John McCain and the Desperate Flailing of Syrian Oppositionists’ External Supporters

Much was made last week about the infiltration of Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) into Syria for a brief photo op with various anti-Assad “rebels”—who, it turns out, have allegedly been involved in kidnapping Lebanese Shi’a pilgrims.  (Senator McCain claims that none of the individuals with whom he was photographed identified themselves by names of those accused of kidnapping Shi’a pilgrims; his spokesman says it would be “regrettable” if the Senator had been photographed with people accused of committing such acts.)   Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, another GOP Senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky, noted acidly, “They say there are some pro-Western people and we’re going to vet them.  Well, apparently we’ve got a senator over there who got his picture taken with some kidnappers, so I don’t know how good a job we’re going to do vetting those who are going to get the arms.” 

In a blog post provocatively titled “Did John McCain Provide Material Support for Syrian Terrorists?”, see here, the Cato Institute’s Doug Bandow wrote that a recent Supreme Court ruling (Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, issued in 2010) “upheld the [U.S.] government’s broad reading” of the statute that criminalizes “material support” for terrorism.  In this reading, “coordinated political advocacy”—that is, advocacy coordinated with groups engaged designated by Washington as terrorist organizations—counts as material supportThose engaged in such “coordinated political advocacy” can be federally prosecuted; if convicted, they might go to jail for ten years.      

In his post, Doug points to a number of cases where U.S. government’s expansive definition of material support for terrorism—now largely ratified by the Supreme Court—has produced disturbing legal outcomes.  He argues that “lawmakers who approved the law should be subject to the same legal risks.  Consider Sen. John McCain, who has been campaigning for war in Syria, just as he previously promoted war most everywhere else around the globe.” 

After examining press reports on Sen. McCain’s trip to Syria—and on the activities of some of the rebels McCain met there—Doug concludes that Sen. McCain “would seem to have provided ‘material support’ to terrorists.”  After all,

“Having his photo taken with Islamic extremists could reasonably be interpreted as an endorsement, which, based on past cases, could be seen as providing ‘material support’ for terrorism.  Presumably that isn’t what Sen. McCain intended.  But the law’s application is not based on intent. 

To be fair to the rest of us, the Justice Department should investigate…[A]s much as I oppose vague and ambiguous criminal enactments by the federal government, I would enjoy seeing Senator McCain in the dock,  It would be cosmic justice for his support of the catastrophic invasion in Iraq and endless occupation of Afghanistan.”  

After his drive-by photo op in “liberated” Syria, Sen. McCain apparently traveled to Yemen.  We were struck by the Yemen Post’s report on his visit, see here; we also append the story below:  

“According to several Yemeni-based local newspapers, US Senator John McCain, who briefly visited Yemen earlier this week to offer his support to the coalition government and discuss political and security developments is rumored to have directly urged President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi to facilitate the transfer of Jihadists to Syria. 
As the Free Syrian Army is struggling to secure its advances against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose lists of supporters while thin remains mighty in military might, Washington and its allies in the region are said to be looking at ways to swell the ranks of the opposition by allowing foreign fighters to enroll against Assad regime. 
In a move which analysts have already qualified as dangerous given the repercussions a similar policy led to in the 1980s, when Jihadists where send to fight off Russian troops in Afghanistan, security experts are worry al-Qaeda will use this opportunity to increase its recruitment pool while offering precious ground experience to its militants, which experience would be use later on against Yemen central government. 

A source told several newspapers, ‘Senator McCain’s visit was to drum up support for Jihadist groups fighting Bashar al-Assad regime.’

While the government has so far refused to comment on the issues, quite understandably since its military is still locked in an on-going military struggle against Islamic operatives in its southern provinces, all the while preparing for the return of some Gitmo terror prisoners.  Yemeni officials would have a difficult time reconciling the idea of Jihad in one place while fighting off the same rhetoric in its own backyard.” 

If true, the Yemen Post report could be construed as another piece of evidence against the apparently terrorist-supporting Sen. McCain.  For, according to this story, McCain lobbied the Yemeni government to send more jihadi fighters to Syria, in order to swell the ranks of groups engaged in terrorist activity—representatives of which the Arizona senator had met with immediately before traveling to Yemen

What all of this suggests is the mounting desperation that advocates of using Syrian oppositionists—whether Syrian or not—to overthrow the Assad government must now be feeling.  Their project has failed.  But, rather than accept this failure, many, like Sen. McCain, want the United States to double down on their unsuccessful pseudo-strategy—to provide still more support the opposition forces, and even to become directly involved militarily (through no-fly zones, etc.).

Fifty-two years ago, the United States foolishly tried to overthrow Fidel Castro’s government by invading Cuba with a force of anti-Castro rebels.  When that force, unsurprisingly, got into trouble almost immediately upon landing in Cuba, there were those who wanted President John F. Kennedy to order U.S. air support for the rebels.  While Kennedy made a huge blunder by proceeding with the invasion in the first place, he was at sufficiently astute at least not to compound his mistake by taking the United States into an overt, aggressive war against Cuba (certainly a covert campaign of aggression was already underway). 

Similarly, President Obama has made egregious blunders in his policy toward Syria since March 2011.  Let’s hope he doesn’t compound them by listening to John McCain and others desperate to hold on to delusions of American empire in the Middle East

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

 

151 Responses to “John McCain and the Desperate Flailing of Syrian Oppositionists’ External Supporters”

  1. Khurshid says:

    To All

    this Picture is much better than the one I saw in the news. The terrorist standing on the right of McCain has the words “No War Generation” written on his T-Shirt !!!

  2. Khurshid says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    June 1, 2013 at 10:02 pm (From previous post)

    Yes, your proposed model of holding debate has merit – it will give better result. Like both of us I am sure many others will also agree that the debate format/structure needs to be changed.

    I think the format of debate should be people engaging. I mean the debate questions should be asked by voters themselves instead of IRIB deciding what needs to be asked. The candidates, all 8 of them, needs to face an audience comprised of representative samples from all sectors of society – small and medium businesses, large business, academics from higher education institutions i.e. universities, teachers from schools and colleges, accountants, health professionals, media professionals, bankers, legal professionals etc. – an audience of 500-600 people. Audience composition would allow various level of economic questions since economy affects everybody. Every candidate should answer every question asked. This in turn would allow the public to see which candidate has better economic policy that encompasses all sectors of economy. In addition the debate should be held not only in Tehran but in other cities as well. This is because Iran is not only Tehran and Iranians are not only Tehranis.

    So there are many workable formats IRIB could have used but sadly IRIB disappointed everyone. Although IRIB claimed that it designed this format through consultation with academics and others but I simply don’t believe this. If this was so, I am sure somebody would have pointed out that there is serious flaw in the debate structure/format. The presenter said at the very beginning of the debate that “he and only few other IRIB officials know the questions” . In other words nobody has seen the questions. If nobody has seen the questions than what sort of consultation did IRIB do?

    The other striking thing I notice was when IRIB was broadcasting arrival of candidates to the building the presenters said that it was being broadcast live on IRIB channels throughout the world and other countries are monitoring the election and that is what makes the election so important. And that IRIB understands the importance of this debate for Iran especially at the heightened time of sanctions and military threats against Iran. Again I don’t believe that IRIB actually understands the importance of this election because if they did they could not have made such blunder. West is closing monitoring the election. A look at their media coverage of debate reflects this. UK’s telegraph called the debate ‘comical’ and even quoted Iranian negative press coverage of the debate. West will say, in near future, if Iranian government cannot organize an election debate properly than how can Iran be trusted to manage its nuclear program safely . IRIB’s blunder will be used to ridicule Iran and exert political pressure. And that is sad, the Iranian people do not deserve this.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/10092947/Iran-presidential-election-debate-comical.html

    How will IRIB fix the debate format problem before Wednesday is beyond me!!

    You are right 100% on reformists being aghmag (stupid). They are indeed trapped in past and are mere going around Khatami/Hashimi model. This reminds me of Putin/Medvedev pair –chair switching model. By the way I think Ahmadinejad wanted to adopt this model – Ahmadinejad/Mashaei tango ha, ha, ha, ha…..lol !!

    I also agree on the need of some candidates opting themselves out of race. My assessment is that if Rafsanjani openly endorses Rohani, he really should be endorsing Aref, than others will veto themselves out leaving only Ghalibaf. However if this does not happen than we just have to wait till first round of elections when there will surely be a run off between two stronger candidates – I guess it will be between Aref/Jalili and Ghalibaf. At this point the principlists strategy is “wait and see”. A divided reformists camp is a “self inflicting wound” which translates into electoral gain in favour of conservatives and a “real possibility” of run-off between conservatives candidates only. From conservatives’ perspective this will mean “political oblivion” of reformists until 1396 (2017).

  3. Karl.. says:

    Iraq “warn” Israel

    http://www.businessinsider.com/iraq-warns-israel-not-to-use-airspace-2013-6

    If only Iraq could let go of their dependence on the US, that warning by Iraq could actually mean something.

  4. Khurshid says:

    To All

    Its true supporting anti Assad jihadists is a serious political blunder for US. Consequence, as pointed out by Leveretts, will be Afghanistan II – Hollywood might decide to make Syrian Rambo !!

    On a serious note, US can afford to be adventurous in Syria because it knows that it is not the only guilty party. There are other culprits – Arab Sheikh-dom regimes, Jihadists, and a section of Arab population. These culprits fall for the same trick over and over again. From the time of British rule over Middle East till now Arabs were always doped into doing things that were not in their interests. This is not new, according to Ibn Khaldun – Tunisian social scientist (1332-1406) – “When the Arabs conquer a country ruin quickly descends upon it”.

  5. BiBiJon says:

    Desperation, exasperation
    =======================

    As I look at recent available public opinion polls, which I assume indicate a global trend, it is clear Sen. McCain belongs in another planet, rather than in a court.

    Turkey – h/t Juan Cole

    70.8% are against Erdogan’s Syria policy, Even within the Ak Party, about 32% rejected Erdogan’s vocal support for the rebels over the Syrian government.

    ————

    (once) Great Britain

    Guardian: “Just a quarter of Britons back Hague on arming rebels in Syria.”

    U.S.

    WaPo: “Americans roundly reject U.S. military action to end Syria’s civil war, with opposition to an intervention unshaken by recent allegations that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons.”

    Syria

    World Tribune: “The [NATO] data, relayed to NATO over the last month, asserted that 70 percent of Syrians support the Assad regime. Another 20 percent were deemed neutral and the remaining 10 percent expressed support for the rebels.”

    ——–

    One has to wonder what the fate of Qatar and Saudi Arabia will be as one watches the Turkish public anger boiling over in 50 cities at Erdogan’s disregard for public opinion. Jordan is already struggling under the weight of refugees. Israel is left having to contend with a Syria that is/will be substantially better armed to defend itself, as well as Lebanon. London is now known as ‘the blowback’ not ‘the smoke’; and frankly who cares what happens to le François charismatique

    Taken as a whole, it is quite an achievement to have caused this much trouble for ourselves without spending anywhere near the amounts of blood/treasure we squandered on Iraq and Afghanistan.

  6. James Canning says:

    John McCain clearly suffers from a chronic lack of good judgement.

    Let’s remember how he, Lieberman et al. wined and dined Saakashvili, not long before Georgia launched its reckless attack on Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, in 2008.

  7. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times suggested recently that Saudi Arabia and Qatar may have miscalculated when they decided to back an insurrection in Syria.

    How many US military men played at least some part in giving the Saudi and Qataris the idea the US would come into the war before too long?

  8. fyi says:

    Khurshid says:
    June 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Islamic Republic is too young a system for requiring reform; “Eslah”.

    What is needed in completion; “Takmil”.

    Specifically, the full rights and privileges granted to Iranian people within the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran must be realized. At the moment, they are not.

    Reform is not going to alter that – takmil will.

  9. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    China now buys half of all Iraqi oil production. Is Iraq “dependent” on China now?

  10. fyi says:

    All:

    Dr. Pollack on Iraq, Iran, and US

    http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/iran-at-saban/posts/2013/06/31-pollack-iraq-iran

    [Finally acknowledging the obvious.

    A bit too late now though.]

  11. fyi says:

    All:

    Dr. Cordesman on Iraq:

    http://csis.org/publication/iraq-new-strategic-pivot-middle-east

    So there you have it, both these reports attest to strategic incoherence in US.

    Dr. Cordesman is not going far enough in his theses of strategic linkages between the Persian Gulf and the Levant.

    His observations could be extended to Central Asia and South Asia as well – think Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    I think what worries him is that potentially in her war against Iran, US would have to fight from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea and from Caspian to Sea of Oman.

  12. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Its amazing beyond imagination , I mean what is this old crock looking for in his remaining years , was he promised a fresh liver from a Syrian soldier by the cannibal salafists , I could vomit….

  13. nico says:

    fyi says:
    June 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    “All:
    Dr. Cordesman on Iraq:
    http://csis.org/publication/iraq-new-strategic-pivot-middle-east

    Ridiculous, weak and void article from Cordesman. As usual.
    What is new with Irak ?
    Cordeman is lamenting on and rehearsing the entire history of US total strategic failure, meaningless policies and dumbass discourses in the last 10 years.
    Hey, big boy where were you and what were your brilliant ideas during the last 10 years ?

  14. nico says:

    What is Cordesman opinion on McCain visit in Syria ?
    That would be much more interesting than wague mumbling about Irak.
    What an wheelchair action man.

  15. Karl.. says:

    James,

    Are you confused? Why would Iraq be dependent on China just because it buys oil from them?

  16. kooshy says:

    A very interesting view points on Iran’s potential to be a role model for Egypt and others, exactly what US doesn’t want to take place, from the beginning US feared an independent modernized Iran will become (as has been proven historically) a role model for the ME region, that is the main reason for blocking Iran’s influence in every possible way including politically, economically and scientifically. Again, historically blocking Iranian influence in ME not only was not achievable for the Macedonians, Romans or the Arabs but it always was and is an essence of the ME.

    Why Arabs Need Iran: Part I

    By Sharmine Narwani – Mon, 2013-06-03

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/blogs/sandbox/why-arabs-need-iran-part-i

    “In 2011, when Arab revolts began to sweep the Middle East and North Africa, the view from Washington and its closest allies was one of concern. How would the removal of mostly pro-Western dictatorships affect the balance of power in the region? More importantly – how to prevent these events from boosting Iran’s influence?

    Two years on, the regional competition for influence is in full throttle. In its sights – among many other developments – are recent efforts by Iran and Egypt to upgrade their relationship.

    The spoilers will have none of it. Said Steven A. Cook last week on the website of that most prestigious of US institutions, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR): “Other than some quick cash and subsidized energy, there is nothing that Tehran can offer Cairo that will, in the long run, be to Egypt’s benefit.”

    He has it entirely wrong. “Quick cash and subsidized energy” can only be used to describe the superficial offerings of countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both vying for influence in this new Egypt.

    There is no contest whatsoever between that kind of assistance and what Iran can bring to the table. Iran has achieved its economic independence the hardest way imaginable – through a devastating eight-year war with Iraq and decades of potentially-debilitating sanctions. It has shrugged off the yoke of imperialism, built infrastructure, social services and industry from scratch, harnessed its own resources toward establishing domestic self-sufficiencies, created a dynamic – if imperfect – indigenous political system of representative government, and managed to maintain the security of its oft-threatened borders through military innovation and soft power.

    In short, with similar-sized populations (Iran’s 78 million to Egypt’s 82 million) and the experience of tackling monumental state-building challenges with varying degrees of success, there is simply no country better situated to provide developmental guidance to Egypt – and other economically vulnerable Arab states – than the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

  17. fyi says:

    nico says:
    June 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    A general strategic settlement between US and Iran will help save Muslim lives in the this strategic arena – from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea.

    It will indubitably help development of these polities as well – quite quickly I should expect.

    That US and the leaders of other Axis States are indifferent to the beneficial results of such possibilities does not make them any less beneficial.

    Dr. Pollack and Dr. Cordesman, from different but complementary angles, are openly discussing the strategic situation – an improvement.

  18. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    You actually believe that “the US fears a modernised Iran”? Iran is most unlikely to serve as a role model for Sunni Arab countries.

  19. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Let’s hope Cordesman is not making the strategic decisions for the US in the Middle East.

  20. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Pollack should be able to comprehend that the Sunnis in Iraq do not like the way Maliki is trying to keep most if not all the economic goodies etc for his own group.

  21. Persian Gulf says:

    Khurshid says:
    June 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    کلا حماقت اصلاح طلبها انتها نداره. تحصیل کرده دارن، عمق ندارن. یه مشت هوچی گرن. یه دری به تخته خورد سال 76 رای بالا آوردن، دیگه بعدش اصلا انگار تو جامعه نبودند. سال 80 اینها 7میلیون ریزش آرا داشتند همچنان نمی گرفتند تا اینکه سال 84 ما رفتیم با اینها وطن رو دوباره بسازیم! که اونجوری شد. ما سرمون رو بلند کردیم دیدیم ای دل غافل ما هرچی رای بود تو 8 سال گذشتش به این احمقها دادیم ، هیچی ازتوش برای این ملت که درنیومد خودمون هم انگار تو جامعه نیستیم دیگه.

    الان هم 5 ماه پیش بهشون میگفتی همین دکتر عارف گزینه خیلی خوبیه تا روزآخر چسبیدن به اینکه خاتمی بیاد یا هاشمی. فعلا که این احمقها چسبیدن به یکی که آدم رو یاد “گربه نره” تو یکی از برنامه های کودک دوران بچگی می اندازه و دارن به عارف فشار میارن به نفع این کنار بره. اتفاقا رای دکتر روحانی به سمت عارف میره ولی برعکسش خیلی بعیده. عارف ظرفیت جذب رای داشت. 6 ما روش کار میکردن چهره قابل اتکا میشد. الان محافظه کارها با اینکه برد کمتری دارند تو جامعه چند تا چهره قابل اتکا تو نسل جدیدتر رو کردند.

  22. Iranian@Iran says:

    This is very good article about Iran and the changes that have taken place in the country after it gained real independence 34 years age.

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/blogs/sandbox/why-arabs-need-iran-part-i

  23. Iranian@Iran says:

    Sorry Kooshy, I just saw your post on the same article.

  24. kooshy says:

    Bossed in Basiji e Aziz

    Did you notice, that in his speech today Ayatollah Khamenei mentioned people’s support (Nader Gholi) for Nader Shah’s bravery to expand and defend Iran, which in his word expanded Iran’s influence from India to the black sea. My hat’s off to ayatollah Khamenei for his bravery to praise Iran’s historic national leaders regardless of what religious affiliation they may had or not.

  25. imho says:

    Nothing but the Truth says:
    June 1, 2013 at 11:17 am

    “Gold price plunge could be to punish Iran oil for gold program?”

    Oil price is fixed in dollar not in gold. And gold price is also fixed in dollar.

    If gold price plunges (in dollar), then Iran will get more gold for a given amount of oil. That is nothing theoretically changes as far as the value of oil Iran is selling is concerned. In other words with the same amount of dollar you can have more gold.

    I don’t think the plunge of gold price has anything to do with Iran. Rather, this is a trick for FED to maintain the value of dollar versus gold, so she can print even more dollars. In that I agree with nico.
    True, US is exporting via FED’s QE her inflation to the world. After all, this is one definition of empire, to tax other countries (in addition to its own citizens).

  26. Karl.. says:

    James,

    No, why would Iraq be dependent on Chinese middle east policy just because China buys oil from them?

  27. Nothing but the Truth says:

    imho says:
    June 4, 2013 at 5:07 am

    I owe you and nico a reply to my previuos post , but it is strange , without referring to ‘conspiracy’ sources I am unable to come up with a sound analysis.
    I believe firmly in what I have written , but cannot back it up with proper argumentation.
    Again , the plunge in gold prices significantly related to Iran.
    The Fed is there to destroy the USD at the behest of the Zio-Fascist oligarchs and the total collapse of the USD will happen once the Zio-Fascist have bought ( with the FIAT money of the Fed ) whatever has real value on the planet , called t real assets , mining , farming , pharma , food etc. the rest is theirs anyway….

  28. imho says:

    nico says:
    June 1, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    “Where all this physical gold is gone ?
    Well in the eastern vaults.”

    Good question.
    It is possible that “eastern” countries like Russia, China, India, etc. would buy more gold given the plunging value of dollar in order to protect their wealth but since they also have huge amount of dollars, they would not risk plunging dollar.

    Here we’re reasoning states’ policies.

    But I think to answer rightly to the question, one must not think that way, specially that central banks (with very few exceptions like Iran and I hope it will not change) are now independent from states. That is, they no more have as a priority to protect a nation’s wealth. More, there is a central authority controlling all the “connected” central banks throughout world. This is Bank of International Settlements (BIS). The name is coordination between central banks but it is easy to imagine central banks “regulation” is the true game.
    So we have central banks taking orders from a Swiss based central authority. How is this compatible with protecting a nation’s money and economy is beyond me.

    Therefore, the only answer I can imagine for your question as where all the golds are, is that they are in private hands. By private I don’t mean individuals buying some jewelry (small amount), but private banks, corporations & co. This is in line with and an integral part of Free Trade where nothing is more important than making money (with which you can also make politics). There is a reason why there are more millionaires than ever and why multinational corporations rule.

  29. nico says:

    Nothing but the Truth says:
    June 4, 2013 at 5:37 am

    That is easy to understand.
    The US have not experienced a positive trade balance for 50 years (from the 60′)
    A typical currency with such unbalance in trade would be devaluated dramatically.
    That would have rebalanced the trade unbalance because foreign product woukd be more expensive.
    However, the USD did not experienced devaluation comparable to what it should had because US is printing money out of thin air and it is used by other world countries for their exchange.

    It is a gigantic grand theft by the US as they buy foreign or asset or product with paper money not backed by anything.

    Now who benefits ?

    Obviously, the USD is printed by the FED to buy public debt and created by the US banking system when they loan money to US people or corporations.
    Thus it benefits the US government, the US people, and the banking system as a whole.

    Incidentally it is also the deep seated reason of the Job offshoring as the trade unbalance is unregulated by USD devaluation.

    Should the USD crumble as as it should and as it will at some time in the future, it will translate in sharp decrease of value of USD against foreign currencies.
    While the production capacity of the US has been undermined, when it will happen all import prices will rise dramatically, with US constituencies experiencing a dramatic decline in wealth and standrd of living.

  30. nico says:

    imho says:
    June 4, 2013 at 7:14 am

    The eastern central bank are not buying US bond anymore.
    That stopped with 2 or 3 years ago.

    As for eastern or ME countries holding USD currency, that is true, however they try restlessly to convert it in hard asset as well.
    Thus the rush for gold and hard asset grabing by eastern, ME or USD holder countries.
    Where do you think the global asset price inflation is coming from ?
    It should be still experienced as well in gold value.
    Thus the manipulation of gold price by the FED and US banking system to slow down the bank run.

  31. imho says:

    In addition to my last post, there is some surprising and disturbing fact. That is how the price of gold is fixed. This confirms BTW how important is fixing the price of oil which is traded only in NYSE and in the City. Iran wanted to setup another one in Kish without success.
    Since 1919, gold price has been fixed once a day following a meeting including Rothschild dynasty and associates (Goldsmith, Montagu, etc.), all private banks, institutions or individuals. I’m not an economist but I wonder why the price of gold is not fixed as any other goods in the free market.
    According to Wikipedia (gold fixing), for unknown reasons, Barclays replaced Rothschild and Sons and the price is now fixed by telephone conferencing twice a day. However, there are still only a handful of private banks involved in the process of setting the price which is not so clear.
    Make no mistake, FED is a private entity although the name suggest a federal institution. The only federal thing in it is that US government chooses the president but the shareholders are all private banks with direct connections to European banks and institutions. So why should they ever worry about the well being of US as a nation?
    The history of FED is worth reading, a fight between the Congress and private banks. In the end the congress betrayed the constitution and gave the power of printing money to the FED, a power that the people of US gave only to the Congress.

    Forget about nations and states and change the reasoning to private and things become much clearer in this world of free trade.

  32. Nothing but the Truth says:

    @ nico & imho

    reading Paul Craig Roberts is always a pleasure :

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/05/20/no-bear-market-in-gold-paul-craig-roberts/

    …You know that gold bear market that the financial press keeps touting? The one George Soros keeps proclaiming? Well, it is not there. The gold bear market is disinformation that is helping elites acquire the gold.

    Certainly, Soros himself doesn’t believe it, as the 13-F release issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 15 proves. George Soros has significantly increased his gold holding by purchasing $25.2 million of call options on the GDXJ Junior Gold Miners Index. http://bullmarketthinking.com/soros-reports-over-239mm-in-gold-positions-buys-25mm-in-call-options-on-juniors/

    In addition the Soros Fund maintains a $32 million stake in individual mines; added 1.1 million shares of GDX (a gold miners ETF) to its holdings which now stand at 2,666,000 shares valued at $70,400,000; has 1,100,000 shares in GDXJ valued at $11,506,000; and 530,000 shares in the GLD gold fund valued at $69,467,000. [values as of May 17]

    The 13-F release shows the Soros Fund with $239,200,000 in gold investments. If this is bearish sentiment, what would it take to be bullish?…

  33. fyi says:

    imho says:
    June 4, 2013 at 5:07 am

    You are reading too much into the price of gold.

    It is fluctuating, that is all.

    There are 2 processes at work – central bankers are printing money to prevent deflation – which is more damaging, they think.

    Last year, across the board, prices went down.

    At the same time, there is alos a currency war among US, EU, China, Japan, and Korea.

    We have entered a global depression with low aggregate demand in US and EU.

    This will be a long story….

  34. Nothing but the Truth says:

    fyi says:
    June 4, 2013 at 10:09 am

    “You are reading too much into the price of gold.
    It is fluctuating, that is all.”

    It is known that the total amount of gold extracted from gold mines throughout the millennia is around 180 000 MT , and the current production capacities in Russia , China and SA is quite low.
    The demand for physical is higher than ever before ( both from private and governmential side )and China , Russia , India etc. would surely buy any amount of physical gold in the market, thus the plunge in gold prices is absolute inexplicable , unless you use various weird conspiracy theories , which especially in the case of gold cannot be avoided.
    George Soros is just a dweeb in all of this…

  35. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    – I didn’t notice any new thinking in the two articles you posted. No where did I find the hint of the need for strategic understanding with Iran. In fact I thought the last article by Dr. Cordesman offered more strategic analysis than this one he wrote. Also, one should not underestimate what an enormous blow it would be to US pride to admit that they can’t bend a puny third world country to its will. They are not going to admit this any time soon.

    – Did you change your views regarding the need for the Muslims and particularly Iran to recreate something akin to the Sassanid empire and drive out extra regional powers from the Middle East?

  36. jay says:

    Re: gold

    There is a complex relationship between the price of gold and various other factors. Just to illustrate the point, consider gold, oil and USD. Over the long run gold and oil prices show a positive correlation, while USD and gold, as well as USD and Oil show a negative correlation. However, over short periods all these relationship have shown various trends over the years because of “banking policies”, “disasters”, “wars”, etc. For example, lower gold prices can be explained with changes in USD valuations and Oil prices – people have tried these type of analysis.

    Short term manipulations are always possible. However, they tend to hurt the “average” person and not the larger institutions, countries, or entities. I said “tend to” because there are exceptions. And, it is important to remember the most gold is used in items of “want” and not items of “need” – which tends to cause gold price adjustments.

  37. nico says:

    fyi says:
    June 4, 2013 at 10:09 am

    “Imho says:
    June 4, 2013 at 5:07 am
    You are reading too much into the price of gold.It is fluctuating, that is all.There are 2 processes at work – central bankers are printing money to prevent deflation – which is more damaging, they think.”

    Partially correct, but globally wrong.

    You need to divide the issue between domestic economics and international trade economics.

    As the money is created through loan (debt money), with such event as the subprime the domestic money supply is contracting with the tightening of loan conditions, thus lowering of overall loan from the banks and money supply.
    In addition, with recession, the speed of money circulation is slowing down.
    Therefore the FED must implement QE to compensate the loss in money supply in order to
    1 – avoid deflation
    2 – finance importation from abroad.
    That is for domestic economics.

    As for international trade economics, the USD supply is infinite,
    Actually, as stated previously, the US have been experiencing trade unbalance without a SINGLE surplus for more than 50 years.
    With job offshoring trend and WTO rule as currently obtain, there is NO chance that the US shall experience trade surplus EVER in the future.
    Thus basically the US are throwing up USD to foreign countries, while the USD is backed by nothing else than the US militaty. That FOREVER.
    It works as long as the trade deficit is in line with the overall global production supply.
    However in current times, the world is experiencing economic crisis with slow down of supplies, while the US deficit is speeding up !
    Money supply and production supply being unbalanced, in creates global inflation.
    Meaning tons of USD are losing value against limited production.
    Thus Gold should raise as it is sbelter agaibst inflation.

    As a conclusion, the issue is not both USD being printed out of thin air AND US foreign trade unbalance.
    That trend cannot last eternaly and the crash is near.
    To sum it up the US as the behaviour of an economic parasite feeding upon the rest of the world backed by its army.

  38. nico says:

    fyi says:
    June 4, 2013 at 10:09 am

    “Imho says:
    June 4, 2013 at 5:07 am
    You are reading too much into the price of gold.It is fluctuating, that is all.There are 2 processes at work – central bankers are printing money to prevent deflation – which is more damaging, they think.”

    Partially correct, but globally wrong.

    You need to divide the issue between domestic economics and international trade economics.

    As the money is created through loan (debt money), with such event as the subprime the domestic money supply is contracting with the tightening of loan conditions, thus lowering of overall loan from the banks and money supply.
    In addition, with recession, the speed of money circulation is slowing down.
    Therefore the FED must implement QE to compensate the loss in money supply in order to
    1 – avoid deflation
    2 – finance importation from abroad.
    That is for domestic economics.

    As for international trade economics, the USD supply is infinite,
    Actually, as stated previously, the US have been experiencing trade unbalance without a SINGLE surplus for more than 50 years.
    With job offshoring trend and WTO rule as currently obtain, there is NO chance that the US shall experience trade surplus EVER in the future.
    Thus basically the US are throwing up USD to foreign countries, while the USD is backed by nothing else than the US militaty. That FOREVER.
    It works as long as the trade deficit is in line with the overall global production supply.
    However in current times, the world is experiencing economic crisis with slow down of supplies, while the US deficit is speeding up !
    Money supply and production supply being unbalanced, in creates global inflation.
    Meaning tons of USD are losing value against limited production.
    Thus Gold should raise as it is sbelter agaibst inflation.
    Les
    As a conclusion, the issue is both USD being printed out of thin air AND the US foreign trade unbalance.
    That trend cannot last eternaly and the crash is near.
    To sum it up the US as the behaviour of an economic parasite feeding upon the rest of the world backed by its army.

    Obviously it should be compounded with other issues as western solvability.

    The heart of the matter is that the west want to consume whike the rest of the world produce.
    There is a morality after all.
    Hard work and production are morally necessary.
    The western system by abandonning morality in business and elsewhere are running to their demise.

  39. fyi says:

    Nasser says:
    June 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Mr. Pollack, together with Ms. Suzanne Maloney, were advocates of regime change in Iran in a 2009 report; going so far as to advise US government in subverting Iran through the ethno-linguistic minorities – like in Yugoslavia.

    It has taken Dr. Pollack to reach the conclusion that US and Iran have overlapping and common interests.

    That is progress – as little as it is.

    Dr. Cordesman explicitly has called out the altered strategic situation – the jointedness of Levant & Persian Gulf. That is new.

    Yes, I think you need a revival of a unitary state resembeling the Sassanian or the Seljuks.

    Barring that, a trilateral military-economic alliance among Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey to keep non-Muslims out of the Lands of Islam would be desirable.

    The current situation, in which, 12 wars have been fought during the last 3 generations in the Near East is unacceptable.

    I think that Seljuk period should be studied and emulated if possible.

  40. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Pollack and Maloney helped block Obama’s effort to improve US relations with Iran. In 2009.

  41. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    Obama asks his own advisers: what makes you think the US could control the outcome in Syria, if the US intervened militarily….

    Obama obviously can see the mess created by the US in Iraq.

  42. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    I agree with you that it is a good thing for Khamenei to remind Iranians of great leaders of the past.

  43. nico says:

    Follow up of previous post.

    USD status obtain with some attributes aw controlling the main financial market place.
    USD being used as the only allowed money.
    FMI and world bank imposing loan in USD and foreign central banks, adhering to the USD system (the so called independance of central banks).
    Oil being only being traded in USD.
    And kast but not the least, international trade being done in USD.

    At the end of the day, the unbalance and global inflation are leading to US global solvability issue.
    Thus, world countries cutting deal to trade in each other currency and dumping the USD as an intermediary.
    Japan cutting such deal with China, it is easy to understand why it is in US interest to making the relation between China and Japan to sour, with NK and some tiny island, as well as to keep military in Japan SK and everywhere in the world.
    The US have 0 interest in finding a solution to NK issue.
    Well maybe if NK enter monetary slavery and accept a US military base it could be done.

    As for Iran, it tries to challenge every and each aspect of the monetary slavery.
    Iran wants to set up its own Oil market place
    Iran does not want to trade oil only in USD.
    Iran does not want to only use USD in its foreign trade.
    Unacceptable for the US.
    Iran is challenging the USD status for many years,

  44. Nasser says:

    fyi says: June 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for your comment.

    You say: “Yes, I think you need a revival of a unitary state resembeling the Sassanian or the Seljuks.”

    – I think the largest unitary state possible is a Shia superstate comprising Iran and most of Iraq. Such a state would have hydrocarbon resources that would exceed that of even Saudi Arabia, a population of > 100 million and hopefully nuclear weapons to defend itself.

    “Barring that, a trilateral military-economic alliance among Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey to keep non-Muslims out of the Lands of Islam would be desirable.”

    – Yes I continue to believe Pakistan can actually be drawn into Iranian orbit if Iran really makes it worth Pakistan’s while with enough energy assistance. But Turkey? Isn’t that just wishful thinking? Have you not argued in the past that Turkey is too attached to the West to ever abandon it fully and join hands with Iran or anyone else? One only needs to look at Syria

  45. nico says:

    Follow up 2.

    I remember I was scoffed at by some smart people here when I said that Iran is out of the International community.
    Well, I stand by my words.

    The international community is for one accepting the global monetary system as it obtains today.

    China accepts this system.
    Rusdia accepts this system.

    Obviously they share broad interests with the west, as US and Europe are their main customer.
    No need to say that western countries being broke is not good for China and Russia business and economic development.

    Such global issue as the USD status and acceotance is to be discussed between the major stakeholder of the world economy.
    They are discussing it for years without clear orientation.
    At the current moment Iran is not a major stakeholder of the world economy, hower it challenges the global system.
    Obviously the global trade of oil in USD is related to who own the military and political leadership in the ME and is the main reward.

    That is why Iran needs to be destroyed by the US or at least totally surrender.

    Regarding China and Russia position, obviously they will challenge the system, but by small touch.
    If they have to chose between avoiding a brutal breakdown of the USD system and Iran.
    Not sure they will chose Iran.

    The Nuclear issue is obviously not related to any threat but who will hold dominance of the ME.
    Iran is competing with the US for such dominance.

    It is a question of economic life or death for the US.
    At this moment Iran is out of the international community, as Iran is challenging the not said agreement and balance if powers between the major stakeholders of the world economy,

  46. nico says:

    Now that was what i requested the Leveretts to develop for quite some time when they speak about a grand bargain.
    Obviously the petrodollar is the main subject.

    What do we care about iranian expatriates…

    RIDICULOUS.

  47. fyi says:

    Nasser says:
    June 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Yes, you are correct: “Turkey is wishful thinking!”

    Excepting Iran, I cannot think of a single Muslim state that is not wedded to the Euro-American patterns and models and historical template.

    And even in Iran and specially because of Nekbat Islami there, tens of millions wish to be more like Europe (France come to mind); the coinage of Islam holds no luster for them.

    Luster is with Euope and North America, with its liberties and Rule of Law etc. for which no Muslim polity has an answer.

    As long as that tyranny of Europe on the minds of Muslims persists, neither Pakistan nor Turkey may be considered ripe for the scheme that I have outlined.

    Unfortunately, the way the current situation is evolving, political alliances are being made on basis of communalist interests: Alevi, Sunni, Shia, Yazidi, Kurd, Perso-Iranians, and so on on.

    Which means that the Shia-centered Crescent is what most likely will obtain.

  48. fyi says:

    Nasser says:
    June 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Also this:

    I think it has been more than 2000 years since a power centered on the Iranian plateau has had any influence in the Eastern Mediterranean – another unintended consequence of Israel’s invasion of Lebeanon in 1982 and the birth of Hezbollah.

  49. BiBiJon says:

    Ditching old friends
    ——————–

    John Kerry said yesterday he wished US had jumped onto the Syrian peace train sooner. “we came too late” he actually said.

    Well, not to sound too jaded, but it seems soon as Assad’s army looked like it has turned the corner of not losing to the path of winning, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shi’ite volunteers and it seems John Kerry have all jumped in to save the Syrian state. Better late than never, I guess.

    However, let’s not overlook old friends. Qatar, SA, Turkey, UK, and France have been left looking like canibal supporters. Hague, the indefatigable Don Juan, lover of both Iranians and Syrians, together with Fabius (who wants to rename the Bastille as Place de la Jiahd) have been working overtime to red-face Obama past his CW red line into military intervention. The unease is palpable as it becomes clearer by the day that post-Assad Syria shall have … Assad

    Erdogan will get his wish; The ground will open up and swallow his premiership rather than leave him face his embarrassment. Qatar and SA will blame UK and France. Therefore, It is mostly the French and the British governments who will hold the bag. They incited Qatar and SA into taking a leading role, pushing Obama to do their anti-Iran bidding. In turn, UK & France are going to have to point fingers at Israel.

    Obama’s ‘niet’ to military involvement has certain Russian ring to it. Well, it is his second term, and he had promised Mevedev he would learn russkij jazyk. At the time it wasn’t clear that a lot of old ‘friends’ would be ditched if Obama became bilingual.

  50. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Iranian leaders expect Hezbollah to act (or attempt to act) in a manner best suited to advance Hezbollah’s interests in Lebanon.

  51. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    The US can get by well enough with ZERO oil and gas from the Middle East. Expensive changes to East Coast oil refineries would be necessary.

  52. Smith says:

    Latest stats for people killed in Syria since Wahabi-Western war was imposed on them: http://m.mcclatchydc.com/dc/db_112234/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=PGi6ytC9&full=true#display

    The stat produced by western backed terror supporting human rights group, clearly shows that the terrorists are to blame for the human tragedy:

    =====

    “…. 96,431 people have lost their lives in the more than two years of violence that’s wracked Syria.

    Of those, Syrian soldiers and members of the government’s security forces account for 24,617, while members of pro-government militias make up 17,031. Taken together, those deaths account for 43.2 percent of the total recorded.

    Civilian noncombatants are the next largest group of the dead – 35,479, or 36.8 percent of the total, according to the human rights group.

    Deaths among anti-Assad fighters total 16,699, or 17.3 percent, according to the new numbers. Of those, 12,615 were Syrian civilians who’d picked up arms against the regime, 1,965 were rebel fighters who’d defected from the Syrian military and 2,119 were foreigners who were killed fighting on the Syrian rebels’ behalf. ….”

    =====

    Also correlate the above stats with the support for terrorists by west and wahabis in this graph: http://afghanistanwatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/syria_graph.jpg

  53. Smith says:

    Latest stats for people killed in Syria since Wahabi-Western war was imposed on them: http://m.mcclatchydc.com/dc/db_112234/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=PGi6ytC9&full=true#display

    The stat produced by western backed terror supporting human rights group, clearly shows that the terrorists are to blame for the human tragedy:

    =====

    “…. 96,431 people have lost their lives in the more than two years of violence that’s wracked Syria.

    Of those, Syrian soldiers and members of the government’s security forces account for 24,617, while members of pro-government militias make up 17,031. Taken together, those deaths account for 43.2 percent of the total recorded.

    Civilian noncombatants are the next largest group of the dead – 35,479, or 36.8 percent of the total, according to the human rights group.

    Deaths among anti-Assad fighters total 16,699, or 17.3 percent, according to the new numbers. Of those, 12,615 were Syrian civilians who’d picked up arms against the regime, 1,965 were rebel fighters who’d defected from the Syrian military and 2,119 were foreigners who were killed fighting on the Syrian rebels’ behalf. ….”

  54. Smith says:

    Also correlate the above stats with the support for terrorists by west and wahabis in this graph: http://afghanistanwatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/syria_graph.jpg

  55. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    Thank you again for your comments.

    – I too think the Shia Crescent is a very real possibility. If Mr. Assad prevails in Syria (it looks like he will) it would have similar strategic consequences that Israel’s invasion of Lebanon had. I wish to sincerely thank Iran’s enemies for giving the non Sunni Arabs of the region no other option but to turn to Iran for their protection and physical survival. Iran’s foes would have brought about what they feared most. Now Iran must live up to its moral commitments to these peoples and defend them with the threat of nuclear weapons if need be.

    – Regarding Pakistan, it is too much to expect a country to turn away from as important a state as the United States but I believe Iran does have the means to wean it away from Saudi Arabia. I can’t think of a better use of Iran’s oil than buying geopolitical leverage.

    – You say: “As long as that tyranny of Europe on the minds of Muslims persists, neither Pakistan nor Turkey may be considered ripe for the scheme that I have outlined.”

    I sadly agree. A grand Islamic Super alliance or a Muslim NATO is too fanciful in the near future. Most Muslims and indeed most people of the world equate West with modernity. But do you think it will ever come the time when all these people become thoroughly disillusioned of the West? What if Iran and the Shias can prove that it is possible to be “modern” without being under their yoke? The continued humiliation of Palestine, never ending wars and lack of economic developments might cause people to question things. Turks and Pakistanis don’t have the reflexive hostility to Iran that Sunni Arabs do after all. Or do a people have to go through the Iraqis went through to reach such conclusions?

  56. Nasser says:

    nico,

    Thank you for your posts on the international monetary system and the dollar hegemony.

  57. Nasser says:

    Senator McCain on Charlie Rose last night.

    http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12956

    Skip to 12:00 for the really good part.

    Charlie Rose at around 13:25: “Syria might become a failed state … and might be ruled by those who have no interest in good relations with the United States.”
    McCain replies: “But not an ally of Iran!….”

    A bold admission that they don’t care one bit about who gets hurts or what happens as long as they achieve their narrow objective of hurting Iran.

  58. Nasser says:

    Egypt and its inability to protect its fundamental interests:
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2013/06/egypt-concerns-nile-ethiopia-dam.html

  59. fyi says:

    Nasser says:
    June 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    A rational and non-emotive response to the world constructed by Enuro-American people is needed.

    This response must comprehend both pure and practical dimensions.

    For example, what does it mean to be “Free” in a Muslim milieu? Surely bare-chested German women on Turkish beaches do not constitute Liberty.

    On the other hand, in North America, in UK, or in Denmark you can walk into many police stations (but by no means all of them) and demand and be given without any trouble or delay a form for lodging a complaint against the police.

    Why not in Iran?

    Or Turkey?

  60. fyi says:

    Nasser says:
    June 4, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Their objective, hurting Iran via Syria, is unreachable.

    Let us consider a continuation of the current developments in which Mr. Assad’s Government will control Southwest and Western Syria. He will concede the Northwest to Kurds and the Syrian Desert to the anti-government forces.

    Next, Mr. Al Maliki will likewise leave the Western Iraq (Anbar etc.) to the Sunnis.

    A de facto Sunni-Dominated state can be created from parts of Syria and Iraq which, in the absence of oil, will be a failed state and a threat to Jordan and others.

    One can only hope.

  61. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    June 4, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    The ties are strategic.

    There were 2 non-sectarian leaders in Lebanon who tried to rise up above their own sects – the first one was the martyred Kemal Junbalat, a Druze – murdered by Syrians – and the other the martyred Imam Musa Sadr, a Shia – murdered by Libyans.

    Nabih Berri, the leader of Shia Amal, was desirous of establishing good relations with US but Americans were indifferent to hostile to him and the Shia. Americans and French viewed the Maronites as the “Good Guys” and Muslims (Shia or Sunni made no difference to them – even if they were aware of those differences) as “Evil Guys”.

    They went into Beirut, following their friends the Israelis, pursuing their Manichean agenda and the rest is history – when Iran became a Mediterranean power again after 2000 years.

    God, Mr. Canning, evidently works in mysterious ways.

  62. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy says:
    June 3, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you for posting the article by Sharmine Narwani.

    Sanam Anderlini, co-founder of the International Civil society Action Network (ICAN), said at a conference in Washington, DC, last year that US public school curricula appear to be in the process of erasing Iran: Americans will grow up without a factual knowledge base about Iran, ancient, past, or (accurate) present.

    Occasionally, I survey the children’s sections of public libraries for their offerings about Iran. What I have found is disheartening, both for the paucity of material available, and for the biased presentation in those books that are in library collections. The best material I have found was published in the 1920s and is now shelved in closed stacks.

    You wrote:
    “. . . historically, blocking Iranian influence in ME not only was not achievable for the Macedonians, Romans or the Arabs but it always was and is an essence of the ME.”

    = = =

    One bright note: The Teaching Company has recorded a series of lectures on The Persian Empire by Professor John W. I. Lee. Lee says that Persians engaged in cultural exchange with and influence over Macedonian culture four or five generations before Alexander.

  63. Nasser says:

    fyi says: June 4, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Amen.

  64. A-B says:

    Khurshid says:
    June 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Yes, but the picture is very true! It shows a new breed (‘generation’) of West-sponsored terrorists; it IS a “No war generation” but a “Yes [Western] terrorism generation”. After all, wars are fought by armies and soldiers; I don’t see any soldiers in that picture, do you? What we see in Syria is NOT war; it’s what we saw in Libya, namely, ‘kinetic [military] action’. So, the slogan of the old hippie generation “make love, not war” is for the new Obamite generation “make kinetic action, not war”. Maybe this is why the ‘anti-war’ movements in the West (if they exist at all) are so confused!!

    This is of course no joking matter. And surely this savagery of West WILL bring the peoples of culture in Iran-Iraq-Syria together. It’s as logical as a natural law. So, if ordinary people of the region would have their say, which is what Iran advocates, naturally they would like to kick out the racist thieves and murderers, especially in face of overwhelming empirical evidences of their savagery during centuries. But of course this blasphemes the Talmudiac-sadistic law of Western imperialists which says “you should be raped because you don’t deserve anything better; you might as well enjoy it, if not, deal with it”. These [McCain et al] are the fascists that define who are citizens of a country, to then label it a ‘democracy’ or not. So, THEY decide Mojahedin-e Kharr/Greenies should represent Iran, as Wahhabi/Salafi savages should represent ‘Arabs’; and ‘Talebees’ should represent Afghanistan. Of course, ‘Jews –only’ are the citizens of the ‘democratic’ Israel, as clan of Saud is true citizens of Saudi-Arabia (it’s SAUDI Arabia, after all!!) Those THEY don’t see as citizens, can be slandered, dehumanized, slaughtered, cannibalized, starved to death, put in concentration camps, gassed by Sarin, sold as sex-slaves to Saudi sheikhs…. like slaves in the ‘great democracy’ of the ‘civilized’ Greece, perhaps?

    And you care what the BRITISH establishment would think of Iran in their [toilet] papers??? If you want to get the West (including the Zionists and Wahhabi/Salafis ‘Islamists’) out of the region, you must first get it out of your head!

  65. Karl... says:

    James,

    Why would Iraq be dependent on China middle eastern policy?

  66. Nasser says:

    A-B says:

    “If you want to get the West (including the Zionists and Wahhabi/Salafis ‘Islamists’) out of the region, you must first get it out of your head!”

    Bravo! Bravo!

  67. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Interestin points you make, regarding paucity of books on Iran in American public libraries.

    Sometimes I check an American used bookstore, and find that for every book on Iran there are perhaps two dozen on the Holocaust.

  68. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    When Persian armies and fleets tried to conquer Attic Greece nearly five centuries BC, other Greeks were prominent in those forces. Persian forces.

  69. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Of course the ties between Hezbollah and Iran are strategic.

    Iran expects Hezbollah leaders to pursue the best interests for Hezbollah that its leaders can identify.

    Bashar al-Assad may sometimes ask himself whether it was such a good thing for Iran to frighten Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

  70. James Canning says:

    Financial Times reports today that many bazaari merchants in Tehran are closing up, due to fast-rising taxes.

  71. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    I like your post, exposing simplistic “thinking” of John McCain on Charlie Rose’s programme.

    The man is dangerous. And seriously lacking in good judgement.

  72. James Canning says:

    Virtually all of the Christian leaders in Syria said the government of Bashar al-Assad afforded their communities better protection than they would expect in a “democracy”.

    I didn’t watcdh John McCain on Charlie Rose’s programme, but I assume McCain would not make that point. That “democracy” was something Christian leaders feared would be a bad thing for their communities.

  73. BiBiJon says:

    Nasser says:
    June 4, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Senator McCain on Charlie Rose followerd by Vali Nasr on Bloomberg:

    “Syria’s uprising offered the possibility of a strategic defeat of Iran. ”
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-04/iran-outmaneuvers-u-s-in-the-syrian-proxy-war.html

    I just have to tell McCain and Nasr that as long as you look for strategic ‘defeats’ of Iran, you set yourselves up for getting humiliated and strategically defeated.

    My advice is try something you haven’t tried for 34 years. Strategic understanding.

  74. James Canning says:

    Philip Giraldi asks: “Was the architect of the Iraq War getting advice from an agent of the Islamic Republic?”

    Was Paul Wolfowitz merely a dupe or stooge of Ahmed Chalabi?

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/paul-wolfowitzs-iran-connection

  75. James Canning says:

    Didn’t Dennis Ross say that half a dozen rich and powerful men in midtown Manhattan (New York City) brought about the 2003 US invasion of Iraq? More attention should be focused on this element of the equation.

  76. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    “My advice is try something you haven’t tried for 34 years. Strategic understanding.”

    Thats great advice BiBiJon, but you have to wonder why they don’t???

    http://images.sodahead.com/profiles/0/0/2/3/7/9/4/0/9/lalalala-105017443845.jpeg

  77. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Never thought that the MSM would analyze the situation correctly , here’s an exception , still biased of course :

    Vali Nasr in Bloomberg

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-04/iran-outmaneuvers-u-s-in-the-syrian-proxy-war.html

    …The U.S. has withheld lethal aid, not to mention military action. The Obama administration has eschewed intervention in Syria as a slippery slope to full-scale war, a costly repeat of the Iraq fiasco. In making this case, however, the administration sends a strong signal that it also would not go to war against Iran, despite President Barack Obama’s statement that no option is off the table when it comes to stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. When U.S. officials say their options for intervention are constrained by Syria’s air defense systems, they are also saying they fear Iran’s.

    If there was once a realistic hope that Syria’s civil war would isolate Iran, that prospect has dimmed. Russia has assumed all along Assad could win, and thanks to Iran’s support, that now looks like a realistic outcome. Having already absorbed the wrath of Arab public opinion for supporting the ruthless leader, Russia has little reason to switch sides. By sticking with Assad, Russia projects the image of a steadfast ally that doesn’t bend to international pressure, in contrast to the U.S., which appears to want to wash its hands of the region and pivot away to Asia…

  78. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Ups , BBJ had already posted the BLOOMBERG article , sorry….

  79. Nasser says:

    This article was quoted in the comment section of Moon of Alabama. Some good news, worth reading:
    http://saebpress.com/2013/06/hamas-not-to-abandon-its-alliance-with-iran-and-hezbollah/

  80. James Canning says:

    Nothing,

    In The New York Times recently, Ray Takeyh argued (re: Syrian intervention):

    “Paradoxically, an intervention [in Syria] intended to persuade Iran’s leaders of the viability of American red lines could instead convince them that their nuclear program is safe from American retaliation.”

    In fact, Obama has made clear that Iran would not be allowed to build nukes. And Iranian leaders have made clear they do not want nukes.

  81. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Who are the “they” to whom you refer?

  82. fyi says:

    All:

    Mr. Alterman’s testimony:

    http://csis.org/files/ts130605_alterman.pdf

    [Note that there is no positive future, just more bloodshed and war….]

  83. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    June 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm
    The arabs stooges problem isnt iran its their own lack of credibility which has just taken another big hit with their failures in syria,if they are afraid of iran they should be trying for better relations with iran thru diplomacy not trying to antagonize iran by attacking one of its allies,a smarter less desperate arab leadership would have known this,sadly the arabs have made bad decisions after bad decisions and they dont even seem to have the brains to realise this simple fact

  84. Don Bacon says:

    A-B says:
    June 5, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Yes, but the picture is very true! It shows a new breed (‘generation’) of West-sponsored terrorists; it IS a “No war generation” but a “Yes [Western] terrorism generation”.

    Correct, and the worst case of western terrorism was the bombing of the Al-Askaria Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, February 2006. It was a terrorist act meant to inflame two religious sects against each other and prolong the US occupation. And it worked as designed.

    Reacting to this attack, on February 22-23, 2006, throughout Iraq, assailants attacked at least 184 Sunni mosques with grenades, small arms, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), killing 12 Sunni imams and seven Sunni civilian worshipers, kidnapping 14 Sunni imams, and causing substantial damage to many of the mosques. Iraq has not enjoyed inter-sect amity since.

    The bombing of the Al-Askaria Mosque and its violent aftermath ratcheted the numbers of displaced persons up to a staggering 2.7 million. In a period of about a year, five percent of Iraq’s total population fled their homes and settled elsewhere in Iraq while an additional 2 million or so fled the country entirely. It is important to underscore that this displacement was not just a by-product of the conflict, but rather the result of deliberate policies of sectarian cleansing by armed militias.

    The internally displaced were the most vulnerable — and perhaps the clearest sign of the success of sectarian cleansing as entire neighborhoods were transformed. Sunnis and Shiites alike moved from mixed communities to ones where their sect was the majority. And while the displacement of Sunnis and Shiites was massive, proportionately the displacement of religious minorities was even more sweeping in effect.

    Samarra was also intended to prolong the US military occupation, and it did.
    SEC. GATES: “Well, what I’m saying to you is, though, you had one strategy under way until attack on the Samarra mosque. After that and the development of the sectarian violence that was being stoked by extremists — this wasn’t spontaneous — there was a shift in strategy, and instead of sending troops home, the troops that were supposed to be sent home were kept — or the troop level was kept.”

    Samarra was the principle event which turned Sunni and Shia actively against each other, more than ever.

  85. Don Bacon says:

    more on Samarra:

    In February 2006 Samarra was under total US military control. The curfew in Samarra started at 8pm. On February 21st, at 8:30pm, according to a witness, joint forces of the Iraq National Guard and the American Army appeared, then left at 9, then reappeared at 11pm. At 6am on the morning of the 22nd the ING left the area, and at 6:30 the Americans left. The first explosion occurred at 6:40, the second at 6:45.am.

    Construction Minister Jassem Mohammed Jaafar, who toured Sammara and inspected the damage incurred to the shrine, said the placing of explosives inside the dome was meticulous and must have taken at least 12 hours.”Holes were dug into the mausoleum’s four main pillars and packed with explosives,” he told the media, adding that work on each pillar must have taken at least four hours. The normal security detail of 35 men had been reduced to five, the five guards were taken hostage during the twelve hours, and nobody noticed anything.

  86. kooshy says:

    Fiorangela says:
    June 4, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Fiorangela

    Thank you for your comment here is something I heard today

    Today there was a televised debate between the 8 candidates for the presidency of Iran; the subject of this round of debate was on improving and preservation of Iranian culture and society, social affairs.
    One of the candidates is Dr. Hadad e Adel he is a previous speaker of parliament and current member and chair of the parliament’s cultural commission (he was student of Dr. H. Nasr and Dr. Yahya Mahdavi he is well educated) although I don’t think he has a chance to get elected. In this morning’s debates (which thanks to internet I was watching live from LA) he made an interesting observation which relates to what I wrote the other day. He said for Middle East, Iran and her culture have the same weight and effect as Greece does for Europe and western culture. To me that is a correct and true fact.

  87. kooshy says:

    I think they now understand they could not subdue the uprising in Bahrain, US probably wants to facilitate a compromise with Shieh majority if all possible.

    “Obama drops in on meeting with Bahrain’s crown prince, stresses security and human rights”

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    June 05, 2013 – 9:42 pm EDT

    WASHINGTON — The White House says President Barack Obama has met with the crown prince of Bahrain to discuss security issues and ties between the U.S. and the Persian Gulf nation.
    The White House says Obama dropped in on a meeting between Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken. The crown prince is also a deputy prime minister of Bahrain.
    Obama told the Bahraini leader that the U.S. supports stability and security in Bahrain and that respecting universal human rights is the best way for the nation to achieve peace and security.

  88. Nasser says:

    Good article on the international implications of Syria by Fyodor Lukyanov

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/06/syria-settlement-russia-us-eu-geneva-ii.html

  89. imho says:

    Nothing but the Truth says:
    June 4, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Thank you for Paul Graig Roberts link. Pleasure to read but not always easy.

    As I said, gold is more and more in private hands at the expense of nations public treasury. Soros is just an example.
    I may add BTW it isn’t only gold but potentially more and more nations’ assets with a value that gets to the private hands thanks to liberal economic policies brought by corporations helped by IMF policies of pushing each state needing financial aid to privatize its economy, that is selling nations assets which are owned by the people.

    This is becoming at such a boiling point that one may wonder if all this financial crisis is not tailored just to do that. Examples abound. Greece selling its ports and islands to Chinese and recently in the land of liberty and democracy, Detroit administration talking about selling some Van Goghs, Matisses or Picassos to help stabilize the city’s finance.

    http://news.yahoo.com/column-detroit-selling-family-silver-203241123.html;_ylt=A2KJ2UjmNLBRaTAAo4rQtDMD

    Of course this kind of looting is much more “civilized” than Buddhas of Bamiyan or Syrian archeological treasures that may have escaped the country that sometime in the future we may see in a private collection.

  90. imho says:

    nico says:
    June 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    “Now that was what i requested the Leveretts to develop for quite some time when they speak about a grand bargain.
    Obviously the petrodollar is the main subject.”

    Do you really think in a grand bargain or kind of strategic understanding, the US is going to abandon its dollar hegemony ?! No way. This would not be a bargain but a US capitulation.
    Some people say the real reason of bringing down Saddam was because he switched to Euro to sell its oil. Same with Khaddafi challenging the system.

    Regarding Iran, I’m not even convinced Iran has the objective of destabilizing the dollar position. Otherwise she would have not just US but also China as number one enemy given their huge dollar reserve. Anyway, I saw no mention of this in the last bargain proposed by Iran and rejected by Bush and Rice. All Iran wants is an end to regime change policy and to be recognized as a regional power. Using other currencies or gold for trade is just a way to escape western financial domination and sanctions.

    You may be aware that even “inside” the IR system, there are forces pushing for privatization, liberal economy, connecting the Iranian Central bank to the rest of the world and in sum joining the established financial system.
    That means in my opinion, short of complete financial independence (illusory), IRI seeks independence in other fields such as foreign, interior and cultural policy. IRI wants a seat in negotiating tables dealing with regional problems as asked for Syrian conference in June.
    You said yourself, rightly, that Iran isn’t a big economic force yet.

  91. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    June 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    This is old news and if it’s correct (which I doubt) it was masterfully played.

    But whether Ahmed Chalabi was a double agent working for Iranians or not is not relevant given that US was willing to attack Iraq anyway

  92. imho says:

    Don Bacon says:
    June 5, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    “Samarra was the principle event which turned Sunni and Shia actively against each other, more than ever.”

    I’m lost in dates but US forces before leaving Iraq ignited Shiite/Sunni war in a divide and conquer strategy that was crystal clear.
    I remember having read numerous papers arguing that CIA forces themselves placed the explosives in a number of mosques in Iraq (not even letting others do it, Sabra Shatila style). I also remember Iranians asking Shiite militia to avoid responding to provocations. There have been also meetings between Iranians and Saudis but the Saudis were part of the plan and they wanted anti Shiite war as the only way to resist to Iran. But at last Iran couldn’t let Sunnis exterminate Shiites and took part in their defense and knowingly played the divide rule. The Islam Awakening/Spring think was also an attempt to avoid ignite Arabs/Persian rivalry and to reunify Muslims.
    At the same time Iran wanted to avoid the sectarian war to spill over to other ME countries per their attempt to normalize relations with Egypt. No luck; the Brothers have been put in power there just to avoid that.
    Is it not a war between Shiites and Sunnis the best gift to the west ?

    At some point, Iran must learn to play the divide and rule game among the west’s puppets. Why not begin with Saudi Wahhabis and Egyptian Salafis that are two rival Sunnis sects ?

  93. nico says:

    imho says:
    June 6, 2013 at 4:40 am

    In my mind a Grand Bargain would actually imply Iran joining the international system and accepting the USD monetary slavery.

    I am not connected with Iranian establishment to know what is Iranians position about that.
    Up to know Iran policy has been to break free from USD hegemony.
    As per Islamic ideology, I think such kind of monetary slavery is not acceptable.
    However, Iran has demonstrated to be pragmatic as well.

    As for the US position, obviously they have no choice as it is economic life or death for them.
    My take is that US planners are rightly thinking in term of capability and not in term of political will.

    Should Iran get nuclear capability, have friendly relation with neighbours, and be the boss of Irak and Syria (what would be then the posiition of koweit ?), plus gaining military and political traction in the ME, then Iran would have the capability to challenge the petrodollar.

    That is enough for US enemity.
    US have a power and rule policy.
    They want (monetary) slaves, they want to devide and rule, they want weak and backward banana republic.
    They want do deny even the flimsiest capability to challenge the petrodollar.
    And it is understandable.

    I mean the petrodollar is not morally legitimate.
    And capability creates envy.
    Should such capability fall in Iran hand why would it avoid to use it.

    Basically, with the petrodollar, the US is owning all the oil of the world. They can a deny a foreign country to use USD and they can create as much as they want to buy as much as they want with paper money not backed by anything.
    Is that legitimate ?

  94. nico says:

    In addition, Iran stated policy is to kick the US military out of the ME.
    You know, in order for the islamic ummah to break free from western colonialism…
    What about the petrodollar ?

  95. Sineva says:

    imho says:
    June 6, 2013 at 6:30 am
    Losing mubarak was a huge blow to the us control over egypt and the middle east,now the west could in shear desperation try the sectarian card but that sort of short sighted policy is just going to hasten the decline of western influence in the region and further weaken their arab puppets,indeed this seems to be more the desperate actions of the arab puppets as we saw in syria,an ill conceived ill thought out plan that has come back to bite them in the ass as they so richly deserved.Playing the sectarian card will not halt the rising tide of iranian power in the region,its past time the arab puppets realised this and reached an accommodation with iran,but I imagine they and their western masters will continue to rearrange the deck chairs on their sinking sphere of influence

  96. imho says:

    nico says:
    June 6, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I’m not arguing against what is USD hegemony nor the slavery monetary system it created which is not legitimate to answer your question.

    But the question is whether or not breaking from USD is an Iranian objective or just a way to escape sanctions.

    “Should Iran get nuclear capability, have friendly relation with neighbours, and be the boss of Irak and Syria (what would be then the posiition of koweit ?), plus gaining military and political traction in the ME, then Iran would have the capability to challenge the petrodollar.”

    I don’t think so. In this worst case scenario (for US), Iran would have gained its status of regional power. But it takes more to challenge the Anglo-American financial empire. It needs a coalition and a big one and such a direct confrontation will bring for sure the ww3. You have to understand that this is a “financial” empire, not a territorial one as was the case in past history with other empires. Attacking USD is attacking the empire’s foundation.
    Or, the present US system will be finished the way Soviet Union disappeared because of their huge debt and worthless dollar paving the way for Amero. And Americans will beg for that new currency when they’ll see their dollars worth nothing.

    But who cares, until then, private corporations will have bought the entire planet and we’ll all eat pizza hut… I wish not

  97. imho says:

    Sineva says:
    June 6, 2013 at 8:28 am

    “Losing mubarak was a huge blow to the us control over egypt”

    You say “losing” Mubarak as if US didn’t want to get rid of him.
    Remember Obama’s Cairo speech that gave the go for uprising after US NGOs paved the way during years for bringing Muslim Brothers in power. It is even documented in one of the most pro war MSM which is NYT. Make no mistake, US is still Egypt’s master.

    Maybe the sectarian war was ignited by US as a last desperate attempts. I see it through the Asian pivot. Kind of remake of what British did to India before leaving by playing the Hindu Muslim card. Iran will be busy fighting Sunnis while Americans are gone. This should be avoided.

    I hope you’re right. However, the sectarian war is very dangerous and should be avoided if possible by Iran. It is actually clear Iran doesn’t want it as she told it a number of times and attempted an understanding with SA and Egypt without success. Maybe when Americans are gone, it’ll be easier to reach that understanding

  98. Sineva says:

    With any luck the stooges and wahabists will tear each other apart and iran can watch and laugh from the sidelines,of course that still leaves bahrain,but the rewards for iran for a shia victory there,forcing the us navy to find another home in the gulf which would not be an easy thing in the current political climate in the region,would be worth it as well as paying back the saudis and qataris in kind or syria

  99. BiBiJon says:

    Oh dear, Mr. Hague
    ==================
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/06/05/uk-syria-crisis-un-idUKBRE9541H320130605

    In a flurry of last minute baldfaced manipulation and deceit, occasioned by rising desperation, UK and France had been palming off to UN ‘samples’ that proved somebody, somewhere, at some point in time had been subjected to nerve gas.

    Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom who heads the U.N. chemical weapons investigation basically said the samples prove nothing. “Mr. Sellstrom cautions that the validity of the information is not ensured in the absence of convincing evidence of the chain-of-custody of the data collected,” UN said.

    What I found hilarious is the British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant. Caught red handed once again pushing dodgy dossiers, he “told reporters that Sellstrom’s concerns about the samples were understandable. But he said those concerns did not cast doubt on the widespread belief that chemical weapons have been used in Syria.”

    Note to lying toad, Mark:

    The “widespread belief” is engineered by French and British and associated cannibals’ baseless evidence-free propaganda; the “belief” isn’t all that “widespread.” Far more people believed Earth was flat. And the U.N. is casting doubt on British integrity, not on how widely ridiculous beliefs have been propagated by Don Juan Hague.

  100. nico says:

    imho says:

    “But the question is whether or not breaking from USD is an Iranian objective or just a way to escape sanctions.”

    I do not know.
    Do even the Iranian constituencies know that themselves ?
    Not sure.

    I remind you Iranian official speeches at international fora as well as domestic gathering that the IR is sticking to revolution ideal, against an unjust world order and the independance of the Ummah against wetern colonialism…

    Again I remind you that I was scoffed at when I paraphrased Kissinger about, Iran being a revolutionary country and as long as such revolutiobary ideology will not be wiped out, there is no chance of detente.

  101. nico says:

    http://edition.presstv.ir/iphone/detail.aspx?id=307500

    “The Iranian legislator added that the Western countries are applying pressure to prevent the export of oil from Iran, but the “resolve of the Iranian nation and officials” will thwart their efforts. ”

    Obviously, the US are saying that world oil is their.
    If Iran want to escape, they will not sell oil anymore !

    Here, Iran is fighting for the same purpose as when it fought when it nationalized oil.
    Just at an higher financial level.
    The US is exactly in the same position as UK in 1953.
    They want to get Iran oil for free – I mean with toilet paper USD.

  102. nico says:

    Imho,

    Do you mean that as in the case of Lybia, Irak and Iran it might be a chance that oil could be sold in other currency than USD.
    As a consequence you mean that the US need to subjugate, enslave, trample and keep as backward as possible oil producers in order to avoid such a situation.

    Sure, I totally agree with you.

  103. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Any country selling oil priced in US dollars can arrange for peyment in another currency. Any oil company selling oil priced in USD can arrange to take payment in another currency.

  104. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    What, pray tell, is the “revolutionary ideology” of Iran that you think prevents detente with “the West”? Iranian leaders denounce communism. Does China give a fig? No. Iranian leaders denounce capitalism. Does China give a fig? No. Germany give a fig? No. Russia give a fig? No.

  105. James Canning says:

    imho,

    You are DEAD WRONG to claim Britain wanted the vicious, essentially civil war, between Hindus and Muslims in India, prior to independence of India and Pakistan. The Muslim leader, Jinnah, insisted on separate state for Muslims.

  106. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    WHERE do you get the idea China is a SLAVE of the US because China buys oil priced in US dollars?

  107. James Canning says:

    imho,

    The US very stupidly disbanded the Iraqi army and security services, shortly after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. This act of sheer idiocy ignited the vicious civil war in Iraq.

  108. James Canning says:

    imho,

    Ahmed Chalabi in my view was playing his own game, and he was pursuing immense wealth and power when he helped Paul Wolfowitz and other neocon warmongers dupe George W. Bush in the year prior to illegal US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    But G W Bush’s own laziness was key to the success of the con.

  109. fyi says:

    All:

    Ambassador Freeman on US, China and the Middle East:

    http://www.mepc.org/articles-commentary/speeches/united-states-middle-east-and-china

    Note the conclusion: US is at war with both Shia and Sunni; i.e. all of Islam on behalf of Israel.

  110. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    June 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    The late Jinah only insisted on a separate state for Muslims because of Hindu Nationalism of the late Mohendas Ghandi and his cohorts.

    The late Jinah was a respected member of Indian Congress Party before that 2-bit barrister showed up from South Africa.

    It was the late Ghandi who bears the most responsibility for the Partition; he should have shut up and followed the late Jinah.

    His popularity with Hindu masses got to his head; millions died because of him.

  111. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm
    “Nico,WHERE do you get the idea China is a SLAVE of the US because China buys oil priced in US dollars?”

    Mmmmh, they got trillions of T bonds and USD currency that are basically wortheless ?
    They worked hard for years to provide US customer, and at the end of the day they will get nothing in return ?

  112. Khurshid says:

    Iran Presidential Election 2013 – Candidates debate (part 2)

    Debate Structure – The structure of debate had improved dramatically with elimination of horrible and terrible IQ test session – multiple choice questions and picture assessment. The debate was more engaging and interesting than the first debate. Second debate allowed candidates more time to address their policies and answer more questions – this was something that was missing in first debate. Well done IRIB for effective damage control.

    Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf – He said no country can retain its independence through political means only. He explained that cultural avenue in conjunction with politics is needed to retain independence of country. He also said he believes that culture should be integrated into politics, economy, and human development. Interestingly all candidates asked Ghalibaf whether as a mayor of Tehran he promoted Iranian culture in Tehran’s architecture. In first debate an issue was raised that in today’s Iranian architecture there is no reflection of Iranian culture and society.

    Hasan Rohani – Rohani addressed culture and social development from legal perspective. He said government should take its hand off culture management.

    Ali Akhbar Velayati – He congratulated Iranian people for Iran’s 2014 world cup football qualifying win over Qatar on Tuesday. He said that culture should be reflected in one’s “aghlagh” (manner) and Iranian culture should be promoted by adopting resistance culture by which he meant not allowing cultural practices alien to Iran encroach into its culture and society.

    Saeed Jalili – He said that to strengthen a society culture can play a stronger role than law. He believes that Iran’s president should know Iran’s cultural ingredients and be able to use it for promoting Iran’s interest. Mohammad Gharazi asked Jalili if Iranian revolution influenced west or is it other way round. Jalili replied that Iranian revolution itself is an indication than Iran has influenced west. Furthermore, the fact that west has Farsi language satellite channels is a proof that Islamic revolution of Iran has influenced west.

    Mohsen Rezaei – He started by talking about the economy and said cultural and social conditions can not be improved without improving the economy first.

    Mohammad Reza Aref – Aref congratulated Iranian people for Iran’s 2014 world cup football qualifying win over Qatar on Tuesday. He argued that culture development should not be in government’s control. He explained that his policy is to allow artists and experts on culture more opportunity to address cultural issues. He also said in general people should drive cultural development and therefore government should hand over task of cultural development to the public and culture experts and professional. Aref shifted blame on previous administration for hindering and not allowing the public to engage in culture development process.

    Gholam Ali Haddad Adel – He recognizes culture-economy-politics link and believes that Islamic culture should be cultivated by promoting Islamic values so that the young feel connected to Iran’s Islamic culture and value system. He also said that culture should be implemented through top-down approach indicating that culture promotion should be managed by government.

    Mohammad Gharazi – Talked about Ibn Khaldun’s (Tunisian Social scientists) model of integrated cultural and social development. He said fields like sports, economy, and culture should not operate in isolation but rather each field should work in integrated manner – this was an clear reference to Ibn Khaldun’s work. Gharazi was the only candidate who asked every candidate a question – well done on that !!.

    Rohani-Aref-Jalili Spicy engagement – Both Aref and Rohani had sharp engagement with Jalili regarding university environment. It started between Rohani and Jalili but Aref joined in later. What does it say about reformists (Rohani and Aref)assessment of Jalili’s relative strength as a candidate? Reformists seem to see Jalili as their vote rival and the remaining principalist candidate including Ghalibaf as political rivals.

    In this second debate all candidates were quite strong but I would say Jalili, Aref and Ghalifab were strongest of strong.

  113. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Surely you are aware the US dollar has appreciated slightly over the past year, against a basket of currencies.

    China reduced its exposure to the euro over the past year.

  114. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    If you are saying that partition of India was a catastrophe, I of course agree with you.

  115. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Interesting comments by Charles W. Freeman, Jr. One should note that most of the countries on the planet will accept Israel’s borders as being those of 1966.

    US, very foolishly, encourages Israeli expansionism.

  116. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    June 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Only that the late Mr. Gandhi – the Mahatma, “Eternal Spirit” – was the man most responsible for the Partition and its attendant carnage.

    That is what religious and other fantasies lead to; Death.

  117. jay says:

    fyi says:
    June 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    My earlier post, and a later reference to the post on May 15th regarding the blowback as a result of widening conflict is being spun by the Senator! The blowback the Senator is now blaming on everyone else is not the result of sublime and supra-intellectual planning by Iranians, rather it is a consequence of US/UK arrogance!! It is another instance of the famous Iraq war statement that the US forces will be done with combat and out of Iraq in 90 days – the Senator and friends thought Syria will fall apart quickly.

    The Senator’s more amusing and astonishingly arrogant comment is his suggestion that US military can act as the world policeman – well, of course starting with North Africa and parts of middle east first!

    I suppose that the Senator and Mr. Haas have been talking. In this new book, Mr. Haas of the CFR suggests getting US internal affairs in order by cutting domestic spending in just about every area – and, of course social security and medicare. Certainly not military spending, he argues. Evidently we can’t cut military spending because we need to train all those policemen for North Africa.

  118. jay says:

    I am enjoying the US mainstream media acting “shocked” about the existence of the PRISM program.

    Can WashPo, NYT and NPR be any more phony?! These folks are the same folks that laughed off the existence of these programs as ideas promoted by “conspiracy theory” folks every year since it started.

  119. imho says:

    Khurshid,

    Thank you very much for your reports on Iranian election debates. Please continue!

    “Reformists seem to see Jalili as their vote rival and the remaining principalist candidate including Ghalibaf as political rivals”

    What do you mean by that ?

    Any chance that Jalili attracts reformists vote against principalists ?

    Any indication (even small perceptions) that reformist candidates would be willing (sooner or later ? that is before or after the 1st round ?) to call their supporters to vote for Jalili in order to counter principalists ?

    The sum of Ahmadinejad and reformists supporters can challenge the fragmented principalist camp ? (even thought an election cannot be reduced to arithmetic)

    Seven days remaining before the first round and no one seems to give up in favor of a preferred candidate. I suppose vote transfers are for the 2nd round.

  120. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    June 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Those are just excuses to explain how and why US attacked Iraq.

    I even doubt the decision of going to war came from W. US foreign policy is designed in a time scale longer than the presidency mandate

  121. imho says:

    And Chalabi was just a pawn used for the purpose

  122. imho says:

    nico says:
    June 6, 2013 at 10:37 am

    “But the question is whether or not breaking from USD is an Iranian objective or just a way to escape sanctions.”

    “I do not know.
    Do even the Iranian constituencies know that themselves ?
    Not sure.”

    I think they know. They should definitely !
    Otherwise how to explain their offer of detente to Bush admin. if they even don’t know what they want !

    If only they had economic skills at the same level of their foreign policy skills

  123. imho says:

    Nico,

    regarding petrodollars, better to look back at the origin.

    It is widely known that the deal between US and the Saudi royal family was that they sell their oil only in USD. In return, US would protect the Saudi family to reign on SA and guarantee their security. Another reason the so called Arab spring didn’t spread to SA.

    This deal is still in work. But not sure it’s enough for USD to remain the only currency used for oil purchases among other countries.

    Nothing to do with petrodollar but regarding Wahhabite, a violent sect courtesy of SA, a deal also exists between the Saudi royal family and them. The Wahhabis are free to export their violent sect to other Muslim countries with the condition that they keep quiet inside SA.

    Those deals provide security guarantees to SA from outside (US deal) and from inside (Wahhabis deal). In addition, Saudis financing Wahhabis in building religious schools (madrasas) and in their holy war against Shiites, are using them as an instrument of their foreign policy… which suits US well

  124. M.Ali says:

    I’m vote so far will probably be for Ghalibaf. I think Iran would benefit a lot with a man that seems to be in control of himself and the situation around him with clear management skills. He’s respectful, calm, and extremely strong in time management. Sometimes the other candidates babble on after their allocated time and the host has to keep repeating, “Tha..thank you..than…” for them to finally shut up. Ghalibaf is not like that.

    We Iranians are extremely bad at being organized. Every decision we make is on the spot based on a hunch or how we feel at that particular time. We have no real concept of long term planning and we can only think of the next step, rather than the next five years.

    Ghalibaf needs to be in the top position to influence the people in the government for at least a few years. Every past president has done some excellent work, and by being different from each other, have left some positive influence, and had another party come in, and add something to it. I think we now need some cold, calculating, analytic, logical person like Ghalibaf.

    Regarding the reformist, they are a mess. The thing is that reformist’s platforms are usually very much in line with my mindset, but I cant really trust them. They have zero charisma and they COMPLAIN A LOT. For these debates, Aref and Rouhani have whined and whined about everything. Mousavi did the same thing 4 years back. In the first debate, Aref even bashed the Mehr housing projects, which was Ahmedinijad’s crowning achievement that even anti-Ahmedinijad people concede on this project. But Aref, like all Iranian reformists, hate the non-reformists so much that they refuse to acknowledge ANY positive good they might have done.

    However, out of Aref & Rouhani, I would prefer Rouhani. The latter seems like he would be a stronger president. Aref seems devoid of any charisma and frankly, I have a hard time imagining he would be able to get anything done. I bet if he wins, in 3 months, he would start complaining that he isn’t being allowed to do this or that. It would be waah waah waah for four years.

    I’m not too fond of Jalili. The fact that he was in Ahmedinijad’s government was a plus for me, but I can’t seem to get anything practical out of him. He seems to be running on a platform of vagueness.

    Haddad/Veliyadati: Meh.

    Rezaei: I like Rezaei, and I even liked him 4 years back, but he really should stand in as a candidate, he should form a party with his philosophy, and groom a person to stand as his party’s candidate. This is unfair to Rezaei, but he LOOKS MEAN. Its like those actors who only have a face for a villian and they are stuck throughout their career to play bad guys. Rezaei is like that. I cant imagine people looking at him and feeling warm enough to vote for him.

    Ghazari: I’m warming up to him. He’s the only candidate that seems to be HAVING FUN. It doesn’t even look like he cares if he wins or not, it feels like he’s joining for the hell of it. I looked at the 2nd debate and everyone is stressed, and he is leaning back and smiling comfortably. I almost kind of wish he’d win JUST so we’d have a fun 4 year. I noticed that the other candidates don’t take him that seriously, so thats another reason why it would be amusing if he could get votes.

  125. BiBiJon says:

    Never a good idea to laugh too early
    ==================================

    Remember how hilarious MSM thought Iran creating her own internet …

    Now, reconsider all that lap slapping, side splitting laughter at Iran in the light of:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

  126. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm
    “Nico,Surely you are aware the US dollar has appreciated slightly over the past year, against a basket of currencies.China reduced its exposure to the euro over the past year.”

    Sure, that is main issue, it should have weakened if macro economics have been taken into account.
    China is also to be blamed, as the yuan official peg enforced artficially by China is also cause of such unbalance.
    It is to be noted that US requested China to reevaluate the Yuan.

    What is China strategy ?
    To bankrupt the USD ?
    Or maybe maintain job offshoring in order to suck in technology in a long term vision ?
    Or maybe China has no choice as exports engine its economy, and a slowdown of export would be an issue ?
    Who knows ?

    Or maybe,

  127. nico says:

    Imho,

    “I think they know. They should definitely !Otherwise how to explain their offer of detente to Bush admin. if they even don’t know what they want !”

    Are you sure ?
    In 2013 reformists were in power and the international strategic calculus was different.
    Does the same obtain today ?
    Defenitely not.

    The US had a real opportunity then, is such window is still open ?
    I have no answer.

  128. nico says:

    Imho,

    Erratum

    In 2003 reformists were in power and the international strategic calculus was different

  129. nico says:

    imho says:
    June 7, 2013 at 4:47 am

    KSA deal with the west could be tracked back to Lawrence of Arabia.
    With mutual support, security agreement and so on.

    My take is simply that Saudis kings are sold out banana republic leader and idiots. No need to look at anything more complicated.

  130. Khurshid says:

    imho says:
    June 7, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Thank you for reading my post.

    “Reformists seem to see Jalili as their vote rival and the remaining principalist candidate including Ghalibaf as political rivals”

    I mean Jalili is the only principalist candidate who “appears at this stage” to have the “possibility” of “getting the backing of powerful fractions of principalist camp”. And this includes fraction belonging to Ahmadenijad – who is constantly demonized by west and its press as weak and irrelevant in Iranian politics. Ahmadinejad has “core voter base” in working class people of Tehran and bigger cities along with those voters from rural areas and smaller towns. So, Ahmadinejad can still play a strong hand to influence the outcome to election. Bearing in mind that Ahmadenijad is not “the powerful” political force but “one of the powerful”.
    So at this stage Reformists see Jalili as the man who will be supported by powerful principalist fraction and as a result will attract most votes from wide sectors of society and defeat reformist candidates in election. Principalist candidates (Mohammad Gharazi, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Mohsen Rezaei, Ali Akhbar Velayati) are not seen, in the eyes of reformists, as capable of winning elections. That’s why reformists are not worried about them. This leaves only Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf who is a very strong candidate especially with his proven management experience. Reformists do see Ghalibaf as a threat but they see Jalili as a bigger threat. Reformists seems to think that Jalili is “Ahmadinejad of 2005 elections” – back in 2005 elections reformists did not think that Ahmadinejad will/can win. To be honest back in 2005 reformists did not understand Ahmadenijad’s potential.

    “Any chance that Jalili attracts reformists vote against principalists ?”

    No chance of that because core reformists voters have “bunker mentality” – no matter how good or popular a principalist candidate is they will never vote for a principalist candidate. Its more of hate than logical decision.

    “Any indication (even small perceptions) that reformist candidates would be willing (sooner or later ? that is before or after the 1st round ?) to call their supporters to vote for Jalili in order to counter principalists ?”

    Well, Jalili is a principalist himself. Principalists are those who believe in a core set of principles – Islamic values, conservative social views etc – and Jalili is one such principalists. Principalists is like an umbrella body under which there are lots of people and institutions and fractions.

    “Seven days remaining before the first round and no one seems to give up in favor of a preferred candidate. I suppose vote transfers are for the 2nd round.”

    In next seven days there might be unification of candidates. Reformists are under pressure to unify in favour of one candidate in which case one of the reformists candidates will drop out. And if that happens principalists will also most likely unify around one or two candidates. Seven days is a long long long time in Iranian politics.

    I must stop now, have to see the third debate. Its movie time – lights, camera, action!!

  131. imho says:

    Khurshid,

    thank you again to enlighten me in Iranian politics.

    I thought of Jalili as the (hidden) chosen candidate of Ahmadinejad given that he is in his government (of course Mahaei had no chance). Because of this and the fact that Ahmadinejad cannot be considered as principalist, I’d put him in hardline conservative camp thus my questions.

    Regarding principalists movement, I thought they have been created after differences between Ahmadinejad and SL have erupted. That is, they follow the SL line without question.

    Other than being all “insiders” meaning believing in IR principles I don’t get what is the common denominator between Jalili, SL and Ahmadinejad. Jalili needs Ahmadinejad supporters’ vote as well as SL backing. He can’t chose either one alone, he needs both.
    Whether Jalili is SL’ trick to get Ahmadinejad’s popular base vote or Ahmadinejad’s trick to continue influencing Iranian politics despite disagreements with SL, remains to be seen.

    Have a good time movie!

  132. fyi says:

    All:

    Ambassador Bhardakumar on events in Turkey:

    http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2013/06/07/turkeys-sultan-cracks-the-whip/

    My take is that American leaders are not happy with their “Nowkar” and want to get rid of him.

    Evidently, the fine job that Mr. Erdogan has done in ruining Syria and damaging Turkey is not sufficient to endear him to Americans – no, a “Nowkar” of US must also learn to love US fantasy project in Palestine.

    I think this could be a lesson to other leaders not to put their trust in the US leaders.

  133. imho says:

    fyi says:
    June 7, 2013 at 9:49 am

    you are right. The following seems to confirm it.

    A warning shot for Turkey-Qatar axis (the bombing in the Turkish town of Reyhanli on May 11)

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-290513.html

  134. M.Ali says:

    “No chance of that because core reformists voters have “bunker mentality” – no matter how good or popular a principalist candidate is they will never vote for a principalist candidate. Its more of hate than logical decision.”

    I disagree. Let me remind people that Iranians do NOT put themselves in Democratic/Republic groups the way they do in America and other western countries. Its interesting that when you talk to people about “reformists” and “principles”, the layman doesn’t really know much about the terms. In the media and among politicians, it seems SO IMPORTANT, but its not at all like that on the ground.

    In the west, its so easy to know which politician is right, and which left. But how about in Iran?

    People in Iran, aside from a small group of the population, don’t align themselves with any specific group as their identity.

  135. M.Ali says:

    “No chance of that because core reformists voters have “bunker mentality” – no matter how good or popular a principalist candidate is they will never vote for a principalist candidate. Its more of hate than logical decision.”

    I disagree. Let me remind people that Iranians do NOT put themselves in Democratic/Republic groups the way they do in America and other western countries. Its interesting that when you talk to people about “reformists” and “principles”, the layman doesn’t really know much about the terms. In the media and among politicians, it seems SO IMPORTANT, but its not at all like that on the ground.

    In the west, its so easy to know which politician is right, and which left. But how about in Iran?

    People in Iran, aside from a small group of the population, don’t align themselves with any specific group as their identity..

  136. masoud says:

    M.Ali says:
    June 7, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I disagree. Let me remind people that Iranians do NOT put themselves in Democratic/Republic groups

    I think the reformist/green-movementarians are an exception to that rule.

  137. M.Ali says:

    ” I think the reformist/green-movementarians are an exception to that rule.”

    I’d say a small, vocal part of the people who might have voted for past reformists would fall in the above group.

  138. M.Ali says:

    Most of the candidates are so bad at time management, except Ghalibaf. Some of them spend 25% of their allocated time saying a prayer, greeting, etc, and then complain about lack of time. Someone like Gharazi just didn’t give a fuck about the program or time allocated. If people like him cant plan in a simple debate like this, how can he run a country?

    Thats why I think my vote will be for Ghalibaf.

  139. James Canning says:

    M.Ali,

    Is it so easy in “the West” to know if a politician is “left” or “right”? On many issues the distinction is unclear.

  140. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    What does “learn to love” Israel mean, in your view? To accept continuing occupation of the West Bank and growth of illegal Jewish colonies?

  141. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Lawrence of Arabia favored a united Arab kingdom under one of the sons of the Sharif of Mecca, that would include Greater Syria and the Hejaz.

    Ibn Saud conquered the Hejaz. Britain was not in a position to prevent it from happening.

  142. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    China actually prefers a stronger dollar. China would prefer a stronger Japanese yen.

  143. M.Ali says:

    James,

    “Is it so easy in “the West” to know if a politician is “left” or “right”? On many issues the distinction is unclear.”

    In the west, one clue is that whenever they come on TV, and their name is shown at the bottom, there is (D) or (R) under their name. that’s make it pretty easy.

    Then in UK, its also a bit easy. Its the Labor and the Conservatives, and politicians are defined by these parties.

  144. Unknown Unknowns says:

    On the candidates, it is a process of elimination:

    Velayati and Haddad-e Adel are opium fiends.

    Aref and Rowhani are political dead men walking: they represent teh RAfsanjani/ Khatami movement which breathed its last breath on the 9th of Dey, 1388 (the Iranian nation’s reaction to the Fetne-ye 88).

    Rezai and Qarazi: neither will get more than 5% at best in the first round, which means that their names will not be on the ballot in the second round, which will be between

    Jalili and Qalibaaf, a win for either of whom represents a win for our beloved Leader.

    Alhamdolellah.