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The Race for Iran


Photo by AFP

Our friend David Frum published an interesting post, “America Can’t Afford to Ignore the Chaos in Bahrain”, see here.  David makes some points with which we agree, as when he writes that “An entire American carrier battle group is based in Bahrain—there is no way the United States can avoid being implicated in the actions of the Bahraini government.”  But we were disturbed by his bottom-line policy recommendation for the United States: 

“Always and ever:  Iran is the big play in the Middle East…Every regional decision has to be measured against the test:  Is this moving us closer to—or further from—a positive change in the Iranian political system?  That test should guide decisions about Bahrain, and about a lot more than Bahrain.” 

One of the reasons we were struck by David’s recommendation—and keep in mind that he is one of the most prominent and thoughtful neoconservatives to be found—is that it already seems to have been taken on board by President Obama and his administration (though they have not explained it anywhere near as clearly as David did).  On that point, David Sanger of The New York Times told National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm on Friday, see here, that President Obama believes the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere “could create an alternative narrative to Al-Qaeda and an alternative narrative to Iran that the United States ought to make use of”.      

It is in this context that we should understand why the Obama Administration, literally seven hours after Omar Soliman announced that Hosni Mubarak would step down as Egypt’s President after all, called the White House press corps back in and, as Sanger put it, “all but urged the protestors” in Iran, such as they were, “to get out and do more”.  The Administration has clearly decided, as America’s strategic position in the Middle East erodes before our eyes, to “push back” against the Islamic Republic, in multiple ways. 

Some of those ways will be more feckless attempts to manipulate Iran’s internal politics—as with the Obama Administration’s exhortations for domestic unrest in Iran.  We were appalled to learn recently that the Administration is considering lifting the MEK’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization. 

On that point, Bill Clinton’s Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, retired U.S. Army General Hugh Shelton, added his voice to those of retired generals James Jones—President Obama’s former national security adviser—and Anthony Zinni, calling for the MEK’s rehabilitation, see here.  Shelton argues explicitly that Iran could exploit the wave of pro-democracy protests in the Middle East, and that, to forestall such a scenario, “Iran’s current regime is currently a government that needs to change”.      

We have told every Obama Administration official and member of Congress with whom we have discussed the matter that it is hard to imagine a dumber, more counter-productive change in America’s already deeply dysfunctional Iran policy than to lift the MEK’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization and start supporting it as the “vanguard” of some mythical expatriate Iranian opposition.  This would make the reliance of the Clinton Administration and the George W. Bush Administration on Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress as the keys to successful “regime change” in Iraq look enlightened by comparison.  But the chances of this happening are, sadly, increasing. 

In its desperation to look like it can still shape events in the Middle East in some meaningful way, the Obama Administration is looking for other ways to press the Islamic Republic.  Just a few days ago, Steve Coll—Pulitzer Prize-winning author and president of the New America Foundation—broke the story in The New Yorker that the Administration has started secret, preliminary talks with the Taliban, see here

From an Iranian perspective, this is simply one more indicator of America’s unique combination of perfidy and incompetence in Afghanistan.  During 2001-2003, the Islamic Republic provided substantial cooperation to the United States in its efforts to unseat the Taiban from power in Kabul and destroy Al-Qa’ida in its Afghan sanctuaries.  Iran cooperated with the United States, in part, on the basis of U.S. representations that Washington wanted an independent and stable Afghanistan which would not be under the sway of the Taliban and its chief external backers, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. 

But Iranian officials warned that local populations would see a prolonged U.S. military presence in Afghanistan as occupation—a judgment borne out by subsequent events, as greater geographic penetration by U.S. forces since 2006 and the deployment of additional U.S. troops since 2009 have correlated directly with an escalating spiral of violence and instability.  This, in turn, has once again empowered the Saudi- and Pakistani-backed Taliban, which has clearly made a comeback—to a point where Afghan President Hamid Karzai, now seemingly joined by the Obama Administration, judges that the only basis for a political settlement is power sharing with the Taliban. 

As we have experienced directly, this leads Iranian policymakers to question not just America’s intentions in Afghanistan, but also its competence—and with good reason.  If Karzai and the United States move forward on power-sharing with the Taliban, without engaging the major non-Pashtun factions (many of which have close connections to the Islamic Republic), it could, as Coll notes, “ignite a civil war along ethnic lines”.      

And it is becoming apparent that the Obama Administration will back the Bahraini royal family in whatever level of brutality seems necessary to keep Bahrain in the “American camp”.  In other words, the Obama Administration is responding to the wave of popular unrest across the Arab world by intensifying its pursuit of the sorts of policies that have so thoroughly alienated most of the Middle East’s inhabitants from U.S. foreign policy in the first place. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. James Canning says:

    Dan & FYI,

    Charles Freeman in effect makes the point that Israel, by creating an endless war in the Middle East, helps the armaments manufacturers (including their tens of thousands of lawyers, lobbyists, prostitute politicians, etc) dupe the American people into allowing the continuing squandering of TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS on unnecessary weapons, foreign troop deployments, etc etc etc etc.

  2. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    You will enjoy reading Scott McConnell’s “Losing the Peace – – Triumphant Israel need cut no deals with Palestinians – – which spells disaster for the Jewish State” in April 2011 American Conservative magazine (amconmag.com).

  3. James Canning says:


    Good relations between the various “Arab” countries and Iran is actually in the best interests of the US. And it has much less to do with points of theology than it does with basic common sense.

    Inexperience and a series of blunders and miscalculations arising from inexperience, on the part of Khomeini, did a great deal to bring about the Iran-Iraq war catastrophe.

  4. James Canning says:


    My guess would be that most Swedes remain culturally Lutheran but do not feel conpelled to go to church every week, etc etc etc.

    I think the Prince of Wales has a finely nuanced sense of how to seek the best elements of the world’s great religions, for employment in bettering the lot of all mankind.

    As I have noted before, many so-called “religious” wars in fact have much more to do with who controls the wealth and power of a given area, than it does with points of theology.

  5. Humanist says:


    I never thought of George Carlin as a philosopher similar to Nietzsche, Kant or Russsel. I think he possessed a unique sharp mind capable of seeing the folly of the human behaviors from a critical comical perspective. In my view he is a ‘great’ one, I would highly enjoy listening to or reading anything about him and his turbulent life .

    For me Woody is a different animal. No doubt he is a truly brilliant and ‘funny’ character yet I don’t like some aspects of his perverse personal life like molesting and then marrying his step daughter. Also the way he pairs himself with beautiful females like Diane Keaton or Charlize Theron is bewildering. Maybe that shows what is going on in his twisted complicated mind..

    Regardless I enjoyed a lot his ‘Whatever Works’. I’m going to watch it again.

  6. Humanist says:


    Once I read discussing ‘politics or religion’ in a party spoils everything! I admit enjoying such discussions but only if the other side shares my passion!

    I know I’ve liked reading many of your political comments. Now I know on the second item ie ‘religion’ we differ a lot. This is not surprising, we have been born and raised in ‘completely’ different environments. The nice thing is, we differ yet as I understand, we do not have the slightest bad feelings towards each other or each other’s beliefs.

    Isn’t that a healthy attitude?

  7. Humanist says:


    Indeed many change their belief systems. As a proof if you Google “wiki irreligion country” you’ll get the full statistics of countries (people) for whom either religion is not important or they are strictly atheist. That is in contrast to what was going on 100 years ago.

    I knew 100 years ago great majority of Swedes were attending the church regularly. Nowadays about 70-80% of them are atheists. Also form a few other statistics I have noticed the same trend is pertinent nearly all over the world

  8. Liz says:

    It’s fun reading Scott Lucas, sometimes. He reminds me of WWII propaganda “experts”.

  9. Scott Lucas says:

    Thanks to all for feedback re the polls….

    “The results of these surveys strongly indicate that an active tiny minority of at best 25% of the population will continue to cause public disturbances periodically.”

    The polls — as flawed as they were — indicated no such thing.

    Bradford 2002, while a case raising issues about communities in Britain and how the Government treated them, is in no way comparable to the post-election repression of Iran 2009-2011.

    The sensitivity in Iran in August 2009 was not about velayat-e-faqih but about the election result itself, thus it’s no surprise that the most guarded answers would be about support for Ahmadinejad.

    Reza is right on one small issue — Iranians could hedge their responses by saying Don’t Know, which is why there was such a high figure in the WPO poll specifically on the question of support for the President.

    The WPO/PIPA (Maryland) poll got some traction when it was pushed by Steve Coll and the Leveretts in early 2010 but, except for die-hard supporters of the Iranian Government, it has slipped away. The IPI poll has not even gotten that level of attention — it was badly conducted and crudely publicised with the press release coming out several weeks before any concrete data was put forth.

    I think far more important than any significance from these limited & flawed surveys is that they are now being pushed as a substitute for claims of Government legitimacy based on the 2009 election and post-election events. If there was no concern, then these surveys would slip into oblivion, not even being promoted by the most ardent defenders of the regime.

    Best to all,


  10. Dan Cooper says:

    “what so few people know is that in the last half century, United States adminstrations have overthrown 50 governments—many of them democracies. In the process, thirty countries have been attacked and bombed, with the loss of countless lives”

    journalists ought to be agents of truth, not the courtiers of power.

    Silences can be broken. In Britain the National Union of Journalists has undergone a radical change, and has called for a boycott of Israel.

    The web site Medialens.org has single-handedly called the BBC to account.

    In the United States wonderfully free rebellious spirits populate the web—I can’t mention them all here—from Tom Feeley’s International Clearing House, to Mike Albert’s ZNet, to Counterpunch online, and the splendid work of FAIR. The best reporting of Iraq appears on the web—Dahr Jamail’s courageous journalism; and citizen reporters like Joe Wilding, who reported the siege of Fallujah from inside the city.

    The Invisible Government

    In a speech in Chicago, John Pilger describes how propaganda has become such a potent force in our lives and, in the words of one of its founders, represents ‘an invisible government’.

    Watch the video:


  11. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: February 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Yes, Rehmat; the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Iraq’s War against Iran were seminal events in the world of Islam.

    Like the French Revolution and World War I combined in a single historical event.

    And with analogous ramifications.

    Eventually, every single Arab state allied against Iran during that war will have an Iran-firendly regime.

    It is astonishing that what was considered extreme at that time has become manin-stream Muslim consensus.

  12. Dan Cooper says:

    February 22, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks for the Chas Freeman article:


    Here is an extract:

    “I want to put forward a few observations on every American’s favorite subject –

    the search for plausible enemies to replace the late Soviet Union.

    That Russian-dominated empire very irresponsibly dropped out of the race to dominate the world, leaving us to do so but giving us a bad case of enemy-deprivation syndrome.

    We need an existential threat to rationalize spending more on our military than the rest of the world combined, and to justify exempting defense spending from the budget cuts necessitated by impending national bankruptcy. Russia just isn’t up to this anymore.

    So we have come up with two alternative candidates to do us in –

    one centered in Asia’s West and one in its East – Islam and China.

    But neither really rises to the role we have assigned it.

    Muslims desire to resume a place of dignity in the world’s affairs. They have been having an escalating and occasionally violent argument among themselves about how to order their societies.

    Some strongly oppose the influence of our culture on theirs and want to exclude it.

    Others, as the examples of Tunisia and Egypt show, embrace elements of the ideals in which modern Western political systems are grounded without wishing to adopt either our model or our mores.

    All resent our backing of Israel against their co-religionists and all but a few are horrified by our armed invasions of Muslim lands and their results.

    Most want us gone so they can sort out their differences among themselves.

    Few have any aspiration to convert us to their faith.

    None has the capacity to conquer us.

    Islam doesn’t meet the existential threat test. It is a menace to our military domination of the countries that profess it, not a challenge to the independence, values, or security of a secular America.”

  13. Reza: Well, at least this time we’ve got PICTURES of the Iranian war ships in the Canal. I guess that resolves the back and forth news of the last several days.

    People are really making too much of Iran sending a couple ships to Syria. This is hardly a significant “projection of power”, It’s more of a PR stunt than anything else. It’s a symbolic gesture that the US is losing control of the ME.

    In reality, those ships would last thirty seconds if Israel wanted them sunk, let alone the US. One of them is just a supply ship with a couple hundred sailors and some supplies on it.

    Iran should send some of their quiet diesel subs into the Med if they want to make people nervous. Or out into the Indian Ocean.

  14. Kooshy: “American people also hate drug smugglers and pushers, just like they hate murderers, rapists and armed robbers.”

    Heh, yeah, but Americans don’t hate the DRUGS themselves. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a market for them that keeps the smugglers and pushers in business.

    The “War on Drugs” used to be the US government’s biggest con (next to the “Cold War”) – until the “War on Terror” came along which promised to be more profitable because other countries have more money to seize than drug gangs and you can raise more tax money to fight a REAL war than a fake one.

  15. Kooshy: You mentioned France below. People who criticize the legal system in Iran need to remember that in France, you are guilty until proven innocent. People should also read the story of Frank Abergnale, the con man who was arrested and served a year in prison in France, for details of what a French prison is like: a 4 by eight box that you can’t stand up in, no light, no toilet, crappy meals, no exercise, no visitors, etc. Men have gone mad in French prisons. I don’t know if that has improved in the last thirty or so years since he was there, but it shows many countries even in the West are no worse than Iran.

    Thirty years ago in US Federal prison, according to inmates I knew who were around at the time, it was routine for prisoners to be beaten upon arrival at any new prison after transfer, so the inmate would know that disobedience was not tolerated. I can also tell you about inmates who were murdered in US Federal prison by guards, and brutally beaten as well during my time in the joint. These are not “isolated incidents” by a “few bad apples” either.

    The Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq was caused by the US using US state correctional officers in the Reserve and relying on US state correctional officials from states with bad correctional records in the construction of the Iraqi prison system. In other words, Abu Ghraib happened because it was based on the US prison system.

    As I continue to re-iterate, governments are corrupt. ALL governments are corrupt. There is only a difference in degree. So if one is prepared to demonize Iran for its legal system, you need to demonize the US and many other countries as well. I’m happy to do that, but I don’t think a lot of the Iran-bashers are.

  16. kooshy says:

    The project for a new Arab century

    The birth pangs of a new Middle East are being felt, but not in the way many outsiders envisioned.
    Mohammed Khan Last Modified: 22 Feb 2011 15:17 GMT

    No sooner did former US president George W. Bush come into power in January 2001 than a much vaunted neo-conservative doctrine came into full swing, wreaking havoc across the Middle East. Throughout the eight years of the Bush presidency, the levers of power – the political, the economic, the scholarly and, importantly, the military – were all employed towards one ultimate goal: The project for the new American century.

    Bush’s neo-con backers had prepared the manual for his presidency well before time. With their man in power, the greatest force of Western power since the Roman Empire set about changing the world in the name of neo-conservatism, to “promote American global leadership”, we were told.

    At the receiving end of the mighty American military-industrial complex were the people of the Arab world. The basic premise was to utilise maximum US force, power and influence to create a new Middle East, one obedient to the interests and objectives of the US. The central focus was the preservation of the superiority of Israel and the utilisation of American hard-power to eliminate any threats posed to it. The benign undercurrent, we were told, was the need to spread democracy across the region. After all, democracies do not fight wars against one other.
    The scorecard of the Bush doctrine is there for all to see: “Shock and awe” was unleashed against Iraq in the pursuit of this project; the Palestinians in Gaza were collectively imprisoned for having the audacity to vote for Hamas; Lebanon was brutalised by Israel with the tacit backing of the US in an effort to destroy Hezbollah; Iran became the new public enemy number one (after Iraq had been dealt with of course); the Gulf states went along quietly arming themselves in the name of stability and North African dictators were given free rein to fight “Islamism” – also in the name of stability.

    With American hyper-power on full display over this period, there was little doubting the contention that in the realm of international relations, “the end of history” was indeed being reached in the absence of any challenger to the formidable US military might. “Liberty” to Arabs, it seemed, was being brought on the back of American battle tanks. The destruction wrought on the region over this period was apparently “the birth pangs” of a new Middle East.
    It’s the people, stupid
    How times change. The human and capital cost, however, of the Iraq adventure almost bled the US economy dry. The invasion became so bogged down that the political will to continue the war soon weakened. The thought of expanding the military adventure to other lands similarly evaporated. Post-Bush, the Americans were now left grappling with “soft-power”, to persuade, to diplomatically engage with Arab/Iranian leaderships in order to resolve disputes. In the midst of this power play in the region, one constituency which the US had long ignored (and continues to ignore) is the people.

    Toppling disobedient leaders and oiling the wheels of pliant ones proved useful so long as the populations of these countries remained voiceless. As the people begin to find their voices, however, the Middle East as we have long known it is beginning to alter. Unfortunately for the decision-makers in the US (and their policy advisers and legions of “intellectual” think tanks) the dramatic changes are not in the direction that they had conceived.
    The catalyst for the political earthquake that we are currently witnessing was a massive popular uprising in Tunisia at the end of 2010. Emboldened by the overthrow of the brutal regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the people of Egypt then took to the streets demanding reform. In just 18 days, Egyptian civil society, which we had been told by regional “experts” either did not exist or was spineless, broke the shackles of oppression and overcame a dictator whose regime had become synonymous with abuse and corruption. Egypt had finally been released from 30 years of political imprisonment.

    That Hosni Mubarak continued to breed fear about the “chaos” that his removal would unleash and his foreign backers continued to maintain the need for “stability” and “orderly” change, showed the total lack of understanding on their part of the momentous changes that were being played out. The revolutionary bug has now spread across the wider region with people in Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya currently battling despotism, while leaderships in Jordan, Syria and Morocco (to name but a few) consider ways of preventing the tide of “people power” from sweeping their shores.

    ‘Islands of stability’
    Consider for a moment the extent to which various US administrations have suffered from an ailment which, for wont of a better description, we will call “foot in mouth syndrome”. The shah of Iran was an “island of stability” in the troubled Middle East, according to the then US president, Jimmy Carter. A short time after these illustrious words were spoken, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was dethroned; Iran had witnessed an Islamic revolution and US policy in the country was found lacking. Around the time that Iran’s new Islamic leadership swept to power, Egypt too was undergoing change, this time in the form of the presidency of Hosni Mubarak who came to power in 1981 following his predecessor’s assassination.
    However, after almost 30 years of stern one-man rule, Egyptian civil society revolted against Mubarak’s despotism, seeking his ouster in January 2011, precisely a decade after Bush’s first inauguration. What were the very first utterances of the US administration under Barack Obama, as protesters gathered on Egypt’s streets? “Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable …” said Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state. Her assessment, reminiscent of the meanderings about Iran, could not have been more wrong.

    The islands of stability that the US has traditionally favoured are not the same sort that the people of the Arab world have desired. While Iraq under Saddam Hussein was ripe for invasion and “democratic change”, the hunger for reform on the part of populations in other parts of the region also subjected to Saddam-like repression was not felt by the US. Where the American military brought democracy to Iraq, the Arab people are now battling to bring democracy to themselves. Should we then be surprised that the neo-con intellectual machine that planned change in the Middle East under Bush is now largely silent? While their project has failed, a new Arab people’s project is beginning to blossom.
    If any clear evidence of US opposition to the people’s wishes in the region were needed, the Obama administration willingly obliged on February 18. The UN Security Council (UNSC) held a vote to condemn Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank as illegal and to demand an immediate end to all such activity. Settlement building is a particular sore among Palestinians and the wider Arab population. While 14 out of the 15 UNSC members backed the resolution, the US issued its first veto under Obama, damning the Palestinian Territories to further Israeli expansionism – well in keeping with the American spirit of defying global opinion. The PR spin on the veto will no doubt attempt to portray the US measure as some sort of noble endeavour. The nobleness was certainly in Israel’s favour.

    Moment in history

    When I was an undergraduate, the most fascinating, most closely scrutinised event that all students of the Middle East were exposed to was the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. That was a truly momentous event. The repercussions for the Middle East were staggering. Political Islam came to the fore as an academic discipline. The political power play in the region shifted with alliances quickly emerging against Iran for fear that its brand of revolutionary zeal would spread. That revolution continues to captivate.

    More than 30 years later, however, the new crop of undergraduates will be evaluating perhaps an even more momentous event: That of February 11, 2011, when Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation, one at the core of the region’s political, economic and security affairs, defeated its very own despotism, rid itself of fear and raised expectations of a new era of political relations in the Middle East. Incidentally, Mubarak was forced out precisely 32 years from the day when the shah of Iran was deposed.

    While the people of Tunisia wrote the introduction to what we can call the unfolding “project for the new Arab century”, the people of Egypt have just completed its defining first chapter. What conclusions can be drawn from these historic events is far too early to gauge. What is certain, however, is that many more chapters will be written before the political dust settles. Safe to say, nevertheless, that the birth pangs of a new Middle East are now definitely being felt, but not in ways that many outsiders imagined.

    Mohammed Khan is a political analyst based in the UAE.


  17. James Canning says:


    That article brings out how American Jews punished Jimmy Carter for forcing Israel out of the Sinai, to make peace with Egypt. Carter, of course, wanted Israel out of the Golan Heights, Gaza and the West Bank. But he lost the 1980 election.

  18. James Canning says:


    Very intersting. If you get time, you should read the new history of Jerusalem by Simon Sebag-Montefiore.

    At the end of the First World War, David Lloyd George was determined that the French not obtain control over Jerusalem because he figured the French would use their position to promote the Maronite Catholic and Roman Catholic positions in the City.

    As I have mentioned before, I think the decline of mainline Protestant churches, such as the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, in the US, is not a good thing. The delusional Christian Zionists do not come from that type of background, as a rule.

  19. James Canning says:


    At this point, the programme outlined in the “Project for a New American Century” is widely seen as delusional and a formula for catastrophe. David Cameron just this week noted that the American neocons have created a mess in the Middle East.

  20. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Iranian warships pass through Suez on the way to a cruise in the Med…and off the coast of Israel.


    Have a nice time boys!

  21. fyi says:

    kooshy says: February 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Truth is not the issue here.

    There is a propaganda war for the control of the minds of men.

    US-EU Axis have their propaganda and Iranians have theirs.

    Personally, I think the Iranians have not been aggressive enough.

    they should high-light the Cult of Shoah as a False Religion directly, that is an attack on God.

    They should high-light the Homosexual Agenda in the West and paint the West as the new Sodom (and Gomorrah) that wants to usher in the reign of Dajal.

    They should high-light how US-EU Axis sheds tears for any single European and American wantonly killed but has no sympathy for anyone else that is being killed in their wars against Muslims.

    Truth, is the first casualty of war.

  22. kooshy says:

    Here is an interesting comment linked to the article on FPJ that I posted earlier
    Joe P
    February 22, 2011 – 2:32 pm

    In Iran minorities have as much protection as in Spain or US. As I have said below even in US or UK when you become part of certain minority groups then your protection is revoked by states. It is no more different than in Iran. In 1970′s US if you were a communist in contact with Soviet Union then you basically had no protection. The same goes for the rich Iranian neo-liberals in contact with US. Do not be a hypocrite. Admit the fact that all countries have holy cows. Singling out Iran to emotionally hijack Americans in order for American tax payer bankrolling people like you and your dirty dreams is wrong. Iran is supporting the fall of all those regimes which are pro-American. That is their foreign policy. Just like it is the foreign policy of US to bring down Iranian government and it would be stupid if Iran supported its own demise and breakup by protecting certain groups which are working against Iran’s national security on foreign funds. It would be as if US started to support instead of suppressing Alqaeda and Taliban and Communists in US. Freedom has got its limits. The opposition you are referring to are actually traitors from the Iranian point of view. When Bush unfairly stole the election in 2000, the democratic party as a responsible opposition accepted the result in the bigger interest of US and did not join up with Chinese secrete service and their social media servers in order to bring down US constitution. In Iran Mosavi lost the election as proven by all independent international polls conducted and still he joined up with ranks of CIA and Saudis. That is not much of an opposition. That is traitor-ship. And if there is anything true Americans hate more than dictatorship, it is being a traitor. The same people whom you referred being under house arrest if they were in US and had done the same acts, people would have killed them by now. Make no mistake. The smart Iranians I talked about have pushed Iran up in science and technology rankings as has been noted by US gov report published by National Science Foundation. The people who are asking for asylum save afew mostly come to not so free but certainly more sexual western world opting to work as in second hand car dealerships, real state pusher agents and McDonald chicken firers just because they get paid better since US is the imperial power in the world and just because they get cheaper sex and as soon as you take out these out of equation, none of those whom you referred have the spine to stand up and fight for America. Their loyalty to America runs as deep as the money they get paid for. That is the truth. Once a traitor, always a traitor. Once a traitor to the land you were born in, always a traitor to the land you adapt. Watching Iranian channels in US, one gets the sense that the people running those channels are more interested in returning to Iran as kings on the back of US soldiers than actually being true to American principles of hard work and American flag. People are not free to dress as they want in US either. Try to roam around flashing in nothing but your G-panties next time you are in Texas City. Freedom can not be absolute. The law of the land which usually reflects the wish of majority of people living there has to be respected. I do not think Iran being a conservative society is ready to accept girls in Bikinis roaming around just like US is not ready to accept nude people going to white house for a chat with their president live on TV. The only fascism is when you try to implement the ideas of a minority on majority of people. I like my country and just like I said American people are not traitors to just go and leave on every whim and illusive dream they get. They stay, work hard and fix their country’s problems, unlike you I guess. So it is moot whether I should go to Iran or not, since the question here is when will you and people like you go back to Iran for a change instead of wasting our taxes on your political plans for that country.

    Joe P
    February 22, 2011 – 2:40 pm

    One more thing. You mentioned Iranian states kills 3 people daily. That is not right since even the wildest anti-Iran international NGO’s do not support that. At most Iran executes 300 a year. People get executed in US too, there are as well state killings in US by cops and other departments. It happens in every country specially killing by cops even in France. Besides almost all those who are executed in Iran are murderers, rapists, armed robbers and drug smugglers. Considering that Iran neighborers Afghanistan a country that produces 95% of world’s opium and heroine and again knowing the fact that over two thirds of all opiates intercepted in the world is done by Iranian police then it is not surprising that so many smugglers are executed. That brings us to another mutuality here. American people also hate drug smugglers and pushers, just like they hate murderers, rapists and armed robbers.


  23. That should be: “he clearly is an interventionist.”

  24. Kooshy: “Center for American Progress”

    Matt Yglesias is a Fellow there and has his blog under their operation.

    And he NEVER criticizes Israel in any way that might get him in hot water with the Israel Lobby. I’ve pointed that out numerous times in comments on his blog, but the morons who post there are always defending him.

    While he has proclaims himself a “non-interventionist”, he clearly is. And his smarts in foreign policy are practically non-existent – despite having written a book on the subject (which sold badly.)

    With all that grant money floating around, Scott Lucas must be STUPID if he doesn’t have his snout in the trough.

  25. fyi says:


    An Iranian thinker who actually does think.


  26. kooshy says:

    Here is the link for the article I posted earlier , if you need to see the notes and read the comments


  27. kooshy says:

    I hope everone will read this article

    Iran: The Next Domino?
    by Dr. K R Bolton
    February 22, 2011
    “Revolutions are often seen as spontaneous. It looks like people just went into the street. But it’s the result of months or years of preparation. It is very boring until you reach a certain point, where you can organize mass demonstrations or strikes. If it is carefully planned, by the time they start, everything is over in a matter of weeks.” — Ivan Marovic, ex-instructor, Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies, Serbia.[1]
    With the staging of a second[2] attempt at a “green revolution” in Iran in the wake of the overthrow of the regimes in Tunisia[3] and Egypt[4] by groups primarily sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, Open Society Institute, Freedom House, USAID and a myriad of their fronts; the question might arise as to whether the turmoil inflicted on Egypt and Tunisia was intended as a prelude to the major target: Iran.
    Iraq, Iran and Syria were targeted years ago as priorities for “regime change.” The now well-known letter addressed to President George W. Bush by the Project for a New American Century should be recounted. PNAC outlined a plan of action that was put into affect, starting with the elimination of Saddam Hussein. Iran and Syria were next marked for elimination under the pretext of the “war on terrorism”:
    We believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.[5]
    Among the numerous political and foreign policy luminaries who were signatories to the PNAC letter was Frank Gaffney who, as stated below, is on the Advisory Board of The Foundation for Democracy in Iran.
    America’s post-Cold War doctrine for world hegemony was outlined in a comprehensive PNAC document, Rebuilding America’s Defenses.[6] The post-Cold Warriors outlined their plan for a new “Cold War” or “clash of civilizations” that involves not only Islam but all regimes, cultures, religions, traditions and ideologies that do not fit into “a new American century.” The aim was stated unequivocally:
    Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?[7]
    Egypt since then became a problem, despite the cliché-ridden ballyhoo about Mubarak being Washington’s man. Perhaps the clincher that marked him for destruction was the geopolitical problem that he was presenting to the USA in the Sudan:
    On Nov. 3, 2009 Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit stated that within the previous five years Egypt had invested more than $87 million into projects in southern Sudan, including hospitals, schools and power stations, “in hope of convincing the people of southern Sudan to choose unity over secession.” Towards the end of the Bush regime the U.S. Defense Department established the Africa Command (AFRICOM),[8] a primary concern of this new US regional command being the establishment of a massive military base in southern Sudan.[9] It was in US interests that southern Sudan should secede. Keith Harmon Snow, writing on Africom’s agenda for the Sudan, states:
    In Darfur, Sudan, the U.S. government agenda is to win control of natural resources and leverage the Arab government into a corner and, at last, establish a more ‘friendly’ government that will suit the corporate interests of the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Israel.[10]
    Snow named some of the organizations involved in subverting Sudan, which include those that have been involved with subverting Egypt, Tunisia, Iran…
    Several major think tanks — read: propaganda, lobbying and pressure — behind the destabilization of Sudan include the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, Center for American Progress, Center for Security Policy, International Rescue Committee and International Crises Group. Individuals from seemingly diverse positions of the political and ideological spectrum run these organizations, which are ultra-nationalist capitalist[11] organizations bent on global military-economic domination.
    Now Egypt is well on course to becoming as subordinate as all the other states that have undergone “color revolutions” and “regime change” courtesy of NED, Soros, IRI, et al. Presently, the new Egyptian constitution is being drafted by those with the necessary globalist credentials to ensure that Egypt can enter the world commonwealth of nations as a lickspittle to the USA. Hisham al-Bastawisy, a leading Egyptian judicial official and oppositionist, now heading the Constitutional Amendment Committee, states that a new Constitution should be ready in a month, and that “civil society groups” — a euphemism for subversive organizations funded by NED, Soros, et al, — have prepared several drafts. These organizations include the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, and the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.[12]
    Soros’ Open Society Institute funds the Arabic Network for Human Rights.[13]ANHR works in alliance with similar organizations particular in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria. NED funds The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.[14]
    Meanwhile, the National Democratic Institute is training Egypt’s future political class to ensure that the country gets a Western-style democracy where citizens will have the opportunity to vote for tweedledum or tweedledee as the “left” and “right” wings of an American imposed political consensus, as in other countries “liberated” by “regime change.” Leslie Campbell, the National Democratic Institute’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, states that NDI, which has been in Egypt since 2005,[15] “is stepping up its long-standing efforts to train political parties and domestic election monitors in Egypt ahead of the transitional campaign and elections.”[16]
    While the Gulf States can be mopped up, what remains is Syria, Libya and Iran.
    Wikileaks US Cable on Iran
    While liberaldom in conjunction with the neocons is getting bellicose towards those few who are suggesting that the “people’s revolutions” are not much more than the excrescences of US based plutocracy and globalism, the revelation of a Wikileaks cable provides hard evidence for the cynical view.
    A cable from the US Embassy in London, sent to US Secretary of State Clinton, and embassies in Ankara, Turkmenistan (Ashgabat), Baghdad, Baku, Berlin, Bern, Kabul, Paris, Vienna, Dubai, Istanbul, and the US Mission to the UN, provides some important leads on the troubles that soon emerged in Iran.[17]
    The cable states the US Embassy “supports and approves” of the funding of six proposals submitted by Iranian contacts in the UK that also involved those taking part in workshops at Durham University. Among the recommendations supported by the Embassy is the funding of a group of Iranian students in London with contacts in Iran. The US Embassy cable then provides commentary on the workshops being held at Durham University through which it is proposed to fund the Iranian dissidents. The recommendations are:
    • …$75,000 funding (six months in duration), under the auspices of Durham University’s School of Governmental Affairs… for a workshop, entitled “Forum to Discuss Iranian NGOs Concerning Women Advocacy.” The workshop’s purpose would be to build links between NGOs inside Iran and their UK-U.S. counterparts for training, networking, knowledge-sharing and increased public awareness, with a goal of joint cooperation between Iran and U.S. universities and NGOs working to empower women.
    • An ambitious project at Durham University, entitled “Iran-U.S. Civil Society Engagement” (lasting 12 months, asking $123,050 in funding) which aims at bridging “the communicative gap between influential Iranian individuals affiliated with strategic research centers” and their U.S. counterparts…
    This program includes discussing Iranian ethnic relations, and the use of social media including YouTube and Radio Fardo. Radio Fardo is part of a US Government propaganda network, being the Iranian branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,[18] based in Prague, the Czech Republic; a state that was one of the early results of a “velvet revolution.”
    • $91,700 to inculcate Iranian seminarians with Western ideas on theology. The project proposal is entitled “Forum To Discuss Iranian Seminary Students and Their Impact on Reform In Iran,” and would emphasize themes of human rights, democracy, accountability and rule of law. This attempt to subvert and use Iranian Shiite theologians is considered of particular importance, in conjunction with recruiting secular youth of the type that has been at the forefront of other “color revolutions’ around the world. The cable states:
    There has been only limited western interaction with the clerical sector, portions of which have in recent decades provided intellectual and political resistance both to the former Pahlavi regime as well as to the current regime’s ideology of “Velayet e Faqih” (rule of Islamic jurists), which, though based on the writings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, is nevertheless theologically repugnant to many Shiite thinkers and believers; such ferment is centered in Iran’s seminaries. Outreach to Iranian Shiite seminarians could complement USG and Western interaction with the more secular, Western-oriented elements of Iran’s political class.
    • $75,00 for a program to train journalists for opposing the regime. This would comprise a five-day workshop at Durham University involving ten Iranian journalists. Additionally another program of $75,000 to create dissident media.
    • A further program at Durham was to be the cultivating of Iranian local officials such as those from municipal councils. These, it was suggested, might provide the US with valuable contacts for what can only be regarded as spying.
    • There is a request of a $48,400 grant for a one-day conference of students to form a united front to organize cultural and education exchanges.
    Durham University
    When Wikileaks published the cable in February 2011, Durham University issued a brief statement only responding that the university received money from a “broad range” of funders but remained true to its principles of “independent academic discovery.”[19] The student newspaper commented:
    The cable suggests that the University was offered and may have accepted over $400,000 from the U.S. State Department for running a series of seminars “under the auspices of Durham University’s School of Governmental Affairs”. The cable dates from April 2008 and emphasizes the usefulness of Durham’s ties with high-ranking Iranian officials as “political cover” for the projects.[20]
    Funding subversive programs
    The latest report (2009) for the National Endowment for Democracy funding in Iran is vague but alludes to grants totaling $674,506.
    The International Republican Institute’s chairman, Sen. John McCain, speaking at a NED conference lauded NED’s annual Democracy Award going in 2010 to “Iran’s Green Movement.” The honor was gained by Iranians having rioted in an abortive “Green Revolution” in 2009, when they spat the dummy after President Ahmadinejad was re-elected. Presumably only certain electoral outcomes are accepted as “democratic” by the globalists. If an electorate chooses by majority not to pursue that path then it is not truly “democratic” and other means must be found to introduce the correct form of democracy. McCain declared:
    My friends: If there were ever any doubt, the birth of the Green Movement over the past year should convince us that Iran will have a democratic future. That future may be delayed for awhile, but it will not be denied. And now is the time for the United States to position ourselves squarely on the right side of Iranian history – on the side of courageous Iranian reformers like Shiva Nazar Ahari.[21]
    The riots in the aftermath of President Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009 would have been about as “spontaneous” (sic) as the “color revolutions” in Eastern European, Central Asia, Egypt, and Tunisia. A report run by USA Today in 2009 stated of these covert programs:
    The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents, records and interviews show, continuing a program that became controversial when it was expanded by President Bush.
    The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reports to the secretary of state, has for the last year been soliciting applications for $20 million in grants to “promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Iran,” according to documents on the agency’s website. The final deadline for grant applications is June 30.[22]
    NED funding for previous years is easier to identify. In 2005 NED gave grants totalling $4,898,000. The recipients included the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, mentioned below, and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity of $185,000. The latter program included training Iranian labor leaders. It should be recalled that ACILS works closely with free market globalists.[23] Institute of World Affairs (IWA) $45,800, to train jurists on how to bastardise Sharia law via Western liberal jurisprudence. International Republican Institute $110,000, for the purpose of linking Iranian oppositionists with international networks. National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) $64,000, to link Iranian groups with international organizations, and to assist with the English translation of Farsi materials.[24]
    Going ahead to NEDs 2008 reporting on Iran, the recipients included: Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, $140,000. Association for Civic Society in Iran (ACSI) $80,000, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) $141,793, which fosters free market capitalism on a global scale in solidarity with their comrades in the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.[25] Research Initiative for Contemporary Iran (RICI), $87,000.
    While Soros’ Open Society Foundations claim they have not operated in Iran since 2007, this is disingenuous. The Soros networks fund a colossal number of fronts and allied organizations, including those with a presence in Iran. The conference of the Digital Youth of Central Asia, which is funded by Soros but which does not seem to be a Soros front per se, includes Iranian youth activists whose presence was mentioned at the Digital Youth December 2010 conference held in Tajikistan.[26]
    Iran Moves Against Globalists
    In January 2010 Iran blacklisted numerous organizations regarded as subversive, including:
    1. Soros Foundation — Open Society
    2. Woodrow Wilson Center
    3. Freedom House [27]
    4. National Endowment for Democracy (NED)[28]
    5. National Democratic Institute (NDI)[29]
    6. International Republican Institute (IRI)[30]
    7. Institute for Democracy in East Europe (EEDI)[31]
    8. Democracy Center in East Europe (CDEE)
    9. Ford Foundation
    10. Rockefeller Brothers Foundation
    11. Hoover Institute at Stanford Foundation
    12. Hivos Foundation, Netherlands
    13. Menas, U.K.
    14. United Nations Association (USA)
    15. Carnegie Foundation
    16. Wilton Park, U.K.
    17. Search for Common Ground (SFCG)
    18. Population Council
    19. Washington Institute for Near East Policy
    20. Aspen Institute
    21. American Enterprise Institute
    22. New America Foundation
    23. Smith Richardson Foundation
    24. German Marshal Fund (US, Germany and Belgium)
    25. International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
    26. Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation at Yale University
    27. Meridian Center
    28. Foundation for Democracy in Iran
    29. American Initiative Institute
    30. Private Trade International Center
    31. American Center for International Labor Solidarity[32]
    32. International Center for Democracy Transfer
    33. Albert Einstein Institute
    34. World Movement for Democracy[33]
    35. The Democratic Youth Network
    36. Democracy Information and Communication Technology Group
    37. International Parliamentarian Movement for Democracy
    38. RIGA Institute
    39. The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School
    40. Council on Foreign Relations
    41. Foreign Policy Society, Germany
    42. MEMRI
    43. Centre for Democracy Studies, U.K.
    44. Yale University and all its affiliates
    45. National Defense University, U.S.
    46. Iran Human Rights Documents Center
    47. American Center FLENA
    48. Brookings Institution Saban Center
    49. Human Rights Watch
    50. New America Foundation[34]
    The nature and extent of the Iranian blacklist indicates just how aware the Iranian administration is as to the character of world globalist subversion. Every nation that aims to maintain its sovereignty could do well in consulting the Iranians.
    Looking at several of the blacklisted organizations, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, “receives approximately 50% of its support from private U.S. Foundations, 34% of its support from private European foundations, and 16% of its funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)…”[35]
    The Foundation for Democracy in Iran was founded in 1995 with grants from NED. The Governing Board includes: FDI Chairman, Nader Afshar, who “has worked extensively with the United States Information Agency and the Voice of America Farsi Service;” and Secretary-Treasurer, William Nojay, who has worked in Ukraine and Afghanistan for the International Republican Institute.
    FDI Board Member Herbert I London, is president of the Hudson Instituted, is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
    The FDI Advisory Board includes: Menashe Amir, Persian language broadcaster for Israel Radio International; Pooya Dayanim, president of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee; Frank Gaffney, former Reagan appointee and NATO advisor, founder of the Center for Security Policy, a neocon think tank whose slogan is “peace through strength;” Amil Imani, director of Former Muslims United, and founder of Arabs for Israel; Reza Kahlili, a CIA agent who had worked in Iran for more than 20 years; R. James Woolsey, U.S. Director of the CIA 1993–1995.
    FDI Founding Board Members: Joshua Muravchik, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Trustee, Freedom House[36]; Peter W. Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs; Dr. Mehdi Rouhani, “spiritual leader” of Shiites in Europe.[37]
    A major oversight of the Iranian blacklist seems to be the Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), headquartered in Serbia, and having their origins in the Optor (“Resistance”) movement that helped toppled Milosevic. Having screwed up Serbia for the benefit of international big business, the fine young idealists who were at the forefront of the “color revolution” thought it would be a noble idea to impart their experiences to those in other countries who might want their nations subservient to US foreign policy, their economies wracked by debt and privatization and their traditional cultures replaced for the culture of the global shopping mall, American sit-coms and MTV. They provided the training for Kmara in Georgia, which led the revolt or “Rose Revolution” against Shevardnadze in 2003 after he had the temerity to win the presidential election. “It was followed by the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, where former Otpor activists spent months advising the Pora (“It’s Time”) youth movement.”[38] While Rosenberg claims that Optor now gives Washington “a wide berth” after many felt betrayed when it was found that the organization had been funded by the USA, despite denials, CANVAS nonetheless continues to receive funding from Freedom House, and the International Republican Institute,[39] so denials about Washington funding are quite disingenuous.
    CANVAS provided training for the Egyptian youth of the April 6th Movement that provided the impetus for the Egyptian revolt, Mohamed Adel, travelling to Serbia in 2009 for instruction. Tina Rosenberg enthuses:
    They have worked with democracy advocates from more than 50 countries. They have advised groups of young people on how to take on some of the worst governments in the world — and in Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, the Maldives, and now Egypt, those young people won.[40]
    Another CANVAS ally is The Albert Einstein Institute, one of the organizations blacklisted by Iran, founded in 1983 by Gene Sharp, the ideological and strategic guru of the “color revolutions,” who apparently got his start as the intellectual mentor of “velvet revolutions” when his first revolutionary manual, The Politics of Nonviolent Action (1973) was funded by the Pentagon via the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Sharp is stated by the Iranian Government to be the primary inspiration for the “Green movement.” A US press report states:
    In a mass trial of some 100 key reformist figures this past August, Iranian prosecutors charged that postelection protests were “completely planned in advance and proceeded according to a timetable and the stages of a velvet coup [such] that more than 100 of the 198 events were executed in accordance with the instructions of Gene Sharp.”[41]
    The AEI receives funding for the publication and translations of their revolutionary manuals; especially Sharp’s seminal From Dictatorship to Democracy,[42] from Soros’ omnipresent Open Society Institute. Sharp writes:
    The Albert Einstein Institution (then in Cambridge, and later in Boston, Massachusetts, USA) solicited funds from the Open Society Institute that made possible the translation and publication of From Dictatorship to Democracy into four of the ethnic languages of Burma: Mon, Karen, Jing Paw, and Chin.
    Translations of this publication in print or on a web site include the following languages: Khmer (Cambodia), Farsi (Iran), Mandarin (China), Russian, Vietnamese, Amharic (Ethiopia), Spanish, Belarusian, Dhivehi (Maldives), Nepali, Tibetan, Tigrinia (Eritrea), Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Arabic, Indonesian, and Azeri (Azerbaijan). Several others are in preparation. [43]
    “We Are All Ahmadinejads Now!”
    President Ahmadinejad has been one of the few statesmen in the world to stand up to both Zionism and plutocracy. His blacklisting of a host of nefarious subversives shows great insight into the workings of the globalist web of subversion. Iran remains a roadblock in the culmination of the new world disorder. To coin a catchy slogan for the current times: “We Are All Ahmadinejads Now!”

  28. fiorangela says:

    James Canning — just came upon this article yesterday; you might find it interesting:
    The Cold War and the Fifth Great Awakening

    “. . .World War II catalyzed the revival evangelical Christians had been praying for since the 1920s. Like its four predecessors, this fifth Great Awakening reshaped religious life in unanticipated ways and influenced the relationship between faith and foreign affairs. Three aspects of the revival stand out. First, while modernist churches stagnated, theologically conservative Protestantism flourished, with Billy Graham leading one branch of the movement from fundamentalism toward a less separatist and less strident “evangelicalism.” Second, Catholics grew more assertive and (especially after the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965) more cosmopolitan. Third, the bulk of the awakening coincided with the Cold War, which officials from the White House on down described as a spiritual battle against “godless communism.”

    The relationship between Cold War faith and foreign policy is often misconstrued in ways comparable to clichés about the Wilson era. Once again, standard accounts render the religious beliefs of policymakers in caricature and postulate an unambiguous sense of mission from John Winthrop to John Foster Dulles. Despite his image as a Puritan avenger, Dulles himself was a theologically liberal Presbyterian who began in the 1930s to use the Federal Council of Churches as a convenient forum for publicizing his foreign policy prescriptions. Insofar as he became a dogmatic cold warrior by the time he was named secretary of state in 1953, Dulles was moved by Republican partisanship rather than religious doctrine.

    Unlike Dulles, Reinhold Niebuhr applied serious religious ideas to foreign policy. Yet Niebuhr’s image as the premier theologian of the Cold War needs refinement. In Niebuhr’s view, because human beings are fallible and sinful (at least in a metaphorical sense), even their best actions fall short of altruism and yield ironic results. This “neo-orthodox” worldview is consistent with any number of conflicting positions on foreign policy. Indeed, without changing his theology, Niebuhr had moved from the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation to the interventionist Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies. In The Irony of American History (1952), he sounded more reflective than the typical Cold War ideologist. Applying neo-orthodox premises, he warned the United States against international arrogance and described communism and American capitalism as arising from the same “ethos” of egotism. Niebuhr was less dispassionate in dayto-day polemics against those whose skepticism about the Cold War exceeded his own. Moreover, valued for his intellectual reputation rather than his ideas, Niebuhr had no discernible impact while serving as a State Department consultant. . .”

    If I recall correctly, in his series of lectures on US and Middle East, 1914-2001, Salim Yaqub explains that the very first time US became involved with Iran, in the mid-19th century, involved a demand that the US government intercede for American missionaries who had got caught between two fighting forces — Iran was not one of the adversaries, but as a middle man, US called upon Iran to resolve the problems of the American missionaries.

    The point is, US religious activity and beliefs have almost always played a large role in US foreign policy.

  29. Humanist: George Carlin was one of the great philosophers of the 20th Century along with Woody Allen who once summed up the entire human condition in five words: “Nothing works and nobody cares.”

    Woody also presaged Transhumanism when he said: “Some people like to achieve immortality by doing good works or leaving behind art. I prefer to achieve immortality by not dying.”

  30. fiorangela says:

    dear Humanist,
    I hope whatever it was that “happened to you” was not harmful to your wellbeing.

    Your mention of George Carlin was reassuring — perhaps my attempt at humor at least registered as an attempt at humor, even if it fell flat.

    This site is so completely engrossing because it provides the opportunity to understand how others view the world in ways different from my own. Your comments on George Soros were tremendously insightful — frightening, but well worth studying carefully. That’s what I’m doing.

  31. James Canning says:


    I think about one-third of American Protestants change their denomination in their adult lives. Anyone with the most recent figures?

  32. fiorangela says:

    re kooshy’s post on Feb 19 @ 11:18, article from Haaretz concerning Israel’s reactions to Iran transiting Suez canal.

    Haaretz wrote: “Egypt is allowing Iranian warships to cross the canal, on their way to Syrian ports. Israel was publicly critical of the passage – arguing that it is a provocative move – but Egypt ignored the pressures and granted the Iranian navy permission to pass, symbolizing the change to the regional balance of power following the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.”

    recall that in her comments on Al Jazeera, Hillary Mann Leverett disagreed with the moderator’s claim that US was not in touch with Mubarak/Solieman/the Egyptian army as decisions were being made. Leverett said the communication between US and Egypt was, likely, very intense.

    In his message post-Mubarak, Obama indicated that the process was going “according to plan.”

    So — why is it not reasonable to speculate that the US administration is at least as aware of Israel’s drag on US moral authority as are some — a lot — of anonymous internet bloggers, and that US is STILL maintaining frequent communication with the Egyptian governing authority, and supporting Egypt in allowing Iran to transit the Suez? US is NOT above playing double games, using Iran as a proxy to hem in Israel.

  33. Humanist says:

    If you are interested in ‘Iranian American Experts’ who always spread mixes of truths, half-truths and lies then you might find the following video interesting.

    There Amy Goodman interviews Hamd Dabashi (who, I think, is in a level lying between Karim Sdjadpour and Abbas Milani


  34. Humanist says:

    Dear Fiorangela,

    Because something happened to me I was not able to visit this site regularly so I missed the following reply of yours sent on February 14.

    “., hmm, an Iranian practicing that characteristic the name of which I’ve forgotten — about apologizing and being more humble than the other — with a Catholic DRILLED to accept guilt and blame and who worships at the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility in Lake Woebegone. This is like doing the limbo.”

    “that characteristic”? Did you mean “Taarof”? If so I always stay away from that superficial nicety but try hard not be very assertive or aggressive in any conversation. However since I am a flexible atheist and most around me are, in one way or other religious, I have to be careful not to cross the good lines that call me to fully respect the beliefs of anyone whose curves of thought do not match that of my own. I think this kind of respectability might be interpreted as Taarof which I don’t think it is..

    I believe, for reasons of survival, we are evolved to adhere to the norms and traditions of our own tribes. Religion is a major component of our culture, so if one is born, say in a Buddhist home chances are he/she will firmly believe to Buddhism forever. Although in this age of deluge of information we are all exposed to different world-views and at times some of us revise or change our traditional belief systems.

    In this site we all pay attention to analysis of issues related to war, peace, Iran and related politics thus, most times, discussing religious topics does not fit to the cast of this site, but if you ask me why I left my teen-time ideologies I’ll be glad to tell you whatever you want to know.

    Finally, since I think you are very open minded, just for provoking your thoughts I ask you to view the following video of George Carlin (an ex-Catholic) who, in a comic tone, questions the core of the religion practiced by majority of the people in the world. Pleas if you find the video offensive let me know, then an apology will be in order..


    with best wishes

  35. Kooshy: To the degree that the Anonymous hacker group is interested in supporting the Green Movement, this could turn into a significant “hacker spat”. (Note: NOT “cyberwar”, which is a nonexistent phenomena. See discussions over at Bruce Schneier’s computer security blog.)

    Everyone involved better hope the Chinese don’t weigh in – they’ve got a SERIOUS number of hackers who can be deployed. Estimates of over 300,000.

  36. Arnold: “It is unclear to what degree the Green Movement is purely an internal matter, it clearly is the US’ primary hope for destabilizing Iran. The US claims to have assisted it behind the scenes and has a large budget for covert regime change activities that would be consistent with US assistance for it.”

    You’re correct. What I mean to say, but occasionally forget to do so, is that it’s irrelevant EXCEPT to the degree that it is being used to demonize Iran as a method of justifying a future war in the same manner that demonizing Iraq was so used.

  37. kooshy says:

    FYI Scott
    ‘No chance for coup in Iran’
    Iranian journalist tells Ynet ‘Iran isn’t Egypt,’ estimates Revolutionary Guard will protect government. Military coup is unlikely, but also the only way to topple ayatollah regime, he says
    Dudi Cohen

    Renewed protests in Iran have the world asking whether the ayatollah regime will meet with the same fate as those of Tunisia and Egypt, but an Iranian journalist who spoke to Ynet Monday says the answer is no.

    “Iran is not Egypt; the regime has various councils to determine policies and plans for such a contingency,” the 28-year old journalist from Tehran, who asked to remain anonymous, explained.

    He claimed that, unlike Egypt, the opposition would not just have to topple the president but rather the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In addition, he said, the ayatollah regime is well-guarded by the loyal Revolutionary Guard.

    “Egypt had a president, we have a regime,” he explained. “If Khamenei falls, he will be replaced by someone exactly like him.”

    The journalist conversed with Ynet’s reporter via Google chat, which was blocked on Monday by the Iranian government in efforts to prevent information from leaving the country. But many Iranians have found ways to bypass the attempt at censorship.

    At least two people were killed during renewed anti-government protests Monday in Tehran, though the turnout seemed lower than last week’s revolt.

    Last week a British newspaper published a letter suggesting that Revolutionary Guard officers have pledged not to fire at protestors.

    The Iranian journalist addressed the possibility that the officers will join the anti-regime protest. “Is that a joke? Nothing could not be further from the truth. It’s like saying that people in Israel want to tear down the Western Wall like the Berlin Wall. It will never happen.”

    The difference between the Revolutionary Guard and the average Iranian is quite substantial, he explained.
    The only way to topple the Iranian regime is by a military coup which is unlikely, he added. “Should Iran be attacked the Revolutionary Guard will start a third world war,” he noted.

    Israel’s President Shimon Peres was previously quoted as saying “Iran will be stopped by the people.”

    The journalist also leveled criticism at opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi. “They lost their credibility. They became a symbol and nothing more, people don’t listen to them anymore,” he said. “The Green Movement has failed, it is run by Iranian expats.”

    The journalist claimed that Mousavi and Karoubi were subject to outside influence and noted the Green Movement had no real leadership.

    The two opposition leaders have been under house arrest since last week. Meanwhile, government supporters continue to call for their execution.

    “Granted, many Iranians loath the regime and hate Khamenei but the other half that supports him is ignored by the media,” the journalist said. The average Iranian is tired of protests and seeks calm, he added.


  38. fiorangela says:

    kooshy @ 11:50 am:

    kosher goose http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/02/10/idf-needs-a-few-good-hasbara-hackers/

    Persian gander :http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/21/iranian-hackers-break-voa-deface-web-sites/

    American agitprop program :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SDiplo
    James Glassman, (former) Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

    Glassman runs propaganda over Voice of America and also over the lame radio channel the State Department created to beam propaganda into Iran. Glassman says in the above C Span appearance that he wears (at least) “two hats.” He works for State Department doing what Hillary Clinton calls “soft diplomacy,” and he works for Department of Defense.

    In the 45 minute testimony by Jeffrey Feltman, which I linked a few days ago, Feltman described his use of VOA to propagandize Iranians, and Barbara Slavin and Suzanne Maloney said, (paraphrased) “for the love of God and decency, somebody lock up Feltman and Glassman in a dank dark dungeon. Hire an American, not a zionist infiltrator to represent American interests in the world.”

    — sigh.
    that’s not what Slavin and Maloney said.
    like everyone else in Washington, Maloney is tethered to her paycheck & paymaster — she would only go so far as to say, “VOA really ought not to beam propaganda into Iran; the Iranian people know what’s going on and only find it stupid. You’re embarrassing the US and amking life difficult for Iranian reformers.”

    Slavin’s paymaster is Washington Times; she stopped giving a flying f&%k about being perceived as an Israeli infiltrator a few years ago. She is no longer credible.

  39. kooshy says:

    This one is really nice it also includes a picture of front page of VOA where else including Zimbabwe.


  40. kooshy says:

    As my mother use to say to me “harcheh avz dareh gleh nadareh “ translation “One must not complain for response that receives in return”

    Voice of America internet site hacked by Iranians

    (CNN) — A group calling itself the “Iran cyber army” claimed responsibility Tuesday for hacking into a number of Voice of America internet pages, according to reports from both Voice of America and Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.
    The group displayed a message on Voice of America’s Farsi page, calling for an end to U.S. “interference” in the Muslim world.
    “Ms. Clinton, do you want to hear the oppressed voices of nations from the heart of America?” the group asked. “The Muslim world does not believe in U.S. deceit. We tell you, stop intervening in Muslim countries.”


  41. Arnold Evans says:


    Needless to say, if the polls had shown Mousavi winning by 2:1, then SL would have seized upon this as proof of a stolen election.

    Needless to say. SL presents his own feeling that Mousavi should have won as proof of a stolen election.


    So why concern yourselves with the Green Movement or any other internal Iranian matter?

    It is unclear to what degree the Green Movement is purely an internal matter, it clearly is the US’ primary hope for destabilizing Iran. The US claims to have assisted it behind the scenes and has a large budget for covert regime change activities that would be consistent with US assistance for it.

  42. Reza Esfandiari says:


    “Participants [in these opinion polls] were cold-called on phone lines from outside Iran in a political environment where contact with foreigners can be punished.”

    Duh, ff that were the case, they refuse to participate or do not answer particular questions.

    The rejection rate for all of the 3 western polls was similar to those in the West.

    The Globescan poll (taken internally) was conducted just one week after the election. It found that:

    56% of people have voted for Ahmadinejad
    32% for Mousavi
    2% Rezai
    0% Karroubi
    10% refusing to say

    The official figures are

    62% Ahmadi
    34% Mousavi
    2% Rezai
    1% Karroubi
    1% invalid

    It also oversampled for Tehran and found that Mousavi led by 9 points in the capital city – *exactly* as the official figures show (52-43).

    This is really pathetic of SL to deny the evidence without having examined it first.

    Needless to say, if the polls had shown Mousavi winning by 2:1, then SL would have seized upon this as proof of a stolen election.

  43. You people keep engaging this Lucas troll. He’s sitting over in his basement chortling over how people keep falling for his lame propaganda trolling.

    He’s never, ever going to give a straight answer to any question and he will never ever lift a finger to produce any facts of his own, other than links to his Web site to pointless videos you can see anywhere on YouTube so he can increase his ad revenue.

    Any protests on the 20th were so lame even the Iran-demonizing Western media didn’t bother to cover them. So why are you bothering to argue with this troll?

    It doesn’t matter whether it’s 8%, 13%, 25% or 30% or 49% of Iranians who don’t like the government, just as it doesn’t matter whether the same proportions of US citizens don’t like the US government. What’s perfectly clear is that neither one is going anywhere any time soon and they are both in conflict that must inevitably lead to a war absent one of them blinking and backing down from their conflict or (in a miracle) the US changes to an engagement policy – which in turn would allow the Iranian government to alter its internal policies once it is not under threat of attack and subversion.

    So why concern yourselves with the Green Movement or any other internal Iranian matter? It alters nothing about the situation of importance which is the relationship between the US and Iran (and more widely, the US as puppet of Israel and its own military-industrial complex.)

    Lucas is treating you as suckers, so it’s best to treat him as a smarmy-mouthed lame troll.

  44. Arnold Evans says:


    The details of the poll were not even published for several weeks after the findings were distributed on Power Point.

    I’m not sure what you’re charging here. Are you accusing that over these several weeks the people at IPI were fabricating their results? If not, what is your point in bringing it up?

    It is unclear how the cross-section of the population was determined. It is unclear what controls were in place, if any, for a representative group based on economic status and background.

    What does “unclear” mean to you? Are you asserting that there were not adequate controls in place, or that you have reason to believe they were not? If not, what is your point in bringing it up?


    This is reminding me a lot of your reasons to reject the June 2009 election results themselves – you don’t have a specific reason, no coherent argument that the results do not match the wishes of the population but you reject them because they do not match your expectations.

    To reject objectively reached results in favor of one’s subjective feeling arrived from interactions with what you must admit is a severely biased selection of the country is itself a serious failure of analysis.

    If an American told you that Obama was not elected fairly because he knows people from the US and there is no way, that, for example, Obama could have won Indiana, that itself is proof of fraud – what would you tell that person? It is an argument that would not merit serious consideration, but it is as serious as your views regarding Iran.

  45. UU: Nice to know we share reading material. I know all those names as well.

    As for Burroughs, I was never into his Egyptology or his word cut-ups. But there was some valuable stuff in The Western Lands and his later stuff.

    As for McKenna, I never read his stuff except a view of his interviews. I have no idea how much of his ideas came from the drugs and how much came from good rational thinking, so he was never in the main with me. The same with Sheldrake who has never put forth any particular evidence for his theories.

    I’ve gone rather beyond my “mentors” as it were. Nothing dead end about it if you start with first principles and the science.

    Meanwhile, despite all the political, cultural and social horsecrap, technology keeps moving on. You might want to check out Kurzweil and others to keep up.

  46. BiBiJon says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    February 22, 2011 at 9:59 am

    “Participants [in these opinion polls] were cold-called on phone lines from outside Iran in a political environment where contact with foreigners can be punished.”

    Scott, the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, PIPA, who manages the WorldPublicOpinion have a long history of conducting opinion surveys in the Middle East. I’m sure they would be very interested in avoiding damage to their credibility and reputation, wasting time, money and effort coming up with silly methodologies for their surveys. Please drop them a line or two of your pearls of wisdom.

    However, can you explain how come 86% of these cold-called subjects support (including 71% strongly support) a far more politically/ideologically sensitive proposition of “the Supreme Leader, along with all leaders, [should be] chosen and replaced by a free and direct vote of the people” than for a government in which “the Supreme Leader rules according to religious principles and cannot be chosen or replaced by a direct vote of the people” … but, go right ahead and lie about their “satisfaction with the “process by which the authorities are elected in this country” (62%, including 18% very satisfied and 44% somewhat satisfied) and approved of “the way President Ahmadinejad is handling his job as president” (66%).”


  47. Scott: “Could the MoI know something we don’t?”

    See – this is precisely why you’re a smarmy-mouthed, asshole troll.

    Take your propaganda back to your own Web site and stop trolling for hits over here. No one here gives a rat’s ass about your propaganda. If we want propaganda, we’ll listen to an Obama or Clinton speech – or maybe some equal trash to you like Krauthammer or Goldberg.

  48. Pirouz says:

    Sorry Scott,

    That should read <1000 for Tehran.

  49. Pirouz says:

    Hi Scott,

    Are you trying to say that “tens of thousands” of protesters came out for 1 Esfand? My estimate is >1000 for Tehran and ~100 for Shiraz based on the video evidence at hand. In Tehran, law enforcement had a bigger presence than demonstrators. And again, in all cases, the demonstrators were overwhelmingly student types of North Tehrani stock.

    Here’s an good example of a cross-section of Iranian society demonstrating (you could even say this is mainstream Iran):


    In the student rebellion of 25 Bahman and 1 Esfand, you don’t find these elements in any significant numbers:

    Regarding the poll, have you contacted IPI with your concerns? They have addressed them. There are many majority responses that can be attributed as being critical of the running of the country, which is a sign of candidness. And the response rates are better than here in the US.

  50. BiBiJon says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    February 22, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Indeed “there is a wide range of opinion on political, economic, and religious issues among those almost 75 million.”

    Those opinions are recorded in multiple surveys by worldOpinion.org, TerrorFreeTomorrow, New America Foundation, and International Peace Institute. The results of these surveys strongly indicate that an active tiny minority of at best 25% of the population will continue to cause public disturbances periodically. The rest of that 25% is likely to find a more appealing way of getting political traction though that effort is deliberately hampered by US state department tweets, and biased websites such as EnduringAmerica.

    “after 20 months of repression by the Iranian authorities, it is indeed worth watching what will ensue.”

    I have previously pointed out examples such as the Bradford riots of 2002 where according to the Independent newspaper:

    “The riots last summer caused damage estimated at tens of millions of pounds and sparked what became Britain’s biggest criminal investigation. Judges at Bradford Crown Court have handed down dozens of lengthy sentences in a series of court cases, with some convicted rioters being jailed for up to eight and a half years. Some have received sentences of five years for stone-throwing.”

    Interestingly, David Blunkett, the then Home Secretary described those jailed for rioting “maniacs” who were “whining” about their sentences after they “burnt down their own businesses”.

    The Home Secretary set about the “bleeding heart liberals” who questioned the severity of the punishments …

    Of course there are many other examples. Take the Greek riots of 2008.

    Whether in Bradford, Athens or Tehran, there is a fine line between “repression” and law&order operations. People who value integrity, and hope to be proven right once in a blue moon, need to be careful about labeling the reaction of authorities in response to public disturbances.

  51. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: February 22, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Thank you very much for your long and detailed reply.

    I am in agreement with much of what you have written from the broad historical point of view.

    Where I depart from your point of view – and not from your fine summary – is on the place of the individual. To put it rhetorically: “where is the individual in the scheme?”

    Really, I do not have any issue with forces of nature etc.

    Where I do have an issue is when the scope of an individual’s liberty and self-determination – his God-give freedom of choice – is circumscribed by other individuals, by the state apparatus controlled by such individuals. That I cannot accept as being morally right.

    Furthermore, what I see in Islamic Iran is what that famous poet Hafiz complained about 700 years ago. That is the tendency to Pharisee-ism in Islam. I have characterized this as “Nikbat Islami” – from top to bottom there is an attempt to impose outward conformity – by violent means if necessary – by one group of Muslims the “correct” Islamic behavior on another set of Muslims. Respect for individual is nowhere to be found.

    One can argue, I suppose, that envy has been part and parcel of all revolutions and social upheavals. Certainly much of the behavior of the individual human beings during the course of the Russian Revolution or the Chinese Revolution (including the Cultural Revolution phase) may be understood in that manner. But that does not excuse the behavior. An individual Muslim ought to be free and safe in his person, in his property, and in his namus. “Ya roosari, ya toosari” cannot be condoned under any circumstance as a religious or a revolutionary slogan.

    When, 1400 years, large numbers of human beings heard the message of the Prophet and became Muslims, there was joy in their hearts and mind; they were building a new civilization and society with room for all (per the saying of Jesus: “In my Father’s House there are many mansions.”. Muslims attracted, they did not repulse as a matter of personal behavior and policy of the state.

    You cannot approach a stylish young woman who has just been publicly humiliated and is in tears (for not conforming to a lower class person’s Farisee understanding of proper Muslim attire) and tell her not to cry since this is an antidote to the Godlessness of the Enlightenment Tradition.

  52. Scott Lucas says:


    The details of the poll were not even published for several weeks after the findings were distributed on Power Point. It is unclear how the cross-section of the population was determined. It is unclear what controls were in place, if any, for a representative group based on economic status and background. There were vagaries in questions such as those on “security” and “rights”, leading to conflicting result.

    Participants were cold-called on phone lines from outside Iran in a political environment where contact with foreigners can be punished.


  53. Arnold Evans says:

    Scott, you’re back.

    Any progress on figuring out exactly what the methodological weaknesses are of all of the polls that say most Iranians support the IRI, that they prefer Ahmadinejad to Mousavi, that it was the same preference they had on election day June 2009 and that they believe the government’s response to the protests was reasonable?

    Maybe you’re not able to find methodological weaknesses of all of the polls. How about starting with the most recent, the Charney poll of late 2010?

  54. Scott Lucas says:


    “Any ideas what they were doing?”

    There is a wide range of opinion on political, economic, and religious issues among those almost 75 million.

    That is also true in Tunisia, where the protest of thousands in December led to others making their sentiments known. And that is also true in Egypt, where the appearance of tens of thousands on 25 January led to significant changes.

    So, when tens of thousands continue to express public opposition after 20 months of repression by the Iranian authorities, it is indeed worth watching what will ensue.


  55. nahid says:

    Iran: Public Opinion on Foreign,
    Nuclear and Domestic Issues
    International Peace Institute
    With Charney Research
    8 December 2010

    2/3 of Iranians support IRI

  56. BiBiJon says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    February 22, 2011 at 2:43 am


    Adding your numbers, 20-30,000 demonstrators to several thousand security personnel, leaves roughly 74 million 965,000 souls in Iran whose activities Feb 14th, and 20th is a mystery to me. Any ideas what they were doing?

  57. BiBiJon says:

    From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12533803

    Iranian warship through Suez

    “Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported in January that Iranian navy cadets were going on a year-long training mission through Suez and into the Mediterranean – well before the protests that have swept the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt from power.”

    Jonathan Marcus

    BBC Diplomatic Correspondent says:

    The passage of two Iranian naval vessels through the Suez Canal represents yet another clear sign of Tehran’s widening strategic horizons.

    And for Israel and its main ally – the US – it sends multiple signals.

    It underscores that if a significant number of Western warships can operate in the Gulf – what Iran sees as its maritime backyard, then Iran too can deploy vessels to the Mediterranean – what Nato countries would regard as their maritime backyard.

    The Iranian ships are to be based at a Syrian port, thus solidifying and symbolising the close ties between Damascus and Tehran.

    ========== Money quote ===========

    And coming at a time of significant turmoil in the region, the deployment illustrates that Iran is eager to secure its widening strategic interests. If this annoys the Israelis or the Americans, then so much the better.


  58. Voice of Tehran says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 am
    LOL — I am certainly laughing with you

    And most of us are laughing at you , SL.
    Don’t play the “thrillseeker clown ” like in that movie , I forgot the name.
    Your Iranian ‘friends’ in your blog , in Iran or elsewhere ( should you have any at all ) will persuade you to go to the ‘ enemies ‘ site and will probably praise you as COURAGEOUS in dealing with the ‘ignorants ‘ at RFI , but SL , very deep inside , they laugh at you as well , LOUD.

  59. Scott Lucas says:


    Thanks for the lovely thoughts.

    LOL — I am certainly laughing with you.



  60. Unknown Unknowns says:


    I have not yet had a chance to check out the Wiki page on Transhumanism, but I believe I can say withoug any exaggeration that I have “been there, and done that”, as it were. I was at a speech in the early ’90’s when Tim Leary handed over the baton to the late great Terrance McKenna. I knew Terry (albeit at a distance) before he became the rage in Cali, and knew robert Anton Wilson as well. As a matter of fact, when I saw him in SF in a Komotion event (with Peter Lamborn Wilson/ Hakim Bey and Nick Herbert, he was wearing a button that said “Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed”, which motto I have used many a time since. And I knew FM-2030, who is Iranian, by the way; and I saw the pathetic R U Sirius, who made a fool of himself once when he appeared completely legless on stage and tried to give a speech for which he was booked, and couldn’t, pissing people off and embarrasing his host and sponsor.

    That kind of thinking is nothing new to me. I have read most of Robert Anton Wilson’s books, and used to see him in Santa Cruz when I lived there for a couple of years. I thought and still think that Cosmic Trigger is an important book. And I had a great time with Prometheus Rising, Wilhelm Reich in Hell, and the two trilogies. The New Inquisition was readable too, but not brilliant. He was a comic genius, God rest his soul. I also thought Terrance was very bardic (to use Rupert Sheldrake’s adjective for him) and possessed of genius too, in his own way. But ultimately, having evaluated the kernel, I decided that it was all smoke and mirrors, and pissing against the wind. And I include the movements forebears in this conclusion, such as the old man of the mountain, Hasan-i Sabbah, and other antinomians. Oh, I forgot to mention: I bought William S. Burroughs’Cities of the Red Night Trilogy when it they first came out (I was based in London at the time), and recently dusted off these rare hard cover first additions and re-read all three. I enjoyed Cities, but the Place of Dead Roads and The Western Lands disappointed. I did not like Naked Lunch, but I thought Junkie was brillaint and powerful.

    Anyway, it seems we have more in common that I at first thought.

    Like I said, to me, that path was a dead end, and I thought Burroughs’ Egyptology stuff, especially the word virus theory to be nothing short of mumbo-jumbo. But that’s just me. If it turns you on, I say go for it. Maybe you can turn Packman onto Cosmic Trigger and give him a good mind ***king. LOL

    All the best,


  61. Unknown Unknowns says:

    M. Ali says:
    February 22, 2011 at 1:55 am
    Try this:Get a Green and ask him why their protests didn’t work but the Egypt and Tunisia bore fruit. The answer will be how the governments in those countries were peaceful and soft reactions to the protestors and humane and all that but in Iran it is full of savege thugs that killed its people.

    Nicely put. And in a couple of days when Libya falls, ask them how many Iranians died from fighter bombers dropping bombs on them!

  62. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    February 22, 2011 at 2:50 am
    Just a reminder: I believe RFI is supported by New America Foundation, which is on the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence’s list of 61 foreign organisations with whom Iranians should not have contact. Could the MoI know something we don’t?

    No. The site is not even filtered, and the Leverettes come and go with impunity. Let it go, man.

    And I think now that you have stated your funding sources, others should let that go to, whether they believe it or not. I personally wouldn’t care about the source of your funding if what you had to say was of any value. Unfortunately, because of your core beliefs, hang-ups, prostitution, whatever, they are not oly of no value; for whatever reason, they are worse than worthless: they are endless, obstinate misinformation and agitprop. Everyone here has no respect for your views and wants you to go away. When you stay despite this, you become a troll. It is that simple. Can’t you get a hint, man? No? OK. How about an overt statement? Scram! LOL (And no, I’m not laughing WITH you.)

  63. MyName says:

    David Frum, Diane Rehm, David Sanger …

    why can’t it be, for instance, Julio Gonzales, Ignacio Lobo and Alejandro Ramirez?

    Why is it that hate speach, doctored news, bad advices, bad analysis, bad policies mostly come from one specific camp in the USA, namely the Zionist camp?

    Rather than the Afghanistan ones, wouldn’t it be better for the Americans to worry a bit more about their own ethnic and political fault lines and the consequences they carry for theirs as well as others’ nations?

  64. Voice of Tehran says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    February 22, 2011 at 2:50 am
    To : Kooshy

    SL , you are a fake person with NO self-respect.
    Your ” enduringamerica ” will land in the trash of internet history .

  65. Voice of Tehran says:


    Richard , as you were interested ; please also check from your end.

    First Iranian ships cross Suez Canal

    They are through , they not through , they are through , they not trough……:-)

  66. Scott Lucas says:


    EA gets no money from Soros — otherwise, I would be driving a much nicer car — only funding from donations and advertising….

    Just a reminder: I believe RFI is supported by New America Foundation, which is on the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence’s list of 61 foreign organisations with whom Iranians should not have contact. Could the MoI know something we don’t?


  67. Scott Lucas says:


    Monday’s follow-up LiveBlog, with more information on the protests and a snap analysis….



  68. Scott Lucas says:


    Thank you for your compliments — the authors for RFI, perhaps learning from their wayward post about the 25 Bahman demonstrations, had wisely avoided any superficial depiction of Sunday’s protests and stuck to geopolitics. So there was no reason to set the record straight.

    But since you’re worried about the lack of coverage, here are the links for the full coverage.

    Sunday’s Developments



  69. Ahmed says:

    This may just be a coincidence however in the places where these revolutions have been successful (Egypt, Tunisia) and on the verge of being successful (Libya, Bahrain) the ulema have strongly come out in support of the protesters. Qardawari released a fatwa last night calling for the assassination of Ghaadaafi. It would be interesting to see how successful they would be if the protesters went against the religious class. Only then could we call them truly secular.

  70. M. Ali says:

    Try this:

    Get a Green and ask him why their protests didn’t work but the Egypt and Tunisia bore fruit.

    The answer will be how the governments in those countries were peaceful and soft reactions to the protestors and humane and all that but in Iran it is full of savege thugs that killed its people.

    Since the Green’s knowledge of actual facts are zero, you can guide them by using an unfamiliar concept called Facts. Using these hereto unkown debating strategy called Facts, you can tell them that in Egypt in only 10 days almost 400 protestors were killed, while in Iran, at even highest, most ridicolous estimates, it didn’t reach 100 in all the protests since 2009.

    They will either look confused or say that actual number of dead in Iran was thousands.

    Try it.

  71. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I’m going to have to take a break from RFI for a while. But I wanted to take care of some unfinished business.

    I tried unsuccessfully to come up with a concise response to your position that Iran’s revolution and its aftermath, the current regime/ situation is a catastrophe (nekbat, I beleive was the word you used). The impetus driving my desire to respond to you is that while I agree that there are so MANY errors that this government has made and continues to make, and consequently, so much room for improvement, many of these problems which are acutely felt on the individual level, in the big picture, on the societal level, if you will, these issues are inconsequential relative to the seismic shift which has taken place as a result of Imam Khomeini’s (or “Mr. Khomeini’s”, if you prefer) revolution, which was the creation of a whole new social order distinct from the order of the ancien regime, which was an appendage of the failed attempt by the universalist ethos of the En”light”enment project to create and maintain a global world order based on the absurd notion that European secular humanist values of the 18th century can and will inevitably obtain and triumph throughout the world. As absurd as this project sounds once viewd in this light, this is, nonetheless, precisely what has been happening since the revolutions of 1776 and 1789: because of the vast superiority of the West in terms not only of technological and hence military superiority, but also in terms of political, economic, and in a word, intellectual superiority – all of which was (and continues to be, to a lesser and lesser extent by the decade) an historical anomoly which brought about by unique historical circumstances* and which, by its very nature, could not and cannot outlast the natural order of things, which is, of course, parity.

    *(1) The invention c. 1450 by Johannes Gutenberg of the modern printing press, (2) The Portugese invention of the three-mast sail ship, necessitated by the fall of Constantinople in 1493 (? close enough) and the consequent cutting off of Rome and Europe from the Silk Road Trade, so that then backwater civilization of Western Christianity had to find a way to go *around* ‘Islamdom’ (to use Marshall Hodgson’s awkward but inescapable neologism), leading to (3) the discovery of the Americas, and the boon provided Western Christendom by the injection of vast and unimaginable amounts of gold and even more importantly, land and slave labor, both local and imported, into its economy, as well as precious commodities such as the horse, the potato, maize, tobacco, etc. (4, 5 & 6) Guns, Germs & Steel (see jarred Diomond’s book of the same name), (7) Martin Luther’s reformation of the liturgical language of from the mysterious to the vernacular, et cetera – for a more nuanced account, see Hodgson’s Venture of Islam, Volume 3.

    But I digress. The important point to focus on is that this New World Order which the humanists maintain (and the Transhumanists are trying to transcend?), was and remains based on the order it reacted against, namely that of the Holy Roman Empire, with its so-called conflation of Church and State, so-called, because it only becomes a conflation (and this is the crux of the biscuit) when that unified system of governance and cultural ethos (1) does not have a mechanism to accommodate minority rights (puritan{ical} inquisitions, the purging of Moslems and Jews from the Iberian peninsula in post-Andalusian Spain), and (2) Feels the need to impose its religion on others (the Crusades, Manifest Destiny & teh White Man’s Burden, Colonialism, Neo-Colonialism {WTO/IMF/World Bank/ GATT/ NAFTA/ Trilateralism, etc.}).

    So the “secular” humanist project took over this regime, if you will, with its monist (universalising) axiology (ethical system), and simply replaced the head of this beast, which was the Cathiolic Church, with a human one – keeping its false conflation of (the humansit) Church and State by failing to jettison the dynamic of imposing its system on others and yes, failing to provide adequately for minority rights (the Supreme Court Decision in teh last decade of teh 19th C which split the Mormon Church by disallowing polygamy, the exigency (maslahat) of the state not being able to accommodate the use of the Peyote plant as a sacred native American ritual, or much more mundane matters as not allowing the call to prayer at, say, 5 AM, as it violates municipal noise ordiances, etc.)

    Well, as you can see, the concept is comlex and I am again failing to do justice to it. But the point is, Iran’s revolution is a force of nature, a symptom, if you will, of teh natural tendency to repulse this immanentising or to use a word you favor, “utopian” fanstasy of a universal, monist world order based on a secular humanist 18th century (Age of Reason) ideology.

    In this – larger – context, where the heirophant has woken, has BEEN awakened by Imam Khomeini, from its millenial slumber and risen to dam the imposition of the tide of alien and godless culture, the grievances of a minority of the population, as legitimate and acute as they may be (and I believe that they are both, and my heart goes out to the desparation of these “greens” who have been marginalized), these grievances must by necessity be small potatos as the techtonic plates of history shift and the seismic wheels grind up the monist fabric to a pulp, bringing forth a plurality of cultures and religions. The *radicality* of the Event of the Islamic Revoution and the concomitant changes to the landscape (be it cultural, political, aesthetic) and the need and indeed sacred duty to ensure its survival in a sea of unbelief, imposed wars both hot and cold, sanctions, internal sedition, intense Balkanization pressures, etc. – all these elements and the exigencies that necessarily must follow in their train, the lesser and otherwise excellent mind of Ayatollah Hosyan Ali Montazeri did not understand, and cooler minds who shared his concerns and values prevailed, alhamdulillah. May the peace and blessings of God be with the pure soul of that late great ayatollah, as well as with the pure but lost soul of the the recent martyr of 25 Bahman who was pictured with the Ayatullah al-Uzma.

    To the contrary, dear fyi, and with due respect (of which there is much indeed), the advent of Imam Khomeini and the adumbration of the Revolution in its many stages and phases (la tarkabunna tabqan an tabaq), while inconvinient and even opressive to many, is not a “nekbah”, is not a catastrophe. Indeed, it is a blessing most glorious from the One who stated in the Surat an-Nuh that it would be easy for Him to create a world with one religion if He so wished. But in His infinite Wisdom and Mercy, He create a world with a multiplicity of religions (a world where ethical values do NOT have universal application, a *pluralist* world order), so that different nations could compete and exceed each other (sebqat) in doing good.



    Well, this got to be longer than I anticipated. I will have to postpone my other comments to a later date.

  72. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari says: February 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    He is finished.

    There is also a likelihood of breakup of Libya into 2 or 3 parts; like Somalia.

  73. kooshy says:


    Sounds like the level of yesterday’s performance has even disappointed you, and the poor Professor Lucas didn’t even had the guts to make his usual round on this site bragging that he just wants to report “facts on the ground” Professor Lucas “you lose”, by the way did you pay attention that your money man is just giving Iran one year, I gather that was a warning to the crew, can you pull that off, if not you may really end up living on that teaching income.

  74. Reza Esfandiari says:

    In some ways, Qaddafi’s “solution” to the unrest, callously, has its merits:

    Just kill off the opposition….to the last man, woman and child.

    Then you can restore order after all those who oppose you are dead.

    Robespierre more or less did the same thing during the Terror.

  75. BTW says:

    With settlement resolution veto, Obama has joined Likud.
    by: Gideon Levy


  76. Reza Esfandiari says:

    The White House is “unsure” how to respond to the bombing and massacre of Tripoli….by Qaddafi himself…makes Reagan’s 1986 invasion look humane in comparison.

  77. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Thanks for the update,Rehmat.

  78. Watch for NED agents says:

    An excellent analysis of controlled ‘revolution’ in Egypt and Tunisia by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

    {In Washington there is a belief that the Arab protests can be manipulated, but the sands are shifting. The people of the region have realized that people should not be afraid of their governments, their governments should be afraid of them. The Rome of today, Washington, has been stopped in its tracks in the lands of North Africa and Southwest Asia}


  79. Justin Raimondo picks up on the difference between Egypt and Iran:

    Nationalism, Democracy, and the Arab Awakening
    The difference between Egypt and Iran


    The revolutionary wave sweeping through the Middle East promises to topple sclerotic Arab regimes throughout the region, but there is a marked difference between, say, Egypt and Iran – and the difference is the nationalist factor.

    In Egypt, the people rose up against a US-supported dictatorship which had ridden on their backs for 30 years. It’s interesting to note that the regime, in the latter stages of the revolt, resorted to dark hints that the protesters were being run by mysterious “foreign elements.” And, indeed, there was a foreign element that played a key role – I would argue the key role – in Egyptian politics, and had been doing so for the past 30 years, albeit not on the side of the pro-democracy forces: namely, the US government. Washington gave over $60 billion in mostly military aid to the regime of Hosni Mubarak, enabling him to stay in power far longer than he would have otherwise managed.

    Not only that, but this massive outpouring of dollars effectively handed control of the nation’s economic life to the military, which now controls as much as 30 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product. Internal US government communications, revealed by the invaluable WikiLeaks, show diplomats complaining about the Egyptian military’s resistance to economic liberalization, but Washington failed to comprehend how US policy entrenched the military high command as a major player in the Egyptian economy.

    Mubarak’s appeal to nationalist sympathies failed because he, and not the protesters, was seen as the agent of a foreign power: namely, the United States. While economic and internal political factors almost certainly sparked the upsurge, it was nationalism – in part energized by resentment of the dictator’s American patrons – that managed to sustain it and ultimately carry it forward to victory. Protesters carried Egyptian flags, and appealed directly to the army as the protector of the nation against Mubarak. In Bahrain, too, the protesters carried their national flag, and made an appeal to the military – this latter with decidedly deadly results. In any case, however, the nationalistic sentiment exuded by the pro-democracy forces is a defining feature of the most successful uprisings – to date, Egypt and Bahrain – while in Iran (and, to some extent, Libya) the situation is more complex.

    What complicates the picture in the case of Iran, for example, is outside pressure on the regime by the US, which reinforces actual grassroots support for the ruling elite and retards the growth of the opposition. The American and Israeli-led international campaign to isolate Iran on the grounds that it has no right to obtain nuclear power is opposed by both the mullahs and the “Green” movement that is trying to overthrow the dictatorship. If the Greens took power tomorrow, Iran’s nuclear program, such as it is, would remain in place – as would the hostility of the West and the sanctions that are slowly strangling ordinary people in that country.

    In Iran, the elections in which the opposition was allowed to compete did not give the Green movement a victory. While some may allege that these elections were far from fair, this evaluation is not clear-cut enough to dislodge the legitimacy of the regime: and, in any event, it is undeniable that the hard-liners enjoy some level of popular support, or at least enough to forestall a massive upsurge such as threw Mubarak out of office in 18 days.

    The Iranian regime can credibly point to a systematic campaign to undermine the country on the part of the Western powers, chiefly the United States – including a terrorist campaign waged by the US-backed Jundallah organization, a radical Sunni insurgency in Iranian Baluchistan that has launched vicious attacks on civilian targets. This cements popular support for the mullah-ocracy, which is seen as the only alternative to foreign domination and chaos.

    End quote

  80. Humanist says:

    Watch this thought provoking video where Farid Zakaria interviews George Saros.


    I have been observing Saros for many years. He is an interesting billionaire (according Forbes he engrosses $27b) and as the text of the above video showed he has spent $7b of his money on promotion of democracy !(?). $7b is indeed a huge sum of money. (why it is it huge? replacing $1 with one second, $7b is equivalent of 221 years. In other words if in year 1790 a hypothetical robot had started counting non-stop (24/7) $1 a second, just by now it would’ve finished counting) (or if a regular 20 year old bank employee’s job is only counting $10 bills, a bill a second, 8 hours a work day, by the time he has counted all $7b he would’ve been 95 years old !)

    In the 1970’s an American general was kidnaped by Italian Marxist-Leninist Red Brigades Group. A committee was set up by Americans to rescue the general. The head of the committee believed “you can BUY everyone even those who have big heads since the integrity of EVERYONE is for sale, only the price differs from person to person”. He offered one million dollars for information resulting in general’s freedom. In a jiffi, one of the hard line communists of the Brigade surfaced, arranged the exchange of the money and revealed the location of hideout. The general was successfully redeemed !

    Of course there are a very small fraction of the population who are not for sale regardless of the enormity of the sum, but I believe due to the way the human beings have evolved and especially in this age of moronic materialism the majority of people will market their soul for the ‘greens’ which enables them to buy big houses, expensive cars, lots of sex, lots of power or fun and so on. So hypothetically, if the average price for a parliamentarian, or a minister in Europe and US is say TEN MILLION dollars, then Soros is single handedly capable of buying the ‘entire group’ of American and European government ministers, elected parliament / senate members and supreme court judges, only with a fraction of his wealth. He is also, if he wants to, capable of destroying whoever refuses his offers or dares to stand on his way.

    In extrapolating this, imagine how many more hard-core super wealthy Capitalists or Zionists are out there who are ardently opinionated and are willing to spend millions to further their causes. For some of these folks100 million is becoming like a small change (especially considering the fact that the wealth of the super rich is ‘exponentially’ ever-increasing). Imagine in gloom how appalling the world is becoming (or already has become).

    For me George Soros is an interesting character due to a number of reasons where the explanation of them requires many pages. Here I just mention a few relevant points:

    1- I remember in 1990s the Prime Minister of Malaysia badly insulted Israel. Sometimes later the economy of many Asian countries including Malaysia encountered an acute crisis that resulted in the (severe?) devaluation of the currency of those countries. At the time many accused George Soros who (single handedly?) had concocted the crisis. I remember reading on how in this world a determined rich and powerful man can teach lessons to a Malaysian top official who had dared to cross the established line. A rich man who, in the process of enacting the plot, had collectively punished tens of millions of the Asian poor. I, personally, do not have the banking data to vindicate that amazing allegation. I just reflect on one of my unforgettable recollections involving Soros.

    2- He is a monumental example of arrogance and self-righteousness among the powerful people who possess analytical minds for making fortunes. Those whose success in becoming super rich alters the chemistry of their brain making them believe they themselves are super thus they can act as god for the ‘betterment’ of the world !. I think these individuals are incapable of understanding the complexity of the dynamism that enables the human evolution. Soros is well known to be the orchestrator of the Color Revolutions. I am thinking did he envisage, for example, the Georgian Revolution would empower the Israelis digging their foothold there deeper, something which in the long run will become detrimental to well-being of the Georgian people? Can he see similarity of his action and Hitler’s? Hitler also wanted to better the world for the Germans. In the beginning he apparently succeeded but what about the long run? Didn’t Hitler failed because what he wanted was not in accordance with the complicated evolutionary forces that were at work at the time?

    Can Soros see his artificial and superficial changes in any human society are only temporary since the forces for forward human evolution are immensely more powerful and more complex in such a way, when viewed in long terms, no single human being is capable of altering the course of those evolutions..

    3- He probably believes, overall, the expansion of democracies is helpful to Israel simply because European and North American democracies are all the principal backers of Israel. If so he is dead wrong. If all of Middle Eastern regimes become truly civil democracies then all of them will unite in earnest to combat the only racist apartheid state in the world which has ruthlessly victimized them for decades..

    4- Soros’ general world view is (not surprisingly) skewed in other ways too. Just in this video he claims he’ll bet the Iranian regime will collapse within a year. This shows he is illiterate on the evolution of IRI. He sees IRI as a simple inflexible entity. Most probably he doesn’t know the present day Iran is NOT the same as it was a decade ago. At the present time, if the drastic economic reforms start to benefit the masses and if Israel and US continue to threaten Iran with destructions (something Iranian know how barbaric it can be), then IRI could definitely last for many many years or even decades despite the fact that the regime is a theocratic pseudo-democracy and some of the laws of the country are based on primitive ancient or on medieval rules.

    There are many other stories about George Soros like his organization’s attempt to corrupt liberal or antiwar groups, he and Bill Moyer etc. I only recommend reading his book, interviews or writings. Then you might agree with me why he is, alarmingly (dangerously), an interesting character.

    On the above video:

    When Soros talks about recent protests in Iran, Zakaria asks him “..could we do something to further these trends?..” Someone should tell Zakaria, “seems those 6figure cheques are tasting sweet and are teaching you new ways to lick the bottom of your powerful guests with pleasure, telling them stuff they enjoy to hear…. hey buddy…have you forgotten your roots…..it is only up to Iranians to plan their destinies….not to Kissngers and Soros….if you had any decency you should have shown this video to Sir George to wake him up:

    There is so much more in that video, watch it….don’t miss the last part where Majd and Sadjadpour present their differing views on Iran.

  81. Iran Opposition Protests: Popular Unrest Or Media Generated Mirage?

    Concludes that it is the latter.

    Meanwhile, Juan Cole has another rather poorly thought out article by a guest columnist:

    Alimagham: What Egypt & Tunisia Tell us About Iran

    In the comments I took exception to this statement:

    “the opposition’s strategy should not be limited to street activity, as it was in the past, but expanded into a more comprehensive approach including strikes, encampments in Iran’s own Liberation Square and, most importantly, garnering the support of Iran’s armed forces”

    I thought this suggestion was entirely unlikely to be realized since the amount of support for the Green Movement is so low, especially the latter idea that the Iranian military would revolt against the IRGC and the government.

    I see Pirouz commented over there as well.

  82. Egypt to open Gaza borders in both directions Tuesday

    Note that Mubarak had already done this after the flotilla attack but once the protests started the borders were closed.

  83. James Canning says:


    David Cameron is a friend of Israel because he wants Israel out of the West Bank, and and independent Palestine admitted to the UN by September this year.

  84. Goli says:

    Anyway All, what revolution in Tunisia and Egypt?

    “U.S. Sens. John McCain and Joseph Lieberman met with Tunisia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi in Tunis on Monday. McCain told Reuters that U.S. officials have offered Tunisian counterparts help in shoring up security following its “model” revolution. ‘The revolution in Tunisia has been very successful and it has become a model for the region,’ McCain, the leading Republican on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, told Reuters after the meeting with Ghannouchi and other Tunisian government officials.”

    These were not revolutions, they were uprisings that could have become revolutions had the necessary elements come together.

  85. kooshy says:


    “Somoza did the same thing during the Nicaraguan Revolution.”

    I am willing to bet if it ever comes to It, the US president and the US military since it’s not drafted will do the same thing as well.

  86. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari says: February 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Somoza did the same thing during the Nicaraguan Revolution.

  87. Empty says:

    RE: “I’m afraid that the revolution in Egypt has already been hijacked.”

    The story has just begun. One must be patient (and alert). Revolutions are not fast foods and McDonald sandwiches prepared with a stop watch running.

  88. Voice of Tehran says:

    Reza Esfandiari says:
    February 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm
    Has Qaddafi really sent warplances to bomb parts of the capital?

    A Massacre unfolding in Libyan’s capital.

    Father and Son in ” BLOODLUST ” !!

  89. Rd. says:

    Mr. Dabashi,” solidarity with the revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt,”

    Mr. Dabashi fails to recognize, there is no revolution in Egypt or Tunisia, at best it is/was a revolt. And for the time being Egypt looks more like a military coup. The same ruling party is in charge in both places. Just a figure has been replaced. The only positive is, the people understand, the gov should fear them and not the other way around.

    The rest of his analysis sounds like an application for the Washington TT establishment.

  90. Empty says:

    I, too, watched that interview and was surprised by the level of dishonesty and duplicity with which Mr. Dabashi answered a lot of Amy Goodman’s questions. But then again, this was Democracynow in which Amy Goodman has managed to present a facade of an alternative to mainstream media, a distinction without a difference.

  91. Ahmed says:

    I’m afraid that the revolution in Egypt has already been hijacked. The conservative friend of Israel David Cameron was in Egypt today where he blessed the military junta and had a meeting with a select group of opposition leaders, MB excluded. Looks like he is trying to get the military to sign-up to the same divisive politics and no doubt also desperate to turn Arab against Persian.

  92. Matt says:


    Mr. Dabashi, who has attempted to increase his academic celebrity status by becoming a spokesperson of the Green Path Movement in the English-speaking world (see, for example, his Youtube series “This Week in Green” or his recent book “Iran, The Green Movement, and the USA”), relies upon the ignorance of Amy Goodman and her audience to make such claims: “I think beginning with the 14th of February in solidarity with the revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt, we’ve entered a new phase of the green movement. Green Movement went through at least two phases. The first phase was phase of mass street demonstrations that began back in June of 2009 and continued all the way until February 2010. The second phase, when Mousavi began to write a series documents culminating in a charter of the Green Movement which are extraordinary documents in the history of democratic movements in Iran.” Throughout, he paints Mr. Mousavi in glowing terms, finally culminating with Mr. Dabashi dubbing him “Iran’s Mandela.” Mr. Dabashi does not tell the truth that the Green Movement, whatever its positions and aspirations, has become increasingly isolated from the Iranian population due, in part, to its strategy of persistent street riots which, polls show, the average Iranian has little understanding of or tolerance for. For better or worse, polls indicate that the majority of Iranians feel that the government’s response to the Green rioting was proportionate and justified (:http://www.docstoc.com/docs/65872019/Iran-Public-Opinion-2010). Instead, Mr. Dabashi solemnly informs the audience that “the Green Movement has initiated its own calendar that is the 14th of February coincides with nothing, that is simply in solidarity with the revolutions in Tunisia and Cairo, in Egypt” and tells us that whatever the leadership of the Islamic Republic does, the Green Movement will win.

    When Amy Goodman displays her ignorance of Iranian politics by stating: “[Y]ou had the President Ahmadinejad congratulating the protesters in Egypt and in cracking down on his own,” Mr. Dabashi does not correct her error and remind her that power in Iran is by no means monopolized by the executive but is disseminated across the branches of the government and that it was the judiciary (headed by Ahmadinejad opponent Sadeq Larijani) who did not grant a permit to the Green Path Movement. Rather, he agrees and states in grandiose terms that “the rise of democratic revolutions in the region is exposing the hypocrisy of the Islamic Republic” and speaks of the “implosion” of the Islamic Republic. How do Iranians perceive this “implosion”? Two recent poll results provide a hint. In response to the question, “Who should make the final decision on issues?”, 47% supported the current structure (the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council) and 32% preferred the elected President and the Majlis. However, when asked “Do you expect that the President and the Majlis will make the final decision on issues within the next ten years?” 53% answered yes; 22% believed the current structure who remain; and 25% either didn’t know or refused to guess. So, while most Iranians support the the current Velayat-e faqih governance structure, they also believe that it will fade in the coming decade. Given that the majority polled are hopeful about the future, they do not appear to see this in terms of an “implosion” or “revolution” as Mr. Dabashi feels the need to present the situation to his American audience. Also, by all objective accounts, they do not see the Green Path Movement as the bearer of great positive change for the country (as indicated by the poll result that 59% supported the government’s response following the disputed 2009 election).

    Mr. Dabashi makes other misleading remarks such as referring to the marginalization of Hashemi Rafsanjani for not being thoroughly pro-Green. Granted that Mr. Rafsanjani may be marginalized amongst the members of the Green Path Movement, seeing as Mr. Dabashi enthusiastically refers to the Green Movement as “pro-democracy,” one has to wonder why Mr. Dabashi does not deal with the question of whom has been marginalized in the public opinion since the 2009 election. The above cited poll, and any others you may find, indicates that the reformist-minded politicians, such as Rafsanjani and Khatami, who have distanced themselves from the Green Path Movement have retained approval ratings around 60-70% while Mousavi and Karroubi enjoy approval ratings in the mid-30s. Incidentally, the Green Movement boasted an approval rating of 26%. Certainly not a negligible number (and forebodes increasing clashes if the competing power factions continue to view the domestic situation as a zero-sum game. It is unclear why peace-seeking individuals would hope for such a scenario which would no doubt involve more violence and possibly cause Iran to become vulnerable to interference by the US or UK), but it is disingenuous for Mr. Dabashi to pretend as though they represent the Iranian population. It is likely counterproductive for the movement itself as its saliency with the Iranian public appears to decline with each passing riot, act of violence, or anti-Palestinian outburst.

  93. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Has Qaddafi really sent warplances to bomb parts of the capital?

    Is he that crazy???

  94. James Canning says:


    I continue to see Iran as avoiding an attack from Israel (or the US) – – unless Iran develops nukes.

    My understanding is that yournger royals are being invited to the wedding. Is there a reason to have Obama there? The security arrangements would spoil the wedding.

  95. Unknown Unknowns says:

    It seems that the Unknown has woken up from His restful slumber, checked out the pot on the back burner, given it a stir, and gone back to bed.

  96. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    February 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm
    I say “likely” because obviously without a body (or some part thereof) the issue is unproven.

    No question there.

  97. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Do you have any information regarding the deep relationship btween UK and the Al Khalifah family of Bahrain?

    For why are 50 tembers of that family have been invited to the upoming royal wedding but not the Presidents of US or France?

    What is UK doing there, do you know?

  98. kooshy says:

    US orders personnel out of Libya


    Strategically this means “Ma ra az ein Maddareseh Byroon Meraveem”

  99. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I do not believe what you suggest is either feasible or relevant.

    Only a nuclearized Iran can prevent a war against her.

  100. James Canning says:


    I think that to identify the perpetrators of the illegal invasion of Iraq, and to pound them for their crime, is a means of focusing attention on their follow-on scheme of setting up an illegal war with Iran. Known liars should be exposed publicly for lying and for covering up their dishonesty (with help from compliant news media in the US and elsewhere). You are quite right: they are unrepentent, and in fact determined in many cases to repeat their crimes on a larger scale.

  101. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    My basic assumption is that the Financial Times would likely be aware of the fact Osama bin Laden is dead, if he is dead. I say “likely” because obviously without a body (or some part thereof) the issue is unproven.

  102. James Canning says:


    Yes, delusional warmongering neocons have promoted the partition of Iraq, and part of their game plan was to create an atmosphere for redrawing the borders of states in the Middle East – – – WITH OBJECT OF AIDING INSANE ISRAELI EFFORT TO KEEP THE GOLAN HEIGHTS.

  103. James Canning says:

    Kooshy, FYI,

    Yes, Iran is most unlikely to intervene in Bahrain militarily and of course should not do so.

  104. kooshy says:

    That’s interesting picture, these Bahraini’s I bet are well organized, with Iraq, and now Bahrain, and soon a possible Kuwaiti uprising the balance of power in PG is rapidly tilting


  105. kooshy says:

    Saudis would not overtly send troops to Bahrain either, there is too much at stake with their own Shieh population who, are “Local” and many related to Bahraini’s next door, I don’t think anybody in right mind in U/SA is looking forward or needs more provocation on the oil reach Shieh western provinces then currently is struggling with. As for Iran, she can’t and shouldn’t overtly and directly interfere in Arab’s internal affairs, I she does she would be walking in a trap. Iran’s regional foreign policy has been very pointed on no direct interference, mainly on Muslim unity and cooperation that has worked effectively.

  106. fyi says:

    hans says: February 21, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Iranians will do nothing but deplore the violence and make statements in support of democracy.

    Iran, even if she had the military power to send troops to Bahrain, would not do so.

    For Iranians, military intervention by Saudis, just like in case of the Houthis, is no cause for alarm.

    In such a case, per the comments below by IranPhD, Bahrainis have to resolve an internal emotional conflict in their own psyche.

  107. hans says:

    How about this headline next

    “Islamic Republic SUPPORT FOR MIDDLE EAST ‘UPRISINGS’ DEPENDS ON HOW AND WHETHER THEY CAN BE USED AGAINST USA and Israel”. What will the IR do when SA invades Bahrain and attacks the protesters? Will the IR help it’s co-religious brethren?

  108. fyi says:

    Kathleen says: February 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

    It will be irrelevant to Iran.

    Iran will still be living next door to nuclear Pakistan and India.

  109. paul says:

    Kathleen, good call on the media re-focus to Iran. Have you noticed the way suddenly every little story about Iran is getting plastered over the media? There were hangings in Iran. That was suddenly the world’s most important headline. Rafsanjani’s daughter was detained briefly. That became the most important headline. Ahmadinejad sneezed. Most important headline. Just make sure everyone thinks about Iran, and NOT about America’s Axis of Tyranny.

  110. fyi says:

    IranPhD says: February 21, 2011 at 1:41 am
    No, it is really not an area of interest to me.

    Over many years, I have come to the conclusion that resentments of (Persian Gulf) Arabs, and Afghans (mostly Pashtun) Iran is mostily due to envy; they resent the existence of a country called Iran.

    Islam is not enough of a bridge to them and thus, Iran can never have cordial relationships with them.

    You are wrong about Iraq; they are not subservient to US or anyone else. They have oil money and that forms the basis of their independence. Subservience to Iran is not a geopolitical aim for Iran in Iraq – cordial relations is with no possibility of war again.

  111. paul says:

    I love the way Frum somehow gets cred for being only 2/3 as insane as the other neocons.

  112. Kathleen says:

    How much would Iran and other nations in the area relax if Israel was pressured to sign the non proliferation treaty that they demand their neighbors abide by?

  113. Kathleen says:

    David “axis of evil” Frum started beating on the lets go get Iran drums soon after the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq that he helped puah. And this is one of the most “thoughtful” neocons .

    Has the U.S. been supplying funds or weapons to the MEK?

    Are you folks saying that the Obama administration should not support negotiating with the Taliban?

    The MSM was also clearly taking orders from the Obama administration. Just hours after Mubarak stepped down CNN, MSNBC, CBS,Fox were all focused on Iran.

    Never fails to amaze me at how our MSM carries protest in other countries far more than they cover protest in this country (well unless it is the teabaggers) Over the weekend you could click through hundreds of stations and not hear a second of coverage about the tens of thousands of union protesters in Madison. They should have held their protest in Cairo and received 24/7 coverage

  114. Empty says:

    RE: “Empty – Were you talking about Persia’s Jewish Queen Esther – who carried the first Holocaust in the world by murdering 72,000 Persians over 2,000 years ago?”

    No. That’s a different account.

    RE: “Thanks G-d …. They were not Muslims.”

    1. “Did you witness Jacob on his death bed who said to his children, ‘what will you worship after me?’ They said, ‘we will continue to worship your God and the God of your fathers Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, the One God to Whom we are Muslims.” Interpretation/translation, Quran Chapter 2, Verse 133.

    2. “Those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; any of them who believe in God and the day of judgment and lead a righteous life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.” Translation/interpretation: Quran, Chapter 2, Verse 62.

  115. Rehmat says:

    Empty – Were you talking about Persia’s Jewish Queen Esther – who carried the first Holocaust in the world by murdering 72,000 Persians over 2,000 years ago?

    Thanks G-d …. They were not Muslims.

  116. Empty says:

    Once upon a time, there was an ignorant and ruthless king determined to kill all Christians in the name of Judaism. He had created many blood baths of countless innocent people he had ordered to be killed. In his court, there was a rather conniving minister who one day approached the king and told him that he had a better solution to their Christian “dilemma.” He informed the king that the more they kill, the more love and affinity they instill in people’s heart toward Massih (a.s.). Besides, people begin to hid their true affiliations and it would be more difficult to identify and kill them.
    گفت ترسایان پناه جان کنند ….دین خود را از ملک پنهان کنند

    Having finally been convinced by the logic of the conniving minister, the king asked to hear his master plan:
    شاه گفتش پس بگو تدبیر چیست…..چارۀ آن مکر و آن تزویر چیست؟

    The minister described the details of his plan to the king: “Your majesty, you cut my ears and hand and beat me up and announce to the public that you’re going to hang me because you have just discovered that I am a Christian and not a Jew and have been hiding my true beliefs all these years. Meanwhile, a close member of your court would step in and ask for my life to be spared, however, for me to be truly punished, I should be kicked out of your kingdom. Once out, I know what to do.”
    گفت ای شه گوش و دستم را ببر….بینیم بشکاف و لب از حکم ببر
    بعد از آن در زیر دار آور مرا…..تا بخواهد یک شفاعت تا مرا
    آنگهم از خود بران تا شهر دور….تا در اندازم بر ایشان صد فتور
    چون شوند آنقوم از من دین پذیر…..کار ایشان سر بسر شوریده گیر
    در میانشان فتنه و شور افکنم…..کاهنان خیره شوند اندر فنم

    The king followed the minister’s plan. Once the conniving minister was kicked out, people begin to gather around him and he began preaching about Jesus and his path like there was none more devoted and learned than him on earth.
    بهر عیسی جان سپارم سر دهم….صد هزاران منتش بر جان نهم
    جان دریغم نیست از عیسی و لیک…..واقفم بر علم دینش نیک نیک

    Gradually, he began to acquire people’s trust. Group after group of Christians flocked to his residence and trusted him with their inner most secrets. He got to know who among them was the learned and who was the sage. He identified the key people one by one. People were dazzled by his knowledge and expertise. They were drawn to his purity and polish.
    صد هزاران مرد ترسا سوی او….اندک اندک جمع شد در کوی او
    او به ظاهر واعظ احکام بود….لیک در باطن صفیر و دام بود

    صد هزاران دام و دانه است ایخدا…..ما چو مرغان حریص بینوا
    Thousands of traps, hundreds of baits
    Net of deception laid, predator awaits
    Akin to greedy retched and starving birds
    By God, we flock to many miserable fates.

    Little by little, people noticed that their learned and sage ones are disappearing one-by-one. The pious and the wise are turning up dead somewhere:
    لیک در ظلمت یکی دزدی نهان…..می نهد انگشت بر استارگان
    میکشد استارگان را یک به یک…..تا که نفروزد چراغی از فلک

    Molana here inject the following:
    ما در این انبار گندم می کنیم…..گندم جمع آمده گم می کنیم
    می نیدندیشیم آخر ما به هوش….کاین خلل در گندمست از مکرموش

    We keep on storing much wheat in the silo
    Yet a lot of wheat is lost fast and slow
    Baffled as to how, we don’t pay attention
    The grain is lost by a mouse’s deception.

    Translation/interpretation from:Molana’s Masnavi Ma’anavi, Chapter 1, Page 9

  117. Rehmat says:

    The regime-change protests in the Arab world have arrived to the most undesirable place – the Iraqi Kurdistan which is controlled by Washington-Tel Aviv through the secularist Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP). On Thursday, a peaceful demonstarion was held in Sulaymaniyah. Kurdistan Region’s President, Massoud Barzan’s government has deployed some 5,000 KDP military forces, trained by Israeli forces, on the streets of Sulaymaniyah over the past two days. So far four protesters have been killed and around 70 injured.

    One of the protesters killed, Sane Zhale, is claimed by Israeli Hasbara websites – to be an Iranian Kurd who was member of Iranian Basij and Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizbullah.

    Pro-Israeli Jews have strong-grip over KDP. Several of US Zionist Jewish leaders, such as Richard Perle and Michael Rubin, run campaign for the break-up of Iraq into Arab and Kurdish states (like Sudan) though the Israeli think tank, American Enterprise Institute . Another group, ‘Washington Kurdish Institute’ is run by Mike Amitay, son former director of Israel Lobby (AIPAC) and chairman JINSA, Morris Amitay. Morris is also the founder of AEI and a member of ‘Coalition for Democracy in Iran (CDI)’. Morris is a Ziofacists like Daniel Pipes and former Homeland Security Secretary, who believe that radical Islamists (Islamofascism) wants to establish a Caliphate across the entire planet. In his April 20, 2007 column, the paranoid Zionazi Jew wrote: “The bellicose statements of Iran’s leaders calling for the annihilation of Israel, their national slogan of ‘death to America,’ and the calls for even more ‘martyrs’ make perfectly clear their future intentions. Fueling this bitter enmity toward Western civilization is a fundamentalist religious belief that inevitably a caliphate will be established to rule over the entire world”.


  118. Fiorangela says:

    IranPhD says:
    February 21, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Unknown Unknowns, DOUBLE Ph.D. says:
    February 21, 2011 at 1:47 am


    you can get an only slightly used PhD on Craigslist.

    According to Milton Friedman in this 1978 recording, it takes special connections w$ink w$ink to buyget a Nobel prize,

  119. UU: Look up Transhumanism in Wikipedia. It originated long before me. I just radicalized it. :-)

    Also, I’ve long been influenced by several “Grand Old Men” such as Dr. Timothy Leary, Williams S. Burroughs, and Robert Anton Wilson, who set me on The Path.

    Being in the ultimate “University of Hard Knocks” just gave me time to organize my thoughts more coherently.

  120. This is getting ridiculous. Apparently NO ONE knows where those ships are.

    Iran Ships Journey to Syria Delayed

  121. kooshy says:


    “With all due respect, I disagree. Sure, Iraq of today, led by a Shiite government, is friendlier to Iran the Saddam Hussein was, but they are also predominantly subservient to American interests.”

    “My original intention was to criticize the assumption that just because a population is Shiite it would have predictable political allegiances, that Bahrain’s Shiism would necessarily mean a strengthening of Iran and pose a threat to U.S. interests. Granted, the article did complicate the notion by mentioning Ayatollah Sistani, but the very use of the term “Shiite Column” is loaded with assumptions”

    Oh really, that’s great, I suggest you just sit tight and enjoy the train ride I think we just started to pass though some real scenic parts.

    Again there is a lot of meaning to the word “local” like England and Australia and USA are “local” although they are couple of continents apart,

  122. IranPhD says:

    Unknown, I again suggest that you learn some class, instead of trying to dig up personal information. Really, you have quite a way of encouraging people to participate in civil debate. A true winner.

  123. Unknown Unknowns, DOUBLE Ph.D. says:

    As everyone knows, I have a double PhD., the first in Known Unknowns, and the second in the slightly more esoteric specialty of Unknown Unknowns. But what some of you might NOT know is the story behind how I managed to get the second one in excatly the same time as the first, in fact, in no time at all. I submitted a second thesis entitled Unknown Unknowns to the same Committee (who claimed knowledge of these things). It was a document of 600 pages of blank paper, with two exceptions: the title page, together with the 23rd page, which was also blank other than the heading *Endnotes and Bibliography* (I figured I couldn’t get away without that, you know how they are in the acadamy and all). The best part was the oral examination. Needless to say, when they saw that there was no way that I was going to break my straight face or open my mouth under intense questioning, they realized they had no choice but to issue me the second Ph.D.

    Now you know why Cal Berkeley is the institution that issues the more Ph.D.’s than any other per annum.

    I’m curious though. I know that your PhD was granted by the Federal Institute of Higher Learning and Networking, after a strict regimen which included a hard eight year observational field study stretch of time. And I know that the subjects – forgive me – objects of your observations were human and a spattering of sub-human specimens. So I am confounded as to how your thesis ultimately came to be based on the TRANS-human species. Care to discombobulate me, old chap? Or was it a simple case of the observation of one group specimen logically and ineluctably leading to the other? :o)

  124. IranPhD says:

    “Do you think If the current Government in Bahrain falls and a new constitution and government is formed, the new government will be a Shieh lead government like Iraq, or remains a Suni led government.

    If you can answer that, then it should be easy for you to guess”

    With all due respect, I disagree. Sure, Iraq of today, led by a Shiite government, is friendlier to Iran the Saddam Hussein was, but they are also predominantly subservient to American interests. Now, that’s not the best comparison because of all the particularities involved in the situation, but the last article here argued that America may try to maintain Bahrain in the “American Camp” by allowing violent suppression of protests. My original intention was to criticize the assumption that just because a population is Shiite it would have predictable political allegiances, that Bahrain’s Shiism would necessarily mean a strengthening of Iran and pose a threat to U.S. interests. Granted, the article did complicate the notion by mentioning Ayatollah Sistani, but the very use of the term “Shiite Column” is loaded with assumptions. And really, I’m not saying that America’s interests won’t be as easy to manipulate in the case of revolution in Bahrain, but the terms used are problematic at best, especially given the sense of colonial resentment in present Bahrain . “National identity” and “collective memory” are historically far more determinative of a country’s modern politics than is religion (just look at the drastic differences in political orientation of Catholic Liberation Theology in South America as opposed to say Catholic Italy).

    And “Fyi”, if this is an area of interest to you, I suggest you research it more. Even if I have failed to provide example, I am not basing my assumptions solely off of a soccer match. There is a history to the resentment grounded on Bahraini resentment towards Iran’s role in preventing its independence, and my limited knowledge of the details of it does not mean that it does not exist.

  125. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    February 21, 2011 at 12:40 am
    No, we have vastly worse…


  126. kooshy says:


    “None other than an example from very recent history, when a couple years ago Keyhan editor Shariatmadari–who, as I’m sure you know, is close to the Supreme Leader–made some inflammatory remarks about Bahrain being rightfully Iran’s. This was a few years back and led to some protests in the country. I don’t know the history well enough to speak with any authority on specifics, but I am aware that the sentiment exists.”

    Do you think If the current Government in Bahrain falls and a new constitution and government is formed, the new government will be a Shieh lead government like Iraq, or remains a Suni led government.

    If you can answer that, then it should be easy for you to guess, that this new government who will need to be aligned to for security in her region., I wouldn’t read too much in a soccer game, as for where real politics are, all politics are local, there is a lot of meaning in this “local” thing.

  127. chrism says:


    The Saudi official press agency statement said “The kingdom was following developments in Bahrain “with concern” and that it hopes to see a “restoration of calm and stability” under Bahrain’s wise leadership.” “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands with all its capabilities behind the state and the brotherly people of Bahrain,” Shortly afterward, it was announced that Saudi Arabia’s powerful interior minister, Prince Nayef, had called Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to convey the same message.”

    I do not think “brotherly people of Bahrain” refers to the demonstrators.
    It is quite possible that Saudi will intervene militarily and brutally squash the demonstration. The US may publicly voice regrets but most likely privately applaud the acts. After all the US does not want to loose the base and does not want the Iran influence extended for it is an absolute certainty that more democratic Bahrain government will most definitely be friendlier to Iran. It does not matter weather it is Sunni or Shiia. The poll after poll substantial number of people in the Middle East do not consider Iran as a dangerous country: they consider the US and Israel as the most dangerous.

  128. fyi says:

    IranPhD says: February 21, 2011 at 12:46 am

    Yes, I recall that incident.

    But I would not elevate a one-time journalistic editorialization to the level of a national grievance.

    No body in Iran wants more Arabs in Iran. Nobody.

  129. IranPhD says:

    “Do you know specific complainst or issues that you could site?”

    None other than an example from very recent history, when a couple years ago Keyhan editor Shariatmadari–who, as I’m sure you know, is close to the Supreme Leader–made some inflammatory remarks about Bahrain being rightfully Iran’s. This was a few years back and led to some protests in the country. I don’t know the history well enough to speak with any authority on specifics, but I am aware that the sentiment exists.

  130. IranPhD: “Is this UknownUnknown guy representative of the class of people who respond here?”

    No, we have vastly worse. Wait until you meet Pak, who we refer to as Pakman. :-)

    (No offense, UU!)

  131. fyi says:

    IranPhD says: February 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

    No I am not the writer of the article that I copied and posted at this site.

    Dr. Dunn from the Carnegie Isnstitute for the International Peace was the author.

    Do you know specific complainst or issues that you could site?

    I would like to compare that with the grievances of others against Iran.

    For example, there is the Saint George church in Tiblisi with the grave of their greatest poet in front of the church – claimed to have been thrown from the steeple of that church by the Iranian troops 200 years earlier.

  132. IranPhD says:

    “What (historical) grievances do the Bahraini have against Iran?”

    As I understand it, there is a sense of rivalry/resentment that is akin to that which a former colony would have. Iran was one of the powers that played a significant role in the tussle for control of the island in the middle of the 20th century. And in ultimately gaining control, the Arab speaking population fell under control of Persian speaking Iran.

    “I did not think that the Shia Bahraini would be supportive of Iran automatically.”

    My comment was in regards to the assumption that Bahrain would fall out of favor with the U.S. in light of democratic changes. Given the way the U.S. administration is selectively willing to accept democratic movements in those areas where it might not drastically affect its interests, I think it deserves asking whether Bahrain wouldn’t meet that description.

    Just for the record, Fyi, are you the writer of the article?

  133. fyi says:

    From the Financial Times:

    Obama has weak hand to play in Mideast

    By Daniel Dombey in Washington

    Published: February 20 2011 17:30

    For the first time since he left office two years ago, George W. Bush misses being in the White House. That is the word among Bush administration veterans in touch with their old chief, who say the former president would rather like to be in the Oval Office as his “freedom agenda” lets rip in the Middle East.

    Let us leave aside the questions of exactly how the 43rd president of the US would have handled the present upheavals, or the impact on the region of his eight invasion-prone years in office. The point is that, while Mr Bush may have relished the spectacle of people power sweeping through Arab streets, Barack Obama initially gave a different impression.

    During Mr Obama’s first two years, even as the president made tactfully phrased calls for the likes of Egypt to democratise, Washington scaled down practical support for such efforts, cutting funds and allowing Cairo a say in which NGOs received US grants.

    So when demonstrations began, the White House struggled to catch up, changing its message day by day until it eventually sided with the protesters against the government of Hosni Mubarak.

    Now, US officials suggest, the president has finally embraced his “inner Obama”, employing the language of Martin Luther King and saluting the “moral force” of the demonstrators across the region.

    The White House has also indulged in a little spinning, depicting the president as a decisive leader who broke with the status quo view of state department Arabists.

    Even some Republicans say Mr Obama is well placed to take advantage of the historic change in the region – partly because he is not Mr Bush, with the legacy of the Iraq war, but also because of his own background, including his oft-cited middle name, Hussein.

    But in truth Mr Obama has a relatively weak hand to play, for at least three reasons. First, he does not have much money with which to buy new friends. Hillary Clinton made this clear last week when she announced the US was “reprogramming” $150m in aid to Egypt to help the country’s transition to democracy.

    As the secretary of state signalled by her choice of verb, this is money Egypt was going to get anyway. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives and its eagerness to cut the state department budget also mean a new Marshall Plan for the Middle East is very definitely not on the cards.

    Second, there is the Middle East peace process, which is not much of a process and has not brought peace.

    Some top US diplomats are deeply concerned about where the US has found itself – vetoing a UN resolution on Israeli settlements last week – just at a time when Washington needs to build public support in the Arab world. But the White House has paid careful attention to the political downside of being seen to slap down Israel and Capitol Hill has weighed in with warnings against any UN action.

    Finally, and most obviously, the US depends on many of the regimes in place. It is easy for Mr Obama to denounce Iran for “pretending to celebrate what happened in Egypt [while] gunning down and beating people who were trying to express themselves peacefully” at home.

    But he is much more guarded when the discussion turns to US allies, such as Bahrain, the host of the US Fifth Fleet headquarters, or Yemen, whose co-operation the US needs to hunt down al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula .

    Bahrain’s strategic importance may have been slightly exaggerated. The Fifth Fleet spends almost all of its time at sea and US Central Command also has “forward head-quarters” in Qatar. But Saudi Arabia is far from enthusiastic about the possibility of another Shia-run state on its border, and the US needs the co-operation of other Gulf states to retain its military presence in the region.

    Right now the administration is sending senior officials by the military jet-load to pass on Mr Obama’s advice that autocrats need to “get out ahead of change”. And of course the US retains influence in the region. But, operating under such hefty constraints while events are moving so fast, means at times that Mr Obama has seemed almost as much a bystander as Mr Bush.

    © Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2011.

  134. fyi says:

    From Ha’aretz:

    Published 12:33 20.02.11

    U.S. troops won’t be eager to leave the good life in Bahrain’s opulent villas
    The tiny island, home for 6,000 members of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, is indeed a paradise. If you’re a Sunni Muslim or a foreigner, that is.

    By Zvi Bar’el

    “You drive through a long desert road, pass a huge bridge and then, as if out of nowhere, a city with green gardens appears, with paved streets lined with villas and palm trees.” That’s the way in which a U.S. soldier described Bahrain in a letter to his parents.

    Pamphlets published by the U.S. Navy go into great detail as to the favors awaiting those serving in Bahrain. You can rent, for a reasonable price, one of many wonderful villas, equipped with either open-air or indoor swimming pools, squash and tennis courts, bowling lanes, hot tubs and saunas.

    Thousands of protesters gathering in Pearl Square in the heart of the Bahraini capital of Manama, February 20, 2011.

    Photo by: Reuters

    There’s also one of the finest education systems in the Arab world. And if that’s not enough, the U.S. government pays a risk-factor bonus worth $150 a-month, along with such perks as “morale and adaptation” vacations to Europe or Thailand, servants, and special bonuses for remote service.

    The tiny island which is the home of about a 1.2 million residents – aside from the 6,000 members of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, who also call it home – is indeed a paradise. If you’re a Sunni Muslim or a foreigner, that is.

    That’s because the constitutional monarchy, which is how the island’s ruler Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa likes to call it, isn’t completely Bahraini. About half its population is made up of foreigners, the biggest community being the country’s 290,000 Indian residents, alongside a tiny Jewish minority made up mostly by jewel traders.

    Even three out of the king’s four wives aren’t Bahraini. Two hail from Qatar, another from Kuwait, with the only members of the local monarchy being the mother of the kingdom’s heir to the throne.

    Within the Muslim population, 67 percent are Shi’ite, with Sunnis comprising the other 33 percent. This is another reason for recent violent protests in the kingdom, for the king treats the Shi’ite majority like a dangerous minority. When necessary, as was seen in the most recent protests, he also accuses Iran of attempting a Shi’ite overthrow of his country.

    It is for those reasons that it wasn’t so odd to see that pro-democracy demonstrators at the Pearl Square, most of whom were Shi’ite, pitted against a pro-monarchy demonstration comprised of Indian and Pakistani workers, who were ordered to raise the king’s image alongside the kingdom’s flag.

    However, this isn’t necessarily an ethnic dispute. In 2002, three years after assuming power from his father, Khalifa revolutionized the country’s constitution, appointed himself king and ordered parliamentary elections be held. That’s how Bahrain turned from an Emirate to a kingdom, and not just any kingdom at that: a democratic kingdom.

    Elections for regional council heads and mayors were held in May of that year, and in October parliamentary elections were held, forming a house of representatives according to the country’s new constitution: 40 representatives (which include only 18 Shi’ite) and an advisory council appointed by the king.

    In addition, a constitutional court was formed, which was to judge whether or not the laws legislated by the parliament were in accordance with the country’s constitution. It was also decided that men and women would have equal political rights, as well as the prohibition of any discrimination based on race, creed, or gender.

    On the face of it, then, it all seems promising and fair. In reality, however, the regime handled itself in a stern and uncompromising manner. Shi’ites could not be appointed to high-ranking government or military positions; the monarchy controls the media and mans about 80 percent of all governmental positions, including the cabinet itself; and while the parliament has the power to fire ministers, such a move would require the king’s authorization.

    The kingdom is protected by a small army of 9,000 soldiers, but the royal family is guarded by internal intelligence, an intricate assortment of forces founded by a British officer by the name of Ian Henderson, who was in charge of suppressing the Mau Mau uprising in 1960s Kenya.

    Henderson, whose modus operendi during the Kenyan revolt made him a wanted man in the U.K., is the one who advised the king to import Bedouins from Jordan and Syria in order to balance out the gap between Sunnis and Shi’ites. These new residents were immediately awarded luxury houses, generous grants and, of course, citizenship.

    It is this portion of the Bahraini population that is at the center of the Shi’ites’ complaints, wishing to even out their rights with those of the “newcomers.”

    While the king canceled the military courts, whose rulings could not be appealed, the judicial system is still led by one of the king’s aides, the one who appointed Egyptian judges for senior positions in the kingdom. These are the same judges responsible for the severe sentences given to opposition members.

    Over the weekend, the king offered to hold negotiations with protesters, after his tanks reoccupied the Peal Square. In the meantime, it seems that pro-democracy activists have no other choice. Here even the United States isn’t on their side. It is too concerned for its naval base

  135. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Iran says:
    February 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm
    Is this UknownUnknown guy representative of the class of people who respond here?

    Oh, don’t be so grouchy!

  136. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    February 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm
    Unknown Unknowns,
    How are you verifying the so-called “death” of Osama bin Laden?

    James: are you questioning my SOURCES? Do you know how BUSY I am?? (That, by the way, is the best line in that great clamation film, Team America. Don’t miss it. But for those not wishing to see how truly obscene America has become, stick to the Hollywood screen version DVD, rather than the unsensored one, which is literally in “bad taste”)

    Well, as everyone knows, in these matters I go straight to the top: the Official White Horse Souse, Enduring America. But if you want to delve a little deeper into the Osama Bin Dead story, here is a pretty good collection of headers with live links to the source articles.


    Enjoy! (And I know you will, cause there is even a link to the Telegraph in there) LOL

  137. fyi says:

    chrism says: February 20, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    The Ambassador of a poor Muslim country in Africa goes to the US State Department and meets with the Secretary of State.

    He states that his country is poor and would very much appreciate any help US could give.

    The Secreatry of State asks: “Tell me Mr. Ambassador, do you, by any chance, have any Shia Muslims in your country?”

    And the Ambassador, taken slightly aback, replies: “No.”

    The Secreatry of State says: “That is too bad, for if you had any we could give you all kinds of aide to fight these nefarious agents of the sinister Iranians.”

    Then the Ambassador asks: “Do you know how or where I can get some Shia Muslims?”

  138. IranPhD says:

    Is this UknownUnknown guy representative of the class of people who respond here?

  139. fyi says:

    IranPhD says: February 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    I did not think that the Shia Bahraini would be supportive of Iran automatically.

    What (historical) grievances do the Bahraini have against Iran?

    Do you know?

  140. chrism says:

    The US is brainwashed to see Iranian specter behind each and every non-Iranian shiia and to see radical Islamists behind all Moslem unrests (unless they are in Iran in which case they are considered to be “pro-democracy” movements). Perhaps this is intentional. After all this keeps War on Terrorism going, weapons manufacturing humming, and weapons trades flourishing recycling oil money back to the West . On the top of that, this gives an excuse for supporting/buttressing the autocracies in “the arc of moderation” which are the one of the true causes of unrests among their oppressed, marginalized and humiliated subjects.

  141. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Iran says:
    February 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm
    I was not trying to attribute legitimacy to those grievances. just wanted to bring attention to the political reality that they are there.

    1. I agreed with you and even commended you for your timely observation.

    2. You REALLY need to get rid of that rediculous suffix. It’s as if you have walked into a jacket-and-tie restaurant in cut-offs and a t-shirt. Think of me, in this context, as the maitre d’ (you know, in charge of “front of the house” operations :o) Or, if like Pack one metaphor is not enough to register, it is as if you have entered school on your first day with a piece of paper taped to your back which says “I have an inferiority complex”, and I came up to you and pointed it out. So get a grip, buddy, and don’t shoot the messenger: I was only trying to help you out of the awkward situation that you put yourself in. So, remember that acknowledgement of the “issue” is the first step, take a deep breath, and repeat after me: My name is Iran, and I have an inferiority complex. Now doesn’t that feel better? We’re here to HELP you!

    If you still don’t get it, I can only assume that some part of your heritage must ultimately originate from the Indian subcontinent :) Or possibly the Phillipines? :))

    In which case, I am afraid I must inform you that professional ethics prevents me from being able to take you on as a patient and I must decline your request, as there is nothing I can do for you.

    But wait! All is not lost. I can refer you to my esteemed college R. S. Hack, Ph.D., whose trans-human technology might have some efficacy for this exqusite little variety of cathexis.

  142. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Fars News reflects on Sunday’s attempted protests in Iran and also that of Monday.


    I have to agree – the hype about the revival of the GM was massive.

  143. IranPhD says:

    “Thank you for your sharing your observations.”

    You’re welcome. As regards your question, I am arguing the opposite, that Bahraini national identity is in fact strong, and that it is one that goes beyond simplistic allegiances of religious affiliations. The football example just shows that Shiite Bahrainis would prefer to celebrate the Sunni Saudis over the Shiite Iranians because of their own national identity. And awareness of this crucial fact is missing in the analysis above. To think that Bahrain would automatically become supportive of Iran in light of a democratic revolution would be to ignore the historical grievances of the Bahraini people.

    I should add that contrary to what the childish lout that posts as uknownuknown thinks, I was not trying to attribute legitimacy to those grievances. just wanted to bring attention to the political reality that they are there.

  144. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: February 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    That is true, and it has to do with an specific sect that requires married women to shave their hair.

    I suppose the idea is that they have caught their prey (the poor husband) and now no longer need thetir hair to ensnare anyone.

    They used to wear kerchiefs (like scarves worn in Iran) leaving only their faces to show.

    Nowadays, they wear wigs made of hair of Hindu women from India.

  145. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Thanks for the article. There are so many exciting things going on in academia throughout the world, and of course, Iran is no exception. I guess the good rabbi is a Reform Jew rather than Orthodox, which surprised me. I take this from the following passage: “one of the most significant cultural experiences for her [his daughter, who accompanied him] was that she was required to cover her hair throughout the trip.” From what very little I know of Jewish law, their womenfolk are also required to cover their hair.

    I have even heard a bizzare tale that Los Angelean Orthodox Jewesses cover their hair with wigs which are indistinguishable from their real hair. Let me know when you’ve figured that one out, cause it confounds the hell out of me :D

  146. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Calling them names, I find, only distracts from the plan they were executing.

    And they have not repented yet.

  147. Fiorangela says:

    this article had gotten lost in my files. just tripped over it; others might find some it insightful.

    “July 5, 2005
    Conference transcript

    BY Eric Rangus

    Presenting conference papers is part of a professor’s job. And conferences, while often excellent opportunities both to highlight one’s own work and to discover the innovative angles researched by others, are rarely memorable beyond the podium or hotel-meeting-room conversations.

    That wasn’t the case with the Third International Conference on Human Rights, which took place May 14–15. Late last year, Michael Broyde, professor of law and academic director of the Law and Religion Program, was invited to present a paper there. Co-sponsored by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the conference would be a prestigious speaking engagement.

    Themed “Identity, Difference and Human Rights,” the conference appeared to be an ideal opportunity for Broyde to showcase his work in Jewish law, making it even more attractive. What wasn’t necessarily attractive was the conference’s location: Mofid University in Qom, Iran.

    “My wife thought I was insane,” said Broyde, who accepted the invitation quickly although he readily admits he is not sure why he was invited. (Broyde is being modest. His research areas of Jewish law and ethics, family law, and comparative religious law fit snugly within the conference’s themes.)

    An American academic’s presence at a conference in Iran is story enough. When that American is a Jew, the story gets bigger. When that Jew is a rabbi, the story becomes remarkable.

    Broyde earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Yeshiva University in New York. Later he was ordained as a rabbi by that same institution and he earned his law degree at New York University at roughly the same time. He long has wanted to keep one foot in law and the other in religion, which is what led him to Emory in 1991 and its Law and Religion Program (soon to merge with the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion). He has served as rabbi for the Young Israel of Toco Hills synagogue since its founding in 1994.

    Broyde is a well-traveled man, and his experience on the road has given him a pragmatic view of the places he goes. “My rule of travel is that, in dictatorial societies, you’re very safe,” said Broyde, who has traveled throughout the Middle East as well as the rest of the world. “They make the decision as to whether they want you before you get there.

    “I’m always much more scared traveling in Western democratic cities because they’re confusing and it’s easy to get lost,” he continued. “There is a great deal of freedom, [but] there also is street crime. There is no street crime in Tehran. My experience in all the dictatorships I’ve ever been to is that there is no street crime.”

    Still, it’s not like Atlantans are flocking to go to Iran. Traveling there is not an easy process. First, Broyde needed a new passport. Admission to Iran is refused for holders of passports containing a visa for Israel—a trip Broyde has made many times—so he needed to submit a fresh one 90 days in advance. The Iranian government held the passport for three weeks while Broyde was investigated.

    Government agents called several times to confirm Broyde’s background, identity and reasons for going to Iran. Once they were satisfied, he was issued a visa. Upon arriving in Tehran, Broyde wasn’t cleared to leave the airport for several hours. He couldn’t say if he was watched while in the country, but the government does keep a file on every foreigner who enters Iran.

    Qom, which hosted the conference, is a city of about one million people 80 miles south of Tehran. It is the country’s religious center; not only is it home to Mofid University, but Iran’s largest religious university, Howzeh-ye Elmieh, is located there as well. The conference was sponsored by Mofid University’s Center for Human Rights Studies, which was created following the Second International Conference on Human Rights in 2003.

    Broyde’s paper, “Freedom of Disassociation and Religious Communities: A Jewish Model for Associational Rights,” explored the legal basis of how Jewish law treats excommunication (the exclusion of someone from a society, be it religious or otherwise) and also encompassed related secular issues, such as minority rights and tort law.

    “There is a great deal of curiosity about Jewish law and Jewish ethics,” said Broyde, discussing some of the conversations that followed his presentation. The majority of the conference presenters were Western, but the vast majority of the attendees were Iranian. Those who weren’t students were imams, and all were understandably interested in Broyde’s subject matter.

    “I sat with many Islamic scholars talking about Jewish law and how it compares with Islamic law,” Broyde said. “Islamic law has many features that are related to or even derived from Jewish law. We could point to a mother/daughter relationship between the two, in the sense that Islamic law starts developing from Jewish law around the year 1000. There is a clear interrelationship.”

    Academics on both sides agree on this relationship—both Islamic and Jewish law are committed to being full religious systems, regulating not only religious practice but commercial and family relations, for instance.

    But like every mother/daughter relationship, to use Broyde’s description, the two don’t always agree. To take Broyde’s paper topic as an example, Jewish law’s views on excommunication differ from those of Islamic law. In the latter, excommunication is a form of punishment. Jewish law views excommunication as a form of social regulation. This distinction spurred a great deal of discussion both during the conference and in its downtime.

    Broyde didn’t speak much with Mofid University students. There were language barriers and he characterized the students as reserved, but Broyde added that everyone felt like they were being watched. He did have very robust conversations with imams who, contrary to some media images in this country and elsewhere in the West, were hardly fanatic. They did have strong opinions, though, which made for spirited and probing discussion.

    “There is a difference between how one views faith as an academic and how one views it as an insider,” said Broyde, adding that he came away with a much more detailed view of Islamic law.

    “This had been my first interaction with Islamic scholars deeply rooted in their religious faith. It was a good experience seeing a faith-based community from the inside.” Since Broyde is both a rabbi and an academic, that comment has several levels of meaning, and part of his experience in Iran focused on exploring all of them.

    Broyde spent five days in Iran, and he used his time wisely. In Tehran, he visited with that city’s Orthodox Jewish minority. Numbering about 10,000, the community makes up a sliver of Tehran’s population, and while they live in the seat of government in an Islamic republic, they are not oppressed, Broyde said. They own businesses, speak Hebrew, and are relatively free to practice their religion—but they are not allowed to have religious teachers. Rabbis are not present in the community, and they are not permitted to be flown in.

    Broyde went, though. For some of the Iranian Jews, he was the first rabbi they had ever spoken to. They had many questions for him—some cultural, most of them religious. “It is a community that is thirsting for further education and more study,” Broyde said. “So we had many different issues to discuss.”

    Broyde wasn’t alone in his travels; he was accompanied by his 11-year-old daughter, Rachel. “I travel more than I should. One of the ways I deal with it is that I take my children with me,” said Broyde, adding that one of the most significant cultural experiences for her was that she was required to cover her hair throughout the trip. Father of three children, Broyde said he rotates their travel; Iran was Rachel’s turn.

    “That way travel isn’t something that’s distracting,” he said. “It’s entertaining.”

    “Entertaining” is probably a word few Americans would use when describing a trip to Iran, but from Broyde’s viewpoint it seems to work. http://www.emory.edu/EMORY_REPORT/erarchive/2005/July/July%205/profile.htm

  148. garruso says:

    Kooshy: first of all i did not know soros owns this site! but who cares. i go to any site to read and learn. BTW, why your blood presure jumped?

  149. James Canning says:


    “Big Oil” in the US opposed the idiotic invasion of Iraq in 2003. Warmongering Jews, bent on crushing the Palestinians in pursuit of their insane Greater Israel Zionist-expansionist delusion, are not ncecessarily to the voice of America. They try to be, of course.

  150. James Canning says:


    Paul Wolfowitz is an idiot. Astounding lack of ability to comprehend history, the forces of history, etc. No sense of history whatever. Ditto with Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, and Donald Rumsfeld.

    I sometimes view Tony Blair as a whore of rich Jewish financiers who have made him rich. The same thing can be said of Bill Clinton, who is Blair’s role model.

  151. Kim says:

    the selective condemnation just proves US real intentions about the demonstrations, they dont want it, they want status quo. Their obsession with Iran is sickening, how much money do they get from the jewish lobby for carrying out this? Just take the UN veto the other day, how does that insane move gain US interest?

  152. Reza Esfandiari says:


    There are so many power struggles going in in the ruling establishment that it seems like everyone is competing with just about everyone else for influence and position.

    This happens in revolutionary regimes: Look at the animosity and rivalry between Danton and Robespierre in France as an example.

    I see our friend, SL, is not around today.

    Btw, SL does not mean “Supreme Leader”….but he might as well be.

  153. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari says: February 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Mr. Khamenei forced Mr. Ahmadinejad to demote Mr. Rahim-Mashaei. Like Mr. Karbaschi before him, very many among the Iranian ruling circles found Mr. Mashaei to be insufficiently Muslim and too Iranian.

    So, why shouldn’t Mr. Ahmadinejad not enjoy Mr. Khamenei being the target of “Death to the Dictator”?

    I would not, however, assign any lasting effect to this; this is part of the ebb and flow of Iran’s internal politics.

    Even if Mr. Khamenei turns out to be the last person in the position of Valiy-e Faqih, the confronation between US and Iran will continue and the politics of that country will evolve along similar lines.

  154. kooshy says:

    I bet the primary propaganda masters in the west, the likes of our own Professor Lucas never thought how venerable the US’s client states in the region are to their own medicine, meaning to the new alternative media likes of AlAlam, Aljazeera or Press TV , Dr. Scott tell your bosses in DOI they are welcome to this new and improved world realities which you will need to get adopted to. See you on next falling state I put my marker on Yemen.

    Your regional control structure is in state of total crumbled and in a eternally, un repairable way.

  155. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: February 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    The Jewish Partisans of Israel are not just a threat to US, they are also a threat to Jews.

    They are, willy-nilly, provoking a war with Islam.

    I guess they think there is a margin for them or Israel in that.

    They are not a threat to Iran for I have faith in th

  156. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I have read the following:

    Mr. Paul Wolfowitz: “With the end of the Cold War, we can now use our military with impunity. The Soviets won’t come in to block us. And we’ve got five, maybe 10, years to clean up these old Soviet surrogate regimes like Iraq and Syria before the next superpower emerges to challenge us … We could have a little more time, but no one really knows.”

    Had the Americans been able to execute their Grand Strategy successfully and with acceptable costs, they would be controlling, by now, the oil and gas fields
    of the Middle East as well as Central Asia.

    There would have been new and compliant governments in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya and elsewhere.

    US and her satraps would have been able to choke the world economy or selected areas of it by denial of energy. Likewise, they could have bankrupted Russia and other higher-cost (compared to the Persian Gulf) oil producers in price wars if they so chose.

    These were the stakes for which US, UK, Spain were playing.

    US was going to throw a few crumbs their way once dust had settled.

    Tony Blair understood this and that is why he joined this neo-Imperial project.

    You could not expect him to describe it so to his fellow-country men.

    And, even in 2008, in Charlie Rose apprarances, Americans still were beating war drums with Iran.

    We do know that this scheme crashed and burnt in Iraq.

    What we do not know is the extent of the Chinese and Russian contribution to the failure of US project.

    [Personally, I doubt very much the longevity of such an enterprise even if initially successful because of the threat it posed to other international actors.]

    In my opinion, there is no evidence that US has yet abandoned this grand strategy. In fact, the continued insistence of Mr. Blair that Iran is a grave threat and US behavior under Obama indicates to me that that grand strategy is still alive and well since the destruction of Islamic Iran is till actively promoted at least at the level of propaganda.

  157. Azeri Iranian says:

    James Canning, I fully agree with your comment

  158. fyi says:

    James Canning says: February 20, 2011 at 3:54 pmr

    There used to be semi-scholarly discipline called Kremlinology.

    I think an analogous undertaking for US would make a lot of sense.

    I am certain that not just Mr. Obama but also certain sectors of the ruling elite in the United States would like to end the war in Palestine.

    At one time, the United States was maintaining the conflict alive to extract geopolitical benefits. It presented herself to Arabs as the only Impartial Party to the conflict that has any leverage with the Israelis. To the Israelis, she essentially made them an utter dependency that could not function without the United States. At the same time, she (US) went around telling countries such as Greece and Turkey that they need to remain in NATO so that they may be protected from the “Mad Jews” in Israel with their nuclear weapons.

    The best model to comprehend this is the movie Godfather’s protection racket.

    Overtime, events have eviscerated any conceivable gains from this game. But the conflict that once could be managed within the framework of post WWII ethno-nationalism has exploded into a global religious confrontation between Islam, US-EU Axis, and assorted other Partisans of Israel such as Protestant Christians in US and UK as well as the Shoah cultists. Hundreds of millions of Muslims no longer accept or believe the Shoah narrative –for a few more decades of this and they will call Shoah a lie and a fabrication.

    There are intelligent and wise men in America who grasp this. Some of them may be even among US governing elites (I guess) and many are outside of it. But it matters not since Americans no longer have any idea on how to end this religious war in Palestine. They cannot even bring themselves to condemn the land-theft in the Occupied Territories.

  159. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Why do you call these idiots ‘green moveme…”? Do you understand the
    meaning of ‘movement’?

    I mean “movement” as I do a bowel movement.

    “Jonbesh” can mean many things in Persian.

  160. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: February 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    In fact, the United States government has employed the Jewish Agency to facilitate the emigration of Christians and Jews out of Iran.

    The indispensible nation, the melting pot, the City of the Hill, the New Jerusalem, the Leader of the Free World, the Secular Republic par Excellence, has indeed presided over the religious homogenization of the Middle East.

    Her wars against Iraq has destroyed the ancient Christian presence there.

    Her aide to Israel, has caused the almost complete disappearance of the Christian Palestinians in the West Bank. Ramallah used to be a Christian city, now it is predominantly Muslim. In this particular case, the ramifications are this:

    A communal war between European Jews on the one side and the Christian and Muslim Arabs on the other side in 1920s had been transformed, over 3 generations, to a war between Jews and Muslims and now has all the markings of a (localized) war between Judaism and Islam.

  161. angry with ignorat says:

    {The Green movement in Iran couldn’t have chosen a worse color}

    Why do you call these idiots ‘green moveme…”? Do you understand the
    meaning of ‘movement’?

  162. Iran’s Jews reject cash offer to move to Israel

    Wow! This is the first correction I’ve ever seen in the media!


    The following correction was printed in the Guardian’s Corrections and clarifications column, Saturday July 28 2007

    In the article below we reported that last year President Ahmadinejad said (quoting the late Ayatollah Khomeini) that Israel should be “wiped off the map”. A more literal translation of the statement he made in 2005, at The World without Zionism conference in Tehran, is “the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”.

    End Quote


    Iran’s sole Jewish MP, Morris Motamed, said the offers were insulting and put the country’s Jews under pressure to prove their loyalty.

    “It suggests the Iranian Jew can be encouraged to emigrate by money,” he said. “Iran’s Jews have always been free to emigrate and three-quarters of them did so after the revolution but 70% of those went to America, not Israel.”

    End quote

  163. kooshy says:

    gattuso says: February 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    video’s of today’s protests:

    gattuso any idea’s why your Soros guy the illustrious enduring man didn’t bother to come here and brag about the protests today, I was expecting the little professor and crew be back here and declare he is just reporting his usual DOI made up facts “you lose” but “go ahead make my day” and ‘send in the clowns”

    Payandeh Iran

  164. James Canning says:

    I am dismayed that Hugh Shelton joined the call for US support of the MEK terror group! Is the US inherently incompetent in dealing with the Middle East?

  165. James Canning says:


    Do you think Obama is in fact trying to make decisions so that they benefit the US? Or is his eye on the Israel lobby and the numerous Democrats in the US Congress who are stooges of that lobby?

  166. James Canning says:


    I too see little to compare between the USSR and Iran. And Iran is being very sensible to avoid wasting gigantic sums on unnecessary “defence”. Even now, the Russian Federation will continue to be challenged to maintain the territorial integrity of the state. Iran has very little difficulty in this sphere.

  167. Unknown Unknowns: Or if Benazir Bhutto was right, Osama was killed by Mullah Omar in 2003.

    Take your pick.

    I have a standing offer to every nation in the world: Pay me one billion dollars in advance and I will capture Osama bin Laden dead or live – your choice! but dead is easier – within ninety days – assuming he’s still alive of course.

    Such a deal I offer you! Compared to the hundreds of billions the US is spending to capture him, surely this is a bargain. Nut strangely enough I’ve had no takers. Apparently no one wants Osama captured, after all.

    And I would expect to make about a nine hundred million dollar profit on that deal.

  168. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    How are you verifying the so-called “death” of Osama bin Laden?

  169. Reza Esfandiari says:

    It is very interesting that these protests have been anti-Khamenei rather than anti-Ahmadinejad. Good old FOX news have picked up on this. I haven’t seen one picture of the president being burned like what happened in 2009.

    Bizarrely, Ahmadinejad’s inner circle will welcome anything which allows him to bolster his position relative to that of Khamenei. There is a political twist to all this.

  170. Reza Esfandiari says:


    You will rarely find unbiased coverage on Iran – including here. For reasonably reliable reporting, I tend to read Mehr News, ISNA and ILNA – they have both Persian and English sites but the former is far more in-depth. I also keep abreast of the situation with my own contacts, friends and family within the country.

    PressTV makes good documentaries on Iran, like IRAN Today, but their website is not very useful.

  171. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says:
    February 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    James: Sorry to break the news to you, but Osama died of kidney failure in the December of 2001.

  172. Voice of Tehran says:

    Just watching Aljazeera ( as UU mentioned correctly : BBC Light ) , which is usually a good barometer to evaluate quickly on what’s going on in the region.
    Main headlines are of course Libya ( on the verge of collapse ) Bahrain , Egypt , Marroco and they also mentioned Iran with one sentence in the end.
    Thus the calculation of Iran’s enemies to focus entirely on Iran , are going down the drain , All the enduring americas , Zakarias etc. etc.
    Seems our green friends must hold another rally , preferably , AFTER the whole region has turned into an ‘Ocean ‘ of tranqulity , whenever this might be.
    Apparently , *He* , who wrote the Script , has other plans ……

  173. James Canning says:

    Azeri Iranian,

    I think it would actually be in Israel’s own true best interests, for Egypt to pursue good relations with Iran.
    Insane supporters of the Zionist expansionist project will not be hapy, to be sure.

  174. James Canning says:


    You make a good case for continuing to think David Frum is full of cr*p! Fixate or Iran, guys! Ignore the subverting of the national security interests of the American people, carried out by the Israel lobby!

  175. James Canning says:

    The American obsession with Iran is foolish and counter-productive.

    Obama should read David Gardner’s review of Michael Scheuer’s new book on Osama bin Laden (in the Financial Times Feb. 19-20: “The man and the myth – – The west has dismarmed itself by caricaturing Osama bin Laden”).

  176. Fiorangela says:

    passion without proofreading produces poor printing________________

    well this is interesting.

    David Frum, a Canadian, was one of the start-up principals of NoLabels.org, a political organization committed to returning “civility” to political debate in the US political arena, by “finding common ground” between Republicans and Democrats. “We all want the same things,” pleads Frum; “we should work together to achieve them.”

    To that end, Frum’s new cross-party organization intends to establish a field office in each of the US’s 435+- congressional districts, to wring partisan bickering out of the system and get GOP and Democratic partisans singing from the same page. Frum’s efforts are financed by “angel” co-inventor of Facebook and, according to wikipedia, “As of November 24, 2010, No Labels had raised over $1 million[6]. While the group will not publish the names of contributors, The Wall Street Journal reported that three backers were Andrew Tisch, Ron Shaich, and Dave Morin[17]. Andrew Tisch is the Co-Chairman of Loews Corporation. Ron Shaich is the Founder of Panera Bread. Dave Morin was an executive with Facebook.”

    Frum and another co-founder of NoLabels, William Galston, appeared on C Span Washington Journal on Dec 30 2010 to tell the world that deliverance from the evil of partisan bickering was at hand; No Labels was created to build a bridge of civility over the partisan divide. Frum and Galston’s comments stuck to that mendacious irenic line, until a caller challenged Frum on his authorship of the axis of evil line. Then, like the Incredible Green Hulk, Frum’s real partisanship burst out of his red, white and blue bonds and revealed only the blue-on-white symbols of Israel: Iran is the enemy and Frum will do whatever it takes to destroy Iran, even if it means destroying the US in the process. Let me remind you one more time of the tale of Solomon: the woman who stole the baby had nothing to lose if the baby were to be killed.

    But just in case creating an organization intent on neutering partisan competition is not effective in bringing about Frum’s goals, he retains membership on the Republican Jewish Coalition :http://www.rjchq.org/About/bioslisting.aspx Multimillionaire Sheldon Adelson, gambling magnate and financial ‘angel’ to Benjamin Netanyahu, is first on the list of Frum’s fellow Directors on the Republican Jewish Coalition.

    The Republican Jewish Coalition is sponsoring a screening of “Iranium,” the latest iteration of Jewish-sponsored Clarion fund’s attempts to generate hatred toward Muslims and especially Iran. :http://www.rjchq.org/Events/eventdetail.aspx?id=1a97d054-7c3c-43d7-a994-3e88861506a9

    On an earlier thread, Irshad thanked me for “long” comments I’d posted. I apologize for the wordiness — it takes more skill to use fewer words. BUT — forgive me for referring back to one of those long comments, tracing one aspect of the ways that wealthy Jewish ideologues like Samuel Untermyer insinuated themselves in the highest reaches of American government, and also intentionally destroyed the German economy with the goal of a Jewish takeover of Germany, combined with acquisition of financial and political support for the “zionist entity” in Palestine. :http://www.raceforiran.com/hillary-mann-leverett-on-egypt-the-united-states-and-the-middle-east%E2%80%99s-future#comment-38253

    In that comment, Stuart Levey was named as a 21st century Untermyer. In his arc of evil from 1913-1940, Samuel Untermyer had many accomplices, including the Warner brothers and other Jewish heads of Hollywood studios who pumped out relentless propaganda, demonizing Germany, to the end of driving the American people to wage war on Germany.

    Add David Frum’s name to the list of Stuart Levey’s accomplices, and add “film maker” Rabbi Raphael Shore, producer of “Iranium,” to that list.

    These people are America’s enemies.

    They are extremely dangerous to the American people and to honest people everywhere, not least in Palestine/Gaza, Iran, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen.

    Barack Obama it is YOUR OBLIGATION to defend the American people from enemies domestic and foreign. DO YOUR JOB.

  177. Fiorangela says:

    well this is interesting.

    David Frum, a Canadian, was one of the start-up principals of NoLabels.org, a political organization committed to returning “civility” to political debate in the US political arena, by “finding common ground” between Republicans and Democrats. “We all want the same things,” pleads Frum; “we should work together to achieve them.”

    To that end, Frum’s new cross-party organization intends to establish a field office in each of the US’s 435+- congressional districts, to wring partisan bickering out of the system and get GOP and Democratic partisans singing from the same page. Frum’s efforts are financed by “angel” co-inventor of Facebook and, according to wikipedia, “As of November 24, 2010, No Labels had raised over $1 million[6]. While the group will not publish the names of contributors, The Wall Street Journal reported that three backers were Andrew Tisch, Ron Shaich, and Dave Morin[17]. Andrew Tisch is the Co-Chairman of Loews Corporation. Ron Shaich is the Founder of Panera Bread. Dave Morin was an executive with Facebook.”

    Frum and another co-founder of NoLabels, William Galston, appeared on C Span Washington Journal on Dec 30 2010 to tell the world that deliverance from the evil of partisan bickering was at hand; No Labels was created to build a bridge of civility over the partisan divide. Frum and Galston’s comments stuck to that mendacious irenic line, until a caller challenged Frum on his authorship of the axis of evil line. Then, like the Incredible Green Hulk, Frum’s real partisanship burst out of his red, white and blue bonds and revealed only the blue-on-white symbols of Israel: Iran is the enemy and Frum will do whatever it takes to destroy Iran, even if it means destroying the US in the process. Let me remind you one more time of the tale of Solomon: the woman who stole the baby had nothing to lose if the baby were to be killed.

    But just in case creating an organization intent on neutering partisan competition is not effective in bringing about Frum’s goals, he retains membership on the Republican Jewish Coalition :http://www.rjchq.org/About/bioslisting.aspx Multimillionaire Sheldon Adelson, gambling magnate and financial ‘angel’ to Benjamin Netanyahu, is first on the list of Frum’s fellow Directors on the Republican Jewish Coalition.

    The Republican Jewish Coalition is sponsoring a screening of “Iranium,” the latest iteration of Jewish-sponsored Clarion fund’s attempts to generate hatred toward Muslims and especially Iran. :http://www.rjchq.org/Events/eventdetail.aspx?id=1a97d054-7c3c-43d7-a994-3e88861506a9

    On an earlier thread, Irshad thanked me for “long” comments I’d posted. I apologize for the wordiness — it takes more skill to use fewer words. BUT — forgive me for referring back to one of those long comments, tracing one aspect of the ways that wealthy Jewish ideologues like Samuel Untermyer insinuated themselves in the highest reaches of American government, and also intentionally destroyed the German economy with the goal of a Jewish takeover of Germany, combined with acquisition of financial and political support for the “zionist entity” in Palestine. :http://www.raceforiran.com/hillary-mann-leverett-on-egypt-the-united-states-and-the-middle-east%E2%80%99s-future#comment-38253

    In that comment, Stuart Levey was named as a 21st century Untermyer. In his arc of evil from 1913-1940, Samuel Untermyer had many accomplices, including the Warner brothers and other Jewish heads of Hollywood studios who pumped out relentless propaganda, demonizing Germany, to the end of driving the American people to wage war on Germany.

    Add David Frum’s name to the list of Stuart Levey’s accomplices, and add “film maker” Rabbi Raphael Shore, producer of “Iranium,” to that list.

    These people are America’s enemies.

    They are extremely dangerous to the American people and to honest people everywhere, not least in Palestine/Gaza, Iran, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen.

    Barack Obama it is YOUR OBLIGATION to defend the American people from enemies domestic and foreign. DO YOUR JOB.

  178. wakeupworld says:

    فائزه هاشمي دستگير و آزاد شد

  179. Voice of Tehran says:

    hans says:
    February 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    hans , what is the problem with presstv , it’s still a very new channel , however I think , they are improving a lot….
    Im Land der Blinden , ist der Einäugige wohl König , nicht ?

  180. hans says:

    thanks Reza Esfandiari for letting me know about the Guardian reporter. I trust the Guardian even less then I trust PressTV reporting all facts about Iran. Keep us informed, that is why I visit this forum.

  181. Voice of Tehran says:

    By the way , today I did not exeperience any drop in internet speed ( ADSL ) , both in my office and at home , unlike last Monday , where there was a significant drop in speed , for a few hours.
    Also today , the phones , mobiles etc. ( communication in general ) were working fine with no technical problem , whatsoever.

  182. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Voice of Tehran,

    Mir Hussein Mousavi Khamenei is also a distant cousin of Seyed Ali Khamenei.

    So, I am not sure to whom the chant “Marg bar Khamenei!” is referring…lol.

  183. Voice of Tehran says:

    Reza Esfandiari says:
    February 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    They simply used the color ‘ green ‘ , during the 2009 elsection , because Moussavi was a Seyyed , I suppose.

  184. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari says: February 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I do not think it ironic; it is the color of fullfilment of hope.

  185. Reza Esfandiari says:


    Yeah, I know what green represents.

    I just find it ironic that the color should be adopted by “pro-democracy” Persians when it is used by Qaddafi’s Libya and the House of Saud’s Arabia.

  186. Unrest in Tehran

    Described as “pockets of hundreds”.

    A commenter notes:

    bnot every demo is unrest
    in a 12-14 mill City, if 100 or even 10,000 are protesting you can ignore it.
    If you want unrest then bring 500,000 people at the street


    Faezeh Hashemi Arrested — UPDATED (released)

  187. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari says: February 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Green is the color of Fullfilment of Hope (of Salvation).

    White is the color of Faith (in God)

    Red is the color of Love (God’s).

    To my knowledge, the following states have tri-color flags with only these 3 colors:

    Somaliland (the functioning part of old Somlia)
    Iraqi Kurdistan

  188. Kooshy: “we are firing ourselves from this school”

    We do that all the time in the US. When fired, we shoot back, “No, I quit!”

    Either way you don’t get unemployment compensation, so in the end it doesn’t matter.

    I think there was a book out at one time about self-employment called “Fire Your Boss!”

  189. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Once again, I find it ironic that the pro-Qaddafi crowd in Tripoli and the pro-Mousavi crowd in Tehran are hoisting green flags and banners.

    Maybe there is a connection, lol?

  190. Reza Esfandiari says:


    I should point out that the Guardian’s Iran reporting is being done by a certain Saeed Kamali Dehghan – a 25 year old former reformist journalist who came to work for the British newspaper in London. He has never tried to hide his political bias and support of the green movement. He rarely ever writes objective accounts.

    He is basically sitting at his London desk reporting anything being picked up on pro-green websites, Facebook and Twitter. None of which can be verified.

  191. Pirouz says:


    So far I’ve seen a video from Shiraz depicting~100 student demonstrators being dispersed.

    And, so far, there are four videos from Tehran but two are fakes (determined from weather conditions, one is questionable containing a field of vision shot of ~100 demonstrators with bystanders, and one is fully credible with correct weather conditions depicting a platoon of motorized Basiji.

    Waiting for more videos to be available.

  192. Unknown Unknowns says:

    hans: fa’eze was detained adn had been released. All quiet on the eastern front.

  193. Azeri Iranian says:

    Are Israelis really worried about Egypt and ME protests? They should be.

    I strongly believe, in the long run, they are among the losing sides. (Remember the proverb “No one can deceive everyone forever”?)


  194. Unknown Unknowns says:

    The Weasels are wont, what am I saying?, are desparate to fabricate chaos so that they can continue with their truly pitiful refrain to shuffle Iran into the mix of ME countries where uprisings against Weasel imperialism is spinning out of control. the arrogance and unmitigated audacity of these beebol has filled them so full of themselves (shyte) that they think that the beebol of the middle east are just as dumb as the brainwashed sheebol of the USA, and will fall for any hokey-doke. The shit’s so stale its got fungus growing out of it, but they keep peddling it cause its the only song in their repretoire: its either that, or they gotta pack it up and go home. And now its getting to the point where the beebol have heard one mariachi band too many and need to excuse them so that they can vacate their bowels of that rancid super-burrito.

  195. fyi says:

    kooshy says: February 20, 2011 at 10:16 am

    In regards to Mr. Zakaria’s “revolution in the Middle East” statement; I agree that the neither possibility nor the probability of the collapse of the Islamic Republic exists.

    In fact, if you make a comparison with the history of USSR, you will note that the Islamic Republic is becoming economically more productive and efficient as internal reforms are undertaken; the latest one being the elimination of the subsidies.

    Moreover, the tribal-cohesion (assabiya, in the language of Ibn Khaldun) of Shia Iran has no counter-part in USSR.

    Thirdly, in contradistinction to USSR – which bore the major and the decisive costs of defeat of the Axis Powers in Europe – Iranians have been beneficiaries of US destruction of the Ba’ath and Taliban states in Iraq and in Afghanistan, respectively.

    Fourthly, the Iranian have had to partially support only 2 allies, Syria, Hizbullah, which faced real and persistent threats from Israel. This is to be contrasted with the imposition of the Soviet Rule in Eastern Europe which was largely dependent on the Red Army for its initial creation (excepting Czsekoslovakia) and future maintenance.

    Fifthly, Iranian leaders have not prevented their citizens and the citizens of other states to come and go as they please. There is nothing similar to an Iron Curtain in Iran. This both serves as a social and political safety valve as well as a conduit for importation of new methods, ideas, products, and technologies into that country.

    Sixthly, the ideological challenge to Communism from Demcracy cannot be replicated against Islamic Iran because such a “democratic” challenge will be in the untenable position of questioning Islam as the basis for the governance.

    Seventhly, the Islamic Republic is still spending little on its war-fighting capabilities as a percentage of its budget; it is not following USSR in trying to challenge US across a broad range of military capabilities.

    Eightly, since Mr. Rafsanjani’s first term, Iranian foreign policy in regards to its neighbour’s has been to develop as many binding bilateral relationships as possible in commercial, energy, transportation sectors – even with such problematic states (for Iran) as Azerbaijan Republic, Bahrain, and UAE.

    I think the Revolutionary Change in the Middle East will be the signing of the Iran-US Peace and Fiendship Treaty. Such a treaty will certainly revolutionaize US position in the Middle East and in fact in the entire Muslim World.

  196. hans says:

    What is the situation in Iran, the UK paper Guardian reports massive demonstrations, also that the elder daughter of Rasfanghani has been arrested during the demo. Anybody from Iran can confirm?

  197. Empty says:

    Rather, “It’s NOT called psycho…..etc.”

  198. paul says:

    When people rise up in Bahrain, it’s “unrest”. When people rise up in Iran it’s “reform”, “freedom”, “democracy”.

    Reminds me of our ‘our’ terrorists are “freedom fighters”. I’m not saying that the protestors in Iran are terrorists, of course, just that the terminologies used seem to vary in interesting ways…

  199. Empty says:

    RE: “I am not concerned…I just wonder why the Zionist media, including Enduring America, is claiming that a violent uprising is taking place in Tehran and Shiraz.”

    It’s called psychological warfare for nothing. But not to worry, immune systems that are triggered too often (and falsely at that) will eventually develop severe auto-immune disorders and collapse.

  200. Empty says:


    I had not heard that. Sort of like when someone who is dumped says, “we mutually decided that s/he doesn’t want me.”

  201. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fareed is more ‘reed’ than ‘far’… just another oreo wannabe.
    The only reason he is in the slimelight (boy, they just keep coming out of me tonight!) is because of his house-nigger posture of obeisance. Why do the Clarence Thomases, Rices and Obamas of the world get to bask in the slimelight? Because they are not the NWA’s [do look it up if you don’t know, its worth it] that there betters MLK, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks were.

  202. kooshy says:

    oops “Mom”

  203. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Unknown Unknowns:

    I am not concerned…I just wonder why the Zionist media, including Enduring America, is claiming that a violent uprising is taking place in Tehran and Shiraz.

    Something must be going on.

    It is sad when the news media try so hard to make the news they report.

  204. kooshy says:


    “In the previous thread, you had posted a proverb that I haven’t heard.”

    Empty- Which one is that, if is the one about the Mullah thrown out of maddreseh?
    I heard that story from my mum, when I was still in elementary school, which I think could be one of Mullah Nassrodin stories, the story is about a mullah who was fired from his teaching in the Maddreseh, when he was going out of the door of Maddreseh, they ask him “where are you going Mullah” he didn’t want to admit that he was fired so he says “Ma ra az ein Maddareseh Beroon Meraviem” could I translate it like this if it makes sense , “we are firing ourselves from this school”

  205. Unknown Unknowns says:

    MasleHAT nist ke az pardeh boroon oftad raaz
    Var na dar majles-e rendan khabari nist ke nist

    Khabari nist, baba; Negaran nabash.

    Or as that usuli firebrand, Mohammad Baqir-e Majlesi, famously said: Bakee neest (in response to a question regarding a certain kind of,let us say, alternative sex.) When the question was posed to Allameh Tabatabai, on the other hand, he is reported to have said: Haram NIST, vali KHALI zesht-e! LOL

    Sorry Richard, I wish I could translate this one for you, as I know your anarchist inner child would get a kick out of it, but it is simply untranslatable. At least it is beyond my capabilities.

  206. fyi says:

    IranPhD says: February 20, 2011 at 2:21 amservations.

    Thank you for your sharing your observations.

    So they are more “Saudi” than Saudis themselves.

    Very interesting – so does that imply that there is only a weak Bahraini a national identity?

  207. Empty says:


    In the previous thread, you had posted a proverb that I haven’t heard. I am interested to know a bit more about it though. Do you have the whole proverb or the story that goes with it? In Farsi would be fine too.

    Presian Gulf,

    In the previous thread, you had posted a link to an analysis of why Ahmadinjejad has stayed out of the whole “fetneh” stuff (which is interesting but I think also has some gaps in its analysis). However, your actual post, I thought, referred to Rafsanjani’s declaration that continued unrest is unacceptable and could be considered forbidden. Could you clarify which ones you were hoping to bring into this post?

  208. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Can we get back on topic please.

    The Israeli press are reporting shootings and chaos in Tehran with a government building being stormed.

    What exactly is the situation in Iran now?

  209. Empty says:

    1. چندین چراغ دارد و بیراهه می رود……بگذار تا که اوفتد و بیند سزای خویش
    Numerous lights leading the right path, yet astray he goes
    Allow him to fall and suffer the consequences of the actions he chose

    2. David Frum’s article (referenced in the post) is devoid of analytical depth and lacks substance. Firstly, it uses national GDPs to make comparisons among several nations. GDPs, by design, do not reflect the reality of what goes on with the masses of people (both socially and economically) especially in cultures with deeply rooted social ties. In fact, they are meant to mask those realities to the extent that is possible and for as long it is possible for the benefit of the financial games and gambles. Just to clarify for those who may not be too familiar with how it works, here is an example. If there is a family of 4 with a household income of, let’s say $40,000 per year. If the family stays within its budget and spends all of the earnings within one year (no borrowing, no credit card debt, etc.), then the family’s contribution to the GDP =$40,000. If the family uses credit cards and purchases $10,000 worth of goods, then the contribution to GDP is calculated to be: $40,000+$10,000 = $50,000 even though, $10,000 doesn’t really exist. If the members eat out (or order in), then the extra money they pay for restaurant services (or food and delivery charges) is calculated as part of GDP. However, if they cook inside (which is usually healthier), then their contribution in the form of “services” will be 0. If they hire a baby sitter (paid services for let’s say $20) for 2 hours, then they have contributed to GDP by $20. However, if grandma or grandpa is keeping the baby and providing tender loving care (better for the baby), the contribution to GDP is 0. This can be extended to all services of all types. If in a given culture extended family and collaborative work among family members and relatives are highly praised and practiced (and even expected), then, by design, GDP cannot be an accurate measure of prosperity and wellbeing of the members of that society. Informal social safety nets that catch those who may fall are never calculated. GDPs are meant to invest on tearing the fabric of a society and shifting the power from the people to nation states through commodification of all human social interactions.

    Secondly, GDPs never make explicit the disparities among people (a significant contributor to social revolutions and uprising). From a statistical perspective, it relies heavily on “averages” (rather than “medians”). For example, if you have 10 families 9 of which make $2 a year and 1 makes $100 a year, then the per family average would be $11 and 80 cents. Nine families are perceived/calculated/speculated to have an income that is 6 times their actual income. National and state economic and social policies are formed and implemented based on that $11.8 speculation. Reality of those 9 families’ lives, their wellbeing and prosperity are altogether another story. Revolutions are made by most of those 9 families based on not only an economic calculation but also the inherent injustice of the set up to which human beings are averse by their, what we call, “fetrat” (or true human nature as intended by God).

    In an earlier post, someone put a breakdown of Bahrain’s population. I haven’t had a chance to review the previous posts completely but if my memory serves me correctly, the breakdown of the population in Bahrain was something like almost half “guest” workers (read modern day slavery) and half local with majority (around 65%?) Shi’a a lot of whom are living in poverty. According to Frum’s article, one of the major contributors to the GDP is “services”. Where, do you think, those services are coming from? And in the times of unrest and insecurity, what is going to happen to contribution to GDP from such “services”?

    Let’s suppose they mobilized their forces and took away Iran, what are they going to do with human nature and for how long?

  210. Neil M says:

    Not being a fan of Mr Frum, nor any neocon, I regard his article as deflective and reflexive reality-creation. The only threat posed to Israel, or US interests is that Iran will retaliate if attacked by either.

    Bibi and Obama are worried that if Egyptians successfully wrest independence from US influence, then the logical route to self-preservation is a military alliance with Iran and Turkey. Such an alliance will have irresistible appeal to other ME nations and the foundations have already been laid. America, under Israeli influence, has already alienated Iran and Israel has managed to successfully alienate Turkey with no outside help.

    It will be difficult for America, and impossible for Israel, to play a constructive role in the unfolding universal suffrage drama being played out in the Middle East. Bibi and Obama will be tempted to move heaven and earth to prevent the emergence of an Egypt for Egyptians state. But it’s too late and they’re too shocked and disorganised to do anything more than bray from the sidelines.

  211. kooshy says:


    “Apparently Iran’s most timely “active neutrality” has put another burden on your hard-earned tax dollars. Where’s a bankruptcy lawyer when one really needs one?”

    Scott Lucas’s funder and finder is on Fareed Zakaria , he is speaking same script about democracy as his clown writes here, sounds he thinks you can’t get good helps these days any more, he himself had to move in and beg for another revolution in Iran, he is even criticizing Obama that he did not help enough, Scott, Soros is angry you may see a pay cut and Pakman may forget about the scholarship he got. Fareed Zakaria said “if Iranian regime collapses this would be a real revolution in middle east” Somebody needs to ask him where has he been in last few months?

  212. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job.

    According to a contact they are required to sign, male workers may not have any contact with Israeli women – including prostitutes, a police spokesman, Rafi Yaffe, said.

    He said there was nothing illegal about the requirement and that no investigation had been opened.


    Lest the slim pickins post-barmitzva get slimmer, one can only assume. As the nasty Austrailians used to say during the war of 1939-45 (in response to pressure from industrialists temporarily to suspend racist immigration laws in order to allow orientals in to meet wartime labor demands), Two Wongs don’t make a White.

    As a Sand Nigger, it makes me wish I lived in the the only democracy in the Middle East, so that I could don a KKK outfit Richard Prior -style (in Blazing Saddles, the film by that marvelous Jew Mel Gibson, I mean Mel Brooks), go up to some rabbis in a hasidic convention, and yell “Where the white women at?”

  213. kooshy says:

    Somebody needs to tell this guy he is two years too late, considering the current US regional and economic impasses why should Iran risk its hard gained credibility for coming close to loosers like US/EU/India, what is in it for Iran?

    US and Iran could become strategic allies – with India’s help

    Tighter sanctions and military threats haven’t swayed Iran over its nuclear program. What the West really needs is genuine rapprochement – the kind that India is especially suited to facilitate.

    By Neil Padukone
    posted February 20, 2011 at 7:05 am EST

    New Delhi —
    The standoff with Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program continues. While Washington is arming its Gulf Arab allies in a process of ‘strategic containment,’ hardliners are seeking tighter sanctions and even military options to coerce Iran into compliance.
    But these options remain untenable. The “Gulf Security Dialogue” simply postpones the inevitable, neglecting Iran’s unconventional strengths. Sanctions antagonize Tehran, while Russia, Turkmenistan, China, and even smugglers fill the void in Iran’s energy sector. Military strikes and sabotage may set-back but not end Iran’s nuclear program, and provoke Iran to take countermeasures like mining the Strait of Hormuz – not to mention the political backlash. Regime change by support for anti-Tehran militant groups only aggravates Iran, while Iran’s democracy movements are calling for civil rights, not government overthrow. And with America trapped in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tehran could easily play spoiler.
    There is a better option: a genuine rapprochement.
    As the US withdraws from Iraq, stability there and in the Levant is contingent on Iranian cooperation. In Afghanistan, more than 70 percent and 40 percent of NATO’s supplies and fuel, respectively, pass through northern Pakistan. This is the only transport link between the Arabian Sea and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in Afghanistan, keeping the West beholden to Islamabad’s every whim and its supplies subject to attack within Pakistan.
    Multiple benefits
    A transport link through Iran would reduce this vulnerability, while easing Islamabad’s own security burden. Coordination with Iran would help bring the Afghan warlords in Tehran’s sphere of influence into the political process, and open up a stable trade route to Central Asia.
    A US-Iran understanding would also distance Iran from China, countering the Chinese “string of pearls” strategy in South and Central Asia – a greater imperative in light of China’s recently inaugurated Turkmenistan-China pipeline and talk of an Iran-Pakistan-China energy link.
    Even Iran would benefit from a US détente. With three million opium users, Iran is the greatest victim of the Afghan opium trade, while the Taliban that threatens the West is similarly anathema to Iran. By partnering with US forces, Iran can direct its influence toward shared strategic aims: countering narcotics trafficking, intelligence cooperation, and stabilizing Afghanistan. The Iranians would also be assured that America would not use Iraq or the Gulf to attack them.
    Iran’s geography, petro-power, and Islamist credentials inevitably empower Tehran. America would only benefit if this influence aligned with its own interests. Engaging Iran also opens up its 77-million-strong population to foreign trade and contact after decades of sanctions, strengthening civil society. A lack of engagement, however, leaves the field open for competitors like China to fill the gap.
    But the biggest obstacle to a détente today is Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
    The US has flanked Iran from the east in Afghanistan, the west in Iraq, the north through US troops in Azerbaijan and Central Asia, and the south via the Gulf States. For the Iranians, the best way to resist a hostile United States is an opaque nuclear program – one that is only likely to come clean when American antagonism is gone.
    But American “overtures” to this end have been half-hearted at best. American support for anti-Tehran groups like Jundallah and the Mujahideen-e-Khalq continue, while military plans and sanctions have always been the go-to option, limiting the political space for a détente. Tack on Iran’s missile tests, and refusal to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or to end belligerency in Iraq, and it’s easy to see why the debilitating stalemate continues.
    How India could help
    Enter India, Washington’s new strategic partner.
    In the 1990s, many saw a burgeoning “New Delhi-Tehran Axis” in India and Iran’s enhanced economic and strategic ties, including shared opposition to the Taliban. But under American pressure after 2005, India repeatedly voted to condemn Iran in the IAEA.
    While failing to coerce Iran, these votes harmed Indo-Iranian relations: Indian plans to expand Iran’s Chabahar Port, connect it to the Indian-built Zaranj-Delaram highway in Afghanistan, and develop Iran’s first liquefied natural gas plant have all fallen by the wayside. Washington even opposed the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) natural gas pipeline, touted as the “peace pipeline” that would unite India and Pakistan, because it would benefit Tehran. Recently, Western pressure brought about the Reserve Bank of India’s largely symbolic decision to prohibit companies from using the Asian Currency Union to pay for Iranian oil – a move that was opposed by Indian business and government ministries.
    Notwithstanding these setbacks, India and Iran share cultural ties that go back millennia, and strategic interests and economics remain strong points of confluence. Both seek an alternative to the Pakistan-backed Taliban in Afghanistan, as well as a new transport line to Central Asia. In 2008, India-Iran trade reached $30 billion, considering third-country intermediaries. In 2009, Iran became the second-largest supplier of crude oil to India, while Indian firms seek to develop Iran’s gas fields, with investments of more than $11 billion over the coming years.
    And despite being one of the world’s largest petroleum producers, Iran lacks a significant refinery infrastructure of its own and depends on imports for over 30 percent of its consumption. By some accounts 40 percent of Iran’s imported gasoline comes from Indian refineries – no insignificant matter. This trade and the leverage it brings are threatened by American sanctions that harm India and accomplish little in the way of pressuring Iran.
    Indian investment in Iranian hydrocarbons and transport infrastructure, along with strategic alignment with both the US and India in Central Asia and elsewhere, would be a powerful incentive for Iran to make its nuclear program transparent. Washington should use New Delhi’s good offices to facilitate a rapprochement with Iran that focuses on mutually beneficial futures, not carrots and sticks.
    Neil Padukone is a strategic affairs analyst and author of “Security in a Complex Era.” He is writing a book on the future of conflict in India.


  214. Reza Esfandiari says:

    It is ironic that the “GREEN REVOLUTION” regime of Colonel Qaddafi (The Libyan flag is just plain green) is fighting its people to remain in power.

    The Green movement in Iran couldn’t have chosen a worse color.

    And, of course, the Saudi flag uses a green background.

    Great! How “Persian” could you get!!!

  215. Unknown Unknowns says:

    First of all, that’s NOT true! I personally heard on the radio our president’s speech (when he was in Rasht) wherein he defended the namuus of the najib women of that progressive metropolis against rumormongers such as yourself. Secondly, with regard to the the visit of the Shaykh from Bahrain, it was not an “anecdote”; dude, I was just reporting a fact that I had heard from a trusted source (Enduring Rasht).

    In all seriousness though, the Sarparast joke is a good one. I laughed out loud so that I had to repeat it to my father to quench his curiosity :o)

  216. Paul: Agreed. With over 300 posts per thread, the site is becoming unworkable. They either need to adjust the software – or make more posts per week in order to decrease the number of posts per thread.

    It’s not THAT difficult to yank out one software and put in another. The Leveretts just need a competent Web master.

    This is like how Matt Yglesias had a broken comment system that wouldn’t take a posted comment in less than three tries. And it stayed that way for the better part of a year before CAP could bother to fix it. That made Yglesias’ site one of the worst on the Internet.

  217. Voice of Tehran says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    February 20, 2011 at 8:08 am

    In addition to your Rashti anecdote ( with all due respect to our commentators in Rasht )
    Q:”Why could the subsidy cut plan not be implemented in Rasht ?”
    A:” Because the head of the family ( Sarpareste Khanvadeh ) cannot be determined”

  218. Kooshy: From the article: “It is not yet clear what Obama will try to get from Netanyahu in return…”

    Doesn’t matter. He won’t get anything. Netanyahu knows Obama is, as the hackers say, pwned (owned). As Alan Hart says in an blog post today, Obama should be impeached over that vote as it clearly represents treason against the US’ interests.

    Netanyahu can now do anything he wants and Obama won’t say “boo” between now and election day 2012.

  219. Unknown Unknowns says:

    “Israel takes a grave view of this Iranian step,” Netanyahu said adding Israel will be required to boost defense spending as a result of recent events in the region and Tehran’s decision to dispatch two warships to Syria, Haaretz reported.

    Apparently Iran’s most timely “active neutrality” has put another burden on your hard-earned tax dollars. Where’s a bankruptcy lawyer when one really needs one?

  220. Nahid: Now how the hell did I miss your post before posting mine? Too early in in the morning, methinks.

  221. Those two warships finally made it through the Suez Canal.

    Iran Navy Ships Enter Mediterranean

  222. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Nahid Khanum:

    Thank you for your kind sentiment. I will have to decline “for personal reasons” but don’t worry, there will be enough clowns throwing their hat in the ring of that circus, so that my absence will not be felt :D

  223. nahid says:

    Unknown Unknowns for next president of Iran !!!!!!!!

  224. Unknown Unknowns says:

    1. I’m sorry to have been the one to have been nominated to inform you, but besides the fact that the suffix takes away from the august and majestic prefix of your handle, I have been told to assure you that no one here gives a shit about your PhD. Kindly jettison it forthwith.
    2. Bahrain was never a “colony” of Iran. It was Bahrain’s privilige to be one of her provinces, and it is to her (eternal?) detriment to have had that umbilicus of succor severed by alien powers a few years ago.
    3. Other than that, your reminder about the Bahraini football team’s shameful behavior is a timely one, and “ahlan wa sahlan” to you, as the Bahraini shaykh said to his Rashti friend (to which the latter replied, “Bwandeh ke khayr, vali khanum ham ahlan o ham sahlan”.)

  225. nahid says:

    گل در ديدار با احمدي نژاد به وي مي گويد:‌‌ هم اكنون بخشي از مردم به خيابان ها و ميادين مركزي تهران آمده و خواستار تغييرات دموكراتيك در كشورشما هستند. احمدی نژاد هم پاسخ می دهد: دو روز پیش را هم باید می دیدید.

  226. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    More news from the real world:

    On the issue of probable official US support for munafeqin: One of the greatest strategic victories for the Islamic Republic in the last 32 years.

  227. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    News from the real world:

    Iranian navy ships steaming towards the Suez Canal to go spend some beautiful months in Syria (via Jeddah). That’s what the real fuss is all about (and has been since the 19th century).


  228. IranPhD says:

    I’m sorry, but your understanding of Bahraini Shiites is waaaaay off base. Bahraini’s, essentially a former colony of Iran’s, have a long rivalry with Iranians. Affinities are not as simple as fitting people into some convenient Orientalist typology according to categories like Shiite or Sunni. If you don’t believe me, one indicator would be to look at the way the Bahraini football fans (and the team itself, which was comprised of Shiite and Sunni players) carried the Saudi flag around the stadium in a fit of joy after knocking Iran out of the World Cup.

  229. Voice of Tehran says:

    Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says crimes committed by the global arrogance against humanity are unprecedented throughout the entire history.


    …””While the Palestinian nation did not have any role in the World War II, they (the Zionists) occupied their land by spreading fraudulent propaganda and took people from other parts of the world to Palestine and bring about the destitute of the native people,” he further explained.

    “Within 65 years, [the global arrogance] imposed 5 heavy wars to the [Middle East] region … and used non-conventional bombs, killed women and children and in front of cameras demolished people’s homes over their heads,” President Ahmadinejad went on to say.

    But “the organizers of those crimes receive Nobel Prizes,” he pointed out.

    The super powers “dominated an economic system that plundered the world thousands of times more than what happened throughout the whole history,” the Iranian chief executive noted””…

  230. Paul says:

    This site needs a forum. The current system of people commenting on blog posts has gotten out of hand. Hundreds of comments per posting. A handful who are active and post under real names or fixed IDs. Another group who comes in and leaves and uses multiple IDs.

    Just put up a forum and categorize as

    – Iran: Economics
    – Iran: Politics
    – US-Iran Relations
    – Arab-Iran Relations
    – Israel, Palestinians, and Iran
    etc …

  231. fyi says:

    K. Voorhees says: February 20, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Further to your point:

    2002 Gallup Poll of the Arab and Islamic world:

    By 61 percent to18 percent, Pakistanis, Lebanese, Kuwaitis, Iranians and Turks do not believe our word that Arabs were responsible for Sept. 11.

    Only 9 percent of the Arab and Islamic world believes the U.S. war in Afghanistan is morally justified.

    Only 11 percent likes President Bush.

    By 55 percent to 22 percent, the world’s 1 billion Muslims hold unfavorable opinions of the United States.

    The most negative views are held by Pakistanis (68 percent to 9 percent) and Jordanians (62 percent to 22 percent).

    Among Saudis, 16 percent has a favorable opinion of America, but 64 percent views us negatively, which is almost identical to the unfavorable opinion of America held by Iranians.

  232. fyi says:

    K. Voorhees says: February 20, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Accept the HAMAS Cease-Fire deal.

    Leave Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Stop threatening war with Iran.

  233. K. Voorhees says:

    In 2006, Pew Research polled Muslim countries about whether they believed the official US government story about the 9/11 attacks. Pew found strong majorities did not believe the story. 65% in Indonesia, 59% in Turkey, 59% in Egypt, etc. do not believe that Arabs did 9/11, a story for which the US government has never bothered to show the world any evidence. Muslims know knows about “confessions” from mentality challenged people who were waterboarded 100 times and the “found” video of a 300 lb. Osama bin Laden chuckling about how he planned the attacks. Those things work pretty good with Americans primed to hate Muslims. With Muslims, not so much.


    If anything, the percentages not believing the US government must have gotten higher in the years since that survey was done as US imprisoning, bombing, killing Muslims has continued. We are really out on a limb with the Muslim world. What is our hope besides brutal repression?

  234. kooshy says:

    As one American tax payer, I am not too worried at all, since I know we have Professor Scott Lucas and his scholarship pupil Pakman. Our own Scott, in his good offices (shop) that is founded by our good philanthropist the honorable king of color revolutions none other than the legendary George Soros, I am very sure will utilizing our very capable Department of Damage Control and will overcome and will push back the Iranians against gaining any traction for these so called democracy uprising in the Middle East (greater Israel)

    Soon I can see our current president Barak Hussein Obama telling our first president George Washington “Assodeh Bekhab Ma Bydarem”
    Scott, have Pakman, to translate that one to find out what I mean you may not want to agree.

  235. fyi says:


    Mr. Frum, a Canadian and a Jewish Partisan of Israel, is an enemy of Islamic Iran – no doubt.

    Here is Ms. Dunn’s more accurate and detailed picture of what is going on in Bahrain; Iran is not a consideration.

    This is not about Iran.

    The Deep Roots of Bahrain’s Unrest
    Michele Dunne

    Commentary, February 18, 2010

    Watching anti-government protests flare in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, the question that arises is not why this happened now but why it took this long. Tensions have been rising dangerously in the country for at least the last six months, and were building for several years before that. The ruling Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa family has cracked down on the opposition and carried out a provocative plan to shift the country’s demographic balance away from the current 70 percent Shi’i majority, while ignoring reasonable demands from opposition groups to give the elected parliament more power. Now, in a climate of regional unrest and with the government’s use of brute force against peaceful demonstrators, demands have risen to no less than the removal of the monarchy.

    The main demand of the Bahraini opposition is longstanding and clear: the devolution of some power from the palace to the elected parliament. This demand gets to the heart of political grievances throughout the Middle East, where until last month nearly every country was ruled by an executive—whether monarch or president—who was not accountable via the ballot box and had an elected parliament with little real power.

    When King Hamad came to power in 1999, he promulgated a National Action Charter that appeared to promise significant political reforms and gained widespread public approval, including from al-Wefaq, a political society enjoying broad Shi’i support. He also created expectations of a new era of Shi’i-Sunni cooperation after decades of tension. The resulting 2002 constitution, however, gave the elected lower house of parliament fewer powers than that of the appointed upper house—and fewer than it had enjoyed in the 1970s, before it was dissolved in 1975. Nonetheless, Hamad pursued good relations with al-Wefaq and the Shi’i community, allowing greater freedom for press and civil society and releasing political prisoners. He persuaded al-Wefaq to participate in November 2006 legislative elections, in which it won 17 of 40 parliamentary seats in a vote with little transparency and reports of irregularities.

    By the time the moderate al-Wefaq movement decided to participate in formal politics, however, it was already being undermined by developments in the country. An alleged Bahraini government report leaked to the press in September 2006 spelled out a plan to undermine Shi’i interests in the country and to tilt the demographic balance of the tiny kingdom (the population is under one million and half of this is made up by expatriate workers) in favor of Sunnis. Since then, opposition activists have described a palace-driven initiative to extend Bahraini nationality to non-Bahraini Sunni Muslims, many of them from Iraq or Syria. Nationality in such cases reportedly comes with a package of incentives, including housing and government employment, often in the security services. While Bahraini government officials stoutly deny that such a program exists, the growth in population they report seems unlikely without such measures.

    Although its protests about the nationalization program fell on deaf ears in the Bahraini government, al-Wefaq remained in parliament and pressed for revision of the constitution and measures to address corruption—all to little avail. Meanwhile, beginning in 2005, a new Shi’i political movement named Haqq was founded and began drawing public support away from al-Wefaq, accusing the group of compromising its values by participating in rigged and meaningless politics.

    The most recent government provocation was the August 2010 arrest of 25 key figures from Haqq and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, including the well-known activist Abdel Jalil Singace. The group has been detained under an anti-terrorism statute and the prisoners were denied access to counsel for several months. The government has refused all entreaties from al-Wefaq and international human rights groups for their release. And while they continue to await trial, the lack of transparency surrounding the case makes it difficult to evaluate the vague terrorism charges they face.

    Under these circumstances, with a king who shows diminishing care for relations with his Shi’i subjects and an unpopular prime minister, Khalifa Salman al-Khalifa, in office since the country gained independence in 1971, the current protests are a surprise only to those who have paid no attention to political affairs in Bahrain. Unfortunately, this was the case with U.S. officials until last week. Secretary Clinton’s assessment of the country’s reform picture as a “glass half full” in December 2010 now needs some explanation. Far from being an anomaly, however, her comment continued a pattern of U.S. officials giving the Bahraini government more credit than it deserved. President George W. Bush, for example, in January 2008 praised King Hamad for “providing hope for people through democracy” and holding “free elections,” although problems with the 2006 polls were well known.

    In view of the lethal force used against peaceful demonstrators in Manama, al-Wefaq suspended its membership in parliament February 17. Amid international criticism, Crown Prince Salman offered on February 18 to start a national dialogue on all issues.

    Is there still time for King Hamad to make significant but incomplete concessions—agreeing to revise the constitution and give more power to the elected parliament—and end the current unrest? Perhaps, but not much. Protestors’ demands have already escalated to include the removal of Hamad and the prime minister. If demonstrations build and government troops continue to use lethal force, protestors will reach a point of no return where compromise is impossible and the options left are a brutal crackdown or overthrow of the monarchy. Even if demonstrations die down now, they will be back at some point. Bahrain’s long-festering political problems are its very own—they are not inspired by Iran or any other outside power—and they will keep resurfacing until they are resolved one way or another.

  236. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari says: February 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    They are not idiots.

    They are used to cost-free solutions that have been considered winnings.

    Furthermore, like leaders of General Motors, they have lost sight of their purpose.

    Lastly, you cannot claim to know the interests of the United States better than their elected representatives.

    I used to cringe at the kind of foolish men who had been elected to Majlis.

    US, it turns out, is not much different.

    There are people with more and better educational credentials but without the sagacity and the wisdom to rule.

    See how they sold their jobs abroad for 25 years to fund their standard of living?

    People and countries learn through trial and error; theoretical discussions based on the expertise of subject matter experts will not engage arrogant office-holders (like those in Islamic Iran). Specially in a narcistic culture like the United States.

    In my previous posting I enumerated the areas of attention and activity for the United States in the Middle East. It is claer to me that the major thrust of US Grand Strategy against Islamic Iran cannot be pursued at this moment in time.

    This buys Iran some time to entrench herself and her allies much more in Iraq and in Lebanon. It gives her the opportunity to cosy-up to Pakistan and peneterate that state more in the anticipation of revolution. It gives her a heads-up on how to deal with post-US Afghanistan [perhaps creatibg a de facto partition of that country – which would be fine with Russia and the Central Asian states).

    On the propaganda front, look for Iranians to harp much more aggressively on Palestine, on US duplicity in enabling land theft by Israelis, etc.

    We are looking, in my opinion, to almost a decade or more of confrontation between US and Iran.

    The Hidden Imam or the Unknown and Unknowable Powers of the Cosmos, seem to have favored the Islamic Republic of Iran so far.

  237. fyi says:

    Mr. Obama is trying to play the best hand it can. One cannot fault him for doing what he thinks to be in the best for in the United States.

    Furthermore, he knows that no improvement with Iran is possible. Not in this term and not in his second term. US has nothing to lose by pushing against Iran. De-listing the MEK from the terrorism, the continued propaganda war against Iran, new adventures in Baluchistan – per General Gul – are all part and parcel of the same strategy.

    What Mr. Obama is doing also dove-tails very nicely with the US Grand Strategy that requires the destruction of Islamic Iran.

    [If you listen to the entire interview of General Gul, you will also notice that he is implying that US assasins are operating in Pakistan and they are de-stablizing Pakistan. In fact, he accuses US for the assasination of the late Ms. Benazir Bhutto.]

    So here is what I see:

    1- Instability or threat thereof in North Africa (specially among US allies)
    2- Instability or threat thereof in the Persian Gulf among US allies
    3- Instability or threat thereof in Jordan
    3- Veto condoning Israeli land-grab in Palestine
    4- War going futilely in Afghanistan
    5- Pakistan; could go off – with over 60% of the population hating US
    6- Anti-Iran operations launched from Pakistan’s Baluchistan.
    7- Continued pressure against Iran in all international fora
    8- Continued deterioration in domestic US economy

    I am deeply skeptical that all these moving parts could be kept humming.

    But they are going to try, aren’t they?

  238. fyi says:


    Retired Gen Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency, states that US and UK operatives are active in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, likely for operations against Iran.

    It is at 36:00 minutes through the interview, dated Feb. 9/2011


  239. Reza Esfandiari says:

    The Washington establishment are idiots.

    They are bringing ruin upon themselves and the world.

  240. kooshy says:

    Egypt is no longer committed to an alliance with Israel against Iran

    There is growing concern in Israel that Egypt will become a hostile front, adding to the feeling of international isolation which has only intensified since Benjamin
    Netanyahu became prime minister.

    By Aluf Benn

    A year and a half ago, an Israel Navy submarine crossed the Suez Canal on its way from Haifa to the Red Sea, where it conducted an exercise, and back. The unusual voyage reflected the growing strategic cooperation between Israel and Egypt, which aimed a menacing message at Iran. The submarine’s crossing of the waterway demonstrated how quickly Israel could deploy its deterrent near Iran’s shores, with the tacit support of Egypt.

    Once more, the canal is being used to deliver a message of deterrence – but this time the direction is reversed. Egypt is allowing Iranian warships to cross the canal, on their way to Syrian ports. Israel was publicly critical of the passage – arguing that it is a provocative move – but Egypt ignored the pressures and granted the Iranian navy permission to pass, symbolizing the change to the regional balance of power following the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

    Egypt is signaling that it is no longer committed to its strategic alliance with Israel against Iran, and that Cairo is now willing to do business with Tehran. This is precisely what Turkey has done in recent years under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Since the uprising against Mubarak, the cold peace between Egypt and Israel has cooled even further. The delivery of natural gas to Israel, which was cut off after a terrorist attack on a station in northern Sinai, has still not been resumed.

    Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi returned to Cairo after decades in exile and addressed a million strong crowd in Tahrir Square on Friday, calling for the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the upcoming victory against Israel. In the past, the sheikh had expressed support for suicide attacks against Israelis and two years ago described the Holocaust as “God’s punishment of the Jews.”

    The appearance of the Islamist firebrand in the square has returned hatred for Israel to the center of the public debate over Egypt’s future. Until now, the argument was that the revolution concerned domestic matters, not Egypt’s relations with the United States or Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood has also been trying to send messages of moderation to the West, but this is hardly comforting.

    There is growing concern in Israel that Egypt will become a hostile front, adding to the feeling of international isolation which has only intensified since Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister. The recent vote at the UN Security Council over the Palestinian resolution to label the settlements as illegal only increased this sense of isolation. With 14 states supporting this measure, Israel needed an American veto to foil it.

    The Palestinians may have lost that vote, but the issue demonstrated which side in the conflict enjoys widespread international recognition.

    Bolstered with Congressional support, Netanyahu forced U.S. President Barack Obama into the veto – which he had avoided using to date. The Americans argued that internationalization of the conflict cannot replace direct negotiations, and that forced decisions will only result in parties taking up more extreme positions.

    It is not yet clear what Obama will try to get from Netanyahu in return: a plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories, or acceptance of an American peace plan. The U.S. president will argue that Washington needs to bolster its credibility in the Arab world and that Israel must contribute its lot to ensure that the new regimes in the area are friendly.

    Now that Labor has been kicked out of the coalition, the government is breaking to the right. In the coming weeks, Netanyahu will have to maneuver between the threats issued by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and international pressure. Having lost his friend Mubarak, this will be even more difficult than in the past.