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The Race for Iran

TAKING STOCK OF AMERICA’S DEFEAT IN IRAQ…AND IRAN’S REGIONAL ROLE

 

Last week marked the official “end” of America’s war in Iraq.  While some U.S. military personnel are still being removed from the country, President Obama received Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the White House and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta traveled to Iraq to praise the efforts of American soldiers there. 

In the midst of this, Hillary went on Al Jazeera’s Inside Story to talk about what the Iraq war really means (click on the video above or the link here).  She appeared as part of a panel with Mark Kimmitt, a retired U.S. Army general who served as the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, and Raad Jarrar, an Iraqi-American political analyst. 

Hillary made what we think are the two crucial points in any serious assessment of America’s invasion and eight-year occupation of Iraq:  

First, the truth is that the United States and its allies lost the war in Iraq (and are going to lose the war in Afghanistan as well).  By “lose”, we mean that the United States is withdrawing its military forces without having achieved its core political objectives, and with its overall strategic position weakened (more on that below). 

General Kimmitt and other commentators want to focus on the courage and dedication of the U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq, rather than rehash “tired” arguments about how the United States became involved there in the first place.  But, from a strategic point of view, how well American troops performed is, frankly, irrelevantThe mission was still a failure, because the objectives assigned to U.S. forces were ill-chosen from the start, and because America’s national leadership (and especially the George W. Bush Administration) made horrendous strategic and tactical judgments along the way. 

The Iraq war was a bloody intellectual experiment for the neoconservative world view, in which millions of Iraqis were caught up without any possibility of giving anything approaching “informed consent” regarding their participation.  The suffering imposed on these innocent victims—including those killed, wounded, and displaced—is an indelible stain on the ethical balance sheet of American foreign policy. 

And the results of this neoconservative thought experiment are, to say the least, not as advertised by the policy hucksters who pushed it.  Americans were promised that overthrowing Saddam Husayn would lead to a secular, democratic political order in Iraq that would be, by definition, pro-American.  Iraq’s transformation would, in turn, pave the way for the creation of similarly pro-American secular democracies across the region that would naturally choose to align with the United States. 

Instead, the U.S. military facilitated the emergence of a state that, in keeping with its Shi’a-majority demographics, is naturally aligned with the Islamic Republic.  From the outset, U.S. military and civilian officials have raised—and continue to raise—the specter of Iranian “meddling” in Iraq.  But by what warped standard is the Islamic Republic meddling in Iraq, at the very same time that the United States had more than 100,000 troops deployed there?  In the end, the Iraqi people, through their elected officials, told the United States that it was the party meddling in their affairs, not Iran, and that American soldiers needed, at last, to get out. 

American officials have regularly denied that the war was a “war for oil”.  If the Iraq war was, in fact, a “war for oil”, then it was an even more incompetently conceived and executed venture than even we think was the case (and we are pretty critical).  American energy companies have hardly fared well in post-Saddam Iraq.  The iconic U.S. “super major”, Exxon Mobil, recently took an upstream contract in Iraqi Kurdistan, signaling that it does not think very much of the business opportunities available to it in the rest of Iraq.  The foreign companies that play major roles in developing Iraq’s hydrocarbon reserves in coming years are more likely to be Chinese or European than American. 

The second major point is, as we wrote in October, see here, that the decision to invade Iraq was America’s biggest strategic blunder since the end of the Cold War.  Not only did it fail by its own terms of reference; it has done massive damage to America’s broader strategic position, in the Middle East and globally

In this regard, the issue is not, as some commentators endlessly debate, whether Iraq today is “better off” than it was three years ago, or five years ago, or 10 years ago?  The issue is that the United States has, by its own initiative, upturned and overturned a regional balance of power which, on the eve of the Iraq invasion in 2003, was strongly tiled in its favor. 

In 2003, Saddam was contained, the Islamic Republic was in a much weaker position than it is today, Hizballah and HAMAS had not been electorally legitimated as the most important political actors in their respective arenas.  The United States was the unchecked superpower in the region; it could do pretty much anything it wanted, which was why it went into Iraq. 

Though this was surely not America’s intention, its military misadventure in Iraq has had the effect of liberating Shi’a Muslims and empowering them to play a much greater role in Middle Eastern politics.  Conservative Sunni powers allied to the United States, like Saudi Arabia, have not taken this well.  And this has produced deeply divisive regional tensions.  Post-Saddam Iraq has excellent relations with Iran, and with Syria and Turkey as well.  But its relations with Saudi Arabia are seriously strained.  The Kingdom has yet to send an Ambassador back to Baghdad.  Rather than developing trade ties, Saudi Arabia is building a high-tech security fence along its border with Iraq.  We would dare say that, today, Saudi Arabia’s relations with Israel are better than its relations with the Maliki government.  It will be interesting to see whether the Riyadh-Tel Aviv-Ramallah-Washington axis is really more reflective of regional opinion and has greater staying power than the Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Cairo-Beirut-Gaza-Ankara(?) axis. We have our hypothesis about this.

Today, the United States is, as Hillary put it, “on the run” in the Middle East.  It is scrambling to hold on to what it can of its strategic position in the region, in any way that it can.  And that is a direct consequence of the Iraq war. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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314 Responses to “TAKING STOCK OF AMERICA’S DEFEAT IN IRAQ…AND IRAN’S REGIONAL ROLE”

  1. Castellio says:

    There are times when Eric’s obsessive characteristics are less useful than usual.

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  8. James Canning says:

    Boris Johnson also wrote, in Jan. 2007 Diary piece in Spectator: “One of the many reasons for regretting the death of Robiin Cook, Labour’s conscience over Iraq, is that he never had the chance to interrogate [Condi Rice]. I was all set to write the headline, ‘Cook Turns UP Heat On Rice.’ It’s about time someone did.” Five years later, and Rice can still sly about the US slandering Iran and acting the role of stooge of Israeli warmongers, and never get challenged by supine US news media.

  9. James Canning says:

    Boris Johnson five years ago in the Spectator (“Diary”, January 27, 2007) said: “It is clear that [Condoleezza Rice] was the most stupefyingly incompetent National Security Adviser in the history of that office.”

    Rice knew little about Iraq, and understood even less. Yet Rice was one of the two people G W Bush consulted before taking the decision to proceed with the illegal invasion of Iraq. As Johnson wrote: “The whole thing is terrifying.”

    Need one add that Rice was, and is, a dedicated stooge of the Israel lobby?

  10. Scott Lucas says:

    Rd.,

    Thank you for link — reading now….

    S.

  11. James Canning says:

    pirouz_2 (and Fiorangela),

    Key fact about reason neocons set up invasion of Iraq: Saddam Hussein was rewarding families of suicide bombers attacking targets in Tel Aviv. Bad for property values. Etc. “9/11″ gave warmongering neocons cover for setting up illegal invasion of Iraq, to protect property values in Tel Aviv.

    Those who argue that Iraq was invaded to benefit oil companies are deflecting attention for what actually transpired.

    Norman Podhoretz, one of founding fathers of neocon movement, said purpose of the invasion was to exploit an opportunity to take out an enemy of Israel and transform Iraq into a stable ally of Israel and the US.

  12. Rehmat says:

    The anti-Muslim Zionist-crowd is sick to stomach to learn that the new owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars team is a Pakistani-born Muslim American businessman. His name is Shahid Khan, born in Lahore, Pakistan. He has become the first Muslim to own a National Footbal League team. So far, the NFL team ownership was considered to be a Judeo-Christian billionaires’ monopoly.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/nfl-jaguars-muslim-owner-angers-zionists/

  13. Rd. says:

    Scott Lucas says:

    fyi,

    “Iranian Government certainly can adjust the interest rates to 15% or so and solve this problem”

    Doing so would inflict more damage on producers and small businesses

    “the parliament is about to pass a bill, called behbood fazaye kasb o kar (improving business environment), ”

    http://djavad.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/anniversary-blues-for-subsidy-reform/

  14. Rd. says:

    Scott Lucas says:

    “And since RFI has been empty of any information, let alone insight,
    on the currency situation in Iran, maybe you can introduce a bit of
    knowledge to match your holiday invective?”

    good place to invest,, %13-15%…. long term ;-)

  15. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: December 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    In the short term your statement is true.

    But India could live with such rates for decades.

    There are really no easy solutions to economic dilemmas – economic grwth versus protection of the poor.

  16. Scott Lucas says:

    fyi,

    “Iranian Government certainly can adjust the interest rates to 15% or so and solve this problem”

    Doing so would inflict more damage on producers and small businesses, not to mention Iranians who have to borrow to cover debts, damaging an economy which is already facing serious issues over employment, production, and investment.

    S.

  17. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: December 28, 2011 at 5:22 am

    In all wars there are winners and losers.

    Blockade runners, the black-marketeres, and others will always be around in any war.

    This is no different.

    Iranian Government certainly can adjust the interest rates to 15% or so and solve this problem.

    The salient feature of this Siege war against Iran, just like the Iran-Iraq war, is that those who are waging this war have now pushed Iranians too far.

    They are teaching Iranians bitter lessons in warfare and turning them into more formidable opponents – like Israelis who taught Arab Shia in Lebanon how to fight.

  18. Scott Lucas says:

    Fiorangela,

    “Your comment was sarcastic.”

    Not at all — I always look forward to your insight….

    S.

  19. Karl says:

    Dont use insults, be on topic instead and prove him/her wrong.

  20. Fiorangela says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    December 28, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Fiorangela
    Thank you as always for the kind words.
    Yours in dialogue,

    Sarcasm is like watering the garden with battery acid. Your comment was sarcastic. Mine was brutal but straightforward.

    Not interested in “dialogue” with battery acid.

    Ciao

  21. Karl says:

    I am not sure the Leverettes are reading those comments, but I want to share some views of this site:

    I think this site is very valuable but I think the commenting should be done easier, especially a quotation/follow-up function. Anyone agree?

    Also, how could we get more people to this site? There is ‘only’ some 8 users here commenting. While I appreciate everyones views I think there should be more traffic to this site. How could this be done?

  22. Scott Lucas says:

    masoud,

    Alright, then, I’ll take the bait: point to one example of “censorship” at EA.

    S.

  23. Scott Lucas says:

    fyi and James,

    Thank you for the replies. In theory, I can see fyi’s point of a currency strategy in fighting a “war” situation.

    In practice, the Government’s approach has appeared far from coherent. On the one hand, the head of the Central Bank, Mahmoud Bahmani, told the Iranian Chamber of Commerce that the situation with sanctions was “worse than physical war”. This had the effect of creating uncertainty and weakening the rial.

    A few days later, Bahmani, as well as the Minister of Economy, was summoned to a closed-door session of Parliament where he faced a barrage of criticism (several MPs walked out of the session in protest). He finally said the Central Bank would inject foreign currency into the open market. This had the short-lived effect of strengthening the rial over the Iranian weekend, but it weakened again by Sunday.

    The harsh economic reality is that, with a gap of more than 35% between the official and open-market rates, many Iranians will rush to put their finances into foreign currency and gold and some of them — especially the better-connected — will use the gap to build up short-term profits, whatever the effect on the rial.

    Best,

    S.

  24. Scott Lucas says:

    Fiorangela and masoud,

    Thank you as always for the kind words.

    Yours in dialogue,

    S.

  25. Voice of Tehran says:

    I wonder why the Cabals live such long lives ??

    “”WMR has learned from an eastern European intelligence source that the CIA. Britain’s MI-6, and George Soros, who actually fronts for the Rothschild family, has been funneling money to Russian protest movements through the Republic of Georgia.”"…

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/12/27/putin-protesters-are-receiving-their-funding-from-the-west/

  26. Rehmat says:

    On December 22, 2011 – Israeli daily Jerusalem Post had reported that with the fourth anniversary of the martyrdom of Hizbullah commander, Imad Mughniyeh, approaching – Israel Occupation Force (IOF) has beefed-up security around former IOF chief Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and former Mossad chief Gen. Meir Dagan. It’s Dagan who masterminded the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February 2008 followed by an assassination attempt on Syrian General Mohammed Suleiman in Damascus……

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/israel-hizbullah-to-kill-top-israeli-generals/

  27. Fiorangela says:

    pirouz_2 — two perspectives addressing your statement, “Israel did not achieve anything in Iraq.”

    1. Larry Wilkerson interviewed by Paul Jay, http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=7736

    rough notes:
    Wilkerson’s argument is invasion of Iraq was for oil and US succeeded.

    Royal dutch shell got multi billion contracts in iraq thru Chinese front company

    Suadi Arabia is drying up
    Chinese love that US is frittering away its power while china builds its power.

    We haven’t learned. We are not good state builders. British were exemplars and succeeded only 20% of time. We succeeded germany & japan and only after we utterly devastated, defeated the country, and then we could have our will.

    Hawks are ready to do it in Iran and Syria.

    Wilkerson: if you think Iraq was tough, think about Iran. It would take half a million, 750000 troops to control Iran. Where would they come from? A preposterous road, a march against iran.

    Jay: Who’s pushing it in the US? Clearly Bibi but who in US?
    Wilkerson: The same guys who pushed the Iraq war, the neocons, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol. Not misty eyed as freedom, democracy, just money. They want to generate money, sell billions of dollars of low, medium, and high altitude defense to GCC countries. The fundamental reason is money.

    [this is consistent with Ronen Bergman's narrative about Israel's involvement with Iran under the Shah -- it was an extremely lucrative arrangement for Israel, which sold (defective) weapons to Iran -- dangerously draining Iran's treasury, as James Canning would no doubt concur), and also give Israelis eyes and ears in Iran's internal affairs, mother's milk to zionists. In addition, Israel and Iran formed NIOC, an oil shipping and pipeline arrangement that produced tremendous revenue for Israel. Marc Rich was instrumental in making it work. One of the Rothschilds paid for the part of the pipeline from Eilat to Ashkelon that Israel did not steal from Italy. According to Bergman, Israel also sold weapons to Khomeini's Iran throughout the war against Iraq: "we wanted them to keep killing each other; no ethical consideration was made, we were in it for the money."]

    Wilkerson: They want perpetual instability and the rhetoric of war . . .. But Israel is serious that Iran having nuclear weapons is unacceptable not just in rhetoric but in reality.

    None of them is willing to fight to conquer Iran.”

    The Second item is a perspective on Israel’s situation after US withdraws from Iraq –
    in one word, insecure:

    :http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=250925

    Reasoning backward, one comes to understand that from a zionist perspective that sees everyone who is not zionist as a mortal threat, creating instability, destroying and dividing neighboring states is a good situation — a destabilized, occupied state cannot harm Israel. A state that is being itself, if that self does not prostrate itself to the zionist mindset, is a threat. And since zionists are the People of the Uncaused Cause — i.e. Jews did NOTHING to provoke Germans; as Gilad Atzmon said in a conversation with Alan Hart, “it’s never anything Jewish people do; it’s always the other guy goes all meshugena!” — zionists are incapable of forming the concept that starving and killing the men women and children in another peoples’ nation causes them to be angry and retaliate.

  28. James Canning says:

    Scott & FYI,

    Ahmadinejad on Oct. 5th in Hamedan asked people not to withdraw their funds from the banks because there was too much cash. But if the exchange rate is weakening, people are not keen to keep funds in the banks when there is no interest compensation for keeping the funds in the banks.

  29. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    It is of course no surprise that Newt Gingrich would be so eager to serve as one of Sheldon Adelson’s stooges in effort to arrange permanent oppression of the Palestinians.

  30. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    If Sheldon Adelson thinks studying the collapse of the Ottoman Empire will reveal that the Palestinians are an “invented people”, Adelson has not been doing his homework.

    The people of Palestine, after the First World War, did not want an influx of European Jews.

    If you haven’t seen the new book, “A Line in the Sand”, about Anglo-French rivalry in the territories taken from the Ottoman Emprire, you would enjoy it I am sure.

  31. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    One might add to your comments about Iran’s effort to deal with excess cash in circulation, is that the banks cannot raise interest rates to soak up some of the excess cash.

  32. masoud says:

    Scott,

    What are you doing posting here? Please consider yourself the subject of an unofficial community ban until you stop the censorship over at EA.

  33. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: December 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    The Central Bank of Iran, under instructions from the Iranian Government, is financing government deficits by raising the exchange rate between Iranian rial and the dollar and Euro.

    Much of the inflationary pressure comes from the cash subsidies; they are not sustainable in their current form.

    This is an indirect mechansim also reducing imports as the Siege Warfare against Iran continues.

    The requirements of this war – just like Iran-Iraq War – is for the state to conserve foreign exchange to be able to pay for the importation of essential goods.

    The leaders of Islamic Republic of Iran have been preparing Iran for war for 8 years. They have clearly been taking steps based on the those plans for the past few months.

    And like any other war, there are winners in this as well as losers.

    Future will tell the outcome of this – yet another war of choice – by US-EU against Iran.

  34. Fiorangela says:

    quote:
    “Haaretz reports on what Adelson, the Netanyahu ally and right-wing casino mogul recently in the news for backing Newt Gingrich, had to say :

    “Addressing a Hanukkah celebration for hundreds of youths visiting Israel as part of the Taglit Birthright program on Sunday, Adelson said, “Read the history of those who call themselves Palestinians, and you will hear why [Newt] Gingrich said recently that the Palestinians are an invented people. There are a number of Palestinians who will recognize the truth of this statement.”

    Adelson also appealed to the hundreds of Jewish youth in the audience to study history and be “goodwill ambassadors” for Israel.

    “When you return to your countries of origin, speak in support of Israel – don’t let Muslim student organizations take over the campuses. Learn history, go back to the Ottoman Empire and the First World War, and know the issue under discussion, and when you return to our homes you will remember that you are goodwill ambassadors for Israel,” Adelson said.”

    end quote

    GAME ON

  35. Fiorangela says:

    go away lucas,
    you may have the right to speak here but you are not welcome

  36. Scott Lucas says:

    VoT,

    And since RFI has been empty of any information, let alone insight, on the currency situation in Iran, maybe you can introduce a bit of knowledge to match your holiday invective?

    That would be swell….

    S.

  37. Scott Lucas says:

    VoT,

    Thank you for the kind holiday wishes — and I have to say the “Zionist agent” flourish is a lovely touch!

    S.

  38. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Nigel Nicolson in his memoirs (“Long Life”)said this about his father, Harold Nicolson: “He had an instinctive dislike of Jews . . . and like many of his generation, he was strongly pro-Zionist, not only for historical reasons and admiration for Chaim Weizmann but because he hoped that Israel would attract as many Jews as possible to live there.”

  39. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Yes, Persian Gulf (and Gulf of Oman) monarchies. Iran should seek good relations with them (and other neighboring countries).

  40. James Canning says:

    Voice of Tehran,

    Bloomberg report you linked says Iran will earn $110 billion for 2011 oil sales. Compared to $73 billion in 2010. I had seen the figure of $80 billion for 2011 oil sales. Production in 2011 is down about 15% or so, from 2010 levels.

  41. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Ron Paul is aware that the Israel lobby played crucial role in setting up the illegal and idiotic US/UK invasion of Iraq. And Ron Paul is aware that the Israel lobby is trying to set up a potential war with Iran. Purpose of the Iraq War was to benefit Israel. The scheme was heavily camouflaged.

  42. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    The letter from Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild did not in itself grant a “Jewish state” in Palestine to the Jews. The British position was in fact ambiguous.

  43. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Britain accepted (or obtained, if you prefer) the League of Nations mandate for Palestine in the wake of the First World War. This mandate obliged Britain to prepare the people of Palestine for self-rule. It did not provide for replacing the Palestinians with Jews imported from Europe.

  44. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill says: December 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I cannot explain the “prblem” in Pakistan, among its elites.

    But one of its symptoms may be found in the volume of trade between Iran-Pakistan and Iran-Afghanistan.

    The eliets in Pakistan are not interested in developing her relationship with Iran even when that could help Pakistan.

  45. Fiorangela says:

    k_w says:
    December 27, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Thank you k_w — my mistake.
    Remember to THIMK!

    ____

    also, remember to insert appropriate html. sorry about all the italics in earlier comment.

  46. Fiorangela says:

    pirouz_2 wrote:

    “To begin with I don’t see how jews profited by the war,”

    Edwin Black wrote this in The Transfer Agreement, page 5-6:

    “After the war, the question of who would represent Jewish interests at the Peace Conference was bitterly contested. A delegation cutting across Committee and Congress lines finally did assemble at Versailles. . . .”

    This is a remarkable statement, pirouz_2 and others who criticize people like me who point to zionist power. As you said, Jews fought with armies on both sides of the first war, but Jews/zionists did not have an army or a state with all the institutions and responsibilities to vast and diverse populations with which Germany, France, US, etc. were burdened. As you also note, Jewish –among other– financiers and industrialists invested in both sides of the war and reaped financial rewards from them. As Bruce bueno de Mosquita emphasizes as the core concept of all political life, people act in their own interests; Jewish people acted in their own interest, unencumbered by obligation to care for wounded and damaged soldiers AND civilians who might or might not be friendly to the perquisites of the state; re-establish governments, an economy, industry, institutions, families or rebuild destroyed infrastructure, yet they had a place at the table at Versailles “to represent Jewish interests.”

    What did Jews gain from their place at the table at Versailles? Edwin Black answers:

    “Specifically, when Versailles mapmakers were redrawing boundaries based on religious, linguistic, and other ethnic affinities, popular Jewish sentiment demanded to be counted among the minority groups targeted for self-determination. That meant a Jewish homeland in Palestine–Zionism.

    The concept of self-determination is extremely important. The Ottoman empire was the prize that the West was fighting for in the first world war.** In his Fourteen Points, Woodrow Wilson promised the Arab states in the Ottoman empire “self determination;” Wilson assured the Arab states that their aspirations toward national sovereignty would be honored. Wilson reneged on that promise, in favor of affirmation of the zionist demand for self-determination.

    As Edwin Black writes,

    American Jewish Congress leaders returned from Versailles in triumph. They had helped create a Jewish homeland, as well as secure international guarantees for minorities in Europe.

    That is, Jews not only gained a particularist and exclusivist homeland on the territory of another people, the Palestinians, they also achieved their demand that other nations behave inclusively, a right which Jews in Germany translated into not just inclusion in German society but an attempt to impose Jewish ideological preferences on German politics, finance, and culture. Karl Schleunes details the impact of this curious set of demands as reified in the Weimar Republic, which many German people rejected. (nb. Schleunes writes that the German people would have accepted the Weimar republic which, he states, Jewish people were prominent in framing and running, if only Germany had not come into it after suffering a bitter military and political defeat, and if the economy had not failed twice in a 13 year period. I find that remark the equivalent of, “Except for that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?)

    I selected one statement from your comment and discussed it above. But I think the broader point you were trying to make is that the major Western powers were battling for empire (and are still battling for empire), while zionism is a bit player on the world stage. Why, then, do I place so much emphasis on zionism?

    I emphasize zionism for two reasons. First, zionism has operated under the radar for over a hundred years. One silly little test — I consider C Span’s programming and archive a barometer of what the chattering class chats about. Over the 30 years of history captured on C Span’s archives, zionism has never been the subject of rigorous discussion, yet as pointed out above, zionism ‘triumphed’ in the first world war. I think it’s important to have a robust debate about the nature and influence of zionism on the American as well as world political processes. In a climate where discussion of zionism is minimized if not squelched or even criminalized, over-emphasis seems to be the only way to get the topic on the table.

    Second, in his most recent book, “In the Garden of Beasts,” Erik Larson discusses communications between William Dodd, the newly appointed ambassador to Germany in 1933 and the main character of the book, and Charles R. Crane, diplomat, industrialist and philanthropist who, Dodd was aware, “was no friend of the Jews.” In a note congratulating Dodd on his appointment, Crane wrote, “The Jews, after winning the war, galloping along at a swift pace, getting Russia, England and Palestine, being caught in the act of trying to seize Germany, too, and meeting their first real rebuff have gone plumb crazy and are deluging the world–particularly easy America–with anti-German propaganda.”

    Although that statement likely would impress most people as virulently antisemitic, hundreds of years of history are packed into it. For brevity’s sake, I’ll merely outline how Charles Crane acquired his perspective on the influence of zionism in the early 20th century.

    Crane was was a trustee of Robert College in Constantinople; a member of President Wilson’s Special Diplomatic Commission to Russia in 1917; was a member of the American Section of the Peace Conference Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey in 1919; and American Ambassador to China from May 1920, to June 1921 (Larson writes, dismissively, only that Crane was a member of a family that sold plumbing supplies –you may recognize the name– who had an interest in Middle East and Russian affairs).
    Following World War I, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Crane and Henry Churchill King, president of Oberlin College, to head an Inter-Allied commission that traveled to areas of the former Ottoman territories to determine the wishes of the people of the region as their future was being determined by the major powers at the Paris Peace Conference.

    The British had already signed the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which granted “a homeland in Palestine for the Jewish people,” and the British and French had agreed in the Sykes-Picot agreement to divide the lands of the Ottoman empire between themselves. Therefore, the full commission never assembled due to French and British opposition. Nevertheless, American team, which became known as the King-Crane Commission, visited the area from June to August 1919 making at least fourteen stops from Beersheba to Amman, from Constantinople to Palestine and Southern Turkey, and met delegations and invited written petitions from various religious and political groups. (The 1921 Oberlin College yearbook carried a summary of President King’s work for the Commission, but the results of the Commission were suppressed and negotiators at the Versailles conference did not have the benefit of the information King and Crane obtained. The report was not made known to Americans until 1922, after Versailles treaty provisions had been imposed upon Germany and Wilson’s promise of self-determination had been denied to Arabs.

    The results of the King Crane delegation’s efforts are now available in a digital archive at Oberlin College — :http://www.oberlin.edu/library/digital/king-crane/ (Interesting exercise: check the Wikipedia entry for King Crane Commission against the archives.) The Introduction to the King Crane Archive notes that 1863 petitions were obtained by the Commission and served as the basis for their recommendations. “Moved by the statements of the hundreds of delegations with whom they met, King and Crane sent a series of urgent telegrams to Wilson calling for action. In one such message, Crane stated that “[the] situation in Turkey so serious your Commission decided to return to report as soon as it had covered essentials.” “ In 1919 the voices of millions of people seeking self-determination in the former Ottoman empire were ignored, and unfortunately, today only about 400 of the petitions representing those voices have been recovered for inclusion in the archive; the introduction does not list a source for Crane’s papers.

    thinking out loud here, Pirouz_2; I seem to be back at the starting place: Arab voices were trumped in favor of the interests of Great Britain, France, and zionists. What was the balance of power among those three? That is, was each factor acting on its own behalf, or was the zionist faction intertwined with and/or manipulating the interests of Britain, France, AND Germany and the United States? I suggest the latter. Zionists could sway the so-called religious sensibilities of Great Britain and the United States, and to a lesser degree Germany and France; and zionists had enormous influence over the financial affairs of those four major actors. In a review of a history of British Christian zionism Lord Shaftesbury and Lord Palmerston are identified as major philosemites who shared the twin objectives of British leaders in supporting Judaism and zionism, but with slightly different emphases.

    Shaftesbury is said to have held a more religious view of the requirement on the British people to assist in the restoration of Jews to Palestine, although Shaftesbury did view the project as having major economic and empire-supporting advantages for the British. Lord Palmerston too became an advocate for Jewish restoration, but

    “For political reasons more than for religious reasons . . . Among other factors that came into play in his deliberations about British support for Jewish return was “the view that the Jews could be useful in buttressing the collapsing Ottoman Empire, thus helping to accomplish the key object of British foreign policy in the area” :http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=29314

    On Dec. 24 at 1:25 pm, James Canning commented that
    “It is perhaps worth noting that some of the prominent British leaders who encouraged Jewish emigration from Europe to the Holy Land (Palestine), were hoping to see a reduction in the number of Jews living in England.”

    The Jews that Shaftesbury and Palmerston sought to return to Palestine in in 1841, “for God and empire,” were of a different cultural background than the Jews who influenced British leaders and the British public in years between 1900 and 1948, when the British finally left Palestine, after having been bombed out of King David hotel by Jews. Shaftesbury was attached to a romanticized version of German-Ashkenazy Jewry that had self-consciously recreated itself to adapt to the European Enlightenments and western cultural sensitivities (see “The Making of the Modern Jewish Bible: How Scholars in Germany, Israel, and America Transformed an Ancient Text,” by Alan T. Levenson). The Jews who, some 70 years later, influenced Balfour and his colleagues were from Russia — Chaim Weizman and Vladimir Jabotinsky; were inspired more by the militarism and political cunning of the books of Maccabees (see the Maccabees Society) who were the heroes of Herzl’s Der Judenstaat, than by Judaism’s great prophets Isaiah or Jeremiah; and had economic motives backed by the Rothschilds and Warburgs that had more to do with the Golden Calf and money changers than with Hillel’s crisp instruction, Do unto others what you would have others do unto you. British, and French, religious sentiment became a weapon used against them to support a political and economic agenda, a task made much easier by the fact that the British and French were primarily interested in advancing their own imperial agendas anyway. (At this juncture, Americans were relative innocents; that changed rapidly, largely under zionist influence over US statecraft and finance, starting in the years immediately after the first world war and prominently featuring Samuel Untermyer; accelerating in 1933 — again, featuring Untermyer; went overboard in the immediate aftermath of the second world war; and went off the rails in favor of zionism/Israel upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the administration of Lyndon Johnson. Every subsequent American administration, bar none, has put zionist and Israeli interests ahead of American interests in both foreign and domestic considerations.

    Where do we conclude?
    The United States is facing an Easter Island phenomenon; it is on the path to self-destruction, using all its ‘firewood’ to worship a god whose heart and emanation are stone. In thrall to an ideology that it has been persuaded is a “divine revelation,” many of the people of the United States have foresworn the rigorous thinking and broad intellectual basis that their Founders relied upon and handed on to them, in favor of the uncritical and unconditional adoption of the mythology of another people from another place and time to be their own mythos. In service of that alien mythos, the United States has used Golden Calf wealth and Maccabean power to imitate the Joshua of that alien myth and destroy the people and cultures of some of the most advanced civilizations on the planet, even as Joshua destroyed Jericho, then the most advanced village known.

    What can stop this juggernaut? The twin weapons used to advance worship of these Easter Island stone gods are the ignorance of the masses and the propaganda tactics of the ‘snake.’ In preparation for the destruction of Jericho, first, the loyalty of a citizen of Jericho –Rahab– was suborned. Then, the priests of the attackers surrounded Jericho, spinning distracting sounds through a ram’s horn, and finally, shouting all together their coordinated, false messages.
    In the run-up to the first World War, zionists organized and financed by Samuel Untermyer and his colleagues tasked Warner Brothers and other Hollywood studios to create films designed to convince the public that the Hun was evil and must be destroyed.
    In the run-up to the second world war the same Hollywood studios and other media were deployed with the same message and purpose: the Hun is evil and must be destroyed. Germany was vanquished a second time.
    In the run-up to the US wars on Iraq, facts were spun (to the extent they were not buried) to convince the public, or at least their elected representatives–their high priests, that Iraq represented evil and must be destroyed. Iraq was destroyed.
    Several months ago, the American people were told that Qaddafi was evil and must be destroyed. He, and Libya, were destroyed.
    Today, Iran is the subject of the propaganda barrage.

    On another blog that concerns itself with propaganda, I asked the blog’s author if a propaganda campaign had ever failed to achieve its objective. He responded that in the 1920s the United States passed laws forbidding certain inciteful activities. In other words, the answer was No. By 1920 the propagandists had achieved their goal from the pre-WWI propaganda campaign, and by 1933, the propagandists had initiated a new propaganda campaign, apparently disdainful of the 1920 legislation.

    The question remains on the table: Can the propaganda campaign against Iran be stopped, in order to avert war?

    The only chance we have of derailing the propaganda campaign against Iran begins with identifying the propagandists. They are, primarily, zionists, wearing coats of many colors — coats that resemble the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes, but that worship the same destructive, Golden Calf and Maccabean false god.

    ** see the Introduction to the King Crane reports archive–
    “One of the areas on the chopping block was the Ottoman Empire, long coveted by various empires.” :http://www.oberlin.edu/library/digital/king-crane/intro.html

    see my earlier comment about Theodore Herzl’s offers to Turkish sultans that Jews would pay off Turkish debts if Ottoman Turkey would cede territory to Jews. The Ottoman empire was the prize. European Jews claimed that prize. Today, Arabs are still dying in their effort to achieve “self-determination” in their own lands.

  47. kooshy says:
    December 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I’m not sure I discern the trend you cite in media coverage of the Middle East. But I do see hopeful signs of backbone growth in Pakistan.

    In many publications over the past several weeks, one reads that Pakistan may soon impose more significant restrictions on the bombing of its territory by unmanned US warplanes. Speculation about such Pakistani self-respect has occurred sporadically for years, of course, usually after the occasional report of some “Whoops, sorry!” killing of women, children or other innocent civilians by a well-meaning American bomb. Until recently, though, discussion of such embarrassing incidents has had no more staying power than stories about, say, Al Gore’s divorce.

    Though I’ve been mistaken before to conjure up images of anything but jellyfish, the US’ recent killing of two dozen Pakistani soldiers nevertheless seems to have injected a “we really mean it this time” firmness into the Pakistani government’s complaints. The Times story cited below includes a few good examples. In giddy moments, I even imagine that the Pakistani government, in an irresistible fit of courage, might actually decide it’s inappropriate for foreign warplanes to be dropping bombs on Pakistani territory at all – much as the American people might feel about, say, Brazilian warplanes dropping bombs on the United States to achieve some Brazilian foreign policy goal that Brazil earnestly assures us is an American goal too even though we don’t feel sufficiently strongly about the matter to have our own warplanes bomb our homeland.

    My only complaint is that Pakistan may force me to take a closer look at the competition in the category of Countries with Least Self-Respect, which Pakistan has dominated for so long that one almost forgets there are others out there vying for the crown.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/world/asia/us-preparing-for-pakistan-to-restrict-support-for-afghan-war.html?scp=4&sq=pakistan&st=cse

  48. Rehmat says:

    Mark Dankof, former US Senate candidate, in a recent interview with Press TV had claimed that the Zionist Lobby will not allow Ron Paul to win even if he succeed in getting Republican nomination. Watch video below.

    “Paul has been a consistent critic of Israel, he wants to end foreign aid to Israel and he has recently been talking about how it is that Israel is trying to get the US to become involved in a proxy military war against Iran. He is the only Republican warning the public about this is why the Republican Jewish coalition has banned him”.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/ron-paul-loves-jews-but-hates-israel/

  49. kooshy says:

    If true this a new year’s gift for Arnold, mostly I should say thanks to Fior’s continued effort

    Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011 7:30 AM 06:49:45 PST
    The media consensus on Israel is collapsing

    Across the political spectrum, once-taboo criticism is now common

    http://www.salon.com/2011/12/21/the_media_consensus_on_israel_is_collapsing/

  50. Voice of Tehran says:

    In following biased and most stupid article in Bloomberg regarding the current currency fluctuations in Iran , I see the names and the quotations of 2 Zionist agents :
    David Cohen & Scott Lucas

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-27/u-s-says-iran-elite-profiting-from-currency-plunge-triggered-by-sanctions.html

  51. k_w says:

    Fiorangela:

    “A secret treaty of alliance is signed between Turkey and Germany, virtually placing the German armed forces under German command.”

    It should read

    “… virtually placing the Turkish armed forces under German command.” ;-)

    It was Mj.-Gen. Bronsart von Schellendorf who ordered the deportation of the mostly disarmed Armenians on July 15.

    And it is also a matter of fact that courts martials were held in Turkey (several death sentences) and that the Turkish parliament spoke of crimes against humanity. The term “genocide” was not defined at that time yet. On the other hand, Johannes Lepsius’s report on the massacres was forbidden in Germany.

    I don’t share the theory that the massacres had not been planned. It was Turkey’s minister of the interior, Talaat Pascha, who wrote in 1915 that the elimination of the Armenian population of Turkey had been decided on at the Jemiet. He wrote that “without regard of women, children and the sick, their existence must be put an end to”. (My Translation.)

    It was not only the anti-Semite Schellendorf (Armenians are “blood-sucking parasites”, “the worst Jews”), who took part in the massacres. Lt.-Col. Boettrich, the chief of the railway logistics at the Turkish headquarters, sent thousands of “his” Armenians to death. One Mj. (artillery) Graf Wolfskiel personally supervised the shelling of the poor quarters of Urfa. He called burning the people in their houses the rightful punishmend for “traitors”.

  52. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fiorangela says:
    December 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    You beat me to it, Fior Jaan.

  53. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says: “9/11″ was a godsend for the propagandists of the Israel lobby.

    The return address of the envelope that I saw did not have “God” written on it, but rather a bunch of dancing Israelis celebrating their devilish achievement.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=dancing+israelis&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=

  54. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says: … Iran arouses fear in them needlessly.

    A lion cannot help but be awe-inspiring.

    Don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful, Gavner ;o)

  55. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi asks, “do you see a peaceful way for America and Israel to realize these historical realities and enter the flow of traffic in a proper manner?”

    According to unconfirmed reports, Uncle Sam was last seen doing 50 on Exit 40.

  56. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi says:
    December 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks for this informative post.

  57. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    December 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    The Saudis and the Gulf monarchies can see the merits of working together in mutual interest of stability and economic growth.

    *

    Methinks you meant to say Persian Gulf monarchies, my Sahib.

  58. pirouz_2 says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    December 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Well big changes happen very slowly. How long did it take for the India to get rid of the British (in fact I would argue that the Inidans are still pretty much slaves)? But nontheless if you want to make a change you have to fight for it. Unless you fight, you can never make any change. To be discouraged by the slow process of change is either to submit to the fantasy of expecting a miracle or to submit to status quo and accept that for ever, it should stay the way it has been.
    Personally I am a great admirer of Bertolt Brecht who once said: “Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.”

  59. pirouz_2 says:

    Fiorangela says:
    December 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

    First of all I apologize for the late reply. And I am afraid any further reply may again come late as I am about to go on a trip.
    Now as to reply to your post:
    I don’t see zionists as the perpetrators of WWI, and I am not sure how your post does that as all I can see is that you are some how suggesting (at best) that US was pushed into war by “zionists”. So do you suggest that Germany, Russia, Britain, France and Italy all went to war because “zionists” pushed them to do so? If that is your suggestion then I have to strongly disagree. In fact I believe that some of you guys highly exaggerate the powers of the zionists. To begin with I don’t see how jews profited by the war, especially considering that there were jews which fought on the opposite sides of the war in all Western countries (it would be perhaps interesting to know that the father of chemical weapons was a german jew- Haber). Secondly as you perhaps already know I don’t see “zionism” as the cause of Western imperialism, to the contrary, I see the rise of zionism as the result of the Western imperialism. Had it not been for the British (and later on all the Western powers), zionism would not have gone any where beyond some crazy and non-sensical dream. If we have an Israel it is not because of “zionism” and jews, it is because of the West’s imperialistic ambitions and its desire to dominate the middle east.
    In fact Israel could not have been born nor could it have survived nor can it survive even now without the Western hegemony in this region. As such it seems completely meaningless to me that Israel would some how intentionally and based on a plan try to sabotage or even compromise US position and hegemony in the middle east. Without Western hegemony there won’t be an Israel!

    “Cui bono? As Hillary Leverett argued here, the US not only did not achieve anything in Iraq, the nine year embroglio was a loss for everyone except arms merchants, financiers, and Israel (and Iran, by accident, but the war against Iran is still being prosecuted).”

    No US did not achieve anything in Iraq, but then again neither did Israel!! How did Israel benefit from the seriously compromised US hegemony in the Middle East in general and in Iraq in particular? How did Israel benefit from Iran increasing its sphere of influence into Iraq? For the life of me I don’t get it, how did Israel benefit from Iran-friendly Maleki government replacing Saddam who was the sworn enemy of Iran and a very good balancing power against Iran?

  60. Fiorangela says:

    Rehmat says:
    December 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm; Israel’s Knesset struggling whether to recognize Armenian Genocide. The sticking point is Israel’s fear of alienating Turkey.

    What’s the problem?
    Iran’s not afraid of commemorating the killing and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915.
    A museum on the grounds of the Armenian Cathedral at Vank in Jolfa, the Armenian Quarter in Isfehan, commemorates the genocide. Although in his lectures on the “bloodiest century,” the 20th century, Gabriel Liulevicius says that the genocide was not organized and planned but, apparently, erupted more or less spontaneously ( :http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=8313), inside the museum, in a glass case, are several of the dispatches (and translations) ordering that the killing be carried out. As the photographer in the above link states, it is not permitted to take photos in the Cathedral or in the Museum. I copied the text of several of the communiques ordering the slaughter.

    Before he was able to enlist Baron Rothschild’s participation in establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, Theodor Herzl negotiated intensely with Ottoman Turk leaders. From the Wikipedia entry on Theodore Herzl we learn:

    “Constantinople, Turkey, June 15, 1896; Herzl sees an opportunity. With the assistance of . . .a sympathetic Polish émigré with political contacts in the Ottoman Court, Herzl attempted to meet the Sultan Abdulhamid II. Herzl wanted to present his solution to the Jewish State to the Sultan directly. He failed to obtain an audience with the Sultan. He did succeed in visiting a number of highly placed individuals, including the Grand Vizier who received him as a journalist representing the Neue Freie Presse. Herzl presented his proposal to the Grand Vizier that the Jews would pay the Turkish foreign debt, and attempt to help regulate Turkish finances, if they were given Palestine as a Jewish homeland under Turkish rule. . . .
    Five years later, May 17, 1901, Herzl did meet with Sultan Abdulhamid II.[14] The Sultan refused Theodor Herzl’s offers to consolidate the Ottoman debt in exchange for a charter allowing the Zionists access to Palestine . . ..

    Returning from Constantinople, Herzl traveled to London, to report back to the Maccabeans, a proto-Zionist group of established English Jewry led by Colonel Albert Goldsmid. November,1895, they had received him with curiosity, indifference and coldness. Israel Zangwill bitterly opposed Herzl. After Constantinople, Goldsmid agreed to support Herzl. In London’s East End, a community of primarily Yiddish speaking recent Eastern European Jewish immigrants, Herzl addressed a mass rally of thousands, July 12, 1896.” :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Herzl Herzl was the antithesis of a religious Jew, but he was extraordinarily influenced by the ancient tale of the revolt of the Maccabees and the suppression of that rebellion by Rome and Rome’s subsequent decree that no Jews may enter the precincts of Jerusalem except for Jewish high holy days. Herzl was determined to reverse that decree; he closed the seminal document of zionism, Der Judenstaat, with the battle cry, “The Maccabees shall rise again.”

    A chronology of the Armenian genocide notes that on July 28, 1914, “Negotiations are started between the Turkish and German imperial governments,” and that on August 2, 1914, “A secret treaty of alliance is signed between Turkey and Germany, virtually placing the German armed forces under German command.” :http://www.armenian-genocide.org/1914.html

    One of the points that Karl Schleunes emphasizes in “The Twisted Road to Auschwitz; Nazi Policy Toward German Jews” is the strong allegiance German Jews pledged to Kaiser Wilhelm and their participation in the financing, industrialization, and prosecution of the “Great War” (see esp. ch. 11). Schleunes writes, “The Jewish contribution to the war effort between 1914 and 1918 had placed them firmly in the tradition of German patriotism. Some 80,000 had served in the Imperial Army during the war. . . .The home front, too, had been well served by Jews. Walther Rathenau, who organized German economic mobilization, and Fritz Haber, head of the German chemical industry, led the list of those prominent in the waging of war. Many of these later banded together in . . .a Jewish veterans organization, to recall how they had fought for their Kaiser and his empire.”

    Given that Jews had been part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire since the expulsion of Jews from Andalusia in 1492, and given that the Turkish Ottoman Empire was allied with Germany as of 1914, and given that Jews “well served . . .their Kaiser and his empire” in waging war from 1914-1918, and that Jews emerged from the Versailles Treaty that settled the war “triumphant,” in Edmund Black’s words, for zionists present at the Versailles negotiations had secured Palestine as the homeland of the Jewish people :http://www.amazon.com/Transfer-Agreement–25th-Anniversary-Dramatic-Palestine/dp/0914153137/re (pages 5-6); it is not unreasonable to speculate that German and/or Ottoman Jews were not unaware, at very least, of the plans to eradicate Armenians in Turkey, ostensibly as an act of Muslim animus towards Christians which was certain to inflame division and instability among both populations.

  61. James Canning says:

    Philip Giraldi says that the Israeli intelligence operatives, who were filmed doing a dance while the Twin Towers were collapsing on the other side of the Hudson River, were interrogated for months but released in a secret deal with Israel gov’t.

  62. James Canning says:

    “Iran behind 9/11?”, by Philip Giraldi:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/

    Giraldi, it hardly need be said, thinks the notion is preposterous.

  63. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Re: Col. Lang’s piece about Iraq, from 2007, that you linked. US had sufficient troops to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein quickly. Agreed plan was to keep Sunni power structure intact. Thus, no need for huge invading force to maintain public order. Without telling Condoleezza Rice or Colin Powell, Jerry Bremer went ahead with idiotic dissolution of Iraqi army etc. G W Bush apparently was not even aware he authorised Bremer to do it.

  64. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Given that there is an Arabian Sea, to me it seems a bit odd for the Gulf Arabs to oppose calling that body of water the Persian Gulf.

    The North Sea (betwween UK and Norway, Denmark & Germany) used to be known as the German Sea.

    The US did not get too concerned about the Shah’s throwing his weight around, even though this sometimes rattled the Gulf monarchies a bit. But it was foolish for the Shah to do it.

  65. Fiorangela says:

    On the ground in Syria at the invitation of Catholic Melkite nuns, in the company of Voltairenet’s Thierry Meyssen, with and reported by Webster Tarpley.

    -What’s going on is NOT an internal civil war, it is a CIA, Mossadeqh-style coup attempt agitated by US, NATO, and carried on by foreign forces.

    -The people of Syria support Assad; Assad supports and has supported religious diversity of all religions, Christian, Catholic, Zoroastrian, Islam. Christian in Syria fear that an overthrow of Assad will open the door to Islamic extremists.

    -Syrian people call upon their government to send in the Syrian army to protect them from foreign snipers who pick off innocent civilians on their way to work, school.

    -Tarpley’s assessment of the state of Syria as he experienced it in Nov 2011 matches Franklin Lamb’s assessment last May:

    “What I continue to find in Syria and what I saw during my first 24 hours in Damascus shocked me. It was not at all what one expected to find having read a fair bit of the Western and some of the Arab media reports, and arriving from the Syria-Lebanon border at Maznaa.

    One expected to see fear, tension, and people hiding in homes, ubiquitous police and partially hidden and disguised security personnel in the shadows, watching from behind tinted glassed cars, curtained windows and from roof tops. I expected to see military vehicles, empty streets after dusk, reticence to discuss politics, tense faces on the streets.

    None of this was seen in Syria’s capital and villages to the west.”

    Tarpley’s descriptions of his landing in Syria, his travels from Damascus to Homs echoed and amplified Lamb’s; he did not see military vehicles or checkpoints or anything nearly as oppressive as the “only democracy in the Middle East,” our partner & ally Israel.

  66. Rehmat says:

    fyi – Iranians are not fool like you to believe the thrash written in Ziocon Foreign Police magazine.

  67. Rehmat says:

    Palestinian Islamic Resistance leader and elected prime minister of Palestinian Authority (PA) in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, left Gaza on foreign tour on Sunday for the first time since elected in 2006. He is scheduled to visit Egypt, Sudan, Qatar, Bahrain, Tunisia and Turkey.

    During his two-week tour, he will hold discussions with senior officials from the Muslim countries about illegal Israeli settlement activities in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and possible development projects for Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

    Ismail Haniyeh was invited by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan whose government has pledged $300 million in aid to Hamas.

    Earlier, Haniyeh had invited Sheikh Dr. Qaradawi to visit Gaza.

    “The Arab Spring has opened a wide horizon for us and we must take advantage to promote the interests of our people,” he told reporters before crossing Gaza’s land border into Egypt.

    Israeli prime minister Benji Netanyahu has said that he will not negotiate with US-Israel double agent PA president Mahmoud Abbas if the later agreed on a unity government with Hamas.

    Haniyeh is favoured by many in Hamas to stand as a candidate in an election for the Palestinian presidency slated for May 4, 2012, although officials in the group have said it was too soon to discuss candidates.

    Hamas has taken a neutral stand since the internal unrest in Syria began earlier this year. Many Hamas officials and their families have left Syria in recent weeks. Haniyeh appealed for calm in Syria: “We have called for preserving Arab blood and for using dialogue and understanding between all the components of Arab countries,” he said.

    Haniyeh’s first stop will be in Cairo. Egypt mediated a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel that was completed last week and it is currently overseeing the implementation of a reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/ismail-haniyeh-leaves-gaza-to-visit-muslim-states/

  68. Photi says:

    yi says:
    December 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    fyi,

    Good article. The Colonel and i have probably very different worldviews, whatever they are, they have led us to the same conclusions. He may not word it this way, but an American retreat from the Middle East would be a victory for American values.

    Colonel Lang, Jr.’s concluding quote:

    “Through our refusal to deal with alien [for starters, "alien" sounds so inhuman] peoples on their own terms, and within their own traditions, we have killed any real hope of a positive outcome in Iraq. Our mission there will be over some day, but there will be other fields for our missionary work, other dreams to dream about: Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran … Let us seek within ourselves the wisdom to avoid another such catastrophe.”

  69. fyi says:

    Photi says: December 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    See this:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/what_iraq_tells_us_about_ourselves

    The American people want to play this role; they want to be (Cultural) Imperialists.

  70. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 26, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Iran aroused fear in them under the monarchy as well; nothing new there.

    Only destruction of the Iranian state will be reassuring to them.

    If they want Peace & Stability, they can take the very simple step of calling the Persian Gulf “Al Khali al Farsi”.

    It won’t cost them anything.

    But they will not – they are against Persia/Iran; the culture and the people.

  71. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: December 26, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I found Mr. Muashar’s comments quite incisive and accurate.

    He is not a fool.

  72. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning at 3:17 pm:

    ““9/11″ was a godsend for the propagandists of the Israel lobby.”

    what an amazing coincidence.

    pure coincidence that Ehud Barak was at a BBC microphone in London declaring a global war on terror before the plane in Shanksville, PA had been taken down, and before US President George Bush was on the ground and in communication with his staff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAueLjdKh1s

  73. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    December 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    James,

    I remember running into this topic with you before. In 1956 America was fighting the Cold War. The Cold War and not Israel was the focus of American foreign policy at that time. As such, American and Israeli interests were more clearly demarcated. America’s preoccupation with domination at that time (and the pursuant cutthroat tactics) was directed at the Soviets. With the fall of the Soviets, the Zionists have had a heyday in the Middle East as their agenda now has no effective domestic counterweight in the formulation of American policies. With no domestic or foreign counterweight there is nothing to restrain the US military to pursue saner ambitions.

  74. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    Look back to 1956 when the US forces Britain and France to evacuate the Suez Canal, and forced Israel to get out of the Sinai. Israel lobby was much weaker in those days.

  75. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    The Israel lobby is a gigantic propaganda machine, doing its best to frighten and confuse the American people.

    “9/11″ was a godsend for the propagandists of the Israel lobby.

  76. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The Gulf monarchies seek stability and economic growth in the Gulf. Iran arouses fear in them needlessly.

  77. Photi says:

    James, yes but the lobby is able to use the American behavior of domination to its advantage. The lobby didn’t create the behavior, it merely harnessed and continues to exasperate the behavior. Absent the lobby, the behavior (or cultural justifications) of domination still exists for some other group to commandeer.

  78. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    It suits the Israel lobby for the US to dominate or attempt to dominate the Middle East. Many Americans who think dominating the Middle East contributes to the well-being of the US also support the effort. Elements of delusion clearly are present.

  79. Photi says:

    Pirouz,

    Thank you for your link. As per your analogy, do you see a peaceful way for America and Israel to realize these historical realities and enter the flow of traffic in a proper manner?

  80. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    David Brooks was one of the supporters of the illegal invasion of Iraq. He thought getting rid of Saddam Hussein would facilitate resolution of the Israel/Palestine problem.

    Tom Friedman has said he supported the invasion of Iraq because he thought it would result in a democratic Iraq that would be a guide for other Arab countries.

    The illegal invasion of Iraq was most definitely the creation of the Israel lobby. Without that lobby, the invasion would not have taken place.

  81. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    December 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    James,

    There is more than one American interest in Iraq, this will necessarily produce contradictory and competing behavior within the American government’s attitudes and policies towards Iraq and the broader region generally. American policies with the Saudis could hardly be considered in isolation to American policies with the Iraqis.

    ####

    Recently Hamas has reaffirmed that violent resistance against Israel is a tactic and not a strategy.

    Is President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu ready to affirm (for the first time!) that American and Israeli violence against Iran and the Arab world is a tactic and not a strategy?

    Is the status quo strategy to dominate the Middle East the sole ideological hub of all these overlapping (and sometimes competing) Western interests?

    Is ‘violence as the answer to all our problems’ an attitude Americans can abandon? Who do you think is the main belligerent force in the Middle East? America or Iran?

    At some point we have to get to the black and white of it all, and America is clearly operating under some graying delusions. If some act or group does not fit with American ambitions, the answer according to the US government is to steamroll that act act or group into unreality.

    James, in your opinion what drives this American need to destroy? The answer is something other than Zionism, because these same behaviors are exhibited in history prior to Israel entering the discussion.

  82. Pirouz says:

    Sorry, I’m going to pull a “Rehmat” here and link to a post of mine:

    Iran’s offer of military cooperation with Iraq
    Opportunities and challenges for a region in flux

    http://www.uskowioniran.com/2011/12/irans-offer-of-military-cooperation.html

  83. Fiorangela says:

    fyi at 1:36, thank you.

    You may be interested in a panel discussion, The Turkey Model for Democracy in the Middle East, in which Sinan Ulgan discussed his paper on the applicability of Turkish secular Islam as a model for the Arab Spring states.

    He opened his speech with the observation that Khamenei rejected the “Turkey model” but Hillary Clinton endorsed it.

  84. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 26, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Yes.

    Only war will liberate Eastern Jeruslame.

  85. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    They are enemies.

    They can take a single step to show otherwise: call themselves the “Persian Gulf Cooperation Council”.

    But they won’t.

    They think there is a margin in being enemy of Iran (the people and the culture).

  86. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Do you mean you expect Israel to try to keep East Jerusalem, even if it means endless war or near-war?

  87. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The Iranian government does not regard the Gulf monarchies as “enemies” of Iran even if they gave support to Saddam Hussein during his long war with Iran. It is worth bearing in mind that numerous threats emanated from Iran, after the overthrow of the Shah.

  88. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    There will be no Peace with Jerusalem.

  89. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Bashar al-Assad made very clear he would sign a peace treaty with Israel if Israel got out of the Golan Heights. There was no doubting Syria would have made peace with Israel, but would not have been friendly toward Israel without resolution of the issues of Jerusalem and the Palestinians.

  90. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    The Sunni Iraqis may have legitimate complains against the Government of Iraq.

    But when a siege war is being waged against Iran by US, EU, KSA and others; when a pillar of Iranian defense is being undermined or otherwise contested by the usual suspects; and when the physical safety of Shia, Alawite, Kurds, and others are tied to Iran – then – I am afraid – the Iraq Sunnis’ concerns will not only be redressed but they themselves will become victims of the general instability and violence in the region.

    The only way to move forward peace and stability is the path that is analogous to the Concert of Europe (Congress of Vienna) at the end of Napleonic wars.

    But, at the moment, US-US, KSA and others are not so inclined. They think they can win. We have to wait for the bloody violence of Syria and Iraq to end in the destruction of the opposition forces before that possibility becomes attractive to US-EU, KSA, Turkey and others.

    For US, EU, KSA, Israel War is Cheap and Peace is Expensive.

    That is the summary of their statecraft!

  91. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Warmongering neocons and other “Israel Firsters” saw their opening to take out Saddam Hussein, even if setting up the operation required duping the president (and the American people). Their object was to have an important ally of Israel created in Iraq, meaning they wanted an intact Iraq but allied to Israel (and the US).

    Some fanatical Zionist-expansionists did hope for a dismembering of Iraq, in part to give cover to an enlargement of the borders of Israel.

  92. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: December 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    For years, US and KSA were trying to bribe the Syrian Government to defect – as it were – from the Resistance Camp.

    They failed and I think there were 2 reasons: one strategic, in the sense that without Iran behind her, Syria would have potentially left herself at the mercy of Isarel.

    The second reason was religious: the Elders of the Alawite Sect were opposed to a separate Syrian peace accord with Israel that did not include Jerusalem returning to Islam. They were not going to risk the future of the Alawite sect among all of Islam by becoming known as those who sold Jerusalem to Jews (the Judas of Islam, in effect.)

    When very many Syrians rose this year against the hard dictaorship of Mr. Assad, they (US, KSA, Tureky, and others) found their chance to move in and destroy the Ba’athis state.

    But then Shia Hizbullah and Iran also intervened to support the Ba’ath State and the anti-dictatorial uprsing was transformed into one of Shia against Sunni.

    It might interest you to know that in Turkey, Shia Muslims are called “Caferi” – that is: “Heretics”. That is the common word used in every-day speech. To this day, in that secular republic, there is not a single Shia Religious School for producing Doctors of Religious Sciences (of Shia) Islam. Shia Turks have to go to Iraq or Iran to attend the religious schools there.

    [This is to be contrasted with the Shia Fortress of Islamic Republic of Iran - there are multiple Sunni Religious Schools for training Sunni religious scholars.]

    Turkey thus is now in a difficult position, supporting a political agenda that casts her as the Sunni Champion while, at the same time, her relationship with Christain EU states as well as with Shia in Iran and Iraq deteriorates.

    Precisely because of the evolving inter-communal nature of violence in Syria, Christains, Druze, Alawites will coalesce around the the Syrian government, joining all of those that already support the current dispensation.

    US-EU cannot play the Shia-Sunni card with impunity; neither can KSA or Turkey. At the end, it hurts them more. For example, Iranians have publicly stated that they support all Muslims except Wahabis, that is their red line.

    And Wahabi is the State religion of KSA.

  93. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    I think Saudi Arabia will remain intact. And Iraq, for that matter. Many people with an understanding of the Middle East predicted civil war in Iraq if the US destroyed the Sunni power structure.

    The Saudis and the Gulf monarchies can see the merits of working together in mutual interest of stability and economic growth.

  94. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think Iran does well to have good relations with its neighbors. If possible. Are you in effect arguing that the Sunnis in Iraq have no grounds for being displeased with certain actions of the Iraqi central government? Surely the object in that country must be to achieve stability and a fair distribution of oil and gas wealth.

  95. Fiorangela says:

    fyi says:
    December 26, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I wonder whose idea that was, fyi, the idea of Saudi Arabia destroying Iran’s Syrian connection. Did Hillary Clinton plot with KSA to provide CIA and other subversive assets in exchange for KSA funding, as was the case in Libya, or did KSA approach Clinton with the offer?

    I can’t find the link — a few months ago Clinton spoke about Syria, saying that as of that date, the rebellion was limited to the poor people of Homs area, but Assad’s wealthier power base — the businessmen and bankers –were largely unaffected and still loyal to Assad. Clinton said it was her hope (or plot) that sanctions on Syria would persuade Assad’s base of support that he was a risky investment.

    Since the violence is still centered in Homs, with a few scattered but apparently not absolutely successful uprising in larger, wealthier sites, perhaps Clinton’s subversive agents are not enjoying quite the success they crave. KSA might have stepped in as a cost-cutting measure — cheaper to send in their own “peace keeping” force than continue to pay Hillary Clinton’s mercenaries.

  96. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE etc. are enemies of Iran.

    They paid for the late Mr. Hussein’s war against Iran.

    Now they are trying to destory a pillar of Iranian defense, called Syria.

    Their power will have to be checked first and then eliminated – you see this in Iraq and soon in Syria.

    The Arab states of Southern Persian Gulf have been warned repeatedly by Iran in recent weeks; yet they persists in their current posture.

    May be they think they can win.

  97. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James asks, “I can understand your dislike of Wahhabi Islam, but what is “artificial” about one country’s taking over another country, and then combing the two?”

    The point is that while you have a state, you do not have a nation: you have a state comprising four separate nations, just as Iraq is composed of two distinct nations (and arguably three, with the flame of sectarianism being fanned by your Wahhabi buddies). As such, the state is not as stable, and when sufficient pressure is applied, is likely to fracture along the lines I outlined earlier, Gavner.

  98. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Khurshid:

    The audio clip is embedded in the link I posted to earlier in the thread at:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    December 24, 2011 at 10:15 pm

  99. BiBiJon says:

    “It is a mysterious thing about empires – one day, the world is theirs. On the next, it just moves on.”

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/3043/iranian-drone-hacking-presents-dire-prospects-for-u-s-military-influence-in-middle-east/category_list

  100. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – YES, the US has been fostering religious and ethnic sectarianism since it occupied Iraq. It brings extra point to Obama’s re-election because Iraq was in fact invaded in 2003 to divide the country on sectarian basis to remove an emerging threat to Israel.

    http://realisticbird.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/preparing-the-chessboard-for-the-clash-of-civilizations-divide-conquer-and-rule-the-new-middle-east/

  101. Rehmat says:

    David Cameron: ‘Somalia is great threat to UK’

    After bombing the oil-rich Muslim Libya to stone-age, Israel-Firster UK prime minisher, David Cameron, is aiming at military intevention in another war-torn African Muslim nation, Somalia. The country lies at the core of the Horn of Africa, the newly found oil/gas rich region. Somalia is located just miles away across the Red Sea from American assets – Saudi Arabia, Israel and Yemen.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/david-cameron-somalia-is-great-threat-to-uk/

  102. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    A Christmas puzzle for your kids:

    A B C D E
    F G H I J
    K M N O P
    Q R S T U
    V W X Y Z

  103. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    I think the US brought about sectarian conflict in Iraq through stupidity rather than intentionally. I think the US would much prefer to have Iraq tranquil, as opposed to torn apart again through Sunni-Shia civil war.

    To me, the obvious area where a “divide and rule” situation obtains is the hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia. But in that case, it seems many Iranians are happy enough to have Iran antagonise the Saudis even though this obviously is a dangerous course to pursue.

  104. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    December 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    James, the following is a link provided by Voice of Tehran earlier in this thread. The video shows Hillary Mann Leverett talking about the how the US needs to stop igniting sectarian conflict throughout the region.

    Quote:

    “The United States needs to stop igniting sectarian conflict throughout the region and stop pitting two different axes against one another” -HML at just after 26 mins on this video:

    http://rt.com/programs/crosstalk/endless-war-usa-democracy/

    James, just because everyone knows the imperialists use divide and rule tactics does not mean the imperialists no longer use these tactics. Right in front of our eyes they are telling us a horse is an ass. And we pretend we are blind.

  105. James Canning says:

    Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish foreign minister, says Iran has right to civilian nuclear power programme and that Turkey would never be a party to foreign interference in Iran. And he said Turkish-Iranian relations are very good generally.

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/217564.html

  106. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Spectator October 27, 2007 (“Ignore the hype: Syria shouldn’t be demonised”), William Dalrymple noted the recent front page story in the Daily Telegraph quoting David Wurmser: “The US must break Iran and Syrian regimes . . . to prevent the spread of Islamic fundamentalism.”

    Wurmser was a former aide to Dick Cheney. Dalrymple noted that Wurmser’s recommendation “was an astonishingly foolish statement, even by neocon standards of Middle Eastern ignorance.”

  107. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Ibn Saud conquered the Hashemite Kingdom of the Hejaz. And he became king of Hejaz and sultan of Nejd. Later re-neamed Saudi Arabia. I can understand your dislike of Wahhabi Islam, but what is “artificial” about one country’s taking over another country, and then combing the two?

  108. James Canning says:

    “Israel: EU paying lip service over Iran”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/217697.html

    Avigdor Lieberman, the radical Zionist-expansionist, complains: “My impression is that some of the nations of Europe and senior figures there speak about sanctions more in order to calm Israel than to stop Iran’s nuclear program.”

    Does Lieberman argue that the EU should be trying to stop Iran from operating nuclear power plants? Or is he referring to a possible Iranian programme to build nukes?

  109. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Do you actually believe the US is fostering sectarian terrorism in Iraq? This is in effect claiming Obama is trying to undermine his own prospects for re-election. Or, that US officials are trying to undermine Obama by promoting sectarian terrorism in Iraq. Rather a stretch.

  110. khurshid says:

    Does anybody if the leaked tape of Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani regarding overthrowing Saudi regime has been released on youtube.

    If you have the the link please post it on this blog, it will be appreciated.

  111. fyi says:

    All:

    The Iran Menance:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/22/gripping-tale-of-irans-menace/

    [I should think that Dart Vader, the Dark Lord, Fu Man Chu, and assorted others must be running the Iranian Government. I just do not know yet how Borg and the Dominion figure in all of this.]

  112. fyi says:

    All:

    A former US Offical urging US to build centrifuge-based enrichment plant for reasons of security of uranium fuel supply:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/22/irans-uranium-enrichment-expands-americas-withers/

  113. Voice of Tehran says:

    I think it was fyi who predicted the collapse of the Saudi regime in 20 year and I agreed minus a Zero.

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/217634.html

    “”The Saudi Arabian monarchy will be overthrown by Qatar very soon, a leaked confidential conversation by Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani has revealed.
    According to an audio file which has gone viral on the Internet, the premier said Qatari troops would occupy Qatif in Eastern Province and the Al Saud regime will disintegrate.
    “The regime of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud is exhausted and powerless to control the country and the army cannot confront the future changes,” he asserted.
    The remarks were made as people in Qatif have been staging protest rallies to demand freedom and equality over the past months.
    The Qatari premier also revealed that the United States and Britain wanted him to report back to them on the situation in Saudi Arabia.
    “They want to get rid of the Saudi regime while they are afraid of any new Islamic regime in the region,” Sheikh Hamad said.
    “Therefore, Qatar has taken advantage to transfer US military bases to its country,” he added.
    Sheikh Hamad said Qatar also has been able to gradually reduce the dominance of Saudi Arabia in the region and impose itself on Arab countries.
    Qatari state-run news channel Aljazeera has refused to comment on the audio clip.
    Qatari officials did not confirm the report when Press TV contacted the Qatari Embassy in Tehran.
    This is while several Arabic-language new agencies have covered the story.
    Press TV cannot independently verify the authenticity of this report.

  114. BiBiJon says:

    “Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Cairo-Beirut-Gaza-Ankara(?) axis,” Niagara Falls & Particle Physics
    ========================================================

    If you were to observe sufficiently microscopically, in sufficiently small time intervals, you may well detect a great many atomic sub-particles traveling up, not down. Based on such observations, one could conclude that the mighty Niagara is not a ‘fall’, but a ‘rise.’

    The Leveretts have described the larger mid east picture in terms of ‘natural’ tendencies for regional countries to align their economic, security and foreign policies more closely. While out of self-interest for individual countries that logic has always been unassailable, the recent dwindling credibility of the west combined with popular disdain for home-grown extremist factions leads me to think, over time, the Leveretts will be proven right.

  115. Castellio says:

    This news item is from December 11th. I missed it at the time. So, pulling out of Syria, but increasing production from Libya.

    http://news.yahoo.com/suncor-energy-says-withdrawing-syria-155013529.html

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Suncor Energy said on Sunday it was withdrawing from Syria as a result of sanctions announced by the European Union on December 2.

    The Canadian energy company said it was not changing its total production guidance for 2011 or 2012 because it was ramping up Libyan production

    Suncor said it has declared force majeure under its contractual obligations and was suspending its operations with the General Petroleum Corp (GPC) in Syria.

    The European Union earlier this month stepped up its sanctions against Syria’s oil industry, blacklisting state-owned companies that oversee trade and exploration. The new measures targeted state-owned General Petroleum Corp and Syria Trading Oil (Sytrol).

    The sanctions are part of international efforts to isolate President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

    In a statement, Suncor said it was working to safely withdraw its expatriates while retaining its Syrian employees.

    “We’ve been monitoring developments in the region very closely during the last several months, and we’ve always been clear that we would comply with all relevant sanctions imposed on the country,” Suncor Chief Executive Rick George said in a statement.”

  116. Unknown Unknowns says:

    More on the enmity and rivalry between Doha and Riyadh from the Daffy tapes from Tabnak (Mohsen Rezai’s website):

    http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/213141/ما-در-هر-صورت-رژیم-سعودی-را-ساقط-خواهیم-کرد-صوت

    Recall that Doha and Riyadh are respectively the sponsors of the Brethren and the an-Nour party of the beebol of Egypt.

  117. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Confirming my predictions in an earlier post in this thread (“The Saudi government is not Sunni”), today’s Kayhan has an article based on tapes released by the Libyan Transitional Council, in the transcript of which the Emir of Qatar talks (to ‘Daffy) about US plans to partition Arabia along the lines I mentioned:

    حمد بن جاسم درباره پادشاه عربستان مي گويد : نيروهاي گارد ويژه اطراف وي را گرفته اند و وي در صورتي كه آنها تمايل داشته باشند در قدرت باقي خواهد ماند .آمريكاييها در خلال دو سال آينده يك استراتژي براي عراق دارند و پس از اين استراتژي قصد دارند عربستان را تجزيه كنند. در عربستان جديد وهابي ها در مركز قرار خواهند گرفت و يك منطقه به نام حجاز كه شامل مكه و مدينه است تشكيل خواهد شد و شرق عربستان بيشترين ذخاير نفت را دارد. رولا فرانسوي در گزارش مشهورش گفته بود بايد عربستان تجزيه شود و تندروهاي مذهبي عربستان فقير نگه داشته شوند.

    I had said:
    The fault-lines in Arabia can be seen in the four regions that comprise Arabia which have been artificially cobbled together by the AAl as-Sa’ud (House of Sa’ud), i.e., Najd, the central desert region, including Riyadh, the capital, is Wahhabite; Atif, the oil rich eastern region bordering on the Persian Gulf, as well as Asir, the southwest region that properly belongs to Yemen, are both Shi’a, and the Hijaz, the Western region bordering on the Red Sea and which includes Mecca and Medina, are Sunni (Maliki). There is deep hatred for the Wahhabis by the Malikis, who consider themselves to be the true custodians of the *haramayn* (the two sacred cities) and consider the Wahhabis to be oppostates and usurpers. Watch for tensions along these fault lines in the future, which is bound to afflict the Saudi regime with the kind of troubles other illegitimate regimes in the region have been facing.

  118. Rehmat says:

    As the US occupation of Iraq comes to its end – the country is facing a significant rise in US-Israel sponsored sectarian terrorism. To counter this Zionist anti-Muslim plot, Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of Islamic resistance has issued an appeal to all Iraqi religious and ethnic groups, urging them to respect each other and warned them against spilling Iraqi blood which will only benefit the anti-Muslim occupation forces.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/25/al-sadr-calls-for-a-non-sectarian-free-iraq/

  119. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    “Roses are reddish
    Violets are bluish
    If it weren’t for Christmas
    We’d all be Jewish.”
    ~Benny Hill

    Merry Christmas everybody!

  120. Karl says:

    I came across this information:

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

    “However many Americans interpreted the quote as a nuclear threat”

    It reminded me of the wipe-off-the-map myth that has been spread by warmongers.
    It is a deliberate use of dis/misinformation, depict something that isnt. A lie.
    The thing is, people are being fed daily about topics and if they are constantly negative, it seems its very hard for some people to change his or her views.
    It doesnt matter if you tell one of those persons that Iraq didnt have nukes, or there was no “wipe off the map” speech and show them facts. Hopefully with sites like these we could atleast try as much as we can to speak out against war threats, lies and the misconceptions, misreadings.

  121. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Israel Firsters, fanatical Zionists, and others, are doing their best to cut off trade between the EU and Iran. To facilitate continuing oppression of the Palestinians by Israel, of course. Iran should not make this effort easier.

  122. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Are you forgetting the spat between Ukraine and Russia, that led the Russian to stop sending gas to the EU via Ukraine? The fight was between Ukraine and Russia, and was not a dispute between the EU and Russia.

  123. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Never during the most severe days of the Cold War was there any hint of gas cut-off from USSR.

    That is a canard and I do not understand what the point of it is.

    Russians can cut-off the gas tomorrow and harm EU, but they won’t; in spite of persistent US and EU provocations of NATO Expansion, Missile Defense, Chechen funding by Saudi Arabia, and now using the Internet and external agencies to influence the Russia Elections.

    We are watching the dismantling of a 120-year old trade relationship between Iran and EU.

    Give it a few more years.

  124. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Shipping gas via pipeline is much less expensive than shipping it via LNG tankers.
    Europe serves its own interests by including Iranian gas in any deliveries via Turkey.

  125. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think the EU drive to obtain alternate gas supplies has more to do with avoiding a cut-off of supply. The suppliers have no wish to lower gas prices, obviously.

  126. James Canning says:

    “US threat to nuke Iran is criminal”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/217483.html

    Francis Boyle, int’l law prof at U of Illinois, notes that the US violates international law when Obama and other US leaders claim all options are on the table for dealing with Iran. In fact, there is zero chance the US would use nukes on a first-strike basis. And in fact the Israel lobby essentially coerces Obama into making stupid statement that “all options are on the table” when this obviously is not true.

  127. David Sheegog says:

    As I understand it, the gas-to-Europe pipeline link through Azerbaijan and Turkey will contain some Iranian gas. Iran is part of a consortium of producers who will contribute. Interestingly, there is no objection (or mention, even) of some of Iran’s gas in this pipeline by any of the countries agreed to the latest round of sanctions of Iran. I heard this discussed last week on BBC World.

  128. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    For Iran, it never made any sense to be a supplier of naturakl gas to Europe.

    There are too many suppliers of gas to Europe in addition to Russia, i.e. Algeria.

    Furthermore, Iran’s participation in the European gas market would have benefited EU but not Iran.

    Why should Iran help EU get lower prices fir Russian gas?

    Now, of course, the possibility does not even exist hypothetically; Iranian gas will go East, for the most part.

  129. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    In the piece you linked, Robin Mills states that Iran “has oddly failed [to offer] Europe a real alternative to Russian gas . ..”

    I think Iran has offered to ship gas through Turkey to Europe. But the US has done its best to have the gas, needed to reduce dependence on Russia, come from Turkmenistan (via Azerbaijan and Georgia), rather than Iran.

  130. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I agree with you Pakistan has no ready replacement for the US. America is an essential source of riches for a number of Pakistanis who control the country.

  131. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    It is perhaps worth noting that some of the prominent British leaders who encouraged Jewish emigration from Europe to the Holy Land (Palestine), were hoping to see a reduction in the number of Jews living in England.

    And somne of the British leaders who tried to limit Jewish immigration into Palestine, during the mandate, were Jews themselves.

    The Balfour “declaration” was just a letter to Lord Rothschild. In tiself it did not commeit Britain to supporting the creation of a state controlled by Jews, displacing the native Muslims and Christians.

  132. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi says:
    December 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Good way to look at it. Even though I hear it is difficult for US citizens to obtain visas.

    Loved your paraphrase of that Weasel Dennis Ross. I hope your take is correct, as the more time goes by, the more ‘facts on the ground’ appear, the more of a fait accompli the revolution becomes… the more absurd the thought of any attack will appear, inshallah.

  133. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: December 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Since her independenc, Pakistan has relied on the twin states of China and United States for political, financial, and material support.

    Should she now discard her reliance on US, she would need a replacement.

    There is none: Iran does not have the soft power to support Pakistan at her hours of need, Saudi Arabia does not either and no other state is there.

    There are limits to how far Pakistan will go against USA.

    They cannot afford discarding US; or at least that is what her leaders have believed for decades.

  134. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    I think the Iranian government made a wise decision in allowing Rick Steves to make his travel documentary. Foreign plots notwithstanding, the beautiful high-def color of all the life in Iran is sure to inspire more than one American to plan their next trip.

    Steves’ documentary is fully human and i hope it gets wide circulation among those who care.

  135. Rehmat says:

    Photi – Iran belongs to both the Middle East and the Muslim Ummah.

    Ulema belongs to Iran and the Muslim world.

    And America belongs to the Zionist entity.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/washington-cannot-say-no-to-jewish-lobby/

  136. Rehmat says:

    Pakistan needs to drop its ‘American baggage’

    Pakistani leadership must realize that political independence and sovereignty requires economic independence. Pakistan’s neighboring Islamic Iran has proved that point and within 32 year has become the most powerful country in the region.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/pakistan-needs-to-drop-its-american-baggage/

  137. Photi says:

    Iran, the ulema, and America. Which one of these three does not belong?

  138. Photi says:

    On Iran, Pressure Works

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204879004577108643499598220.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

    The only thing Dennis Ross is saying, paraphrasing of course, is:

    ‘I don’t want to be the one responsible for bringing this next of America’s barbaric wars to the Middle East, i am already getting enough flack over Iraq. The political climate for duping the American public into this war is not yet ripe. Let’s give it a few years before I and others in my position make the decision to drop bombs on the ancient, beautiful, and innocent civilization of Iran. It would not be strategic for Israel to get their war just yet.’

  139. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Also, you highlighted a telling quote:

    “And yet, no matter how strongly we want to see our beliefs and values prevail in Iran, we must pursue that aim carefully.”

    The “pursuit of one’s beliefs and values” in other cultures can only be properly pursued by example. Any attempt to impose one’s belief’s and values on others from without undermines those very values (assuming that they include respect for other people’s religion and way of life).

    Islam suffered from this paradox from its early infancy when it invaded and looted the Persian Empire. Stealing is haram, even if the rudimentary ethics of Omar and his henchmen did not acknowledge this, and the community suffered the consequences of the injestion of that haram consumption.

  140. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi:

    You are absolutely right: media produced in the US nowadays is rife with Islamophobia, Iranophobia, and just plain misinformation, and that documentary is no exception. Maybe I should not have linked it, but linked to the Press TV site, where there are plenty of visuals on Iran in the “Iran Today” section. Oh well. Yet, there are some redeeming features, I trust.

  141. BiBiJon says:

    Is it a Stalemate?
    ==================

    “The United States’ last secret weapon — embargoing gasoline shipments to Iran — inspired Tehran to make its long-overdue subsidy reform and step up domestic refining capacity. In a way, the U.S. Congress did Iran a favor.”

    ….

    “Ignore all the crowing coming from Washington this week [about the new round of sanctions on Iranian Central Bank, and an oil embargo]. Iran’s position may have weakened, but despite dangerous brinkmanship with the world economy at stake, the game is still essentially in stalemate.” (ROBIN MILLS)

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/12/23/who_s_sanctioning_whom?page=0,1

    The financial sanctions on Iran spearheaded by Stuart Levey, and now David Cohen, also have had more complex cost/benefits than at first meets the eye.

    Banks love ‘transaction fees.’ Fee income is a fairly dependable, risk-free money earner for banks, and their sister insurance cos. Billions of $$ of international trade translates to a considerable transaction/transfer/wire/LetterOfCredeit fee income that American and European banks are being asked to forgo.

    While lost business costs are obvious, few have pointed out other trends. ‘Alternative’ commerce/financial conduits are being expanded and fortified that will one day act as a serious competitor to established financial markets. Businesses who out of necessity become adroit at finding ‘other’ ways of doing business, are much more likely to survive FX/financial market volatility.

    Another words, a complete, ‘full cycle’, alternative global economy is being seeded. I wonder what the eventual cost of these sanctions will be to western interests?

  142. Photi says:

    Of particular importance to those who desire peace is this quote here by Silverstein regarding Hamas’ supposed intent to destroy Israel:

    “While there is certainly no love lost between Israel and Hamas, no senior Hamas official that I know of has in the recent past (the past few years) made any such statement. And the group would certainly, from their point of view have reason to do so after Operation Cast Lead, the Mavi Marmara killings, and years of punishing siege. Though I don’t find Hamas an exemplar of democracy (nor Fatah or Israel for that matter), statements like Kershner’s and Bronner’s do a disservice to a full understanding of the nuance of the conflict.”

  143. Photi says:

    UU, halfway through the video now, it’s great, thanks for the link.

  144. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Rick Steves is probably well-intended, but based on reading the text at your link (i have not yet watched the video), he comes across as yet another apologist for America’s hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East.

    The islamophobia informing Rick Steves’ worldview is horrendous (see UU’s link). Note below he offers the requisite disparagement of any political manifestations of Islam, including his glaringly obvious progressive-except-for-palestine liberal zionist categorizations of political groupings throughout the Middle East. Note also he makes the assumption that America is justified in threatening to rattle sabers at Iran in the first place (textbook American exceptionalism):

    “My visit to the cemetery drove home a feeling that had been percolating throughout my trip. There are many things that Americans justifiably find outrageous about the Iranian government—from supporting Hezbollah and making threats against Israel; to oppressing women and gay people; to asserting their right to join the world nuclear club.

    And yet, no matter how strongly we want to see our beliefs and values prevail in Iran, we must pursue that aim carefully. What if our saber-rattling doesn’t coerce this country into compliance? In the past, other powerful nations have underestimated Iran’s willingness to be pulverized in a war…and both Iran and their enemies have paid the price.

    I have to believe that smart and determined diplomacy can keep the Iranians—and us—from having to build giant new cemeteries for the next generation’s war dead. That doesn’t mean “giving in” to Iran…it means acknowledging that war is a failure and it behooves us to find an alternative.”

  145. Unknown Unknowns says:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30062.htm

    Recent hour long American travelogue on Iran.

  146. kooshy says:

    Real American patriot will dare to read this mind bugling article

    Thud of the Jackboot

    by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

    Too bad Kim Jong-il kicked the bucket last weekend. If the divine hand that laid low the North Korean leader had held off for a week or so, Kim would have been sustained by the news that President Obama is signing into law a bill that puts the United States not immeasurably far from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in contempt of constitutional protections for its citizens, or constitutional restraints upon criminal behavior sanctioned by the state.

    At least the DPRK doesn’t trumpet its status as the last best sanctuary of liberty. American politicians, starting with the president, do little else.

    A couple of months ago came a mile marker in America’s steady slide downhill towards the status of a Banana Republic, with Obama’s assertion that he has the right as president to order secretly the assassination, without trial, of a US citizen he deems to be working with terrorists. This followed his betrayal in 2009 of his pledge to end the indefinite imprisonment without charges or trial of prisoners in Guantanamo.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/

  147. fyi says:

    Wilbur says: December 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I would like to bring to your attention that in Palestine and in Iraq, the Axis Powers’ policies have been the instigator of the destruction of ancient Christian communities in those 2 states.

    I would also like to bring to your attention that that darling of the Western States, the ostensibly secular Turkish Repubic, expelled several hundred thousand Pontic Greeks atthe end of WWI, inspired by the European models of nation-states.

    There is no way that one could uncritically accept such criticism from the Europen Union or the United States.

    Under Mr. George Bush, US Government had hired the Jewish Agency to encourage Jews and Christains to leave Iran and settle in the West.

    What are your intentions?

  148. Fiorangela says:

    Those interested in the origins of Christian zionism (in Great Britain) may find this thumbnail sketch/book review helpful. The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and Evangelical Support for a Jewish Homeland.

    The book review by Shalom Goldman of Emory University provides a precis of each chapter, thus composing a chronology from the era of the French Revolution which frightened British Christians, to the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Goldman makes special note of the collaboration of British Christians and German Pietists in developing the Holy Land with an eye to Jewish restoration.

  149. Fiorangela says:

    Wilbur,

    My “subjective predisposition . . . towards . . .Jews” was a full-bore prejudice, enforced by my Mother — she loved Jews unconditionally, and I did too. I would risk my departed Mother’s wrath if I did otherwise.

    Which creates quite a stressful situation as I learn about zionism and the militant agenda and deliberate dispossession of Arabs and Muslims that it is carrying out.

    I cannot forgive Jewish people who are deliberately demonizing — more specifically, broadcasting lies about Muslims and Iran with the intent of causing harm and suffering to the Iranian people. To deliberately take measures that are intended to cause another people to starve, to loose employment, to experience homelessness, poverty, destabilization is unforgivable. I will risk my Mother’s wrath to make that point with the hope of stopping the madness that has infected zionist Jews and non-Jews, and of making some small effort to prevent the horror that the United States, with Israel’s complicity, visited upon Iraq, from happening to Iran. Never again.

  150. Fiorangela says:

    Wilbur at 4:58, wrote:

    “Not so coincidentally this type of rhetoric is all to common place across the Islamic world. ”

    my goodness, whyever would antizionist rhetoric be “common place across the Islamic world?”

    The photo was not an isolated incident, just a particularly graphic depiction of the death and humiliation that is meted out by zionists on a nearly daily basis.

    Zionists have been threatening and constraining Iran, through the offices of the United States legislature, Treasury Department, and state legislatures as well as pension funds, since at least 1995.

    Whatever is causing those foolish Muslims to complain so about zionists?

    Numerous pundits are warning that Israel’s actions are “causing an upsurge in antisemitism.” That’s a foolish statement. Antisemitism is defined as antipathy toward Jews ‘just because they are Jews.’ The phenomenon that is emerging is a reaction or response to distressing actions by Israelis in Palestine and to Israel advocates in the United States. It is not a “magical” or baseless antipathy toward people “just because they are Jews,” it is a response to murderous actions by or on behalf of Jews.
    What the pundits really mean is that more people are becoming more aware of the actions of Israelis and of (predominantly) Jewish/Israel lobbyists in the United States that have, since about 1913, denied the right to self determination to the peoples in the regions of the former Ottoman empire, in preference to the colonization agenda of 6 million European and American Jews, and are responding to those actions negatively. As they should.

  151. Arnold Evans says:

    Wilbur says:
    December 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I always point out in the West hate crimes against Muslims are a statistical anomaly and almost never lead to death. Conversely infidelophobia is endemic across the Islamic world and claims thousands of lives each year.

    Hmmm.

    How many Westerners died of cholera when Muslims imposed sanctions on their countries preventing the delivery of water treatment supplies?

    Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State at the time, said 500,000 deaths mostly of Muslims in that episode were worth it. Where were the last 500,000 infidels whose deaths were, according to a high official of a majority-Muslim government, worth it?

    Where are the infidels living under pro-Muslim dictatorships analogous to the dictatorships of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE and others?

    The President and Vice-President of which Muslim country says the anti-democratic governments of these state are not dictatorships expressly because those leaders pursue policies that Muslims agree with but their populations disagree with?

    You’ve lost your mind if you’d try to present the Islamic world as anywhere near as hostile against the West as there is hostility in the opposite direction.

  152. James Canning says:

    “US call for Iran war classic deception”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/217295.html

    Stephen Walt’s attack on the warmongers (on his Foreign Policy site) gets a brief mention.

  153. Arnold Evans says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    December 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I’m not entirely sure. While I don’t see Turkey being committed to actual invading Syria with any intent to overthrow the regime militarily, I DO see Turkey using it’s troops to create a buffer zone of perhaps several miles or tens of miles into Syrian territory for the purpose of providing a more extensive staging area to enable the Syrian dissidents – and probably foreign mercenaries from Libya and elsewhere – to conduct a military campaign against Syrian forces.

    I don’t think Turkey can do a better job holding territory facing Syria than Israel could do in Lebanon facing Hezbollah. Israel had an automatic no-fly zone, since Hezbollah has zero air assets.

    One question would be, would Syria fire into Turkish territory in response?

    Taking Syrian territory under any pretext would be an act of war. It would be up to Syria’s decision-makers to decide where to go from there. A war aimed at regime change doesn’t leave much reason for restraint on Syria’s side.

    A Turkish attempt to take territory in Syria, ultimately aimed at regime change, could get very messy very quickly. All I can say is that I hope, for Turkey’s sake among others, that we don’t see it. I also don’t expect to see it.

    Castellio says:
    December 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Erdogan does, I believe have enough authority over the military that there is no Turkish policy that he opposes.

    Honestly, I’m surprised Turkey has gone as far as it has. There’s something I’m missing.

  154. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Wouldn’t it be a bit strange for Nato to seek to injure an important member of the treaty organisation? Rather unlikely. But some “pro-Israel” fanatics might think about injuring Turkey if they saw this as benefiting Israel.

  155. Rehmat says:

    Did Mossad carry Friday Damascus bombing?

    The coordinated car bombing blamed on the non-existent Al-Qaeda is no doubt a CIA-Mossad false flag operation. Hoping a bloody crackdown by Assad regime which will lead to a civil war and finally a foreign intervention on Libyan-type ‘humanitarian mission‘……

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/did-mossad-carry-friday-damascus-bombing/

  156. Neil M says:

    “It will be interesting to see whether the Riyadh-Tel Aviv-Ramallah-Washington axis is really more reflective of regional opinion and has greater staying power than the Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Cairo-Beirut-Gaza-Ankara(?) axis.”

    It will indeed.
    Turkey seems an oddly uncomfortable fit in a Christian alliance dedicated to pursuing a Fake War on Islam.
    It’s membership of NATO suggests that the Christians still believe their own bs.

  157. Castellio says:

    Arnold and RSH, re Turkey.

    My reading is slightly different, though I doubt very much it is better informed. I think we are somewhat unwisely conflating the military and the elected government when we say “Turkey”.

    I suspect Erdogan is trying to maintain control of a restless military. I don’t think he’s “gone over”, as much as trying to “hold on”.

    Not to diminish the inherent and historical strains within Turkish society, but imagine the current efforts the US, Israel and NATO are making to split Turkey along its most obvious fault line.

  158. Wilbur says:

    Paul,

    In context of current events and the recent wars you are 100% correct. I am fully against the wars simply for many of the reasons you stated. However the context of my argument is not confined to the past twenty years? In addition your characterization of the “west” while true on some respects ignores the reality Muslims are equal here in the west. The same cannot be said for non Muslims in the Islamic world. Sadly human and religious rights abuses rife across the Islamic world have been going on since the inception of Islam. Sometimes it has been good but on the whole it has been quote bad Compounding the issue is the reality that Islam itself is the source for much of it because rights are almost solely predicated on belief in Islam.

    For some perspective compare and contrast human rights reports west vs the islamic world, read the Cairo declaration of human rights vs the universal one ( note it ignores religious freedom and clearly sates Muslims have greater rights than non Muslims and all 57 OIC states ratified it in 1990), and then noodle why are Muslims exponentially growing in the west while non Muslims have been in a demographic free fall for decades across much of the Islamic world? We are far from saints but the fact remains western countries do not make up the who’s who list of the worlds worst human and religious rights abusers Islamic states do!

    Thx
    Bill

  159. Wilbur says:

    RD,

    Propoganda? What should I read IRIB news and take it as the truth regarding how they treat religious minorities “so well”? So what about the 30,000 Jews? How in the world does that response address the verifiable facts outlined in the article I posted? They don’t and it is frankly the sign of someone trying to deflect. As a further note my girlfriend is ten years removed from Tehran and those are the realities on the ground in Iran? Care to explain to me why the Bahais are persecuted, it’s illegal for Muslims to convert to another religion, and why year after year human rights groups regularly rank Iran in the top 20 religious rights abusers? The fact remains the Islamic world as a whole has an abysmal record concerning human and religious rights. It is neither propaganda, racist, or simply wrong to point this out. It is is the height of rational thought to do so. The rest of the world is tired of the Islamic world bleating on and on about the myth of Islamophoboia while seemingly oblivious every year Islamic majority states dominate the top 50 of the worlds worst human and religious rights abusers? Quite a feat wouldn’t you say considering their are 57 states in the OIC? So keep ignoring the problem but realize one day the Islamic world will hypocritically push to far so callously ignoring the tolerance/acceptance we in the west have shown to Muslims in our midst and the proverbial straw will break the camel’s back. That will be a bleak day most likely meaning the myth of the class of civilizations will have metastasized in horrible reality. To avoid that the Islamic world must simply grant the equality/respect they demand to all regardless of faith. Is that so to much to ask for?

    Thx
    Bill

  160. paul says:

    Is it not more than a little absurd to speak of the ‘West’, and the US in particular, as religiously tolerant, when the ‘West’ and the US are continuing to pursue what amounts to a decade-long jihad, crusade, long war, call-it-what-you-will against the muslim world? Of course it is, particularly in view of the fact that one of the political driving forces behind this unholy war appears to be a virulently toxic and intolerant combination of fundamentalist tendencies in judaism and christianity (CUFI, AIPAC, etc.). American society is so intolerant, so mindlessly and brutally intolerant, that in any political conversation about conflicts between the US and muslim world, the ‘glass parking lot’ recourse is routinely invoked on every intellectual level of US society. A society that can barely contain its urge to nuke the ‘Other’ is no beacon of tolerance.

  161. Wilbur says:

    Fiorangela,

    Ironically you proved my point. Instead of addressing the issue you brought up those “evil zionists.” Not so coincidentally this type of rhetoric is all to common place across the Islamic world. It’s why the Islamic world by and large is simply incapable of self critique. Seemingly every ill in the Islamic world is always the Jew’s or Israel’s fault. Frankly it is a destructive psychosis that prevents them from every truly getting at the root of problem simply because they can’t realize many of their issues are the work of their own hands. So by all means keeping beating away at it but noodle this: why is that those who obsess over Jews seem to be either conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, and Islamists? Ever wondered why your position is not mainstream thought?

    You’re a very bright and articulate person please try to look beyond your subjective predisposition you have towards Zionism/Jews. As I have said all along the State of Israel’s response (while wrong and brutal at times) is quite predictable. They are dealing with groups who either want them wholesale dead or simply gone. How can they ever hope for peace when the Palestinians don’t recognize their right to even exist let alone live in their ancestral home? It can’t be done and until the Islamic world resolves this the circle of violence will continue.

    As for you pic I believe that was the activist who recently got shot intentionally in the face by the IDF. I actually saw the video. He passed away and the idiot who did this should be charged with murder!! That was obviously intentional considering the range.

    I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

    Bill

  162. Wilbur says:

    WTF,

    Thanks for the reply and I hope all is well with you. As for the abuses you noted I was quite vocal about this stating on comment boards these idiots need to be locked away for a long time. Regarding human rights the US has many problems most linked to the wars of late which I am against. As I stated in earlier posts the target of the US wrath for 911 should have been directed at the Wahhabi, Muslim Bortherhood, and other salafist groups that promote the hate that led to this. I also believe US foreign policy needs to be overhauled especially trying to export western liberal democracy to the Islamic world seemingly oblivious of the fact Islam needs needs to be incorporated for it ever to work. However, i hope you understand this doesn’t mean other abuses clearly not connected to the US should be over looked. It was why I posted that article.

    Iran while better than most in the Islamic world does have a problem with human rights respective to religious minorities. It is actually a problem the rest of the Islamic world shares with places like Pakistan, Northern Nigeria, and the Saudis being the worst. The sad fact is that while Muslims in the West are free to call other to their faith, build mosques to their hearts content (600+ in the US since 911), and are equal before the law non Muslims in the Islamic world face a categorical ban on missionary work, have their religions/houses of worship either outright banned or at the very least severly restricted (note Indonesia all by itself had a staggering 700 churches blown up or burned down in the past ten years), and deal with laws directly from scripture that not only mandate but in fact institutionalize their discrimination. The aforementioned is a huge issue and it is why I always get a laugh when Islamophobia is parroted about as one of the world’s worst problems trying to deflect. I always point out in the West hate crimes against Muslims are a statistical anomaly and almost never lead to death. Conversly infidelophobia is endemic across the Islamic world and claims thousands of lives each year.

    Now having said that I do fully realize Iran is way way better in terms of treating religious minorities and it is why the fracas between the West and Iran infuriates me. I personally see the Iranian people as a beacon of hope for reconciliation with the West. Iran unlike the majority of the Islamic world because of the Shia disposition towards being open to reinterpreting scripture (Sunni’s by in large closed that gate with Al Ghazzali) are more ideologically predisposed to simply getting along with others. The Sunni world at the same time seems somewhat obssed with making sure that they stay separate because they are so paranoid about their “faith” being corrupted. For some perspective see this article from CNN about an American basketball player in Iran: http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/23/sport/sport-basketball-america-iran/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

    That my friend shows we can get along and it has been my experience Iranian people have always been the best ambassadors for Islam. To truly make this work we in the west need to correct our ways but so does the Islamic world. A good start is for the equality Muslims have in the west to be recipricoated in terms of rights for non Muslims in the Islamic world. The key is finding a way to not only tolerate but accept the other despite their faith. In my opinion we do that pretty well in the west while it is a daily struggle in the Islamic world.

    As for your response on “obstruction” I did do my homework but have been tied up with work. I would respond now but I am on my iPad which makes it nigh impossible to do the cut and pasting. I will get to it within a week.

    Take care
    Bill

  163. Fiorangela says:

    Newt Gingrich, his ex-wife Marianne and Arms Dealer Soghnalian: A Buried FBI Investigation

    read the article for the whole story — it’s over; under the carpet; so Iraq war.

    But detail this is amusing:

    “For several years, FBI agents instructed Soghanalian to get beyond the men who claimed to have ties to Gingrich and insist upon meeting with Gingrich and his former wife directly to prove that they could deliver the Speaker. But just before Soghanalian was to meet Gingrich and his former wife at a private Miami Beach fundraiser on June 8, 1997, arranged by one of these men, FBI headquarters called off the investigation. Washington ordered the FBI in Miami not to secretly tape record the fundraiser and to stop Soghanalian from attending. Marianne Gingrich, in a series of telephone interviews from her homes in Georgia and Florida, acknowledges meeting the arms dealer in Paris but insists her participation was to solicit an investment from Soghanalian for her former employer, the Israel Export Development Corporation (IEDC). She says the company was running short on cash and her meetings with the arms dealer had nothing to do with Iraq and arms dealing. Newt Gingrich did not return repeated telephone calls for comment.”

    Could it be we’ve got Newt all wrong? Could it be his marriage to the looovely Caligula Callista is a step up the evolutionary ladder, from Marianne the arms merchant to Callista the Islamophobic hate monger?

  164. Karl says:

    How should Iran, from a strategic point of view, approach the syrian uprising? I think that as soon as a powerful uprising have begun the ruling government will eventually fall since they are fighting an insurgency which if one look back, have failed over and over again.

    On the one hand if Iran keep supporting Syria, it will fuel the animosity more by the sunni groups which will, when they take power be another sunni-ruled regime aided, supported by Saudiarabia, Qatar and other powerful gulf regimes.
    On the other hand, does Iran have anything to gain by supporting the uprising from a strategic point of view? Because no matter what, a sunni regime would be in the hands of saudis.

    To add to the discussion, I dont think Iran is getting stronger. If you go back to the year 2000 Iran wasnt such a pariah in the eyes of many people, it had some american sanctions but no european which they enjoyed good relations with (trade for example). They enjoyed better relations with the important gulf regimes too.
    That doesnt mean that they were powerful back then, I think Iran is getting stronger in one way but it comes with a big price (sanctions, threats, isolation, assasinations, military threats).

    One should also take note of the falling of syrian regime, a great important ally which will also cut off, how much we dont know, the aid to Hizbollah, the other ally. The lebanese government are shaky and the US, France, UK supported opposition could take power in the near future. Not to mention Iraq, which we have seen the government are shaky on sectarian lines.

    One could go on but saying that Iran is getting stronger and US weaker is not necessary true.

  165. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    fyi says: December 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    fyi, this “clueless” is still waiting for you to corroborate your assertion.

  166. Arnold: “It would cost a lot for Turkey to capture any Syrian territory under any pretext. I don’t make much of any of those threats.”

    I’m not entirely sure. While I don’t see Turkey being committed to actual invading Syria with any intent to overthrow the regime militarily, I DO see Turkey using it’s troops to create a buffer zone of perhaps several miles or tens of miles into Syrian territory for the purpose of providing a more extensive staging area to enable the Syrian dissidents – and probably foreign mercenaries from Libya and elsewhere – to conduct a military campaign against Syrian forces. All this aided by either a NATO no-fly zone (with or without UN support) or a no-fly zone by Turkey and/or Saudi Arabia and the other Arab countries in the Arab League, possibly with US or NATO intelligence support.

    In other words, I think Turkey is prepared to go “all in” in terms of assisting in the overthrow of Assad, but not to the degree of starting an actual declared war between Turkey and Syria.

    “If Erdogan has been brought into the pro-US/Israel fold, Turkey’s voters have not.
    Which is all to say Turkey is ambiguous at this moment about which camp it is in. But if I had to put it into one, in a long term context, I still would probably put it into the anti-US/Israel camp.”

    I’m inclined to agree with that. And I don’t think Turkey has any real interest in alienating Iran much. Whether it would eventually be persuaded to allow US air attacks on Iran from its soil is also questionable since it would provoke Iranian missiles attacks on Turkish soil and lead to a much more hostile relationship. It would also compromise Turkish status with the rest of the ME countries and undermine its foreign policy goals of being a regional influence.

    But I do see Turkey as being a major instigator of an eventual attack on Syria and that is going to backfire on Turkey at some point, especially since such an attack is just a prelude to an Iran war.

  167. Pirouz-2: Thanks for the Finkelstein-Hedges interview video. I agree with most of what Finkelstein said, especially when he made it clear it makes no sense to say the Israel Lobby controls ALL of US foreign policy in the ME as opposed to controlling US foreign policy vis-a-vis the specific Palestinian issue. Finkelstein clearly states that the Lobby has a CONFLUENCE OF INTERESTS with the US elites, which is something I’ve repeatedly emphasized here. It is such a confluence between the military-industrial complex, the oil companies, the banks who finance them, the politicians, the Zionist and “crypto-Zionist” supporters of Israel, etc. who are all involved in the corrupt US foreign policy which is utterly beyond the control of the US electorate.

    Finkelstein believes it’s possible to win the propaganda war against Israel and in at least some cases “shame” members of the US Congress to adopt a more rational policy. I’m not nearly so confident, but he’s welcome to try. Good luck with that. In my view, in the end money and power – including the ability to control the MSM formulation of any policy issue – trump pretty much everything short of a truly massive movement. A few score thousand – or even a few hundred thousand – people supporting the Palestinians are not going to make a dent in the situation.

    He’s right that one goal should be to equate the word “Israel” with the word “apartheid” in terms of the emotional response to the South African version. But I’m not sure South Africa was ever in the position Israel is vis-a-vis the US of having spent hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars, and millions of man hours over three or four decades, manipulating US public opinion and manipulating the US government to support the country. If that had been the case, I don’t apartheid would ever have ended in South Africa.

    So I think Finkelstein may be wrong if he thinks the Lobby can be defeated in the US. Or if not wrong, that it may likely take a decades long, heavily funded effort by scores of thousands of organizers.

    Again, good luck with that. Email me when it succeeds.

  168. bushtheliberator says:

    I expect nodding approval from the Leverette’s Faithful as they gloat over the US ” defeat” in Iraq,but I’m still surprized that only Paul,& WTF notice when the Leverette’s engage in the tragi-comic absurdity of ” Baghdad Bob”. Bragging about the IRI’s Tehran-Baghdad-Ankara-Damascus Axis seems downright silly as Turkey has changed from Al-Assad’s Good Buddy to Worst Enemy, and the Syria to Anbar rat lines begin to flow in the OTHER direction.Also un-noted is that the IRI’s relationship is not with ” Damascus”, but with the Al-Assad dictatorship, a rapidly deflating tire on the IRI’s political juggernaut.

  169. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    It would seem that some sort of denunciation of the Iranian gov’t is almost a ritual part of any opinion piece by most American commentators, even where, like Walt, they think American policy toward Iran is stupid, counter-productive, and worse.

    Walt, of course, is one of the most effective critics of American Middle East foreign policy.

    We should be glad that Pillar is at Geogetown. His experience at high levels of CIA allows him to be certain about the role the ISRAEL LOBBY played in setting up the illegal and idiotic invasion of Iraq.

  170. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Saudi Arabia is an implacable enemy of al-Qaeda for the obvious reason al-Qaeda would like to overthrow the gov’t of the country. But some Saudis do give assistance to al-qaeda.

  171. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    “U.S. District Court Rules Iran Behind 9/11 Attacks”
     
    Yet again, Iran has to prove a negative.
     
    “Members of the 9/11 Commission staff testified that Iran aided the hijackers by concealing their travel through Iran to access al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. Iranian border inspectors refrained from stamping the passports of 8 to 10 of the 9/11 hijackers because evidence of travel through Iran would have prevented the hijackers from obtaining visas at U.S. embassies abroad or gaining entry into the United States”
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-district-court-rules-iran-behind-911-attacks-2011-12-23
     

  172. James Canning says:

    Sarah,

    Some of the neocon warmongers who conspired to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq did in fact hope to see Iraq partitioned, as part of a larger “Greater Israel” programme. Generally, however, the ISRAEL LOBBY wanted the war in order to exploit opportunity to remove an enemy of Israel while public opinion was easily manipulated.

  173. kooshy says:

    Suicide bombs kill dozens in Syria; al Qaeda blamed
    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1106263–suicide-bombs-kill-dozens-in-syria-government-blames-al-qaeda?bn=1

    U.S. condemns Damascus attacks, says Arab League mission to Syria must proceed

    Suicide bombings in Syria capital reportedly kill 40; State Department says it is crucial that bombings won’t impede critical work of Arab League monitoring mission.

    Considering the above news, and the US’s condemnation of the bombing, one will wonder why al Qaeda decided to attack Syria now, when Syrian government is in a hand in hand surviving fight with the US/west and her regional client state proxies, unless one drives the conclusion that the al Qaeda and west’s regional policy conforms together, and perhaps they have become kin to cooperate with each other, and al Qaeda has agreed on forming a uniform regional policy with the west to brake the resistance axis to west, or more likely KSA, Turkey and their western oligarchic protector regimes, are utilizing al Qaeda extremists to form and train resistance groups against the Syrian government.

  174. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Condoleezza Rice was the dupe of neocon warmongers and she revels in her role as Aipac stooge and “supporter” of Israel right or wrong. And she was simply too stupid to tell Israel not to invade the West Bank with its Apartheid Wall. If one is kind.

  175. Rehmat says:

    Worried about the on-going isolation of the Zionist regime around the world, Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat, has made unkosher u-turn on his long-time held views of a ‘united Jerusalem‘ as the biblical capital of the Jewish people. The very Jewish people, who according to Israeli historian, professor Shlomo Sand, were invented only a century ago.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/jerusalem-mayor-proposes-a-split-city/

  176. WTF says:

    @Irshad

    That is my inclination as well. I have seen the same articles that you have mentioned and as you stated, they contradict themselves. Some Israeli sources have gone so far as to say that Hassan Nasrallah tried to intervene to no avail. I am extremely skeptical about the accuracy of these reports. However, the recent announcements of a strong push for reconciliation between Hamas and the PLO makes me think that it is possible something may be up (I am fully aware that there are a million other reasons that Hamas and the PLO would be pushing to form a unity government).

    Absent a credible source, I will chalk it up to propaganda or wishful thinking.

  177. Voice of Tehran says:

    Brilliant appearance of Hillary on RT News in CrossTalk

    http://rt.com/programs/crosstalk/endless-war-usa-democracy/

    “”­Is there a glimmer of hope for a shattered Iraq after the US withdrawal? What is at stake for America now that its soldiers are leaving the battlefield? Did the US experiment in Western-style democracy in Iraq fail completely, or are we seeing a new democracy in the making? And did anyone actually win the war there? CrossTalking with Fareed Sabri, Hillary Mann Leverett and Meir Javedanfar on Dec. 23.”"

  178. Irshad says:

    WTF

    The point of my earlier post was: Maybe there is no Hamas-Damascus rift.

  179. Irshad says:

    WTF,

    Maybe the lack of credible evidence about a Syria-Hamas rift is one of those myths that Western regimes want to belive – now belive it and their media is now spouting it out as the proverbial truth.

    The Guardian (an British newspaper) claims that there is a Iran-Hamas rift and Iran has stopped all funding of Hamas! It doesn’t mention any sources – its an given assumption.

    Then later on, they continue that if Isreal/USA bomb Iran – Hezbollah/Hamas will strike Isreal – the logic does not work – why would Hamas ignite a war against Isreal if Tehran has cut of all funding to them? Whats in it for them? or is it a case of Islamic solidarity?

    The West latest fetish is to read and see the crumbling of the Resisstance axis – money making journalists are only feeding it.

  180. WTF says:

    For anyone who was disillusioned, this is American politics. The only candidate (from either forged party) that is against the Establishment was ignored by the media for as long as they could. Even when he barely lost a virtual tie in the Iowa straw poll, Paul was written off and given no coverage.

    Now that Paul has surged to the lead in the polls days before the Iowa primary, they cannot ignore him anymore. So what do they do? They attack him as a racist. The goal of this line of attack is not just to hurt him in the Republican primaries (it is a sad reality that even unfounded accusations of bigotry could HELP in the Republican primaries), but is also laying the groundwork to leave him bloodied should he somehow end up in the general election against Obomba. Make no mistake, this isn’t about D vs R, it’s about E vs [everybody else]. The Establishment is perfectly happy with Obomba, and should Paul make it past the primaries, they will use the media to frame this as the respectable Black man against the raving racist loon.

    Ron Paul doesn’t play their game. The idea that we can elect someone like Paul and steer the Country “back” on course is naive. If Ron Paul is serious about half of the FP policies he promotes (and there’s no reason to doubt him), then they will kill him and a million more like him to keep the status quo. It will take nothing short of revolution to take this country back, no small nudges back in the right direction will work when the system has been hijacked.

    All that said, voting for Paul is an honorable thing to do if you care about this country (and world). Short of revolution (which isn’t currently in the cards) electing someone from the anti-E camp may do some good, but it will likely be short-lived.

  181. WTF says:

    Does anyone have any solid info on the alleged Damascus/Hamas rift? I have seen a handful of questionable articles, and over half have been from Israeli sources. I am curious if there is any truth to the allegations that Khaled Mashaal was shunned when he asked for a face to face with Bashar Assad, and that many of his (Mashaal’s) deputies have left Syria. I am curious about this in the context of the current push for Hamas reconciling/joining the PLO.

    Any trustworthy sources would be appreciated.

  182. Rd. says:

    Chomsky on behalf of the CARR center for human rights!! another one of those imperial tools?

    http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/chomsky-attacks-chavez-for-neocon-carr-centre/

  183. Sarah says:

    {American officials have regularly denied that the war was a “war for oil”.}

    I don’t understand why Leverett does not say the reason behind Iraq war and that is
    ISRAEL. Have you read Odid Yinon’ strategy and “a clean break”. She did not mention Israel, but used ‘neocons’.

    The war in Iraq was part of the war plan to re-draw the map of the region according to Isreal’s interest where oil came second.

  184. Photi says:

    I would like to correct a sentence here. I said:

    The Nation of Islam has good reason to despise Uncle Sam…so what? Does that mean that the Nation of Islam should factor into all discussions about the legitimacy or popularity of the American government?”

    The logic in my analogy is not very accurate. Walt’s essay was not about the legitimacy or popularity of the Iranian government, so why does he even bring it up? Walt’s essay was about US policy towards Iran. So the analogous question to ask is “Should the Iranian government consider the feelings of the Nation of Islam or the Aryan nation when it formulates its policy towards the US government?” The notion seems somewhat absurd, so why do policy hacks in the American regime insist on giving fringe attitudes in Iran undue attention? By all objective measures, Iranians on the whole consider the Islamic Republic to be their legitimate government. This should be the end of the discussion as far as international relations is concerned. Only those being ruled have the right to overturn their rulers. Regime change from beyond is ridiculous and illegitimate in the absence of genuine self-defense.

  185. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    December 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    James, the Walt essay is correct in many ways. The warmongers have turned Iran into a two-headed beast, at once incompetent and omnipotent. It appears the real beast is in Georgetown.

    A gripe towards a quote in Stephen Walt’s essay:

    “He is calmly advocating a course of action that will inevitably kill a significant number of people, including civilians, some of whom probably despise the clerical regime (and with good reason).”

    What the heck is this about? Why do “serious” people always fire off their insults at “the regime” in Tehran?

    Finally there is a successful state in the Middle East, and all Walt can think about is making exceptions for extremists, traitors and two-bit saboteurs. Who are these people who have “good reasons” to despise the Islamic Republic?

    The Nation of Islam has good reason to despise Uncle Sam…so what? Does that mean that the Nation of Islam should factor into all discussions about the legitimacy or popularity of the American government?

    The insult aimed at Iran by Walt is hate disguised as compassion. Part and parcel to the same heap of propaganda that the warmongers are drawing from to justify their beastly war. Opposing the war means opposing it in all its forms.

  186. Unknown Unknowns says:

    on the other hand, we have…

    http://www.rense.com/general79/sis.htm

  187. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Kooshy jan says, “I don’t see any chance he is allowed to continue in any serious way beyond the first few primaries.”

    That is because you are forgetting about Unknown Unknowns. It is a cosmic war, a war of good versus evil, and it is being played out all over the world, including in the US, in Latin America, and of course, in its geographic and spiritual core, the Middle East. The forces of evil are given enough rope to hang themselves, but There is a Light that Never goes Out.

  188. WTF says:

    @Wilbur

    You like to point out the bias of others on this forum, all while singling out the IRI for criticism. I am curious about your take on the US’s human rights record? How about on the abuses depicted in these photos specifically?

    http://antiwar.com/news/?articleid=2444

    Also, it’s nice to see you back. Back in November you balked at substantiating your claims of the IRI’s “obstructionism” re: the 2009 election and the nuclear program. I believe you said that you needed time to “sift through the mounds of evidence”. Have you had time to educate yourself on the subjects which you drew conclusions 1.5 months ago? I assume you found that aside from MSM propaganda, there was nothing to support your claims?

  189. Rehmat says:

    GOP: ‘Condi Rice for first Black VP’

    Condi can beat every GOP hopeful and Joe Biden plus Hillary Clinton when it comes to hating Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Republic. In June 2008, she told Israel Lobby (AIPAC) that any dialogue with Iranian leaders are pointless until they suspend country’s enrichment of uranium. In November 2011, in an interview with Zionist Steve Gill show, Condi called Iranian regime “illegitimate“ which must be removed, by military force if needed. However, she cautioned that Israel cannot do it without the active collaboration of United States. She also blamed Tehran for supporting Hamas and Hizbullah – and carrying out covert operations forcing the US occupation forces to withdraw from Iraq. Watch her rant video below.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/gop-condi-rice-for-first-black-vp/

  190. Persian Gulf says:

    If anything, Mr.Jarrar had a very poor performance in this video. he looks aggressive. his anger is understandable but it would have been better to lower the tone, and try to make the points slower. he forgot that he was not there to win a personal fight with that retired general. it was as if he forgot that there are people out there watching this video. a third impartial person will find his posture counterproductive. what was the point of sounding like an ultra-nationalist here? and no smile :)

  191. James Canning says:

    SteveWalt has excellent piece attacking claims by Matthew Kroenig that war with Iran makes sense. at walt dot foreignpolicy dot com

  192. James Canning says:

    Elliott Abrams is also unhappy Iceland has recognised Palestine with pre-1967 borders.

    http://blogs.cfr.org/abrams

  193. James Canning says:

    Interesting comment by Elliott Abrams Dec. 20th: “A couple of weeks ago [Panetta] moaned to a Brookings audience about the risks any military strike [against Iran] would bring, and clearly suggested that he opposed it.”

  194. Karl says:

    More ridiculous claims:

    “U.S. sets bounty for Iran-based al-Qaeda financier”
    http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/12/22/184045.html

  195. James Canning says:

    Elliott Abrams this week attacked Tom Friedman of The New York Times for “mainstreaming” the ideas of Walt and Mearsheimer, regarding how Israel controls American foreign policy in the Middle East.

    And Paul Pillar of Georgetown U caused a ruckus by saying the Israel Lobby was instrumental in bring about the illegal US/UK invasion of Iraq. Which of course is true. Pillar was high-level CIA before going to Georgetown.

  196. James Canning says:

    Jordan Michael Smith has some good comments on Israeli PR problems of late. “Across the political spectrum, once-taboo criticism of Israel is now common.”

    http://www.salon.com/2011/12/21/the_media_consensus_on_israel_is_collapsing/?source=newsletter

  197. kooshy says:

    Rd. says:

    December 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    In my opinion we should start a campaign of “where is my constitution “ that should and will cover everything we are currently encountering including campaign meandering and run away executive branch power.

  198. Arnold Evans says:

    The Ron Paul debate where he pointed out that the IAEA has said there has been no diversion of material to any weapons program and that the bigger danger was that the United States would repeat its Iraq mistake of going to a harmful war was predicted by Republican insiders to be a campaign ending mistake.

    Instead Paul’s poll numbers increased.

    Regardless of how close Paul gets to winning the US presidency, the stranglehold of pro-Israel voices over US Middle East policy discussion is eroding. It is still powerful but it is not quite as powerful as last year or the year before.

  199. Fiorangela says:

    Wilbur —

    scroll around here to view the face of zionism.

    do it BEFORE dinner.

  200. Rd. says:

    Wilbur says:

    “If the Iranian regime wants to tout religious freedom, it should respect its citizens’ right to decide “

    There are some 25,000 to 28,000 people of jewish faith in Iran, along with constitutionally guaranteed representation in IRI ……

    Perhaps you would consider freeing your mind from all the propaganda you read…

    Merry Christmas..

  201. Rd. says:

    kooshy says:

    “I don’t see any chance he is allowed to continue in any serious way beyond the first few primaries.”

    May be it is time we stared a Where is my Vote campaign!!!!!!!!!!!
    or is it where is my choice?

  202. Wilbur says:

    A Special Expose on Religious Intolerance by the Regime so Many Seemed to be Enamored With Here

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    (CNN) — In March 2009, when I was detained in Evin Prison in Iran, two evangelical Christians were arrested. I never met them but spotted them a few times through the barred window of my cell as they walked back and forth to the bathroom down the hall.
    I would later learn that Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh had converted from Islam to Christianity and faced charges of spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic, insulting religious sanctities, and committing apostasy. They resisted severe pressure to renounce their faith, and in November 2009, after an international outcry, the two women went free.
    News headlines are now highlighting the plight of another Iranian Christian accused of apostasy, or abandoning one’s religion. When Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was 19, he converted from Islam to Christianity. In 2010, a provincial court sentenced him to death. This year, Iran’s Supreme Court ruled that the case should be reviewed and the sentence overturned if he recants his faith — a step Nadarkhani, 34, has so far refused to take.

    Now, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Iran’s judiciary has ordered the verdict to be delayed, possibly for one year. But Nadarkhani’s supporters hope sustained worldwide pressure will lead to his just and immediate release.
    As international criticism has mounted, an Iranian official has alleged that Nadarkhani is being prosecuted not for his faith but for crimes including rape and extortion. Nadarkhani’s attorney, however, says the only charge the pastor has faced is apostasy, and court documents support this assertion.
    Although Iran’s penal code does not include a specific provision for apostasy, judges are given a fairly wide degree of latitude to issue rulings based on their own interpretation of Islamic law. In the past this has led to punishments ranging from imprisonment to death. The last person officially executed in Iran for apostasy was Hossein Soodmand, a Pentecostal minister who converted from Islam before Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and was hanged in 1990.
    Iranian officials often say their country’s recognized religious minorities (Christians, Jews, and adherents of the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism) enjoy freedoms equal to their Muslim counterparts. Iran’s constitution gives these three religious minorities certain rights, such as five seats in the 290-member parliament and the freedom to perform their religious rituals.
    The constitution’s articles, however, are all set within the boundaries of Islam, and Islamic codes grant superior legal status to male Muslims.
    Many non-Shiites in Iran have also complained of limits on education, work, and exercising their faith. Critics accuse the Islamic regime of having monitored, harassed, abducted, detained, tortured, and killed citizens based upon their religion. Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has designated Iran a “country of particular concern” because of religious repression. The State Department has focused on the treatment of Sufi and Sunni Muslims, Protestant evangelical Christians, Jews, Shiites who don’t share the government’s official views, and Baha’is, whose faith is not recognized by Iran’s regime.
    Christian leaders in Iran have usually blunted their criticism of the regime, in part to avoid tensions. When I attended Christmas Eve Mass in Iran four years ago, I saw a few dozen worshipers, but I also heard that they had to get government permission to hold the service and were not allowed to proselytize. They had a Christian school, but it had to have a Muslim principal. They could print Christian texts but only with the authorities’ approval.
    A number of Iranian Christians who recently left Iran have told me that since the country’s 2009 disputed presidential election, pressure on their communities has intensified, prompting many more Christians to emigrate. In April, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported a rise in Iranian authorities raiding church services and harassing worshipers.
    Evangelicals and other Protestants have been particularly targeted. Unlike Iran’s traditionally recognized Christian minorities, such as Armenians, Assyrians, and Chaldeans, evangelical churches hold their services in the Farsi language. Iranian authorities accuse them of spreading Christian writings in Farsi to convert Muslims.
    “They are tough on us because we educate others,” a former pastor of an underground evangelical church in Iran told me on condition of anonymity. “They call it proselytizing, but we don’t proselytize. We discuss the realities that Jesus Christ talks about in the Bible, and we never speak about the Islamic Republic.”
    Shortly after their release from prison, Maryam and Marzieh, the two Christian converts detained down the corridor from me, left Iran. If they stayed, they may have shared the tragic fate of the Rev. Mehdi Dibaj.
    Dibaj, a Christian convert from Islam, was jailed for a decade and released in 1994 after international appeals. Soon afterward, he went missing. The authorities reported the discovery of his corpse in a wooded area west of Tehran. Iran’s government blamed an anti-regime group for the murder.
    If the Iranian regime wants to tout religious freedom, it should respect its citizens’ right to decide one of life’s most personal choices: their spiritual path. A regime that claims to observe human rights and base its actions on the peaceful nature of Islam should also explain how peace would be attained by executing a man whose only crime is his faith.
    By releasing Youcef Nadarkhani before Christmas, Tehran would take an important step toward respect for human rights and would give his wife and children an unforgettable gift.
    Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.
    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roxana Saberi.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

    Ah but who am I kidding it’s all “da evils joooos”, Great Satan, and us dirty Kafirs fault for all the world’s ills. If only we could see the light of the Mad Mullah’s all would be good. You gotta love religious conformity enforced with the threat of death– truly the hallmark of a strong self assured religion wouldn’t you say!?? Anyways who cares about human rights that’s for sissies!

    Happy Holidays
    Bill

  203. kooshy says:

    Here is a related link that pounds on what I saw on CNN this morning with regard to Ron Paul’s campaign or what it’s left of it.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/The-Vote/2011/1222/Ron-Paul-why-racist-newsletter-flap-could-hurt-him-in-Iowa

    I don’t see any chance he is allowed to continue in any serious way beyond the first few primaries.

  204. kooshy says:

    As I had previously suspected and wrote a comment about this on the last tread, it seems that the US’s established corporate party regime is beginning to feel uncomfortable with Ron Paul’s campaign (even at his current 2nd or 3rd position in Iowa) and have finally decided to send out the marching order to their corporate state connected media to discredit him.

    This morning on CNN’s morning prime time of 7:15 am Pacific, this fawning closely state connected media outlet ran a 10 minute program reviewing allegedly Paul’s past writings of 20 years ago as proof to his racism, both guest analyst present uniformly agreed that he is guilty of racism and that should be considered by his supporters when voting for him.

    Judging and watching the elections better to be called the selection for past forty years, I knew he will be smeared sooner or later, once he become to be a contender this a yet another proof that how candidates are allowed or not to run in this country. Once only get the chance to vote for pre-selected in different candidates.

    Couldn’t care to find the link to the program, sorry, we live in the country of shameless

  205. Fiorangela says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    December 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    a factoid to throw into the stew that suggests that Iran maintains a trust-but-verify stance toward Turkey –

    When I was in Iran in 2008, a new tower was visible from our hotel in Tehran — a communications tower Iranians had built in order to remove their communications activity from Turkish moderation, as had previously been the case.

  206. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans says: December 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    That these policy orientation are inevitabley “anti-West” is mostly due to the US-EU Axis policies; a security-heavy policy that contains no positive elements for the local polities.

    I mean, just look at the “very generous” French Mediterranean Union. The best that they EU states have to offer.

  207. Arnold Evans says:

    paul says:
    December 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    They speak of an Ankara-Syria-Iraq-Iran axis at a time when Ankara is not only actively attempting to overthrow Assad, but is even threatening TO INVADE, all this at the behest of the US-Israel-Ramallah-Saudi Arabia axis that it supposedly opposes. And if Turkey continues on its current path, war with Iran may be inevitable.

    Turkey, or Erdogan, had distanced itself from Israel over Gaza last year. Maybe it has been brought back into the fold. Turkey canceled its plans for further flotillas this year and more importantly is acting against Assad today and while encouraging and hosting a pro-Western government-to-be for Syria.

    The thing is that replacing the government is a hard thing to pull off. It hasn’t been pulled off yet, and if it fails, we have to see how Turkey responds to the failure.

    I so far do not see a scenario that leads to war between Turkey and Iran, but any scenario like that would be strategically disastrous for Turkey and the entire region.

    It would cost a lot for Turkey to capture any Syrian territory under any pretext. I don’t make much of any of those threats.

    Erdogan is not going to be Turkey’s PM forever, but because of Erdogan, Turkey’s government is not under the control of the pro-US military any longer. If Erdogan has been brought into the pro-US/Israel fold, Turkey’s voters have not.

    Which is all to say Turkey is ambiguous at this moment about which camp it is in. But if I had to put it into one, in a long term context, I still would probably put it into the anti-US/Israel camp.

    Unless the SCAS manages to hold onto control of foreign policy outside of parliamentary accountability, which strikes me as relatively unlikely over the next year or so, Egypt is also very likely moving into the anti-US/Israel camp, though the Leveretts haven’t placed it there yet.

  208. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I think Netanyahu simply believes that Israel can define the border of Palestine by growing illegal colonies of Jews, destroying Palestinian property on “Israeli” side of the Wall, etc etc. And that Israel can make whatever noises it wants in the international arena and suffer few or no consequences important enough to stop the illegal colonisation scheme.

  209. James Canning says:

    “Israel says it’s ‘disgusting’ for world to take stand on ‘domestic affair’ – settlers”

    Dec. 22 by Philip Weiss

    http://mondoweiss.net

  210. Karl says:

    James:

    Dont Israel have any shame? They dare to criticize EU when they merely condemn illegal acts, which doesnt mean anything to begin with. If EU are concerned with settlements that would have sanctioned Israel long time ago.
    That Israel ridicule and with a demeaning tone against ‘allies’ in the EU just give proof to the notion that Israel is indeed, a spoiled child.

  211. James Canning says:

    pirouz_2,

    I too like Norman Finkelstein. He is attacked as being “anti-Israel” because he opposes Zionist expansionism. And he denounces the “Holocaust Industry”.

    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=8&x_nameinnews=169&x_article=985

  212. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    The core of the conspiracy to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq on knowingly false intelligence was located in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. All four top officials were neocon Jews and well-known members of the Israel lobby. And the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle, was of course also a well-known Jewish neocon and prominent member of the Israel lobby. The Israel lobby largely created the illegal war but took some pains to camouflage this fact.

  213. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    the “ethnic cleansing” taking place in the West Bank is removing the Muslims and Christians. What a grim joke for Israel Firsters to argue the programme in mind calls for ethnic cleansing of Jews in the West Bank! No reason the Jews could not stay in Palestine, provided they comply with the laws etc of Palestine.

  214. James Canning says:

    New York Times today has report on page 11 of main section, on how unhappy Israel is with the UK, Germany, France and Portugal for calling upon Israel to stop growing the illegal colonies in tne West Bank.

    Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal, today used the editiorial pages to attack Ron Paul for stating in the debate recently that Ahamdinejad never threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”. No, she obviously prefers that gross slanders about Iran are not stopped or criticised.

  215. Fiorangela says:

    Photi, and Empty — I look forward to your conversation.

    Photi, your words reflect a great deal of pain, and seeking. Has it occurred to you that your deep conscientiousness is also a characteristic of your German heritage?

  216. fyi says:

    Photi says: December 22, 2011 at 9:51 am

    In regards to Shoah & Germany – when Western Thinkers left the Church and started on the Enlightenment Project, they were on the path to Shoah.

    For they tried to subtract God & His Revelations from human polities and replace them with such things as “Civilization”, “Culture”, “Progress”, “The State” etc. It was really a form of worship of Collective Powers of Mankind.

    So, the late 19-th century European Thinkers were mostly materialists or atheists that searched for a different moral order upon which to base their polities.

    Reason, Absolute Reason, etc. were various philosophical snares for the unwary on this path. For the path was nothing less than the creation of a new religion and new civilization that rejected God as the source of all Human values. This new religion was Nationalism – i.e. the old tribalism of the Jahiliya period but now augmented with all the administrative and scientific achievements of the last millennia in the “state” of this or that nation.

    The Western European states, already being organized tribally even before the Enlightenment, accelerated the process of ethnic cleansing. The Jew, was then the perennial alien and had to be either assimilated or rejected from the body politic since the Body Politic – the Nation – was now the god of these various European people.

    Some Jews grasped these essential features and went for “Country for Jews” while others went for the Universal Socialist Nation of Communists and Marxists.

    In 1899 a book was published by the title “The Foundations of Nineteen Century“ by Houston Stewart Chamberlain. In it he demonstrated how he saw the Aryan race as superior to others and the Teutonic peoples as a positive force in European civilization and the Jews as a negative one, the disease of the Earth, so to speak.

    The book was very influential in Germany; the country of people who obey orders without questions. The idea – across Europe – was that a new World Order, a new Civilization, was just around the corner if only the nefarious influence and existence of Jews could be eliminated. [In fact, Hitler was quite willing to let the Jews go elsewhere but nobody wanted more Jews, not other European states, not Latin Americans and certainly not the North Americans – the Contemporary Champions of Jews. For everyone agreed that the Jew was a bad element to have.]

    In regards to the German people and the degree of their personal responsibility: almost all of them were NAZIS and thus bore some responsibility for Shoah as well as the wanton murders of various Slavic people during WWII. If you wanted to put all the NAZIs in prisons, the entire adult population of Germany had to have been imprisoned. It is well known that until the middle of 1960s, the NAZI-appointed Judges were still on the bench in Germany.

    The Europeans are still not repentant. They still are carrying out their anti-clerical program, now against the Church or against Islam. Their new gods, as it were, are Liberty, Human Rights, and the Cult of Shoah. They are still wed to the idea of One Tribe-One State and thus, for them, countries like Yugoslavia, Syria, Iran, India, Pakistan, Burma are abominations that should not exist.

  217. BiBiJon says:

    Rd. says:
    December 22, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Indeed. The list is very long, and every day new lionesses are born who will be added to the list.

  218. Rd. says:

    to add;

    Ironically, Bibi Khanom had published a book, Ma’ayeb al-Rejal – Failings of Men. Duno if that falls in the same paradigm as fyi’s assertions about the fallen man!

  219. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    “Frankly, when it comes to “depth”, Hazrat Fatemeh, and Admiral Artemisia will be tough to reach for any ‘man’.”

    In her own way, you can also add Bibi Khanom (among others) as one of the influential people during the Iranian constitutional revolution.

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

  220. Karl says:

    Rd:

    Turkey want to appease all and still pose itself as powerful. However now they have definately showed their true weak colors.

    When Turkey threatened Israel with sanctions, to take Freedom Flotilla killings to ICC, when they said that Turkey navy will protect future flotillas etc and now coming out really weak by not doing anything of it, that was the last time Turkey could threat Israel because now Israel know that all the threats are just rhetoric and they dont have to worry about Turkey hollow threats in the future.

    Iam not sure whats going on in Turkey. They were against Iraqiwar but supported intervention in Libya, they destroyed the ties with Israel and now coming back, they was about to strengthen Syria bound but are the state that calls the most for sanctions, intervention etc besides the usual suspects (UK, US etc). They were getting closer to Iran, while now, accepting the nato radar on their eastern soil.
    What happend with the theory of “making friends with all your neighbours” that have been the premise of turkey?

  221. Photi says:

    Empty,

    “3. Guilt/shame by association (just like pride by association) is an impediment to a deeper understanding of oneself. It clouds one’s judgment.”

    If you have the time, could you expand on this one a little more? Historical guilt may indeed cloud one’s judgment, but does that make the ‘guilt’ misplaced?

    How do you make the distinction between individual guilt (ie, those who committed actual crimes) and a collective, cultural guilt for a society having produced such a toxic ideology as fascist Germany in the first place?

    What was it about German society that justified such dreadful behavior as the Final Solution?, and are Germans and those descended from German culture susceptible to it even still?

    Should indictments only be given to individuals or is there ever a time when collective guilt should be recognized?

    Also, i have been somewhat focused on Germany’s treatment of the Jews, but the discussion on racism and historical guilt is obviously much broader than that.

    The ‘white man’ has such a bloody history all over the modern globe, where does a person even begin to seek accountability and justice for those who have been wronged? I live in Washington State, not very long ago a genocide took place in order that i may live here. From the Islamic perspective, what is my (our) responsibility in the face of that injustice?

  222. BiBiJon says:

    Empty says:
    December 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

    As always thanks will have to do for the unrepayable debt I owe you for teaching/sharing.

    Frankly, when it comes to “depth”, Hazrat Fatemeh, and Admiral Artemisia will be tough to reach for any ‘man’.

  223. Rehmat says:

    Lobby: ‘Obama pretty bad for Israel’

    On Monday, Obama administration took a slap from the rest of 14 UN Security Council members for refusing to slam the Zionist regime for its plan to establish 1,000 new Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This was to silence the pro-Israel hawks’ criticism of Barack Obama for carrying-out “ethnic cleansing of Jewish people” by not supporting new illegal Jewish settlements on lands stolen from native Palestinians.

    In the past, the Israel Project, which has 20 US congress members on its advisory board, had issued a confidential report outlining how supporters can influence US public opinion during the new Obama term.

    The report tells the Israeli propagandists that anyone who opposes settlement expansion on Palestinian land should be told they are supporting “ethnic cleansing to remove all Jews”.

    There are currently 500,000 Israelis living in more than 100 settlements that have been built on Palestinian land since 1967.

    Successive Western governments have warned Israel that the settlements – illegal under international law – are a major obstacle to peace. But with hardline religious groups claiming biblical rights to all of Greater Israel, progress on dismantling them has been painstakingly slow.

    The recent survey conducted by the Israel Project among a panel of nine Israeli scholars and ex-officials – shows that they believe that Mitt Romney presidency would be far better for Israel than a second term for President Barack Obama. Pity, the more Obama kneels in front of Israeli demands, the more he gets kicks by the Jewish Lobby.

    “What Israeli experts think about the candidates isn’t necessarily important to Americans – but it might be in some cases. There are Americans who put Israel high on their voting agenda. These voters might be tempted to look to Israeli expertise by way of assessing the complicated components of an administration’s policy toward Israel. Other voters might find this survey valuable as it gives one perspective of the way an essential ally is assessing America’s conduct of foreign affairs. Are you happy with the way the US is handling its current Middle East policies? – you might be, or you might be unhappy about it. And you may find it useful to discover that a group of Israeli experts ranked “over-all American policy toward the ME” as 4.78 out of a possible 10. Not disastrous, but also pretty far from being a positive assessment of the way the US is navigating through the Arab Spring (or winter),” Jewish Journal, December 20, 2011.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/lobby-obama-pretty-bad-for-israel/

  224. Rd. says:

    Turkey’s BOLD foreign policy, why be deceptive anymore!! while the french assembly approves anti Turkey bill, Turkey and Israel reactivated a mechanism of coordination between their air forces. Is Erdogan finally coming out of the closet?

  225. Empty says:

    BibiJon,

    fyi is correct in stating that the endocrine systems in male and female perform different functions that qualitatively and quantitatively result in differences that are complementary.

    He is incorrect (or has incomplete understanding), however, of the followings:

    1. All hormones are produced by both sexes (i.e. estrogen and progesterone are produced in men just as testosterone is produced in women). It is a degree of production of these hormones that leads to some qualitative and quantitative differences.

    2. The impact of hormones on the body is not based on a one-way agency. There is an interaction (or a dialectical negotiation, if you will) between the environment (physical and social) and production/function of the hormones. For example, a very “masculine” man would have (literally) increased levels of estrogen right after observing an infant (needing to be cared for) and a very “feminine” female would have increased levels of testosterone immediately after sensing danger and needing to protect a baby (her or another). So, he appears to have some sense of “hard wiring” while the nature is far more nuanced and flexible.

    3. Beyond amygdala-level responses, the depth reached in various scientific subject matters is very much context-based (rather than gender-based) and depends on the levels of distraction, degree of focus, and support.

    fyi is correct in stating (perhaps not in so many words) that men are pretty much treated as the “disposable gender” (my paraphrasing) in most western societies and an elimination of their critical role in the family. I think this shift has come at the expense of putting a disproportionate burden of many societal functions on the women as well as eliminating/neutering a powerful presence in the childern’s and family lives. This has had, quite profoundly, a detrimental effect on the overall health of the society (physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc.) and it doesn’t look like it’s getting better.

    fyi is also somewhat correct, I think, in his assessment that (again, paraphrasing) socially, women are being forced to turn into some awkward version of men (or what a ‘man’ is perceived to be).

    I think both men and women are equally to be blamed for this. It appears that there is a trend to modify human societies and turn them into bee colonies (rather than breaking this materialist cage and reach for a higher purpose) in which female bees do all the work, the male bees are pretty much eliminated except for a handful of “male bees” that are kept for propagation with the queen bee serving as a vessel and nothing more.

    As far as “depth” is concerned, I do not believe fyi explained what he meant by “depth” so that we could say whether women and men are capable of reaching it or not. Personally, I am a Muslim and believe in the word of Quran. If Quran says all human being (including men and women) can and have the responsibility to excel to the highest level of “elm”, I believe it. Empirically, too, I see the evidence suggesting that impediments live in people’s perception than in reality.

    As for the formula you put in, I think you need to add a constant “C” at the end:

    a = (s * e * p^2 ) + C (or a controlled variable – in this case “fyi ضریت factor”)

  226. Fiorangela says:

    Pirouz-2, Finkelstein appears to analyze the situation logically, but he dismisses or omits key facts and fails to account for the implementation of an ancient tactic.

    Finkelstein dismisses with implied ridicule the suggestion by a woman in Chicago that Louis Brandeis (iirc) pushed Wilson into World War I. Why would a rigorous historian refuse to pursue that line of circumstances and evidence? Wilson was a compromised person — he was quite a womanizer who cheated on his wife, with her knowledge but in a cycle of apologies and promises to reform, etc. He was beholden to people like Samuel Untermyer, a very dark figure in the history of zionism and US capitalism.

    By claiming that Cheney and Rumsfeld were the protagonists of war with Iraq and that Israel lobby had no power or means to influence events, Finkelstein builds a wall of pseudo logic around an ancient tactic. In lectures on the history of the ancient Near East (Anatolia), Professor Kenneth Harl explains how an Assyrian leader maneuvered the fighters of another tribe to wage war on behalf of the Assyrians. Harl quips, “That’s the most basic of schemes of a military leader — get someone else’s army to fight and die for you.” That is what Israel lobbyists did.

    Cui bono? As Hillary Leverett argued here, the US not only did not achieve anything in Iraq, the nine year embroglio was a loss for everyone except arms merchants, financiers, and Israel (and Iran, by accident, but the war against Iran is still being prosecuted).

    For such a scheme to work, sufficiently corrupt figures at the highest tier of power must be identified and either compromised, as in the case of Wilson, or seduced, as in the case of Cheney and Rumsfeld. Job done.

  227. Empty says:

    Photi,

    Those are thoughtful (and accurate) remarks about the critical role respective historical “vantage points” and perceived historical baggage play in shaping our perspectives, our language, and even our conduct. I hoped we would get to this point which brings me to the following key points:

    1. Because history plays such a significant role in our individual and collective thoughts, words, and deeds, and HOW we judge our own conduct, correctly understanding one’s own history is extremely important.

    2. It is imperative for every people to resist losing the right and the responsibility to explore and examine their own history. If a nation has lost that right, the only way it can get it back is through struggle and sacrifice.

    3. Guilt/shame by association (just like pride by association) is an impediment to a deeper understanding of oneself. It clouds one’s judgment.

    4. When in doubt, trust God. When you have no doubt, especially trust God!

  228. BiBiJon says:

    “clueless as to what the endocrine system does to human males and females”
    ——————————————————

    Is there a formula to describe this? E.g. a=s.e.p**2

    where a= attitude measured in degrees of chauvinism
    s= selection bias
    e= early childhood experiences
    p= prejudice (only in the range blinding)

  229. Unknown Unknowns says:

    يارو رفته بود مسابقه 20 سوالي، به او گفتند جواب مسابقه خيار است ولي فوري نگو كه ماجرا لو نرود. يارو پرسيد در جيب جا مي گيرد؟ مجري مسابقه گفت؛ نه. يارو با تعجب گفت؛ عجب خيار گنده ايه؟!

  230. pirouz_2 says:

    @Everyone;

    The following seems to me like a different -and in my opinion a very logical- approach to the issue of Israeli Lobby and its effect on the US foreign policy in the Middle East. For those of you who like Norman Finkelstein (as I do very much) I would suggest to listen to the whole conversation, but if your main interest is about the US foreign policy in the middle east and the effect of the Israeli lobby on it, then listen only to the part of the conversation from 32:30 onwards.

    Just food for thought:

    http://podcast.lannan.org/2011/
    12/14/norman-finkelstein-with-chris-hedges-conversation-6-december-2011-video/

  231. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: December 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    The United States should not attempt at reducing deficits; that would plunge her into a depression, possibly with deflation.

    US must continue deficit spending until the private debts (personal and business) have been retired.

    Only then she should beging paying the public debt so accumulated.

    The job creation situation in the United States will not improve until she re-joins the global supply chain. That itself will take decades.

    That US leaders and their propaganda organs are still acting as though they have an infinite margin of error indicates to me that they have not yet grasped the essential features of the post-2007 Crash.

  232. Fiorangela says:

    DEC 22 2011

    S&P downgrades 37 global banks; US credit rating at risk again
    “Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services today said it reviewed its ratings on 37 of the largest financial institutions in the world by applying its new ratings criteria for banks, which were published on Nov. 9, 2011?
    Following Fitch Ratings decision to lower the US outlook from stable to negative, the S&P has thrown yet another bombshell after it informed in an official release post NY close that it had just downgraded 37 global banks. Goldman, BofA, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, BNY Mellon were amongst the cuts based on a new reviewing critera it applied. Japanese and UK banks were either cut or the outlook lowered as well.
    The US does not longer held AAA rating from the three agencies because on August S&P lowered the grade. US Treasuries continue to rally despite the downgrade. Recent change in the outlook by Fitch had relatively no effect on the Treasury market. “Both the action and the timing had been previously signaled by Fitch and there was no FX reaction,” said Chris Walter, from UBS Strategy. Fitch mentioned back in August that a failure of the bipartisan committee to reduce the deficit would likely lead to a negative rating.

  233. paul says:

    This is one of the most blind pieces by the Leveretts I have ever read. They speak of an Ankara-Syria-Iraq-Iran axis at a time when Ankara is not only actively attempting to overthrow Assad, but is even threatening TO INVADE, all this at the behest of the US-Israel-Ramallah-Saudi Arabia axis that it supposedly opposes. And if Turkey continues on its current path, war with Iran may be inevitable.

    In the REAL WORLD, Leverettes, the US military still very much has Iraq by the throat, and US alliances with Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey appear to be the decisive ones in the region, because of a combination of utterly ruthless economic and military power. And you know this. Your followers all know this too. But hey, keep talking drivel, just like everyone else in the ‘political class’. You talk drivel while the warmongering power-mad misleaders of our society continue their global conquest.

  234. fyi says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says: December 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Hard sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemsitry
    Hard engineering: mechanical, Electrical, Nuclear, Chemical, and Aerospace.

    Do you know the statistics for those fields?

    You are clueless as to what the endocrine system does to human males and females.

  235. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Imperial America, as a political project, started in 1870s.

    Its antecedents, as a vision, go back to pre-Revolutionary times.

  236. Castellio says:

    Off topic, but forgive me. The conversation here often tries to track the changes in American foreign policy towards the Middle East. The contribution below is specific about a time usually only dealt with generally.

    It is from a comment by ‘American’ over on Mondoweiss, in a post I particularly recommend:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/12/columbia-u-book-on-iraq-war-suggests-wolfie-feith-wurmser-and-perle-had-israeli-interests-not-just-u-s-interests-at-heart.html

    “In his book, The Passionate Attachment, former Undersecretary of State George Ball summarized the results of Johnson’s Middle East policies: First, the Johnson administration put America in the position of being Israel’s principal arms supplier and sole unqualified backer.

    “Second, by assuring the Israelis that the United States would always provide them with a military edge over the Arabs, Johnson guaranteed the ‘escalation of an arms race…

    Third, by refusing to follow the advice of his aides that America make its delivery of nuclear-capable F-4 Phantoms conditional on Israel’s signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Johnson gave the Israelis the impression that America had no fundamental objection to Israel’s nuclear program.

    “Fourth, by permitting a cover-up of Israel’s attack on the Liberty, President Johnson told the Israelis in effect that nothing they did would induce American politicians to refuse their bidding. From that time forth, the Israelis began to act as if they had an inalienable right to American aid and backing.”

    As Stephen Green concluded in his discussion of the incredible changes in U.S. policy toward Israel that took place during the Johnson era in ‘Taking Sides: America’s Secret Relations With A Militant Israel’:

    “By June of 1967, for a variety of reasons that prominently included ‘domestic political considerations,’ Lyndon Johnson and his team of foreign-policy advisors had completely revised U.S.-Israeli relations. To all intents and purposes, Israel had become the 51st state.”

    This was the exact opposite of what Kennedy’s attitude toward Israel was and had he lived we would probably have a different relationship with Israel today.

    Former high-ranking U.S. diplomat Richard H. Curtiss, writing in ‘A Changing Image: American Perceptions of the Arab-Israeli Dispute’, elaborated on Kennedy’s attitude toward the Middle East controversy. In a chapter appropriately titled: “President Kennedy and Good Intentions Deferred Too Long,” Curtiss comments:

    “It is surprising to realize, with the benefit of hindsight, that from the time Kennedy entered office as the narrowly-elected candidate of a party heavily dependent upon Jewish support, he was planning to take a whole new look at U.S. Mideast policy.

    “He obviously could not turn the clock back and undo the work of President Truman, his Democratic predecessor, in making the establishment of Israel possible. Nor, perhaps, would he have wanted to.

    “Kennedy was determined, however, to develop good new personal relationships with individual Arab leaders, including those with whom the previous administration’s relations had deteriorated.

    Soon after Kennedy assumed office, Israel and its American lobby began to understand the import of Kennedy’s positioning in regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel was not happy – to say the very least – and began putting heat on the White House through its supporters in Congress, many of whom relied upon support from the Israeli lobby for campaign contributions and political leverage.
    By mid-1963 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion hated Kennedy with a passion. In fact, he considered JFK a threat to the very survival of the Jewish State.

  237. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    From previous thread. Just couldn’t let this one go without a comment.

    fyi says: December 20, 2011 at 10:01 am
    ”I am telling you what I see; it is empirical.

    Empirically you can see that in the Arts and Music; women are granted the most degrees but the great works of Art and Music are by men.

    You can see it in the United States where almost all degrees in hard sciences and engineering are granted to men; women just do not wish to study those fields.”

    From the wiki link Irshad posted below:

    Seventy percent of Iran’s science and engineering students are women

    http://www.irna.ir/ENNewsShow.aspx?NID=30715430&SRCH=1
    ;.http://iranculture.ca/English/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=65

    Way to go my sistas!

    Fyi, I guess empiricism is suspended when it comes to Iran. Right?
    Could you provide some links to back up your claim (global averages will do)?

  238. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    December 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Richard,

    The war that you think (rightly) is coming, is actually ongoing, and has been for thirty some years already. The cost to Iran has not been just symbolic, but actual 500,000 dead and wounded, an economic siege which has ruined a many enterprising soul’s dreams, etc. All plans, if not academic, need to be executable. Trust me, they have been executing all manner of plans everyday for thirty years.

    I guess it is a question of degrees. For me, not exactly awestruck by the ‘shock’, I have been shocked by how awfully the US is behaving.

    The military option is on the table, because it is presumed Iran can be defeated at reasonable cost. I.e. Iran does not have the capacity to mount a formidable defense, nor does she have the offensive capacity to exact an unforgettable revenge. But, on the other hand the military option is on the table in the first place because Iran has such fearsome capabilities that keeps necons awake imagining all that Iran can/will do if left to her devices.

    This moronic paradox has the best and the brightest flummoxed revealing their frugality with reason. The less bright, e.g. David Sanger, babble orgasmicly about STUXNET, a cyber attack that implicated Siemens and was so crude as to run the risk of causing an actual meltdown with the consequent collateral disaster. Even dumber folks have been equivocating on the murder of Iranian scientists. Contrast all this pathological cheesiness with the classy, bloodless response of commandeering a top of the line drone.

    Bombs have been raining on the innocents of Mid East as a crude answer to Mid easterners’ revulsion at Israeli crimes. But, it has been Iran who has awed by the shocking stance of no wars of aggression.

    A nation heard the words ‘Americans cannot do a damn thing.’ That nation is ready for all and sundry plans which the best and the brightest, the dumb, and the dumber decide to execute.

  239. Rehmat says:

    On Tuesday, in a rare move of unity, all 14 members of the UN Security Council slammed United States for threatening to block a UN Security Council resolution on Zionist entity’s settlement expansion…….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/14-unsc-members-slam-us-for-shielding-israel/

  240. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says:
    December 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    why did US not ratify League of Nations post-WWI?

    1. Because Wilson had given away the store to Zionists
    2. Which annoyed Henry Cabot Lodge
    3. Who blocked ratification of the League
    AND
    4. Because by the time Wilson returned from Versailles he was physically debilitated;
    5. His wife was running the show.
    6. There’s a strong possibility Wilson’s wife was a Rahab.

  241. Empty says:

    Let’s decode things:

    “I am satisfied…” means: “I have serious concerns but can’t speak frankly”

    “the options that we are developing” means: “right now, we have diddly”

    “are evolving to a point…” means: “we have no clue what direction things are going”

    “that they would be executable” means: “it’s a crapshoot.”

    “if necessary” means: “Oh, God, please, please, please no!”

  242. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    What nuclear weapons?

  243. James Canning says:

    “Pentagon plays down Panetta’s remarks”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/216886.html

  244. “U.S. develops military plan for attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons”
    http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/1971876.html

    The important line is:

    “I am satisfied that the options that we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable if necessary,” he said.

  245. Rd. says:

    “Iran, India could promote regional peace, security:
    Velayati made the remarks during a meeting with Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari in New Delhi late on Tuesday

    A visit by mr Velayati to India should carry some weight in shaping regional developments. Hope the Indian elites are waking up from their long winter nap.

    http://www.mehrnews.com/en/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1489991

  246. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    If America desired to be an “imperial power” in the wake of the First World War, why did the US refuse to join the League of Nations? Refuse to take a mandate for Palestine? Refuse to take a mandate for Armenia?

  247. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The liar propagandists wishing to dupe the American public into supporting endless war so Israel can continue to scr*w the Palestinians, play up the bullsh*t about American exceptionalism, etc etc etc. They do not want to say: Jews are rich and powerful, and they want US power employed to f*ck the Palestinians. Full stop.

  248. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I have a deep understanding of American history, and of the major political struggles in the later 19th Century and into the 20th Century. Imperialists vs “anti-imperialists”.

  249. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    I expected to see the qualifying comments today in the NYT, after Panetta’s comments earlier. I think Panetta would do well to make clear, any time he discusses Iran’s nuclear programme, to say there is no evidence of diversion of nuclear materials and no reason to think the IAEA is unable to continue to monitor Iranian nucelar materials.

  250. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    You are clearly not familiar with US history especially the epriod between 1880 to 1910.

    The Americans made a deliberate choice at imperialism.

    And then they took these poor up-rooted immigrants and fed them on the diet of American Exceptionalism, “City on the Hill” and assorted other clap-trap like that.

    The results are here for everyone to see: you cannot carry out any conversation of substance with the typical American without first agreeing with them that their country is “the greates”, ” a moral force for Good” etc.

    The people and leaders of the United States cannot, at this moment in history, accept the limits of their power.

    A lot more damage will be done in the coming years befgore they do so.

  251. James Canning says:

    Voice of Tehran,

    Surely Georgia has not forgotten that Iran was strongly supportive of Georgia, during the short war in 2008 (South Ossetia etc).

  252. James Canning says:

    It was interesting to see Panetta’s comments about Iran’s nuclear programme explained and qualified, in The New York Times today. US has no information of diversion of nuclear materials from civilian programme. IAEA inspections are working. Etc.

  253. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You are much too simplistic in talking about an “imperial path” followed by the US. In fact, even when the threat from the Soviet Union was great, in the early 1950s, there was strong political pressure to bring all US troops home from Europe.

    For some reason, you like to sweep under the rug the underlying factor driving much if not most American policy in the Middle East: “PROTECTING” ISRAEL. The American people, of course, are not told that hundreds of billions of dollars are spent by the US to enable Israel to continue its insane “Greater Israel” programme in West Bank and Golan Heights.

  254. James Canning says:

    Given that Iran’s oil production this year is about 3.5 million barrels per day, down about 500,000 barrels per day from 2010, lost revenue to Iran is about $50 million per day.

  255. fyi says:

    William deB. Mills says: December 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    More than a hundred years agao, US leaders emarked on the imperial path.

    Only sustained and painful defeats will alter that course.

    And just like Spain, Portugal, Franc, UK, and Russia the post-imperium period will be painful.

    Look no further than GM.

  256. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Zelikow is quite right that the primary object of the invasion of Iraq was to “protect” Israel by taking out an enemy while the opportunity was available. This of course was not the message given to the American people.

  257. James Canning says:

    Tom Friedman of The New York Times in his column today (“The End, for Now”), claims that Iran tried to prevent democracy in Iraq. Friedman says he did not believe Iraq had nuclear weapons or was trying to develop them, but he supported the invasion as a way to bring democracy to Iraq and the Arab world.

  258. The Washington elite decision to invade Iraq occurred for reasons that thinking Americans will bitterly debate for much of the rest of this century. Like it or not, the influence of that decision will be heavy on the shoulders of every person alive on earth for the rest of that person’s life. The question now centers on the lessons we all learn.

    Some of the lessons may be obvious but nevertheless bear repeating. War certainly pays if you are a war profiteer; it need not, but that is the way the U.S. elite runs wars, and the invasion of Iraq was a great success for US CEOs in the 0.1%. One could almost be excused for thinking that was the point. War also is great for keeping a politician in office.

    But what worries me more is the subtle and enduring impacts. Constitutional guarantees of civil liberties that made the U.S. the envy of the world seem to have been fundamentally weakened. Dennis Kucinich’s remarks about the 2012 military appropriations bill are highly relevant. Some principles of foreign policy highly dangerous to democracy have also been laid down without high-level contradiction (perhaps the signal failure of Barack Obama): the use of torture, the propriety of “preventive” war in the absence of a clear and present danger, the propriety of threatening nuclear attack on a non-nuclear state.

    The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq needs serious consideration for the psychological health of U.S. society and the protection of its democracy. Don’t hold your breath, though. This fine website notwithstanding, Americans are in denial and rushing to forget.

  259. kooshy says:

    I think Turkey’s foreign policy motto which in actuality it turned out to be “all problems with all neighbors” instead of “no problems with no neighbors” will eventually backfire and will internally destabilize Turkey, one should note that currently Turkey has deep problems with Armenia, Kurds, Iraq (just was accused to attempt a coup), Syria, Cyprus, EU (new one just started with France), and with Iran. The disagreements with Iran are somewhat hidden but obvious if checked, if it was not for the energy supply by Iran and the trade volume.

    This two neighboring major regional powers disagreements is mostly on overall management of the region as whole, which Iran historically believes it has to be done collectively by the regional countries and without any foreign power including the US/west colonial powers involvement, Turkey on the other hand, is a western aligned country that also does not have the same power of having energy resource security as of the balance of the region, so it prefers to relays on the west for her capital investments as well as her security.

    Turkey Detains Dozens Accused of Having Links to a Kurdish Group

    By SEBNEM ARSU and DAN BILEFSKY

    Published: December 20, 2011

    “ISTANBUL — The police detained at least 38 people, many of them journalists, in dawn raids across Turkey on Tuesday as part of an investigation into a network accused of being the political wing of an outlawed Kurdish separatist rebel group.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/world/europe/turkey-detains-dozens-of-pro-kurdish-activists.html

  260. Rehmat says:

    “The Iraq war was a boom for Israel’s security,” – Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, Reuters, November 22, 2006.

    “The prime motive of Iraq war was to eliminate threat to Israel, a staunch US ally in the Middle East,” – Philip Zelikow, former member of Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and 9/11 Commission.

    “I will never forget that you have removed one of the most threatening strategic dangers from Israel on the east side, in Iraq. And this is great achievement that makes lif much better, particularly for us,” – Ehud Olmert told Dubya Bush during their meeting at Oval Office, November 24, 2008.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/iraq-the-shoe-revolution/

  261. Karl says:

    Who is shipping missiles to whom?

    “Finland launches probe into China-bound Patriot missiles”
    http://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/Finland-launches-probe-China-afpsg-3619867393.html?x=0

  262. Rd. says:

    First, the truth is that the United States and its allies lost the war in Iraq (and are going to lose the war in Afghanistan as well).  H Leverett

    Does Pakistan qualify to be included in that list (though a covert war)?

    Punjab University Vice-Chancello “Dr Kamran said that Iran was a great source of inspiration and had set a standard for all the Muslim countries to take stand against the powers who want to control the world. He said that American people were not our enemy but a cabal of international bankers had manipulated wars and brought governments under debt. He said that US Congress and other institutions were their agent and don’t represent the aspirations of American people. He said that through National Defense Authorization, police state conditions would formulize [sic] in the US. He said that elite wanted to take control of Iran but Iranians had a government which represented people and it would not be easy for them to run over Iran. Iran stood like a rock, he said.  “A grim bulletin of Russian Ministry of Defense issued to Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev states that the Chinese President Hu Jintao has agreed in principle that the only way to stop the West’s aggression led by the United States is through direct and immediate military action. Russian General Nikolai Makarov said he did not rule out local and regional armed conflicts developing into a large-scale war including nuclear weapons,” the Vice-Chancellor added. He said according to Chinese Rear Admiral Zang Zhong [sic], China would not hesitate to protect Iran even with a Third World War. He said that Pakistan should join Iran, China and Russia to expel US from the region.”

    http://shadowedforest.blogspot.com/

  263. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Good to see you too, though I never really left. The ebb and flow of life leaves me not so talkative sometimes.

    Question for Empty re: racism and Jews. As an Iranian, you don’t have the morbid history of anti-Judaism that characterizes European history. So when you as an Iranian talk about ‘the Jews’ you don’t represent that morbid history.

    Conversely, though my family had all emigrated to the US prior to World War II, there was definitely an attempt on my part, as i was growing up, to identify with my German Protestant ancestry. Inevitably of course when one tries to do that the nazi halocaust stands out as a big barrier to a more thorough identification with that ancestry/identity.

    To get to my point, when you talk about ‘the Jews’ as an Iranian, it means something different than when i as a white man talk about ‘the Jews.’ On my part, there is a conscious avoidance of anything resembling ‘white power’. It is noxious to me but does not represent an avoidance of criticism altogether towards Israel. I still have many uncertainties regarding the issue.

    At a symbolic level, you and i represent different historical trends. If i remember correctly, you broached this subject in the second of your posts on racism. ‘Racism in a meaningful context’ or some such idea.

  264. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi: good to see you back.

    All: this article by James Petras who someone else linked to earlier is too good for me not to excerpt. It talks in eloquent terms of the alliance between the Islamic movements and the Axis of Weasels.

    The interesting question for me is what is going to happen when these Islamists get into power and cannot deliver on their values due to the Faustian deal they have struck with Team Weasel on the one hand, and thier probable utter incompetence in running things in a way that will improve the lot of their average supporter on the other. In Egypt we have the Qatar-allied Moslem Brotherhood competing with the Salafist an-Nour Party, which is financed by Wahhabistan, and so, methinks we will see the Riyadh-Doha rivalry play out on the streets and ballot boxes of Egypt. When things go to shit, my suspicion is that what Islamic Republic is banking on will in fact take place, namely, cracks will appear in the weakest links of the chains of the alliance, which are the reactionary (or retrograde, to use Photis word) and recalcitrant fundamentalists’ commitment to the recognition of Israel, and legislation and concessions that provide for the deep market penetration that multi-nationals have enjoyed under the puppet-regime protectorates and banana republics.

    Here are excerpts from the Petras article:

    The Washington – “Moderate Islam” Alliance: Containing Rebellion Defending Empire
    by James Petras on December 16, 2011

    In Egypt, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) (the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood), in Tunisia the Renaissance Party, in Morocco the Justice and Development Party have all indicated their willingness to serve as reliable partners in blocking the pro-democracy movements that challenge the socio-economic status quo and the long-standing military-imperial linkages.

    The US allies with Islamists when faced with nationalist, leftist and secular democratic regimes and movements, especially where their optimal choice, a military-neo-liberal alternative is relatively weak. However, faced with a nationalist, anti-colonial Islamist regime (as is the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran), Washington will side with pro-western liberals, dissident Muslim clerics, pliable tribal chiefs, separatist ethnic minorities and pro-Western generals.

    The key to US-Islamist relations from the White House perspective is based on the Islamists’ attitude toward empire, class politics, NATO and the “free market” (private foreign investment).

    Today’s ‘moderate’ Islamist parties in Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco (and elsewhere), which have offered their support to NATO and its wars against Libya and Syria, uphold ‘private property’ (i.e. foreign and imperialist client control of key industries) and repress independent working class and anti-imperialist parties: They are the Empire’s “new partners” in the pillage of the resource-rich Middle East and North Africa.

    The US-brokered counter-revolutionary alliance among moderate Islamists, the previous military rulers and Washington is fraught with tensions. The military demands total impunity and a continuation of its economic privileges; this includes a veto on any legislation addressing the previous regime’s brutal crimes against its own people. On the other hand, the Islamist parties uphold their electoral victories and demand majority rule. Washington insists the alliance adhere to its policy toward Israel and abandon their support for the Palestinian national struggle. As these tensions and conflicts deepen, the alliance could collapse ushering in a new phase of conflict and instability.

    The Islamist parties compete at the “grass roots” with the leftists. They build up a clientele of supporters among the poor in the countryside and urban slums through organized charity and basic social services administered at the mosques and humanitarian religious foundations. Because they reject class struggle and are intensely hostile to the left (with its secular, pro-feminist and working-class agenda), they have been ‘half-tolerated’ by the dictatorship, while the leftist activists are routinely murdered. Subsequently, with the overthrow of the dictatorship, the Islamists emerge intact with the strongest national organizational network as the country’s ‘natural leaders’ from the religious-bazaar merchant political elite. Their leaders offer to serve the empire and its traditional native military collaborators in exchange for a ‘slice of power’, especially over morality, culture, religion and households (women), in other words, the “micro-society”.

  265. Neo says:

    This idiot is the video is saying that it takes the Americans 10 years just to train a sergeant! No wonder the American military is so incompetent.

  266. Photi says:

    Irshad says:
    December 21, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Irshad, I have two personal friends who gave up solid careers at the Microsoft-Redmond campus and at Siemens in order to raise their families in Qom and study religion. No doubt their scientific backgrounds have not left them.

  267. Fiorangela says:

    Nancy Calo, who reads a news brief on the C Span Washington Journal program, read today (at about 8:25 am) that there is a difference of opinion over the disposition of Camp Ashraf. Calo stated that the people in the camp are “Iranians who fought for Saddam Hussein.”

    I wonder why she did not say they are MEK — members of a group that are on the US terror watchlist; that seeks to overthrow the Iranian government; and that enjoys the support of influential neoconservatives in the Washington lobby network.

  268. Irshad says:

    UU and fyi – thank you for your respons eto my ealier question on the previous thread.

    Masoud – I know over at armscontrolwonk – Mr Forden once was looking for the fatway by Ay.Khamenie re: the ban on developing nukes – I havent found it but I have fund this, which is very interesting:

    Quarks and the Koran
    Iran’s very Islamic embrace of science

    Mohammad Ali Shomali’s clerical robes are immaculate, his manner urbane. Fluent in English, with a Ph.D. from Britain’s Manchester University, he spends his days in the holy city of Qum studying advanced stem-cell research and the mapping of the genome. Shomali, at 44, is clearly not your run-of-the-mill mullah, even if he insists that he is. “We live in a religious country with a religious government,” says the turbaned Shia cleric, “so we have to know what our religion tells us about modern issues.” Along with hundreds of other mullahs in Qum, Shomali is at work trying to define an Islamic context for advanced scientific work from nanos to, yes, nuclear technology.

    Those who suspect Iran of clandestine weapons programs might imagine all sorts of disturbing scenarios conjured by the intense interest these mullahs take in science. Doomsday scenarios about Islamic zealots with apocalyptic weapons are an easy sell on American talk radio. But Shomali looks a little puzzled by such propositions. “We want to be at the forefront of scientific and technological advancements in the world, and that includes nuclear technology,” he says. But he insists that the ethical constraints imposed by religion are vital, too. “When our Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei says that building, possessing and using nuclear weapons is forbidden,” Shomali explains, “you have to be sure that we are not going to do that. Otherwise our Supreme Leader would lose his credibility and we would no longer trust him as a leader.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/05/22/quarks-and-the-koran.html

    Also, I would recommened people read the Science and technology in Iran article on wikipedia – it gives a good oversight of what is going on in Iran and will put a few things in order:

    (…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_in_Iran

  269. Photi says:

    Another great piece by the Leveretts.  They forgot to embolden this part:

    But by what warped standard is the Islamic Republic meddling in Iraq, at the very same time that the United States had more than 100,000 troops deployed there?


    Echoing Unknown Unknowns @11:26, when I read “conservative” my first thought was don’t you mean “retrograde?”  Uncle Sam would have no one to fight if he didn’t have the al-Qaeda boogeyman supplying radicalists in the war on terror.  In Najd originates much of this nonsen$e.

  270. Voice of Tehran says:

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/12/20/israel-under-retaliatory-threat/

    “”According to the newspaper, the military preparations of Russia to minimize the loss resulting from such a military action against Tehran were launched a year ago and are now almost complete. According to sources in the Defense Ministry, Russian 102nd military base in Armenia was fully optimized during October-November 2011.

    Military families were evacuated to Russia; Russian garrison stationed near Yerevan was reduced in size; military units stationed there were transferred to the district of Gyumri, close to the Turkish border. U.S. strikes on the targets in Iran are expected from Turkey’s territory.. Since December 1, 2011 Russian forces at military bases in South Ossetia and Abkhazia’ have been put on high alert combat readiness; and Black Sea Fleet ships now cruise near the border with Georgia, which in this conflict may take the side of anti-Iranian forces…

  271. Unknown Unknowns says:

    This one’s for Hans, seeing as he has become so nonchalant and complacent about Libya of late. From The Angry Arab:

    So the NATO government in Libya will honor those who attacked and bombed Libya back in the 19th century?

    “Panetta also laid a wreath at a small cemetery in Tripoli that for two centuries has been the resting place for five American sailors. The sailors were part of a 13-member crew who died during a mission by the USS Intrepid against a Barbary pirate fleet in Tripoli’s harbor in 1804.” Wait. Let me guess. The “barbary” pirates were hiding behind civilians and they had links to Sep. 11 hijackers and they did not want peace with Israel?

  272. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Arnold:

    Interesting indeed. And it lends more credence to Johnboy’s read on the original interview on CBS (quoted in a post of mine from yesterday, below). This line from the ?ew York Times is worth repeating:

    “The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Panetta said. “That’s a red line for us.”

    Seems Team Weasel is in retreat mode and is making *that* the new red line, as it should be by international agreement (*de jure*), rather than what has hitherto been the *de facto* redline, which is Iran gaining access to nuclear technology and achieving a breakout capability. (Else, why all the fuss about the 20% bullshit, et cetera ad nauseum.)

    Let us hope and pray that this is the case, and that Team Weasel has not completely lost it (again).

  273. Arnold Evans says:

    Interesting from the New York Times and the official Pentagon spokesperson:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/world/middleeast/pentagon-officials-qualify-panettas-iran-remarks.html?_r=1

    “The secretary was clear that we have no indication that the Iranians have made a decision to develop a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Little said. “He was asked to comment on prospective and aggressive timelines on Iran’s possible production of nuclear weapons — and he said if, and only if, they made such a decision. He didn’t say that Iran would, in fact, have a nuclear weapon in 2012.”

    Mr. Little said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency remained in Iran and had “good access to Iran’s continuing production of low-enriched uranium.” Should Iran choose to “break out” — diverting low-enriched uranium to produce weapons-grade highly enriched uranium — the inspectors could detect it, Mr. Little said.

  274. Patrick Cummins says:

    “American officials have regularly denied that the war was a “war for oil”. If the Iraq war was, in fact, a “war for oil”, then it was an even more incompetently conceived and executed venture than even we think was the case (and we are pretty critical). American energy companies have hardly fared well in post-Saddam Iraq.”

    It matters more to the US that the oil come out of the ground and be brought to market than which oil company does the producing. Rehabilitating Iraq as a major oil producer without Saddam Husayn in power was certainly an objective of the war. President Bush’s most senior economic advisor was straightforward about all this:

    “When there is a regime change in Iraq, you could add three million to five million barrels of production [each day] to world supply. The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy.”
    - Lawrence Lindsey, Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2002

  275. masoud says:

    Completely off topic, but sometimes David Letterman is a genius.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNP-YZkobCk

  276. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Flynt and Hillary say “Conservative Sunni powers allied to the United States, like Saudi Arabia, have not taken this well.”

    I have mentioned this before, and it seems I need to mention it again. The government in Saudi Arabia is not Sunni!

    The monarchy and government are Wahhabi, which is an anti-Sunni anti-Shi’a splinter that considers neither Sunni or Shi’a to be Moslem due to *bid’a* [reprehensible innovation]. As such, according to Sunni scholars, by the act of pronouncing this verdict on the entirety of the Moslem population, the Wahhabis took themselves “out” of the *ummah* or community, just like the Kharijites before them, which are their spiritual antecedents. The Khawarij [lit. (those who) exited (the fold) or withdrew from the fold of the community)] were the sect responsible for killing Imam ‘Ali, with whom be peace.

    Less than 20% of “Saudi” Arabia is Wahhabi. Another 20% are Shi’a, and the overwhelming majority are Sunni, mostly of the Maliki rite, with a spattering of Hanbalis thrown in the mix for shits and giggles. Thus, this Wikipedia map (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Madhhab_Map2.png) has it entirely wrong: it classifies Arabia as Hanbali as the la-madhhab Wahhabi weasels will identify themselves as Hanbali if pushed against a wall, claiming to be his intellectual heirs (whereas in fact they are the intellectual heirs of Ibn Taymiyya, who was a wayward student of Muhammad ibn Hanbal’s), and do not, in any case, believe in any madhhab or in taqlid (imitation) at all, and in fact hold anyone who imitates another in matters of religion (no matter how superior the source of emulation might be) as a murtad and as such, a non-Moslem. One of the main differences between Sunni and Shi’a Moselms and the Neo-Khawarij (non-Moslems) is that the latter do not have a rite or madhhab; they are what is traditionally known as *laa maghhab* – an extremely derogatory term in religious contexts. The entirety of Moslem orthopraxis was codified into 5 madaahib (plural for rites), the Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi’I, Hanbali and Ja’fari (Shi’a). Adherents to these rites defer to the higher understanding of the eponymous founders of their respective rite in terms of practice and law, said deferment being based on an acknowledgement of the founders’ superior knowledge of the Islamic sciences (Koran & hadith (mutuun, isnaad, ‘ilm ar-rijaal, tafsir, ta’wil, tartil, tashkil, etc.) and fiqh (qiyas {Sunni} and ‘aql {Shi’i}). As such, the muqallid (follower) is obliged to follow the mujtahid (Doctor of Jurisprudence) in the secondary considerations of his or her religion (the furu’ ad-din or branches of the religion, rather than in the primary considerations- usul ad-din – wherein imitation is of course haram.

    Understanding and making this distinction between Sunni and Wahhabi will grow to be more and more important as the fault lines become more evident between the two sects in Arabia. The fault-lines in Arabia can be seen in the four regions that comprise Arabia which have been artificially cobbled together by the AAl as-Sa’ud (House of Sa’ud), i.e., Najd, the central desert region, including Riyadh, the capital, is Wahhabite; Atif, the oil rich eastern region bordering on the Persian Gulf, as well as Asir, the southwest region that properly belongs to Yemen, are both Shi’a, and the Hijaz, the Western region bordering on the Red Sea and which includes Mecca and Medina, are Sunni (Maliki). There is deep hatred for the Wahhabis by the Malikis, who consider themselves to be the true custodians of the *haramayn* (the two sacred cities) and consider the Wahhabis to be oppostates and usurpers. Watch for tensions along these fault lines in the future, which is bound to afflict the Saudi regime with the kind of troubles other illegitimate regimes in the region have been facing.

  277. James Canning says:

    “Iran urges EU not to distort Iran N-facts”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/216740.html

    Ali Asghar Soltanieh urged Brussels not to conceal realities of Iran’s civilian nuclear programme from the public.

  278. Fiorangela says:

    What if the Iraqis remaining in Iraq, or Iraqis in the “diaspora,” aka refugees from Iraq, called themselves survivors of the American-Israeli-Great British holocaust? What if they demanded reparations from the perpetrators of their misery?

  279. Kooshy: The only problem is you still haven’t provided any evidence as to precisely who is doing the bombings. It’s not the CIA, it’s not Mossad, it has to be indigenous groups – and the only ones with CIA and Mossad connections are Jundallah, M.E.K. and perhaps some Azeri groups.

    I don’t think you can make the case that there has been a significant change in personnel involved – it’s just that the ante has upped for internal terrorism.

    Can you cite something that says there has been an operational change in Iran destabilization efforts that specifically supports your notion?

    Phil Giraldi on the other hand is quite specific:

    Quote:

    A finding approved by the Bush administration in 2003 and strengthened in 2006 on the pretext that Iran was “interfering” in Iraq and Afghanistan authorized the use of intelligence assets to disrupt Iranian Revolutionary Guard activity in border zones. These included areas adjacent to Pakistan inhabited by ethnic Baluchs, the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, and the ethnically Arab province of Khuzestan, which borders southeastern Iraq.

    Activity in the Kurdish region was most intense because it was regarded as a more permissible operating environment with a long, open border and a friendly local government in Arbil, but it was limited by Turkish sensitivities and was partially run by Israelis to provide deniability by the U.S. That effort was abandoned altogether in 2009, when the Obama administration decided to double down on the Turkish relationship, increasing intelligence and military cooperation with Ankara against the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). Attacks in Baluchestan and the Arab region over the past seven years have continued intermittently, however, killing a large number of Revolutionary Guards and even more civilians.

    A separate finding on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program was signed in 2007 by President Bush. It authorized attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists and other facilities in Tehran and elsewhere as well as coordination with the Israelis to develop computer viruses to disrupt the Iranian computer network, a program that led to the production of the Stuxnet worm. While the media credits “the Israelis” in the assassinations of Iranian scientists, the reality is that no Israeli (or American) intelligence officer could possibly operate effectively inside Iran to carry out a killing. The assassinations, which are acts of war, have actually been carried out by followers of the dissident Iranian Mujahedin e-Khalq (MEK), the separatist Baluch Jundallah, and the Kurdish PJAK, all acting under direction from American and Israeli intelligence officers.

    The new finding on Iran extends existing initiatives and is intended to strangle Iran by creating insurgencies along all of the country’s borders. It includes involvement with the Azeris, who inhabit northwestern Iran and share a common border, language, and culture with the people of Azerbaijan. Twenty million ethnic Azeris in Iran make up nearly 25 percent of the population. When combined with the 2 percent who are Baluchs, 7 percent who are Kurds, and 3 percent who are Arabs, it is easy to understand that Iran has a significant ethnic problem concentrated along its borders. This is precisely what the covert action seeks to exploit by encouraging ethnic fragmentation in the country’s border regions and supplying dissidents with communications equipment, training, money, and weapons.

    End Quotes

    I don’t see any mention of any “not significant groups” in that report. In fact, Giraldi says the new “finding” is explicitly intended to create trouble along the border regions.

  280. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    I agree with you that Obama had zero interest in holding any Bush administration people accountable for the Iraq War catastrophe. Reason? Israel lobby. And other powerful interests.

    Bravo for challenging BBC on the foolish claim by the American soldier that Iraq was behind “9/11″.

  281. James Canning says:

    Pirouz,

    Are you suggesting Iran would put troops in Syria? I would doubt this.

  282. 1 million dead iraqis, no yanks prosecuted says:

    The last time I saw Kimmet on tv he fainted because he couldn’t handle the carnage he was meant to be justifying.

    Wanker.

  283. Voice of Tehran says:

    Kathleen says:
    December 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    “So sad that for so many Americans the thousands dead, injured in Iraq are just a bump in the road on their way to the malls to buy holidaze gifts”

    http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2199-war-without-end-amen-the-reality-of-americas-aggression-against-iraq-.html

    “”In March 2003, the United States of America launched an entirely unprovoked act of military aggression against a nation which had not attacked it and posed no threat to it. This act led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It drove millions more from their homes, and plunged the entire conquered nation into suffering, fear, hatred and deprivation. This is the reality of what actually happened in Iraq: aggression, slaughter, atrocity, ruin. It is the only reality; there is no other. And it was done deliberately, knowingly, willingly. Indeed, the bipartisan American power structure spent more than $1 trillion to make it happen. It is a record of unspeakable savagery, an abomination, an outpouring of the most profound and filthy moral evil. Line up the bodies of the children, the thousands of children — the infants, the toddlers, the schoolkids — whose bodies were torn to pieces, burned alive or riddled with bullets during the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Line them up in the desert sand, walk past them, mile after mile, all those twisted corpses, those scraps of torn flesh and seeping viscera, those blank faces, those staring eyes fixed forever on nothingness. This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; there is no other reality..

  284. Kathleen says:

    I think this was the one read.

    Kathleen

    Julian Marshall allowed that young American soldier to repeat that 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq were linked He did not even politely challenge him with the facts So disappointing that even on the BBc the Bush administrations “pack of …lies” has come roaring through closing in on 2012 on your program.

    So sad that for so many Americans the thousands dead, injured in Iraq are just a bump in the road on their way to the malls to buy holidaze gifts

    Very sadSee More
    December 14 at 1:37pm.

  285. Kathleen says:

    James I kept facebooking and emailing BBC’s Julian Marshall when he allowed the US soldier to keep repeating the 9/11 invasion of IRaq lie. They finally read my comment at the close of the hour.
    I forget which one they read:
    Hundreds of thousands of people are dead, injured and millions displaced in Iraq. All based on a “pack of lies” Far more than a “dumb war” A spiritually, morally and economically bankrupt war

    That soldier just wants to fuel the myth. American soldiers died based on a “pack of lies” They just do not want to face it

    Please do not let that young man get away with connecting 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq for gods sake.

    ———————————————
    I can’t believe you allowed that young soldier to get away with linking 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. You know better..that was shameful…feeding the lies. Now I do not question that young mans desire to serve his country. But you know as well as many of us that he was sent to Iraq based on a “pack of lies” And when Obama says thing like we need to “turn the page, next chapter” etc he wants nothing to do with holding anyone in the Bush administration accountable for the crimes committed in the run up to the invasion or the disastrous and deadly consequences.

  286. Kathleen says:

    “crisis of legitimacy”

  287. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Any moron or liar claiming that Iraq was behind the “9/11″ attacks should be asked why Osama bin Laden wanted Saddam Hussein killed.

  288. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Bravo. And how amazing that foolish comments regarding “9/11″ as having been sponsored by Iraq, do not get slammed immediately. Maybe not so amazing? NPR compromised by Israel lobby?

  289. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Yes, all four countries with a Kurdish minority agree there will not be an independent Kurdistan. And notions of an independent Baluchistan obviously do not amuse the leaders of Pakistan.

  290. kooshy says:

    RSH from the previous tread

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    December 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    “That much I can understand. But it’s the same people involved, in my opinion.”

    Rich

    Is not the same type of operation or the same people who are conducting the recent assassinations and bombings.
    MEK is a terrorist group and not a separatist group based on a particular ethnicity or religion or sect, Jundallah is mostly ethnic Sunni Baluchies operating from Pakistan-Iran border with not much penetration capability inside central Iran for obvious reasons, they are claiming they want to make a free Baluchistan.

    I believe it was becoming tough on Pakistan’s government to allow this to continue (think of the pipeline that was agreed to build), and perhaps their decision was contributing to capture the leader of the group by Iranian intelligence if you remember.

    As for the Kurds as soon as the end of operational phase for US forces in Iraq was announced ( which meant that the US troops stayed inside the bases) Iraqi and Kurdish regional government allowed the Iranian armed forces to move in and clean up a few hills on the Iraqi side of the border. And on south west a while back when our good British lads left the southern Iraq region, the Iranian Arabs separatist group who call themselves Ahavazies lost their supportive lust and their bombings it died down.

    Right around then is when we see that the border skirmishes are reduced and internally deep inside bombings and assassinations started and not by any particular ethnical groups or even the MEK since perhaps they have not much operational capabilities left
    To a point that the supportive countries are not willing to host them, since they know that they can be creating internal problems for any hosting country

  291. Pirouz says:

    Agree with much of what Hillary says. But I do believe Obama administration officials are on the attack in Syria, in an effort to forestall the potential overland extension of Iranian power–both soft and hard–through to the Mediterranean Sea; an opportunity possibly not seen since Medieval times, certainly since Sassanid times.

    For a more realistic military assessment by a former U.S. military officer, I suggest reading recent posts on the subject by Carl Prine at the Line of Departure blog. These mostly revolve around the Army doctrine of COIN but one can still glean many incites in the man’s writings, which are also entertaining to read. I don’t always agree with him–he’s an admitted Zionist–but he is a realist, nonetheless. Carl just recently returned from Iraqi Kurdistan. I kidded him, telling him he was missing all the “fun” further south in Karbala (at the time, it was Ashura).

  292. Kathleen says:

    Thanks for this truth telling. But on the BBC and NPR host of programs are still allowing American soldiers and other guest to link the invasion of Iraq to 9/11. Have heard this on both programs. The host never even politely challenge these lies. Here we are about to enter 2012 and the MSM is still allowing that lie to be repeated.

    On another note last night on Rachel Maddows (who has often repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran) started her programming singing Rep Paul’s efforts to negotiate with Iran. This is a breakthough.

    last night Dec 19th) Ed on MSNBC Ed’s show actually poked at some of the Republican candidates who talk crazy about Iran “several said they are ready to bomb Iran”

    In the clip over at Ed’s site under “3am phone call, 2012 version” at 53 seconds.

    Then Ed goes even further in this clip calling out the Iran “fear mongering”..

    Later 3:32 Ed”during several recent GOP debates there was a lot of I guess you can say fearmongering is what I call it about Iran getting nuclear weapons” They then show clips of Michelle Bachman, Santorum, Gingrich, Romney all repeating inflammatory claims about Iran. Now Cincirone (who always protects Israel no matter what they do) did not just come out and say that there are no substantiated evidence that Iran is doing what the warmongers keep repeating but Ed and his program moved on Iran. THEY ARE MOVING.

    when will any of the the MSNBC host have Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on their program? Professor Juan Cole, former weapons inspector Robert Kelly? Keep pushing him. Have been able to get on his program several times and keep pushing him towards the Leveretts. He has a radio program on every day. Contact the show if you please

  293. hans says:

    In the first two months of the current fiscal year that began on October 1st, the US national debt has grown $320 billion. That is $21 billion more than the same 2-month period last year, which illustrates that the growth of the national debt continues to accelerate.

    I wonder how much of the increase is due to bribe money being paid for sanctions, UN resolutions and sneaking out of Iraq?

  294. James Canning says:

    I think the US needs to get out of Central Asia, acting in the best interests of the US. And this means encouraging the countries surrounding Afghanistan to work together to seek stability and economic growth in Afghanistan. Iran obviously is one of those countries.

  295. James Canning says:

    Gideon Rachman has some good comments about this topic today in the Financial Times (“Farewell to a dumb war in Iraq”).

    I agree with Gideon that Iraq will not “simply be a satellite of Iran”, given that it is an Arab country.

  296. James Canning says:

    We should remember that the Bush administration assured Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia that the US would not destroy the Sunni power structure in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. All of the top officials of the G W Bush administration involved in the war planning agreed to keep the Iraqi army and security services intact. The neocon conspiracy to disband the army while Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and even G W Bush were not aware it was happening, gets far too little attention.

  297. James Canning says:

    I like to recall the comments Jacques Chirac made to Tony Blair, before the illegal and idiotic invasion of Iraq. One of them was that a central government controlled by the Shia would not be a democracy as understood in France or Britain. Another was that if the Sunni power structure was destroyed, the Shia government would be friendly toward Iran. Blair, like G W Bush, “went with his gut”. And brought catastrophe to Iraq and its people. And disaster to the US taxpayers.

  298. Philip Giraldi on Nato vs Syria
    :http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/nato-vs-syria/

    Quotes:

    NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya. Turkish sources suggest that intervention would start with creation of a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border and then be expanded. Aleppo, Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, would be the crown jewel targeted by liberation forces.

    Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi’s army. Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.

    CIA analysts are skeptical regarding the march to war. The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. The Agency has refused to sign off on the claims. Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.

    End Quotes

    And this: Stratfor Challenges Narratives on Syria
    :http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharmine-narwani/stratfor-challenges-narra_b_1158710.html

    Think either of these will get mentioned by Juan Cole? :-)

  299. WTF says:

    We would dare say that, today, Saudi Arabia’s relations with Israel are better than its relations with the Maliki government.

    As it should be, given that the Monarchy’s strategic interests are much more aligned with Israel’s than Iraq’s. Only a representative government in SA would truly shun Israel/US.

    It will be interesting to see whether the Riyadh-Tel Aviv-Ramallah-Washington axis is really more reflective of regional opinion and has greater staying power than the Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Cairo-Beirut-Gaza-Ankara(?) axis. We have our hypothesis about this.

    I know where the Leveretts were going with this, and also am aware that it was qualified with a “(?)”, but it would be a major stretch of the imagination to see Damascus and Ankara as part of the same “axis”, given current events in Syria.

  300. Rehmat says:

    McCain: ‘Kim Jong II has gone to Hell’

    “The world is a better place now that Kim Jong-Il is no longer in it. I can only express satisfaction that the Dear Leader is joining the likes of Qaddafi, Bin Laden, Hitler and Stalin in a warm corner of hell,” McCain said, (British Daily Mail, December 20, 2011).

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/mccain-kim-jong-ii-has-gone-to-hell/

  301. Rehmat says:

    “Every Muslim country the US has occupied for the security of Israel, Iran has come out as a winner in the long run,” an Israeli analyst.

    The Zioconservatives and Israel Lobby is very angry at Barack Obama’s declaration that Iraq War is over fearing that its disastrous outcome will undercut their plan for a new war with the Islamic Republic. John McCain has claimed that if he had won the 2008 election, he would not vacate Iraq. On the other hand, GOP presidential hopeful, Israel-Firster Newt Gingrich, has promised Jewish lobby, if elected, he stands ready to join Israel in invading Iran.

    British former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen in a recent Op-Ed in British daily Mirror has admitted that Iran has become the most powerful country in the region and Israel cannot take-on with Iran without active military involvement by the US…..

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/lord-owen-iran-is-the-most-powerful-country-in-the-region/