Flynt Leverett Critiques Obama’s Syria Strategy and its Regional Implications

Flynt went on Russia Today’s CrossTalk to discuss the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State; click on the video above or see “Washington’s Jihad,” here or here (YouTube).  As this campaign expands into Syria, we think the points that Flynt made on CrossTalk, and that Hillary has been making in several appearances on CNN, remain important—and underrepresented in what passes for a policy debate in Washington.

Flynt opens by setting the current U.S. campaign against the Islamic State against the backdrop of U.S. policy since 9/11:

America’s self-declared post-9/11 ‘war on terror’ has been strategically disastrous for the United StatesIt has weakened America’s strategic position, in the Middle East and globally; squandered vast material and human resources; and has basically destroyed the perceived legitimacy of American purposes in the Middle East for the vast majority of people who live in this strategically critical region.  And now President Obama is effectively recommitting the United States to this profoundly self-damaging, post-9/11 template for never ending war in the Middle East.”

As Flynt points out, one of the clearest indicators of the thought-free character of the Obama administration’s policy toward the Islamic State is its emphasis on stepped-up support for Syrian oppositionists:

I have been saying for over three years that the idea there is some moderate, secular Syrian opposition with enough military potential and, even more importantly, enough political standing in Syria to overthrow the Assad government flies in the face of realityTo say that this mythical moderate Syrian opposition is now going to be able to take on the Islamic State is, I think, just delusional.

The Syria policy that the United States and its partners in the region have been pursuing since the spring of 2011 has helped, in a big way, to create the situation in Iraq, with this dramatic ascendance of the Islamic State.  We have created this problem, and now we’re coming up with pseudo-solutions that are only going to make the problem worse…The one thing that could come of this is that you’re going to create more channels for the Islamic State to get hold of Western weapons and military equipment than it already has.  Having the Saudis train these so-called moderate fighters is just going to augment the problem that we’re supposedly trying to deal with.

We have fed the creation of the Islamic State through our policy of support for the Syrian opposition.  And it’s going to have huge repercussions regionally.

Obama can declare all he wants that the Islamic State isn’t IslamicBut the fact is—as evidenced in polls, in social media across the Sunni Arab world—is that this movement has a lot of sympathy and support, even among constituencies that don’t like some of its tactics, don’t like prisoner beheadingsBy launching this military campaign against them, the United States is basically—in the eyes of a lot of Sunni Muslims—it is basically re-launching a post-9/11 war against Islam.  And the one thing we know, over thirteen years since 9/11, is that that drives jihadi recruitment more than anything.  It is going to make the problem vastly worse.”

In the program, Flynt also critiques the Obama administration’s thoroughly warped notion of what a “regional strategy” against the Islamic State should look like.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

 

148 Responses to “Flynt Leverett Critiques Obama’s Syria Strategy and its Regional Implications”

  1. James Canning says:

    In a leader today, the Financial Times warns Obama not to get sucked into “mission creep” in Syria. Good advice.

  2. James Canning says:

    I entirely agree that American support for insurgency in Syria did a great deal to crate Isis. The US should have tried to prevent eruption of civil war in Syria. (Quite a few supporters of Israel in the US apparently think overthrowing Syrian government will enable Israel to keep the Golan Heights.)

  3. James Canning says:

    “Sir John [Sawers]says the Arab spring shows that revolutionary change is impossible to manage and will normally end up worse for western interests and values.”
    – – Lionel Barber, writing in the Financial Times Sept. 20/21

    [Sawers heads Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service]

  4. Nasser says:

    Karl.. says: September 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I think being a westerner you don’t really appreciate just how much some of these pathetic Iranian House Negroes long to be accepted by their masters. My God how they love to speak at Davos!

    I say thank God for Cameron and other Western leaders giving them a rude awakening. I am sure Mr. Khamanei’s followers are laughing their asses off saying: “told you so!”

  5. HnH says:

    While the arguments by the Leveretts, and voiced by Flynt Leverett, are undoubtedly and unreservedly spot on, I do have another take on the situation:

    The US are financially, economically, morally and structurally in such a dismal position that its top spot is not defensible anymore against other hegemonic contenders (Europe, China, Russia), if the rules of the game are not changed.

    Virtually every pillar on which the power of the US rests, is spent or on the wane. There is one major exception, the US military. Its might is stupendous and beyond compare, so far.

    I think that the Obama administration knows that and is trying to change the way the game is played. It plays its last trump card by going into attack mode. It creates and incites conflicts in the hope that this might lead to a major war out of which it can come out on top. ISIS is just one example, Ukraine and the support for Japan in its struggle with China are others.

    The US gained a lot out of both world wars. It might do so again and stimulate its floundering economy, and cut Russia, China and Europe back to size in one blow. The US has the best defensive position with the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans as their borders.

    Viewed from that perspective a lot of US behavior, not just during this administration, but also from the previous one, make just so much more sense.

    Also: US citizens have currently little to cheer for. Their lives are getting more difficult by the day. There is one thing they can draw satisfaction from: their military can whup everybody else. That might be an explanation, why so many cheer it on and why Afghanistan and Iraq were so detrimental for the US psyche.

  6. Karl.. says:

    Nasser

    Indeed, they arent alone though, same thing with palestinian Abu Mazen that do whatever his master tells him.

  7. Jay says:

    Karl.. says:
    September 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Have you heard of the British dry sense of humor? Cameron is doing his Monty Python act!

  8. Nasser says:

    From the venerable War Nerd, the most honest American journalist:

    “Israel decided long ago that only the Shia are what noted Zionist Walter Sobchak would call “a worthy fuckin’ opponent…

    The Israeli view seems to be that only the Shia forces—the SAA, Hezbollah, and above all their patron Iran—are serious threats. Meanwhile, they’ve been treating Sunni jihadi militias like IS like de facto allies, never once attacking Sunni militias dug in just below the Golan Heights.”

    http://pando.com/2014/09/24/the-war-nerd-bombs-away-in-the-middle-east-but-why-is-israel-so-quiet/

  9. Jay says:

    HnH says:
    September 25, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    I agree with some elements of your observation. I do however believe that a change viewpoint is necessary in that the US is not as a state actor in the sense of state actors of the past century.

    The US is no longer the guardian of the American citizen; she is now the chaperone of the financial entity. In the context of protecting and promoting the financial entity, America does not recognize borders. In simplistic terms, the super wealthy have hired themselves the best fighting force in order to protect and expand their financial empires. It is not that simple of course – that is why I said “in simplistic terms”.

    The US state apparatus is now the “R&D”, “Marketing”, and “Sales” agency for the “financial entities”. The American citizen has a lot to worry about. What is taken for granted – pensions, social security, the sense of relative security, middle class – will disappear. In fact, the world citizen may have a lot to worry about!

    Having said that, I tend to believe that this current institution is highly over-leveraged – it will collapse under the weight of its own weight before long.

  10. Nasser says:

    “5 reasons why Turkey should join military coalition”

    – I of course know that this author’s advice will be ignored and Turkey will turn more and more into the Pakistan of the Mediterranean.

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2014/09/turkey-united-states-iraq-isis-coalition.html

  11. James Canning says:

    HnH,

    What did the US “gain” from the First World War?

  12. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    September 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    The late banker Mr. Du Pont had loaned substantial amounts of money to the French Government.

    He was loath to lose his money.

    The supporters of the Empire Project, having whetted their appetites against Spain in the Spanish-American War, joined the late Du Pont – thus US entered World War I.

    The late Mr. Du Pont got his money, the Imperialists had their moment of glory – “Lafayette, we are here!” and all that – and the rank and file Americans got an economic boost that lasted for a few years after the war had ended.

    As is usuak, the young soldiers, got nothing.

  13. fyi says:

    Jay says:

    September 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    I think the late Robinson Jeffers said it best 70 years ago:

    “Shine, Perishing Republic…”

  14. Persian Gulf says:

    Empty says:
    September 21, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    You are mistaken if you think the main perpetrators of 2009 election wouldn’t do the same, if they are offered another opportunity. The ones making the most noises knew from the get go what game they are playing. The episode however awakened a segment of Iranian society (some admit openly and some still quietly). The ideological ones, and their brained washed westernized followers, inside the country won’t change their minds no matter the facts. Unfortunately, a tempered Ayatollah Khamenei does not have the resoluteness, nor the religious credibility, of Imam Khomenei. Otherwise Mr.Mousavi and Mr.Karoubi and few others should have been hanged by now had Imam Khomeini were still in power.

    He could not resist the temptation of the new government for a nuclear deal for few more months, only to see a new reality as we see today, for the fear of losing his credibility. History will judge that Iran got nothing out of last November’s agreement and lost a hard gained asset.

  15. Dan Cooper says:

    Certain states helped create Islamist extremism’ – Iran’s Rouhani to UN Gen Assembly (FULL SPEECH)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07VsoJFJhtI

  16. HnH says:

    @ Jay

    A state is never the guardian of the normal citizenry, but always the protector of the rights of its wealthy. The nation state is all about protecting property rights and deriving taxes for securing these. In the beginning of a new state form (e.g. democracy, republic, tyranny) the interests of the property owners may coincide with the interests of the other classes. The scarcer the resources, the more the interests will clash, and the more the other classes will be stripped of benefits to protect the moneyed classes. It may sound heretical or like the thought of a Marxist, but it was ever thus. This is an inherent drawback of capitalism, despite any other advantages is might have.

    And yes, every empire in history was brought down by its inability to grow further, depriving it of the resources to maintain its stability at home. It will happen to the US too, but that will develop much more slowly than some might hope. The Roman empire managed to exist for another thousand years, despite its slow decline.

    @ James Canning

    The US gained mightily from WWI, as it marked the turning point at which the UK could not maintain its position as empire anymore. It was too spent, overstretched and heavily indebted. The US started to take over and finished the transition with the conclusion of WWII.

  17. Amir says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 25, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Maybe this isn’t totally relevant to your statement, but please help me out here… Mr. Behzad Nabavi, one of those arrested and eventually handed a prison sentence after 2009 election, is quoted here (see link: http://farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13930704000006) accusing Nehzat-e-Azadi and Mr Bazargan of siding with and supporting “monafeqin”, then he asks Bazargan to openly condemn monafeqin and gives some details about links between Banisard, Masoud Rajavvi and Nehzat-e-Azadi. Ironically, he calls monafeqin’s protests a “caricature of the Islamic Revolution” and stressed the importance of martyrdom, “velayat-e-faqih”, principles of the Islamic Republic, etc.
    Could anyone tell me, first, whether Mr Nabavi was insincere back then and in 2009 he showed his true colors, or did he gradually change his stance? Second, if we suppose Mr Nabavi was truthful but changed gradually, what happened? What was the process?
    Thanks in advance! I’m asking this solely because I don’t want to go down that road.
    By the way, given the relation between Mr Mousavi and Mr Nabavi, I suspect they cared more about their clan, than Islam.

  18. Rehmat says:

    On Thursday, without naming the Zionist entity, Iranian president Sheikh Hassan Rouhani blamed the western colonial powers for the wars and bloodshed in the Middle East. In his roughly ten minute speech he emphasized that keeping in mind the western colonial powers hostility toward Iranian nation in the past, Iranian leadership is very careful in trusting western promises especially fighting terrorism in the region. Rouhani also stressed that Iran is against foreign powers’ military involvement in fighting insurgency in Syria and Iraq. He said that regional problems must be resolved by the regional players.

    Rouhani also underlined the Western and Israeli secret agencies which created the various terrorist groups with a single goal: “the destruction of civilization, giving rise to Islamophobia and creating a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region”.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/09/26/rouhani-exposes-western-hypocrisy-at-un-general-assembly/

  19. Rehmat says:

    NASSER – don’t try to paddle Israeli website Al-Monitor to fool yourself and other readers. Shalom.

  20. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    September 25, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I think the JPOA has achieved its goals for Iran; it created a cease-fire and stopped the sanctions momentum, it bought some time for Iranians, it brought some foreign exchange into the country, and allowed the government to stabilize certain economic conditions.

    It also established that unless Iran gave up her sovereign rights and exposed herself to the dangers of state disintegration, no deal with Axis Powers is reachable. And I believe this last fact was essential to be demonstrated to the Iranian people – that Axis Powers, Russia, China, and India are bent in making and keeping Iran weak and vulnerable.

    Today, I read of the latest “generous” offer from US – به مرگ گرفتی مرا تا به تبی راضی شوم – from 1500 to 5800 – another non-starter.

    There will be no deal, rest assured, as long as Mr. Khamenie is in office.

  21. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You think Iran needs to be able to make nuclear fuel for more nuclear power plants than Iran has, in order to avoid “state disintegration”? Silly.

  22. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    The Syrian government welcomed the US attacks on Isis targets within Syria.

  23. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    September 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Silly!

  24. James Canning says:

    HnH,

    The weakening of the British Empire brought about by the First World War was a very bad thing for the US.

  25. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The First World War was a calamitous European civil war. Germany’s strategic foolishness in building a wholly-unnecessary powerful High Seas fleet, is what led ultimately to US entry into the war.

    Bismarck had warned that Germany could not take on Britain without expecting to have to deal also with the US.

  26. Jay says:

    HnH says:
    September 26, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Your assertion may reflect the long term practice of governments, but it does not reflect the philosophical underpinnings of a democratic government.

    It is certainly true, and reflected most clearly in the writings of Locke, that the duty of the government is to “protect the natural rights of the people, which Locke believed to include LIFE, LIBERTY, AND PROPERTY.” Locke, and others after him, made clear that the “rights” they spoke of where the “rights” that benefitted the collective.

    Karl Marx may have shuddered at the notion of property – certainly not life and liberty. I am familiar with the writing of Marx and understand his warnings about the notion of property. I am unaware of any Marxist writing that denies the role of government in the protection of life and liberty of her citizens. I am more than interested to learn about any source you may be able to share.

    The pace of demise of an empire depends on many parameters. I do not predict an early demise – I do not predict. Yet, I sense that you have missed the main message of the nature of this demise. You must take into account that the nature of property and ownership has changed drastically in the past 30 years or so. For example, property has a special place in the wealth structure, because, for the most part, property used to be difficult to “move” – therefore, it had to be protected in place – on the soil it was built upon. This immovability of large property imposed constraints on the movement of wealth and power. Fluid movement of the 21st century “property” opens new possibilities. The US is the chaperone of this new “property” paradigm.

  27. fyi says:

    Jay says:

    September 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    In your view, was the late John Locke influenced by Newtonian Mechanics – the Universe as a Machine – and apply it to human societies?

  28. Jay says:

    fyi says:
    September 26, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    This is a great question! One which I am ill equipped to respond to in a brief form – mostly because I still struggle with some aspects of Locke’s thinking.

    He was certainly known as a “mechanical” philosopher. His associates, his writing, and many of his treaties have elements that support this mechanical view of him. However, in my view, this is too simplistic. Locke’s appeal to religiosity, his subtle view of “chance” (or probability as we call it today), and many of his arguments – although improperly constructed by the standards of today – suggest a much more nuanced view of a mechanical universe.

  29. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Nigel Farage promises Ukip ‘tanks on Labour’s lawn’

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/nigel-farage/11125120/Nigel-Farage-promises-Ukip-tanks-on-Labours-lawn.html

    SNP in Scotland, UKIP in England, Tony Blair’s “New Labour” bullshit legacy.

    He was so vain and power-hungry, that in his obsession to attract Tory voters he in fact began the dismantling of the UK.

    They always said he was a “crypto-Papist”.

  30. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Just a little suggestion: BBC is not the best source for anything regarding the war. They didn’t report fairly then and they don’t do it now.

    http://english.khamenei.ir//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1964

    Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, met Wednesday morning with a number of high-ranking military and police commanders. Speaking at the meeting, which was held on the occasion of Sacred Defense Week, His Eminence described the Sacred Defense Era as a source of dignity for the people of Iran, stressing: “The experience of the eight-year Sacred Defense Era showed that despite all difficulties, pressures, financial shortcomings and other problems, we can stand up against the bullying and unreasonable expectations of global powers with firm determination and reliance on God.”

    The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution pointed to the formation of a big camp which was comprised of the west, the east and their dependent regional countries against the Islamic Republic of Iran during the imposed war, further adding: “The goal of this big camp was to weaken the Islamic government, to damage its reputation, to busy it with domestic problems and finally to prepare the ground for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. But the Islamic government and the people of Iran stood up against this camp and emerged victorious out of the arena despite lack of resources and the existence of various problems in those days.”

    Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated: “Due to the resistance of the people of Iran during the eight-year Sacred Defense Era, many influential personalities and active minds in Islamic and non-Islamic countries began to firmly believe in powerful defense even with empty hands.”

    The Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces referred to the costs of the imposed war – particularly to the valuable martyrs of the Islamic Revolution – saying: “The achievements of the people of Iran during the Sacred Defense era were immense despite the high cost of the imposed war in both material and spiritual terms.”

  31. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    A “nuclear state” which is bombed nearly every day since 2004.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_attacks_in_Pakistan

    There is no logical necessity nor even probability between possessing nuclear bombs and not being attacked as the Pakistan case clearly shows.

    Either you are zalil or you are not zalil, with or without nuclear weapons.

    That is what “determines” whether you are attacked or not.

    Iran is not zalil and others are, that is why Iran is not attacked.

    Our success is because we don’t listen to America, the BBC, westernized “experts” and mohre sukhte exiles pontificating from afar. If we had listened to them…well, just take a look at the neighbors.

    And the reason we are not zalil is because we follow the Islam of Imam Ali (as) and Imam Hussein (as).

    No other reason, period.

  32. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Of course the enemies- yesterday’s and today’s, foreign and domestic- know that the war and its model of resistance is the main deterrent against attacks- with or without whatever technology.

    Technology without resistance spirit is useless. And so imagine, we kept the spirit and added the technology- tu ruhe doshman.

    Can’t take the technology from us anymore, so the enemy has to try take take the spirit.

    Those that actually have been in a war know all this, those that “had better things to do” and only read about it in books don’t know.

    That is why they are poo-pooing the war today and wanting to create doubts about that time.

    Well, they are going to take their desires to the grave and Islamic Iran will be triumphant as always.

  33. Karl.. says:

    Bussed in Basiji

    Pakistan accept US attacks on pakistan, have nothing do with them having the nukes.

  34. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Precisely my point

  35. Amir says:

    On Sacred Defense
    Recently channel 1 of IRIB aired a program titled “lines unread” which aired on six consecutive nights at 11:15 pm local time. It was very informative for me, because a string of commanders of war were presenting their case and it was conducted as a debate, where four people in their thirties asked bluntly about the logic for almost anything that happened during the war (was it inevitable, couldn’t it be averted, why the Army performed the way it did, how it was financed, how the war material was obtained, why and how the war ended and particularly what was mentioned in Mohsen Rezayi’s letter to Emam?). The timing was far from perfect, total allotted airing time was so little and most important of all, not everyone involved back then could contribute or accepted to do so (Hashemi Eafsanjani, Mousavi and Velayati, to name a few); still, it was a great program.
    As it has been customary, BBC, the propaganda tool of the devil himself, features a disinformation campaign about the Sacred Defense on its anniversary, and they have been doing this since the end of the war. It would be fool hearty to expect our foes, who had their butts handed to themselves, give a balanced account of the war; still, I think such programs are long overdue in our country.
    I’ll give you one small yet enormously significant instance: during the last year of war Iraq started a series of campaigns code named “tawakkalna alallah” which were very successful (Faw and Majnoon silands were lost as a result). Almost every foreign expert or analyst says a combination of factors including rapid Iraqi advances, it deploying chemical weapons on a large scale, shooting down of an Iranian airliner and huge war material losses (two thirds of its armor and three forth of its artillery) of Iran compelled Iran to sue for peace…
    All that is true to some extent, but the same experts choose to omit one point: after Iran accepted UNSC resolution 598 and Emam drank from the poison chalice, Iraq ATTACKED Iran on two fronts, one in Kermanshah (using MKO monafeqin) and another in south front, deploying roughly 50 battalions. In 20 days Iranian troops not only crushed both these formations, IRGC was ready to go on the offensive in Iraq. Emam, who was the Imam and Vali of Iranian troops conveyed that Iran is sincere and committed to peace and we shouldn’t enter Iraq, after we have accepted ceasefire. As Emam’s son (Ahmad Khomeynie) later said, Emam was very pleased with the turnabout as he said he had traded his “aberoo” with God and our Emam’s “aberoo” and honor was preserved and God didn’t turn us down.
    Now, please tell me how on earth Iranians turned the tide of 50 armored, mechanized and infantry brigades AND organized [300 battalions] to take the war back into Iraq, if they had been defeated.
    That’s why I think our deterrent is “the culture of martyrdom” and our WMD is our Basij. Our Basijis would chop off the heads of our enemies with their bare hands, if need be. As Emam said once, I wish I were a Basiji, too.

  36. Amir says:

    … and another in south front, deploying roughly 50 battalions.

    I’m sorry, I meant to say “50 brigades”. Battalion is a typo.

  37. Karl.. says:

    Bussed in Basiji

    Wasnt your point that nuclear weapons dont protect against attacks?

  38. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    My point is that what protects Iran from attacks is our spirit of resistance based in our religion- with or without nukes.

    Nukes do not necessarily, automatically, suddenly and magically protect you from attacks as some claim and as the Pakistan case proves.

  39. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Amir-jan they won’t believe it until a pimple-faced basiji is actually stuffing their head up their ass in battle. When they come, then they will have reached “aynul yaqin” as they say. Until then let the armchair generals circle jerk amongst themselves.

  40. Karl.. says:

    Bussed in Basiji

    “claim and as the Pakistan case proves.

    Pakistan is getting attacked because it accept it, they support it, they want it. Thats a completly different thing than the deterrent issue the discussion is about.

  41. M.Ali says:

    Karl, we know that Pakistan government accepts, supports, and wants it. We argue that, that itself, shows a fundemantly weak and useless government that allows another country to kill its civilians at will. The nuclear weapons is not protecting its soverneity since thats a government that has nukes, but is so weak and powerless that it allows a country to attack it.

    Lets put it this way. Lets imagine that Iran goes towards a certain political path that it gets nukes…but at the cost of making so many bad decisions, that it allows US to bomb its citizens. Then, woo, it has nukes, but it has lost its independance.

    For some reason, some of you think that getting nukes is a golden ticket, that once a country gets that, than all its problems are solved. What we argue is that a country has countless political choices. It has to put them all side by side, weigh its pros and cons, and then choose the best out of it.

  42. M.Ali says:

    “We don’t need no mixed-sex schools, says Turkey’s conservative teachers union “

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/we-dont-need-no-mixed-sex-schools-says-turkeys-conservative-teachers-union.aspx?pageID=238&nID=72213&NewsCatID=341

    “The declaration by Eğitim-Bir-Sen, which is headed by Ahmet Gündoğdu, who also heads the umbrella organization Memur-Sen, said mixed-education system was a “violation of rights.”

    “The boundaries beyond democratic education rights, which limit the basic preferences of the people, should be eliminated. Compulsory ‘mixed’ education, which holds the will and preferences of the people captive, should be ended. The state should withdraw from its assertiveness on the issue,” said a declaration that was drafted after meetings last week.


    “The union had called for the abolition of a ban on headscarves in all public schools, which was followed by a recent government announcement to lift the ban for children starting from grade five, which normally corresponds to the age of 10 in Turkey.

    The changes have drawn a reaction, although some people had already started sending girls to school wearing headscarves anyway, even before the relevant regulation came into effect.

    Eğitim-Bir-Sen had previously collected 12.3 million signatures for a petition that calls for the lifting of the headscarf ban on public workers, another campaign that yielded results. The union had said it would continue “civil disobedience” protests until the bans were lifted.

    Meanwhile, the union has also called for freedom in the dress code as part of a reaction against the compulsory wearing of ties for men.

    As Iranians sometimes sarcastically say and roll eyes, “Good morning!”

  43. M.Ali says:

    So this is strange,

    “Before the release, Turkey’s contribution was limited to intelligence sharing and law enforcement to stop foreign fighters, as well as opening its bases for logistical and humanitarian support. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu declined to take part in any military operation in the anti-ISIL fight in the U.S.-led coalition’s Jeddah meeting, and Turkey’s position in NATO planning has been the same.

    After getting all hostages back alive, President Erdoğan had said before departing for the U.N. talks that refusing to take part in military operations was a part of the bargaining with ISIL and “was for the day,” meaning the day of their release.”

    If true, won’t this be a great way to make Turkey a fantastic new target for ISIS? If I was that group, and they were negotiating with me to release the hostages, and promises were made, and just when the deal is done and released, I hear them going, “Ha! Fooled you! Suck my dick!”, I’m going to be very, very annoyed

  44. M.Ali says:

    The Turks have their heads so up their own ass, that they really don’t know what’s what. Remember when these guys were supposed to be the hip new Islamic country that would be both the west’s and arab darling? Lets see where they are in five years.

    “TURKEY’S KURDS SHOULD NOT POUR FUEL ON THE FIRE”

    http://www.dailysabah.com/columns/ilnur-cevik/2014/09/26/turkeys-kurds-should-not-pour-fuel-on-the-fire

    “Despite all this, some Kurdish politicians in Turkey have the audacity to claim that Turkey is not doing enough and some are actually going so far as to claim that Turkey and ISIS have cooperated to wipe out Kurds…

    …The Turkish taxpayer is shouldering this burden, thus no one has the right to utter a word…

    …Instead of applauding the Turkish authorities for all this, the fact that these Kurdish politicians in Turkey are displaying so much irresponsibility is simply disappointing. These Kurdish politicians and other activists are actually pouring fuel on the fire pretending they are assembling forces inside Turkey to cross the border into Syria to confront the ISIS extremists. When they are stopped by Turkish soldiers they accuse Turkey of siding with ISIS and then start attacking and stoning our soldiers. All this is opportunism at its highest level…

    …All this is raising eyebrows throughout Turkey where people are questioning the reconciliation process. People say the PKK and its sympathizers should understand the intense sensitivity at the southeastern border and stop pouring fuel on the fire….

    Poor Turks. They are good to the west, but they don’t accept them into EU. They are good to Islamic extremists, but they still bomb them. They allow Kurds to live in refugee camps, but they still don’t like them. boo hoo boo hoo

  45. Karl.. says:

    M. Ali

    A better scenario imo is that Pakistan did not want US to attack them. Having Pakistan nukes in mind and/or other capabilities, I dont think US would bomb Pakistan year after year with no military response by Pakistan. Do you?

  46. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Karl,

    With “Pakistan” I’m sure you mean the government, not “Pakistan” because there are tens of millions of people in Pakistan who don’t accept, support and want it.

    I don’t know if you really get it.

  47. Karl.. says:

    Bussed in Basiji

    Yes I of course mean the government of Pakistan.
    Who cares what other people think? Again Nuclear deterrence is between states, not what some people of the states might think. So some US citizens dont want US to have nukes, ok so?

  48. Amir says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    September 27, 2014 at 10:30 am
    So true! God bless you!

  49. Karl.. says:

    More problems for Syria coming for sure.
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/09/a-responsibility-to-protect-mercenaries.html
    Thats what you get when you accept US to bomb you.

  50. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Karl,

    If you agree that nuclear weapons do not necessarily and automatically deter attacks on a nation- and that other factors are at times more significant- than we are of the same opinion.

  51. Karl.. says:

    Bussed in Basiji

    No I do believe in Nuclear deterrence you dont, but leave that discussion now, no point going on, we have different views on this.

  52. James Canning says:

    karl..,

    Syrian government “accepts” US attacks on enemies of the Syrian government. Such attacks ARE NOT “attacks on Syria”.

  53. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    US attacks within Pakistan, on targets hostile to Pakistan, are not “attacks on Pakistan”.

  54. fyi says:

    All:

    Dr. Kissinger on Iran (and other topics):

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/henry-kissingers-world-order-the-outer-edge-of-what-is-possible-9752563.html

    We read:

    “Iran is much more complicated”. I put it to him that if the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini is replaced by a more moderate leader such as Hojatoleslam Rafsanjani, that might lessen the threat. He shakes his head. “If Iran develops nuclear weapons, or comes close to nuclear weapons, that fact alone will shift the balance in the region, no matter how moderate the government may in the end turn out to be. Because that means that Iran defied the Security Council and prevailed in a conflict of threats with the US.”

    The aim remains the destruction of the Iranian strategic autonomy, Iranian power – regardless of her policies.

  55. fyi says:

    All:

    Like his predecessor, Mr. Ahmadinejad, Mr. Rouhani offered to be partner in managing the world in his UN General Assembly speech.

    There were no takers.

  56. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    September 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm
    No they`re just violations of syrias airspace and its sovereignty,show me where the syrian government “accepts” western airstrikes,theres also a world of difference between “accepting” someones help and “accepting” that you cant do much to stop someone doing as they please thats the one thats happening in syria right now.Imagine if iran used drones to take out people it considered enemies living in the us,do you really think for an instant that the us would “accept” this and not see it as an attack on their nation.Once again james by seeking to justify/apologize for the indefensible actions of the west you just reduce yourself and your credibility to the level of a laughing stock here

  57. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    محاج قاسم سلیمانی: دفاع مقدس یک انقلاب بزرگ فرهنگی را در کشور رقم زد

    http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=205703

  58. Persian Gulf says:

    Amir says:
    September 26, 2014 at 5:01 am

    There are people here that were involved in these affair at the time and can tell you the story better.
    From my reading of history, by the time IR started to cut MEKs, Mr.Bazargan was long gone from his post. and when Imam Khomeini started to deal with,right so, MEKs he did it mercilessly as you well know. It’s quite clear that Banisadr would have been hanged had he not fled the country the way he did.

    It is quite possible that Nabavi was sincere at the time (I can’t judge him based on a single interview with a news agency that often spreads false narratives). But nearly 30 years have passed and either his views have changed or he became corrupted by the liberal ideas and lost his revolutionary taste. As Imam Khomeini said میزان حال افراد است

    There is another clear example of how resolute Imam Khomeini was compared to Khamenei whenever the need was felt. That is the episode of Ayatollah Montazeri, a pillar of Velayate Faghih concept himself and long time revolutionary. When it was clear to Imam Khomeini that this guy can’t do the job and became duped he cut him immediately and send him to the trash without reservation. I am sure he would have dealt the same way with Rafsanjani and the clan , let alone Mr.Mousavi and Mr.Karoubi, had he been alive by 2009-2010. Mr. Rafsanjani and the sons were openly destroying the system by every means in their disposal. Mr.Khamenei simply tolerated him and was too afraid of his credibility to do anything with him.

  59. Amir says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for the time you spent on writing back to me!
    I was a toddler back then, so I have no idea about what was happening then, though I’m sure of one thing: Emam was uncompromising about Islam, and he wouldn’t care what others MIGHT think or say.
    I have read [in an English book on Islamic Republic] Mr Rafsanji started to talk about Imam Ali’s plantation (what?!) during Friday prayer’s sermons, just after Emam passed away (I haven’t cross-checked it yet). I think after the fall of USSR many politicians had lost faith in command economy. Also, Mr Rafsanjani had a fascination with Malaysia and Mahatir Mohammad AND Japan (Iran was supposed to become the “Islamic Japan”). Of course, now we see Japan is the biatch of the US, its citizens enjoy TV game shows that turn into porno, they prefer bachelorhood, their population has been diminishing, etc. I think (I’m not sure) that Rafsanjani and many others weren’t purposefully trying to destroy the Islamic Revolution, but they were awed by the West and somehow they had lost faith (although Mr Rafsanjani’s memories mention a day on which he went Jet-skiing on Amir Kabir Dam, before the end of war). Needless to say, much of what Mr Rafsanjani and his associates (not limited to his children) did, caused great damage to not only the Islamic Republic, but also to ordinary Iranians’ livelihood, their identity and culture, and sometimes their general sense of security.
    I mentioned Mr Nabavi, because the link I had posted wasn’t an interview with him by Farsnews in 2010, but his statements in 1980s! What I had in mind was Mr Nabavi was denouncing monafeqin and he became one of them! Doesn’t that… bother you?
    Also, I want to say no matter how Ayatollah Khamenei’s actions might appear (soft, too soft, harsh), I’ll obey him as valiye-faqih (I’m not comfortable with marching ahead of him; khawarej did it).

  60. Persian Gulf says:

    Amir

    I forgot to say this, that Mr.Bazargan was an idiot I have no doubt about. For sometimes he was trying to explain Islam with the law of thermodynamics.

    It is the responsibility of the leader to act decisively when the lives of ordinary people are greatly affected as you just mentioned. Instead he went to the Friday sermon and praised Rafsanjani for his past work, only to get embarrassed few weeks later from the same location with Rafsanjani’s deplorable speech.

  61. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    September 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    He was an engineer by training and clearly out of his intellectual depth.

    He also did not look at the Second Law in the right way; which is this:

    “What does the Second Law tell us about God, the Creation, and Man?”

  62. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    September 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    That man and indeed all the creation are in a state of fall and decay and only a supreme force can restore them: The God.

  63. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    Syrian newspapers praised the US airstrikes on Isis targets within Syria. The Syrian government hailed those strikes. (Obviously, the Syrian government hopes the US avoids the “mission creep” problem.)

  64. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    If you read the Financial Times you would be aware of the reaction of the Syrian government to the US attacks on Isis targets within Syria.

  65. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    What precisely am I attempting to “justify”? I thought western military intervention in Libya was a blunder. Do I thereby “justify” it? I thought the US should have tried to PREVENT eruption of civil war in Syria. More “justify[ing]”, in your view?

  66. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Iran’s offer to be a partner would have its attractions, provided Iran makes a deal with P5+1.

  67. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You should read Rory Stewart’s review of Henry Kissinger’s new book. (In the Sunday Times (London) recently.)

    Kissinger praises the work of the moron in the White House (GW Bush).

  68. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I very much doubt Kissinger actually believes Iran would be allowed to build nukes.

  69. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Iran would be better able to give assistance to Hezbollah and to the Palestinians, if it makes a deal regarding its nuclear programme. Iran, unintentionally, has helped Israel to grow its illegal settlements in the West Bankk.

  70. James Canning says:

    At the UN, Mahmoud Abbas has called for the UNSC to tell Israel it must get out of the West Bank by a given date. Bravo.

  71. James Canning says:

    On McLaughlin group last week, Pat Buchanan strongly attacked the notion of the US attacking Syrian government forces in Syria. I of course agree strongly. (McLaughlin.com)

  72. Empty says:

    Persian Gulf,

    RE: It is the responsibility of the leader to act decisively when the lives of ordinary people are greatly affected as you just mentioned. Instead he went to the Friday sermon and praised Rafsanjani for his past work, only to get embarrassed few weeks later from the same location with Rafsanjani’s deplorable speech.

    1) Now that nearly 5 years has passed and things are calm and secure; and most things are now clear for most people; and most people have now found a clear view of what really was going on back then; and every single person is not a keg filled with explosives ready to go off at any time, it is rather nice to be able to sit back and relax and ponder about what the leader would have, should have, and could have done!

    2) Comparing and contrasting two different leaders in two completely different situations, times, geopolitical realities, and nuances of decision-making and concluding how this leader’s action should have been exactly like the other is rather illogical and lacks analytical credibility. The position that Imam Khomeini had in hearts and minds of the people of Iran at the time of the revolution and after is unmatched by anyone else in Iran’s history. There was a lot he could say and do wherein majority of Iranians followed wholeheartedly. No other leader has ever been able to have such support. Not even Imam Ali (a.s.) himself had a fraction of such followers.

    3) قوۀ قهریه has its time and place. Anyone honestly examining the situations in ’88 would reach the conclusion that the leader’s actions prevented the country from splitting up into many pieces. Not being able to see this now, would lead you to go astray in future events.

    While I share your negative perspective about many of the green, reformers, and technocratic people you named and I believe they should be kicked out of government positions, there are still people in the population who are dumb enough not to want to see these people for what they really are. The only way to solve this problem is to raise people’s بصیرت and deep and critical understanding of socio-political issues. And, God Willing, a lot is being done and will continue till the real nature of these منافقین becomes known to all. Sometimes things must happen from the grassroots and may take some time.

  73. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi

    I am very surprised that you refer to BBC for an analysis of Iraq-Iran war. what are we supposed to learn out of BBCPersian? Obviously every single sentence in BBCPersian is designed for the overall agenda of undermining IR.

  74. Persian Gulf says:

    Empty says:
    September 28, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I did not deny the fact that he saved the country out of a total chaos.
    As for the comparison, I have simply made two very similar personalities in terms of weight in the system and the way the two leaders dealt with them. To earn a fraction of that charisma he needed to be more forceful and not afraid of his personal credibility. He not only did not sideline Rafsanjani but also rewarded him and helped take him from the cold and gave him a new birth to continue his BS.
    Ayatollah Khamenei was institutionally in a far more powerful position than what Imam Khomeini was at the time removing Ayatollah Montazeri.

  75. Empty says:

    Persian Gulf,

    I do not believe Ayatollah Khamenei’s decisions rest so much on his own personal credibility. I think he puts credibility of نظام and mass support by people above and beyond any one person’s or character’s credibility including his own.

    I have examined and followed his decisions and actions for many years. I believe he concentrates most of his focus on 3 areas: 1) strengthening soft and hard power defense capabilities of Iran to deter external threats – this has both national and international dimensions; 2) internal cohesion and unity across social, geographic, and political spectrum (including various factions, ethnic groups, and geographic areas) — جذب حداکثری; and 3) strategic road map for future of Iran as a multi-dimensional power based on Islamic tenets and Iranian culture.

    I think he makes evaluations based on the usefulness of people and characters (this includes himself) contributing to any part of the above and helping along the system to move in that long-term strategic direction. I also think he intervenes (either overtly or covertly) when he predicts any kind of “derailing” or “change in strategic direction.” I think he sees this system (نظام) as an امانت and he is determined to strengthen it and not allow it to go to pieces under his watch.

    At least, this is my assessment of the situation.

  76. Amir says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 28, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    I’m not sure if you remember what the Leader said during that Friday prayer’s sermons… The Leader initially said the contenders were once Prime Minister and Speaker of the Parliament and even Mr Rafsanjani had played a critical role earlier, there were some arguments and misunderstandings, probably things were said during live debates that shouldn’t have been said, BUT his own views are closer to those of Dr Ahmadinejad than those of Mr Rafsanjani [and the audience ERUPTED]. At the end he said disagreements and complaints must be addressed according to the law, if contenders or others drag people to the streets and anyone is hurt, the contenders are to blame and he isn’t afraid to sacrifice himself for protecting Islam and the Revolution [and the audience jumped to the air].
    Mr “empty” correctly mentioned that the overall situation was different from the time of Emam (the two Leaders’ personalities, the political situation, revolutionary spirit, etc.); during the time of Emam, monafqin carried out numerous terrorist acts and killed hundreds, a foreign country attacked us and did what it did, political tension was rife and the executive branch had serious problems (for starter the President and the Prime Minister didn’t get along), deputy Valiye-faqih (late Ayatollah Montazeri) made questionable statements, etc. Could we say this Emam is doing any worse than that Emam?

    Empty says:
    September 28, 2014 at 11:45 pm
    I wanted to say that the section you talk about raising بصیرت is very important. Also, I found your argument to be balanced and fair.

  77. M.Ali says:

    I’m not a religious person, so I don’t believe in velayat faghih as a religious thing, but as a political concept, it has done wonders for Iran, SPECIALLY during Khamenei’s time. Post war & post revolution era is a much less glamorous situation to manage, but it could be even more important. The tight rope balancing act that Khamenei has been doing for the past decades has been almost artistic.

    By not pushing Rafsanjani away, he does not make an attractive martyr of him (why else did ol’ Rafsanjani get himself disqualified by the Guardian Council?). By not making a big issue out of Mousavi and Karoubi, he does not turn them into the dramatic rallying flag that Iranians love. By allowing certain greens in the government, it removes the excuse they can later make that, “we could have solved the issues, they didn’t let us!”

    The last point is the most important. Look at the attacks on Ahmadenijad during last few years. The average Iranian believed some of it. Now that the “reformist” clan (which is s a stupid term, since Ahmadenijad was the biggest reformist the country has had) are back, who can they blame now?

    We are in a volotile region, with a relative young republic (30 years after centuries of monarchy), and without a careful and precise manouvering by Khameini, it would not have been surprising if we had fallen into the traps of neighboring countries.

    The frightening thing is, who comes next? Khameini had the advantages of having the experiences of both being a leader in war and at being a president. He was also very young when he became a velayat faghih (50, right?) meaning he had the energy and flexibility to oversee the country. No such unique mixture exists anymore.

    Unless they choose Ahmadenijad as veliyat faghih hehehe that would be so awesome.

  78. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    September 28, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    I thought some of the material was worth consideration; such as the absence of commanders from front because they were playing politics in Tehran, the late Mr. Khomeini’s anger at the losses, that the acceptance of the cease-fire agreement a year earlier would have left Iran in a better bargaining position, and finally that Iran lacked the hardware to wage war.

    I am not mentioning the nuclear weapons dimension in that report….

  79. fyi says:

    Empty says:

    September 28, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    “kicking people out” is no resolution.

    Islam brought people together; you ought to find out why these people are acting/believing/behaving they do.

    In particular, kicking technocratic people out will leave the state without the knowledge to accomplish its tasks and goals.

  80. fyi says:

    M.Ali says:

    September 29, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Yes, I agree with you, the Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent has kept the balance among all these factions in Iran and kept the Constitutional Order in tact.

    In 2009, the Green Movement’s strategy was to throw the results of the elections into doubt and then seek to have the elections annulled.

    Well, no one has that power in Iran to annul the results of the elections yet in their zeal for power they were quite willing to use illegal means.

    I have no doubt that without the Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent, Mr. Ahmadinejad – the best executive Iran has ever had in the last 2500 years – would not have been able to complete his term; he would have been “over-thrown”.

    From the religious point of view, the Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent makes Iranian polity immune to rebellious jihadism – 4 Shia Muslims cannot go into a room and decide they are the True Muslims and every one else is a mortdad.

    For any Muslim to accuse Islamic Republic to be un-Islamic, he must reject the authority of all the mujtahids in Iran, specially those in the Assembly of Experts and the legitimacy of the Supreme Jurisprudent as the highest Muslim Legal Authority on land.

    Effectively, this closes the door to Jihadism that we are witnessing among Sunnis.

  81. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    The real problem is that you instead of actually fighting during the war and thus being able to form your own reasoned opinion about what happened, are watching the BBC’s bullshit version.

    Unfortunately you’re too full of shit to even begin to understand what I’m telling you.

  82. Amir says:

    Have you seen this?! Argentinian President addressing UN General Assembly.
    http://farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13930707000917
    There’s a video at the bottom of the page, featuring English subtitles.

  83. M.Ali says:

    That was a pretty good speech. The dubbed version can be found here:
    http://www.un.org/en/ga/69/meetings/gadebate/24sep/argentina.shtml

    It also shows how effective Ahmadenijad’s strategy was. He was created rapport with the new generation of politicians.

    Unfortunately, with Rohani, we are back to square one, with the government being excited with a phone call from Obama and a meeting with Cameron.

  84. fyi says:

    All:

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/09/syria-iran-alliance-islamic-state-extremism-rouhani-zarif.html

    I draw your attention to the comments of one “agitpapa” at the end of this article.

  85. Rehmat says:

    fyi – you can be assured it was not me. I hate to leave comments at Israeli propaganda sites like al-Monitor.

  86. Nasser says:

    fyi says: September 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

    – Mr. agitpapa usually provides excellent commentary on Turkish politics but I tend to disregard him when it comes to Iran because he seems to suffer from an extreme anti Iran bias. He also is a champion of Iraqi Sunnis and have called IS the Iraqi Sunni version of Hezbollah.

    – But I do agree with him in this instance. He is right that there isn’t a chance in hell the US would ever choose Iran over Israel and their wahabi pets. And those Iranians hoping that the US has seen the light and would turn to Iran to keep a lid on extremism are in for a rude awakening.

  87. Rehmat says:

    Argentina president Kirchner (born 1953) a socialist and anti-capitalist, in her recent 14-minute speech at the UNGA on September 24, 2014, blasted IMF, WB and Vulture Fund, all controlled or owned by Jew bankers. She also criticized Argentina and world organized Jewry for running a vicious campaign against her government, even threatening her life since her government signed the Argentina-Iran Truth Commission to investigate and find out the real culprits behind the bombing of Jewish compound AMIA and Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in the 1990s. The agreement was signed by Argentina’s Jewish foreign minister Hector Timerman and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi.

    Kirchner accused the Jewish leaders being so obsessed with Iran that they prefer to call the country “Terrorist state of Iran” instead of “Islamic state of Iran”.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/09/29/argentina-president-blasts-organized-jewry-over-iran-and-palestine/

  88. Nasser says:

    fyi says: September 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

    – Do you agree with him regarding Maliki?

    – As I have said before despite my many misgivings with him (particularly with his approach to Kurds) I supported him precisely because he was so unpalatable to the Sunnis and their Saudi backers. But it was my understanding that Iran’s other Shia allies including Mr. Sistani wanted his departure.

  89. James Canning says:

    An interview with Obama was broadcast by CBS News yesterday (“60 Minutes” programme), with focus on Syria and Iraq, but also touching on Ukraine.

  90. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    Nouri al-Maliki weakened the Iraqi army and helped bring about its collapse in the face of Isis attacks. I doubt Iran was pleased.

  91. fyi says:

    All:

    A letter writer to London’s Daily Mail last week, Mr. Aubrey Bailey of Hampshire, England describing the Mad King:

    “Some of our (UK) friends support our enemies and some of our enemies support our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies, whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win. “

    “If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they might even be replaced by people we like even less. And all this was started by us invading a country to drive out terrorists who weren’t actually there until we went in to drive them out. Do you understand now?”

  92. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    September 29, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    No.

    My understanding was that Mr. Sistani wanted Mr. Maliki out as the PM; Iranians had stood by him until then.

  93. Karl.. says:

    Amir

    about ARgentine speech.
    Yes I saw that too, but what really was her message on Iran? I was a bit confused, maybe it was the translation.

  94. Karl.. says:

    The moron is back again.
    http://rt.com/news/191644-israel-un-isis-iran/
    Yes that is netanyahu with cartoons.

  95. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Amusing letter (that you just quoted) But the US of course did not invade Iraq in 2003 “to drive out terrorists”.

  96. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    September 29, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Do you believe those words? I do not.

    I think everything in BBCPersian is carefully mixed with distorted facts. It’s impossible to cherry-pick from their materials without eventually falling into their line of thinking.

  97. Persian Gulf says:

    Empty says:
    September 29, 2014 at 1:15 am

    I think those are your beliefs and not necessarily facts on the ground. You like him, so you think everything he does is perfect. You have got to distance yourself from his personality to analyse his actions. I don’t have against him personally.

    If he does the way you have described above, what is then the difference between him and any other leader? most leaders in the world today act the way you explained here. It is those critical actions which Imam Khomenini had taken that made him a different leader.

  98. Persian Gulf says:

    Amir, M.Ali, Empty

    I don’t understand your logic here. he can threaten a just popularly elected president for disposal and impose a person in his cabinet against the very sentences of the constitution. but he can not remove a ceremonial position because he wanted to جذب حداکثری. a president that did not act in away to endanger the legitimacy or security of the system. what is this? if this isn’t about his credibility, what is it then?

  99. Persian Gulf says:

    M.Ali,

    If Khamenei could take the position of a charismatic leader and founder of the system that easy without the title of Ayatollah to begin with, it will be far easier to install another person after him. That is a going to be a very easy thing to do for the system. I am sure that the assembly of experts have few candidates in mind already. Who can dispute the position, no one. I mean the ones who don’t like it they don’t like now, and anyway. I don’t see any more disagreement to arise if tomorrow another less known personality is installed.

  100. Amir says:

    Karl.. says:
    September 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm
    I felt she meant to criticize the US and the case of Iran provided a basis to demonstrate American hypocrisy.

  101. Amir says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 29, 2014 at 9:29 pm
    To be honest I wasn’t sure to whom you were referring (Rahim Mashaee?), but in my humble opinion much of what is done, is done in the name of expediency.

  102. Empty says:

    Persian Gulf,

    RE: I think those are your beliefs and not necessarily facts on the ground.

    They are not “beliefs” but my interpretation and opinions after examining the “facts on the ground”. I did not know him well and had no opinion about him many years ago. As I began to examine his work, and follow the consequences of his decisions, and explored the national and international socio-political context of his decisions, I grew to better understand and fully appreciate him as a leader. I do not expect him to be perfect or infallible or معصوم.

    RE: You like him, so you think everything he does is perfect.

    Yes. I like him. Not only I do not think everything he does is perfect but also I do not think even one thing he does is perfect. Perfection is the realm of God.

    Given the circumstances, the hostilities that have surrounded Iran, and based on his, his country’s, and his countrymen’s capacity and potential, he has made the best decisions for the country. آفتاب است نشانۀ آفتاب. The sun is the evidence for existence of the sun. It’s a pity that many of Iran’s sworn enemies know exactly what a supreme leader he is than many of his own people.

    RE: You have got to distance yourself from his personality to analyse his actions.

    Your statement lacks logic.

    RE: If he does the way you have described above, what is then the difference between him and any other leader? most leaders in the world today act the way you explained here.

    As far as leadership is concerned, I do not see him different than excellent leaders in history. However, in the contemporary world, I know of no other leader that could match him. Most “leaders” in the world have not acted the way he does (except for Seyyed Hassan Nassrullah and Fidel Castro perhaps to some extent).

    The most significant factor that sets him apart from any other leader on earth for me is the 3rd focus I explained above (and as I said, based on my interpretation). If he had all of the characteristics of an excellent leader but didn’t care much about establishing a society based on the tenets of Islam, I would not have considered him my leader. So, I do not expect to convince you or anyone else in this regard as we all invest all of our energy on what we believe is in line with our goals, purpose, and responsibilities in this life. If you find my comments illogical or not worthy of attention, I think you should just skip over them.

  103. Empty says:

    Amir and M. Ali,

    Thank you for the link to Argentinian President’s speech. I really liked her honesty.

  104. kooshy says:

    Empty says:
    September 29, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    With regard to Ayatollah Khamenei’s leadership I completely agree with you and M. Ali, he has navigated the country perfectly in balance and coherence through the troubling and many internal and external times without giving up an iota of country’s sovereignty or internal integrity, more importantly he exercised his legal power not to punish but rather to redirect like a leader should. IMO Is a privilege, rear and lucky for Iran to get two prominent, thinking, independent guiding leaders in less than 50 years one after another fiercely focused to reestablish Iran’s lost sovereignty and independence. Those who criticize Iran should compare Iran to any other country around or even farther to west to US’s lapdog countries in eastern and Western Europe. It takes leadership with bold decisions to make possible for Iranians to keep their heads up, being proud for their country’s independence in the world that some UNSC veto members are not allowed to be sovereign in their decisions.

  105. Persian Gulf says:

    Amir

    I was referring to the reinstalment of Heidar Moslehi. It was discussed here as being a clear act against the constitution. You probably commented on the subject with a different name!

  106. Amir says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 30, 2014 at 7:51 am
    I’m really not familiar with details of politics and constitution and I have a very vague idea about what ensued back then (Dr Ahmadinejad took a leave of absence and there were many rumors, but that’s the extent of my understanding). And I’m not sure what you meant by the last bit you have said, but I have been visiting this blog for maybe 2-3 months now.
    Anyway, I really don’t know much about politics and I’m sure several years from now many secrets and details would be revealed and my personal idea might change dramatically; all I have to say is that if we accept a فصل الخطاب many of our problems could be managed a lot easier (even if we don’t agree with his decisions and policies, because he sets the pace).

  107. Karl.. says:

    US get OK to stay in Afghanistan even longer
    http://rt.com/news/191800-usa-afghanistan-troops-stay/

  108. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    September 30, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I think the Constitution of the Islamic Republic is vague in that regard.

    On the other hand, it is not clear that the mechanism exists for the President to lodge a legal complaint against the Supreme Jurisprudent, or the Majlis. And the Majlis also does not have the mechanism to lodge a complaint against the Supreme Jurisprudent either.

    You almost need a Supreme Constitutional Court; the closest being the Expediency Council.

    We have been lucky that so far the two men who have occupied the Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent have been men of integrity and not some one like the late Saddam Hussein or the late Joseph Stalin.

    But luck cannot long serve as the basis of a durable political dispensation.

  109. Rd. says:

    Karl.. says:

    “US get OK to stay in Afghanistan even longer”

    Priceless~~~ except to the taxpayers!!!

    http://friendsofsyria.co/

  110. Empty says:

    Karl,

    I have not seen Rouhani’s full interview with Russia’s channel 2 yet but I think you might find some of his remarks interesting. I put some excerpts below that I got from the Persian language section as well.

    http://en.mehrnews.com/detail/News/104191

    *”…under the current conditions, we will do our utmost to help the government and people of Russia and following a market facility, people of Russia will begin to see Iranian brands and goods in their markets as soon as next year.”

    *”Iran has large reserves of natural gas and is focusing on providing its immediate neighbors with their energy needs. Besides, today’s conditions are not such that if Russia decides to cut off its gas to countries in Europe, Iran could replace it.”

    [This part is good news for Russia and bad news for Europe. Which serves Europe right.]

    The head of the economic group accompanying President Rouhani to Russia also said that an agreement was reached between Russia and Iran to replace dollar with Rial and Ruble in their market exchange. Central Bank of Iran must give its approval for this though.

  111. Empty says:

    Kooshy,

    Not all of them are lap dogs. UK is a poodle.

  112. kooshy says:

    “We have been lucky that so far the two men who have occupied the Office of the Supreme Jurisprudent have been men of integrity and not someone like the late Saddam Hussein or the late Joseph Stalin.’
    But luck cannot long serve as the basis of a durable political dispensation.”

    Well maybe, luck (taghdeer) is an important part of anyone’s history, certainly mistakes, or systematic incompetence can be blamed on taghdeer. To get there one just need to look and compare the relation of constitution and the presidents who in recent history were elected in some of oldest constitutional (US, France, UK) and mostly referenced western constitutional system and see if the system could have or is and was able to prevent continual bad luck on electing incompetent leaders for its constituencies.

    For constituents there is no end difference, buying elections through Force (Egypt), Money (US- elections are like auctions the one with the most money takes home the eBay like auction), or planed, organized systematic Media propaganda/ color revolutions (France, etc.).

  113. Smith says:

    Why Iran will always be defenseless without nuclear weapons as its conventional capabilities are too mediocre to ever dream about an effective deterrence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAwbmUsKVZ8#t=3685

    Please note that a top commander then and now an important official still has not grasped the difference between German nation’s capabilities and Iranian nation’s capabilities. This is where the scientific understanding and its importance fails to materialize in a cargo cult country like Iran.

  114. kooshy says:

    Two comments with regard to US/ Afghanistan agreement

    1- In case of Afghanistan is necessary to keep the enemy close ( reachable)
    2- For Iran as well as India, Russia, and restless Muslim western China, considering current condition in Afghanistan US ( staying and paying for the security mess she has made) is preferable to return of Taliban and Takfiries, especially when Iran insisted and got to share governance with a Northern alliance member as a new executive. To me that deal was made between Iran( in consultation with others I mentioned) and US, hard negotiating on how many troops vs who gets to govern as a real executive.

    Overall I think it was a good deal, at the end of the day someone has to pay for afghan government and her security structure since the government makes nearly no income, Iran cant and wouldn’t pay a few billion a year, therefore unfortunately without US you end up getting Saudi money and Saudi mentality back there.so one can call it best bad choice.

  115. Karl.. says:

    Empty

    Thanks for your post. I think Iran is staking out its future position. Will they go along with west or will they go along with states like Russia?
    While west are known for their obvious backstabbing as we have seen Russia have let down Iran sometimes too, but in the end I think states like Russia is whats best for Iran.

  116. Rd. says:

    Karl.. says:

    ” but in the end I think states like Russia is whats best for Iran.”

    actually whats best for Iran, is Iran,,, and friendly relationships (where possible) with all

  117. Empty says:

    Kooshy,

    I hope you’ve noticed that if Iran gets competent and honest leaders, it’s due to “luck” and some freak accident. However, if the west gets such leaders, it’s due to superiority of the western societies and culture that help produces excellent leaders.

  118. Empty says:

    …help produce, rather.

  119. masoud says:

    M.Ali says:
    September 29, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Who comes next after Khameini?

    It’s an interesting question. Of all the Iranian politicians and commentators that I sometimes follow and find myself broadly agreeing with, none of them happen to be Akhunds. I’d venture to say that you’d be hard pressed to find any who enjoy any substantial degree of broad based popularity. Khameini himself was something of an unknown quantity when he came into power, but I don’t think the situation then was as bleak as today. I really think when there comes the time to choose a successor to Khameini, Iran will be facing a particularly difficult situation. People have simply lost faith in the clergy, and not without reason. And when you’ve lost faith in them as a class, it’s hard to take anyone one particular cleric in particular seriously.

    That said, while the Iranian constitution makes provisions that Iran’s president must be of Iranian origin and and Iranian nationality, it makes no such provisions for the leader. The obvious choice in the expanded field is Hassan Nasrallah, who has done at least as masterful a job in managing Lebanon’s political minefield’s for Hezbollah, as Khamameni has done for Iran on the international scene. He is also more or less fluent in Farsi. I doubt that it would be a trivial political feat quell certain Iranian constituencies if he did emerge as the choice. I myself can’t claim that I wouldn’t have some doubts lingering in the back of my mind about his ultimate loyalty if say, the situation of he Persian Gulf Islands came to a head, and he took steps that weren’t completely to my liking.

    He once said something along the lines of there being no Iranian civilization in Iran, only an Arab presiding over an Islamic civilization. I think that whatever he was trying to accomplish, that kind of language is unacceptable, and unfortunately these kinds of issues, not to mention his heavily accented Persian would prove real barriers to him being an effective leader in Iran.

  120. fyi says:

    masoud says:

    September 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Mr. Amoli has some sound and interesting ideas.

    I am not sure if he is politically capable….

  121. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    September 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I think the West, a.k.a. NATO, a.k.a. Axis Powers have lost Iran – we are in the 4-th year of their Economic Siege of Iran – do you think their relationship ever will go back to status quo ante of 2010 or 2007, 0r 1999?

    Iran has entered the orbit of Russia and China.

  122. kooshy says:

    Empty says:
    September 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Yes, the other day I was teasing a friend and a former Irani republican and now heavily Obamachi who obviously was pro Iran green . I told him not to worry if you didn’t get your green color Revolution in 09 instead here in US every election is a “green” election. He agreed, we laughed.

  123. kooshy says:

    “Thanks for your post. I think Iran is staking out its future position. Will they go along with west or will they go along with states like Russia?
    While west are known for their obvious backstabbing as we have seen Russia have let down Iran sometimes too, but in the end I think states like Russia is whats best for Iran.”

    Well you may not know but Iran’s foreign policy motto set from revolutions get go is been “no eastern no western” meaning non alliance with any major power, this motto in big bold letters set in a perfectly Iranian Islamic blue architectural style tiles, is above the non ceremonial diplomatic entrance to Iran’s impressive Persian revival architecture of the ministry of foreign affairs building. Evidence shows to date under different scenarios and difficult circumstance they have not diverted form this revolutionary foreign policy directive, to me is clear that this SL will not allow any change or tilt either way from this goal, he has said it a few times, specially now that Iran unlike non sovereign countries likes of Germany don’t really need any security assistance from any major power.

  124. Persian Gulf says:

    masoud

    You must be jocking about Nasrollah as the leader of Iran. He can not be sold out to the population regardless of his Farsi accent. Accent is not an issue in the society (I have a relatively strong Mazani accent when i speak Farsi :) ), he is seen as an Arab and non- Iranian. If his accent was a Tahrani one still he would have been seen as a non-iranian one.

    The immediate person to take the job, let’s say tommorow, is Hashemi Shahroudi. He was the head of judiciary for ten years and is a know figure with no allegation of corruption.for the longer term, leaders emerge.

  125. BiBiJon says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 30, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Don’t know about qualifications or lack thereof of Nasrollah. But I’m certain being “an Arab and non- Iranian” doesn’t mean much. After all, “An ethnic Arab of Iraqi descent, Shamkhani is seen as aligned with the more pragmatic wing of Iranian politics.”

    From http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/10/us-iran-security-idUSBRE9890OV20130910

  126. masoud says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 30, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    The current members of the Larijani family were born in Iraq, that doesn’t stop them from holding multiple high positions, nor would I be surprised to learn they are dreaming of propelling Sadegh into the top spot. Ali Shamankhani faces no barrier despite the fact that he’s an Arab. Shahroudi is not only Iraqi, but is a leadership position of an important political party in Iraq.
    If Nasrallah spent some part of his youth in Tehran, spoke with a Tehrani accent, was a more familiar face on Iran’s political scene, and was at all concerned to pandering, on some level to Iranian nationalism, I’m pretty confident the issue of his Lebanese birth could be managed.
    But you’ve got to admit that, when the sum total of the best candidate’s qualifications is spending 10 years in an appointed position, and ‘no allegations of corruption’, it’s a pretty pathetic crowd.

  127. masoud says:

    BiBiJon says:
    September 30, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I always thought Shamankhahi was an Arab with ancestry native to Iran. Does anyone have more information on this?

  128. Persian Gulf says:

    masoud and BiBijon

    I was aware that Shahroudi was born in Iraq. So where the Larijanis. But they have “Iranness’ (whatever that means). Nasrollah doesn’t have that.
    Sadegh Larijani is a good candidate. But he is not a Seyyed and his family is labaled with corruption. These things matter whether you like it or not. Khatami got that many votes in 1376 partly bc he was a seyyed.

    Shamkhani is an Iranian Arab.

  129. masoud says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    ‘But they have “Iranness’ (whatever that means). Nasrollah doesn’t have that’

    We agree on that point. It’s just hard to say exactly what it is he lacks. Accent, which I zoomed in on, is just the most obvious outward manifestation. I just don’t think as essential and black and white a characteristic as you do. You’re right that Sadegh is too corrupt. Sharoudi is also too old. That doesn’t leave us with much. I don’t think any new faces will spontaneously emerge either.

  130. Persian Gulf says:

    masoud says:
    September 30, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Well, I think it’s clear. he lacks the cultural aspect of it. He is seen as an outsider. he is not just matched. it’s like you stay abroad for 3-4 decades with very little cultural contacts with Iran’s internal affairs (not just politics. it can be even knowing the jokes…) and suddenly wanting to lead a big group in Iran do a big project.for him it’s even worse bc he did not grow up in an Iranian family environment. and it’s not just about knowing the language or the right accent, it’s the intricacy of making connections with the people with that language. he simply can’t talk nationalistically that is most of the time needed for any national leader. and he wasn’t part of the big events of Iran over the past 2-3 decades. even contemplating the idea of him being the next leader doesn’t make sense.

  131. fyi says:

    masoud says:

    September 30, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    He lacks Zoroaster.

  132. masoud says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 30, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I think you’re as close to defining what it is he lacks as is possible. But on the other hand, just to play devil’s advocate i’m pretty sure Khameini grew up in a different kind of family atmosphere than you did, Ahmadinejad speaks a language at home that i can’t understand, and Sharoudi probably wouldn’t appreciate the types of jokes you or i may hear at home. There are many ‘sub-cultures’ in any given nation, and I think Iran is more diverse in that respect than most. Still there is a common culture/consciousness that can’t be absorbed from a distance.

  133. Karl.. says:

    kooshy
    September 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    At the same time, going to SCO that Iran wants to is quite a clear path against going to the west isnt it?

  134. M.Ali says:

    I think Iranian society is accepting of other nationalities as long as they become “Iranized”. Aside from some liberal “Persians”, most are relatively accepting as long as they become Iranian. We are not a hyphenated nation. We don’t call anyone an “Azari Iranian” or a “Baluchi Iranian” or an “Arab Iranian” (even though the west and liberal Persians do it).

    What other nation can you point out to that has a figure like Khomeini, that is responsible for such a huge change in the Iranian path and greatly beloved, and no talks about his Indian ancestary. Apparently, Shah would use that to attack Khomeini as a foreigner, which goes to show how little he knew the society. That’s never an insult for us.

    I talked about this, to talk about what Masoud etc are talking about. Nasrollah. His origin doesn’t matter, but he has to be Iranized. All he has to do is come to Iran, get an Iranian passport, and then maybe become a minister in someone’s government, become a mayor in a city, maybe after a while see if he can get himself elected to be a member of majlees, and then in 10 years or so, I think he’d be fairly accepted.

    But if he suddenly pops up tommorrow, he won’t be given the time of the day by Iranians. And this has nothing to do with him being Lebanese. If an Iranian guy with full 100% pure Persian dna was born in Los Angeles,and comes to Iran to be elected for president, I don’t think he will get many votes either.

  135. kooshy says:

    Unlike NATO, SCO is not a military organization, it is a regional security organization, becoming a member of SCO is not becoming aligned with foreign policy of CHINA or Russia , but being a member of NATO one must obey to US foreign policy even if it’s not in interest of your own country. Like I said unlike the western and eastern non sovereign shameful European countries likes of France, Germany, and UK, yes unlike them Iran is proud for not obeying anyone’s diktat, pursuing her own foreign policy for her interests, the evidence is the well documented past 35 years.

  136. Rehmat says:

    Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during his theatrical speech at the UN General Assembly on Monday, once again showed his mental illness by calling the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) “terrorist rights council”. Netanyahu also likened Iran with Nazi Germany.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/10/01/netanyahu-unhrc-is-a-terrorist-organization/

  137. Karl.. says:

    kooshy

    Lets say Iran become a member, in case of a conflict with any member of the SCO with the west, its pretty obvious that Iran have taken a stance in such a situation.

  138. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    Did Turkey back the US invasion of Iraq in 2003?

  139. Kathleen says:

    Ebola kills potential thinking and reporting by US MSM outlets having to do with US led air strikes on Syria and Iraq. Not a peep about what the results are on the ground. Not a peep about the likelihood of innocent people being killed. All ebola and secret service. Not much has changed about MSM outlets since the run up to the invasion of Iraq and the consequences of that invasion…hundreds of thousands dead, injured, millions displaced. MSM cable outlets continue to fail to widen the scope of viewers. Al Jazeera America is doing a better job than most but still no mention of innocent people being killed in the latest US led air strikes