pays most of the AU’s bills.

    Algeria – also a member of the Arab League – said the intervention was “disproportionate”. In Chad, President Idriss Deby remains in power to a great extent due to Gaddafi’s deep pockets. Deby returned the favor sending mercenaries and weapons to Tripoli. There’s more; if the no-fly zone is not extended to southern Libya (it covers just the north and the Mediterranean coast), Gaddafi is still able to receive military and manpower help from Chad, Mali, Niger and Algeria (see Fly me a Tuareg on time Asia Times Online, March 8, 2011). It has not dawned on Odyssey Dawn’s planners that a coalition without explicit AU support means the AU is free to keep helping Gaddafi’s regime.

    Then there’s the meat in the coalition’s kebab – the Arab League. Washington ordering the embattled kings of Morocco and Jordan and the wealthy emirs in Doha and Abu Dhabi to engage as “allies” – besides the astonishing grotesquerie of these dictators posing as humanitarian saviors of democracy – does not mean the Arab League is fully on board Odyssey Dawn.

    Oh yes. Unless we count the then they were six, then they were four, now they’re only two Qatar Air Force Mirage 2000 – plus a C-17 cargo plane – to be deployed probably this coming weekend as the glorious Arab League fighting contribution to the “coalition”.

    No endgame
    The “coalition” never even came close to exhausting “all necessary measures” stressed by United Nations resolution 1953 to seek a diplomatic solution before the American Ulysses started Tomahawking Libya. What all these unwilling, no-coalition countries are essentially asking is for an international team – Arab League, African Union, United Nations – to go to Tripoli and negotiate a package; a real ceasefire, mechanisms to protect civilians, and a political process leading to elections.

    As if the faulty “optics” was not enough, Odyssey Dawn is not a full success – apart from having prevented a hypothetical massacre in Benghazi. The horrible accounts from Zawiya and Misurata tell of civilians being attacked by tanks and armored vehicles, as well as militias – Gaddafi’s “irregulars” – in jeeps and pick-up trucks. This proves that no-fly – which for the moment basically translates as shock and awe lite – is not protecting a whole lot of civilians.

    If the Pentagon really applied its fabled “unique capabilities”, the whole Gaddafi regime would be reduced to rubble in minutes. But that’s a “limited mission” conducted by a “coalition” – not “regime change”, although that’s exactly what the president, the Europeans and most Arab dictators want. Talk about an “optics” red alert.

    The Washington establishment is beaming that for the first time “the Arab public” is supporting an American intervention. Beware of the “optics” you pick. The “Arab public” is also making the connection that if Gaddafi shoots his own people and then gets bombed by the West, why should not the same thing happen to the dictators in Yemen and Bahrain? The “Arab public” can also clearly identify which methods Washington and the Europeans are using to try to appropriate the great 2011 Arab revolt to themselves.

    For the moment, with so much fuzzy “optics”, no think-tank dares predicting what the “coalition” will come up with if no-fly does not stop Gaddafi. Arming the rag-tag but very brave and ultra-motivated “rebels” – something already in effect – is mandated by UN resolution 1953. Washington, London and Paris pray that soon the rebels may switch from defense to attack, march over Tripoli, topple the tyrant and provide everyone with a Hollywood ending.

    It won’t happen. The transitional council in Benghazi asked for a no-fly zone – not a foreign intervention. What Odyssey Dawn is providing is most of all heavy bombing of Tripoli – on the other side of the country. The people of Tripoli are starting to see this as the beginning of a new colonial war. This means that a post-Gaddafi political transition cannot possibly be peaceful. Perversely, Odyssey Dawn is laying the groundwork for the partition of Libya. Balkanization looms.

    Any decent military analyst worth his single malt on the rocks knows nobody wins a war from the air. The humanitarian yearning is a smokescreen (why Libya and not Yemen, Bahrain, Gaza?)

    End Quotes

  436. This is an interesting theory – that Gaddafi was attacked because he promoted the notion of a single gold currency for Africa and the Middle East.

    I don’t buy it because the odds of it happening were probably slim, Chinamen’s and none. But it’s an interesting theory, at least to the degree that it shows Gaddafi was not on the same page as the West, exactly like Saddam.

    Is Libya being bombed by bloody U.S. Zio thugs because Gaddafi wants to introduce gold dinar?
    :http://surf6009.appspot.com/u?purl=bG10aHMuMjg4MzEvMjIvMzAvMTEwMi90bmV0bm9jL2duZS9tb2MucmV0bmVjemFrdmFrLnd3dy8vOnB0dGg%3D

  437. Wikipedia is following casualty reports, sourced from various human rights groups and estimates from official organizations.

    Casualties of the 2011 Libyan uprising
    :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_2011_Libyan_uprising

    And this article reveals that the US and NATO are already lying about civilian casualties since they already shot six civilians while rescuing the downed pilot. First they denied the rescue aircraft was even armed (hah! Like anyone would believe that!), and now they’ve admitted shots were fired.

    The Debate Over Civilian Casualties in Libya
    :http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2011/03/debate-over-civilian-casualties-libya/36005/

    Based on the behavior of the US and NATO in Afghanistan, there can be no doubt that if there aren’t civilian casualties as a result of coalition air strikes yet, there certainly will be – and they will be denied and denied by the US and NATO until some independent source proves there are.

    Similarly, there can be no doubt that if Gaddafi’s forces are shelling towns, there are civilian casualties.

    Whether these arise to the level of “massacres” can be debated, but not the existence of casualties to some degree.

  438. Eric: “How does the price of Iraqi oil compare to the price of oil from other places?”

    I refer you to Greg Palast on the subject of why Iraq was invaded to control the oil place. I believe the same situation applies to Libya, but unlike Iraq, we have no State Department documents (authored by oil company executives) to prove it.

    Maybe Greg will dig deep and discover something about Libya.

    Here’s what I posted to Mr. Canning about this in the March 6 thread:

    Driving the surge in gas prices?
    The Bush-McCain surge in Iraq
    :http://www.gregpalast.com/obama%E2%80%99s-secret-war-profiteering-tax/

    Quotes

    In 1928, oil company chieftains (from Anglo-Persian Oil, now British Petroleum, from Standard Oil, now Exxon, and their Continental counterparts) were faced with a crisis: falling prices due to rising supplies of oil; the same crisis faced by their successors during the Clinton years, when oil traded at $22 a barrel.

    The solution then, as now: stop the flow of oil, squeeze the market, raise the price. The method: put a red line around Iraq and declare that virtually all the oil under its sands would remain there, untapped. Their plan: choke supply, raise prices rise, boost profits. That was the program for 1928. For 2003. For 2008.

    Again and again, year after year, the world price of oil has been boosted artificially by keeping a tight limit on Iraq’s oil output. Methods varied. The 1928 “Redline” agreement held, in various forms, for over three decades. It was replaced in 1959 by quotas imposed by President Eisenhower. Then Saudi Arabia and OPEC kept Iraq, capable of producing over 6 million barrels a day, capped at half that, given an export quota equal to Iran’s lower output.

    In 1991, output was again limited, this time by a new red line: B-52 bombings by Bush Senior’s air force. Then came the Oil Embargo followed by the “Food for Oil” program. Not much food for them, not much oil for us.

    In 2002, after Bush Junior took power, the top ten oil companies took in a nice $31 billion in profits. But then, a miracle fell from the sky. Or, more precisely, the 101st Airborne landed. Bush declared, “Bring’m on!” and, as the dogs of war chewed up the world’s second largest source of oil, crude doubled in two years to an astonishing $40 a barrel and those same oil companies saw their profits triple to $87 billion.

    In response, Senators Obama and Clinton propose something wrongly called a “windfall” profits tax on oil. But oil industry profits didn’t blow in on a breeze. It is war, not wind, that fills their coffers. The beastly leap in prices is nothing but war profiteering, hiking prices to take cruel advantage of oil fields shut by bullets and blood.

    I wish to hell the Democrats would call their plan what it is: A war profiteering tax. War is profitable business – if you’re an oil man. But somehow, the public pays the price, at the pump and at the funerals, and the oil companies reap the benefits.

    Indeed, the recent engorgement in oil prices and profits goes right back to the Bush-McCain “surge.” The Iraq government attack on a Basra militia was really nothing more than Baghdad’s leaping into a gang war over control of Iraq’s Southern oil fields and oil-loading docks. Moqtada al-Sadr’s gangsters and the government-sponsored greedsters of SCIRI (the Supreme Council For Islamic Revolution In Iraq) are battling over an estimated $5 billion a year in oil shipment kickbacks, theft and protection fees.

    The Wall Street Journal reported that the surge-backed civil warring has cut Iraq’s exports by up to a million barrels a day. And that translates to slashing OPEC excess crude capacity by nearly half.

    Result: ka-BOOM in oil prices and ka-ZOOM in oil profits. For 2007, Exxon recorded the highest annual profit, $40.6 billion, of any enterprise since the building of the pyramids. And that was BEFORE the war surge and price surge to over $100 a barrel.

    It’s been a good war for Exxon and friends. Since George Bush began to beat the war-drum for an invasion of Iraq, the value of Exxon’s reserves has risen – are you ready for this? – by $2 trillion.

    Obama’s war profiteering tax, or “oil windfall profits” tax, would equal just 20% of the industry’s charges in excess of $80 a barrel. It’s embarrassingly small actually, smaller than every windfall tax charged by every other nation. (Ecuador, for example, captures up to 99% of the higher earnings).

    Nevertheless, oilman George W. Bush opposes it as does Bush’s man McCain. Senator McCain admonishes us that the po’ widdle oil companies need more than 80% of their windfall so they can explore for more oil. When pigs fly, Senator. Last year, Exxon spent $36 billion of its $40 billion income on dividends and special payouts to stockholders in tax-free buy-backs. Even the Journal called Exxon’s capital investment spending “stingy.”

    End Quotes

    It’s STILL The Oil:
    Secret Condi Meeting on Oil Before Invasion
    :http://www.gregpalast.com/its-still-the-oilsecret-condi-meeting-on-oil-before-invasion/

    Quotes

    But before we shed tears for Big Oil’s having to hand Halliburton its slice, let me note that the value of the reserves of the five biggest oil companies more than doubled during the war to $2.36 trillion.

    And that was the plan: putting a new floor under the price of oil. I have that in writing. In 2005, after a two-year battle with the State and Defense Departments, they released to my team at BBC Newsnight the “Options for a Sustainable Iraqi Oil Industry.” Now, you might think our government shouldn’t be writing a plan for another nation’s oil. Well, our government didn’t write it, despite the State Department seal on the cover. In fact, we discovered that the 323-page plan was drafted in Houston by oil industry executives and consultants.

    The suspicion is that Bush went to war to get Iraq’s oil. That’s not true. The document, and secret recordings of those in on the scheme, made it clear that the Administration wanted to make certain America did not get the oil. In other words, keep the lid on Iraq’s oil production — and thereby keep the price of oil high.

    Of course, the language was far more subtle than, “Let’s cut Iraq’s oil production and jack up prices.” Rather, the report uses industry jargon and euphemisms which require Iraq to remain an obedient member of the OPEC cartel and stick to the oil-production limits — “quotas” — which keep up oil prices.

    The Houston plan, enforced by an army of occupation, would, “enhance [Iraq’s] relationship with OPEC,” the oil cartel.

    End Quotes

    Read that part again about how the plan was drafted by Houston oil executives.

    Are U.S. Corporations Going to “Win” The Iraq War?
    :http://www.gregpalast.com/are-us-corporations-going-to-%E2%80%9Cwin%E2%80%9D-the-iraq-war/

    Quotes

    As I also detail in The Bush Agenda, U.S. oil companies – previously all but shutout of Iraq’s oil sector, are on the verge of winning Iraq’s oil prize.

    On September 10, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister repeated a pledge made earlier this year by Oil Minister al-Shahristani that Iraq would have a new national petroleum law by the end of 2006. The law will open Iraq’s currently nationalized oil industry to private foreign oil companies on terms unprecedented in the Middle East or in any oil-rich nation. According to Iraqi Vice President Mahdi, the law will be “very promising to the American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil companies.” The law mirrors proposals originally set out by the Bush administration prior to the March 2003 invasion.

    Meeting four times between December 2002 and April 2003, members of the U.S. State Department’s Oil and Energy Working Group agreed that Iraq “should be opened to international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war” and that the best method for doing so was through Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs).

    None of the top oil producers in the Middle East use PSAs because they favor private companies at the expense of the exporting governments. In fact, PSAs are only used in respect to about 12 percent of world oil reserves. PSAs are the favorite of international oil companies and the worst-case scenario for oil-rich states.

    In August 2004, the U.S.-appointed interim Prime Minster of Iraq, Ayad Allawi (a former CIA operative), submitted guidelines for a new petroleum law recommending that the “Iraqi government disengage from running the oil sector” and that all undeveloped oil and gas fields in Iraq be turned over to private international oil companies using PSAs. Allawi’s proposal is the basis of the current proposed oil law and could potentially give foreign companies control over approximately 87 percent of Iraq’s oil.

    The Bush administration and U.S. oil companies have maintained constant pressure on Iraq to pass the new law. The administration appointed an advisor to the Iraqi government from Bearing Point Inc., a Virginia-based private consultancy firm, to support completion of the law. This past July, U.S. Energy Secretary Bodman announced in Baghdad that senior U.S. oil company executives told him they would not enter Iraq without passage of the new law.

    This month, Petroleum Economist Magazine reported that U.S. oil companies put passage of the oil law before security concerns as the deciding factor over their entry into Iraq. Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, reserves that are cheap to exploit and worth literally trillions of dollars. U.S. oil companies want in, but on their own terms. They are, quite simply, trying to get the best deal possible out of a war-ravaged and occupied nation. They are also holding U.S. troops hostage. Let’s face it, once they get their lucrative contracts, they will still demand protection to get to work. What better security force is there than 140,000 American troops?

    End Quotes

    Bush Didn’t Bungle Iraq, You Fools
    :http://www.gregpalast.com/bush-didnt-bungle-iraq-you-fools/

    Quotes

    “It’s about oil,” Robert Ebel told me. Who is Ebel? Formerly the CIA’s top oil analyst, he was sent by the Pentagon, about a month before the invasion, to a secret confab in London with Saddam’s former oil minister to finalize the plans for “liberating” Iraq’s oil industry. In London, Bush’s emissary Ebel also instructed Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, the man the Pentagon would choose as post-OIF oil minister for Iraq, on the correct method of disposing Iraq’s crude.

    And what did the USA want Iraq to do with Iraq’s oil? The answer will surprise many of you: and it is uglier, more twisted, devilish and devious than anything imagined by the most conspiracy-addicted blogger. The answer can be found in a 323-page plan for Iraq’s oil secretly drafted by the State Department. Our team got a hold of a copy; how, doesn’t matter. The key thing is what’s inside this thick Bush diktat: a directive to Iraqis to maintain a state oil company that will “enhance its relationship with OPEC.”

    Enhance its relationship with OPEC??? How strange: the government of the United States ordering Iraq to support the very OPEC oil cartel which is strangling our nation with outrageously high prices for crude.

    Specifically, the system ordered up by the Bush cabal would keep a lid on Iraq’s oil production — limiting Iraq’s oil pumping to the tight quota set by Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel.

    There you have it. Yes, Bush went in for the oil — not to get more of Iraq’s oil, but to prevent Iraq producing too much of it.

    You must keep in mind who paid for George’s ranch and Dick’s bunker: Big Oil. And Big Oil — and their buck-buddies, the Saudis — don’t make money from pumping more oil, but from pumping less of it. The lower the supply, the higher the price.

    It’s Economics 101. The oil industry is run by a cartel, OPEC, and what economists call an “oligopoly” — a tiny handful of operators who make more money when there’s less oil, not more of it. So, every time the “insurgents” blow up a pipeline in Basra, every time Mad Mahmoud in Tehran threatens to cut supply, the price of oil leaps. And Dick and George just love it.

    Dick and George didn’t want more oil from Iraq, they wanted less. I know some of you, no matter what I write, insist that our President and his Veep are on the hunt for more crude so you can cheaply fill your family Hummer; that somehow, these two oil-patch babies are concerned that the price of gas in the USA is bumping up to $3 a gallon.

    Not so, gentle souls. Three bucks a gallon in the States (and a quid a litre in Britain) means colossal profits for Big Oil, and that makes Dick’s ticker go pitty-pat with joy. The top oily-gopolists, the five largest oil companies, pulled in $113 billion in profit in 2005 — compared to a piddly $34 billion in 2002 before Operation Iraqi Liberation. In other words, it’s been a good war for Big Oil.

    End Quotes

    Big Oil and the Trillion-Dollar War Bonus
    :http://www.gregpalast.com/big-oil-and-the-trillion-dollar-war-bonus/

    “The Best Thing in The World for Big Oil”
    :http://www.gregpalast.com/the-best-thing-in-the-world-for-big-oil/

    Quotes

    The 323-page multi-volume “Options for Iraqi Oil” begins with the expected dungeons-and-dragons warning:

    The report is submitted on the understanding that [the State Department] will maintain the contents confidential.

    For two years, the State Department (and Defense and the White House) denied there were secret plans for Iraq’s oil. They told us so in writing. That was the first indication the plan existed. Proving that, and getting a copy, became the near-to-pathologic obsession of our team.

    Our big break came when James Baker’s factotum, Amy Jaffe, first reached on her cellBaker in Amsterdam, then at Baker’s operation in Houston, convinced herself that I had the right to know about the plan. I saw no reason to correct her impression. To get the plan’s title I used a truly dumb trick, asking if her copy’s headings matched mine. She read it to me and listed its true authors from the industry.

    The plan carries the State Department logo on the cover, Washington DC. But it was crafted in Houston, under the tutelage of the oil industry — including, we discovered, Donald Hertzmark, an advisor to the Indonesia state oil company, and Garfield Miller of Aegis Energy, advisors to Solomon Smith Barney, all hosted by the James A. Baker III Institute.

    So while Amy was in the mood to say too much, and before I got into the details of Big Oil’s plan for Iraq, I needed Amy’s help in finding the answer to the question that was just driving me crazy: why did Saddam have to go? Why did the oil industry promote an invasion of Iraq to get rid of Saddam?

    The question is basic but the answer is not at all obvious.

    We know the neo-cons’ answer: Their ultimate target of the invasion was Saudi Arabia, which would be cut low by a Free Iraq’s busting the OPEC oil cartel. But Big Oil wouldn’t let that happen. The neo-cons’ scheme ended up an unnoted smear under
    Amy’s alligator boot heels.

    And we can rule out Big Oil’s desire for Iraq’s oil as the decisive motive to invade. The last thing the oil industry wanted from Iraq in 2001 was a lot more oil.

    Neither Saddam’s affection for euro currency nor panic over oil supply ‘peaking’ ruffled the international oil industry. What, then, made Saddam, so easy to hug in the 1980s, unbearable in the 1990s?

    Saddam had to go, but why?

    Amy told me they held meetings about it.

    Beginning just after Bush’s Florida ‘victory’ in December 2000, the shepherds of the planet’s assets got together to plan our energy future under the weighty aegis of the
    “Joint Task Force on Petroleum of the James A. Baker III Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations.” The master plan makers included Paul Bremer’s and Kissinger’s partner, Mack McLarty, CEO of Kissinger McLarty Associates; John Manzoni of British Petroleum; Luis Giusti, former CEO of the Venezuelan state oil company (until Hugo Chavez kicked him out); Ken Lay of Enron (pre-indictment); Philip Verleger of the National Petroleum Council, and other movers and shakers crucial to such bi-partisan multi-continental group gropes — all chaired by Dr. Edward Morse, the insider’s insider, from Hess Oil Trading.

    Their final report detailed Saddam’s crimes. Gassing Kurds and Iranians? No. James A. Baker was the Reagan Chief of Staff when the U.S. provided Saddam the intelligence to better target his chemical weapons. Weapons of Mass Destruction? Not since this crowd stopped selling him the components.

    In the sanitary words of the Council on Foreign Relations’ report (written up by Jaffe herself), Saddam’s problem was that he was a “swinger”:

    Tight markets have increased U.S. and global vulnerability
    to disruption and provided adversaries undue potential in-
    fluence over the price of oil. Iraq has become a key
    “swing” producer, posing a difficult situation for the U.S.
    government.

    Now hold on a minute: Why is our government in a “difficult” position if Iraq is a “swing producer” of oil?

    The answer was that Saddam was jerking the oil market up and down. One week, without notice, the man in the moustache suddenly announces he’s going to “support the Palestinian intifada” and cuts off all oil shipments. The result: Worldwide oil prices jump up. The next week, Saddam forgets about the Palestinians and pumps to the maximum allowed under the Oil-for-Food Program. The result: Oil prices suddenly dive-bomb. Up, down, up, down. Saddam was out of control.

    “Control is what it’s all about,” one oilman told me. “It’s not about getting the oil, it’s about controlling oil’s price.”

    So, within days of Bush’s election in November 2000, the James Baker Institute issued this warning:

    In a market with so little cushion to cover unexpected
    events, oil prices become extremely sensitive to perceived
    supply risks. Such a market increases the potential lever-
    age of an otherwise lesser producer such as Iraq…

    I met with Falah Aljibury, an advisor to Goldman Sachs, the Baker/CFR group and, I discovered, host to the State Department’s invasion planning meetings in February 2001. The Iraqi-born industry man put it this way: “Iraq is not stable, a wild card.” Saddam cuts production, or suddenly boosts it, playing games with the U.N. over the Oil-for-Food Program. The tinpot despot was, almost alone, setting the weekly world price of oil and Big Oil did not care for that. In the CFR’s sober language:

    Saddam is a “destabilizing influence… to the flow of oil
    to international markets from the Middle East.”

    With Saddam out of control, jerking markets up and down, the price of controlling the price was getting just too high. Saddam drove the oil boys bonkers. For example, Saddam’s games pushed the State Department, disastrously, to launch, in April 2002, a coup d’etat in Venezuela.

    This could not stand. Saddam delighted in playing cat-and-mouse with the USA and our oil majors. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t playing with mice, but a much bigger and unforgiving breed of rodents.

    Saddam was asking for it. It was time for a “military assessment.” The CFR concluded:

    Saddam Hussein has demonstrated a willingness to
    threaten to use the oil weapon to manipulate oil mar-
    kets… United States should conduct an immediate pol-
    icy review toward Iraq, including military, energy,
    economic, and political/diplomatic assessments.

    The true motive to invade Iraq, Saddam’s “manipulation of oil markets,” was there, but not yet, in April 2001, the official excuse.

    Not surprisingly, the desires of the “Project for a New American Century,” the neo-con field of dreams, of remaking Arabia, was not in the Baker Institute-CFR plan. However, the conclusion, Saddam must go, matched the neo-con’s policy demand, if for highly different reasons. The Baker-CFR panel had a limited concern: Get rid of the jerk, the guy yanking the market.

    Morse was close-lipped about who saw and used the 2001 Baker-CFR report, but Amy Jaffe could not help telling me that Morse reported its conclusions in a briefing at the Pentagon.

    More important, back in early 2001, the initial Baker-CFR report (another participant tipped me) was handed directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney met secretly with CFR task force members (including Ken Lay) to go over the maps of Iraq’s oil fields. That, apparently, sealed it. Cheney took the CFR/Baker recommendations as his own plan for dissecting Iraq, I’m told, beginning with the none-too-thinly-veiled take-out-Saddam “assessment.”

    And whose plan was it? I knew the membership of the Baker-CFR group was Big Oil and its retainers. But I was curious to know who put up the cash for drafting the extravagant report that was so protective of OPEC and Saudi interests. This document was, after all, the outline on which the Bush administration drew its grand design for energy, from Iraq to California to Venezuela. According to Jaffe, the cost of this exercise in Imperialism Lite was funded by “the generous support of Khalid al-Turki” of Saudi Arabia.

    End Quotes

    Was The Invasion of Iraq a Jewish Conspiracy?
    :http://www.gregpalast.com/was-the-invasion-of-iraq-a-jewish-conspiracy/

    Quotes

    But Wolfowitz’s little numbers game can hardly count as a Great Zionist conspiracy. That seemed to come, at first glance, in the form of a confidential 101-page document slipped to our team at BBC’s Newsnight. It detailed the economic “recovery” of Iraq’s post-conquest economy. This blueprint for occupation, we learned, was first devised in secret in late 2001.

    Notably, this program for Iraq’s recovery wasn’t written by Iraqis; rather, it was promoted by the neo-conservatives of the Defense Department, home of Abrams, Wolfowitz, Harold Rhode and other desktop Napoleons unafraid of moving toy tanks around the Pentagon war room.

    Nose-Twist’s Hidden Hand

    The neo-cons’ 101-page confidential document, which came to me in a brown envelope in February 2003, just before the tanks rolled, goes boldly where no U.S. invasion plan had gone before: the complete rewrite of the conquered state’s “policies, law and regulations.” A cap on the income taxes of Iraq’s wealthiest was included as a matter of course. And this was undoubtedly history’s first military assault plan appended to a program for toughening the target nation’s copyright laws. Once the 82nd Airborne liberated Iraq, never again would the Ba’athist dictatorship threaten America with bootleg dubs of Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time.”

    It was more like a corporate takeover, except with Abrams tanks instead of junk bonds. It didn’t strike me as the work of a Kosher Cabal for an Imperial Israel. In fact, it smelled of pork — Pig Heaven for corporate America looking for a slice of Iraq, and I suspected its porcine source. I gave it a big sniff and, sure enough, I smelled Grover Norquist.

    The very un-Jewish Norquist may have framed much of the U.S. occupation grabfest, but there was, without doubt, one notable item in the 101-page plan for Iraq which clearly had the mark of Zion on it. On page seventy-three the plan called for the “privatization… [of] the oil and supporting industries,” the sell-off of every ounce of Iraq’s oil fields and reserves. Its mastermind, I learned, was Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation.

    For the neo-cons, this was The Big One. Behind it, no less a goal than to bring down the lynchpin of Arab power, Saudi Arabia.

    It would work like this: the Saudi’s power rests on control of OPEC, the oil cartel which, as any good monopoly, withholds oil from the market, kicking up prices. Sell-off Iraq’s oil fields and private companies will pump oil in their little Iraqi patches to the max. Iraq, the neo-cons hoped, would crank out six million barrels of oil a day, bust its OPEC quota, flood the world market, demolish OPEC and, as the price of oil fell off a cliff, Saudi Arabia would
    fall to its knees.

    “It’s a no-brainer,” Cohen told me, at his office at Heritage. It was a dim little cubby, in which, in our hour or two together, the phone rang only once. For a guy who was supposed to be The Godfather of a globe-spanning Zionist scheme to destroy the Arab oil monopoly, he seemed kind of, well… pathetic.

    And he failed. While the Norquist-promoted sell-offs, flat taxes and copyright laws were dictated into Iraqi law by occupation chief Paul Bremer, the Cohen neo-con oil privatization died an unhappy death. What happened, Ari?

    “Arab economists,” he hissed, “hired by the State Department… the witches brew of the Saudi Royal family and Soviet Ostblock.”

    Well, the Soviet Ostblock does not exist, but the Arab economists do. I spoke with them in Riyadh, in London, in California, in wry accents mixing desert and Oxford drawls. They speak with confidence, knowing Saudi Arabia’s political authority is protected by the royal families — of Houston petroleum.

    “Enhance OPEC”

    After two mad years of hunting, I discovered the real plan for Iraq’s oil, the one that keeps our troops in Fallujah. Some 323 pages long and deeply confidential, it was drafted at the James A. Baker III Institute in Houston, Texas, under the strict guidance of Big Oil’s minions. It was the culmination of a series of planning groups that began in December 2000 with key players from the Baker Institute and Council on Foreign Relations (including one Ken Lay of Enron). This was followed by a State Department invasion-planning session in Walnut Creek, California, in February 2001, only weeks after Bush and Cheney took office. Its concepts received official blessing after a March 2001 gathering of oil chiefs (and Lay) with Dick Cheney where the group reviewed with the Vice-President the map of Iraq’s oil fields.

    Once I discovered the Big Oil plan, several of the players agreed to speak with me (not, to the chagrin of some, realizing that I rarely hold such conversions without secretly recording them). Most forthright was Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, who was flown into Baghdad on a C-17 to make sure there would be no neo-con monkey business in America’s newest oil fields.

    It had been a very good war for Big Oil, with tripled oil prices meaning tripled profits. In Houston, I asked Carroll, a commanding, steel-straight chief executive, about Ari Cohen’s oil privatization plan, the anti-Saudi “no-brainer.”

    “I would agree with that statement” Caroll told me, “privatization is a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain.”

    Bush world is divided in two: neo-cons on one side, and the Establishment (which includes the oil companies and the Saudis) on the other. The plan the Establishment created, crafted by Houston oil men, called for locking up Iraq’s oil with agreements between a new state oil company under “profit-sharing agreements” with “IOCs” (International Oil Companies). The combine could “enhance the [Iraq’s] government’s relationship with OPEC,” it read, by holding the line on quotas and thereby upholding high prices.

    So there you have it. Wolfowitz and his neo-con clique — bookish, foolish, vainglorious — had their asses kicked utterly, finally, and convincingly by the powers of petroleum, the Houston-Riyadh Big Oil axis.

    End Quotes

  439. Eric: Am I sometimes wrong? Usually only in my personal life where I’m always wrong.

  440. Ah, skepticism is alive and well after all – depending on the circumstances, of course. This comes from Al Jazeera today:

    “Government officials have accused coalition forces of killing dozens of civilians, but have not shown reporters in the capital any evidence of such deaths. US military officials deny any civilians have been killed in airstrikes.

    Some journalists were taken to a hospital early on Thursday morning and shown 18 charred bodies, which the government said were military personnel and civilians killed in the air strikes, Reuters reported.”

  441. Paul says: March 24, 2011 at 1:58 am

    I certainly haven’t seen any videos or photos of the alleged massacres of civilians, and I agree with your observation that the rebels (otherwise) seem to have no trouble getting their message out.

    The rebels’ failure to publish proof of the alleged massacres may reflect the simple fact that almost nobody seems to be asking for any evidence that their claims are correct.

    When Iran’s turn comes, will people behave the same? I can’t help but think they will.

  442. Paul says:

    We’ve all seen reports of Libyan civilians killed by Gaddafi’s forces in various cities (latest is Aljazeera reporting 14 dead in Misurata).

    Are there any videos to confirm these figures, such as the videos we’ve seen out of Bahrain? The rebels surely have no problem getting their message out.

  443. Libya/Iran connection (NY Times)?

    “Libya’s banks apparently collected lucrative fees by helping Iran launder huge sums of money in recent years in violation of international sanctions on Tehran, according to another cable from Tripoli included in a batch of classified documents obtained by WikiLeaks.”

    Has anyone seen this Wikileaks cable?

  444. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/world/africa/24minister.html?hp

    “Mr. Tarhouni, the [rebels’] finance minister, said cash was not a problem right now for the rebels because they had money from the central banks in Benghazi and other rebel-held cities. They have also been promised access to 1.4 billion dinars, or almost $1.1 billion, in currency that Britain printed for the Qaddafi government but had not yet delivered, he said.”

    I’m sure the Brits will be sending along that $1.1 billion any day now – just waiting for Mr. Tarhouni to scrawl out an IOU.

    I am not making this up: This guy is the finance minister, or at least claims to be.

  445. Richard,

    “The entire point of Iraq was to “own Iraq” so as to control the price of Iraqi oil.”

    How does the price of Iraqi oil compare to the price of oil from other places?

  446. Richard,

    YOU WROTE:

    “I was right. Everyone else was wrong. As usual.”

    As “usual” – not “always?” Are you sometimes wrong?

  447. paul says:

    And then there’s the aspect of this that no one ever wants to talk about – that war is the most evil thing human beings can do unless it is absolutely necessary.

  448. “it seems to have taken Obama less than two years on the job to forget that lesson.”

    He never knew it. He promised all this crap all during his campaign for election, and I called him on it over Matt Yglesias’ blog over and over – and got cussed out by everyone else for believing it. Obama hasn’t done anything he didn’t promise to do vis-a-vis the overuse of military power.

    I was right. Everyone else was wrong.

    As usual.

    As for “we’ll own Libya” – well, what the hell do you think the POINT of all this IS? The entire point of Iraq was to “own Iraq” so as to control the price of Iraqi oil. I can’t see any evidence for any other motivation in the case of Libya. The whole “humanitarian” thing is just a red herring, just like all the arguments that Saddam was a Bad Guy who was oppressing his own people were a red herring.

    The only difference between Gaddafi and Saddam is that the US under George H. W. Bush didn’t bother to attack Saddam when he was attacking the southern Shia after the first Gulf War. But we DID put up a no-fly zone for the Kurds! And we did repeatedly bomb Saddam every time Bill Clinton had a scandal in his administration. How is that different from Libya right now?

    Sorry, but the reality is that the Libyans started a revolt because of Gaddafi’s most recent brutality, and the US decided know was the time to screw “their man Gaddafi” just as they decided 1991 and then 2003 was the time to screw “their man Saddam”.

    And it’s all being done for oil and US regional hegemony. “Humanitarian intervention” is just the excuse, probably promoted because of complaints by the whole world that the US did nothing to support the overthrow of Mubarak and Tunisia and Bahrain. But that’s just the reason being PROMOTED – not the REAL reason for the attack.

    And even someone as smart as Steven Walt doesn’t get it. So much for “realist foreign policy.”

  449. Kooshy,

    Welcome back.

    Eric

  450. Photi says:

    Egypt, Turkey, and Iran–the leaders of the new Middle East. Could the triumvirate be any more obvious?

  451. kooshy says:

    After three weeks in Iran, I am now back home in LA, with regard to the regional issues, fortunately I can report that the region’s street( in case of Tehran, consider south of Vanak or outside of Tehran’s Green Zone) bottom line view and understanding with the Arab revolutions (more correctly phrased the Muslim Awakening) is: true that our autocratic originally US installed Arab governments are bombing and killing us in our own Arab streets but so is the US and her western allies, this fact is not escaped from every Muslim in the region including the Iranian Greens in the Green Zone of northern Tehran, this fact is something that the US can’t fix or can’t get rid off for long time to come, therefore the military action which is currently implemented by the west, is perhaps the only and the last option left for the imperialist western governments, not a good option and not an option that can change much. I don’t see any western imposed political system in the region can any longer be accepted or tolerated.

  452. Rehmat says:

    The great majority of the 44 American Presidents have been involved in wars and regime change without declaring wars or being threatened by its victims. However, since Eisenhower to Obama, the American targets have mostly been Muslim countries. In 1953, Iran’s elected prime minister Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh was removed from power by US-Britain-Israel ‘axis of evil’. Now the same powers are trying their best to bring another regime range in Tehran by toppling Ahmadinejad’s elected government…….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/americas-war-presidents/

  453. Fiorangela says:

    agree, Photi. This is the moment for Iran and Turkey.

  454. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/world/europe/24germany.html?hp

    This article is titled “Germany in New Strains with Allies,” but ought to have been titled “Allies in New Strains with Germans.” The writers castigate Germany for not hopping on board the war train.

  455. Photi says:

    fyi says:
    March 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Turkey and Iran need to offer up a new paradigm. Clearly the old order is collapsing before our very eyes. Turkey and Iran need to give us a vision of what a peaceful and prosperous Middle East will look like. With a grand vision, the newly acquired political activism in the Arab world will find direction. How often do the Muslims complain that their nations lack genuine sovereignty? Here is their opportunity. The Western leaders have balked in Libya, someone needs to say something.

  456. Fiorangela says:

    I have been reading Arnold Toynbee’s “The World and the West,” and thought to prepare some excerpts for this forum, to show how this display of hubris is not a new pehnomenon for The West.

    In broad strokes, Toynbee’s thesis is that the World has suffered from the West and, in defense, has adopted more-or-less authoritarian forms of government to which the citizens of those non-western states grudgingly submit as a means to ensure their survival. Consider Russia, for example:

    “This Russian attitude of resignation towards an autocratic regime that has become traditional in Russia is, of course, one of the main difficulties, as we Westerners see it, in the relations between Russia and the West today. The great majority of people in the West feel that tyranny is an intolerable social evil.”

    A second point Toynbee makes is that states, like Russia, that find themselves in a defensive posture towards the West are compelled to imitate or exceed the technological advances of the West. Toynbee writes:

    “Peter the Great is a key figure for an understanding of the world’s relations with the West not only in Russia but everywhere; for Peter is the archetype of the autocratic Westernizing reformer who, during the last two and a half centuries, has saved the world from falling entirely under Western domination by forcing the world to train itself to resist Western aggression with Western weapons.”

    Pivoting off this dual clash, I intended to describe the Jewish concept of Tikun Olam, ‘repair the world,’ by quoting from the radical rendition of that concept spelled out by Rabbi Ken Spiro on the website AISH.com. AISH.com is one of the vehicles funded by Rabbi Raphael Shore and others to promote passionate commitment to zionism and Israel, and to engender Islamophobia — Rabbi Shore’s Clarion fund created the DVDs “Obsession” and “Iranophobia,” which have become information sources for radical right-wing Republicans to promote fear of Iran, of Sharia law, and of Islam.

    Rabbi Spiro explains Tikun Olam in this video.
    The video was infuriating.
    Spiro states that Jews are god’s chosen people; that chosenness means Jews are the people god chose to lead the world back to god, to their greatest moral realization. The premise of the video is, Why is there antisemitism? Spiro says that antisemitism exists because people naturally resist being led to a moral life. Citing Hitler (who else would you expect?) as the ultimate antisemite, Spiro argues that Hitler believed he had to destroy ALL Jews because ALL Jews were endowed with the mission to return mankind to god, and Hitler resisted the moral life.

    Spiro was maddening in so many ways.

    Vladimir Jabotinsky can be identified as the militarizing factor in the zionist mindset, that has convinced Israel that its attitude toward the world should be one of relentless aggression and hypermilitarization.

    My plan was to show how neocons/neoliberals were motivated by Spiro-style Tikun Olam with a Jabotinsky mindset, and how they failed to temper their aggressive impulse to save the world and heed Toynbee’s caution that numbers of the world’s states and people were submitting themselves to tyrannical leaders to defend themselves against being “saved” by the heavily armed Rabbi Spiros of the ‘West.’

    I was afraid of the accusation of antisemitism, however, so I did a little more research, to see how Toynbee’s 1952 essay had been received.

    Lo and behold, 60 years ago, my Roman Catholic co-religionists registered high dudgeon at Toynbee’s suggestion that Western Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism, had been anything less than absolutely stellar in contributing to the betterment of mankind. Roman Catholicism had not just “repaired” the world, Roman Catholicism WAS Europe and had bestowed on the rest of the world only that which tended toward their everlasting salvation. The author of this jeremiad claimed as his ideological mentor Hillaire Belloc.

    Ugh.

    Those books of Belloc’s that I own are stowed in a dark corner somewhere so that I will not be reminded of how hateful his writing is. As I recall, Belloc is particularly hateful toward “Mohammedans,” but he saves some spleen for Protestants by the by.

    My own Roman Catholic forebears had their at-bats in the game of ideological religious triumphalism.

    Religious supremicism was ugly then and it is ugly now.

    If there is a difference today, it is twofold: first, the world has more weapons to impose its supremicist will; and second, we should have learned something from the wisdom –or folly — of Toynbee; the wisdom –or folly — of Hillaire Belloc; the wisdom –or folly–of Rabbi Spiro.

    There is one other lesson to add to those that we have not learned: It is extremely dangerous to censor or silence or delete from human memory and awareness ALL the facts of history. As the prophet Jeremiah said, “people must see things as they really are. They can not function spiritually or practically if they . . .refuse to face the truth, however painful and frightening this might be.”

    To take this full circle to some of the earliest discussions on RFI, I submit that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attempted to prod the ‘West’ to confront some “painful and frightening” truths, for which the West responded by demonizing and punishing the messenger.

    There is every indication that Israel will attack Gaza again.

  457. James Canning says:

    We should remember that John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham visited Gadddafi in Tripoli a year and a half ago and promised to help him purchase American armaments.

  458. James Canning says:

    Stephen Walt worries about Libya becoming an exporter of refugees but doesn’t mention that Gaddafi himself warned European leaders that millions of sub-Saharan Africans would try to get to Europe by crossing Libya, if the EU did not help him control his borders.

    How many hundreds of millions of dollars, or even billions of dollars, will be wssted in an unnecessary war? (This assumes the allied countries could have achieved a cease-fire by a fairly minimal application of force.)

  459. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Yes, I think you are right about Philip II becoming effectively bankrupt three times. Geopolitics, and of course religious delusion.

  460. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Sunday Times (London) March 13th, Andrew Sullivan suggested the money that would be blown on military activity would be better used to help the Egyptian economy. (“Leaving Libya to giht it out is brutal but smart”). Sullivan noted that John McCain and Joe Lieberman are unable to comprehend that American hubris cannot continue. But here we have Obama joining the neocons, even when his Sec of Defence, his Nat’l Security Advisor and his Chairman of Jt Chiefs of Staff had major reservations.

  461. fyi says:

    Photi says: March 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    They do not have the money or other instruments of power to the degree that is needed.

  462. fyi says:

    Pirouz_2 says: March 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Philip II of Spain defaulted 3thrice (if I recall correctly)on his loans pursuing his geopolitical aims.

    The Axis Powers could also conform to the same pattern.

    There is alos this:

    The analogy with the Revolutions of 1848 with what is now transpiring in the Arab world leaves some salient features out.

    The events of 1848 occured 36 years after the defeat of Napoleon and a generation after the Concert of Europe and the advent of generalized peace in Europe. No great power or combinations of great powers was threatening to wage war in the middle of all that.

    That is not the case in the Middle East where there are wars going on in Palestine, Pakistan, Yemen, Afganistan, in Cauacsus, and now in Libya. There is no Concert of the Middle East to enforce and uphold peace and there has not been any peace since 1956.

    Furthremore, the Axis Powers are threatening more wars and not fewer.

  463. Fiorangela says:

    Pirouz-2, because I am an unabashed admirer of the Iranian people, I share that sense of your ‘optimism’ that the capitalist empire is falling and will soon pose less of a threat to the Iranian people. The US needs and deserves to be chastened.

    Because I love my children, and their native land is the United States, I fear for their future.

  464. Photi says:

    What are Turkey and Iran waiting for? The time is now to offer up leadership. Either that or give everything back to the despots.

  465. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Fiorangela:
    “not so sure Beijing is the big winner. If you’re the lender on a huge mortgage note and the unemployed debtor just crashed his car into his uninsured house, how certain would you be of repayment? Perhaps we should all enroll in courses in Mandarin?”

    Some times, despite my pessimist nature, I tend to become an optimist and look at the bright side of everything. This comment of yours brings out the optimist in me:

    1)There is a smell of a big depression for capitalism in the air. Maybe my senses are deceiving me, but some how my nostrils are filled up with the intensifying smell of “BIG CRISIS” for capitalism!

    2)I sense the end of empire fast approaching, and despite all the short-term troubles (however sever they may be) for the Americans as a nation, it is still a very good news for them in the long run. Empires NEVER serve (or rulled by) their people.

    Also I don’t think that the Chinese are the ones who are actually smiling. While -to borrow Putin’s words- “West’s weilding razor blades like mad people” should (and does) concern Iranians, it also makes them smile, because US military is getting in more and more “endless” battles whose result can only be defeat without Iranians paying any price. And the more such attacks take place, the more difficult it will become to get into an adventure with Iran. But then again, “crazy people weilding razor blades” can’t think straight about the result of their stupid actions, so there is no telling what they’ll do next!

  466. Fiorangela says:

    not so sure Beijing is the big winner. If you’re the lender on a huge mortgage note and the unemployed debtor just crashed his car into his uninsured house, how certain would you be of repayment? Perhaps we should all enroll in courses in Mandarin?

  467. Excellent piece by Professor Walt. My only quibble is with the verb tense in this sentence:

    “Can anyone really doubt that this affair will be perceived by people around the world as a United States-led operation, no matter what we say about it?”

  468. Liz says:

    And who’s the big winner here?

    Beijing