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The Race for Iran

THE TRUE SIGNIFICANCE OF AHMADINEJAD’S LEBANON VISIT

Our friend and colleague, Alastair Crooke, founder and director of the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum, has written the following post about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon.  We heartily commend it to our readers’ attention. 

by Alastair Crooke

Firstly, let us put to one side the nonsense: The President of Iran’s visit was not about embedding Lebanon as a part of the Iranian state, nor was it about paving the way for any Hizbullah ‘take-over’ of Lebanon; and nor can the visit be described as a ‘provocation’. It was of course self-evidently intended to express defiance towards Israeli military hegemony and to assert a stand of counter-deterrence to any Israeli military threat, but that it is very different from an ‘act of provocation’ deliberately intended to draw an Israeli response.  All these claims for the purpose of the visit are just a part of the psychological warfare mounted against Iran, and can be ignored.

The visit was, in fact, a State visit. The Iranian President was formally invited by the Maronite Christian President of Lebanon some while ago. Iran is a prominent regional state, just as Turkey is – whose Prime Minister happens to be visiting Beirut today.

Iran’s popularity on the streets should not surprise anyone.  It is real, and it is heartfelt – and extends beyond the Shi’i of the south of Beirut.  Having been present here in Beirut throughout the war of 2006, I experienced the almost universal shock at how leaders and so-called ‘friends of Lebanon’ such as Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice tried to fend-off and delay a ceasefire – in order to allow Israel more time to ‘finish the job’, i.e. to destroy more bridges, more infrastructure and impose civilian casualties – as our ‘price’ to be paid for Hizbullah’s seizure of Israeli soldiers. Feelings here are still raw on this point, and all sectors of opinion know that the only real support for Lebanon in those dark hours came from Syria and Iran.  Unsurprisingly, there was a direct element of gratitude in expression to Iran in recent days both for the support then, and its subsequent economic assistance to repair the damage.

But this does not constitute the deeper significance of the welcome extended to the representative of Iran in Lebanon – Lebanon, the bellweather of the wider politics of the Middle East.  It goes beyond a belated ‘thank-you’.

In May this year, Zbig Brezezinski gave a brief talk at the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) in Montreal.  He told his audience that there were two factors shaping global politics in the world today. The first, he said was that “for the first time in all of human history, mankind is politically awakened and stirring”, adding that “all over the world people were aware of what was happening politically and are “consciously aware of global inequities, inequalities, lack of respect, and of exploitation”.

His second point was that the élites that rule us are less united and more diversified than before (he gave the transition of the G8 into the G20 as example); the élite is both less homogeneous and less restrained by adherence to traditional values and culture; the consequence of this is a more surveilled, and a more controlled society, Brzezinski has written.

On this latter point, Brzezinski is echoing the warnings of Michael Young’s (1958) ‘The Rise of the Meritocracy’ whereby a social revolution was shaping by ‘sieving people according to education’s narrow band of values’ and a new [élite] created, which – at least until recently – saw their position in society and their individual ‘lifestyles’ as validation of their ‘ability’ and ‘talent’; but who saw those who were excluded, merely as symptoms of others’ personal weakness, lacking and failure.

It scarcely needs adding that such a description is not confined to the élites of the West:  The ultra-rich, narcissitic and disdainful élites of the Middle East are as just as divorced from the rest of humanity, and just as exploitative and in love with themselves as any member of the Wall Street űberclass.

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Hassan Nasrallah quote Imam Ali (the son-in-law of The Prophet)’s dictum that Muslims should be the ‘friend of the oppressed; and enemies of the oppressor’, or speak of western ‘double-standards’, New York Times sophisticates may sneer at this talk as ‘all hat and no cattle’; but they simply miss the point.

Simplistic to some, perhaps – Islamist movements and Iranian leaders do harp continuously on just those global inequities, inequalities, lack of respect and of exploitation to which Brzezinski attributes the unprecedented political ‘awakening’. The tables are turned: as the values of ‘the market’ and the secular liberal world order appear increasingly hollow to those who see in it only privilege, disparity of wealth and self-enriching self-interest, the language of resistance and defiance of western political and business élites, who style themselves as ‘the international community’ of course resonates deeply in a Middle East that is ‘awakening politically’ and ‘stirring’.

This, it should be understood, is the underlying dynamic to the shift in the strategic balance of the Middle East and to the emergence of an ‘resistance axis’ to that very that very élite dominated ‘world order’ and its systems of control imposed upon societies. The élites fear this awakening; and are determined to ensure its failure.

In short Islam – particularly Shi’i Islam – is taking over the clothes of the European early Renaissance (before the Enlightenment); Islam stands, for many Muslims, for a humanism and a respect for justice, human dignity and defiance of tyranny that Europe once espoused.  Of course, few in the West will see it in these terms: they have been too busy creating an inverted mirror image of what they perceive still to be western ‘virtues’ – and call it Iranian ‘theocracy’.

The significance of President Ahmadinejad’s visit was the popular articulation of this awakening, and the profound struggle ahead that it portends – more than just a signal of gratitude to an Iranian President.

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115 Responses to “THE TRUE SIGNIFICANCE OF AHMADINEJAD’S LEBANON VISIT”

  1. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    You are entitled to your opinion.

    I would be curious to learn where in the international arena EU states have had any policy that was positive and contravened, strongly, US policies?

    Many Iranian leaders were delusional when it came to the relationship between US and EU. The events of the last 20 years, I hope, has disabused them of those illusions.

    I do not detect any indications of any profitable negogiations emanating from the Iranians. It is just not there.

  2. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think the people of Iran are fortunate that your views do not prevail in Iran’s foreign ministry.

  3. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    We will have to agree to disagree.

    There is no resolution possible – that is over and done with.

    The structure of sanctions of UNSC and the secondary sanction of US-EU Axis are permanent. They cannot be easily rolled back – even in the unlikely event of an Iranian surrender.

    And in fact, US planners, from all appearances are planning for more.

    I think that Mr. Khatami’s presidency and the Tehran Declaration clearly have demonstrated what EU is and is not capable of doing.

    EU, in my opinion, has demonstrated that is US-Lite; there to distribute band-aide once US bombs have stopped falling.

  4. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    I agree the repeal of Glass-Steagall was a huge blunder, but I doubt Clinton could have blocked it.

    As a general rule, Republicans favor spending (squandering) more taxayer money on “defence” than do Democrats. But the contractors have gamed the system to get bi-partisan support for useless weapons, etc etc etc.

    The hundreds of billions squandered on weapons each year (and unnecessary military bases, adventures, etc.) could fund many hundreds of mass-transit systems in US cities and cut considerbly the $1 billion spent daily on importing oil from abroad.
    The US economy would perform (and did perform) much better with considerably reduced “defence” spending – - as shown by the Clinton years. Other factors were in play as well.

  5. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    My understanding is that Obama’s team accept that there is a need for an intermediate step, in working out a resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran. I think there is a good chance of success, and I would suggest a lower level of hostility toward the EU is more likely to facilitate a resolution.

    My understanding is that most German business leaders do not like the latest round of sanctions against Iran, and the “add-ons” imposed after the UN resolution was passed.

  6. Castellio says:

    James: Yes, that’s a good point about the decrease of military funding during Clinton and the “strong economy” of that time. Consider, however, Clinton’s role in two bubbles, the high tech sector, and the housing sector, both helped along by the death of the Glass-Steagall Act…

    So, two thoughts: it would be nice to have an objective analysis of the economy during Clinton in relation to a decrease of defence spending and the economic reaction to it; it would be good to know how the military-security sector within the oligarchy reacted to Clinton, and how it moved to re-establish its bread lines. (Perhaps that’s why they want with Obama and not Hilary??)

  7. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    I think you are misunderstanding me.

    I really do not care about TRR refueling deal, whether it happens or not.

    My point is that the November meetins are just meetins for the sake of meetings – to keep the appearance of a diplomatic process alive. The US-EU Axis will be touting them as the first fruit of the new UN sanctions against Iran. The Iranians will be going there to present themselves as being ready for a deal.

    But, in fact, once again there is no deal to be made.

    This is my reading – the dialogue is kept alive for the appearance’s sake.

    The confronation has now escalated to an entirely new level; I wonder if the “Calibrated Sanctions” crowd have grasped yet what they have ushered in.

    That is all.

  8. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Fanatical Jews want to keep the West Bank (and the Golan Heights) permanently. And the Israel lobby, in general, sees Iran as the fly in the ointment, preventing the crushing of Palestinian resistance. This is the reason the illegal colonies of fanatical Jews, and property-buying or renting opportunists, in the West Bank, are a threat to the national security of the American people BECAUSE THEIR CAUSE IS ESPOUSED BY POWERFUL JEWISH FINANCIERS IN THE US. This is the “brain tumour” preventing the Obama administration from dealing successfully with Netanyahu.

  9. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Didn’t US “defence” spending drop by about a third during the Clinton administration, and economic growth was good and the dollar strong? American business can thrive in a non-war economy. The problem is more one of current vested interests (for endless war), protected to a large degree by the Israel lobby. This convergence is the primary problem.

  10. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Do I take it correctly that in fact you would like to see the TRR nuclear fuel exchange proceed? This seems the clearest way forward.

    Why was the $1 billion impounded by the UK in the first place? Has there been any change in the rationale?

  11. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    Ask the British Government why they are imponding that money.

    Your feelings are wrong.

  12. kooshy says:

    RSH

    “I was just watching Jesse Ventura today in a video interview declaring that he won’t vote for Republicans or Democrats, nor will he support a third independent party, because the system is so corrupt that any third party would have to be corrupt in order to compete.”

    I agree and I made exact same argument a few days back on this site.

  13. Castellio says:

    Here’s a quote from the article. It’s relevance to this discussion is immediate:

    “At some point, however, it became evident that counter-guerrilla tactics were not working. In a briefing of top officials, General Maxwell Taylor said: “The ability of the Viet-Cong continuously to rebuild their units and to make good their losses is one of the mysteries of this guerrilla war. . . . Not only do the Viet-Cong units have the recuperative power of the phoenix, but they have an amazing ability to maintain morale.”31 Taylor evidently did not consider anti-foreign nationalism much of an explanation. After 1964, U.S. strategy leaned more on force at a second level: the unprecedented bombing of both North and South Vietnam. Here there was considerable internal confusion and bickering about what bombing was supposed to accomplish—breaking Hanoi’s will? Destroying North Vietnam’s industrial capabilities? Improving morale in the South?—but no lack of enthusiasm for the task itself. Yet no amount of military firepower proved capable either of defeating or demoralizing the enemy, or uplifting the South Vietnamese military and civilian leadership.

    The U.S. response to clear indications that military measures of any kind and dimension were failing to produce victory speaks directly to the hegemony thesis. By 1965, the argument of some of Lyndon Johnson’s advisers for continuing the bombing strategy (now called “sustained reprisal”) had turned to “setting a higher price for the future upon all adventures of guerrilla warfare . . . ” Even though “the odds of success [by bombing] . . . may be somewhere between 25% and 75%,”bombing would at least make Hanoi’s plans more expensive.”

    It is precisely that consolidating sentiment: “we know it won’t work but at least it makes life hell for them” which concerns me so greatly. That, and yes, the US hasn’t a clue how to move away from a war economy… its where the big boys make the big money, a pittance of which buys the politicos.

  14. Castellio says:

    I imagine that everyone on this list visits from time to time the site of Japan Focus. In any case, I found the article below well worth reading and considering.

    The title: From Korea to Vietnam: The Origins and Mindset of Postwar U.S. Interventionism

    http://japanfocus.org/-Mel-Gurtov/3428

  15. Mr. Canning: “R S Hack that the claims regarding a supposed Iranian nuclear weapons programme are in fact an effort to distract attention from Israel/Palestine.”

    That’s not what I claim. It may be a factor somewhat on the Israeli side but not much. Israel really does want Iran taken out. And it’s not a factor on the US side at all in my view. The US stance on Iran has nothing to do with the Palestinian issue, it has to do with Israel Lobby pressure and MONEY for the military-industrial complex.

  16. Pirouz: “And those costs will affect other day-to-day items, such as food and drink. You don’t think an opposition party would capitalize on that?”

    Not if the opposition party and the incumbent party are both trying to start the war for more direct reasons like their sponsors are the military-industrial complex.

    Once again, you seem to think that, short of an insurrection, the population of the US is in a position to make any significant changes in the structure of Congress. I have news for you. Most of the members of Congress – that is, in excess of ninety percent, I have read – will retain their seats until they drop dead of old age. They absolutely have almost ZERO concern about being voted out. Sure, a few will be in every election. But in the end, the guys replacing them owe the same campaign contributors the original guys did. Net result: everyone votes in lockstep with the dominant powers in the country.

    This has not changed in decades and will not change for decades more, because the population of the US is brain dead ignorant of how corrupt the system is.

    I was just watching Jesse Ventura today in a video interview declaring that he won’t vote for Republicans or Democrats, nor will he support a third independent party, because the system is so corrupt that any third party would have to be corrupt in order to compete.

    This is the reality of the United States. The electorate has lost ANY control of the government. In fact, they can’t even be called “the electorate” any more because their votes are absolutely meaningless.

  17. K. Voorhees says:

    Castellio – yes, war(s) is a non-issue. I made a donation to Obama in 2008 (what was I thinking? Drinking the Kool-Ade.) and I still get emails. One recent was a poll of what was the most important issue to me. The war(s) was not on the list.

  18. K. Voorhees says:

    James Canning – “Bribery is a major factor in the overweening power of the Israel lobby to control US foreign policy.”

    No doubt there is actual physical fear – fear of being killed – as well. Remember, the anthax attacks have never been solved (the government pinned it on the fellow who killed himself despite other scientists saying the number of man hours to produce the stuff make it impossible). Remember whose offices got it: Leahy and Daschle, two Democrats. In the wake of 9/11 the civil liberties organization Center for Constitutional Rights received death threats. That wasn’t your garden variety nincompoop who listens to Rush Limbaugh, methinks.

    And then theres JFK.

  19. Faram says:

    Ohh, Chinese are breaking the rules of sanctions.

    “When sanctions were passed this summer at the UN, the US and the EU were concerned that Chinese companies would fill the vacuum left by Western companies pulling out of Iran.”

    www dot bbc dot co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11567740

  20. Castellio says:

    Pirouz_2: re your question on October 17th, 5.46

    “In a nationwide New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last month, 60 percent of Americans said that the economy or jobs were the most important problems facing the country. A mere 3 percent mentioned Afghanistan or the war.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/16/us/politics/16poll.html?hp

    It’s not that people support the war, its that its no longer thought of as important. The indifference has set in. It is thought of as “manageable”.

  21. James Canning says:

    Chaz Sanderson,

    I agree with you and R S Hack that the claims regarding a supposed Iranian nuclear weapons programme are in fact an effort to distract attention from Israel/Palestine.
    However, Israel will remain the leading offensive military power in the Middle East, even if it accepts the Saudi peace plan and gets out of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. To me, it seem most important to make sure another idiotic war in the Middle East is not caused by Israel (or by Israel’s foolish “supporters” in the US).

  22. James Canning says:

    Azeri Iranian,

    Bribery is a major factor in the overweening power of the Israel lobby to control US foreign policy. Or call it carrots and sticks. Obey the lobby, and receive rich rewards; anger the lobby, and look for another job (or another line of work altogether).

  23. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Do I get the sense you do not want the TRR nuclear fuel exchange to proceed?

    Remind me why the UK is impounding $1 billion that belongs to Iran.

  24. Azeri Iranian says:

    James Canning,

    I agree with most of your arguments. On your replies to my comments I’ll let you know if I have questions on any of them.

  25. Azeri Iranian says:

    Arnold Evans,

    Not only in the Awakening case, but in (numerous) other cases. You can use Google Search, if you are lucky you might find your answers. I remember Ramsey Clark in a Charlie Rose interview mentioning millions of dollars spent by US on Iraqi elections.

    If you are interested you can start with a sound analysis of the recent US briberies in Iraq by Roberto Gonzalez published in Z magazine. (www dot zcommunications dot org/bribing-the-tribes-by-roberto-j-gonz-lez )

    —-

    Bribery has been (and is) a MAJOR tool of the colonial powers (especially in Muslim countries) to achieve their hegemonic goals. I think in recent history of the Middle East MOST of the time such briberies have succeeded in producing ‘consequential’ results.(Scarcely the results have been superficial fading out in time).

    Based on the past Iranian records, I believe presently, despite enormous amount of such briberies in Iran, so far the obtained results have NOT been consequential and Iran is still defying the West and Israel. This is partly (or maybe mainly) because the severe pains inflicted by foreigners are so deep no entity dares to sell his/her country like the time of the Shah.

    I believe in Iraqi Awakening example the results were consequential (the Surge succeeded?!) but because the case of the Palestine is similar to Iran (the wounds are bone deep) pouring money to West Bank would not produce the outcome Israel (and US?) are hoping for.

    Nothing short of a complete independence is acceptable to great majority of Palestinians and distributing free sweets or Halvas in the West Bank is the manifestation of the idiocy of the racist Israelis (or EU and American followers of Israel).

  26. Alan says:

    Arnold – time will tell I suppose. It is startling to see the lack of influence the US has over anything in Iraq now. They’ve lost the place, apart from a bit of supposed leverage with the Kurds it seems. Until recently I thought the same as you, but I’m no longer so sure. It appears there is zero interest amongst the US public to stay in Iraq, and it has translated into very little political will either. They just appear as though they can’t get out fast enough.

    It’s not so flash for Iran either. ISCI have jumped ship in disgust over Maliki, and they were supposed to be their closest ally. They are still some way off forming a government, as they need the Kurds on board for that, as does Allawi. Anyway, everybody’s plans appear to be in tatters, so much so that Iran and the US are both now trying to make the best of a bad job, and actually now seem to want the same thing.

  27. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    I ask yet again, if UK is desirous of improvement with Iran, when would she release that small sum of $ 1 billion?

    Lady Ashton and others are desirous of good relations with a servant state – to paraphrase Mussolini. Their expectation is that the sanctions have “softened up” Iranians and the Iranians are ready for surrender.

    I do not believe that there is any deal on TRR or anything else to be had which Mr. Obama’s government might mishandle.

    The 2010 sanctions was the end of any positive diplomacy between US, EU, China, Russia and Iran on the nuclear front. The future belongs to a prolonged confrontation across the Middle East between US/EU Axis and the Resistance Alliance.

    This is finished and while US had no position to loose in Iran, EU is now at where US was in 1995 vis-a-vis trade with Iran. I expect by 2020, EU-Iran commercial relations to be about what US-Iran commercial relations are at the present time.

    I think all of these developments are excellent.

    Iranians had wanted to play in the big leagues and they are now and thus they have to prepare for the acceptable losses (and they are). EU states had wanted to chart an independent foreign policy and what happened is that they are now paying a very high political/diplomatic/commercial price for a dependent foreign policy that kowtows to that of US. And US has demonstrated that she can get some things done in the international arena and exposed the hollowness of all pretenders to global power: EU, Russia, China, India.

    Truly EU, followed by India, have been the big losers in this.

  28. To: Race for Iran – Thanks for posting this excellent article.

    To: Richard Stevens Hack – Couldn’t agree more – Potential Iranian nuclear weapons are not the issue – the real issue is continued Israeli hegemony in the Middle East – U.S. desires to control Middle Eastern Oil – and US domestic politics.

    To: K. Voorhees – Yes, I watch the TV show “Rubicon” and the season finale was a stunner – A false flag terrorist operation to provoke a war with Iran – Let’s see if the show gets renewed for a new season!

  29. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Bear in mind David Cameron and William Hague want to see an improvement in the UK’s relations with Iran, and with Hezbollah. I think they can see the US suffers from a “brain tumour” in matters related to Israel. Don’t miss the leader in the Financial Times today (Oct. 18th): “Unblocking the road to Palestine”.

    Lady Ashton clearly wants to move forward with diplomacy.

  30. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Are you saying the Obama administration will blunder yet again, and block the TRR nuclear fuel exchange?

  31. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    No progress will be made in November meeting.

    This is meeting for meeting’s sake.

  32. James Canning says:

    Nouri al-Maliki has praised Ahmadinejad for his recent visit to Lebanon. And Richard Holbrooke has conceded that stability in Afghanistan cannot be achieved without help from Iran.

    I agree with Alan and others that Hezbollah is not likely to attack Israel unless Israel attacks first. Nonetheless, a strong Hezbollah deters an insane Israeli attack on Iran, and in that way (among others) Hezbollah is working in the best interests of the entire Middle East.

  33. James Canning says:

    R S Hach,

    I long have viewed Muqtada al-Sadr as the friend of the American taxpayer because he has consistently demanded that all foreign military forces be removed from Iraq.

  34. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Abraham Foxman is an idiot. And is it not rather strange, now that the Jews are by far the richest “ethnic” group in America, that an entity supposedly devoted toward fair treatment of the Jews, has been perverted into an accomplice for Israeli militarism in the Middle East? Foxman attacks American Jews who oppose endless war in the Middle East funded by US taxpayers.

  35. Arnold Evans says:

    Alan:

    I agree that Hezbollah will not attack Israel except in response to an Israeli attack on Lebanon. I don’t know if Israel would attack Lebanon in connection with a US (or I guess Israeli) attack on Iran (that I am pretty sure will not happen for at the very least the rest of Obama’s term).

    I disagree that the US has any intention of evacuating Iraq by November 2011. The US suggestion that Allawi agree not to be Prime Minister but instead stay on as President with the additional power that it be he who decide on the US withdrawal was one of many clumsy attempts by the US to ensure it has some legal justification for staying.

    The thing about the US is that there is a strong cultural idea that as long as the parties are still arguing – until a judge has decided, neither side is wrong. This is combined with the US stance that it does not accept any outside body as an authority that could be “judge” or decide that the US is wrong.

    What this means is that around August 2011, since the CIA-asset Allawi will not be in a position to invite the US to stay, is that first unnamed and then Clinton and then Obama will present a doozy of a justification for why the US has the right to stay in Iraq regardless of what Maliki wants.

    It is going to be absurd – something like the US must leave when _both_ security conditions have improved (in the opinion of the US) and Iraq asks – which will effectively mean the US has a veto on ever leaving. It will be clearly contrary to the letter and spirit of the agreement the US already committed to. And the US won’t care.

    It will look a lot like Iran’s nuclear issue. There’s no justification for the US position that Iran must not have capabilities that Japan has, but so what?

    Anyway, the US is going to lose its current legal justification for maintaining troops in Iraq in November 2011, and that justification will not be renewed by the Iraqi political system. But that does not mean the US is leaving Iraq by that time. It means the US is going to concoct a new unilateral justification for remaining.

    If the US was to evacuate Iraq, which I’m nearly certain would not happen, and transfer or keep over 50,000 troops in Afghanistan, those troops would deter a US war with Iran nearly as effectively as they do in Iraq. I don’t think war with Iran is possible when there are 50,000 troops combined in Afghanistan and Iraq – regardless of what the allocation is between the two countries.

    An attack on Iran with substantial troops in neighboring countries has a lot of the downsides of a direct invasion of Iran. There are already boots on the ground within Iran’s extended reach. Putting troops on the ground actually on Iranian territory would be make things somewhat more difficult for the US but would not represent a drastically different scenario. And there rightfully is a strong US consensus that troops on the ground in Iran is out of the question.

    After the troops evacuate both Iraq and Afghanistan – if that’s 2015 or 2020 or, likely especially according to Robert Gates, never – then Iran’s primary deterrent will have to shift to its abilities harm the US and its allies in the Persian Gulf and the surrounding oil installations or possibly, depending on when it is, its nuclear potential.

    This changes if the situations in both Afghanistan and Iraq settle to the point that there is no credible possibility of Iran organizing or arming anti-US parties and making them substantially more effective than what the US is facing now.

  36. Alan says:

    Arnold: Is the US willing to do that? Or is the US willing to evacuate? Or if not, then the US is not willing to enter full hostilities with Iran – therefore not willing to covertly bomb Iranian territory.

    There is a strong body of opinion that the US is intending to evacuate Iraq, by November 2011 (something which has little to do with a deal between Maliki and Nasrallah, which occupies some of at least 3 breathless “exclusives” in the Guardian today). Like you, I doubt it means war is imminent then or after, but very, very few people in Iraq believe there will be any renewal of the Status of Forces Agreement. Some suggest it could even be the opposite, the beginning of a regional accord with Iran, but I can’t say I see that just yet either. I suspect neither has the power it wants in Iraq any more.

    Castellio – I’m not convinced that Hizballah will come out for Iran in the event Iran is attacked. I think Nasrallah is too smart for that. Hizballah may have a role as a deterrent for the war in the first place, but even there I seriously doubt military planners in Israel or the US would expect Hizballah to drag Lebanon into such a war. If Hizballah were attacked first, different rules apply (and certainly if Israel tried to reinvade south Lebanon), but Hizballah are Lebanese, first and foremost, and I believe will act only in the interests of Lebanon.

  37. Pirouz says:

    Well Richard, political elites will take things into consideration, such as electability. If the cost of fuel shoots up to $5 or $6 bucks a gallon as a result of war with Iran, and stays there, a lot of ordinary folks in the US are not going to be happy. And those costs will affect other day-to-day items, such as food and drink. You don’t think an opposition party would capitalize on that?

    So yeah, these kinds of factors are computed into a cost analysis of war with Iran, as a potential inhibitor.

  38. D. Harvey says:

    Powerful article.

  39. imho says:

    @Pirouz_2,

    First, thank you for your kind words. Let me answer your post on the other thread before commenting on this one and particularly on Brzezinski.

    You say: “Do these rights of minority also include the annulment of the result of an election that the minority has lost?”

    Of course not. Let me be clear about my opinion on the Green movement. It was not a genuine uprising, it was helped by westerners and I think AN actually won the election given the tissue of the current Iranian society. But again, what are we going to do with them ? put them all in prison or get them all out of Iran ? I also think that much of their supporters didn’t even agree with their leaders, if various slogans we heard were any proof. All kinds of people against the current system and particularly the social constraints jumped on the wagon just asking for a change on their social conditions. It just shows not everyone agrees with AN or the system be it a minority. And my point is the government must respect their wishes as long as these don’t disrupt the rule of the majority. Why ? because Iran doesn’t belong to any particular class be it the 99% majority.

    You said: “I have said this many times before, lastly to Humanist and Persian Gulf: Liberal democracy (or Burgeois democracy if you will) is not about the freedom of the anti-system opposition, it is about truly COMPETITIVE elections”
    I understand your point when comparing with the Shah’s system. Why not comparing with other nation’s democracy ? I think neither one represent competitive elections. In US you only have two big parties that when in power, follow mostly the same politic (specially the foreign policy). And in anywhere else, you know better than me that you don’t get elected if you’re not supported by big money. The Iranian election was not an exception. AN used extensively the government means for his campaign. And each time I hear the “supreme guide” has the last word on all affairs, I wonder what’s the point. The democracy you call Bourgeois is nothing but the rule of certain elites (no matter in west ,east, or Iran) disguised in what they invented as democracy, thanks to the power of the media and propaganda. In practice, nothing has changed from the Kings’ rules. They just changed their face to be more acceptable to the masses.

    You said: “What else are you going to call a small minority which gets an obsenely disproportionate share of the oil revenues, and then showing an extraordinary example of cheekiness, shamelessly tries to take away the right to vote from the working-class?”

    No matter what you call them. Don’t they exist today as they existed before ? I recently wrote to Voice of Tehran to tell him I am also outraged to see those fancy cars in the streets of Tehran.

    “ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of the 2009 elections was its underlying class-strugle related dynamic”

    I completely agree. Not only with the last elections but from the revolution. What happened ? Different classes still exist; the individuals behind them just changed their place. The old high class gave their place to a new one, people with different visages, different social background. Are they more tolerant than the old riches? I don’t think so. And what is the problem with the middle class ? a growing middle class shows the economy is on the right track. But if their number shrinks (as it is the trend in developed countries), they have the right to protest and I’d say the duty to protest, provided their rights to protest are guaranteed.

    The point I wanted to emphasize in my post was the fact that a nation includes many types of people with various belief and thinking. This diversity must be viewed as the wealth of the nation. And I feel very sorry when you suggest they can’t live together and this rosy picture exists nowhere. I’d argue that the opposite is rather true. You can’t eliminate classes. All you can do is to try to silence them which is wrong. Fortunately, this rosy picture exist everywhere, in all nations and I really hope it stays the same. Even in a family which is a pillar of a society, the parents have very different thinking and opinion than their children. Would you put your son out of the house because he thinks differently than you ? Why would be different in a society ? You should not even silence him otherwise he will find other ways to let his feelings out.

    I’d not like to live in a unicolor world where everyone thinks the same, wearing the same cloths, etc. Don’t let your real enemies divide you on your personal thinking, way of life and opinion. And this, my friend, should be our ultimate goal.

  40. kooshy says:

    Iran Brokers Behind-the-scenes Deal for Pro-Tehran Government in Iraq

    Exclusive: Fears over Iran’s influence after secret talks involving Syria, Hezbollah and the highest authorities in Shia Islam

    By Martin Chulov in Baghdad

    October 17, 2010 “The Guardian” — Iran has brokered a critical deal with its regional neighbours that could see a pro-Tehran government installed in Iraq, a move that would shift the fragile country sharply away from a sphere of western influence.

    The Guardian can reveal that the Islamic republic was instrumental in forming an alliance between Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki, who is vying for a second term as prime minister, and the country’s powerful radical Shia cleric leader, Moqtada al-Sadr.

    The deal – which involved Syria, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the highest authorities in Shia Islam – positions Maliki as a frontrunner to return as leader despite a seven-month stalemate between Iraq’s feuding political blocs.

    It also positions Iran as a potent buffer to US interests at a time when America is looking to change its relationship with Iraq from military overlords to civilian partners.

    Senior officials in Iraq have given the Guardian details of the behind-the-scenes Iranian campaign which began in earnest in early September.

    At the time the US had only just withdrawn its last dedicated combat units from Iraq but left behind a political vacuum with no government in place after March elections delivered a seemingly irrevocably split parliament.

    According to sources the Iranians saw their opportunity.

    “The Iranians were holding out until then,” said a key source about the timing of the Iranian move. “They were not going to give the Americans the satisfaction of leaving on a good note.”

    Within days of the withdrawal, Sadr, who lives in self-imposed exile in the Iranian city of Qom, was told by the Iranians to reconsider his position as a vehement opponent of Maliki. Sadr’s party in Iraq had won more than 10% of the 325 seats in play at the election making him a powerbroker in the formation of any new government.

    The push initially came from the spiritual head of the Sadrist movement, Ayatollah Kazem al-Haeri, who has been a godfather figure to the firebrand cleric for the past 15 years.

    “He couldn’t say no to him,” said the official. “Then the Iranians themselves got involved.”

    Days after the Iranian move, an Iraqi push followed. Throughout September Maliki sent his chief of staff to Qom along with a key leader in his Dawa party, Abdul Halim al-Zuhairi. They were, according to the Guardian’s source, joined by a senior figure in Lebanese Hezbollah’s politburo, Mohamed Kawtharani, as well as arch-US foe General Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Al-Quds Brigades, whose forces the US military blames for causing more than one quarter of its combat casualties in Iraq throughout almost eight years of war.

    In the following three weeks, Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, met Bashar al-Assad at Damascus airport on his way to deliver a speech at the United Nations in New York.

    The two-hour meeting was pivotal in changing Assad’s view of Maliki. Both presidents had not spoken for 15 months and had withdrawn their respective ambassadors after Maliki accused Assad of harbouring terrorists who destroyed four ministries in Baghdad in a devastating bombing campaign. In return, Assad visited Tehran the day after the Sadrist support for Maliki was announced. Two other Shia Islamic spiritual leaders, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Lebanese Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, are also believed to have endorsed the Sadrist move.

    It is understood that the full withdrawal of all US troops after a security agreement signed between Baghdad and Washington at the end of 2011 was also sought by Sheikh Nasrallah.

    “Maliki told them he will never extend, or renew [any bases] or give any facilities to the Americans or British after the end of next year,” a source said.

    The shape of the future security relationship between both countries is yet to be negotiated and the US is widely believed to be hoping to retain at least one military base in Iraq that it could use as a strategic asset in the region.

    US officials have strongly suggested they would scale back their involvement in Iraq if the Sadrists, who have been a key foe throughout the years of war, were to emerge as a significant player in any government.

    The revelations come amid sharp criticism of the US diplomatic role in Iraq since the election. The US at first heavily backed Maliki, then changed tack during the summer to demand a powersharing government that empowered rival secular candidate, Iyad Allawi, whose Iraqiya bloc won more votes than Maliki’s bloc.

    “American policy inside Iraq has facilitated this Iranian takeover,” said Allawi’s deputy, Osama al-Najaifi. “They are now pulling out of Iraq and it appears their behaviour early in the summer was almost to appease Iran. This will create a disaster in the region, not just for Iraq, but for their interests as well. We have gone from being under US occupation to Iranian occupation.”

    A senior Obama administration official said: “I would say Iraq is a sovereign government and we are not party to such discussions. With reference to the degree that Iraq’s neighbours seek to play a constructive role, that is something we welcome. I emphasise ‘constructive’. It is not about interaction with Iraq that matters but the quality of that interaction. If it is destructive, we condemn that.”

    On the 2011 December withdrawal date, the official said: “Any follow-up engagement with Iraq in relation to troops would be at the request of the government of Iraq. There are no plans to keep troops after December 2011. We are drawing down and all will be out of Iraq.”

    Although that is the official US line, unofficially Washington expected to retain a force in Iraq after December 2011, as well as bases to protect oil interests, to buttress the Iraqi government in the event of a destabilising uprising and to help contain Iran.

    Maliki will arrive in Tehran today for the talks with Ahmedinejad. He visited Syria late last week for a detente with Assad.

  41. Arnold: “Iran will have Iraqi Kurds firing on American bases and helicopters.”

    I think you meant Iraqi Shia – Kurds are Iran’s enemy and a US ally.

    As for whether the US would reinforce troops in Afghanistan, I think Iran has few enough allies in Afghanistan – and most of them are in the North, not Pashtuns – that the US wouldn’t worry about it much. The North wants the US to prop up Karzai because the Northern warlords are part of the Karzai government and they don’t want the Taliban to return. Also, they’re getting tons of money from the US.

    Also, as I’ve said before, if Obama really wants to get out of Afghanistan, attacking Iran is one great excuse.

    As for Iraq, reinforcing troops in Iraq to take on Iran would be precisely in the US interest, since it would re-assert US control of the government there. Notice how the US is now interfering once again in Iraqi internal politics by demanding that al Sadr not be part of the new coalition government. A sufficiently large increase in US troops in Iraq would enable the US to better protect the civilian US forces there – the US doesn’t want to see helicopters leaving the US Embassy there like Vietnam.

    The point is that IF the US wants to attack Iran for WHATEVER reasons, it will do what is necessary to do that. If that means dumping another half million troops in Iraq, that’s what it will do.

    Once again, your notion that the US elite will take such costs into consideration is just mistaken. There was NO (RATIONAL) REASON to attack Iraq with hundreds of thousands of troops – but the US did so. It did so for motivations that had nothing to do with preventing Saddam from having nuclear weapons. If the US wants to attack Iran, it will do so for reasons having nothing whatever to do with any so-called “nuclear weapons program”.

    Therefore your argument that the US will compare the cost of a war with the political benefit of “stopping Iran’s nuclear program” is totally wrong – because that simply isn’t the reason for the US pursuing the course it’s pursuing right now.

    And it’s not even Israel that is the reason. I would agree with you that the US would weigh the cost of a war over maintaining Israel as an ally. It might still attack Iran based solely on that calculation, but it would not expend as much resources doing so as it did in Iraq or as it is doing in Afghanistan.

    But that IS NOT the motivation here. The motivation here is MONEY. War costs money. Someone GETS PAID THAT MONEY. THAT is the cost benefit the elites are calculating, not some WMD red herring.

    All of you keep falling into the same thought trap over and over, thinking that Iran’s nuclear program is a real issue. IT’S NOT and never was, any more than “Iraq WMD’s” were a real issue to Bush and Cheney.

  42. Baabk says:

    Interesting article, but I don’t buy such “political awakening” theory against the inequalities in the world. At most it is a cause for parts of dysfunctional Middle East at most!

    i.e. The BRIC countries, and now Turkeys of the world as well, are happily beating the western secular liberals at their own game of market-driven economic meritocracy, and doing even better. So is this “awakening” phenomenon at most a thing for the middle east and the Muslim people in that region? And if so, is it really that significant globally?

    Besides, this “awakening” is certainly NOT happening in the rich Persian Gulf states, or amongst the post-revolutionary Iranian youth, or in Turkey, or Jordan. So even all of Middle East is not caught on…

  43. K. Voorhees says:

    Nice photo with the article. They really are throwing flowers. Remember that was the way US soldiers were supposed to have been greeted in Baghdad following the US invasion in 2003, per our neocon warmongers.

  44. K. Voorhees says:

    TV alert: Do any other posters follow the AMC show “Rubicon” about intelligence analysts? This doesn’t tell you anything about what happens to the characters so its not really a spoiler: The plot turns out to a US government/corporate rogue operation carrying out a large scale terrorist attack and planting false flag “evidence” that the perpetrator is Iran in order to provoke a military attack on Iran.

  45. pmr9 says:

    I try not to feed trolls, but the vulnerability of carriers to missile attack is a key factor in the likely outcome of a US-Iran war.

    Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi stated in 2007 that the Shahab missiles were being equipped with cluster warheads to destroy aircraft on carrier decks. For this an accuracy of a few hundred metres would probably be adequate, as submunitions would be dispersed over a wide area. Current estimates are that the CEP (accuracy) is about 200 m for the Shahab-3A and 50 m for the Shahab-3B which appears to have terminal guidance. Once the carrier battle group has been deprived of air cover, it can be attacked with sea-skimming missiles at stand-off range.

  46. James Canning says:

    It appears that the P5+1 meeting with Iran will be Nov. 15-18, probably in Vienna. Clearly there is an opening here for getting the TRR fuel exchange done.

  47. James Canning says:

    Pirouz_2,

    Clearly you are quite right, that the US attacked Afghanistan with a view toward overthrowing the Taliban, rooting out al-Qaeda, and then getting out (without keeping permanent military bases). I think any retention of permanent military bases in Afghanistan would be a mistake (for the US).

  48. James Canning says:

    Pirouz_2,

    The neocons who conspired to set up the insane Iraq War did in fact hope to create a stable ally of Israel. Norman Podhoretz said so, in Kirkland (Washington State) in 2008 (during McCain campaign for president). This clearly has failed.

    Notions of having a US puppet government in Kabul are also doomed to fail.

    One might ask why the US continues to pour scores of billions of dollars down the Iraq War rathole. Perhaps the object really is to attempt to protect the reputation of the fools who caused the US to invade Iraq in the first place.

  49. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Castellio:
    Re The military balance in ME, and the prospects of US attack on Iran in general and your message on October 16, 2010 at 4:45 pm in particular:

    First I would like to mention that there was a BIG difference between 1919 and 1956. From a point that Arabs were not very conscious to the effects of the Western domination we got to the point (Thanks to the GREAT MAN called Mosaddegh and his nationalization of the Iranian oil industries -by the way both Nasser and Arafat were huge admirers of Mosaddegh and took him as a role model) where an underdeveloped recent colony (ie. Egypt) HUMILIATINGLY defeated two major industrialized world powers (UK and France) combined with Israel.

    Second, Hezballah’s 2006 victory, is not some small thing with a significance “limitted” to defence against tanks incursion of Israel. It was a brilliant victory which could be best described by what Nasrallah himself said: “While there was a time that they measured their progress by 10′s of Kilometer per day they have been reduced to measuring it in less than a few meters per weeks (or was it days that he said?)” (I am paraphrasing him here). In the entire war of 34 days Israel was not capable of occupying ANY piece of land in Lebanon and its military personnel losses were fairly comparable to the military personnel loss of Hezballah (in fact maybe even more than that of Hezballah?). The most important issue here is that THERE WAS NO NATION OF MILITARY SIGNIFICANCE SUPPORTING HEZBALLAH.
    Most people miss this point, that if a war breaks out between USA and Iran there is a very good chance that its scenario and outcome will be more similar to the war of 2006 between Israel and Lebanon rather than the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!

    Third, I don’t think that the “main” US goal (when it started the Afghan war and the Iraq war) was to create military bases all over in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their main goal was -in my opinion- to do a regime change and take away an unfriendly regime and replace it with puppet governments, and I dont think that they have achieved that in either Iraq or in Afghanistan.

    Fourth, Lebanon fought for 18 years (1982-2000) until it defeated the occupation, so when it comes to the evaluation of the outcomes of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, be a bit patient.

    Fifth, you mention something regarding polls suggesting the indifference of the Americans towards the war in Afghanistan,can you point me to those poll results? I have heard of another poll (by CNN) which shows that the majority of Americans (58%) are against the war:

    news[DOT]antiwar[DOT]com/2009/09/15/cnn-poll-afghan-wars-popularity-continues-to-fall/

    And lastly you say:
    “When the American people see the welcome in Lebanon, they do not think (although I wish they would), “Ah! the principles of the renaissance have found a home in Lebanon”, they think, “My God! the Lebanese have joined the enemy! Look, the Israelis are right! They’re surrounded by enemies! Iran must be attacked soon.” ”

    Well, I once talked with Eric about this before too. I don’t think that it really matters all that much what Americans think of the war. Is it not important? Of course it is, but not as much as people think. For example did you know that at the time that Spain joined the US invasion of Iraq, majority of the Spaniards were against their country’s entering the war? And I think the majority of the British were against it too, but I am not too sure, there definitely was a VERY big opposition to UK joining the invasion forces against Iraq, so the idea of that war was really not that popular in UK (to say the least).

    At the end of the day, the most important determining factor to the US decision makers is their impression regarding the military balance and the possible outcome of a war (cost-benefit analysis) and not that much how the Americans feel about it. In the end of the day “IF” a military adventure ends up in victory with relatively minor human life costs to the US, people can always be manipulated through the “independent and free media” to support or at least be indifferent towards the originally unpoppular war.

  50. Nasser says:

    pmr9,

    “…and attacking US carriers at long range with ballistic missiles (to disable them as launch platforms if not to sink them).”

    - How exactly would they land their ballistic missiles onto carriers?! Dong Feng-21 has satellite guidance capabilities along with Maneuverable reentry vehicle warhead that should allow it to hit a moving vessel. Iran has nothing of this sort.

  51. Arnold Evans says:

    Azeri:

    In recent times the Palestinians people have suffered so much, their pains are truly heartrending. Since the wound in their psyche is very deep I have serious doubts they can be bribed similar to Iraqis.

    In what way do you think the Iraqis have been bribed? Are you talking about the Awakening movment?

    Egypt has been bribed, but not Egypt itself or its people, Egypt’s leadership has been bribed. The same has happened for Palestine except that any deal the US and Israel offer Abbas has, unlike in Egypt, to be approved in some form by the Palestinian people. I’m curious about what the US is going to try as far as that, but first Israel has to make an offer it is willing to sign.

    But the US effort to get its former CIA agent Allawi in power in Iraq, or at least to have a position of authority that could “ask” the US to continue its military presence seems to be floundering at best.

    I find it difficult to say Iraq has been bribed.

  52. Iranian says:

    Pictures of Ahmadinejad’s trip to Ardebil today (it’s a Turkish provence by the way):

    http://www.farsnews.com/imgrep.php?nn=8907251059

  53. kooshy says:

    Castilio- Bombing Iran it is not as easy as it sounds, if it was it should have taken place after the 04 elections up to about 07 when W was on his second term, Taliban was still regrouping, and Iraq was relatively new and still digestible.

    If US military was confident, that bombing Iran’s nuclear and military infrastructure will not result in Iran’s direct conventional military and non conventional proxy retaliation to regionally widen the war to new theaters, beyond Iraq and Afghanistan, as it was originally demanded by US politicians ( Cheney’s statement) which was publicly refuted by US military (Fallon resignation), and inelegance services (I suspect that was the reason for rush to publish the 2007 NIE to give cover to US military for refusing to take action), this politically demanded bombing(s) action (by Israeli backed US politicians) would had taken place a long time ago, but since Iran will surly (as stated by different Iranian military and non military officials numerously) will widen the war to existing and new theaters in the region to draw (force) the US forces to closer ground combat ( a traditional and historic defense posture of Iran, eventually that is what Iran also did with Iraq in first 2 years of that war) with the aim to prevent Iran projecting force to the region..

    US military currently has correctly concluded any kind of offensive bombing of Iran will eventually result to a widen long term ground war which US and its allies will not be able to sustain politically and financially and will result to a humiliating defeat and loosing the remaining standing of western strategic forces in the region. And will eventually force them to leave.

    One point of interest is that the US military is not willing to pay any price by widening the war for saving Israel, apparently they have limit for a price they are willing to pay and that is as long as US’s Israel policy will not break the back of US military and strategic balance of power in the region.

  54. irshad says:

    fyi,

    that picture of President Ahmedinejad in that link is rather disrepectful to say the least.

    Especially after they was caught tempering with a picture of President Mubarak in the White House during their recent media circus of peace talks between the Palestinians and the Isrealis!

  55. Iranian says:

    President Ahmadinejad went to Ardebil (the center of the provence of Ardebil) today and as usual huge crowds were there to greet him. The foolish Americans will probably say that he brought the crowds from Beirut!

  56. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    I seem to recall that the “white” population of South Africa was only about 10% of the total population, and that even including “honorary whites” (Asians) did not address the numerical imbalance sufficiently. This is the reason “white” rule in South Africa was doomed. It might be added that in 1820, in the Cape, whites and blacks were about even in numbers. Adverse demographics doomed “white” South Africa.

    The analogy with Israel/Palestine is interesting, in that foolish “supporters” of Israel are doing their best to create the sort of adverse demographics that could put the entire programme for a “Jewish” state into jeopardy.

  57. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Robert Gates truly is delusional, if he thinks American military forces can bring stability to Afghanistan. A tiny fraction of the spending on “war” could have done a very great deal to improve the Afghan economy by building infrastructure.

    And the US should pull all troops (including mercenaries) out of Iraq.

    Let’s remember Gates seriously is deficient in ability to understand historical forces. Even in late 1988, Gates thought the USSR would double its military forces in Afghanistan. I had known for years the Soviet Union was trying to leave.

  58. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Since fifty-seven Muslim countries have agreed to accept Israel within its June 1, 1967 borders, surely it makes more sense for the US to back the Saudi peace plan, than to pursue any other course. Where the Democrats have been fudging is to try to pretend Israel can keep much of the West Bank permanently, and still have peace. Not going to happen.

  59. James Canning says:

    Azeri Iranian,

    It indeed is clear that “supporters” of Israel, hoping to foster retention of much of the West Bank permanently, are pushing for the billions in US/EU aid delivered to the PA. I agree with you this aid will not succeed in subverting Palestinian nationalism.

  60. James Canning says:

    Azeri Iranian,

    If the Arab League proceeds with an effort to obtain UN recognition of an independent Palestine, with borders as existed June 1, 1967, it will offer an excellent forum for exploring what countries support a viable independent Palestine. And it will focus attention on the issue of how to achieve a withdrawal of all Israeli military and other security services. The foreign minister of Egypt is a strong proponent of the programme.

  61. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    It already is fairly well established that warmongering neocons conspired to provide false intelligence to the White House, to set up the idiotic invasion of Iraq. I think it makes better sense to focus on that issue, rather than to go off on a wild goose chase regarding the implausible contention certain circles in the US conspired to have the “9/11″ attacks go forward (to set up attack on the Taliban). Let’s remember that the Taliban very nearly expelled al-Qaeda in 1998. There was no “need” for a larger basis to pressure the Afghan government to expel al-Qaeda.

  62. Azeri Iranian says:

    James Canning

    On Arab League’s declaration of Independence :

    Based on what I know so far on the touching Palestinian issues, I am not optimistic (at least in the near future) on the establishment of a truly viable Palestinian state. The right-wing Israeli camp is exceedingly (maybe unimaginably) powerful in the West, UN etc and they are earnestly against such statehood.

    On US / EU spending in the West Bank:

    I think Israeli and colonial Western strategists believe they can buy the Palestinians with sweet chocolates. If so they are dead wrong. In recent times the Palestinians people have suffered so much, their pains are truly heartrending. Since the wound in their psyche is very deep I have serious doubts they can be bribed similar to Iraqis. That is why I think the bribing initiative will, in one way or another backfire.

  63. Arnold Evans says:

    FYI:

    Sorry about that. When I italicize something, I’m quoting someone else. I don’t think a financial motive will cause the US to attack Iran. Castelio says he worries about that, but he isn’t arguing that it is the case.

    I agree that the US has a creed of exceptionalism. The US does not make mistakes on purpose though. The US invaded Iraq both out a belief that whatever the US believes is universally true and also out of a belief that the cost would be relatively small.

    Obama certainly won’t admit and maybe cannot even conceive that his idea that there must be a Jewish state of Israel is not shared by a lot of reasonable people, including the majority of people in Israel’s region. Any more than the idea that there must be a politically white state of South Africa was disputed in Apartheid South Africa’s region by reasonable people and by the majority.

    He’s been exposed to the idea of legitimate opposition to Zionism, but has never publicly acknowledged it. Is he lying to us and also to himself or just to us? He and maybe people really close to him know the answer to that.

    So America is always right, even when it is easily, plainly and unarguably demonstrated that it is wrong. That does play into US propensity to impose wars, especially on the Middle East, because Americans don’t let themselves see that. I’m not sure that is Northern European protestantism at work more than plain nationalism though.

    But the United States is not going to knowingly have US soldiers die while accomplishing no strategic objective. It happened in Vietnam and in Iraq, but in both cases the US military was mistaken in its projections. Today, with the US military capable of projecting high costs of attacking Iran, the US would not repeat Iraq deliberately.

  64. fyi says:

    Castellio:

    Future would tell.

  65. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    You wrote:

    “In terms of the American rush to war, I trust Arnold’s judgment more than I trust my own. However, I fear (it is a fear) that the financial backers of Obama, those who brought him to the party, would have no objection to a bombing of Iran.”

    Finance Capital has nothing to do with any of this.

    You are searching for rational explanations.

    There are none.

    Here is my model explaining an aspect of the way human beings like to interact with one another: Men Like War.

    And here is my model of US:

    US polity, since the end of the US Civil War, has been dominated by Protestant Americans from US North.

    These people have a creed of US exceptionalism, among other ingredients that predisposes them to go abroad in search of enemies; some real and some imagined. This is a religious project akin to Islam’s militaristic outward expansion in the 7-th Century.

    The difference is that the American Creed is not a revealed Religion.

    And, as opposed to Christianity or Islam, you cannot convert to it and thus be left alone after conversion.

    In Southern Europe, people have lived with the memory of empires coming and empires going. Both their religion – Catholic & Orthodox Christianity – counsel against the idea of perfectibility of the world. In this they are similar to the rest of mankind.

    The Northern Europeans, on the other hand, never experienced the searing experience of complete and utter dissolution of the state around them. Above all else, they desire order and try to impose it. First they did that in the Northern tier of European states and then they extended that to North America.

    This is what often lies behind US Policies which are masquerading as geopolitics; in my opinion.

  66. Arnold Evans says:

    fyi:

    Your model is passe and does not fit the reality of human quest for power – you are trying to rationalize what cannot be rationalized; that men like war. Specially those men who think they can win.

    What do you mean by that? What statement of mine do you disagree with?

  67. fyi says:

    Goli:

    Yes, I agree.

    “Nowkar-e Mardom”.

  68. fyi says:

    Dan Cooper:

    US is also on her way out of Afghanistan.

    Neither country will maintain any strategic relationship with US.

  69. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    There are no financial or otherwise business margins for a US war against Iran.

    Your model is passe and does not fit the reality of human quest for power – you are trying to rationalize what cannot be rationalized; that men like war. Specially those men who think they can win.

  70. Arnold Evans says:

    Sorry, I mean overtly bomb Iranian territory.

  71. Arnold Evans says:

    In terms of the American rush to war, I trust Arnold’s judgment more than I trust my own. However, I fear (it is a fear) that the financial backers of Obama, those who brought him to the party, would have no objection to a bombing of Iran. It wouldn’t be sending in half a million troops Viet Nam style, it would be substantial air attacks on ‘military centres’ with the promise to repeat on ‘population centres’, should it be necessary due to the nature of Iran’s retaliation.

    Wow. I’m flattered beyond words by the first part.

    About Vietnam, my thinking, is that the US has 150,000 troops in the countries bordering Iran that are positioned and equipped for relatively light combat. As long as there are more than 50,000 troops there and Iran has the capacity to escalate the level of combat they would face, then once Iran makes the decision to maximally assist local elements in attacking US forces (which also means surface to air missiles that Iran manufactures) the US has to choose to either reinforce its troops or leave.

    The US troops in the region are not equipped or prepared to fight insurgencies fully backed by an industrial neighbor. If the US decides to reinforce the troops, then while not a full half million like Vietnam at first, that means a massive buildup in either or both countries.

    If the US decides to leave, well, that’s the question. Is preventing Iran from having a Japan-option worth leaving Iraq and Afghanistan for the US?

    Or maybe more accurately taking Goli’s point into account, are Israel’s supporters in the US political system both willing and able to predictably cause the US to be faced with the choices of either vastly increasing its troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the US casualties in both countries or evacuating both countries in exchange for preventing Iran from being nuclear capable (and probably not permanently at that).

    If I’m wrong, it is because the US is confident that it could prevent or contain an Iranian maximal effort to intensify the combat the US faces in Iran and Afghanistan. I can’t see how that is possible. Iran has a tremendous number of connections with people who would be motivated and could be paid to pick up arms in both countries.

    It is not just Sadr. Iran will have Iraqi Kurds firing on American bases and helicopters. Not all of them, but enough that securing US bases will require more troops than were in the country at the height of the Bush Iraq surge.

    Is the US willing to do that? Or is the US willing to evacuate? Or if not, then the US is not willing to enter full hostilities with Iran – therefore not willing to covertly bomb Iranian territory.

  72. pmr9 says:

    Castellio

    Like other commentators on this thread, I think you underestimate the difficulties that would face the US in attempting “substantial air attacks on ‘military centres’ with the promise to repeat on ‘population centres’”. While US commanders are unlikely to state publicly that an attack on Iran is militarily infeasible, you can be sure that they’ve worked through the logistics. The last two weeks have shown just how vulnerable are US forces in SW Asia: after refusing to apologize to Pakistan for killing three soldiers at a border post, the US was forced to apologize when Pakistan cut the US supply line through the Khyber pass.

    For an attack on Iran, it’s unlikely that the US would be able to use airbases in Gulf states, Iraq, Afghanistan or Turkey. Carriers in the Gulf would be extremely vulnerable to anti-ship missiles, so the only usable launch platforms would be carriers far out in the ocean, Diego Garcia, and submarines (with cruise missiles). The number of sorties per day that the US could mount wouldn’t come anywhere near what it was able to mount against Iraq in 1991 and 2003.

    Iran would also have many ways to retaliate: cutting supply lines to US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, attacking US warships in the Gulf with anti-ship missiles, and attacking US carriers at long range with ballistic missiles (to disable them as launch platforms if not to sink them).

    As a commentator on Iran Defense Forum has pointed out, once the US loses access to the Gulf, it has no way to regain it without an overland invasion, for which there is no staging post.

  73. Voice of Tehran says:

    A star is born :

    http://www.counterpunch.com/lamb10152010.html

    He came, he saw, he conquered. By Franklin Lamb:

    As he watched the Iranian President blow kisses to cleaning workers at Beirut’s airport during his departure for Iran early this morning, a Lebanese Christian historian commented “This Persian’s glory at the moment is arguably greater than Caesar’s following Rome’s second conquest of Britain”.

    And the Iranian president did indeed throw much more than a stone at US-Israel projects for Lebanon, perhaps energized by the adoring public he encountered.

    A grateful nation extended to Makmoud Ahmadinejad what one Bishop claimed was the greatest outpouring of popular support on the streets, all along this country’s sectarian divide, that the Republic of Lebanon has ever witnessed including the May 10, 1997 visit of Pope John Paul II.

    An important reason for the outpouring of popular support was the quarter century of Iranian assistance to Lebanon for social projects, and for rebuilding much of Lebanon following the 1993, 1996 and 2006 Israeli aggressions. Massive aid that was detailed by Hezbollah’s Secretary-General in a recent speech and the cost of which is estimated to be in excess of one billion dollars.

    Iran’s President is widely believed in the diplomatic community here to have promoted sectarian unity in Lebanon, calmed the current political atmosphere, and delivered on offers of more desperately needed economic projects via 17 bilateral agreements. A particularly appreciated offer throughout Lebanon is Iran’s major pledge of an electrical complex that will deliver 7 times Lebanon’s current power supply, which in 2010 still sees power cuts throughout Lebanon. The current deficiencies range from three hours to 12 hours daily power cuts everywhere in Lebanon plus total blackouts for days at a time in some areas. Iran’s President is widely believed to have achieved a major advancement for Lebanese stability, sovereignty, and independence.

    The throngs were cheering, waving, and shouting their admiration. Local media used descriptive words like “rock star, rapturous, massive affection,” to describe his reception.

    Wretched Palestinian refugees, tightly shoe horned into Lebanon’s squalid UN camps, denied even the most elementary civil rights by an apathetic international community and some of the local sects, could be seen along the route. Many with eyes moistened, perhaps by Nakba memories and tears of hope for the early liberation of their sacred Palestine and the full exercise of their internationally mandated and inalienable Right of Return to their homes.

    Refugees, plenty of them illegal, Iraqis, Afghans, Kurds and others, urging the expulsion of occupation forces from their countries and the restoration of their former lives waved and blew kisses. Lebanese domestic ‘guest/slave workers’ from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, Philippines, Bangladesh, and other countries could be seen in the crowds along with Syrian construction workers. Also a sprinkling of Stendhal “Le Rouge et le Noir” characters who, seeking secure advancement in life, have fixed themselves to one or the other, both requiring that they be seen publicly at such an important event.

    Close to 750,000 people, or approximately one quarter of the total population of Lebanon,) of all ages and stations in life, appeared at the main road from Beirut’s airport and at other events during an intense two day frenetic series of appearances. Red, green and yellow rose petals, the colors of Iran’s flag, greeted Lebanon’s guest. Due to time constraints, some events for which much preparation had been made were “postponed”, including an “American Town Hall Meeting with President Ahmadinejad. ” It was to include 15 Americans currently in Lebanon as academics, business people, students, housewives, and NGO’s, in a much anticipated US political campaign type format with Iran’s President joining an informal dialogue with his interlocutors
    ……

  74. Iranian@Iran says:

    As long as there is an alliance between the so called “progressive” left in the US and the right there is always the threat of war.

    Meanwhile:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2010/10/20101016133711604162.html

  75. Castellio says:

    Goli: Yes, I accept your larger thesis that the will (and well-being) of the American people is, at best, secondary to the considerations of elites in the US and Israel.

    I certainly hope that Iran of October 15, 2010 is not analagous with Egypt of, say, July 26th, 1956. I just point out that strategists are working to make it so.

    My other point is that the unity central to the speeches of both Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad is tested most specifically in war, not in peace. The Iranian-Lebanese Shi’a resistance will hold together, but perhaps not Syria, and almost certainly not Turkey… and we all know Saudi Arabia and Egypt will be on the other side. (I do wish Russia had delivered the S-300′s. What could they possibly have received in return for reneging on the deal?)

    Pirouz_2 mentioned the military situation in Afghanistan, but recent reports have a whopping 3% of the American population truly concerned with the war there. And the Secretary of Defense has said America “would never leave” Afghanistan. Until there are surface to air missile in Taliban hands, the war just doesn’t cause enough grief for serious reconsideration. (Hey, its football season!) And iraq, in the popular mind, is “over and almost succesful”.

    The American military is not actually withdrawing anywhere. The issue is who is going to pay for its presence and its aims. The ever obliging Japanese and South Koreans are beginning to pony up for their own occupations, and Pakistan and Iraq will (in due time) be asked to do the same. The Europeans and Canadians pay handsomely, pretending they received the invoice from NATO.

    So, if the Chinese are happy to see the reduction of the value of the dollar while still buying them… the party continues.

    In terms of the American rush to war, I trust Arnold’s judgment more than I trust my own. However, I fear (it is a fear) that the financial backers of Obama, those who brought him to the party, would have no objection to a bombing of Iran. It wouldn’t be sending in half a million troops Viet Nam style, it would be substantial air attacks on ‘military centres’ with the promise to repeat on ‘population centres’, should it be necessary due to the nature of Iran’s retaliation.

    A massive bombing would be presented to the American people as necessary, timely, virtuous, and restrained, and that “the choice is Iran’s if it wants more war”, and no-one could give that speech better than Obama.

    Forgive me these fears.

  76. Goli says:

    Arnold Evans,

    Even your most reliable and trusted servant doesn’t always do what you want exactly how you want it and when you want it. There is also the small matter of keeping up appearances. Still a lackey.

  77. Colin Campbell says:

    @Pirouz..
    you’re bang on about the Marx quote. It is quite possibly the most misonderstood common quotation in the Western World..All these young, hipster left wing nuts in my town keep repeating it without even a hint of irony. It makes me sad..

  78. Arnold Evans says:

    Goli:

    The United States as Israel’s lackey is an interesting concept. There are limits to the influence of Israeli influence on US policy. Israel certainly wanted Bush to attack Iran, and has wanted Obama to do the same. The US military overruled Israel’s supporters in both cases. So there are limits.

    On the other hand, the US would be having a much easier time now in Iraq and Afghanistan if Obama had chosen to de-escalate hostilities with Iran, for example by accepting the Brazil, Iran, Turkey proposal. Obama’s choice to move in the opposite direction was made for the sake of Israel.

    The United States is not willing to jump off of a bridge for Israel. The US will not predictably enter a Vietnam-like conflict for the sake of Israel. But the US will allow itself to give up a tremendous amount of resources slowly for the sake of Israel.

    The US would be significantly more wealthy and powerful today if not for its historical support for Israel, and the US domestic political system forces it to bear this burden to a degree. But lackey may be too strong a word to describe the US in relation to Israel.

    On the other hand, the US is willing to sacrifice a lot more for Israel’s sake than Israel would sacrifice for the US’ sake. Israel will not even make a temporary adjustment to its settlement program and humiliated the US for make such a demand publicly.

    The US is not going to broaden its already unpopular and unproductive conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan for Israel’s sake by attacking Iran. But the US will continue to expend resources on Israel for as long as it has resources to expend.

    Iran seems to predict that the US will eventually just run out of gas – reach a point that it can’t afford to keep propping Israel up, despite its inability to make a political decision to do so. Even if doing so would be in its interests.

    Interestingly, Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton have all recently noted that regional trends are making Israel more difficult and expensive to prop up and warn themselves that the US may reach its limit.

    Here’s Hillary Clinton speaking to Aipac.

    And there is, I think, a belief among many that the status quo can be sustained. But the dynamics of demography, ideology, and technology make this impossible.

    First, we cannot ignore the long-term population trends that result from the Israeli occupation. …

    Second, we cannot be blind to the political implications of continued conflict. …

    And then finally, we must recognize that the ever-evolving technology of war is making it harder to guarantee Israel’s security. …

    So I guess we’ll see how long the US can continue in its slow drain of resources for Israel.

  79. Castellio says:

    Thanks, RSH, for the translations.

    Does anyone have a cogent reason for why Imam Moussa al-Sadr was abducted?

  80. Dan Cooper says:

    Does anyone remember the “cakewalk war” that would last six weeks, cost $50-$60 billion, and be paid for out of Iraqi oil revenues?

    Does anyone remember that White House economist Lawrence Lindsey was fired by Dubya because Lindsey estimated that the Iraq war could cost as much as $200 billion?

    Lindsey was fired for over-estimating the cost of a war that, according to Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, has cost 15 times more than Lindsey estimated. And the US still has 50,000 troops in Iraq.

    Does anyone remember that just prior to the US invasion of Iraq, the US government declared victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan?

    Does anyone remember that the reason Dubya gave for invading Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, weapons that the US government knew did not exist?

    Are Americans aware that the same neoconservarives who made these fantastic mistakes, or told these fabulous lies, are still in control of the government in Washington?

    The “war on terror” is now in its tenth year. What is it really all about?

    The bottom line answer is that the “war on terror” is about creating real terrorists. The US government desperately needs real terrorists in order to justify its expansion of its wars against Muslim countries and to keep the American people sufficiently fearful that they continue to accept the police state that provides “security from terrorists,” but not from the government that has discarded civil liberties.

    The US government creates terrorists by invading Muslim countries, wrecking infrastructure and killing vast numbers of civilians. The US also creates terrorists by installing puppet governments to rule over Muslims and by using the puppet governments to murder and persecute citizens as is occurring on a vast scale in Pakistan today.

    Neoconservatives used 9/11 to launch their plan for US world hegemony. Their plan fit with the interests of America’s ruling oligarchies. Wars are good for the profits of the military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned us in vain a half century ago. American hegemony is good for the oil industry’s control over resources and resource flows. The transformation of the Middle East into a vast American puppet state serves well the Israel Lobby’s Zionist aspirations for Israeli territorial expansion.

    Most Americans cannot see what is happening because of their conditioning. Most Americans believe that their government is the best on earth, that it is morally motivated to help others and to do good, that it rushes aid to countries where there is famine and natural catastrophes. Most believe that their presidents tell the truth, except about their sexual affairs.

    The persistence of these delusions is extraordinary in the face of daily headlines that report US government bullying of, and interference with, virtually every country on earth. The US policy is to buy off, overthrow, or make war on leaders of other countries who represent their peoples’ interests instead of American interests. A recent victim was the president of Honduras who had the wild idea that the Honduran government should serve the Honduran people.

    The American government was able to have the Honduran president discarded, because the Honduran military is trained and supplied by the US military. It is the same case in Pakistan, where the US government has the Pakistani government making war on its own people by invading tribal areas that the Americans consider to be friendly to the Taliban, al Qaeda, “militants” and “terrorists.”

    Earlier this year a deputy US Treasury secretary ordered Pakistan to raise taxes so that the Pakistani government could more effectively make war on its own citizens for the Americans. On October 14 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered Pakistan to again raise taxes or the US would withhold flood aid. Clinton pressured America’s European puppet states to do the same, expressing in the same breath that the US government was worried by British cuts in the military budget. God forbid that the hard-pressed British, still reeling from American financial fraud, don’t allocate enough money to fight America’s wars.

    On Washington’s orders, the Pakistani government launched a military offensive against Pakistani citizens in the Swat Valley that killed large numbers of Pakistanis and drove millions of civilians from their homes. Last July the US instructed Pakistan to send its troops against the Pakistani residents of North Waziristan. On July 6 Jason Ditz reported on antiwar.com that “at America’s behest, Pakistan has launched offensives against [the Pakistani provinces of] Swat Valley, Bajaur, South Waziristan, Orakzai,and Khyber.”

    A week later Israel’s US Senator Carl Levin (D,MI) called for escalating the Obama Administration’s policies of US airstrikes against Pakistan’s tribal areas. On September 30, the Pakistani newspaper, The Frontier Post, wrote that the American air strikes “are, plain and simple, a naked aggression against Pakistan.”

    The US claims that its forces in Afghanistan have the right to cross into Pakistan in pursuit of “militants.” Recently US helicopter gunships killed three Pakistani soldiers who they mistook for Taliban. Pakistan closed the main US supply route to Afghanistan until the Americans apologized.

    Pakistan warned Washington against future attacks. However, US military officials, under pressure from Obama to show progress in the endless Afghan war, responded to Pakistan’s warning by calling for expanding the Afghan war into Pakistan. On October 5 the Canadian journalist Eric Margolis wrote that “the US edges closer to invading Pakistan.”

    In his book, Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward reports that America’s puppet president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, believes that terrorist bombing attacks inside Pakistan for which the Taliban are blamed are in fact CIA operations designed to destabilize Pakistan and allow Washington to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

    To keep Pakistan in line, the US government changed its position that the “Times Square Bombing” was the work of a “lone wolf.” Attorney General Eric Holder switched the blame to the “Pakistani Taliban,” and Secretary of State Clinton threatened Pakistan with “very serious consequences” for the unsuccessful Times Square bombing, which likely was a false flag operation aimed at Pakistan.

    To further heighten tensions, on September 1 the eight members of a high-ranking Pakistani military delegation in route to a meeting in Tampa, Florida, with US Central Command, were rudely treated and detained as terrorist suspects at Washington DC’s Dulles Airport.

    For decades the US government has enabled repeated Israeli military aggression against Lebanon and now appears to be getting into gear for another Israeli assault on the former American protectorate of Lebanon. On October 14 the US government expressed its “outrage” that the Lebanese government had permitted a visit by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who is the focus of Washington’s intense demonization efforts. Israel’s representatives in the US Congress threatened to stop US military aid to Lebanon, forgetting that US Rep. Howard Berman (D,CA) has had aid to Lebanon blocked since last August to punish Lebanon for a border clash with Israel.

    Perhaps the most telling headline of all is the October 14 report, “Somalia’s New American Primer Minister.” An American has been installed as the Prime Minister of Somalia, an American puppet government in Mogadishu backed up by thousands of Ugandan troops paid by Washington.

    This barely scratches the surface of Washington’s benevolence toward other countries and respect for their rights, borders, and lives of their citizens.

    Meanwhile, to silence Wikileaks and to prevent any more revelations of American war crimes, the “freedom and democracy” government in DC has closed down Wikileaks’ donations by placing the organization on its “watch list” and by having the Australian puppet government blacklist Wikileaks.

    Wikileaks is now akin to a terrorist organization. The American government’s practice of silencing critics will spread across the Internet.

    Remember, they hate us because we have freedom and democracy, First Amendment rights, habeas corpus, respect for human rights, and show justice and mercy to all.

    The War On Terror

    By Paul Craig Roberts

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26610.htm

  81. Arnold Evans says:

    RSH, thanks a lot for that link.

  82. Goli says:

    Castellio,

    Whether or not Egypt then is a good analogy for Iran today, in the final analysis, you are right. If Israel and its lackey the United States were to launch an illegal war against Iran, they could, and no measure of political awaking or Iranian strength as is today, can stop them, at least not in the short run. Whether that is a smart move for the US and even Israel is a different story.

    Rest assured, however, the decision to go to war with Iran is not contingent upon whether Ahmadinejad visits Lebanon (“the provocation”) or the perception of the American public on what his warm reception by the Lebanese means to Israel. We saw first-hand in the days leading up to the attack on Iraq how quickly evidence was fabricated to justify an illegal preemptive war. In a matter of days, voluminous dossiers were compiled, articles revealing NIEs by veteran journalist popped up in liberal newspapers with access to high-level intelligence sources, ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam were uncovered, ME experts filled the airways warning the public of the dangers of Iraq’s WMDs, and an affable and trustworthy African American man “persuasively” presented the world with satellite photos of what he claimed (backed by IAEA inspectors) were of sites built to develop nuclear arms presenting an imminent threat to the United States. The American public believed this; the American public does not constitute a serious concern for the American-Israeli elites and is the least important part of the equation.

  83. The below speech tranlation was from the Now Lebanon Web site news page:

    www dot nowlebanon dot com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=208406

  84. Full text of Hasan Nasrallah and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses at Al-Raya Stadium.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport on Wednesday morning for an official two-day visit. Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a welcoming speech in the evening at Al-Raya Stadium in Dahiyeh followed by an address by Ahmadinejad.

    Nasrallah:

    “I direct this brief word on behalf of you all to welcome Lebanon’s great and dear guest. Your Excellency the president, I welcome you in the name of the leaders and members of the Amal Movement and Hezbollah, in the name of all the departed Imam Moussa al-Sadr’s children, in the name of those who love the sacred Imam al-Khomeini, in the name of the secretaries general and members of the Lebanese parties present among us, who have welcomed this visit. I welcome you in the name of the victorious holy fighters, in the name of the men, women, and children – in the name of these people that resisted and fought in the [2006] July War and achieved a miraculous victory. I welcome you in the name of the most honorable and purest of people.

    I bear witness as one of those who have an old relationship with the decision-makers in Iran. I say honestly and without flattery that what Iran wants in Palestine is that which the Palestinians want [themselves]: That the Islamic and Christian holy places return, that the land return from the sea to the river, and that these oppressed people live in their [own] state on independent land liberated by blood. This is Palestine’s project, and Iran’s project for Palestine. This is the project of Imam al-Khomeini and the decision of Imam al-Khamenei. This president’s guilt is that he expresses this with transparency and honesty, in the UN and wherever he goes. The West has set itself against him because he says that Israel is an illegitimate state and must disappear.

    I want to bear testament before God and on your behalf because it is a duty upon my shoulders toward the Iranian leadership. There are those in Lebanon, Palestine, and our Arab region who speak about an Iranian project. They speak about an Iranian project for Palestine, Lebanon, and the region. They make assumptions about the appearance and content of this project from a negative position, and they work to make governments and peoples afraid of it.

    In Lebanon Iran wants what the Lebanese people want: That it be an independent and sovereign people, present in the regional balance. There is no other Iranian project.

    In my [position of] responsibility in Hezbollah, I bear witness before you that Iran, which has always supported us and still does, has never demanded of me that I take a [particular] stance. It has never issued a command and never expected thanks from us, although we take pride in our deep faith in the guardianship of the just, wise, and courageous jurisprudent.

    Iran has no special project. Its project in Lebanon is that of the Lebanese, and likewise in Palestine and the Arab region. What Iran is doing in our region is its divine duty and is harmonious with our creed and religion.

    There are those who continually spread [the idea] that Iran is a source of strife and strives to tear apart the ranks. Here we must testify that the Iranian Islamic Republic is one of the greatest guarantees for an end to wars and the support of the peoples in our Islamic world today.

    When the American pastor said a while ago that he was going to burn the Quran, Imam al-Khamenei issued a historic statement [in which] he warned the Muslims and Christians that there are those who wish to incite [strife] among them. [Khamenei] said that it is impermissible for us to commit similar acts against Christian sacred [objects], and thereby dealt strife a heavy blow.

    Some weeks ago, when a Shia unknown to the Shias gave a speech in London insulting [the Prophet’s wife] Aisha and some of the Prophet’s companions, and some of the strife-sowing Arab satellite channels broadcast this speech, Imam al-Khamenei issued [a statement] saying that this [kind of speech] about the Prophet’s wives is forbidden, and thereby dealt strife a heavy blow.

    The conclusion that Iran affirms is that if a Muslim errs, all Muslims are not held accountable, and if a Christian or Sunni errs, [neither] are the Christians or Sunnis all held accountable. So why do we run so quickly toward the strife that America wants?

    Iran is a guarantee for unity, Resistance, and the oppressed, from [its] stance of wisdom, responsibility, and historical [consciousness].

    This [Iranian] republic in its leadership, people, and government is a grace from God for you. Take advantage of it and thank God for it. Do not listen to the Satans America and Israel, from whom we only see war and destruction.

    The final word is a word of thanks to Iran. Your Excellency the president, we thank you for your visit and your love. We thank you for your courage and wisdom, for your tremendous humility and your service to your people and the affairs of our [Islamic] community. We thank you for your support amid all difficulties. You do not ask for thanks, [but] we thank you for your presence on the land of the Dahiyeh, on the land of Resistance and steadfastness.”

    Ahmadinejad:

    “I thank God Most High and Exalted and I praise Him unceasingly for blessing me with this visit with you, dear Lebanese people. Lebanon is the cradle of the worshippers and the free, a green oasis flourishing with flowers from which emanates the perfume of varied religions, sects, and denominations.

    Lebanon is the school of Resistance and perseverance against the tyrants of this world. It is the streaming banner of glory and independence, and the brilliant pearl at the edge of this region.

    The [Lebanese] people’s purity of thought, transcendence of spirit, and purity of soul matches the beauty of its home, and has grown into a fabric without equal.

    Dear ones, visiting lofty Lebanon and meeting its fine people and their officials is for me a pure and beautiful vision.

    I come from the land of Imam al-Khomeini, may God be pleased with him, carrying the finest salutations and the love of the Iranian people and their guiding leadership, dear and beloved ones.

    May the peace and blessings of God most Mighty and Exalted be upon the Lebanese people and all its varied religions and sects.

    May the peace and blessings of God most Mighty and Exalted be upon [Lebanon’s] religious scholars, cultural figures, and innnovators, and especially the Lebanese youth that has defended and continually defends Lebanon and its independence.

    Dear ones, our world stands today on the threshold of a great change which began to take shape in our very own region.

    You know well and the arrogant dominators have made use of material force, distortion, and violence for dozens – nay, for hundreds – of years in order to establish their control. They made of our region a platform for their subjugation of the entire world.

    These [arrogant ones] did not stop at any limit, and they were not satisfied with anything less than bending the region to their will.

    While they placed others in the position of debtor, they placed themselves in the position of accountant and creditor. Peoples’ souls, resources, capacities, dignity, and cultures – especially with our peoples – did not enjoy any sanctity before these [arrogant ones].

    From the perspective of these [arrogant ones], the Muslim, Christian, and Jew, and every true monotheist calling for justice is considered equally and is looked upon as an enemy.

    Their materialist ideas themselves contradict the divinely-given instinct that lifts humans toward the truth, exactly as ignorance and darkness contradict the light.

    The truth is that the former colonialists and enslavers, after they met with bitter defeat, tried to change their skin and color their slogans. However, the objectives remain as they were.

    Whereas justice, liberty, and care for the rights of others are captive in the hearts of the peoples, these [arrogant ones] clothed their immoral behavior in lustrous garments. Here I want to mention that first, through a pre-meditated plan, without regard for the region’s peoples and under the pretext of compensating for the losses of the world war, they occupied Palestine by force. They killed thousands and made millions homeless. They created a constant and continual threat to all the peoples and states of the world. Wherever they wanted hegemony they unleashed the indiscriminate and profligate force of this entity.

    Look carefully. Do you find anything in Zionism’s record besides crimes? You see yourselves the murder of men, women and children in Palestine, the use of banned weapons and open assassinations. [You see yourselves] attacks on civilians and aid convoys in international waters, and war crimes in Lebanon and Palestine. All these ugly acts have become normal affairs and the daily bread of these people.

    The Zionist entity is documentation expressing the insidiousness of the capitalist system and materialist ideas and embodying them. The obvious evidence for this is the consensus of the arrogant states in presenting absolute support to [it]. All these states consider this state to be an agent of their unity and a tool for their control over the world. Therefore they supplied it with nuclear weapons.

    The protectors of this entity have delighted in insulting [God], the Prophets, and the holy places. As for resistance to aggressions and standing against the imposition of the Zionist enemy, this is an unforgivable crime in their opinion.

    As for the grass in another place, the people in the West are offended by the idea of Zionism. If not for pressure and constraint, they would have expressed their opinion. Through divine generosity and the steadfastness of the region’s peoples, human waves have appeared against this aggressive entity through this world. These are worshipers of God who have united around faith in Him.

    Secondly, [the arrogant ones’ crimes include] creating divisions in our region. In Lebanon, we find that the sinful hand of treachery has reached a dear friend and a personality zealous for its nation. Then we see how news is fabricated to direct accusations at the remaining friends in an effort to reach worthless aims by sowing seeds of division.

    They want to divide peoples composed of varied religions and sects that have lived together in love. They want to harm brotherly relations among peoples, such as the relationship between the Lebanese and Syrian peoples.

    My dear ones, look! Whenever the enemies occupy a country or conquer a people, they play the strings of sectarian sensitivity and denominational tension.

    Creating division is the open style used by the regimes of hegemony. The enemies did not and do not want the people of this region to be united, independent, and developed. However, thanks to the peoples’ consciousness, these enemies’ divisive plans have been exposed. The region’s peoples know well that the symbol of might is unity. They are completely aware of the essence of the dividers and will cause the enemies to miss the mark.

    Thirdly, they found in the painful September 11 a pretext to conquer Palestine, then they conquered Iraq with other excuses. They murdered and made homeless hundreds of thousands of people, and destroyed all the infrastructure.

    When we look at the dimensions of what the occupiers have done in Afghanistan, Iraq, and recently in Pakistan, we realize well that their goal is not to discover who executed the September 11 events. Rather, these events were merely a pretext for presence in the region and pursuing colonial goals. Knowing the truth of what happened on September 11 and examining the black box [of the airplanes] for this purpose is the solution to many problems.

    From here, I announce that the formation of an independent and neutral team to examine the facts and discover the truth of the September 11 events is the demand of all the peoples of the region and the world.

    Let the American politicians and their allies note that relying on this matter forms a suitable exit for them as well, and every kind of opposition to this humanitarian demand makes clear that these events were executed through premeditated planning for the sake of expansionist goals.

    I advise that the best exit for the occupiers of Afghanistan and Iraq is to leave the region, apologize to [its] peoples, and compensate for losses.

    If they do not pay heed to this advice, the hand of these peoples will expel them from the region in a humiliating way and will place the criminals in the grip of justice.

    Fourthly, there are free people from Palestine and all the other peoples who have been kidnapped in a cowardly way and yet we do not hear a voice raised in their defense. There are believing women and courageous youth whose wives and fathers the agents of Zionism kidnapped during their occupation of Lebanon. Hussein Moussawi and other Iranian diplomats are individuals of knowledge and love for humanity, truly committed to security and peace. They were present in Lebanon legally and are today illegally prisoners of the Zionist entity.

    Based on confirmed documents and information, these diplomats are still alive and are prisoners in the sinful hand of the Zionist entity. The Zionist entity is responsible for their safety and most permit the delegates of the Red Cross to meet them as soon as possible and prepare for their exit along with all of the detainees.

    Fifthly, the economic crisis, atmospheric pollution, and climate change. These factors cause poverty, backwardness, and many other problems for many peoples. They are also one of the results of the system of capitalism, which only aims to maximize profits without paying attention to moral values.

    We would need hours to present a list of the destructive steps of the capitalist regime, but the facts are today plainly visible to people’s eyes.

    This right which in 1982 occupied vast swathes of Lebanon until it reached Beirut in three stages, especially during the [2006] July [war], met with a bitter defeat. It was expelled through the zeal of the Lebanese people and its Resistance, and the heroic confrontations that the Lebanese army entered. The butchery of the Gazan people and their resistance made the weakness of this entity clearer than ever.

    With the launch of the promise to return a small piece of the Palestinian lands without the return of the refugees and under the harshest conditions, they talk about peace. This at a time in which expansion and aggression continue without commitment to any of the international resolutions. All should know that the existence of this entity in any form, even on one inch of Palestinian land, gives opportunities to this entity. All should know that the Jewish state means a racist state. What is the way to solve this issue?

    The only way to solve the Palestinian matter and establish peace rooted in the region is to admit the sovereign right of Palestine and the departure of all the occupiers to their original countries. It is in the interest of the Zionist entity’s leaders to return Palestine to its original owners. If not, then the wrath of the Palestinian people and the rest of the free peoples will leave little trace of them.

    Here I ask some of the region’s countries to permit the people to express their opinions freely regarding these hegemonic powers and the crimes of the Zionist entity, and to permit people to present support to the oppressed Palestinian people. No doubt any country or person who in any way seeks to recognize the Zionist entity and give it an opportunity to renew its power will be ostracized and condemned by the region’s peoples.

    If they feel indebted to Zionism then they should try to pay this debt from their pockets. No doubt the Palestinian people can practice its national sovereignty itself.

    To the UN, I say: Enough negligence. The time has come to prove that it is an organization of united nations in reality, and not an organization of hegemonic states. Rather than recognizing occupation, let them recognize the legitimacy and right of the Palestinian people to practice its sovereignty. Let them compel Zionism to bow before the truth and the law. This is what the region’s peoples want.

    The Resistance front formed in Palestine and in Lebanon, in Syria and Turkey, in Iraq and Iran and all of the region. I say with trust that the Zionist entity is headed for collapse and there is no power able to save it.

    Dear Lebanese people, Lebanon is the homeland of the monotheists and the pure. However, the Satans do not delight in unity and harmony because from these the peoples draw power. Therefore they continually work to confuse. However, I say with trust that you are a symbol of victory and a word of unity. You have put despair in the hearts of the Satans.

    Lebanese brothers and sisters, your affairs and the affairs of the Iranian people are one. Therefore we are present with you in one front. The glory and development of Lebanon is for us as well. We will always stay together and at each other’s side through thick and thin. During meetings with respected Lebanese officials we together laid down solid bases for development in brotherly relations in multiple fields.

    No doubt the implementation of these agreements will bring benefit to each people. Here I can only extend great thanks to his Excellency President Michel Sleiman, and his Excellency Speaker Nabih Berri, and his Excellency Prime Minister Saad Hariri. I especially thank and appreciate the dear warrior and scholar [Hezbollah Secretary General] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. I also thank all the Lebanese officials and the Lebanese youth.

    I also say loudly that the coming global system must be comprehensive and just, in order for peace and security to be rooted in a basis of love and justice in all parts of the world. Every state and people must be able to participate in the administration of this world’s affairs in a safe atmosphere, in order for human dignity to be allowed to crystallize in the shade of true justice and the essence of humanity. This is a divine promise and this promise will be fulfilled.

    I would like to thank those in attendance and all the dignitaries and officials, the ministers and MPs, and the respected spiritual personalities.

    Peace and salutations to human dignity and justice. Peace and salutations to lofty Lebanon. Peace to Palestine and Iran. The future is yours and there is no doubt that the enemies have no place in this bright future.”

  85. From Juan Cole’s blog:

    “The USG Open Source Center translates from Persian the speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Qana in South Lebanon on Friday:”

    Ahmadinezhad Says Iran Will Stand By Lebanon to ‘Last Breath’
    Address by President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad to people of Qana, southern Lebanon — live
    Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN)
    Friday, October 15, 2010
    Document Type: OSC Translated Text …

    In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. (Introductory prayers in
    Arabic).

    I thank God Almighty for granting me the opportunity to visit you pious, brave and revolutionary people.

    I have come to bring the greetings of the great Iranian nation and its leadership to you. God bless you, brave and committed offspring of Lebanon. Greetings to your faith and revolutionary zeal. Greetings to the proud youth of Qana, the hopes of Lebanon and the hopes of the resistance of the nations of the region. Greetings to martyrs and self-sacrificers of Qana. Greetings to the war disabled and families of martyrs. Greetings to innocent widows and small children of Qana’s martyrs.

    I have come to thank you for your patience, resistance and honor. I have come to offer greetings to you and to Qana, the land of patience and resistance. Qana is living proof of resistance, patience and faith of the people of Lebanon. The innocent and defenseless martyrs of Qana are proof of the innocence and resistance of the people of Lebanon. Qana is living proof of the crimes of the criminal Zionists.

    My dear ones, you are victorious and your enemies are defeated. You will stay and your enemies, who are the enemies of humanity, are on the slippery slope to destruction.

    You are honorable and respected and your Zionist enemies are shamed, wretched and pitiful. On behalf of the Iranian nation, I would like to congratulate you on your faith, resistance and love for justice.

    I have come to tell you that the Iranian nation and leadership will stand by the people of Lebanon and Qana to their last breath. The martyrs of Qana are alive and the enemies of Qana are dead. The path of martyrs, the path of justice, purity and resistance against oppressors is everlasting.

    I have come to thank you. I thank my dear brother, the honorable Mr Michel Sulayman, the dear president of Lebanon. I have come to thank my combatant and honorable brother, the speaker of parliament Mr Nabih Birri.

    I have come to thank my dear brother, the prime minister, the esteemed Mr Sa’d Hariri. I have come to thank the dear combatant and the hero of Lebanon, the honorable Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah. I have come to thank all the Lebanese tribes, from Christian to Muslim, from Shi’i to Sunni and Druze, and all the heads of tribes, senior officials, political officials, and religious leaders of Christians and Muslims. I have come to thank the dear Lebanese Army, which has been standing proud against the criminal Zionists. I have come to thank the Lebanese security and police forces, who maintain the security of this land. I have come to pray for the victory of all nations at the grave of martyrs. God Almighty, the people of Qana and Lebanon are dear, take them to the peak of human dignity and honor.

    God Almighty, destroy the enemies of the Lebanese nation and the innocent nations. God Almighty, our hearts and the hearts of the Lebanese nation are saddened by the grief of Scholar Seyyed Musa Sadr. God Almighty, bring happiness to the hearts of all pious people with some good news from that dear one.

    (Sentence in Arabic meaning: Dear Lebanese people, Dear honorables, we are proud of you and we will be with you always.)

    (Description of Source: Tehran Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN) in Persian — 24-hour news channel of state-run television, officially controlled by the office of the supreme leader)

  86. Rehmat says:

    On October 13, 2010 addressing tens of thousands supporters of the Islamic Resistance (Hizbullah) at the Al-Raya Stadium in South Beirut – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his earlier call for an independent 9/11 truth finding commission during his speech at UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010.

    Elaborating further, he indicated that everything led to believe that the September 11, 2001 attacks were part of a previously planned expansionist agenda. If proven, it would then be necessary to envisage excuses and repairs for the victims of the wars conducted in the name of September 11.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/hamid-gul-zionists-new-sopranos/

  87. James Canning says:

    Azeri Iranian,

    As you may already know, the Arab League is moving closer to seeking UN recognition for an independent Palestine, based on the June 1, 1967 borders. I think this is the best way forward, so the effort can shift toward ways and means of getting all Israeli military and police out of the West Bank. Permanently.

  88. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    Indeed, if Lebanon can avoid another smash-up by Israel, it will continue its current economic growth indefinitely. It has a great location, visual and cultural appeal, etc etc etc. And talented people.

  89. James Canning says:

    Azeri Iranian,

    No matter how much money the US and EU pour into the West Bank, it seems unlikely they will convince the Palestinians to accept permanent occupation or quasi-occupation. I think all the roads Israel has been building in the West Bank, for use by the illegal Jewish colonists, will eventually be serving all the people of the West Bank. Obama should have had the vision to tell Netanyahu Israel needs to get out of the West Bank – - and stay out.

  90. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    I think you can bank on Ahmadinejad’s serving out the remainder of his second term as president. Keep in mind that the Iranian president does not control Iran’s military or its foreign policy.

    Nasser blundered badly in 1967, massing troops on the border with Israel when he did not intend to attack, and leaving his aiforce on the ground where Israel destroyed it in a surprise attack. Nothing of the sort is being considered by Iran.

  91. Azeri Iranian says:

    In my view this is a moving, deep, intelligent and very timely article.

    Unlike the average person Alastair Crooke is capable of somehow feeling the pains of the ‘oppressed’ entities, pains he had personally never experienced before. This makes him admiring and exemplary, so different from many Western analysts or decision-making statesmen who can not assess the forces of and the reasons for the ever-increasing resistance movements in the Middle East.

    The same ‘humiliating’ pains of being plundered, victimized, exploited and torturously abused by their own elite and by Israel or the West are felt all over the ME. Fact is if Egypt (or analogous countries in the region) were as free as Lebanon is today they would’ve welcomed Ahmadinejad in similar ways. This is because in essence, the majority of people of those countries feel (or have felt) the same types of agonizing humiliations.

    I think Israel and the West are desperately trying to divert those forces of rebellion to other directions (such as pouring money into West Bank) while in such a process they are shooting their own feet. Simply because by attempting to deceive the TV watching masses they are not addressing the real problem ie the problem of the deep pains of servitude and lack of independence or other similar regional problems.

    Hats off to Alastair Crooke who can see what many of his peers can’t…..the dynamics of legitimate outrage and anger of a harshly ‘oppressed’ people….. and much much more.

  92. Castellio says:

    Pirouz_2, thanks for your comments. I think you’re right the middle east is not in the same place it once was, that we’re fifty years on, that people see more clearly the long-term effects of American hegemony, etc.. No argument with that.

    However, I also think that was said during Nasser’s time, too, that he was not as during the first revolution in 1919, that the middle east had progressed, that people more clearly saw the long-term effects of western domination, etc.

    There are major changes, but has the military balance shifted, and if not, how will that play out?

    You mention Hezbollah. Effective against Israel tank-based incursions. Right now, that seems to be it, unless it can deliver better targeted and longer range missiles.

    But my fear is that it won’t be fighting Israel alone, but the US, in a wider war against Iran.

    When the American people see the welcome in Lebanon, they do not think (although I wish they would), “Ah! the principles of the renaissance have found a home in Lebanon”, they think, “My God! the Lebanese have joined the enemy! Look, the Israelis are right! They’re surrounded by enemies! Iran must be attacked soon.”

    That is my dismal point.

  93. Goli says:

    Iranian: “Ahmadinejad’s immense popularity in Iran is mostly because of his anti-elite rhetoric.”

    President Ahmadinejad is popular because of his character, policies, and actions and not his “anti-elite rhetoric.” His speeches only reflect and reinforce how he conducts himself as an individual, and the business of his country as a leader. In that sense, they are as popular as he. Unlike Obama, President Ahmadinejad does not speak from both sides of his mouth. He does not speak in Orwellian Newspeak or misleading euphemisms; he does what he says and says what he means.

  94. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Castellio;

    I dont agree with you on your assessment of the military balance in this region.
    Which country of “military consequence” was supporting Hezballah in 2000? Which country of military consequence was helping Hezballah in 2006? Which country of military consequence is supporting Afghanistan today?

    Most people -in my opinion- make a mistake in analyzing Nasser and his defeat in 1967.
    Egypt at the time got scared and finished the war, had they gone through the same route as Hezballah things could have turned out very differently. Israel was not in a position to sustain an extended war.

    And well middle east is not what it used to be in the 60s. In fact that was the whole point of the article: Iran is not the Iran of 1953 where you could pull a coup so easily, and Lebanon and Iraq are not so easy to “conquer” or intimidate.

  95. Nasser says:

    Castellio,

    “You know, Nasser, entrepreneurs actually prefer that the people to whom they want to sell have money. Not everyone is selling luxury items. The well being of the majority creates markets, not the flight of capital.”

    - I agree. Everyone’s well being is insured if you have proper property rights and rule of law.

    “Iran has limited military capabilities. That remains its weakness, as it was the weakness of Egypt.”

    - At least Egypt had a strong external patron that Iran today lacks. But Egypt made a choice when they betrayed the Syrians and the Palestinians, that their country is more important to them than Pan Arabism.

  96. Castellio says:

    You know, Nasser, entrepreneurs actually prefer that the people to whom they want to sell have money. Not everyone is selling luxury items. The well being of the majority creates markets, not the flight of capital.

  97. Pirouz_2 says:

    @imho:

    I left you a reply on the other thread: “IRAN’S “SOFT POWER” INCREASINGLY CHECKS U.S. POWER”. I don’t know if you saw it and read it or not? Anyway, this article -for the most part- is very beautifully written. Despite my not liking Brzezinski, it seems to me that he is one of the very few Western politicians who has grasped what is going on in the Middle East in particular and in all developing world in general.

    The most beautiful part of the article was:
    “On this latter point, Brzezinski is echoing the warnings of Michael Young’s (1958) ‘The Rise of the Meritocracy’ whereby a social revolution was shaping by ‘sieving people according to education’s narrow band of values’ and a new [élite] created, which – at least until recently – saw their position in society and their individual ‘lifestyles’ as validation of their ‘ability’ and ‘talent’; but who saw those who were excluded, merely as symptoms of others’ personal weakness, lacking and failure.

    It scarcely needs adding that such a description is not confined to the élites of the West: The ultra-rich, narcissitic and disdainful élites of the Middle East are as just as divorced from the rest of humanity, and just as exploitative and in love with themselves as any member of the Wall Street űberclass.”

    It pretty much parallels what I wrote to you in my reply in the other thread(so you know that it is not just some “intolerant undemocratic Iranian” who thinks so).

    Also the part about H. Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad quoting Ali is a very strong hint (for those who have the sight to see) at why the “Religious fundamentalism” and “political Islam” has been on the rise.

    Marx calls religion as the “opium of the people”, and most people misunderstand what he means. They forget that at the time of Marx, the only potent “pain killer” available to people was opium. So in that sentence he means opium as a pain killer and NOT as a narcotic. In the absence of a “cure” (ie. a real leftwing movement which would defend the rights of the oppressed in the class-struggle), faced with the excruciating pain (ie. brutal exploitation, humiliation and misery) in their despair people turn to the “pain killer” (ie. political Islam).
    This was the underlying dynamic which led to the rise of AKP in Turkey, it was the dynamic which led to the rise of Ahmadinejad in Iran, and it is the main drive which made HAMAS replace the mainly secular PLO.

  98. Nasser says:

    James writes: “Lebanon has the potential to become one of the richest countries on earth, provided it maintains stability (and avoids another insane smashing by Israel).”

    - Absolutely. Provided they do not start acting on these idiotic anti-elitist sentiments and scare away all the investors! Given, the long business tradition of the Lebanese this shouldn’t be a concern.

    - Riad Khouri on “The Middle East Economy”. He mainly focuses his presentation on Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraqi Kurdistan. He barely mentions Iran, talks a little about Turkey and doesn’t even find Egypt worthy of mention (sadly). If the name sounds familiar, he is Rami Khouri’s brother.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJfXMO_RCJs (There’s six other parts to the video but it’s worth it)

  99. Castellio says:

    I enjoyed Crooke’s article, especially his trying to remind the west of the principles of the early renaissance and the possible relation of those principles to strains of Islam. I think it an interesting thought, not particularly well articulated, but sometimes the reach of a thought is everything.

    However, I can’t help thinking that the “true significance of Ahmadinejad’s visit” might lie a lot closer. I think the American-Israeli elites will work harder to bring him down. Their hope is that his trajectory will become a replay of Nasser, who was beloved the same way, and had success and a ‘strong’ nation behind him.

    The military humiliation of Egypt led eventually to Sadat, and when he was assassinated, the solidification of a conservative reaction was institutionalized by Mubarak.

    Iran has limited military capabilities. That remains its weakness, as it was the weakness of Egypt. The western elites will try to take advantage of that weakness rather sooner than later. Will any country of military consequence support Iran? Not Russia, not China, and the quickest way to separate Iran from Turkey is to devastate Iran.

    The US and Israel may eventually lose the war, but they are planning on winning the next battle.

    Please don’t think this is what I want: completely not. But I think it might be the true consequence of the visit.

  100. Iranian says:

    Pro-American forces are on the decline everywhere and it seems the elites can’t last much longer. Ahmadinejad’s immense popularity in Iran is mostly because of his anti-elite rhetoric.

  101. James Canning says:

    My understanding is that many if not most German business leaders oppose the latest round of sanctions against Iran. They see the stupidity of turning business opportunities over to Chinese companies, when sanctions do nothing to stop Iran from enriching LEU (something Iran’s right in any event).

  102. James Canning says:

    Lebanon has the potential to become one of the richest countries on earth, provided it maintains stability (and avoids another insane smashing by Israel). Hezbollah is key to detering a repeat of 2006.

    Let’s keep in mind that much if not most of the anti-Iran propaganda to be found in newspapers all over the world, is generated with a view toward distracting attention from Israel’s grossly foolish effort to keep the West Bank under its control permanently. And this gross stupidity has been encouraged by numerous American political “leaders”.

  103. James Canning says:

    Bravo, Alastair Crooke! And what sheer viciousness and idiocy, by Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair (and George W. Bush)! They applauded the insane smashing of Lebanon by Israel.

  104. JohnH says:

    Shi’i Islam is picking up on more than recent Western trends in “European early Renaissance” thinking. Humanism and a respect for justice, human dignity and defiance of tyranny have represented a core principle of Western political rhetoric since the end of WWII, though not of Western political practice. Before that, they represented foundational principles of the American, French and Russian revolutions. And before that, key principles of all major, Western religions.

    There is no doubt about it–Ahmadinejad speaks the language of religious values. And people respond. The US uses another version of that language in its public diplomacy (public relations), but then promptly discredits itself by its behavior.

  105. Fahad says:

    Comment 9:37 am
    See, that is exactly what I meant when I wrote yesterday that the Leveretts have to interfere when this anti-Semitic sh*t is posted on this web page.

  106. M.Ali says:

    Rehmat, quoting the Protocols does not make you appear..well..very smart.

  107. Iranian@Iran says:

    A very powerful article. I’m surprised someone had the courage to write it.

  108. paul says:

    Good article. And what is so sad about the growing global resentment against imperial elites is that if those elites would just realize it, the rise of global awareness and concern for equity and respect should be seen as a good thing, not as a threat. But because it is seen as a threat, such growing awareness is basically FORCED into angry and oppositional positioning. Just when humanity should be coming together, what we see is a global struggle for dominance on one side (dominance being the single most important concept underlying US foreign policy especially), and survival on the other. A Hegemon, such as the US, that seems only enemies wherever there is any dissent and difference, creates unnecessary enemies. The ultimate cost of this is unknowable, but unless the attitude changes soon, it is already great and constantly growing.

  109. M.Ali says:

    Another anti-Iranian article in Gaurdian’s Comment is Free (supposidly a liberal journal),

    “Ahmadinejad bores Lebanon”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/14/mahmoud-ahmadinejad-lebanon-hassan-nasrallah

    The writer first looks for a picture that is opposite the pictures we have all seen so far (of the thousands of cheering people) and finds one that have four females not cheering.

    The captain is, “Despite a warm welcome for Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Lebanese Shias prefer Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah”, which to me seems not surprising at all. I don’t think even Iran expected Lebanese to like them more than Nasrallah.

    It starts with an anecdote of a teenager praying on Ahmadenijad’s poster, probably trying to convey to the readers the unimportance of the Iranian President to the people involved, but the need to pray is more important to the religious than posters, so I doubt even Ahmadenijad would have minded.

    Goes on to make such wonderful statements such as, “Media reports covering the hero’s welcome offered to Ahmadinejad in Lebanon on Wednesday assumed that flag-waving and cheering crowds suggested profound support for the Iranian president. But in Dahiyeh last night at a rally organised in honour of Ahmadinejad, thousands of bored Hezbollah supporters sat around on brown plastic chairs as the Iranian president addressed them in person.”

    Let me repeat this part. “assumed that flag-waving and cheering crowds suggested profound support for the Iranian president.” If flag-waving and cheering crowds are not support, then what is?

    The rest of the article is as bad.

  110. Rehmat says:

    Dr. Ahmadinejad’s visit is a part of Islamic Revolution’s (1979) founding principle – the unity of Muslim Ummah through participating in the Global Islamic Movement. Tehran, with the exception of Chechnya, has officially supported every Islamic resistance around the world.

    Ethnically and culturally, Iranian and Lebanese are totally different people. Even though, the Muslims have become majority in lebanon – they cannot expect to run the country on Iranian model due to religious diversity. As Arabs, Lebanese are more anti-Israel than Iranians. Like, Palestinians, Lebanese too find themselves betrayed by the fellow Arabs. Now, they’re seeking friendship and alliance based on common religious background.

    Islamic regime has proved itself to be trustworthy through its honesty, openness and independent foreign policy.

    In the final analysis, it’s Lebanon which needs the financial, moral and military support from Tehran and not the otherway around. In fact, a Sunni Lebanese scholar once said that if Islamic regime is defeated, all Arab countries will be occupied by Israel.

    The Zionist mafia has been projecting Ahmadinejad’s open but ‘politically wrong statements’ as being threat to the West and western civilization.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/why-israel-is-campaigning-for-us-iran-war/

  111. Kathleen says:

    “Simplistic to some, perhaps – Islamist movements and Iranian leaders do harp continuously on just those global inequities, inequalities, lack of respect and of exploitation to which Brzezinski attributes the unprecedented political ‘awakening’. The tables are turned: as the values of ‘the market’ and the secular liberal world order appear increasingly hollow to those who see in it only privilege, disparity of wealth and self-enriching self-interest, the language of resistance and defiance of western political and business élites, who style themselves as ‘the international community’ of course resonates deeply in a Middle East that is ‘awakening politically’ and ‘stirring’.

    This, it should be understood, is the underlying dynamic to the shift in the strategic balance of the Middle East and to the emergence of an ‘resistance axis’ to that very that very élite dominated ‘world order’ and its systems of control imposed upon societies. The élites fear this awakening; and are determined to ensure its failure.

    In short Islam – particularly Shi’i Islam – is taking over the clothes of the European early Renaissance (before the Enlightenment); Islam stands, for many Muslims, for a humanism and a respect for justice, human dignity and defiance of tyranny that Europe once espoused. Of course, few in the West will see it in these terms: they have been too busy creating an inverted mirror image of what they perceive still to be western ‘virtues’ – and call it Iranian ‘theocracy’.”

    Sure heard that in what the Iranian President had to say in his interview with Charlie Rose and in his interview with Amy Goodman last year during his visit. As well as the shield of silence coming down around the I/P conflict and what has and continues to go on.