Obama Panders to GCC States Over a Prospective Nuclear Deal with Iran: Leverett and Marandi on CCTV’s The Heat

Hillary assessed the Obama administration’s exceptionally maladroit handling of President Obama’s “summit” with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC leader) at Camp David on CCTV’s The Heat last week, see here.  She noted that, while ostensibly called to “reassure” GCC elites, Obama’s gathering at Camp David failed utterly to address the concerns that some Gulf Arab rulers actually have:

“Although there is some language that the U.S. would potentially use force to protect our Gulf allies, it’s very carefully caveated, with this language:  that we would be prepared—prepared, not that we would, but we would be prepared—to potentially use force if their territorial integrity, according to the UN Charter, is threatened.  That means, first and foremost, a very loud signal to them that if there’s an uprising in your country and they want to change the government, the United States is not coming.  That’s a very pointed message.  We have the example of Bahrain, where there’s been a lot of unrest.  If the people of Bahrain decided to rise up and change the government, the United States isn’t going to be there.

This is just about this speculative concern that maybe Iran, somehow, would invade these [GCC] countries and we would protect them.  But that’s not their fear; their fear is from their internal populations.  They call these segments of their populations—which, in some case, have been restive; they’ve often been marginalized, especially among the Shi’a communities—the Gulf States have taken to calling them ‘foreign, Iranian-backed elements.’  But they are part of their populations; these are their domestic constituencies…

Their [GCC] concerns are [also] about rising Iranian power in the region.  I have never met an official or an analyst from a Gulf state—or from here, in the U.S. government in Washington—that thinks Iran is going to send its military into any one of these countries.  The Islamic Republic of Iran has never invaded another country, and has never even threatened to do so.

Their [GCC] concern is not that a nuclear-armed Iran is going to use nuclear weapons to annihilate them.  Their concern is that, the more money Iran could amass coming out from under sanctions, the more it will have economic power, and it will translate that into military power, which it could use to support—either militarily or just philosophically—these domestic constituencies in the Gulf states, to rise up against their governments or to constrain their governments from attacking Iran.  That’s their concern; it’s not about Iran acquiring some mythical nuclear weapon.”

Hillary explained that the refusal of the kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to “even show up” at the meeting with President Obama was a particularly significant development:

“It was a very deliberate message, signal to the United States that Saudi Arabia may be going its own way.  Even more important, in some ways, than the Saudi king not coming—he said it was ostensibly because of developments in Yemen—was the probable Saudi instruction to the King of Bahrain, this small state where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based, that the King of Bahrain not come here and instead go to London for a horse show with the Queen of England.  There could not be any greater insult…What it signifies is a profound shift, by the Saudis, away from the United States, and potentially for them even to deploy some of the elements of their power against the United States, in a way we’ve seen some precursors of before, but we’ve not really seen full force.”

Hillary goes on to elaborate some of the ways in which Saudi Arabia can deploy some of the elements of its power against the United States.

Of course, if the Obama administration really wanted to use a prospective nuclear deal with Iran to recast America’s Middle East strategy in more positive ways—including by recalibrating U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia—then GCC leaders’ unhappiness with the Camp David summit wouldn’t matter that much.  But the administration isn’t seeking to use an Iran nuclear agreement as the springboard for a comprehensive revision of America’s Middle East strategy.  In this regard, preemptively circumscribing the potential diplomatic impact of an Iran nuclear deal is the Obama administration’s most consequential—and foolish—way of pandering to GCC (and Israeli) concerns about nuclear diplomacy with Tehran.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes made this clear on the day GCC representatives met Obama at Camp David.  Speaking about a prospective nuclear deal with Iran, Rhodes presented the administration’s perspective in stark terms:

“It’s a transaction on the nuclear issue.  This is not a broader rapprochement between the United States and Iran on a range of issues; it is a very specific agreement that will deal with the Iranian nuclear program…We’ll still be just as concerned about Iran’s destabilizing activities, support for terrorism and proxies across the region.”

The episode of CCTV’s The Heat on which Hillary appeared also includes an important and in-depth discussion with our colleague, Seyed Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran’s Faculty of World Studies, see here and (for YouTube) here.


Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


62 Responses to “Obama Panders to GCC States Over a Prospective Nuclear Deal with Iran: Leverett and Marandi on CCTV’s The Heat”

  1. Ataune says:

    @hans from previous thread,

    “hans says:
    May 21, 2015 at 4:04 pm
    Looks like i was right regarding the split between the SL and the Government led by Rouhani and Rafasjani, who viewed the settlement as the licence to make money.
    TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined the government’s full obedience to the Supreme Leader’s policies, stressing that there won’t be any nuclear deal with the world powers in case they emphasize inspection of Iran’s military sites and access to scientific secrets”

    First off, according to respectable American scholars, Iran has a participatory system of governance, so a constructive difference of opinions is not only allowed but welcomed and encouraged. Second, what you are quoting, plus multitude of other public declarations by Rouhani, shows contrary to your assertion, that he is politically in line with the Leader.

    In my opinion the leadership in Iran is united on the objectives regarding this nuclear negotiations and whatever shades of interpretation you perceive, or try to induce, regarding their declarations can easily be construed for people like yourself as a bad cop good cop game and ultimately a tool to let American administration save face and convince their political class that this will bring a color revolution.

  2. Rehmat says:

    It’s another Zionist charade to convince the American people that Israel is not the only one which considers a nuclear Iran an “existential threat” – the Western puppet Sheikhs too consider Iran a threat to their crowns.

    Don’t worry there are millions of brainwashed Americans who don’t know that Iran has not attacked a single of its Arab neighbors during the last 150 years – while Israel has attacked each of its Arab neighbors since its plantation in Palestine in 1948.

    Last month, both former US Congressman, Dr. David Duke and professor Kevin MacDonald (California State University) stated that the nuclear deal between the so-called P5+1 and Iran is ‘onerous’, and is meant to keep the Zionist entity the only nuclear power in the Middle East.


  3. Rehmat says:

    Last month, a Swiss court ordered Israel’s Trans-Asiatic Oil Ltd (TAO) to pay $1.1 billion to Iran in compensation over a joint venture from before the 1979 Islamic Revolution when King Reza Shah regime and the Zionist regime used to share the same bed.

    As expected, Netanyahu’s regime called Swiss court decision as an old-fashioned antisemitism and has refused to pay the compensation to a Gentile enemy.


  4. masoud says:

    Ataune says:
    May 21, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Hans may be closer to the mark than you on this. In the case of military inspections, and other minutiae of negotiating strategy, I do get the general feeling that these public and definitive statements by Khameini are Iran’s version of a ‘Factsheet’. I think that the vast majority of these statements are synchronized with the negotiating teams needs. But on a issues such has Rouhani’s refusal to make any kind of economic plans that aren’t predicated on increased trade with the west following the nuclear negotiations Khameini repeated his position that this is a disastrous policy a thousand times by now, only to be pointedly ignored. He’s been hharping on the military inspections so frequently as of late, that it has put me in doubt. I’d say chances are 50/50 that these statements are directed at the gov rather than outside powers.

  5. Nasser says:

    “But on a issues such has Rouhani’s refusal to make any kind of economic plans that aren’t predicated on increased trade with the west following the nuclear negotiations Khameini repeated his position that this is a disastrous policy a thousand times by now, only to be pointedly ignored.”

    – Thanks for your comment Masoud.

  6. Ataune says:


    The armed forces in Iran, answerable to the Leader, will not tolerate any out of ordinary intrusions into the military sites. All the governing elite in Iran is in line with that. Hans, and maybe you, are day dreaming when you imply that the political figures in Iran, or any other place, are not aware that the ultimate survival of the state, any state, and by extension themselves is in the hand of those possessing the tools to defend the country. In Iran no one, even the Pasdaran, is against trade and capitalism.

  7. Karl.. says:

    2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State “in order to isolate the Syrian regime”

  8. Irshad says:

    @fyi – I am suprised that MEPC allowed Mr Habtoor to write such thrash on their website! If this the thinking amongst Persian Gulf Arabs then I expect the funding of Takfiri terrorist groups will continue unabated and the wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon to continue with potential expansion of said terrorist using Af-Pak to further carry out terrorist acts against both Iran and Shias in their respective countries. Honestly, if 10% of this hatred was directed towards helping the Palestinian Sunni Arabs then West Bank would be liberated by now! But no! They are too busy with their heads up their a$$ believing all the sh*t they see. There will be mo peace in Damascus or Baghdad unless there is explosions in Riyadh, Dubai and Manama. And then you have the Turks and Zionists in all this…

  9. Jay says:

    Karl.. says:
    May 22, 2015 at 4:12 am

    You can read the full pdf (at least the non-redacted parts) here:


    Note that the this document continues to support the view that US and her allies knowingly supported the rise of ISIS in order to create instability and chaos. It has been suggested that there is more documents will be revealed soon – more of the same strategy of destabilization

  10. fyi says:

    Irshad says:

    May 22, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Yes, truly and thoroughly an evil course of action by Persian Gulf Arabs and Turks.

    And they are trying to bring the war to Iran; there is no doubt about it.

    It is the weakness of Iran that the situation has become what it is; mercenary armies can be recruited and pitted against her allies and some day against herself.

    Just look at Yemen; Iran does not have the air force to enforce a no-fly zone over Yemen and to tell the Saudis where to go.

    I guess the ideas is to use ISIS and others of that kind to wear the Shia Crescent down….and then ponce.

    Notice tat when ISIS emerged, US forces in Kuwait together with existing French and English forces stationed in the Persian Gulf could have been quickly deployed to counter the expansion of ISIS.

    But those forces were not used since they were intended and are indeed intended for the future war against Iran.

  11. fyi says:

    Jay says:

    May 22, 2015 at 7:51 am

    This, by in itself, does not support the hypotheses that US colluded with Saudi Arabia or others in the Persian Gulf Arabistan to create ISIS.

    Rather, some one read this report and decided that ISIS is a good thing to use against the Shia Crescent.

    I do not think this view among leaders in US, UK, Germany and France will change until Jordan is destroyed by ISIS.

  12. Jay says:

    fyi says:
    May 22, 2015 at 10:39 am

    This is not the only piece of data that supports this hypothesis – it is just the latest. I suspect you already know this.

  13. Nasser says:

    fyi says: May 22, 2015 at 10:36 am

    “Just look at Yemen; Iran does not have the air force to enforce a no-fly zone over Yemen and to tell the Saudis where to go.”

    – Never mind that, Iran can’t even run the naval blockade around Yemen. Their aid ships were once again punked and forced to flee to Djbouti.

  14. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    May 22, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Yes but a few days ago police was out in force harassing women on the Tehran highways for their hejab.

  15. Ataune says:

    The policy of arming extremists in the Levant was not conceived to threaten the integrity of Iran and the country’s political dynamism in the region doesn’t look to have been tamed either. Iran’s power projection is enough to dissuade any hot war against her by Saudis and alike. And, the US is not planning for any military conflict against Iran at least ’til the next generation.

  16. Ataune says:


    “I do not think this view among leaders in US, UK, Germany and France will change until Jordan is destroyed by ISIS.”

    What if Iran made an alliance with ISIS. Do you think their view will change?

  17. Nasser says:

    fyi says: May 22, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Well that is where their priorities lie after all. Satisfying their hillbilly muleteer social base. And as such they must harass urbane Iranians, preach pan Islamic Shia-Wahabi solidarity (which only exists in their hick minds) against Joooooos, and produce photoshop wonder weapons to lull them into thinking they are actually strong and not impotent hacks that are too scared of the Saudi navy.

  18. Karl.. says:

    Houthis allegedly take control of saudi land

    Wouldnt it be “funny” if these poor Houthis would manage to march towards Riyadh. What a humilitation.

  19. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    May 22, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    After Jordan is destroyed, Iran should settle with ISIS but not before.

  20. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    May 22, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Iranians naval vessels around Yemen could not engage in anything but suicidal acts; Iranians did not have the requisite numbers of assets.

  21. Ataune says:


    Iran have befriended people that are well representing the aspiration of the majorities in different countries of the region. These friends defend their goals and interests and by doing so are resisting against the tools of Western policy, Saudi among them. To advocate the start of a direct fight between Iran and Saudis, or Israelis or even US, is clearly rooting against the interests of Iran, unless you can convincingly argue that starting a fight now will benefit the state on top of the Iranian plateau.

  22. Ataune says:


    “After Jordan is destroyed, Iran should settle with ISIS but not before.”

    Sorry this didn’t answer the question which was rather: wouldn’t Iran settling with ISIS bring an immediate reaction from the countries you mentioned, and in a negative way?

  23. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    May 22, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    After Jordan is destroyed, the Axis Powers and indeed India and China must contemplate the prospects of ISIS incursions into Saudi Arabia.

    Iran settling with ISIS at that time frees ISIS to slug it out with the New Coalition of the Willing which would aim to destroy it to save Saudi Arabia.

    Iran has nothing to gain by joining such a collation against ISIS; if ISIS is destroyed, Government of Iraq moves back into Mosul etc. and Syria Arab Republic back into Raqqa etc.

    If the Axis Powers and ISIS get bogged down on a long war, price of oil will be going up and Iran’s enemies will be bleeding one another.

    As for what the Axis Powers would or could do against Iran – nothing more than they have already done.

    This is a zero sum game and until and unless Axis Powers reach a strategic settlement with Iran, it would remain so.

  24. Ataune says:


    But this theoretical scenario of yours doesn’t stand up on two legs. Let me elaborate.

    Suppose that after obviously having conquered Syria and the “Sunni” land in Iraq, ISIS plan to attack Jordan. Assuming, as you clearly do, that ISIS is not a policy tool, the plan to overthrow one of the most reliable US client regime in the region will bring about immediate reaction from the Western side which, as you know, is quite capable of decimating, if they wished so, the supposedly 30 to 40 thousands “combatants” marching toward Amman.

    What would be the interest for Iran be to even give the perception of a settlement with a political force, that in your theory is a genuine strategic and ideological competitor with her? Wouldn’t this move bring the immediate short-term wrath of a more powerful adversary against a settlement with a foe who plan to crush “the Persian Safavid” in long-term?

  25. Sineva says:

    Ataune says:
    May 21, 2015 at 9:36 pm
    “In Iran no one, even the Pasdaran, is against trade and capitalism.”
    Yes,but the big question is how much are they willing to sacrifice to gain access to that [western] trade and capitalism,sadly if seems as if rouhani and co have learnt absolutely nothing,they are quite willing to welcome the europeans back into iran with open arms as tho the sanctions never even happened

  26. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    May 22, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    ISIS will not control Western Syria; her path lies in marching South and South West.

    It has to grow – just like the Third Reich, the French Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Roman Empire had to grow to survive.

    The Axis Powers will be hard-pressed to wage a land war against ISIS as it spreads into populous cities of Levant and the Arabian Peninsula.

    Nor can they win by waging a carpet bombing campaign against major ISIS cities; Mosul, Raqqa and later Amman and Riyadh.

    Conceivably, Axis Powers could re-liberate Kuwait City, if ISIS attacks there – which I doubt it would when she can go after Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

    Iran does not need an explicit understanding with ISIS – only an implicit one to leave each other alone.

    Why would Iran do this: for the same reason that the late Shah Abbas concluded a Peace Treaty with Ottomans in the West to first defeat the Sheibanian Uzbecks in the East.

    Or USSR concluding a non-aggression pact with NAZI Germany; which bought 2 years of calm for USSR to ready herself for the war to come.

  27. Ataune says:


    I’m not an expert in economic development theories so I wouldn’t delve much into it, but I can’t fail to notice several facts: the planned economic model has had mitigated success and was even abandoned in China; the demand-side economy have been terribly deficient in capitalist societies; and the supply-side one is not anymore close to the energy it generated during its early years. Even the West, predominant economic power, is in kind of disarray when looking for replacement economic theories. In Iran the kind of Rouhani and Rafsanjani represent mostly the interests of the merchants and traders and per-se are defenders of the supply-side economics. Their political approach in economy is a display of their belief in the way they see the management of the state economy. My own opinion, worth of a penny, is that in countries like Iran a strong social redistribution system should take root and a certain degree of rules and regulations are necessary to protect the weakest against the excesses of wild capitalism, without obviously being a brake for the economic dynamism of the population.

  28. Ataune says:


    Assuming again that ISIS is a genuine political force; adding your second assumption that this force will be capable of fighting in 3 fronts, Syria, Iraq and Jordan; adding a third assumption -with which I would be in agreement- that US will avoid any costly ground force deployment in the region; and a forth one that US, even to save a very close protected ally, won’t go into extensive carpet and drone bombing:

    what make you believe that Saudi Arabia the target and main enemy of ISIS according to you, who is bombing for 50 days now a country of 25 millions souls surely better equipped that the 20 thousands or so ragtag ISIS fighters, but also Israel who see Jordan as a strategic asset to protect for her future plan for a Palestinian state, will not forcefully intervene to counter this threat to their interests.

    And whence those forces intervene, notwithstanding the outcome of the battles, as a logical consequence of your scenario and the facts described above, this will surely be beneficial to Iran since the current Syrian and Iraqi governments, again according to you, will still be in place. Bringing up again the question: why should Iran give the political impression of being in a settlement with ISIS?

    Furthermore, two political forces will enter in an implicit settlement if their immediate interests allow that. Right now, everywhere in the region, ISIS is frontally fighting Iran’s friend, and according to their own propaganda the “Shia Safavids”. The power that has backtracked for now, even if you think of this as a show, and has mixed interests some maybe coinciding with Iran’s, is the US. So it’s her and not ISIS, again as a consequence of your theory, that should be considered the best candidate for temporary settlement, even if one think that she represents the long-term threat to Iran. The interesting thing is that even if you part from the assumption that ISIS is a tool and not a genuine political force the logical conclusion would be to settle with the “boss”, not the puppet.

  29. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    May 22, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    For domestic and foreign reasons, Israel will not military intervene against ISIS should ISIS attack Jordan.

    “Why should Iran give the political impression of being in a settlement with ISIS?”

    She has tactical choices; such as reaching an understanding with ISIS without making any public statements.

    I agree that US is “…should be considered the best candidate for temporary settlement..” but that is not a view shared by US leaders and planners – as far as I can tell.

    ISIS may indeed decide to attack Iran in a later time; when, in an analogous manner to the NAZI Germany, she bestrides much of Levant and the Arabian Peninsula – but until that time Iran needs to avoid entanglements with ISIS.

  30. Nasser says:


    Thank you for your comments on ISIS.

    I agree that logically it would serve ISIS’ interests better to expand South into Sunni territories where it would find a sympathetic audience and at least for now avoid strength sapping entanglements with Shias, while it focuses on accruing more men and material resources.

    The problem I find with that theory is that ISIS command council are filled with ex Baathists who are obsessed with Iran and view ownership of Baghdad as their birth right. I believe you are mistakenly ascribing to them too much intelligence. They are not led by Bismarks either but rather hyperemotional Middle Easterners.

  31. Ataune says:


    “She has tactical choices; such as reaching an understanding with ISIS without making any public statements.”

    Iran is not the one calling for the (re)raise of the banner of the caliphate in Iraq and Sham, it is ISIS. They are the one claiming to erect a new force replacing strategic allies of Iran, thus frontally attacking her interests. Reaching an understanding with ISIS surely means either for Iran to abandon her friends or for ISIS to reject her ideology.

    “I agree that US is “…should be considered the best candidate for temporary settlement..” but that is not a view shared by US leaders and planners – as far as I can tell.”

    I would say that the current nuclear negotiation is exactly showing that: both sides are interested in at least a temporary settlement. Who will benefit the most from it, what is the long-term plan on each side and who can best stick to the objectives is a matter of wait and see. But this being a much better move on the Iranian side than settling with ISIS is pretty clear to me.

  32. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    May 22, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I am suggesting settlement with ISIS should always be considered as a possibility by the Iranian planners.

  33. Rehmat says:

    fyi – ISIS is no concern of Iran. It’s an Israel-Saudi created terrorist group to destroy Arab resistance to the Jewish occupation of an Arab land.

    Last year, Netanyahu in his first comment on ISIS victory in Iraq, said that Washington should stay out of the Iraqi conflict – and let the Sunni militants defeat the Shia-dominated government of prime minister al-Maliki and break-up Iraq. “This will weaken Iranian influence in the Arab region,” said Netanyahu during his address at Tel Aviv University’s INSS think-tank.


  34. James Canning says:

    I think it worthwhile to bear in mind that Israel would like to block a deal with Iran, and one way to pursue that object is to highlight the chances a deal would lead to better US relations with Iran.

  35. M. Ali says:

    Nasser, thanks for the war nerd link.

  36. Karl.. says:

    Horrible situation in Syria
    Allegation: ISIS kills hundreds in Palmyra

  37. Rehmat says:

    @Karl – Why else you think Israel created ISIS – to save 500,000 French Jews?

    And why you think Jews are hated all over Europe – according to Abraham Foxman, the highest-paid ($638,000 per year) Israeli propagandist. Here is a recent clue.

    Moldova: Israeli Oligarch stole $1 billion.


  38. Sammy says:

    Any comments on below ?


    The meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, on the 14th May at Camp David, was the last stage before Washington and Teheran sign their agreement on the 30th June. The Gulf States could only congratulate each other – publicly at least – for having restored peace. However, like all the protagonists in the region, they were wondering who would have to foot the bill for the agreement’s secret clauses, and attempted to anticipate the new regional distribution.

    President Obama has refused to sign a treaty which guarantees the maintenance of the current régimes, while the Gulf delegations have refused to sign a document which does not guarantee the perennity of their states. Finally, the United States agreed to recognise them as « major non-NATO allies » and sold them an astronomical quantity of weapons.

    For years, Washington has maintained the myth pretending that the Islamic Republic of Iran was trying to develop nuclear weapons, was ready to overthrow all other Arab régimes, and wanted to exterminate the population of Israel. But in March 2013, President Barack Obama and Revolutionary Guide Ali Khamenei sent secret emissaries for discussions in Oman [1]. After more than 2 years of bilateral negotiations, Washington and Teheran agreed to unlock the multilateral talks, known as the « 5+1 ». Now everyone admits that Iran has not sought nuclear weapons since 1988, even though it has pursued research into the military use of civilian atomic techniques. On the 30th June, the five powers of the Security Council and Germany should finally lift their embargo, and the United States should immediately restitute a quarter of the blocked Iranian assets, approximately 50 billion dollars. The same day, Washington and Teheran will share the wider Near East between themselves, in a sort of Sykes-Picot agreement, or regional Yalta.

    What might be the conditions for this sharing ?

    The rôle of intellectuals is to enable us to understand the world around us. In this situation, they must therefore advance a prognosis as to what the region may look like after the agreement. Yet no-one dares to express their opinions. First of all because they are very likely to be wrong, and also because, whatever the hypotheses formulated, they will provoke the anger of both sides at the same time. Indeed, the logic of this kind of agreement is to transform strategy, thus betraying certain allies, and this can not be assumed publicly……

  39. fyi says:

    Sammy says:

    May 24, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Let us hope that this is an accurate report.

  40. M.Ali says:

    Sammy, I found that article vastly out of touch. Just look at the last line, “From its own side, Washington will attempt to overthrow, one by one, each of the Gulf monarchies with the exception of Qatar, and replace them with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    That makes no sense!!

  41. nahid says:


    What this guy taking about and what is real situation, as always thanks

  42. Sammy says:

    @ M.Ali & fyi

    I agree that his predictions sounds weird, however Meyssan is a deep thinker and at least he tried to come up with soemthing , definetely he is not a BSer and usually he has excellent sources, this I can state with abosulte certainty.

  43. Sammy says:



    ‘With 10,000 bedrooms and 70 restaurants, plus five floors for the sole use of the Saudi royal family, the £2.3bn Abraj Kudai is an entire city of five-star luxury, catering to the increasingly high expectations of well-heeled pilgrims from the Gulf.

    Modelled on a “traditional desert fortress”, seemingly filtered through the eyes of a Disneyland imagineer with classical pretensions, the steroidal scheme comprises 12 towers teetering on top of a 10-storey podium, which houses a bus station, shopping mall, food courts, conference centre and a lavishly appointed ballroom.

    Located in the Manafia district, just over a mile south of the Grand Mosque, the complex is funded by the Saudi Ministry of Finance and designed by the Dar Al-Handasah group, a 7,000-strong global construction conglomerate that turns its hand to everything from designing cities in Kazakhstan to airports in Dubai. For the Abraj Kudai, it has followed the wedding-cake pastiche style of the city’s recent hotel boom: cornice is piled upon cornice, with fluted pink pilasters framing blue-mirrored windows, some arched with a vaguely Ottoman air. The towers seem to be packed so closely together that guests will be able to enjoy views into each other’s rooms.

    “The city is turning into Mecca-hattan,” says Irfan Al-Alawi, director of the UK-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, which campaigns to try to save what little heritage is left in Saudi Arabia’s holy cities. “Everything has been swept away to make way for the incessant march of luxury hotels, which are destroying the sanctity of the place and pricing normal pilgrims out.”

    The Grand Mosque is now loomed over by the second tallest building in the world, the Abraj al-Bait clocktower, home to thousands more luxury hotel rooms, where rates can reach £4,000 a night for suites with the best views of the Kaaba – the black cube at the centre of the mosque around which Muslims must walk. The hotel rises 600m (2,000ft) into the air, projecting a dazzling green laser-show by night, on a site where an Ottoman fortress once stood – razed for development, along with the hill on which it sat.

    The list of heritage crimes goes on, driven by state-endorsed Wahhabism, the hardline interpretation of Islam that perceives historical sites as encouraging sinful idolatry – which spawned the ideology that is now driving Isis’s reign of destruction in Syria and Iraq. In Mecca and Medina, meanwhile, anything that relates to the prophet could be in the bulldozer’s sights. The house of Khadijah, his first wife, was crushed to make way for public lavatories; the house of his companion Abu Bakr is now the site of a Hilton hotel; his grandson’s house was flattened by the king’s palace. Moments from these sites now stands a Paris Hilton store and a gender-segregated Starbucks.

    “These are the last days of Mecca,” says Alawi. “The pilgrimage is supposed to be a spartan, simple rite of passage, but it has turned into an experience closer to Las Vegas, which most pilgrims simply can’t afford.”….

  44. fyi says:

    nahid says:

    May 24, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    I was saddened by this interview on many different levels.

    It started by essentially saying that Pakistan wants to steal the natural resources of Afghanistan; reprising the role of the hated imperial powers such as UK and US.

    Are the Muslim people of Afghanistan not deserving of deciding how best to dispose of their own God-given wealth?

    What the hell kind of “Islamic Republic” is Pakistan that wants to steal other Muslims’ property?

    And then there is the posture of “We defeated USSR and we can do so to US.” as though the United States gives a damn about Pakistan and what she can and cannot do.

    Furthermore, what did Pakistan achieve by helping defeat USSR in Afghanistan and then destroy the late Dr. Najib’s Government – the best government that Afghanistan had ever had?

    She, like those stupid Turks and others curried favor for one Super-power and diminished herself, her society, and her culture. It was not her war.

    “Defeating US”?

    The Pakistanis do not have the courage to build a 500-kilomtere long pipeline so that they could receive gas from Iran and improve their economy by leaps and bounds.

    I do not think so.

    Another group of stupid people who are truly clueless as to where the sources of national power lies.

    And this man, speaks English – he can read and educate himself – but alas – no – learning is too difficult.

  45. fyi says:

    Sammy says:

    May 24, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Some of what he says makes sense if one assumes that the discussion between US and Iranian leaders are along the lines that the late Lt. General Odom had publicly outlined.

    Also the idea of spheres of influence in the Middle East; something the analogue of which US was forced to conceded by Russia, France and Germany in Ukraine, also makes sense as part of n agreement.

    The bit about Iran being a Vassal of US does not hold any water for me.

    My guess is that, regardless of these reports, we are not there yet far enough along the Odom Parameters. We need to wait and see what transpires after any nuclear deal.

  46. pragmatic says:

    How come Iranian leader said that he won’t allow any inspection of military sites, but today in Iranian Parliment Mr. Araghchi alluded to the fact that we have agreed with 5+1 to inspect our military sites under our DIRECTION (Management).

  47. kooshy says:


    IMO Iran and Sunni or Sunni controlled states can’t and will not be ever strategically allies; the long History of Muslims is the proof. With that said Iran correctly has a benign strategy with regard to Sunni or Sunni controlled states, meaning she will not try to interfere in their internal affairs or stair chaos, for moodier waters since no one knows what would be the catch. In other words for Iran decisions or making policy with regard to these states is like the old Iranian proverb “trying to pick up a stick with two ends in shit” better not to pick it up and leave it there, It is correct that Sunni middle eastern western client states which they all are including Turkey, are irritant for an independent Iran and her regional allies. But by destabilizing these states inspiring internal uprising will most probably bring to power a more radical Sunni state which in way would be beneficial and easier to manage for Iran than deal with a bunch of spoiled and scared clients of US/west specially if Iran can make and manage a detente with the west. IMO this is the reason Iran is not militarily enveloping herself in Yemen or even Bahrain, but this doesn’t mean she will let go if the hostilities will topple her shieh strategic allies like Hezbolah, Iraq and Syria. That is old interview the Paki is making a lot of vey wishful want to have policies which is impossible to happen. A Pakistan (and also Turkey) that by her own militarily is controlled by US is much more safer for the region and Iran than a Pakistan that falls off like Libya, or Egypt, even with MB controlled government and military.

  48. Nasser says:


    “…so instead of helping the rising number of youth get jobs, the oil boom helped them get cell phones”

    “Conclusion number 2: There isn’t all that much oil money to go around, so if you care about Iran’s economic future, stop thinking about the oil wealth and start thinking about labor productivity.

    Conclusion number 3: don’t hold your breath for the removal of sanctions and rapprochement with the West; it won’t bring back the good old times.”

  49. Sammy says:




    I recently returned from a six-week trip to Iran. While the primary purpose of my trip was to visit family and friends, I also made some general enquiries into the state of the country’s stagnant economy. These included informal discussions with various strata of economic agents or market players: manufacturers, bankers, shopkeepers, miners, farmers, livestock breeders, workers, teachers, and more.

    Sadly, most of these economic actors painted pictures of pessimism and distrust of the country’s economic conditions. The economy is mired in a protracted stagflation, with no government plan or macroeconomic policy for recovery. While the Rouhani administration boasts of having contained or slowed down the inflation, the Iranian people do not cherish that tempering of inflation as it has come about at the expense of deepened recession; that is, at the expense of heightened unemployment and weakened purchasing power. As a retired school teacher, who now works as a taxi driver, put it, lowering inflation by worsening recession is no cause for celebration (paraphrased).

    And what is the major culprit behind the depressing recession? The common answer of the overwhelming majority of the economic actors I spoke with was, in a nutshell, uncertainty—uncertainty of the constantly shifting outcome of the unending nuclear negotiations. There is a clear consensus that while onerous economic sanctions against Iran are obviously damaging, the perilous effects of the protracted and uncertain outcome of the negotiations are even more devastating. Equally devastating is the current administration’s neoliberal policies of austerity economics, which have further aggravated the recession by cutting social/public spending while not offering any industrial or developmental program or planning.

    Market uncertainty, combined with a regrettable lack of protection by the government of the nation’s infant industries against the more mature industries abroad, has led to an unwillingness of the country’s entrepreneurs to invest in long-term production projects. By the same token, the major bulk of the nation’s finance capital is devoted to short-term, parasitically high-yielding but unproductive investments such as buying and selling of real estate…

  50. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    May 24, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Very true; all of it. And then always blaming Mr. Ahmadinejad who did his best to cut-off the hands of the various “mafias” and to further shepherd Iran in the direction of a normal country.

    And then there are the bulk of the so-called middle class Iranians who are unwilling to work in anything but nominally; very low labor productivity.

    And there are those who are all the time demanding the state to cough up money to help this or that destitute persons or families; all the while neglecting their own low labor productivity and subsidies; stealing, in effect, from the same destitute people.

  51. M.Ali says:

    pragmatic says:
    May 24, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    That’s what’s happening throughout the negotiations. We keep drawing red lines and the negotiators keep slowly walking over them. I’m watching Aragchi interview live now and its so embarrassing. He’s giving excuses for all his crap.

    If the parliament, leader, and guardian council give in to this useless negotiators then just fuck it because its obvious no one in Iran cares anymore and the revolution stuff is just on the layer! Bunch of old dinosaurs that don’t have the balls to fight anymore.

    Ahmedinijad, koja hasti, mard?

  52. Jay says:

    A nice compilation of reminders from a mere 9 months ago.


    Remind yourself, from current context, that according to Sec. Ashton Carter, the Administration’s strategy with respect to ISIS is “sound” – it just needs a little tweaking!

  53. fyi says:

    Jay says:

    May 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    US Cannot ISIS alone even if she resorts to carpet-bombing of Raqqa and Mosul and now Ramadi.

    One has to wage a brutal war in which the will of these populations to resist is broken.

    For that, you need several hundred thousand well-trained troops, thousands of tanks, and hundreds of helicopter gunships and assorted pieces of artillery.

    In the consequence, the major urban centers of ISIS have to be surrounded and bombarded into submission and rubble.

    Iraq does not have that capability, Syria does not, Iran needs to re-arm (many more tanks, for example) but Turkey could.

    But Turkey is on the side of ISIS and she will not go fight Sunni Arabs so that at the end of she will hand those lands in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq to allies of Iran.

    Iran, even if she decides to re-arm, will take at least 2 years to have sufficient hardware in place to destroy ISIS. And Iranians will not do so; that would give the opening to condemn Iran as “Shia are murdering Sunni Muslims…” charge from venal Arabs, Turks etc.

    As I have stated before, the best course of action for Iran is to reach an informal understanding with ISIS and re-direct it towards Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

    In the mean-time, she should be rearming with heavy weapons: tanks, self-propelled artillery etc.

  54. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    May 24, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Dr Salehi-Isfahani has concentrated on a very narrow issue. Proving that Ahmadinejad had 15% more or less access to dollars than Shah, Khatami or now, is really an accounting triviality and not much of consequence. But I guess that is beyond the scope of what he is doing.

    The question that should be asked and has been asked by me countless number of times here is why this nation after having access to such a huge natural and human resources has not been able to rise economically whether now or during Ahmadinejad’s time or during Khatami, Rafsanjani, Khamenei, Shah, Qajar and so on?

    In other words, why 1.5 billion Muslims invent and innovate in 500 years less than what 15 million Jews do in 5 weeks?


    برخی از این دوستان به نام انجمن فیزیک برای برقراری همکاری با غربیان در راه‌اندازی مرکز تحقیقات هسته‌ای و فیزیک پیشرفته در فردو اعلام آمادگی کرده‌اند درحالی‌که مشارکت خارجی‌ها در تغییر کاربری فردو هدفی جز کنترل ما و جلوگیری از پیشرفت علمی ما، فراتر از سطحی مشخص، ندارد. تجربه موفق چین که هیچ‌یک از مراکز علمی آن توسط خارجی‌ها اداره نشده نشان می‌‌دهد مشکل ما با جلب مشارکت غربی‌ها در راه‌اندازی مراکز علمی حل نمی‌شود بلکه باید به توان علمی داخل اتکا داشته باشیم

    نوشتن مقاله نباید هدف باشد، درحالی‌که الآن مقاله می‌نویسند تا صاحب‌نام یا استاد شوند یا از سایر مواهب مالی و امتیازات مترتبه بهره‌مند شوند. این‌طور مقاله نوشتن نوعی بلاست

    مقاله‌نویسی باید یا در تولید علم و نوآوری اثر داشته باشد، یعنی بگویند این فرمول یا ایده یا قانون مال یک ایرانی است و مرزهای دانش را جلو می‌برد، یا باید در رفع نیازهای جامعه مؤثر باشد. ما الآن همه‌چیز را وارد می‌کنیم و تولید واقعی علممان درصد کمی از فعالیت‌های به‌اصطلاح علمی‌مان بوده است. بیایند با آمار دقیق، نه آمار ساختگی، بگویند که این مقالات چقدر از نیازهای ما را برطرف کرده است. من در شورای عالی انقلاب فرهنگی سؤالی را در این زمینه مطرح کردم، ولی متأسفانه جوابی نشنیدم. سؤال بنده این بود که از سال 2005 / 1384 تا 2012 / 1391 تعداد مقالات ایران در مجلات بین‌المللی پنج برابر شده، اما آیا میزان صادراتمان تغییر محسوس کرده یا وارداتمان حتی یک‌پنجم کم شده است؟! علم باید دو بعد داشته باشد، یا در فهم واقعی جهان هستی و دانش بشری نقش داشته باشد یا نیازهای محیط را رفع کند. ولی الآن در کشور ما هیچ‌کدام از این دو نقش را ندارد. تا این مسائل را علاج نکنند، پیشرفت نخواهیم کرد، ولی متأسفانه یک‌جور غفلت عمومی در این زمینه حاکم است

    پیشرفت واقعی علمی ما به دو صورت نشان داده می‌شود. اوّل این‌که ما در مرزهای علم فعالیت داشته باشیم و در این زمینه مرزشکنی کنیم که کمتر به آن توجه می‌شود. دوم اینکه علم باید در جهت رفع نیازهای کشور هم مؤثر واقع شود. ما در بعضی از زمینه‌های علم، تولیدات و مقالات خوب زیادی داریم، ولی در مقابل در خصوص برخی از علوم و فناوری‌های جدید چنین شرایطی نداریم؛ یعنی طی سال‌های آینده، غرب محدودیت‌های بیشتری برای انتقال فناوری‌های جدید برای ما فراهم خواهد کرد. ازاین‌رو ضرورت دارد که همانند چینی‌ها به فکر آن باشیم که ضروریاتمان را خودمان تأمین کنیم تا حداقل برای ضروریاتمان به خودکفایی برسیم

    برخی راه‌حل افزایش کیفیت تولید علم کشور را در جلب همکاری غربی‌ها در راه‌اندازی مراکز علمی جدید در کشور می‌بینند. من مخالف همکاری‌های علمی بین‌المللی و رفتن به غرب برای یادگرفتن علم نیستم ولی این‌که پیشنهاد کنیم که آن‌ها برای ما مرکز علمی ایجاد کنند یا ما را در مراکز علمی‌مان هدایت کنند، توهین به هویت ماست. ضمناً درصورتی‌که خارجی‌ها در ایجاد مراکز علمی در کشور همکاری داشته باشند، همواره چشم ناظری بالای سر ما خواهد بود و مانع پیشرفت ما می‌شوند.

    به‌عنوان یک تحصیل‌کرده فیزیک ذرات، معتقدم همکاری‌هایی نظیر ارتباطات فعلی ما با سرن تأثیری در پیشرفت علمی کشور در این حوزه ندارد. تحقیقات فیزیک ذرات بنیادی در سطح نظری کاملاً در داخل کشور قابل انجام است و می‌توانیم بی‌هیچ محدودیتی با پژوهشگران خارجی همکاری داشته باشیم ولی در حوزه فیزیک ذرات تجربی مثل شتابگر بزرگ سرن، فقط در کارهای جزئی و کارگری آن‌ها مشارکت داده می‌شویم و در مقابل مبلغ کلانی به‌عنوان حق عضویت می‌پردازیم، درحالی‌که محققانی که به این مرکز می‌فرستیم بعد از بازگشت به ایران نمی‌توانند چنین شتابگری را بسازند یا آزمایش‌های مشابهی را طراحی کنند و نتیجه این قبیل ارتباطات تنها فراهم شدن فرصتی برای مسافرت‌های خارجی مکرر برخی آقایان است

    ابتدا نخبگان برای ادامه تحصیل می‌روند، ولی مهاجرت آن‌ها ادامه پیدا می‌کند و بسیاری از آن‌ها نیز بازنمی‌گردند. عدّه‌ای می‌گویند که این طبیعی است که نخبگان برای ادامه تحصیل مهاجرت کنند و سپس بیایند و معلوماتشان را به ما منتقل کنند. اگر چنین باشد بسیار خوب است، ولی متأسفانه آمار بازگشت درصد بسیار اندکی از نخبگان مهاجر، واقعیت تلخی را نشان می‌دهد. عدّه دیگری می‌گویند وقتی‌که ما نمی‌توانیم از آن‌ها استفاده کنیم، طبیعی است که آن‌ها مهاجرت کنند. پس این سؤال مطرح می‌شود که چرا ما این‌قدر وقت و هزینه صرف آن‌ها می‌کنیم و درست زمانی که وقت بهره‌برداری از آن‌ها می‌شود، آن‌ها را تحویل غرب می‌دهیم تا آن‌ها به‌طور مجانی بهترین محصولات ما را بگیرند؟ باید روی این مسئله به‌طورجدی فکر شود. علاوه بر لطمات بسیار اقتصادی، این به آینده علم در ایران نیز لطمه خواهد زد

    در زمان حاضر امتیاز اصلی غربی‌ها این است که مرتب خودشان را نقد می‌کنند. آن‌ها متوجه شده‌اند که باید این مسائل را در نظر بگیرند و لذا فلسفه را در دانشگاه ام.آی.تی یا دانشگاه تکنولوژی کالیفرنیا وارد کردند. ولی وقتی ما می‌خواهیم فلسفه را وارد کنیم، مشکل داریم، چون محیط اهمیتش را درک نمی‌کند. اگر صرفاً غرب هم محل تقلید این‌ها بود، وضع ما بهتر از چیزی بود که الآن هست. اینجا متأسفانه ظاهر را می‌گیرند و چیزی را که دلشان نخواهد، نمی‌گیرند، چون بعضی از آن‌ها زمانی فارغ‌التحصیل شدند که این چیزها در غرب مطرح نبود. ولی الآن در غرب همه این بحث‌ها مطرح است و فیزیک به‌تنهایی مطرح نیست، بلکه فیزیک در کنار فلسفه و زیست‌شناسی و… مطرح می‌شود

    آیا غربی‌ها واقعاً مایل‌اند که ما پیشرفت کنیم؟ ارتباط با دانشمندان خارجی مثل برنده‌های نوبل در صورتی مفید است که تداوم داشته باشد همان سیاستی که چین با برندگان چینی‌تبار جایزه نوبل پیش‌گرفته و سالی یک‌بار آن‌ها را دعوت می‌کند تا در پروژه‌های علمی این کشور همکاری داشته باشند. در سال‌های اخیر می‌بینیم که برندگان جایزه نوبل را به ایران دعوت می‌کنند تا چند سخنرانی در دانشگاه‌ها داشته باشند بدون این‌که فکر کنند سخنرانی یک برنده نوبل که علمش را به ما منتقل نمی‌کند و به این سفرها به چشم سفر تفریحی نگاه می‌کند، سود علمی درخوری به دنبال ندارد

  55. Smith says:

    Things that Mr Fyi and I have been saying for years here: http://www.mehrnews.com/news/2760918/%D8%B5%D9%86%D8%B9%D8%AA-%D8%B4%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%B1%D9%88-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B7%D9%88%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%84-%D8%A8%D9%88%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%B4%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA

    As always late.

    But let’s see if now they really have learnt it and mean what they say.

    Let’s see if money is going to be invested in brains now rather on exclusive rents for mafias and cults of all sizes and shapes.

  56. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    May 26, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    They really need to privatize the oil industry as much as possible, followed by the car manufacturing etc.

    We will know things have turned around when Dr. Mirzakhani Institute has been established somewhere in Iran – with a starting budget of $50 million.