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The Race for Iran

What the Obama-Romney Foreign Policy Consensus Means for U.S. Interests; Hillary Mann Leverett on al Jazeera

Commenting on the Obama-Romney foreign policy debate on Al Jazeera, click on video above or link here, Hillary Mann Leverett pointed out that “the one question that could not really be sharply asked or answered was:  ‘Was the American ambassador in Libya actually killed by people who were armed, trained, and funded by the United States and our so-called allies.’  That can’t be asked because both of these candidates are about remaking the Muslim world and killing Muslims with drones.  That’s not a serious policy.  A serious policy should look squarely at what the United States is doing, in terms of arming, training, and funding people to overthrow their governments.  That’s not normal, constructive behavior, and it will come back to haunt the United States.” 

The Obama-Romney debate revealed much about the strategic and moral bankruptcy of America’s approach to the Middle East.  On Syria, attachment to the delusion that the United States can arm, fund and train fighters to undermine the Assad government—and that some of those same fighters won’t turn weapons they have been given against U.S. and Western interests—remains strong in both the Democratic and Republican camps.  This delusion is grounded, in large part, in an assessment that overthrowing the Assad government—Iran’s “only Arab ally”—will undermine Iran’s regional position and perhaps even spark the Islamic Republic’s overthrow.  But, as Hillary notes, “Iran’s ‘only Arab ally’ today is not Syria.  Did [Romney] ever hear of Iraq?  Iraq is today Iran’s closest ally in the Arab world.  That’s a huge country.  Iran can also get anywhere it wants through Suez, because now it has Egypt.  So, for the first time in 30 years, Iranian military ships can go through Suez.”  

Like its Libya policy, America’s policy toward Syria also holds significant potential for blowback.  This was highlighted by recent reports of anti-Assad fighters in Jordan taking weapons they had been provided, ostensibly to use in their campaign to unseat the Syrian government, and instead making plans to attack the U.S. Embassy and other targets in the Hashemite Kingdom.  As Hillary comments, “That doesn’t even get questioned…People don’t even seem to be phased by it, that there was a planned attack on a[nother] U.S. Embassy that could have killed more Americans, because of a policy that we’ve egged on in Syria, just like we egged it on in Libya and then we are ‘shocked, shocked’ when our ambassador gets killedWe’re going to be ‘shocked, shocked’ again that we’re going to have a problem in Jordan or some of the other pro-American client states.”    

On Iran, Obama was, if anything, more hawkish than Romney.  As Hillary points out, Obama “actually gave Prime Minister Netanyahu his red line”—by noting how, as a result of America’s intelligence cooperation with Israel, the United States would know when Iran is approaching “breakout” capability and pledging that a re-elected Obama administration would act military to prevent the Islamic Republic from crossing such a threshold.  Romney, in contrast, “focused on an oil embargo, which will have devastating [humanitarian] effects…but it’s not the same red line that Netanyahu has been demanding and that I think he received in a significant way tonight from President Obama.”  Hillary excoriates Romney’s proposal to indict Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—“who will be leaving office in a few months”—for inciting genocide as a call to indict Ahmadinejad “for the nonexistent threat that Ahmadinejad never made to wipe Israel off the map.  That has become a social fact because the President, others, other candidates, and many in the media repeat it…But it was never said.  And now Romney would like to initiate court proceedings.” 

On Afghanistan, Hillary’s fellow commentator, former British diplomat Carne Ross, notes that “neither candidate really mentioned the fact that [America’s] Afghanistan policy is in crisis, that there is a really severe threat of a complete breakdown after the U.S. withdrawal; indeed, that breakdown is arguably already happening.”  Picking up on the point, Hillary recounts how Obama “decided to send tens of thousands of young Americans [to Afghanistan]—some of whom I’ve had in my classes at American University—who go believing that they are fighting for something, but the something seems to have been just political cover to let Obama take troops out” later, even though the situation is deteriorating.  Afghan “security forces are being trained up—and are killing their American trainers.  This is a crisis.  There’s no political strategy.  There’s no political vision” on how to stabilize Afghanistan through a negotiated political settlement and power-sharing among various Afghan constituencies. 

Finally, on China, Hillary critiques America’s “pivot to Asia”—which is likely to continue and intensify either under a re-elected Obama administration or a new Romney administration—as “fail[ing] to understand the changing balance of power and the rise, not just of China, but of India, of the BRICS, of even Iran and Turkey, of even Egypt.  It fails to understand that the United States is a country, not in absolute decline, but in relative decline.  In that circumstance, we have to be able to play well with others, not just beat them in these so-called wars.” 

In Hillary’s view, Romney lays out a maximalist strategy, “which will require a tremendous amount of money we don’t have,” to “pacify the entire world”:  a strategy for the United States to “to bring peace (peace just means pro-American political and security order) to the world.  We have to bring it everywhere.  That means not just trying to pursue dominance and hegemony in the Middle East, but in Asia and everywhere.”  And while Romney is being criticized in some quarters for having embraced too many of the same policies that Obama has pursued during his first term in office, Obama could just as easily (and accurately) be criticized for pursuing too many of George W. Bush’s foreign policies.   

And that’s the state of America’s foreign policy “debate.” 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


351 Responses to “What the Obama-Romney Foreign Policy Consensus Means for U.S. Interests; Hillary Mann Leverett on al Jazeera”

  1. James Canning says:


    Very few people in the US are even aware the US so stupidly blocks Iran’s IAEA application to buy replacement nuclear fuel for the TRR.

    Israel lobby does its best to sweep this utter lunacy under the carpet. And foolish American politicians, including of course Hillary Clinton, are rewarded by the Israel lobby for continuing this utterly stupid, and vicious, policy.

    What I find fascinating is that so many “supporters” of Iran wish to downplay this utter viciousness on the part of the US, and on the part of Hillary Clinton.

  2. James Canning says:


    The Israel lobby spends hundreds of millions of dollars per year on generating anti-Iran propaganda. Iran’s efforts to restore normal relations with the US failed due to this problem.

  3. James Canning says:


    Could you clarify your position? Do you advocate that Iran stockpile large amounts of 20% U, to make a move toward weapons-grade faster?

  4. James Canning says:


    I think you are literally delusional if you think Iran would be attacked with nuclear weapons, by either the US or Israel. Why do you think the US is building so many giant bombs (conventional) that weigh as much as a Mercedes estate (station wagon)?

  5. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    November 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    You finally have come to mypoint which I raised much earlier.

    After th 1998 nuclear tests of Pakistan and India, Iran should have left the NPT.

    That she did not do so was a massive and unforgivable case of negligence and strategic stupidity exhibited by Mr. Rafsanjani’s Government. All those gullible Iranians who believed in international teaties etc; the usual fools who – as the saying goes – “had opened an account in the US-EU bank account.”

    Keep in mind that the cost of surrender now must be measured in the number of dead and wounded when a 10 kiloton bomb is exploded over Teharan, Tabriz, or Mashad.

    Iran must be able to have the capacity to build nuclear weapns for the reason of state cohesion and integrity.

    To that must be added the consideration for security of others such as the Shia in Iraq, the various minorities in the Levant, in Southern Persian Gulf, in Afghanisan and in Pakistan.

    Axis Powers psition entails the possibility of the future destruction of the current Iranian state.

    No doubt.

  6. fyi says:


    The power to undo the nuclear Iran does not exist in the international arena.

    It did not exist in 2004 and it does not surely exist now.

    This is a moot point.

    Axis Powers are pursuing a policy of wounding Iran; in Syria and in the financial arena.

    Their plannrs, evidently, expect suceess over a multi-year period.

    I do not believe that there is any chance of success for their schemes.

    The reasons are multiple; the absence of any positive content, the threat of mass-murder against various sects and communities that the success of Axis Powers entail, the weakness of their “cause” that harms their allies as much as their oppoents, and the very much underestimated strength of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    But there is no need to take my word for it; let us watch and see.

  7. Irshad: Latest rumor is Blackwater mercenaries present on the Turkish-Syria border…

    Flooding Syria With Foreign Arms


    Israel is reported, by some researchers in Damascus who have been covering the crisis for nearly 20 months, to be sending arms to Syria from Kurdistan, having had much experience in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe via Mossad and Israeli black market arms dealing. What Israel did in Libya in terms of a wide spread arms business it is also trying to do in Syria. Israeli arms, according to Syrian and Lebanese sources are being transported into Syria from along the tri-border area of South Lebanon, near Sheeba Farms, close to Jabla al-Saddaneh, and Gadja. In addition, Israeli smugglers have increasingly, over the past five months, been seen by locals moving arms inside Syria via the Golan Heights. These violations of Syrian and Lebanese sovereignty raise serious questions about the vigilance of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone (UNDO) based in the Golan Heights as well as the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese Army as well as National Lebanese Resistance units near the ‘blue line’ to stop the these illicit Israeli arms transfers.

    The recent arrival in southern Turkey and along the northern Syrian border of Blackwater mercenaries is expected to increase the foreign arms flow. Currently using the name Academi(previously known as Xena- Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide) Academi is currently, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, the largest of the US governments “private security” contractors. Details of its relationship with the US Defense Department and the CIA are classified.

    End Quote

    My guess is this is once again Obama’s tendency to do things secretly “behind the scenes” so he can “disavow” any responsibility – a trait of his all through his administration.

  8. Cyrus says:

    James, I am aware that Iran has repeatedly offered to cease 20% enrichment in exchange for fuel (this offer goes back a few years, actually.) Like I said, they were forced to enrich to 20%. The fact that the US prevented Iran from obtaining the fuel in the first place, and the fact that the US still refuses Iran’s offer to cease 20% enrichment in return for obtaining the fuel (lets remember, the TRR poses no proliferation threat whatsoever, so no “nonproliferation” goal is served by preventing Iran from fueling it) only proves my point that this really isn’t about the 20% enrichment anyway and never was, as I keep repeating.

    I think we’ve been around and around this topic enough.

  9. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    November 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    “Iran will not be allowed to build nukes. The issue is whether Iran can have a domestic nuclear power programme, and possibly control the nuclear fuel cycle for Iranain nuclear power plants. Nukes are not on the cards.”

    This precisely the kind of despicable arrogance that possession of nukes will solve once and for all.

    Iran should as of tomorrow give notice to leave NPT, and declare her intention to develop nuclear weapons, as she legally has every right to do.

  10. James Canning says:


    Maybe I should say I do not care if the sanctions are “illegal”. I think the sanctions are counter-productive. I also think Iran blundered very badly, by virtually demanding further sanctions be brought against Iran.

  11. James Canning says:


    Iran said just the other day it will stop enriching to 20 percent if the West guarantees a supply of replacement fuel for the TRR.

    China and Russia see Iranian enrichment to 20 as dangerous for the Middle East.

  12. James Canning says:


    The Israel lobby is not Israel. The Israel lobby is a collective scheme for defrauding the American people, by encouraging Israeli stupidity.

  13. James Canning says:


    Iran brought on the tougher sanctions by its ill-considered decision to treble prodluction of 20 percent uranium. Russia and China have made clear they want Iran to stop enriching to 20 percent. I think they make it clear that if Iran wants to blunder badly yet again, that is tough luck for the Iranian people.

    Russia and China very sensibly do not want another “Western” military adventure in the Middle East, and not one based on a UNSC resolution. (Referring to Syria.)

  14. James Canning says:


    Iran will not be allowed to build nukes. The issue is whether Iran can have a domestic nuclear power programme, and possibly control the nuclear fuel cycle for Iranain nuclear power plants. Nukes are not on the cards.

  15. BiBiJon says:

    Why a nuclear Iran isn’t just an Israeli, or US problem; it’s a the world’s problem
    NPT, Geneva conventions, law of war, etc. have been shredded. In Peter Jenkin’s words:

    “rule of law has enabled all of us to live much more securely, and much more prosperously than our grandfathers and great grandfathers did in an age where the strong did whatever they wanted, and threw their weight around. The weak simply had to put up with it.”

    So in order to …

    protect a country from aggression
    deter acts that would harm the civilian population
    make people who’d do you harm, not even think of doing that
    get people think twice before sending fighter jets near you shores
    discourage ex-colonialists tendency to assume the rights of masters
    ensure international law is respected, equally

    Iran must acquire nuclear weapons for the sake of countless ‘next’ victims of an unbridled herd of tarpans who now rule the western world.

  16. Ataune says:

    James Canning,

    The UNSC (P5+1) sanctions are only targeting Iran nuclear and defense industries. By themselves they aren’t strong enough to affect the iranian economy. they are serving only as a political fig leaf to showcase “unity”.

    These sanctions are the upper limit where Russia and China were ready to accompany the US against Iran. Since then, the two powers have clearly displayed their red lines in the region by vetoing 3 times the Syria UNSC resolutions.

    The West is using its own sanctions as the real tool of coercion and intimidation not the UN ones. The Western unilateral sanctions were decided well before Iran engage in 20% enrichment.

    Israel will not, and can not, engage in a hot war with Iran without US acquiescence. Therefore insisting on the role of the lobby doesn’t serve the purpose of explaining the reality and, based on it, predicting a probable outcome for the future.

  17. Karl... says:


    Not only do these groups encourage war, they try to portray and drag the whole world into their made up conflict while themselves trying to deny any culpability which I think is almost worse since it erase the real culprit of this possible war.
    I think this also provide us with the proof of the enourmous influence these warmongering groups have.

  18. Cyrus says:

    The 20% enrichment did not “cause” the sanctions — the Russians and the Chinese did not support the sanctions for that reason, and even if they did, so what? Like I said, they’re looking out for their own stores just as the Israelis and Americans. If it wasnt the excuse of the 20% enrichment, they would have found another pretext. I think we’ve reached the end of this subject which has been discussed to death over several past posts, the situatin now is what it is, and now is time to move on.

  19. Karl.. says:


    You find my questions here, now please for the 5th time please answer them.


  20. James Canning says:


    I point out that public opinion is influenced, toward believing Iran is trying to build nukes, by Iran’s very mistaken decision to treble production of 20% U.

    Look back at the Franco-Prussian War. Napoleon III was forced by public opinion to bring on a war with Prussia, and disaster, that he opposed.

  21. James Canning says:


    I want to understand your position. Iran was wise to treble production of 20% uranium, to pressure the West into dropping existing sanctions? This is your view?

  22. James Canning says:


    The P5+1 explain why they sought sanctions against Iran. Perhaps you should attack their explanation directly.

    My view is that it is better to have a poor programme of sanctions, than war.

    I repeat my opposition to the sanctions, my support of normal relations between the US (and EU), with Iran, etc etc etc.

  23. James Canning says:

    Philip Stephens, in endorsing Obama for re-election, notes today in the Financial Times that Obama “blinked” when it came time to stop Netanyahu from expanding the illegal colonies in the West Bank. Why? Israel lobby.

  24. Karl... says:


    should not “not interested”.

  25. Karl... says:


    I havent said that you support a war on Iran, I have now for the 4th time asked on what legal basis you support sanctions and why you swallong the same propaganda about Iran that there used on Iraq, about the pretext of wmd? I dont know why you are here commenting if you are interesting in answering simple questions?

  26. James Canning says:


    You may not like it, but Khamenei does not want Iran to build nukes. Perhaps you hope he will be replaced by someone willing to take Iran to catastrophe.

  27. James Canning says:


    Surely you are aware Iran has enough 20% U at hand to operat the TRR until it is replaced.

  28. James Canning says:


    You may not like it, but both Russia and China insist Iran stop enriching to 20 percent. This enrichment is what caused the most recent sanctions.

    I think Iran’s stockpiling of 20% U to bring pressure on the P5+1 is a grave mistake.

  29. James Canning says:


    I do not see a “sudden rise in tension” in the Persian Gulf. Iran should expect British warplanes to be stationed in the UAE, along with French and American warplanes. And this should not be a problem.

  30. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Financial Times today, Philip Stephens notes that Obama comprehends that the US should talk to Iran in order to try to resolve the nuclear dispute,but that Obama is unable to follow through with it. We know why: ISRAEL LOBBY.

  31. BiBiJon says:

    Peter Jenkins, the latest casualty

    Do watch the debate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7viumDa3-4&feature=player_embedded

    Israel wants war, and in the process of convincing, coercing, or arguing opponents to death, soon there will be nothing left that is recognizable as level-headed, fair-minded discourse in the western world.

    And, if you believe discourse, and language have a bearing on thought and intelligence, and if you believe without the latter civilization itself is not possible, then you should be worried if you cherish western civilization.

  32. Rehmat says:

    Sam Westrop, head of London-based Jewish think tank the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracies’ in his blog, entitled ‘Peter Jenkins and the Bloodthirsty Jews’ at the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post (October 24, 2012) called former British diplomat Peter Jenkins, “anti-Semite”, “anti-Israel” and an “apologist” for the Iran’s Islamist regime. He was commenting on Jenkins’ speech at the Warwick University in which he had claimed that both Iran and Hizballah would not dare to attack the Zionist entity knowing Israel’s Talmudic barbaric vengeance.


  33. Karl... says:


    UK gov. shows its true colors again, that again shows how little the current conclusion about illegality that was concluded a week ago matters for the gov.. So did France the other day when they said they would support other type of sanctions against Iran.

  34. Irshad says:

    One for Guv’ James Saheb:


    On a serious note – what is this sudden rise in tension in the Persian Gulf region, or are these preperations a response to keep iran focused on its southern flank, whilst FUKUS increases its involvement in Syria to topple the Syrian govt?

    Also b over at moonofalabama mentions in his latest posts, rumours in the Turkish press about US military people visitng airbase in Diyabakir in S.E. Turkey – this is the 3rd report of this – does anyone know anything about it?

  35. Cyrus says:

    @Castellio apart from the fact that anything Iran did or didn’t do would be used as a pretext anyway, nevermind those 800,000 cancer patients who need their isotopes, by enriching to 20% Iran obtained a bargaining chip which it can now cash in. And China and Russia are minding their own store, and would do so regardless. Iran can’t rely on their good faith anymore than it can the US or Israels. However both of them have stated that they don’t believe that Iran is seeking nukes either. So once again, the enriched uranium, or the entire nuclear program, are simply NOT THE ISSUE. The fact that Iran enriched uranium to any degree, is totally irrelevant. That’s why it is called a pretext.

  36. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    November 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    James presents an empty cup that can be filled with anything.

    Here’s what I think James means:

    Old arguments no longer apply. There was a time until recently when it did not make sense for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Today she better get one fast to save humanity and all its cherished institutions of international law, NPT, UN, etc. from destruction.

  37. fyi says:

    Castellio says:

    November 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    You evidently dismiss the enormous influence of common Catholic culture in bringing South Americans together.

    Nothing like that obtains in the Middle East.

    If anything, Iranians’ overtures of friendship were rejected because Iran has been a Shia state; under the Monarchy or under the Islamic Republic.

    I recall the misguided but touching attachment of the Islamic Revolutionaries to the pan Islamic Unity (and the Umma) from 1978 to 1980. They were oblivious to the weight of history and the Shia-Sunni divide.

    They received their answer in Iran-Iraq War.

    That war, and the 1991 massacares of Shia by the Ba’athist state has severed Shia Islam and Iran from the Sunni Arab world.

    We shall see if in the course of future events – in Central Asia as well as in Afghanistan and in Pakistan – a similar fission between Shia (and Iran) on the one side and the non-Arab Sunni world would also obtain.

  38. fyi says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    November 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Last month, inflation was 38% in Iran.

    I think the devaluation of rial, while necessary, could have been handled better.

    But like all wars, there is only so much that can be planned and predicted; all battle plans fail the first engagement with the enemy.

    This war, and its companion in Syria, will be with us for a while longer.

  39. Castellio says:

    Rehmat: If Romney needs to introduce the people of the US to Chavez and Castro’s offspring… well, he has become a victim of his own contradictions.

    The only troubling issue is how many of the Ohio and Florida voting machines his organization controls.

  40. Castellio says:

    Cyrus, I think James entirely aware that the nuclear weapons rationale to bomb Iran is almost entirely pretext for Israel.

    There are, however, two other points that James is, I think, making.

    First: why give your enemy the pretext if its not necessary to do so (which question you attempt to answer with some success.)

    And two: there is a constituency beyond Israel-USA-Saudi Arabia which includes Russia and China, which is opposed to Iranian nuclear weapon ability but supportive of Iranian nuclear power, economic development and national sovereignty. James, as far as I understand, believes we underestimate how the enrichment issue directly affects the interpretation and actions of this second consituency.

    Pace, James, if I misrepresent.

  41. Rehmat says:

    Mitt Romney’s latest campaign ads – “Pro-Iran Chavez and Castro support Barack Obama”.


  42. Cyrus says:

    @James Canning: Iran has indeed enriched more uranium than the Tehran Research Reactor uses. This if for a rather very simple reason: the Tehran Research Reactor has long outlived its usefulness. In fact it is a “research reactor” that was never meant nor designed to do what it is doing now. Iran plans on making several other larger reactors to replace it, as mentioned in a footnote to the last IAEA report. Furthermore, it is inefficient to start 20% enrichment, only maknig what you immediately plan to use, then stop and then restart. I am sure that the Iranians see in their stockpile of 20% enriched uranium a bargaining chip which they plan to maximize. The Iranians know full well that the US is merely using the 20% enriched uranium as an excuse anyway, and even if Iran never had it, or gotten rid of it, merely another excuse would be substituted for it. This whole conflict is not really about the 20% enriched uranium, nor is it about Iran’s nuclear program as a whole. That’s just a pretext.

  43. Castellio says:

    Exposed, yes, I’m aware (and thank you for that) but thought it an interesting article nontheless. It doesn’t actually need the higher inflation figures to make its point.

  44. Nasser says:

    Cordesman has put out a new analysis on military balance on the Persian Gulf: http://csis.org/publication/iran-and-gulf-military-balance-1

    I am not directly linking to the pdf files, you will have to click on the two main files yourselves.

    – On a side note I am looking forward to the upcoming Kish Air Show where Iran has promised to reveal domestic made small turbofan engines and maybe we will also see long range cruise missiles such as the reverse engineered Kh-55.

  45. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Castellio says:
    November 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    You may want to look at the article previously linked by

    Rd. says:
    November 1, 2012 at 10:56 am

    which explains why those inflation claims are false.

  46. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    James Canning says:
    November 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    No it isn’t. Iran’s latest production figures from OPEC (which is the only organization that actually knows outside of the Iranian government) are 3.75 mbpd. The other production numbers you quoted are based on a claim by the IEA which does not give the sources it uses to calculate those numbers or its methodology.

  47. James Canning says:


    The Daily Telegraph leader stated (“Iran steps back”): “But Iran still possesses significant quantities of enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons”. And it suggested Iran might just be “playing” the IAEA to buy time, before proceeding further with the nuclear weapons programme. I disagree, of course. But FYI and others claim this in fact is what Iran is doing, and should be doing.

  48. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Castellio says:
    November 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    The only problem with that article is that the claim in the article it references “70% inflation per month” is simply not true.

    1. Devaluation against the dollar does not translate into the same amount of inflation as most Iranians do not use dollars to make their everyday purchases. Just because one currency is devalued by a certain amount as opposed to another does not mean that currency’s overall value has decreased by that amount.

    2. All the claims of devaluation are based on black market figures. Obviously this has an impact on the overall value of the currency but to claim that it totally represents that value is incorrect.

    3. There is no consistent pattern of devaluation of 70% for a number of months. Only one month saw a spike which was caused by a panic initiated by false Western MSM reports. After the Iranian government took corrective measures the value of the currency, even on the informal market, stabilized.

    4. It also avoids the fact that a devaluation in currency is actually beneficial to Iran since it discourages imports and encourages exports, which is exactly what the Iranian economy needs right now.

  49. James Canning says:


    I agree with you that The Daily Telegraph would likely try to help Israeli leaders put a favorable spin on recent events.

  50. James Canning says:


    There is next to no reason to think Romney would be less pliable or susceptible to deception, than was George W. Bush in 2002-03. Romeny in the White House would be far more dangerous than Obama.

  51. James Canning says:


    In fact, I was sharply critical of the Daily Telegraph for its (Blair’s) assumption that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme.

  52. James Canning says:


    You apparently fail to grasp the fact I am hoping there will be no attack on Iran.

  53. Castellio says:

    An interesting article on Iran and inflation, which also references South American economic policies.


  54. Karl.. says:


    Thats very classic approach, claiming “victory” while you in reality is really backing off. Since they wont admit “defeat” or being wrong they try to upheld a false image of winning. So obvious.

  55. Karl.. says:


    Why do you support the same accusations and path that was taken on Iraq?

  56. Rd. says:


    NYT, WPO, how come you guys missed this story? Empty Bazaars, shops closing, unemployment, bad economy! Some one pass this on..


  57. Castellio says:

    FYI’s predisposition that like can only work with like is, I believe, a conceptual weakness which a priori limits Iranian options as well diminishing the momentum for structural change in the Middle East. It also, it should be noted, misrepresents the sociology of South America in important ways.

    For example: “I began to get a sense of the bigger picture when I visited the country for the first time nine years ago at the invitation of the Afro-Venezuelan Network. I saw how Venezuela’s Afro-descendents—among the most under-educated, marginalized, and impoverished people in the country—were becoming proactive as full citizens under the Chavez government, increasingly participating in political decision-making at the local level and claiming a voice in regional, national, and even international affairs. And I became increasingly aware of the growing political collaboration among Afro-Venezuelans, the Chavez government, and the approximately 150 million people of African descent throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.”


  58. BiBiJon says:

    Ataune says:
    November 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    “Daily Telegraph is simply doing the ground work for these policies.”

    And, James Canning is simply doing the ground work for Blair’s spin which is somehow SL is being cautious and/or Iran is backing down, and/or Netanyahu’s acme cartoon really worked, notwithstanding Iran was forced into producing the wretched thing in the first place; all along declared she was going to convert it to fuel; has done what she said she was going to do; and as a distinct sign of being unbowed, completed the decking out of Fordo.

    But James likes to give credit to Blair.

  59. Ataune says:

    James Canning,

    The decision, which in my mind has a remote chance to be taken in the next 2 years, will not be dependent on the “etat d’ame” of the millions or on the outcome of the 2012 election. It will be a sovereign decision of the executif based on the political and strategic circumstances. The political colour of the incumbant won’t affect it.

  60. Ataune says:

    James Canning,

    Yes, and you need to put this into the day to day political context. As Bibijon quoted from Iran Affairs, this info was out there at least since August. Suddenly, Two days ago, Barak came up with a message on the 20% being converted back to fuel rods. Yesterday, in Paris, Netanyahu broadcast the same political message of “victory”. Daily Telegraph is simply doing the ground work for these policies.

  61. James Canning says:


    Those who hope to prevent an attack on Iran would do well to give publicity to David Blair’s piece.

    The idea is to reach the millions of people who do not comprehend what has been taking place.

  62. James Canning says:


    David Blair interviewed Ehud Barak in London, and then ran the piece suggesting Khamenei waa not as dangerous as many Israeli leaders try to make him out to be. And not as dangerous as foolish American politicians suggest.

  63. James Canning says:


    If Blair’s piece is propaganda, it is directed against those who seek an attack on Iran.

    Those who follow this site, of course, were aware Iran was producing fuel rods/plates for the TRR. But this fact usually is not reported in stories in British and American newspapers.

  64. James Canning says:


    If you read the piece, you will find that your perception is misplaced. David Blair wrote: “Now we know that during the course of [this] year, Iran took a big chunk of the uranium that was closest to weapons-grade and used it for a harmless purpose.”

    Caption of Blair’s piece: “Could Iran’s Supreme Leader be more cautious than we think?”

  65. James Canning says:


    David Blair of the Daily Telegraph should be credited with in effect claiming Iran apparently had a nuclear weapons programme due to its stockpiling of 20 percent uranium.

  66. Ataune says:

    James Canning,

    The point is not what you noticed. The point is that Daily Telegraph is running a propaganda piece and you are puting the limelight on it.

  67. James Canning says:


    You will of course have noticed that I observed the incorrect assumption by The Daily Telegraph, that Iran’s stockpiling of 20% U indicated a nuclear weapons programme.

    I did not say that the stockpiling of 20% U indicated there in fact was an Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

  68. Ataune says:

    James Canning

    At the time when both Israel PM and DM are backing off from war I don’t see a Republican in the WH shooting for it. Both Bush, pere et fils, created the best opportunities for Iran in the region for decades.

  69. James Canning says:


    I have denounced the murderous stupidity of the US many times, in its blocking of Iran’s IAEA application to buy replacement nuclear fuel for the TRR.

    Perhaps I should say murderous and vicious stupidity? Or is the truth even harsher than that?

    Let’s remember that Hillary Clinton ignored the UK’s proposal that the Iranian application be approved.

  70. James Canning says:

    The New Statesman (UK) leader today on the US election: “A Mitt Romney victory would greatly increase the chances of war with Iran, embolden the most reactionary elements in Israel and further accelerate cimate change.” I agree completely.

  71. BiBiJon says:

    James (even if incorrect) Canning says:
    November 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm


    In fact there’s an even bigger point that none of the mainstream media want to acknowledge or even mention: Iran would not have had to enrich uranium to 20% in the first place, had the US not prevented Iran from simply buying the reactor fuel as usual. Iran was forced to make its own 20% enriched uranium in order to make the necessary reactor fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, after it was prevented from buying it. The Tehran Research Reactor makes isotopes for the treatment of Iran’s 800,000 cancern patients. As it is now, the US is demanding that Iran not make the fuel, and has also prevented Iran from buying the fuel … and those 800,000 cancer patients can just go and die.

    The further irony in all of this is that the Tehran Research Reactor ( which the US gave to Iran in the late 1960s) is not even conceivably a nuclear weapons proliferation threat. It is basically a water-filled hole in the ground, located in the basement of a university building in Tehran. Not only is it under constant IAEA monitoring and observation, it is far too small to be useful for nukes. (I personally saw it as a child, when we were at the university for some reason. Years later I saw another similar-looking reactor at the University of California in Irvine.)

    And on top of that, Iran has repeatedly offered to cease enriching Uranium to 20% as long as it is allowed to once again simply purchase the fuel, but the US refuses this offer along with the long line of other Iranian compromise offers, including the agreement by Iran (brokered by Turkey and Brazil) to ship out half of its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium in exchange for reactor fuel — a deal which was killed off by the Obama administration, after Iran had unexpectedly agreed to the arrangement, and despite the fact that the same Obama administration had previously endorsed the offer in separate letters written by the President to the Turks and Brazilians (They even publicized the letter to prove that the Obama administration had pulled out the rug from under them just when they had succeeded in getting an agreement with Iran.)

    So in short, if Iran is supposedly “closer to making nukes” due to its stockpile of 20% uranium enrichment (which is now being reduced by Iran) it is precisely a consequence of the US policy of interfering in Iran’s right to acquire the fuel it needs …a policy which served no non-proliferation goal whatsoever, but instead made matters worse by forcing Iran to make its own higher enriched uranium.

    From http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2012/11/haaretz-wrongly-takes-credit-for-breaking-iran-nuclear-news.html

  72. Ataune says:

    James Canning

    I wouldn’t call that “assumption”. The goal not being to DEMONSTRATE anything here but to “influence the attitude of a community toward some cause”. By definition a propaganda.

  73. James Canning says:


    Iranian oil porduction in Sept. was 860,000 barrels per day. Down from more than 2 million bpd at end of 2011. LPG exports are being hit too. ($4 billion in exports of LPG in 2011).

  74. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times reported today that Khamenei criticised the Obama administration for selling out to the Zionists.

  75. James Canning says:


    The Daily Telegraph this week cited Iran’s conversion of some of its stockpile of 20% U, as reason fro thinking Iran may be backing away from a nuclear weapons programme.

    The assumption here, even if incorrect, is that the stockpiling of 20% U indicated there was a nuclear weapons programme.

  76. Rd. says:

    professor Salehi-Isfahani has a simple explanation for those many pundit and US media who were re-rejoicing with their announcement of hyperinflation and doom and gloom in Iran.. A US freshman college level of understanding should suffice.. The only thing hyper-inflated, are the stories of economic doom and gloom about Ira’s economy.


  77. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    October 31, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    An excerpt from your link:

    “Central and Latin American leaders openly challenged Obama at the Summit, including his Colombian host, president Juan Manuel Santos. Led by Brazil and Ecuador, the summit leaders also indicated that they would not attend future meetings unless Cuba is seated.”

    I contrast this with the mid east, and I have to shake my head. Here’s a brief history.

    1980 Iraq invades Iran

    1980-1988 Iraq’s main financial backers were the oil-rich Persian Gulf states, most notably Saudi Arabia ($30.9 billion), Kuwait ($8.2 billion) and the United Arab Emirates ($8 billion)

    1988-1990 Iraq’s fellow Arab countries squeezed Iraqi economy and Neither through debt forgiveness, nor through production limits to support higher oil prices, would they ease the burden on Iraq.

    1990 Iraq invades Kuwait

    1990/1991 Saudi Arabia(60,000 – 100,000), Egypt(20,000), Syria(14,500), Morocco(13,000), Oman(6,300), Pakistan(4,900 – 5,500), United Arab Emirates(4,300), Qatar(2,600), Bangladesh(2,200) joined a US led coalition in the Gulf War against Iraq.

    2011 Libya
    Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, join the war on Libya’s Gaddafi

    2012 KSA, Qatar and Turkey join the war on Syria’s Assad

    I think an Iran-Turkey-India cooperative pact will happen long before the cannibalism in the Arab world goes out of fashion.

    >> data from wikipedia

  78. Rd. says:

    Is there a Turkish/Kurdish spring? Didn’t erdogan and his FM not see this coming? So should Assad, Iran or others now ask Mr Erdogan to step down and leave his country?

    Kurds clash with Turkish police over hunger strikers


  79. Karl.. says:

    An article about the carsales-mexican-man. Didnt know about the mental health part. Without a trial the truth will never be known I guess. Seems like a set-up.


  80. Karl... says:


    I just said that in my post.


  81. Empty says:


    Re: “I am not mad, I am just thinking of how South American has slowly moved to its position of relative strength.”

    Because the cat was away….:)…[Actually, your comment is not a compliment to those particular South American countries; rather, it points (very finely) to the limits of the imperialists’ power, resources, and attention. This vulnerability is something that can (and is) being fully exploited.]

    Also, did you know that Venezuelan government provides free as well as discounted fuel to many northeastern states in the US during winter seasons? Just ask Mr. Joe Kennedy!

  82. fyi says:

    Lysander says:

    October 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I hope to God that Egypt is successful in addressing her challenges.

    In regards to South America – it is almost a different civilization; they are all Catholic and their political-coming together has been gestating since the time of the late Blivar, Saint Martin, and other patiots.

    Their languages, for the most part, are easily intelligible and there seems to be a lot of mutual trust (excluding the native Americans in Northern South America).

    Neoliberalism failed miserably over the last 15 years, that helped bring them together after the end of the Cold War – they felt that they did not need US anymore.

    And US had nothing positive to offer.

    For Iran, the states around her do not have a common language; Court Ottoman, a variant of Persian, is dead and the Turkish patois of Akara and the Urdu of Paksiatn does not make for mutual understanding.

    There is more but that should be sufficient; you cannot collaborate with people and countries that see their security and greaness in your demise.

  83. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    October 31, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Iranian leadrs will tolerate only so much autonomy in Kurdistan.

    Israelis and assorted Jewish supporters of Israel have been seen in Iraqi Kudistan.

    Iranian papers have publicly identified Iraqi Kurdistan as the “safe house” for operations against Iran.

    Mr Barzani and Mr. Talibani have, I imagine, been also warned in private.

    That is only the Iranian side.

    Najaf will not accept the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan – the Shia will not preside over the distintegration of Iraq now that they have gained control of it.

  84. Ataune says:


    I do find what has been done politically in South America in the last 10 to 15 years truly remarkable.

    What I said wasn’t meant as accusation, just a logical and factual challenge to your statement.

    And as a side note, your intellectual honesty is really appreciated.

  85. Nasser says:

    Other two parts of the Al Jazeera documentary on the Nile.

    http: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGPJXQ9aJ7M&feature=relmfu

    http: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzTf0pCQHlo&feature=relmfu

  86. Castellio says:

    While on the subject of regional relations challenging US dominance, see:


  87. Castellio says:

    BiBiJon: its a good question. Its not as if the Venezuelan government didn’t meet very real US resistance, including an attempted overthrow. I think we have to acknowledge that Chavez leads a populist and popular movement which has brought tangible benefits to the majority of its people, and is theoretically rooted in a popular anti-imperialist conversation. That conversation speaks to the health of the culture.

    Ataune. I did write: “Passing over the fact that the long period of time under the Mamluks is ‘put aside’, this cultural and historical dismissal of 80 million people, their beliefs and their achievements, is exactly what holds Iran back from creating allies within the Middle East.” This does do what you accuse it of, I apologize.

    My larger point, however, that value systems reflecting a sectarian lens don’t, and won’t, well serve Iran, still holds. I am happy to hear from you and BiBiJon that the Iranian government in power agrees with that point of view.

    Nasser and Lysander. I think Egypt and other countries in the Middle East have a lot more room to move than they demonstrate. For instance, why not follow the path of Mercosur, a free trade bloc which combines Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela? Or a state owned investment bank co-owned by Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey? Why not, at the very least, initiate the discussion? The results might be surprising.

    I am not mad, I am just thinking of how South American has slowly moved to its position of relative strength.

    See, for arguments sake, http://www.voxxi.com/chinas-free-trade-zone-with-mercosur/

  88. James Canning says:


    I agree with you that Egypt should avoid playing the Sunni vs. Shia game. As far as possible.

  89. Lysander says:

    I regret to say that FYI’s comments regarding Egypt are not far from the mark. (I am Egyptian by decent myself.) It isn’t that Egyptians don’t Like Iran. Quite the contrary, Iran enjoys substantial support among many Egyptians. In fact, many Egyptians I’ve talked to are very supportive of Assad.

    The problem is, that isn’t very useful if the government is actively following US orders. I recall visiting Egypt as a boy in the early 80s. I was shocked how popular Khomeini was among Egyptians (coming from America where he was being demonized) and how hated Saddam was at that time (a nominal American ally.) And yet, as FYI pointed out, the Egyptian government fully backed Saddam.

    There are limits to what Egypt could do to help Iran even if it wanted to. The sort of sanctions that Iran endures as a matter of course would crush Egypt in a week. ANd so even if Morsi is sympathettic to Iran (unknown at this point) He would have to walk a fine line. What I’m hoping Egypt does, at the very least, is vigorously oppose any attempt by the west to play Sunni-Shia divide and conquer games.

    it also impossible for Iran to take on Egypt as a dependency. It fact, it is better to to keep it as a drain on KSA/US resources. In that regard, Iran can pretend to woe Egypt to force them to pay a higher price.

    I do have hopes that in the next decade, Iraq will have the financial resources to counteract the negative influence of Saudi money. Not specifically in Egypt, but all over the middle east. Time will tell.

  90. James Canning says:


    do you think the Iraqi central government can avoid making a deal with the Sunnis that gives them a “reasonable” share of oil revenues? The Sunnis generally oppose Kurdish separatism.

  91. James Canning says:


    Once again, what “propaganda” about Iran am I “swallowing”? Is it not true that Iran has enriched far more 20% uranium than is needed to operate the TRR for many years?
    Yes? True?

    I think Iran blundered badly by enriching so much 20 percent uranium. Even if Iran had the right to enrich whatever amounts suited the fancy of those making the decisions,

  92. Nasser says:

    fyi says: October 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I agreed with your post but I didn’t understand what you meant regarding Iraqi Kurdistan.

    I think Iran has very little leverage over Mr. Barzani and the KDP. And why can’t Iran live with a more autonomous Kurdistan? That’s Turkey’s problem not Iran’s.

    Iran should advice Baghdad to let the Kurds be and concentrate all their energy in crushing the Sunni insurgency and protecting their Western and Southern borders to the extent possible.

  93. James Canning says:


    I at no point denied the impoundment of Iranian funds by the UK.

  94. Jay says:

    BiBiJon says:
    October 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Thank you for contextualizing the discussion. I agree with your observation – nothing is free!

  95. Nasser says:


    Egypt would be better served by giving up pretensions to Middle East power and instead concentrate all her energy where her national interest truly lie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLiHEUSM1I0

    Iran isn’t of much importance to Egypt and vice versa. There is nothing demeaning in stating the obvious. And instead of chastising Iran why don’t you concentrate on Egypt’s ongoing blockade of Gaza? Or that it keeps slapping Iran in the face by refusing to normalize ties? So who is being demeaning to whom?

  96. BiBiJon says:

    Castellio says:
    October 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I have not come across any Iranian ‘official’ talking about regional countries in the way that fyi did. Actions are what count. Surely continued trade with Turkey despite huge differences on Syria is an example of how regional relations can be cemented going forward.
    Interestingly, Iran is unlikely to be able to mend fences with PG states, and other Arab nations unless, and until she mend fences with the US.

    You bring up Venezuela as a possible model. What do you see as responsible for her degree of independence without provoking ‘too much’ American hostility?

  97. Ataune says:


    FYI is expressing his own opinion.

    I am surprised at your remarks here, since it is a well known fact that not letting religious differences be an impediment in the bilateral relations between Iran and the country of the region has been a pillar of the Iranian foreign policy since the end of 80’s. This policy, until at least 2001, was following a strategic aim of economic integration in the “grand middle-east” and security-military alliances in the Persian Gulf. after 9/11, for the reasons I hope obvious enough for all of us here, the whole strategy was put in the backburner. The same reasons played if not a considerable but at least a partial role in helping Latin America achieve what it has done today by keeping US resources and attentions focused elsewhere.

    Now, solely based on one person comment you infered that Iran is following a policy of disdain towards its fellow neighbours and from this fallacy you deduced that this “is exactly what holds Iran back from creating allies within the Middle East”. Both the logic and the conclusion are far away from the facts, and the truth.

  98. Karl... says:


    Such a generous offer, likewise US helped Iran during the earthquake some years ago. Just imagine if US would accept such move that was offered, it would be so symbolic and would have accomplished deesclatation in no time and peace too. But US are held back by lsrael and its supporters. Tragic.

  99. Karl... says:


    Yes you seems to swallow the same propaganda that were used on Iraq and that UK, US went to war due WMD pretext now used on Iran with the sanctions.

  100. Castellio says:

    Ataune, Nasser: if FYI’s consideration (demeaning analysis) of Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey is in some way typical of Iranian attitudes to her Islamic neighbours, then Iran’s future will be much more circumscribed than necessary.

    Compare this to how Venezuela has been instrumental in the South American context: where the Organization of American States has been effectively replaced by an organization without the memberships of the US and Canada. Take a look at how the South American economies have distanced themselves from the World Bank and the IMF.

    Why is it, really, that the Middle Eastern countries aren’t working towards practical and long-lasting alliances? Do you seriously not think they would be of any benefit?

    And if someone points to this rather straightforward issue and comparison, do you really think it is the ‘logic’ of the question at fault?

  101. Ataune says:

    James Canning,

    My question to you was: can you proove that the West has enough POWER to intimidate Iran into signing away its sovereign rights ?

    Your answer was in essence: neo-cons are driving the regime change policy and an attack on Iran will be a sorry affair and disastrous for the middle-east.

    This doesn’t help answering the question at hand, important mainly because its a good predictor for the future course of events.

    I will add that a big war in the middle-east will most likely harm the interests of Iran but it will certainly undermine US power and economy to the point that it will be near impossible for her to maintain its current global position.

  102. James Canning says:


    Turkey has been a member of NATO for many decades. Surely this was “currying favor with the Axis Powers”, in your lexicon. And what harm did it bring to Turkey?

  103. James Canning says:


    Residential property prices in Mayfair (London) are up about 150% since the financial crisis began. London property prices are up. These are not signs of “collapse”.

  104. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    October 31, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Yes, the immediate strategic imperative is for Iran to consolidate her gains in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and in Lebanon.

    In lebanon, the Shia (and Iran) must move the country away any possibility of the civil war being re-ignited.

    In Syria, they must complete the task of destroying anti-government forces.

    In Iraq, they must crush the Sunni insurgency and read the Riot Act to the Barzani-Talibani Tribal Con-federacy.

    And in Afghanistan, they must help secure Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif.

    Leave it to Turkey and Pakistan to curry favor for Axis Powers at considerable costs to themselves – just Like the late Saddam Hussein, the late Shah, the late General Zia, the late Lon Nol, the late Thieu and many others.

    I expect the same outcomes.

  105. James Canning says:


    The US accomplishes just what, by “renting” Pakistan? Subversion of the NATO effort in Afghanistan?

  106. James Canning says:


    The primary “security concern” of the government of North Korea is how to stay in power. ZERO risk of invasion by South Korea. ZERO.

  107. James Canning says:


    I do agree with you that the foolish programme of sanctions, Israeli murders of Iranian nuclear scientists, etc etc etc, exacerbate the situation. I would remind you that the Financial Times opposes sanctions on energy movements, for very good reasons.

  108. fyi says:

    Castellio says:

    October 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I believe my assessment of latent or apparent power of Egypt is on the mark.

    She is currently rented primarily by US.

    Just like Pakistan.

    Iran does not have the financial wherewithall of $ 12 billion annually to rent these two countries.

    It is the fault of Iranian leadership in developing her economy.

    The security concern of North Korea are not going to go away because Westerners are making assertions to the contrary.

    The security concerns of Iran, likewise, are not going to go away because people living under a nuclear shield make assertions to the contrary.

    Egypt supported Ba’athis Iraq against Iran; her citizens were among POWs in Iran.

    The 80-million Egyptians, through their representatives and President, can now amend that.

    Why aren’t they?

  109. James Canning says:


    I think an attack on Iran would be a disaster for the Middle East.

    I think Pat Buchanan puts the question well: “Will we, seeing the economic crisis [in Iran] deepening, make demands so humiliating no Iranian government can accept them, because our true goal is and has always been regime change?” The American Conservative (magazine), Nov. 2012 page 12.

    No question, many if not most neocon warmongers seek “regime change” in Iran, and they do their best to block any improvement in relations between Iran and the US.

  110. James Canning says:


    What “propaganda on Iran” am I “swallowing”? I say I do not think Iran is trying to build nukes on the sly, at this time. I also say that Iran’s trebling of prouduction of 20 percent uranium was a blunder. Which is obviously correct. You disagree?

  111. James Canning says:


    The Fatimid dynasty in Egypt created an empire in North Africa and the Middle East, that was a great power in its day. From beginning of the 10th Century and lasting almost 300 years.

  112. James Canning says:


    Where do you get the idea the economies of the EU countries and the US have “collapsed”? This is silly. Debt problems, yes. Collapse? No.

  113. James Canning says:


    Are you arguing that Iran is “strangled” if it stops enriching uranium to 20 percent as sought by the P5+1? Rubish.

  114. Nasser says:

    Castellio says October 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Fyi is right regarding both Egypt and Pakistan. These large populous states haven’t been blessed with Iran’s hydrocarbon riches. Iran has done all it can to reach out to these countries. But they need money. They get this money from US/EU and GCC/Saudi Arabia and basically use ties with Iran as leverage to get bribes.

    Anyway it is only possible in the realm of dreams to form a anti Western grand Muslim alliance. Iran has repeatedly tried to reach across sectarian only to be repeatedly rebuffed. Iran would be wise to concentrate her efforts on Iraq and the Shias – people that actually like Iran.

    Also this stuck up attitude that you ascribe to all Iranians is not a national characteristic and certainly not true of those presently in power. Iranian exiles in the West have done much to perpetuate this stereotype and managed to serve as the best source of anti Iran propaganda.

  115. James Canning says:


    Are you claiming that Saudi Arabia is part of “the West”? China’s ability to import oil from Saudi Arabia is not under threat from any country other than Iran.

  116. Ataune says:

    Castellio said:

    “… this cultural and historical dismissal of 80 million people, their beliefs and their achievements, is exactly what holds Iran back from creating allies within the Middle East.”

    Don’t you think its oversimplifying to infere from one sentence by one person Iran’s attitude and behaviour toward Egypt? And then on top of it concluding a false assertion that what you infered is what is holding Iran from gaining allies in the region?

  117. James Canning says:


    In the early 19th Century, Egypt was a power in the Eastern Mediterranean. In fact, Egypt nearly conquered the Ottoman Empire.

  118. BiBiJon says:

    Jay says:
    October 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    You are absolutely right!

    Bakeer is not quoting a public opinion survey. And, as you suggest, he is reporting the sounds inside an echo chamber.

    Richard, in one his argumentative moments, was suggesting Iran had nothing to lose by supporting the Assad government, in this exchange:

    Me: “Similarly the political costs Iran is willing to endure in supporting Assad, tells me these are not merely fair weather buddies.”

    Richard: What “political costs” is Iran suffering from supporting Syria? Iran is already despised by the West and the Arab dictatorships. What has Iran lost by supporting Syria that it has not already lost just by being Iran?

    The point is Iran by “just being Iran” would not feature in the Turkish weekly in such derogatory terms.

    The real point here is that any one of Iran’s moves in the region, whether Syria, Bahrain, etc. carries a price, it will be used by those who profit from sawing division among among nations of the region. There’s a lot of resistance to the axis of resistance; the winning narrative shall be demonized. Richard tends to regard being armed to the teeth as a prerequisite for having a “winning” anything. My quarrel with that is he underestimates everything other than hard-power, and ignores Iran’s risk taking and reaping dividends in sharp contrast to US militaristic approach which has been consistently losing ground these past 10 years.

    So, as unrepresentative of the public opinion as it certainly is, here is a despicable propagandist, Bakeer, equating Iran with Israel, and publishing this drivel in a Turkish weekly. I think this is the kind of ‘cost’ Iran calculates is worth paying.

  119. Castellio says:

    FYI writes: “Egypt, excluding the time under Mamluks, has always been a marginal power and appendage to the economy of the Mediterranean basin and the wider Euro-American economy. She is not a great Muslim power, never was and never will be. Her disposition might influence Arabs but outside of the Arabic-speaking world, she has little or no influence; just look at her position in Africa.”

    … and then goes on to say that Iran can’t afford to “rent” Egypt.

    Passing over the fact that the long period of time under the Mamluks is ‘put aside’, this cultural and historical dismissal of 80 million people, their beliefs and their achievements, is exactly what holds Iran back from creating allies within the Middle East.

    FYI wants you to believe that by following the path of North Korea Iran can not only somehow raise itself beyond the Middle East but become a global (nuclear ready) power.

    In a word, this is idiocy.

    Nentanyahu and FYI are actually following the same script. As Netanyahu describes it to Paris Match: “Five minutes after [an attack], contrary to what the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief will spread across the region… Iran isn’t popular in the Arab world, far from it. Some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear-armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel.”

  120. Jay says:

    BiBiJon says:
    October 31, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I am certain you are familiar with the historical and extensive reach of propoganda methods in the Arab world. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB78/docs.htm

    The “so-called” fall of Iran’s image is based on a “questionable” poll sponsored by the Arab-American Institute. Spot polls have registered a small shift with respect to Yes-No polling questions – a small shift toward negative for Iran. However, the strength and significance of such data is yet to determined.

    A scientific poll by Pew was terminated mid-polling earlier in the summer this year – reasons unknown.

    Of course, admittedly, scientific methods do not enjoy the freedoms available to intuition and guessing – and they are falsifiable! Yet, as a yardstick for cogent discussion (as opposed to freewheeling speculation), I prefer them. I think the folks at the conference you pointed to where having a nice conversation among friends.

  121. BiBiJon says:

    Was it Richard who asked what is Iran losing by supporting Syria’s government?


  122. BiBiJon says:

    Shrek: Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. We both have layers.
    fyi says:
    October 31, 2012 at 10:08 am

    “One must understand that the position of P5+1 is to strangulate the emergence of a new (Nuclear-Ready) power in the world.”

    Fortunately for Iran, there are layers to P5+1. China and Russia already have Iran where they want her, contained. To join the full throttling orgy, they must first be guaranteed a piece of the action after Iran falls. So far, all they see is western encroachment on Russia’s very-near abroad, and near total western monopoly on China’s energy supplies.

    China has a whole bunch of layers of her own. Whereas Russia might laugh all the way to the bank if US-Iran war breaks out as a result of successful strangulation, China will lose both in terms of higher oil prices, and possible devaluation of her dollar holdings.

    Legal niceties are irrelevant to this aim; just as being polite is incidental to Thuggery.

    The new power, is based on Shia Islam as the core state – Iran – has been a fortress of the Shia for the last several centuries.

    Egypt, excluding the time under Mamluks, has always been a marginal power and appendage to the economy of the Mediterranean basin and the wider Euro-American economy. She is not a great Muslim power, never was and never will be. Her disposition might influence Arabs but outside of the Arabic-speaking world, she has little or no influence; just look at her position in Africa.

    Iranians are not going to win-it-all in Egypt; they cannot rent Egypt as they do not have the funds to do so.

    [They cannot rent Pakistan either, they do not have the funds.]

    Since Iranians do not have the funds to purchase security in their region, and in the face of relentless enmity of the United States and now EU, it stands to reason to invest funds were with least amount of expenditure the most security can be purchased.

    One area of investiment, of course, is the nuclear sciences and technology, another one is rocketry, and yet another one is electronic warfare.

    Note that the UNSC sanctions against Iran aim at taking sovereign rights away from Iran in the field of rocketry as well.

    As for North Koreans; they moved their armed forces south after the 1991 war of US against the Ba’athis Iraq.

    They dug them in and took Seoul hostage. But they did not stop there, they went on to become nuclear-ready as well.

    Again, one has to aks oneself, why doesn’t US sign a Peace Treaty with North Korea?

  123. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    October 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    The United States, EU, Japan, China, and Russia cannot be 3 things at once:

    1- A great economic power
    2- A great military power
    3- Protecting their citizen against ravages of globalization.

    This was true in 2005 and even more so now after the collapse of financial economy of US-EU in 2011.

    But US and EU leaders have not yet grasped these facts.

  124. fyi says:


    One must understand that the position of P5+1 is to strangulate the emergence of a new (Nuclear-Ready) power in the world.

    Legal niceties are irrelevant to this aim; just as being polite is incidental to Thuggery.

    The new power, is based on Shia Islam as the core state – Iran – has been a fortress of the Shia for the last several centuries.

    Egypt, excluding the time under Mamluks, has always been a marginal power and appendage to the economy of the Mediterranean basin and the wider Euro-American economy. She is not a great Muslim power, never was and never will be. Her disposition might influence Arabs but outside of the Arabic-speaking world, she has little or no influence; just look at her position in Africa.

    Iranians are not going to win-it-all in Egypt; they cannot rent Egypt as they do not have the funds to do so.

    [They cannot rent Pakistan either, they do not have the funds.]

    Since Iranians do not have the funds to purchase security in their region, and in the face of relentless enmity of the United States and now EU, it stands to reason to invest funds were with least amount of expenditure the most security can be purchased.

    One area of investiment, of course, is the nuclear sciences and technology, another one is rocketry, and yet another one is electronic warfare.

    Note that the UNSC sanctions against Iran aim at taking sovereign rights away from Iran in the field of rocketry as well.

    As for North Koreans; they moved their armed forces south after the 1991 war of US against the Ba’athis Iraq.

    They dug them in and took Seoul hostage. But they did not stop there, they went on to become nuclear-ready as well.

    Again, one has to aks oneself, why doesn’t US sign a Peace Treaty with North Korea?

  125. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    October 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    You are wasting your time.

    You may recall that for weeks he denied the UK’s impoundment – read theft – of 1.5 billion pounds of Iranian money in UK.

  126. Dan Cooper says:

    Israel Lobby Calls for an ‘Iranian Pearl Harbor’


    By Muhammad Sahimi

  127. Nasser says:

    This is a couple of years old. Alexey Pushkov making a presentation in Singapore and talks about Russia’s foreign policy future.


  128. Ataune says:

    James Canning,

    Your reply sounds awfully like “might makes right”. Be it. Then you have to demonstrate that the mightiest among p5+1, adding if you whish the Europeans to her, is effectively mighty enough to initiate a big war against Iran encompassing the whole region wihtout sinking its own economy and her established world political order; In addiotion you will also need to prove that, this war will be so devastating that the prospect will intimidate Iran into giving up its sovereign rights before even having fired a single shot. You will need to demonstrate as well that China and Russia are ready to accept such an outcome, the same countries that vetoed 3 times, after refraining from even one case for many years, the legitimacy for the US to overthrow Iran’s closest Arab Ally.

  129. Karl... says:


    Again could you please answer my question? On what legal basis do you support sanctions?

    Again why do you swallow the propaganda used on Iraq for Iran?

  130. James Canning says:


    Many of the liar warmongering neocons who have considerable influence in the US, want Iran hurt so that Israel can continue to injure the Palestinians in the West Bank. The nuclear dispute is very useful for these liar warmongering neocons.

  131. James Canning says:


    Iran’s decision to treble production of 20% U was obviously a blunder. This brought on severe sanctions, and Iran is unable to get those sanctions lifted even if it agrees to stop enriching to 20%.

  132. James Canning says:


    Pat Buchanan, in the same article (Nov. 2012): “According to the United Nations’ watchdog agency, Iran recently converted morethan one-third of its 20 percent enriched uranium into U238, or uranium oxide, a powder for tis medical research reactor.”

    Yes, if Iran converts all the 20% U at hand, into fuel rods/plates for TRR, this would be helpful.

  133. James Canning says:


    I do not think Iran is trying to build nukes on the sly. There are a number of people who comment on this site, who wish Iran would build nukes (on the sly, or openly).

    Aipac continues its effort to gain greater influence in the UK.

    You will recall that William Hague wanted to improve Britain’s relations with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, and Syria.

  134. Ataune says:

    James Canning

    Compared to the previous IAEA report, the latest one, which should constitute the fact as far as we are concerned, has indicated a decrease in the amount of the 20% U stockpiled. In addition, Iran has wisely refrained so far, even in Fardow, from upgrading its centrifuge technology, as it was announced nearly 3 years ago. Iran, since at least 42 years ago, has positioned herself, and this can be attested by the head of the Iran Nuclear Energy Agency at the time of the ancient regime, as looking to replace fossil fuel energy with nuclear one in an industrial level – i.e. producing 20 thousand MW of capacity off of national nuclear industry in the next 10 years. The 5% enrichment is a necessity for that purpose.

    It is true that if you are planning a war you’d better prepare your own troop by claiming the rightfulness of your cause. But inferring from, one trying to convince the American public that stockpiling of 20% by Iran is cause for concern since the path to build nuke become easier for them, that the US is planning a war against Iran can the least be called logical induction or inference. As far as I can remember, this was abhorred the most by Anglo-Saxon philosophers, correctly advocating realism and pragmatism.

  135. James Canning says:


    I would prefer that Egypt stop helping Israel to strangle the economy of the Gaza Strip.

    I favor normal relations between Egypt and Iran.

    Apparently the attitude toward Shia Islam, possessed by most Egyptians, influences the way the government is dealing with Iran. And, of course, Egypt needs money from the PG countries.

  136. Nasser says:

    James Canning October 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm,

    “There is little chance Egypt will attack Israel in years to come. Very little.

    Most Egyptians do not like Shia Islam and this fact suggests FYI would be wiser not to make so much noise about Shia Power etc etc etc etc.”

    – What does that have to do with lifting the siege on Gaza?! Or opening an Iranian embassy in Cairo?

  137. Karl... says:


    Again on what legal basis do you support sanctions?

    Are aipac in UK too? UK have the same view on Iran as US does.

    Yes Iraq was made on that WMD-excuse so why do you accept it once again on Iran?

  138. James Canning says:


    There is little chance Egypt will attack Israel in years to come. Very little.

    Most Egyptians do not like Shia Islam and this fact suggests FYI would be wiser not to make so much noise about Shia Power etc etc etc etc.

  139. James Canning says:


    I hae said many times the ISRAEL LOBBY wants to hurt Iran in order to “proect” Israel. Amd the ISRAEL LOBBY largely controls US foreign policy in the Middle East.
    That said, there are differences of opinion within the Israel lobby, as to what to do or not do in the ME.

  140. James Canning says:


    The illegal and idiotic US invasion of Iraq used WMD as a pretext. And one might add that the liar warmongering neocons used WMD to deceive the American public, and apparently George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice.

  141. Nasser says:


    I think Iranians have been disabused of their delusions regarding Turkey and Egypt. But I hope Iran maintains diplomatic niceties and does all it can to cooperate whenever possible. Iran should look to expand economic ties and sell more energy to Turkey for example.

    As far as Egypt goes, let’s not forget that the siege on Gaza is still ongoing! Egypt is in dire economic condition. It is reliant on outside financial assistance and imports most of its food. Egypt is obviously using its ties with Iran to bribe the GCC countries. I don’t think Egypt will normalize ties with Iran anytime soon. Similarly, it feels it is in no position to get into a confrontation with Israel as it needs financial assistance from the West.

  142. James Canning says:


    I said I would prefer sanctions to an idiotic US attack on Iran. And this is a statement you dislike?

  143. James Canning says:


    Pat Buchanan writes (Nov. 2012 issue of The American Conservative): “Iranian President Ahmadinejad has lately moicked the idea of Iran building a bomb in the face of US commitment to go to war to prevent it.” (He then quotes the statement you linked.)

  144. Nasser says:

    Castellio says October 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm,

    – Thanks for your great post. I don’t know what to tell you. This regional rivalries and animosities making things ripe for foreign manipulation is not just true of the Muslim Middle East but nearly all regions of the world – be it Europe, East Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent.

    – I think Iran’s enemies were revealed to her during her war with Iraq. Most Sunni Arabs and the Salafists in particular are implacably hostile to Iran. The Southern Persian Gulf states (with the laudable exception of Oman) have done all they could do harm Iran. There is virtually zero chance that Iran can form any alliances with these groups.

    – But Iran of course isn’t friendless in the region. I would argue in the foreign policy arena nothing is more consequential to Iran than the future internal and external politics of Iraq. These two countries are the most populous in the Persian Gulf and together their oil output can rival Saudi Arabia’s. It is possible that over time these two can cooperate further and create a powerful Shia alliance.

    – As far as Iran’s regional adversaries go, they wouldn’t be able to do much and would have to accommodate Iran without the help of outside powers – in this case the United States. Luckily for Iran, Sunni – American cooperation is hampered by the fact that their blood enemy Israel has the full support of the US. You would hear the Saudis sometimes complain about being caught between the Jews and the Persians. The Arab Awakening over time would only make it harder for popularly accountable governments to cooperate with the US; be it against Iran or whoever.

  145. Karl.. says:


    Ok when you know have admitted that you support sanctions. Why is that? On what legal basis?

  146. Karl.. says:


    I think you should start reading the analysis by Leverett’s. Its not about nuclear its about Iran itself, if you know the basic relations between Iran/US/Israel you would knew that the sanctions go back to the 70s. Havent you learned anything by the Iraq-war that was approached the very same way? Surely you dont belive Iraq-war was about WMD?

    And another thing, you know Iran could use your argument but reverse it, that is – the sanctions, embargo and killing of scientists gives Iran the notion that US are bent on destruction and regime change on Iran which in turn give Iran all reason to proceed with their nuclear program and escalate it.

    You seems to belive that there are two equal parties here.

  147. James Canning says:


    Pat Buchanan quotes those same words, by Ahmadinejad, in the piece I mentioned twice today. Yes, only an idiot would attack the US with a nuke when the US has 5,000 nukes. Or attack Israel, for that matter.

  148. James Canning says:


    Do you think Iran acted wisely, by trebling enrichment of uranium to 20%?

  149. James Canning says:


    I have said many times I thought the sanctions were a mistake. I have not changed my viewpoint. That said, I would rather see sanctions than an attack on Iran based on a false assumption Iran is trying to build nukes.

    I favor normal relations between Iran and the US.

  150. James Canning says:


    Irn has not been attacked by the US because there is no evidence Iran is trying to build nukes.

    And Iran has not attacked the US.

    There is, in my view, ZERO chance Iran would be allowed to build nukes.

    North Korea has ZERO need for nukes, true. And next to no need for its fantastically expensive military, apart from keeping the current government in power.

  151. Karl.. says:


    Do you support the sanctions?

  152. James Canning says:

    Pat Buchanan, in November 2012 American Cnservative magazine: “Iran already has enough 20 percent enriched uranium for medical isotopes and more than enough 5 percent enriched uranium for its power plant. Further enrichment gives Iran nothing in the way of added security, but it does ensure that the severe sanctions will be sustained and perhaps tightened.”

  153. James Canning says:


    That Iran has the legal right to stockpile 20 percent uranium does not mean it is a good idea for Iran to stockpile 20 percent uranium. For it is this stockpiling of 20% U that is used to convince the American public Iran may be trying to build nukes on the sly.

    You do agree, I take it, that the ten most powerful countries on the planet want Iran to stop enriching to 20%?

  154. Nasser says:

    Castellio says: October 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    “Nasser, North Korea’s “independence” has everything to do with being beside China. When the western forces invaded North Korea the Chinese forces entered the fray and met them. They would do so again.”

    – North Korea would turn Seoul into a “sea of fire” if it was ever attacked. It is not reliant on China for its physical security but economic security. But yes I agree that China would back its ally.

    – If Iran managed to become as threatening to Southern Persian Gulf states (say by acquisition of nuclear weapons) as North Korea is to South Korea, it too would be virtually immune from military threats. It is Iran’s current capacity to disrupt world energy supplies that keeps attacks at bay. But over time Iran needs to make its deterrent more potent.

  155. James Canning says:

    Pat Buchanan, writing in The American Conservative (November 2012 issue): “If Iran advances ideas to demonstrate convincingly that it has no [nuclear] weapons program, but insists on having a peaceful nuclear program under UN inspection, will America accept that?”

    Romney would not, I think he has made clear.

  156. Ataune says:

    James Canning,

    Those were propositions and not advices. I am not in a position to advise anyone here. But thank you anyway.

    Regarding your issue with 20% enrichment. I believe Iran is already aware of the US redlines. Either through back channel communications or by other means. Although US has publicly refused to announce a redline, and this is by itself really telling, my opinion is that it is not the 20%. For sure this amount of enrichment is close to 90% of the way to build a nuclear capability, but doing so is Iran’s sovereign right and therefore internationally lawful. In addition, the requests by the UNSC cannot be construed as stripping Iran from this inalienable right but as temporary confidence building measures, the way the have always been presented by the UNSC. The P5+1 negociation tool is just here to advance that will. Until the opposite is proven, the US is still faithful to the political and legal order it vastly helped set in place after WWII.

    A maritime blocade of iranian export of petroleum is an act of war. The US posture, public words and deeds indicate that only a political decision followed by the effective building and assembling of the bomb(s) will trigger a US initiated war. These are only technically verifiable and provable in an international forum if Iran remains party to the NPT and its safeguard.

  157. James Canning says:


    It is of course true that some idiot neocon warmongers in the US, such as Paul Wolfowitz, favor bad relations between the US and Russia. Perhaps it is true of most of the idiot neocon warmongers.

  158. James Canning says:


    South Korea would not attack NK even if there were no nukes in NK. South Korea would be reluctant to take control of NK if the North Korean government left the country.

    NK faces essentially ZERO threat of attack by the US.

  159. James Canning says:


    China and Russia want Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent. This desire is not part of a plan they pursue, for damaging their own countries.

    China is apparently concerned about Muslim extremists, from East Turrkestan, gaining experience in the civil war in Syria.

  160. James Canning says:


    Yes, the term Franks is associated with Roman Catholicism. The Greeks (and other Orthodox Christians) used the term for many centuries.

  161. Castellio says:

    “The term Frank was used as a synonym for ‘Roman Catholic’ in the Middle Ages, as the Franks were rulers most of western Europe and were closely affiliated with the Church in Rome.” Wikipedia

    The leader I was thinking of was Saint Gilles, (Count of Toulouse, Duke of Narbonne, and Margrave of Provence).

  162. BiBiJon says:

    In defense of Richard

    This is not to imply anyone is attacking him (too) personally, but to suggest some of Richard’s points, sans his argumentative/combative style, has merit, methinks.

    Richard points out that the western clique in charge is capable of doing anything, and has its gaze set on Iran.

    a) There can be no question about the visceral animosity that is directed at Iran.
    b) Iran is a key to achieving a geostrategic coup against Russia and China
    c) Unpredictability is regarded as an asset in the current downward trajectory of US influence and power — it is useful to have everybody afraid of US moves all the time for no reason. US can extract a lot of submissions/compromises in this atmosFEAR.

    Richard points out US military capability so outstrips that of Russia’s and China’s, let alone Iran’s, that the impediment to go to war is not due to any military consideration. Yes, the military brass may prefer a clean war, with a beginning and an end, with defined objectives, etc. However, if those requirements were to influence decisions, the ‘war on terra’ would have never been started a decade ago.

    Richard points out Israel’s survival odds in the event of war can be improved by defanging Syria and Hezbollah. This too makes sense.

    Where I think Richard often fails is his underestimation of the forces arrayed against a hot war. And absent a hot war, US downward trajectory portends future balance at the intersection point of Iran’s upward trajectory. And, it is only at that intersection where Ataune’s options 1 thru 5 could become a stasis.

    It’s anyone’s guess when the current war with Iran by all ‘other’ means imaginable will become too expensive to continue. But, reaching that point is inescapable.

    At that ‘inescapable’ point, if Iran has managed to hang on to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and western Afghanistan, then good things will happen (for both sides). If Iran loses her allies, then bad things are sure to follow (for both sides). I think we only have weeks, not months, before it is settled one way or the other.

  163. Castellio says:

    Nasser, North Korea’s “independence” has everything to do with being beside China. When the western forces invaded North Korea the Chinese forces entered the fray and met them. They would do so again.

  164. James Canning says:


    Probably half the population of North Korea would leave the country, if this were possible. What an achievement by the NK government.

  165. James Canning says:


    There is ZERO chance Iran will find itself in the position of North Korea. No nukes, and none of the grinding poverty for most of the population that one finds in NK.

  166. James Canning says:

    Iran foreign ministry says nuclear dispute can easily be resolved if the P5+1 accept Iran’s right to civil nuclear power.

    “Tehran: P5+1 must recognise our nuclear rights” (Oct. 30th):


  167. Nasser says:

    James Canning says October 30, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    “I agree that FYI lately has argued that Iran can hope to find itself in the position of Cuba or North Korea. How wonderful.”

    – I don’t know about Cuba but if Iran can achieve the kind of military security that North Korea has been able to achieve that would be impressive indeed. And Iranians obviously would have a higher standard of living than either Cubans or North Koreans.

  168. James Canning says:


    I think you offer good advice to R S Hack. Consider that some Iranians at least are trying to help Hezbollah be in a position to make a good transition in Lebanon in the event the Syrian government is overthrown.

  169. James Canning says:


    The Crusaders oftern were referred to as the Franks. The Franks of course were the Germanic tribe that took control of much of what is France today. For a time, under Charlemagne, the Franks controlled most of Western Europe.

    The Muslims often sided with various “Crusader” forrces, in attacks on othe Muslims. The Christians also did a great deal of fighting against each other, rather than against the Muslims. (Consider the insane sacking of Constantinople in 1204.)

  170. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I have said many times that if Iran continues to stockpile 20% U, it will end up being attacked. This is hardly a prediction the current crisis will “blow over”.

    I agree that FYI lately has argued that Iran can hope to find itself in the position of Cuba or North Korea. How wonderful.

  171. Castellio says:

    Nasser, that’s an interesting interview. Thanks.

    A brief comment. During the “original” crusades, the western forces, then called the Franj, reflecting the fact that most came from Roman Catholic France, enjoyed years of success due to the divisions among the Islamic forces. It was common for one Islamic city to actually send wealth and forces to the invaders as part of a negotiation that they attack a different city. Rather than unifying to defeat the invaders, the tribes/cities aligned with them, even after the horrors of massive slaughtering was well known. Of course, the Islamic cities ended up picked off one by one.

    Is it different today? Is Iran’s greatest enemy the United States, or is it the keepers of the holy sites of Islam in Saudi Arabia? Is Syria’s toughest foe the US or Israel, or Turkey?

    Iran thinks it a major accomplishment that Morsi visits for an hour or two. What is really needed is a mutual defense agreement that sticks, whereby if Israel attacks Iran both Egypt and Iran would consider themselves at war with Israel. Is that close? Not by a long shot. Same with Turkey. Imagine if the Israeli killing of Turkish sailors was met by a unified front of Egypt, Iran and Turkey (let alone Saudi Arabia).

    In other words, the Islamic community remains riven by both sectarian and tribal divisions and refuses to collaborate at any essential level. The fact that western powers take advantage of and support these divisions is well known: that hardly excuses those on the other side who can’t overcome regional rivalries and actually work together.

    FYI, as always, blames the American Protestants for the current situation. Well, the first Crusades were long before either Protestantism or America, and yet the weakness and actions of the Islamic regimes was distressingly similar to now. But his analysis helps exhibit the problem: history, analysis, self-criticism, gives way before an a priori set of sectarian identifications and beliefs.

    At the end of the day, its not how many cruise missiles that Iran has which will determine its future, it’s whether or not its Islamic neighbours treat it as a rival or as a partner.

  172. James Canning says:


    Bear in mind that many of the americans who wanted Saddeam Hussein to invade Iran, so that Iran would be injured, also wanted Iraq to be injured.

  173. James Canning says:


    Did the Americans who encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade Iran actually believe this invasion would bring about the overthrow of the Iranian government, as you claim? I think they wanted Iran injured, but did not expect an overthrow of the Iranian government.

  174. James Canning says:


    The Shah of Iran was doing his best to obtain the highest possible prices for Iranian oil. A very good job. Where he went wrong was squandering so much money on weapons.

  175. James Canning says:


    Interesting piece by Wayne White that you linked. I continue to think Obama would blockade Iran to prevent any Iranian oil exports, before he would attack Iranian nuclear sites. (If things come to that pass.)

  176. James Canning says:


    The British Attorney General changed his opinion regarding the legality of the invasion of Iraq. This event enabled the UK to back George W. Bush’s foolish military adventure.

  177. Karl... says:


    About UK stance. Doesnt mean much of 2 reasons.

    1. In 2003 there were warning that an attack on Iraq was illegal. UK still went to war.
    2. The statement is from the current situtiation, tommorow, next week or in 4 weeks they might come to another conclusion.

    Besides who would know if US use any UK bases? No one.

  178. Nasser says:

    Interview with Aleksey Pushkov, head of Russian Duma’s foreign affairs committee.


  179. Ataune says:


    I personally appreciate the diversity of opinions, including yours, in this forum.

    As for the “shades of options” in the Iran-US relation, here are several of them. I am sure others can come up with addiotional ones:

    1) A grand bargain and a roadmap paving the way for a long-term respectful relationship – being already tried by both Iran and the US, unsuccessfuly so far;

    2) A cold but courteous and maybe formalized relation that doesn’t resolve the main issues but calm the tempers – described until recently as the kind of relationship between Iranian forces and the American ones in the Persian Gulf;

    3) Accommodation by the US, meaning acceptance of the legitimate interests of the other side with redlines clearly set but without any formalized relationship – probably the current mid-term objective of the iranian policy makers;

    4) Containment policy aimed at internal collapse of the Iranian state – most likely the best description of the current situation;

    5) A state of hostility without an open war where both sides are trying to avoid escalation and direct confrontation – another possibility;

    6) The accumulated problems coming into a head on dispute with an open hot war the way you advocate it – remote possibility.

  180. Rd. says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    “If there are “shades of options”, kindly provide them for analysis.”

    Major US-UK Tiff Over Legality of Iran Strike


  181. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    October 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Americans first destroyed liberal democracy in Iran.

    [Now their stated position is precisely for the restoration of the same secular liberal democracy that they themselves destroyed.]

    Next, to add insult to the injury, they dragged Iran into their Cold War with USSR and the Eastern Block.

    And, in the meantime, they were raping – together with UK – Iran’s oil wealth.

    When Iranian people rose up in disgust in 1979, Americans got Saddam Hussein to attack Iran; hoping to bring down the nationalist Islamic Republic of Iran.

    When, in 1983, Iraq was poven to be in a sorry shape, they became co-belligerent with Iraq and enlisted the help of their allies in EU in supporting Ba’athist Iraq.

    [They thwarted the achievement of Iran’s war aims – but – ironically – 20 years later they had to go and destroy Ba’athist Iraq.]

    Next, in 1994, they put their best effort into bankrupting Mr. Rafsanjani’s government finacially; which failed at the cost of extreme austerity in Iran.

    Now they and their EU allies are waging another war against Iran and her allies – after the increase in the Shia/Irani power that Americans themselves had caused.

    In my opinion, there is no way that Americans can resolve their difference with Iran – it has gone on for 3 generations (almost 60 years) and will continue into the next generation – evidently.

    May be in 2053.

  182. Nasser says:

    – Interesting article from Stratfor. http://www.stratfor.com/sample/analysis/eastern-africa-battleground-israel-and-iran

    – One thing I felt the article left out; Iran could fire cruise missiles from these waters to accurately hit Israeli targets in the event of hostilities. Thus having additional means of retaliation besides Hezbollah and Iran’s long range ballistic missiles.

    “Eastern Africa: A Battleground for Israel and Iran

    Whether an Oct. 24 explosion at a Sudanese arms factory with suspected ties to Iran was the result of an Israeli attack, the incident highlights Iran’s maneuvers and Israel’s concerns in eastern Africa. Tehran has sought to establish land routes for weapons trafficking from the Indian Ocean and Red Sea into Gaza and Israel in order to support militants in the region — particularly Iranian proxy militant groups on Israel’s borders and in the Levant. This, along with the importance of the maritime route through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to the sustainability of these land routes, has made Sudan and the Red Sea part of a secondary battleground between Iran and Israel.


    Iranian naval forces are key to maintaining and expanding Tehran’s weapons smuggling routes. In 2007, Tehran restructured the Iranian navy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps navy, putting the corps’ naval focus on the Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. This allowed the more traditional Iranian navy to focus on blue-water efforts that would expand Tehran’s naval influence, specifically in the triangle connecting the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Malacca and the Bab el Mandeb strait. Bab el Mandeb is of great importance to Iran, because it is a natural choke point between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

    Iran’s focus on expansion in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea serves several purposes. First, it establishes an Iranian presence along a key transportation route where Iran can protect its vessels from Somali pirates. Second, it is a military tactic, giving the Iranian navy influence outside the Persian Gulf — something Tehran believes is necessary for its success as a regional power. As Iran attempts to move its navy toward a blue-water capability, the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea will be where developments occur first. Finally, it supports Iran’s goals in eastern Africa. Iran’s navy is not advanced enough to challenge other navies in the region, but the maritime presence in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea allows the Iranians to provide cover for their weapons smuggling routes to the north.

    Diplomacy on the Southern Red Sea Coast

    Tehran uses its naval presence in the region as a form of soft diplomacy to maintain good relations with Eritrea and Sudan (and, to a lesser extent, Djibouti) all while supporting its onshore goals in the region. Iranian tankers and other vessels, including military vessels, frequently dock at the Eritrean ports of Massawa and Assab and at Port Sudan. In 2008, Eritrean opposition figures even claimed that Eritrea had allowed Iran to establish a naval base at Assab, near the entrance to the Bab el Mandeb strait. Tehran has also used its relationship with Eritrea to aid Yemen’s al-Houthi rebels who, like the Iranians, are Shia (although the Yemeni rebels belong to a different sect).

    Port Sudan’s proximity to Gaza, Egypt and Israel make it an excellent location for smuggling arms northward. In 2009, Israel launched three airstrikes against weapons shipments in Sudan that were believed to be from Iran heading toward Gaza. In 2011, Khartoum blamed Israel for another strike on Port Sudan that killed two people. Leaked cables also indicate that the West warned Khartoum not to allow Tehran to arm Hamas militants during the 2008-2009 Gaza War.

    Since Tehran’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Yemen — on the northern coastlines of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden — are sour, these ties to countries on the southern coastlines have become a strategic necessity for Iran’s ambitions beyond the Persian Gulf. Iran has been able to deploy more ships farther from the Gulf since 2007. For example, in 2011, for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian naval vessels passed through the Suez Canal. With Egypt’s new Islamist president seeking to work with Iran on a solution for Syria, Iran could gain greater access to Egyptian waters, especially as Cairo attempts to use Tehran as leverage to manage Israel.

    Iran’s navy cannot project enough power to control key shipping lanes, but Tehran has emphasized its presence around Bab el Mandeb as a possible means of disrupting global trade in the event of an attack on Iran and a key point for negotiations in the future, much like the Strait of Hormuz.

    Iran’s maritime presence also helps support anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and northwestern Indian Ocean. Iran’s navy has been a successful interdictor of Somali piracy since 2008, when Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian chartered cargo ship off the Yemeni coast. While countering piracy protects Iranian trade vessels from Somali pirates, it also provides a rationale for the Iranian navy’s presence off the coast of eastern Africa, allowing it to discreetly augment Iran’s activities on land, such as weapons trafficking through Sudan.
    Iran’s Land-Based Operations in Africa

    Iran has used not only the Sudanese coastline but also Eritrea and possibly Djibouti or Somalia to smuggle arms onto land before shipping them to their destination. Eastern Africa’s porous borders make smuggling along land routes relatively easy.

    Tehran uses the land routes in eastern Africa to smuggle weapons and stage anti-Israeli attacks. The Yarmouk factory in Khartoum, where the explosion occurred Oct. 24, is believed to manufacture ammunition and rocket artillery destined for Gaza and the al-Houthi rebels in Yemen. The factory is thought to have ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and is said to be staffed by Iranians. In June, two members of the corps’ Quds Force were arrested in Kenya and were found in possession of the explosive RDX. The RDX could have been bound for a smuggling route, or it could have been meant for use in an attack on Israeli interests in Kenya. In Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002 an Israeli-owned hotel was bombed and two surface-to-air missiles were fired at an Israeli chartered jet in attacks believed to have been conducted by al Qaeda’s East Africa branch.

    Tehran has used the land routes not only to smuggle weapons and drugs into Gaza but also to move trafficked goods back to Iran. During the 2011-2012 Arab unrest, Libyan weapons were smuggled to Sudan, and Israel has said those weapons went back to Iran before they were sent to Hezbollah, likely through Syria.

    As Israel’s attacks on weapons convoys in Sudan illustrate, Israel is paying attention to Iran’s smuggling routes in eastern Africa and attempting to interdict Tehran’s weapons shipments to the north. Iran’s use of additional smuggling routes in Kenya and Tanzania, south of the African horn, could limit Israel’s ability to interrupt Iran’s trafficking operations by spreading those operations across a larger area.”

  183. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    “For some time, there’s been really very little posted here of any significance. People with serious opinions and the capability of putting forth reasoned arguments (however much I disagreed with them on this or that point)…have drifted away”

    Let’s see, I have noticed a large number of posters still posting here that make coherent arguments, back them up with linked sources and have obviously considered them and objections to them. That qualifies as a serious opinion and a reasoned argument by any normal standard. Oh, I forgot we are talking about the Richard Steven Hack school of logic which states that everything Richard Steven Hack says is always right and anyone who presents proof to the contrary is an idiot.

    “and we’re left with obsessed cretins like Exposed.”

    Because someone who demands every single person on this blog must agree with his completely unproven opinion or be demonized as a “Pollyanna” and accused of “Cognitive dissonance” is certainely not obsessed. Thank you for pointing that out to us. I look forward to even more proof that you are not obsessed.

    “I’m not seeing much point in posting news here as apparently no one is interested in the news because they don’t believe there’s any trend to be seen at all.”

    The problem is the news you post never actually provides any proof for the argument you want to advance. Often it actually disproves it, as for example the evidence that the UK opposes a US attack and will not support it.

    “I still haven’t seen one explanation of why anyone is here if nothing’s going to happen but the status quo for the next twenty years”

    Yes you have but you ignored it. Yet more proof that you are not obsessed. To explain, most who comment here do so because they are interested in the nation of Iran, its culture, its relations with foreign nations, its rising power and influence in the Middle East and around the world, etc. Nothing about this blog requires that anyone who comments on it must be obsessed by a belief that the US will inevitably attack Iran regardless of the consequences as you are.

    “Well, until it becomes completely clear that isn’t going to happen, there’s not much point arguing with a bunch of people who think that’s the case.”

    Thank you. That is just what you said the last time you decided to depart and of course since than NATO attacked Syria just like you stated it would before you returned.

  184. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    “I haven’t seen ANY such “shade of options” here. All I see here is that war with Iran is IMPOSSIBLE. Foreign intervention in Syria is IMPOSSIBLE. Israel attacking Hizballah is IMPOSSIBLE.”

    The problem with this is that you do not “support” or acknowledge any option or opinion that differs from you own. When anyone here tries to provide such an opinion you try to bury them with excessively long posts that are extremely argumentative and most importantly never provide any concrete proof for the particular opinion you are pushing. You than make subsequent posts which contain statements that often openly contradict statements you have previously made, deny you have made statements that you have previously made, and change your argument while denying you are doing so. If that doesn’t work you call those who disagree with you morons or some similar insult and throw a temper tantrum. None of this behavior is likely to get people who disagree with you to respect your position or to accept it without concrete proof which you never provide. A perfect example of this is the statement you just made. In it you refuse to accept any of the many different and diverse opinions that disagree with your own singleminded, obsessive desire to be proven right, despite the fact you never provide any proof that you are.

    “All I’ve seen from you is lists of reasons why it’s not POSSIBLE for the West to do what I claim they will do. There is no discussion of “options”, just reasons why nothing whatsoever is going to happen.”

    1. Unlike you, those who argue against you have provided actual proof that supports their arguments and disproves yours. The links you provide do not prove your statements and often actually disprove them when the entire article is read instead of only the short passages from it you take out of context.
    2. No, I (and others) do not agree that the events you describe will take place. Instead, we provide proof that they will not. Obviously, some of these arguments differ. That does not change the fact that you provide no proof for yours.

    “And at the same time, absolutely NO EXPLANATION as to what actually IS HAPPENING except the notion that Obama and the rest of the government are making “honest mistakes”

    Do you actually read any of the replies to your obsessive argument completely and try to understand them? Because none of them even remotely resemble the assertion you just made. I will summarize

    1. Obama will continue sanctions because he believes he can sell the idea that they are “working” despite the fact they are not. This is clearly demonstrated by every public statement he has made over the last 4 years.

    2. He will not attack Iran on the assumption that 1. He is not an idiot (I.e. not more stupid than Bush) because 2. The many members of the establishment who realize that such an attack would be disastrous will make that clear (as they are doing publically) and overwhelming public opposition will prevent it. Those who disagree with you have presented evidence that proves this position; you have not presented evidence that disproves it.

    3. In the event that Obama is an idiot and does attack Iran, the US will in fact be defeated as I have exhaustively explained and proved with many sources. You have not proved otherwise.

  185. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Ataune: “There are shades of options available”

    I haven’t seen ANY such “shade of options” here. All I see here is that war with Iran is IMPOSSIBLE. Foreign intervention in Syria is IMPOSSIBLE. Israel attacking Hizballah is IMPOSSIBLE.

    If there are “shades of options”, kindly provide them for analysis. All I’ve seen from you is lists of reasons why it’s not POSSIBLE for the West to do what I claim they will do. There is no discussion of “options”, just reasons why nothing whatsoever is going to happen. And the reason there’s no discussion of “options” is because no one here other than myself has any idea what the options might be. And all my options are rejected a priori.

    The only “options” ever mentioned are complete, 100 percent turn-arounds on the part of Obama and the Congress. With, I might add, zero evidence to support the possibility except rumors and speculation that “circumstances” make it IMPOSSIBLE to do anything else.

    And at the same time, absolutely NO EXPLANATION as to what actually IS HAPPENING except the notion that Obama and the rest of the government are making “honest mistakes” – despite all the evidence to the contrary to THAT notion.

    For some time, there’s been really very little posted here of any significance. People with serious opinions and the capability of putting forth reasoned arguments (however much I disagreed with them on this or that point) like Arnold Evans and Eric Brill have drifted away, and we’re left with obsessed cretins like Exposed.

    I’m not seeing much point in posting news here as apparently no one is interested in the news because they don’t believe there’s any trend to be seen at all. It’s all been explained to their satisfaction and that’s that.

    I still haven’t seen one explanation of why anyone is here if nothing’s going to happen but the status quo for the next twenty years (a notion that flies in the very face of any concept of “history”, especially recent history.)

    Literally everyone here believes that it will “all blow over” sooner or later. That IS the consensus of the few people left posting here. Well, until it becomes completely clear that isn’t going to happen, there’s not much point arguing with a bunch of people who think that’s the case.

    There’s no other explanation for this phenomena except cognitive dissonance (with a touch of stupidity in the case of some people.)

  186. Persian Gulf says:

    James Canning:

    I have quoted Brzezinski word by word. He openly says continuing crippling sanctions and so on. I am not sure what can be made out of this. It’s the same reasoning with Obama. for nearly 4 years, Obama apologists were saying he actually wants to repair the relation with Iran, his intentions are really good and other BS. he is only locked by Israel and other players. in reality, what he has done so far were totally different. he is proudly talking about crippling sanctions, sabotages,….

    I assume Brzezinski’s reasoning is exactly like yours. the key point in your countless comments here for “5% or less” is the word “less” itself. That means the moment Iran stopped 20% enrichment and agreed to only continue with 5%, the pressure will change toward less (which I assume it means “zero”). and this trend is going to continue until total capitulation. Iran didn’t have a single centrifuge running during Clinton and much of Bush time, and U.S’ stand toward Iran wasn’t any different than what we see today. I think, by continuing your 20% comment, you are just making a fool out of yourself.

    Of course, when the neocons were openly talking about war, Brzezinski’s talk of avoiding a war with Iran was attractive to some otherwise there would have been no difference between him and those neocons. and when Iran has the bomb openly, then, who is Brzezinski to argue U.S shouldn’t go to war with Iran? in that case a war will be automatically out, much like North Korea. does stating an obvious really need a brilliant mind?

  187. Ataune says:


    One of the issues I have with your reasoning – and I hope you agree with me that each of us are somehow trying to reason – is that not only it follows a mantra like “either with us or against us” but the presumption that other participants do the same.

    It is not either the US will have a war to decimate and cripple Iran or the latter will win;
    It is not that a war will start and will last only 6 months and nothing else;
    It is not that the MIC see only the profit to pocket for the next 6 months and that’s it;
    It is not that you are either accepting that a war is inevitable or you are part of the pollyanna and have to close shop and declare the crisis over;

    There are shades of options available for a panoply of political actors and this multitude gives so many outcomes that you can’t possibly fit war as the only theoretical certainty here.

    I propose you study the deeds and thoughts of one bright and principled politician from Iran which might give you a bit of hint on how to perceive political reality. The current head of Iran’s NSC has had several interesting articles on the necessity of looking at the political events as a multi-facetted reality and the urgency to deal with each in a separate creative way.

  188. James Canning says:

    “Head of Iran-European Friendship Group says the US Senate and Israel lobby compelled the European Parliament (EP) to canceal its planned trip to Iran.”


  189. James Canning says:


    Interesting piece by Gareth Porter that you just linked. And we should remember that the ISRAEL LOBBY blocked the proposed Conoco oil deal with Iran, that was intended to help repair relations between Iran and the US. Just one more instance of how the ISRAEL LOBBY intentionally injures the national interests of the American people.

  190. ToivoS says:

    Gareth Porter — http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/29/how-the-clinton-administration-nixed-an-iran-nuke-deal/ — writes that even during the Clinton administration the US was resisting peaceful overtures to examine the nuclear issue. President Khatami was apparently interested in addressing US concerns and made a very generous offer.

  191. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Yup. According to the Robert Parry article, Obama is our savior once again! Change you can believe in!

    He absolutely will resolve the Iran crisis within weeks of winning the election by explicitly acknowledging Iran’s right to domestic enrichment and will lift all unilateral US sanctions this coming year in exchange for Iran agreeing to implement the Additional Protocol.

    Obama will turn his back on all those who financed his political career, fire all the Zionist sympathizers in his Cabinet, and ignore all contrary pressure from the Israeli-owned Congress.

    In addition, he will immediately after the election force Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to stop supplying the Syrian insurgents, force England, France and Germany to stop supplying intelligence and Special Forces advisers to the insurgents, and immediately invite Assad to the White House for talks.

    The following weekend he will undoubtedly resolve the Palestinian issue before going on holiday.

    No one can defeat Obama and Obama has only our best interests at heart! Vote Obama! You know you want to!

  192. Rd. says:

    Terrorists attack US eastern seaboard!!!

    It is good to see ‘b’ (Moon of Alabama) engineer by trade, to have a good sense of humor! Ofcourse anyone experiencing the western hypocrisy lead by his majesty the US, could use a bit of humor here and there..

    “Now here is an idea. Why doesn’t someone smart declare Sandy and her relatives a foreign terrorist organization? Isn’t she from somewhere in Central America? Hasn’t she already breached several red lines and her international obligations? “


  193. James Canning says:


    The Pentagon does not want the US to attack Iran, but obviously the present course is more sanctions, and still more sanctions, if Iran continues to stockpile 20% U. As argued by FYI, if Iran converts all 20% at hand in Iran, to fuel for the TRR, the 20% issue will diminish in importance. A big “if”?

    And of course a US blockade of Iranian oil exports reasonably could be taken as an act of war.

  194. James Canning says:


    The P5+1 probably would accept Iranian enrichment to 5% or less. And will accept Iranian operation of nuclear power plants, the TRR, etc. You seem to claim this is not correct.

  195. James Canning says:

    Persain Gulf,

    I think it is fair to say that the ten most powerful countries on the planet, want Iran to stop enriching to 20 percent. That I would see Iran’s stockpiling of 20% U as folly, is only a reasonable conclusion to draw from the above fact.

  196. James Canning says:

    Persian Gulf,

    I find it a bit strange you are hostile toward Zbigniew Brzezinski.

    I think Brzezxinski would agree with me that the ISRAEL LOBBY directly threatens world peace, due to its overweaning power in the US.

    And you think I try to provide protection to the Israel lobby?

  197. James Canning says:


    Iran of course is well aware of the extreme stupidity shown by Saddam Hussein when he was driven out of Kuwait.

  198. James Canning says:


    If you are arguing that Iran would not destroy the Saudi oil fields, I agree with you.

  199. James Canning says:


    Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have made clear Iran is willing to stop enriching to 20 percent. As demanded by Russia, China, Germany and the other leading world powers.

  200. James Canning says:

    “Israel is forfeiting the opportunity to make itself an acccepted and enduring part of the Middle East, through its determination to colonise much of the West Bank.”

    –Zbib Brzezinski, writing in the Financial Times Oct. 25, 2012.

  201. James Canning says:


    Obama and his generals had no desire to attack Iran earlier this year. They have no such desire today.

  202. Rd. says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    “Yup, these are absolute facts that paralyze the Pentagon with fear.”

    Richard, this article may be a good source to review. In response to the Lebanon’s security chief car bomb, the FUKUS (France, UK, US) are backing the Lebanon’s PM Mikati , despite the March 14 having called for his ouster??? The chaos is not controllable any more, so the FUKUS is paralyzed.


  203. Empty says:

    So, it is likely that Obama will have 61.5% of the votes and Romney 38.5% (if there is no “no to either” votes)….http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/index.php?ql3

    Indeed, America has the best democracy money can buy.

  204. Empty says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Have decided to resort to sarcasm, I see.

  205. fyi says:



    [I do not know what to make of this. I suspect a propaganda operation to get Mr. Obama re-elected.

    Note the statement that the framework was negogiatedby Mr. Panetta prior to 2011.

    Yet 2011 was the time that the policy that was the brain-child of Mr. Danilon, Ms. Slaughter, and Mrs. Clinton was implemented in the Levant and Persian Gulf.

    We might all recall that US and Iran were going to go to war this past February-March.

    But I might be wrong, we shall have seen by next February.]

  206. fyi says:


    I have read Dr. Kimball’s article that Mr. Canning has posted.

    The article, in my opinion, essentially outlines a wish-list of the Axis Powers + Russia for the resumption the nuclear talks and their conduct.

    This will not happen – zero chance of Iran agreeing to anything outlined in this article.

    The article is again predicated on the pain of regime-change sanctions to cause Iranian flexibility.

    That predication is also incorrect; during UN GA meeting they heard a big “No” from Iran in New York in spite of the sanctions.

    Furhermore, the position, taken by Dr. Kimball, which turns IAEA into a disarmament agency is also untenable.

    [Iranians are gradually turning the 20% enriched uranium into pallets for TRR – this action will resolve the 20% “issue”.]

    Note finally what Dr. Kimball is stating – only UNSC sanctions could be removed.

    As for supply of nuclear technology to Iran – such as Light-Water Reactors, that will almost certainly be tied to shutting down of Fordow, Natanz, and Arak facilities.

    That is, Iran must throw away all her investments and expenditures to have the priviledge of spending her money on unreliable Russian and Western suppliers – under conditions that she cannot even easily pay for MS drugs!

    My conclusion is not to put any significance into Dr. Kimball’s article.

  207. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    “Iran would defeat the US within six weeks just by closing the Strait of Hormuz.”

    More like 3-4 months, depending on how high oil prices become and how long strategic reserves last.

    “But Iran would also destroy all the Saudi oil fields”

    Stated more precisely Iran would damage oil production and processing capacity such that it would take years to repair. And that repair can not begin if the straits of Hormuz are closed.

    “Yup, these are absolute facts that paralyze the Pentagon with fear.”

    Yes they do… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002

  208. Neo says:


    “you are aware Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have offered for Iran to stop enriching to 20%”

    and you are aware that there has been agreement on bilateral talks?

    I mentioned to you a long time ago: Iran may use the 20% as a bargaining chip. That would’ve been Iran’s purpose for going up to 20% in the first place. It’s a carrot. The stick is the price of oil. The real deal is all about something else altogether.

  209. Neo says:

    Rd. says: October 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    “…the cost is the leash…”

    so well put!

    of all the costs, that of petrol alone would suffice. Iran’s real deterrent.

  210. Persian Gulf says:


    I think we have an equivalent of Brzezinski in this website. His name is James Canning (with all due respect James!). he too changes the goal post whenever deemed necessary. does anybody here, with his/her right mind, really think what he advocates is in Iran’s interest? or what he says is essentially any different than current U.S policy? he too talks about better relation with Iran, Israel lobby, Neocon warmongers….

    A man of your intelligence should be able to get it fairly easy. and I couldn’t care less about your character. what is important for me is to expose your very harmful double speak. you seem to be believing your own propaganda, even here with an anonymous ID. This is astonishing.

  211. A concerned world citizen: “I think it’s fair to say that strategically, the US is in no position to wage an open war on Iran. It’ll be suicide and the idiots running the pentagon are not known for their suicidal tendencies. Stupidity??? maybe, but certainly not suicide.”

    You’re absolutely right. The US attacking Iran would be total suicide. Iran is invincible. Iran would defeat the US within six weeks just by closing the Strait of Hormuz. But Iran would also destroy all the Saudi oil fields, all the US bases in the region, and all US and NATO naval forces in the region. It would also destroy all of Israel’s military forces in concert with Hizballah and Syria. Israel would no longer exist.

    Yup, these are absolute facts that paralyze the Pentagon with fear.

  212. A concerned world citizen says:

    I think Obama would prefer to blockade Iran to prevent any oil exports, rather than to attack Iran directly.

    Wrong..The US is in NO position to enforce a blockade on Iran without declaring war.Even if they don’t declare war openly, under international law, it IS a declaration of war and Iranian leaders have already stated they will go to war(aka, close the straits of Hormuz).

    Just to let you in on a little secret..Recent US naval drill in the Persian Gulf to “open” it in case Iran closes it failed miserably..They couldn’t find most of the mines they planted themselves.

    And how do you think China and Russia will react to America’s blockade of Iran? Iran is not Gaza where the Israelis have managed to blockade with a few boats. In any unlikely event of a US/NATO blockade, expect more US naval vessels and their 5th fleet base to be in ruins.

    I’ll say this again. The turds running the Pentagon are not known for their suicidal tendencies.Stupidity? maybe but certainly not suicidal.

  213. James Canning says:


    The US may be well outside certain boundaries. Problem is, it will get even further outside those boundaries if Iran continues to stockpile 20U.

  214. James Canning says:


    Read “Waiting on Iran Nuclear Talks” (that I just linked). Any Iranian deal with P5+1 will require Iran to stop enriching to 20 percent. And surely you are aware Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have offered for Iran to stop enriching to 20%.

  215. James Canning says:

    “Waiting onIran Nuclear Talks”:


  216. Neo says:

    James Canning says: October 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    “Do you see it as a matter of pride, for Iran?”

    Well of course pride comes into it. Just as it patently does for you/UK/USA.

    However, in terms of our discussion, what matters is that no country should be allowed to step outside of its legal boundaries, and the US is well outside of its legal boundaries, as is the IAEA. We do not discuss arbitrary percentages that have no legal basis within the NPT parameters.

    Let me reiterate the central point: the Real security issue (the imperative for humanity, or the world’s shared national interest) is non-proliferation. the proliferators must be brought under control. this makes the nuclear-armed countries the primary targets of any non-proliferation campaign worth its title. So why do you want to discuss the 20% issue of Iran at all? What is there to discuss when the internal logic of your own starting position (non-proliferation) negates most of your assumptions that follow, before you even put the question? More a case of a non-sequeter rather than pride.

  217. James Canning says:


    Do I assume correctly you agree Iran brought on more sanctions by its ill-considered decision to treble production of 20% U?

  218. James Canning says:


    I would add that in my personal view, the sanctions against Iran have been a mistake. But then, I have favored restoration of normal relations with Iran, by the US, for a very long time.

  219. James Canning says:


    I have never suggested a US attack on Iran was in the immediae future.

    I have emphasized that Iran will see more sanctions, and still more, if it continues to stockpile 20% U and fails to make a deal with the P5+1.

    I think Obama would prefer to blockade Iran to prevent any oil exports, rather than to attack Iran directly.

  220. James Canning says:


    Is Iraq “relying” on Iran for stability and security? Iraq’s central goverment must allow a reasonable deal for the Sunnis, or terrorist incidents will be a feature of Iraq for many years to come. Iran could do little to prevent this problem.

  221. Neo says:

    fyi says: October 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I know what they mean about slimy Romney’s walk!

    this sums it all up well:

    ” What Mitt Romney’s Body Language Is Trying to Tell Us”

    Leslie Savan on August 3, 2012 – 1:49 PM ET

    “Lots of people have talked about how Mitt Romney comes off like a robot. Some, like Chris Matthews, home in on Mitt’s odd way with words (“The trees are the right height”), suggesting that Mitt has yet to master an Earth-based language. Others focus on finding the right metaphor: Is Mitt a “wimp” and a “weenie,” as Mike Tomasky writes in Newsweek, or is he instead a “weasel,” as Chris Weigant maintains in Huff Post?…

    Why, he attacked, lied and infuriated people just the other day, when he implied that Palestinian culture is inferior to Israeli culture—and then, as if unaware of any negativity, denied two days later he’d said a thing about culture. Hours later, of course, he reversed himself again and doubled down on the culture explanation in a National Review op-ed.”


  222. James Canning says:


    Sbig Brzezinski indeed favors a restoration of normal relatios between Iran and the US. We should remember he called for the US to shoot down any Israeli planes invading Iraqi airspace to attack Iran (prior to US withdrawal from Iraq).

  223. James Canning says:


    I too favor a world free of nukes. But for Iran to get itself smashed for no good reason seems to me to be folly.

  224. James Canning says:


    I think Obama has made clear Iran is getting into dangerous territory if Iran continues to stockpile 20% U. Why would Russia and China insist Iran stop enriching to 20, if this was of no importance.

    Iran brought on greater sanctions by its ill-considered decision to treble production of 20% U. There is ZERO chance cotinued stockpiling will not bring more severe sanctions, and likely an embargo or blockade ultimately to prevent Iranian oil exports.

    Do you see it as a matter of pride, for Iran? Given that Iran has at least enough 20% U to operate the TRR for twenty years or more. When that reactor will be replaced before too many more years.

  225. Neo says:

    James Canning says: October 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm


    For the same reason, Bush’s legacy should ‘help’ Obama defeat Romney in this election. America is still picking up the pieces, and everyone knows that.

    One obvious omission in my last posts was that, in terms of personality, it seems to me to be a contest of slime versus x-factor. My estimation of the US public’s taste will be somewhat dented if slimy Romney gets a serious share of the vote. Not that anyone there should care about that :)

    btw, are we over the 20% thing yet? you know, it’s only Netanyahu who insists on such red lines nowadays. attention is focussed more on the 70-90% region. before that too fizzles out. seems comical now to think that so much precious, non-renewable energy was wasted on discussing 3% for so long. And then 20%.

    my suggestion to you regarding why the 3% or 20% line of reasoning is somewhat weak is that all your argumentation is negated by the content of the NPT. It is also negated by the Charter of the UN. The Charter gives express rights of sovereignty to all nations. Inalienable sovereignty.

    Sticking to illegitimate and unilateral red lines may work with some, but not with Iran. So, imperatives like ‘Iran shall not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons’ are counterproductive, if not unintelligent. The member states of the UN must all cooperate to rid the world of nuclear weapons. We need a nuclear-free world. This is the appropriate language for starting a dialogue. IF – and only if – the world adopts this starting position, then the hard work can just begin. And the biggest issue at hand of course would be the exiting stockpiles that must be disarmed and made safe. A real non-proliferation effort would take this approach. And this is exactly why there is no functioning multilateral system for non-proliferation, for the nuclear proliferators are running the show. That’s the Real issue, in my opinion.

  226. Nasser says:

    fyi says October 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm,

    “American women are not going to vote for Mr. Romney in significant numbers; they are not risking another warmonger.”

    – American women saw to it that Bush got reelected. These suburban women are National Security moms; not the pacifist types.

    “They also evidently hate the way Mr. Romney walks.”

    – I hear they hate Obama’s rather large ears and his angry controlling wife. They were also turned off by Obama’s timidity in the first debate. Romney is a handsome Don Draper type you see. Yes Obama has done all he could to pander to women but the female vote favoring Obama meme has been greatly exaggerated.

    – But Obama should win. The electoral college favors him and he is the incumbent, while Romney seems like a risky bet.

  227. Nasser says:

    Persian Gulf says: October 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

    – You are mischaracterizing Dr. Brzezinski’s position and selectively quoting him. As far back as the 90s he has advocated a rapprochement with Iran. Watch his interviews; he advocates US avoid war with Iran even if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons. He insists if extending a nuclear umbrella to Europe can contain the Soviets it can certainly contain a nuclear armed Iran. Just contrast that with for example Henry Kissinger’s position.

    But please go on spouting nonsense and attacking my character if you find that to be emotionally satisfying.

  228. fyi says:

    concerned world citizen says:

    October 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I think Saudis might have made a deal with their extremists: “We will let you out of jail and you will go and fight were we tell you.”

    That or be executed.

    So, the exremists go to Syria and get themselves killed, Iranians get tied up with the war there, and perchance the Syrian Governmentwill be overthown and thus harm Iran greatly.

    This is not insane, as you suggest, but infantile since it gives no thought to the collateral damage or to what happens next.

    As I see it, this tactic has so far only advanced Iranian interests in being the indispensible country for the protection of minorities; having the governments of Syria Iraq, and Lebanon become reliant on Iran’s political power for stability and security.

  229. A concerned world citizen says:

    Seems RSH is out resident war correspondent..Kinda like out resident nuclear “expert” James-20%-Canning.

    He bombards this forum with posts after post trying to convince us why a US war with Iran is going to happen in the next few days, only to be proven wrong, time and time again.

    RSH, I’d suggest you do some serious fact checking before bombarding us with your war torrents.

    I think it’s fair to say that strategically, the US is in no position to wage an open war on Iran. It’ll be suicide and the idiots running the pentagon are not known for their suicidal tendencies. Stupidity??? maybe, but certainly not suicide.

    It appear the US’s rather settled for weakening Iran’s influence by attacking Iran’s periphery defences in Syria and elsewhere in the region by supporting Al-Qaeda like groups with the help of Persian Gulf reactionary Sheiks.

    Whether this will succeed or not is yet to be determined but mark this, there will be blowback – and lots of them.

    The guys the West have buddied in their quest to weaken Iranian influence across the region have their own agenda and like the Afghan Mujahideen(aka Taliban), will be fighting the Americans in the near future if not sooner.

    Just today Al-Qaeda’s leader called on Muslims to kidnap/kill westerners. This is the same Al-Qaeda affiliated group the West/Persian Gulf monarchs are funding in Syria in their quest to weaken Iran.

    Insanity is the word!!!

  230. James Canning says:


    “Zionist” Protestants were as prominent in Britain, as they were (and are now) in the US.

  231. James Canning says:


    You are of course aware of Sheldon Adelson, the fanatical Zionist casino magnate who is giving Mitt Romney about $100 million in Adelson’s quest for permanent suppression of the Palestinians, to “protect” Israel. Adelson is not a WASP.

  232. James Canning says:


    Once again, you are simply dead wrong about the power of the ISRAEL LOBBY, and its ability to block any improvement in relations between the US and Iran. I do agree that remarkable stupidity on the part of millions of Protestants in the US, empowers the ISRAEL LOBBY.

  233. James Canning says:


    Mitt Romney very likely would be a stooge or dupe of neocon warmongers, in the manner of George W. Bush during his first term. Thus, Romney in txhe White House would be extemely dangerous.

  234. James Canning says:


    Obama would like a diplomatic resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran. But, of course, he is reluctant to pay the political price required to enable a deal to be made.

  235. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    The landowning aristocracy in Britain was the most powerful element politically, in Adam Smiths day.

  236. fyi says:

    Neo says:

    October 28, 2012 at 5:39 am

    American women are not going to vote for Mr. Romney in significant numbers; they are not risking another warmonger.

    They also evidently hate the way Mr. Romney walks.

  237. fyi says:

    M. Ali says:

    October 28, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Yes, religion should not be an issue for ou or your generation; you have only one life to live.

    On the other hand, Religion is too important to be left to the mullahs either.

  238. Rd. says:

    Neo says:

    “well, if you follow the logic of RSH, Israel really ‘won’ that war too in their century-long preparations for a war with Iran, because this is all written in the stars, no matter what the cost. “

    As you point out, the cost is the leash.. here are SOME of those costs listed by one analyst;

    “To be clear, a significant U.S. leadership role in world politics remains important
    and viable. But the current paradigm suffers from cracks in a number of key
    foundational areas.

    This essay briefly summarizes five: disappearing finances; The Risks of Ignoring Strategic Insolvency rising alternative power centers; declining U.S. military predominance; a lack of efficacy of key non-military instruments of power; and reduced domestic patience for global adventures.


    Debt is set to rise significantly over the next decade, in some scenarios approaching 100 percent of GDP shortly after 2020, along with interest payments_

    Tricare, the military’s health program, costs the Department of Defense triple the amount of just a decade ago

    A third trend is declining U.S. military predominance and a fast-approaching moment when the United States will be unable to project power into key regions of the world. The reasons are partly technological_rising actors have burgeoning capabilities in anti-ship missiles, drones, or other ‘‘area denial’’ structures

    cyber mayhem: as one recent survey concluded, cyber weapons ‘‘allow, for the first time in history, small states with minimal defense budgets to inflict serious harm on a vastly stronger foe at extreme ranges

    Aircraft carriers, for example, have become prohibitively expensive, with costs set to break through congressionally-imposed limits next year.

    We are already beginning to see the evidence: U.S. ground forces are showing symptoms of stress and exhaustion_in terms of post-traumatic stress levels, reenlistment challenges at key officer grades, tragic suicide numbers….

    As of the first quarter of 2011, just over 40 percent of Navy and marine aircraft were judged ‘‘mission capable,’’ according to the services_well off the 60 percent goal, itself seemingly modest.

    ofcourse, playing a video game, when one loses, you just hit reset and start over without any penalty.. the US planners played this game, and now it is crashing fast…


  239. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:

    “I do not devote my intellect on advancing a cause that is essentially Evil in Nature.”

    But he has no shame just doing that. Evidently, MEKs are preferable to people like him. At least MEKs don’t confuse people with their double-speak. Everyone listening to MEks can easily grasp what is not in Iran’s interest.

    Let’s see what a foreign policy driven by strategic insights of sensible men like Zbigniew Brzezinski has for Iran:

    “A detailed review should produce four timely US decisions.
    Second, in the absence of agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue, to continue tightening sanctions [!] and pledge publicly [!] that the US will retaliate against any threat [!] by Tehran to any Middle Eastern state – including Israel – in the same fashion it would have responded to a Soviet threat to its allies during the cold war.”


    Isn’t this current U.S policy vis-a-vis Iran?

    This guy is really sickening.

  240. M. Ali says:

    All US elections, at least in my memory, have the candidates being supposedly head to head, and “too early to call”. USA is king of pop culture and keeping people interested in their programmes, so manufacturing interest for their elections is their trade. These are the guys who created for us cliffhanger soap operas, multistory line wrestling, and controversial reality shows. America thrives on entertainment, and I can not imagine an election year that has the polls or the media say, “Its obvious candidate X will win”, even though it is extremely unlikely for Obama to lose.

  241. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 27, 2012 at 6:45 am

    I don’t view the correct prediction of the worldwide depression that would result from any US attack on Iran as being a “Pollyanna.” In fact your infectiously optimistic predictions that Israel would defeat Hezbollah, US can attack Iran with no serious consequences to itself, and so forth, are far closer to that standard than the statements of other posters here.

  242. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Neo says:
    October 28, 2012 at 5:19 am

    By this point it is clear that war with Iran is rejected by both the US public and a significant percentage of the US “elite” or policymakers and influencers. Even they, who are not always known for their accurate perception understand that a war with Iran would be disastrous. One example is Obama’s rhetoric. From the beginning of his presidency he has talked about a largely undefined “military option” but whenever a “red line” has emerged he has refused to adopt it. At the same time he has constantly promoted the idea that sanctions are working and are an effective “tool” to intimidate and weaken Iran. Nothing said recently provides any evidence that the fundamental position of using (failed) sanctions and offering a false commitment to diplomacy to go along with them combined with a vague threat has changed.

  243. Neo says:

    Something about the opinion polls in the US and Romney’s constant flip-flopping and unabashed dishonesty tells me that the pollsters may be lying. Reason would dictate that Obama should win, especially as the US economy has shown signs of improvement. Perhaps ‘racism’ is a real factor here, but I would still hazard a guess that Obama should win with a much bigger margin that the polls predict.

  244. Neo says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says: October 25, 2012 at 7:13 am

    “In 2006 Israel was defeated by 3,000 Hezbollah fighters”

    well, if you follow the logic of RSH, Israel really ‘won’ that war too in their century-long preparations for a war with Iran, because this is all written in the stars, no matter what the cost.

    More seriously, the position of the ‘war with Iran is inevitable’ crowd seems almost cult-like in its logic. So much pessimistic fatalism even when the offending country’s presidential candidates specifically made the point that war with Iran would be the ‘last resort’ despite their desire to be the elected cowboy in charge, and despite the power of AIPAC.

    And the fact that we have had this saga running for around a decade without any credible threat from either side seems not to matter either.

    war with Iran just ‘has to be coming’ as far as they are concerned. A bit like the messiah, i guess…

  245. Neo says:

    BiBiJon says: October 25, 2012 at 11:34 am

    “This is got to be singularly most unimportant election ever.”

    You know BiBiJon, seeing that Romney is ‘apparently’ still running neck and neck with Obama despite the fact that he has offered no coherent message or policy platform, and he has proven to be a liar on several occasions without the slightest implication (people used to be punished for lying), i don’t see the utility of these election debates any more. It’s like nothing the candidates say or do matters somehow, and the ‘platform’ is not central.

    This is why I mentioned that it seems to be more about personalities rather than policy. What they claim to be their policy is almost irrelevant.

    National interest considerations are the main policy determinants. It’s why there hasn’t been and won’t be an attack against Iran.

  246. M. Ali says:


    Iranians have been responsible for most of the world’s past and current religions, and I think it is time to offer something new to the public. Neither Sunnism nor Shiaism is as relevant to my generation as it could have been.

  247. fyi says:


    From Stratfor earlier this year:


  248. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    October 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    You are wasting your time.

    Mr. Canning, an Englishman, cannot hope to grasp the Affair d’Coeur that is stirs and steers large segments of White Protestant America towards Israel; Modern and Ancient.

    To him, there must be an Israeli Lobby to account for this.

    If there ever be a war initiated by the United States against Iran, the WASPs must be held largely accountable and not the Jews.

  249. fyi says:

    Arafat Day in Iran




    A country of Shia Muslims, for Shia Muslims, by Shia Muslims; it seems clear to me.

  250. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    It is worth keeping in mind that Hamas is supported by Qatar, Kuwait and Iran. Israel plays down the support given by Qatar and Kuwait.

  251. Nasser says:

    James Canning,

    I was quoting Admiral Mark Fitzgerald from the article I listed about winning the war thing.

    And you continue to insist that the tail wags the dog and blame all of America’s foreign policy ills on the Israel Lobby. Fact of the matter is US foreign policy is no longer driven by strategic insights of sensible men like Zbigniew Brzezinski.

  252. James Canning says:

    Obama’sformer chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, in Chicago the other day claimed Iran continues its programme of building nukes. I suppose this is what a mayor of Chicago feels obliged to say, even if not true?

  253. James Canning says:


    When Iran and Turkey both advise the Syrian government to declare a temporary cease-fire, surely it would be foolish for that government not to take the advice.

  254. James Canning says:

    John O. Brennan, very stupidly, is pressuring the EU to designate Hezbollah as a “terrorist organisation”. PressTV has small piece on this imbecility today.

  255. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You linked a piece by Meir Javendanfar (Oct. 25th, al-Monitor) that noted Ahmadinejad’s offer for Iran to stop enriching to 20 if the TRR fuel was made available by the west. Khamenei in fact supported this offer, contrary to what the piece seems to claim (“Why Khamenei will compromise”).

  256. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Iran can have a “nuclear programme”, and avoid war. Civilian nuclear power, fine. Operating TRR? Fine again. Stockpiling 20% U. No.

    It is important to distinguish between the former, and the latter. Israel lobby prefers to blur the distinction, and to try to force the president to say Iran can have no nuclear programme whatever.

  257. James Canning says:


    What “war” is the US “winning”, in the view of the “US”? There is good reason to think Obama would accept Iranian enrichment to 5% of less, but he obviously could not say so prior to the election. And Obama may be prevented from saying so, even after the election. Why? ISRAEL LOBBY. The Israel lobby is not a synonym for the “US”.

  258. James Canning says:

    Zbig Brzezinski has attacked the proponents of civil war in Syria, who delusionally believe this will enable Syria to become a “democracy” and thereby help “ensure Israel’s future”. (Finanial Times Oct. 25th.)

  259. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I assume you are well aware I think Iran will be attacked if it continues to stockpile 20 percent uranium. Thus, some of the commenters on this site, who encourage further stockpiling of 20% U (as means of pressuring the US) are in fact urgint Iran to set itself up for disaster. In my opinion.

  260. James Canning says:

    M. Ali,

    Obama made clear during the last debate that Iran will not be building nukes.

  261. It’s clear now that I’ve been completely and totally wrong in my analysis of the foreign policy situation in the Middle East.

    Here are the facts:

    1) There will be no foreign intervention against Syria. Assad will remain, and the insurgents will be totally defeated within the next few months.

    2) There will never again be an Israeli attack against Lebanon. Hizballah is far more powerful than the 10th most powerful military in the world. And Hizballah is supported by Iran, which is invincible.

    3) There will never be another attack on Hamas – because they are supported by Iran. And Israel is afraid of Iran.

    4) There will never be an attack on Iran because the US is afraid of the consequences. In fact, it’s so afraid that it will eventually back down, fully recognize Iran’s right to domestic enrichment, and lift all the sanctions.

    But if by some naval accident in the Persian Gulf, a war should start, Iran will win within six weeks by closing the Strait of Hormuz, an act against which the US is utterly helpless.

    I’m glad I’ve been set straight by the brilliant military, economic and geopolitical advisers here. I’m sorry for my unfortunate lapses in judgment concerning these matters due to my obsessive desire for war with Iran. I’m sure I will be forgiven and I will seek psychological assistance in the near future.

    Have a great “Superstorm” weekend!

  262. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    October 27, 2012 at 12:19 am

    I cannot answer your question.

    I spend my days working on making other people’s lives better; more productive and more efficient.

    I do not devote my intellect on advancing a cause that is essentially Evil in Nature.

    I suspect that the clever me and women in US and EU will come up with more ways to needle Iran – and now the Iranian people.

  263. M. Ali says:

    Hack, I for one am not ignoring the possibility of war. But I also don’t agree with your viewpoints on the way it will come about.

    For example, I noticed in your refute to my possible scenarios, you assumed a very simple outlook to the approach. When I mentioned that Iran could cause havoc in the region, to delay any possible attacks on it, by, for example, supporting the Kurds & Jihadists against Turkey, you assumed that it would mean Iran Vs Turkey.

    Proxy wars doesn’t always cause wars against countries. If that were so, the countries in the region would have attacked each other sooner. Why doesn’t Syria bomb Qatar for supporting a proxy war against it? Why doesn’t Israel attack Iran for Hezbollah’s actions? Why doesn’t Iran attack Israel for its possible murder of scientists? And so on.

    Even when I say that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood might get involved if Israel attacks aggressively at Hamas & Hezbollah, I don’t mean that Egypt will declare war on Israel. Obviously, that is not politically beneficial to it, but can you imagine then doing NOTHING? It would take all of 5 minutes to lose legitimacy among its followers. But it might open its door to Hamas to go in and out, as refugees, and maybe a bit of funding and maybe a few missles here and there. Israel wouldn’t attack Egypt for this, not would Egypt have to attack Israel.

    Your scenario’s involve everyone in the region doing nothing at all, while US gears towards a war against Iran. Its not that simple, because if it was, USA would have already attacked multiple times during the past 30+ years.

    I’m not saying that war WON’T happen 100%. But I’m saying that it all depends on how the players in the region handle the situation. Your outlook is that Iran can not do anything. And I disagree with THAT viewpoint. I think Iran has a lot of options going for it, and its number one option is to keep the aggressors busy with Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Libya, Bahrain, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc, etc. All these are very viotile countries, of which its stability is beneficial to Iran at times of peace, but if the threat becomes very real, then all it has to do is to ignitate fires here and there, push people in the right direction, move the chess pieces, and America & Israel would have its hands full.

    This does not mean that Iran would get involved in war in ANY of the countries surrounding it, EVEN if it was involved in proxy wars. During the Iran-Iraq war, how many countries attacked Iran directly? Even though they were funding Iraq? And how many countries did Iran attack? Even though they were funding Iraq?

    It has almost been an acceptable political norm that countries can get involved in proxy wars and funding rebels.

    By now, we are almost sure that Israel won’t attack Iran alone.
    We also know that Saudi Arabia is no dear friend of Iran, but will probably never attack Iran, unless there is an extremely huge threat to them.
    The European countries won’t make the decision themselves to get in a war with Iran.

    So, that just leaves USA. However, all arrows seem to point to the fact that there is no short-term desire to attack Iran AT THE MOMENT, at least. The presidential debates were a nice indication of the future. It seems obvious that war with Iran is not a strong political advantage among the voters, given that neither candidate mentioned it.

    Current economic difficulties in Iran has given the US politicians enough narrative to proclaim that the sanctions are working, at least for a year or so. Coming months will give us a better picture of where we are heading. I think USA, for now, will just lean on the sanctions angle.

  264. Mujahedin-e Khalq: America’s protected terrorists gearing up against Iran (Op-Ed)

  265. UN Security Council refuses Russia’s bid to condemn Syria attacks

    “one of the 15 member states”… We can guess who…

  266. Israel, Italy declare commitment to preventing nuclear-armed Iran

    Well, if there’s one country I’m sure Iran doesn’t concern itself with, it’s Italy… If an Iran war starts, Italy will surrender within 24 hours… :-)

  267. So the consensus here is that there will be no more wars, just poor foreign diplomacy decisions that go no where and are eventually repealed.

    Great! Let’s all go home! The Iran “crisis” is OVER!

    Leveretts! Shut down the Web site! Your audience has declared there is nothing to worry about! It’s all nothing but a big bluff that’s been called!

    In 2013 Obama will negotiate a “go to China” solution and Iran will become a US ally! Obama will then pound on Israel and solve the Palestinian issue by creating a Palestinian state which Israel will recognize and immediately withdraw to the 1967 borders! He will then withdraw all US troops from the Middle East region! Al Qaeda will collapse! Saudi Arabia and the GCC will become democratic republics and sell the US cheap oil, thus saving the US economy! The US military-industrial complex will start churning out solar energy storing nanotech batteries, thus solving the energy crisis and global warming at the same time!

    The world is saved!

    Nothing like a Pollyanna to get it right!

  268. M. Ali says:

    So all that came out of Syria’s truce was car bombings by the rebels.

  269. Nasser says:


    I don’t disagree with anything you said but I wanted you to answer the question: “What more can they do?!” They have already banned Iran’s central bank. They have ran out of bullets imo.

    I continue to believe that no military action against Iran will occur either. http://www.cftni.org/WarWIranSummary10192012.pdf

    American is like a petulant child. Their stubbornness and refusal to acknowledge fundamental realities really astounds me. They believe they are winning the war and are in fact giddy about it. Iran will just have to tough it out. I can’t see America changing her posture for the foreseeable future.

  270. Pirouz says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmogneringStooges says:
    October 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Amir is a well educated, well adjusted young Iranian man that recently opened a small business in a central Iranian city. I also encourage persons to read his blog for a more balanced appreciation of the Iranian experience inside the country.

  271. Are the Saudis Bankrolling Israel’s Mossad?

    Interesting if true – the claim is the Saudis are paying Mossad to assassinate Iranian scientists…

  272. Abdo: Iranians support their nuclear program

    No surprise here – except how many support continuing enrichment EVEN if it results in war: over half.

  273. ExposingNeoConWarmogneringStooges says:

    For those interested in news from Iran that is written by someone who actually lives in Iran The Real Amir Taheri blog is highly interesting and informative. Unfortunately posting uninterrupted links seems to be blocked so I will be posting links seperated by spaces.

    One of the more interesting recent posts

    “Tehran’s stock market hits new high – thank you sanctions!”

    “The rise has come because companies that export non-oil products are seeing huge profits and windfalls in their sales as they can now sell their foreign currencies in Iran for a huge profit as opposed to before.”

    “Iran’s non-oil exports have seen a huge rise in the last years with either this year or next being a historic one. It will mark the first time in Iran’s modern history when Iran will be exporting the same amount value as it imports.”

    http: //therealamirtaheri. blogspot. com/2012/10/tehrans-stock-market-hits-new-high.html

    Wow, those sanctions sure are working exactly as intended…

  274. ExposingNeoConWarmogneringStooges says:

    Test for The Real Amir Taheri Blog 2

    http: //therealamirtaheri. blogspot. com/

  275. Rd. says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    “You do not grasp the fact, it seems to me, that the US has to TRY to militarily restore that balance of power.”


    from Michael Mazarr, Professor of National Security Strategy at the war college;

    “The alleged insolvency of American strategy has been exhaustively
    chronicled and debated since the 1990s. The argument here is that twenty
    years of warnings will finally come true over the next five to ten years”


  276. Who Owns the World? Noam Chomsky on U.S.-Fueled Dangers, from Climate Change to Nuclear Weapons

    But first a few words on the background, beginning with the announced title, “Who Owns the World?”

    Actually, a good answer to this was given years ago by Adam Smith, someone we’re supposed to worship but not read. He was—a little subversive when you read him sometimes. He was referring to the most powerful country in the world in his day and, of course, the country that interested him, namely, England. And he pointed out that in England the principal architects of policy are those who own the country: the merchants and manufacturers in his day. And he said they make sure to design policy so that their own interests are most peculiarly attended to. Their interests are served by policy, however grievous the impact on others, including the people of England.

    But he was an old-fashioned conservative with moral principles, so he added the victims of England, the victims of the—what he called the “savage injustice of the Europeans,” particularly in India. Well, he had no illusions about the owners, so, to quote him again, “All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” It was true then; it’s true now.

    And planners understood it. Roosevelt’s planners were meeting right through the Second World War, designing the post-war world. They were quite sophisticated about it, and their plans were pretty much implemented. They wanted to make sure that the United States would control what they called a “grand area,” which would include, routinely, the entire Western Hemisphere, the entire Far East, the former British Empire, which the U.S. would be taking over, and as much of Eurasia as possible—crucially, its commercial and industrial centers in Western Europe. And within this region, they said, the United States should hold unquestioned power with military and economic supremacy, while ensuring the limitation of any exercise of sovereignty by states that might interfere with these global designs.

  277. Syria’s Cease-Fire: A Peace Process for Pessimists

    Damascus car bombing wrecks Syria Eid al-Adha truce

    So much for that.

  278. So I see no one has an answer to my question except vague platitudes. As I expected.

    The cognitive dissonance blindness here is stunning.

  279. James Canning says:


    You should read Zbig Brzezinski’s Oct. 25th comments in the Financial Times (“America’s foreign policy is ill-served by its election”).

  280. James Canning says:


    You seem to be arguing that Iran can work around the existing sanctions, and continue to stockpile whatever amounts of 20% U suit its fancy. Is this a correct view of your position? Are you claiming no amount or type of sanctions will induce Iran to stop enriching to 20?

  281. James Canning says:


    The neocon conspiracy to set up a US war with Iran in 2006-07 was blocked by the CIA.

  282. James Canning says:

    Financial Times leader Oct. 25th: (“Qatar’s lefeline to Hamas in Gaza”) applauds the Emir of Qatar’s visit this week to Gaza.

  283. James Canning says:

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrting in the Financial Times Oct. 25th: “The idea that the US can ensure Israel’s future by imposing a new order in the Middle East is dangerous daydreaming.” Quite true.

  284. fyi says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    October 26, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Americans will not fight an infantry war against Iran.

    They will harm greatly Iran from the air; like Israelis in Lebanon in n2006.

    They will certainly kill tens of thousands but they cannot break the state; they would need to kill between 5 to 7 % of Iranian population – 3.5 to 5 million souls.

    [This last bit is neither politically feasible for them nor possible, in my opinion, without use of nuclear weapons.]

    The fact is, the Americans took the wrong policy in 1953 and each subsequent decision made it worse for them via-a-vis Iran and the Iranian people.

    They cannot extricate themselves from 60 years – 3 generations – of anti-Iran postures and policies.

    Like Israel with Palestinians, US cannot let go nor live with an independent Iran.

    That much is clear.

  285. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    October 26, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Their leverage was decades-long commerical and financial relationship EU states with Iran and Syria.

    It was their “nuclear bomb” – trying to cause Iranian people to overthrow their regimes.

    Like when house wives were in the streets of Santiago beating their pots and pans and complaining about prices.

    Prices that had risen due to US economic war against Chile.

    In 1973-Chile, like in 1953-Iran, they abused the freedoms of a liberal democracy to destroy it from within.

    Syria and Iran, one a hard dictatorship and the other a restricted representative system, did not present them with such opportunities.

    So the Axis Powers and their co-belligerents in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, abnd elsewhere settled on violent overthrow of the state in Syria while hoping to break the Iranains’ will to resist via economic siege war.

    The US and EU planners have no answer to the strategic autonomy of Iran; this is their best course.

  286. Ataune says:


    I believe people participate in this forum to get informed and eventually have their opinions and predictions on US-Iran relations challenged logically and with regards to the facts. What do you think ?

    The argument is simple: the curent US policy of containment toward Iran is flawed and cannot respond to the historical interests of the US in the region. US opted out of the military solution around 2006, not by choice but by necessity. You can have the muscle STRENGTH to put back a country into the stone age 10 times over but you need the political and economic POWER to be able to do that. US realized the lack of this power in the second Bush administration. Even if you flatten Iran into a scorched earth you have, waiting for centuries in the cold northern plains, the Russian bear looking for accesses to the warm seas. To counter that, you need to occupy and rebuild the nation(s) on the Iranian plateau. That is right there one big economic and financial power that the US lack at present time.

    The underlying logic in your continuous diatribes about a war reminds me of the idea advanced by Fukuyama in the early 1980’s, and later used and abused by the neo-conservatives. he stated that History has ended with the victory of the liberal order and all remaining military adventures in the future will just be a side-show for the capitalist system. A generation later the facts on the ground and the reality are showing the fallacy of such ideas.

  287. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    October 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    US leaders are too degenerated to do so; certainly not under Mr. Obama.

  288. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    October 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    That article is not completely wrong but salient parts of it are wrong.

    The most important one in that article is the 3 to 4 years time frame for compromise.

    Within the next 3 to 4 years, Iranians will have adjusted to the worst of the sanctions; their removal would not be worth that much any longer.

  289. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    What the Iranian ambassador actually said

    “We will react if there is any provocative act from the other side,” Khazaee said. “We will not initiate any provocative steps.”

    To translate for those in need of it: This is the same thing literally every single Iranian official from the Supreme Leader on down has said multiple times. Iran will not wage aggressive war but will respond with overwhelming force to an act of aggressive war. Iran has never said in any way, shape, or form that it “wants” confrontation, but that it will respond to acts of aggression. That is not the same as Hack’s assertion that Iran is afraid of the US. Does Hack just assume that no one will actually read the articles in the links he posts?

  290. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    And for more sanctions news:

    Iran has denied the unsourced reports from the IEA widely reported in Western media that its oil production has dropped significantly and that its oil exports have dropped.



    I think the Iranian Oil Minister knows more about Iranian oil production than some unnamed bureaucrat at the IEA.

  291. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Interesting and important article about a conference that was recently held at the Center for the National Interest titled “War with Iran: Economic and Military Considerations.”


    A few extracts:

    Panelists: “Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, who served as deputy commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Central Command…Geoffrey Kemp, a CNI fellow who served as a Gulf expert on Reagan’s National Security Council…J. Robinson West, the chairman and founder of PFC Energy who has also held senior positions in the White House.” In other words, this is the “elite” that Hack likes to talk about, and there seems to be a notable lack of enthusiasm for war with Iran.

    “He [West] asserted that Iran, with its arsenal of ballistic and shorter-range missiles and the Revolutionary Guards’ (IRGC) elite Qods Force, could without much difficulty take more than eight million barrels of oil a day off the market — specifically 5 million barrels from Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq facility and the pipelines that run to the Ras Tannurah terminal on the Gulf just across from Iran.”

    Fitzpatrick “Once hostilities began under those circumstances, he said, Iran can be expected to move its mines into position, and “one mine makes a minefield.” They would also disperse their ballistic and anti-ship missiles very quickly, he said, making it far easier for them to strike back in the Gulf and beyond.”

    And “To get to Iran, you’d have to go through either Pakistan or Iraq,” he noted. “I don’t think we’d be able to come through Iraq,” he asserted. “Then we’d be fighting two wars.”)

    Add to that the complete imposssibility of sustaining such a force in Afghanistan and the absurdity of the idea that Pakistan would support having such a force on its territory which I previously mentioned.

  292. Karl... says:


    About truce.

    Yes I think its quite weird that syrian government accept this unilateral truce, because if any violence flares up by rebels, we all know who will be blamed.

  293. Nasser says:

    fyi says October 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm,

    “The way I see it, the war for regime change in Iran and Syria will continue until the last bit of leverage against these 2 states has been destroyed.”

    – What other leverage do they have against Iran? By their own admission they don’t have a military option and they already did their worst already by banning the Central Bank. Only Russia and China has any leverage left and they too might join in with the West one day. What more can they do?! I saw the Syria thing as them lashing out madly out of frustration.

  294. fyi says:

    Pirouz says:

    October 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Your assessment does not actually go far enough.

    In Syria, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Palestine, and in Lebanon Iranian leaders played the long game – often out of necessity – and watched as Axis Powers and Israel drove people towards them for security.

    In Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan you have millions of people now who hate US, UK, France, Israel, Spain, and others to varying degrees.

    This will be repeated – with metaphysical certainity in Bahrain.

    Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UE, and Pakistan are yet to be determined.

  295. fyi says:



    The way I see it, the war for regime change in Iran and Syria will continue until the last bit of leverage against these 2 states has been destroyed.

  296. Yeah, this sure indicates Iran is ready to go to war over Syria…Although this comment was explicitly about the nuclear negotiations, it signals Iran’s caution in terms of provoking the West.

    Iran’s UN Envoy: We Will Not Initiate Confrontation

  297. Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Winner Predicts Persian Spring

    I suspect this is wishful thinking.

  298. I suspect this article is completely wrong – and should PO a lot of people here…

    Why Khamenei Will Compromise

  299. fyi: “You do not grasp the fact, it seems to me, that US does not have the power to militarily restore that balance of power.”

    You do not grasp the fact, it seems to me, that the US has to TRY to militarily restore that balance of power.

    There’s no such thing as “containment”. Cuba was never “contained” – it simply went in its own direction, absent any contact with the US. North Korea was never “contained” – it simply went in its own direction. North Korea was a nuisance to China and a threat to South Korea, a major US trading partner, which is the only reason the US kept its troops there. Cuba was nothing to the US except for the vocal Cuban community in Florida.

    Both countries were small and isolated by their location and their lack of geopolitical impact on anyone else.

    Iran is neither. It is large, strategically located and has significant geopolitical influence in the region and internationally. The US can’t afford to try to “contain” it. If the US can’t attack Iran, it damn sure can’t “contain” it.

    It is indeed POSSIBLE that the US is merely trying to “contain” Iran. If so, that will fail, as it failed in Iraq under Saddam. That led to war. And it will lead to war again. The US simply can’t afford to have a country like Iran being a viable actor in the Middle East. And neither can Israel.

  300. Ataune: “These tactics were in use at the time of the cold war and never resulted in a direct conforntation between the 2 superpowers.”

    What part of “Iran doesn’t have thousands of nukes to threaten the US with” don’t you get?

    “Even the “profit” for the MIC doesn’t add up here if those guys look a little bit beyond the tip of their nose.”

    Which they aren’t known for doing.

    Look, dude, you’re just another guy with a serious “cognitive dissonance” problem. No shortage of those here.

    Here’s a question for the crowd of Pollyannas: If all this is just “bluff” and “intimidation” and “hope for internal regime change”, yada, yada – what are you all doing here?

    Obviously to you nothing is going to happen to Iran. The Iranian economy will cope with the sanctions, the Iranian government isn’t going to roll over on its nuclear energy program, there will be no internal revolt, and Iran will come out of this with greater regional and international influence, and the US will lose any hope of regaining hegemony in the region and will lose credence everywhere else. Israel will just sulk forever and do nothing. Assad will remain in Syria, Hizballah will dominate Lebanon forever. All the Islamists will get killed and peace will reign forever in the Middle East. The neocons will just fade away. The military-industrial complex will turn swords to plowshares and start making Beanie-Babies. The oil companies will develop clean solar energy.

    So why are you here? Where’s the threat that needs to be discussed? Why not go home and worry about something else? Who cares about Iran at all if this is the rosy future you all predict?

    I certainly don’t care if that’s the case. If there’s no Iran war, I’m wrong and I might as well forget about Iran completely. I have other things I could be doing than arguing with irrational people. Iran means nothing to me except as a front for a major conflict which will confirm my opinion (not that it needs confirming AGAIN after Iraq and Afghanistan and the rest) of how the world works.

    So why are you all here if there’s nothing to worry about? Just killing time before the World Series? Is this why the Leveretts are here? Somehow I don’t think so.

  301. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    “The “axis of resistance” you refer to are three weak, poor, Third World countries with a military capability that is less than Israel alone, let alone the US.”

    Just could not resist commenting on this again. Let’s do a simple exercise. Look up the comparative size of the Israeli economy and the Iranian economy. If you do that you find that in PPP Iran’s economy is more than four times the size of Israel’s. Who is a “weak, poor, third world country” again?

  302. Now this is interesting, if true – and if the government makes this an official policy, which I doubt will happen once US pressure is brought to bear…

    The U.K. thinks a strike on Iran would be illegal, denies U.S. access to its bases

    Britain rejects US request to use UK bases in nuclear standoff with Iran

    Note this: “The Guardian has been told that US diplomats have also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyprus, and for permission to fly from US bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories.”

    That means the US continues to actively plan for an attack on Iran. However, I can’t believe they would denied use of Diego Garcia, which clearly would be a critical air asset in any war with Iran.

    Also note that the UK is only saying that a “preemptive” attack on Iran would be illegal. If Obama can engineer a situation where Iran is perceived to have “provoked” an attack, the UK could over-rule that legal opinion.

    Clearly, however, the UK LEGAL office – if not its leaders – doesn’t want the UK involved in another illegal Iraq war. But that was more or less true of Iraq as well, until the Law Lord was persuaded by Blair to go along with it.

  303. BiBiJon: “You should have read the Guardian before risking carpal syndrome typing all that.”

    Nothing has changed.

    And remember, we still have Saudi Arabia and Qatar involved, neither of whom are going to give up on getting rid of Assad.

    And we still have Israel and the US who want Syria and Hizballah degraded.

    Repeat: Nothing has changed.

  304. Rd: “december is fast approaching and no sign of Mil adventures (invasion, NFZ)in Syria. And Turkey, ‘may be’ reassessing its policies as well.. just fyi;”

    While I expected military action this year, I never guaranteed that. I’ve long since come to the conclusion – and said so here – that Obama won’t do anything before the elections, and could well not do anything until next year.

    Israel is occupied with its early elections, so I don’t expect anything from them either – and especially with regard to Iran, as I’ve said, until Syria and Hizballah are addressed.

    As for Turkey “re-assessing”, this sort of thing means nothing until we see actions on the ground that confirm it.

  305. James Canning says:


    If you are saying Obama actually opposes any Iranin nuclear weapons programme, as opposed to a domestic civil nuclear programme, I agree with you (despite what Obama said in the debate).

  306. James Canning says:


    If you are arguing that Obama would ignore substantial further stockpiling of 20% U by Iran, if he stays in the White House, I think you are dead wrong.

  307. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Both Russia and China want Iran to stop enriching to 20 percent. Thus, this policy is not driven by warmongers hoping to set up an attack on Iran. That said, the nuclear dispute is obviously an easy way to hurt Iran in order to benefit Israel, etcetc etc.

  308. James Canning says:

    Mitt Romney labors under the delusion that spending an extra trillion dollars on (unnecessary)weapons will make the US “stronger”. In fact, continued squandering of vast sums on unnecesary “defence” weakens the US.

  309. Rd. says:


    december is fast approaching and no sign of Mil adventures (invasion, NFZ)in Syria. And Turkey, ‘may be’ reassessing its policies as well.. just fyi;

    ofcourse, we can always move the gole post to december 2013.. please keep in mind, Mil might doesn’t always work, even if you have ‘idiots’ in charge. Because even an idiot who just shot himself in the foot, can’t walk, let alone run.

    Turkey Reassesses Its Friendship With Syria’s Opposition


  310. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 24, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    You should have read the Guardian before risking carpal syndrome typing all that.


  311. Rd. says:

    Charlie rose had Zbig, Jim Jones, Ignatius and a Michael Mazarr, Professor of National Security Strategy at the U.S. National War College the other nite.

    The professor has an article published “about” the limits of US ability to shape the world affairs, using its current tools (mass slaughter) . I have yet to find the paper, perhaps the Leveretts can post it and comment.

    The interesting take on the discussion, seems to be, more and more voices are ringing the alarm bell. However, the main FP establishment is simply refusing to hear alternate voices. For the establishment, (like our own RSH) it is simply UN-acceptable that their Mil force and economic force can not shape the world affairs any longer.


  312. BiBiJon says:

    Arnold Evans would be interested in this latest poll of Iranians


    When in comes to the nuclear program, and the IRI’s resistance to western pressure, 85% of the public support their government.

    According to Geneive Abdo, the lessons are:

    “First and foremost, the theory that, when pressured hard enough from the effects of sanctions, Iranians will rise up against the regime, seems implausible. Two, the more Iranians suffer, the more they blame those imposing the sanctions, not their own government. According to Mohseni’s poll, 76 percent had a very unfavorable view of the United States.”

    ” The only way out is through bilateral talks, which last weekend the New York Times reported had been agreed to, but both governments denied the reports. The United States and Iran should also negotiate to find other issues upon which to develop mutual cooperation with the hope that once trust is established, the nuclear issue can return to the negotiating table.”

    As “another issue” might I suggest Syria and accept Iran’s proposals for free and fair elections?

  313. Ataune says:

    One of the problem in RSH war prediction, among many others I should say, is that he obfuscate, deliberately in my opinion, the deterrence goals of the Anglo-american policies toward Iran. He does this by excessively highlighting tactics that are in reality intimidation of the target of your policy as war preparation. These tactics were in use at the time of the cold war and never resulted in a direct conforntation between the 2 superpowers. Today, with the obvious historical, economic and ideological dissimilarity with the 1950’s, the American policy toward Iran might be parsed as defective and flawed but not as a way to prepare for a war between a global superpower, although declining, and a regional power. Even the “profit” for the MIC doesn’t add up here if those guys look a little bit beyond the tip of their nose.

  314. Iran Weighs Tougher Line In Stalled Nuclear Talks

    Iran threatened to raise enrichment to 60 percent for nuclear submarines again.

    I can’t see the point of such a threat. It’s merely going to make it easier for the West to claim Iran has a weapons program. Mind you, Iran should have the right to enrich to that level if it’s actually going to HAVE nuclear submarines – because the US does. But right now that’s not helpful.

    OTOH, since the West is using the alleged “nuclear weapons program” as an excuse, I suppose it doesn’t matter what level Iran enriches to. They’re still going to be bombed regardless.

  315. BiBiJon says:

    The Prince and the pauper
    Neo says:
    October 25, 2012 at 6:20 am

    What struck me about the last debate is that Obama & Romney, cognizant of 50-50 chance of losing/winning, were all over themselves endorsing the prevalent orthodoxies of the elite establishment. I don’t think it was electioneering. I think it was making sure that neither candidate forces the other to adopt positions contrary to wishes of the gods above. This is got to be singularly most unimportant election ever. There is no difference except at the margins, and even for those marginal issues there’s no money, constituency, or social appetite.

    In the process of swapping cloths, the prince and the pauper flashed a bit of skin: the bankrupt mindset that refuses to understand “United States is a country, not in absolute decline, but in relative decline. In that circumstance, we have to be able to play well with others, not just beat them in these so-called wars.”

  316. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Describing how powerful the tiger is, fails to explain why it only growls at the porcupine. Exposing, and M. Ali, and others have described the quills enough times to suffice, I think.

    When any one of the amigos comes to the aid of the others, it will be for self-preservation, not some brotherly altruism. However, the threshold for entering the fray is high because each has their own set of quills. IDF brass can learn lessons, and adopt new strategies and be unrepentant, but there’s no denying the same folk festooned with Afghanistan/Iraq/Lebanon/Gaza failures are the ones promising the stars next time round. If their only argument is Springtime for Hitler, eventually someone will remind them it was a movie, not a serious accounting paradigm.

    There are enough people in positions of authority to resist the crazy talk of war, realizing the western ‘losing’ narrative will remain losing or worse, no matter how many ‘winning’ narratives are silenced. Mowing the lawn is the playbook of all bygone empires; it has never been sustainable.

    Of course the world is at the precipice of war. But the other side of the knife’s edge is accommodation, which necessarily must satiate the oligarch’s profit motive, if that is your only sustaining argument.

    The current situation cannot go on. The window is closing, as the man said.

    But, “Iran Is Bypassing Sanctions And Redefining International Trade With Gold.”

    Read more: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-10-23/how-iran-evades-western-blocakde-turkey-dubai-iran-petrogold-triangle#ixzz2AFFQqOlN

    If the systemic weakness in Dollar/Euro was not enough, those currencies’ use as a tool of political coercion is now among the many risks traders must grapple with. One day you’re sitting in Assam on a family fortune made on trading tea, and the next day, poof, your bank is forced to block the account of your customer. The financial dislocation, and uncertainty enshrined in the Iran sanctions is gnawing away at the global edifice of ‘trust’, and ‘dependability’ that used to undergird Dollar/Euro based transactions.

    The sanctions are ‘biting’ in unintended places.

    “The window is closing” means well-endowed, gold-based secondary and tertiary finance houses are fast becoming an alternative to what used to be dollar/euro denominated Iran import/export business. Gold is untraceable, appreciates in value, and cannot be quantitatively eased willy-nilly to cover the naked emperor; Gold? what’s there not to like? As fyi says, the Assam tycoon will not go back to status quo ante — the damage is done, not just to Iran.

    There is a lot of merit to your arguments Richard. It’s no use pooh-pooing the awesome power at the superpower’s disposal. At the same time, it has failed to convince the ‘deciders’ to pounce. I doubt it is just a scheduling issue.

  317. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    October 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    You do not grasp the fact, it seems to me, that US does not have the power to militarily restore that balance of power.

    That is why she is opting for a North Korean/Cuban style containment regime for Iran.

  318. Neo says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:
    October 25, 2012 at 7:13 am

    my biggest problem with RSH’s position is that he ignores national interest imperatives on the basis of a perceived irrationality among American actors. I grant there has been plenty of evidence for something that can be perceived as ‘irrationality’, but I would rather describe it as ‘inexperience’, which allows for learning and adaptation. USA is a little too history-challenged to fully grasp its weaknesses and limitations, but it can learn, and it will have to adapt. ‘Leading from behind’ sounds more like doing nothing while pretending to lead for political purposes. a gentle step-by-step declaration of defeat in expectation of an emerging new order. In this context, it is imperative for USA to negotiate a deal with Iran.

  319. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    “It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the actual military capabilities on the ground within the time frame of the time it would take to degrade Syria and Lebanon.”

    Yes, because as we all know Israel destroyed all those bunkers and defeated Hezbollah in 2006…And of course as we also know because Richard Steven Hack tells us Iran and Syria do not have any missiles that can be fired from similar bunkers in hours (at most) that will target every air base used by Israel in any attack.

    “The West doesn’t “do” “punishment”. It has goals and it will attempt to achieve those goals by any means necessary, up to and including war.”

    Really…So you said several threads ago that the “West” wants war as an end in itself. All those “MIC” profits and so forth. Now you say that war serves as a means to an end. Which is it? And yeah, those sanctions on Iraq had nothing to do with punishing it for its resistance, and the failed sanctions on Iran have nothing to do with punishing it for its resistance, right?

    “The “axis of resistance” you refer to are three weak, poor, Third World countries with a military capability that is less than Israel alone, let alone the US.”

    Know how much a missile costs compared to a fighter plane? But that missile will hit an airbase used by that fighter plane just as hard or harder than a bomb dropped by it. And since that missile only costs a few 100,000s of dollars versus 10s of millions per plane the calculation becomes rather clear. Iran can produce 100+ missiles for the cost of a single plane used by the almighty US military. Those missiles can destroy an airbase with billions worth of infrastructure for a very small comparative cost. That is why Iran has produced and is producing 1,000s of them.

    “And INITIATING a war against both the US and NATO (and probably Israel and possibly Turkey as well) all at once is national suicide. Iran won’t do it over Syria. It’s that simple.”

    No, Iran will abide by its mutual defense treaty if the US and Israel commit any act of aggression against Syria. US, etc would be “INITIATING” the war by its act of war against Syria. That is a plain fact. Once again, you assume that the people of Iran are cowards that are terrified of the US. They are not.

    “Wrong. All that 2006 proved is that Israel needed a new strategy to take out Hizballah. That strategy is the one I’ve stated.”

    Yeah, because this time if Israel does not use its airforce as much and uses more ground troops that will be more successful against a force that is designed around fighting heavily armored, slow moving ground troops (not). And of course, let’s just ignore that fact that in reality Israel has not improved its strategy or tactics and could not even intercept or detect an unarmed drone for three hours. Yeah, Israel is going to do great against hundreds of armed drones with accurate missiles targeting bases and armored columns.

    “Oh, don’t be ridiculous. I have never said that this involves “freedom of action.” I’ve said repeatedly that no one starts wars willy-nilly.”

    Yes you have. You trumpet the supposed invincibility of Israel and the US despite the actual evidence to the contrary that disproves your point which you never respond to and than you try to dodge the fact that reality disagrees with your argument. You also stated countless times in the past that war itself is a motivation for the “MIC” and so forth. Now you are changing your argument again.

  320. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 24, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    “Well, let’s discuss the actual options.”

    You mean what will really happen or your unproven assertions about what will?

    “At that point, it’s too late. Syria’s military capability has already been degraded and so has Lebanon’s.”

    Yeah from those air bases that would be “degraded” (meaning reduced to burning rubble) by Syrian and Iranian missiles within hours of any attack. Your argument just keeps failing. And funny how the almighty Israel whose military prowess you believe in could not accomplish that objective with its entire air force in 2006. Yep, just ignore reality folks, Richard Steven Hack is here to set you straight.

    “Iran has been bombing the Kurds in Iraq in recent years. I doubt the Kurds will be ecstatic to help Iran unless Iran offers them some serious help.”

    Yes, just like the US has been bombing Al Qaeda and is now helping them in Syria?

    “What “political costs” is Iran suffering from supporting Syria? Iran is already despised by the West and the Arab dictatorships. What has Iran lost by supporting Syria that it has not already lost just by being Iran?”

    The political costs of sanctions that are designed to punish Iran for opposing US and Israeli imperialism. You know, the sanctions that will not be removed until Iran denounces Syria and Hezbollah for their wicked independence and refusal to accept Israeli war crimes and oppression.

    “Turkey can take care of itself. It’s been handling the Kurds for decades and has recently stepped up its attacks inside Iraq to do so.
    And the more Iran does to destabilize Turkey, the more Turkey will consider Iran an enemy.”

    Oh yeah, Iran is terrified of Turkey with its arsenal of M-48 and M-60 tanks, non existent air defenses and complete inability to defeat a small poorly armed rebellion against it for over 30 years. Try another one.

    “Once again, how does this help Syria and Lebanon after they’ve been militarily degraded? Not one whit.”

    How does Hack’s argument help to conceal the fact that every airbase that will be used in any attempted aggression against Syria or Iran will be wiped out in hours of any attack? Not one whit.

    “You forget that Israel has the military power to defeat Egypt, Syria and Jordan all at the same time. They’ve done it before, they could do it again.”

    Yes, because Israel was defeated by 3,000 guerillas it can totally defeat two armed forces with 500,000 troops and thousands of tanks, artillery, missiles, and so forth each.

    “Iran is ranked 12th. Turkey is ranked 6th. Keep that last in mind if you want to start a war between Iran and Turkey – not to mention that Turkey is a NATO member and can call on all of NATO to help.”

    Those ratings are often politically motivated and are based on unverified information that does not accurately predict what would happen in an actual war. Yeah, Turkey has F-16’s guess what, that won’t help Turkey when its bases are wiped out by Iranian missiles Turkey has no defense against.

    “In short, Israel could take on and defeat Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon simultaneously by itself, if necessary, just as it did in previous wars and it has always planned its military capability.”

    Yes, like it defeated Lebanon in 2006, 2000, 1996… Oh, your argument is wrong again. What a surprise.

  321. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Neo says:
    October 25, 2012 at 5:04 am

    “If this is the goal indeed, then it is patently failing. If anything, the weakness of the foreign alliance against the Syrian government is becoming more and more clear.”

    Well said. In 2006 Israel was defeated by 3,000 Hezbollah fighters and Syria is now defeating Saudia Arabian funded and armed insurgents with 20% of its military and virtually none of its sophisticated weapons. Funny how Hack just cannot accept the fact that if a small 3,000 man guerilla force with 30+ year old weapons can defeat the maximum firepower of Israel’s army and airforce than a well equipped army with MRBM’s, drones, modern anti tank weapons, air defenses and heavy artillery could do it as well. Note to Hack, it isn’t the 1970’s anymore.

  322. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Here he goes again folks…

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    October 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    “No one of the US shot callers is going to decide to “reach an accommodation”. They’re going to go in, blow the crap out of Iran, spend ten years doing so, then pull out and go find someone else to blow the crap out of.”

    Where are they going to be based when they do that Hack? In the flat desert of Saudi Arabia/Qatar/UAE where every one of their bases and supply lines can be repeatedly hit and destroyed by Iranian MRBM’s and drones? Or in Afghanistan where they would not receive any supplies because Russia will refuse to accomadate a US attack on Iran and where their supply routes would be quickly cut off by Iranian missiles and special forces operations? Those are your two options, which is it? Interesting that Hack’s fantasy seems to require that the US be all powerful, when in fact if it was it would have attacked Iran 7 years ago. Funny how it hasn’t and in the meantime the power of Iran’s forces has grown exponentially while US military power has not.

    “An opportunity to make more money from war, to destabilize the region more, to prove to themselves that they still have the military power to kill hundreds of thousands of people.”

    Of course they do…which is why Bush refused to attack Iran in 2006 because he knew even than what would happen if he did. Yep, because as everyone knows Bush refused to attack Iran because he was very worried about the civilian casualties that would result from such an attack rather than the fact that even in 2006 Iran could have wiped out most major US bases in the region and closed the strait of Hormuz indefinitely.

  323. Neo says:

    BiBiJon says: October 23, 2012 at 8:01 am

    “The debate to end all debates…

    In a dizzying fit of self-doubt, Obama upped the “capability” ante to “no nuclear program.” Check wind direction, if you want to know what Obama might say next.”

    That’s precisely the crunch. Debates are not so much about content as they are about delivery. Romney lost because he looked out of sorts and was incoherent and self-conscious. The audience in general would see no difference between ‘nuclear capability’ and a ‘nuclear programme’ when in fact the real issue would be a ‘nuclear weapons programme’. Apart from style, it is more what is Not said that matters. And the candidates did Not say that they would be looking for a conflict with Iran. In fact, they pointedly stated that the US cannot get involved in more conflicts, including in Syria, and this was not even a conditional statement.

  324. Neo says:

    Tow interesting and relevant headlines in Haaretz just yesterday:

    1. Heading toward an irreparable rift between U.S. Jews and Protestants
    Relations between Jews and mainline Protestants in the U.S. hit a 45-year low after 15 Protestant leaders sent a letter to Congress urging that aid to Israel be reconsidered.

    2. Apartheid without shame or guilt
    We’re racists, the Israelis are saying, we practice apartheid and we even want to live in an apartheid state. Yes, this is Israel.


  325. imho says:

    “Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN last night that neither he, nor the Iranians, would consider an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities an act of war.”

    Intelligence Committee, no kidding.
    Each time I think I’ve heard the best stupid thing, a moron from nowhere comes up with a better one. As Einstein said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former”.

    GOP Rep Says Strike On Iran’s Nuclear Facilities Would Not Be An Act Of War

  326. Neo says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: October 24, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    “The strategic goal is to take Syria as a MILITARY POWER out of the Iran war equation along with Hizballah.”

    If this is the goal indeed, then it is patently failing. If anything, the weakness of the foreign alliance against the Syrian government is becoming more and more clear. They are now falling over themselves to put a lid on their latest disaster with Egypt and Tunisia firmly on the side of Syria and Iran, how much more ground can the US and its remaining puppet regimes lose before coming to their senses?

    With Israel now officially recognized by its own media (anyone see the Haaretz yesterday on the results of an Israeli public opinion poll?!) as well as the global media as an Apartheid Regime, we are seriously looking at a major shift in power relations in the region. It’s looking really shaky for the US and Israel right now.

  327. Neo says:

    During the debate, I picked up what seemed to be an important nuance in both candidates’ position on the event of a war between Iran and Israel, but this seems to have been missed by the commentators so far.

    Both candidates categorically stated that the US would defend Israel if it is attacked. But we all know that Iran would never attack Israel first. And the statements the candidates made did not mention what the US would do if Israel attacks Iran first. And no one in their right minds would expect Iran not to retaliate with an attack on Israel if the latter attacks it. This leaves an interesting, unanswered question on what the US would do if Israel launches a unilateral attack against Iran. My reading on both candidates’ positions is that they are not committed to attacking Iran, if Israel engages Iran in a war. This makes perfect sense since USA is not in a strong enough position to intervene in any more countries in the Middle East – as both candidates also clearly stated – let alone taking on the mightiest power in the region.

  328. Neo says:

    Hillary does not seem correct in her analysis on the ‘red line’ issue.

    If Obama wanted to give Netanyahu his red line, he would have done it during the UN Summit in September, when Netanyahu was obviously begging for it. Instead, he Obama snubbed and embarrassed the bomb cartoonist, who embarrassed himself further by showing off his war ‘art’ in the UN.

    So now, a few days before a presidential vote, a tangential comment on a vague, unspecified ‘break out capacity’ does not constitute a real position by Obama. It is electioneering. It is playing it safe with just a few more days to go before a vote. Worst case scenario: it raises the ‘red line’ to 90% level, which is a Long way off, and Obama was basically saying this when he said ‘we know when they may reach the capacity’. Since Iran is not developing a bomb, and since everyone knows this, then this ‘red line’ is not even relevant to the likely course of events, and there is no plausible scenario for a US attack against Iranian nuclear site.

  329. imho says:

    I thought Bush jr’ geography skills were unchallengeable but Romney is not that bad neither:

    “Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea.”

  330. Photi says:

    The following is from 2007 but good reading nonetheless. It shows those in despair that there are many options for peace in front of us:

    “The Hamas source rejected the notion, widespread in Israel, that Hamas is opposed in principle to negotiations with the Jewish state. “No,” he said. “What is the meaning of a hudna? It means they will sit and agree on many things together, even if it’s through a third party. We told the [Hamas-controlled government] ministries that if their job requires them to sit with the Israelis, they can do it.””

    Read more: http://forward.com/articles/10055/experts-question-wisdom-of-boycotting-hamas/#ixzz2AHl5F131

  331. Photi says:

    Paul Pillar on Efraim Halevy’s NYT op-ed:

    “President Obama can indeed be criticized for his approach so far toward Israel, but it is by no means the criticism to which Halevy is responding. The failure is not in pressing Israel but instead in not pressing it sufficiently for its own good. If we must use that clichéd bus metaphor, the problem is not in throwing Israel under a bus but instead in not rescuing Israel from a path it is taking on its own and that will cause it to get hit by the bus.”


  332. “As Hillary points out, Obama ‘actually gave Prime Minister Netanyahu his red line'”.

    Nice to see Hillary agreeing with me that Obama clearly signals a more hawkish turn rather than being committed to any “diplomatic solution” in his second term.

    fyi: “That world with its “Balance of Power” cannot be restored.”

    Which is why the US shot callers are going to “double down” on that failed policy. If Iran is the problem – bomb Iran. It’s that simple for these people.

    Not to mention that they really don’t see Iran as a “problem” – but as an opportunity. An opportunity to make more money from war, to destabilize the region more, to prove to themselves that they still have the military power to kill hundreds of thousands of people.

    No one of the US shot callers is going to decide to “reach an accommodation”. They’re going to go in, blow the crap out of Iran, spend ten years doing so, then pull out and go find someone else to blow the crap out of. And they will keep doing so until someone blows the crap out of the US or the economy collapses so badly that there is an insurrection in the US (or both.)

  333. BiBiJon: “Your theory may hold water if the resistance axis could be splintered.”

    It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the actual military capabilities on the ground within the time frame of the time it would take to degrade Syria and Lebanon.

    “Arming jihadis to wreak havoc in Syria as punishment is only a sign of lack of options available to the west because the process is cementing the axis of residence into a unified front.”

    Unless it’s merely a sign of the West’s intent – which is what I think it clearly shows. The West doesn’t “do” “punishment”. It has goals and it will attempt to achieve those goals by any means necessary, up to and including war. It will not back down from those goals until they have completely and totally failed. And since those goals include things like that war profiteering, they frankly have NEVER failed to achieve at least those goals.

    “Cementing the axis of resistance into a unified front” simply means that Syria, Lebanon and Iran are going to be bombed into the Stone Age at some point because the West simply isn’t going to allow that situation to continue.

    The “axis of resistance” isn’t the Soviet Union and China, loaded with nuclear weapons. The West had to accommodate the Soviet Union because of the threat of nuclear war. The “axis of resistance” you refer to are three weak, poor, Third World countries with a military capability that is less than Israel alone, let alone the US. To day that the West “has no options” here is just ridiculous.

    “Similarly the political costs Iran is willing to endure in supporting Assad, tells me these are not merely fair weather buddies.”

    What “political costs” is Iran suffering from supporting Syria? Iran is already despised by the West and the Arab dictatorships. What has Iran lost by supporting Syria that it has not already lost just by being Iran?

    “It is difficult for me to understand why you see US/NATO/Israel strategy is to clobber Resistance axis countries sequentially, and conveniently imagine a long enduring alliance to break apart precisely when that alliance is needed to prevent the “crazies” from even thinking of starting their moves.”

    The reason is quite simple: No country wants to commit suicide. And INITIATING a war against both the US and NATO (and probably Israel and possibly Turkey as well) all at once is national suicide. Iran won’t do it over Syria. It’s that simple. Syria won’t do it over Lebanon. Nasrallah won’t do it over Syria. Every one of these people put their country first over any “treaties” or “axis of resistance” stuff when it comes down to real, hot, conventional war. They may be willing to aid each other when it doesn’t involve being bombed, but they will not do it when it does. It’s that simple.

    “war was proven to be not doable as a result of the “test” in 2006.”

    Wrong. All that 2006 proved is that Israel needed a new strategy to take out Hizballah. That strategy is the one I’ve stated. And the insurgency in Syria and the likelihood of foreign military intervention has made it very feasible.

    “If Israel/NATO/US had the kind of freedom of action that your theories are based on, then what are they complaining about? Mid east is their oyster already.”

    Oh, don’t be ridiculous. I have never said that this involves “freedom of action.” I’ve said repeatedly that no one starts wars willy-nilly. That doesn’t mean wars don’t get started.

    “That, Richard, is what they are so anguished about.”

    And yet, they keep ratcheting up the tension, they keep supporting the insurgency, they keep threatening war, they keep increasing the sanctions, they keep moving military assets into the region preparing for war. All of this, from your point of view, to do…what? Back down in six months and go home?

    Yeah, right. This has been your opinion all along. And yet, every year the threat of war grows greater, and the actual violence grows greater. The trend line is not in your favor.

    I think we’re done here. We will see what happens pretty soon in 2013, if not sooner.

  334. M. Ali: “Well, the flaw is that if YOU guess this, then surely the Iranians have a plan for this too. I can’t imagine their plan to be, “do nothing”.”

    Well, let’s discuss the actual options.

    “When bad comes to worse and Assad falls, and a vacuum is created, Iran could suddenly support a side to get in power.”

    At that point, it’s too late. Syria’s military capability has already been degraded and so has Lebanon’s.

    Remember, I said the goal isn’t to overthrow Assad per se – although the West and Israel would be happy if that occurred and some puppet – or even some new dictator they could demonize – would be put in power.

    But that’s not the strategic goal. The strategic goal is to take Syria as a MILITARY POWER out of the Iran war equation along with Hizballah.

    “Iran’s relationship with its Kurds have been fairly better (unlike Iraq, Turkey, etc). So, using these contacts and the Kurds in Iraq”

    Iran has been bombing the Kurds in Iraq in recent years. I doubt the Kurds will be ecstatic to help Iran unless Iran offers them some serious help.

    “it could funnel enough money and arms towards them to create havoc in Turkey, all the while claiming no knowledge of such things.”

    Once again, how does this help Syria and Lebanon after they’ve been militarily degraded? Not one whit.

    “Imagine, then, the Kurds making a mess of Turkey, with the help of Islamists who might find that replacing a secular political structure in Turkey might not be such a bad idea.”

    Turkey can take care of itself. It’s been handling the Kurds for decades and has recently stepped up its attacks inside Iraq to do so.

    And the more Iran does to destabilize Turkey, the more Turkey will consider Iran an enemy. You could end up with Turkey joining the US and NATO in attacking Iran. Iran doesn’t need that headache either.

    “Have Hezbollah join in this free-for-all party, to create links with the Sunni-based jihadists”

    You don’t get the degree of dislike between Sunni Islamists and Hizballah, do you? This is a total non-starter, especially since Saudi Arabia and the GCC plus the Muslim Brotherhood will be counteracting Iran in that arena.

    “Iran could push Hamas into the conflict too”

    And Israel would stomp Hamas one more time.

    “Israel Vs Muslims”

    It’s always been Israel vs Muslims. How’s that working out for the Muslims?

    “could the newly empowered Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt stay in the sideline.”

    You forget that Israel has the military power to defeat Egypt, Syria and Jordan all at the same time. They’ve done it before, they could do it again. Egypt doesn’t have the military power to threaten Israel, neither does Jordan. That leaves Syria which will be under attack by the US and NATO.

    And the more countries you drag into this, the more countries the US and NATO will bomb!

    “So, there are other options than Iran just doing nothing.”

    And as I’ve pointed out, NONE of them will help Syria in the six months or so it will take for the US and NATO and Turkey to bomb Syria into the Stone Age…during the latter part of which Lebanon will also be attacked.

    Egypt will do nothing. It’s still dependent on the US for foreign aid, its economy is in a shambles, and its military is not a serious threat to Israel. Egypt is ranked 16th in military power, while Israel is ranked 10th. Jordan is never a factor – it’s ranked 43rd. By the war,

    Iran is ranked 12th. Turkey is ranked 6th. Keep that last in mind if you want to start a war between Iran and Turkey – not to mention that Turkey is a NATO member and can call on all of NATO to help.

    If you look at Anthony Cordesman’s The Egyptian Military and the Arab-Israeli Military Balance here: http://csis.org/files/publication/110210_egypt-arab-israeli_mil_bal.pdf you’ll see that Israel is pretty far ahead of all its neighbors in military capability. While the numbers alone may suggest that Syria is ahead in some respects, in reality it lags behind Israel’s superior military quality substantially.

    In short, Israel could take on and defeat Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon simultaneously by itself, if necessary, just as it did in previous wars and it has always planned its military capability. But it won’t have to because any attack by Syria on Israel today under the current circumstances of the Syrian insurrection would likely be met with US and NATO attacks. And Egypt and Jordan simply won’t be involved.

    No, the scenarios you suggest aren’t likely compared with the scenario I project.

  335. Hollywood Demonizes Iran Again

    What Kaveh missed was the current season of the TV series Homeland – in which four or five Iranian nuclear facilities are attacked with “only” 3,000 casualties in Iran – oh, wait, those figures are “bullshit” according to the lead actor, meaning the casualties were even less and were inflated by the Iranians for propaganda purposes…

    Despite estimates that a real attack on Iran’s facilities would create anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 casualties – and if radioactive materials are breached, up to 300,000 or more.

  336. Pirouz says:

    In certain U.S. military and security quarters, I often point out that as an unintended result of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq is now Iran’s biggest ally in the region. They don’t like hearing it but there’s never been a substantive comeback.

    And with regards to Syria, the Syrian government has never been so dependent on Iran. Ever.

    So the Treasury Department would have us believe Iran has an alliance with Al Qaeda, an organization in armed conflict and engaging in terror strikes against Iran’s two biggest allies in the region: Iraq and Syria. I guess these folks believe Iran is capable of similar two-faced alliances our American foreign policy pursues in its associations with Pakistan/Taliban and Saudi Arabia/Jihadis. How else to explain?

    I skipped the presidential debates. My ballot was mailed in over a week ago, and I have a low tolerance for mass pandering to the poorly read and ignorant.

  337. fyi says:

    The Leveretts:

    Mr. Obama is sticking with the standard IR paradigm of Balance of Power.

    US planners are loath to admit that their own actions have destroyed balance of power in the Middle East – and further – their Syrian policy is also increasing Iranian power.

    Furthermore, the status quo ante of 1979, or 1991, or 2002 is unreachable for Axis Powers.

    That world with its “Balance of Power” cannot be restored.

    No matter.

    This will go on until someone on the US side decides to reach an accomodation with the new Shia/Irani power.

    US planners then may resurrect some of the suggestions and ideas of the late General Odom.