We're posting new material at GoingToTehran.com. Please join us there.

The Race for Iran


Recent developments in Syria have prompted a predictable escalation in Western/expatriate Iranian commentary that the Assad government’s fall—widely treated as inevitable—will severely damage the Islamic Republic’s regional position.  One piece of this sort which caught our eye was authored by Farideh Farhi, see here.  Farhi’s article, couched as a critique of Tehran’s Syria policy, opens with the observation that,

“by providing full-fledged public support to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Iran’s leaders have made a critical policy move.  They could have made a different choice…a more balanced and proactive approach to Syria that did not place all of Iran’s eggs in Assad’s basket from the beginning of the unrest.” 

Farhi professes some sensitivity to various factors that might have prompted Tehran to adopt the policy it did, including Saudi, Turkish, Israel, and U.S. support for the Syrian opposition, not least on the grounds that “the fall of the Syrian regime would constitute a ‘strategic’ blow against Iran.”  But,

“regardless of the reasoning behind the decision-makers’ rationale, given what has transpired in Syria, Iran’s chosen policy appears to have been the wrong one.  Instead of hedging by trying to establish links with a multiplicity of political forces as Iran did effectively in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the policy of fully supporting Assad’s regime has not only come to naught, it is also hurting Iran’s attempts to develop relationships with newly elected Islamist governments in the region, particularly in Egypt, a country with which the Islamic Republic hoped to improve relations rapidly following the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood.  More importantly, this one-track Syria policy has diminished Tehran’s leverage when it comes to gaining a seat at the table where regional issues are deliberated upon.”

We have a very different read of the strategic acuity of the Islamic Republic’s Syria policy.  Among other things, Farhi’s analysis only holds up if the Assad government is not just overthrown but also replaced by an internally coherent coalition decisively aligned with the West and against Iran.  However, rather than review Farhi’s arguments ourselves, we thought it useful to juxtapose her assessment against a recent article by Mehdi Mohammadi, translated by Iran Review, see here

Mohammadi notes that “the dominant view on the Syrian situation in Western circles” is “not a factual explanation of the situation” but rather “part of a heavy psychological war.”  And in that war, “realities are carefully picked up by Western media and only those realities which are in line with the [prevailing narrative] are reflected.”  Mohammadi argues that the Syrian opposition “is not popular in nature”; this is why it

“rejects any solution based on elections and negotiations.  The opposition figures are well aware that if the general atmosphere is calmed down, at least to allow for free elections, and if people went to the ballot boxes, they would never prefer radical Salafi elements”

to the current government.  “The fear that the Sunni majority has of a Salafi minority is a very important, and often censored, reality about the situation on the ground in Syria.” 

Mohammadi then zeroes in on the central role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian opposition, offering a profoundly challenging analysis of the motives for different currents among the Brothers to involve themselves in the current uprising.  (We would note that some of the edgier aspects of Mohammadi’s analysis could be applied as well to the evolution of Turkey’s Syria policy since March 2011.): 

“The important question is what are the Muslim Brotherhood’s main goals and why the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which is essentially very different from its counterparts in Egypt, Sudan, and Palestine, has decided out of a sudden to pave the way for the Zionist plots in Syria?  The fundaments of the Muslim Brotherhood’s behavior can be summarized as follows:

First—A certain part of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is actually pursuing to establish a new government in Syria which will implement the mandate of Sharia law—of course as perceived by Salafis—in the country.  This is the part of the Muslim Brotherhood that even in case of Assad government’s fall, is very unlikely to enter into a compromise with Israel.  Therefore, some analysts maintain that their motives for creating new conflicts in Syrian border areas which are adjacent to Israel are even more powerful than the Alawites.

Second—The second part of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has reached the conclusion that the future of the region is essentially at the Muslim Brotherhood’s hands.  Therefore, they do not have to rely on governments which are not affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.  As a result, although this group of the Muslim Brotherhood is well aware of the historical support provided by Syria for the anti-Israeli resistance front, they believe that new anchoring points like the new government in Egypt will make them needless of maintaining past relations with Syria.

Third—The third group which probably constitutes the majority of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is basically using outward concerns about Sharia as a means of attracting support from the ordinary people and money from Saudi Arabia.  They are in cahoots with secular elements that are constantly in contact with France and the United States as well as similar political groups like the March 14 Alliance in Lebanon and the secular government of Jordan.  This part forms the spine of the armed opposition in Syria.

The bottom line is that even in a best case scenario, the Muslim Brotherhood is making a dire strategic mistake.  In a worst case scenario, they have reached a clandestine deal with the United States. An inevitable reality—which is again among those realities which are intentionally and generally censored—is that even if Assad’s government falls, the Americans will not Americans will not allow the Syrian government to fall into the hands of that part of the Muslim Brotherhood which seeks to continue and even give more depth to the existing conflict with Israel.  Therefore, if this group has decided to waste its energy and potentials on toppling Assad, the final result for it will be new banishment from the power and this time, by those who are in complete collusion with the United States and Israel.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood should know that the sole way for them to enter the government is survival of the current state and achieving a final agreement on a new system of government based on elections.  Otherwise, even if Assad goes, they will not have their anti-Israeli government.  There is also a pessimistic view according to which parts of the Muslim Brotherhood have reached the conclusion that they should basically give up the resistance strategy, accept the existence of Israel and reach a strategic agreement with the United States in order to keep future regional governments under control.  At the first glance, this may seem to be not only too pessimistic, but also too naïve.  Unfortunately, however, it should be noted that parts of the Islamic currents in the region—which are still a minority—have apparently reached the conclusion that, for example, Qatar, the only Arab country which has official relations with Israel, is a better base for the anti-Zionist resistance than Syria which has been supporting resistance for 30 years without asking anything in return!” 

Mohammadi argues that the Syrian opposition owes its longevity “to plans made by the United States and European Union as well as the Arab League and finally the UN-Arab League special envoy on Syria, Kofi Annan.”  With regard to Annan’s diplomatic efforts, Mohammadi notes that, since they have “gotten underway and international observers have been based in Syria as part of that plan, the rate of violence has increased by more than 20 times.”  He argues that, at bottom, the “Annan plan is, in fact, a ploy to pursue a single strategic goal:  to tie the hands of the Syrian army and give an opportunity to the opposition to regroup and rearm its forces.”  Moreover, “the plan lacked any specific political outlook from the beginning…It never clarified in what way the crisis in Syria is supposed to hit its end.  It was also silent on the future power structure in the country and specifications of the transition period.” 

For ourselves, we are more inclined to see the deficiencies in Annan’s plan less in terms of the corrupt nature of the former Secretary-General’s project than in the single-minded prioritization, by the United States and its European partners, of regime change in Damascus over any possibility for conflict resolution in Syria.  As Hillary pointed out in an appearance on Al Jazeera last week to discuss Syrian developments, a negotiated political outcome is, at this point, the only way to stop Syrians from dying.  But the West refuses to acknowledge that the Syrian opposition it backs so assiduously cannot kill all of the Alawis, Christians, and non-Ikhwan Sunnis who support the Assad government, or that the international community cannot deny them and their supporters a role in any meaningful and legitimate political process aimed at ending the violence.  Such a process, by definition, must involve all the relevant parties in Syria—and it must involve all relevant regional and international players, including the Islamic Republic.  Given the West’s refusal to face these realities, one must ask just who is really responsible for prolonging the violence in Syria?      

More broadly, Mohammadi offers an extremely important observation about the shared interests and goals of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Turkey “to contain” the Arab spring.  (This was also a point that Hillary made in her Al Jazeera appearance.)   These countries, Mohammadi writes,

“reached a conclusion that the best way for preventing Arab Spring developments to serve Iran’s increasing power in the region was to turn the whole situation into a conflict between Shias and Sunnis.  The archetype of Shia-Sunni animosity has turned into a tool in the hands of the Western states in order to distort the entire Arab spring.  By doing this, they would be able to take the energy of the regional revolutionary figures and redirect it toward Iran instead of the United States and the West which are main masterminds of decades-old sufferings of the Arab world.  As a result, the political forces released by the Arab spring and Islamic revolutions in the region will spend much of their force on deepening Shia-Sunni rift in the region.”

Finally, Mohammadi offers a revealing assessment of how the situation in Syria is viewed in Tehran and how Iranian policymakers are making their calculations about it: 


“there is a high degree of confidence that the Syrian government will not fall in medium term.  Perhaps it will be weakened or will become subject to more severe international pressures, however, the government in Syria will stay in place.  As a result of this situation, firstly, the Syrian government will think of various security scenarios to take revenge of various parties that have been involved in the Syrian unrest as soon as it gets out of the current red alert security state…Its anti-American and anti-Israeli motivations will become hundreds of times stronger.  This will certainly further strengthen the overall power of the anti-Israeli resistance axis in the region which will be of vital importance to Iran.” 


“it is very unlikely that Russia and China will reach an agreement with the West over Syria.  Both countries have already found out in Libya that the Americans have no plan to recognize or meet their national interests.  On the contrary, the United States is trying to foment unrest in areas which are of vital importance to these two countries.  Therefore, unlike the past experiences when the behavior of Russia and China was unpredictable and they were expected to forge an agreement with the United States at any moment, it is now clear that no deal will be reached between these two countries and the United States, even on Iran’s nuclear dossier anymore.  Creation of a reliable anti-West front consisting of Russia and China will be a strategic achievement for Iran.” 


“it is obvious that the Western countries have attuned the schedule of their plans on Iran’s nuclear program with the pace of political developments in Syria.  If Syria gets out of the current crisis, the West’s diplomatic approach to Iran’s nuclear energy program will totally change.  The Western countries’ analysis is that Iran will only change its plans for going on with the nuclear energy program when it reaches the conclusion that its security index is going down and down.  The fate of Syria is among few factors which can play a key role in making Iran reach that conclusion.  Also, the high probability that Israel will fall into a state of chaos after Syria weathers the current dire straits is another factor which can make the West give major political concessions to Iran.” 

And so, “despite what may seem on the surface, the strategic equation of the region as a result of the ongoing developments in Syria has by no means changed to the detriment of Iran.”   

 –Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett 



  1. imho says:

    Anonymous Lurker says:
    August 1, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Exactly. It is all about energy blackmail as the US has done a number of times In the past even with her own allies
    China buying saudi oil is actually good for the dollar

  2. James Canning says:


    The chances of Lebanon being “controlled” by Maronite Christians are ZERO. Some delusional Israelis may think such a situation could obtain. In fact, the Christian community in Lebanon does not act in a unified fashion.

  3. James Canning says:


    Do you agree with FYI that Germany, Italy, France and the UK are conspiring with the US in expectation of cutting off China’s access to Middle East oil and gas? The notion is preposterous.

  4. James Canning says:


    The US and China have many interests in common and with a reasonably intelligent foreign policy the US and China should have reasonably good relations for decades to come.

    Are you arguing that the Israel lobby prevents a negotiated resolution of the dispute with Iran, as part of a conspiracy somehow directed against China?

  5. Karl.. says:

    I didnt know that Iran had taken Russia to the court on the S-300 although pressure on court have probably delayed and will delay action on the file.

    Russia Calls on Iran to Pull Missile Deal Claim

  6. A-B says:

    After Russia vetoed UN sanctions against SYRIA, the Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin said “it’s all about IRAN”,
    (ca. 7:47) Vitaly I. Churkin (Russian Federation) on Syria – Security Council Media Stakeout (19 July, 2012)
    Also recommended
    (especially 4:30 on)

    I think Vitaly Churkin’s statement is remarkable also refreshing is how he openly scorns his British, French and Americans colleagues. (Note: Do his pause before saying “it’s all about Iran” and a “jitteriness” on the subject, indicate he’s telling something he shouldn’t?!) Perhaps it was a Russian reaction to the crazy rant of Clinton (“they [Russia & China] have to pay”) and the usual belligerence of Rice. Anyhow, such official statements would be scoffed at and dismissed as conspiracy theory, but when someone of Churkin’s calibre later says EVERYBODY (i.e. all the “serious persons” Churkin refers to) knows this, makes the conspiracy a FACT. At the same time it compromises both Russia and China; that the sanctions against Iran because of her nuclear NON-issue is equally a sham.

    Of course, this makes it obvious (if there was any doubt at all) that neither Russia nor China were “tricked” by the West to go along with the fateful UN resolution against Libya. Apparently, Libya was a “tactical retreat” for Russia and China because EVERYBODY knew Syria would be next; the designated battle ground or the red line. Now Libya’s fate serves as a pedagogical example (for the public) or empirical proof (for the naive(?) pundits), that Russia and China “learned” from their previous “mistake” in trusting the Western “tricksters”…. for the time being!

    It’s interesting to see how Iran’s resistance is paying off and her stance and “world view” (i.e. Iran’s I-told-you-so) is becoming main stream and OFFICIALLY shared by even Russia. Also noteworthy is how blaming Iran for terrorist attacks staged by US/UK/Israel has totally lost its charm. Of course, Iran owes her survival to knowing the mechanism of West’s savagery. Amazingly, some Western pundits and journalists are amazed that Iranians KNOW and haven’t forgotten (!!!) what Anglo-Americans did to Iran before and after fall of Mossadegh!

  7. Anonymous Lurker says:

    FYI – I’m not so sure that Pakistan and India will stay out of the pipeline project, time will tell no doubt, but I think the pressure went up quite a few notches on India due to the latest debacle, the temptation of transit fees might just get Pakistan to move as well. time will tell …

    James – you are being disingenuous – it’s about the stranglehold on energy – by monopolizing access and control of middle-eastern oil the US will (does?) have most of the world by the balls, doesn’t matter if China is buying Saudi oil now, in any future conflict with China what would the Chinese do without an independent energy supply? Same strategy works for the gas markets wrt Russia — All of this is patently obvious!

  8. Don Bacon says:

    re: Iran as a terror state

    I’ll try to wrap this up — subject to correction from readers. And I’ll make a comparison between the terror charges and the nuclear ones. It concerns “ambition.”

    From the evidence presented, despite the specious unproven charges concerning a Saudi ambassador and Bulgarians, Iran does not harbor nor sponsor terrorists. There are no Iranian terrorists on the voluminous US terrorist lists which feature Saudi Arabians, Egyptians and Pakistanis but not even one Iranian. I linked to these sources previously.

    The “terror state” label, it seems to me, comes from this statement which came out of a US congressional hearing earlier this year.
    “There is general consensus among dozens of experts as well as current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials interviewed by the Majority Investigative Staff that Hezbollah – more than any other terror group – is the most capable of flipping a U.S.-based fundraising cell into a lethal terror force, should Iran decide that is in its interests.”

    In other words, according to dozens of experts, Iran is guilty of having terrorism ambitions (by Hezbollah) in the same way it is guilty of having nuclear weapon ambitions. Iran has wrong ambitions, and therefore the US sanctions, cyber attacks, assassinations and military attack threats.

    Iran has wrongful ambitions, the story goes.

    I’m not trained in this area, but it seems to me that getting upset over imagined ambitions of others is some sort of psychosis. Or is it simply a fear of Israel which is really, really angry about Hezbollah.

    Israel’s military establishment and rightwing parties have made no secret of their yearning for revenge against Hezbollah, which inflicted a sharp defeat on Israel’s army in southern Lebanon in 2006. Nor have Israel’s expansionist rightists given up the ambition of former leader Ariel Sharon (who remains alive but in deep coma) of turning Lebanon into an Israeli protectorate ruled by Maronite Christian rightists.

  9. James Canning says:


    Belabor the obvious, meaning you in fact contend the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, are scheming with a view toward cutting China off from Middle East oil and gas? Rather preposterous notion, in the main.

  10. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I respectfully decline to belabor the obvious.

  11. fyi says:

    pmr9 says: July 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I disagree.

    Leaders in both India and Pakistan have decided that being on the right side of the United States is more important than reliable electric power.

    This will not change, in my opinion.

    India and Pakistan leaders will continue to make pious noises about IPI – knowing that they themselves lack the courage to move forward with IPI.

  12. James Canning says:

    I recommend Pat Buchanan’s “How Far Would Mitt Go?”


    Romney very foolishly has pledged not to allow Iran to enrich uranium, even to 5% or lower.

  13. James Canning says:


    YOu asked me if I think Iran “shot itself in the foot by empowering western warmongers.” This clearly is what obtains, as to the stockpiling of 20 percent uranium (in my view).

  14. James Canning says:


    I have said a number of times that I think the P5+1 would be willing to accept Iranian enrichment to 5% or lower. Obama for domestic political reasons cannot endorse this position.

  15. James Canning says:


    Explain how the “Axis Powers” could achieve “political control” over the energy resources of the Middle East. Your thinking on this subject seems decades out of date.

    At the urging of the US, China has become the largest buyer of Saudi crude. Is China part of the “Axis Powers” who seek “control” over ME energy, in your view?

  16. James Canning says:

    Philip Giraldi in The American Conservative magazine (July 2012) said that the NIE on Syria has been delayed because the intelligence agencies believe that the fall of the Assad government in Syria likely will result in the creation of more serious problems, to say the least.

  17. James Canning says:


    Of course I agree that “the West” virtually forced Iran to enrich to 20% by failing to approve Iran’s IAEA application to buy fuel for the TRR.

    And I have argued that enemies of Iran wanted to force Iran to enrich to 20 percent, in the expecation this would help to block an improvement in relations between Iran and the US (and the UK, and other countries).

    James Blitz, writing in the Financial Times online July 30th: “Will Iran. . . pave the way for serious negotiations. . .? Or will Iran press ahead with the development of yet more highly enriched uranium. . .?” Blitz of course is referring to Iran’s stockpiling of 20 percent uranium. (FT.COM/Rachmanblog)

  18. pmr9 says:


    I don’t think India has any choice but to go ahead with the IPI pipeline, and this will be a severe setback for US efforts to isolate Iran. The Indian government is already facing heavy criticism for having dragged its feet over measures to upgrade the electricity supply. LNG in tankers from Qatar is too expensive (not to say unreliable if there are problems in the Straits of Hormuz), and there’s no realistic chance that the TAPI pipeline will be built in the near future. Nuclear can’t be scaled up quickly enough. Pakistan has already made clear to the US that it will go ahead with its section of the pipeline.

  19. fyi says:

    Irshad says: July 31, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Men (males) like adventure.

    During the Soviet War in Afghanistan, many Baluchi tribesmen form Iran went to Afghanistan to fight.

    I heard about a Canadian who enlisted in US Army when US invaded Iraq in 2003; he served as a sharp-shooter and once he was demobilized, he went back to Canada.

    And there were many Americans who enlisted in Canadian Armed Forces prior to the entry of US into World War II.

    And then, of course, is the famous Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a force of largely Protestant Americans fighting for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War.

    In Iran-Iraq War, Iran hold POWs from 30 countries; if my memory serves me.

    All fools; no doubt.

  20. fyi says:

    Anonymous Lurker says: July 31, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I think the significance of the events of the past 2 days are in this:

    That billions of people in the world could be denied power (energy) if the Axis States have political control over the energy resources of this planet; chiefly in the Middle East.

    As for India or Pakistan; they will not go back to IPI anytime soon.

    Their leaders will wait for the current Cold War between Iran and Axis Powers to terminate.

    They will have to wait a long time (> 6 years).

  21. Anonymous Lurker says:

    Hundreds of Millions left without power in India

    Perhaps India will reconsider the IPI and start importing Iranian gas …

  22. Irshad says:

    Intersting article about life in Damascus:

    Dispatch from Damascus

    Guest article by MANUEL OCHSENREITER


    So how did an Afghan get to be in Al-Midan?

    Are the Saudis/Qataris/Turks really trying to start a secterian war amongst and between Muslims of differnt denominotions? Dont they know that this is the fastest way to the self destruction of Islam by Muslims???

    Or is this their plan all along – all these years of been under Western tutelage has made them forgotten their own background and religion – kinda like the house ni**er as Malcom would say – and too busy trying to show their importance relvance to Uncle Sam?

  23. Fiorangela says:

    Iranians have unique talents and expertise that could be leveraged to win friends and influence people in the United States.

    Senate Cmte. Discusses Funding for Rural Water Projects
    “Washington, DC
    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on funding for rural water projects.

    The committee will take up the Authorized Rural Water Projects Completion Act, legislation sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to help alleviate the backlog of water projects in rural communities.

    The legislation would establish a new fund for rural water projects that would receive as much as $80 million per year in funding that would otherwise revert to an irrigation fund started in 1902 for some arid western states.

    Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor will testify on the first panel. Panel two will include: Bruce Sunchild, chairman, Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Box Elder, Mont.; Gayla Brumfield, chairwoman, Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority, Albuquerque, N.M.; Troy Larson, executive director, Lewis and Clark Regional Water System, Tea, S.D.; and Nathan Bracken, legal counsel, Western States Water Council, Murray, Utah.”


    The Qanats of Iran

    Some 3,000 years ago the Persians learned how to dig underground aqueducts that would bring mountain ground water to the plains. Today (NB: = 1968!) the system provides 75 percent of the water used in Iran.

    “. . .Egyptian inscriptions disclose that the Persians donated the idea to Egypt after Darius I conquered that country in 518 B.C. Scylax, a captain in Darius’ navy, built a qanat that brought water to the oasis of Karg, apparently from the underground water table of the Nile River 100 miles away. Remnants of the qanat are still in operation. This contribution may well have been partly responsible for the Egyptians’ friendliness to their conqueror and their bestowal of the title of Pharaoh on Darius.”

  24. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    “Netaniahu in his record-breaking speed in solving a crime in Bugras”
    “Cops name Iran military arm for attack on Israeli diplomat”

    perhaps part of this propaganda effort is directed to influence certain part of the population; and to distract from the corruption and misery created by AIPAC and their wall street bankers.

    “Earlier in the year, a survey of more than 1,000 self-identified Jews conducted …… US Jews are more concerned about issues such as social justice than foreign policy.

    Asked what issue was most important to them in the upcoming election, 51% cited the economy and 15% the growing gap between rich and poor. Only 2% of respondents cited Iran.


  25. Rd. says:

    “Turkish FM to be removed from office, CHP deputy claims.”


  26. Irshad says:

    @James Canning,

    Please take a look at this article re: Iran’s nuclear programme:

    The Iranian Nuclear Dispute: Origins and Current Options
    By Hossein Mousavian


    I will like to highlight the following passages:

    “In May 2010, Iran reached a deal with Brazil and Turkey to swap its stockpile of LEU for research reactor fuel. The deal was based on a proposal first drafted by the Obama administration with Brazilian and Turkish officials under the impression that they had the blessing of Washington to negotiate with Iran. Regrettably, the United States trampled on their success by rejecting the plan; the UN Security Council subsequently passed additional sanctions against Iran. Here again, Iran was not interested in enriching to 20 percent or continuing beyond that level; it sought only to have assurances that fuel would be guaranteed for the Tehran reactor and its rights under the NPT respected. THE ACTIONS OF THE WEST PUSHED IRAN TO REACH 20 PERCENT ENRICHMENT SO THAT IT COULD MAKE FUEL RODS FOR THE TEHRAN REACTOR.”

    “At the time of these talks, Iran had not only mastered enrichment to the 20 percent level, it had achieved milestones few could have imagined: the domestic production of fuel rods for use in the Tehran reactor, about 10,000 centrifuges, more than 6,000 kilograms of LEU, and 150 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium. Yet, the West still is not ready to respect the right to enrichment to 20 percent or even 5 percent. NOT ONLY HAS THE WEST PUSHED IRAN TO SEEK SELF-SUFFICIENCY, BUT AT EVERY JUNCTURE, IT HAS TRIED TO DEPRIVE IRAN OF ITS INALIENABLE RIGHT TO ENRICHMENT. This has simply propelled Iran to proceed full throttle toward mastering nuclear technology. The Iranians never intended to go this far and would have been content with the West or another country supplying their fuel. The irony is that the progress of Iran’s nuclear program is the product of Western efforts to pressure and isolate Iran while refusing to recognize Iran’s rights.”

    Now you understand why Iran HAD to go for 20% enrichment???

    Or is Iran shooting itself in the foot by empowering the Western war-mongers? Actually after the pr battering Romney took from his debacles in London and Jerusalem, he mite not be a bad president for the rest of the world!!!

  27. BiBiJon says:

    What a Shekels-free headline looks like …


    Meanwhile, terming reports about the direct involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the 13/2 attack ‘factually incorrect’ and ‘baseless’ the Delhi Police, on Monday, denied that any member of the IRGC was involved in the conspiracy to target an Israeli diplomat’s wife.

    “The Delhi Police has only sought the details of six persons of Iranian origin, whose names are already known, suspected to be involved in the conspiracy and execution of the attack,” said a senior Delhi Police officer.

    End Quote

  28. Karl.. says:


    Could you please answer the question, do you think the sanctions are legal? Yes or no?

  29. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    You’re dodging the fundamental historical, social and political issues. British elites have sold their country out to bunch of arms traders and ignorant bedouins. Shame on you.

    Sanctions have been positive for Iranian development regardless of what you, fyi, me or anyone on this forum thinks. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

    Don’t confuse something “difficult” with something “damaging”. Hundreds of millions of Muslim are currently fasting 17 hours in 40 degree heat. It’s difficult but not damaging for a healthy person.

    For what it’s worth, voltairenet confirms death of old stinky Bandar. Good riddance if true.


  30. BiBiJon says:

    How many Shekels for an Indian headline?

    “Cops name Iran military arm for attack on Israeli diplomat”

    Well, this little (unsourced) gem from the Times of India should have lit up news rooms all over the place. Google it as I did, and you’ll find very few takers. I have to assume that self-respecting news organizations contacted the Delhi police and tried to verify the story to no avail, and hence didn’t bother go with the latest bullshit on Iran.

  31. BiBiJon says:

    Journalistic conflict of interest

    NICHOLAS KULISH of the NY Times, who almost beat Netaniahu in his record-breaking speed in solving a crime in Bugras with absolutely no evidence to support his ‘Hezbollah-did-it’ allegations, (http://en.ammonnews.net/article.aspx?articleNO=17241)

    today is threatening Bulgarian officials with severing of Bulgari-Israeli-shakey-sheiks ties:

    “Nearly two weeks after the bombing of a busload of Israeli tourists, Bulgarian investigators said they had yet to identify the bomber, and did not publicly indicate who they believed was behind the attack. But if the trail remains murky, the impact of the disaster on this small Balkan nation is clear: It has jeopardized its strong ties with both Israel and the Arab countries of the Middle East.”


    So, is Kulish threatening Bulgaria purely for his devotion to Israel’s anti-Iran agenda, or is he trying to save his own credibility as a reporter?

  32. fyi says:

    Mr. Castellio:

    A Very perceptive article on contemporary China; thank you.

    It is a creole civilization – sort of like Morocco or Tunisia – without Tao.

    The only positive thing that I saw was the popular demand for the Rule of Law.

    I hope that the Chinese people will succeed in securing the Rule of Law in China; that is the only hope.

    For I also agree that there is no moral order there in China, that much seems to be clear.

    And God forbid that Mr. Bussed-in-Basiji or Mr. Unknow-Unknowns or some of ttheir colleagues ever undertake something as radical as to try to take the Message of the Quran to China.

    No, it is so much more comfortable to go out and abuse a few poor Iranian women under the guise of protecting Hejab and Islam.

    Who cares if the Chinese are living Jahiliyah…

  33. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Sanctions are manifestations of US-EU Cold War against Iran; there is an economic front, a financial front, a propaganda front, a nuclear-proliferation front, and now a Syrian front.

    The aim is the destruction of Iranian power and control over the energy resources of this planet; power to deny.

    You saw what happened today in Northern India.

    This is what is at stake and that is yet another reason for US-EU will fail i their course; their success threatens too many other states.

    As for the Nucler-Proliferation Front – there is cease-fire there and statements made during the cease-fire meetings – just like those in Pan Mun Jun – are devoid of practical content.

    Battles will rage across all these fronts until US-EU options are eviscerated.

    But, an this is the crucial item here, Iran, US, Syria, EU, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar cannot go back to status quo ante of 2010 – all wars leave a changed world. Mr. Obama’s war will do likewise.

  34. Don Bacon says:

    July 27, 1012: More than 120 States to attend NAM Summit in Iran
    All the members of the Non-Aligned Movement have declared their readiness to attend the bloc’s foreign ministerial and heads-of-state meetings in Tehran late August. “All the 120 members of the Movement will attend the meeting,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters on the sidelines of today’s cabinet meeting in Tehran.

    The 16th NAM summit will be held in Tehran from August 26 to 31.

    Iran also announced earlier this month that over 30 presidents have announced their readiness to attend the gathering. NAM member states represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’ members and comprise 55% of the world population, particularly countries considered to be developing.

    NAM has consistently supported Iran’s nuclear position because the unaligned countries value their own independence from hegemonic pressures. So much for Iran being “isolated,” a familiar but incorrect US refrain. Isolated Iran is not.

  35. James Canning says:

    “I can’t say it with certaqinty but if everything proceeds normally there should be further negotiations [with P5+1}”, said Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister (as quoted in Austiran newspaper Monday July 30).

    Salehi said Iran’s right to enrich uranium must be accepted, but presumably he refers to enriching to 5% or lower.

  36. Don Bacon says:

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is illegally advocating a change of government in Syria (and is not calling for a cessation of outside military assistance to Syrian insurgents).

    Speaking to reporters on Friday in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Mr. Ban said that he and the Joint Special Envoy would press ahead to try and end the violence and abuses in Syria.
    “We cannot abandon our collective responsibility to enable a peaceful, democratic, Syrian-led transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people,” he said.
    The UN chief called again on all the parties, starting with the Syrian Government and opposition forces, to stop the killing, and especially the use of heavy weapons against the civilian population.

    There is no such “collective responsibility” to enable a change of government in Syria.

    from the UN Charter:
    The Purposes of the United Nations are:
    #The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
    #All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
    #Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII. [Chap VII not invoked in Syria]

  37. Cyrus says:

    The Security Council as Legal Hegemon
    by Daniel Joyner
    Georgetown Journal of International Law, Vol 43, pp. 225-258 (2011-2012)


  38. James Canning says:


    Do you mean Iran loses more than it gains, from sanctions?

  39. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Michael Oren should not be making the false claim, that Iran wants Israel “wiped from the map” – – implying destroying Israel by military means. I expect Oren will continue to make this claim.

  40. James Canning says:


    I said let us assume the sanctions are “illegal” because to me the important issue is whether Iran is serving Iran’s best interests by stockpiling 20 percent uranium. You think a larger stockpile is useful for pressuring the P5+1. I take it you do understand that Iran has offered to stop enriching to 20 percent, as part of a deal.

    You may recall many statements I have made that Iran has helped Israel to deflect attention from its continuing occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights, even if this was not Irnan’s intention.

  41. Karl.. says:

    edit –
    “nor ILlegitimate about Iran’s action “

  42. Karl.. says:


    So now the sanctions are legal according to you? What is it? Legal? Illegal? Please let us know.

    Since there is no illegal nor legitimate about Iran’s action its completely rational, especially under the current circumstances. Obviously you think that some states (like US, UK and Israel) could put arbitrary demands on certain states and if they dont follow the demands penalties against them are legitimiate. Again this is not the times of colonialism.

    Do you deny the role of leverage in conflicts like these?

  43. Don Bacon says:

    re: Capability / Culpability

    On July 7, 2012, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren appeared on the Hugh Hewitt show. He said:
    “There’s an institute in Washington here, right from where I’m speaking, called the Bipartisan Research Institute that said about six, seven months ago, that if the Iranians decide to break out or sneak out, they can get a deliverable device, nuclear device, within 54 days. And within a year, that period will be reduced to 12 days. . .So that was, oh, more than half a year ago they said that, so the Iranian program today, according to that institute, would be something like 25 days. So the sprint is also getting shorter and shorter in distance.

    “America is a very large country with very big military capabilities. It’s not threatened with destruction by Iran the same way that Israel is. Israel is a small country with limited capabilities, and we’re in Iran’s backyard, and the Iranian regime never misses an opportunity to say that its finest dream is to wipe Israel off the map. [Really, he said that.]

    “And so given our capabilities, our timetable is much more limited that the United States timetable is, and it’s not determined by the American elections. It’s not determined even by the tempo of the contacts with the Iranians that have been going on in various capitols. It’s determined by the degree to which the Iranians are progressing on the nuclear program, moving parts of that program into fortified underground bunkers. And those are the clocks that we are looking at, and they will determine our actions. . .In October.”

    In October, says Oren. But I doubt the US is so stupid, although Israel might have a death wish.

  44. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    It is called Kabuki.

  45. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Surely you are aware Iran has made clear in the past few months it is prepared to stop enriching to 20% as part of a deal.

  46. James Canning says:


    Yes, there are some “benefits” to Iran from the sanctions. But you surely are not arguing Iran overall is stronger for having sanctions in place. Why would Iranian leaders have been so insistent on a suspension of sanctions in the recent negotiations with the P5+1, if Iran gained from the sanctions?

  47. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    Is there anyone else who posts on this site who agrees with your contention that Iran benefits from the sanctions?

    FYI has said he welcomes Iran’s growing isolation from European countries, but whether FYI actually is convinced of the merits of this cotention seems unclear.

  48. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    The enormous commissions paid in connection with the gigantic arms deals with Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with evading taxes otherwise payable by the arms manufacturers.

  49. James Canning says:


    Even if we assume the sanctions are “illegal”, it does not follow that Iran was wise to treble production of, and to stockpile, 20% uranium. Your belief this stockpiling increases Iran’s leverage in negotiations with the P5+1 seems to lack any basis in fact.

  50. Don Bacon says:

    My ongoing but unfruitful quest for Iranian terrorists has led me to the recent Global Counterterrorism Forum session on June 7 in Turkey. Surely such a confab, including Saudi Arabia and the USA (but not Israel) would address “the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism?” Alas, it wasn’t to be. Here’s SecState Clinton’s opening remarks: (excerpt)
    “Our citizens are safer because of the work we have done together. But despite this progress, the danger from terrorism remains urgent and undeniable. The core of al-Qaida that carried out the 9/11 attacks and other attacks in countries represented here today may be on the path to defeat, but the threat has spread, becoming more geographically diverse as groups associated with al-Qaida expand their operations. Terrorists now hold territory in Mali, Somalia, and Yemen. They are carrying out frequent and destabilizing attacks in Nigeria and the Maghreb. Here in Turkey, the PKK continues its long campaign of terror and violence, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.”

    Not one mention of Iran. Whatever happened to the Iran threat proclaimed by the Honorable Matthew Olsen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who testified to Congress on July 25: “Iran remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism” and then told an audience of more than a hundred security professionals gathered at Aspen on July 26: “There are times when we are briefing the White House [on terror threats that] at the top of the list are Hezbollah or Iran.”

    At the Forum, just that darn al-Qaeda and a little PKK. Not one mention of Iran. My fruitless quest continues.

  51. Fiorangela says:

    Cyrus @ July 30, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Thanks for the link, and thanks to Dan Joyner for a lucid review of an important legal issue: Is US acting within its powers and within the law? You have exposed yet another of the US’s fraudulent rationales for punishing Iran. (nb. The Security Council as Legal Hegemon is also on target.)

    In recent public statements by WINEP spokesmen (i.e. C Span D Pollock Jun 30 & Andrew Tabler Jul 22. WINEP telegraphs Dennis Ross & Ross is Bibi’s mouthpiece), the point has been emphasized that US considers getting Russia on the US team to be a high priority.

    Ellen Tauscher, US State Dept. Undersecretary for Disarmament & Nonproliferation, has similarly discussed extensive efforts she & her partners are making to persuade Russia to become part of the ‘axis-against-Iran.’ (see http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2011-07-28/ellen-tauscher-us-under-secretary-arms-control-and-international-security esp. Q&A).

    In my opinion, getting Russia on the US team was number one on the US agenda in Moscow; a deal with Iran was never in the cards.

    Since Russia is the player US seeks, one should look to the relationship between what happened in Moscow and what is happening in Syria. Russia was most likely offered the only diet P5+1 knows — carrots & sticks. Borsht is out of fashion and no carrots on offer were sufficiently palatable to Russian gastronomes. Therefore, Russia is being punished by ramping up violence in Syria, in order to stymie Russia’s forthrightly declared, principled, and, incidentally, rule-of-law based posture on Syria.

  52. BiBiJon says:

    Capability / Culpability

    Romney’s ugly fund raising speech in a foreign apartheid country included a subtle yet distinct shift on Iran fearmongering: a nuclear weapons “capability” [which] is a dangerous step forward into uncertain territory.

    But, of course it is unoriginal.

    The ugliest looking weapons inspector on the planet, Charles Duelfer, tried unconvincingly to justify the hoax of Iraqi WMD as a casus beli on the grounds that “Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability.”


    If this kind of “capability” bull were applied to post-war Japan and Germany, those countries would not be what they are today technologically/industrially/scientifically and therefore economically.

    But, then again Iran is no Japan and Germany. Iran hasn’t invaded anyone for example. So I guess the comparison is kind of lame.

  53. Don Bacon says:

    re: About what happened in Moscow . . . (h/t Cyrus)

    Lawyer Dan Joyner: “I suppose first of all it interests me as an international lawyer to see a question of international law [Iran’s uranium enrichment] front and center in a diplomatic negotiation of such significance and high profile.”

    Attorney Joyner is correct to see this matter as a matter of law but not in the way he sees it. He’s wrong.

    Iran’s nuclear program is basically a natural right that Iran enjoys and is not a matter of law. Iran, like any other nation, is fundamentally free to process metals any damn way it pleases without any requirement to obtain permission from other nations who might be exercising their empiric ambitions.

    Iran signed onto the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty some years ago and has conformed to its precepts and requirements. As a part of treaty requirements, Iran has agreed to have the IAEA monitor its enrichment activities to ensure non-diversion of material to a weapons program, which the IAEA has consistently done. Iran is fully treaty-compliant regarding non-diversion. (This is the only treaty function that the IAEA has.)

    Joyner: “Iran’s primary objective at the Moscow meeting was to wring from the P5+1 a stipulation to a statement of Iran’s international legal rights.” Iran may in fact have been seeking an affirmation of its rights, but they aren’t LEGAL rights. A nation, any nation, doesn’t have a “legal” right to refine aluminum, for example, it has an inherent right to do so.

    Joyner: “I would urge the USG to reconsider this erroneous and unhelpful legal position, and to bring its legal and policy positions on the matter into line with those of the international community.” What is erroneous and unhelpful is not the US’s failure to recognize Iran’s “LEGAL” right to process uranium, which is not in fact a legal right, it is the US’s failure to recognize that its position to deny Iran the right to refine uranium is ILLEGAL.

    So the question of law ought to be on US illegality, not Iran’s legality. I would suggest that Attorney Joyner reconsider his position.

  54. Karl.. says:

    edit: “are NOT legal”.

  55. Karl.. says:


    Yes if thats what they do (stockpiling) they should use it as a leverage and as a response to the already illegal measures taken against Iran, and since sanctions are legal nor legitimate as you apprently after all thinks there is no basis whatsoever to put demands on Iran. You apparently dont read what folks here tell you, you just keep repeating stuff over and over again.

  56. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Your attempt to weasel out of the direct question posed to you is pathetic. The issue is not complicated at all, let me break down for you:

    The PM of the UK forbid the judiciary and legislature of the country from investigating a major breach of law involving the transfer of BILLIONS of pounds from a UK company- which otherwise would be obliged to pay taxes on it- to an ignorant bedouin from Najd. You know the one thing you had going for you was the “rule of law” and I don’t need to tell about the sacrifices made by so many of your compatriots especially in the 20th century to keep it. But apparently James all that becomes irrelevant and is flushed down the loo when it involves the profits of BAE or lest Bandar get upset.

    In other words James, this scandal is not only about a few billion here or there, it is about how the British elites like yourself have sold out the core of values to your political system too a bunch of arms dealers and ignorant tribesmen from Najd. Congratulations.


  57. Cyrus_2 says:

    @ Don Bacon: as a daily reader of RFI, I thank you for your valuable contributions and sources; much appreciated.

    @ fyi: while I feel sorry for this Spanish family, the EU can’t suffer enough economically as long as they don’t change their antagonistic stance towards Iran.
    In this respect, things are looking quite promising: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/september-crunchtime-europe-and-germany

  58. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    There are gains in EU santions in that those sanctions have shattered certain wide-spread delusions among Iranian leaders and population.

    The shattering of those illusions, like the illusion of Pan-Islamic Unity widely believed-in by Iranians in 1979, will bear fruit in a few years.

  59. Don Bacon says:

    re: a noun, a verb, and 20%
    remembering some headlines–
    Apr 30, 2010-Turkey, Brazil brokering Iran nuclear deal
    May 16, 2010-Turkey, Brazil seal deal on Iran nuclear fuel swap
    May 17, 2010-Israel fears Iran nuclear deal will delay UN sanctions
    May 17, 2010-U.S. Is Skeptical on Iranian Deal for Nuclear Fuel
    May 18, 2010-U.S. outmanoeuvered as Iran signs nuclear deal with Turkey and Brazil
    May 18, 2010-Iran’s Nuke Deal Irritates Washington
    May 19, 2010-Brazil, Turkey defend nuclear deal with Iran, urge Security Council to give talks more time
    May 19, 2010-Brazil-Turkey Deal with Iran Undermines Big Power Politics
    May 26, 2010-What Did China Get for Backing Iran Sanctions?
    June 9, 2010-Security Council Imposes Additional Sanctions on Iran
    Aug 30, 2010Iran atomic chief says fuel swap talks finished

  60. Don Bacon says:

    Continuing my quest for an Iranian terrorist, even just one, I downloaded the “2012 Calendar” published by Matthew Olsen’s National Counterterrorism Center. The calendar lists fifteen terrorism organizations and areas, including five al-Qaeda groups with 21 terrorists (almost half the total), Hizballah, Hamas and others in various countries, mostly in Asia.

    Total terrorists listed-44, with top countries of origin being–
    Saudi Arabia-5

    http://www.nctc.gov/site/pdfs/ct_calendar_2012.pdf (24.36MB)

    My fruitless search for an Iranian terrorist continues. There must be a bunch of them somewhere because The Honorable Matthew Olsen, NCC chief, did say “There are times when we are briefing the White House [on terror threats that] at the top of the list are Hezbollah or Iran.”

    PS: Since Saudi Arabia is at the top of both the FBI and the NCC terrorist lists, is Saudi Arabia ever at the top of Olsen’s list when he briefs the White House, also remembering 9/11? (just kidding)

  61. James Canning says:

    PressTV quotes the Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi today: “There are already enoght problems with the region and the erroneous noticn that after the fall of the Syrian government, it will be easily replaced by another government, is bogus and fantasy.” Very fair statement.

  62. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    Is there anyone else posting on this site who agrees with you Iran gains more from being sanctioned, than Iran loses due to those sanctions?

    Why would FYI want the countries of the EU “damned to hell” for sanctioning Iran, if the sanctions in fact worked to Iran’s overall benefit?

  63. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    The subject of weapons procurement by foreign countries, from the UK, is rather complicated t osay the least.

    Did the Shah of Iran weaken his own country by buying too many expensive weapons from the US? This seems beyond argument.

  64. James Canning says:


    Clearly you think Iran should stockpile 20 percent uranium, in order to obtain leverage with which to pressure the P5+1 etc. into removing sanctions? Is this a fair statement of your position?

    You continue to dodge the issue of whether enemies of Iran blocked Iran’s IAEA application to buy fuel for the TRR, in hopes of provoking Iran into enriching to 20 percent and thereby facilitating the imposition of more sanctions.

    You believe Iran is stronger for stockpiling 20 percent uranium, even if this meant more santions?

  65. Don Bacon says:

    More on Matthew Olsen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who testified to Congress on July 25: “Iran remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism” and then told an audience of more than a hundred security professionals gathered at Aspen on July 26: “There are times when we are briefing the White House [on terror threats that] at the top of the list are Hezbollah or Iran.”

    The FBI has a list of 29 “Most Wanted” terrorists. Palestine, a non-state, leads the list with six, and the countries who spawned three or more alleged terrorists are:
    Saudi Arabia-4

    Iran, the alleged “foremost state sponsor of terrorism” has how many alleged terrorists on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorist list?
    None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Not one.

  66. Rd. says:

    Is UK implicated as a terror sponsor state?

    “he brokered the Al-Yamamah arms deal, managing to divert more than one billion pounds, according to British official sources. He then used this windfall, and many more, to finance the activities of jihadist groups around the world, including Al Qaeda.”


  67. Rd. says:

    Syria eliminates Bandar bin Sultan in retaliation for Damascus bombing????


  68. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Please respond clearly to the BAE-Bandar bribing scandal and the UK governments decision to sacrifice justice and law of their realm as not to upset the Saudi royals. If you don’t respond clearly to this subject, you will have no credibility left and your continued posting will be pointless.

  69. Karl.. says:


    If you dont think sanctions are legal/legit why do you keep saying Iran must stop enriching at 20%? What principles but international law do you follow? There is zero basis to demand this of Iran. If I am not misstaken, Eric Brill have on his site a document where he come to the conclusion that UN sanctions are not lawful.

    This is a bad circle argument, you keep claiming Iran shouldnt do this or that because sanctions will be imposed but you now seems agree that sanctions arent legal/legit? It makes no sense.

    So foreign states wont sell 20% uranium to Iran and according to you Iran shouldnt enrich at 20%….dont you see it makes zero sense either. Iran however doesnt need anyones approval to enrich at 20% so there is no legal/legit reason for these sanctions.

    Also on stockpile, if thats what they do, they sure use it for a bargain in talks. They high the bar aslong as sanctions, killings, cyberwar is carried out against them. You fail to see, in my opinon, that stockpiling (if thats what they do) is a tactic in talks by Iran. Iran wont accomplish anything by bowing down to every demand US put on them. Thats called defaitism, something Iran will not base its policy on.

  70. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Matthew Olson wants to portray enemies of Israel as “enemies” of the US even if this is not what obtains. This programme has gone on for many decades now.

  71. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    It is fair to say that the UK and the US sell large amounts of weapons to Saudi Arabia, and that this in turn generates goodwill (or whatever you prefer to call it) in the US and the UK.

    I agree with you Iran has done well not to spend such huge sums on weapons.

  72. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    I said Khomenei initially favored release of the hostages taken in the American embassy in 1979. Whether he did not openly call for their release is a separate issue. I think the important fact is that Khomenei changed his mind due to the ill-considered and rather foolish response of the Carter administration. American over-reaction altered the dynamics of the matter.

  73. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Iran is “better off” for enriching and stockpiling 20% and having been sanctioned. You are mistaken, Imam never called for the release of the spies.

    Also remember Iran has the lowest military expenditures as % of GDP of all nations in the region and with that it was able create it’s own local arms industry, unlike your pals in Saudi who have the highest expenditures as % GDP and it’s all going into the pockets of the US and UK weapons companies. Mark my words the model established of the Islamic Republic of Iran will prevail in the region and the Ale Saud and there old stinky kingdom will thrown into the dustbin of history.

    Speaking of which, why don’t you tell us your views on the bribing scandal involving your favorite Saudi royal, old stinky (and apparently bi-polar) Bandar and BAE systems to the tune of 2-3 BILLION pounds over 20 years. And how about Tony Blair ordering the British judiciary to close its official investigation of this matter and the mockery this makes of Britain and its “rule of law”. (Please spare us partisan explanations about Tony, your pals Cameron and Hague would have done exactly the same thing). Care to comment or are you contractually not allowed to?

  74. Don Bacon says:

    The sanctions on Iran can’t be removed until Iran takes certain steps, including renouncing terrorism. According to the US, Iran is the primary state supporter of terrorism in the world. Let’s look at terrorism again.

    Reference my earlier comments on the recent scary Iran terror warnings at Aspen.From Wired:

    ‘Hot War’ Erupting With Iran, Top Terror-Watchers Warn — Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told an audience of more than a hundred security professionals gathered here on Thursday. “There are times when we are briefing the White House [on terror threats that] at the top of the list are Hezbollah or Iran,” Olsen added. “This is a hot war that has gotten hotter,” Michael Leiter, Olsen’s predecessor at the NCTC, told the Aspen Security Forum. “The Iranians have considered this a shooting war for some time.”

    That was on July 26 at The Aspen Institute, and its Middle East Leadership Initiative, which is funded by Saudi Arabia.

    The Middle East Leadership Initiative is made possible by the generous support of the Saudi Telecom Company, Booz & Co and the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation.

    The previous day, July 25, Matthew Olsen testified before Congress, but Iran was not at the top of the terror list then. Olsen:

    . . .As al- Qa‘ida’s core leadership struggles to remain relevant, the group has turned to its affiliates and adherents to carry out attacks and to advance its ideology. These groups are from an array of countries, including Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Iraq and Iran.

    Amazing. Iran supporting al-Qaeda. I didn’t know that. BECAUSE IT’S BALONEY.
    The Olsen goes off on the dastardly al-Qaeda and 9/11. . .

    More than a decade after the September 11th attacks, we remain at war with al-Qa‘ida, and we face an evolving threat from its affiliates and adherents. America’s campaign against terrorism did not end with the mission at Bin Ladin’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Indeed, the threats we face have become more diverse.

    . . .and then way down in Olsen’s testimony, Olsen comes to the topics that at “times when we are briefing the White House [on terror threats that] [are] at the top of the list” — Hez and Iran. So after Pakistan-Based Al-Qa‘ida Core, AQAP, AQIM and Boko Haram, Al-Qa‘ida in Iraq and Al-Shabaab, next comes Lebanese Hizballah, a faction in the Lebanon government. Olsen doesn’t recount any actual terrorism by Hizballah, only “disrupted plots.”

    Lebanese Hizballah has intensified its terrorist activities around the world and we remain concerned that the group’s activities endanger U.S. interests and citizens, as well as our allies. Since May 2008, Hizballah plots against Israeli targets in Azerbaijan, Egypt, and Israel have been disrupted, and additional operational activity in Turkey has reportedly been uncovered. . .

    All those concocted “Hizballah plots against Israeli targets” were disrupted. Finally, Olsen comes to Iran.

    Iranian Threat. Iran remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Since 9/11 the regime has expanded its involvement with terrorist and insurgent groups—primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan—that target U.S. and Israeli interests.
    Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force and Ministry of Intelligence and Security have been involved in the planning and execution of terrorist acts and the provision of lethal aid—such as weapons, money, and training—to these groups, particularly Lebanese Hizballah. Iran’s relationship with Hizballah since 9/11 has evolved from a traditional state sponsor-proxy relationship to a strategic partnership that provides a unified front against Israel and the United States.
    The disrupted Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States last fall demonstrates that Iran is more willing to conduct terrorist operations inside the United States than was previously assessed. As part of the plot, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force attempted to use a dual Iranian-US national to recruit Mexican criminal organizations to conduct the assassination, raising our concerns that Iran may seek to leverage other Mexican contacts for activities in the US.

    That’s it. Iran is supporting a faction of the Lebanon government, which actually dominates the Lebanon government, one which protects Lebanon on yet another Israeli attack, a government the US has relations with and an embassy, and finally the ridiculous concocted plot by a bipolar Iranian used-car salesman who allegedly recruited Mexican criminals to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir. Something, as State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: “When you look at these details, it seems like something out of a movie.”
    That’s it! That’s what the president is briefed on! At times at the top of the counterterrorism list!

  75. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    The American taxpayers are the losers, for the huge expense of keeping the American forces in Germany (and South Korea, and Japan) for decade after decade….

  76. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    I think you are mistaken in believing Khomeini did not want the hostages released, in the wake of the capture of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979. Khomeini changed his position after the blunders of the Carter administration foolishly raised the stakes.
    Few Americans are even aware Khomeini did not have advance knowledge of the plan to seize the US embassy.

  77. James Canning says:

    Persian Gulf,

    I didn’t mean to advise Iran to emulate Japan, but I do think Japan’s leaders have been wise to avoid spending vast sums on unnecessary “defence” over the past four or five decades.

    In my view, the relative decline of the US over these past decades owes a good deal to relentless squandering of trillions of dollars on unnecessary “defence”.

    I agree Khomeini did not know in advance of plans to seize the US embassy in Tehran, and he wanted the hostages released. Jimmy Carter and Cyrus Vance blundered badly in their response to the seizure of the US embassy. In part, they were provoked by foolish US news media – – in particular, ABC News with the inane “American Held Hostage” notion. Iran and the US both suffered adverse consequences due to ill-considered response of the Carter administration to the capture of the embassy.

    And yes, Germany is the strongest country in Europe. No need for nukes. UK is cutting defence spending by a large degree, in contrast to the US with its gargantuan continued squandering.

  78. James Canning says:


    You should be able to see that neocons wishing to compel Saudi Arabia into cooperating with Israel, and to force the Saudis to lower their pressure on Israel regarding the continuing occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights, would welcome Iran’s enriching of uranium to 20 percent. I think that the neocons blocked Iran’s IAEA application to buy fuel for the TRR, in the expectation this would provoke Iran to enrich to 20 percent and thereby be subjected to even more sanctions.

  79. James Canning says:


    William Hague is not a neocon and he (and David Cameron) are rather sceptical about many positions taken by the neocons. Hague wanted to improve relations with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, when he took office in 2010.

    Is it your current position that Iran is wise to stockpile 20 percent uranium?

    You raise an interesting question, as to whether Saudi concern about Iran’s trebling of production of 20 percent uranium was encouraged by neocons wishing to marshall more support for sanctions against Iran.

  80. James Canning says:


    I have not argued that the sanctions against Iran for enriching to 20% a “legal” are even sensible. You continue to dodge my statement that enemies of Iran helped to block Iran’s application to buy fuel for the TRR, in hopes Iran would enrich to 20% and thereby make it easier for more sanctions to be imposed on Iran.

    The question is whether Iran is better off today for trebling its production of 20 percent uranium, and for stockpiling 20 percent uranium apparently far in excess of what would be needed to operate the TRR. That Iran has a “right” to stockpile the 20 percent uranium is neither here nor there, in this analysis.

  81. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    imho, PG, Paul,
    It is the consensus view in Tehran that the current players in Libya are better than Gaddafi and his lunatic regime. Gaddafis treatment of Imam Musa Sadr is universally condemned in Iran regardless of political views and this seriously affected Iran’s relations with Gaddafi. His stubborn refusal to cooperate in any way, shape or form on this matter with Iran poisoned the whole relationship in all administrations reformist or principalist.

    Like I said Syria is very different and Iran just signed a dozen contracts for rebuilding Syrian infrastructure which tells you how Iran thinks the conflict there will turn out.

  82. Karl.. says:


    No Iran have a right to enrich at 20% and stockpiling if thats what they do is not illegal. Apparently you think sanctions could be imposed arbitrary without respect to international law and principles. And again, Iran is obviously needed to enrich at 20% since no enemies want to sell it to them.

  83. BiBiJon says:

    James (you know what) Canning says:
    July 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    “Who on this site claims that Saudi Arabia is the primary supporter of “belligerence” against Iran?”

    James, the Saudi-fear-about-nuclear-Iran trope is employed regularly by neocons and Mr. Hague, in order to advance the argument that Israel is not alone in fearing Iran. It is funny, but instructive that the Saudis are used to bolster the ‘legitimacy’ of an argument in international fora; instructive in the sense that necons must be painfully self-aware of Israel’s standing in global public opinion.

    But, you ask specifically “in this site.” The answer: You of course, in multiple, numerous, copious, plentiful, and huge number of times have said Iran has “needlessly” alarmed the Saudis with 20%.

    Next time you decide to squirt a little commentito about Saudi-Iran relations remember that it was on a Sunday, 20 April 2008, 08:47 that a US official reported:

    “Al-Jubeir recalled the King’s frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program. “He told you to cut off the head of the snake,” he recalled to the Charge’, adding that working with the US to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq is a strategic priority for the King and his government.”


    In case the significance of 20 April 2008 escapes you, it was February 9th, 2010 that BBC reported Iran started to enrich to 20%.


  84. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    July 27, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    You are right about the decline of UK.

    There is no city like Liverpool in Iran; the English best try to fix their own ruined island than trying to ruin another country.

    Just another rather splendid example of the Fall of Man (Hobut-e Adam).

  85. Persian Gulf says:

    paul says:
    July 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I think you are right about Iran’s policy regarding Libya. Iran could stay neutral in Libya’s case and encourage everyone to do the same for Syria now. Iran was not going be left out of the race. It was obviously a shortsighted policy. Emam Mosa Sadr was closely affiliated with the reformists and not an issue at all.

    It think it was over confidence of Khamenei. Having seen (Na)Mobarak’s fall only one week after he openly, and correctly, talked about his demise, Khamenei probably thought that every other state in the region will exactly emulate Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. another remote possibility could be the diversion of internal struggle and finishing the job in that front (which was a successful one ,it seems). one might argue that the events of the past year and half showed that Ahmadinejad’s reading of the new Mideast was somehow closer to the reality even in the brothers’ case.


    I think Iran’s policy makers would be fool to take your advice serious for an obvious reason. from what I have seen, your thinking is common among a segment of western society hence the importance of your presence in this forum.
    I kind of agree with your historical analysis of Khomeini’s thinking. I was actually born after the hostage crisis started. however from what I have read, Khomeini wasn’t aware of this event coming to the fore and did not have such a plan. he was a clever man and quickly used it to avoid Egyptian type fiasco.

    btw James, Germany’s economy is far better than the UK (in fact UK’s economy is in the state of free fall). why don’t you guys follow Germany? give up your costly nuclear arsenal and military adventures in the world, join Euro, and be a leading economy in Europe like Germany. you guys kind of have the same root! I guarantee here that it works for you! Instead of advising Iran to emulate Japan, please apply German model,which is in your doorstep, to your own society first.

  86. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Imam was not informed prior to the takeover but when it happened he supported it and he never called for the release of the hostages.

    Also the only one damaged by the seizure was America which after it cut diplomatic relations, sponsored terrorists, sabotage, attempted coup d’etats in Iran and supported Saddam- cut itself out of an important country like Iran for the last 34 years. Like I said, the best thing that happened to us is detaching ourselves from the US and if it was up to me we do the same with all of Europe. Remeber, we just recently downgraded diplomatic relations with the UK and Sweden now represents UK interests in Iran- 34 years too late in my view.

    Also James the point is not how the Zionists affect the US- that’s old news. The relevant point for you is how Britain is not a sovereign country in its global relations given its ” special relationship” with the US. We’ve had this discussion before, you’re still stuck in the 1950s regarding what you consider to be in Britains interest. And yes of course Germany is not a sovereign state in its global relations. It has been militarily occupied by the US and UK for nearly 70 years. It regularly “sacrifices” it’s own national and economic interest at US and Israel’s command.

    You are mistaken, Syria’s support during the war was invaluable for Iran and it was comprehensive including rockets, intelligence, use of Syrian soil for our soldiers and pilots etc. I wrote in detail earlier about how we sent Gaddafi’s colonel who was in charge of pushing the launch button of the scuds in Tehran back home after the first launch much to Gaddafis anger. Refer to that to see what actually happened between us and Gaddafi.

  87. imho says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    July 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Supporting Qaddafi’s overthrow was a mistake or a bad calculation by Iran.
    You know what you lose, you never know what you gain as they say, particularly when you have no control on the situation.

    The Syrian operation is very similar to the Libyan one from the West’s angle. The difference is that Russia, China and Iran don’t let them go as they desire this time.

    They should have better fight them there before coming too close to home. That was just a bad move on the chessboard.

  88. imho says:

    Good point Paul,
    I agree with you. Actually all the Libyan war was too short sighted not only by Russia, China and Iran but also by the majority of other nations IMO. That was what W. Engdahl say in the article I posted.
    Even if there was some off deals, Russian and Chinese should have never trusted the West when they didn’t veto the Libyan’s so called R2P resolution. One common reason I think is that those nations didn’t wanted to be viewed as revolution-breakers. They were under intense western media propaganda, but this is not an excuse as this is happening today on Syria.

    One particular reason for Iran IMO was to try to change the so called Arab Spring into an Islamic Awakening. It was a mistake given that IMO the Arab Spring was never genuine from the start and Iran had not any control in Libyan situation whereas the western coalition had. Same for Tunisia and Egypt. But Syria is different because Iranians are there.

    Whether calculated or being cheated, the result gave no benefice to none of the nations who supported Qaddafi’s overthrow.

  89. Don Bacon says:

    As one of my favorite (comedic) Bluegrass bandleaders like to say, the plot sickens.

    Re: The bogus “intelligence” report I noted earlier — July 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm — that came out of an ongoing Aspen (Colorado) confab.

    But first, on Syria, Inner City Press reports that Saudi Arabia has prepared a new UN resolution to be submitted to the UN General Assembly (which has no authority) next week. The resolution includes: “Fully supports the Envoy’s demand that the first step in the cessation of violence has to be made by the Syrian authorities, and therefore calls upon the Syrian authorities to fulfill immediately their commitment to cease the use of heavy weapons and complete the withdrawal of their troops and heavy weapons to their barracks.” Good luck on that.

    We can expect increased Saudi involvement with Bandar bin Sultan now as Saudi Arabia’s new top spy. “Bandar Bush” is a member of the House of Saud and was Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005.

    Now to Aspen. Aspen Institute recently launched the Middle East Leadership Initiative with “generous support” from Saudi Arabia. Abu Sulayman, an aide to Al Waleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, is an Aspen Institute Middle East fellow. The Aspen Institute is currently holding the big seminar including the slams on Iran I quoted below. (I put this out unconfirmed — lack of time.)(also – Bandar Bush once (still?) owns a mansion in Aspen, a 15-bedroom, 16-bathroom, 56,000-square foot mountain palace.)

    Isn’t it interesting that Saudi Arabia, that royal dictatorship where half the people can’t vote for much and the other half can’t vote at all nor drive a car (females), is now a full-blown helpful ally of the two “democratic” military powerhouses in the Middle East, US and Israel, in concert against that ‘massacring,’ ‘raping,’ Iran ally (and Iran itself btw), Syria. There must be a profit in it.

    Next in Aleppo: “Onslaught looms” Thanks, Reuters.

  90. James Canning says:


    Yes, Iran has all the “rights it needs” to enrich to 20%. And to get sanctioned. The issue is whether Iran is better off for enriching to 20% and stockpiling 20% U. FYI wants EU countries “damned to hell” for imposing the sanctions. This suggests Iran suffers to some degree from those sanctions.

    I think many of those enemies of Iran who wanted more sanctions, wanted Iran to enrich to 20%. You seem to dodge this issue entirely, time and again.

  91. fyi says:

    paul says: July 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

    The late Mr. Qaddafi actually helped Iran during Iran-Iraq War by supplying scud missiles to Iran.

    Syria, under the late Mr. Hafiz Al Assad refused Iranian request for such missiles; he supplied training instead.

    The late Mr. Qaddafi, at the end, was abandoned by very many people who owed him.

    The exceptions were the leaders of Black Africa; they stood by him to the end; he had helped them a lot.

  92. Karl.. says:


    I said that Iran have all rights it need to enrich at 20%, it havent commited any unlawful action giving other states the right to impose sanctions. Even more legitimiate is Iran’s enrichment at 20% when foreign states refuse to sell the same percentage to Iran.

  93. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Thanks for mentioning Mexico, if I was an American policy maker I would forget everywhere else and focus on the failed narco-state which actually borders the country.

    In terms of Libya, Iran didn’t directly support the NATO attack. It has had relations with parts of the Libyan opposition from years before and it supported them in this instance. The bottom line for Iran was that Gaddafi was the worse option and pretty much any other government would be better. Gaddafi’s kidnapping and probable murder of Imam Musa Sadr of course did not win him many friends in Iran either.

    The notion that a NATO attack on Libya would logically lead to a NATO attack on Syria is not as clear as you say. The desire to attack Syria by the real axis of evil exists regardless of whatever happened in Libya.

    In other words, Iran deemed its national interest is better served with anyone other than Gaddafi. Libya and Syria are different issues as far as Iran is concerned. A NATO attack on Syria would be a serious “blunder” and is not likely. The Assad government will survive and Syria will become closer to Iran. The Syrian vice president was in Tehran yesterday with a large delegation and signed a dozen contracts for infrastructure rebuilding with Iranian firms. I think that tells you how Iran feels about how things are going to turn out in Syria.

  94. James Canning says:


    So, you are saying that an Iran with technical/industial ability in the manner of Germany or Japan is or would be better able to defend its territorial integrity.

  95. James Canning says:


    Who on this site claims that Saudi Arabia is the primary supporter of “belligerence” against Iran?

  96. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In -Basiji,

    Many Americans think that the national interests of the American people are sacrificed regularly in order to “benefit” Israel – – meaning, to enable Israel to continue to occupy the West Bank and the Golan Heights, etc etc etc.

  97. Rd. says:

    paul says:

    ” One can argue that China and Russia were naive over Libya, though this is a weak argument. One cannot claim this about Iran. ”

    What ever the reason IRI had, now the rest of the word is aware of the US/Nato plans and are against it!!!

    Video: Damascus, the volcano has been extinguished


  98. James Canning says:


    I am well aware of numerous polls that show most Arabs fear Israel or the US more than they fear Iran. I have never suggested this was not the case.

  99. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    I repeat my understanding is that Khomeini not only did not know of the plan to seize the US embassy in Tehran prior to the takeover, but he wanted the hostages released, and only changed his position after he saw how badly the Carter administration miscalculated in its response to the takeover. Carter should have downplayed the matter.

    Do you accept that Iran and the US suffered adverse consequences from the seizure of the US embassy in 1979?

  100. James Canning says:


    Surely you are aware that more sanctions were imposed on Iran due to Iran’s enriching to 20%. I think that some of those who blocked Iran’s IAEA application to buy fuel for the TRR, wanted Iran to enrich to 20% so that more sanctions could be imposed on Iran. Iran was the party that was provoked. Iran, in my view, was provoked to enrich to 20% so that enemies of Iran could see more sanctions imposed on Iran.

  101. James Canning says:


    I doubt many Germans agree with you that Germany is only a “semi-sovereign” nation. Unless this is a fair description of all EU countries, arising from EU itself.

  102. James Canning says:


    Gulf Arabs do not like to be threatened by Iran, or to put up with the sort of swaggering enjoyed by the late Shah. But you surely do not think they harbour any notions that Iran will cease to be a state controlled by the Shia.

  103. Castellio says:

    Thanks, BiBiJon. I hope others, too, find their way to both articles.

  104. kooshy says:

    Pirouz Jan

    With due respect which I always have for your opinions and who you are, I must say that state sponsored terrorism is a matter of foreign policy chosen and authorized by very top level officials of state, if someone claims in this blog or anywhere, that US is a state sponsor of terrorism, you just can’t ask him/her to stop you rather should prove that is not so and him/her is wrong.


  105. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    July 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Your statements would be more crdible if they were not being uttered by a man who is protected (and his country as well) by the nuclear forces of the United States.

    “I see no security threat to UK, zero, zilch. I wonder why she maintains nuclear-armed submarines for second-strike capability. I wonder why she is a member of NATO. Is France going to invade her?”

  106. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    July 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Then you do not understand the Arabs of Persian Gulf.

  107. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    July 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Germany, Japan, Korea are semi-sovereign.

    The number of states with strategic autonomy on this planet is very small indeed.

    Fewer than 15, as far as I can tell.

    Islamic Republic of Iran is one of them; Turkey is not.

  108. Don Bacon says:

    @Pirouz says:
    July 27, 2012 at 3:35 am
    Can we tone down the anti-America sentiment here? Don included.

    I haven’t seen any anti-American sentiment. I’ve seen anti-US sentiment, a form of free speech which is a civil right that everyone enjoys, or should. Perhaps if we had more of it we would see an improvement in government performance, and a corresponding increase in Americans’ approval for the direction of the country, which is currently at an abysmal level (32% – RCP ave.).

    In other words, go pound sand. Nobody here forces you to read.

  109. paul says:

    What Leverettes don’t make note of is that Iran, which according to them has a geopolitically astute regime, helped create the current situation in Syria by supporting the attack on Quaddafi. What is going on in Syria is essentially an attempt by Nato to do the same thing to Assad that they did to Quaddafi. Why did the Iran leadership behave in such a blatantly self-destructive way, as it seemed? I’d like to see this explained. One is lead to believe that the waters of geo-political intrique are far murkier and deeper than we have been led to believe. One can argue that China and Russia were naive over Libya, though this is a weak argument. One cannot claim this about Iran. Iran HAD to know that the Nato assault on Syria would be followed by a Nato assault on Syria, following nearly the same gameplan.

    Also, with protests heating up against the blatantly stolen election in Mexico (the ‘winning’ party, for example, clearly bought millions of votes), where is the burning concern over stolen elections amongst the legions of commentators who were so bent out of shape about the Iran 2009 election?

  110. imho says:

    Americans’ Confidence in Television News Drops to New Low

    Americans’ confidence in television news is at a new low by one percentage point, with 21% of adults expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it. This marks a decline from 27% last year and from 46% when Gallup started tracking confidence in television news in 1993.


  111. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    July 27, 2012 at 1:33 am

    One possible answer is Ali Omidi’s http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=53602

  112. imho says:

    My name is Putin, Vladimir Putin.

    “This author has spoken personally in Moscow and in Beijing since the Libya debacle asking well-informed persons in both places how in effect they could have been so short-sighted on Libya. They both clearly have since concluded that further advance of Washington’s agenda for what George W. Bush called the Greater Middle East Project is diametrically opposed to the national interest of both China and Russia, hence the iron opposition to the NATO agenda in Syria for regime change.”

    Putin’s Geopolitical Chess Game with Washington in Syria and Eurasia

  113. ExposingNeoCon##Warmongering//Stooges.. says:

    Pirouz says:
    July 27, 2012 at 3:35 am

    Nothing that Don Bacon has posted here is even remotely “anti American.” His contributions and the links he has included in them have greatly enhanced the quality of the discussion on this blog.

  114. Karl.. says:

    Don Bacon,

    Good find and research, just another indication of how illusions and fabrications and not facts are used by the intelligence. Thats why they end up with such flawed policies on the greater middle east.

  115. Karl.. says:


    Well thats the problem with that view, because Iran have every right needed for that level of enrichment. Surely if Iran on the other hand want to buy it from abroad it would be ok, but any one sided demands from other states is neither legitimiate nor legal.
    Implying that Iran provoke for doing what its legally entitled to is of course a bad assessment .

  116. Pirouz says:


    Can we tone down the anti-America sentiment here? Don included.

    This is a U.S. foreign policy advocacy blog. It’s one thing to advocate U.S. policy changes, quite another to vent dislike for the country as a whole.

  117. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Ramadhan Mubarak to you as well brother and may God bless you and your family in this sacred month.

    Couldn’t have said it better, the next NAM meeting will be held in Tehran in a few weeks. Maybe US citizens should send a representative and we can put your suggestion on the meeting agenda :-)

    What you suggest about American independence may be true, however rest assured that European support is not “essential for the success of our enterprise”, only God’s support is essential.

    Also, Imam never called for the release of the spies, you are mistaken.

    And yes, Germany is not a sovereign country when it comes to international relations. Its Iran policy is a prime example of how it sacrifices its national and economic interests at the command of the US and Israel. The affair about the German citizens abducted by the CIA on “terrorism” charges is another example. People like Peter Scholl-Latour and Gunter Grass have publicly stated that Germany is not a sovereign nation. 2015 will mark 70 years of American military occupation of Germany.

    Regarding Scotland, independence will benefit Scotland in all ways- economically, politically, culturally. My hope is that they will get rid the monarchy and become a republic. Either way, a UK without Scotland is not much of a united kingdom even if it maintains the name and facade. Better for the English to let go of the baggage in Northern Ireland and become a republic as well. How do like being told what is good for your country by a foreigner? Now you know how we feel when we read your comments.

  118. BiBiJon says:

    Shake Your Booty; Sheik Yerbouti; Stinky Sheiks

    Professor Nadim Rouhana, an Israeli of Palestinian decent, informs us about a 2011 Doha Institute survey of the publics in 12 Arab countries covering more than 85 percent of the total population of the Arab world. The survey consisted of more than 16,000 face-to-face interviews with representative samples in these countries, with a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

    Unfortunately, for James (you know what) Canning’s remaining claim to credibility, Rouhan tells us:


    The results were unambiguous: The vast majority of the Arab public does not believe that Iran poses a threat to the “security of the Arab homeland.” Only 5 percent of respondents named Iran as a source of threat, versus 22 percent who named the U.S. The first place was reserved for Israel, which 51 percent of respondents named as a threat to Arab national security. Arab societies differed modestly in their answers: The largest percentage viewing Iran as a threat was reported in Lebanon and Jordan (10 percent) and the lowest (1 percent or less) was reported in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, and the Sudan.

    Interestingly, while Saudi Arabia is often cited [by you know who] as the primary Arab state in support of belligerence against Iran, the data indicate that this view doesn’t seem to extend to its public. In the Saudi Arabian sample, only 8 percent believed that Iran presents a threat — a lower percentage even than that which viewed the U.S. as a source of threat (13 percent).

    From http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/09/risks_of_misreading_arab_public_opinion_on_irans_nuclear_programs

  119. Castellio says:

    So read the article below, assume for ten minutes that it’s correct (I don’t know if it is or not, but I believe Maher Arar is writing what he believes) and then explain how Iran should act, and will act.


  120. nikron says:

    NATO want to finish off Assad before the Olympic game start, looks like they have failed, which is major blow to NATO strategic position.

  121. Photi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    July 26, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Thank you for your response brother, and ramadan mubarak, may Allah accept all your dua’a. Khoda hafez.

  122. kooshy says:

    Don Bacon says:
    July 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Don with regard to terrorism (state sponsored kind), the good old US of A tops them all ever since history was started, the brand name is democracy R us

  123. Photi says:


    “I see no connection whatever in Iran’s being able to build nukes quickly, and Iran’s retention of its territorial integrity. None. Zip.”

    Iran’s ability to build nukes quickly has nothing to do with nuclear weapons but has much to do with Iran’s territorial integrity.

    Iran’s “ability” to ‘build nukes quickly’ simply means they have the scientific and industrial expertise to do so. This same scientific and industrial expertise, common to many advanced nations, also goes into other military and non-military sectors of Iranian society, which as a whole give Iranians the ability to robustly defend their territory.

    So in fact the “ability” to build such weapons is connected to Iranian territorial integrity.

  124. Don Bacon says:

    Now the “counterterrorism experts” are coming out.

    ASPEN, Colorado, July 26 — Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told an audience of more than a hundred security professionals gathered here on Thursday. “There are times when we are briefing the White House [on terror threats that] at the top of the list are Hezbollah or Iran,” Olsen added. In other words, for the first time in more than a decade, the al-Qaeda network of Sunni extremists is no longer America’s undisputed Public Enemy #1.”

    So Hezbollah and Iran are at the top of the terrorism list and Sunni AQ is no longer #1, according to the counterterrorism chief. That’s quite a change from the annual report his office published last month which had exactly the opposite findings.

    from the report: “Sunni extremists accounted for the greatest number of terrorist attacks and fatalities for the third consecutive year. More than 5,700 incidents were attributed to Sunni extremists, accounting for nearly 56 percent of all attacks and about 70 percent of all fatalities. Among this perpetrator group, al-Qa‘ida
    (AQ) and its affiliates were responsible for at least 688 attacks that resulted in almost 2,000 deaths, while the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan conducted over 800 attacks that resulted in nearly 1,900 deaths.
    Secular, political, and anarchist groups were the next largest category of perpetrators, conducting 2,283
    attacks with 1,926 fatalities, a drop of 5 percent and 9 percent, respectively, from 2010.”

    Iran wasn’t even mentioned in the report. Not even mentioned! They haven’t done anything, apparently.

    So I think Mr. Matt Olsen is full of . . .it. But he works for the government, so he’s got to tow the line and make stuff up.

  125. Nasser says:

    James Canning,

    Saudi Arabia and indeed all of the Gulf Monarchies (with the laudable exception of Oman) are implacable enemies of Iran and wants its destruction. It does not matter what Iran does, 20% this or military build up that, they are committed to the destruction of Iran. Why else would they waste so much resources fighting her and in instigating a sectarian war in the region when they are practically secure from harm thanks to the US? It has long been wishful thinking on Iran’s part to think of these countries as anything but enemies.

  126. Don Bacon says:

    James Canning says:
    July 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm
    Can you identify anyone who thinks Israel would be friendly toward Iran, even if Iran stopped enriching uranium? Anyone serious, that is?
    If I were president, Israel would be friendly to Iran b/c I would approach that little piddly country, the size of New Jersey with less people, on stilts instead of on kneepads like our current crop of spineless acolytes.
    After all, Israel and Iran were best friends not so long ago. I would remind them of that — they need it. Of course a big part of the solution would be justice for the Palestinians, which is at the heart of it all, really, if Israelis expect any non-kingdom to like them in return.

  127. James Canning says:


    You may have been referring to possibility Scotland will go its own way?

  128. James Canning says:


    I expect the US and the UK to continue for centuries to come (assuming the planet is not annihilated somehow). I expect the EU to survive and to flourish in decades to come. Israel is a much more difficult proposition altogether.

    Collapse of USSR really was not so difficult to foresee, if one happened to be familiar with the facts of the matter (and not subject to institutional bias).

  129. James Canning says:


    I do not think there is a single country in the Persian Gulf or even in the Middle East that opposes the “existence” of Iran. Perhaps some Israeli fantatics would love to see Iran partitioned, but Iran is a fact that all ME countries accept.

    I see no connection whatever in Iran’s being able to build nukes quickly, and Iran’s retention of its territorial integrity. None. Zip.

  130. James Canning says:


    I very much doubt the Persian Gulf monarchies expect Iran to be anything other than a Shia-majority state. I think you will concede that if the Gulf monarchies currently are cooperating with each other, with a view toward maintaining stability, that there would be considerable hesitation (at least at this time) regarding inviting Iran, or Iraq, to join the council.

  131. James Canning says:


    How, in your view, would North Korea become a “sovereign” state? In fact, China can influence but not control the NK gov’t. Nor can Russia control NK. Japan is richer and stronger today, for not having squandered trillions of dollars on unnecessary weapons. To you, this was giving up “sovereignty”. It was common sense.

    In your view, is Germany not “sovereign”? Switzerland?

  132. James Canning says:


    I have said that Iran would be richer and stronger today if it had not commenced enriching to 20%. And that I think Iran’s application to buy fuel for the TRR was blocked by parties hoping to provoke Iran into commencing enrichment to 20%.

  133. Don Bacon says:

    Perhaps the U.S. will get lucky and Iran will lead a coalition, with BRICS and NAM, to sanction the U.S. so its people can learn how to make things again with their own hands. /s

  134. James Canning says:


    Israel demands an end to Iranian enrichment of uranium. Israel lobby prevents Obama from openly supporting Iranian enrichment to 5% or lower.

    I think Iran will not be able to go its own way and stockpile whatever amounts of 20% uranium strike its fancy. There is nothing exceptional about this viewpoint.

  135. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    The American colonies would have lost their war of independence, in the 1770s and early 1780s, had it not been for France, Spain and The Netherlands. European support was essential to the success of the enterprise.

  136. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    Khomeini was not aware of the plan to capture the US embassy in Tehran, before it happened. And after it took place, Khomeini called for the hostages to be released. An ill-advised response to the incident, by the Carter administration, fundamentally altered the equation. This was a bad thing for the US and for Iran.

    If you think Iran is stronger and richer, due to sanctions and more sanctions, I guess you can look forward to a richer and stronger Iran (in your view), as more sanctions are applied in future (assuming Iran continues to stockpile 20% uranium).

  137. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    Can you identify anyone who thinks Israel would be friendly toward Iran, even if Iran stopped enriching uranium? Anyone serious, that is?

  138. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    That’s exactly what I’m arguing. Stockpiling 20% and sanctions have been very positive for Iran. The sanctions have forced a nation of short-term bazaari traders to become long-term industrial engineers. Would have taken us 200 years without the sanctions.Like I’ve said before, the sanctions have been a great blessing for Iran and I hope they continue at least for another decade.

    If it was up to me, I would close all the EU embassies and kick all these diplomats out and learn to live without the Europeans- like it happened with the US. This is true especially as long as a single member of Iranian terrorist groups are allowed to live freely in Europe under the protection of local security services, which they currently do.

    Imam Khomeini (r) at that time said that the occupation of the US embassy and the arrest of the US spies was as significant as the revolution itself.

    In other words James, the more Iran detaches itself from US/EU the better it is. Over the last 34 years and increasingly now we are proving this and this putting the heat on the old stinky sheikhs whose existence is by the grace of their US/UK lord. Conversely, it is a historic and strategic “blunder” by US/UK elites like yourself to pin your hopes on the old stinky sheikhs.

    Of course as a monarchist Brit who are naturally biased towards old stinky sheikhs over Islamic republicans, not much of a surprise their. The truly idiotic thing is US elites (with exceptions like the Leveretts and Bob Baer) preferring old stinky sheikhs to revolutionary Islamic republicans. That is truly a “blunder” of epic historic proportions.

  139. Don Bacon says:

    Some people say: If Iran would only give a little on this, and then give a little more on that, then the US and Israel would PROMISE, cross their hearts and point to god, that everything would be okay. They wouldn’t bother Iran any more. They would accept Iran’s hegemony in the Middle East and go back to their peaceful ways. And some people say this in full recognition that the sanctions on Iran go back more than thirty years, long before there was any concocted nuclear issue.

    Baloney. The Persians are not different from Americans on this general matter. Patrick Henry: Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death. Granite Staters are the same. New Hampshirites don’t leave their state much, for good reason, so some may not have seen their auto license plate. Here it is — http://tinyurl.com/cfe84j9

    So Iran says: Stick it, USA. Good for them.

  140. Don Bacon says:

    @ James Canning says:
    July 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm
    You think Iran should encourage bad relations between the Sunni and the Shia, in the Middle East?

    Absolutely not. Iran has fostered good relations with some Sunni groups like Hamas and I would like to see that expanded to Sunni Arabs in the Gulf States. The people there are ripe for change, relief from the stinky sheiks.

    from Jordan:
    In the past year, against the backdrop of the Arab Spring uprisings, there has been increasing criticism in Saudi Arabia of regime policy, corruption in state institutions, high poverty and unemployment rates, lack of free speech and government transparency, and the oppression of the Saudi woman, among other issues. Among the critics were senior administration officials and even princes in the royal family. However, they combined their censure with praise for reforms that have been enacted by King ‘Abdallah, which may indicate that they were merely paying lip service in order to create an impression of solidarity with the Arab Spring.

    Iran is probably involved with Shia activities in SA’s Eastern Province, and agitating Sunni citizens (not especially princes) in other provinces (and countries) is called for. Royal families who govern are so yesterday. If a country must have them, they should be ornamental only.

  141. Karl.. says:

    You have earlier said that Iran shouldnt be able to enrich above 5%. Stockpiling if thats what they do, is neither illegal. Dont you think international law and principles should be the basis?

    Generally I think you dont realize that Iran use whatever tool to advance its position in talks too, to accomplish the best outcome as they see it.

    According to you Iran should respect the demands from Israel, US regardless of how absurd or illegitimate and illegal they may be. Thats not how it works.

  142. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    They are not sovereign.

    And you still do not seem to understand that in the International arena, Power is the first and foremost goal of international actors.

  143. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Without nuclear weapons or the ability to quickly assemble them, Iran cannot endure as a coherent unitary state.

    This is a strategic fact that must be accepted – even by you.

    As for the Persian Gulf Arabs: they can rename the so-called “Gulf Cooperation Council” to the “Persian Gulf Cooperation Council” and invite Iran and Iraq to join.

    These two steps will revolutionize their relationship with Iranian state and the Iranian people.

    But they will not do so; they are opposed to the existence of “Iran” and the “Shia” state.

    This is yet another salient feature of the politics of that unfortunate part of the world that has endured since 1950s and must be accepted as such.

  144. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “By the late 1970s, I could see the Soviet Union was unlikely to survive until the end of the century. ”

    What does your magic glass tell you about how long the west US/UK/EU/Israel surviving?
    Tell us about that one, please.

  145. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    You think Iran should encourage bad relations between the Sunni and the Shia, in the Middle East?

  146. James Canning says:


    Japn is one of the richest countries on the planet. North Korea is one of the poorest. What “benefit” do the North Korean people gain from NK’s possession of nukes? Answer: ZERO.

  147. James Canning says:


    I personally do not have a problem with Iran’s enriching to 20% to refuel the TRR. I have said this a number of timies. On the other hand, stockpiling 20% uranium does nothing whatever to increase the wealth and power of Iran. Instead, it brought on more sanctions, and worked to Iran’s disadvantage.

  148. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    By the late 1970s, I could see the Soviet Union was unlikely to survive until the end of the century. This point of view was uncommon in “the West” due to many factors, not least among them the simple fact that spending huge amounts on “defence” was easier to promote, if the USSR was seen as a powerful threat.

  149. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    So, are you arguing that Iran improves its security position, by stockpiling more 20% uranium and incurring more sanctions, and still more sanctions?

    Iran would be richer and stronger today if it had not triggered more sanctions by trebling production of 20% uranium.

    I have been a supporter of Iranian enrichment to 5% or lower, and I have thought it very unwise for the US to continue to block Iran’s IAEA application to refule the TRR.

  150. Don Bacon says:

    @ Bussed-in Basiji says:
    July 26, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I agree with you on Iran vs. US/UK, and also “stinky sheiks” was a nice touch. The Arab people fear the U.S. and Israel, not Iran, and so if there is any snake-head cuttings they ought to focus on the stinky sheiks. And they hopefully will, as Iran focuses more on the Eastern Province of SA, for one thing.

  151. Rd. says:

    What is that old saying… history repeats itself, but not in the same exact wording!!!!

    “The last time the Arab tyrants didn’t listen to Iran”
    Khomeini warns arabs not to be pressured into supporting Saddam.


    “But Berlin did not enjoy the fruits of its stratagem for long. The germs of the revolution quickly spread to Germany, and the new revolution led to the end of the German monarchy. A few generations later, Lenin’s spiritual/political children rolled their tanks into Berlin. “

    “Of course, history did not repeat itself word for word, but structurally the events had a lot of similarities. Jihadis – from the North Caucasus to the Middle East – believe that the collapse of Assad and, even better, war with Iran would accomplish what the US war with Iraq failed to accomplish: ignite chaos not just in the Middle East but possibly globally. And it is this that would cause the jihadis to thrive. “


    The notion of divide and conquer at play.

  152. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Nice to see somebody saying things honestly. Dubai police chief says that the Persian Gulf monarchies are the red line, not only for Iran but also for the Muslim Brotherhood.


  153. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    I called James on his Saudi royals ass kissing way back when this blog started. The gist of his lame comments is that Iran has and is provoking an attack by the US/UK/Israel in conjunction with the old stinky sheikhs and that this wouldn’t serve Iran…delusions about things like Iran “having her navy and air force destroyed”.

    Basically James is a voice for the stinky sheikhs who are crapping their pants about the rise of Iran and its model of domestic republican rule and international independence and how this is making the stinky sheiks and their old way of relying on US/UK for domestic rule and international “respectability” look well- old and stinky.

    1. The US/UK and local stooges will not attack Iran.
    2. If they do, they will suffer a historic, strategic defeat that will effectively end US/UK presence in the region and lead to the collapse of the old stinky monarchies and Israel.

    In other words, we would welcome an attempted attack by the US/UK- such an epic “blunder”- to use James’ favorite word. Short of this, as the Supreme Leader said a few days ago, we continue on the path that began 34 years ago and that has brought Iran power, wealth, development and a fundamental historic social and spiritual revolution.

    The Islamic Republic of Iran and its domestic and international model will prevail, the old stinky sheikhs and Israel will be thrown into the dustbin of history. That reminds me, someone posted that nobody predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union. That’s incorrect, somebody did in the early eighties and his name was Imam Khomeini (r).

  154. Karl.. says:


    No why would they? By the way Japan is not anything near the same distress as Iran in terms of sanctions, threats etc.
    But that wasnt the question, the question was about you deny them the right to enrich above 5%.

  155. k_w says:

    The German think-tank “Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik” openly admits training the so-called rebels.

    http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/assad-gegner-das-neue-syrien-kommt-aus-wilmersdorf/6920722.html (German only)

  156. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    July 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm
    ” UK and Obama administration sought better relations with Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.”

    Bull shit james. If this were true, the Obama administration would never have appointed so many Zionists to his administration. Your noise is getting ridiculous.

    To add to Karl and fyi’s calling you out, i have thought for about a year now that you have either pimped yourself out to the Saudis and Persian Gulf states generally, or you would like to. Your ‘bravo cheers jolly ol’boy’ is simply to reinforce your English identity while living abroad. Your money is with the Persian Gulf royals.

  157. ToivoS says:

    It is impossible to predict when a state will collapse. Who predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union? I didn’t see Libya was in the process of disintegration until the day it fell. I think the Chinese understood this problem well and simply attributed the fall of dynasties do to heaven removing the mandate to rule. Same with the current Syrian regime. There is a major propaganda war going on right now. Iran is putting its spin on things and the Western powers are putting their’s. All I know is that it is extremely difficult to find reliable information.

    One of my sources, Angry Arab, who usually has a pretty good read on things Mideast is mostly in the puzzled department. Politically he is in the pox on both sides in the current Syrian war so he has the potential to be more objective.

  158. Neo says:

    having trouble posting! testing

  159. Don Bacon says:

    Mohammadi notes that “the dominant view on the Syrian situation in Western circles” is “not a factual explanation of the situation” but rather “part of a heavy psychological war.” Yes.

    Syria is heading toward calmness, Iran’s Salehi says
    TEHRAN, July 25 – Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday that Syria is heading for tranquility as the army is gradually suppressing the armed insurgent groups. “Enemies imagined that they can create a vacuum in the management of the country by explosions in Damascus but the enemies of the Syrian nation have been defeated… and the army is gradually finding supremacy over the armed opposition,” Salehi told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

    Meanwhile in the US the Pentagon is silent and State is concocting military fantasies. With Defense’s Panetta mostly silent on Syria (since he said it was ‘spinning out of control’ a week ago), State’s Clinton has stepped up to become an expert on military matters in Syria: “. .more and more territory is being taken, and it will eventually result in a safe haven inside Syria, which will then provide a base for further actions by the opposition.” (Rather presumptuous, given her lack of military background, as is true for diplomacy too.)

    Clinton, July 24
    And we have to work closely with the opposition because more and more territory is being taken, and it will eventually result in a safe haven inside Syria, which will then provide a base for further actions by the opposition.

    “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” — Lewis Carroll

    Is this what Panetta meant by ‘spinning out of control?’ This lack of qualified military perspectives on military matters in Syria? Where are the Joint Chiefs with their huge staffs? General Dempsey, JCS Chairman, has not participated in a press conference nor said a word about Syria this month. Last month Panetta said “We continue to be concerned about developments in Syria.”

    Maybe (big maybe) the Pentagon actually knows what it’s doing. Could it be a calculated move to leave Clinton twisting slowly in the wind in yet another US foreign policy fiasco, complete with fictitious swaths of territory and safe havens?

    Iran wins again. Go Persia.

  160. James Canning says:


    You apparently think the Japanese are “inferior” to the North Koreans, because NK has nukes and Japan does not?

  161. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “I take it you also are urging Iran to bring catastrophe on itself by trying to build some nukes”

    according to the pentagon report, it is not nukes but rather conventional mil capabilities.

    “Second, “Iran’s conventional military capabilities continue to improve,” according to the Pentagon.  Iran added new ships and submarines and is expanding its bases on the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea.  Earlier this year it deployed two separate surface groups to the Mediterranean Sea and Iranian ground forces conducted three large combined-arms maneuver exercises in northeastern and central Iran, a sign of a sophisticated force. “

  162. Rd. says:

    The pentagon report;

    “First, Iran’s strategy is to challenge U.S. influence while becoming “the dominant power in the Middle East.” “Diplomacy, economic leverage, and active sponsorship of terrorist and insurgent groups” are tools Iran uses to increase its regional power that runs from the Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea.”

    btw, replace the word terrorism in this article with resistance to give it more credibility.


  163. Karl.. says:


    You dont have to “take” anything, you could just read what I have written and approach that. Still your mindset clearly indicate you think certain people/states are inferior to others. Thats a flawed and colonial mindset that cant be used 2012.

  164. Empty says:

    fyi says,

    RE: In the first scenario, Iranians will become even more influential in Syria; having saved that state and government….In the second scenario, Iranians will organize a loose coalition of ethno-religious militia that will defend those communities from others…..Sort of like Hizbullah or the Northern Alliance.

    The answer is “both A and B are correct” and the implementation has already begun. There is “hekmat” [wisdom] in things that may appear undesirable at a superficial glance.

  165. Empty says:

    Parviziyi says,

    Mehdi Mohammadi thinks that after the rebellion is over, Syria’s “anti-American and anti-Israeli motivations will become hundreds of times stronger.” I totally disagree.

    Then it appears that you assume you know what he means exactly by this statement. Also, the reasons you provided to support your disagreement do not support the gist of your disagreement.

  166. Empty says:

    Thank you for the analysis.

    Syria, while a strong ally to Iran and in the resistance camp against US Inc. hegemony/Zionist expansion in the region for years, opted for a strong formal and traditional military set up. Syria appeared (for a long time) to resist the formation of a strong militia force for non-conventional battles. In this regard, Syria kept Iran at an arm’s length. Nothing short of what happened in the past few months could have convinced the Syrian leadership the need for a different type of organizational set up (similar to Hizbollah in Lebonan, Jish-al-Mahdi force in Iraq, and the Iranian prototype, RG special forces) to augment the traditional military set up. Some people needed harder shakes to wake up. Before too long (but not soon enough for those who are in the habit of being impatient) we shall see a Syrian brand of Hizbollah/Jishal-Mahdi/Qods, Enshallah.

  167. Castellio says:


    “There’s no way to understand the Syrian dynamics without learning that most FSA commanders are not Syrians, but Iraqi Sunnis. The FSA could only capture the Abu Kamal border crossing between Syria and Iraq because the whole area is controlled by Sunni tribes viscerally antagonistic towards the al-Maliki government in Baghdad. The free flow of mujahideen, hardcore jihadis and weapons between Iraq and Syria is now more than established.”

  168. James Canning says:


    I take it you also are urging Iran to bring catastrophe on itself by trying to build some nukes, to avoid being seen as an exploited black “slave”? Amazing.

  169. James Canning says:


    I think you badly miscalculate. There is an election on in the US. That will be over by November.

    I suppose you would urge Iran to go ahead and try to build some nukes, in an effort to exploit the current economic problems in Europe, etc.?

  170. fyi says:

    Rd. says:
    July 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm


    They are fighting Rafezis and other heretics.

    Later they will get to Christians.

    And still later, to Jews.

    Or so they would claim.

  171. A concerned world citizen says:


    I continue to see it as a bad thing for Iran, to stockpile 20% U. If Iran wants to guarantee an attack, enriching to 50% or 60% should achieve it.

    James Canning, there’ll be no attack..You keep saying Iran enriching 20% will guarantee an attack..Yet you always fail to provide proof to such claim apart from the usual “persian gulf monarchs are worried”.

    The time for attack on Iran has passed..The US/allies calculated the cost and they’ve concluded it’s not worth it..Especially when their economy is disintegrating.

    You seem to be stuck in the same mindset..

  172. Karl.. says:


    As another user recently told you, colonialism is over. Who are you to deny certain states the right to enrich or if they want, have nuclear submarines?

    Its like one should have told the black slaves, “hey dont create a uprising, dont fight your masters. Follow your masters demand and be accomodating to their brutal and illegal ways they treat you”.

  173. Rd. says:

    Rd. says:

    “If there is to be this hot war, what would become the nature of the salafi campaign? Are they to openly side with the Israeli’s in this war against Syrian government?”


    Are they (salafi’s) to openly show their hand that they are in the US/Israeli/NATO spring camp?

  174. James Canning says:


    I continue to see it as a bad thing for Iran, to stockpile 20% U. If Iran wants to guarantee an attack, enriching to 50% or 60% should achieve it.

  175. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “Let us be patient as the hot war against Syria commences.”

    If there is to be this hot war, what would become the nature of the salafi campaign? Are they to openly side with the Israeli’s in this war against Syrian government?

  176. A concerned world citizen says:

    James, I see you still keep harping on about the 20 percent stuff..Quit it!!It’s dead!! The 20% train left long time ago..

    Beat this, Iran’s parliament has just passed a bill that will allow the country to enrich uranium to 50-60% to be used in ships and subs..

    You still haven’t grasped Iran negotiating strategy..Anytime there’s a breakdown of talks with the p5 + 1, Iran increase the bar on the very thing the p5 + 1 were negotiating..It use to be 3.5%, then it was 5% and now it’s 20%..You see where this is going?

    Obama better make a deal fast before things reach the point of no return

  177. Fiorangela says:

    What hath Erdogan wrought?

    Is Turkey going to rue the day it signed on to the project of tearing Syria apart?

  178. fyi says:

    Nasser says:
    July 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Regrettably, I omitted to include the following comments to your question.

    The emerging Middle Eastern state system is now based, de facto, on the 2 major strategic pillars of Israel (the Jewish Fortress) and Iran (the Shia Fortress); each on one end of the Middle East.

    These 2 states are now determining the constraints within which others, including Axis Powers, have to operate.

    In my opinion, it is a supreme irony of the current situation that both Israel and Iran are opposed to the 2-state solution.

    Israelis do not want any Palestinian state and neither do Iranians who wish US and EU to continue to incur the wrath of Muslims everywhere for their continued support of Israel.

    And then there are US planners, ensnared in a web of their own devising, from which they cannot extricate themselves.

  179. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:
    July 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Let me illustrate Mr. Canning’s arguments

    Joseph “James Canning” Goebbels (in 1941 during the Blitz)

    “All Germany seeks is friendship with England.”

  180. fyi says:

    Nasser says:
    July 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    The Axis Powers and Israel, as well as very many Arab states, are determined to undo the consequences of the destruction of the Ba’ath state in Iraq.

    They think that they are going to be delivering a severe blow to Iran if the Ba’athist State in Syria is destroyed.

    I do not think that Syria is that important to Iran; now that Najaf-Qum Axis control Iraq and Iran.

    This is what I think:

    A very likely (say above 50%) that Iranian and Syrian governments will prevail in Syria – in the process destroying very thoroughly and ruthlessly any and all oppositions.

    A less likely (say less than 50%) of a prolonged civil war in which the mini-World War in Syria drags on for decades.

    In the first scenario, Iranians will become even more influential in Syria; having saved that state and government.

    In the second scenario, Iranians will organize a loose coalition of ethno-religious militia that will defend those communities from others.

    Sort of like Hizbullah or the Northern Alliance.

    This could go on for decades.

    Israelis can come and Israelis can go; it will not affect the strategic situation.

    A neo-Salafi state in Syria, in my opinion, is not going to be formed without prolonged occupation by a military power. No such power exits.

    What is transpiring in Syria is yet another instance of Axis Powers’ policies that have no positive content; just more dead Lebanese, Palestinians, Arabs, Iranians, Afghans and others.

    That is why, yet again, they will fail.

  181. Nasser says:


    Ambassador Bhadrakumar writing for Asia Times seems to share your view of the possibility of an Israeli attack on Syria.


    For me there is a large hole in this analysis however. How does this benefit Israel? A war with Syria and/or Hezbollah would certainly be costly and wreck havoc on much of Northern Israel. An Alawite regime with a tentative hold on power seems to serve Israel’s interests better than a Muslim Brotherhood government. Or are they so fearful of Iran that they just don’t care as long as they can take out one of Iran’s allies.

  182. Karl.. says:


    Why do you keep coming with the same false arguments?

    I have clearly showed to you earlier that UK/Hague have since the very start taking a hostile stance. My sources go back to 2007. Please stop flooding the board with false accusations.

    See my link.


  183. James Canning says:


    The UK and the US were not looking for “submission” from Syria, when Obama sought better relations. Maybe you are suggesting that a form of “submission” was demanded by the Israel lobby?

    Let’s remember that Turkey very nearly brokered a peace deal between Israel and Syria in 2008.

  184. James Canning says:


    I agree with you that Syria sought peace with its neighbors, including Israel, provided Israel withdrew from the Golan Heights.

  185. James Canning says:

    Mohammadi expects Israel “to fall into a state of chaos” after the Syrian government regains stability? Rather unlikely, to say the least.

  186. James Canning says:


    Are you suggesting the government of Syria was wise not to adopt the recommended changes, urged by Wafic Said and others?

  187. James Canning says:


    You pile up events that took place under G W Bush. In 2009, Obama came into the White House with a view toward improving relations with Syria. The UK also sought better relations with Syria. UK and Obama administration sought better relations with Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

  188. fyi says:

    Rd. says: July 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Yes, I think the plan is for Israel to attack Syria under the guise of defending herself from chemical weapons.

    Mr. Obama has just issued a warning to Syria as part of the propaganda war.

    Let us be patient as the hot war against Syria commences.

  189. Unknown Unknowns says:

    imho: you probably have seen it, but just in case you missed it, I did respond to your reply at the tail end of the last thread. No response requested, necessarily…

  190. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “Bashar al-Assad had opportunities to achieve normal relations with the UK and even the US, had he been more adroit, willing to accept the advice of Wafic Said, etc etc etc. “

    That is very indigenous or miss-informed, to say the least.

    2003 – Congree passes Syria accounability act (War declaration).
    2004 – Washington accuses Syria of harbouring Iragi non-existance WMD.
    2005 – Using Harriri assasination as excuse to attack Syria, however, Syria left Lebonan.
    2006 – US Creates Syria Democracy Program
    2006 – US outsourced Israeli war on Hezbollah hoping to get Syria involved, however Hezbollah defeating Israel in short order.
    2007 – Operation Orchard by Israel hoping to provoke Syria. IAE found no trace of nuke activity on the supposed site.

    And there is more.. some opportuinity to develop normal relationship James.
    I got news for you, colonialism is over. Welcome to the era of resistance.


  191. imho says:

    fyi says:
    July 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    “Iranians have implicitly warned Mr. Barzani about his poor choice of friends and his helpfulness to their activities.

    The Iraqi Kurdish enclave has explicitly been named as a haven for anti-Iran activities by the Iranian media – on connection to the murder of the Iranian scientists.

    There very well could be retaliation by Iranians.”

    What are they waiting for ?!!!

    Was it part of the deal that Chevron and Exxon take the Iraqi/Kurdish oil in the north ?
    Maliki government is against it (and against Israeli presence in Kurdish north). Turkey, while against Iran in Syria, has an understanding with Iran on Kurdish question and not pleased to see a Kurdish autonomy in the north.

  192. Parviziyi says:

    I just read the commentary about Syria as it relates to Iran written by the Leveretts back on 1 Sep 2011, as linked to by Fiorangela: http://www.raceforiran.com/iran-and-syria-america%E2%80%99s-middle-east-pundits-get-it-wrong-again

    I find Mehdi Mohammadi has very little to say correctly that wasn’t said correctly in the above article dated 1 Sep 2011.

    I can agree with Mehdi Mohammadi when he says “the ongoing unrest in Syria is not popular in nature…. This is exactly why the opposition rejects any solution based on elections.” The Syrian establishment saw pretty high turnout and won comfortably in the parliamentary elections on 7 May 2012, the referendum on the new Constitution on 26 Feb 2012, and the local council elections on 12 Dec 2012. Undoubtedly Bashar will be comfortably re-elected President in the Presidential election in 2014.

    But I cannot agree with Mehdi Mohammadi when he says the ongoing unrest “phenomenon is basically non-indigenous and has its roots out of the Syrian borders.” Outsiders have given moral and rhetorical support (and a small amount of material support) but the uprising is truly an indigenous Syrian phenomenon. (Another truly indigenous Syrian phenomenon is the true strong support the Assad government has).

    Bashar Assad, in an interview with Iran’s Channel 4 TV in late June 2012, said about the role of the various foreign factors in Syria’s situation: “the internal and external aspects are inseparable and one cannot assign percentages to their role in the crisis.” http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2012/06/29/428450.htm

    Thus Bashar’s view is about halfway between Mehdi Mohammadi’s view and my view. In my view the Syrian government and its supporters have been overhyping the role of the foreigners. The roots and branches of the uprising are indigenous.

    Another item on which I disagree with Mehdi Mohammadi: Comparing the level of violence in Syria in July 2012 to what it was in April 2012 just before Annan’s plan got underway, my guess is that the overall daily death count is higher by a factor of almost four. That’s a big increase, but it’s a long way from the factor of more than 20 that Mehdi Mohammadi claims.

    Mehdi Mohammadi thinks that after the rebellion is over, Syria’s “anti-American and anti-Israeli motivations will become hundreds of times stronger.” I totally disagree. Syria’s foreign policies are principled positions based on a few principles which will not change. In addition, while upholding those few principles, Syria sincerely wants to be friends with everybody, even with the Israelis if it were possible, and Syria doesn’t have any conflicts of interest with anybody except on the Israel/Palestine question, and on that question Syria wants a Two-State Solution, which is the solution that about 150 other sovereign nations are also saying they want for the problem. The Jolan Heights question is small potatoes compared to the fate of millions of Palestinians.

    But the worst and most erroneous aspect of Mehdi Mohammadi’s thinking shines through in the following sentence from him: “During the past month, they [Syrian opposition groups] have been given a new mission by the West’s intelligence services: they have been told to transfer their forces and facilities to the suburbs of the capital Damascus.”

  193. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    July 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    “Obama wished to improve relations with Syria, as did the UK, after Obama entered the White House.”

    What is exactly your definition for good relations in politics ?

    Let me guess…. submission ?

    To complete your statement, I’d say US and UK want good relations with all nations

  194. imho says:

    Excellent analysis; thanks for posting it here. I learned a lot specially regarding different MB currents.

    By now, everyone seems to acknowledge that a deal exists between US and MB not only in Syria but also in Egypt and I’d say wherever fundamentalist Islam has some potential to rebel. The enemy being anything secular and progressist. No wonder when you read some history about British collusion with MB to prevent the rise of communism, nationalism and progressive currents in Arab nations.
    From that point, it is not so hard to admit that the so-called Arab Spring has been from the start created by the West. Iran obviously will never admit it because she wants to redirect the Islamic element in that “awakening” toward its own goal. Arabs are too proud to admit it even though they begin to see the realities in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.

    Mohammadi writes,

    “reached a conclusion that the best way for preventing Arab Spring developments to serve Iran’s increasing power in the region was to turn the whole situation into a conflict between Shias and Sunnis…As a result, the political forces released by the Arab spring and Islamic revolutions in the region will spend much of their force on deepening Shia-Sunni rift in the region.”

    By reading this, one would think the US planning is kind of a day to day process. This is not correct. Deepening Shia-Sunni rift in the region dates well before the Arab Spring. The first visible signs were, as Don said, in Iraq with mosque bombings. This divide and conquer game is as old as history but unfortunately it still works. Iran showed admirable restraints in Sunni provocations in Iraq preferring the political way to gain the power which she did.

  195. Karl.. says:

    James Canning,

    You accusations gets weirder by the minute.

    Some of what you have recently said is the following..

    -There is a civil war in Syria and the reason why is Iran.
    -The attack on Iran by Iraq happend because of Iran.
    -Iran has no right to enrich above 5%.
    -US, UK, wanted good relations with Iran and its allies, Iran and it allies didnt.

    You seems to polish the behaviour of Israel, UK, US when it comes to their policy for the middle east.

    Sorry but your arguments are now nutty conspiracy theories, like a invisible hand of Iran is everywhere causing havoc, these arguments are totally flawed although Bolton, Indyk and Kagan would fully agree with you.

    People here speak out against warmonger and propaganda I havent managed to understand why you keep doing the opposite unless you actually warmonger yourself.


  196. M. Ali says:

    This is off-topic, but I somewhat dream of writing a huge paper that shows how majority of Iranian journalists outside Iran that write anti-Iranian papers are not trustworthy.


    I came across this recent article:

    I wont comment on the article itself, because its yet another moronic anti-Iran analysis that makes no sense.

    But the author is AFSHON OSTOVAR.

    I figured, oh, another Iranian that loves selling out his country. Lets see who he is. Googled him, and I realized that he is a staff at CNA.

    CNA? I wondered. Whats that?

    Well, googling more and CNA stands for Center for Naval Analyses.

    Wiki says, “CNA’s Center for Naval Analyses is a American federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps”

    How can it ever getting more clear than this? The government funds people to spout anti-Iranian “analysis” on all major papers.

    And also, yeah, remove pre-approve screening.

  197. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Fars and PressTV quoting Yemeni al-Fajr news website. Dawn in Pakistan also quoted al-Fajr. Haven’t seen anything else after these.

    Explosion Rocks Saudi Intelligence HQ, deputy intelligence chief Mishal al-Qarni killed.


  198. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    July 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Americans started this war.

    Let us see how they finish it.

  199. Castellio says:

    for FYI


  200. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Thank you Don Bacon for your excellent and highly informative post, which reminded me of the two weeks of elevator “maintenance” in the twin towers for two weeks in August of that fateful year. May they all burn in hell, except for their American passports which should survive the flames miraculously to show up their wretched provenance, like the passports of the hijackers (whose names were not on the passenger lists of AA and UA – minor detail) while the black boxes “incinerated”. Can there be anything more absurd? You can’t think this stuff up! Unless you happen to be a high-ranking Weasel in the Shadow Government.

    And thank you to Geronimo for cluing me into what Massoud “The Brown-Nosed One” Barzani is up to with regards to Syria. Good luck with that one, Massoud.

    And last but not least, thank you to Fior-san, researcher extraordinaire!


    The Gavner says: “…the very large mistake made by Iran when it needlessly frightened the Persian Gulf monarchies and almost certainly helped to cause the current effort to overthrow the gov’t of Syria.” Staggeringly delusional. But alas, I am not gobsmacked. The Spawns of Satan who run the world (your Bilderberger friends, Sahib) live in an even more delusional world.

  201. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Where did my post go?

  202. Fiorangela says:

    Geronimo says: July 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    from http almashriq dot hiof dot no/lebanon/300/320/327/notes/index dot html United States Intervention in Lebanon and the Middle East, 1945 – 1958, by Irene L. Gendzier

    “Given the economic ties between Syria and Lebanon, and the dependence of Lebanon’s pipeline on Syrian approval, the resistance of the Syrlan regime to TAPLINE’s concessionary offer became a major problem in Beirut. Syria signed an accord with TAPLINE on September 1, 1947, but parliamentary ratification was delayed for political and economic reasons. The regime was critical of U.S. policy in Palestine, and it wanted more favorable commercial terms from TAPLINE. But then U.S. oil executives were unwilling to bend on matters of profit, preferring instead to pressure President Quwwatly of Syria and Prime Minister Mardam indirectly through Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, as well as directly through TAPLINE’s officers.

    When in 1948 it appeared that the Syrian negotiations might fail, preparations for construction in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan ceased, only to continue exclusively in Saudi Arabia to assure the ARAMCO operation. In practice, the March 1949 military coup in Damascus solved the problem. Within two months, in the presence of William Owen, attorney with TAPLINE and ARAMCO and later TAPLINE’s general counsel, and William A. Campbell of TAPLINE, the concession was approved, leading to the completion of construction at the Sidon end.13”

  203. James Canning says:


    More foolishness from the US, in seeking destruction of a secular Arab government? Destroying the secular gov’t of Iraq should have been sufficient stupidity for one decade in the Middle East.

  204. James Canning says:


    I think it is a mistake to view events in Syria through the lens of the Second World War. Bashar al-Assad had opportunities to achieve normal relations with the UK and even the US, had he been more adroit, willing to accept the advice of Wafic Said, etc etc etc. There is very little Iran can do to stop the widening of civil war in Syria, which is something I obviously did not wish to see develop.

    You are reluctant to see the very large mistake made by Iran when it needlessly frightened the Persian Gulf monarchies and almost certainly helped to cause the current effort to overthrow the gov’t of Syria. What utility did a large stockpile of 20 percent uranium have, in this context? Answer: ZERO.

  205. James Canning says:


    Turkey is not going to allow the emergence of an independent Kurdistan. Full stop. Iran and Turkey have common interest on that score, obviously.

  206. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I think even at the height of the Battle of Britain, the late Adolf Hitler was interested in improving relations with Great Britain.

    We are, in my estimation, in an analogous period to the period of “Phony War” to be followed by the “Battle of Syria”.

    In the coming “Battle of Syria”, Israel, US, EU, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar will be working to destroy the Ba’ath state explicitly. That is, they are going to escalate to Israel attacking Syria.

    The Resistance Alliance will then counter-attack; Syria, Iran, and Lebanon will go to war while Iraq will be Neutral-Against-Axis-Powers.

    We shall see how this coming “hot” war will end.

    I think the US-EU war planning was to tie up Iran in the economic siege war, thinking that would occupy the Iranians and thus prevent them from helping Syria.

    That did not happen and in the absence of an alternative, the Axis states have to continue with their plans to the their ends.

    This is very similar to the situation in 1941 when UK was the only country fighting the Axis States, who controlled almost all of European production at their disposal to wage war against her.

  207. fyi says:

    Geronimo says: July 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Iranians have implicitly warned Mr. Barzani about his poor choice of friends and his helpfulness to their activities.

    The Iraqi Kurdish enclave has explicitly been named as a haven for anti-Iran activities by the Iranian media – on connection to the murder of the Iranian scientists.

    There very well could be retaliation by Iranians.

  208. Geronimo says:

    Missing from the above scenario is a key player! Mr Barzani, the Iraqi Kurdish leader, who controls thousand of kilometers rich in oil and gas and has recently signed major contracts with not only Exxon Mobil and Chevron but Turkish companies! And although we are in the 21st Century, transportation routes are still of utmost importance and the fastest cheapest transportation route for the large amount of oil and gas to be exported is though some little port in Syrian on the Mediterranean Sea! If everything had worked out as planned and the protesters/Free Army had delivered, the Assad regime should have been overthrown months ago!
    But no! The Ire-Nians had to get involved! And this is their speciality!
    What is at stake is far from Tehran’s investment in the Assad regime, but a much bigger picture that involves their allies In Bagdad, their enemies in Ankara! This is not just war to protect a buddy, this is war against the first steps of dismantling Iran and a potential Kurdish uprising to become an independent state!

  209. James Canning says:

    I think the notion of an “anti-West front” consisting of Russia and China, and Iran, are extremely unlikely. Russia and China want to keep unity among the P5+1.

    I continue to see Iran’s decision to commence enriching to 20 percent, and to stockpile such material in amounts clearly not needed for operation of the TRR,, as helping to convince Saudi Arabia and Qatar that Syria posed a threat (in event of more problems with Iran).

  210. James Canning says:


    Obama wished to improve relations with Syria, as did the UK, after Obama entered the White House.

  211. James Canning says:

    I am sorry to say that the value of this site has decreased markedly since the requirement for pre-approval of comments was introduced. A number of other posters on this site have noticed this too. The cure was and is much worse than the disease.

  212. James Canning says:

    I understand that the Libyan government recognised contracts made by the Gaddafi gov’t. A few Russian arms deals with Libya were at risk, but otherwise China and Russia did not suffer economic loss by the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

  213. Don Bacon says:

    Mohammadi writes, “. . .reached a conclusion that the best way for preventing Arab Spring developments to serve Iran’s increasing power in the region was to turn the whole situation into a conflict between Shias and Sunnis.”//

    The US has consistently used divide-and-conquer to advance its imperialistic foreign policy. This is how the U.S. prolonged the recent war on Iraq. The inter-sect conflict that started with the US invasion was greatly exacerbated by the destruction of the Shi’ite Askariya Mosque on February 22nd, 2006 in Samarra, a predominantly Sunni city. Iraq has not enjoyed inter-sect amity since.

    In February 2006 Samarra was under total US military control. The curfew in Samarra started at 8pm. On February 21st, at 8:30pm, according to a witness, joint forces of the Iraq National Guard and the American Army appeared, then left at 9, then reappeared at 11pm. At 6am on the morning of the 22nd the ING left the area, and at 6:30 the Americans left. The first explosion occurred at 6:40, the second at 6:45.am. Construction Minister Jassem Mohammed Jaafar, who toured Sammara and inspected the damage incurred to the shrine, said the placing of explosives inside the dome was meticulous and must have taken at least 12 hours.

    Later, US SecDef Robert Gates commented on Samarra.
    SEC. GATES: “Well, what I’m saying to you is, though, you had one strategy under way until attack on the Samarra mosque. After that and the development of the sectarian violence that was being stoked by extremists — this wasn’t spontaneous — there was a shift in strategy, and instead of sending troops home, the troops that were supposed to be sent home were kept — or the troop level was kept.”

    Footnote: The purpose of the “successful” 2007 surge in Iraq, at the cost of thousands of lives, was to provide security that would promote reconciliation in Iraq, between sects. Of course that didn’t work, as we now see.

  214. Fiorangela says:

    The Leveretts are showing admirable restraint in not posting an article titled, “We Told You So.”

    In 2005 Flynt Leverett published a book about Assad’s leadership. He discussed it here, on the day after Syria pulled out of Lebanon, in a forum introduced — “with pride” — by Martin Indyk at Brookings Saban that paired Leverett with Seymour Hersh.

    Foreign Affairs reviewed Dr. Leverett’s work on Syria and Assad here

    “Leverett, who tracked Syria as a U.S. government official from the late 1990s to 2002, tells the story largely in terms of U.S.-Syrian relations. He does not stint in relating how Syria has stymied U.S. goals (and often been maddeningly difficult in the process), but his reading of the record is that Washington now needs to offer Bashar’s regime a more coherent policy of “conditional engagement.”

    Flynt & Hillary Leverett have discussed Syria a number of times on RFI —


    Charlie Rose has interviewed Basher Assad several times:

    2006 http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/484

    2007 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8784648057807730825

    2010 http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11029

  215. ThickFaceBlackHeart says:

    At this moment i am not sure if Assad will survive or how far Russia & China will go in supporting the regime. What i am curios is how knowledgeable are the Syrian people in terms in geopolitics & local politics/event. Informed people make reasonable choices, so if i was against the regime, am i sure what i am getting in return? Compare Libya, where people rejoiced & yet don’t realize the beneficiary is someone else and not the people. Debt courtesy of IMF has already knocked on the door … soon they will be like the rest of African countries. What would happen if US backed guys take over? …

  216. PB says:

    I think the Leveretts forget to mention that Iran has been at this before. They forget to mention that Iran backed the Shia in Lebanon’s civil war despite Western and Israeli forces in that nation. And we know the results. Everyone is looking at this through the eyes of Libya, thinking Assad would fall. The more likely outcome is that Syria will plunge into a period of Lebanonization, and Tehran still figures it can come out of it on top as they have done before. Iran cannot afford to give up on Syria.

    Additionally, it is more likely that Lebanese people will rally against any spill over into their nation. Particularly, the Shia and Christians are allies there and form a majority of the population together. It may serve as a counterpunch to Salafi gains. This is probably why the Bulgaria excuse may be used to attack Southern Lebanon before there is any war on Iran by Israel. This is an attempt to soften “Lebanon” before the war in Syria gets redirected to that nation once an “Assad-fall” is complete.

  217. Pirouz says:

    Timely post, Leveretts.

    My fellow blog writer has characterized this author’s rendering of the Syrian crisis as “delusional” without citing any actual evidence. I’ve disagreed with him.

    The Syrian situation continues to unfold. (Remember when they used to say it was the same as Iran in ’09? Haven’t heard that in a while.) These things remain difficult to predict, but I’d hardy qualify Mohammadi’s observations as “delusional”.

  218. Fiorangela says:

    astute analysis. thank you.

    In his analysis of Syria’s situation, Aram Nerguizian of CSIS claimed, twice, that “Syria has no international support.”
    The first thing a politician needs to know is how to count. Nerguizian makes the same mistake that Larijani has pointed out to western interviewers such as Charlie Rose: the world is larger than the United States and Europe. The combined populations, resources, and intellectual capital of Russia, China, Iran, arguably Iraq outweigh the ‘axis of anti-evil.’


    Vijay Prashad of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, sees the main drivers of the campaign against Syria to be Saudi Arabia’s compulsion to maintain its monarchy, requiring countering of Iranian ambitions. Prashad considers Saudi & Qatari seeming alliance with Israel to be “not an alliance of final vision.”



    Russia’s UN delegate Vitaley Churkin maintains Russia’s stand on principle — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTQyCODgyjU&feature=player_embedded

    Having been burned in Libya, Russia has determined not to be “duped” again.

  219. Don Bacon says:


    “And so, “despite what may seem on the surface, the strategic equation of the region as a result of the ongoing developments in Syria has by no means changed to the detriment of Iran.”

    And if Iran suffers no detriment, then the U.S. and its allies do suffer from their collective failure.

    But I fear that the U.S. will take military action and suffer even more from a(nother) military failure. The U.S. is flailing about currently, and its default position is aggression. The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln is currently in the eastern Med. The pretense will be Syria’s WMD’s — chemical, this time. The media is abuzz with it.