Dissecting America’s Iran Debate: Flynt Leverett on “Conversations from Penn State”

 

 

WPSU, Penn State’s public broadcasting station, did a thoughtful interview with Flynt about our book for its “Conversations from Penn State” series, which was broadcast last night and is now available online.  The discussion delves into an array of topics, including

–our motives for writing Going to Tehran;

–the highly polarized reaction to it;

–the strategic and moral imperative of preventing a U.S.-initiated war against the Islamic Republic;

–Iran’s right to enrich uranium under international safeguards, and Israel’s bogus “red lines” for Iranian nuclear development;

–the myths and cultural blinders that warp American views of the Islamic Republic;

–the George W. Bush administration’s efforts to censor our criticism of U.S policy;

–how Obama’s Iran policy is, in some ways, worse than Bush’s; and  

–why “Nixon to China”-style rapprochement with the Islamic Republic is the only way for the United States to avoid strategic disaster in the Middle East.    

The half-hour episode, also titled “Going to Tehran,” is available on You Tube, see here, and on WPSU’s Web site, see here (with about 15 minutes of additional discussion).  We encourage everyone to take a look.      

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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102 Responses to “Dissecting America’s Iran Debate: Flynt Leverett on “Conversations from Penn State””

  1. jay says:

    From last thread – related to unfolding events in Syria-Lebanon-Israel
    Russian response will be an indicator of Putin-Obama back-channel deal in the past two weeks.

    One view that contextualizes the unfolding events in Syria (read link below):

    Two highlights:

    Begin quote 1—
    Richard Ottaway, a British MP from William Hague’s own British Conservative Party and the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the British House of Commons, announced that he believed that Hague’s announcement was tied to British plans to openly intervene in Syria as a means of “undermining” the foreign jihadists. In Orwellian terms, the foreign fighters are being used as a pretext to further arm the anti-government forces in Syria.
    End quote 1—

    Begin quote 2—
    The Telegraph in London, in what comes across as triumphant language by Jake Wallis Simons, would comment that the call to arms by Al-Qaradawi were the signals that a new alliance of interests was forming between the forces that the Arab Spring was bringing into power, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and the West against an axis formed by Russia, Iran, and China. Simons would also point out that implicitly Israel too was a part of this new alliance against Moscow, Tehran, and Beijing. This would explain why the Israelis were caught spying on the Russian vessels in Tartus.
    End quote 2—

    http://rt.com/op-edge/european-union-mcjihad-syria-802/

  2. James Canning says:

    Bravo, Flynt.

  3. aletho says:

    What forces the US serial destruction of Israel’s potential foes?

    Cynthia McKinney: Israel Lobby shaping US policy

    By Cynthia McKinney | April 29, 2013

    It is fitting that on the same day as this headline appeared, “Pro-Israeli US lawmakers urge bombing Syria air bases, arming militants, invasion” I delivered the following remarks to the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine:

    http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/cynthia-mckinney-israel-lobby-shaping-us-policy/

  4. Don Bacon says:

    All good, but forget attack. There will be no attack on Iran.

    First, the UN would have to be warned to remove all inspectors, as in Iraq. That would be an alert for Iran.
    All US warships would have to be removed from the Persian Gulf to positions at least 50 miles south in the Arabian Sea. They are sitting ducks for cruise missiles in the Gulf. Another alert notice.
    Ships are movable, land facilities are not. They are all soft targets for Iran’s extensive arsenal of missiles.
    – al-Minhad air base in Dubai, UAE
    – Fifth Fleet HQ – Bahrain
    – Kuwait, three bases, 15,000 US troops,, including a couple of brigade combat teams and a combat aviation brigade.
    – Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, forward HQ of US Central Command
    – Overall in the region there are reportedly 40,000 American servicemen.

    And then there are other soft targets for Iran and its ally Hezbollah, in Iraq, Israel and Afghanistan.

    Forget an attack. US/Israel threaten attack to take the focus off of the Israel rape of Palestine, and for other reasons.

  5. fy says:

    Don Bacon says:
    May 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I agree.

    Current US policy is akin to that of US against the Empire of Japan.

    I think the idea is to cause Iranians to do something stupid; like the late General Tojo.

    Right now, no major container shipping line is stopping at Iranian ports; one has to go through intermediaries.

    Likewise, the American Block has extended and intensified its industrial embargo against Iran; just like Japan in 1930 – forcing Iranians to develop their industry to address the shortage caused by the embargo.

  6. Fiorangela says:

    aletho says: May 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    from the Aletho website:
    “The legacy of Manifest Destiny and the belief in white American superiority effects and infects every policy discussion in this nation. The equation of goodness and rightness with white America holds sway very strongly and sadly not just for white people either. The willingness to see white behavior as normative means that foreign policy decisions get a pass precisely at the moment when resistance and skepticism are needed.

    No, Barack Obama isn’t white, but he may as well be. He is president precisely because he assured voters that he would not change the complexion of their belief systems. If he didn’t fulfill the deeply ingrained belief that might makes right as long as America, a country thought of as white, is in charge of world affairs, he would never have become the president.”

    —-
    https://vimeo.com/6032283
    alan hart interviews Alistair Crooke, former MI6, who, in 2004, created Conflicts Forum based in Beirut.

    Hart: after 9/11, Americans asked, why do they hate us? Why do arabs & muslims hate us? Bush was so intent on pursuing the war he never stopped to aske the question, or answer it.

    {{{nb Mike Hayden never even asked for evidence re who did it. }}}

    Crooke: policies of the usa then and subsequently have caused enormous anger – Palestine, iraq, iran, Afghanistan. Enormous sense of real anger that people have become victims of American policy. But it’s far deeper; it’s the way in which the west and particularly the United States has acquired a mindset of domination; of treating not only human beings but nature itself as objects to be controlled and dissected and used for purposes.
    This is a new racialism; a racialism of civilization; a hierarchy of civilizations in which the west sees its civilization, its institutions as the most appropriate ones for the future. Its institutions, its sociological organizational principle; its, if you like, economic principles as clearly more advanced and the template that should be imposed on others.

    And I think it is a sense of this mindset that implies – a hierarchy of civilization. And if people talk about legitimacy and if you speak to someone, you’re granting legitimacy to that group, whether it’s Hamas or Hezbollah, stems from the idea of a hierarchy of civilizations where, if the top of the hierarchy condescends to speak to a lesser civilization, or an Islamic movement, then somehow they’re granting legitimacy on them.

    So I think that there is beneath this, in a deep sense, a concern and anger at a mindset, an approach, a vision.

    Hart: it’s not just the policies, which includes the double-standard policy, Zionism right or wrong; it’s not just that – while they are true, it’s the values.

    Crooke: Right; it is the values, and I know that people frequently say that it’s not a matter of values but it IS , and Islamist movements and generally Muslims throughout the region would say that it’s about returning to a sense of human values. And that what has got lost in the west is the sense of innate human values, and that what we see is the policies that reflect, if you like, a dehumanization of the human being.

    Hart: I often think & say on public platforms is the name of the game for us ordinary citizens is to claim back our humanity. Are you saying that that’s a large part of islam of today?

    Crooke: Yes, it’s very much at the center; it’s putting the human being back – I think – I had a talk with a friend in Tehran, an eminent cleric and a sheik, who said, The west’s greatest transgression – this was after 9/11, after Iraq and all that had happened, is what they have done to the human being, the dehumanization of the human being, and the removal of the human being from the center of gravity. And the removal of human values, and the capsizing of the west into a system that is dehumanizing in both its organizational aspect but also in its politics and the way it approaches other civilizations and other societies. ”

    - – - -
    from, <a href = "http://mondoweiss.net/2013/04/discourse-solution-finally.html#comment-559963&quot; When will the discourse of the ‘two state solution’ finally change? by Joseph Glatzer:

    1. Israel is a Settler Colony just like the USA, Australia, Canada & New Zealand are settler colonies. Israel is a settler colony like Southern Rhodesia and South Africa were settler colonies until they were decolonized.
    “We must expel Arabs and take their place.” – David Ben Gurion letter to his son, 1937

    Settler-colonialism means creating a new polity on top of people who are already there. These unfortunate parasites in the way need to be eliminated through either ethnic cleansing (chasing the natives away) or genocide (exterminating the natives) or a combination of both strategies. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, aka the Nakba of 1947-1949, helped Israel to accomplish their goal of founding their settler-colony.

    As the editors of the excellent Jadaliyya state:

    “Second, we were perplexed by the ongoing application of ever-newer theoretical approaches that seek to understand the constantly shifting situation on the ground: we feel that, taken together, these discrete approaches tend to undermine holistic, structural analysis. The framework of comparative settler colonialism offers important insights and interventions that, while not all new, provide productive scaffolding for thinking about Palestine. Comparative settler colonialism rejects the exceptionalism that is ascribed to Zionism and Israel, and to Palestine and Palestinians, and it opens the situation to comparison with other contemporary and historical settler colonial cases.”

    Every Palestinian activist must internalize this crucial fact from which everything else follows. The discourse of settler-colonialism is integral to our understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

    2. If in the mid-1800’s, an American settler sought to be an advocate of Native Americans, yet refused to disassociate himself from the settler colonial ideology of Manifest Destiny, no Native American (or Mexican) in their right mind would have considered them an ally.

    The “two state solution” is based on the racial-separatist logic of partition and is inextricably linked to the ideology of Zionism. I don’t think its advocates are effective allies for justice today.

    3. A settler colony has never fully abided by any treaty it has signed.

    To my knowledge, there has never been a settler-colony which has fully respected a treaty it has signed with indigenous people, and probably few which have even partially respected one. Placing Israel within the context of settler-colonialism allows us to make a useful comparison to American history. It shows us that the “peace process” and the “two state solution” would be just a modern-day example of the treaties the American government signed with the First Nations peoples of what is now the USA.”

    - – - -
    CONTRAST:

    “Iam Cyrus, King of the globe, great king, mighty king, King of Babylon, king of the land of Sumer and Akad, King of ……, king of the four quarters of Earth, son of Cambysis (Kambujiye), great king, king of Anshan, grandson of Cyrus (Kurosh), great king, king of Anshan, descendant of Teispes (Chaish Pish), great king, king of Anshan, progeny of an unending royal line, whose rule, The Gods, Bel and Nabu cherish, whose kingship they desire for their hearts’ and pleasures.

    When I well disposed, entered Babylon, I had established the seat of government in the royal palace of the ruler, amidst jubilation and rejoicing. Marduk the great god, induced the magnanimous inhabitants of Babylon to love me, and I sought daily to worship him when my numerous soldiers in great numbers peacefully entered Babylon and moved about undisturbed in the midst of the Babylon, I did not allow anyone to terrorize the people of the lands of Sumer and Akad and …… I kept in view, the needs of the people and all their sanctuaries to promote their well being. I strove for peace in Babylon and in all his other sacred cities. As to the inhabitants of Babylon who against the will of the gods were enslaved, I abolished the corvee which was against their social standing, I freed all slaves. I brought relief to their dilapidated housing, putting thus an end to their misfortunes and slavery Marduk, the great lord, was well pleased with my deeds, rejoiced and to me, Cyrus, the king who worshipped him, and to Cambysis, my son, the offspring of my loins, and to all my troops he graciously gave his blessing, and in good sprit, before him we stood peacefully and praised him joyously.”

    - – - -

    I finished reading “The Journey of Crazy Horse” on a recent trip that included a conference in New York, and visit to the Freer Gallery in Washington, DC where the Cyrus Cylinder was on display. It happened that Giandomenico Picco was in the audience at the conference, and in the Q and A segment, he told of his harrowing experience negotiating for release of hostages in Lebanon. He was blindfolded and placed in the back of a car to that negotiation. The effort succeeded, however, because he had spoken with Akbar Rafsanjani beforehand, and Rafsanjani kept his word.

    - – -
    What if the American continents had been “discovered” by Persians of Cyrus’s imperial style, rather than the colonial style of western Europeans? What would American culture look like today? How different would be the lives of the heirs of Crazy Horse? Would the millions of migrants to the lands of Crazy Horse and the other indigenous tribes have kept THEIR words in treaties they made?

    Regarding Joseph Galtzer’s study of Israeli colonization of Palestine, does Israel imitate the USA? What is the source of the United States’ ‘manifest destiny’ ideology and style of colonizing? I submit that both Israel and the USA derive their ideology from Hebrew scripture/mythos; that the Iranian mythos is radically different, deriving from history as ancient as Cyrus and a pre-Abrahamic ethical sense articulated by Zoroaster.

  7. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Don,
    Thanks for a little reality.

    fyi,
    Of course historically the majority of Arabs didn’t follow Ali (as). My question was do you simply consider this a historical matter or something more than this?

    My view is that in addition to it being a historical matter it is more than that- and that’s the difference that makes the difference.

    I would argue that the root of the Saudi “counter-revolution” we are witnessing today, is the existential fear of the rulers that Arabs- not Ajamis or Hindis or Turks- hear about the Islam of Ahlul Bayt (as) and Ali (as)- like they have in Lebanon and Iraq and Bahrain.

    Just as in the beginning, Ali (as) and the Islam of Ahlul Bayt is the greatest threat to their family business.

    In the words of Gabriel (as): “La saif illa Dh-ul Fiqar, la fatta illa Ali”

    James,
    I’m not suggesting anything, simply pointing out that a UK blockade of Iran will have natural consequences for the UK.

    Tell that to your chums next time you’re having dinner at the club.

  8. nico says:

    Don Bacon says:
    May 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I partially agree.
    The US are not in a position to attack Iran in a conventional fashion.
    However the situation could spin out of control, with an incident, an accidental cross fire, or a blockade.

    It that case the US nuking Iran is much likely.

  9. Karl.. says:

    Whole arab world is silent when Israel bomb another arab-state..Quite pathetic.

    There is also news that Israel/UAE/Turkey/Saudi/Qatar now officially going to set up an anti-iranian-alliance.

  10. nico says:

    Fyi,

    You answered to my previous question from muslim perspective, while I asked an opinion from western moral perspective.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/you-are-the-hope/5333734

    “The US Constitution is the product of 900 years of human efforts to restrain brutal government and to make government subject to law. It only took Bush and Obama eleven years to get rid of it.”

    As stated by Mr Leverett in this video, the main issue is the US constituencies consensus to pursue tyranical, barbaric and backward policies after the end of the cold war.
    That brought regression to the US constitution, western rule of law as well as international laws and moral principles.

    Worse, tye west avoided to manage their systemic economic issues.

    It could be argued that the west has not much of a choice right now.
    Actually the neo liberal economic policies implemented from the 70′ are bringing the western economic structure to collapse.
    In addition, the world population growth coupled with the economic awakening of countries like China, natural ressources depletion and the ecologic wall in sight bring the world as we know it to an end.

    However, the US had two options after the collapse of the soviets.
    The first one was to stick to moral principles with heavy investments in infrastructure and technology and the slow adjustment of US citizens way of life and living standard to a more sustainable form.

    While the other option that had been ekected by the US was the squandering trillions in useless military hardware and exhausting their political will and credit in impreialist, agressive and dominant adventures.
    That was truly a course to nowhere.

    Now after more than 20 years of bad decisions, there will be an heavy price to pay.
    There is no way out of the current situation for the west anymore.
    Heavy losses and brutal adjustments are to be expected for the west.

    Under such circumstances, the way the crisis will be lanaged is essential.
    Will it lead world war or peacefull settlement ? That is the question.

    Iran is caught for the moment in this overall situation.
    The US are only managing day by day.
    The issue being, there is no solution for a better economic future.
    The current inferior western polticians do not have the gut to manage that and by pushing it in the future it will make only be worse and the adjustment the more brutal.

  11. nico says:

    Fy,

    “Likewise, the American Block has extended and intensified its industrial embargo against Iran; just like Japan in 1930″

    Exactly, and it ended up with”little boy”.

  12. fy says:

    nico says:
    May 5, 2013 at 7:54 am

    There are many Western view points.

    There is one articulated by Saint Thomas of Aquinas on War:

    That is must be for Just Cause, that it must be declared by Legitimate Authority, that the Legitimate Authority must be Just as well, and that the war must be defensive in nature. Nevertheless, in all instances, War is Sinful.

    On the other hand, Machiavelli and other non-religious thinkers assumed that that the object of state craft is increase in the power of the state (Prince) and war is only another instrument for enhancing the power of the state or the King/Prince.

    Historically, Machiavelli was the supreme empiricist and his conclusions and recommendation comport with the historical experiences of mankind everywhere, including Muslim Kingdoms.

    Christians (and the Rabbis) before them rejected Rome, the Roman Empire for what it was: a Godless state trying to feed the insatiable appetite for power that is inside every human being.

    They – the Christians – rejected earthly kings by elevating Jesus to be the Heavenly King and Mary the Queen of Heaven. That is why in Catholic and Orthodox Churches you see so much of the imagery of Jesus & Mary as Royal Persons. That only they are the Just & Legitimate Authority, on Earth as in Heaven.

    [The Shia also rejected the earthly kings and their rejectionist position against all earthly authority is symbolized very plainly in the Shia Shrines. They are not mausoleums; rather they are the (Royal) Courts of the Rightful and Just Princes and Princesses of this and the other worlds. In fact, the Persian word used for describing them "bar-gah" - is one also used for designating royal courts of earthly rulers. And the entire approach to the inner shrines of the Shia is like one of approaching an exalted Prince or Princess.]

    More than 120 years ago, Americans decided to go the path of the empire – a sinful project. Preaching and admonition is not going to get them to alter their course. Like all previous empires in history, theirs also must experience defeat and decay before the world is rid of it – until some one else, somewhere else, some other time, starts a new empire project.

    Men cannot build a peaceful Utopia, that much seems to be clear from the histories of the last 3000 years.

  13. nico says:

    fy says:
    May 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Thanks for the reply and your insightful comments.

    I have 2 remarks about that.
    First what about the international laws and the western experiences over tge last 2 hundred years.
    Through slavery, world war, cold war and colonialism and emancipation that followed.
    You seem to dismiss those events, the global intellectual construct supporting emancipation trough that time and the international laws born out of them.

    Second your point of view is quite cynical.
    The underlying assumption being that human social contructs and civilization cannot and shall not improve.
    While I concur that human are not perfect, I believe there is some incremental absolute improvement.
    Otherwise you could as well go as far as understand such things as cannibalism, slavery or human sacrifice.

  14. fy says:

    Fiorangela says:
    May 5, 2013 at 1:29 am

    A valiant effort to understand the tyranny of ideas – ancient and modern – on the minds of men (and thus on their actions).

    You are quite right about Zoroaster; 8600 years ago he delivered the message of the Wise Lord and caused the transition to agriculture.

    It is interesting that in the Old Testament, God accepts the sacrificial offering or hunter but not that of the farmer; clearly the message of the Wise Lord had not yet penetrated the consciousness of the chroniclers when those passages were written down.

    I think the ideas of the Manifest Destiny etc. had existed among the settlers in the Northeastern corner of the United States for the longest time but it took the triumph of the North over the South to cause them to become dominant and dominating.

    I would not read much into what Mr. Crooke has been told by his interlocutor in Tehran; one can read the book: “Travelogue of Ibrahim Beg” to learn of the depths of depravity, squalor, poverty of mind and spirit that prevailed in Iran at the time.

    These critiques of the Western Civilization would have been more credible if they had succeeded in putting something better – or at least equally attractive in place. They have not.

    The fact remains that a Muslim is safe in his property, in his person, and in the honor of his womenfolk (namus) only in US, Canada, New Zealand, UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Australia, and Switzerland – now in their post-Christian phase – than anywhere else in the world.

    It is quite clear that a Muslim is not safe in any Muslim state that one cares to mention.

    By the way, there is a Catholic critique of the Western Civilization, by the way. On would hope to see someday a Muslim critique of Muslim civilization.

  15. Sineva says:

    jay says:
    May 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm
    Its funny that simons left out the al qaida salafists/wahabists who are part of this “alliance” of convenience.but then including them would have ruined the whole tone of the propaganda…I mean story
    Don Bacon says:
    May 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm
    Well said Iran is too strong to attack directly
    nico says:
    May 5, 2013 at 4:20 am
    That is always a danger,hopefully the west will realize this and not push iran to far
    Karl.. says:
    May 5, 2013 at 7:47 am
    Considering the problems the arab despots are having now one would think they would have more pressing concerns to worry about,but its not like they can put their own interests ahead of israels and americas

  16. fyi says:

    All:

    On Utopia

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/29/the_singularity_of_fools

    [Here "the Human Condition" is the non-religious term for "the Fall of Man".]

  17. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    The US continued to supply war materials to Imperial Japan, into the late 1930s. Even after Britain was at war with Japan, American war materials still were sent to Japan.

  18. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Your contention the US might “nuke” Iran, is preposterous. Totally unsound. Lucicrous, in fact.

    Why would the US spend large sums developing 30,000 pound “bunker-buster” bombs, if the job was going to be done with nukes?

  19. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    FYI wants Iran, and many other countries, to build nukes. The UK wants to prevent this from happening, for very sound reasons.

    I agree there would be adverse consequences, for the UK, if the UK joins in any blockade of Iran’s oil exports.

    Don’t you think a blockade is better for Iran, than direct attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities?

  20. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    You are quite right to imply that Israel wants the nuclear dispute with the P5+1, to distract attention from its illegal colonisation programme in the West Bank, oppression of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, etc etc etc.

  21. James Canning says:

    aletho,

    One factor that helps to answer your question, is the fact that of the 400 richest Americans, listed by Forbes Magazine, one-third are Jews. Some of these very rich people do all they can, to help Israel suppress the Palestinians. Others avoid doing anything to obstruct the Israeli effort to oppress the Palestinians, by preventing a resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran. Etc etc etc.

  22. Fiorangela says:

    “Harper,” a participant on Pat Lang’s blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis, posted this information about Israel’s strike on an alleged weapons cache intended for Hezbollah from Iran:

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2013/05/israeli-attacks-inside-syria-risks-widening-war-csm.html#comment-6a00d8341c72e153ef017eead7ebf5970d

    QUOTE:
    LANG: “. . . It has been my understanding that the IDF did not favor fostering the victory of the Islamist dominatated rebels. Does this set of attacks represent an assertion by the Natanyahu government of greater control of IDF actions? pl ”

    HARPER: “Col. Lang, as usual, has posed a crucial question.

    Here are some added factors I am aware of that may help answer this time sensitive question.

    First, I understand that there was no real evidence that the missiles were to be imminently shipped to Lebanon. What happened last week is that the Syrian Army retook control over a crucial corridor from Damascus to the Lebanese border, that had been held by rebels for a number of months.

    Israel has been fully in on the series of consultations by the Obama Administration in the past several weeks, that also involved Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and Jordan (in fact a story in the Sunday Times of London claims that the US is organizing a “MEATO” Middle East Alliance Treaty Organization directed at “containing” Iran. Israeli leaders have been told that the US response to the CW claims is to begin providing lethal aid to the rebels, in spite of the strong JCS concerns about the Salafists growing clout in the opposition, fully backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    In anticipation of the lethal aid, Israel decided to launch preventive strikes against known sites where Hezbollah missiles are stored for safe keeping inside Syria, expecting that the “game changing” missiles could be sent to Lebanon at any time given the advances that were made on the strategic corridors.

    Times of Israel reported last week that Assad could win the war. Obama cannot let that happen, and he has told national security aides that Assad must be brought down before the end of the year. The Iranian presidential elections in June will put the Iran nuclear issue back front burner, regardless of who wins the election and what level of popular protest emerges.

    After pushback from the JCS against further military involvement in Syria (Dempsey gave a luncheon with defense reporters at the Christian Science Monitor and said bluntly that there were no military options in Syria), Netanyahu got cabinet authorization to launch the preemptive strikes on Syria on Thursday night.

    The second round of attacks on Sunday, referenced by Col. Lang, truly do up the ante significantly, but I do not believe that this is an Israel-only initiative. It forces the hand of the US potentially, but will be applauded in Riyad, Ankara, London and Paris.

    The safe bet is that Obama is no Eisenhower, and he will not do a replay of Ike’s demand that the British, French and Israelis leave the Sinai in 1956.

    The Israel play is to force the issue with all the allies and reverse the gains made by Assad’s forces in the past few weeks. Israel was late coming into the dump Assad alliance for obvious and sound reasons. But I am told that Bibi is convinced that Assad will be ousted this year, and is accommodating to that reality and positioning Israel to get the most out of a deteriorating situation. He has already declared war on the Al Nusra Front and other Al Qaeda elements of the opposition, and the US is training vetted units of the Free Syrian Army in Jordan, including to capture and control chemical weapons.

    If the phase of the Syria campaign to oust Assad was a bloody mess, wait for the next phase.” END QUOTE

  23. fyi says:

    nico says:
    May 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    At the end of World War II, the Americans and Russians, both the inheritors of a civilization that had left God behind, had the opportunity to build a better world one in which the ideas of the European thinkers on a “jus gentium” could be extended to the entire planet.

    Those were the ideals behind UN etc.

    But their leaders decided to play the imperial game.

    As a result, international law became a moot point and UN a joke which only Sub-Saharan Africans could take seriously.

    The Americans, in their Unilateral Moment (from 1991 to 2011) shredded what was left of International Law and Security.

    Moving forward into the 21 century, long-range nuclear ammunition is the only Law.

    In regards to the idea of progress etc.; I am not opposed to the improvement of the world, social formations, states, and civilizations. Certainly outside of the Axis Powers, the most essential need of the hour is development, both materially and spiritually.

    [It is for this reason alone that the Axis Powers must be damned; their security-heavy agenda and their imperial shenanigans are a burden on the rest of mankind's desire for improvement in their standard of living.]

    However, I believe that there is a limit on how much things can be improved and often, improvements in one or a few areas lead to degeneration in other areas.

    This is not surprising, if you consider tangible and intangible human constructs as engineered artifacts. In engineering, every artifact, system, or machinery, is a compromise among competing design specifications.

  24. Ataune says:

    @Caning

    Iran has publicly stated that she doesn’t want to build nukes. It has even proposed extra Safeguard measures to make countries like UK sure of this.

    I agree there would be adverse consequences, for the UK, if the UK joins in any blockade of Iran’s oil exports.

    Don’t you think a compromise accepting Iran’s inherent right to nuclear fuel cycle is better for the UK, than direct attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities?

  25. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    Yes being blockaded was so much better for iraq than being bombed..oh wait they did that too,come on james a blockade would be every bit as much an act of war as an attack on irans nuclear sites,you know that I know that everyone else here knows this ,so please stop pretending that you don`t,indeed a blockade would pose a far greater threat to irans survival than would attacks on irans nuclear sites

  26. jay says:

    Considering the red line Mr. Obama has painted…

    U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator

    http://news.yahoo.com/u-n-voices-grave-concern-reports-israel-strikes-175615206.html

    Why do you think you won’t find this on any of these “respected” news site: NPR, PBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS?!!

  27. BiBiJon says:

    See how far down this Guardian report informs us that:

    In a further development, UN human rights investigators have said they have “strong suspicions” that Syrian rebel forces might have used the nerve agent sarin.

    Carla del Ponte, one of the lead investigators, said the UN independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law. But she told Swiss-Italian television: “Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated. This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/05/syria-accuses-israel-declaring-war-strikes

    Remember, the BS on CW was the smokescreen for Israel’s aggression.

  28. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    May 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    “Nico,
    Your contention the US might “nuke” Iran, is preposterous.
    Totally unsound. Lucicrous, in fact.
    Why would the US spend large sums developing 30,000 pound “bunker-buster” bombs, if the job was going to be done with nukes?”

    Thee US, UK, France, have nukes and keep upgrading them..
    What for ?
    The US repeatedly stated that all option are on the table.
    In addition if I remember well, under the US nuclear doctrine a first strike is permissible against a non nuclear state. You know, if such stare is part of the axis of evil or some wording of the same flavor.

    You are totally in cognitive dissonance as would put RSH.
    You are still defending the western grand standing, while the criminal and immoral behaviour is obvious.
    The US are the rogue player in the international arena.

  29. nico says:

    Aletho,

    Is the jewish lobby responible for the US military pivot (from ME) to Asia ?
    Pivot truly meaning military build up, warmongering, agressive and confrontational policies.
    Pivot implying that the same pollicy that is applied in the ME should be applied in Asia.

    Yes the jewish lobby has an major influence.
    Hower the heart of the matter is the core US policy from the end of cold war based on warmongering, colonial behaviour, might makes right, faithless approach to international relations, shock of civilization, lack of respect for others minimal interests, and so on.

    All US contituencies adhere to such policies.

  30. nico says:

    fyi says:
    May 5, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    ” The Americans, in their Unilateral Moment (from 1991 to 2011) shredded what was left of International Law and Security.
    Moving forward into the 21 century, long-range nuclear ammunition is the only Law.”

    Indeed, that is the lesson of the past 20 years.
    However that was not inevitable. That was a moral and political choice by the US.
    As such it is open to criticism.

  31. jay says:

    jay says:
    May 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    A full 24 hours after the interview with Carla Del Ponte and 18 hours after the translation by Reuters, the lid could no longer be held – so CNN, NBC,… have the story now.

    If using chemical weapons by the Syrian regime was a red line, what color line would it be when the US/UK supported rebels use it?!

  32. BiBiJon says:

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/174182/nyt-and-keller-promote-us-attack-syria-iraq-wmd-re-visited

    The only remedy I can think of is an agitation federal income tax on organizations and individuals who advocate war. The tax will be assessed once the war starts, and revenues are solely spent on the war effort, and/or price stabilization efforts on commodities effected by war, e.g. oil. You can choose to serve in front lines to avoid the tax.

    If in due time the war proves to have benefited the US, then a war booty reward is granted to the agitators.

  33. Don Bacon says:

    nico says:
    May 6, 2013 at 3:30 am

    I haven’t forgotten you on IP pipeline.
    No construction in Pakistan yet.
    But lots of talk.
    If Pakistan could only power its factories on hot air –

  34. Don Bacon says:

    fy says:
    May 5, 2013 at 12:27 am

    fy, do you evidence of these claims?

    Right now, no major container shipping line is stopping at Iranian ports; one has to go through intermediaries.

    Likewise, the American Block has extended and intensified its industrial embargo against Iran; just like Japan in 1930 – forcing Iranians to develop their industry to address the shortage caused by the embargo.

  35. fyi says:

    Don Bacon says:
    May 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Private communication.

  36. Don Bacon says:

    US: “The newest version of what is the Pentagon’s largest conventional bomb, the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, has adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and high-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex, which is buried under a mountain near the Iranian city of Qom. The upgraded MOP designed for Fordow hasn’t been dropped from a plane yet. . .The idea is to create a crater with the first strike and then send other bombs through the same hole to reach greater depths.”

    Baloney on the hoof — “maximized burrowing power . .upgraded guidance systems.” The Air Force hardly ever hits a designated target with bombs, never mind hit the same target several times — while Iran stands by and watches these bombing runs? Hysterical. The Fordow facility is under ninety meters of granite.

  37. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    The US is not upgrading some of its nukes, with a view toward using them against Iran.

    Delusional thinking, if you are serious.

    The blather about “no options” being excluded, has a very great deal to do with domestic American politics and the Israel lobby.

  38. humanist says:

    In my view, in this interview Flynt shines better than ever as an outstandingly brilliant, courageous and gracious character. Here, for impartial open minded people, ALL his well-thought assertions are clear and indisputable.

    I salute the couple with deepest appreciation. My respects for Leveretts are ever-increasing. They are trying their best to avert another evil war which is detrimental to all sides…and that is no small matter.

    If they, like so many, have sold their great talents to giant monsters, by now, they could have been richer than CNN executives.

    It is so disheartening that their struggle appears to be mighty hard. Apart from the prevailing rampant corruptions, On topic of Iran, the great majority of Americans are indoctrinated to believe in what evil warmongers wanted them to believe. This was not real hard for warmongers since, when, as a telling example, books like Purpose Driven Life with nonsensical premise s sell more than 30 million copies, then in such a time and space, there must be little room for any type of intelligent imperative arguments….no matter how vitally consequential the arguments are.

  39. Rd. says:

    jay says:
    May 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

    “If using chemical weapons by the Syrian regime was a red line, what color line would it be when the US/UK supported rebels use it?!”

    The color of denial!

    “Jay Carney said:

    We are highly sceptical of any suggestions that the opposition used chemical weapons. ”

    http://niqnaq.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/raw-political-power-that-feels-no-shame-about-exposing-itself-naked/

  40. nico says:

    Don Bacon,

    That the ip pipeline is never to be finished is a possibility among others.
    Not that pak is an easy partner, rather a tortuous one.

    Wait and see.

  41. nico says:

    James Canning,

    Your assertion contradict all US official statements. You have not a single argument only assertions.
    On which US statement, doctrine or past policies do you base your assertion ?
    None. (As usual)

    My take is that nuking Iran is not a desirable outcome for the US leader. Even if part of them could dream about it.
    However at some point if the situation spiral out of control, the use of nukes is likely.

  42. BiBiJon says:

    Mahmood Delkhasteh and Abolhassan Banisadr make a fool of themselves.
    ===================================================================

    ” even if we disregard all the facts which point to systematic vote rigging in the 2009 presidential election, a simple calculation easily demonstrates the likelihood that it took place. The regime claims that 40 million people voted. The Interior Ministry stated that 31,455 fixed and 14,258 mobile ballot boxes were available, being open for 10 hours in cities and lesser amounts of time in towns and villages. Even if we considered that voting centers were open for 13 hours on average, and that the average voting time in fixed boxes was one and a half minutes and in mobiles boxes five minutes, we can see that a maximum of 20 million people could have voted, leaving 20 million votes to be designated as rigged or otherwise false. ”

    From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mahmood-delkhasteh/the-defense-of-human-righ_b_3211064.html

    The process of voting is as onerous as an airline agent checking your passport and your boarding pass, not to mention the other security checks at the airport, finding your seat, and stuffing your bag overhead. According to Delkhasteh and Banisadr’s fuzzy math, you better arrive at the airport a few weeks before departure.

    And, get this. “one and a half minutes” voting time is their strongest evidence in their minds. Pitiful.

  43. James Canning says:

    hhumanist,

    Are you saying most Americans probably think Iran is building nukes, albeit slowly?

  44. Pirouz says:

    Need a good laugh? Where newswire reporting on Iran is concerned, it’s awful hard to identify a single example as “the worst ever.” But get a load of this…

    Iran presidency candidates to step forward, finally
    By Marcus George and Yeganeh Torbati

    http://news.yahoo.com/iran-presidency-candidates-step-forward-finally-180019273.html

    Whichever colleges these two attended, they certainly deserve refunds.

  45. Sineva says:

    nico says:
    May 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm
    “You have not a single argument only assertions.”
    I could not agree more,well said

  46. Karl.. says:

    Just another sign of the corruptness of the UN, backtracking when western groups (syrian terrorist rebels) are said to have used chem. weapons.

  47. jay says:

    Rd. says:
    May 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    And, is the color of denial is ….?

    It may be helpful to color-code denial since Jay Carney is the not the only person in denial. We can start a …. revolution instead of a “denial” revolution!!

  48. Nothing but the Truth says:

    A truly brilliant piece and thanks God the Leveretts are not listed among below , rightly so :

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/05/syria-the-feckless-left-.html#more

    …And if ever there was evidence that the entire moribund left intellectual class is bought and sold, this is surely it. One should carefully examine the list of names and publicly excoriate them for their now public complicity in international war crimes and the use of chemical weaponry. Tariq Ali, Norman Finkelstein!, Richard Seymour (author of “The Liberal Defence of Murder,” “tracing the descent of liberal supporters of war…”), Anthony Arnove (Howard Zinn’s boy), Fredric Jameson, Vijay Prasad, Ilan Pappe, Stephen R. Shalom, Alice Walker and so on down the line, over 220 Benedict Arnolds in all. Laudable behavior in the past is no excuse for lying while supporting Takfiri murderers in the present. May every single one of them know what it is like to be exposed to DU — in the name of freedom and democracy, of course! …

  49. Don Bacon says:

    Report
    Media coverage of Iran’s nuclear program
    An analysis of U.S. and U.K. coverage, 2009-2012
    Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland

    excerpts:
    *When newspaper coverage did address Iranian nuclear intentions and capabilities, it did so in a manner that lacked precision, was in consistent over time, and failed to provide adequate sourcing and context for claims. This led to an inaccurate picture of the choices facing policy makers.

    *Government officials, particularly U.S. government officials, were the most frequently quoted or relied-on sources in coverage of Iran’s nuclear program. This tendency focused attention on a narrow set of policy options and deemphasized other potential approaches to the dispute.

    *Newspaper coverage generally adopted the tendency of U.S., European, and Israeli officials to place on Iran the burden to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program, failing to acknowledge the roles of these other countries in the dispute.
    http://cissm.umd.edu/papers/files/media.pdf

  50. Kathleen says:

    thank you Leveretts. Linking this everywhere I can. Continuing to challenge MSM outlets asking them to have the two of you on…especially Chris Matthews. When is the last time NPR has had you folks on? Must be solid walls built up to block you from being on these programs. Just too bad these outlets do not want to truly inform the American public with facts about Iran.

    No surprise one more media host repeating the false and often repeated Iran wants to “wipe Israel off the map” Thanks for correcting her and Charlie Rose when you were on his program and repeated that dangerous hooey.

    Hope folks challenge MSM outlets to have the Leveretts on their programs. Also link their post on facebook pages, on other websites etc. Get the word out about the Leveretts and their important work

  51. humanist says:

    James,

    Re: Your May 6 2:19pm post.

    In political dialogue I pay extra attention to polls, to numbers or to the ‘metrics’

    On your question, a rough average of polling numbers taken in recent years decisively shows majority of Americans believe what warmongers want them to believe.

    As an example see the following:

    http://news.antiwar.com/2013/02/20/gallup-staggering-99-percent-of-americans-see-irans-nuclear-program-as-threat/

    ”A grim new poll from Gallup shows an overwhelming majority of Americans, indeed 99 percent of them, believe that Iran’s civilian nuclear program is a threat “to the vital interests of the United States.”

    The above high number was obtained probably because the question must have been tricky. First implying Iran is a rouge terrorist state and then asking is Iranian bomb a threat. Even if the question was asked honestly well over 60% of Americans believe Iran is building the bomb thus it is a [serious] threat to all.

    What a remarkable triumph for the Goebellsian propaganda tactics!

  52. James Canning says:

    Jurek Martin of the Financial Times has some pertinent comments in FT today (“Lessons for Obama from Bush’s wars”):

    “[Obama] understands that the Iraq war was a disaster of biblical proportions – - for the US, its reputation and its economy, for Iraq itself and for the region.”

  53. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    You have some difficulty grasping nuances of US domestic politics. Some things are said or implied that simply are not true. ZERO chance of US first-strike use of nukes against Iran.

  54. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    What is the difference between an argument someone makes, and an assertion that same person makes?

  55. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    May 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Not at all.

    As the old Russian saying goes: “One man’s disaster is another’s salvation.”

    The US project in Iraq in 2003 was a boone of Biblical Proportions to Iran and to the Shia Islam.

    Thank God for that.

  56. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    May 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    ” You have some difficulty grasping nuances of US domestic politics. Some things are said or implied that simply are not true.”

    You mean like your claim about UK seeking friendship with Iran ?
    Or maybe the non existant WMD in Irak ?
    Or maybe the US being the champion of spreading human rights and democracy ? You know like in KSA.
    Or maybe …

    I think I get it. Thanks.

  57. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pepe Escobar hits it on the head as usual. Obama once avoided being blamed for starting a new war with Syria by allowing the Israelis to do it. He is likely to do the same with Iran.

    Israel rescues Mujahid Obama
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-070513.html

    Notable Quotes

    But for Israel it makes sense smashing a supply of Fateh 110s – or even M600s. Israel thus directly helps the FSA; one of its spokesmen, by the way, real or fake, went on Israeli TV to praise the bombers. And Israel at least for now prevents more missiles from reaching Hezbollah.

    It craves a weak, chaotic Syria – deprived of advanced military technology. It craves most of all an all-out Somalization of Syria – a sectarian dystopia. What better justification for Israel to be up in arms 24/7 than hardcore Wahhabi terrorism right across its (non-delimitated) borders? On top of it, Israel wants to drag Syria, Hezbollah and ultimately Iran into all out war. It wants the whole package – and the sooner and better.

    The next bombings may target airfields, concentrations of aircraft, more weapons depots, tanks and artillery. Collateral damage, inevitably, will soar, proportionately to the level of provocation.

    Former US ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, very close to the Clinton clan, has already gamed on ABC News that Obama is “leaning towards aerial strikes”. Yes; this is just the beginning. Mini-Shock and Awes await.

    End Quotes

  58. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Israeli airstrike in Syria brings Iran onstage, raising risk of proxy war
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0506/Israeli-airstrike-in-Syria-brings-Iran-onstage-raising-risk-of-proxy-war

  59. Richard Steven Hack says:

    By the way, where are Syria’s vaunted air defense capabilities? They seem to be missing from Israeli air strikes… Israel appears to be able to bomb anything anywhere in Syria with impunity. Bodes rather well for a US/NATO air campaign…

    From Glenn Greenwald’s article in the Guardian…

    “The NYT cited a ‘high-ranking Syrian military official’ who said the bombs “struck several critical military facilities in some of the country’s most tightly secured and strategic areas” and killed ‘dozens of elite troops stationed near the presidential palace’”

    Israeli bombing of Syria and moral relativism
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/06/syria-israel-bombing-moral-relativism

  60. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Duh…

    Russia says chance of foreign intervention in Syria growing
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/May-06/216132-russia-says-chance-of-foreign-intervention-in-syria-growing.ashx

    “We are seriously concerned by the signs of preparation of global public opinion for possible armed intervention in the long-running internal conflict in Syria,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

  61. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Germany once again kowtows to Israel.

    German FM: We won’t accept Iranian nuclear arms
    http://www.jpost.com/Iranian-Threat/News/German-FM-We-wont-accept-Iranian-nuclear-arms-312212

  62. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi:

    http://alef.ir/vdcd990fjyt0j56.2a2y.html?186768

    I don’t get what Mahmood was doing over the past few years in a macroeconomics perspective. liquidity is now 9 times more than 8 years ago. basically only the yearly handout is equal to the overall liquidity at the beginning of his presidency, based on his own public speech:

    http://irna.ir/fa/News/80643909/%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C/%D8%B1%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%B3_%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C__%D9%87%DB%8C%DA%86%DA%A9%D8%B3_%D9%86%D9%85%DB%8C%20%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF_%DB%8C%DA%A9_%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%84_%D8%A7%D8%B2_%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%87_%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%85_%D8%B1%D8%A7_%DA%A9%D9%85_%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%AF_%D9%85%D9%84%D8%AA_%D8%A8%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%B7_%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AE%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%82%DB%8C_%D9%87%D8%A7_%D8%B1%D8%A7_%D8%A7%D8%B2_%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86_%D8%B9%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B2_%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%AF_%DA%86%DB%8C%D8%AF

    His admins increased the amount of money in the system, through easy loans, selling oil dollars…, and at the same time exchange rate was superficially down (or suppressed through abandoned oil money, either way) till almost a year and half ago. this just killed internal production, made imports and luxury travels very cheap and export expensive. Internal production being unattractive, and with the absence of meaningful stock market activity (I remember at the beginning of his presidency back in 2005 he even made some antagonistic comments about the concept of stock system), liquidity moved toward gold, land and houses resulting in the sort of unending bubble we see in the housing market with no sign of burst for different reasons. even when global price for gold is down almost 400$, it’s only few thousands toman lower than before in Iran with the current exchange rate.

    Is there anything big that I am missing here? I don’t get the rationale of his actions in the first 6 years of his presidency. why didn’t they release the exchange rate back in 2005 or 2006?

  63. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm
    In your case neither are backed up by facts,you present your assertions as facts when they are not,you then base your arguments on these “facts”

  64. Rd. says:

    Is there a real reason behind all the noise?

    If the US could start a war, they would have done so, be it Syria or Iran. So whats all the provocations; Israeli attacks in Syria, US mil exercises in Persian Gulf just prior to pres elections in Iran, etc..

    Is there real policy behind all the smoke, Or is it just the war party elites trying to force their own agenda?

  65. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Germany would be adamantly against any building of nukes by Iran, even if Israel said nothing one way or the other.

  66. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Once again you demonstrate your total ignorance of UK foreign policy objectives, at the time the current coalition government came into power.

    Are you actually suggesting I thought Iraq had WMD? Prior to idiotic and illegal US invasion of that country in 2003?

  67. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I agree with you that the vicious civil war in Iraq set off by idiots in the George W. Bush administration, helped to block the conspiracy by neocon warmongers for an American invasion of Iran.

    My reference to “idiots” in the G W Bush administration may be too kind.

  68. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Turkey launches military exercise near Syrian border
    http://news.yahoo.com/turkey-launches-military-exercise-near-syrian-border-125410487.html

    Preparing to be involved when the US, NATO and Israel attack Syria. I expect Turkey to participate in northern Syria while Israel participates in the south.

  69. Nasser says:

    “Iranian Strategy in Syria” from the Institute for the Study of War

    http://www.understandingwar.org/report/iranian-strategy-syria
    (click on the pdf file to read the whole thing)

  70. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    May 7, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    You are asking the wrong person.

    You should ask him.

  71. fyi says:

    Mr. Persian Gulf:

    From Spain:

    Several years ago I was reading in Nature that Spanish post-docs were complaining about jobs at provincial Spanish universities.

    Evidently, if one was not from that province or region, the universities would not give even consider them for any job openings.

    Only local boys and girls could be considered.

    And there are many more ridiculous things like that.

    As in any populist regime, it´s easy to blame others for the things we don´t do properly.

    Spain DOES have choice, several ones but all around a common theme: Work More, Work Better, Reduce Benefits, Cut Government (Hyper-bloated).

    ….hired a Hygienist for after interviewing more than a dozen candidates, most of them didn´t want to work full time (same hours as teh dentist, paid above the union going rate!!)

    And they were collecting unemployment (up to €2000/month during 24 months, €400 after – while working underground).

    Some people are having a hard time: most unemployed immigrants without visa, but that´s not the case of most Spaniards.

    Some Spaniards are in hard-times, no doubt, but not most of them; they do not want to work outside their town, sometimes their neigborhood!!.

    They do not want to work odd times – 8-hour day, daytime!.

    They ask you to pay “tax free”, etc)

    So: Spain does have many choices, plenty of choices but none of them are populist ones, you do not win elections by adopting them (same applies to Portugal and Greece, as well as Southern Italy).

    —-

    On the other hand, I have developed a large amount of robust contempt for my fellow countrymen – Iranians of a certain social class.

    These are middle-class, non-religious, college-educated, and professional people who are all the time whining that they are living in Hell.

    At the same time, the same Islamic government for which they have so much contempt and the same country that is Hell for them, is where they are all receiving subsidized food, medical care, gasoline, gas, airline tickets, airport fees, and train tickets.

    In the hyper-bloated state sector (thanks to 34 years of populism and subsidizing the incapable and the incompetent) the labor productivity is 1 hour out of the nominal 8 hours!

    And when they immigrate to their “Paradise”, some EU country, or US, or Canada, and very soon they are reduced to performing menial jobs – their “Professional” status in the despised Islamic Republic of Iran – the Hell on Earth – having been another “Subsidy” that they were receiving from the despised Islamic government.

    And when you ask them if the Islamic Republic is not not the best government that Iranians had ever had, they retort back that the Sassanian were better!

    For me the silver lining in the economic war waged by US and EU against Iran has been this: that the American Block is beating Iranians into shape and forcing them to shape-up and organize and become more efficient.

    The way Sweden taught Peter the Great how to fight or Israel taught Shia in Lebanon.

  72. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Financial Times yesterday, Jurek Martin said that Obama “comprehends that the Iraq war was a disaaster of biblical proportions – - for the US, its reputation and its economy, for Iraq itself and for the region.”

    FYI challnges part of this assessment, and claims that for Iran and the Shia religion, the Iraq war was a blessing. Even if hundredss of thousands of people were killed, etc etc etc.

    Wouldn’t the Shia gradually have taken control of much of the Iraqi power apparatus, without any idiotic US invasion?

  73. nico says:

    Mister Canning,

    Do not take it personally. Take it easy.
    And I do not care a whit about MSM discourses from Hague, Blair, Cameron and co.
    To be frank I do care even less what is your personal opinion about WMD in Irak, or the substance of your mundane exchange with “connected” people.

    Regarding my take on UK foreign policy, I base my opinion upon the last 200 years History with facts on the ground, with a special emphasize on 1953 and the last 20 years of UK adventures in ME.

    What I see is quite ugly.

  74. kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    May 8, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Bravo- On this I completely agree with, it’s a well said post which should be printed in gold and sent to every (subsidized= mofthkhor) unhappy Iranian who still dreams of the good life during the Sassanian period and believes all her/his short comings should be blamed on the government and all other Iranians but not him/herself .

    “In the hyper-bloated state sector (thanks to 34 years of populism and subsidizing the incapable and the incompetent) the labor productivity is 1 hour out of the nominal 8 hours!

    And when they immigrate to their “Paradise”, some EU country, or US, or Canada, and very soon they are reduced to performing menial jobs – their “Professional” status in the despised Islamic Republic of Iran – the Hell on Earth – having been another “Subsidy” that they were receiving from the despised Islamic government.

    And when you ask them if the Islamic Republic is not the best government that Iranians had ever had, they retort back that the Sassanian were better!”

  75. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    May 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    That’s right. however, we are exploring possibilities and just trying to understand events. probably it would have been better to be a question for the regulars here.

    Leaving aside blaming unproductive middle class (secular or religious, anti-IR or pro-IR), I think the common man should not suffer too much, just because we want to take revenge of this or that social strata. of course, it goes without saying that most (not all) of the blaming-IR people have taken full advantage of government’s policies, specially over the past few years as you describe, anyhow.

    If we just consider these two sentences from that links above:

    “حجم ارزش بازار حدود ۳۲ هزار میلیارد تومان در سال‌های گذشته بوده که در سال اخیر از مرز ۲۸۲ هزار میلیارد تومان نیز فراتر رفته و رشد ۹ برابری داشته است.”

    “وی با بیان اینکه کل یارانه پرداختی به مردم 41 هزار میلیارد تومان است، گفت: 9 هزار میلیارد تومان از این رقم در قالب یارانه های نان، شیر، نهاده های کشاورزی قبلا در بودجه وجود داشت و 32 هزار میلیارد تومان باقی مانده را بین مردم توزیع کرده ایم.”

    بزار فارسی بگیم حالا که منابعش آزاد هم هست نگن چرا این چیزها رو قابل فهم برای خارجی می کنی! چنین چیزی پایدارهست؟ این پول یارانه درکمتراز3 سال کلا میشه صفر با نرخ رسمی تورم الان. این پول ازکجا میاد؟ (مالیات که نبایست چیزخاصی باشه-دلارهم که دیگه مثل قبل موجود نیست). احساس من اینه با ادامه این وضع دولت پول برای پرداخت حقوق کارمندها کم میاره (بودجه عمرانی که بماند) یا اینکه هایپر تورم کلا ریال رو غیرقابل اعتماد در داخل میکنه برای استفاده روزمره.

    بجای اینکار کوپنی کردن سیستم و فوداستمپ بهترنیست؟

    تازه محمود حرف از ماهی 250 تومن میزنه. این یعنی 5.5 برابر. اگه هم بخواد 2-3 تا دهک رو نده بازم چند برابرمیشه. یا یه چیزی هست من نمیگیرم که این چی میگه، یا محمود کلا خل شده.

    at the end of the day, as you well say, it’s the productivity that matters, not radically increasing the amount of money into the system.

  76. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Obama’s Duplicitous Iran Policy
    http://original.antiwar.com/muhammad-sahimi/2013/05/05/obamas-duplicitous-iran-policy/

    Quote: “President Obama’s Iran policy has completely failed due to its duplicitous nature. There should be very little doubt, if any, that if the President continues on his current path and does not make a fundamental change in his Iran policy, we will have another Middle East war on our hands, this time against Iran, which will make what has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria look like child’s play.”

  77. Nothing but the Truth says:

    nico says:
    May 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    “”"Mister Canning,
    Regarding my take on UK foreign policy, I base my opinion upon the last 200 years History with facts on the ground, with a special emphasize on 1953 and the last 20 years of UK adventures in ME.
    What I see is quite ugly.”"”

    *Pirates they have been since Francis Drake and Pirates they still ARE !!!*

    “British queen challenges Argentina, Spain over disputed islands”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/05/08/302494/queen/

    Just look at those ‘reptilian humanoids , incest islanders’….

  78. Nothing but the Truth says:

    By Finnian Cunningham , exposing the ‘ incest islanders’ :

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/05/08/302485/rule-britannia-for-global-crimes/

    It’s an anthem that is usually sung with chest-thumping pride and misty eyes by British imperialists. “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves”. This jingoistic celebration of Britain’s former global conquest may yet degenerate into “Rue Britannia, Britannia rues the waves”.

    This is because, as The Guardian newspaper reports this week, the
    London government has at long last been forced into recognizing compensation payments for as many as 50,000 Kenyan nationals who were victims of torture and other crimes against humanity during that country’s independence struggle in the 1950s. The eventual bill for compensation could run up to tens of millions of pounds.

    But the bad news for financially bankrupt Britain does not end there. With this precedent established of compensation for past British imperialist crimes, that now leaves the way open for a global flood of similar claims…..

  79. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    May 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Iranian leaders have chosen to destroy the subsidy system in Iran by inflating the rial.

    That is, the rial devaluation will substantially lower the cost of subsidies to the Iranian government.

    From a monetary point of view, this will also address the problem of demand, volume of money in circulation will now be used to purchase essential goods.

    You cannot protect and isolate this or that social strata in Iran from this war, you can only help here and there.

    Just like in Spain, the choices in Iran are to Work More, Work Better, Reduce Benefits, Cut Government (Hyper-bloated).

    Many blame Mr. Ahmadinejad for all of this and leave the Iranian people blameless.

    I will take one specific case: cheap loans to small companies. This was his idea and his innovation to put capital in the hands of younger people who wanted to start-up a business.

    Was it his fault that many of those who recieved those loans are either defaulted or plane were stealing the funds under the guise of starting a business?

    I think that instance also showed the weakness of the banking sector; the banks evidently lacked risk-management/risk-assessment capabilities. And since they were government banks, they did not care about the outcome of these loans.

    There is no other way for Iran and Iranians, unfortunately.

    Iran cannot go on, opposing a very efficient superpower, while subsidizing waste, sloth, theft, embezzlement, and inefficiecny in all sectors of the economy.

    Two months ago, Iranian government took delivery of an oil tanker, 10 years to the date that the order had been placed.

    Who is repsonsible for that fiasco?

  80. James Canning says:

    Nothing,

    The issue, or question, was this: Did William Hague intend to seek better UK relations with Iran, when the coalition government came into power several years ago?

    Correct answer is: Yes.

    By your reasoning, the UK should be the enemy of Germany. Ludicrous.

  81. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    And the reason for the duplicity in Obama’s policy toward Iran? ISRAEL LOBBY.

  82. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Isn’t it true that the social and economic standing of Iranian-Americans is higher than the average American? Higher than the average “white” American?

  83. James Canning says:

    Nothing,

    Perhaps I may refresh your recollection of Anglo-Persian relations in the 19th century. Writing to Lord Canning 29 July, 1855, Lord Elphinstone noted:

    “However inconvenient it would be to hamper ourselves with a formal guarantee or even an implicit obligation to protect Persia against Russian encroachment, there can be no doubt that it would be for our interest to place Persia under the protection of the same European Treaty by which the territorial integrity of Turkey will be secured at the conclusion of the war. . .” [Quoted by Michael Maclagan in his 1962 biography of Canning.]

  84. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Syria: Intervention Will Only Make it Worse
    By Zbigniew Brzezinski
    http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/08/syria-intervention-will-only-make-it-worse/

  85. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi

    “That is, the rial devaluation will substantially lower the cost of subsidies to the Iranian government.”

    خوب الان مسله همینه. که دولت هم داره این وسط دلالی می کنه با این وضع موجود.
    وقتی سیستم با این قدرتش اینکار رو میکنه، ازشهروند نمیشه همه انتظارات رو داشت.

    مثلا یکی از دلایل تورم تو ایران عمر کم خونه هاست که این فرآیند ساختن و خراب کردن کوتاه مدت منابع رو هم هدر میده. الان تو تهران ممکنه طرف خونه زیر 20 سال ساخت رو بکوبه. یکی از دلایل عمده اش اینه که شهرداری برای تامین منابع مالیش میاد تراکم میفروشه. اینکار کوبیدن یه خونه چند سال ساخت و با همون زمین دوبرابرقبلی خونه ساختن رو بصرفه میکنه، اونم با وضعیتی که نقدینگی میره بسمت مسکن.

    “I will take one specific case: cheap loans to small companies. This was his idea and his innovation to put capital in the hands of younger people who wanted to start-up a business.

    Was it his fault that many of those who recieved those loans are either defaulted or plane were stealing the funds under the guise of starting a business?”

    هم آره هم نه. معمولا چنین وامهایی آخرین حربه ها تو اقتصاد هستند نه اولین که احمدی نژاد یکدفعه از جیبش درآورد. خود نفس عملش درسته ولی اینجا بحث چگونگیش هست. اگه یادم باشه اون وامها درحد 5 میلیون تومن بوده. من نمی دونم اون نابغه کیه که بتونه واقعا برای خودش کار دست و پا کنه با این پول، حتی 6 سال پیش. الان که این پول هیچی نیست. کلا همونطور که بالا هم گفتم، وقتی دلار ارزونه، تولید داخل نمی صرفه. این وامها خودبخود رفت سمت دلالی، خرید زمین و خونه و طلا….

  86. Reza Esfandiari says:

    More on the sanctions according to a congressional research report:

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS20871.pdf

    There is a growing body of opinion and Iranian assertions, cited above, that indicates that Iran, through actions of the government and the private sector, is mitigating the economic effect of sanctions. Some argue that Iran might even benefit from sanctions over the long term by being compelled to diversify its economy and reduce dependence on oil revenues.

  87. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    May 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Yes, Mr. Persian Gulf; in Iran – in an analogous manner to Spain, Greece, and Portugal – we are dealing with systemic problems that 34 years of populism has caused.

    The resolution will take time, the late Mrs. Thatcher, a staunch Free-Marketer, only succeeded in privatizing 16% of Crown corporations during the 12 years of her premiership.

    Iranian government cannot politically privatize many industries but can starve them to death while channeling capital to others – such as private banks, insurance companies, etc.

    Government (banks) should not make business/commercial loans; private banks ought to that.

    [Look at what happened last week with the attack on a "privatized" mine - that sort of thing must be severely punished.]

    This is a long struggle in which, like everything else, there will be winners an losers.

    34 years of populism, insecurity for capital and 60 years of subsidized foreign exchange cannot be altered in one or two years.

    Do you know why real-estate is so popular?

    Because no one trusts the government, that Iranian government can turn around and confiscate one’s industrial property from one.

    And do you know why no one trust the banks?

    Look no further than Cyprus where funds have been essentially stolen by the government.

    That is why still so many women are buying gold bracelets.

    If I were them, I would do the same thing.

    Years of relentless struggle lies ahead, just like the Iran-Iraq War.

  88. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    There will be neither intervention nor political resolution.

    The civil war will continue until one side or the other prevails.

    My bet is on the government forces in Syria.

  89. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    James you keep repeating these assertions without the slightest proof to back them up.If he really wanted good relations then he did a poor job didn`t he,what he and the rest of the west wanted was a compliant iran,an iran like it was under the shah

  90. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    fyi, kooshy,
    I agree with you that economic sanctions and warfare is literally the only way to structurally change the economy, consumption and labor productivity in Iran.

    Economically most so-called experts weren’t getting it before the econ warfare started and politically nobody had the bayzatayn to break the news to the public- because well in a “democracy” the most important thing is to get elected, right?

    I mean would have been better if the SL could just have ordered it instead of dealing with the messy business of politics in Hashemi, Khatami and Ahmadinejad admins. right?

    http://english.khamenei.ir//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1760&Itemid=4

    Quote:
    “After all, the sanctions have had an effect, which is because of an essential flaw that we are suffering from. The flaw that our economy is suffering from is that it is dependent on oil. We need to distance our economy from oil. Our governments should include this among their basic plans.

    Seventeen, eighteen years ago, I told the government of that time and its officials that they should act in a way that we could shut down our oil wells whenever we wanted to. The so-called “technocrats” smiled in disbelief, as if to say, “Is that even possible?” Yes, it is possible.

    It is necessary to follow up the issue, take action and make plans. When economic plans of a country are built on a particular base, the enemies of that country will target that base. Yes, the sanctions have had an effect, but not the effect that the enemies wanted. I will explain this issue later on. This is all I wanted to say about the issue of economy.”

    When you go from a feudal system where the peasants do all the work- and hope one day to become feudal lords themselves- to bazaar system where keeping the product in storage for 6 months to sell for 100% profit, to cheap oil paying for literally everything while using 2% of the total national work force- is it any surprise that we have an economic culture of moftkhori and felan-goshadi?

    SL has repeatedly warned about this lazy, non-productive culture- starting from the beginning of his leadership. One thing that was good about Ahmadinejad is that he really led by example on the issue of working hard- contrary to the two aghazadeh-ha that preceded him, who were used to others working for them.

    I’ve been in many meetings with banks and private investors- religious and non-religious- when I tell them that building this factory will take this much money and that profits will begin in 4-5 years- they usually laugh and the meeting ends.

    They don’t understand that industry has minimum horizon of 4-5 years. There horizon is less than 6 months and for the bank managers the horizon is the next paycheck. The only long-term horizon the bank managers know is baz-neshastegi.

    Ahmadinejadi didn’t devalue the rial because of the political fallout it would have caused because most Iranians don’t understand the concept of relative exchange rates.

    Know they learned the hard way just how much of their daily consumption patterns was based on imported goods.

    Sanctions and economic warfare have been one of the greatest blessings for Iran, just like the war was which taught us to rely on ourselves for our own defense.

  91. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    May 10, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Yes, Mr. BussedinBasiji – a typical Iranian, from any social strata or any sector would not last long in a society such as Korea or Japan. They will starve to death.

    There is no other way than the current path, forcing Iranians to move.

    Quite painful, no doubt, but you will not find any sympathy from Indians, Pakistanis, Koreans, Japanses, or the Chinese of this world.

    When the economic war aganst Iran – begun in 2010 – intensified in 2012, the Iranian government had two choices – support rial and thus consumption levels or preserve foreign exchange.

    This was the choice that the architects of the economic war against Iran had in mind; support rial and depelete the foreign reserves quickly (hoping to make the government of Iran insolvent – just like what Mr. Clintion was hoping to achieve im early 1990s) or else pauperize large numbers of Iranians so that – like Chileans or Egyptians – they would run into the streets and overthrow the government.

    In a remarkable macroeconomic act of political courage, Iranian leaders devalued rial and went about waging the economic war.

    And the Iranian people concentrated on day-to-day survival rather than trying to overthrow the government.

  92. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    Yes, one can argue that William Hague made some mistakes, in office, that worked against his object of improving Britain’s relations with Iran. Clearly, Iran made mistakes that greatly interfered with Hague’s objective.

    What is beyond dispute, is that Hague in fact wanted to improve Britain’s relations with Iran, and with Syria, and with Hezbollah.

  93. James Canning says:

    Nothing,

    More on Anglo-Persian relations in 19th and early-20th centuries.

    “The tsar [Nicholas II] had told his war minister the year before [1904 war with Japan] that he dreamed of extending the Russian empire to China, Tibet, Afghanistan and Persia. . . ”

    [Quoted from “George, Nichols and Wilhelm – - Three Royal Counsins and the Road to World War I”, by Miranda Carter.

  94. Nasser says:

    The stupid author fails to mention how it is actually the West and the US in particular that can pretty much wholly be blamed for the destruction of the Christian communities in Palestine and Iraq. They now seem eager to doing the same in Syria.

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-crushing-middle-eastern-christianity-8457

  95. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Isrel lobby in the US sees sanctions as helping to prevent normal relations between Iran and the US. Even if the sanctions have no chance of working, to achieve the supposed objective, the sanctions advance this interest of the Israel lobby.

  96. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm
    So you say,but some proof would be nice.From the looks of things he like the europeans did not seem very concerned about relations with iran,if relations were good,fine,if they were not so good that was fine as well,the very fact that they were willing to destroy decades of trading and political relationships shows how little they valued them,I think iran is beter off without “friends” like these,good riddance,let china or some other country have those billions in trade,the europeans didnt value it so they obviously dont need it

  97. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    William Hague was interviewed by the Daily Telegraph, and he wrote articles too, making clear he wanted to improve UK-Iran relations.

    Iran’s announcement it intended to treble production of 20 percent uranium wrecked Hague’s plans.