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The Race for Iran


One of the great benefits of blogging is the opportunity to learn from those who comment on our posts.  We thought that Pirouz’s contributions regarding this post, “Parroting the Obama Administration’s Line on Iran and Syria,” added substantially to our arguments in the original version.  Therefore, we have revised the piece to take account of Pirouz’s contributions.  Please see the new version below.

Last year, we took The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick to task for stories he published that relied “almost entirely on unnamed U.S. officials and a known terrorist organization” to advance “Iraq-redux” claims that the Islamic Republic is seeking to build nuclear weapons, see here and here.  Now, Warrick published a front-page story in The Washington Post—a story which relied entirely (no “almost”) on unnamed “U.S. officials and a diplomat from an allied nation” to report that

“Iran is dispatching increasing numbers of trainers and advisers—including members of its elite Quds Force—into Syria to help crush anti-government demonstrations that are threatening to topple Iran’s most important ally in the region.  The influx of Iranian manpower is adding to a steady stream of aid from Tehran that includes not only weapons and riot gear but also sophisticated surveillance equipment that is helping Syrian authorities track down opponents through their Facebook and Twitter accounts.”

We would directly challenge Warrick’s assertion that “anti-government demonstrations” in Syria “are threatening to topple Iran’s most important ally in the region”.  Another story, see here, in the same edition of The Washington Post as Warrick’s offers a far more accurate characterization of the Syrian protests as having “failed to muster the numbers that brought down the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia earlier this year”, and further notes that “despite [protestors’] efforts, there has been no indication that the army would be willing to break ranks with the regime.”  We would add that the demonstrations in Syria, while persistent, have been concentrated in essentially peripheral areas of the country.

But to explore such issues would constitute serious journalism, and that is not what Warrick is doing here.  What he is doing is helping to disseminate what amounts to the Obama Administration’s chosen propaganda line:  popular unrest is making President Assad as “illegitimate” as Qaddafi in Libya, and the Islamic Republic of Iran—unlike the United States, which is valiantly standing by the “people” of Libya in their efforts to overthrow a dictator—is propping up a dictator in Syria. 

We would argue that reality is quite different from this propaganda line:  the United States, without having done its homework, intervened on behalf of one side in a civil war in Libya, and still has not managed to oust Qaddafi.  Conversely, the unrest in Syria does not come anywhere close to a “civil war” threshold.  In our view, President Assad continues to command the support of at least half of Syria’s population.  But the Administration is worried about Iran’s rising standing and influence across the region—and is turning to every propaganda tool it can think of to “push back” against the Islamic Republic’s popularity in the Middle East—something attested to over several years by multiple public opinion polls.         

In his story, apart from the very obvious limitations on his sourcing, Warrick makes no effort to offer an alternative perspective on the line he was fed by the Obama Administration.  Warrick cites one outside commentator—Michael Singh, from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  We know, like, and respect Michael Singh.  But, before Warrick’s story was published by The Washington Post, Michael had already published his own Op Ed, see here, in The Wall Street Journal subscribing to the Obama Administration’s narrative about Iranian involvement in Syria.  Moreover, the Washington Institute is an AIPAC-created entity with its own agenda regarding both the Islamic Republic and Syria.  By going to Michael Singh as his sole outside commentator, Warrick assured that the Obama Administration’s preferred propaganda line would not be challenged in his “news story”. 

Warrick’s story notes that

“many previous reports, mostly provided by Western officials, have described Iranian technical help in supplying Syria with riot helmets, batons and other implements of crowd control during 10 weeks of demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad”. 

Even if this is true, would Warrick or his unnamed sources prefer that the Iranians send tanks and armored personnel carriers to Syria, to support a more militarized response?  We will have more on this point below.  Now,

“in the account provided by the diplomat and the U.S. officials, the Iranian military trainers were being brought to Damascus to instruct Syrians in techniques Iran used against the nation’s Green Movement in 2009.” 

What “techniques” does Warrick mean?  Effective crowd control and letting the opposition show it had no credible evidence of electoral fraud in the Islamic Republic’s June 2009 presidential election, thereby losing most of its social base—which was never close to a majority anyway?  

Perhaps if Warrick had been more assiduous in his reporting he would have identified some of the flaws in the story he was handed by the Obama Administration.  As one of our regular contributors on www.RaceForIran.com points out, the Administration’s narrative about Iranian support to Syria’s security apparatus—support allegedly coming from either the NAJA (Iranian national police) or the Revolutionary Guard, depending on the (unsubstantiated) source—is fundamentally at variance with what the Syrians are actually doing.  The Syrian response to popular unrest has become heavily militarized, with extensive deployments of army units—in particular, armored and mechanized units—to deal with demonstrations.  This is something the Islamic Republic never did.    

The Iranian response to urban disturbances following the June 2009 presidential election was carried out by NAJA with basij volunteers.  Neither the regular military nor the Revolutionary Guard was deployed for this purpose.  Moreover, it is outside of the training and experience of either the NAJA or the Revolutionary Guard to use armored and mechanized units for “crowd control” purposes.  So, our contributor asks—how, exactly, is it that the NAJA and/or the Revolutionary Guard are supposedly contributing advice in support of the response that the Syrians are actually carrying out?  Warrick does not even begin to explore these discrepancies.   He uncritically parrots a narrative which accuses Iran of supporting Syria in carrying out a response to popular demonstrations which the Syrians are not actually implementing.    

This is all strongly reminiscent of the sorts of journalistic malpractice committed by The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other august media organizations in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  As the Iraq precedent demonstrates, sanctioning “rogue regimes” (and the Obama Administration has now sanctioned Iranian officials and agencies for their alleged involvement in human rights abuses in Syria) on the basis of demonizing narratives that are uncritically parroted by the mainstream media can put the United States on a slippery slope to war.  Given America’s experience in Iraq, it would be truly criminal for the United States to go to war again in the Middle East under false pretenses.   

Warrick adds—in a completely un-sourced editorial statement—that “the Iranians were brutally effective in crushing those protests.”  By buying into the Washington political establishment’s contrived line about Iranian political life—again, without any effort at critically evaluating that line—Warrick does a disservice to his readers.  The competitive nature of Iranian politics—which assures that groups or factions which lose a political battle today will have other bites at the apple in the future—distinguishes the Islamic Republic from Bahrain or other places in the Middle East where huge chunks of the society (in Bahrain’s case, a clear majority) have no bite at the apple at all.  This might help to explain why protests in Iran after the June 2009 presidential election died out very quickly, leaving only a small contingent of oppositionists who put themselves outside the established political order—a trajectory very different from what happened in Egypt or Tunisia, or from what is happening now in Syria.  That kind of comparative analysis would be potentially enlightening, but Warrick makes no attempt at it.         

Likewise, it would be good journalistic practice, in exploring how the Syrian government is responding to popular unrest, whether with foreign support or not, to compare the Syrian response to that of other regional regimes currently facing similar challenges (which Iran is not).  If The Washington Post or any other media outlet were to compare the Syrian response to that of the Bahraini regime, its reporters would not have to resort to exclusive reliance on unnamed official sources in Washington making unsubstantiated statements about foreign involvement.  For there is actual film footage, from Al Jazeera and other professional media organizations, of Saudi soldiers pouring en masse across the causeway from the Kingdom into Bahrain, to suppress a mass movement for political change that clearly did represent a majority of Bahrainis. 

Surely, The Washington Post can do better than simply parrot Obama Administration propaganda.     

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



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  2. James Canning says:


    Thanks. Yes, Patrick Foy has it in a nutshell: American politicans take their stance on Israel almost entirely out of concerns about self-advancement, self-interest, etc. It is the “easy” way. George W. Bush was very open about it, when he entered the White House. Some of the foolish US politicians are genuine zealous Zionists, acting out of deranged religious impulses, etc.

  3. Photi says:

    Allah gave the people of Lot (as) chances to amend themselves. Allah gave the people of Noah (as) chances to amend themselves. Who are you to say America has run out of chances?

  4. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Read the Quran, Allah punishes nations for injustice- including those members who did not directly engage in it but kept silent or did not resist. It’s not my personal view. If you have a problem with this view, take it up with the Quran.

  5. Photi says:

    And they can start by recognizing Palestine’s right to exist.

  6. Photi says:

    America has already fought the racist war and won. The zionists need to step aside and make peace. Until then they are the threat to global stability.

  7. Photi says:

    Sorry, my grammar is off.

    *their racist war, meaning the Zionists’ racist war in Palestine and throughout the region.

  8. Photi says:

    And by extension that means they are pissing on the American Civil war and all those who spilt their blood for principles so much Mightier than their racist war.

  9. Photi says:

    *career advancement in domestic US politics no less, having nothing to do with the Middle East.

    The Zionists are pissing on the Civil Rights Movement in America. When will we decide once and for all that racism is evil?

  10. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    June 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    James, another quote from the blog entry linked:

    “On the other hand, if Israel were amenable to becoming the 51st state, no registration would be required. But in that case, Israel would be limited and entitled to only two Senators.”

    The author Patrick Foy was spot-on when he said that in the domestic US political scene the Middle East Conflict is entirely about career advancement. Reality has nothing to do with it.

  11. Photi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    May 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Brother Professor Bussed-in Basiji,

    Islam is a universal religion. As a universal religion, Islam necessarily transcends national boundaries. Your black and white presentation of the a world whose Creator has presented it in full color is short-sighted and is anti-peace.

    There is haq and batil in American society, and there is haq and batil in Iranian society. Only Allah has the authority to condemn an entire nation. It is not true that Iranian society is 100% on the path of haq. You, like the rest of us, are stuck in the human condition.

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    Great blog for sure. I wish I could write like you. Keep up the good work as it is necessary! Adauga Anunt Gratuit Bucuresti

  13. Persian Gulf says:


    “موضع آقای احمدی‌نژاد به عنوان «رئیس‌جمهور» و «رئیس شورای امنیت ملی کشور» درباره‌ی واقعه‌ی رخ‌داده درخصوص خانم سحابی، «ضروری» و «تعیین‌کننده» است. و روشن‌کننده‌ی این مسئله که آیا ایشان در سویه‌ی «حق و حقیقت» و «عدالت و انصاف» ایستاده است یا خیر. چون بسیار بعید است که توضیحات مدیرکل انتظامی وزارت کشور در این‌باره، از سوی افکارعمومی پذیرفته شده و آنان را متقاعد نماید.”

  14. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    May 31, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    “The President of the Islamic Republic is elected by direct ballot; Iranian people will make that choice for good or for ill.

    Otherwise and if the qualifications of the Presidency of the Isamic Republic could be so well-formulatyed, why have an election. Let us have a set of competetive exams in which the fellow with the higest score is selected to be the President.”

    By all accounts, Mr. Khamenei has shown presidency in Iran is a joke. I have always criticized the advocates of boycotting election for the simple fact that democratic aspirations can not be met by not participating in the pillar of democracy. however, now I think, consciously staying away from an election(s) is in fact part of the democratic game too. I believe, as much as a citizen is responsible in selecting right person(s) for elected bodies, she/he is responsible for not making the same position a joke by irresponsible voting. obviously, Iranian people have shown their displeasure with the structure of the system (from the presidency angle) by surprise voting, and it has yet to work. there was always a superman who has the final say on everything due to his extraordinary intellect. The Iranian people, however, have not fully tried the last option at their disposal yet; i.e. to boycut a few elections. only then the system will be forced peacefully to make necessary concessions. as far as I see, the alternative is either a coupe or a bloody revolution. with Mr.Khamenei continuously factionalizing the Iranian politics, primarily to stay in power, the prospect for a relatively weak house of supreme leader is gloomy.

  15. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Daily Telegraph online (telegraph.co.uk) June 1st, the Israeli ambassador in London, Ron Prosor, claimed that Ahmadinejad “stole an election” in 2009 in Iran. No end to the lying about that election, put out by Israel.

  16. James Canning says:


    Would it not be more accurate to say that most Bahrainis of the Shia faith want the monarchy overthrown? Or at least a good percentage of the Shia community?

  17. James Canning says:

    Writing the The Times of London May 21st, James Hider noted that Netanyahu had problems with Bill Clinton during his first term as president, and that Clinton said: “Netanyahu thinks he is the superpower and we are here to do whatever he requires.”

  18. BiBiJon says:

    paul says:
    June 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Is it audacity? Is it Hopey Changey?

    I’d give my copy of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Story of our times” to India who have every reason to think upon US’ imminent exist out of AfPak, they’ll be left holding undelivered promises.

    I’d give a copy to Gadafiesque nuclear-weapon-aspirants to remind them if they come clean, they’ll be rewarded and feted as exemplars for several years, before they get NATO’d to oblivion.

    I’d give a copy to moderate[ly intelligent] Arab sheiks who’s warning of a shiite crescent appears to have been received as “hey, that’s a great idea!”

    I’d give a copy to Russia to help them fathom why we need a missile shield.

    I’d give a copy for Brazil and Turkey to share, just as they shared the ignominy of trying too hard for peace.

    I would have given a copy to China, but I have run out of copies.

  19. Galen Wright says:

    I can’t hazard a too specific a guess about the Sejil beyond its probably more accurate then the Shahab at comparable ranges. But I think that this is simply because I’m not brushed up on my long-range ballistic missiles. I tend to know more about the shorter ranged tactical models like the Fateh-110.

    I’ve also heard the “200 m” CEP and I think it’s origin is FAS which explains it by attributing it to spin-stabilization (though not maneuvering) of the warhead. I’m not sure how much this would improve accuracy vs a SCUD but I doubt it’s 6-7 times more then compared to other estimates (like 1500 m from Uzi Rubin).

    The Russian numbers are probably just as unlikely though and are probably politically motivated as was pointed out.

  20. Liz says:

    James Canning,

    The Bahraini population simply want the dictator and his corrupt family to go.

  21. James Canning says:

    I recommend Patrick Foy’s “Bedtime for Bibi”. Quote: “The Likud kingpin’s magnificent con job – – and the unseemly perfomrance of a servile [US] Congress in embracing it – – should give every true-blue American who has not been brainwashed a wake-up call.”


  22. James Canning says:


    And there have been efforts to negotiate with the Taliban, off and on, for a long time now. The ISRAEL LOBBY does not try to interfere with such efforts, while of course it blocks any dealing with Hamas.

  23. James Canning says:

    The ISRAEL LOBBY will not allow the US to recognise Hamas or to negotiate with Hamas. Even if Obama wanted to do so, the numerous stooges of the ISRAEL LOBBY in the US Congress, in his own party, would raise bloody hell.

  24. James Canning says:


    The Saudis and Bahrain are well aware that economic grievances are a large element of the discontent among the Shia people in Bahrain.

  25. paul says:

    Is it audacity? Is it impunity? Is it surrealism run wild and taking over our reality? Every day the foreign policy news gets crazier and crazier. Today I read that the US is negotiating with the Taliban (but never with Hamas, remember, no matter what), and claiming that they want to keep foreign countries out of the negotiations.


    Of course, they meant Pakistan. But it’s rich, is it not? Ok, so what they are saying is that wherever the US involves itself, anywhere in the world, it is NOT A FOREIGN COUNTRY! They are saying that they own the world.

    Perhaps Gilbert and Sullivan could write the story of our times.

  26. BiBiJon says:


    don’t miss http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2011/05/iran-nuclear-scare-timeline-update_31.html

    nor the downloadable New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh: “Iran and the Bomb: How Real is the Nuclear Threat?” ,http://www.4shared.com/document/RdJ8WFfZ/The_New_Yorker_Jun_06_2011.html

  27. KVoorhees says:

    We are lied to every day of the week. Black is white, day is night. The most fantastic lies are ratified by the mainstream media not bothering to ask simple, obvious questions. “When did you do the face recognition to know it was Osama bin Laden since you had no photographs of him during the CIA surveillance and the SEALS shot him within seconds of entering the room?” Nope, the 60 Minutes “journalist” has Obama sitting in front of him and cannot come up with that obvious question, let alone why Obama would dump the body in the ocean and expect anyone to believe this was really “Osama bin Laden.”

    Syria is keeping the Western journalists out so what we’re getting is reports from anti-government demonstrators, including obviously faked videos of people supposed under gun fire from the Syrian Army who don’t even bother to run. And stories of children being tortured and killed. Why? For what reason would the Syrian government torture and kill a child? Just like the Neda story, that the Iranian government would shoot a woman getting out of a car a kilometer away from a demonstration. Why? No matter, it will run over and over in Western media and they’ll give themselves awards for running it.

    If you let the Western media in, they come up with their “rape” stories like Iman Obeidy and now, a “rape study” like this psychologist who says she distributed 70,000 questionnaires to refugees from Libya and got back 59,000 responses – in a months time while a war is going on – and everybody’s getting raped in Libya. http://g2mil.com/fire.htm

    The only thing in the mainstream media thats believable is that Americans won’t go along with getting rid of Medicare. That I believe. Everything else, not so much, especially about our wars and animosities with other countries.

  28. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Pearls and Coral.

  29. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Global peace and unity is literally not possible based on the efforts of non-masoom like you and me. In other words the only time we will get what you want is with the zuhur of the one who is existentially capable of handling the task- and it will be a very ugly affair at first. Until that time there is only war. Pick a freakin side, no matter how flawed they might be.

    The only ones with aberrations dancing in their minds are those looking for “practical and earthly ways for resolving conflicts”- an earth which itself is only the zaher of a much deeper batin.

    But how can you explain the reality of the heavens to those insisting on remaining at an animal level of consciousness. Like throwing pearls to the…

    As you see there is no basis to even begin speaking of “common values” when we can’t even agree on what reality is. Like I said until the zuhur, only war. Pick a side and live with the consequences.

  30. Iranian@Iran says:

    Thank you for writing such an impressive and important article. I wish you would write more often.

  31. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:


    Re your story about Mosad + Iran = sitting in a tree…

    I’m afraid “I read it on the Public Internet” is way too generalized. You’ll find the Internet to be a rather big place.

    I did a quick search and I couldn’t find anything.

    Given that what you claim is quite interesting, I would like to kindly ask of you if you please could provide a link to at least one source which support your statement?

  32. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    I’ve been looking for a side to pick, but none seems convincing. And I take comfort in that!

    Haq o Baatel is the compass we use to make decisions when needed, but you might have noticed that the compass swings and can be confusing, and so we have a tendency to go and find the ‘right’ sect (per UU), and feel a little more ‘comfortable’. Who wants to use a compass every time a decision is needed? Easier to ‘decide’ once and for all, right?

    History is littered with self-assured lost souls who insisted ‘pick a side’, and in the process, brought untold and unnecessary damage and misery to the world. People like Bush and Khomeini. Both meant well. Both went way too far. Their shared flaw was in insisting that there was ‘one truth’.

    But it gets even worse especially as god is nothing but pure myth created by man to protect him from his own natural ignorance and insecurities – at least in the opinion of this haqeer. And a firm opinion at that. And so what of ‘religion’ and all its ‘sects’?

    Still, anyone with the slightest notion of haq today – with or without ‘god’ – can see that Iran is right in this power show. But this is nothing new, and it is not leading to any change in the cosmos! All that is going to happen is for an empire to fall, and for another to rise, and in the process, humanity may take a few baby steps forward in experience, though this is not assured by any means.

    The ‘mahdi’ is an aberration dancing in the minds of a few searching for the kind of ‘meaning’ that only an inflated ego would be searching for. The kind of mind that would imagine a personal connection with ‘god’. A kind of self-promotion from an ‘insignificant speck’ to ‘god’s associate’ within the universal order of things. Question is: based on what merit?

    Good luck to those who believe it all, but the problem with this search is that it wastes time we should be spending on more important things like finding practical and earthly ways for resolving conflicts.

  33. Castellio says:

    Back to the Leverett’s pertinent and timely article: the only line I find confusing is “Surely, The Washington Post can do better than simply parrot Obama Administration propaganda.”

    I can’t imagine trying to shame the Washington Post. It’s shameless.

  34. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    This is a brave piece that goes against the tide. This sentence however, got to me: “Given America’s experience in Iraq, it would be truly criminal for the United States to go to war again in the Middle East under false pretenses.”
    Truly criminal? Really? Did the garden-variety criminal wars under false pretenses put anybody in jail? Can you point to anyone from the media, pentagon, or American administration that has been indicted of any crime? America does what Amerika wants! With impunity. Period.

  35. Fiorangela says:

    BiBiJon, in response to your comment on the earlier thread, May 30, 12:47 pm–

    thanks for the link.

    Makdisi was asked at the end of the interview how he thought the situation would be resolved — Israel exists; should it go away? What happens?

    Makdisi said, Jews will have to change their attitude and decide to live as one state with Palestinians. Nations change all the time; the US changed from a racist state to one that is more tolerant of blacks and whites.

    That was a wise and hopeful note to conclude the interview, but I am more pessimistic than Makdisi.

    The greatest weapon zionists have wielded for over 100 years is the weapon of propaganda. I don’t know any other entity that uses lies and the demonization of the Other so pervasively. I think the source for the practice can be found in Torah, Joshua 6: 1-27–

    ” . . .Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

    6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” 7 And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the LORD.”

    8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD’s covenant followed them. 9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the LORD carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there. . . .”

    Joseph’s skill at “interpreting dreams” — or planting suggestions, fears, false information in the mind of the leaders, combined with an organized group “trumpeting” its own glories, then overwhelming the airways with their talking-point “shouts,” has got to be the definition of PR/propaganda.

    In the last century, zionists have used propaganda to great, and deadly, effect: to engender hatred of Germans in order to get US into the first war in Europe, the Creel commission recruited 75,000 “four minute men,” trained to “shout” a four-minute anti-German speech; Jewish-run Hollywood studios produced dozens of anti-German films, followed by super-patriotic films once the battle was joined.

    Similar tactics were used to get Americans to hate Germans to push US into WWII.

    Iraq — same thing.

    About 2 months ago I heard Peter Beinart speak to a predominantly Jewish audience at a temple in the area. The one question he stumbled over was whether Jewish people were at the forefront of the Islamophobia that is creeping across the US. It’s hard to say anything other than that Jewish people are in the majority in promoting Islamophobia.
    I keep rough statistics on guests, news briefs, and comments on C Span, paralleled with reports from an International Solidarity Movement activist stationed in Palestine, who reports on that day’s or that 3-days’ of Israeli actions involving Palestinians. At the end of March, the ISM activist noted that Israelis had killed one Palestinian every other day, since the beginning of 2011. But not one of those incidents was mentioned on C Span. On the other hand, if someone in Iran tore off a hangnail, C Span reported the dire news of the threat posed by Iran.

    Jewish people and Israelis have the lead in promoting hatred of Iran. Jewish people, for example, CAMERA, and Mitchell Bard, who runs the Jewish Virtual library, are at the forefront (but not alone) in maintaining close control on what ordinary Americans hear on news, and comment to their representatives. The “chilling effect” is real.

    So my question becomes, Has there ever been a time when such propaganda did NOT eventuate in a war on the target people?

    In a radio interview with Dutch interviewers, Gilad Atzmon said that if Israel attacks Iran, which it might do, he fears that people around the world will conclude that “Hitler was right about the Jews.”

    What can be done to respond to this relentless propaganda in a way that is different from the way the German people responded to, ie. the 1933–> boycott and the outrageous propaganda that Germans were subject to? If I were Jewish, I would start to ask myself and Jewish leaders some serious questions: Do they think the people of the United States will react to their increasing awareness of the way their media, government, political and financial systems are being used in a way DIFFERENT from the way the German people reacted in the early 20th century?

    I don’t know where to put this thought — I’m loading everything onto Jewish people, but obviously, US soldiers and drones and CIA and military leaders are making policy and killing thousands of people in the Middle East. What Americans are doing is equally evil.

    Here’s the difference: as Chas Freeman said in a speech at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC on May 4:

    “As the former head of the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Legal Department has argued:
    “If you do something for long enough the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries . . . . International law progresses through violations.”

    A colleague of his has extended this notion by pointing out that:

    “The more often Western states apply principles that originated in Israel to their own non-traditional conflicts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, then the greater the chance these principles have of becoming a valuable part of international law.”

    These references to Iraq and Afghanistan underscore the extent to which the United States, once the principal champion of a rule-bound international order, has followed Israel in replacing legal principles with expediency as the central regulator of its interaction with foreign peoples. The expediently amoral doctrine of preemptive war is such an Israeli transplant in the American neo-conservative psyche. Neither it nor other deliberate assaults on the rule of law have been met with concerted resistance from Palestinians, Arabs, or anyone else, including the American Bar Association. The steady displacement of traditional American values – indeed, the core doctrines of western civilization – with ideas designed to free the state of inconvenient moral constraints has debased the honor and prestige of our country as well as Israel. http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/29130/pid/897

    The US has a basis in its laws and its tradition of behaving morally; it is greatly deviating from that standard. Within the American Christian tradition (buried under generations of rubble) is the sense that Abraham Lincoln is said to have expressed: “I tremble when I reflect that God is just.”

    Within the American Christian traditions there are processes for expressing contrition, repentance, and making amends. An American Renaissance is urgently necessary, and it must begin with a confrontation with the reality of the evil that Americans are doing in the world, followed by penance and a rebirth. One of the most powerful scenes in the French film, “Of God and Man,” occurred just after the monks had decided to remain in their monastery, and their leader, Chris, said, “We can’t control when we die, but we can choose to be born, and born again, and born again.”

    Israeli zionism functions on the basis of its mythical, pre-prophetic, pre-ethical legacy and permits itself and promotes a sense of lawlessness. Gilad Atzmon has keen insight into this phenomenon :http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/war-on-terror-within-the-end-of-jewish-history-by-gilad-atzm.html That is why I fear that Makdisi’s observation that “nations can change” is optimist with respect to zionism, because zionism does not have an ethical tradition to change to.

  36. James Canning says:

    I recoomend Greg Philo’s “Israel’s PR victory shames news broadcasters” in the Guardian online May 31st. Interesting how “the Americans” lean on the BBC in Jerusalem to skew news coverage to benefit Israel and injure the Palestinians.


  37. James Canning says:


    Is the British government trying to “silence” PressTV? I’ve read the various reports.

    PressTV reports that Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s minister for strategic affairs, called on “the world” to recognise the “nuclear threat posed by Iran.”

  38. masoud says:


    Well, my stupidity feels sorry for you. So i guess that makes us even.

  39. Iranian says:

    While the US media is making myths about Iran, the British government is trying to silence PressTV:


  40. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Yes, it would be fun to know if the Azeris are Iranian in origin, and that they relocated to the other side of the Caspian to avoid Mongol depradations. The Ossetians apparently are Persian in origin.

  41. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    I think the Khazars were Turkic, and the conversion to Judaism was 7th or 8th century.
    The Caucasus, of course, has myriad nationalities, languages, etc. Absolutely fascinating for those who like this sort of thing.

    In Baku, Jews and Armenians were important elements in the population, prior to the collapse of the Russian Empire.

    Given the ebb and flow of the various empires over the past several thousand years, the Persians did well to hold their position.

  42. Unknown Unknowns says:


    I will be the first to agree with you that for a thousand years our ulama stayed in their ivory towers spinning irrelevancies to oblivion. And thank God for Imam Khomeini rolling up his sleeves: better late than never. And I am the first to say that it is not sufficient in this day and age to become a mojtahid by publishing a resaleh (tretise) on the usual crap that hasn’t changed in 1,000 years. We need degrees of ijtihad in biology and chemistry so that mojtahids can make rulings regarding the permissibility to ingest artificial sweetners, for example, or additives, preservatives, etc. and actually have their fatwas carry some weight. We need this desparately. Don’t you think we know these things? Of course we do. But what you forget is that not everyone here thinks like this, like us. It is, ironically enough, a grass-roots democratic process that disqualifies people like Sorush and Kadivar in the dim minds of the people whose allegiance to much more conservative thinkers gives them teh power and position that they enjoy. Don’t believe me? Go to any mosque and try to take on a position of leadership. You will not be listened to. So we have what we have, and the adult thing to do is to accept the reality of our society and to work within it rather than isolate oneself by sticking one’s nose up at who the people, in their (lack of) wisdom, have chosen to lead them in prayer.

  43. fyi says:

    Liz says: May 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Mr. Khamenei, before the Iranian Revolution, was an ordianry mullah with interest in literature and you could see him in Shah-abad street bookstores. He did not have managerial experience.

    But that is really not the issue.

    The President of the Islamic Republic is elected by direct ballot; Iranian people will make that choice for good or for ill.

    Otherwise and if the qualifications of the Presidency of the Isamic Republic could be so well-formulatyed, why have an election. Let us have a set of competetive exams in which the fellow with the higest score is selected to be the President.

    [This also would obviate the participation of the stupid, the average, and the common man & woman in running the affairs of their country.]

  44. Liz says:


    “The late Mr. hejazi had more managerial experience than those 2”

    When you say stuff like that you lose credibility.

  45. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James: “And what an absurd contention, frankly, that Washington is conspiring with the Saudis to set up an Islamic government in Egypt.”

    Yeah, the whole article was weird, including the inclusion of the map smack in the middle which had nothing to do with the article and was not referenced in it.

    And yeah, I’m well aware of the theories that the Azeris are turkic/ tatar/ mongol/ whatever. But I don’t buy it. I believe them to be the same Turans as they claim to be, who were a sister Iranian race located to the northeast (not west) of the Caspian for many centuries where they picked up “turkic” words and idioms from their chinese adn mongol neighbors to their east, and then did a mass migration west to the other side of the great lake in order to avoid the mongol hordes. I’m no expert on this, and I couldn’t even tell you where I read this, as I have not read it anywhere; it’s just a feeling I have. Go figure! They displaced the Khazars, who, according to Dunlap’s theory (popularized by Arthur Koestler’s Thirteenth Tribe) were a Turkic tribe who converted to Judaism in the 11th century (I think) and were then driven by the Mongol hordes to eastern europe where they settled in Hungary, Romania, Germany and all the way up to Poland. My other pet theory is that the Khazars were not in fact Turkic but Iranic, and so if this holds after genetics will settle the issue once and for all before too long, you have a bunch of Europeonized Iranic “Jews” (a supposedly race-based religion) migrating to Palestine and demonizing their Iranian brethren.

  46. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: May 31, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    You have provided no basis except contempt for the common man and his life and his aspirations.

  47. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: May 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you for your long and edifying discourse on the issue pertaining to the Act of Creation as it applies to Quran.

    You bring up the late Mr. Khomeini; a man very well versed indeed in Irfan (Muslim mysticism) and Kalam (Muslim Rationalist Philosopy) as the person who saved the Shia from Sunni-fication.

    To me, that admission means that the millenial-long Tradition cannot be then trusted as a guide. For if it were a trustworthy guide, it would not have needed the radical break from the past that the late Mr. Khomeini had to make when he broke with the late Mr. Ghazzali on 6 major issues.

    More disturbingly, however, is your lack of acknowledgement that the Tradition to which you refer, ultimalety and until the late Mr. Khomeini, had utterly failed in coming to grisp and to contend with the (Godless) Western Modernity. That Tradition, blindly followed, will lead, undoubtedly, to death and decay.

    My position is very clear; the study of Revelations and Scripture is open to all human beings that are so inclined. That they may have prepare themslevs for such an undertaking by the study ancialary subjects such as Arabic philology or Hadith or the Torah or the Injil or the Tafsirs of previous commentators is a reasonable suggestion and quite sensible.

    What is not sensible is the tyranny of ideas of men who lived hundreds of years agoa and were ill-equipped to confront the Revelations with all their might.

    Men and women have an intrinsic right to face the Revelation and question it or be in turn questioned by it. A collection of self-styled gate-keepers are not needed. What is needed is a collection of guides and teachers and experts that can share their own opinion (pay attention here: falliable human opinion) with the belivers; to help them in their search and point out dead-ends.

    We are all aware of the Islamic Republic is not a democracy; neither is the United States which is a representative republic. But your trust in some sort of meritocractic religious hierarchy, in the face of historical experiences of the eventaul corruption of very many such a hierarchic organizations, is truly a triumph of Hope over Experience.

    Specifically, the late Mr. Hejazi, had a right to run for the presidency of the Islamic Republic according to its constitution. The people of Iran are the best judge of who should be their president. Had Mr. Khamenie or Mr. Rfsanjani managed anything in Iran? The late Mr. hejazi had more managerial experience than those 2.

  48. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Yes, interesting map (included with Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya article you linked). One obvious observation to be made is that Turkey will not allow creation of an independent Kurdistan. That dream of the neocons and other elements of the radical “pro-Israel” groups in the US, is not going to happen. Period. Full stop.

    And what an absurd contention, frankly, that Washington is conspiring with the Saudis to set up an Islamic government in Egypt.

  49. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Fitzroy Maclean thought the people of Azerbaijan to be primarily of Tatar/Turkic origin. That said, it was under the control of the Persian Empire, to varying degrees, for a long period prior to the Russian conquest. And let’s remember that the Communist party boss in Azerbaijan had intentions of trying to annex Iranian Azerbaijan even when the Communist leaders in Moscow opposed the idea.

    The US, of course, forced the USSR to evacuate Iranian Azerbaijan after the Second World War ended.

  50. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Liz says:
    May 31, 2011 at 10:47 am

    “Go worry about Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney.” LOL. Exaaaaaaaaaaaactly.

    I took the liberty to respond to the “basis” fyi was looking for. Hope you don’t mind ;o)

  51. James Canning says:

    Bob Marshall,

    What specific information do you have that the CIA is supporting the MEK terrorists?
    I am very well aware that the neocons and other warmongering “supporters of Israel right or wrong”, support the MEK.

  52. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Like [throwing] pearls to the/in front of pigs (Saue has umlaut on the a which I didn’t put)

  53. James Canning says:


    If India in effect is endorsing the 2002 Saudi peace plan, surely that is a very good thing.

  54. James Canning says:


    What a surprise! More foolish advice for Obama from Robert Gates (urging retention of permanent US military bases in Iraq)! Cr*p advice from Gates helped to prompt Obama into squandering hundreds of billions of dollars on the Afghanistan quagmire.

  55. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Bussed-in Professor:
    Thank you for the kind words. It is good to know someone actually reads the longer posts and, in some cases, enjoys them.
    VoTTD (Voice of Tehrani Tourists in Dizin):
    You’re going to have to help me out here: my online translator’s German is not up to the good professor’s: wie Perlen vor den Sauen ??
    The ‘Ash’aris believe the Koran is uncreated (qadim) while the Mu’tazilites and Shi’a hold that its essence is uncreated, the words are indeed created in time (hadith). As such, they are time-bound, context-bound. As such, in order for their timeless wisdom to be applied to each new situation, the context-bound revelations (bound in the context of the circumstances in which they were revealed, the circumstances of the sacred community, and the circumstances of the world at large (for example, the level of development of, say, mathematics of the community to which the revelations were sent) must be interpreted anew and applied to new situations. This act is called ta’wil, which has the same *jazr* (triletteral root) as awwal (a-wa-la), and is the hermeneutic process of taking a given ayah back to the context of its first inception. Ta’wil is a Shi’a phenomenon and is not shared by the literalist Sunnis, for whom tafsir (exposition, elaboration, amplification and explanation (grammatical, syntactical, orthographic, etc.) suffices. Because the Sunnite or majoritarian view did not feel the need for ta’wil (a specialized sort of sacred spiritual hermeneutic exegesis), then they did not see in their imams (small i), qaaris, mohaddesin, mofasserin, motekkallemin and fuqaha a need for them to fulfill the function of Imamah (capital I), which included the role of interpreter par excellence of the ayat and ahadith – a function for which they necessarily needed to be inerrent (ma’sum; see commentaries on 33:33) and designated from above (mansus).
    So as I have said before, the hadith/ qadim controversy, spills over into the imamat/ khilafat dichotomy (due to the *functions* assumed for each, and both eventually also crystallize in fiqh in the form of the issue as to whether or not the baab ul-ijtihad (the Gate of Striving) is open or closed. In Sunnite Islam, it remained closed (the various modes of piety having been exhausted by the four Rites (Maliki, Sha’fi’I, Hanafi & Hanbali) until the la-madhhab salafis and Wahhabis came along (these are modernists such as yourself, fyi, who reject the millennial wisdom of tradition (which holds that not everyone is qualified to interpret the sacred texts) – rejects tradition in favor of a truly bizarre “democratic” free for all philosophy of anyone and everyone not only having a right to, but being able to and indeed having a duty to interpret the sacred texts for themselves (and not to imitate others). That is why the Wahhabis demolished the four “maqaams” (stations) of the four Rites which had been erected in the four corners of the ka’ba and stood there for many centuries. (I personally agree with that act of destruction, and must give credit where credit is due –though I do NOT agree with the wholesale dismissal of the 4+1 madhahib, which to me is, like I said, simply a bizaare act, on a par with literally throwing the baby out with the bathwater, if you can imagine such an absurdity. Well you can, of course. What am I saying? You do it every day! You live and breathe that absurdity!!

    The fate of the Gate of Ijtihad for the Shi’a is another (much longer) story again. Suffice it to say that it remained kinda open after the Greater Occultation, with the hinges rusting it further and further shut in a creeping Sunnification of our fiqh until Imam Khomeini (ra) and his blessed movement threw it wide open with using the fulcrum of the necessity of expediency in matters of state. (Note that the capitalization of the Imam in Imam Khomeini is titular rather than particular, so that it is proper not to capitalize the word in a sentence such as: Khomeini was a shi’a great imam (leader; lit. foreperson) of the Iraian people).

    As far as Hejazi, that’s easy. You keep on making the mistake of assumiong that everyone is a democrat like your modernist salafist self, and that Iran is a democracy and that Iranians share your values. We aren’t, it isn’t and we don’t.
    At the risk of sounding like a broken record: Churchill famously said that the greatest argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average person. And as the great wit and philosopher of Santa Cruz Robert Anton Wilson quipped: “You know how dumb the average person is… well, statistically half the population is dumber than that.” And you want to let these beebol vote a goalie into office. R U Sirius? The way our meritocratic system works is: let him manage a football club, then the football league. If he shows talent and competence, he will be nominated as Minister of Sports. If he shows talent there, he will be given other portfolios, and will at that point have become a proven commodity. Like Ahmadinejad or Qalibaaf, if they can do well at running the capital as mayor, then they pass the threashold of competence. We value our government too much and take our civic responsibilities too seriously to allow Bozo the Clown to become our president (or was it Bedtime for Bonzo?), or a draft-dodging cocaine-sniffing alcoholic.
    Lakum lamadhhabukum wa li ad-din.

  56. fyi says:

    Irshad says: May 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for your kind wishes.

    I read it on the Public Internet.

    About the same time and almost simultaneously, there were multiple declarations by a few Israeli officials that cast doubt on the negative consequences of the Iranian nuclear projects to the security of the State of Israel.

    The answer to your question is that US animosity to Islamic Iran is rooted, as I have declared on this forum numerous times, in the US Grand Strategy that has called for the nipping in the bud – as is said – any local pretenders to power that might arise in areas of the world that the US considered important for the maintenance and enhancement of her geo-political position.

    There is no sign that US leaders have abandoned that Grand Strategy; there is every indication that EU states, while not agreeing to the its application to Iraq, are in agreement with US and within themselves when it comes to Islamic Iran.

    All of this is a fool’s errand, really. But the Axis Powers use the Grand Strategy that they have and not the one they wished to have (if any).

  57. James Canning says:


    I think Israeli military leaders do not expect an attack from Hezbollah, on a first-strike basis. How much of the seeking of support against Iran and Hezbollah is essentially a smokescreen, intended to distract attention from Israel’s continuing oppression of the Palestinians?

  58. Rehmat says:

    Irshad – Mossad head could not dare to enter Iran. However, he did warn Benji Netanyahu and other Zionazi leaders that an attack on Iran would be ABSOLUTE STUPIDITY.


  59. Rehmat says:

    masoud – I do feel sorry for your stupidity. The ‘Global Security org’ is as much Israeli Jewish as is MEMRI or Wikipedia.

    If your Israelis are so powerful – how come they licked the dust against 1500 Hizbullah fighters who have nothing but guns and crude rockets against 30,000 Israeli thugs laced with F16s, tanks, gunships, missiles, missile carrying navel vessels and backed by intellegence agencies from the US, France and Britain?

    Furthermore, I neve heard of Tehran begging to China to save Iran as Tel Aviv has been begging the US, Germany, France, Britain, UN and EU to save Israel from Iran and Hizbullah.


  60. Irshad says:

    @fyi – I hope you are well – in a previous post you said that the head of Mossad was in tehran, meeting Larijani in April – wheres your evidence of this? Can anyone else corobate this?

    I just find it hard to belive this can happen, especially after Obamas speech to Aipac – if this was the case, surely the Americans would see Isreal dealing with Iran so why not Obama and co.?

  61. Pirouz says:

    Apparently banking sanctions and Germany’s refusal to fuel up Iranian jetliners carries a “two hour” inconvenience fine:

    Germany furious after Iran delays Merkel’s plane


  62. fyi says:

    Liz says: May 31, 2011 at 10:47 am

    On what basis does your assertion rests?

  63. Liz says:

    That’s easy. He was not qualified to be president. Go worry about Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney.

  64. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: May 31, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Two things:

    You wrote: “… the Koran was created..”.

    This is not shared by very many Muslims who believe that the Quran is the Un-Created Word of God (Qadim).

    Secondly, you need to explain, in my opinion, why a Muslim, the late Mr. Nasser Hejazi, was excluded from the list of approved candiates for the Presidency of the Islamic Republic.

    If you had faced him, when he was alive, how would you explain to him that he is not permitted to take part in the political life of his country?

    Was he not a Muslim, or an Iranian?

  65. Rehmat says:

    Addressing the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) Committee on Palestine in Bali, Indian Deputy Minister of State for External Affairs, E. Ahamed, said that his country supports the Palestinian people’s struggle for a sovereign, independent, viable, and united State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognised borders – side by side and at peace with Israel.

    I am sure, the deputy minister was aware of the fact that India’s ‘patron-in-chief’ Barack Obama’s vision of two-states in occupied Palestine is totally different than what he said. Obama proposed a ‘demilitarized’ Palestinian state bordering the Zionist entity with the status of East Jerusalem and illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the return of Palestinian refugess to their ancestral homes from where they were thrown out by the Zionazi thugs in 1947-49. Not to mention, Obama was told to ‘shove….’ his proposal by Benji Netanyahu during his address to the joint session of US Parliament.

    Knowing that India has been sharing the same bed with Israel for many decades – how could E. Ahamed dare to make such ‘anti-Semitic’ remarks?

    Thanks to the powerful Hindu extremist groups Hindutva India-Israel relationship is on the rise. According to the figures released in 2009 by Israeli Defence Ministry, India accounted for 50% of Israel’s military exports. From 2006 to 2009, India’s $9 billion arms purchase from Israel have made India its largest client of military hardware. These arms sales were part of a declared NDA policy to forge an alliance among India, the United States and Israel. Same has been proposed by Brajesh Mishra in a speech to the American Jewish Community in Washington in May 2003 that India, Israel and the United States should unite to combat the common threat of Islamic fundamentalism. The Indo-Israel nexus is a part of the combat strategy to fight this common threat.

    It is well known that Israeli Mossad infiltrates in jihadi organization structure through Indian influence in Afghanistan in order to help and train them. In his article, ‘Israel supplier of weapons to India’ Michael William pointed out that reason behind Israel’s inclination towards strengthening defence ties with India is to save its defence industry to die down and start a proxy war against Pakistan in Baluchistan and in FATA.

    The Zionist think tank, Belfer Center, in its July 2008 Policy Brief had recommended that India should continue its close ties with Israel and use its influence on Arab governments to recognize Israel and that the US administration must continue its support for security and diplomatic cooperation between India and Israel. However, this support must be kept “secret” as the knowledge of such American support would certainly create a backlash in India and the Muslim world.


  66. Bob Marshall says:

    I am sorry but i don’t read or listen to any news media because in the US the media is controlled by the CIA. What does concern is during my latest research i find that thr CIA is backing and training the MEK. This is always the tactics used before the US seems to find a reason to start bombing a third world country. At one time our Constitution stated only Congress had the power to go to war. Obama has changed that so he doesn’t have to ask anyone. he can now declare war on any country he feel may have any connection with terrorist wheather proven or not. This is the mostdangerous President we have ever had. He is carring on the Bush policy and taking it much further.most Americans want our troops to come home ansd leave the Middle east alone. Sitution here is made worse because the War Cabinet listens to Henery Kissenger and now Obama has added Martin Dempsey and James Winnefeld . Two men who love war.not only are lives being lost on both sides our country is going totally broke by supporting our military complex machine. Our children and their children will pay this bill. the damage that has been done in Iraq and Afghanistan can not be undone. You can’t bring back the dead. You can’t give the wounded back their arm or legs.Ect. You can’t restore the damage done to the land. The damage by telling a country you are there to save them to insure their freedom. When the real reason is oil fields and oil and gas pipe lines. Drugs are another reason. America needs to wake up1 Our government is running out of ways to lie and sound believable any more. i fougth in Vietnam for three years and never realized these people were fighting us the way they had the French to be free from foreign rule and intervention.As a Patriot i am dismayed to find that almost every war were were involved in was either started by or allowed to happen. There are a lot of dead. Destroyed countries and broken families because of the goal of US Global Hegemony.The US may be the military power but will one find that the real power will be the United Nations. By that time we citizens will have lost most of our rights and freedom. too many American can’t fathom a war with Iran. Why else would we have bases in every country surrounding Iran. Most of Russia and China. Only the American citizen can say enough is enough. It really bother me to se that the only Countries to use nuclear weapons are the US and Nato. Yet the government is worried about Iran and other nations with terrorist may get hold of a nuclear weapon.What a lie. The illuminati has to be sitting back as their plan is being carried out to perfection.With a congress and President who has a cabinet filled with CFR members that plan is on schedule.as long as The federal reserve is owned by the banking cartel our country hasn’t a prayer. Question? How doea a country get out of debt by printing money that has no backing. This country started to detoriate when The Federal Reserve was brought into being. At least with the gold standard we had something to back up our money. This great Patriot said it best! ‘ I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency…their children will wake up homeless on the contient their fathers conquered.Since the major banks, businesses and institutions in this country have CFR CEOs’including the news media Americans are kept in the dark. the fact we have lost our ability to think for ourselves is by design, not by accident. Both Hilter and stalin said their greatest weapon was propaganda by the news media.

  67. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Absolutely brilliant…
    “Man’s failure to achieve sacred consensus dooms him to tyranny. This, at least, is the right’s argument. And it is a formidable one which I believe the left has not even begun to recognize, because the right has not been interested in voicing it to them.”

    Left-Liberals just don’t get culture and religion…wie Perlen vor den Sauen…

    I concur with UUs response. Also forget anything that reeks of secularism and liberalism, it will lead you to disappointment and despair in this world and the next.

    It’s about haq and batel and today just as the US and assorted poodles are the manifestations of the devil/batel, so is the Islamic Republic of Iran and co-fighters- with all it’s flaws which are regularly pointed out by none other than the SL himself- is the manifestation of deen al-haq. Notice I said the “Islamic Republic of Iran”, not simply “Iran”.

    In the ghaybate kubra, this is the deal. That shared common human morality you speak of literally won’t happen until the zuhur of the only one who has the capacity to bear the heavy responsibility of enforcing it. Until then, pick a side- sorry no third option.

  68. masoud says:


    Is that really the accepted conventional wisdom? I had read the document you posted when it came out and dismissed it as a politicized meeting. I sounded to me that the technical teams where each arguing for the facts which would support their superiors policy preferences. I actually can’t imagine an earnest and honest technical discussion taking place under the rubric of this type of a meeting. There was the ‘Russian View’ and the ‘American View’, battling it out, with no dissenting analysts on either side. On every issue the American analysts were hyping any possible threat from Iran, and the Russians were downplaying the strategic costs of everything. The obvious subtext, in my view, was the justification for a US missile shield. It occurred to me that the main reason the Russians where trying to heap scorn on the 2000km range figure is because Moscow is almost exactly 2000 km way from north eastern Iran.

    Anyway, i had long ago read about the 200m CEP from sites like globalsecurity, and internalized the number. If it’s wrong then it’s wrong, but if that’s the case i’d have to agree with Galen that this makes it useless as a military weapon. If the Iranians had even a thousand of these their stocks would be depleted within about two months, with most of the fired weapons having absolutely no effect on Israel’s military capabilities and killing just as many Palestinians as Israelis(more pals than Israelis, if 2006 is any kind of a guide). Which begs the question, what is staying Israel’s hand at the moment? They do have cruise missiles and ballistic missiles of their own, even if they can’t get their air force over Iraq, and they wouldn’t really be put off by not getting all of Iran’s nuclear sites, because their aim is to ‘send a message’, and if Iran weaponised in response, then that’s just mission accomplished. Also why would Iran embark on things like a spin stabilized warhead to ‘improve accuracy’ on the Shahab 3C, if the real damage is being done before the thing even separates? Why would anyone try to ‘improve’ the accuracy of such a cow anyway?(assuming that it has no guidance capabilities outside the first minute of launch) The several kms CEP for the Shahab just doesn’t make sense to me.


  69. Pirouz says:


    Per Russian assessments during Joint Threat Assessment Talks, Dec. 2009 (Wikileaks), extended range Shahab-3-class missiles possess an accuracy of “several kilometers” and Seji-2 tests (2009) are of a prototype, requiring 2-3 years more testing and missile can’t be deployed for another 5-6 years.


  70. Unknown Unknowns says:

    OK. To continue my response to your earlier post. Really the only ting for me to add is to comment on this statement of yours: “It is true that we cannot conclusively prove anything, but we can create extremely reliable probabilities, and trust the outcomes, as we do.” The problem I have with this is in the “extremely reliable Probabilities” and outcomes we can “trust”.
    Either we have conclusive proof, or we don’t. Either she is pregnant or she isn’t. She can’t be almost pregnant. (In that case, she would either be pregnant or very fat :D )

    It’s like I was telling Richard a few months back: if you are at a roulette table and are playing red or black, and, say, black comes up 23 times in a row. The chances of red coming up next are still 50/50. You might believe you have an “extremely reliable probabilit[y], and trust [that] the outcome will be red on the next bet, but you’re not going to bet your house on it, because in the end, only God knows, and man doesn’t know shit.

    And if ever you find yourself suffering from the hallucination that you are on terra firma, all you do is drop a tab of acid (or some other neurochemical modifier) and you will be quickly brought back to reality.


    OK, but enough about matters epistemic. Like I said, the epistemological challenges of a rational system are formidable at best and, in my opinion, impossible to overcome. To stick with a metaphor that you are probably comfortable with, the rational domain applies only to our pre-frontal, cognitive portion of our forebrain, whereas the much more archaic and radicle [sic] determinant of our thoughts and feelings and actions are the hindbrain (hypothalamus) and brainstem. So let’s move on.

    Even if you were able to overcome the impossibility of basing a system of ethics on rational grounds, you would then be confronted with an even more pesky problem: the problem of the legitimation and legitimacy of the authority of that system of ethics.

    Here is an excerpt from an email I sent my friend Mr. Soros a couple of years ago (before the riots that followed the election). In it I tried to articulate the problem of an authority not derived from above, but agreed to by means of reason and convention. I think it still has relevance, and hope you get something out of it.

    [Mr. Soros, ] You are wrong about the de jure status of profane authority: Sunni Islam did indeed accept in theory as well as in practice the authority of the impious (notice I did not use the sacred/ profane dichotomy). That was the Shi’a’s whole objection to the dominant majority of the community: they capitulated in principle to the might makes right position, and hence abandoned in toto the kernel of the Prophet’s charge: the (re)instatement of God’s will on earth.

    And because of this acceptance (and of course the de facto demonstrated failure of the Prophet’s mission), that which the modern West thinks it wants and had become the very way in which it defines its notion of freedom, this failure has been within “Islamdom” (to use one of Hodgson’s necessary neologisms) from the very death of the Prophet himself, and actually, from before it (but that is a much longer story).

    I say failure advisedly. You see, this is the depth of the problem: (and this will be a hermeneutic (hashiye-nevisi) on Durkheim’s immense statement (taken from The Elementary Forms of Religious Life): “If religion generated everything that is essential in society, this is because the idea of society is the soul of religion.”

    If an-archy (absence of authority) leads to barbarism, if we grant that (and I do, considering the colorful characters that I have witnessed who are – ineluctably – some of the constituent elements of humanity), then it follows that the more a community strays from consensus and common ground, the more oppressive its laws become to its outlying constituents.

    One cannot get rid of the idea of society without getting rid of the idea of authority; or put another way, one has to have authority if one is to have society. And if authority is to have legitimacy, it has to be bought in to. Some Iranians have decried Khamenei as the symbol of a failed revolution because they claim that they dethroned the Shah only to replace his head with that of Khamenei (see The Turban for the Crown by Saeed Amir Arjomand, for example). But that is precisely what Western democracy has done too: decapitated papist absolutism only to replace it with (the ideal) of representative democracy – the point being that they have done nothing to the behemoth of absolutism; we have merely substituted one form of absolutism with another. But don’t go running off to defend the new authoritarianism as relatively superior. That is not my point. My point is that we have *no choice* but to embrace absolutist authoritarianism (in its modern democratic guise or otherwise), because society cannot exist without laws, which themselves can only be enforced by brute force. Therefore, therefore, the only way to escape from the tyranny of absolutism is for that absolutism to have absolute authority, absolute *legitimacy*; is for society to be a community. And the only way to approximate that is to have consensus upon the sacred, is to hold values in common that are held sacred: haram, haraam, totem & taboo. Without consensus upon the sacred, one can have authority but one cannot have legitimate authority, and without legitimate authority one either has barbaric anarchy, or the next (but barely) better thing, illegitimate autocracy. Man’s failure to achieve sacred consensus dooms him to tyranny. This, at least, is the right’s argument. And it is a formidable one which I believe the left has not even begun to recognize, because the right has not been interested in voicing it to them. It has been much more interested in stoking the popular will with the false promises of the equally false prophets of the (communitarian, statist) right, be they Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, or Mao.

    Well, I see that I have botched up the whole presentation, which is much clearer in my mind that it is when I come to commit it to writing. I am very nearly tempted to delete the whole of the above passage, but will send it out to you just so you get a taste of my thinking. But I readily concede that it is very incoherent and uncrystallized, etc.

    The whole thing about Islam, or at least traditional Islam, is that it recognized the need for consensus (ijma”) in order for the sacred community (umma) to obtain, but it also recognized that this (sacred) authority must be limited and that everything that is not haram must by default be halal. Or at least that is what the theory was. Then came scope creep. And authority became all-encompassing, totalitarian, oppressive.

    But the Shi’a knew this was going to happen. That is why they insisted in the necessity for charismatic leadership (the Imams), because the Koran was created in time and hence its laws were context bound (and hence needed to be interpreted anew by a divinely appointed guide whose word was as infallible as the Koran’s (and the Prophet’s). This was the difference between the two proto-communities, not the “political” differences and power struggles between the ‘Alid partisans and that of the Bani Umayyah, as orientalists have repeated, parrot-like, regurgitating the Sunnite clap-trap. It was a religious feeling, that the community must remain sacred and the only way for it to remain so is for eternal guidance from Heaven. Hence the difference between khilaafa and imaama: the former inherited only the prophet’s temporal functions of political authority, whereas the subscribers to the concept of imaama held that the tripartite functions of political, juridical and spiritual authority were necessarily inherited by the leader of the community, the Imam, if the community was to sustain its sacred character.

  71. masoud says:


    Do you have any estimate at all for the Sejil missile CEP? In all the other sources I have read(which are all unreliable web sites), the Shahab 3 CEP is listed as no larger than 200m. Is there any technical reason why SCUD engines can not be modified to burn their fuel more slowly or keep a reserve amount for maneuvering contingencies?

  72. Castellio says:

    More than just interesting. The Black Civil Rights Movement and Zionism. (Fiorangela, this covers some of the pre-WW2 period you’ve been researching.)


  73. Unknown Unknowns says:


    This unusually weak article by Mahdi Nazemroaya is linked for the map which is embedded in teh article (which, by the way, has nothing to do with the article, nor is it referred to therein).

    The map, which is called “The Project for the New Middle East” is a good reference as to how creedal-ethnic lines are drawn, which lines should be distinguished from actual political fault lines. Azerbaijan, for example, is ethnically and creedally and even, I would argue, linguistically Iranian and it is inconceivable that Iranian Azarbaijan will separate from her motherland. Similarly, it is inconceivable that Iran (or Pakistan) would allow Balouchistan independence. And, the Arab Shi’as would only enjoy any sort of independence under the tutelage of their patron, Iran, and this would not include ceding Khuzistan to that entity.

    The case of the breakup of Saudi Arabia, however, is quite different. As I have stated earlier, the Arabia of the aal as-Sa’ud/ aal ash-Sheikh clans is an artificial construct with its final borders having been determined in 1936 (if memory serves – help me out here James). It consists of the kuffar of Najd (the central desert region), the Sunni/ Shi’a mix of the Hejaz (the western region), the Shi’a oases of Qahtan and al-Ahsa (the strip running up and down the southern coast of the Forever Persian Gulf), and Asir, which historically is part of Yemen.

    Put the fact of the artificiality of the construct known as Saudi Arabia together with the fact that the marriage of convinience between the two clans (aal as-Sa’ud/ aal ash-Sheikh) is no longer convinient, and you have a sitooashun that is potentially highly explosive. (It is no longer convinient becuase the puritanical rigid literalist Wahhabis of the aal ash-Sheikh who are in control of the religious sites, schools and waqfs cannot abide the womanizing (to say the least of it), alcohol-imbibing, gambling degenerates of the aal as-Sa’ud clan, who hold the reigns of power. Needless to say, the feeling is more than reciprocated.)

    The first fissures in this crumbling edifice occured in 1979 with the seizure of the Ka’ba by Juhayman al-Oteibi and Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani – leaders of the Ikhwan (not to be confused with the Salafist non-takfiri Ikhwan al-Muslimin, this nasty little group is the institutionalization of Wahhabist-takfiri kufr.) For more on the Seizure of the Ka’ba by the Ikhwan, see


  74. PB says:

    We all knew the operation against Libya was done to set a new “doctorine” or excuse to go to war. That excuse has been quickly applied to Syria, while Yemen and Bahrain are ignored. IT is not a surprise that we see every attempt to connect Iran to Syria, thus extending the potential of the excuse. I should remind people that a ‘legitimate” war is explained as the right to defeat the enemy and its allies. A war with Syria could be extended to Iran.

    I also like to point out that heavy dose of propaganda was put out proclaiming that Hezbollah members were the ones beating the protestors in 2009. This is an old tactic.

  75. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    May 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    A welcome corrective. You are not only a Bussed-in Professor, but a Moslem Doctor of Chiropractic, giving attitude adjustments to those in need :o)

    Reading this passage, “Sorry your personal haq is not gonna protect you from the communal batel created by your leaders.” I heard a feeble voice echo his usual objections: “But I am an individual with God-given rights which are inalienable, and I can state with metaphysical certainty that I am not responsible for the actions of my community, as I am an hermetically-sealed island immune from everything, including myself.” But of course we know that what ails this voice is beyond the ambit of efficacy of chiropractic adjustments.

    Bonus points: “even if they … have beards down to their waists.”
    Double bonus points: “every western pissant arm-chair chicken-hawk non-expert”

    “…have the ability to save their country from the zombies ruling them. I doubt it.” – You are right: the hijackers of the US are spiritually dead. They have flatlined. There is no saving them. Right on. Perhaps we should refer to the capital as Washington ZC instead, Zee Cee for Zombie Coup d’etat. And I agree: I doubt it too.


    A generalized but nonetheless interesting rebuttal. I’d like to see the Bussed-in Professor’s retort.

    Here’s my two cents’ worth:

    • “aren’t you reducing religion to nationalism in how you seem to demand specific forms of political action from various faith groups?” Islam, being a way of orienting and transacting one’s life that encompasses the totality of human existence, includes and indeed give high priority to social justice. In the Ja’fari aqida (creedal belief system) it is one of the arkan-e din (pillars of the religion). As such, acting to bring about social justice and to maintain it within the “nation” (ummah) of Islam is a demand not of the good professor’s, but a religious duty demanded by the Community.
    • The “theory” of the Clash of Civilizations was not Huntington’s but his MI-6 Princeton spy-scholar evil genius Bernard Lewis, who was merely regurgitating what everyone already knows, namely, that different peoples are different. It only seemed new to those who did not realize that different people and different (and consequently thought that different people were the same). No. We maintain that people are different. We are told in the Surat an-Nuh that it is God’s will that there be a diversity of religions “so that mankind might overtake each other in doing good” or something like that. And because we are told in Kafirun, “lakum dinukum wa li ad-din”. When one realizes the reality of religious pluralism and that this is part of God’s plan, one comfortably accommodates oneself to a live and let live foreign policy. But if one comes from the “deviationist” (to use a current term) tradition of crusades and inquisitions and manifest destiny and white man’s burden and master-race racism, and one therefore falsely believes that there is only one way, one religion, and that it is the white man’s burden to impose this new world order on the rest of the “undeveloped” world, then we run into “issues”.
    • “The anti-war demonstrations in the UK were the largest ones in the country’s history, yet they made no impact on Blair’s ‘poodlehood’.” (1) They made no impact on the poodle because it was a showing of a mass of atomized, disenfranchised, ultra-individuated souls who were and remain powerless because they are not part of a community, but rather, “individuals”, which is where the Novus Ordo Seclorum has them, and where it wants them. If the numbers that demonstrated against the war were organized in a shared Moslem community with nested hierarchies, then it would have been a different proposition altogether. “The problem is neither the people nor their religion, but the inherent weakness of systems of representative democracy in advanced forms of capitalism.” No. The problem is the people and their religion, whose absence results inevitably in inherent “systemic” weaknesses.
    • “Iran still remains at lower echelons of capital accumulation, but will face the same problems in the future.” No it won’t. The future, by the way, is already here. While people in the richest country in the world are all pretty much a couple of paychecks away from bankruptcy because everyone either owes rent or mortgage payments in a system which provides financial disincentives against outright home ownership (because that way the sheeple will no longer pay interest, which is the lifeblood of the vampire owners of the country), in Iran, more than half of the population own their houses outright and Ahmadinejad’s plan is to make the rest of the population homeowners by the time he leaves office – a plan that he is well on the way to succeeding at. Iran won’t fall prey to the vultures and vampires, because its central bank is owned nationally, and is not in the filthy hands of amoral private profiteers. Capitalism is not inevitable, Neo. You need to put that blue bottle away and take the red pill. Maybe then you will stop talking about corporate personhood and the Supreme Court decisions of1819 and 1886 and other straw men and chimera, which is all that “radical” critique of capitalism is. So yeah, don’t waste another ten years trying to become more articulate about corporate accountability or the lack thereof. The Wabbit Hole beckons.

  76. PB says:

    Pirouz Congrads!!!!!

    Also, Frontline’s only foreign blog “Tehran Bureau” or better known “IranHate.com” is clearly not an independently minded website. All of its main ideology is identical to the positions taken by the State Department. The main task of the website is to “explain” their latest spin on Iran to an Iranians audience, and advance the agenda.

  77. Rehmat says:

    “It is much too important, especially now, when politicians rely on what they hope will be a Christian base committed to the Republican Party (of God), a fictitious cognomen, a nickname, by which its leadership hopes to regain the Presidency by any and all means at it disposal, and our expense,” Kenneth Ramey, Salem News.


  78. Castellio says:

    “An Israeli Cabinet minister said the civilized world must take joint action to avert the Iranian nuclear threat, including a pre-emptive strike if necessary…. Moshe Yaalon — the minister for strategic affairs — made the statement in an interview with Russia’s Interfax news agency released Monday ahead of a visit to Moscow.” AP

    Israel clearly owns the US government, and the bond of a mutual enemy in a shooting war can only bring them closer.

    It’s possible that we’ll look back and say that the only difference between Bush and Obama is that Obama overrode the DOD on the issue of Iran… or placed Panetta in place to do so.

  79. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    I share your clear anger, but I feel you are way off in how you discuss ordinary people in the West, Muslims included. No disrespect intended, but aren’t you reducing religion to nationalism in how you seem to demand specific forms of political action from various faith groups? Aren’t you also subscribing to Samuel Huntington’s view of the world? Perhaps his approach could also have been described as following Khomeini’s?

    I am no fan of any of them…

    The anti-war demonstrations in the UK were the largest ones in the country’s history, yet they made no impact on Blair’s ‘poodlehood’.

    The problem is neither the people nor their religion, but the inherent weakness of systems of representative democracy in advanced forms of capitalism, in my view.

    Representative democracy distances people from responsibility for important political decisions – like going to wars – while corporate power chips away at the foundations of their moral values, as these hinder profits.

    Iran still remains at lower echelons of capital accumulation, but will face the same problems in the future.

    New forms of (democratic and just) political organisation are needed. Ones that directly challenge the power of privately run corporations.

    For a start, the concept of ‘limited liability’ has to go. Corporate bosses should be held accountable for their crimes, like everyone else.

    Also, the vacuous concept of delegation of power to elected representatives has to go. People should participate in the legislative process. It is doable.

    People everywhere can share such goals, regardless of nationality or religion.

    In the final analysis, the core of human morality is simple. We do have shared values. Independent of location or religion. And we are acquiring the kinds of technologies that can make working toward such solidarity practical. Like in this room.

  80. James Canning says:

    Iran continues its campaign against nuclear weapons with another two-day conference next month in Tehran. And Netanyahu got the foolish US Congress cheering when he claimed Iran seeks nuclear weapons with which to destroy Israel! The foolish senators and congressmen were not cheering the predicted Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, but instead the valiant effort of Israel to defend itself and continue to oppress the Palestinians into the bargain.

  81. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    How do you apply your ethos to the events this year in Libya? Were the Muslims who started the uprising against Gaddafi acting correctly, in your view? Or were they in the wrong?

  82. Pirouz says:

    PBS Frontline was hacked earlier today, by persons citing their disapproval over the recent Wikileaks episode (I didn’t think it was PBS’ best effort, either). Currently, Tehran Bureau appears to have temporarily vanished.

  83. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    I too have little confidence in the ability of the American people to see through the fog of deception put out continuously by US leaders.

  84. James Canning says:


    Yes, “screaming hypocrisy” by the Obama administration. And sucking up to rich Jewish donors, in advance of the 2012 elections.

  85. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    It’s very simple, the US/UK/France/Israel with the operational assistance of Jordan, Ale Saud and their lapdog Hariri are destabilizing Syria. The Syrian government is responding and has the support of the majority of the population. And yes as I wrote at the beginning of this whole affair I personally believe that Syria would do well to reform itself politically. In the meantime, I prefer the Alawis to the Wahabis and western stooges as rulers.

    Also this whole “elite Quds Force” thing mentioned every two seconds by every western pissant arm-chair chicken-hawk non-expert is getting kinda funny…it’s starting to replace the iconic “bussed-in basiji”.

    In the age of the internet, ruling the empire by lying to the folks back home is becoming difficult. Let’s see if “the American people”- that holiest of holies in the American religion- have the ability to save their country from the zombies ruling them. I doubt it.

  86. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Photi, James,
    Reply from previous thread:

    Anytime the requirements stemming from an ethnic or national identity directly conflict with the requirements stemming from Muslim identity, the tension is not sustainable in the long run. This includes everyone.

    In our lifetime, the US (and it’s poodle the UK) are the most vivid manifestations of the devil. There is a reason why Imam Khomeini(r) called the US “The Great Satan”.

    As the Quran tells us, the people in a community who see injustice in that community and don’t do anything about it, will be punished with those that committed the injustice. They will plead with God but God will answer them that they share in the crimes of their leaders. Sorry your personal haq is not gonna protect you from the communal batel created by your leaders.

    To say it more clearly being a “patriotic” American, Brit, Frenchmen, Iranian whatever while your (duly elected) government is bombing and killing innocent Muslim populations is a major problem if you also want to claim to be a Muslim. And no the killings that occurred in the Iran-Iraq war is not like the US/UK invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya, or the Zionist occupation of Palestine or Lebanon, so no need to mention that canard. Self-defense is different than massive invasion and occupation.

    When the Muslims in the US and UK allow their governments to do what they have done without trying everything to resist, there are serious doubts about the validity of their claims to be Muslims- even if they fast the whole year, pray the whole day and have beards down to their waists. It’s about the reality of your faith and how you live it, not about empty testimonials of faith.

    The stupidest thing some American Muslims say is, “we are just like all other Americans”. Unfortunately they don’t understand how idiotic such a statement is. And I have to add that this problem stems partly from problems inherent in Sunnism- although Shias also have their fair share of Uncle Toms. But I would prefer not to go there.

    What I’ve seen from American Muslims regarding these matters is fuckin pathetic. If they are too stupid to act in a way worthy of their religion, let them live with the their American “friends” in this world and in the next . Forget about militancy, they are too stupid to even use the legal, social, political and economic tools that are available to them in the US or UK. Either this or they are social rejects like the God-forsaken Wahabis. Truly pathetic and they will clearly see the results of their lack of action in the next world.

  87. paul says:

    And then there’s the screaming hypocrisy of the Obama administration and the US political establishment criticizing Iran for intervening, while the US intervenes throughout the region, from Afghanistan to Pakistan, from Bahrain to Lebanon to Libya, and in the most extreme and brutal ways imaginable.

  88. Fiorangela says:

    Unknown Unknowns wrote, at 4:20 pm: “let the games begin.”

    –and may they go into double-decade overtime, as did this game:

    A study reveals details about the oil business Israel and Iran maintained until the fall of the Shah. The matter has led to more than 20 years of secret legal arbitrations.

    “This affair arises from an international arbitration that determined more than three years ago that the Paz, Sonol and Delek oil companies must compensate the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) hundreds of millions of dollars.

    The three companies were government-owned in the 1970s, but since then have been privatized. The oil companies have appealed the arbitration decision and are trying to create a delay, and are succeeding for now. The NIOC has not yet succeeded in enforcing the ruling and in collecting the debt. Parallel to this appeal, legal proceedings are still continuing in another two arbitrations on similar issues”


    I just read this in Karen Armstrong’s “The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions.”
    “Aryans called this order [of nature] asha. It made life possible, keeping everything in its proper place and defining what is true and correct.
    “Human society also depended upon this sacred order. People had to make firm, binding agreements about grazing rights, the herding of cattle, marriage, and the exhange of goods. Translated into social terms, asha meant loyalty, truth, and respect, the ideals embodied by Varuna, the guardian of order, and Mithra, his assistant. These gods supervised all covenant agreements that were sealed by a solemn oath. The Aryans took the spoken word very seriously. Like all other phenomena, speech was a god . . . Aryans found that the act of listening brought them close to the sacred. . . .[T]he very sound of a chant was holy; even a single syllable could encapsulate the divine. Similarly, a vow, once uttered, was eternally binding, and a lie was absolutely evil because it perverted the holy power inherent in the spoken word. The Aryans would never lose this passion for absolute truthfulness.” p. 5

    The concept of absolute truthfulness is at the heart of the plot of “The Kite Runner,” by Afghan native Khaled Hosseini.

  89. Fiorangela says:

    at 2:53 pm Eric A Brill analysed the WaPo article, highlighing this passage (among others):

    “Just before the shipments, Assad announced with great fanfare that he was lifting the country’s ban on the use of social media such as Facebook and YouTube. While widely hailed at the time, the move gave Assad’s security police an Iranian-inspired tool for tracking down leaders of the protest movement, SAID ANDREW TABLER, A FORMER SYRIA-BASED JOURNALIST WHO IS A SYRIA EXPERT AT THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY.

    “Lifting the ban on Facebook helped the regime pinpoint where the [activists] were coming from,” TABLER SAID in an phone interview from Lebanon, where he remains in contact with opposition figures. “It was not about being magnanimous; it was a way to allow more surveillance, leading to thousands of arrests.””

    Whoever the unnamed source is who is raising incomprehensible issues about social media, it’s hard to suppress a pot-meet-kettle response — or perhaps more appropriately, a response of, “Gosh darn it they’re using OUR spy networks to spy on us!”


    “Alec Ross, the Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. From asking Twitter to delay down-time maintenance during the 2009 student uprising to courting programmers for Africa, Ross’s office has been tasked with coordinating the monumental logistics of a new philosophy that embraces global interdependence. Ross spoke with Fast Company about the meaning of the highly controversial “global citizenship” concept, the diplomatic difficulties in supporting subversive technologies, and the future of transparency. . . .”

    this source makes it hard to avoid the conclusion that Alec Ross is Clinton’s boy:


    a shame she had only one daughter to marry off to a political client.

  90. Unknown Unknowns says:

    US/ Israeli partners in gas-to-Israel deal threaten arbitration


    Let the games begin.

  91. Joby Warrick’s May 27 piece, with her sources highlighted (along with the absence of any source for an important statement):

    Iran REPORTEDLY aiding Syrian crackdown

    By Joby Warrick, Published: May 27

    U.S. OFFICIALS SAY Iran is dispatching increasing numbers of trainers and advisers — including members of its elite Quds Force — into Syria to help crush anti-government demonstrations that are threatening to topple Iran’s most important ally in the region.

    The influx of Iranian manpower is adding to a steady stream of aid from Tehran that includes not only weapons and riot gear but also sophisticated surveillance equipment that is helping Syrian authorities track down opponents through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, THE SOURCES SAID. Iranian-assisted computer surveillance IS BELIEVED TO have led to the arrests of hundreds of Syrians seized from their homes in recent weeks.

    THE UNITED STATES AND ITS ALLIES LONG HAVE ACCUSED Iran of supporting repressive or violent regimes in the region, including Syria’s government, the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. MANY PREVIOUS REPORTS, MOSTLY PROVIDED BY WESTERN OFFICIALS, have described Iranian technical help in providing Syria with riot helmets, batons and other implements of crowd control during 10 weeks of demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad.

    THE NEW ASSERTIONS — PROVIDED BY TWO U.S. OFFICIALS AND A DIPLOMAT FROM AN ALLIED NATION, ALL OF WHOM SPOKE ON THE CONDITION OF ANONYMITY to describe sensitive intelligence — are clearly aimed at suggesting deepening involvement of Iranian military personnel in Syria’s brutal crackdown against anti-Assad demonstrators. There was no response on Friday to requests for comment left with the Syrian Embassy and Iranian interests section in Washington.

    IN THE ACCOUNT PROVIDED BY THE DIPLOMAT AND THE U.S. OFFICIALS, the Iranian military trainers were being brought to Damascus to instruct Syrians in techniques Iran used against the nation’s “Green Movement’’ in 2009, THE DIPLOMAT SAID. The Iranians were brutally effective in crushing those protests.

    Officers from Iran’s notorious Quds Force have played a key role in Syria’s crackdown since at least mid-April, SAID THE U.S. AND ALLIED OFFICIALS. THEY SAID U.S. sanctions imposed against the Quds Force in April were implicitly intended as a warning to Iran to halt the practice.

    The Quds Force is a unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for operations outside the country. It has helped fund and train Hezbollah and Hamas militants and supported anti-U.S. insurgents inside Iraq.

    While the size of the Iranian contingent in Syria is not known, the numbers of advisers has grown steadily in recent weeks despite U.S. warnings, ACCORDING TO THE U.S. AND ALLIED OFFICIALS.

    THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION MENTIONED the role of the Quds Forces in announcing two sets of sanctions imposed against Syrian government officials in the past month. A WHITE HOUSE EXECUTIVE ORDER LAST WEEK that targeted Assad and six other top government officials also INCLUDED A LITTLE-NOTICED REFERENCE TO MOHSEN CHIZARI, an Iranian military officer who is the No. 3 leader in the Quds Force in charge of training.

    The naming of Chizari — who in 2006 was arrested but later released by U.S. forces in Iraq for ALLEGEDLY supplying arms to insurgents there — SUGGESTS THAT OFFICIALS POSSESS EVIDENCE of his role in assisting Syria’s crackdown on protesters, SAID MICHAEL SINGH, A FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS FOR THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL during George W. Bush’s administration.

    “There’s a deeply integrated relationship here that involves not only support for terrorism but a whole gamut of activities to ensure Assad’s survival,” SINGH SAID.

    It is not unusual for governments to draw on foreign assistance during times of unrest, as Western-allied governments in Bahrain and Egypt did when protests were building in those countries.

    [EAB COMMENT: DO YOU SEE ANY SOURCE FOR THE STATEMENT IN THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE?] Iran’s increasing engagement in the Syrian crackdown reflects anxiety in Tehran about the prospects for Assad, who has failed to end the protests despite rising brutality that HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS SAY has left more than 800 people dead and perhaps 10,000 in prison. While managing to hold on to power, Assad has been severely weakened after months of Syrian unrest, ACCORDING TO CURRENT AND FORMER U.S. OFFICIALS AND MIDDLE EAST EXPERTS.

    “Iran is focused intently on how things are evolving in Syria,” SAID MONA YACOUBIAN, A FORMER MIDDLE EAST EXPERT WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT’S INTELLIGENCE DIVISION AND WHO IS A SPECIAL ADVISER TO THE U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE. “The two countries have a long-standing alliance of 30 years-plus. Syria is Iran’s most important inroad into the Arab world, and its perch on the front line with Israel.”

    Assad, whose army is stretched across dozens of cities in an unprecedented domestic deployment, increasingly needs help to survive, YACOUBIAN SAID. And Iran desperately needs Assad. “If they lose the Syrian regime, it would constitute a huge setback,” YACOUBIAN SAID.

    Iran, a longtime supplier of military aid to Syria, has been helping Dasmascus battle the current wave of civil unrest since at least mid-March, SAID THE U.S. AND ALLIED OFFICIALS. The emergence of Syria’s first true mass protests — with tens of thousands of demonstrators pouring into the streets demanding Assad’s ouster — initially flummoxed the country’s security leaders, who had little experience with such phenomena.

    On March 23, Turkish officials seized light weapons — including assault rifles and grenade launchers — on an Iranian cargo plane bound for Syria. Whether the shipment was intended to help suppress the uprising is unclear, but around the same time, Syria received other Iranian shipments that included riot control gear and computer equipment for Internet surveillance, THE U.S. AND ALLIED SOURCES SAID.

    Just before the shipments, Assad announced with great fanfare that he was lifting the country’s ban on the use of social media such as Facebook and YouTube. While widely hailed at the time, the move gave Assad’s security police an Iranian-inspired tool for tracking down leaders of the protest movement, SAID ANDREW TABLER, A FORMER SYRIA-BASED JOURNALIST WHO IS A SYRIA EXPERT AT THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY.

    “Lifting the ban on Facebook helped the regime pinpoint where the [activists] were coming from,” TABLER SAID in an phone interview from Lebanon, where he remains in contact with opposition figures. “It was not about being magnanimous; it was a way to allow more surveillance, leading to thousands of arrests.”

  92. Fiorangela says:

    Franklin Lamb was on the ground in Syria recently. Here’s what he observed and experienced:


    One must concede that Dr. Lamb’s visit to Syria was two weeks ago. Doubtless when Iran learned that peace was breaking out in their client state, Iran’s government rushed in trainers and fighters to agitate some killing and chaos. Or so WaPo would have us believe.

    a bit about Dr. Lamb:

    “Franklin Lamb , a former Assistant Counsel of the US House Judiciary Committee at the US Congress and Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law in Oregon, earned his Law Degree at Boston University and his LLM, M.Phil, and PhD degrees at the London School of Economics. Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon.

    The Sietske blog writer states that he is wary of Lamb’s credibility — he might be a bible thumper, etc. So here are a few more on-the-ground reports from Dr. Lamb; make up your own mind.




    I want to add that I read somewhere that Dr. Lamb’s wife was killed in a bomb attack in Beirut. I can’t find the article and don’t recall the rest of the details, so I shouldn’t include the information in this comment, since I can’t provide a named source n@.

  93. Rehmat says:

    The WP, NYT and WSJ are all listed at Israel Hasbara (propaganda) Committee as ‘supporters’ along with our Canadian Prime Minister stephen Harper who is known for his knee-jerk reaction to criticism of the Zionist entity.

    The Zionist-controlled US mass media will stoop to lowest journalist code of ethic when it comes to the Islamic Republic. A few day ago I read a news item reported by a “reliable” Iranian source that Ahmadinejad had decided to resign in protest to Ayatullah Khamenei’s decision to reinstate the information minister but later decided to spit on USrael face by attending his cabinet meeting after ten days.

    Every time Israel had attacked Lebanon – American military has supported IOF by every possible mean under disguise of its “secret defense commitment”. I wish Iran does the same as Iran-Syria is bounded by an open military alliance.

    However, it’s Israel and its poodles in Washington and Paris who are supporting the anti-government insurgency in Syria. Their aim is not to isolate Syria, not only from Islamic Republic but Hizbullah and Hamas. As usual, these arm-chair liars are bound to lick the dust as before. No matter who replaces (most probably Muslim Brotherhood) Bashar Assad, Dasmascus foreign foreign policy will remain anti-Israel.


  94. Bent Snowluff says:

    And what’s Mr Hopey Changey going to do about this?

    WikiCable: Sex slaves and America’s Saudi ally:


  95. Iranian says:

    The US media really makes one sick. It is almost completely dishonest about the events in the Middle East. This is a great article and it comes at an important time. There seems to be a new wave of anti-Iranian propaganda building up.

  96. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Some interesting info on Iranian Surface to Air Missile (SAM) defense systems:


  97. Liz says:

    A brave and honest piece. Excellent.

  98. James Canning says:


    The Saudis do not want another war in the Persian Gulf. The story you linked is over the top on that issue.

  99. James Canning says:

    Bravo! The Washington Post too often serves as a propaganda organ for neocons trying to0 demonise Iran, as part of a larger scheme of facilitating continuing oppression of the Palestinians. WINEP has lobbied for the breakup of Iraq, Iran and Syria. Why? To provide cover for Zionist expansion of the borders of Israel.

  100. Pirouz says:

    Armed residents put up resistance to Syrian army


    Note how the newswire states two unnamed “activists” accounts are “credible.” How? is my question. Need to see video or photos to back up these claims.

    But again, how is NAJA or even IRGC/Quds supposedly contributing advice to such a response? It’s outside of their experience and training using Army mech and armored units to suppress and occupy civilian insurrections–something Syrian army leaders experienced in the 1980s. And where are the Iranian less lethal batons and helmets in these accounts? This remains a highly militarized response, not a law enforcement less-lethal response, as executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran following the 2009 election. I mean, Iranian authorities didn’t even call upon the military during or after the Ashura riots, now did they even declare martial law.

  101. Pirouz says:

    Here’s another Saudi panic, with a translated response provided in Tabnak:

    In Response to Saudi Arabia’s Threats against Iran


    (It’s from April 18; not sure if anyone here’s seen it.)

  102. Pirouz says:

    Yes, I simply don’t get it.

    The Syrian response has been highly militarized, much closer to the Saudi/GCC/Bahrain Army response in Bahrain, with Mech and Armored units actively deployed. In such circumstances, how on earth are NAJA (Iran police) or IRGC/Quds (the narrative alternates between these two forces) figures supposed to “advise” the Syrians? The Iranian response post-2009 election was effected by NAJA police officers and Basij volunteer elements, using less-lethal means of crowd dispersal. Neither the Army nor the IRGC military were employed, nor was martial law ever employed. I mean, what experience or training does IRGC/Quds have to offer the Syrians? The Syrians have hands on experience of just this kind of response in the 1980s, only more brutal.

    Batons? Helmets? Only a few YouTube videos are available of Syrian police-like responses (the majority depict Syrian army units) using such less-lethal means of crowd control, and these items can’t be definitely identified as Iranian sourced. .

    Obviously, the Iranians are the go-to boogeyman for the US and Saudi Arabia. But what can one expect? The US has improved Iran’s standing with two wars in the region, knocking out Iranian enemies. Now the Arab spring knocks out Iran’s antagonistic rival leader in the region, while destabilizing a host of others.

    The blame game is put into motion, prompting accusations and aggressive posturing. And the Iranians? They sit back and watch the whole thing from the sidelines, just as they have with the Iraq and Afghanistan war. They’re not the ones dumping billions into three wars. They’re not the ones seeing their hegemonic strategy subverted or threatened.

    And say Syria somehow fell to something more representative of its people. Is it really likely such a new regime would give up on seeking the return of the Golan Heights? Is it likely it would turn its back on the Palestinians? The Iranians? Personally, I don’t think so.