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The Race for Iran

On U.S. Efforts to Take Away Iran’s Rights by (Unilaterally) Rewriting the NPT: And the Complicity of America’s Iran “Experts” in the Charade

One of the more striking passages in President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly last month presented Obama’s view of Iran’s nuclear rights.  Specifically, the President noted, “We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United States is to see that we harness that power for peace.”    

This is a more restrictive formulation than Obama and senior officials in his administration have deployed in previous statements, which emphasized that Iran has a right to “pursue peaceful nuclear energy.”  In normal English usage, the verb “to pursue” implies that, in the official American view, Iran might at least have a right to generate its own “peaceful nuclear energy.”  By contrast, Obama’s more recent phrasing implies that, in Washington’s current reading, Iran does not even have a right to generate its own nuclear power, but may have to content itself with trying to “access to peaceful nuclear power” that is generated by others

Needless to say, all of this is far removed from Iran’s longstanding insistence on its right to enrich uranium if it chooses to do so.  And, of course, Iran has long recognized that, as a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), it must exercise that right under international monitoring

Initially, even the George W. Bush administration acknowledged that there was, somewhere in a vague legal ether, an Iranian right to enrich—but it argued that Tehran had somehow managed to “forfeit” this right.  Such an argument did not persuade most of the lawyers working on the issue in the Bush administration, much less most of the other nations of the world.  Eventually, the Bush administration retreated to a rigid demand that the Islamic Republic obey Security Council resolutions calling on it to suspend enrichment before the United States would negotiate with Tehran—and without ever stipulating that a negotiated settlement would include an explicit recognition of Iran’s nuclear rights.  Predictably, this stance was diplomatically dysfunctional. 

When the Obama administration came in, it dropped the Bush administration’s insistence on suspension as a precondition for negotiations.  But it has been even less willing than the Bush administration to acknowledge Iran’s nuclear rights—and it, too, has the diplomatic (non)results to show for its obtuseness.         

From a global perspective, the positions of the Bush and Obama administrations on Iran’s right to develop indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capabilities and to pursue internationally safeguarded enrichment of uranium on its own territory make the United States a real outlier.  This reality was underscored in August at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, convened in Tehran, where NAM members—including the vast majority of the world’s nation-states—strongly endorsed the Islamic Republic’s right to pursue uranium enrichment.  Although hardly covered in the American media, the NAM summit marked a significant international repudiation of U.S. policy regarding the nuclear rights of Iran and, by extension, other non-Western NPT signatories.    

In the United States, this prompted defenders of the Bush/Obama line to spring into action.  One of them, David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security, co-wrote a piece for the U.S. government-sponsored Iran Primer last month, see here, which argued that the NAM communique “misconstrues the NPT.”  This sparked a vigorous online exchange between Albright—who is not a lawyer or student of international legal regimes—and Daniel Joyner, professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Law and one of the legal academy’s most accomplished scholars of the NPT.  That exchange reveals much about the contribution of many Western Iran “experts” to America’s Iran debate. 

According to Albright and his co-author, “Under Article IV [of the NPT], Iran cannot claim the right to nuclear energy production—or a right to enrich at all—while under investigation for possible non-peaceful uses of these capabilities.  Iran’s right to nuclear energy is qualified—a long as there are no major lapses in its Article II obligations…the NAM communique failed to acknowledge the need for Iran to fully comply with the international treaty on nuclear weapons.  Iran tried to portray that the final communique represented a diplomatic victory for Tehran and its controversial nuclear program.  But the summit’s resolution instead undermined the Non-Aligned Movement’s credibility, since it demonstrated that developing nations cannot be counted on to deal seriously with nuclear nonproliferation issues.” 

Leaving aside the patronizing tone of the last sentence—in effect, Albright and his co-author are positing that responsible Americans and Europeans (the rightful masters of the universe) cannot possibly think non-Westerners are “dealing seriously” with important international issues unless those non-Westerners simply accept, uncritically, the views advanced by their Western superiors—this statement is wrong on several substantive points.  Among other things, it is wrong as an interpretation of the NPT and in its assertion that there have been “major lapses” in Iran’s Article II obligations.  These features prompted Daniel Joyner to offer the following observations on his blog, Arms Control Law, see here

“Why is it that in the nonproliferation area everyone, including engineers, physicists, chemists and general policy wonks, think they can do legal interpretation?  You won’t find me writing articles about the technical aspects of missile capabilities, or the internal physics of a warhead core.  I know these things are outside of my training and qualification to do.  But apparently everyone thinks they can do legal analysis.  With respect, I think David should stick to obsessing over satellite pictures of tarps at random military bases in Iran.” 

On our own, we found Joyner’s comment mildly amusing.  But it clearly touched a nerve in David Albright, see here, who responded with a remarkable broadside characterized by ad hominem invective and fallacious arguments from authority: 

“I have belatedly read Joyner’s rant about our Iran Primer article with amusement and likewise find his chorus of lackeys a pathetic bunch.  Now I understand that Joyner’s blogging is supposed to be an ego trip for him and a safe haven for commentators, but Joyner’s blogging is particularly egotistical and, with respect, off-the-wall.  In the comments and in Joyner’s writings, I can see the deep ignorance of the NPT.  I certainly see no need to revise our analysis and statements in our Iran Primer article.  We have consulted with many lawyers who find Joyner’s analysis deeply flawed and agenda driven…I would recommend that Joyner have his work reviewed by competent lawyers.  He would need to revise most of his work.” 

Joyner responded vigorously, see here, making the point, among his other rejoinders, that he has published two peer-reviewed books, with Oxford University Press, on interpreting the NPT.  But, for our purposes, the most important part of his response concerns the public posture adopted by too many Washington, DC-based policy “experts” and the motives for their adoption of such a posture.  Joyner’s analysis focuses on nonproliferation specialists, but, in our view, it also applies very well to many who claim expertise on other Iran-related issues: 

”A colleague in D.C. once said this to me about the U.S. nonproliferation epistemic community—and by this community we both meant the entirety of the various NGOs and think tanks and the few University based centers that focus on nonproliferation studies in the U.S.:  that the community is very D.C. centric, cliquish, incestuous and self-referential, to its detriment.  These words have really stuck with me, because I find them to be absolutely true, and both insightful and parsimonious as I’ve observed the community over the years.

I would take it even further and say that in addition, in my opinion, the whole U.S. based nonproliferation experts community—with few exception—is systematically biased toward support of USG positions on all the top nonproliferation issues.  They maintain an essentially common narrative and set of emphases that is in line with, and that provides support for, the narrative and emphases of the USG, with only the smallest amounts of quibbling around the edges (Albright will talk all day long about his “aluminum tubes” work).  I think that there is in the work of the U.S. nonproliferation epistemic community far too little real, independent evaluation and criticism of USG positions.  As I see it, the U.S. nonproliferation community almost acts as a second wave of apologists for U.S. policy, after the USG itself—though it sometimes shrouds this effort in a lot of technical and sometimes academic-looking jargon.  But in the end what the U.S. nonproliferation community ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT DO is serve in the role of an independent, rigorous, analytical check on USG nonproliferation positions, as it could and should do, and as the nongovernmental nonproliferation community in other countries does.  And I think there are some clear reasons for this.  Much more so than in other countries, the members of the U.S. based nonproliferation community tend, with very few exceptions, to

1)  have been employed by the USG in the past;

2) want to be employed by the USG in the future;

3) be funded by or hope to be funded by the USG; and/or

4) want to maintain the access and good favor they have with USG officials, for the sake of information and for the sake of invitations to cool events, etc. 

Basically what I’m saying is that they are biased towards the positions of the USG, because of their overly close personal and institutional associations with the USG, and because they see their own professional success as being tied to the favor of the USG.

I think there’s also a significant degree of media whorishness at work here as well.  As a colleague once wrote to me while we were discussing this topic:  ‘I think there is another—very important—aspect you may be missing that may even over-ride the ones you mention:  aside from taking USG positions, the non-proliferation community likes the high-media profile allotted it, when it loudly tut-tuts 3rd world nuclear arms capacities (or enemies of the west’s nuclear arms capacities), whether or not such capacities are consistent w/ NPT and/or CSAs.  People like being quoted, appearing on TV, and generally feeling important.  The Non-proliferation community “loves” the attention and basks in this glow, and though they would “privately” acknowledge that Iran is not so far outside bounds (if at all), they nonetheless pass on statements and innuendo to media indicating the alleged dangers and thus wittingly or not, fan the flames.  Others like ISIS simply pass on opinions dressed as expert findings.  It just would not do for Non-proliferation types to tell the media:  “well, no, Iran’s program is actually not a threat to world peace yet” like the DNI did.’” 

Not surprisingly, Joyner sees David Albright as embodying this description, as he points out in criticizing some of Albright’s analysis on Iran’s nuclear activities: 

“All [Albright] really does is make provocative speculations about what “could” be happening at locations in Iran, and what “maybe” Iran will do in the future.  And it’s so clear that he’s working on the basis of a set of unproven, but firmly held assumptions about Iran—the same assumptions he had about Iraq, for which his work has been widely discredited—that they have a nuclear weapons program, and he is ginning up all the evidence he can that might support that assumption, speculating about what that evidence may mean, but only in a direction that would tend to support his preexisting assumption.  There’s no rigor here in thoroughly considering and evaluating other possible explanations for the same observations—like a real academic or even a real, quality NGO analysis would.  Maybe it’s because David has never done PhD level academic work, and so he doesn’t understand what is expected of quality scientific analysis.  But this is an assumption-driven piece of provocative speculation that serves only to provide support for the USG’s contentions about Iran’s nuclear program.  That’s just what he infamously did in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq war too. That’s not rigorous and independent analysis. That’s biased and low quality work…

I know very well how the D.C. nonproliferation crowd feels about me…They think my work is pro-Iranian and generally pro-developing country, and anti-U.S.  They say I’m biased and agenda driven…Am I personally sympathetic to or biased towards the policies of the Iranian government? Absolutely not…However, do I think that the legal arguments of the current government of Iran deserve a fair and independent and rigorous hearing and analysis by the international community, just as the legal arguments of any other government do?  Yes I do, for many reasons, not least of which is the prevention of unnecessary and unjust economic sanctions and possibly war against the Iranian people, and the fairness and perceived legitimacy and relevance of international law.  I don’t see anyone else stepping up to make these arguments, and make sure that they are taken seriously in the West, and that’s why I keep doing it.

Am I sympathetic to developing countries’ positions in the nuclear energy area generally?  Yes I am.  I admit that freely.  And it’s because I genuinely think that they are bullied by the West in the nuclear area, as in many other areas, for a whole range of political and economic reasons, and that the legal advisors of Western governments have concocted erroneous legal arguments to give perceived credibility to these policies.  I can’t change the policies and the politics they’re based on, but I think there is a real need to lend whatever professional abilities I have to making sure that their legal arguments are made at a high level of competence and sophistication, and are given due consideration by the international community.  Again, no one else seems to be doing this in the West, and so I keep doing it.  But I maintain that my legal analysis is independent and essentially objective, and that I follow the proper analysis of a legal source to its most persuasively correct conclusion, no matter what that conclusion is.

I think that the U.S. nonproliferation community, linked so closely as it is to the USG itself, generally takes a negative view of my work for a number of reasons.  One of the primary reasons is that they are so used to being able to effectively tell the rest of the world what to think about the NPT regime, and how to interpret the law associated with it, that when someone independent comes along and poses a genuine intellectual challenge to the warped and USG driven legal views of the NPT regime that they’ve been spouting for decades, they genuinely don’t know what to do about it.  With the errors and intellectual bankruptcy of their legal arguments laid bare, they make only feeble attempts to defend themselves substantively because, honestly, they don’t have very good substantive arguments to make and they never have.  The only argument they have left to make is to argue in desperation that the challenger is biased and agenda driven—which is in the end the ultimate irony, because it’s precisely their own bias and USG-centric agenda that has made their arguments so weak, and has provided the legal errors that the challenger now corrects, to the persuasion of everyone else in the world.” 

Our compliments to Prof. Joyner. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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139 Responses to “On U.S. Efforts to Take Away Iran’s Rights by (Unilaterally) Rewriting the NPT: And the Complicity of America’s Iran “Experts” in the Charade”

  1. Nasser says:

    fyi says October 18, 2012 at 11:24 am,

    How was Turkey rudely reminded of her reliance on US & EU? I must say I am still not convinced that Turkey was somehow coerced into adopting her present posture but rather did so out of their own miscalculation. They expected a quick victory. That didn’t happen and now they seem visibly frustrated.

    A few thoughts regarding Turkey’s strategic situation: The Soviet Union is no more and the Russians aren’t interested in threatening Turkey. They don’t really need NATO, seriously speaking. US/EU is shut off from Iran for the foreseeable future, Muslims hate them and with the tumult of the Arab Spring still going on they wouldn’t risk alienating Turkey too. Turkey must have known this when they adopted their present policies towards Syria. And can’t Iran&Iraq or GCC take care of Turkey’s financial needs? I am not suggesting that Turkey radically change its strategic posture but only that it too has options.

  2. Nasser says:

    fyi says October 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Mr. Kissinger was definitely right when he said being America’s friend is more dangerous than being its foe. However the Syrian thing plays out; even under the best of circumstances, there is a lot of weapons and Jihadis floating around that will cause a lot of problems regionally and for Turkey internally for years to come. I think your comparison of this situation with how the Afghan war affected Pakistan is a great one.

  3. imho says:

    The US Corp. is about to chose a new CEO. A CEO is never chosen by employes’ votes by based on who can bring more profits and power to the owners. Also this is the mother corporation feeding other corporations apparently not necessarily American.
    This is why trade and finance drive politics, not the other way.

    The US election is a show for who believes is really participating.
    Foreign donations are legally forbidden but is there a way to enforce this rule ? Does any rule prevents a foreign company/interest group, to influence the election via its American subsidiary protecting its interests on American soil ?

    Obama did spend less than US $1 Billion on his last campaign. This is peanut for corporations given what their investment can bring them in profits. Really, considering the huge impact of the result, one can wonder why the bill is not more, say several billions. Maybe this sum is just for running the show

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/10/09/977251/why-the-obama-foreign-donation-scandal-is-pure-fiction/

  4. Richard Steven Hack says:

    imho: “You can stick to your theory, quote what may enforce that perception and say everything else are lies. Or you can adjust your predictions based on realities and recent events. These may not impact the West’s long term strategy but they count on day to day decisions.”

    Now you’re just hand waving.

    I think we’ve exhausted any useful discussion here. Wait for events and we’ll see.

  5. Richard Steven Hack says:

    imho: “So you actually agree that the threat is about gas. I thought you believed it was just about starting a new big war for the benefit of military-industrial-financial machine looking for fresh billions.”

    It’s both. Did you forget I also always mention the oil companies and the banks who finance them? You need to stop picking out parts of my words and only thinking about them.

    Besides, the gas stuff is mostly about Israel, not the US. Of course, the US companies will horn in on it in every area where there is gas eventually. That’s what the US uses its military for – to horn in on areas with resources – in addition to the direct profits from soaking the US taxpayer.

    The bottom line: the US is ONLY interested in money and power, not any “national interests” that make sense to anyone else.

  6. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    October 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    James,

    What is the Israel lobby’s position regarding Iran’s nuclear program?

    Is the Israel lobby’s problem with the Iranian nuclear program, or is their problem a strong, efficient and independent Iran?

    If this is the case, that the lobby’s problem with Iran is their national strength and independence, then in reality the problem with the lobby is that Iran is a threat to Israeli impunity. Iran’s nuclear program is only the most visible and controversial symbol of that strength and independence and so this is where the lobby has focused.

    My view is that Iran’s strength and independence is a threat to Israeli impunity regardless of a nuclear program, and so in the absence of a nuclear program on Iran’s part, the Israel lobby will still have a problem with Iran because Iran will still be strong and independent and therefore a deterrent against Israeli impunity.

    Looks to me the real issue is Israeli impunity.

  7. Rd. says:

    Adventures of Afghan jihadi support in the 80′s lead to Osama and AQ. Now the new adventures in Libya and Syria, is there a new Osama …..

    “Sakr’s latest feat, as revealed by well-placed sources within the armed Syrian opposition, involves a wealthy Emirati who recently went to Syria to take part in the uprising against the government with the Jihadi Nusra Front.

    The Emirati man is reportedly a dignitary, and his government was anxious to get him back and keep the incident under wraps.”

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/okab-sakr-lebanese-parliamentarian-representing-syria%E2%80%99s-war

  8. fyi says:

    RSH:

    I agree with you that the leaders of Axis States care not one whit about what happens to the Syrian people.

    Neither they one whit about harm that is done to the Iranian people – the more the merrier as they hope that suffering Iranians will revolt against the Islamic republic and destroy their own independence (yet again).

    They want to turn entire regions of he world into “Proletarian” countries; in essence, into what obtained in 1900.

    That is why they cannot articulate any positive program in the Middle East – what is positive in being religated to the “Servant Class” status.

    They care only about Jews in Israel, that is all – they do not even care about Christians in Iran, Syria, Armenia, Pakistan, and Egypt.

    The French care midly about the Lebanese Christains, that much is clear to me.

  9. fyi says:

    Rd. says:

    October 18, 2012 at 10:49 am

    30 years ago, a sane (and patriotic) Pakistani journalist warned against Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan’s Civil War (on behalf of US).

    He pointed out – at that time – the very real probability of militarization of the Northwest Frontier Province and its danger to Pakistan’s internal stability.

    But Pakistani leaders were oblivious to that danger; they evidently assumed a “nowkar” position to US and the rest followed.

    This is what Turkey has done with its Syrian policy – years of internal and external harm to Turkey will pursue her; no doubt.

    There is no margin in “nowkari” to the Axis States; it will almost always lead to ruination.

  10. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You think that “the people running the US” do not care if Syria is torn to pieces in a lengthy civil war? Britain “cares” about that danger. So does France. Why would American leaders think differently? But you regard US leaders as stooges of hidden financial interests that always profit from war.

  11. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    You give too little weight to the role of the ISRAEL LOBBY in blocking a deal between Iran and the P5+1. And, having failed to give adequate weight to the role of the ISRAEL LOBBY in blocking a deal, you wrongly conclude the dispute is not about Iran’s nuclear programme.

    Why don’t you explain the wisdom of Iran’s decision to treble production of 20 percent uranium?

  12. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    Is Turkey still aiming to quadruple its trade with Iran over the next few years? If so, this would indicate Turkey does not “fear a rising Iran”.

  13. James Canning says:

    imho,

    Perhaps Iran can obtain a tacit or off-the-record acceptance by the US of Iran’s right to enrich to 20 percent. Idiotic blocking of Iran’s purchase of TRR fuel needs to end. Utter stupidity on the part of the US. (Credit for this utter stupidity goes of course to the Israel lobby.)

    Personally, I agree with the Financial Times that the P5+1 will have to accept Iranian enrichment to 5% or lower.

    Does anyone still think Iran was wise to treble production of 20% U?

  14. Fiorangela says:

    BiBiJon says:
    October 18, 2012 at 8:31 am

    BiBiJon and Photi –
    Thanks for pointing to the discussion between Parsi and Kroenig.
    Parsi frustrates sometimes, but in this exchange, his arguments were pure gold, rock solid.
    Kroenig’s logic, historical sense, statescraftsmanship, and intellectual integrity are of the lowest rank. My friend UU disdains the advances of the Enlightenment, but I associate that term with the dramatic revolution in thinking introduced by Francis Bacon: analysis must proceed from observations of nature — reality as it is — rather than from authority (in Bacon’s age, the ‘authority’ of the Roman church and of Aristotelian processes). Kroenig appears never to have encountered Bacon, nor does he give evidence of being in touch with reality on the ground in Iran: for example, his advocacy for an in-and-out strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities fails to take account of the fact that thousands, or tens of thousands of Iranian civilians reside within a few miles of, i.e. Natanz — itself an ancient Turkic village, and Isfehan — a UNESCO World Heritage site. As Barbara Slavin pointed out to Ephraim Sneh in a discussion early in 2012, an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would inevitably release dangerous radiation impacting the lives of many thousands of innocent civilians. Bacon’s revolutionary, Enlightenment thinking paradigm demanded — DEMANDED — that the values of “Christian charity” undergird every analysis.

    Moreover, Kroenig, like so many pontificators on US foreign policy, fails to define and support the first premise of his argument: What is the evidence that Iran is a “threat” to the US or to anybody? Absent an IMMINENT threat to the United States, what legal (much less moral) right does the US have to engage in ANY form of punishment, including sanctions, against Iran?

    Kroenig’s claims about Iran’s relationships with Hamas and Hezbollah are tail over teacup. It is my understanding that Iran supports H & H (to the extent that it does) as a means of supporting Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. Since Kroenig seems compelled to eliminate that reality from his ideological view of the world; that is, his intellectual framework is based on hasbara, not reality, he is forced to concoct an alternate theory for Iranian support for H and H.

    Two more thoughts that sprang to mind while listening to Kroenig:
    a. Alan Greenspan’s astounding comment several years ago concerning the financial meltdown: “It appears the theory was flawed.” Randian thinking provided the framework for Greenspan’s conduct of US financial affairs; its failure caused suffering for millions of people. Kroenig’s foreign affairs theorizing is similar.

    b. Which puts Kroenig in the category of those “mediocre intellects” that Theodor Herzl wrote of, with disdain and distress, in Der Judenstaat.

    Lord save us from mediocre intellects.

  15. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Here is Moon of Alabama making the same point I made earlier about the failure of the US minesweeping exercise.

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/10/us-minesweeping-failures-make-war-on-iran-unlikely.html

    One important point he draws attention to:

    “Even if Iran were not to react to any attack the expectation of a possible reaction would be enough to explode the insurance premiums for any ship entering the Strait of Hormuz.”

    In conclusion:

    “Unless there is technological leap in mine hunting and clearing coming up (unlikely), the threat and the capability of mining the Straits is likely enough to keep Iran safe from serious military aggressions.”

  16. fyi says:

    Cyrus says:

    October 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

    The stories of David and Solomon, the Book of Daniel, and the Book of Esther are almost certainly romances – like the Medieval romances of Haft Peykar, the Fisher King, Prester John and others.

  17. Karl... says:

    Photi,

    ” only target nuclear installations, and in doing so convince Iran that a restrained response by Iran from the American bombing will be acceptable but any further escalation on Iran’s part will be met with severe retaliation by the Americans. In this way, Kroenig says an attack on Iran can be contained within pre-determined boundaries established by the US.”

    ______

    On what world does these people live? Where comes the notion or even attempt to use such stupid argumentation? Of course a strike on Iran is nothing but a strike, there is no such thing as “surgical strike” in international law, neither is there a “pre-emptive” nor “preventive” right, all this are just attempt to destroy international law and laws of war. They try to erase the basic right to use force by states that are attacked, just like in the NPT apparently the laws apply only to those states that is allied with US and Israel.
    What drives these people that try to come up with plots to bomb states?

  18. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    October 18, 2012 at 12:58 am

    No, they are not stupid.

    But they are “nowkar” – and they were reminded of their dependency on US and EU very rudely recently.

    All this talk of Turkish “neo-Ottomanism” is non-sense; Ottomans were a lot more self-confident and self-sufficient.

    Turkisj leaders might have been concerned about the rise of the Shia/Irani power – but not to the extent that could justify their actions in Syria.

    Once again you are witnessing leaders of poor countries currying favor for more powerful countries with no strategic benefit to themselves: in Cambodia, in Chile, in Iran, in Viet Nam, in Pakistan, in Iraq and now in Turkey.

  19. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “In my opinion, the money to support Turkey in a prolonged war of occupation in Syria is not available.”

    to add, more and more commentaries on various turkish papers are highlighting the very many problems from the turkish syrian policy. It seems, the money isn’t even available to continue the existing policy, let alone initiating a war…

    “The Syrian bill is huge
    GÜNGÖR URAS
    Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said they have transferred 400 million Turkish Liras from the budget to Syrian refugees up until today, but the general spending of the municipalities and the state are most probably more than this. We initially welcomed the increasing number of refugees. Now, we have started worrying. How are we going to feed them; when will they return?

    The Syrian policy has cost us too much in a variety of ways. Worse, the bill is constantly rising.

    1) When the Syrian border closed, exports were halted
    2) Several workplaces in the east and southeast in dire straits
    3) Huge bill of the closure of the air space
    4) Heavy bill of military operation
    5) 5) War risk premium

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-syrian-bill-is-huge-.aspx?pageID=449&nID=32662&NewsCatID=396

  20. Cyrus says:

    Uri Avner’s comparison of Iran with Haman in the Mordechai/Esther story is quite telling. Haman is identified in the bible as an Agagite, a descendant of the Amelekites (Agag was the King of the Amelekites.) The Amelikites, in turn, were the people that God supposedly ordered to be massacred by the ancient Jews (men, women, children, farm animals etc.) Netanyahu has compared Iran to the the Amelekites, whom the Jews exterminated by God’s command. http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=167043

    And they say the Iranians are the crazy ones.

  21. BiBiJon says:

    Photi says:
    October 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=km3IZyPPbpk

    “Kroenig took the pro-war option, giving why reasons why diplomacy will never work with Iran. His position is that prior to bombing, the US should be clear with Iran that the US will only target nuclear installations, and in doing so convince Iran that a restrained response by Iran from the American bombing will be acceptable but any further escalation on Iran’s part will be met with severe retaliation by the Americans. In this way, Kroenig says an attack on Iran can be contained within pre-determined boundaries established by the US.”

    Thanks Photi. I would love the war-loving academic, Kroenig, whose entire thesis hinges on cost-free bombing to consider the likely results of a “surgical” srike confined to nuclear facilities…

    Quote: ” If we assume a conservative casualty rate of 5 to 20% among these populations, we can expect casualties in the range of 12,000-70,000 people.”

    Read more: http://nation.time.com/2012/10/18/the-myth-of-surgical-strikes-on-iran/#ixzz29eXp2GKD

    If I were a betting man, I would bet on peace, or all-out war. I would not bet a dime on anything in between.

  22. imho says:

    Dan Cooper says:
    October 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Do they plan to cut Internet too as more and more people watch those TV channels on Internet?
    No, they’ll rather take the IP of people connecting to those sites. Much easier to control than the waves.

  23. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    October 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Even if Iran agrees to not enrich to 20%, she insists she still has the right to and that this right must be acknowledged by US.
    Halting enrichment to 20% is a kind of accommodation in negotiations. Iran did it also with EU few years ago with 5%.
    Having the know-how now, Iran can afford to suspend it but the point is that she can restart it whenever the fuel bank refuses to sell it for political considerations.

    Do you think if Iran had not that knowledge, she could still buy 5% enriched U rather than producing it ?
    I doubt. That proves Iran was right to go with building the basic knowledge to do it

  24. imho says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    “Thanks for the link. That was a really excellent piece, showing WHY Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are under threat from the West. ”

    I’m glad you liked it. Engdahl pieces (as his books) are very investigative and informative.
    So you actually agree that the threat is about gas. I thought you believed it was just about starting a new big war for the benefit of military-industrial-financial machine looking for fresh billions.

  25. imho says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    thank you for your explanations.
    Rest assured I trust no one. Not in politics

    All I’m trying to do (and you also I guess) is to connect the dots following the information (and disinformation) we receive. We can think about long term strategies being played but are not in a situation to predict events in that scale. Yet, actions and words from politicians and influential think tanks help us to see in short term what is happening.
    What Rasmussen says at one point in time doesn’t have to apply forever. It may however indicate the direction of events in the near term. I’m not saying there will never have a Syria war with US/UK/French active participation. I just say this seems not possible for the near future.

    “Turkey won’t have to do much of anything but start the war. In that respect, it plays the same role with regard to Syria that Israel might play with regard to Iran.”

    Why neither happens so ?
    There will not be a single Turk soldier in Syrian soil before NATO enters the war. I doubt Turks would appreciate that the US just lead from behind as they did in Libya.

    You can stick to your theory, quote what may enforce that perception and say everything else are lies. Or you can adjust your predictions based on realities and recent events. These may not impact the West’s long term strategy but they count on day to day decisions

  26. Nasser says:

    fyi says October 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm,

    Surely Turkey isn’t mad enough to start a war of choice with Syria? Even if the money was there and even under the best of circumstances, why would they risk so much? For what possible benefit?! Are they that frightened of a rising Iran?

  27. Ataune says:

    @ RSH

    Thank you for taking your time to challenge what I wrote.

    Let us remember that we are PREDICTING hypothetical events in the future and not INTERPRETING the ones that occurred in the past, therefore logically valid arguments are of primary value here since facts backing up our assertions have yet to produce.

    Somewhere during our exchanges in this thread, in response to my affirmation that Iran’s influence in the region cannot be curbed by means of war you replied:

    “You bomb Iran into the Stone Age and it’s influence will lessen. It will be less able to support Hizballah and Hamas. Even if it doesn’t lessen its “soft power” influence, since the military-industrial complex will make a profit from the war, as well as the oil companies, etc. and that’s a major motivation for the war.”

    By doing so you were obviously considering “bombing Iran to stone age” as the main policy choice for the MIC and other cliques ruling the US and Israel (most likely including in this bunch the European elite too), with greed, the necessary and sufficient motivation, amply available to them. Therefore it sounds legitimate to me to ask the question: if this policy alternative is in the hand of a bunch of greedy people that have their fingers on the button and the incentives, profit, are here to pocket why simply don’t use this in any other tough occasions without inhibition, restraint or second thoughts, aren’t they the master of the helm? Later, in your 2nd response you are replying: “This is just stupid. I never said anything of the kind. Stop inserting your own concepts into my arguments. If you can’t quote exactly what I said, don’t even bother responding.” What can I say ????!!!!!

    I am also surprised by your refusal to take into account my 3rd assertion. You are saying that Israel has US elite into his pocket for the war, which you agree does not constitute the rational interests of these countries. I’m countering that Israel, as a protectorate of the US, can not decide the sovereign questions of peace and war for the US. Now, even if we assume, as you are saying, that the only driver for these policies is the elite’s greed in both places, you have to answer the questions touching on the meaning of national borders and sovereign decisions here. If such constraints are not valid in present days anymore what are the implication of it. Should we include Russian, Chinese, Indian, Iranian etc… ruling elite among those having common motivation and incentives and if yes, won’t this transform your whole prediction into ONLY a gang fight. And in this case, why Israeli elite fighting for their own profit should align himself with the US and let’s say not China or Russia or even Iran?

    The crux of your prediction here, as I understand it and please correct me if I am wrong, is that since greed is the driver of the elite ruling US and Israel; regardless of what will happen politically in these countries or to the interests of these states or even the objection of other big powers or the UN refusal, Israel, having made certain that US administration will initiate a war with Iran in 2013, degrading the capabilities of its proxies before, is also hopping that a faux-pas by Iran will give legitimacy to the upcoming US bombing campaign, lasting for 6 months and bringing Iran back to the stone age as Israel and the elite will financially profit from this.

  28. fyi says:

    All:

    The size of Turkish Armed Forces is about 730,000 persons.

    For occupying Syria, a country of 21 million people, a force of the soze 330,000 to 380,000 is needed.

    That is more than half of all Turkish Army – leaving very little for fighting Kurds or any one else.

    Furthermore, any potential occupation force will have to remain in Syria for 20 years or longer.

    US paid $ 850 billion dollars for 9 years of war in Iraq.

    Let us assume, dure to lower labor costs and proximity, that the war will cost Turkey half as much during the same 9 years – that is: $ 425 billion.

    Someone has to pay for this war.

    Total reserves of Saudi Arabia is about $ 550 billion dollars.

    IMF expects Saudi Arabia to experience budget deficits starting in 2016.

    In my opinion, the money to support Turkey in a prolonged war of occupation in Syria is not available.

    [I did not include Axis states in this discussion since they cannot spend the money that they do not have - and certainly not when their economies are in deep trouble.]

  29. Dan Cooper says:

    European satellite provider Eutelsat SA stopped the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels on the order of the European Commission.

    In a blatant violation of freedom of speech, the company ordered media services company, Arqiva, to take the Iranian satellite channels off one of its Hot Bird frequencies on Monday.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/266841.html

  30. Photi says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=km3IZyPPbpk

    Trita Parsi debating Matthew Kroenig a day or two ago at the CFR about the Iran options for the US.

    Parsi’s position is that if the US goal with Iran is a negotiated settlement on the nuclear issue, the goal can be reached and imminently. He then proceeds to lay out his case of what a realistic agreement with Iran might look like. The clear rationality of Trita’s position is to me proof positive the US goal in Iran is regime change or a severe degradation of Iranian strength. If the so-called crisis was directly about the nuclear issue, and agreement would have been a long time ago.

    Kroenig took the pro-war option, giving why reasons why diplomacy will never work with Iran. His position is that prior to bombing, the US should be clear with Iran that the US will only target nuclear installations, and in doing so convince Iran that a restrained response by Iran from the American bombing will be acceptable but any further escalation on Iran’s part will be met with severe retaliation by the Americans. In this way, Kroenig says an attack on Iran can be contained within pre-determined boundaries established by the US.

  31. Fiorangela says:

    edit
    html failure
    italics should have ended at end of quotation by Uri Avnery — “(book of Esther).”

  32. Fiorangela says:

    Photi says:
    October 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    In commentary on Netanyahu’s red-line/bomb cartoon at the United Nations, Uri Avnery offered this explanation:

    “He was speaking to a half-empty chamber (Israeli TV was careful not to show the entire hall during the speech), and the audience consisted of second-grade diplomats, but these were still educated people. Even Netanyahu must have realized that they would despise this display. But Netanyahu was not talking to them at all. He was talking to the Jewish audience at home and in the U.S.

    This audience was proud of him. He succeeded in touching their deepest emotions.

    To understand this, one must recall the historical memories. Jews were a small, powerless community everywhere. They were completely dependent on the Gentile ruler.

    Whenever their situation was in danger, the Jews chose the most prominent person among them to plead their cause before the emperor, king or prince. When this “pleader” (shtadlan in Hebrew) was successful and the danger was averted, he won the gratitude of the whole community. In some cases, he would be remembered for generations, like the mythical Mordecai in the Book of Esther.

    Netanyahu fulfilled this function. He went to the very center of Gentile power, today’s equivalent of the Persian emperor, and pleaded the case of the Jews threatened with annihilation by the current heir of Haman the Evil (same Book of Esther).”

    For all that Dennis Ross and his clique disparage the medieval backwardness of Arabs and Islam, it is they who are locked in a backward-looking, pre-Emancipation frame of mind; it is they who seek to be the hero-leader of the valiant tribe. Don’t look now, Dennis; nobody is following you.

    = = =
    In another signal of his desperation, Ross (and D Makovsky, S. Rademaker) produced a paper to “open the conversation” and discuss the economic threat a nuclear Iran poses to the world and to the United States. The paper and conference were as childish as Bibi’s cartoon bomb (but don’t forget: Haim Saban made his fortune on Rescue Rangers; he now has far more influence at State Department than you or I).

    While acknowledging that sanctions on Iran come with costs to the US economy (a connection both Obama and Romney failed to admit as they tried to explain high gas prices in US), Makovsky argued that if Iran develops nuclear capability, it will us nukes to threaten Saudi oil fields, thus drive up the price of oil. Further, nuclearized Iran will cause KSA to seek nukes, which will destabilize the region (in appearances at least 5 years ago, California congressman Ed Royce stated forthrightly that the goal of sanctions on Iran was to destabilize Iranian society and government. Was Makovsky unaware of this agenda?) /Furthermore, earlier this year, Yochi Dreazen wrote a Pulitzer grant article describing the nuclear facility being constructed for the UAE, to enable that tiny entity to provide energy for its lavish lifestyle. So the nuclearization of the Persian Gulf states is well underway, with full US acquiescence and participation — i.e. US corporation Westinghouse.

    The hole in the logic of Makovsky’s claims is demonstrated by the reasoning behind UAE’s nuclear development: they seek civilian nuclear capability in order to save their oil for export and revenue generation, precisely the argument Iran has made repeatedly. Thus, a nuclear capable Iran will INCREASE, not decrease the supply of oil to a world whose energy demands are burgeoning. Obama, Romney: take note.

    Furthermore, US rapprochement with Iran would give US corporations — Boeing comes to mind — access to pent up demand by 73 million dynamic, young, and educated Iranians. Romney boasted numerous times of his business acumen. How smart a businessman is he if he prefers to exacerbate tension with a potential market of 73 million, rather than reach out and propose honest and equitable cultural and commercial exchange?

  33. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    “Iran could do little to damage the US and NATO forces attacking Syria unless they managed to damage the airbases in Turkey and Europe and the naval forces in the Mediterranean from which most of the air sorties would be run.”

    As I and others have correctly stated that is what will happen when Iran uses its 1,000s of missiles to target US airbases. Pretty hard to attack Syria when the air base you want to use to do it is reduced to smoking rubble. You really should examine more sources and read posts that disagree with yours.

    “It will not help Iran one whit to be helping Syria. It will merely cause Iran to be attacked earlier than it might be had it not done so. Iran needs every day it can get to develop its defenses against the attack that will come.”

    Iran already has more than sufficient ability to accomplish all its objectives, as I proved in the previous thread. And second, Iran, unlike the US, is a country that adheres to its commitments and acts on principle. That (as well as the obvious long term implications for Iran if it does not) means it will honor its treaty with Syria.

    “How often do you hear about Hizballah crossing the border with Lebanon? Never. Even the 2006 operation that kidnapped Israeli soldiers was just an excuse for Israel to launch the war they had been planning for a year in advance.”

    And here Hack is showing his lack of knowledge about basic strategy and tactics. He really needs to move outside of the Zionist sources he usually relies on and learn what actually happened in 2006 when Hezbollah had far less sophisticated weapons and smaller numbers than it does now. It apparently does not occur to Hack that Hezbollah has no need to mount cross border raids. Its objective is defending Lebanon, and it has no need to attack inside Israel until such time as Israel might be stupid enough to try something (which Israel will not because it is terrified of what would happen). Oh and referring to those Israeli soldiers as “kidnapped”, really?

  34. BiBiJon says:

    Not-I-who started wars
    =======================

    There’s been plenty discussion out there on what was below, and above that red line Netanyahu drew on his silly diagram. But not much about what was directly beneath that line.

    Netanyahu argued forcefully that Iran would respect a red line. His red line could be seen as a demarcation between modus bellum, and modus vivendi. He has therefore managed to put the blame entirely on the west for all the promised sanctions/wars premised on an amorphous “capability”.

    Get the bomb, already!
    ====================
    Herd of Katz
    ————

    Either we are supposed to believe that clueless Persian desks in the state department, Foreign & Commonwealth office, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, and Ministerium für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten are really surprised that a Shia Iran doesn’t cower under pressure, or that they are cleverly nudging Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and/or literally get to within a screwdriver’s turn of having them.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/us-iran-nuclear-uranium-idUSBRE8910VJ20121002

    War? Who, me? Na, ta.
    =================

    The US presidential election campaign has put Obama, Romney and their running mates on record that that none want a war with Iran. Biden: “If they want to start a war, they should say so.” Well, Romney declined the invitation.

    h/t Smith @: October 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2012/Oct-17/191661-refreshing-rational-us-views-on-iran.ashx#axzz29bWD8z59

  35. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Here we see Hack do two things 1. Admit that he has not actually thought about and considered information that is essential to his argument and 2. Shifting his argument again without clearly stating that he is doing so.

    First:

    “I’m no sure. I’m not up on the relative military strength of Turkey vs Syria – except that my impression is that Turkey is considerably more powerful.”

    So here Hack just admits that he doesn’t know anything about something he was just making statements about accompanied by a claim that his statements about the subject should be accepted without question. In reality, the Syrian military is far more powerful than the Turkish military in a few decisive areas that would enable it to win in any conflict with Turkey.

    1. Missiles. Syrian has a huge number that can be fired at short notice and that can reach all of Turkey. Turkey has very old and sparse air defenses in fixed positions that cannot even protect vital military bases that would be used in any assault. Of course, that is ignoring the devastating impact Iranian missiles would have on any Turkish bases that would be used to attack Syria.

    2. Air defense. Turkey is dependent on a few old, minimally upgraded Hawk batteries and has relatively few of them. It has no long range air defense. By contrast Syria has a very large air defense capacity that has been fully upgraded and digitized, and it has been proven to have highly sophisticated short and medium range air defense including Pantsir S1 short range air defense and Buk M2E medium range air defense. Although this has not been proven, it may also have S-300 long range systems. It also likely has Iranian air defense systems such as the Mesbah 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesbah_1. All the systems I mentioned can not only target fighter aircraft but also cruise missiles and guided bombs.

    As Iranian and Syrian missiles would successfully target Turkish airbases that would be used by Turkey’s F16′s to bomb Syrian targets, and as Syria air defense would successfully intercept a large portion of whatever planes survived the missile bombardment, the outcome of such a conflict should be obvious.

    “Pray tell, what about the last ten years of US actions in the Middle East have NOT been said “delusional interests”? (Not to mention the last, oh, fifty years before that…)”

    And here Hack just changed his argument without acknowledging it. Previously he was arguing that a US attack on Syria/Iran would be entirely successful, would result in minimal causalties for the US and little disruption to the US economy, and would result in the US accomplishing its objectives. Of course, given his admitted lack of knowledge about relevant military information, we can question why this argument should be accepted. Now he is admitting it probably would not be, but that it would take place anyway because the US is “delusional.” That may or may not be true, but it is not the argument he was previously making.

  36. Photi says:

    I just caught the last part of the following presentation on CSPAN. The talk is by the Heritage Foundation concerning Russia’s plans in Syria. in just the last Q and A portion i heard, much about US policy is also discussed. The video is not posted yet at cspan, but it will be later. RS Hack will probably find much affirmation by listening to the talk.

    http://www.c-span.org/Events/An-Examination-of-Russia39s-Role-in-the-Syrian-Conflict/10737435047/


    WASHINGTON, DC
    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    The Heritage Foundation examined the factors playing out in the civil war in Syria, and the political strategy Russia is pursuing in its support of Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad.

    Speakers debated the argument that Russia’s support of Al-Assad with arms and diplomatic protection represents a Middle East policy designed to weaken U.S. and European influence in the region.

    Panelists included: Stephen Blank of the U.S. Army War College; Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation; Robert Freedman of Johns Hopkins University; and James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation.

    Steven Bucci, senior research fellow in defense and homeland security at the Heritage Foundation, moderated the discussion.

  37. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    So I just posted a response hoping that Hack would actually post links and sources that support his argument and guess what!!! He just posted another bombardment of extremely long posts that do not actually answer any of the criticisms of his argument and merely repeat his previous arguments without actually providing any sources that answer the many valid criticisms of them.

  38. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Photi says:
    October 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

    All good questions for Hack’s argument. As I said previously, the problem with Hack’s argument is that he approaches it from an essentially colonialist or imperialist perspective. According to this, all opponents of the empire are essentially helpless before the supposed might of the empire and those opponents are also essentially cowardly and unwilling or unable to defend themselves. The reality with Iran is different for a variety of reasons, including its unique strategic position and its wise development of the military resources available to take advantage of that position which I discussed in the previous thread. Hopefully Hack will be able to actually answer the questions you have posed, not just be repeating his previous arguments in an extremely long post, but by actually linking to sources that provide strong support for it and that answer the many valid reality based objections to it.

  39. Gulf State Jihad in Syria
    http://antiwar.com/blog/2012/10/17/gulf-state-jihad-in-syria/

    The reality is that, despite US statements to the contrary, they don’t really care if Islamist extremists get hold of Qatar’s weapons as long as Syria gets degraded. None of those weapons are going to hurt the people running the US just as the Stinger missiles they sent to Afghanistan in the ’80′s have only hurt US people once – the downing of TWA Flight 800. And the shot callers weren’t on that plane, so why would they care?

  40. Dim hopes for Syria truce as rebels unite in push for aid
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Oct-17/191690-dim-hopes-for-syria-truce-as-rebels-unite-in-push-for-aid.ashx

    Quote

    Describing the U.S. “carrot and stick” approach, rebel sources familiar with the talks said the U.S. was promising sophisticated weaponry if rebel groups could assure unity.

    “They are telling them they have the green light from the U.S., but they have to act as an alternative to the national army or it is not going to work,” one source said.

    Another Western official familiar with the talks said the U.S. was pressuring Qatar to arm certain groups and was providing political cover for limited ground intervention from Turkey.

    “They are serious. They [The U.S.] are telling them they can’t take out Assad unless they are united. But that there are also easy ways of starving them.”

    End Quote

    Yeah, that sounds like the US is pushing for a “diplomatic resolution”…

  41. Photi: “If the American strategists assume Iran WILL honor its defense treaty with Syria, meaning that a war against Syria will escalate into something bigger, would this assumption (which is different that the one you make-that Iran will NOT honor the defense treaty) change the way in which the US will approach a war with Syria?”

    On the whole, I don’t think so. To be precise, I don’t think it would change the overall objective of the Syria crisis – to degrade Syria militarily.

    What it MIGHT do would be to change the STRATEGY to be employed. As an example of a change in strategy, once it became clear to the US that Russia and China were not going to allow a UNSC resolution authorizing an attack on Syria – and remember, the US tried REPEATEDLY to get such language in a resolution, indicating that was very definitely what the US was aiming for – they switched to trying to get Turkey to start a war so they can get a NATO Chapter 5 resolution. The jury is still out on that one…

    Now I suppose it is POSSIBLE that switching from strategy to strategy to get a war with Syria started that the West would suddenly find itself without ANY viable strategy? But that is purely hypothetical and there is no way to prove that a priori.

    “Can American objectives of degrading Syria be realized through a proxy war using Turkey against Syria, excluding NATO?”

    I’m no sure. I’m not up on the relative military strength of Turkey vs Syria – except that my impression is that Turkey is considerably more powerful.

    However, there are two problems:

    1) The Turkish electorate is not happy with Turkey’s policy with regard to Syria. OTOH, as I always say, governments don’t always listen to their electorates. So that factor is unclear as a deciding factor.

    2) It’s probably irrelevant – since the point of Turkey starting a war with Syria is essentially to get NATO – and hence the US – involved. As I’ve said, Turkey is with respect to Syria the same thing as Israel with respect to Iran – a stalking horse to get a war started which will be prosecuted by much more able aggressors, i.e., the US and NATO.

    “Can American objectives of degrading Syria be realized through an even more prolonged and bloody insurrection than what we see now?”

    This is a possibility. However, since the goal is to degrade Syria’s MISSILE arsenal so it cannot be a factor against Israel in an Iran war, unless the insurgents can make inroads on that arsenal, it doesn’t solve Israel’s problem. Unless of course the Assad regime actually IS overthrown. And even then that doesn’t solve Israel’s problem because the new regime might well still be willing to use those missiles against Israel in an Iran war – even if the new regime is anti-Shia. After all, Islamists would be happy to seize on any excuse to attack Israel – even if it was supporting Iran in an Iran war.

    There also is Hizballah to consider. Unless Israel can use the Syria civil war to cross into Syrian territory to attack Hizballah, it doesn’t solve the Hizballah problem for Israel.

    So I don’t see how the civil war can solve Israel’s problem without foreign military intervention which would be tasked specifically to destroy Syria’s missiles and would also tie down enough of Syria’s military to enable Israel to attack Lebanon in the Bekaa Valley.

    “You keep saying it would be a gift to Obama if Iran were to involve itself militarily in Syria, but I fail to see how a region-wide war benefits American interests, even delusional American interests.”

    If you can’t understand how the military-industrial complex is looking for forward to several hundred billion dollars a year in profits from an Iran war, I don’t know what to tell you… Not to mention the oil price spike which will dump scores of billions of dollars in the oil companies pockets.

    Like Ataun, you talk about “US interests”. At least you acknowledge the possibility of “delusional interests”. Pray tell, what about the last ten years of US actions in the Middle East have NOT been said “delusional interests”? (Not to mention the last, oh, fifty years before that…)

    And yet now we are supposed to believe that the US is suddenly going to come to its senses and reverse course? Really?

    Good luck with that. Email me when it happens.

  42. Ataune: “The point is that you are buoyantly and continuously posting on the imminence of a big war in the Middle-East, even detailing it from a tactical and military perspective, without providing any rationale how this cannot harm the interests of the US, only mentioning predatory motives behind it.”

    Two points:

    1) If there is a big war coming in the Middle East, shouldn’t someone point out how it might go? Is there something wrong with that? Before the US attacked Iraq in 1991, there were literally hundreds of articles in the major news magazines detailing the military buildup and the likely strategies and tactics to be used. I used to watch the McNeil-Lehrer Report because they had people like Edward Luttwak who would go over all the military issues.

    I’m just doing what the various articles about “how Israel could attack Iran” do – laying out the situation to the best of my knowledge of military affairs.

    All you’ve been doing is bringing up abstract issues as to why it’s “impossible” for such a war to occur.

    And the fact that you don’t believe the US is being run by the military-industrial complex, the oil companies, and the rest of the “usual suspects” doesn’t make it not true. Apparently you haven’t bothered to read any of the material out there on a daily basis as to why this is absolutely true. I suggest you read up on independent journalist Greg Palast’s work on the oil companies influence on the Iraq war and all the material written by others on the military-industrial complex.

    We’ve had a minimum of ten years of clear experience with the US actions in the Middle East, with ever-expanding wars, and yet apparently everyone here still believes in the notion that the government is run by “Very Serious People” with rational US interests at heart.

    It’s dumbfounding to me that – with new articles every day about how Obama is expanding the US military everywhere – people STILL are totally under his thrall with the notion of his being a “peace President”. And despite all his abject LIES about Iran and his actions during the Brazil-Turkey negotiations, people here STILL think he’s suddenly going to change course and achieve a diplomatic break-through, back off from all the threats and sanctions, and navigate a peaceful resolution.

    I suppose then he’ll also stomp on Israel and negotiate a resolution to the Palestinian issue, right?

    And they he’ll “go to China” and resolve all the tensions there?

    How about Russia? Withdraw the anti-missile systems from Eastern Europe, too?

    Sorry – that is NOT who Obama is. And you’re going to learn that in no uncertain manner in his second term.

    ” My assumption is that any state worthy of her name and the US obviously is such, will try to use the context or create a new ones in which it can advance its interests and avoid any plan that might harm them.”

    You keep talking about “interests”. This is what “Very Serious People” do – without ever specifying WHICH “interests”, WHOSE “interests”, and how those “interests” conflict within the US infrastructure. What those VSPs also do is never discuss the behind the scenes influences on the so-called “decision makers”.

    And yet we know from article after article, study after study, book after book, that there ARE behind the scenes influences. You only read about them ten years after they occur – but they occurred. We have the entire history of the US political establishment going back to before WWI to prove this. And yet all this is utterly IGNORED in EVERY discussion of what the US might do in any given situation.

    And invariably it turns out that the behind the scenes influences WERE the deciding factor in virtually every US decision.

    “1- Support doesn’t necessarily mean an open act of warfare and can take different aspects. My point here was that Syrian state cannot be overthrown without an invasion.”

    And my point – repeated YET AGAIN AND AGAIN – is that the goal is NOT TO OVERTHROW THE SYRIAN STATE (although AGAIN AND AGAIN the West would be happy if that occurred.)

    How many times do I have to repeat myself while you completely ignore my statements and just regurgitate your same point? Be careful – you’ll end up like Canning and his 20% nonsense. :-)

    “Given their non-conventional capabilities, the sole preservation of this state, even degraded, will be enough deterrance for the US via Israel.”

    No, it will not. Israel is not concerned about “unconventional” warfare capabilities of its neighbors. They have the country locked down. How often do you hear about Hizballah crossing the border with Lebanon? Never. Even the 2006 operation that kidnapped Israeli soldiers was just an excuse for Israel to launch the war they had been planning for a year in advance. The recent incursions from the Egypt side have been irrelevant. If Israel is ever in a position where such incursions become an issue, they can always resort to conventional military attacks to punish the states allowing them. This is what they’ve always done.

    What concerns Israel is conventional military capabilities – specifically missile arsenals which can force the bulk of the Israeli population into bomb shelters for much of every day, causing damage to the economy, and irritation in the electorate which might be turned against the Israeli leadership in elections.\

    “Israel’s 2006 adventure showed that non-state actors, enjoying wide range backing by the indigenous population, cannot be degraded by warfare.”

    That is not a fact. It’s an over-generalization. It is correct to say that Israel could not successfully occupy the bulk of Lebanon against the wishes of the Lebanese. That was proven by Hizballah’s very existence. It is not correct to say that Israel absolutely can NOT manage to drive Hizballah’s forces further north using the strategy which I have outlined previously.

    Once again, Israel’s goal here is a specific and narrow one – to push Hizballah far enough north, and to seize enough of Hizballah’s missile arsenal in the south, to prevent Hizballah from being a major factor in an Iran war. That is a very narrow goal. “Degrading” an insurgency’s capabilities is very definitely an achievable goal.

    Now as I’ve said whether Israel CAN achieve that goal is not CERTAIN. What IS clear is that Israel HAS TO TRY if it wishes to avoid the CERTAINTY of being subjected to 45-50,000 missiles during an Iran war.

    Once again, I’ve repeated this OVER AND OVER AGAIN – and people here just blithely ignore it.

    Why do you think I quote every response to me in full? So I am responding to WHAT WAS SAID. Apparently no one else here is capable of that. Every response to me is always paraphrasing and retooling my words to enable people to ignore what I said and present a straw man to anchor their argument.

    It’s intellectually pathetic.

    “A long term global war in the region will assuredly create better context for these actors and harm more the interests of Israel.”

    The problem with this argument is that I’ve never said that the goals of the US or Israel WERE consonant with the legitimate interests of these countries! In fact, they aren’t. That should be obvious.

    What is equally obvious is that the people running the US and Israel HAVE THEIR OWN INTERESTS at heart – NOT the rational interests of these nations and their electorates.

    Apparently no one here can grasp that distinction – despite all the evidence for it in every statement from every politician in the US and Israel.

    You really think Netanyahu KNOWS what the RATIONAL interests of Israel should be? You really think he cares? He’s a fanatical Zionist. He’s a lying politician. He’s a demagogue. You think he’s running Israel on the basis of Israel’s rational interests?

    “If “bombing to stone age” can be considered as a policy alternative why not resolve all the problems in the world, the ones facing US from your perspective, with this policy.”

    This is just stupid. I never said anything of the kind. Stop inserting your own concepts into my arguments. If you can’t quote exactly what I said, don’t even bother responding.

    “In my opinion, this goal is not achievable anymore and the optimum path for the US might well be a modus vivendi with an independant and strong Iran.”

    Yeah – and how’s that working out for you?

    I’m not even bothering to response to point 3. It was devoid of content.

  43. Fiorangela: “I believe Obama has been maneuvered into a corner to support a policy that he endorses only half-heartedly.”

    I still don’t see ANY evidence of this. As for being “half-hearted”, as I’ve said, I think Obama is a “plantation foreman”. He may execute his orders half-heartedly, but he executes them anyway.

    “I believe Obama is among them, but that with smart advocacy from public intellectuals such as the Leveretts and a growing corps including Mr. Joyner, Bradley C. Thompson, Andrew Bacevich, etc., with the support of citizen activists such as the participants on this forum, I believe a president (Obama) unconstrained by the need to win another term, can take a stronger stance to advance an agenda that places American interests uppermost.”

    All I can say is: Good luck with that. The people you list are so far out of the mainstream, both in the media and in the Beltway, that they aren’t going to have any impact whatsoever on Obama. He probably doesn’t even know the NAMES of those people you list, let alone anyone here.

    I suspect we will see early in 2013 what direction he will take in his second term (assuming he wins.)

    And of course if Romney manages to win, well… As they say, “fergeddaboudit”…

  44. Photi: “If Syria is a factor in an Iran war (and according to you is the reason Syria needs to be degraded), why is Iran not a factor in a Syrian war?”

    What part of “Iran is not stupid enough to INVITE the US to attack it” don’t you get?

    “In the event of a NATO war, how does Iran back away without losing respect? Wouldn’t backing away deal a major blow to Iran’s soft power in the region? I am not so sure the Iranian planners will make the same calculation as you.”

    They don’t have a choice.

    Ayatollah Khamenei follows the philosophy that the survival of the Iranian system is the most critical requirement. It can even over-rule Sharia Law in some instances. He is not going to commit Iran to an all-out war with the US and NATO (and Turkey like some idiots here think) without good reason. That reason has to be direct aggression against Iran – not against a treaty partner. He may instruct the IRGC to provide covert support to Syria in the event of an attack on Syria. But he is not going to declare war on the US and NATO and Turkey if Syria is attacked. He is not going to expose hundreds of thousands of his countrymen to death if that is not already absolutely in the cards.

    That should be obvious. His first responsibility is to his people, not Syria.

    The mutual defense treaty was one or both of two things: 1) a political ploy to extend Iran’s soft power in the region, and 2) to be used in the event of war with some neighbor such as Saudi Arabia – not the United States and NATO – as well as to enable Iran to support Syria in a situation like the existing crisis with insurgents.

    “If Iran sees the US starting a Syrian war, shouldn’t the Iranian strategists conclude the Iranians are next in this chain of wars”

    If they don’t already know this, they’re idiots.

    ” and so therefore in the long view of things Iran needs to honor the defense treaty with Syria?”

    No. It will not help Iran one whit to be helping Syria. It will merely cause Iran to be attacked earlier than it might be had it not done so. Iran needs every day it can get to develop its defenses against the attack that will come. Starting it early is not an option for any strategist with a brain.

    Note that if Iran joins in the Syrian war, it will not alter the outcome of the war one iota. Iran is not going to stop Syria being bombed into the Stone Age. The only advantageous outcome from such a move would be that Israel would get hit more severely by Hizballah and Syria once such a move is made. That wouldn’t significantly benefit Iran because the damage to Israel would still be relatively minimal.

    Practically speaking, Iran could do little to damage the US and NATO forces attacking Syria unless they managed to damage the airbases in Turkey and Europe and the naval forces in the Mediterranean from which most of the air sorties would be run. Iran would be unable to supply Syria because there would be no transit route open during the war.

    So what would Iran accomplish – just make itself a target which would be a God-send to Obama.

    It simply makes no sense whatsoever for Iran to INITIATE a war with the US and NATO regardless of its treaty obligations (which again I note are usually broken.)

  45. fyi says:

    Photi says:

    October 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    You are wrong.

    The existence of independent Iran is considered as harmful to US by her leaders.

    Let them wonder with neo-Salafis and Wahabis in the desert.

  46. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Gareth Porter makes a number of intersting comments in the piece you linked. We should remember that the latest sanctions are the direct result of Iran’s ill-considered decision to treble production of 20% U. I think more attention should be focused on why Iran made it easier for heavier sanctions to be applied against itself.

  47. James Canning says:

    RS Hack,

    I think Obama in fact wants a negotiated resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran, but he is unwilling to pay too high a domestic politcal price for a deal. Some of Obama’s advisers may wish to prevent any deal with Iran, in hopes of enabling Israel to continue its illegal colonisation of the West Bank.

  48. James Canning says:

    imho,

    The Iranian government has made clear it will not be acting as a “US puppet” if it stops enriching uranium to 20 percent. And if fact, Iran would not be acting as a “US puppet” if it stops enriching to 20%.

  49. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    Is it fair to say that some American “decision makers” in fact do see the alignment of interests between the US and Iran, but they dare not say this in purlic? And are wary about saying it in private? Thanks in part to the ISRAEL LOBBY.

  50. Photi says:

    I think the American strategists initially were planning a Syrian operation ‘Libya-style’ with Turkey at the lead. The goal would have been to contain the war to Syria with Syrians themselves providing the ‘boots on the ground’, with Turkey and/or NATO either promoting regime change, or instead crushing Syria’s military but leaving the regime in tact and then quarantining Syria like was done to Iraq in 1991.

    This plan has not exactly worked out though, and as Atuane has described, changes in the calculations of the Americans are being made, because the Americans do not desire a regional war.

    The current observation is that the Syrians themselves are not too interested in a civil war, and in fact the most motivated fighters for the Syrian insurrection are actually foreigners ideologically aligned with al-Qaida. Further observation reveals that Iran is already providing logistical and diplomatic support to Syria, and this to me indicates Iran will continue to support the state in the event of the war, because the reality is that the state still has popular legitimacy within Syria. “Popular legitimacy” has been a mainstay in Iranian thinking about government generally.

    Rationally and ideologically, American interests are actually aligned with Iran’s interests. Given the animosity in the American establishment towards Iran however, the US government is unable to develop a rational policy towards Iran or the region generally. Again, Iran’s and America’s interests (ie popular rule, rule of law, stability) are actually aligned in the Middle East but animosities and alliances prevent US decision makers from seeing the alignment.

    So since the Americans couldn’t get the civil war started in Syria, and since now it is apparent the war will escalate into a regional war, the Americans are backing off, leaving Turkey exposed like a hanging chad.

  51. Photi says:

    Fiorangela,

    But Dennis Ross is such wise counsel!

    Check out this bit of narcissistic indulgence:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyKVmcSSjlA&feature=relmfu

  52. Photi says:

    Richard, perhaps a clearer question: If the American strategists assume Iran WILL honor its defense treaty with Syria, meaning that a war against Syria will escalate into something bigger, would this assumption (which is different that the one you make-that Iran will NOT honor the defense treaty) change the way in which the US will approach a war with Syria?

    Can American objectives of degrading Syria be realized through a proxy war using Turkey against Syria, excluding NATO?

    Can American objectives of degrading Syria be realized through an even more prolonged and bloody insurrection than what we see now?

    You keep saying it would be a gift to Obama if Iran were to involve itself militarily in Syria, but I fail to see how a region-wide war benefits American interests, even delusional American interests. If the region-wide war is what America wants, i don’t think US decision makers would have any trouble finding the pretext. So if the assumption is made by US strategists that America does NOT want a regional war, won’t they make the decision to tread softly in Syria?

  53. Ataune says:

    It wasn’t my intention to insult you, so my apology if you perceived it this way. The point is that you are buoyantly and continuously posting on the imminence of a big war in the Middle-East, even detailing it from a tactical and military perspective, without providing any rationale how this cannot harm the interests of the US, only mentioning predatory motives behind it. My assumption is that any state worthy of her name and the US obviously is such, will try to use the context or create a new ones in which it can advance its interests and avoid any plan that might harm them. It will make tactical errors, like others, although less than let’s say Libya or Bhutan, but these errors are corrected quickly with the necessary adjustments. The mistakes might come from the initial long term strategy too, like the one that I believe US has made from the Ford administration onward in the Persian Gulf region by putting its eggs solely in the basket of the Saudi state. And the corrections for such strategic calculations are much more painful and tumultuous, the way we are actually witnessing in the region.

    Regarding your reply:

    1- Support doesn’t necessarily mean an open act of warfare and can take different aspects. My point here was that Syrian state cannot be overthrown without an invasion. Given their non-conventional capabilities, the sole preservation of this state, even degraded, will be enough deterrance for the US via Israel. Israel’s 2006 adventure showed that non-state actors, enjoying wide range backing by the indigenous population, cannot be degraded by warfare. A long term global war in the region will assuredly create better context for these actors and harm more the interests of Israel. Iran’s position and capabilities are by themselves major obstacles to the adventurous goals that you are attributing to Israel and US.

    2- Your logic fails me here. If “bombing to stone age” can be considered as a policy alternative why not resolve all the problems in the world, the ones facing US from your perspective, with this policy. US interests in the region are obvious: securing the oil routes and controlling the strategic waterways, to have enough leverage on the ones that are in her league, Russia and China. In my opinion, this goal is not achievable anymore and the optimum path for the US might well be a modus vivendi with an independant and strong Iran.

    3- I am not assuming that Obama is or is not at odds with Israel. This doesn’t matter at all. Although I believe America is a declining power in the Middle-East she is still a dominant one. Israel is under the “protection” of the US. Even though she has certain latitude in the actions it overtakes but this freedom cannot overlap the boundaries that the protecting power is setting-up.

  54. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Stephen Hack wrote:

    “Obama’s goal now is to get the Iran war started and be able to blame IRAN for starting it – not the US and not Israel. And Israel is going along with that.”

    This has been Dennis Ross’s agenda, articulated in a pre-election 2008 paper for/with Center for New American Security (CNAS>. http://www.cnas.org/files/documents/publications/MillerParthemoreCampbell_Iran%20Assessing%20US%20Strategy_Sept08.pdf

    Ross acknowledged in a conference in the last month that he has been active in forming international coalitions to wage war on Middle Eastern nations since at least 1991/ the Persian Gulf War. As I noted in an earlier comment, Jordan’s King Hussein had worked with an American diplomat to hammer out an agreement with Saddam Hussein to resolve the Kuwait conflict, but Dennis Ross and his colleague, James Baker, undermined that effort.

    Your opinion appears to be that Obama is fully on board with the neoconservative agenda that Ross and the Bush administration pursued. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking on my part; I believe Obama has been maneuvered into a corner to support a policy that he endorses only half-heartedly.

    H. Bradford Westerfield (now deceased), Dick Cheney’s favorite professor and touchstone of Cheney’s foreign policy perspective, explained in his 1963 book, “The Instruments of America’s Foreign Policy” how the zionist lobby was able to bring to bear its “zealotry,” organizational ability, and wealth to corner previous presidents and legislatures to do the bidding of Israel’s hardliners. I believe Obama is among them, but that with smart advocacy from public intellectuals such as the Leveretts and a growing corps including Mr. Joyner, Bradley C. Thompson, Andrew Bacevich, etc., with the support of citizen activists such as the participants on this forum, I believe a president (Obama) unconstrained by the need to win another term, can take a stronger stance to advance an agenda that places American interests uppermost.

  55. Photi says:

    Richard,

    If Syria is a factor in an Iran war (and according to you is the reason Syria needs to be degraded), why is Iran not a factor in a Syrian war?

    This has always been what bothers me about your argument. You just dismiss outright that Iran will not involve itself in a Syrian war. Iran’s insistence on a peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis however means Iran is already deeply involved. In the event of a NATO war, how does Iran back away without losing respect? Wouldn’t backing away deal a major blow to Iran’s soft power in the region? I am not so sure the Iranian planners will make the same calculation as you.

    Before you have explained the need to target Syria and Lebanon first as being a requisite to protect Israel, but this conclusion is only taking into account the Western viewpoint and motivations.

    If Iran sees the US starting a Syrian war, shouldn’t the Iranian strategists conclude the Iranians are next in this chain of wars and so therefore in the long view of things Iran needs to honor the defense treaty with Syria?

  56. yemi says:

    And i would want you to know that this site is not a war mongering one.
    And i would like to let you know that you are over estimating yourself likewise
    your so call masters that you claimed are ready to attack Iran.

    And over the time i have always noticed that you try to search and scavenge any
    available reference be it false or untrue or fiction to back up your ever-wrong assertion

    Well, i believe you cannot disrupt this site no matter how hard you try because you are
    still not tryin.

    Good luck RSH.

  57. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    October 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    My opinion is that whether an NPT member decides to buy its nuclear fuel from the fuel bank or to build an enrichment industry is none of the US business. This is actually not an opinion. This is NPT.

    My opinion is that a country must first decide whether it wants to be a US puppet or it can afford to resist being one. In the latter case, it obviously will prefer to build its own enrichment industry

  58. Another threat from Israel to attack Syria…

    PM: Israel to act if threatened by Syria’s chemical arms
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4293180,00.html

    Of course, who will be able to prove one way or the other if Syria’s chemical weapons actually did have a chance at being seized by insurgents? If Israel says so, who is going to prove otherwise?

  59. Iran Sanctions May Cut Supply of Currency
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/17/world/middleeast/irans-supply-of-currency-may-be-at-risk-in-sanctions.html

    This seems ridiculous – Iran can’t print its own money?

  60. Ataune: “Your high desire for an all encompassing Middle-east war is undermined by some trivial facts:”

    First, it is insulting to me to suggest that I desire such a war. It’s a matter of complete indifference to me whether such a war occurs – except possibly to the degree that it undermines the entire US Empire – which would be a Good Thing for everyone.

    “enjoy a mutual defense pact, most likely since 5 or 6 years ago, which commit both states to support each other in case of war.”

    Frankly, if the US and NATO were to attack Syria, Iran will do absolutely nothing militarily. That would be stupid in the extreme, regardless of any “treaties” (which as we all know are made to be broken.) It would merely invite the US to attack Iran and would be a God-send to Obama – he could attack Iran and be completely blameless as far as the US electorate, the UN and the West is concerned (as long as he had some cover on the Syria attacks in the first place – which NATO could provide if Turkey is able to start the war.)

    Iran is not going to be that stupid as to commit militarily to the defense of Syria. Never happen.

    “Anglo-Americans know that this order can not be defeated without a declared war and an invasion resulting in the dismantlement of the army and the reconstruction of the whole country.”

    How many times do I have to repeat myself? The goal of this exercise is not to overthrow Assad (although the West wouldn’t mind if that happened, especially if some puppet came into power – which is unlikely as we all know.) The purpose of the exercise is to DEGRADE SYRIA so it is not an effective actor in an Iran war.

    Try to keep up…

    “2- Iran is not acting as a dominant military power in the region, therefore its influence cannot be curbed by means of war and US knows that.”

    You bomb Iran into the Stone Age and it’s influence will lessen. It will be less able to support Hizballah and Hamas. Even if it doesn’t lessen its “soft power” influence, since the military-industrial complex will make a profit from the war, as well as the oil companies, etc. and that’s a major motivation for the war.

    You keep assuming that the US government really has some “legitimate concerns” about Iran. While the US would like Iran to go away as far as being a regional actor is concerned, there are other motivations which would justify a war for the people running the US.

    You really think the politicians and the neocons and the Israel Lobby WON’T be happy if Iran gets bombed for a couple years?

    “3- Israel can not act beyond the defined interests of the US in the region.”

    Here you assume that the US government – and especially Obama, who is SURROUNDED by ardent Zionists – is somehow at odds with Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. It doesn’t matter a whit what Obama thinks of Netanyahu or vice versa. The Israel Lobby has the US Congress in its pocket. The military-industrial complex is the beneficiary of every war Israel starts because Israel gets its weapons from the US.

    As I’ve repeatedly said, Israel wants a war with Iran and is willing to start it IF the US does not. However, the bulk of Israel’s leadership in the military and intelligence communities do NOT want Israel to start it. They want the US to start it. And up until the last year or so, even Netanyahu didn’t want to start it. Dick Cheney got Israel another $30 billion in foreign aid over the next ten years back in 2006 if Israel would start the war. Israel balked because the Lebanon invasion failed. That situation remains today.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Israel will only start the Iran war if it is CERTAIN that the US will not start it. And that is infinitely far from certain. Obama in my view is merely waiting for the elections and then the Syrian situation to resolve itself before imposing a naval blockade on Iran and thus getting Iran to start the war. And Israel presumably has been told this.

    I believe Netanyahu’s bluster over the past year has been basically to push the US to speed up the timetable and also to keep the pressure on Iran in the domestic and international community. As I’ve said, he cannot afford to attack Iran until Syria and Hizballah have been degraded – not if he wants to stay in power after the Iran war starts.

    So the whole issue of “Israel can’t operate outside of US” is irrelevant. Israel never intended to unless it was CERTAIN the US would not act. And that is improbable.

    Obama’s goal now is to get the Iran war started and be able to blame IRAN for starting it – not the US and not Israel. And Israel is going along with that.

    Before that can be undertaken, however, Syria and Hizballah MUST be degraded. It’s a strategic necessity. I expect Obama to make moves against Syria – via Turkey or some other method – within the next few months, probably in the spring, although I can’t be certain about timing, as usual. In any event, there has to be a war with Syria next year. I expected it to start this year, but apparently Obama was too afraid of starting it before the elections. But the US can’t let Syria go for another year without acting.

    Once the Syria war starts, we can assume Israel will attack Lebanon. My guess is the entire war on both fronts will be over within six months, nine months at the outside. Syria is not strong enough to defeat the US and NATO and Turkey air power combined. The end result is likely to be some sort of cease-fire between the Assad regime and the US/NATO and the insurgents leading to the insurgents achieving some sort of government representation. Like Gaffadi, Assad will very likely be forced out of power if he isn’t killed during the fighting. However, it’s not certain whether the entire Assad regime will be overthrown. It doesn’t actually matter, as long the West gets its main goal – degradation of the Syrian military and general chaos.

    Hizballah may or may not be able to blunt the Israeli attack – that is the most problematic outcome. It will depend on how well Hizballah has prepared for an attack to its Bekaa Valley flank and how committed the IDF will be to pursuing the invasion despite severe casualties. Israel really has to go for broke on this one this time if they can expect any success. And Israel has threatened to do so, threatening to “destroy” parts of Lebanon as necessary.

    Bottom line: You can’t have a war with Iran without dealing Syria and Hizballah – as least not as far as Israel is concerned. And Israel has enough influence in the US that this becomes a US issue.

    And if you’re not going to have a war with Iran, what’s the point of ANY of this? And how long can one keep this up if one is not trying to have a war with Iran? As I’ve said repeatedly, this is not going to continue for the next ten or twenty years without a resolution one way or the other. And Iran is not going to back down.

    How you people can’t see the steady escalation of the situation is beyond me. Pure cognitive dissonance.

  61. Obama Aides Launch Preemptive Attack on New Iran Plan
    http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2012/10/16/obama-aides-launch-preemptive-attack-on-new-iran-plan/

    All such “plans” are a non-starter anyway. The US has ZERO interest in resolving the “crisis”, as we all know.

  62. Ataune says:

    @ Richard Hack

    Your high desire for an all encompassing Middle-east war is undermined by some trivial facts:

    1- Syrian state has an almost identical infrastructure to the baathist Iraq. A strong ideological army supporting the edifice of the state and a nationalistic political order. The big difference being that Syria has been an ally of Iran since 30 years ago and enjoy a mutual defense pact, most likely since 5 or 6 years ago, which commit both states to support each other in case of war. Anglo-Americans know that this order can not be defeated without a declared war and an invasion resulting in the dismantlement of the army and the reconstruction of the whole country. The same they tried in Iraq 10 years ago with what we can describe now as a failure when looked at it from the US perspective. Today, and for a foreseeable future, America doesn’t have the means to invade Syria and America is aware of that. Therefore, at this moment, America is not actively planning any big war in the Middle-East.

    2- Iran is not acting as a dominant military power in the region, therefore its influence cannot be curbed by means of war and US knows that. Iran’s behavior in the regional arena, since 32 years ago, has been of an actor bound by moral imperatives and, since 24 years ago, one of a pragmatic and responsible state acting as a “role model” rather than a “benevolent/malevolent hegemon”, respecting the will of the population of the countries, believing sincerely, unlike the anglo-americans, that a true democracy, empowering the civil society, can only benefit Iran’s and the regions’ population long-term interests.

    3- Israel can not act beyond the defined interests of the US in the region. This has been amply proven with the recent saga between Obama and Netanyahoo. whether Israelis are playing in cahoot with the Americans; or Netanyahoo played the whole thing with the Israeli election in mind; or they both have genuine unresolvable difference of approaches in the region doesn’t matter. At the end Israel will fall inline with what US is dictating.

  63. Castellio says:

    “Earlier this week the heads of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church and 12 other Christian denominations wrote a letter to members of Congress “urging Congress to conduct an investigation into possible human rights and weapon violations by the government of Israel.” As Annie Robbins reported the response from American Jewish organizations was swift (the American Jewish Committee for one said it was “outraged”) and now the Anti-Defamation League has come out swinging.

    Haaretz reports that the ADL has withdrawn from a national Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue in protest over the letter. Abe Foxman explained, “The blatant lack of sensitivity by the Protestant dialogue partners we had been planning to meet with has seriously damaged the foundation for mutual respect.” He also called for other Jewish leaders to boycott the event as well.”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/10/ecumenical-deal-crumbles-as-christian-denominations-press-on-us-aid-to-israel.html

  64. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Do you include Lebanon in the “Shia Crescent” you refer to? Surely you do not argue that France and Spain want to wage war against Lebanon. Or do you?

  65. James Canning says:

    Cyrus,

    Probably five of the Six Powers (P5+1) would accept Iranian enrichment to 5% or lower. US objects due to Israel lobby.

  66. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    “doubt it. The goal is to degrade Syria’s military, especially its missile arsenal. This can be done from the air and won’t require boots on the ground.”

    No it cannot. I and others have already explained why this is a ridiculous idea (hint hint bunkers, Hezbollah in 2006, etc) that will not work. By contrast, Syrian missiles can be fired from those bunkers within minutes of any attempted aggression by the US or Israel, just like Iranian missiles.

    “Israel could easily drive straight to Damascus, which isn’t too far from the border, and allow the insurgents to take Damascus before pulling back to resume guarding the other Israel forces involved with Hizballah.”

    Yep, just like Israel detected and shot down that unarmed surveillance drone on the first attempt before it spent more than three hours filming Israel’s most sensitive military sites…oh wait.

    “Turkey will do as its told. After all, Erdogan knows that the goal is to get the US and NATO bombing Syria. Turkey won’t get much damage from Syria once the US and NATO start bombing.”

    Yeah, Iran and Syria with thousands of missiles cannot do “much damage” against Turkey which has virtually no air defense to speak of. Your “logical argument” just keeps getting better and better.

    “And once again I point out that these are similar statements to what was made before the Libya intervention. They are lies, plain and simple.”

    So what Hack is saying here is that actions matter and not words. So in the case of Libya, US got the UNSC to pass a resolution which it than abused and violated. NATO than bombed a defenseless country with no military to speak of. So what has NATO’s action, not its words been in Syria? Nothing. No bombing or military action, just a lot of vaguely worded tough talk. Thus the rational conclusion from this is that there will be no attack against Syria by NATO.

  67. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    “Besides, no one is expecting the US to physically invade Syria. The US will use air and naval power, and if it needs boots on the ground to some extent, Israel will be happy to provide them…”

    Yeah, because a nation that can’t even stop one unarmed surveillance drone can absolutely provide troops to invade Syria. Your argument is beyond a joke at this point.

  68. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    “He won’t. And Iran won’t. The West and Israel can’t afford that, so they will take any and all necessary steps – including military intervention – to insure that does not happen.”

    I am getting tired of Hack’s arrogant and colonialist argument that Iran and Syria cannot defeat the US. As I just proved in the previous thread, that is a completely false assertion.

  69. Nasser: Stratfor on Turkey, Syria and Iran: “Turkey’s Challenge and the Syrian Negotiation” http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/turkeys-challenge-and-syrian-negotiation

    “The US and the Gulf Arabs are using Turkey as their club. The Turkish leadership has somehow convinced themselves that this is to their benefit (a stupid move in my view).”

    Yes – but the Information Clearinghouse piece cited below says Saudi Arabia contributed TEN BILLION dollars to Erdogan’s APK. If true, that’s a lot of motivation. Also we don’t know what the US is promising Turkey if they act as the West’s proxy.

    “Chemical weapons and ballistic missiles falling into Wahabi hands should be a frightful scenario to any thoughtful Israeli.”

    It IS, as I’ve been saying. That is, the very EXISTENCE of those weapons, especially in the context of an IRAN war, is what is motivating the entire Syrian exercise. Israel wants those weapons destroyed along with Hizballah’s. If they’re destroyed, they won’t fall into Islamist hands nor will they threaten Israel during an Iran war.

    “I have heard Daniel Pipes and others mention that a Muslim Brotherhood dominated Egypt coupled with a Muslim Brotherhood dominated Syria which this time might be backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia would be a far worse long term threat than Iran could ever be. Perhaps this is why Israelis feel so conflicted and have been relatively quiet on Syria.”

    As I’ve indicated in a post below, I don’t think Israel cares that much. Egypt is economically broke. Syria is going to be militarily degraded. Saudi Arabia is no threat to Israel militarily. Turkey is a US ally which is highly unlikely to actually threaten Israel militarily even after events like the Marvi Marmara.

    And above all, Israel has nukes – no one else does.

    I think Israel couldn’t care less – especially if Egypt and Syria is composed of squabbling factions, along with Lebanon. While these countries may no longer be US puppets, all that has changed is that they’ve become weaker, not stronger.

    “I always thought Syria would be left alone because the alternative to the Al Assads would be far worse – especially to the Israelis. It seems that the fear of Iran has compelled regional countries and America to try something really bold.”

    It’s not “fear” of Iran. It’s the need to degrade Iran so it is no longer an effective actor in the region. And that also applies to Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and eventually Jordan and (eventually) Saudi Arabia. This has been the Israeli decades-long game plan for years now and the documents exist to prove it.

    “If Assad overcomes this crisis (he probably will), he will be far more dependent on Iran than before. Iran would be a really big winner.”

    He won’t. And Iran won’t. The West and Israel can’t afford that, so they will take any and all necessary steps – including military intervention – to insure that does not happen.

  70. Nasser: Re The Zaman piece…

    “The US might or might not become involved [after the election] because Americans do not want their sons to die there.”

    This is completely irrelevant. “American sons” are dying in Afghanistan and nothing has stopped that, nor stopped Obama from committing troops there until 2024.

    The people calling the shots in the US couldn’t care less about US casualties, as long as they aren’t overwhelming (as, for example, a war with North Korea would be.)

    Besides, no one is expecting the US to physically invade Syria. The US will use air and naval power, and if it needs boots on the ground to some extent, Israel will be happy to provide them…

    Also I think the diplomat is wrong when he says Turkey overshot its role and is “left alone” now that the West has “pulled back”… I see no evidence whatsoever of the West “pulling back”… I think things are proceeding as expected, although perhaps a bit slower than I expected last spring. I think it’s clear Obama is waiting out the elections first before doing anything with regard to foreign policy.

    The West has had two problems with starting the Syria war:

    1) Nothing can be done in the UNSC because Russia and China are vigilantly vetoing any resolution with Chapter 7 language in it.

    2) Assad is being careful not to respond to Turkish provocations which would give Turkey a reason to get NATO to issue a Chapter 5 resolution authorizing a NATO attack.

    Nonetheless, the bottom line of the situation is that the insurgency will continue, the situation will continue to degrade (and even if it doesn’t it will be spun in the media as if it is) until enough “justification” has been produced to enable one of the parties to get a war started. There’s no way the situation can be “walked back” to some sort of “diplomatic solution”, and there’s no way either the insurgents or Assad can win as long as the insurgents are being supported – and Saudi Arabia and Qatar have no reason not to continue to support the insurgency.

    Only if Turkey were to completely reverse course, stop supporting the insurgents, kick them out of Turkey back into Syria where the Syrians could destroy them, is there any chance of a non-intervention result. And I see ZERO evidence of that happening. Instead, it’s clearly going in the other direction with Turkey becoming more belligerent by the day.

  71. imho: “Syria, Turkey, Israel and a Greater Middle East Energy War”
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32742.htm

    Thanks for the link. That was a really excellent piece, showing WHY Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are under threat from the West.

    The only weird part was the suggestion that Israel would hook up with Syria to join the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline. Never happen…

    The other thing pundits tend to get wrong is whether Israel cares about Islamist governments on its borders. It really doesn’t, because none of them are a strategic threat to Israel’s existence militarily. And since Islamist governments tend to be more disorganized than “secular” ones – especially since they’re been created in the midst of civil war turmoil – it will be years or decades before they can do anything to impede Israel’s expansionist goals.

    Israel WANTS to see all the Arab governments (and Iran) broken up into warring factions of Islamists and moderates. It’s not afraid of that situation at all. It makes it easier for Israel to manipulate those countries to its favor.

  72. Nasser says:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/NJ17Df02.html

    - The optimist in me hopes the Punjabis will rethink unquestioned support of Pashtuns and Wahabism – the two things that have brought so much barbarism to their society.

  73. Nasser says:

    More on Turkey:

    blogs . rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2012/10/15/syria-could-be-turkeys-vietnam/

    http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_openPrintPage.action?newsId=295417

  74. Nasser says:

    Stratfor on Turkey, Syria and Iran: “Turkey’s Challenge and the Syrian Negotiation”
    http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/turkeys-challenge-and-syrian-negotiation

    - Not the best written article but the fundamental points are still sound. The US and the Gulf Arabs are using Turkey as their club. The Turkish leadership has somehow convinced themselves that this is to their benefit (a stupid move in my view). If the anti Syrian coalition prevails, then Iran’s adversaries would be emboldened to try things in Iraq. Iran must back the Alawites fully if they don’t want any renewed contest in Iraq.

    - I thought the analysis on Israeli motivations to be rather weak. The Israelis do not seem as callous or stupid as the Americans to prefer Al Qaeda over Iran. Chemical weapons and ballistic missiles falling into Wahabi hands should be a frightful scenario to any thoughtful Israeli. I have heard Daniel Pipes and others mention that a Muslim Brotherhood dominated Egypt coupled with a Muslim Brotherhood dominated Syria which this time might be backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia would be a far worse long term threat than Iran could ever be. Perhaps this is why Israelis feel so conflicted and have been relatively quiet on Syria.

    - I always thought Syria would be left alone because the alternative to the Al Assads would be far worse – especially to the Israelis. It seems that the fear of Iran has compelled regional countries and America to try something really bold. If Assad overcomes this crisis (he probably will), he will be far more dependent on Iran than before. Iran would be a really big winner.

  75. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    October 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Will not happen; it is too late now.

    The Axis Powers started a war of choice against the Shia Crescent and it will be too costly for them to stop now.

    The Hard war in Syria and the Economic Siege War against Iran will continue to their denouement.

    Only after the evisceration of the Axis Powers’ initiatives can there be a change in their schemes. But that could commence only after a few years after that denouement.

    Nothing will happen under Mr. Obama’s second term and nothing would come out of EU either.

  76. fyi says:

    Cyrus says:

    October 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Americans have effectively destroyed NPT.

    Just like what they did to CWT in case of Iraq-Iran War.

    They think that they can go back to status quo ante after Iranian defeat.

    They could not with CWT, and they will not with NPT either.

  77. Cyrus says:

    Developing nations aren’t buying the “Uranium fuel bank” crap because there’s no guarantee that they will actually benefit from it. The NPT was supposed to be such a guarantee access to nuclear know-how — see how easily that was undermined?
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/06/18/us-nuclear-iaea-fuel-idUSTRE55H58L20090618

    The developing countries see such proposals as merely efforts to monopolize the production of nuclear reactor fuel by a few countries for themselves, turning everyone else into customers. http://carnegieendowment.org/2011/07/28/new-global-rules-for-sensitive-nuclear-trade/4atv

    According to a 2004 analysis by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, “it is clear that the target group of the proposal is the developing world.”

    Right now, the business of commercial uranium enrichment is totally dominated by a few countries, acting through 5 companies. Three of these are under direct state ownership or the equivalent: the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) in the USA, Rosatom in Russia, and Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (JNFL). The other two (URENCO and EURODIF) are international consortia formed by several European governments, and both were intended by European countries to maintain an autonomous enrichment capability for themselves. In effect, they want to dominate the business of manufacturing nuclear reactor fuel — the sole major energy source of the near future — whilst preventing other countries from developing this same technology. They’re creating a cartel for nuclear fuel.

    So in effect, the demand that Iran and other developing countries must give up enrichment means that they would be then beholden to the handful of state-owned companies that dominate the field, essentially giving the owners of these companies a monopoly on nuclear power.

  78. imho says:

    One answer is the gas
    Syria, Turkey, Israel and a Greater Middle East Energy War

    By F. William Engdahl

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32742.htm

  79. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Did Anglo-French special forces “arrest and kill” Gaddafi?

  80. imho: “Syria: Waiting for someone named Obama”

    “If I had to quote it I’d chose other parts that go with what the author wanted us to understand.”

    I did mention that the thrust of the article was that foreign military intervention was unlikely. I quote Cordesman as an indication that the “Very Serious People” on the other hand were pushing for war while disguising it as “RP2″ in the same manner as Libya.

    “you must know that US participation was essentially logistical, that EU wasn’t happy that the US didn’t participate more actively”

    Not quite accurate. The US took the lead in the initial attacks and then backed off so Obama could claim to be “leading from behind” once it was clear that it was not going to be merely a “no-fly” zone.

    In addition, Europe started complaining about US lack of involvement once the strain of the missions became a problem for Europe’s forces. And that occurred precisely because the “mission” turned out to be overthrowing Gaddafi rather than a “no-fly zone.”

    “Do you think they will send troops or special forces inside Syria this time ? (for now they’re just at the borders).”

    I doubt it. The goal is to degrade Syria’s military, especially its missile arsenal. This can be done from the air and won’t require boots on the ground. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if, during the attack on Lebanon, Israel does indeed try to grab as much opportunity to inflict damage on Syrian forces as they can while protecting the Israeli forces going into the Bekaa Valley. Israel could easily drive straight to Damascus, which isn’t too far from the border, and allow the insurgents to take Damascus before pulling back to resume guarding the other Israel forces involved with Hizballah.

    “Taking stock of Westerwelle’s weekend trip to Istanbul, Deutsche Welle warned in no uncertain terms that Turkey “risks getting mired” in the Syrian conflict after having “misgauged” it. The commentary was critical of Erdogan…”

    I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think Erdogan knew exactly what he was doing. He has been quite belligerent over the months. I think he’s under the thumb of the US and is merely doing the US’ bidding.

    “Westerwelle made it clear in Istanbul on the weekend that Germany would expect Turkey not to precipitate the Syrian crisis.”

    Once again, this guy is not calling the shots. The US and Israel are. Turkey will do as its told. After all, Erdogan knows that the goal is to get the US and NATO bombing Syria. Turkey won’t get much damage from Syria once the US and NATO start bombing. Turkey won’t have to do much of anything but start the war. In that respect, it plays the same role with regard to Syria that Israel might play with regard to Iran. It only has to start the war – not participate in it to any significant degree.

    “To be sure, North Atlantic Treaty Organization secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen expresses solidarity with Turkey, but then, he also underlines that it is a mere “hypothetical” question whether Turkey would invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter for an intervention in Syria; he then quickly adds that Syria can have only one solution – a political solution.”

    And once again I point out that these are similar statements to what was made before the Libya intervention. They are lies, plain and simple.

    I quote Rasmussen on March 24, 2011:

    “Anders Fogh Rasmussen: What we have decided tonight is to take the responsibility for enforcing the No-Fly Zone with the aim to protect the civilian population, and the mandate doesn’t go beyond that, of course we can act in self-defence, but what we will do is to enforce the No-Fly Zone and ensure that we protect the civilian population.”

    The mandate doesn’t go beyond that? Oh, really?

    On 27 March:

    “Our goal is to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack from the Gaddafi regime. NATO will implement all aspects of the UN Resolution. Nothing more, nothing less.”

    “Nothing more, nothing less.” Oh, really?

    And as for the use of Special Forces…

    “Rasmussen: The UN mandate does not authorise the use of forces on the ground. We are there to protect civilians against attack. We are there to implement a no-fly zone; we have no intention of putting troops on the ground.”

    And yet they did.

    February 25, 2011:

    Q: Do you think that there will be a need for military actions in Libya?

    ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: I don’t want to go into specifics at this time. I think clear priority must be given to evacuation of people in need, and maybe also humanitarian assistance.

    March 5, 2011:

    “Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary-general of the 28-nation alliance, said NATO planners were examining “all eventualities” including the imposition of a no-fly zone. But he emphasized that “NATO has no intention to intervene if not requested.

    But he said: “Let me stress that the U.N. Security Council resolution as it stands does not authorize the use of armed forces…A no-fly zone would definitely require a U.N. Security Council resolution.”

    And here’s Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, the other guy you trust, on March 10,2011:

    Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, said: “One thing for the German government is absolutely clear: we do not want to get sucked into a war in north Africa. So we have to decide wisely and carefully that we do not get the opposite of what we want – peace and freedom.

    And yet they did…

    And these are the guys you intend to trust when they speak about Syria…

    Nnaivety doesn’t cover it.

  81. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Previous comment was directed to you.

  82. James Canning says:

    Sivan Shalom,

    What rubbish from Silvan Shalom, suggesting Iran would seek ability to launch first-strike nuclear attack against Spain, or Fance, or the UK. Rubbish.

  83. James Canning says:

    imho,

    Yes, the proposal for a nuclear fuel “bank” seems to me to be eminently sensible. What is your opinion? I thought Russia’s effort to maintain control of the nuclear fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plants as eminently sensible. US very stupidly failed to back the Russian effort.

  84. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Yes, Iran has the right to enrich to 20%. You have not explained why Iran has enriched so much 20%. If your point is that you think Iran stockpiled 20% U to show it could do so, you can just say so.

  85. BiBiJon says:

    Why Iran cannot compromise on its nuclear programme
    =================================================

    And, she sees a role for Egypt.

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/55746/World/Region/Why-Iran-cannot-compromise-on-its-nuclear-programm.aspx

    By Elizabeth Iskander who is a research fellow in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She holds a Ph.D. in Politics and International Studies from the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on conflict resolution, politics and religion in the Middle East, with an emphasis on Egypt.

  86. BiBiJon says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:
    October 16, 2012 at 5:18 am

    Thanks for the link
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/feb/17/usa.syria

    Note for Nima Shirazi’s phantom menace, it included this:

    – Quote

    Yesterday’s announcement came as the Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, predicted that Tehran would have the knowledge to produce a nuclear weapon within six months.

    Speaking in London, he accused Iran of preparing nuclear weapons that would be able to target “London, Paris and Madrid” by the end of the decade.

  87. BiBiJon says:

    Equal Sacrifice
    ==============

    One of the overlooked aspects of US posture in the world is the sacrifices she endures to maintain that posture. Hey Madeleine, is it worth it?

    Did you know:

    -Over the 2009-11 period, the U.S. military suffered a total of 14,627 casualties …
    Of that total, 8,680, or 59 percent, were from IED explosions
    http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/10/how-the-u-s-quietly-lost-the-ied-war-in-afghanistan/

    -15 percent of Americans continued to be counted as poor last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Wednesday. . .The 46.2 million Americans living in poverty in 2011 was only slightly lower than the 2010 record
    http://www.mercurynews.com/census/ci_21525354/u-s-poverty-rate-stuck-at-15-percent

  88. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    BiBiJon says:
    October 16, 2012 at 6:22 am

    It’s long been clear that a significant portion of the US military does not support an attack on Iran because they know (although not all will admit it in explicit terms) what a disaster it would be both for the US military and for US influence in the Persian Gulf.

  89. imho says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    “Syria: Waiting for someone named Obama”

    I also read that piece from Bhadrakumar but If I had to quote it I’d chose other parts that go with what the author wanted us to understand.

    You quote Cordesman (that most of us here already know) to finally say that his concept is stupid. Well, we agree on that, no need to argue about.

    Then you talk about EU statements to argue that they’re not calling the shots (everyone knows this) and that they said that before Libya war. If you take Libya as an example, you must know that US participation was essentially logistical, that EU wasn’t happy that the US didn’t participate more actively (I suspect even they didn’t know that until they begin bombing) and that that war was much longer than expected to the point that UK/French special forces had to take part by arresting and killing Qaddafi themselves. Do you think they will send troops or special forces inside Syria this time ? (for now they’re just at the borders).

    But to be fair to Bhadrakumar let us quote some other parts of his article.

    Quote

    Taking stock of Westerwelle’s weekend trip to Istanbul, Deutsche Welle warned in no uncertain terms that Turkey “risks getting mired” in the Syrian conflict after having “misgauged” it. The commentary was critical of Erdogan…

    Thoughtful Turkish commentators have also voiced similar misgivings. Mehmet Ali Birand, one of Turkey’s senior-most political observers, wrote in Hurriyet newspaper on the weekend: “The civil war in Syria does not threaten Turkey’s vital interests. In other words, it is not our duty. It should not be our duty to save the Syrian people from Assad. Let’s defend them, support them, but we should have boundaries.”..

    But having said that, Turks are smart enough to hear the drums by now in the Western capitals, beating the retreat from the Syrian battlefield even before the battle has been truly joined. Westerwelle made it clear in Istanbul on the weekend that Germany would expect Turkey not to precipitate the Syrian crisis.
    To be sure, North Atlantic Treaty Organization secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen expresses solidarity with Turkey, but then, he also underlines that it is a mere “hypothetical” question whether Turkey would invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter for an intervention in Syria; he then quickly adds that Syria can have only one solution – a political solution.

    End Quote

    The west beating retreat, NATO saying the only solution is a political one, etc.

    Sounds a different understanding of the situation.

  90. BiBiJon says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:
    October 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Wow! An exercise in open government? Or is the military again signalling war (or naval blockade of) Iran is not a good idea.

  91. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    October 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    “Newcomers” that will be denied of the rights specified in NPT, that is the right to enrich for civilian purpose.
    The core of the matter is that nuclear powers don’t want any newcomer to setup an enrichment industry, officially for fear of proliferation but one could imagine to restrict the number of nations producing and selling the fuel thus controlling entirely the future market economically as well as politically.
    The result of this policy is the proposition to setup a nuclear fuel bank.

    QUOTE
    Joseph Cirincione, the director of the nonproliferation program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says that an international fuel bank could start reforms at the international level. “If we handle it properly, Iran might be the trigger for resolving this problem that troubles all nations relying on nuclear power. Iran, ironically, could be the catalyst for creating a fundamentally new system of how we produce and sell nuclear fuel,” he said

    In 2009, the formation of a nuclear fuel bank was endorsed by U.S. President Barack Obama in a speech in Prague: “And we should build a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an International Fuel Bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risk of proliferation. That must be the right of every national that renounces nuclear weapons, especially for developing countries embarking on peaceful programs.”
    End QUOTE
    The right to enrich will be substituted to the right to simply “buy” the fuel (which may be subject to blackmail)

    QUOTE
    One example of such a feared political-cutoff came after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Germany halted construction of the Iranian Bushehr reactor, the United States cut off the supply of highly-enriched fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, and Iran never received uranium from France which it asserted it was entitled to. Russia also agreed not to provide an enrichment plant and terminated cooperation on several other nuclear-related technologies, including laser isotope separation. China terminated several nuclear projects in return in part for entry into force of a U.S.-China civil nuclear cooperation agreement. Ukraine agreed not to provide the turbine for the Bushehr reactor. These combined experiences contributed to an Iranian belief that foreign nuclear supplies are potentially subject to being interrupted.[12] An international nuclear fuel bank would have to overcome this perception.
    End QUOTE

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fuel_bank

  92. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    “Once again, NONE of this can be understood without the understanding that the entire purpose of the Syria crisis is to degrade Syrian and Hizballah military capabilities in order to enable a war with Iran. Not ONE SINGLE “pundit” – even on the antiwar side – appears capable of grasping the strategic realities here.”

    And you know why that is? Because your assertions are not reality, as I and others have already proved.

  93. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    BiBiJon says:
    October 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    What he doesn’t mention is the Iranian-Syrian mutual defense treaty which Iran will follow in the event of a war with Syria. This is why NATO’s statements will remain just that, because Iran could easily destroy most or all of the military bases in Turkey that would be used in any aggression against Syria, and NATO knows it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/feb/17/usa.syria

  94. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Oh yes, those air defenses that Hack thinks will protect Israel during its attack on Hezbollah worked well against a single unarmed drone, so well Israel just fired the head of its air defense force… http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9107112840 Reality just keeps disagreeing with Hack’s argument.

  95. Syria stands between Egypt and Iran
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NJ17Ak01.html

    Rapprochement not in the cards for now.

  96. And the US’ Susan Rice backs Israel against Hizballah, as expected…

    Israel’s UN envoy: Iran seeks to turn Lebanon into an ‘outpost for terror’
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-s-un-envoy-iran-seeks-to-turn-lebanon-into-an-outpost-for-terror-1.470190

    Quote

    “Hezbollah’s active and growing support for Assad’s war exposes Hassan Nasrallah’s claims of promoting Lebanon’s national interest as nothing more than a deadly form of deception,” Dr. Rice said. “The group’s leaders may try to change the subject by invoking hollow rhetoric about so-called resistance, but the truth is plain to see: Nasrallah’s fighters are now part of Assad’s killing machine and Hezbollah leaders continue to plot with Iran new measures to prop up a murderous and desperate dictator. We encourage the international community to counter Hezbollah’s terrorist activity and do more to expose Hezbollah’s deepening involvement in Assad’s war.”

    End Quote

    Expect US planes to be joining Israeli planes in bombing Lebanon once the Syria war starts…

  97. Israel again ratchets up escalation against Hizballah in Lebanon…

    ‘Hezbollah military build-up could devastate region’
    http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=287938

    Just another prelude to the upcoming attack on Lebanon.

  98. ThickFaceBlackHeart says:

    So true: “…that when someone independent comes along and poses a genuine intellectual challenge to the warped and USG driven legal views of the NPT regime that they’ve been spouting for decades, they genuinely don’t know what to do about it…” they never do!
    That aside am a little worried at where this will end.A war, most probably but not while Iran can defend itself. Can Iran breakout of this siege? can the Asia rally & defy Washington?
    1. Am getting this feeling that even though Russia supports Iran, they don’t like them that much. WHY DID THEY REFUSE TO SELL THEM THE S300 BATTERIES? i did posit before that one reason may be to entice the west in attacking Iran, thereby giving them a second Vietnam. Its very unlikely that a direct war with Iran can be worn. IT CANT. even if Iran’s economy is broken, a war is futile. an economic war …that’s another thing.

  99. fyi says:

    All:

    http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/10/15/tajikistan-s-difficult-development-path/e16h

    Americans are a funny people, in a perverse sense of the word.

    The wish to help Tadjikistan and save it form state collapse while doing their best to bring about state collapse to the only country that is actually helping Tadjikistan – Iran.

  100. yemi says:

    RSH,

    You are sounding more and more comical about your
    war rhetorics everyday…

  101. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Boy that US Navy minesweeping exercise was sure an impressive display of how the US Navy cannot detect practice mines that don’t actually explode. US clearly has nothing to worry about in an actual war where they do.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/10/us-navy-allies-find-less-than-half-the-sea-mines-planted-in-key-exercise.html

    “Out of the 29 simulated mines that were dropped in the water, “I don’t think a great many were found,” retired Navy Capt. Robert O’Donnell, a former mine warfare director for his service, told the NewsHour. “It was probably around half or less.”

    When Iran deploys 5,000+ mines in a matter of hours that won’t be a problem at all…

  102. Karl... says:

    RSH,

    Thats the EU peace lovers right there.

    Thats just ridiculous, even european state enrich (even above!) 20% for isotopes.
    The obvious disrepect for not only for rational argumentation (Iran enrich for isotopes and their enrichment facility is visisted and monitored by the IAEA) and international law (Iran has the right to enrich and sanctions against 70 million people/civilians is not according ot international law) is not surprising, UK were along with Israel and US the biggest supporter of Iraq war 2003, also that based on lies and fabricated justification. Now same parties try to do it again.

  103. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Why don’t you tell us why Iran has produced so much 20% U?

  104. James Canning says:

    imho,

    Isn’t the NPT intended to promote civilian use of nuclear power? So, by definition, there will be “newcomers”.

  105. Iran Ready to Enter Talks about 20% Enrichment
    http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/West-Incites-Islamophobia-and-Iranophobia.htm

    Quote

    “If a guarantee is provided to supply the 20-percent [enriched uranium] fuel for Tehran Research Reactor, our officials are ready to enter talks about the 20-percent enrichment of uranium,” Mehmanparast said.

    However, he said, this does not mean that Iran does not have the right to enrich uranium to the level of 20 percent.

    “All countries have this right.”

    End Quote

    And for Mr. Canning:

    Quote

    The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has also criticized the United Kingdom’s Defense Secretary Philip Hammond for his comments on the Iranian nuclear energy program.

    Mehmanparast said Hammond’s comments only reveal the anger of the UK government at Tehran’s progress.

    He noted that such remarks indicate that London’s all-out efforts to block Iran’s path to development and prosperity have failed.

    Mehmanparast went on to say that such outrageous comments prove that British officials are ignorant of accepted international mechanisms, such as the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    End Quote

  106. BiBiJon says:

    b says: ” An all out accidental war involving the whole area, including war between NATO and Russia’s CSTO, is no longer unthinkable.”

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/10/how-a-war-on-syria-could-escalate-.html#more

  107. Pepe Escobar on Romney sings Da Doo War War
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/NJ12Aa01.html

    Quotes

    Got Iran? Mitt will “put the leaders of Iran on notice”; he will “prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability”; he will “impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have”; he will “restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region” (well, they are already parked there anyway).

    So expect a Mitt-ordered naval blockade – to complement the Obama-ordered financial blockade. The next step would be Da Doo War War all the way; after all, Mitt has vowed to wage war “for the sake of peace”.

    End Quotes

  108. Keys to Damascus could lie at borders
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NJ16Ak01.html

    The more Hizballah is drawn into the Syria conflict, the more likely this will be used as “justification” for an Israel attack on Lebanon once Syria is under foreign air attack.

  109. Syria: Waiting for someone named Obama
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/NJ16Ag01.html

    Quote

    Der Spiegel calmly reported that the information about the “non-civilian cargo”, which led to the interception of a Syrian aircraft by the Turkish Air Force the previous Wednesday night, was actually passed on to Ankara by US intelligence.

    Furthermore, Der Spiegel disclosed authoritatively, “Ankara only forced the plane to land after close contact with its Western allies.”

    End Quote

    No surprise there…

    “The Guardian newspaper reported that Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean city of Antakya has become a meeting point for arms dealers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon and it is the centre for equipping and arming the rebels in Syria.”

    The point is that Turkey is allowing this…

    The author argues that all the evidence lies against a foreign military intervention. But then there’s this:

    Quote

    But then, to be the devil’s advocate, there is the hawkish opinion, too. The influential pundit Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington argues that Obama should not remain trapped in policy dilemmas and “hollow posturing” but should actively “help to do the job” – namely, adopt a strategy like in the 1980s when it gave the famous Stinger missiles (“equalizers”) to the Afghan mujahideen.

    He wrote last week that if only the US could provide similar “equalizers” to the Syrian rebels, it would ensure that the rebel fighters “inflict far more serious casualties” on the government forces and help expand their own safe zones and thereby “take advantage of ‘no fly’ or ‘no move’ zones enforced with limited uses of US or allied force, and be able to quickly become far more effective with limited training by US or other Special Forces”.

    End Quote

    Now anyone with ANY brains about military matters knows this concept of Cordesman is just stupid. There is absolute NO possibility that there can be any “no-fly” zones in Syria without engaging directly with Syrian forces. So Cordesman is being especially disingenuous in this matter. He KNOWS such an effort will lead to a direct foreign military intervention in the manner of Libya.

    The author’s contention that the statements of the EU officials concerning their willingness to go to war with Syria is lame for two reasons:

    1) First, these sorts of statements were made before the Libya all-out attack.

    2) The EU is not calling the shots. The US and Israel are – as usual. If the US demands that Turkey start a war with Syria to drag NATO in, NATO WILL be dragged in, whether it likes it or not. And the US will “lead from behind” – meaning its planes will be heavily involved.

    Once again, NONE of this can be understood without the understanding that the entire purpose of the Syria crisis is to degrade Syrian and Hizballah military capabilities in order to enable a war with Iran. Not ONE SINGLE “pundit” – even on the antiwar side – appears capable of grasping the strategic realities here.

    Israel does not want a war with Iran – either by itself or by the US – until Syria and Hizballah have been dealt with. This is PROVEN by the effort in the 2006 attack on Hizballah in Lebanon. The situation is even worse for Israel today – and will be worse tomorrow. Israel has absolutely no choice but to insure that Syria and Hizballah are degraded. And it has used its influence on the US to insure that this happens.

    The timing is merely a question of how scared Obama is to get involved before the election. Which is why Turkey is taking the lead in escalation, not the US. After the election is resolved, Obama will have a freer hand. However, even then, he will want another country to take the blame for escalating the situation. This is how Obama works. This is how he worked in Libya and how he will work in Syria.

  110. Western spies get discreetly involved in Syria
    http://www.dw.de/western-spies-get-discreetly-involved-in-syria/a-16304302-1

    Duh… Sibel Edmonds reported this over a year ago…

  111. EMPs and Oil Spills: ‘Experts’ Cook Up New Iran Hypotheticals to Fear
    http://news.antiwar.com/2012/10/14/emps-and-oil-spills-experts-cook-up-new-iran-hypothetical-to-fear/

    What’s next – giant flying robots?

  112. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    October 15, 2012 at 9:45 am

    “The lives, stability and economic well-being of 73 million Iranian people have been threatened in a “devastating” way, since at least 1995, and the Vice President of the United States, who has been a part of the US legislature during all those years, cannot articulate why.”

    Since 1996 Joe Biden has had no excuse for being inarticulate. “A Clean Break” has been available for 18 years. http://www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm

    Iran needs a ‘Clean Break’ of her very own.

  113. EU tightens sanctions against Iran
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/15/eu-tightens-sanctions-iran

    And once again Hague raise a hoary old charge…

    “”[Iran] is enriching uranium on a scale that has no plausible civilian justification and increasing its enrichment capacity at a heavily protected site that it originally sought to keep secret,” Hague said.”

    The “excessive enrichment” charge has been debunked over and over.

    And again, here you see the efforts to escalate towards a naval blockade by explicitly targeting Iranian shipping:

    “The new banking measures prohibit any transactions with Iranians banks and financial institutions unless specifically authorised or exempted, such as for humanitarian purposes.

    Iran will also face a ban imposed on the purchase, import and transport of its natural gas. The sanctions prohibit the construction of oil tankers for Iran, the flagging and classification of Iranian oil tankers and cargo vessels.”

    Trita Parsi describes these efforts correctly:

    Quote

    Referring to continuing pressure on Iran from the west, Parsi said: “There’s nothing peaceful about economic warfare at the end of the day and particularly when the embargo is as broad as this is, everything is forbidden unless explicitly permitted, that’s the opposite of smart sanctions, when you don’t have smart sanctions, you have economic warfare

    “The EU says this is aimed at getting Iran back to negotiate more seriously, to be frank it appears not to be about getting Iran to negotiate seriously but rather getting Iran to capitulate quickly.”

    End Quote

  114. fyi: The statement: “…the whole U.S. based nonproliferation experts community—with few exception—is systematically biased toward support of USG positions on all the top nonproliferation issues. ” is equally applicable to any number of US-based Think-Tanks.”

    Well said. That’s exactly the point I made in my comment to Professor Joyner’s post.

  115. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    I wonder if Paul Ryan is even aware that the “Greens” opposed the nuclear fuel swap, and helped to block it. Aipac opposed the nuclear fuel swap.

    What percentage of American voters is even aware a nuclear fuel swap was proposed? One percent? Two?

  116. James Canning says:

    Has there been an organised effort to compromise the “non-proliferation community” in the US? Of course.

  117. James Canning says:

    We should remember the foolish refusal of the US to support Russia’s effort to maintain control of the nuclear fuel cycle for the Bushehr nuclear power plants. Here again, wwe can thank the Israel lobby for this utter stupidity on the part of the US.

  118. James Canning says:

    Iran has made clear it is willing to stop enriching to 20% if its right to enrich to 5% or less is accepted by the P5+1.

    And the US, very stupidly, has refused to back Britain’s suggestion that Iran should ber allowed to buy replacement nuclear fuel for the TRR. And we can thank the Israel lobby for this utter stupidity on the part of the Obama administration.

  119. Rehmat says:

    Barack Obama’s special envoy to Lebanon and Syria, Frederick Hof, who resigned from his post earlier this week – in a confidential document leaked this week has claimed that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak conducted intensive secret talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through him.

    According to Frederick Hof, the negotiations were based on Netanyahu’s willingness to return to June 4, 1967 lines, giving Damascus full control of the Golan Heights which was occupied by the Jewish army during its 1967 invasion of its neighboring Arab lands. What Netanyahu demanded in return was a comprehensive peace deal that would include an Israeli “expectation” for the severing ties between Damascus and Tehran. However, according to the US sources, the deal fell-apart as Bashar refused to severe his friendly ties with the Islamic Republic.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/10/14/2010-when-assad-said-no-to-netanyahu-on-iran/

  120. Cyrus says:

    By the way, you should read Albright’s paper on Parchin which started this whole mess. The reasons for his suspicions that nuclear activiity occurred there boils down to this: Parchin would be a “logical candidate” for such nuclear work according to Alrbgith – and that’s all. That’s the sum total of his evidence regarding Parchin.
    Read: http://isis-online.org/publications/iran/parchin.html (just count the number of “maybe” and “could be” statements. No proof or evidence or anything — just pure speculation.)

    When inspectors visited the site in January 2005 and found nothing, Albright was indignant and insisted that they didn’t inspect hard enough and he insisted that Parchin was still suspicious because….there was construction work there. An “excavation in a hilly site” was the sum total of the justification claimed by Albright for another IAEA visit to Parchin is that this excavation “may” be used for a building that “may” be for nuclear weapons testing…or not.
    http://www.iranwatch.org/privateviews/ISIS/perspex-isis-furtheraccesstoparchin-032405.htm

    And so the inspectors returned in Sept 2005 and found nothing again.

    And yet now Albright tells us that there may be a building which may house a explosives containment chamber that may have been used to test nuclear detonators…

    It must be great being able to spin stories like this ad naseum.

  121. Cyrus says:

    Several former EU ambassadors to Iran have written:

    Iran is not in breach of international lawThere is no evidence that the country is building nuclear weapons. The west’s strategy has helped create the standoff

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/09/iran-nuclear-power-un-threat-peace

  122. fyi says:

    The Leveretts:

    The statement: “…the whole U.S. based nonproliferation experts community—with few exception—is systematically biased toward support of USG positions on all the top nonproliferation issues. ”

    is equally applicable to any number of US-based Think-Tanks.

    Look no further than the Carnegie Endowment for Ineternational Peace – perhaps it should be re-named to “Carnegie Endowment of US Hegemonic Peace”.

    Deplorable.

    In regards to Mr. Albright – his training has been in physics – pure science and not in nulcear engineering – applied science.

    When you study engineerings, you learn how to build systems composed of many parts to perform a number of tasks.

    You do not care about the inner workings of the constituent parts and components.

    This ability to put together a working machine (an engine or a nuclear warhead or a suspension bridge) is not nurtured in scientific training; which is where Mr. Albright got his.

    In my opinion, Mr. Albright is not even qualified to comment on engineering aspects of nuclear proliferation – he lacks the education and the hands-on experience of working with such systems.

    He is a useful front, I imagine, for US policy makers as a propaganda outlet.

  123. Fiorangela says:

    At least the men who propose to be the “leaders of the free world” (Mitt Romney’s claim) have a clear and specific comprehension of Iran’s agenda and their demands of Iran.

    From the debate between VP Joe Biden and VP candidate Paul Ryan:

    Ryan: “it’s never to early to speak out for our values. We should have spoken out right away when the Green Revolution was up and starting, when the mullahs in Iran were attacking their people.

    REP. RYAN: — it makes us more weak. It projects weakness, and when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us, they’re more brazen in their attacks, and our allies are less willing to —

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey. In fact —

    MS. RADDATZ: And why is that so?

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Because not a single thing he said is accurate. First of all —

    MS. RADDATZ: Be specific.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I will be very specific.

    We — this is a president who’s gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. This is the guy who’s repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again. This is the guy who brought the entire world, including Russia and China, to bring about the most devastating, most devastating — the most devastating efforts on Iran to make sure that they in fact stop with their — look, I — I — I just — I mean, these guys bet against America all the time.

    Play it again Joe: “the most devastating efforts on Iran to make sure that they in fact stop with their — look, I — I — I just — I mean …”

    http://www.npr.org/2012/10/11/162754053/transcript-biden-ryan-vice-presidential-debate

    The lives, stability and economic well-being of 73 million Iranian people have been threatened in a “devastating” way, since at least 1995, and the Vice President of the United States, who has been a part of the US legislature during all those years, cannot articulate why.

  124. Judy Bello says:

    Right On! We need to hear more calm and clear minded responses to the bully crowd.

  125. As I pointed out in a post on Professor Joyner’s blog, I suspect quite a few nuclear technology experts and former UN non-proliferation inspectors would probably have negative comments on not only Albright’s legal qualifications for discussing these issues, but also some deleterious comments about his qualifications in terms of proliferation detection given the lame accusations he’s tossed at Iran, most of which have been debunked in short order.

  126. imho says:

    NPT is another casualty of the nuclear dispute with Iran, a price that the west must pay as a collateral damage. NPT is done because there is no legal argument in it preventing new comers into the energy market. And maybe this is one side of the story not so much discussed.
    While the soft war against Iran is not only about enrichment but US/West hegemony and control in the ME, being able for a developing country to produce and ultimately sell this energy is alone a direct challenge to the nuclear states that would like to control that market in the future. But aren’t both goals ultimately the same ? That is if the NPT has “loopholes” letting new countries challenge the nuclear states’ hegemony on nuclear energy market, then destroying the NPT altogether with any nation willing to use it as a legal basis to challenge the west is not such a bad idea.

  127. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    From Supreme Leader’s speech at NAM conference:

    “I stress that the Islamic Republic has never been after nuclear weapons and that it will never give up the right of its people to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Our motto is: “Nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none.” We will insist on each of these two precepts, and we know that breaking the monopoly of certain Western countries on production of nuclear energy in the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is in the interest of all independent countries, including the members of the Non-Aligned Movement.”

    http://english.khamenei.ir//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1668&Itemid=4

  128. Nasser says:

    - After Libya, any state be it Iran, North Korea or whoever would be incredibly foolish to give up on their nuclear rights for some economic/ diplomatic/political relief. Might makes right; always. You can’t place your hope on the illusion of international Law. As the Leader says when you succumb to pressure you only invite more pressure. I actually believe in sovereignty of states and their right to defend themselves; and so I say good riddance NPT.

    - Also I didn’t realize David Albright has any credibility left. People still listen to him?