Obama, Syria, and Iran: The (Lonely and Declining) Empire Prepares to Strike Back (Self-Destructively and for No Strategic Purpose)

As the Obama administration proceeds with its tragi-comic preparations for military strikes against Syria, with no domestic or international legitimacy, it is losing allies and partners at an impressively rapid pace—faster than even the George W. Bush administration was able to achieve at its most egregiously offensive.  The Arab League, in the end, declined to endorse military action against Syria, Britain decided not to go on this particular martial walk with its American master, and, for once, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is not the only member of Congress raising his voice against the prospect of another illegal and strategically use of military force yet another U.S. administration. 

In this context, we are pleased to share our most recent Op Ed, published earlier today in The Hindu, see here, and (in slightly different form) in Huffington Post, see here.  (Additionally, we were impressed by The Hindu’s own editorial on the subject, see here, and want to share it, too.)   We have also appended the text of our Op Ed below.  As always, we encourage everyone to leave comments on The Hindu and Huffington Post Web sites as well as on this site.         

Syria and the Waning of American Hegemony

Once carried out, the Obama administration’s thoroughly telegraphed strike on Syria, ostensibly over alleged chemical weapons use there, will mark an important inflection point in the terminal decline of America’s Middle East empire.  Most importantly, it will confirm that America’s political class, including Obama himself, remains unwilling to face the political risks posed by any fundamental revision of Washington’s 20+-year, deeply self-damaging drive to dominate the region.     

Obama initially ran for president pledging to end the “mindset” behind the strategic blunder of America’s 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq; in his first term, he committed to ending America’s war in Afghanistan, too, and to “rebalancing” toward Asia.  But Obama was never ready to spend the political capital required for thoroughgoing recasting of U.S. foreign policy; consequently, the dissipation of American power (hard and soft) evident under George W. Bush has accelerated under Obama.  

Obama’s approach to Syria illustrates why.  Since conflict started there two and a half years ago, Washington has had openings for a negotiated resolution.  This, though, would entail power-sharing between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and oppositionists and cooperation with Russia, Iran, and China to fix a settlement.  Instead, Obama doubled down on reasserting American hegemony.          

When unrest began in Syria in March 2011, Obama and his team were desperate to show—after the loss of pro-Western regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and near-misses in Bahrain and Yemen—that the Arab Awakening did not just threaten authoritarian orders that subordinated their foreign policy to Washington.  They wanted to show that leaders committed to foreign policy independence—like Assad—were vulnerable, too.  They also calculated that Assad’s ouster would tilt the regional balance against Tehran, generating leverage to force Iran’s surrender of its right to an internationally safeguarded but indigenous nuclear fuel cycle.        

Two years ago, Obama declared that Assad “must go,” eviscerating prospects for a political settlement.  Obama further damaged diplomatic prospects with three UN Security Council resolutions effectively authorizing coercive regime change in Damascus, which Russia and China vetoed.  His Syria strategy rested on the surreal proposition that a staggeringly fractious “opposition,” much of which publicly aligns with al-Qa’ida and is not supported by anything close to a majority of Syrians, would unseat Assad, who (according to polls and other evidence) enjoys support from at least half of Syrian society.      

Obama compounded all this with an equally foolish declaration that chemical weapons use was a U.S. “red line”—giving those looking for U.S. intervention motive to gas innocent civilians.  Now that such weapons have been used, Obama cannot entertain that oppositionists may be responsible, for this would undercut his Syria strategy.  His administration has presented no evidence that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in Ghouta; when it alleged chemical weapons use at Khan al-Assal in March, it also offered no evidence of government responsibility.  By contrast, Russia publicly presented a detailed forensic analysis showing that neither the munitions used at Khan al-Assal nor the chemical agent in them had been industrially manufactured and that, “therefore, there is every reason to believe that it was the armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons.”  Washington rejected this—and, after trying to derail a UN investigation of more recent allegations about Ghouta, has preemptively dismissed whatever UN inspectors there now may conclude.      

With these positions, Obama has left himself no option except using force to preserve U.S. “credibility.”  His planned strike, though, is illegal.  Even if chemical weapons were used, it does not justify U.S. aggression.  Syria is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC); the 1925 Geneva Protocol, to which it is a party, only proscribes chemical weapons use in war against another state.  Neither designates Washington as its “enforcer.”  More broadly, the United Nations Charter, which America largely drafted, forbids using force except under two circumstances:    

  • “[I]f an armed attack occurs against a” member state; regardless of who used chemical weapons in Syria, no other state was attacked or threatened with attack, so the “right of individual or collective self-defense” posited in the Charter does not apply (unless one stretches the definition of “self-defense” to mean “anything Washington does not like”).    
  • When the Security Council authorizes force “to maintain or restore international peace and security”; no such resolution is in effect for Syria, and Russia and China will prevent the Council from adopting one.  

Lack of legality has undermined the willingness of the Arab League and even of usually reliable hangers-on like Britain to endorse a strike.  When Obama moves, he will have a smaller coalition than Bill Clinton or George W. Bush had for their illegal wars in, respectively, Kosovo and Iraq. 

Obama’s strike will further accelerate erosion of America’s position in the Middle East.  Assad will emerge with greater political support, not less; Russian and Chinese influence will be enhanced.  While backing Assad has cost Iran and Hizballah some of the popularity they accrued with Sunni Arab publics from their long records of “resistance” to Israel and America, both judge that, if either America or Israel becomes militarily involved in Syria, this will undercut Saudi-sponsored narratives depicting the conflict in sectarian terms, transforming it into more Iranian-led resistance.  Obama is about to oblige them—ushering in a regional balance increasingly tilted against the United States.          

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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290 Responses to “Obama, Syria, and Iran: The (Lonely and Declining) Empire Prepares to Strike Back (Self-Destructively and for No Strategic Purpose)”

  1. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Check this out…people open sourcing intelligence analysis on the event…The number of questions raised is awesome…

    Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013
    http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Talk:Alleged_Chemical_Attack,_August_21,_2013

  2. Richard Steven Hack says:

    While a correct post in almost every detail, this part is wrong: “With these positions, Obama has left himself no option except using force to preserve U.S. ‘credibility.’”

    As I’ve said, “credibility” is not even an issue. Obama is running out of time to attack Syria and thus enable an Israeli attack on Hizballah in Lebanon and subsequently to start an Iran war. He has no choice but to use whatever bogus false flag operation can be created which he can use to publicly at least “justify” such an attack.

    But this has been his intention from the first. The Leveretts correctly point out that this is proved by the fact that the US put Chapter 7 language into the initial three UNSC Resolutions – which is why Russia and China vetoed them. If it were not the US intention to attack Syria all along, such language would not have been inserted in those resolutions.

    Obama has been intent on attacking Syria since day one. People who think he is “reluctant” just don’t understand what’s going on. Obama’s only ‘reluctance” is to tarnish his Nobel Peace Prize. This merely means he has to be careful HOW he starts the wars that he fully intends to start. It says nothing about his intentions which are clear from his 2008 campaign promises as well as the facts about who has supported his political career all along. There can be no doubt that Obama intends to attack Syria and then Iran.

  3. Richard Steven Hack says:

    More refutation of the alleged “evidence”…This is becoming a more blatant scam by Obama by the second.

    Verify chemical weapons use before unleashing the dogs of war
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/29/verify-chemical-weapons-use-before-unleashing-the-dogs-of-war/

  4. fyi says:

    The Leveretts:

    Yes, it is stupid; it will suck US into another unwinnable war.

    If the reports on the public Internet is to be believed, Iranians will not oblige US by aiding in the convening of an international conference on Syria; i.e. Geneva II.

    They would much rather watch US attacking Syria and inflicting yet another wound on herself.

  5. Pirouz says:

    Y’know, this past week Obama stated MLK was his “hero”.

    If he pushes the button on cruise missile strikes, those of us in-the-know of what MLK believed in will know for sure that Obama’s words mean nothing more than sound bites.

  6. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Very nice piece, Flynt-san and Hillary-san. It is little tidbits like this that make you the experts:

    “Syria is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC); the 1925 Geneva Protocol, to which it is a party, only proscribes chemical weapons use in war against another state.”

    Followed by the tasty, “Neither designates Washington as its “enforcer.”

    I would have liked to see something about Uncle Weasel’s use of chemical weapons in Falluja as the icing on that particular cake.

    And the piece ended very strongly too: “…if either America or Israel becomes militarily involved in Syria, this will undercut Saudi-sponsored narratives depicting the conflict in sectarian terms, transforming it into more Iranian-led resistance. Obama is about to oblige them—ushering in a regional balance increasingly tilted against the United States.”

    *

    In other news, (and further to the issue of the fyi contingent and their contention that nuclear weapons is the only way Iran can deter the US hegemon, there is this exchange I had recetnly with Galen Wright, a military expert whose excellent blog, The Arkenstone, has been dedicated for several years now to the Iranian military and its capabilities.

    Unknown Unknowns
    August 28, 2013 at 8:16 AM
    Hi Galen,

    My contention has been that while all this is relevant (as is mining the Straight, etc.), what is more relevant is Iran’s ability to cripple the 18-berth super-tanker pier at Ra’s Tanura (NW of Dhamman), with, say, a swarm of HSPB’s armed with Noor missiles or ground launched missiles with sufficient range. I’m pretty sure Iran has the ability to destroy that pier, which would halt 5 million bpd of Saudi crude from reaching the world market. A game-changer economically. (1) Please confirm; (2) If Iran does indeed have this capability, would its use be a last resort as, in doing so, it will invite the US to cripple all of Iran’s infrastructure? (But won’t the US do so anyway?!)

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply

    Author: Galen WrightAugust 29, 2013 at 7:41 PM
    Greetings UU, good to hear from you again:

    I think there are a number of permutations in the ways that Iran could target the coastal oil facilities. The specifics would, of course, depend on the specifics of the attack and the specifics of their defense, but at the end of the day you are correct: if Iran wanted to, it could inflict significant damage on them.

    Sometime before the end of the year I’m hoping (inshallah!) to do some sort of analysis of this using the same sort of metrics (ex: missile CEPs, fragmentation/overpressure radii) that I used with my early “MLRS as anti-ship weapons” article. So stay tuned!

    However, I also think you’re correct in the feeling that this would represent a distinct escalation beyond attacks on shipping alone.

    This reminds me of the situation during the Iran-Iraq war that may shed some light on Iran’s strategic choices. Washington made it clear to Tehran in no uncertain terms that if they were to use ASCMs in Hormuz, they would invite attacks on Iran itself. Because of red-lines like these, Tehran limited their naval attacks to those that were tolerated by the USN, and would be guaranteed not to unconditionally draw in the U.S on Iraq’s side.

    This political-calculus is why mining was so effective. It’s not that mining itself was the best absolute tactic for sinking ships, it’s that it was the best tactic in terms of cost-to-benefit ratio. It gave Iran plausible-deniability. Similarly, the use of HSPBs to harass shipping gave the IRGCN the opportunity to continually ‘test’ the USN’s red-lines, and the political will behind them.

    Whenever Iran exceeded these red-lines in a significant way, they’d incur some sort of punitive action (ex: Nimble Archer), which would be followed by an operational pause meant to de-escalate the situation. After these pauses though, the IRGCN would resume their harassment operations, again testing just how far they could go without Washington acting.

    To inject a bit of levity to this concept, I’ll point readers to Jeffery Lewis’s use of a “Chappelle’s Show” skit to illustrate Assad’s strategy. Just like Rick James and Assad, the IRGCN may be thought of as a ‘habitual line stepper’.
    http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/iuegla/chappelle-s-show-true-hollywood-stories—rick-james-pt–1

    Returning to your question, an attack on actual GCC territory – rather than just shipping – carries with it symbolic weight that would demand a greater response than attacks on shipping alone (which, it must be recognized, would still induce some sort of response by the U.S). It would also risk far greater collective action on part of the GCC states, who would likely interpret this as a threat to their survival (it’s an attack on ‘them’ rather than just an attack on ‘their property’).

    This is not to say that Iran would never use this option. In fact, it would be important for Iran to retain this option in reserve as an explicit means of escalation in the same way that the U.S would need to hold the threat of attacking Iran’s own oil infrastructure in reserve as a threat of escalation to deter Iran.

    Red-lines are only valuable if you can escalate. There’s no incentive for the U.S to refrain from certain military action if they’re confident that Iran is already using the full spectrum of their capabilities.

  7. nico says:

    Partial repost from previous thread.

    James Canning says:
    August 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm
    “Nico,You are reluctant to accept a simple fact: Iran blundered badly by announcing intent to treble 20″

    YOU are the enemy of Iran.
    YOU are the philosophical and political brother of Shimon Peres.

    Like Peres blaming the palestinian not wanting peace in one hand and genociding them in the other by denying them their rights.

    As for the 20%.
    YOU blame Iran “blunder” in one hand and call for peace but in the other hand you fully support and advise the Anglo government to deprive Iran of its rights.

    As the typical Anglo, YOU are Zionist Parent.
    YOU are a liar, a deceptive sophist and a racist supremacist.

    You could say that western embargo is stupid.
    Just like Shimon Peres would tell that he loves peace, that Israel is a democracy and that all is Palestinian fault.

    But do not think you are deceiving me even if you may deceive yourself.
    YOUR sheer zionist like stance is clear.

    And I hope I made it clear to everyone here to see the deep rooted ugliness of your every stances hidden under the layers of YOUR deceiptive sugar coated and leftist supremacist words.

    No need to say that your antisemitic stance on top of that is another deception and delusion.

  8. BiBiJon says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    August 31, 2013 at 4:34 am

    In other news ….

    There’s a tendency in the ‘fyi contingent’ to resort to fear (of cities being nuked, rape, etc.) in order to usher in anxiety (about survival) to give instinct/reflex precedence over sober calculation and methodical analysis.

    The topic of your conversation with Galen is only one of a many entirely conventional (non WMD) escalation options that Iran has at her disposal which has kept the peace for a decade and more to RSH’s chagrin.

  9. fyi says:

    nico says:
    August 31, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Mr. Canning is not an enemy of Iran; rather, he thinks that due to strategic asymmetry of Axis Powers vs. Iran, she face defeat and ruin and is advising Iran to alter her policies accordingly.

    Now that is not very bad advise, but I think it is not useful at this time in that Iran has no choice; the survival of the state is at stake.

  10. nico says:

    fyi says:
    August 31, 2013 at 11:12 am

    “nico says:
    August 31, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Mr. Canning is not an enemy of Iran; rather, he thinks that due to strategic asymmetry of Axis Powers vs. Iran, she face defeat and ruin and is advising Iran to alter her policies accordingly.
    Now that is not very bad advise, but I think it is not useful at this time in that Iran has no choice; the survival of the state is at stake.”

    Sure…

    … Like the power unbalance between Palestenians and Israelis.

    Your house negro comment is surprisingly disappointing.

  11. kooshy says:

    One wonders why Mr. Kerry like his predecessors as an enforcing evidence deprived the word of nice cartoonish colorful drawings likes of what world is used to see from our own very imaginative CIA graphic artists (mobile Iraqi chemical units, Iran’s nuclear test chamber etc.)

    Since not many (any) people including in his own country were convinced with his yesterday’s ridiculous speech of “We know, we know we know……believe us we know.” one would have thought a series of nice colorful sketches playing in the background on power point would have been more convincing while he was BSing his known known to the world.

    Fortunately and justifiably foreign policy of this country (super hyper exceptional of the mankind is now totally degraded down to Tom and Jerry cartoons.

    Why Kerry’s “Know” Speech Is Fundamentally Wrong
    To assess something, without having confirmation, is fundamentally different from knowing something.
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/

  12. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    August 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    “One wonders why Mr. Kerry like his predecessors as an enforcing evidence deprived the word of nice cartoonish colorful drawings …”

    Because Netaniyahu ended the era of cartoon props.

  13. A-B says:

    Recall, back in June 16, the former French minister for Foreign Affairs Roland Dumas confessed to the French TV station LCP:

    “I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.

    This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate.

    Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me.’’

    So, the Brits, knowing there are no (or no strong) evidence for use of CW by the Assad government, decided to ‘save face’ with recourse to ‘democratic’ processes; as if this ‘black face’ (as in roo-siyah) could ever be saved! (The pun to Obama saving his ‘black face’ IS intended!!) But, the French has apparently, and as expected, no shame what so ever! Please, read the last sentence in the above quotation.

  14. James Canning says:

    Obama’s claim that the CW incident in Damascus is a “threat to US national security”, because there in effect is a risk the Syrian gov’t thinks it can use CW “with impugnity”, is shallow and dishonest.

  15. BiBiJon says:

    A-B says:
    August 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Yes, I have often wondered how on earth do “peaceful demonstrators” are suddenly angered and transform themselves into a fighting force capable of wresting control of half a country from a capable, and loyal military. Pre-planning much?

  16. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Let us be clear. I think Iran needs to make a deal with P5+1, and that such a deal MUST be partial, and almost certainly MUST be tacit or implicit to some degree.

    ISRAEL LOBBY will not allow any “grand bargain”. Full stop.

    So, Iran in my view must stop enriching to 20. And stop expanding number of centrifuges enriching to 5 or lower. On Iran’s own accord.

  17. kooshy says:

    BiBiJon says:
    August 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    You are absolutely correct, I forgot about that one, the mother of all drawing evidences ever presented to the world.

    You are right after that stupid act no one any longer is going to take carton sketches to a worldly presentation. The irony is, although Mr. Kerry didn’t bring any cartoon proofs to his yesterday’s we known we know act, this whole presentation turn out to be a very entertaining funny cartoon, after all one would consider his character, body shape and specially his acts are greatly resembling to that of the famous ever loser Chayote, this was reinforced after his yesterday’s very poor performance which made him, his boss and this country be wacked badly and becoming laughing stock of the world.

  18. Castellio says:

    Elliott Abrams, recently said in his presentation to a House Hearing on The Security Situation in Syria: “Syria is 75 percent Sunni, so the Alawite Assad regime and its Shia supporters in Tehran and Lebanon will never win the support of the Syrian people to rule that country.”

    But that statement, upon which the rest of his argument is based, is not supported by the facts in Syria itself. Abrams foundational principle, upon which the whole of his whole politics rests, and upon which he wishes to base US foreign policy, is factually wrong.

    This is the core problem with sectarian and racist thought: It cannot see beyond its blinkers, and therefore remains confident no other reality exists. it tries, repeatedly and tirelessly, to reduce what is real to the limits of its own prejudice.

    My hope is that a screening system will be implemented on this comment board, so that repetitive and self-absorbed racist and sectarian posturings can be limited. This used to be an interesting and valuable discussion board: in this critical time, I hope it can return to that function.

  19. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I would add, that while Iran has obtained some benefit from the sanctions etc applied against Iran since it restarted enriching uranium, that the cost to Iran of the programme must be approaching $1 trillion. If a fair accounting is made.

    So, I argue Iran would today be stronger if it had not restarted the enriching.

    Many who post on this site prefer that Iran be defiant even if this has decreased Iran’s strength.

  20. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I think the Palestinians should have the entire West Bank.

    What do you think the Palestinians should have, that in your view is attainable?

  21. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think Iranian gov’t would face grave economic problems if all Iranian exports of oil by sea were blocked. Is anyone arguing to the contrary?

    Thanks for your comment to Nico. I regard myself as a sincere friend of Iran. And Syria.

  22. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    For clarity: I think Iran should be allowed to control the nuclear fuel cycle for the power plants.

    Your apparent contention I think Britain should not accept this is simply not true.

  23. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Again, for clarity: I think Iran can gain acceptance of its enriching to 5, from P5+1. I have said this a good number of times.

  24. kooshy says:

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    “I regard myself as a sincere friend of Iran. And Syria.”

    Gav James, That’s why we all love you here, look that is only if you would have given us a little brake on that 20% stuff, you know, may be tone it down to only 2-3 20% per day, if so I think we all could digest your 20% trebling argument a lot better than current un consumable daily does we are getting.

  25. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Protestant Christians in US and UK, in an unrequited Love with the (mythical) Ancient Israel and Modern Israel, are determined to destroy Islamic Republic of Iran.

    This fact must be squarely faced.

    No partial deal with them is possible; whomever is your interlocutor in this matter, he is not giving you the correct assessment.

    Look at Americans now; in their zeal to harm Syria in order to wound Iran – the staunch enemy of Israel – they are willing to see the destruction of ancient Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities in the Levant.

    And they are so determined in that they are willing to corrupt the legal structures of their own country.

    These people are beyond foolish; they are just plain mad.

  26. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Most of my friends in the UK and the US are “Protestant Christians”. Not one of thmem wants Iran destroyed, and virtually every one of them wants Israel out of the West Bank.

  27. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    In my experience, most of the American Protestants who so blindly support Israel, are badly educated. From lower social classes. But manipulated by well-educated Jews, from higher social classes. This is a sad fact.

  28. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    Nico made a false claim that I oppose Iranian enrichment to 5. For clarity, I told him, and I tell you, that P5+1 will not accept Iranian enrichment to 20. You disagree?

  29. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    It appears that Iran’s announcement to treble 20U helped lead to civil war in Syria. You disagree?

  30. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    “So, Iran in my view must stop enriching to 20. And stop expanding number of centrifuges enriching to 5 or lower. On Iran’s own accord.”

    Sure like the palestinians who should just be genocide on their own accord.
    Or like every and all native people who put some credit on Anglo word and honor to be finaly genocided.
    The same genocide that you defend one way or another with your warped and evil rational.
    The same rational of the clueless house negro about some imaginary balance of power where the powerfull will keep with its word and could be honest.

    “ISRAEL LOBBY will not allow any “grand bargain”. Full stop.”
    So what ?
    That is Anglo family business

  31. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I “defend genocide” when I say Israel should get out of the West Bank?

    Do you think all Arab countries were “defending genocide” when they offered peace and recognition to Israel within its “1967″ borders?

  32. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Tell me: do you think Iran can carry on adequately if all oil exports by sea, by Iran, are blocked?

  33. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Yassir Arafat forty years ago conceded privately that the Palestinians would have to accept Israel within its 1967 borders. You think Arafat “defended genocide”?

  34. James Canning says:

    Obama will seek Congressional approval for a US attack on Iran. NYT report.

  35. James Canning says:

    US attack on Syria. NYT report. (sorry!)

  36. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Agreed, BiBiJon-san. And bonus points for ‘ashtray on a motorcycle’ (for the gaav).

    *

    Photi-san: glad you read Professor Algar’s piece on God’s Justice. In case you didn’t know, mp3′s of many of his excellent lectures on Shi’a Islam can be found at al-Islam.org.

  37. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    It’s really nice seeing Barry flailing like he did during the speech.

    Kids, this is called “painting yourself into a corner”.

    “…I will strike, no don’t need UN report, no don’t need congressional approval but will seek it blah blah blah…”

    Really pathetic.

    Kinda makes you realize how good you had it with Don Rumsfeld.

    Also: Doubt the congressional sheep have as much balls as their British colleges (hey there’s a guy in Labour called “Ed Balls” if you know what I mean…)

    Congressional Democrats: “Steven Israel”…nuff said.

  38. kooshy says:

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Your honor Gav James, you know I have a lot of respect for your honor’s ever Iran loving suggestions and opinions, but as a humble subject of your governorship on this forum, I must admit I do disagree.

    Your suggestive claim that Iran’s 20% U was the reason which the US and her European client states chiefly yours UK, and that groomed puddle France, strategically did not found no other way other than hearting Iran’s ally Syria by instigating a religious sectarian war in the region. That is, I don’t agree with you that the reason for this undertaking by US, and her European whores was Iran’s 20% enrichment but surly the reason was and is Iran’s stand on independence and foreign interference in the region. Gav did you just heard Mr. O backing off and putting the decision to attack on the congress shoulder (like what UK did)
    Doesn’t that remind you of Mr. Bush’s NIE 07 release; one wonders why a president of US has to take his credibility and this country’s foreign policy to strategically nowhere where and when you are incapable of full filling your red lines. If your governorship may please have RSH to see how Mr O’s quietly walked back in his office with tail in between his legs. One wonders if the American can ever learn the lessons they didn’t learn (in NAM, Iraq, and Afghanistan etc.) Can ever learn.

    Cheers

  39. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    It is indeed important to assess what measures Iran could take, if sanctions do not “succeed” and Obama moves to further measures.

  40. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    My understanding is that certain Saudi leaders have favored overthrowing Syrian gov’t for a number of years now. And that the question or issue was when to try to accomplish it. Contingent plans have been tossed around since 2007 or earlier.

  41. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    Saudi Arabia and other Gulf contries obviously have to have some concern war could come to the Gulf. Due to nuclear dispute with Iran. Agreed?

  42. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm
    “Nico,Tell me: do you think Iran can carry on adequately if all oil exports by sea, by Iran, are blocked?”

    My take is that the US are going to economically collapse in the current decade and shall be out of the PG before 2020.
    Whether that or there will be a war no matter the Iran nuclear dossier as the US and western world will try to mask their failure and will try to keep their hegemony by implementing a World War.

    James Canning says:August 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm
    “Nico,Yassir Arafat forty years ago conceded privately that the Palestinians would have to accept Israel within its 1967 borders. You think Arafat “defended genocide”?”

    Arafat did not.
    But the Anglo zionist never accepted that deal and encouraged Israel with their unconditional support.
    Thus the Anglo genocidal family get their way.
    By the way such deal is not on the table anymore.

    Mr Canning,

    You have difficulty to grasp the Anglo macro policies.
    At the end of the cold war the Anglo had a civilizational choice to make.
    Whether pursue full spectrum dominance and colonialism trough uniliteralism and criminality.
    Or pursue a responsible policy respecting international laws through a multilateral order.

    We are still experiencing the Anglo post cold war criminal momentum.
    Until such time as such momentum is not broken and shoved down their throat there is nothing to discuss with the Anglo thugs.

    As fyi put it rightly. There could have been a minor ceasefire but no end of enemity with Iran with such Anglo criminal mindset.
    But even such minimal deal is off the table now.

  43. fyi says:

    nico says:
    August 31, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    He also has difficulty accepting that the “primitive” but nevertheless cunning Arab (Al Saud) tricked the gullible Faranji to support their “Hanbali Levant” project; all under the guise of wounding Iran (to help Israel).

    And the Faranji is now trapped in confrontation with both Houses of Islam – Shia and Sunni – with no way to extricate himself.

  44. nico says:

    fyi says:
    August 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    No doubt that the US are in difficult position regarding Islam.
    As goes the french saying : your harvest what you seed.
    More prosaicaly : shit in, shit out.

  45. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Sixth U.S. ship now in eastern Mediterranean ‘as precaution’
    http://www.trust.org/item/20130831024217-8g107/

    Quote

    The U.S. Navy generally keeps three destroyers in the Mediterranean, but kept two additional destroyers there at the end of their deployments as the situation evolved in Syria over the past week.

    The five destroyers are each carrying an estimated three dozen or more Tomahawk missiles for a combined total of about 200 missiles, according to defense officials.

    Byron Callan, analyst with Capital Alpha Partners, projected that a limited Syrian strike would use about 200 to 300 Tomahawk missiles, compared to about 221 used in the Libya operation.

    End Quote

  46. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Are you saying that you personally would accept Israel within 1967 borders, if the Palestinians accept it?

    I entirely agree the US very stupidly has failed to contain Israel within 1967 borders.

  47. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    You seriously think the US would deliberately destroy the planet in order “to maintain dominance” in the Persian Gulf?

    I take it you do not believe Iran could get by without exporting oil by sea.

  48. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think certain Saudi and other Persian Gulf leaders did persuade certain British and American leaders, that the gov’t of Syria should be overthrown in order to injure Iran. On the other hand, various American leaders connected to the Israel lobby have sought the overthrow of Syrian gov’t, to benefit Israel, for many years.

  49. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    You are simply mistaken if you think Yassir Arafat did not concede privately, 40 years ago, that the Palestinians would have to accept Israel within 1967 borders.

    Curious you would want to help Zionist propagandists who claim, falsely, that the Palestinians will never accept Israel. And that the Arabs will never accept Israel.

  50. Reza Esfandiari says:

    It is interesting that neoliberal interventionists/warmongers like Scott Lucas, who favor bombing Assad out of power, are distraught at Obama’s decision to seek congressional support: http://eaworldview.com/2013/08/syria-analysis-obamas-baffling-turn-to-congress-for-approval/
    Frankly, this crisis makes the U.S look more of a joke than a superpower.

  51. Rd. says:

    saudi’s must have read the british mind many years in advance to have planned the war
    in Syria with the hope that once Iran moves to %20 then the brits can blame Iran for
    the war in Syria? Did I get that correctly james?

    James Canning says:

    “My understanding is that certain Saudi leaders have favored overthrowing Syrian gov’t for a number of years now. And that the question or issue was when to try to accomplish it. Contingent plans have been tossed around since 2007 or earlier.”

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Kooshy,

    It appears that Iran’s announcement to treble 20U helped lead to civil war in Syria. You disagree?

  52. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 1:14 pm
    Iran may have been richer without the sanctions,but that doesnt mean it would have been stronger.You appear to be touting the old “appeasement” argument again ie if iran had just kept its head down and accepted the us backed status quo everything would have been great,personally I think iran has a pretty credible deterrent capability and thats without factoring in its growing nuclear potential

  53. Sineva says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    August 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm
    Those last lines brought a smile to my face

  54. Empty says:

    Rd,

    That’s an old file (2007) re; attacking Iran. That was illegal, then. Since then, several bills were passed by the very congress that makes an attack on Syria (or any other nation for that matter) legal now. That is legal from the US’s own stand point not the stand point of the international law.

  55. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm
    Unfortunately for you james the actions of the west put the lie to that argument which by the way you have never been able to produce one single iota of proof to back up apart from “I think they will accept 5%”.The west wanted enrichment[5%] halted long before iran began to enrich to 20%,do you deny this?

  56. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    kooshy-jan, Empty-jan, nico-jan,

    Agree with everything you guys wrote in last thread. That’s why I keep saying that western civilization is dying- i.e. when its elites/intellectuals are spiritually/morally/intellectually dead and its masses “blissfully” ignorant.

    Maktab-e Shahaadat- which is nothing other than Maktab-e Imam Hussein (as)- is the only way to live courageously and morally as a dignified human being in this world.

    It’s fitri and universal and thank God we live in the era in which Imam(r) reintroduced to the world.

    When you mention that (left) elites have decided to close their eyes to injustice in order to maintain their “comfortable lifestyle” based on the oppression of others in the world, I’m reminded of what Imam used to tell us: “Don’t be a servant of your own stomach/appetites”.

    In order to rise to the rank of a real human being, in the end one has to detach oneself from the desires of this world.

    Maktab-e Imam Hussein (as) is the true and real liberation- internally within oneself and externally in social-political affairs.

  57. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Sineva-jan, (and UU-jan),

    I was thinking the Iranian equivalent of “Ed Balls” would be “Akbar Bayzatayn”…and amazingly he’s also a member of the Majlis! I mean what are the chances of that, really?

  58. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas has shown himself to be nothing but a dishonest mercenary for the US regime. However, he still can’t get his 15 minutes of fame. Poor fool.

  59. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm
    “I entirely agree the US very stupidly has failed to contain Israel within 1967 borders.”

    Again your statement is veiling the truth.
    Truth is Israel is nothing without the west and specially the US.
    The US did not failed to contain Israel.
    The US helped and supported the Israel project.
    The Anglo are not the solution. They are the real and true problem.
    Your wording of the reality is evil hasbara typical of briton perfidy.

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 5:27 pm
    “Nico,You are simply mistaken if you think Yassir Arafat did not concede privately, 40 years ago, that the Palestinians would have to accept Israel within 1967 borders.”

    I have no right to say the Palestinians what suffering they should accept are not.
    What I criticize is western hypocrisy and criminal behaviour.

    Nevertheless my opinion regarding the 1967 is that it is delusion.
    You know like the same delusion of natives in Northern America or Oceonia regarding the words or honor of the colonial settlers. And my opinion is that the 2 states solution was a racist apartheid project from the very start.

    James Canning says:
    August 31, 2013 at 5:27 pm
    “Curious you would want to help Zionist propagandists who claim, falsely, that the Palestinians will never accept Israel. And that the Arabs will never accept Israel.”

    Hasbara of yours.
    Israel is not the issue. I mean the physical borders of Israel.
    The issue is the apartheid and racist regime.
    Like in South Africa. Has anyone had issue with South Africa as a country ?

    The real issue us that you use loose words in order to mix notions and concepts and feed your briton hasbara machine.

  60. Sineva says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    September 1, 2013 at 1:53 am
    Reality is stranger than fiction and I never cease to marvel at it even if sometimes it depresses the hell out of me,thankfully theres usually a funny moment like the ones you`ve described to take the edge off the situation

  61. Sineva says:

    I saw this and had to post it
    http://postimg.org/image/ft0ewq9jr/

  62. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    August 30, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Thank you and welcome back. Some one has to call a spade a spade. Until we are not aware of history, things will not change. At any rates these slave kaftals trying to please their white masters, are due for natural expiration. It is only a matter of time. So, no worry. Almost all young Iranians believe as a matter of factly that Iran needs to be a nuclear armed state. This is the reality on the ground.

  63. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    August 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Then who/his son is going to wear his Italian suits and drive his Lexus? Perhaps even picking up economically disadvantaged girls. These things are happening, you know. As earlier I advised, it is better to ditch such ridiculous life styles and take a trip to neighboring Pakistan, inquiring about their problems.

    Dr Assad does not need man power as he has indicated in his speeches. He has plenty. What he needs was a powerful state with real nuclear deterrence providing a nuclear umbrella over Syria. What he needed was a technological power providing him with armed unmanned drones with satellite link. What he needs is

    The days of sword wars are long over. They should ban the import of Italian suits to Iran. The money is better spent in R&D sector.

  64. BiBiJon says:

    Does this site need a moderator?
    ==============================

    “Moderation is rooted in self-belief; a person who believes in his capabilities, power, possibilities, and capacities can take steps on the path of moderation.”

    “But an individual who feels weakness and fear will generally pursue radicalism. The radicals of the world are cowards. Despite the fact that their slogans might be different, they have close and good relations with each other. Today, the world needs moderation.”

  65. Smith says:

    Empty says:
    August 30, 2013 at 3:07 am

    - I also thought we agreed to disagree. I was pointing out to a house nigger, who was using your name as a proof of debunking me. Which you had not done.

    - Replies to your points:

    1- Iran does not need thousands of weapons. Not at all. Even a dozen will do.

    2- These are very well known. If you meant by your question the technical capability of Iran to find and correlate those targets on a map, I am sure there are people in Iranian airlines, let alone Iranian airfoce who have the capability to make quite accurate navigational charts for the purpose.

    3- This question of yours takes us back to fundamentals of nuclear deterrence. As evidently clear from your question, you do not know even what deterrence means. In fact the way you posed your question is as if Iran is a mad country that wants to destroy everything in its path. Which I believe is not so; contrary to the western propaganda. The idea of deterrence is to prevent war not to start it. Not to go on frenzy. For both the parties.

    We have different kinds of deterrence. In conventional sense, we have deterrence by denial. In such a deterrence, you build up conventional forces, armor, artillery, missiles, car bombs, huge military etc etc in order to deny the enemy your territory. This kind of deterrence is old and goes back centuries. But it almost never works. An enemy that is larger, technologically more sophisticated, has more resources at its disposal etc etc, will try to breach the conventional defenses believing that it is in its best interest to do that. The deterrence by denial has never stopped a larger war party from attacking a smaller one through out history and even among equal powers its record of success has been patchy and quite bloody.

    The nuclear deterrence works on the other hand on quite different principles which are counter-intuitive but mathematically proven. Since the effect of nuclear weapons are so devastating and unusual, the nuclear deterrence is a deterrence by punishment. Such a deterrence, assumes that the other party will never risk massive punishment unleashed on it, by trying to attack the nation in question. The game theory then states in such a situation, the war will not happen in the first place.

    The assumption of punishment is theoretical until the other party goes suicidal. In the beginning of nuclear deterrence history, there was always this fear that a nation might go suicidal eventually setting in motion the punishment. But never happened solely because no nation ever goes suicidal. In effect, peace is maintained by theoretical characteristic of this deterrence. For this of course both parties must be armed with nuclear weapons.

    Before the advent of nuclear deterrence all great powers used to go to war with clock work regularity. That has now stopped. US used nuclear weapons only when it already knew that it is the only one with nukes so it can not be deterred. So your argument of Hiroshima is actually relevant to Iran now not when Iran goes nuclear. Would it be a “lakeh_ye nangi bar damaan_e” Islamic Republic of Iran if IRI after having bought the enmity of US gets innocent Iranians nuked? Because right now Iran is like Hiroshima. Big “resistance” but no deterrence.

    - Here, I will try to answer some other points you have raised:

    * Islamic Republic of Iran was against bombing cities with the inaccurate and indiscriminate Scud missiles during Iran Iraq war. Saddam started to hit Iranian cities. Islamic Republic of Iran waited and waited and took hits after hits. It was clear Saddam was not going to stop. So Islamic Republic of Iran went to North Korea and Syria got some Scuds of its own and fired them to Iraqi cities. The question here is, if tomorrow an Iranian city gets nuked (regardless of the origin of nuke) what would be Iran’s response? (Please no if, but, how, why, I do not care, do not kid me).

    * Islamic Republic of Iran has not reached an ideal state. Neither Ulama have claimed that it has reached that state. Its internal dynamics and laws are constantly changing. The Nirooye Entezami should have done a better job of trying to explain what they want to do to Ulama. I remember a case in Tehran where a man grabs another and stab him several times. Then while the victim is bleeding on the ground, the attacker stands there with a large kitchen knife in hand, taunting the people and strangely enough a cop is also there. The scenario goes on for almost half an hour. The victim dies of bleeding after some half of an hour on the ground. The cop looks like a silly boy. The population is scared. The video of this incident is available online. Later on the man is arrested and executed publicly. A Taser that day, could have saved two lives. Ulama would have been better advised instead of banning something (as per your assertion), try to make detailed conditions under which such a equipment can be used and what would be the punishment for its misuse. In the beginning the Ulama had also banned printing press machine. They later allowed it. After a couple of centuries. Ulama are not infallible.

    * Until the green coup of 2009, Iran did not have the need for a water spray cannon. After that, they did buy some from China most probably for the purpose of reverse engineering. During that coup some ugly scenes happened in which if police had such equipment it would not have happened. For example there is this internet video showing that a police car, fearing to get trapped by people ran over people and killed and maimed them. An armored water cannon, that day could have saved lives. By the way, the water pressure breaking the rib cage has a very low probability doing so. It is much more probable for the rib cage to be broken by choomagh.

    Now some questions, if you do not mind:

    - When push comes to shove, which is more important; Fatwa or IRI? Fatwa or lives of the people? Because we are approaching such points now. It is good to be a “peace activist”, but again when push comes to shove which is more important; principle of the ideology or the ideology of the principle?

    - Is your opposition to nukes only religious or it has other dimensions as well? If tomorrow, Mr Khamenei changes his fatwa (something he very much easily can and personally I believe he is close to do so) would you be pro-nuke or anti-nuke?

    - My understanding of this particular fatwa, is that it has been issued only for policy of state of Iran and nowhere in it prohibits Iranian citizens from demanding to be nuclear armed. If Iranians tomorrow go to Ulama and demand for Iran to be nuclear armed (eg. after/before invasion and capture of Khuzestan by NATO or nuking of a couple of Iranian cities/facilities by one of the nine nuclear powers), do you think on a personal level, the Iranian public hold the right to ask the Ulama for it?

  66. nico says:

    BiBiJon says:
    September 1, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Moderation ?
    In word or in deeds ?
    That is empty word and PR to be fed to gullible mass.
    As put in 1984, in an Orwellian world, truth by itself is revolutionary.

    Moderation does not exist.
    Only logic, facts and moral reference.

  67. BiBiJon says:

    nico says:
    September 1, 2013 at 7:42 am

    “Moderation does not exist.
    Only logic, facts and moral reference.”

    So does tremendous quantities of banality which exist in inexhaustible abundance.

    Hallelujah!

  68. Empty says:

    Smith,

    Thank you for your post. Rather than responding point by point, allow me to just provide a generalized answer which would cover the spirit of your questions and comments.

    Eating “mordar” is “haraam” as you know. As I’ve understood, when one is faced with death and there is no other options whatsoever available, eating enough “mordar”, just enough “mordar” to survive is permitted. But there has to be no other means for survival available and it must be clear that eating “mordar” ensures survival long enough to find alternative halal means. Apply that to an atomic bomb.

    I do not have all intelligence information, expertise, or the skills at my disposal to determine all of these. I do not know if Iran is going to be wiped out fully or not. I also do not know that developing a few atomic bombs is going to deter wolves. I assume that the vali faqih and the commander in chief of Iran knows all of these and I fully trust him to make the right decision and I will support him with all my possessions and life. I have not come to trust him blindly. He has shown himself to be a very pious and capable leader.

    So, on this issue and until new information surfaces, let’s just maintain our differences of opinion.

  69. BiBiJon says:

    Balanced, and ultimately how Obama can get out the hole
    ===================================================

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/opinion/attack-syria-talk-to-iran.html

  70. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Liz,
    You won’t get any complaints from me regarding your description of Scott Lucas. When it first became clear that Obama was serious about military action he was very excited about the prospect of bombing Assad out of power and killing his soldiers. He also claimed that Tehran was in a state of panic about impending U.S strikes against Syria, and was powerless to prevent them. Now, he is in despair at the humiliating retreat and climb-down Obama has taken and is highly critical of the President he so admires.
    Reza.

  71. Empty says:

    Well, I have not been too found of President Rohani. However, you’ve got to love his choice of a spokesperson: Ms. Marziyeh Afkham. In a world which is so riddled with objectification of women and sexism, and in a world when a woman gets to any position they first discuss her “hair do” cleavage, figure, and bust size, it’s wonderful to see that all these are made “off limit” and one must pay full attention to her character and the content of her words. I wish Ms. Afkham well.

  72. fyi says:

    Empty says:
    September 1, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Since you do not have the expertise on so many topics; or not even rudimentary knowledge, I suggest that you listen to people such as myself and Mr. Smith.

    You must ignore Mr. Bussed-in-Basiji and his statements about Imam Hussein; he died for Islam and we are discussing not survival of Islam but the Iranian state.

    The carefully created and orchestrated Syrian crisis, timed to coincide with the parliamentary vacation period both in US and UK, has revealed the clear aims of the Axis Powers in destroying Syrian Government and later the Iranian Government.

    This is now clear to the entire world; and Iran leaving the NPT is now understood to be a legitimate move.

    One must thank Providence for this turn of events and Iranians must take advantage of it and leave the NPT now.

  73. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 1, 2013 at 10:25 am

    You conflate malicious intent (on the part of some) with capacity to realize their aims, and then you draw a conclusion that if Iran followed, would destroy Iran’s credibility, inviolability of religious decrees, and gain Iran absolutely no more security than she currently possesses.

    You also conflate ‘expertise’ with arrogance. It is true that some experts may exhibit a personal flaw of arrogance. But, few would excuse arrogance as indication of expertise no matter how ickily self-proclaimed.

  74. Empty says:

    fyi,

    RE: “Since you do not have the expertise on so many topics; or not even rudimentary knowledge, I suggest that you listen to people such as myself and Mr. Smith.”

    Oh, that’s adorable! Let me see your resume and your portfolio governing a country first…. well, any portfolio governing even a little village, then I’ll begin considering when to considering your advice. This is what we call “harf_e gondeh-tar az dahan zadan”! So cute!

  75. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:
    September 1, 2013 at 10:36 am

    By religious decree, I imagine, you mean the fatwa?

    Well, once the person who issued it dies, the fatwa becomes non-binding on the followers of that Marja.

    At any rate, Mr. Khamenei does not have to rescind his own fatwa, he needs to instruct the government to leave NPT.

    And if Iran could not gain more security, Axis Powers would not have been so adamant to de-nuclearize here, and later, to de-industrialize her (after her defeat) like they did in Iraq.

    Iran and her allies are in a middle of a war, which you do not seem to grasp.

  76. fyi says:

    Empty says:
    September 1, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I see, so one must be a heart surgeon to be able to comment on the efficacy of various surgical procedures?

    I think not.

    Also know this: the political situation changes and a country’s posture changes with that.

    It is my judgment that this time period is an excellent opportunity for Iran to leave NPT.

    And those who were running Iran made a mistake staying in NPT.

  77. Empty says:

    fyi,

    Well, I have to agree with the following part of your assessment though and believe it was a tactical move and planned ahead of time…

    “The carefully created and orchestrated Syrian crisis, timed to coincide with the parliamentary vacation period both in US and UK…”

  78. Empty says:

    fyi,

    RE: “I see, so one must be a heart surgeon to be able to comment on the efficacy of various surgical procedures?”

    You’ve got to be kidding me! If I’m going to have my heart cut open today, you’re damn right I’m going to find the most honest and ethical and best skilled surgeon whose advice I would consider and follow than the “sabzi foroush_e mahal.”

  79. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Undoubtedly leaving the NPT is one of the arrows in her quiver. What is Iran to do for an encore? And, to let fly an arrow, such a valuable escalation potential, just because some attempts were made (and abjectly failed) during the summer recess is unwarranted.

    “And if Iran could not gain more security, Axis Powers would not have been so adamant to de-nuclearize here, and later, to de-industrialize her (after her defeat) like they did in Iraq.”

    It seems to me Iran is standing fast in protecting (and expanding) her nuclear capacities. That is sufficient, methinks.

    Iran and her allies are in a middle of a war, which you do not seem to grasp.

  80. Rehmat says:

    “The Syrian conflict is a proxy war being waged against Iran by the United States, conservative Arab oil producers, and three former Mideast colonial powers, Britain, France and Turkey who are seeking to restore their domination in the region. Israel, hoping to isolate Hezbollah and cement its annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights, cheers from the sidelines. Syria and Hezbollah are Iran’s only Arab friends,” says US-born Canadian war reporter and author, August 31, 2013.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/09/01/catholic-church-leaders-against-attack-on-syria/

  81. fyi says:

    Empty says:
    September 1, 2013 at 10:53 am

    The efficacy of various heart surgeries can be determined by essentially an epidemiological approach; that is: one collects multiple data characterizing the patients’ response and then subjects them to statistical analysis.

    You do not need to be a heart-surgeon to perform this.

    Before the invention of by-pass heart surgery, the heart surgeons would open a fellow’s chest and spread talcum powder on the heart – it the belief that talcum powder would irritate and thus help regrow parts of the damaged heart muscle.

    Of course it was non-sense but they had to make their money off the patients; the witch-doctors that they were.

    Once the by-pass surgery was invented, all of a sudden, it was discovered that the open heart/talcum powder surgery was not efficacious.

    One wonders why.

    Anyway, you are risking you life if you blindly follow medical advise.

  82. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You urge Iranian leaders to leave NPT? Amazing. Great way to destroy Iranian credibility.

    Rouhani wants to increase number of foreign visitors to Iran to 10 million from current 4 million. Per year. Excellent idea.

  83. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You think Germany wants to “de-industrialize” Iran? Silly notion.

    Would Netanyahu like Iran smashed up a good bit? Yes.

  84. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    Interesting comments re: Scott Lucas and his wish for a US attack on Syria.

  85. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    So, you oppose the 2002 Saudi peace plan and want Israel removed from the map. Many people who follow events in the Middle East would like to see Israel removed from the map. In my view, this simply is not achievable.

    You are quite wrong that the illegal Jewish colonies in the West bank are not a large factor in the equation, of war or peace in the Middle East.

    Many American neocons (and other warmongers) wanted, and want, Syrian gov’t overthrown in belief this would enable Israel to keep the Golan Heights.

  86. Empty says:

    fyi
    Let me see if I could make this as simple as possible. In deciding whose advice to take and who to follow as an Iranian (yours or Ayatollah Khamenei) I’ll compare the two of you:

    Ayatollah Khamenei: vali_e faqih and the commander in chief for more than 23 years, president for 8 years, a veteran of 8-year Iran-Iraq war, and put his life on the line for Iran and actually participated, paid price, and sacrificed his body, health, time, and energy for Iran. A man who lives a simple and pious life and under whose leadership, the Islamic Republic of Iran has gained an enormous level of strategic power and influence with the least amount of cost and expenditure. A man who has complete “eshraf etella’ati” to intelligence data about Iran, the region, and Iran’s overt and covert capabilities. A man who, under his leadership, the United States of America, this “most powerful” nation, the country that is supposed to hold enough atomic bombs to incinerate the entire planet several times over HAS to attack several countries, get several regional countries on its side, surround Iran from every which way in order to perhaps somehow, some day very soon, or maybe in a distant future or perhaps one day when it has neutralized several other groups and nations to be able to sort of, kind of, maybe perhaps attack Iran.

    And then your portfolio: you (fyi) all based on your own assertions (you could be any body really, you could be Barak Obama or Netanyahu getting online for the fun of it as far as I could verify), an unknown alias and a virtual character versed at theoretical posturing, someone who has an ax to grind with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran, ran from Iran at the sound of a couple of “tarragheh” and because someone cut your brother’s long hair short (or some such a story – pardon me in advance if I misunderstood this part), when things got tough, you (the tough) got going, never participated in defending Iran, never went to war to keep the territorial integrity of Iran, has never been in any position of power and governance in Iran, without any deep and comprehensive access to intelligence data, who has as much contempt for the Islamic Republic of Iran as Saudi kings, (just to name a few of your credentials).

    Call me crazy but I’ll stick with my Khamenei on this one and you stick to your advocacy regarding atomic bombs.

  87. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    To clarify: some Saudi leaders years ago favored overthrowing Syrian gov’t if it looked like war would be coming to the Persian Gulf due to Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.

    I think we can all agree there is a danger of war in the PG due to Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.

    The apparent opportunity to overthrow Syrian gov’t was acted on, in my view. With potential war in the PG as a motive (among other motives).

  88. Unknown Unknowns says:

    More from my exchange with Galen-san on his military blog, The Arklenstone. Unfortunately, Galen-san misunderstood my comment as meaning that it was the leverettes who hold the position that fyi actually holds… Anyway, let us see what he has to say after he gets back from canoeing. What is clear is that there is a lot more nuance to the situation. Also, of course, he confirms that Iran is in fact deterring Uncle Weasel. What am I saying? It has deterred Barry “White” O’Bama from attacking a weak ally (let alone Iranian soil)!

    *

    Humpty DumptyAugust 30, 2013 at 12:05 AM
    Thanks for your informed and thoughtful reply, Galen-san. The line about the IRGC playing the role of a ‘habitual line-stepper’ gave me a good chuckle. I had heard the term out-lier, but had not heard the term line-stepper, which is as good if not better. And yes, I look forward to reading your new analysis, inshallah.

    I liked all the nuance you added: it is not just about the ability to project force, but about the cat-and-mouse games that get played out in real life in the battlefield between asymmetrical powers. But to be sure: let me see if I understand you correctly: some people at RFI (the Leverettes’ blog) insist that Iran needs nuclear weapons as a credible deterrent, and that failure to produce same ultimately invites an attack, which they allege is inevitable in the long run. I have always felt, based on Iran’s geo-strategic position (its proximity to Ra’s Tanura etc., and the west’s vulnerability; its jugular vein…) that Iran already *has* this deterrent (which is what has prevented her from being attacked, the closest call having come under the Cheney-Rumsfeld administration’s late 2007 desire to attack, if memory serves). In other words, if the West attacked Iran like it attacked Saddam’s Iraq, that would be a red line for Iran, and it would do its worst, which in turn would most likely bring down the US economy, with its multi-trillion dollar NYSE derivatives market, with its vulnerability to fluctuations in basic commodity prices such as oil geometrically leveraged… So I think that the MAD deterrent (Mutually Assured Destruction) is already in place and so there is no need to expend resources on weaponizing nuclear technologies (which Iran is assuredly working on mastering, and has probably reached the threashold many years ago). Do you agree that a MAD deterrence mechanism is in place, or do you think the US can (or feels it can) overcome resistance with acceptable damage?

    Author: Galen WrightSeptember 1, 2013 at 12:33 AM
    Greetings Humpty Dumpty

    The first part of my answer deals with whether or not Iran needs a nuclear force to deter a conventional attack.

    In this regard I think the answer is clearly no. This calculus might change in the future, but as it stands Iran simply doesn’t face the existential threat that would demand it, especially when one considers the security repercussions of openly becoming a nuclear-weapon state. Granted, this might be an argument for breakout capability. Indeed, this hits at one of the great traits of the international system. States can’t ever be sure that a threat won’t materialize in the future, which gives an incentive to hedge.

    For one, there’s no great disparity between Iran and her neighbors in terms of conventional strength. Moreover, those who fear an attack by the U.S place too much weight in what was ultimately a fleeting experiment in the early 2000s. The notion the U.S can actively remake the Middle East through massive conventional force (aka the Bush Doctrine) died in Iraq. Despite the 2007 rhetoric you mention, there was no serious prospect of regime-change-by-force by, at least, 2004/2005. Washington may not like the Islamic Republic, but they certainly won’t risk a full-blown war to destroy it. They were content with containment when Tehran was a revolutionary state; they’ll remain content with it for the foreseeable future.

    But, since you cite the Leverett’s claim, it’s worth investigating their argument. I’m assuming you’re talking about their claims concerning Obama’s 2010 nuclear-posture-review (NPR), which gave ‘no-first-use’ (NFU) negative-security-guarantees to states that were in compliance with the NPT, while exempting noncompliant states. This, to the Leveretts, represents an explicit threat to use a nuclear first strike to enforce compliance with Washington’s interpretation of the NPT. This would represent an imminent, or at least inevitable, threat, which would justify an Iranian nuclear deterrent.

    If you subscribe to this interpretation of the NPR, then I think the Leveretts are correct: Iran does need a NW to ensure their security. That being said, this interpretation is flawed. For starters, one can’t look at the 2010 NPR in isolation. During the Cold War, U.S nuclear policy was understandably targeted towards the USSR, but with the end of this period U.S posture was broadened to specifically address a range of potential threats. Within this context, the contingencies in which the U.S could use a nuclear first strike were actually quite large. By 1994/1995, although giving security guarantees to NPT-member states, the U.S reserved the right to use NWs against NPT-member states in the event of a) noncompliance, b) CBW-use, c) an attack on the U.S itself, d) an attack by an ally of a NW-state, and e) an attack on an ally, or treaty-partner of the U.S. This was echoed in the 2001 Bush administration’s NPR.

    This ‘threat’ can only be understood within the context of deterrence against non-nuclear threats. The notion that NWs exist only to deter NW-use is incorrect, and I think, misguided because it assumes that NWs exist in isolation from a broader conflict.

    During the Cold War, Washington refused to adopt a NFU-policy precisely because it understood that the likelihood of the USSR launching a conventional attack relied on the West’s ability to dictate escalation. That is, if the USSR believed they could achieve conventional victory, they could ‘safely’ attack Western Europe without the fear of nuclear escalation, thus: ‘flexible response’ doctrine.

    A similar logic drove the Washington’s post-Cold-War posture. During the 90s, Washington ‘threatened’ both Iraq and Libya with nuclear-first-strikes as a means to deter the use of chemical weapons against the U.S. The argument being that, if these states believed they could engage in non-nuclear warfare with impunity, they would be emboldened to do so. If, however, they couldn’t be sure about U.S retaliation, they would be more reluctant to do so.

    What’s important to remember in these scenarios is that NW-use still took place within the context of deterrence, deterrence which relied on ambiguity as its mechanism. Target states – whether they were the USSR, Iraq, or Libya – could never be sure that any aggression on their part would be retaliated against with equivalent force. This evokes the same argument I made above in my response to ‘Unknown Unknowns’; coercion by force can only be effective if the target believes you’re capable of escalating.

    Now, whether or not this is an optimum nuclear posture is up for debate. For instance, given that the U.S retains overwhelming conventional supremacy over any non-nuclear adversary, is the threat of NW-use necessary for escalation? The 2010 NPR concluded, with regards to chemical or conventional weapon use, that the answer is: “no”. It is still, however, conceivable to imagine the need to retain flexibility with regards to states who might feel that the NPT-membership grants them cover to develop NWs under the cover of impunity granted to them by a blanket NFU-policy. Whether or not this scenario actually applies to Iran’s nuclear intentions is irrelevant, because it’s precisely this ambiguity that is necessary.

    Author: Galen WrightSeptember 1, 2013 at 12:51 AM
    … and the last part of my comments about the Leverett’s argument:

    Moreover, it’s important to note – and the Leveretts fail to do so – that this is not an explicit threat. Whereas they interpret the 2010 NPR as saying “we will strike you”, what it really says is “we retain the option of striking you”. This is made abundantly clear by the NPR itself, which is careful to note that this option does not represent an increased willingness to use a first strike, and would only be considered in ‘extreme circumstances’. Circumstances, which – it should be noted – were already covered in the U.S’s nuclear posture.

    Not wishing to build a straw-man, I should note that according to the Leverett’s line of reasoning, the U.S’s inherent hostility towards Tehran means they will always be found in noncompliance of the NPT (which, by the way, is an inherently a political document, lacking the means for purely technical enforcement). However, whatever merits this argument has, it has to be remembered that this clause in the NPR is not a ‘stick’ by which to coerce states, but a ‘carrot’ to increase the attractiveness of the NPT as a mechanism for collective security. In other words, regardless of Washington’s perception of Iran’s compliance, it makes nuclear use no more likely than in its absence.

    That being said, one has to recognize the power of perception, and when Tehran sees themselves singled out as one of the few non-recipients of a negative security guarantee, they’re probably going to perceive a higher level of threat to their security compared to a world in which the implicit threat is applied universally. However, to understand why Tehran feels the way they do is not to legitimize that world view, a mistake the Leveretts make. Indeed, I could make an equally convincing argument as to why the image of an irrational, fanatical Iran still guides policy-making in Washington, all without legitimizing or otherwise condoning the image.

    Reply

    Author: Galen WrightSeptember 1, 2013 at 12:56 AM
    … and I’m afraid that that veritable tirade about perceptions of the NPR has eaten away the evening. It seems that my thoughts on a nuclear vs economic deterrent will have to wait until Sunday, or since I’ll be gone canoeing, perhaps until Monday.

  89. Empty says:

    James Canning,

    RE: “fyi, You urge Iranian leaders to leave NPT? Amazing. Great way to destroy Iranian credibility.”

    NPT is a useless piece of nothing that the US, UK, France, and the like destroyed it and left it without any credibility whatsoever.

  90. Karl.. says:

    BBC HARDtalk – Hossein Mousavian – Iranian Nuclear Negotiator
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IU7sqMFowo

    No matter what Mousavian say, the interviwer isnt interested, he simply lack knowledge and try instead to smear Iran all the time. Just like the brit here – James Canning.

  91. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    September 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    “Nico,

    So, you oppose the 2002 Saudi peace plan and want Israel removed from the map.”

    Where did I say that ?

    You are truly a caricature of the leftist supremacist idiot.

    That is only mental illness of yours that you use to project on others…

  92. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Gaav says:
    September 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Rouhani wants to increase number of foreign visitors to Iran to 10 million from current 4 million. Per year. Excellent idea.

    *

    Wrong. Keep the riff-raff out, I says. Especially the bleedin’ Limeys! Ta very mooch, I’m sure.

  93. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I have apparent difficulty understanding your position regarding Israel.

    Do you think the Palestinians should accept “1967″ borders? Or do you prefer endless war or near-war?

  94. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I do not try to “smear” Iran. Is Russia “smearing Iran”, when Russia insists Iran stop enriching to 20? Ridiculous.

  95. Kooshy says:

    Empty says:
    September 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    My hats off, you made my “sun”day

  96. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    September 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I am for a one state solution with same rights for all and right if return.
    This in my opinion would be the only JUST outcome.
    Should the apartheid government there be pressured enough they would be obliged to accept that.

    For sceptics the South African is out there to prove the case.

  97. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Blacks outnumbered whites and honorary whites in South Africa by a very wide margin.
    Jews outnumber non-Jews by a very wide margin, in Israel (1967 borders).

    Huge difference, in other words.

  98. fyi says:

    Empty says:
    September 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I have stated my opinion and I stand by it.

    I do not have to let Mr. Khamenei or anyone else to think for me.

    I suggest you make up your own mind; based on concrete strategic considerations rather than appeals to authority.

    If you wish to fall back on the widespread and common Muslim practice of putting your mind on auto-pilot, that is fine. It is your choice, of course.

  99. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    At the middle of the last century, whites were about 20% of the population of South Africa. Now, the percentage of whites under five years of age is 4.7%.

    Demographics.

  100. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Less than 5% of South African population today, under five years of age, is white.

  101. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    September 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Americans have been enhancing the security of oil installations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, and Qatar over the last few years.

    I estimate that the Iranians’ ability to cause significant damage to those facilities has been eroded by not entirely eliminated.

    What this implies is that Iranian could perhaps put some of these facilities out of commission for weeks or months but cannot cause further damage.

    I should think that they need to make those facilities unusable not for weeks or months but for years.

    United States has weapons – such as fuel-air explosives – with the lethality of certain class of nuclear weapons.

    She could elect to use those against Iranian targets and there is no defense against them.

    If I were you, I would find a real strategist in Iran and discuss these issues with him; Mr. Zarei comes to mind.

  102. nico says:

    Mr Canning,

    Looking at the region I think the jews are even less than 4%.

    When taken in the 1967 borders the arab will outnumber the jews in few years given the birth rate differential.

  103. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Empty,

    More like “choss-i gondeh-tar az…”

  104. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Empty,

    Like I said, no clue about actual capabilities nor any experience, but insisting on goh-maling while sitting behind the screen.

    Yeah, I’m with you, I’d rather listen to Agha then these two.

  105. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    September 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Germany – a Baron of the United States – will not go against the wishes of the Reigning King.

    You think in the event of – per your proclamations, illegal – US attack on Iran, Germany will sanction US?

    Will she break diplomatic relations with US?

    Will she send experts to help Iranians fix their industries – damaged in the war?

    I do not think so.

    Axis Powers denied sewage treatment equipment to Iraq during 1990s; causing them to wallow in excrement.

    I expect nothing less in the event of the defeat of Iran.

  106. Karl.. says:

    James

    Yes you smear Iran and you apparently deny it too. You should take a pause from posting on this site.

  107. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Empty,

    He doesn’t understand that when we say we’ll stick with Agha, it’s not “appeal to authority”- it’s “appeal to expertise and experience”- things Agha has and he doesn’t.

    Yes everyone should form their own opinion. No argument there. It’s just not every opinion is as credible as every other.

    Like they say, “opinions are like a-holes, everybodys got one…”

  108. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    September 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Agha’s position is also an opinion, albeit tempered by experience.

    Only future course of events will validate various opinions.

  109. Fiorangela says:

    Department of I told you so –

    At the Symposium that the Leveretts convened last winter, practitioners of “realist” foreign policy were discussed — and disdained.

    Ambassador Richard Butler commented that, Given that realists seem to dominate foreign policy, it’s important to recognize that it is very bad policy to draw a red line if you do not intend to back it up. Butler observed that red lines back their artists into a corner.

    duh

  110. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Galen Wright:

    Quote:

    “The first part of my answer deals with whether or not Iran needs a nuclear force to deter a conventional attack.

    In this regard I think the answer is clearly no. This calculus might change in the future, but as it stands Iran simply doesn’t face the existential threat that would demand it, especially when one considers the security repercussions of openly becoming a nuclear-weapon state.”

    For one, there’s no great disparity between Iran and her neighbors in terms of conventional strength.

    End Quote

    In this, he is one hundred percent correct.

    “Quote:

    Moreover, those who fear an attack by the U.S place too much weight in what was ultimately a fleeting experiment in the early 2000s. The notion the U.S can actively remake the Middle East through massive conventional force (aka the Bush Doctrine) died in Iraq. Despite the 2007 rhetoric you mention, there was no serious prospect of regime-change-by-force by, at least, 2004/2005. Washington may not like the Islamic Republic, but they certainly won’t risk a full-blown war to destroy it. They were content with containment when Tehran was a revolutionary state; they’ll remain content with it for the foreseeable future.”

    End Quote

    Here he is one hundred percent wrong. And the reason is that he doesn’t understand WHY the United States conducts its wars. The US conducts wars for two reasons:

    1) Economic benefit to certain industries: the military-industrial complex, the oil companies, or other industries. To some industries, these benefits result regardless of the military outcome; in others, it does not. But it doesn’t matter whether the results are as predicted or desired: the goal is all that matters. The US starts wars for pipelines even if the pipelines never materialize because the war is lost.

    2) The US as an “empire” cannot allow regional powers to assume geopolitical importance. This is basic “empire politics”.

    His problem is that he takes the neocon view of “remaking the Middle East” as a serious motivation for the US government as a whole. This is a mistake. It’s not even clear that the neocons – notorious for lying about that motives – believe this is a legitimate goal. They may believe attacking those well-known “7 countries” is a legitimate goal, but WHY they should be attacked is not necessarily to “bring democracy” or any of the other sham neocon notions.

    And obviously the neocons themselves have not abandoned the view of attacking those countries, even as Syria is being lined up, as well as Iran. The motivations of Obama, however, are not neocon. Obama’s motivations come directly from the more influential side of the US system, namely the military-industrial complex, which in turn is influenced by and intertwined with the Israel Lobby.

    Quote:

    But, since you cite the Leverett’s claim, it’s worth investigating their argument. I’m assuming you’re talking about their claims concerning Obama’s 2010 nuclear-posture-review (NPR), which gave ‘no-first-use’ (NFU) negative-security-guarantees to states that were in compliance with the NPT, while exempting noncompliant states. This, to the Leveretts, represents an explicit threat to use a nuclear first strike to enforce compliance with Washington’s interpretation of the NPT. This would represent an imminent, or at least inevitable, threat, which would justify an Iranian nuclear deterrent.

    If you subscribe to this interpretation of the NPR, then I think the Leveretts are correct: Iran does need a NW to ensure their security.

    End Quote

    No, it would not because the development of an Iranian nuclear weapons would immediately trigger said “first use”. The Leveretts have said this is a threat – and it is. But it would not justify an Iranian NW because, as I’ve said repeatedly, Iran could not USE such a development in any realistic strategic or tactical form against the United States (or even Israel), and the development alone would trigger an attack.

    Gaylen’s later statements that this would be merely an “option” does not apply to Iran. Iran clearly is at greater threat from such an attack than other nations who theoretically might develop nuclear weapons. The reasons are geopolitical. While the US, as I state later, might be unlikely to use nuclear weapons in a first strike against Iran, there is NO DOUBT that the US would use its conventional military power to attack Iran were Iran to be detected making overt moves to develop nuclear weapons.

    And my point is that Iran would not be able to develop nuclear weapons of sufficient quantity and deliverability in a time frame able to deter a US conventional military attack, nor could it do so during such an attack. No one has proved or can successfully prove the opposite.

    Quote:

    The notion that NWs exist only to deter NW-use is incorrect, and I think, misguided because it assumes that NWs exist in isolation from a broader conflict.

    During the Cold War, Washington refused to adopt a NFU-policy precisely because it understood that the likelihood of the USSR launching a conventional attack relied on the West’s ability to dictate escalation. That is, if the USSR believed they could achieve conventional victory, they could ‘safely’ attack Western Europe without the fear of nuclear escalation, thus: ‘flexible response’ doctrine.

    A similar logic drove the Washington’s post-Cold-War posture. During the 90s, Washington ‘threatened’ both Iraq and Libya with nuclear-first-strikes as a means to deter the use of chemical weapons against the U.S. The argument being that, if these states believed they could engage in non-nuclear warfare with impunity, they would be emboldened to do so. If, however, they couldn’t be sure about U.S retaliation, they would be more reluctant to do so.

    End quote

    This may be true, but it is irrelevant in Iran’s case. Iran has neither chemical weapons nor an overwhelmingly large military which could threaten physical destruction of the US military on the battlefield, as the Soviet Union could.

    Threatening a nuclear strike against a state which is non-compliant to the NPT is PRECISELY the situation that demonstrates that such a state would be insane to attempt to develop nuclear weapons. And Iran clearly understands that and has said so repeatedly.

    Quote:

    Now, whether or not this is an optimum nuclear posture is up for debate. For instance, given that the U.S retains overwhelming conventional supremacy over any non-nuclear adversary, is the threat of NW-use necessary for escalation? The 2010 NPR concluded, with regards to chemical or conventional weapon use, that the answer is: “no”.”

    End Quote

    Exactly my point.

    Quote:

    It is still, however, conceivable to imagine the need to retain flexibility with regards to states who might feel that the NPT-membership grants them cover to develop NWs under the cover of impunity granted to them by a blanket NFU-policy. Whether or not this scenario actually applies to Iran’s nuclear intentions is irrelevant, because it’s precisely this ambiguity that is necessary.

    End Quote

    But again, what states are in a position to develop nuclear weapons with inpunity? There are none – except those who are nominally “allies” of the United States, specifically Pakistan, India and Israel – and one which is not, namely North Korea.

    And why are those states immune? First, because they are nominally “allies” of the US – even Pakistan. Second, with the exception of Israel, Pakistan and India are both LARGE countries with relatively large armies and populations and with geography which would make military operations by the US against them extremely difficult. Israel of course is a “special case” due to the extreme Jewish influence in the United States and Israel’s geopolitical value to the US as its “aircraft carrier” in the Middle Easy.

    Third, North Korea has an extremely large conventional military which would render conventional military attack difficult. Note that the US has not attacked North Korea, despite North Korea developing nuclear weapons, not because of its nuclear weapons, which are both “duds” and undeliverable, but because the extreme nature of the conventional hot war that would develop if it did. This argues strongly that the NFU exceptions have failed miserably in that respect.

    Quote:

    Whereas they interpret the 2010 NPR as saying “we will strike you”, what it really says is “we retain the option of striking you”.

    End Quote

    To the potential target, this is a distinction which is no distinction.

    Quote

    the NPT (which, by the way, is an inherently a political document, lacking the means for purely technical enforcement).”

    End Quote

    That is debatable. While it is theoretically possible to develop nuclear weapons completely undercover and away from detection by the IAEA, it’s hard to imagine that any nation could do so without being detected by the US. In the four cases in which countries managed to build nuclear weapons outside of the NPT, all four were detected as far as I know. The fact that nothing was done about it is the salient point which undercuts the NPR, which in that sense is itself as much a “political document” as the NPT.

    Quote

    In other words, regardless of Washington’s perception of Iran’s compliance, it makes nuclear use no more likely than in its absence.

    End Quote

    I agree, solely because first use of a nuclear weapon by the US against a non-nuclear state would have serious geopolitical consequences for the US. And I suspect even the US knows that. So the US really has less “flexibility” or “credibility” in its NPR stance than he suggests is the intent.

    However, none of that says anything about the US willingness to attack Iran conventionally.

    I am not particularly concerned about the NPR as a military doctrine. There are so few cases in the real world where nuclear weapons are useful absent an equivalent nuclear threat from the opposing side that these hypothetical discussions about whether the US would conduct a first strike against a NNW state are almost irrelevant. They pertain only to the notion that a NNW state should develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent. And there the only examples are states which are already allies or potential allies of the US – and North Korea, which is clearly a case of conventional military strength (and lack of oil) trumping the NPR entirely.

    Iran is not an example, knows it is not an example, and has said so.

    I continue to submit that very few of these “pundits” have thought it through.

  111. Richard Steven Hack says:

    More proof of Obama’s intentions…

    Former Bush official: Syria resolution could authorize attack on Iran and Lebanon
    http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/former-bush-official-syria-resolution-could-authorize-attack-on-iran-and-lebanon.html

  112. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Agrees with Pepe Escobar’s estimate that “Pipelanistan” is the main issue…

    The long war: Syria is at the crux of ‘pipeline geopolitics’
    http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/the-long-war-syria-is-at-the-crux-of-pipeline-geopolitics.html

  113. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Piece cited by Mondoweiss…

    Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/aug/30/syria-chemical-attack-war-intervention-oil-gas-energy-pipelines

  114. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Makes it clear what Obama’s intentions are…

    Obama ‘has the right’ to strike Syria regardless of Congress vote, says Kerry
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/01/obama-strike-syria-congress-kerry

    Yeah, Obama really sounds “reluctant”, sending his SecState out to say this.

  115. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Obama surprised staff with decision on Syria
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/09/01/obama-surprises-aides-syria-congress-authorization/2752879/

    Of course he did – he takes his orders from OTHER people…

  116. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    fyi,

    True but expertise- general and specific- of the matter at hand- which you don’t have- puts his opinion in league above yours and mine.

    Like I said, all the innate intelligence and breadth of historical knowledge can’t goh-mali your lack of real, current actuall knowledge of Iranian capabilities. You understand that, don’t you?

    Again, its not about “authority”, but about “authoritative”.

    Me and you can have good general knowledge about many things, but we might not be “authorities” on these subjects.

    It’s clear to you that if there is any one in Iran or among Iranians in the world today who is a “real strategist” and “authoritative” when it comes to “Iranian national security” and “protecting the Iranian state”- it’s Seyyed Ali Khamenei- just the expertise and experience of the the last 35 years being involved in this field on a daily basis and on the highest levels- notice I didn’t mention anything about this clerical/religious background.

    You do get that, don’t you?

    So such a “real strategists” (I’m sure you appreciate the irony of your use of the concept “real” in the context of this subject) has determined that we don’t need nuclear weapons and that in fact they harm us more than they benefit us. He then issues this finding in the language of legal edict.

    Like I said you have every right to have your opinion, it just doesn’t really count for much in view of the opinion of a person with the expertise and experience I mentioned. You know the whole thing about opinions are like a-holes etc….

    And yes, only the future blah blah blah, but like I said the odds of the Iranian nation-state being “annihilated” after existing a few thousand years is well, extremely low.

    As you often say:”I am metaphysically certain of this.”

    I suspect deep down inside you wouldn’t be too sad if Iran got little nuked, cause you know, there is no such thing as society, only individuals, right?

    I mean all these village peasants and crazies didn’t let you pursue “the comfortable life” and you had to immigrate, you gotta be resentful, right?

    Come on, you can tell me, I won’t tell anyone…

  117. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Interactive: A look at the military buildup near Syria
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/08/30/interactive-syria/2742527/

  118. Richard Steven Hack says:

    ‘IDF soldiers mass on Lebanese border’
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-soldiers-amass-on-lebanese-border/

    Not enough for an invasion at this time – but Israel can’t invade until Syria’s military has been degraded enough to allow an insertion into the Bekaa Valley via Syrian territory. These troops are probably there to gather intel on the current situation and prepare the ground for the Israeli invasion.

  119. Richard Steven Hack says:

    IDF bolsters troops; IAF circles Lebanon sky
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4424499,00.html

    The planes are gathering intel for the invasion. Many of the troops are likely strategic and tactical intel gatherers.

  120. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Syria crisis: Britain will play active role in military action despite vote defeat
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10278355/Syria-crisis-Britain-will-play-active-role-in-military-action-despite-vote-defeat.html

    And once the attack expands to a larger strike, the UK will undoubtedly participate militarily.

  121. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Russia sharply steps up criticism of U.S. over Syria
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-sharply-steps-up-criticism-of-us-over-syria/2013/08/31/532c48ea-1238-11e3-a2b3-5e107edf9897_story.html

    Note the Post’s implied – and even directly stated – insults towards Putin…

  122. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Arms Control Law hits a new low…

    Military Action in Syria as a New Form of Belligerent Reprisal
    http://armscontrollaw.com/2013/08/31/military-action-in-syria-as-a-new-form-of-belligerent-reprisal/comment-page-1/#comment-7214

    Written by Colonel Liron Libman, previously the head of the International Law Department of the Israeli Defense Force.

    Seriously, Joyner? You’re scraping the bottom of the barrel here to support military intervention in Syria?

    As Denis comments on the site:

    Just the idea of an IDF colonel who has been described online in 2011 as advising the Israeli army on “how to proceed without taking International Law into account” writing a piece like this on how to proceed by dodging International Law gives one faith in the internet.

  123. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Putin offers sensible advice for Obama. Even if the Washington Post dislikes this fact.

  124. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Interesting report that you linked, in USA today. That Obama’s own staff did not want him to seek Congressional approval for an attack on Syria.

  125. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Nafeez Ahmed piece in the Guardian that you linked mentions that in 2009 Britain was reported as preparing a potential operation in Syria, but does not mention that Labour then lost the elections and the new Conservative coalition government favored improving Britain’s relations with Syria.

  126. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I have not predicted a US attack on Iran. That is, unless Iran attacks US forces (or Gulf monarchies).

    Germany is one of the six powers (P5+1) trying to resolve the nuclear dispute.

  127. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I very much doubt Israel can be compelled to annex the West Bank in its entirety. Israel will refuse to annex areas with too many Muslims (or Christians).

    I favor getting Israel out of the WB entirely.

    Only population figure that matters, in terms of voting, control of the country, etc., is population with Israel’s borders, which at this time is about three Jews to every non-Jew.

  128. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    A true friend offers good advice, not false flattery or foolish encouragement for dangerous games. I regard myself as a friend of Iran for very good reasons.

    Do you think Russia and China should tell Iran to continue to enrich to 20 even if this may well produce war?

  129. kooshy says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    September 1, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Interactive: A look at the military buildup near Syria

    RSH, this could have helped Kerry make his case the other day, his presentation without fun interactive drawings was dry.
    Sure like American scary drawings “animations R us “

  130. Sineva says:

    Fiorangela says:
    September 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm
    Yes,Butler did always have a knack for stating the obvious

  131. kooshy says:

    Can anyone explain what is the official Saudi reason for their support of the insurgents against the government of Syria, I know what their strategic reason is, but have not heard (or failed to understand)of their official overt reason, on why they are against the sitting government of Syria. Could it be that they think Assad’s government unlike theirs is not democrat, or again unlike the Saudis Assad is suppressing majority and minorities in his country? I would think their reason that I haven’t heard of too many times is because, nobody dares to bring it up if this kind of reason comes out of the KSA it would be a self-defeating notion, I have even noticed that the American and Europeans they refrain naming KSA a coalition member against Assad, naturally doing so would be an embarrassment for any coalition claiming for preserving democracy. If lack of democracy in Syria is bothering the suadies one can only say “Roo Keh Niest Sang e Pay e Gazvineh”

    “Saudi Arabia has called for a foreign military action in Syria, saying it will support the US military intervention against the government of President Bashar al-Assad over an alleged use of chemical weapons near Damascus.”

    “Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal made the remarks on Sunday during a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

    “Any opposition to any international action would only encourage Damascus to move forward with committing its crimes and using all weapons of mass destruction,” said Faisal.

    “The time has come to call on the world community to bear its responsibility and take the deterrent measure that puts a halt to the tragedy,” he added. “

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/09/01/321640/saudi-arabia-calls-for-us-war-in-syria/

  132. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    September 1, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Your formulation, “odds of the Iranian nation-state ” is incorrect.

    Iran is a multi-national state glued by Shia Islam and the very distant idea of Eran-Shahr.

    Just go to Tabriz and spend some time there; you will see the extent to which their culture has common elements with the Turks of Central Asia.

    The best Persian translation of “Heydar Babaye Salam” leaves a Persian speaker unmoved; and Azeri speaker will call it “her life”.

    Shia Islam is the glue that binds and not some legendary Iranian Nation.

    I think you need to go back and study some more.

  133. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    September 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that US attack against Iran will be attempted at the first opportune moment by the Axis Powers.

    The events of the past 10 days in Syria leaves no scope for any other conclusion.

    Germany is a Baron of the United States; she will not go against Her Liege.

    So little has changed since the 10-th century, hasn’t it?

  134. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    September 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    That is patent non-sense.

    It is true that Iranians are extending their gas pipelines to Iraq and Syria.

    At the moment, they do not have enough production to meet export demand – as far as I know.

  135. kooshy says:

    “Iran is a multi-national state glued by Shia Islam”

    In that case you fail to understand the meaning of nationality, which I hope unintentionally you meant to say multi ethnical state.

    That is a BS, Ghomyat is not the same as Meliat, since I would think you know the difference.
    Baluch, Kurd, Lur, Azari, Pars, etc. are all Aghvam e Irani even their spoken dialects/Language are all derivatives of Indo Iranian language. Not only they all are glued with Emam Hossain they are even glued with Norooz some even call the countries around (Greater Iran) Norozestan.

    Every one of these ethnicities which you like to identify them as different nationalities (reminds me of that bankrupt Michel Laden) voluntary did multi tour of duty fighting against
    Suni Arab nationalist in 1980’s.

    “Just go to Tabriz and spend some time there; you will see the extent to which their culture has common elements with the Turks of Central Asia.”

    This a total nonsense, it clearly show you have a very little knowledge of Tabriz and Azaries in general. Next time you are in Tabriz ask them what they think of Shanameh, or why some of the best Azari poets
    Their poetry is made in Persian. I come to think your animosity with Iran is beyond IRI. You need to explain why.

  136. fyi says:

    kooshy says:
    September 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I have stated my opinion based on common usage of words in the English language; what is called nation-state has a very specific meaning in the Western political discourse that does not correspond with your notions.

    The closest analogue of Iran in Europe was the now defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    It was the Safavids that revived the name of Iran, giving money to the itinerant story-tellers to go and recite the Shahnameh.

    I stand by comments about the common and living culture among Azeri Turks and Central Asian Turks.

  137. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    September 1, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    “Just go to Tabriz and spend some time there; you will see the extent to which their culture has common elements with the Turks of Central Asia.”

    I think you are wrong on this account. spending a couple of days in Tabriz does not make you expert on Azeri culture, if that’s what you have done recently. and more than forty years have passed since that extended time. I recommend you stay longer there next time and mingle with the new generation. you will realize most of the popular songs in that region are in Farsi.

    That “Heydar Baba” makes an Azeri exited does not mean anything. not for that matter cultural separation. so does a Mazani song for me. even you could be totally numbed with that.

    My best friends are Azeris. and I lived with them for years. Unlike what you say they are culturally Iranian, even though with an added language. does language make us English here?

    The wider cultural affinity with the rest of the country need not be explained. I recommend you go sub-culturally deeper to things like Taarof… that is almost non-existent in Turkish culture.

    You remind me of a pan-turk guy few years ago, acting like a true Iranian in every aspect of life, yet calling himself part of a greater Turkestan.

  138. kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    September 1, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    “I have stated my opinion based on common usage of words”
    “I stand by comments about the common and living culture among Azeri”

    Basically, you can and undoubtedly will stand by any BS you come up with, like BiB said opinions are like A holes, there are plenty are out there , but look I stand to make you corrected whenever you put out uncalled BS opinions, specially about Iranian nationality and national history. I respect your personal opinions, but in future if you try to BS the forum with your personal opinions please tag it as such at the time, not when you get confronted and have no backup.

  139. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Do you know of any credible western site that assesses and/or does modeling of cyber wars? If so, would you mind sharing the site?

  140. Empty says:

    Richard Steven Hack,

    How are your skills in assessing cyber attack/counter attack capabilities? Have you done any work in this area?

  141. Dan Cooper says:

    Back in 1990, I was in Baghdad covering the lead-up to the first US war against Iraq. I found four British scientific technicians who told me – and showed documents – that they had been sent by Her Majesty’s government to help Iraq’s biowarfare programs.

    The four scientists were stationed at Salman Pak laboratories to manufacture four types of germ weapons for Iraq for use against Iran, including anthrax and q-fever. The feeder stocks for the germ weapons came from a US lab in Maryland; their export was ok’d by Washington. I repeatedly reported on this grim discovery.

    During the long, bloody Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the US, Britain, Italy and Germany exported chemical weapons plants and raw material to Iraq that produced Sarin nerve gas and burning mustard gas. Many thousands of Iranian soldiers were killed, horribly burned or blinded by these western-supplied weapons.

    The US has no strategic interests in Syria beyond an obsession to overthrow Iran’s disobedient government.

    The Syrian conflict is a proxy war being waged against Iran by the United States, conservative Arab oil producers, and three former Mideast colonial powers, Britain, France and Turkey who are seeking to restore their domination in the region.

    Israel, hoping to isolate Hezbollah and cement its annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights, cheers from the sidelines

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36047.htm

  142. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    fyi, (kooshy, PG,)

    As usual you are stuck in your imagination without real, on the ground info and knowledge.

    Iran is not like the Austro-Hungarian empire. It seems you are clueless about the history of the Austro-Hungarian empire. I advise not go there with me because I might have answer in German again- quoting the histories in their original which you can’t read in the original but I can.

    After you left so many years ago, we set up universal primary and secondary education in Iran. All the kids from Bazargan to Baluchistan from Sarakhs to Sarbandar speak Farsi, read the same textbooks, study the same history, watch the same television. They have more in common with each other then they do with their parents. Thus they are first and foremost “Iranians”. Ino mifahmi?

    If there is any country that’s gonna be around till the end of times, Iran’s one of them. The US is much more in danger of collapsing. And I guess you haven’t heard the news that Scotland is voting on independence from the UK (and Quebec same and Catalonia the same.)

    You got it ass-backwards because of your personal ogde against Iran and gharbzadegi.

    What I said is that “Iran” will not be nuked and annihilated by anyone. Period.

    The odds of the Iran/Iranian state/nation/whatever being annihilated are close to zero. Period.

    Therefore your shrill inaccurate comments and incorrect assessment that thus Iran needs nuclear weapons is not worth much, even though you are allowed to make it- and we are allowed to point out to you that it is bulls**t.

    I don’t know why you don’t get off your old ass and come and spend some time in Iran. It would really help you form more accurate opinions. I hope it would also have an effect on your obstinacy, but maybe it’s too late to cure that.

  143. BiBiJon says:

    On Syria
    =======

    “Debate over a possible strike – its wisdom, preferred scope and legitimacy in the absence of UN Security Council approval – has obscured and distracted from what ought to be the overriding international preoccupation: how to revitalise the search for a political settlement. Discussions about its legality aside, any contemplated military action should be judged based on whether it advances that goal or further postpones it.”

    http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2013/mena/syria-statement.aspx

  144. Rd. says:

    Dan Cooper says:

    “The US has no strategic interests in Syria beyond an obsession to overthrow Iran’s disobedient government.”

    To add;

    It seems, the US/west used the arab spring opportunity to introduce terrorist in Syria to destabilize Syria and weaken the link in the resistance. Then the resistance made its move with Hezbollah and quickly checked (perhaps even very close to mate) the western move. [one has to understand, this move must have been studied]. Now the west is scrambling to formulate a response.

    Looking at this, it looks US has no strategic planning and is simply re-acting to events as they unfold. There in lies their weakness, despite massive armaments.

    Even the response itself is a product of re-action to ‘unexpected’ events!!

    Should we (US) do a quicky and save face? That didn’t sit well in the region, then the Brits backed out, now we go to congress and act we are democratic (LOL), every step of the way provides opportunity for failure. The grandest failure will be the argument seemingly being propagated, that we have to save face! If a lone superpower with thousands of nuclear weapons has to spend so much capital and effort, and military show of force, etc.. just to save face? It does not have much of a face.

  145. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Negatory, Empty-san. Check this article about war games out, however, if you have not come across it before.

    ,http: // rense.com/ general59/ thesunburniransawesome.htm

    and then there is this also:

    ,http: // goldenageofgaia.com/ accountability/ warmongering/ why-the-u-s-would-be-ill-advised-to-go-to-war-with-iran/

  146. Unknown Unknowns says:

    And this,

    ,http:// http://www.rusi.org/ downloads/ assets/ RDS_201206_Hewson.pdf

    and this:

    ,http:// thearkenstone.blogspot.de/ 2009/08/ anti-ship-missiles-kowsar-noor-and-raad.html

  147. Rehmat says:

    Last month, in the interview, Hollywood actor-director Ali Stone debunked Zionist lies about 9/11, Islamic Republic, Hizbullah, Israel, Jewish Lobby, Islamophobia and the Muslim world in general. Like many Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Hindu scholars, academic and investigative reporter – Ali Stone, too, doesn’t believe in the “official 9/11 story”. Barry Chamish, an Israeli Jewish author, admitted last year that Israel and the Zionists in Bush administration were responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

    The highlights of Ali Stone’s comments:

    The Western media is controlled by less than ten individuals (all Jewish).

    Iranian are very civilized and peace-loving people. They’ve over 3000-year-old civilization, which they will never put in danger by attacking Israel or the US – unless attacked by either of those states.

    Hizbullah in not a terrorist organization. It has no history of military actions outside the Lebanese borders. It is a patriotic organization which has been defending Lebabob from Israeli attacks.

    Israel is an extension of centuries-old western wars on historic Palestine. Russian Jewish settlers have no right to occupy Arab lands in Palestine. The US-Israel connection is very deep. Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is an American citizen. Professor Neve Gordon (Ben-Gurion University) called Netanyahu, a Spook, Terrorist or Criminal in October 1996.

    I’m a Jewish-Christian in Islam. Islam is the only religion which recognizes and praises all the Biblical prophets and commands universal peace.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/08/15/ali-stone-debunks-lies-about-iran-hizbullah-and-911/

  148. Unknown Unknowns says:

    From the excellent article by Robert Hewson (editor of Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons) linked earlier:

    “Since the early 1990s, and probably even before then, China has
    supplied Iran with anti-ship missile (AShM) know-how and hardware. The relationship between the two states has progressed to the point where Iran is now assembling and operating a complete family of AShMs tailored to its national needs. All of these weapons have their roots in China, but Iran is not simply a customer for Chinese missiles – it is a full partner in their design, development and acquisition.
    Iran’s first collaborative project with China involved the C-802 missile –
    an extended-range turbojet-powered development of the C-801 produced
    by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC). The Iran
    Aerospace Industries Organisation (IAIO) began working with CASIC to
    produce the C-802 in Iran as the Noor (dawn). Through the Noor project,
    Iran took an existing, in-service Chinese weapon and developed a new
    national production capability for it. Iran now has 20 years’ experience with
    the C-802 design and appears to have followed the Chinese development
    path by extending the missile’s range (to at least 180 km) and improving its onboard systems (such as the seeker). Iran has also made some
    unique achievements – most notably, adapting the missile for launch by
    the Mi-17 helicopter.

    A final item of note in the story of Iranian and Chinese missile development concerns the programme in which that cooperation probably began.
    In the early 1980s, Iran acquired Chinese-built HY-2 missiles (C-201, CSSC-3
    ‘Seersucker’), which were themselves based on the elderly Soviet-era
    P-20M Termit (SS-N-2 ‘Styx’). Even then the 1950s-vintage design was considered to be obsolete. However, Iran still maintains the HY-2 in service and
    regularly fires these missiles in its coastal battery exercises. Despite its age,
    the HY-2 is still capable of sinking any undefended vessel, and coordinated
    multiple launches could be part of a saturation attack that would challenge
    even the most modern warship.
    There are now at least four distinct AShMs of Chinese origin in Iranian
    hands, and more are likely to follow. To a greater or lesser degree, Iran
    has the ability to build and modify all of its ‘Chinese missiles’ and has put
    them into service on land, at sea and in the air. The well-chosen overlapping capabilities of these missiles give Iran a layered combat reach that is
    effective out to at least 200km from the shoreline. This alone is a significant capability, as most of Iran’s launchers are fully mobile and therefore
    hard to detect and target. The deployment of more missiles on Iran’s FACs
    and smaller warships poses another problem entirely. With so much attention and emotion devoted to Iran’s militarily irrelevant (and non-existent)
    nuclear weapons, the fact that Iran has, en masse, deployed missiles that
    really affect the regional balance of power has largely gone unnoticed.

  149. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basijo,

    I of course agreee with you that Iran will not be nuked or annihilated. By anyone. Chances of that are extremely remote, assuming Iran did not do something completely out of character.

  150. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Nader Oskui, posting yesterday:

    Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmayeeli told reporters in Tehran today that Iran has “restructured” its Russian-made S-200 missile defense system to be operated with homemade Sayaad (“Hunter”) 2 missiles.

    The Sayyad-2 static surface-to-air missiles reportedly have a maximum range of between 200 and 350 km, using radio illumination mid-course correction to fly towards the target with a terminal semi-active radar homing phase. The missile is based on Russian S-75 (NATO SA-2 Guideline) and is influenced by the Chinese HQ-2 and the HAWK and Standard missiles currently in the country’s air defense force inventory. It was first tested in April 2011.

    Iran tested its S-200 anti-aircraft missile systems in November 2010. It is a long range, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile (SAM) system designed to defend against bomber attack.

    Gen. Esmayeeli also said that his command will soon test Bavar (“Belief”) 373 system – which he described as an Iranian version of Russian S-300 long-range air defense system. Russia has refused to deliver the S-300 to Iran despite having signed a sales contract with the country.

    *

    And a seemingly very well-informed anonymous commenter there adds:

    The first units of Bavar 373 are undergoing testing near Shiraz and are a combination of Chinese HQ-15 and is the upgrade version of S-300PMU-1. Pakistan has the Chinese HQ-15 as well, this is better than the S-300V that Russia developed for Iran and later upgraded to the better S-300VM version. Those units are now in Syria.

    An S-300VM battery is capable of taking down both aerial targets moving as fast as 4,500kph, tracking and engaging up to 24 aircraft or up to 16 ballistic missiles simultaneously. It has a range of up to 200km for aircraft and up to 40km for ballistic missiles. It takes no more than 6 minutes for a trained crew to deploy the system from travel position to combat position. Hopefully, the Syrians are linked to the Russian EW systems.

    Russia sold two S-300VM batteries to Venezuela in April this year, which was the first deal fort the hardware. Iranians have had ample time to examine and improve the S300 VM guidance and ECM. India is among possible buyers of the system.

    Syrians currently have an integrated S-300 surface-to-air missile systems in addition to S-200, Buk-M1-2, Buk-M2E, Pantsir-S1E, S-125 Neva and S-125M Pechyora systems, which would allow Damascus to successfully respond to U.S. air and sea missile attacks, Russians naval pickets off Cyprus can also provide real time ELINT on any incoming strike and have coordinated response configuration as all the Syrian systems are Russian

    Syria’s air defense systems if properly manned, dispersed and based on real time data should be able to appropriately respond to strikes by the U.S. and its anti-Syrian poodles like the French, should a war begin. Today Damascus has approximately 1,000 air defense missile systems and more than 5,000 different air defense weapons including AAA and lethal radar guided ZSU-23/4 Quad “Shikla” that can spew enough lead to bring down a Tomahawk. Iranian monitoring ELINT stations in Lebanon and Golan will also play a crucial role in detection and interception. Syrian ground units also have plenty of manpads that can take on low level threats.

    In 1983 during the Lebanese civil war to support their losing Phalangist stooges,US bombed Syria in frustration and a number of planes were shot down. Syrian surface-to-air missiles shot down two American planes, an A-6 Intruder and an A-7 Corsair. The pilot of the A-6, Lieutenant Mark Lange (flying from USS John F. Kennedy), was killed; his Bombardier/Navigator, Lieutenant Bobby Goodman, ejected and was captured by Syrian soldiers. Lt. Goodman was held for 30 days before his released was facilitated by Jesse Jackson. Lt. Lange’s body was returned. From the A-7, the pilot ejected and was rescued, although he suffered severe injuries.

    US air force is quite incompetent as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan have amply shown and the Zionists exaggerate their claims or Hollywood myths. Time will tell how the US fares this time.

  151. Karl.. says:

    Hillary Leverett bulldozed warmongers recently.

    Josh Rogin vs Hillary
    youtube.com/watch?v=VwnE36zA6E0

    Israel lobby vs Hillary
    youtube.com/watch?v=iwg5DIG4__g

    I feel Hillary’s emotions, enough is enough!

  152. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    British Parliament opposes an attack by the UK on Syria, and you see this as indicating “Axis Powers” will attack Iran?

    If Iran continues to stockpile enriched uranium, and pursues the plutonium programme, an attack is possible. But as I have said, I would expect a blockade of Iranian oil exports before any attack.

  153. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    I doubt Saudi Arabia has put out an official statement as to why it wants the government of Syria overthrown.

  154. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Yes, let us remember Austria-Hungary. Which saw Serbia as a mortal threat to its territorial integrity, and to “protect” itself brought about its own complete destruction in the First World War.

  155. Karl.. says:

    James

    Since you keep justifying attacks on Iran. When does Iran have the right to attack the UK?
    Lets say Iran say to the UK, “stop your nuclear program or we will use force”. Would you accept that? Would the UK?

  156. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I keep “justifying” attacks on Iran? Nonsense.

    You have some considerable difficulty grasping the fact it is Iran that needs to make the deal with the Six Powers.

  157. James Canning says:

    Britain guarantee[d] 178 m[illion pounds] of loans to Iran to buy British exports for gas and oil development in the mid 2000s.”
    – - Nick Dearden, in the Guardian today

  158. Sineva says:

    Karl.. says:
    September 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    You`re wasting your breath Karl,mr canning only has two arguments:appeasement and 20% or some combination of the two

  159. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 1, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    You may wish to enlighten all of us and describe what this “Iranian Culture” is which is common to all inhabitants of modern Iran.

    Aside from that, the commonality of cultural elements obtaining between Azeri Turks and Central Asian Turks does not imply that the Azeri Turks are any less “Iranian” – its description I hope you will share with all of us.

    Now, you can also go to Tajikistan and experience the commonality of the Persian culture between the Persian Iranian and them.

    I doubt that you will be as distraught contemplating that similarity.

    Now, my point was very simple, that Iran is a multi-national state and not a nation-state in the European (Political Theory) case.

    I believe this to be beyond dispute.

    I stand by what I have said.

  160. Karl.. says:

    James

    Repond to my question!

    When does Iran have the right to attack the UK?
    Lets say Iran say to the UK, “stop your nuclear program or we will use force”. Would you accept that? Would the UK?

  161. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    On what basis would Iran “demand UK top its nuclear programme”? Meaning?

    You are ignoring the question of standing. P5+1 are negotiating with Iran. Iran must make a deal with these six powers.

    And let us be specific. I think Iran can have nuclear programme. But it needs approval of P5+1.

    You appear to argue Iran should not try to make a deal with P5+1. Correct?

  162. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I have not argued Britain has a “right” to attack Iran. (Assuming Iran does not attack UK in some way first.)

  163. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I think Iran would do well to implement Rouhani’s proposal for an increase in foreign tourism, in Iran. “Soft power.”

  164. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:
    September 2, 2013 at 4:40 am

    The Persian language has been the state/government language since the time of Samanian.

    Nothing new there.

    And the fact that all children in Iran are being taught that language must be understood as an effort to facilitate the non-Persian speakers to participate in the national (cultural, commercial, political, religious…) life of Iran.

    These facts, such as they are, do not alter the cultural affinities to which I have alluded and which has elicited such a negative reaction from you and other commentators.

    When the Safavid state was formed, it was based on the dual nationalities of Azeri Turks and Persians – with a number of other, smaller nationalities thrown in; Gilacks, Taleshi, Lurs, Baluchis, and the Afghan Tribes, etc.

    In this it resembled the Austro-Hungarian Empire – the dual monarchy based on German and Hungarian nations; unified in the Person of the Emperor.

    When the King was removed, say the Shah Sultan Hussein, the state dissolved and over a 200-year long period of civil war 4 countries emerged: Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Afghanistan.

    In case of Austro-Hungarian Empire many more countries have emerged.

    In Iran, the process of state disintegration was stopped by the late Agha Muhammad Khan Qajar and the successor state to the Monarchical Iran, that is, the Islamic Republic of Oran, immediately had to suppress nationalistic-based sedition among Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, Turkomans.

    Now I am not arguing that there is no Iranian-ness; rather I am arguing that it is not comparable in its strength and vitality to Shia-ness.

    All of this discussion would have been no so significant and appropriate for an after dinner conversation had its political ramifications were not so serious.

    I will explain:

    The Euro-Americans political theory posits that a “Modern State” is a Volkish/National state – for one nation (with allowance made for minority and subservient nationalities in the main body of the nation.)

    This political theory cannot accept a state that is primarily based on a religion – in case of Iran – the Shia religion.

    The European International Law (Americans have largely destroyed international law) has real difficulty with that for much of historical process in Europe itself was dedicated to the destruction of a religious state; i.e. the “Papal States”.

    Euro-Americans, therefore, in my opinion, do not have even the intellectual tools to analyze a state such as Iran. For them, the foreign policy of Iran, which seeks to come to the aide of the Shia everywhere that she can, is ipsi facto illegitimate.

    Mr. Solana, in the article that I linked, calls Iran’s activities “against International Law” – no matter how ridiculous it is coming from the mouth of the hatchet man for the destruction of Yugoslavia.

    Mr. Kissinger also asked as much: “..is Iran an nation-state or a (religious) cause?”

    So Euro-Americans insist on the normative-ness of European historical experience and are unwilling or incapable of comprehending the fundamentally different historical process in the Near East.

    To me, it is clear that the Axis Powers must accept the reality of Iran as the Mountain Fortress of the Shia and proceed from there. All they have accomplished, so far, by denying that reality and the centrality of Shia Islam, has been the ushering of the Shia Crescent into being.

    In regards to your depth of knowledge in German; please take the trouble of translating one book from the late Cardinal Balthazar and one from the late Dr. Kung. You will be rendering a great service to the further intellectual development of Iran as well as other Muslim countries.

  165. fyi says:

    Dan Cooper says:
    September 2, 2013 at 3:40 am

    I agree with this post.

    Arabs, Turks and Israelis are manipulating the United States; each in their own cunning ways.

    And “The Boss Man” thinks that he is on top of all these developments.

  166. Karl.. says:

    James

    Like I thought you cannot answer the question because you know you are wrong. Thats very weak of you.

    This goes back to the racist thing I mentioned earlier, apparently you think that Uk are superior and iranians inferior, the former could make demands (Iran must end its nuclear program) while the latter can not demand the same for the former (UK must end its nuclear program).

  167. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    September 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Mr. George Bush II declared enemies of Israel to be enemies of USA.

    That policy has not been repudiated publicly or privately.

    I believe that US and her Barons are not seeking destruction of Iran when that policy statement is publicly revoked.

    It will not cost much for US to state that now, would it?

    I will be more re-assured when Axis Powers relent in IAEA and close the Iranian Nuclear Dossier.

    In regards to the Commons vote against War in Syria – that could all change in the future.

    Short of acquiring multiple nuclear warheads, there is no way for Iran to prevent an attack against her at the first opportune moment by the Axis Powers.

    A temporary lull in a war does not imply its cessation.

  168. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    September 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I think we (kooshy and I) brought you a few examples here. In fact, the onus is on you to bring us what type of commonality you are referring to, among Iranian Azeris and central Asian people or Turkish people for that matter, which is far beyond basic human behaviour here or there. or couldn’t you say the same thing between Arabs, Pakistanis/Indians and people living in Iranian plateau?

    If you exclude the ways certain group deal with their relatives and non-relatives, their costumes, foods…what is left to be called commonality then?

    My sense is you never dealt with these groups (our Azeris, people from Turkey, or central Asians for that matter) beyond formal (political) relationship/discussion. otherwise you would have ,at least, realized the stark difference of deeply religious culture among Iranian Azeris and the nomadic system of central Asian people.

    A shared history, with all the accumulated experiences over the generations, brings a sense of identity and togetherness. and people living in current Iranian boarders have long enough history of that kind to make them one nation. hence the falsity of your definition. even living under Islamic Republic has generated certain norms among the majority of Iranians today. I suspect you would be totally a stranger if you see some discussions among Iranians living in Iran in social media (aside from political discourse).

  169. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    One of the shared elements is Turkish language, another one is Music (Ahsiq, Dotar) and there are more.

    But, per your own thoughts, why not ask your Azeri friends?

    My initial point was that the primacy of the Shia Religion as the glue of various nationalities in Iran.

    Note that the Kurds, precisely because they are largely Sunni, are outside of the Iranian mainstream.

    You are quite right about not sharing norms with most Iranians – mostly that is due to a certain outlook and point-of-view that is not considered congenial – and then there is the issue of age which alienates one from the world.

  170. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    George W. Bush said many moronic things.

    I agree it would be a good thing for Obama to make a public statement the US is not the “enemy” of Iran.

    I think Iran can resolve the nuclear dispute, but that this would require off-the-record talks with British and other European officials. In order to work around the Israel’s lobby’s prohibition of contact between American officials and Iranian offficials.

  171. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Are you seriously proposing that Iranian officials handling the nuclear file should raise the issue of Britain’s nuclear programme?

    You are not joking?

    I will say yet again: I think Iran can have a nuclear programme, approved by P5+1.

  172. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Didn’t the unification of Italy require an end to the Pope’s rule over the Papal States?

  173. kooshy says:

    Again you have no idea what nonsense you are talking about, I believe the a nation state is that the state comes before the nation, meaning the state (a governed geographic location) through its common history formulates and shares a common culture, language, religion, belief, etc. that eventually the entire nation with different background wants to protect the state in defense of their shared communalities, like Norooz, Imam Housin, Shahnameh, this is more evident in Iran than any other country in between India and Egypt.

    With this explanation the idea is the formation of Iranian state 2500 years ago brought in different people ( like you can see in carvings on stairs to Apadana), as time went on all the other cultures and groups that came were included and formed a shared common culture, and language within a specific geography that they are willing to protect with their lifes. Now you still think this not the case in Iran?

    As an example one of most senior Iranian classical signers wining important international recognitions for Shanameh Khani (In Persian) is a Kurd, Sharame, Nazeri, and many other examples of such.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/nation-state

    na•tion-state (nshn-stt)
    n.
    A political unit consisting of an autonomous state inhabited predominantly by a people sharing a common culture, history, and language.

  174. James Canning says:

    A Seattle travel compnay, Mir, is offering a trip on a luxury private train to Tehran from Budapest, next month. And back. Cost is about $1,000 per day (two weeks). (Financial Times)

  175. James Canning says:

    “In the US, meanwhile, officials spent the last week stressing that the [proposed] strikes [against Syria] were intended to deter other actions, such as Lebanon’s Hizbollah and Iran, from similar use of unconventional weapons. . .”
    –Roula Khalef, in the Financial Times Sept 2nd

    Obama’s team thinks Iran might use CW if the US fails to attack Syria? Preposterous.

  176. kooshy says:

    Just remembered in current issue of Bukhara Magazine (Iran published magazine covering history, literature and culture of greater Iran) there is an article by Dr. Hassan Anvari (who is an Azari himself, like the current leader of the Islamic revolution) interestingly the title of Mr. Anvari’s article is “share of Azerbaijan in writing Persian Dictionaries” acording Mr. Anvari this goes back to the first century.

    Ironically what better evidence for a 3 millennium melting pot in brewing than that of shahnameh the (Birth certificate of the Iranians) which was ordered by a central Asian Turk, Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi who was son a Turkic slave-soldier of the Samanid Emirs of Bukhara. I can go on and go on if I thought it would have changed anybody’s agenda here.

    http://bukharamag.com/1392.04.3725.html#more-3725

  177. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    Interesting comments! And consider use of Persian as court language in Mughal Empire.
    Founder, Babur, was of Mongol/Turkic descent.

  178. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Empty: “How are your skills in assessing cyber attack/counter attack capabilities? Have you done any work in this area?”

    I hope to be doing computer security consulting perhaps next year. I understand computer security pretty well. Got a question?

  179. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The shifting of position of the USS Nimitz makes it clear Obama intends a wider strike than just 100 Tomahawks from five or six destroyers.

    As for Syria’s vaunted air defense capabilities, if your computers are hacked like the Israelis did recently, nothing works.

    Also, as I’ve said before, the attacker always has the initiative. Other military experts assessing Syria’s capabilities make it clear that if the US attacks with some brains, it is possible to degrade Syria’s air defenses with minimal losses.

    Remember, for every cruise missiles expended, some US corporation gets a $1.1 million dollar pay day. The US will bomb Syria for ten years straight for that kind of profit, if that’s what it takes.

    Do note that the exact targets the US is listing are the same targets that would threaten Israel in an Iran war: missiles, aircraft, artillery that could be used to launch chemical weapons, etc. The REAL purpose is to take out the military capability to threaten Israel, NOT chemical weapons.

  180. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Obama’s proposal seeks broad war power despite vow of limits
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/09/01/201002/obamas-proposal-seeks-broad-war.html#.UiQF95Mo7b0

    And Justin Raimondo over at Antiwar STILL thinks Obama is “resisting” attacking Syria. He thinks this is why Obama decided to ask Congress for permission. He’s hallucinatory, still under the Obama Kool-Aid…

    It’s amazing how people can’t see that sometimes what’s right in front of your eyes is the way it really IS…

  181. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi:

    Well I asked these things already.

    I think language was discussed here before. it generates a sub-identity somehow. I don’t deny that. it’s also a stretch itself. how much an Azeri would understand in Uzbekistan? probably below 40%. while he understands 100% Farsi, I don’t know what kind of shared element could it be to sidestep the main line and make a multi-national state as you describe.

    Republic of Azerbaijan is a different case. It has been devoid of religion for a hundred years now. although it will remain a question for the foreseeable future, an absolute majority are in the opinion that it should come back as the other way around is impossible; cultural/financial assimilation, extended inter-marriage and migration, very small size and population of R of A and so on.

    Music has a very important place in Azeri because it’s the easiest way to express feelings. It’s way more difficult to make poem in Turkic languages compared to Farsi for example. I assume Nezami-Ghanjavi would have had a very hard time making those poems in Turkish (probably impossible). and it’s easier in Arabic than Farsi. But music per se doesn’t make much of a shared identity, if it’s not in the overall cultural context. I am quite adapt to English music. however, I don’t think it makes any element of identity in me with an English person.

    It’s simple, they are more comfortable with us than with their colinguists, as my Azeri friends say. it’s a shared sense of identity coming from practicing similar norms, customs, religion, wars, sanctions,…over the course of history.

  182. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Syria: US missile strikes could do more damage than west had believed
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/31/syria-military-us-missile-strikes

  183. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Unlike Raimondo, Glenn Greenwald has a much better picture of Obama…

    Obama, Congress and Syria
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/01/obama-congress-syria-authorization

    Quote

    It’s a potent sign of how low the American political bar is set that gratitude is expressed because a US president says he will ask Congress to vote before he starts bombing another country that is not attacking or threatening the US…

    But what makes the celebratory reaction to yesterday’s announcement particularly odd is that the Congressional vote which Obama said he would seek appears, in his mind, to have no binding force at all. There is no reason to believe that a Congressional rejection of the war’s authorization would constrain Obama in any way, other than perhaps politically. To the contrary, there is substantial evidence for the proposition that the White House sees the vote as purely advisory, i.e., meaningless.

    Recall how – in one of most overlooked bad acts of the Obama administration – the House of Representatives actually voted, overwhelmingly, against authorizing the US war in Libya, and yet Obama simply ignored the vote and proceeded to prosecute the war anyway (just as Clinton did when the House rejected the authorization he wanted to bomb Kosovo, though, at least there, Congress later voted to allocate funds for the bombing campaign). Why would the White House view the President’s power to wage war in Libya as unconstrainable by Congress, yet view his power to wage war in Syria as dependent upon Congressional authorization?

    More to the point, his aides are making clear that Obama does not view the vote as binding, as Time reports:

    To make matters more complicated, Obama’s aides made clear that the President’s search for affirmation from Congress would not be binding. He might still attack Syria even if Congress issues a rejection.”

    End Quote

  184. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Revealed: UK Government let British company export nerve gas chemicals to Syria
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-uk-government-let-british-company-export-nerve-gas-chemicals-to-syria-8793642.html

    I suppose Canning will defend THAT action…

  185. Richard Steven Hack says:

    With Syria attack on hold, most reserves soldiers sent home
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/with-syria-attack-on-hold-most-reserve-soldiers-sent-home/

    Of course – Israel doesn’t expect to have to attack Lebanon tomorrow…They have to wait until Syria has been degraded enough to make crossing Syrian territory feasible. There’s no hurry.

    Note this:

    Keeping the soldiers on duty until possible American action would have likely cost the army, currently dealing with budget cuts, several hundred thousand shekels, and the move would have also slightly pinged the Israeli economy.

    That’s exactly the point of attacking Syria and Lebanon – to avoid “pinging the Israeli economy” in an IRAN war… This is proof of the motivation. Because in an Iran war, allowing Hizballah to fire hundreds of missiles daily for weeks would force the Israeli electorate to sit in bomb shelters for most of every day, hurting the economy, and ticking off the electorate who might then vote the Likud out of office. Better to take out Syria first, then Hizballah, then attack Iran and let the US absorb the brunt of the war.

  186. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    September 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    My point is that Euro-Americans lack the analytical tools for understanding many non-European area of the word; Near East being one.

    And, furthermore, that their expectation of European Normative-ness will only lead to disaster.

  187. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 2, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I am not denying the shared-feeling of Iran-ness etc. but I was trying to correct a potential misunderstanding that Mr. Bussed-in-Basiji’s careless formulation could potentially have caused.

    And yes, there are misguided Azeris – largely some god-damned intellectual – for whom Azeri Turkish is the all-consuming passions. For them, Turkey is a more congenial place than Iran; even though in there they would be considered “Ajam” at best and “Kaferi” at worst.

    The Republic of Azerbaijan is officially secular bit outside of Baku (Bad-Kubeh) there is Ashura ceremonies; no matter what the government does or say.

  188. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi

    A Turkish friend of mine used to say those Azeris are very dellusional people who like to exagerate a lot. He was saying these nuts don’t know what they are talking about when, at best, we see history in a completly different prespetive and we often have hard time convincing the Kurds to stay the course with our new turn to Islamic sentiments that transcends ethnic differences.

  189. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    September 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm
    No it does not need their approval and never has,the west needs to accept irans nuclear program and its right to have one,something that the west has shown no inclination towards doing,only when the west does this can there be any chance for a negotiated deal involving iran voluntarily limiting enrichment in return for sanctions removal

  190. kooshy says:

    President Gains McCain’s Backing On Syria Attack
    New York Times – ‎19 minutes ago‎

    Thanks god that’s assuring, all along me was worried that there comes a war which McCain says no to.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/world/middleeast/syria.html?_r=0

  191. Rd. says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    “the White House sees the vote as purely advisory, i.e., meaningless.”

    why obama backed down…

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/full-story-why-obama-backed-down-syria

  192. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Of course they are delusional; is that rag, Varliq, still being published?

    I feel surrounded by delusional people; here is US the “City on the Hill”, “New Jerusalem” crowds, elsewhere the “Islamic Just Society”, the “Great Ancient Iran”, “Pan-Islamic Ummah”, “Secular Democratic Republic” etc.

    I do not know which one is worse, being surrounded by delusional people or by imbeciles?

  193. fyi says:

    kooshy says:
    September 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    You need to study more.

  194. kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    September 2, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    “I do not know which one is worse, being surrounded by delusional people………”

    Please allow me to complete the above sentence you just wrote to PG in a way that make more sense considering your usual streams of unfounded prophesies (opinions) on any and every subject .

    “I do not know which one is worse, being surrounded by delusional people or being one”

    You really need to give yourself a brake.

  195. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    September 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    It is too late now; he has demonstrated for the entire world that he is the enemy of both Syria and Iran – as well as the Shia everywhere.

    And his failure in Egypt now has made MB his enemy (and by extension the more forward looking of the Sunni Islam.)

    His allies have become the venal autocrats of the Persian Gulf – who murdered hundred of innocents to create the cause belli for US to attack Syria and then Iran.

    The best you can hope for the rest of his presidency is that he keeps to domestic issues.

    Perhaps no world leader, since the presidency of the late John Kennedy, started his term with so much promise and left in such failure.

    Looking at him, I finally understood the meaning of “lacking courage of one’s convictions”.

  196. Persian Gulf says:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    September 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    fyi

    yes, looks like. however its website is inaccessible. the last version was a year and half ago, it seems.

    http://www.gozlariaydin.blogfa.com/

  197. Persian Gulf says:

    http://www.magiran.com/magtoc.asp?mgID=1996

    pan-Turks are shameless racist. they are affront to humanity. worse than Nazis. They openly take proud of their ideas.

  198. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    September 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    This is worth readying again:

    http://www.gozlariaydin.blogfa.com/post-96.aspx

    Yes, the Azerbaijan Republic is very interesting in her official historical falsifications – worse than USSR under the late Joseph Stalin.

    It is comical.

  199. fyi says:

    All:

    The Honorable George Galloway:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Han5fgzy4KU

  200. Karl.. says:

    James

    I take it that you propose two laws, one for humans (UK) and one for “sub-humans” (Iran). One could have nukes, and put demands on the other, the other – Iran, will not be allowed to have nukes and have no equal Power demanding the same demands UK put on Iran.

    I have no idea why you are here commenting, all you say is completely reversed of what Leverett’s are preaching.

  201. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    September 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm
    “Karl.

    Are you seriously proposing that Iranian officials handling the nuclear file should raise the issue of Britain’s nuclear programme?

    You are not joking?

    I will say yet again: I think Iran can have a nuclear programme, approved by P5+1.”

    YOU are the laughing stock here.

    OBVIOUSLY, the nukes possessed by UK, Israel and others are part of the overall P5+1 discussion with Iran !

    And Obviously thd P5+1 negotiation are NOW meaningless.

    Russia and China are not in the bandwagon anymore.
    That is, from the last round of UNSC sanction…. Years ago.

    China and Russia made it clear no dditional sanction are to be expected.

    And from the last events in the ME only the US needs to climb down from there high horse and start respecting International laws. Including the NPT.

    Your hasbara is laughable.

  202. nico says:

    Mr Canning,

    The issue is that you are still living in the previous historical sequences.
    The one where UK still meant something.
    The one where the US were still in cold war or their unilateral moment.

    You are a man of the passed.

    That time is finished.

  203. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    fyi,

    So it appears that you agree that “Iran” will not be “annihilated”- by nukes or otherwise- anytime soon, right?

    I would appreciate a straight answer from you.

    Also: I don’t do ta’arof, I drink tea in large mugs, love barbari bread, like to get into fisticuffs at a drop of hat, have a short temper and- most importantly- I’m not zan-zalil (the defining feature of Persians).

    I guess that makes an honorary Tork…kheyli ba-hal-i haji…

    Also: Like I said, given that their is a good Quran translation into German by Paret, I would rather put my efforts into translating the sayings of the Prophet (sawas) and the Imams (as) into German.

    But of course for you there is no difference between what the Prophet (sawas) said and what a trinitarian theologian says. In fact, you like the latter better, right? It’s OK, just say it and get it over with- it’s called “testifying” among the evangelicals.

    Are a Christian or a Muslim or something else?

    I would appreciate an honest, short and straight answer from you on this. Thanks buddy.

  204. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:

    September 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

    The possibility of an attack against Iran with nuclear munitions, or in the case of d an attack by United States with non-nuclear munitions with nuclear-weapon lethality, cannot be discounted.

    The restoration of Iran’s non-nuclear defense capabilities to something more robust will cost at least $ 5000 billion over a 10-15 year period. That is in case such weapns are to be sold to Iran. They won’t eb sold or Iran will not be able to obtain them.

    Since Iran already has the delivery mechanisms, only the nuclear weapons themselves are left to complete the wall of deterrence.

    It is because of Iranians’ weakness that Axis Powers and Suaid Arabia can go and destroy Syria with no fear of retaliation.

  205. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:

    September 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

    The possibility of an attack against Iran with nuclear munitions, or in the case of d an attack by United States with non-nuclear munitions with nuclear-weapon lethality, cannot be discounted.

    The restoration of Iran’s non-nuclear defense capabilities to something more robust will cost at least $ 5000 billion over a 10-15 year period. That is in case such weapns are to be sold to Iran. They won’t eb sold or Iran will not be able to obtain them.

    Since Iran already has the delivery mechanisms, only the nuclear weapons themselves are left to complete the wall of deterrence.

    It is because of Iranians’ weakness that Axis Powers and Suaid Arabia can go and destroy Syria with no fear of retaliation.

  206. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:

    September 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Get it through your thick skull that per the Quran, Sabeans, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians are all followers of the One True Religion – they are all Muslims.

    Now, you answer me.

    When Julfa of Isphahan surrendered, as part of the tribute they had to pay, was 240 (I do not recall the exact figure) Armenian young girls and boys for the sexual pleasure of the Afghans.

    Where those Afghans all Muslims in good standing; sufficient to stand for election to the Iranian Majlis – per the electoral law that the Seond Majlis passed?

    After all, they had the beards to establish their outward conformance to Islam, no?

    And probably fasted every Ramazan and prayed 5 times a day.

  207. BiBiJon says:

    It is surely also time now for the west to end her long isolation from Iran …
    =========================================================================

    I feel your pain Shirley, (and James). Western isolation from Iran has metastasized to the region, and to the wider Muslim and non-aligned world. But lets not get this backwards. When you say “It is surely also time now for the west to end the long isolation of Iran” or when James says “Iran can resolve the nuclear dispute, but that this would require off-the-record talks with British and other European officials” you are getting this backwards. I hope it is your vanity that finds such expressions; your logic one hopes is different.

    The West is now reduced to gunboat diplomacy to the disgust of not just vast majority of the world population, but to westerners themselves. No one is fooled by the deployment of warships, and carriers (not speaking for RSH here). You know as we all know. This is not going to get settled militarily.

    A little truth, a bit of conciliation is what is called for between the West and the rest of the civilized world. You can start by ending your isolation from Iran, but first admit it is you who is isolated and don’t pretend you’re doing anyone else a favor.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/03/for-syria-sake-end-iran-isolation

  208. Neo says:

    All,

    The only plausible ‘real plan’ I can come up with for this pathetic circus about Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons is to target the delivery system of such weapons, namely Syria’s impressive missiles capabilities. This would serve Israeli and Saudi interests alone. In fact the saga has nothing whatsoever to do with Syrian civilians or chemical weapons.

    Glad to see it all fall apart.

    Richard,

    seems you were wrong about this one? It doesn’t look like the Americans even want a regime change in Syria. They just want Assad to ‘go’ but for the regime to stay. Save face and claim a ‘result’ al la Mubarak. Only Saudis are serious about regime change.

  209. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 3, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Can you elaborate the scenario a little.

    Lets say Iran has as many nukes as France. Now replay what is happening in Syria.

    Thanks.

  210. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 3, 2013 at 10:09 am

    You would station Iranian troops and units in Syria and state that attacking Syria is an attack against Iran.

    This should have been done 10 years ago when Americans declared enemies of Israel to be enemies of Iran.

    Likewise, you need to do the same thing in Lebanon and save Lebanon from any possibility of further damage by Israel.

  211. fyi says:

    Correction:

    This should have been done 10 years ago when Americans declared enemies of Israel to be enemies of the United States.

  212. Irshad says:

    @fyi – you wrote that European powers are against religious based political entities, as per their history in the wars against the papal state. Can you elaborate on this? The Brtish Queen is head of church of England but is also head of state. The US also believes herself to be doing Gods work, so why go against Muslim polities/parties that are absed on religion. The exception to your rule is their attitude towards Saudi Arabia.

    And why do these countries have a propensity to support dictatorship?

  213. Irshad says:

    To those that are against Iran having nukes (BiB, Empty, Kooshy, Bibijon et al.) are you against iranian nukes because the Supreme Leader has said so OR are you against nukes for some other reason?

    The BBC had a documentary about Mrs Thatcher recently. There was a scene, where they was discussing Reagans-Gorbachev summit in Reykajiv in 1986, where one of the proposal both sides were considering was to get rid of all ballisitc missles. Mrs Thatcher was the first leader to meet Mr Reagan after this summit and she was in a huff and puff, as she did not want any treaty where ballistic missles were going to be banned. This is because she had staked her political credibilty with the Conservative party by basing UKs defense strategy on getting the TRIDENT system from the USA and if Mr Reagan did what he did then he will unintnetionally destroy her. She persuaded Mr Reagan to withdraw from that. Later one of the Americans said, whenever they had difficulty with Mr Reagan oin getting their pov across, they get the British or Mrs hatcher to speak with him and he acquiesced. The Americans looked to the British for backing and guidance, especially, when the US is at a cross-road. Mr Bliar supported Mr Bush against Iraq – US must be doing the correct thing. Mr Cameron faced defeat in the Commons, Mr Obama hesitates and pass the buck to Congress. Wouldnt you agree Mr Cannings?

  214. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Thanks, and thanks in advance for your answer to the next question.

    Now the declaratory policy is out there and then Arab Spring and all the rest of it happens. I.e. pre-planned jihadi insurgency with full backing of the current crop, leading to massive death and suffering. Much chatter about R2P, etc. leading to POTUS deciding to attack.

    What will Iran do with her nukes?

  215. BiBiJon says:

    BiBiJon says:
    September 3, 2013 at 10:49 am

    While I wait for an answer, let me pose another question. Iran’s departure from NPT coinciding with Indian and Pakistani tests, culminating in Iran’s own test of a nuke in early 2000, would be answered how by the Persian Gulf states? If you think at a minimum, KSA also purchased herself a bunch of nukes, then please also put this into the game we are playing here.

  216. fyi says:

    Irshad says:

    September 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Your question is very complex and I cannot supply an adequate answer; for reasons of both space and absence of deep expertise in this arena.

    The Bishop of Rome, for centuries, had assumed both temporal and spiritual powers – like the Khalifs of Omavid and Abbasid dynasties.

    As Northern Europe developed, the German Princes, loosely organized in the Holy Roman Empire, began questioning the Authority of the Pope because that was a constrain on their exercise of Sovereign Power. Sovereign Power was God’s and the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, had the next claim on such power.

    When the late Martin Luther rightfully criticized the corruption and venality of the Church, something that had been known for 2 centuries at least, the German Princes found their chance to move in and destroy or limit the power of the Church in Northern Europe. This led to the 30-year war.

    From there followed the Schism in Christianity that persists to this day; the rejection of Authority (which had been abused by the Church) took an unreligious hue in France but I do not know why. I cannot explain it since I do not have that expertise and knowledge.

    But I can state with certainty that the Enlightenment in France had one of its major aims the destruction of the Catholic Church there and its influence – and there were good reasons for that position. The Enlightenment Thinkers of France were not wicked men, rather men that were exasperated by the stupidity of the Churchmen.

    I think that the key element of the Enlightenment Tradition that has persisted in the political thought of Western people has been the rejection of Authority – first of Church, then God, and now Man as well.

    So, in my opinion, it is not only the Euro-American governments that are very much against religious-based governance; the people themselves are also opposed to it for historical (political/philosophical/theological) reasons.

    UK is an exceptional case as you have observed; it is a monarchical theocracy with no written constitution whose existence, as you have pointed out, goes against the grain of the dominant Western political ideals of governance; e.g. why isn’t she a secular republic?

    The structure of US government is neutral on religions but the people are not; they are influenced by the ideals and ideas of the 17-th Century English Puritanism. The mechanics of this, as far as I have learnt it, was the immigration of various Puritans and Dissenters to New England colonies (before the formation of the United States), followed by their gaining dominance in US after the crushing of the opposition to them during the US Civil War.

    These kinds of peoples are still extant in the United States and they dominate the state. They also received a religious “booster-shot” later in the 19-th century when Protestants of UK discovered Ancient Israel and fell helplessly and madly in love with it. Later, that Love infected the Protestant in the United States and gave birth to the State of Israel.

    And I think this is where Europeans and Americans share the same religion – the Cult of Shoah/Love of Israel (Ancient & Modern). [And if someone questions that cult, then it akin to an Iranian questioning the Martyrdom of Imam Hussein.]

    Likewise to that must be added the Cult of Liberty; if Russia makes it illegal to preach homosexuality to children then she is committing a sin against the goddess of Liberty.

    These are all contradictions in the façade of coherence of the dominant Political Theory that they formally spouse; secular representative system.

    One could ask, for what non-religious reasons did the staunchly secular French Republic and the ostensibly secular American Republic ushered in states for Maronite Christians in the Levant (Lebanon) and for Jews in Palestine respectively?

    What was in it for Australia to turn 700,000 Christian dirt farmers in East Timor into a country if not for religious reasons?
    Saudi Arabia is not a theocracy, it is a traditional (pre-Modern) Muslim state – similar to those in North Africa that the late Ibn Khaldun had described in his histories.

    As for why they support Saudi Arabia we all know why.

  217. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 3, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Who would have sold them those weapons?

    Pakistan?

    I do not think so.

  218. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 3, 2013 at 10:49 am

    There is an escalation ladder in war.

    One utility of the nuclear weapons is that it sets a limit to that escalation.

  219. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 3, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Everything has a price, and there’s not much Qatar and KSA cannot afford.

    Nevertheless, US warships have now fired several hundred missiles at Syria, and they don’t seem to be stopping.

    Your move …

  220. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    September 3, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I am not playing with you.

    Your statement “Everything has a price, and there’s not much Qatar and KSA cannot afford.” is false.

  221. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    September 3, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Do you concede?

  222. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Thank you. I will check them out.

  223. kooshy says:

    BiBiJon says:
    September 3, 2013 at 11:47 am

    You are bombing, and he has the nukes, but he is refusing to play the game, do you get it that’s how valuable his nukes are, because he knows if he plays he lose and if he doesn’t he still has lost, but he may get to live as a “nokar”

  224. Rehmat says:

    On August 25, after meeting French Jewish foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu compared the chemical attack in Syria to Iran’s ambition to get a nuclear device. He claimed that Syria has become a “testing ground” for the West to stop Iran’s pursuit for a nuclear device.

    On September 1, The Times of Israel reported that America’s case against Syrian regime’s using chemical weapon on civilians is based on information provided by Israeli intelligence agancies. The daily also reported that an Israeli delegation containing Netanyahu’s National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror and a collection of Shin Bet and top army officials visited Washington and met two Israel-Firsters, vice-president Joe Biden and Obama’s senior national security advisor Susan Rice. After their meeting, Joe Biden thundered: “There is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: The Syrian regime“. Later, John Kerry, also, joined Joe Biden to cover-up Israel’s dubious intelligence information.

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/09/03/syria-the-tail-wags-the-dog-for-war-on-iran/

  225. Empty says:

    Richard Steven Hack,

    I asked as I saw that in your discussions of various attack/counter attack scenarios, you had not brought the cyber up. I wondered if you had considered it not significant enough to mention or any other reason you might have.

  226. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    Yes, I agree with you that Obama’s decision to ask Congress for approval of US attack on Syria was caused to large degree by the fact Cameron sought approval from Parliament.

    And yes, Tony Bair’s backing of G W Bush’s invasion of Iraq was highly important, in enabling the illegal invasion to go forward.

    And Thatcher was very persuasive in her dealings with Reagan. So, US officials sometimes worked through British officials.

  227. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    In the 11th and 12th Centuries, the Popes worked with Normans in southern Italy to gain control of areas that had been subject to Byzantine or Muslim rule. The contest for power was with Constantinople and Palermo. But the Holy Roman Emperors were not keen on the establishment of a strong kingdom in southern Iraly.

    The Popes played a significant role in preventing the Holy Roman Empire from achieving sufficient unity to pose too great a threat to the temporal power of the popes (Papal States), and religious/temporal power connected to appointing bishops and other senior religious leaders (who also had temporal power).

  228. James Canning says:

    Irshad,

    Britain tore itself apart with religion-based wars in the 17th Century. France, Germany and other areas of Europe were convulsed in 16th and 17th Centuries with wars related to religion. 18th Century saw a reaction against this.

    Many of the “founding fathers” of the US were very sceptical about religion.

  229. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I have stated time and time again it would be a good thing for the US to have normal relations with Iran. Good thing for the US.

    I think the UK is ameanable to reopening of its embassy in Tehran.

  230. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I agree with Shirley Williams that the UK and the US should be working with Iran in effort to end civil war in Syria. “Should” is key word here.

  231. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Again, I think you are wildly mistaken in your apparent belief Iran could build nukes, without an attack from the US to stop it.

  232. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I find it curious you take a position also taken by some of the more extreme Israeli leaders.

  233. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    September 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    ?

  234. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Can you offer any source for your claim that the P5+1 negotiations with Iran about Iran’s nuclear programme, also include discussions of Britain’s nuclear weapons?

    Do you think the P5+1 are discussing China’s nuclear weapons, in their dealings with Iran?

  235. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    September 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    fyi,

    Again, I think you are wildly mistaken in your apparent belief Iran could build nukes, without an attack from the US to stop it.

    ——————

    Iran for a variety of reasons has not and probably will not make nuclear weapons. But if it becomes necessary to make them, US attacking Iran will only hasten the completion date of the project, not “stop it.”

  236. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    Clearly Iran is a “nation state”.

    I think Iran will continue to be a “nation state” whether Shia fortunes ebb or flow.

  237. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi says, “The Bishop of Rome, for centuries, had assumed both temporal and spiritual powers – like the Khalifs of Omavid and Abbasid dynasties.”

    My God, man. Seems you are so enamored by the Enlightenment mindset of a prison that you have carved out for yourself and that whole orientalist bullshit narrative about the separation of church and state and its supposed concomittant liberation that you don’t realize the most elementary facts about Islamic history, namely, that, tragically, separation of Mosque and State occurred in the Omavid and Abbasid dynasties as early as Moavia, who drank in public and ridiculed the notion of the existence of a hereafter. His son Yazid was no better, of course. They reveled at the fact that Osman and Marwan usurped power from the Hasmemites and enforced the practice of cursing Ali’s name from the minarets. So much for “assuming spiritual powers”.

    I try not to delve too deeply into geopolitics as I have no expertise whatever in the area. But you rush forth in matters relating to Islam where angels fear to tread, making these outlandish general statememts. No surprise, I guess. Other Christian orientalists of your stripe have been doing the same for centuries. But like Kooshy-san said, give it a break man. For pity’s sake.

    Pity us poor sand-neighbors, won’t you please?

    *

    BiBiJon-san:

    Unless I am quite mistaken, what you did there is called a right jab, followed by a left hook, proceeded in short order by a right uppercut. 8… 9… 10!!! Ladies and gennelmen, fyi’s out for the count! And the winner is… BiBIJon!!!

  238. Kathleen says:

    So fascinating and clearly so dangerous that PO seems to be ignoring the Head of the Chief Joints of Staff General Dempsey. What is up with that and why?

  239. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:

    September 3, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    The Shia rejected the claims of the Khalifs to be “Amir Al Muamenin”, but not the Sunni.

    As the temporal power ebbed under the Abbasids, the Spiritual Power remained – even the Shia Bhuid dynasty sought the apporval of the Khalif in Baghdad.

    And when Mongols executed the last Khalif, Sa’adi wrote:

    آسمان را حق بود گر خون بگرید بر زمین

    بر زوال ملک مستعصم امیرالمؤمنین

    (http://ganjoor.net/saadi/mavaez/marasi/sh6/)

    Later the Ottomans took up the mantle of the Abbasid Khalifs and styled themselves “Amir Al Mou’amenin”.

    To this day, the Moroccan King is known by that title: “The Commander of teh Faithful” – claiming descent from the Omavids.

  240. James Canning says:

    German intelligence apparently intercepted a telephone conversation between high-level Hezbollah official and Iranian embassy, discussing “loss of nerve” by Bashar al-Assad and resultant use of CW. Pausible. Bot obviously not certain.

  241. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Title of a new post at my blog, if anyone is interested:

    Sociopathy as the Winter of the Western Supra-Individuated Man’s Discontent

    (Not sure of internet etiquette, so please let me know, anyone, if plugging a post of my blog, here at GTT, is bad form.)

  242. Empty says:

    Irshad,

    RE: “are you against iranian nukes because the Supreme Leader has said so OR are you against nukes for some other reason?”

    My stance is on professional/technical, ethical, and religious grounds. From health and environmental perspective, use of nuclear material for weapons, energy, and medicine is, by far, the dumbest human undertaking. The half life of the weapon-grade radioactive waste will hunt the human societies in one form or another for 10,000 years (at least which makes it a problem for more than 400 generations. It is the very definition of “fisad” (corruption) of the earth which, I think, is absolutely prohibited in Quran.

    There has been a complete cover up (to the public) of the impacts of accidental release of radiation as well as constant “leaking” that are happening in the US (various sites). One of the most effective methods that DOE, DOD, and army core of engineers employed to keep the public unaware has been denial and prevention of access to data.

    Not only that, no country to date has found a way to safely dispose of the waste on earth. “Pile it and cap it” has been their only method. Anyone with the most primitive understanding of the earth as a “closed” ecosystem as far as waste is concerned (it’s considered a semi-open ecosystem since sunlight- as a continuous energy source– regularly enters it) would also know what a mess we are in.

    Furthermore, under non-hostile conditions, it is one of the most costly, risky, and hazardous weapons to be had. Under hostile condition, just figure the “accidents”.

    I was against it on professional and ethical grounds and based on my professional scientific and technical understanding of it. When Ayatollah Khamenei spoke against it some years back, I studied his rationale based on religious teaching as well. I found his religious reasoning to be remarkable as well.

    Currently, critical issues exist with the US trying to figure out what to do with the costly (and I mean really costly) problems they are facing just trying to keep the waste “contained” and the weapons secure (I have first hand knowledge about the US but assume that other nuclear weapons states also face similar dilemmas).

    There are more reasons but I think these will suffice to illustrate the basis of my stance.

  243. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi: Yes, like I don’t know all that. The difference is that welayat was trifurcated in Sunnite Islam, with spiritual and juridical authority going to the heads of the sufi tariqas and the eponymous founders of the four madhhabs respectively, and only political and military authority residing in the person of the caliph, who had no spiritual authority whatever. The separation of Church and State that the West absurdly prides itself on took place in Islam almost a millenia earlier. It is precisely because of this separation, and the submission of the Sunnite spiritual and juridical authority to the caliphs and sultans as politically legitimate that has landed Egypt and Turkey (and Wahhabistan, too, of course) in the mess that they are in. And it is because Shi’a Islam refused to countenance this trifurcation of welayat that Iran had a revolution while what our Moslem Brethren in Egypt had was merely a wet dream. Two different interpretations and exegeses of the ayah of Ol ol-Amr, based on two different moral visions.

  244. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:

    September 3, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Good,so you know of this history.

    But I comletely diagree with your reading of the history of Jurisprudence and Spiritual and Temporal Authority amony Sunni Muslims.

    For them, as Sa’adi attests in his poem, the Khalif was the Spiritual Authority.

    I confess that I have never come across any mention of any spiritual authroity resideing in the founders of the 4 schools – not in Western sources nor in Persian sources nor anywhere else.

    And I cannot credit Sunni Muslims with having effected a separation of Temporal and Spiritual Authority centuries before the West.

    The fact remains that the pretentious Ottoman Khalifate – until even after its demise – was considered the Spiritual Authroity by vast numbers of Sunni Muslims.

    Yes, in come places, like Iran under the Safavids, and Libya under King Idris, the Tariqat Guides leveraged their spiritual authority on their followers to achieve temporal power.

    So, in fact, as opposed to what you have stated, they started from the Spiritual Power and used it to grab Temporal Powers; like the Murshed-e Kamel of the early Sfavid years.

    As for the Judicial Authority – which is not the same as Spiritual Authority – that was usurped by the Doctors of Religion, happy to enforce orthodoxy and leaving the Sultan to his dreadful tyranny under which no Muslim was safe in his Person, Property or Namus anywhere in the Muslim world.

    Some Judicial Authority that was; concerning itself with Contract Law but not anything else that mattered.

    I think we can argue about historical inteperetations for a long time.

  245. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    September 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    When Russians shot down that KLA flight – sent to spy on UUSR eastern defenses – the text of the intercepts were made available to UN by US.

    US, UK, France, and now Germany have singularly refused to supply the text of their supposed intercepts.

    At first it was an intercept of an alleged Syrian officer calling his higher-ups, then it moved to a Hizbullah Officer calling some one else; soo, I suppose, it will become a Revolutuionary Guard officer calling Mr. Rouhani.

    This is all rubbish and war propaganda.

  246. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    September 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm
    “Nico,
    Can you offer any source for your claim that the P5+1 negotiations with Iran about Iran’s nuclear programme, also include discussions of Britain’s nuclear weapons?
    Do you think the P5+1 are discussing China’s nuclear weapons, in their dealings with Iran?”

    Do you I even wish to enlighten you ?

    I think not.

    Just think about about it in your racist mind a couple of hours .

    It is the best advice I may provide you.

  247. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I agree with you all intercepts etc should be made available. I did not claim the event German intelligence refers to took place. And I remain sceptical.

  248. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I take it you concede the P5+1 negotiations with Iran are an effort to resolve the dispute about Iran’s nuclear programme.

  249. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    fyi,

    Bebin nashod azizam…

    I asked you simple questions and you are goh-maling again.

    So here we go again:

    1. What are the chances of Iran being annihilated by a conventional or unconventional attack in the next 7-15 years? 10%? 40%? 60%? 90% Please indicate a percentage.

    Remember how good it was for all of us when said that the Islamic Republic will last 77 years? Let’s try something similar with this question, OK?

    Everybody knows that there are “chances” of this happening, thanks for saying the obvious. I claim the chances are near zero. What do you claim?

    Please indicate a number/percentage/fraction of what you think the chances are in the time-frame stated or in any time-frame you choose. Thanks.

    2. Yes we know in your interpretation of religion/Quran/Islam everyone is “Muslim” but in the definition used by the majority of the rest of humanity how do identify religiously?

    Please indulge us less spiritually enlightened and come down to our petty level and answer within the limited framework of our less developed intelligence.

    Please indicate to us are a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, agnostic, Deist, Hare Krishna, Bahai, freemason, sufi, etc. using the common definitions and categorizations used by the majority of humanity. Please don’t goh-mali the answer again. Thanks in advance for your efforts.

  250. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    September 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm
    “Nico,
    I take it you concede the P5+1 negotiations with Iran are an effort to resolve the dispute about Iran’s nuclear programme.”

    Abdolutely not.

    It is a political charade.

  251. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:

    September 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I have given you a life-line with the use of which to extricate yourself from the narrowness that you are finding yourself.

    Assume everyone is a Muslim so that you and your children and others and their children can live in concorde.

    Will you be thus diminished?

    I do not wish to come down to the level of pettiness that you have mentioned; if you wish to wallow in it that is your choice.

    In regards to probabailities: as long as there is non-zero – however small – probablity of nuclear attack against Iran, I should think it prudent to give it serious thought.

    In War planning, one must consider capabilities and not intentions.

  252. nico says:

    http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/us-credibility-iran-stake-syria-decision-hagel-says-191833509.html

    “”A refusal to act would undermine the credibility of America’s other security commitments – including the president’s commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Hagel told a Senate hearing, according to prepared remarks.”

    Laughable.
    The Syrian war is not even about CW or democracy or Syrians or international laws or the US moral resonsibility…
    The criminals do not even take care to hide that it is all about US credibility (read tyranny and full spectrum dominance) and the fabricated Iran nuclear case.

    Shameless Anglo thugs……..

  253. Unknown Unknowns says:

    William Polk’s insights into Syria

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/your-labor-day-syria-reader-part-2-william-polk/279255/

    An excerpt:

    Syria has been convulsed by civil war since climate change came to Syria with a vengeance. Drought devastated the country from 2006 to 2011. Rainfall in most of the country fell below eight inches (20 cm) a year, the absolute minimum needed to sustain un-irrigated farming. Desperate for water, farmers began to tap aquifers with tens of thousands of new well. But, as they did, the water table quickly dropped to a level below which their pumps could lift it.
    In some areas, all agriculture ceased. In others crop failures reached 75%. And generally as much as 85% of livestock died of thirst or hunger. Hundreds of thousands of Syria’s farmers gave up, abandoned their farms and fled to the cities and towns in search of almost non-existent jobs and severely short food supplies. Outside observers including UN experts estimated that between 2 and 3 million of Syria’s 10 million rural inhabitants were reduced to “extreme poverty.”

    The domestic Syrian refugees immediately found that they had to compete not only with one another for scarce food, water and jobs, but also with the already existing foreign refugee population. Syria already was a refuge for quarter of a million Palestinians and about a hundred thousand people who had fled the war and occupation of Iraq. Formerly prosperous farmers were lucky to get jobs as hawkers or street sweepers. And in the desperation of the times, hostilities erupted among groups that were competing just to survive.

    Survival was the key issue. The senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in Syria turned to the USAID program for help. Terming the situation “a perfect storm,” in November 2008, he warned that Syria faced “social destruction.” He noted that the Syrian Minister of Agriculture had “stated publicly that [the] economic and social fallout from the drought was ‘beyond our capacity as a country to deal with.’” But, his appeal fell on deaf ears: the USAID director commented that “we question whether limited USG resources should be directed toward this appeal at this time.” (reported on November 26, 2008 in cable 08DAMASCUS847_a to Washington and “leaked” to Wikileaks )

    Whether or not this was a wise decision, we now know that the Syrian government made the situation much worse by its next action. Lured by the high price of wheat on the world market, it sold its reserves. In 2006, according to the US Department of Agriculture, it sold 1,500,000 metric tons or twice as much as in the previous year. The next year it had little left to export; in 2008 and for the rest of the drought years it had to import enough wheat to keep its citizens alive.

    So tens of thousands of frightened, angry, hungry and impoverished former farmers flooded constituted a “tinder” that was ready to catch fire. The spark was struck on March 15, 2011 when a relatively small group gathered in the town of Daraa to protest against government failure to help them. Instead of meeting with the protestors and at least hearing their complaints, the government cracked down on them as subversives. The Assads, who had ruled the country since 1971, were not known for political openness or popular sensitivity. And their action backfired. Riots broke out all over the country, As they did, the Assads attempted to quell them with military force. They failed to do so and, as outside help – money from the Gulf states and Muslim “freedom fighters” from the rest of the world – poured into the country, the government lost control over 30% of the country’s rural areas and perhaps half of its population. By the spring of 2013, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), upwards of 100,000 people had been killed in the fighting, perhaps 2 million have lost their homes and upwards of 2 million have fled abroad. Additionally, vast amounts of infrastructure, virtually whole cities like Aleppo, have been destroyed.

  254. fyi says:

    nico says:

    September 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I personally do not think that Mr. Canning is racist.

    Although, juding by the performance of very many governments of those areas from which the English departed, perhaps one could take a rather dim view of the cognitive skills of many of their leaders.

    And then you have entire populations that demonstrate very little political maturity.

  255. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    fyi,

    OK let’s try one more time:

    1. Assuming you are correct, in your opinion what are the chances of such an attack? Please indicate a percentage/fraction/ratio/etc. It’s a fair question and your just being a baby not answering it.

    After you indicate a number we will consider the scenario in all it’s details, fair enough?

    2. What religious identity/affiliation/label- as limiting and wrong as they are in your opinion- that are used by the rest of us- do feel comes closest to your inner state/relationship with God/gnosis/etc.?

    BTY, I do assume everyone is Muslim unless indications otherwise- like denying sharia and espousing theologies and Quranic interpretations unique to oneself (technically it’s called “tafsir bil ray’).

    You espouse such things which indicates to me that you are not “orthodox” Muslim- as defined by the majority of other Muslims- Sunni and/or Shia.

    That’s fine and you have every right to believe whatever you want to believe. So this makes me curious and that’s when I ask you if you are not considered orthodox Muslim by other Muslims (even if God considers you as such)- how would you define yourself within the parameters that the majority of other humans use to identify themselves religiously? It’s not a very complicated question.

    Again you’re just being a baby not answering it.

    Your refusal to answer directly could indicate mental issues, not intelligence issues because obviously you are an intelligent person. It seems you are ashamed or scared or you are trying to hide some secret.

    You’re not orthodox Muslim as defined by the vast majority of other Muslims- even though you reject this assessment- and it’s a bit weird that you’re not even willing to acknowledge this reality- and believe me- it’s a reality even though you don’t like it.

    fyi-jan just relax and tell us your basic religious views- we won’t even put labels on it.

    Do you believe that God is one and indivisible or that he is three-in-one or some other view?

    Do believe that Prophet Muhammad (sawas) is the last messenger of God and the Quran the final revelation- superceding the previous prophets and revelations?

    Do believe that Imam Ali (as) is the Imam and vali after the Prophet (sawas) and that his descendants through Hussein (as) are the twelve Imams or do you believe some other form of velayat and amirate? And please don’t recite history, we know that so-and-so calls himself “ameerul mo’meneen”. The question is WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

    Fahmidi azizam?

  256. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    fyi,

    You see, what I did in the last post was give YOU a life-line to extricate yourself out of the chah you fell into 40 years ago.

    Come on, grab it baradar before Hazrat Izrael comes starts asking you about your beliefs!

    He won’t debate with you for 4 years on the internet using pseudonyms.

    He will…well you know what will happen better than me given your superior spiritual station.

  257. nico says:

    fyi says:
    September 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    “I personally do not think that Mr. Canning is racist.”

    Do you deny Mr Canning believe in might makes right.
    Consequently do you deny Mr Canning to have supremacist views.
    Consequently do you deny Mr Canning to be a racist.
    Political position have an unicity.
    One cannot hold a position by taking side with might and rejecting morality, deny others the opposite and claim to not to be accountable.

    “Although, juding by the performance of very many governments of those areas from which the English departed, perhaps one could take a rather dim view of the cognitive skills of many of their leaders.And then you have entire populations that demonstrate very little political maturity.”

    So what ?
    Is that your rational to justify the US criminality and macro policies ?
    Some would call it slave mentality.

  258. fyi says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says:

    September 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Silly.

    You are a grown man and need not indulge this sort of rhetoric.

    Oh yes, the vast majority of the Orthox Muslims; which ones are they, those who wear an explosive belt and walk into a Shia Mosque and blow the Shia up?

    Or do you possibly have in mind the men – “real” authentic orthodx well-defined Muslims who were helping themselves to Lotf Ali Khan Zand?

    Islamic Republic of Iran is defenfing a government in Syria whose members belong to the Alawite trinitrian sect; where is the logic of that?

    Are they well-defined authentic orthodox Mulsims?

    Not to mention Druze and Christians.

    Ah yes, Angle of Death – you have credentials issued by GOd, I understand.

    Good for you and Godspeed; I hope you find what you are looking for.

  259. kooshy says:

    Understanding the Syrian Civil War
    September 3, 2013

    By William R. Polk

    “With President Obama asking Congress to back a military strike to punish Syria for alleged chemical weapons use, the U.S. is lurching toward a new war. Beyond doubts about what happened and whether a U.S. missile attack will help, there is scant public understanding of the Syrian conflict, notes Mideast expert William R. Polk.”

    http://consortiumnews.com/2013/09/03/understanding-the-syrian-civil-war/

  260. fyi says:

    nico says:

    September 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    In regards to Mr. Canning you have to ask him to please elaborate his point-of-view by something more than one or two lines of text.

    In regards to the United States policies; as I stated before, they have fallen off the deep end – as the syaing goes in US – meaning that they have lost touch with Reality.

    And there is not much one can do to stop the United States at the moment.

    But there is always hope that the next next president of the United States, and US Congress – after the termination of another unwinnable war in Syria – might consider coming to an strategic accomodation with Iran.

    I would say, sometime in 2021.

  261. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “In War planning, one must consider capabilities and not intentions.”

    At this point, have we crossed a moment similar to 2007 and 2012?

  262. fyi says:

    Rd. says:

    September 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    In my opinion yes we have.

  263. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Where do I argue “might makes right”? US obviously had the power to overthrow Saddam Hussein. I opposed it. US obviously had power to overthrow Gaddafi. I opposed it. US obviously has power to create chaos in Syria. I oppose it.

    You continue to have difficulty understanding Russia and China also insist Iran make a deal of some sort with P5+1.

  264. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The New York Times reported recently that an official in the Obama White House called Aipac “the 800-pound gorilla in the room”. This comment subsequently was deleted from the story.

    I see potential for progress, if Obama’s team are willing to be frank about the power of Aipac and other elements of Israel lobby. Which has been blocking any improvement in America’s relations with Iran.

  265. fyi says:

    From an Englsih friend in UK:

    “If we leave aside Iran — and clearly the West and Saudi Arabia are hoping that Assad’s downfall will weaken the Shia in the region, and weaken Iran, which, as a functioning and fairly modern State is harder to deal with in many ways, and harder to manipulate or bribe, unlike, say Egypt — it is clear to me that there is no real policy or strategy regarding Syria. It is all knee-jerk reactions. The Saudis and other Arabs play a long game, because that is the way they are. The Americans react to events on impulse, with some vague notion of what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ (for human rights, humankind, and of course for America).

    …. the West has ended up supporting Sunni fanatics who, in another context, would be our enemies. Have you seen the film “Charlie Wilson’s war”? If you haven’t, you should see it. It goes back to the time when the pre-Taliban Islamists in Afghanistan were our friends. They are the ones fighting us now, NATO, to a large extent…

    It is a mess, a complete mess, but a mess primarily due, in my view, to the Arab world’s inability to reform itself, and to move forward, and, when there is a crisis, to do anything at all. All they do is talk and egg us on, in the West, to “act”. They are so pathetic, impotent and mendacious that you could cry. Yet they are clever and we are dumb, in some ways.

    Iran, at least, has some stability and some form of process of its own whereby things can move forward and change, to a certain extent: it is a functional State with a form of government that appears to manage some sort of balance between competing interests. This is quite an achievement. Arab states, in the main, have proved consistently incapable of doing this: it is a case of winner take all and, when there is no internal winner, they try to get foreigners to do the dirty work for them.

    I don’t know who is more contemptible and stupid. The Arabs, given how impotent and pathetic they are, but also how murderous and barbaric in many ways. (Consider for a second the number of people killed in Egypt recently: truly, a bloodbath.) Or the West, with its simplistic assumptions and cretinous initiatives.

    I can tell you no one in Europe wants any part in it, I mean among grassroots politicians and ordinary citizens, both in France and the UK. People are sick and tired of all this. It is the elite, the political class in power (the senior political leaders), the Establishment, who want to go in and kick ass. No one else is remotely interested.”

  266. James Canning says:

    Gareth Porter Sept 3rd has good piece at Truthout on how the intelligence re: CW attack in Damascus was twisted to support a US attack.

  267. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Look, this is all about body count. Assad (false flag op) killed more than a thousand of his people. Just let the cruise missiles fly because the US does not do body count. You’ll feel a lot better.

  268. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Neo: “It doesn’t look like the Americans even want a regime change in Syria. They just want Assad to ‘go’ but for the regime to stay. Save face and claim a ‘result’ al la Mubarak. Only Saudis are serious about regime change.”

    If you will go back and re-read all my posts, I’ve NEVER said that the US wants “regime change”. What I’ve said is that the US wants the Syrian military degraded so that it is not an effective actor against Israel in an Iran war.

    If Assad’s regime were to go and be replaced by a bunch of Islamist fanatics, that WOULD suit the US and Israel fine – because Israel would have every excuse to bomb the crap out of Syria any time the Islamists acted up. And once Syria’s military has been degraded, these guys would be zero threat to Israel – just another failed state Israel can bomb periodically without anyone complaining about it.

    But that isn’t the goal here – the goal again is merely to render Syria hors d’combat in an Iran war – and also allow Israel to cross Syrian territory to attack Lebanon and take out Hizballah (a much more difficult feat, but one Israel has no choice but to attempt.)

    That’s why the chemical weapons myth is so useful – it allows the US to target precisely those weapons which could threaten Israel: aircraft, missiles, artillery, etc. Once those are degraded, Syria is essentially helpless against Israel.

  269. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Bombshell: Kerry Caught Using Fake Photos to Fuel Syrian War
    http://www.infowars.com/bombshell-kerry-caught-using-fake-photos-to-fuel-syrian-wa/

  270. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Craig Murray on why the Israeli SIGINT intercept has to be bogus…

    The Troodos Conundrum
    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2013/08/the-troodos-conundrum/

    Short version: if the GCHQ listening post on Cyprus didn’t see it, the Israelis didn’t, either – so they made it up.

  271. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    September 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Yes, James. Clearer indication could not be found that Assad enjoying a popularity among a majority of Syrians was/is winning the war against ‘rebels’ who have been beheading priests, killing 14 year-olds in fron of their moms and eating human beings.

    Nothing else explains this rush to position warships in the Mediterranean, and send an aircraft carrier to the Red Sea. For all that deployment you need an excuse. And for all excuses you need a dog and pony show.

    Hate to admit it, but UK was smart to bow out. This thing is going to unravel before a shot is fired.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/top-us-lawmakers-voice-support-for-syria-strike/1742507.html

  272. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Yes, the Syrian Rebels DO Have Access to Chemical Weapons
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/yes-the-syrian-rebels-do-have-access-to-chemical-weapons/5347611

    Nice recap of how it’s been known for months that the insurgents have access to not only their own, but Syria’s chemical weapons.

    Let us remember that the CIA LONG AGO ADMITTED that they were training the Syrian insurgents in the handling of chemical weapons, ostensibly to enable them to “secure” the weapons in case any were captured by them. Does anyone still believe that excuse now?

    Does anyone think Obama doesn’t know this?

  273. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pepe Escobar’s latest…

    US: The indispensable (bombing) nation
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-030913.html

    Quote

    Anyone who believes the White House spin that this will be just about a few Tomahawks landing on some deserted military barracks should rent a condo in Alice in Wonderland. The draft already circulating in Capitol Hill is positively scary.

    End Quote

  274. fyi says:

    All:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23949659

    No doubt carried out by faithful, God-fearing (Sunni) Muslims who have taken it upon themselves to kill the enemies of Islam.

    I venture to guess that the observed Ramazan and prayed 5 times a day and considered Christians, Jews, Sabeans, Alawites, and Shia to be non-Muslims.

  275. Richard Steven Hack says:

    N.Y. Times scraps AIPAC from Syria story
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/09/ny-times-scraps-aipac-from-syria-story-171669.html

    AIPAC is pushing the Syrian war. NYT conceals this fact.

    As an aside, remember that AIPAC can get sixty senators to back their goals any time.

  276. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Who works for who again?

    Kerry assures Netanyahu: Assad will be held accountable for Syria gas attack
    http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-1.545018?trailingPath=2.169%2C2.216%2C2.217%2C

  277. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Anyone really believe Obama doesn’t know these are holes? What does that say about his intentions?

    To some, US case for Syrian gas attack, strike has too many holes
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/09/02/201027/to-some-us-case-for-syrian-gas.html

  278. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Hezbollah says it will hit Israel from within Syria
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/hezbollah-says-it-will-hit-israel-from-within-syria/

    In my opinion, this would be incredibly stupid on Hizballah’s part, as it would give Israel precisely the excuse it is looking for to attack Lebanon again.

    However, I suspect this is completely untrue and Israeli disinformation precisely to implicate Hizballah. Notice there is no Hizballah official explicitly named as saying this.

    This makes clear what Israel’s intentions are – to use the Syrian crisis as an excuse to attack Lebanon, as I’ve said all along is the plan.

  279. Richard Steven Hack says:

    If you can’t stop ‘em, watch ‘em…Probably will provide intel to the Syrian military, too.

    Russia sends spy ship as US prepares for possible Syria strike
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/02/syria-russia-spy-ship-us-military

  280. Richard Steven Hack says:

    James Corbett interviews Pepe Escobar.

    Pipeline Politics and the Syrian War
    http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2013/09/pipeline-politics-and-syrian-war

    fyi should listen…Why would Syria sign a memorandum of understanding on an Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline if there’s no product to ship? It will takes years to build the thing in any event, by which time Iranian gas may be available to ship.

  281. Richard Steven Hack says:

    France’s “Intelligence Brief” for War on Syria: Collection of Discredited Lies
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/frances-intelligence-brief-for-war-on-syria-collection-of-discredited-lies/5347887

  282. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Again points out that the US has CONFIRMED that the CIA TRAINED the insurgents in the handling of chemical weapons…

    Flaws in Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) Assessment on the Syria Chemical Weapons Attacks
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/flaws-in-britains-joint-intelligence-committee-jic-assessment-on-the-syria-chemical-weapons-attacks/5347879

  283. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Gotta love Gorgeous George…

    George Galloway HEATED Speech British Parliament Debate On Syria. 8/29/2013 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Han5fgzy4KU

  284. nico says:

    Again Proof of western manipulation, lies and warmongering.

    Karl, is that Conspircay theory ?

    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13920613000664

    “”At the beginning of the war (in Syria over 2.5 years ago) the US defense undersecretary explicitly announced (to the Syrian officials) that if we had cut our relations with Iran, the war would have ended,” Syrian Ambassador to Iran Adnan Mahmoud said addressing a forum in Tehran dubbed ‘Syria, the Fortress of Resistance’ on Tuesday”

  285. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    30 Conservative MPs abstained from the vote (re attacking Syria), and 30 more voted against the measure. I agree, defeat of it was a good thing.

  286. Tuyzentfloot says:

    Here’s a question about imperialism I would like to see addressed(or addressed again) in full by the Leveretts: I suspect there is a valid fear that if the US gives up its hardline regime change attitude towards Iran, it will lose friends it needs. It needs to have the oil monarchies on its side. If the US would seriously consider changing its policy, what would be the reasons to keep from making those changes.