The Self-Defeating Dynamics of American Hegemony in the Middle East: The Leveretts on Conversations with History

 

Our experience in the U.S. government—running from roughly the period of the first Gulf War in the early 1990s until March 2003, just before the invasion of Iraq, when we left our positions at the White House on the National Security Council staff—effectively spanned the high-water mark of American primacy in the Middle East.  In an interview for the University of California’s Conversations with History series, see here, we discuss how our government service gave us “ringside seats” to watch as “the United States really misused that primacy, misused its supremacy in ways that were grossly counterproductive for its own interests, and for America’s standing in international affairs.”  We also reflect on how our experience in government has both prompted and helped us to explore the ways in which succumbing to an “imperial temptation” in the Middle East distorts American perceptions of the region and warps U.S. policy outcomes.    

Turning to Iran, we argue that “structure” alone can’t explain modern Iranian foreign policy; one must also pay attention to culture and agency (in non-social science-speak, “choice”).  In particular, one must appreciate the enormous differences between Iranian strategic culture under the Shah and Iranian strategic culture under the Islamic Republic.  These differences explain why the Shah’s foreign policy was hegemonic, while, as Hillary puts it, “The Islamic Republic looks at regional and international relations, at regional politics in terms of balance.”  It seeks to replace U.S. and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East not with Iranian hegemony, but with balance. 

In the interview, we describe how encouraging the spread of more popular and representative governments in the Middle East is a central element in the Islamic Republic’s balancing strategy.  This leads into a discussion of the extremely polarized reaction to Going to Tehran—including, on the negative side, highly personal attacks against us.  On this point, Flynt says,

“The problem that people have with us—they’ll say it’s a question of ‘tone,’ or this or that—the real problem is that what we’re saying is that, particularly in a Middle East in which public opinion is mattering more than ever before, the United States does not have a narrative with which to compete for influence.  We’ve got carrier battle groups coming out our ears, but we do not have a narrative…The Islamic Republic has one, and it knows how to use it to its strategic advantage…[For Americans with a hegemonic perspective on the Middle East,] we’re creating cognitive dissonance.”       

Of course, we take up the place of Israel in both American and Iranian grand strategies.  We have enormous respect for John Mearsheimer and Steve Walt; Flynt was one of the few former U.S. officials to speak to them on the record for their essential book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.  But we differ somewhat from John and Steve in our argument that “blind” American support for Israel is not primarily a function of the Israel lobby.  Rather, the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship” is driven by American elite perceptions, since the 1967 war, that a military dominant Israel helps America’s own hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East; in this context, the Israel lobby is “pushing on an open door.”  

We discuss other topics during what turned out to be a substantively very rich conversation with Harry Kreisler:  the Iranian case for the integration of participatory politics with Islamic governance as the only way for Muslims to reassert their independence and embrace true self-determination; the Islamic Republic’s 2009 presidential election; the Iranian nuclear program; and the imperatives for U.S. rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.  We end on the “Nixon-to-China” model, the real requirements for a U.S. diplomatic breakthrough with Tehran, and the future of America’s role in the Middle East.     

Hosted by Harry Kreisler, Conversations with History has for 31 years recorded interviews with some of the world’s leading scholars and practitioners of international affairs, journalists, writers, and other public intellectuals (e.g., Andrew Bacevich, Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, the late Chalmers Johnson, Kishore Mahbubani, John Mearsheimer, Kenzabuo Oe, and Stephen Walt).  We are humbled and gratified to be included in the series, and grateful to Harry Kreisler for inviting us.  We encourage everyone to watch the video—and urge all who do to leave comments where the video is posted on You Tube as well as here.   

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

 

275 Responses to “The Self-Defeating Dynamics of American Hegemony in the Middle East: The Leveretts on Conversations with History”

  1. fyi says:

    All:

    Mr. Ross’s prescription for initiating a war with Iran:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/irans-nuclear-games-demand-for-a-tougher-us-approach/2013/05/27/36464e7e-c6e3-11e2-9245-773c0123c027_story.html

    It won’t happen but it is from Washington Post – the War Party’s Right Wing

  2. Karl.. says:

    James Canning will still say UK want good relationship with Iran/Syria/Hezbollah after declaring war on Syria by arming terrorists.

  3. Nothing but the Truth says:

    This is how ‘incest breed’ Insulaner usually behave :

    “”EU arms embargo on Syria militants over: Hague””

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/28/305812/eu-arms-embargo-on-syria-rebels-over/

    …British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the expiry of the European Union’s arms embargo on Syria effectively ends the arms embargo on the foreign-sponsored militants operating in the country…

  4. BiBiJon says:

    Is course correction too risky?
    ===========================

    In apparent reference to the saturation brainwashing/visceral hatred/ideological chastity belt, which afflict American discourse on Iran, Harry Kreisler says, in effect, Leveretts’ advocacy for a balancing (as opposed to hegemonic) posture would be more persuasive if they didn’t use a charter member of the axis of evil as a test case.

    Leveretts’ response sounded like, well China was the epicenter of perceived evil of its day.

    An alternative answer might be that Mid East at this time is unique; strategic failure in the Mid East has the potential to destroy American supremacy everywhere globally; no time to thought-experiment on less allergenic scenarios.

    Such an answer begs another question: What guarantees are there to nudge the US to change course? What if newly independent ME states club together and say in unison to US: get the hell out and BRICS countries echo it?

  5. James Canning says:

    Surely one of the biggest blunders in American foreign policy during the 1990s was simply the failure to restore normal relations with Iran.

  6. khurshid says:

    TO ALL

    Iran’s Election interview – Hassan Rohani

    I have seen Hassan Rohani’s election interview.

    Rohani’s performance was disappointing. I thought he will perform good since he might end up with Rafsanjani’s backing just before 14 June. I like to highlight three strange things about Rohani’s interview.

    1) He was giving a speech rather an interview – Rohani’s tone in the interview was inappropriate. It was as if he was talking to a big audience. He sounded as someone giving a speech at a political rally. He clearly got his tone wrong.

    2)He was short tempered – Rohani reminded me of US Senator John McCain’s short temper. John during his failed US presidential bid would get angry quickly – he even wanted to punch a retried wheelchair bound pensioner just because John did not like pensioner’s question. Rohani displayed same short temperateness. He showed annoyance at interviewee’s question and comments and called the interviewee “bi-savad” (illiterate).

    He was insulting – Rohani was accusing “Sada wa Chima” (IRIB – Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) of not being fair and said IRIB played role in insulting campaign of well respected personalities in Iranian politics. However, he called the interviewee and the person speaking through interviewee’s earpiece “Bi-Savad”. Rohani does not seem to know that to get respect he needs to give respect to others first.

    With these personal qualities, he would be the wrong candidate to for.

  7. nico says:

    Wowwwww !
    That is grand policy making !
    Am I wrong or that clown was in the final race to become US president and is still a senator ?

    http://news.antiwar.com/2013/05/27/john-mccain-sneaks-into-syria-for-talks-with-rebels/

    “Rebel-enthusiast Sen. John McCain (R – AZ), no longer content to simply cheer Syria’s Islamist rebellion from the comfort of the Sunday news show circuit, has snuck into northern Syria today for meetings with brigade commanders in the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
    Rebel officials familiar with the situation said that McCain’s visit had been planned “for weeks, if not months” and that he made it clear he saw visiting the country as being “pro-active” on getting the US directly involved in the ongoing civil war.Sen. McCain’s visit last a little over an hour, before he retreated back into neighboring Turkey. McCain also met with rebel leaders inside Turkey before crossing the border.”

  8. nico says:

    Coukd it be called a tourist visiting the region in an organized trip by Turkish authorities and with the consent of all western spies agency ?

    Truly amazing.
    Arrogance, degeneration and decline…

  9. ToivoS says:

    Great program by the Leveretts as usual. One small suggestion: they should avoid using the term “cognitive dissonance”. First this is becoming a cliche. Second, in the two cases where it is used in this interview it is not properly applied. Without giving the proper definition, it is not simply a case of discordance between someones beliefs and reality. Delusion or self-deception are the words that apply in the contexts here.

  10. fyi says:

    khurshid says:
    May 28, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Yes, Mr. Khurshid; this is some of what I was alluding too when I indicated that the population of Syria, Iraq and other such places will eventually coalesce around those who can provide for security and stability.

    In Syria and in Iraq, that would be the governments of Mr. Assad and Mr. Maliki.

    In Afghanistan and in Libya I do not know who can provide that security and that stability in which you can walk down a street buy your bread.

    There is a clear lesson that I have tried to articulate; that Axis Powers stand for Death and Destruction – that is their program and nary a peep comes out of Muslim Brothers in Turkey and in Egypt.

    Shame, shame, shame….

  11. Richard Steven Hack says:

    I’ve been saying for a long time here that Obama is owned and operated by the Crown and Prizker families in Chicago…who are part of the military-industrial complex and fervent Israel supports.

    Here we go:

    Obama Taps Billionaire Fundraiser Penny Pritzker for Commerce Despite Anti-Labor, Subprime Legacy
    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/28/obama_taps_billionaire_fundraiser_penny_pritzker

    NOW do you get the picture as to how things are REALLY done in the US?

  12. Persian Gulf says:

    khurshid says:
    May 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    It’s very hard to imagine that an Akhund will be elected this time. Not for sure this guy. They way he talks just turns you off. I still think Aref gets more votes than Rouhani.

    My guess: the competition is between Velayati, Ghalibaf and Jalili. and Rezaei looks way better this time around.

    Candidates like Gharazi and Haddad are just wasting their time and money, I believe.

  13. Nasser says:

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/marwan-barghouti-fatah-palestine.html

    What is remarkable to me is his continued faith in US and international institutions and his failure to mention Iran as the primary benefactors of the Palestinians.

  14. khurshid says:

    fyi says:
    May 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    “…..when I indicated that the population of Syria, Iraq and other such places will eventually coalesce around those who can provide for security and stability.”

    Well said FYI, I fully agree with your above assessment. The link i posted earlier also states the same thing. Ordinary Syrians were tricked in believing that US + EU + sheikh-doms + Neo ottoman sultan-dom + takfiris are going to bring democracy, freedom and justice to Syria. Although it is sad to see this level of destruction of Syria but I can only hope Syrian army can stabilize the norther boarder with sultan-istan(Turkey) and bring security to the country.

    With EU’s lifting of arm sanctions will probably not cause much change on the ground but it is likely to prolong the war. President Assad have to play his hand cleverly, which he has done skillfully so far. I think he is smart enough to handle it.

    I also believe that Syria will retake Golan heights. Assad didn’t take any action against Israel for 40 years but I believe time has come now to recapture the lost territory. I am not saying Syria will retake Golan within a year but the process of retaking Golan has started (thanks to Israel’s airstrike – its paradoxical but it is true) and I would estimate within 3-5 years Golan will be reunited with Syria. How do you see Syria’s prospects of retaking Golan?

  15. jay says:

    In order to further improve relationships with the Afghan people,

    “The UK government has acknowledged that its troops in Afghanistan are unlawfully holding eighty to ninety Afghan nationals in the British army’s Camp Bastion in the war-torn South Asian country.”

    Now now! Would it have not been better if these Afghan detainees simply stopped asking for their rights. They could then enjoy the hospitality, meals, shelter, and perhaps even a few outings in the prison yard while being escorted by their kind British captors!

  16. fyi says:

    khurshid says:
    May 29, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Syria has no prospect of getting Golan back.

  17. khurshid says:

    To All

    Iran Election Interview – Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf

    I must say from the 2013 election interviews I have seen so far Ghalibaf performance was best.

    1) Personal qualities – He spoke with confidence and used right tone. He was mindful of time – he looked at his watch during the interview to make sure he does not use up all his time addressing one question. This indicates good sense of time management.

    He was respectful of interviewer and did not blame or accuse others. He even acknowledged previous administration’s contributions and achievements.

    2) Economy – His understanding of economy is good and understands the problems of public. This was demonstrated when he talked about price fluctuation of essential commodities like cheese, petrol and meat. Clearly his proven track record of being a successful Tehran Mayor makes him a good candidate to manage Iran’s economy as a whole.

    3) Foreign Policy – He was the only candidate so far who admitted that the president is “one of the players” of crafting Iran’s foreign policy. And foreign policy does not change over night with change of president. Looking at it retrospectively Velayati, Jalili and Rohani should have mentioned this important point. Ghalibaf’s understanding of consultation and collective actions for crafting foreign policy indicates his “team player” skills.

    4) Other Election Notes – Based on what I have seen so far on TV, Ghalibaf seems to have attracted more people in his rally/ visits than other candidates. If at any point “2+1” group is to drop 2 candidates in favour of a lead runner than I think Ghalibaf will win.

    Jalili is also a good candidate but juxtaposing performance of Jalili and Ghalibaf, I would say Ghalibaf is a stronger candidate for presidency. However, if Ghalibaf does become president Jalili should remain as secretary of SNSC where he has done well so far.

  18. fyi says:

    khurshid says:
    May 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    He is another Iranian with a fake doctorate; for that reason alone he ought not be considered.

  19. khurshid says:

    To All

    if this is true (IF THIS IS TRUE) Jalili is the next president

    http://iranpulse.al-monitor.com/index.php/2013/05/2109/15-reasons-why-ahmadinejad-supports-jalili/

    Election landscape is getting muddy !!

  20. James Canning says:

    I recommend Gideon Rachman’s comments in the Financial Times May 28th: “Watch what the west does on Syria, not what it says”.

  21. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Israel agreed to give Golan Heights back to Syria, in 2008.

  22. James Canning says:

    Khurshid,

    Israel agreed to return the Golan Heights to Syria, in 2008. In deal Turkey was brokering.

  23. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    May 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Hilarious comment Mr Canning.
    Yep, that will materialize as much as Israel deep and genuine will to make peace with palestinian.

  24. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    Do you see anything ironic, in Iran’s mission as “primary benefactor” of the Palestinians? Many Palestinian leaders will say that the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme has made it easier for Israel to continue to grow the illegal colonies in the West Bank.

  25. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You think the BRICS should tell the US “to get the hell out of the Middle East”?

    Are you forgetting that Russia and China want Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent?

    Are you forgetting that China has warned Iran not to try to close the sea lanes in the Persian Gulf, in event of blockade?

  26. James Canning says:

    In the Financial Times yesterday, Gideon Rachman called attention to Hillary Clinton’s foolish comments re: Syria last year. Clinton called Russia’s position “despicable”.

    In fact, Russia’s position was sounder than that of the US.

  27. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Interesting to note how dual-citizen David Cohen ,the successor of Stuart Levey ( who got a multi-million $ job in HSBC as CLO ) wants to wipe Iran financially off the map , because he was promised fortunes to do this job.

    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article40498.html

    …The U.S. will now ban sales of gold by anyone to either the Iranian government or to Iranian citizens, a senior U.S. Treasury official said yesterday.

    Washington has warned Iran’s neighbours Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, key regional centers of the gold trade, to stop gold sales to Iran, said David Cohen, treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

    “We have been very clear with the governments of Turkey and the UAE and elsewhere, as well as the private sector that is involved in the gold trade, that as of July 1 all must stop, not just trade to the government,” he said.

    Cohen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the U.S. government continues to find new ways to isolate Iran from the international financial system.

    “In particular, we are looking carefully at actions that could increase pressure on the value of the rial,” he said.

    “One thing that we have seen in the course of the last year is when the rial depreciates and depreciates rapidly, that begins to create a dynamic in Iran that has an effect.”…

    …Iranian people are suffering from the currency devaluation with the very significant increase in the cost of living.

    “It has an effect on the elites and their perception of how the country is behaving.”

    The move to block gold sales is part of the effort to further weaken the rial, he explained.

    “There’s a tremendous demand for gold among private Iranian citizens, which in some respects is an indication of the success of our sanctions.”

    “They are dumping their rials to buy gold as a way to try to preserve their wealth. That is I think an indication that they recognise that the value of their currency is declining.”

    Cohen and another senior official, U.S. State Department Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, told the committee that sanctions were having a deep impact on Tehran.

    He said a ban on oil exports was costing Tehran between USD 3 and 5 billion a month and caused the economy to contract by as much as eight percent last year.

    Sherman said 14 out of 20 importers of Iranian oil have ended their purchases, and the other six — China, India, Turkey, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan — have significantly reduced their imports.

    “We are continuing, of course, to press them for further significant reductions as is required under the law,” she told the committee….

  28. James Canning says:

    Nothing,

    Given your post, do you agree with FYI that Iran is stronger due to the sanctions?

  29. James Canning says:

    Gideon Rachman, in the FT yesterday: “Obama may [believe] that worries about jihadists in Syria or about the Iranian bomb continue to rank higher than the desire to topple the Assad regime.”

  30. nahid says:

    For the first time in Iran’s modern history (over 100 years since oil was discovered) the none crude oil exports have overtaken its total imports of all other products. For many generations now, Iran has been afflicted with the black curse. The black curse is in reference to economies that become wholly reliant on crude oil exports to drive their economies, expenses, and imports.

    http://www.therealamirtaheri.com/#!/2013/05/irans-non-oil-exports-overtake-total.html

  31. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    ‘You think the BRICS should tell the US “to get the hell out of the Middle East”?’

    No, James. That is not what I think, nor what I said.

    Here is what I think and say: You are not worth engaging in conversation, or debate.

  32. BiBiJon says:

    khurshid says:
    May 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Agreed. Only one word to describe my reaction: fresh.

    If Ghalibaf wins, I hope Mr. Velayati accepts the role of permanent special envoy; he would do wonders in India for example.

  33. masoud says:

    Qalibaf is an annoying little chit.

    He’s actually the only candidate I’ve ever met who’s running on a platform of not making any policy decisions, whatsoever. His platform is that he will leave all economic decisions in the hands of the parliament, and wash his hands of any foreign policy responsibility, which is an area he claims presidents have no right to encroach on.
    Why does he even want to run? He should rather be campaigning for a constitutional amendment to abolish the presidency and re-establish a primeminstership. While he’s at it, he might as well remove ‘Republic’ from the country’s name.

    He’s a complete and unabashed neoconservative, and if he gets in, his only priority will be to gut Iran’s state and para-state sectors for the benefit of his buddies, which he calls ‘strengthening’ the economy.

  34. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You said BRICS countries should “echo” the demand that the US “get the hell out” of the Middle East.

    Look at your post.

  35. James Canning says:

    Nahid,

    Great post. I agree with you Iran does well to focus on exports other than crude oil.

  36. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You do realise I think the US presence in the ME is far far too large.

  37. Richard Steven Hack says:

    All options including no-fly zone over Syria possible: White House
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/29/306135/nofly-zone-over-syria-possible-us-says/

    Despite pointless talk of “new talks” about Syria, the plan remains the same: degrade Syria’s missile arsenal and Hizballah’s missile arsenal so an Iran war can occur.

  38. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Germany will never send arms to Syria militants: Merkel
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/29/306142/germany-not-to-arm-syria-militants/

    So what? Britain and France will – and Germany probably will help pay for them. Not that it matters since really the only way the insurgents can win is foreign military intervention – which is why that’s in the cards.

  39. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Israeli defense chief indicates if Russia ships advanced missiles to Syria, they could be hit
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israels-defense-chief-hints-that-transfer-of-russias-advanced-weapons-to-syria-could-be-hit/2013/05/28/43dba3d4-c78f-11e2-9cd9-3b9a22a4000a_story.html

    I’d like to see that happen. Russia wouldn’t take that lying down. Its ships would be escorted by Russian Navy vessels in that event. I’d like to see some Israel jets shot down.

  40. Richard Steven Hack says:

    That noise from Israel, by the way, again tips us to the REAL reason behind the Syria conflict: the threat of Syrian and Hizballah missiles in an Iran war.

  41. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Justin Raimondo on Why John McCain Wants to Aid Syrian Terrorists
    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/05/28/why-john-mccain-wants-to-aid-syrian-terrorists/

    Quotes

    His trip was facilitated by the “Syrian Emergency Task Force,” a mysterious group set up by a former Senate staffer, Moustafa Mouaz, which sprang into existence fully-funded and which naturally doesn’t have to register as an agent of a foreign power – since the Foreign Agents Registration Act is only selectively enforced. Mouaz is a former aide to Senator Blanche Lincoln and Rep. Vic Synder, both liberal to centrist Democrats. Here he is cheering on al-Nusra – the official al-Qaeda franchise in Syria – on Twitter. (See also here and here.) The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the “educational” branch of AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, lists him on their web site as one of their trusted “experts”: he recently addressed a WINEP conference.

    The Israel lobby’s involvement in all this is somewhat obscure, but WINEP has been on the scene providing quotes and rationales for US intervention, and now with the Israeli air strikes and all this talk of Hezbollah propping up a supposedly faltering Assad, it’s clear why: the Israelis want to use this opportunity to take out another of their enemies. They lured us into attacking Iraq, and now they are insisting we go after Iran – but as an appetizer, so to speak, they’re inviting us to first gobble up Syria before partaking of the main course.

    Another “irony” for Sen. Paul to note: the same Moustafa Mouaz who is now serving as the executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force formerly held the same position for – you guessed it! – the Libyan Emergency Task Force. And we know how well that worked out for us.

    Funny how these “emergency task forces” show up at precisely the right time, loaded with funding, and with good connections to the mainstream media and prominent politicians, – like Athena emerging fully armed from the head of Zeus.

    Where does the money come from? Who is providing the media connections, the organizational heft, and the cold hard cash it takes to make a major push for US intervention in Syria?

    End Quotes

    My note: As I’ve been saying all along, of course Israel wants the US to take out Syria – and especially Hizballah. This is strategically necessary for Israel to avoid being “inconvenienced” by those missile arsenals in an Iran war. This is the entire purpose of the Syria crisis – to render Syria and Hizballah ineffective actors in an Iran war which is the ultimate goal of the US and Israel.

  42. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pepe Escobar on Obama’s new – meaningless – “pledges”…

    The entire globe is a battlefield for Pentagon
    http://rt.com/op-edge/us-pentagon-cia-war-742/

  43. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pepe Escobar on ‘Israel is Obama’s fall-back plan for Syria’
    http://rt.com/op-edge/escobar-israel-syria-us-857/

  44. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Russia: Our missile sale to Assad will deter ‘hotheads’ from intervening
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/russia-our-missile-sale-to-assad-will-deter-hotheads-from-intervening/

    Actually, they won’t. No weapons system determines the outcome of a campaign – short of nukes – but merely adjusts the costs. And it is rare when politicians consider the costs to the military, since they aren’t paying any of it.

  45. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Europe Seeks to Press Russia and Syria on Arms
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/world/middleeast/decision-to-end-syrian-arms-embargo-angers-russia.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Quote

    The European Union’s decision to lift its arms embargo on Syria, after a bitter, 13-hour debate in Brussels, is intended to put pressure on Russia and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria before peace talks scheduled in Geneva next month, with a message that the West will not allow the rebels to be defeated, senior European diplomats said Tuesday.

    End Quote

    And since the rebels cannot win – regardless of being supplied whatever weapons – and also cannot be defeated as long as they have support from Saudi Arabia and Qatar and safe havens in Jordan and Turkey, the end result can only be foreign military intervention.

  46. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I didn’t.

  47. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 29, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Richard,

    The rebels already have more support than they know what to do with from Saudi Arabia and Qatar and safe havens in Jordan and Turkey, special ops of super friendly western countries, but it looks very much like the rebels are losing; they’ve been steadily losing ground militarily, public opinion wise, political support wise, internal cohesion wise, and pretty much in every other way wise on an accelerated basis.

    Their supporters, particularly Turkey and Jordan are at breaking point under the strain. 2 years was plenty long enough. 5, let alone 10 more years will be unimaginable for Jordan and Turkey.

    The Syrian’s army only vulnerability was through the skies. Russians say they will (or already have) plugged that hole.

    As for the imminent Israeli two-pronged invasion, it looks like IDF will get to encounter as many Hezbollah fighters in Syria as in south Lebanon, probably as many tunnels and rocket launchers too, and probably not with a great deal of air cover.

    The Syrian ploy is over. Israel will next turn on Turkey. But, Iran will foil that too.

  48. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm
    China would oppose any blockade no matter who initiated it and they would not be the only ones,the west would not have un cover for this act of aggression,a blockade by iran would be a purely retaliatory act in response to a western blockade or other serious aggression.Personally I dont think the west would attempt this as the risks would be just to great

  49. jay says:

    jay says:
    May 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Of course, needless to say, in case it was not obvious, the comment above was cold sarcasm.

  50. Persian Gulf says:

    khurshid says:
    May 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    “He was respectful of interviewer and did not blame or accuse others. He even acknowledged previous administration’s contributions and achievements.

    2) Economy – His understanding of economy is good…”

    I also think he did well in this interview. however at one point he said I’ll control the prices, stop them from increasing, and even will decrease them. I am not sure he understands what he is talking about. he will say anything to get elected!

    @ fyi

    His degree caught my attention 8 years ago in Tehran during election campaign. and someone immediately, and somehow forcefully, said no this guy has a solid ph.d. degree. I came to believe that either these people are genius, or people studying in top universities in Iran are not that smart to have both solid degrees and proven management records :) There is no gap in his career for serving the people! Frankly, I feel stupid when I see these people.

    Rezaei is another one of these. There exists an obsession for “Dr.” title in Iran.

    It’s just amazing to see how these people can look at someone like Aref or Velayati and talk about their higher education credentials.

  51. jay says:

    This is Assad in 2010 trying to strike a positive and cooperative tone with the US

    http://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/10DAMASCUS8_a.html

    We all know what is happening in Assad’s neighborhood – and what happened to other cooperative folks such as Ghadafi, and Saddam, and ….

    How many examples do Iranians need to learn that US/UK interpret cooperation in negotiations as an opening for destruction of the interlocutor?

  52. Richard Steven Hack says:

    BiBiJon: “The rebels already have more support than they know what to do with”

    Then why are they constantly asking for more?

    “it looks very much like the rebels are losing; they’ve been steadily losing ground militarily, public opinion wise, political support wise, internal cohesion wise, and pretty much in every other way wise on an accelerated basis.”

    They can’t lose as long as they have any support. The guerrilla does not lose if the regime does not win – that is the standard axiom for guerrilla war. That does not mean they’re going to win. As I’ve repeatedly said, Assad cannot lose either as long as the military remains intact as well as the majority of the population supports him.

    Their supporters, particularly Turkey and Jordan are at breaking point under the strain.”

    Turkey and Jordan are affected only by the refugee situation. The main parties supporting the insurgents are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France, Britain, and the US. No doubt Israel is helping behind the scenes as well.

    “2 years was plenty long enough. 5, let alone 10 more years will be unimaginable for Jordan and Turkey.”

    It’s not going to last that long. The US, France, Britain and Israel will be attacking Syria long before then – probably this year. That will change the situation – although it may not necessarily lead to an Assad overthrow. As I’ve said, the goal is mostly to prevent Syria – and Hizballah – from being effective actors in an Iran war. Anything beyond that is mostly irrelevant.

    “The Syrian’s army only vulnerability was through the skies. Russians say they will (or already have) plugged that hole.”

    There is no such thing. No weapons system renders anyone invulnerable to attack, especially air attack. The US and NATO still have overwhelming air and naval superiority – and Israel doesn’t seem to have any problem bombing Syria whenever they like.

    “As for the imminent Israeli two-pronged invasion, it looks like IDF will get to encounter as many Hezbollah fighters in Syria as in south Lebanon, probably as many tunnels and rocket launchers too, and probably not with a great deal of air cover.”

    First, Hizballah isn’t building any tunnels in Syria. They haven’t had the time. Second, Israel is unlikely to attack Hizballah until they have air cover from the US and NATO. Third, the more Hizballah intervenes in Syria, the more “justification” Israel and the US and NATO will have for intervening themselves. Nasrallah is making a mistake to commit forces in Syria.

    “The Syrian ploy is over. Israel will next turn on Turkey. But, Iran will foil that too.”

    Why would Israel turn on Turkey? What advantage does Israel get from that? Turkey is not relevant to an Iran war. Syria and Lebanon are.

    Nothing is over in Syria.

  53. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Hard to know what to make of this…

    US ‘unaware’ of Russian missile shipments to Syria – State Department
    http://rt.com/news/syria-russia-missiles-us-482/

  54. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Will EU Sanctions Once Again Target the Civilian Population of Syria?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/27/will-eu-sanctions-once-again-target-the-civilian-population-of-syria/

  55. Richard Steven Hack says:

    How Obama and Al-Qaeda Became Syrian Bedfellows
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/28/how-obama-and-al-qaeda-became-syrian-bedfellows/

    The important point: There’s no way the US didn’t know this. Which means it was deliberate.

  56. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Should be obvious…

    Why is the UK Pushing the EU to Designate Hezbollah a Terrorist Group?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/28/why-is-the-uk-pushing-the-eu-to-designate-hezbollah-a-terrorist-group/

    It means the US and NATO can join Israel in attacking Lebanon…

  57. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Nasrallah on Syria: ‘This Battle Is Ours’
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/nasrallah-hezbollah-syria-speech-rockets.html#ixzz2UbxHX016

    Notable Quotes

    Nasrallah warned, “If Syria falls in the hands of the takfiris and the United States, the resistance will be trapped and Israel will enter Lebanon. If Syria falls, the Palestinian cause will be lost.”

    “The main strategic problem is that Lebanon as a state sees not in Israel a real enemy,” said Nasrallah, asking, “Israel has been preparing for war and resolving gaps since 2006. What have we, in Lebanon, done to prepare for any possible aggression by Israel? Who is responsible? In Lebanon, there are no shelters, no safe accommodations. Is the resistance also entitled to take care of the civil needs?”

    End Quote

    He understands that correctly: the goal for Israel is the destruction of Hizballah’s ability to act in an Iran war, which entails an Israeli invasion of Lebanon through Syrian territory into the Bekaa Valley, Hizballah’s stronghold.

    The problem is that by entering the Syrian conflict he plays into the hands of Israel and the US, who will use Hizballah’s involvement as an excuse to target Hizballah in the upcoming foreign military intervention.

  58. Richard Steven Hack says:

    EU Puts Hezbollah on Notice
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/eu-puts-hezbollah-on-notice.html

    This is all part of the plan to use the Syrian crisis as an excuse to destroy Hizballah’s ability to threaten Israel with its missile arsenal. Note that France and Germany, previously unwilling to call Hizballah a terrorist group, have changed their minds allegedly due to Hizballah’s involvement in Syria. You can be sure the US and Israel are behind that change of mind.

  59. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Syrian Fault Lines In Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/syria-faultlines-bekaa-valley-lebanon.html

    Very likely the US and Israel are going to use Syrian refugees as an excuse to attack the Bekaa Valley and they will probably use Syrian insurgents as part of their attack plan.

  60. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Lebanon: Fault Line for Hezbollah’s War on ‘Takfiris’ in Syria
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/hezbollah-war-syria-jabhat-nusra-lebanon.html

    Notable Quotes

    During the past few weeks, Hezbollah’s leadership in Beirut received information that Jabhat al-Nusra might transfer its war against Hezbollah to Lebanon, according to different rules of engagement than those followed in Syria. In other words, Jabhat al-Nusra plans to launch operations to strike Hezbollah from the rear and sabotage its ability to fight in Syria.

    Lebanese security sources expect the war between Hezbollah and Jabhat al-Nusra to escalate in the next few days. According to available information, Jabhat al-Nusra controls Lebanese and Palestinian Salafist groups in northern Lebanon, in the Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp near the southern city of Sidon, and in Beirut and its suburbs, especially in the Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp.

    For weeks, pro-Jabhat al-Nusra Salafist groups in Lebanon have been training dozens of displaced Palestinians from Syria in at least two locations in the Ein al-Hilweh camp. Lebanese intelligence said that Osama al-Shehab, an al-Qaeda operative, supervises those two locations in Ein al-Hilweh camp.

    According to a Lebanese security assessment, Jabhat al-Nusra can fight a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. There are hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians who wish to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad toppled and who live among the Lebanese Sunni community in Lebanon. Jabhat al-Nusra can use those displaced Syrians in its fight against Hezbollah.

    End Quotes

  61. Richard Steven Hack says:

    US prepares plans of Syria no-fly zones: Report
    :http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/29/305984/us-makes-plans-of-syria-nofly-zones/

    Exclusive: Obama Asks Pentagon for Syria No-Fly Zone Plan
    :http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/28/exclusive-barack-obama-asks-pentagon-for-syria-no-fly-zone-plan.html

    Step by step, slowly we turned…

    “Pentagon spokesman Dave Lapan sent the following statement to The Daily Beast after this story posted: “There is no new planning effort underway.”

    Remember, whenever a Pentagon spokesman speaks, he’s lying…

  62. kooshy says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    “Turkey is not relevant to an Iran war. Syria and Lebanon are.”

    Anything and everything west of Hindu Kush (meaning Indian Killer since it’s difficult to pass) becomes relevant, why relevant? Just enough to review what took place after the Iranian revolution, as the result the entire map of Middle East west of Hindu Kush became affected, starting with Soviets finding a security need to invade Afghanistan and relevantly, American’s security need to beef up Saddam and later to station naval forces in the PG, etc. etc. Taliban …..Al Qaida, 911, printing $ … 12 years in Afghanistan, ten years in Iraq, QE, QE and more QE’s etc. etc. who knows end of empire etc. etc. You know all of this, you just don’t like it.

    Do you really think all this history is irrelevant? If it wasn’t for Iranian Islamic revolution, USSR wouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan to protect her central Asian Muslim Stans, the rest is history.

  63. kooshy says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    “Turkey is not relevant to an Iran war. Syria and Lebanon are.”

    Anything and everything west of Hindu Kush (meaning Indian Killer since it’s difficult to pass) becomes relevant, why relevant? Just enough to review what took place after the Iranian revolution, as the result the entire map of Middle East west of Hindu Kush became affected, starting with Soviets finding a security need to invade Afghanistan and relevantly, American’s security need to beef up Saddam and later to station naval forces in the PG, etc. etc. Taliban …..Al Qaida, 911, printing $ … 12 years in Afghanistan, ten years in Iraq, QE, QE and more QE’s etc. etc. who knows end of empire etc. etc. You know all of this, you just don’t like it.

    Do you really think all this history is irrelevant? If it wasn’t for Iranian Islamic revolution, USSR wouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan to protect her central Asian Muslim Stans, the rest is history.

  64. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Richard, you raise some points that I’ll try and answer.

    – For all anyone knows, the rebels constantly ask for more support/weapons, because that is their excuse for why they are losing ground, discipline, and cohesion.

    – We are both at fault talking about winning and losing. The fact is one can ‘win’ against cancer if one has not been debilitated even though the cancer might not have been completely eradicated. In such a case I don’t know if it is technically correct to say the cancer has ‘lost.’ But, it sure has failed to achieve its ‘big’ objective. E.g. Thatcher had no problem pressing her interests in Falkland while dealing with IRA, indeed she’d barely survived an IRA attack 2 years later. I think if the rebels are pushed to the countryside, and unable to mount large operations, then I’d call that as good as ‘winning.’ Perhaps ‘coping just fine’ is a better phrase.

    – As supply routes, and safe havens, Turkey and Jordan are not just crucial supporters, they are irreplaceable. Whereas Qatar and Saudi money can be supplanted by George Soros at a moment’s notice.

    – There’s not a person left on the planet who does not know, and has not known for ages, that the sole interest in Syria is a way of wounding Iran. I suspect Iran, Syria and Lebanon have prepared plans A thru Z to deal with this. If they’ve managed to get Russia ‘firmly’ on their side, then the 3 amigos are fairly well placed to make the plots against them ridiculously expensive to achieve.

    – You’re right. There’s no such thing as complete invulnerability. There is a question of costs. “on Wednesday Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV that Damascus would retaliate immediately if Israel struck Syrian soil again.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/30/assad-russian-s300-missiles-syria

    – Nasrallah screwed up by inconveniencing the open secret of the 3 amigos being taken out one at a time? How shortsighted do you think these people are? First, second, and third the 3 know they must all survive, or they will all be dealt an existential defeat. I cannot take seriously scenarios that do not factor in Iran’s, Syria’s, and Lebanon’s survival instincts. If they decide to waive the white flag, any one of them will be waving it for all three. The question of who might use what as ‘the’ excuse, is it CW, is it Hezbollah involvement, is it # of casualties; take your pick. The obstruction to all-out war is not a sudden shortage of excuses.

    – I saw Shimon Peres’ death glance at Erdogan in Davos. If you think Israel will stand for an independent, influential Muslim country remaining an independent, influential, and important player, then you underestimate the value Israel places on her absolute freedom of action. They’ll do to Turkey what they’ve done to Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc. They have cultivated all this Islamophobia as Sword of Damocles for anyone and everyone who wants to sit on that throne of self-respect, no exceptions.

  65. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    May 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Unfortunately that is true. Rezaei, Qalibaf and Jalili all hold fake degrees and doctorates. Kind of norm nowadays. Though candidates with real degrees are actually worse and much more dumber. Take the example of Velayati.

  66. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    May 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Not of much relevance to Iran. First, Iran does not have IT foundations that can produce a talented and huge cyber army on par with countries like China. Secondly, China being a nuclear power, can go around hack and destroy without worrying about being nuked. If Iran even by an unintentional mistake destroys a significant IT structure of US, then there is a good possibility that Iran will be nuked in response or atleast invaded and Iranian women mass-rapedd and Iranian babies minced.

  67. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    May 28, 2013 at 1:33 am

    That is for the benefit of White Men. How dare you question their supremacy by implying their hypocrisy over Iran? ;=)

  68. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    May 29, 2013 at 2:34 am

    That issue is irrelevant now. The game is becoming more naked. Palestinians can now forget about any peace or statehood that includes even the smallest shred of dignity for their nation. There will be more land grabs and they will live in two small Bantustans namely in Gaza and West Bank. They have only themselves to blame for it. Israel should have complete reign over them as expected.

  69. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    May 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Not only that but all should expect its expansion. Russians are worried. When one gets worried with a liter of Vodka in his stomach, it means things are really bad.

  70. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    May 26, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    There is more of a chance that a Shia becomes a Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian or even a Hindu than becoming a wahabi. Only Sunnis and western christians are vulnerable to become wahabis. The calls for defection shows the desperation of terrorists trapped and being killed by SAA air force.

  71. Smith says:

    khurshid says:
    May 27, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Smith says:
    May 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    – You seem not to have met any wahabi/salafi community, yet. Such is their norm.

    “I have seem salafis before. In fact I was talking to one yesterday. Despite knowing them I have always been horrified to see such acts of barbarism. How can a human be so mindless?”

    As I said, you have not met a COMMUNITY of them. Their barbarism comes from their tribal ideology. For such an ideology to work you need a tribe (collection of individuals). I do not advise this but for example going to rural Saudi/Jordan/Pakistan/Afghanistan, you can meet their real tribes in action. Though if they find out that you are an Iranian Shia (whom they call a majoosi as opposed to Shia Arab whom they called Kafir), then you might have just 12 seconds to see their reality (the amount of time brain remains conscious with eyes and ears working after decapitation).

  72. khurshid says:

    To All

    Iran Presidential Election interview – Mohammad Reza Aref

    1) Personal Qualities – He was calm and answered questions with reasons and sound argument. Its an indication of his genuine academic track record. He was respectful of all regardless of their political affiliation. He demonstrated this when he said, if elected, he will not stand insults of any previous presidents including Ahmadinejad. He clearly showed good ethical and moral qualities.

    2) Second Question – I liked the way he handled the question regarding “pressures on him from various actors”. He politely pointed to the interview that he is the only candidate questioned on this issue. If this was Hassan Rohani, I bet he would have got angry and screamed “Bi-Savad !!!” Lol.

    3) Economy – He has good grasp of economic situation and seems to have a plan to tackle economic condition. But I think he promising “8%” economic growth was unwise at this stage. He claimed that with current oil price of $100 dollar per barrel he can manage the economy better because during Khatami’s era oil price was far lower – I think this was a bit naive because taking inflation and imposed sanctions into account he will struggle with $100/barrel.

    4) Foreign Policy – I like his idea of utilizing experienced and veteran diplomats for foreign policy formulation. This is an area I think Ahmadenijad performed poorly.

    5) Other Notes: He was at times speaking to the camera forgetting that an interviewer is sitting in front of him. But this a minor issue.

    Seeing key candidates’ performances I will say the top candidates for 2013 election are: Jalili, Ghalibaf and Aref.

    If Conservatives unite behind either Jalili or Ghalibaf and reformists behind Aref this election will become as heated and contesting as 2009 or 2005 elections. However, if Rafsanjani makes the dreadful mistake of baking Rohani I can predict with confidence that reformists/greenist or whatever they like to call themselves are doomed !!

  73. BiBiJon says:

    James,

    Please tell Hague if he needs more sarin for his dog-n-pony show at the UN, he get some at http://rt.com/news/sarin-gas-turkey-al-nusra-021/

  74. Smith says:

    West, Saudi, Qatar, UAE, Turkey and Jordan send the proxy Sunni Syrian men to fight, while they rape their women and make documentaries about it (with such “friends” who needs enemies?) “General” Coward Idris should comment on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEsLG5fLJAI

  75. Smith says:

    Those S-300PMU2 systems in Syria hopefully will help Iran with its Bavar system design, though Iran should aim for something with capabilities of S-400: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ugk3Cu5h4kA&list=PLC0F911FC8D92F30D

  76. James Canning says:

    Smith,

    If the Palestinians can achieve the exit of Israeli police and army from the West Bank, this will be a very good thing for them.

    Many aggressive Israeli expansionists do not want a continguous Palestine in the West Bank. (Ergo, “Bantustans”)

  77. James Canning says:

    Financial Times today reports Iran is pressing for a seat at the Genevaa conference on Syria (assuming one takes place). Iran of course should have a seat.

  78. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    You make an interesting point, that the Iranian overthrow of the Shah led almost directly to the intervention of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Which in turn helped accelerate the collapse of the USSR.

  79. James Canning says:

    David Stockman, who was Budget Director for President Reagan, told a US TV news audience today that the US would be stronger if it cut defence spending by 40%. I of course agree entirely.

  80. Smith says:

    Liz says:
    May 30, 2013 at 6:34 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al_m15uyMMc

  81. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    May 28, 2013 at 12:11 am

    An answer to Ross

    http://www.lobelog.com/reading-iranian-minds/

  82. nico says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/us-iran-support-global-terror-surged-2012-183023353.html

    “The Obama administration is accusing Iran of increasing support forglobal terrorism to levels not seen for two decades.”

    Truth is lie, lie is truth.
    Peace is war.

    US constituencies are turning soviet like with their known lies and BS.
    They are repeating or rather continuing their Bushian and neoconservative approach to international relations.

    The US economy is in decay and the big one is looming, and they are still playing their silly games.
    Better to hope the US economy collapse before more damages are done in the ME ans elsewhere.

  83. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “You make an interesting point, that the Iranian overthrow of the Shah led almost directly to the intervention of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Which in turn helped accelerate the collapse of the USSR.”

    This is a good study for british imperial over-reach!!!!!

  84. Smith says:

    ‘ABC Murders’ during “Arab Spring”: http://rt.com/op-edge/regime-change-syria-plot-018/

  85. BiBiJon says:

    Assad’s interview today

    h/t MoA http://sana.sy/eng/21/2013/05/30/485037.htm

  86. khurshid says:

    TO ALL

    I have just noticed a very WEIRD thing. Look at the picture of John McCain with Syrian kidnappers. Look CLOSE on the guy left of McCain in the picture. The guy’s T-Shirt actually says “NO WAR GENERATION” – a terrorist with anti-war message !!!!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10089697/John-McCain-denies-he-knowingly-posed-with-with-rebel-kidnappers-in-Syria.html

  87. James Canning says:

    FYI,

    Full points for linking the alarming piece of rubbish in the Washington Post May 27th, authored by Dennis Ross.

    Ross is a primary adviser to Obama on the Middle East.

    Ross claims: “Perhaps becaquse of US hesitancy on Syria, or our withdrawal from Iraq . . . Iranian leaders seem not to believe that we will use force if dipolmatic efforts fail.”

    Ross apparently thinks the US should have kept its troops in Iraq? Or is Ross providing cover for the fools who caused US forces to invade Iraq in the first place?

  88. Kooshy says:

    James Canning says:
    May 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Gav

    Yes, the poor soviets didn’t bother to check history of the bloody British tango in Afghanistan before them, but you know what? Nor did we, the few, the proud, shit head Americans, we did the same thing as the Brits and the Soviets before us, like them we didn’t bother to read history. So now, all we can do that we think can help is to shit dollars instead of thinking for better ideas. Just look how Rich respects history? to him everything except dollars are irrelevant. Therefore don’t expect any thing different to come out of US.

  89. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    I think some Soviet generals prdicted catastrophe for the USSR, if the invasion of Afghanistan proceeded.

    Gorbachev was looking for a way out at early as 1986. Yet, in late 1988, Robert Gates was predicting the Soviets would double their troop presence in Afghanistan, in early 1989, if things were not improving.

  90. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    Winston Chruchill fought in Afghanistan, in the 1890s. Churchill was quickly impresssed by the simple fact Afghan soldiers, seemingly friendly toward the Brits with whom they were working, often turned on the Brits and chopped them to pieces.

  91. Richard Steven Hack says:

    BiBiJon: “For all anyone knows, the rebels constantly ask for more support/weapons, because that is their excuse for why they are losing ground, discipline, and cohesion.”

    Quite possible. Nonetheless, from all accounts, they have a limited supply of antitank and antiaircraft missiles, which are the main “heavy weaponry” they need to deal with the Assad regime and which is what they’ve been asking for.

    Nonetheless, even if they had them, it probably would not change the overall calculus. Guerrilla operations succeed when the government military falls apart and the support of the people turns their way. This is not likely to happen in Syria.

    That said, as long as they keep getting weapons and ammunition and have a safe haven in Turkey and Jordan (Jordan, by the way, is reportedly the only state where polls indicate the population wants someone to arm the insurgents) they can keep fighting for years more. They can’t lose.

    “The fact is one can ‘win’ against cancer if one has not been debilitated even though the cancer might not have been completely eradicated. In such a case I don’t know if it is technically correct to say the cancer has ‘lost.’ But, it sure has failed to achieve its ‘big’ objective.”

    This is implied in the axiom that the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. As long as the guerrilla can keep fighting, he has a chance at “winning”, however low.

    The real question in Syria is two-fold:

    1) Can the rebels continue to produce chaos in the country, which prevents the government from “winning” in any real sense?

    2) Can the rebels convert the chaos in the country to geopolitical strength by gaining the support of foreign actors with their own agenda?

    The answer is, yes, they can, to both. The majority of the Syrian insurgents appears to be foreign jihadists with their own support in addition to the support they’re getting from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. One article points out that the Al Qaeda-connected groups seem to have no problems getting ammunition as compared to the allegedly “legitimate” Syrian insurgents such as the FSF.

    “As supply routes, and safe havens, Turkey and Jordan are not just crucial supporters, they are irreplaceable. Whereas Qatar and Saudi money can be supplanted by George Soros at a moment’s notice.”

    Turkey and Jordan don’t indicate they’re going anywhere as supporters of the insurgents. Second, Soros doesn’t have the Islamist contacts to supply the insurgents. As noted above, the jihadist faction of the insurgency are getting plenty of support from organizations in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    The question is one of motivation and purpose. The Saudis and Qatar have no reason to stop their support of the insurgents. And if my analysis that the goal of the US and Israeli support is correct, neither has the US, NATO or Israel. Certainly France and Britain are still staunchly in support of overthrowing Assad by any means necessary and they have been helping the insurgents since at least May, 2011, with Special Forces training and intelligence support.

    Therefore no one is backing down from this as yet. The fact that the insurgents appear to be having problems consolidating or holding their gains is not surprising – this is how urban guerrilla war goes. It means nothing in terms of the overall outcome of the war – especially if foreign military intervention is in the cards.

    “I suspect Iran, Syria and Lebanon have prepared plans A thru Z to deal with this.”

    First, Syria is the target, so their “plans” would appear to be limited to surviving. Second, “Lebanon” as a state has no plans – it’s entirely up to Hizballah, which has already committed its forces. And as I’ve said, this is just playing into the hands of the US and Israel who want foreign military intervention to destroy Hizballah as well as Syria. If the US and NATO attacks Syria, Israel will use that opportunity to attack Hizballah – this is the plan. It’s even possible, if Hizballah troops are in Syria when the US and NATO attacks, that the US and NATO will ALSO bomb Hizballah to assist Israel.

    As for Iran – frankly, it can do nothing. There is ZERO evidence that Iran has provided any significant number of troops to Syria. While it may have provided advisers, these can have only limited impact on the outcomes, especially if foreign military intervention occurs. There is nothing else Iran can do in the event of a US/NATO/Israel attack on Syria. Iran will never enter that war voluntarily.

    The same applies to Russia and China. Neither are in a position to challenge US/NATO air and naval forces in the Mediterranean. The Russian ships currently in the region are few and heavily outgunned by US forces. Russia is not going to do anything directly to prevent a foreign military intervention. And as I’ve said, regardless of the weapons Russia delivers to Syria, a US/NATO/Israel attack on Syria can succeed with limited air and naval casualties (unless the commanders do something really stupid.)

    “You’re right. There’s no such thing as complete invulnerability. There is a question of costs. “on Wednesday Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV that Damascus would retaliate immediately if Israel struck Syrian soil again.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/30/assad-russian-s300-missiles-syria

    Yeah, I’m sure Israel is real worried about Syria’s ability to retaliate. If Syria does that, Israel will wipe Syria off the map. Contrary to the notions peddled in the press lately that Israel would prefer Assad to the Islamist insurgents, Israel is not in the least worried about a fractured, militarily degraded Syria run by Islamists. Israel is not even much worried about Syria’s legitimate military. The only thing Israel cares about is the COMBINATION of Syria, Iranian and Hizballah missile arsenals in an Iran war. And they only care about that, not because it’s any kind of “existential threat”, but because it is an economic and political threat to the Israeli ruling party during and after an Iran war.

    “First, second, and third the 3 know they must all survive, or they will all be dealt an existential defeat.”

    And exactly what are they going to do about it? I’ve heard nothing from anyone who dismisses my scenario as to how they’re going to prevent it except vague suggestions that it would be too “costly” for the US and NATO based on fantasies about how the US and EU are so broke they can’t fight a war.

    This is nonsense. As long as the US and EU taxpayers have paid up this April, the US and NATO can go to war. And as long as the US and EU taxpayers continue to pay up, the US and NATO can continue to go to war. The US military budget is still orders of magnitude larger than Iran, Syria and Lebanon taken together.

    “I cannot take seriously scenarios that do not factor in Iran’s, Syria’s, and Lebanon’s survival instincts.”

    Again, tell me exactly HOW these actors can defeat US and NATO military power? And I’m not talking about over time like the Afghans and the Iraqis did it. I’m well aware that Iran at the least can survive a war with the US, if not Syria and Lebanon (and I expect Hizballah will survive Israel’s attack, at least in part.) I’m talking about PREVENTING IT FROM STARTING in the first place. None of these actors can do that.

    “They’ll do to Turkey what they’ve done to Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc.”

    That won’t happen until their main enemies – Iran, Lebanon and Syria – are dealt with. So it’s utterly irrelevant. And even then Turkey is not Iran, Lebanon or Syria. It’s not even next to Israel. So Israel will find Turkey much harder to deal with than any of the other three. But it’s irrelevant at this point.

    You’re simply scrambling for your usual vague reasons why the geopolitical goals of the US and Israel can’t be achieved. Nonetheless, everything happening on the ground shows the US and Israel continuing to pursue these goals. Nothing whatever indicates that these goals are as yet lost or that the actors are changing course. And even if they eventually end up lost, the US and Israel can easily start one or more wars in the process.

  92. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Kooshy: As I told BiBiJon above, Israel is not going to mess with Turkey until Syria, Lebanon and Iran are dealt with – if then (I’d say Saudi Arabia would be higher on the list as well as the GCC.) It’s not relevant NOW.

  93. Richard Steven Hack says:

    I notice my post of May 30, 2013 at 12:33 am is still “awaiting moderation.”. Has the moderator overlooked it?

  94. Richard Steven Hack says:

    UN nuke agency’s Iran probe driven by US-led intel
    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/un-nuke-agencys-iran-probe-driven-us-led-intel

  95. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Yousaf Butt guest post at Arms Control Law:

    Paving, Penetrators and the Parchin Probe: Issues in Environmental Sampling by the IAEA
    http://armscontrollaw.com/2013/05/29/paving-penetrators-and-the-parchin-probe-issues-in-environmental-sampling-by-the-iaea/

  96. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The supply of arms to opposition groups in Syria and international law
    http://armscontrollaw.com/2013/05/27/the-supply-of-arms-to-opposition-groups-in-syria-and-international-law/

    This article at Arms Control Law establishes the illegality of supplying weapons to Syria’s insurgents under international law. It is posted by Pierre-Emmanuel Dupont.

    Not unsurprisingly, Professor Dan Joyner in comments to that post argues that because the majority of Syrians oppose the Assad regime, it is no longer legitimate and therefore the international law may not apply.

    First, Joyner provides no evidence that the majority of Syrians oppose the Assad regime as compared with the insurgents. I can find no recent poll establishing this. A poll taken early in 2012 indicated 55% of Syrian supported the Assad regime, but that poll was of only 98 Syrians out of a number of Arabs in surrounding states, and was too small a sample to draw any real conclusions.

    Second, he continues to ignore the fact that the while the rebellion may have been initially started by “legitimate” Syrians, it was almost immediately “hijacked” by foreign jihadists supported by foreign powers which is why it turned excessively violent early in 2011, let alone now.

    Presumably he continues to believe that my scenario – that the Syrian crisis is primarily about weakening Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon for the advantage of Israel in an Iran war – is – as he has characterized it – “crazy conspiracy theory”.

  97. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    You are wrong: Iranians have supplied oil, oil products, money, and advisors; perhaps even weapons.

    The new paramilitary units have been formed almost certainly based on Iranian advise; those units have been decisive in unburdening the Syrian Army while keeping the anti-government forces engaged militarily.

    There is also diplomatic support that Iranians have provided as well as Algerians.

    You are correct that the fate of Syria will be decided on the battle field.

    The Syrian Government strategy is to maintain control of the major cities and roads in South, Southwest, and Western Syria. They seem to be succeeding.

    Kurds can control the Northeast and the anti-government forces can roam the Syrian Desert to their hearts content.

    This could go on for years,

  98. Smith says:

    “Islamic” “Republic”, Who even thought it would turn like this: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1772958/Comment:-Iran's-sexual-revolution

  99. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    May 30, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Short of direct NATO involvement, Assad or his replacement will win the civil war. It is only inevitable.

  100. fyi says:

    Smith says:
    May 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Yes, and then Axis Powers or their Nowkar have to occupy Syria for 20 years for their new dispensation to stick; which it won’t, one only has to look at Panama.

    All of this death and destruction because they had to try to wound Iran, in lieu of reaching strategic understanding with Iran due to her enhanced power after the revolutionary project of the Coalition-of-the-Willing in Iraq.

    Wreck the lives of tens of millions of people from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea with no positive program.

  101. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Right hand, look at left hand…heh, heh…

    Everything from iPhones to VPNs can now be legally exported to Iran
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/05/everything-from-iphones-to-vpns-can-now-be-legally-exported-to-iran/

  102. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    May 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Panama is far. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan. Karzai keeps his family outside of Afghanistan and is protected by private western security firms. Before Americans leave, Karzai will leave Afghanistan. The Afghan military is the only collection of Afghan males in the history of that land that is incapable of fighting. Syria will be no different if they go in. But you never know if they send in their Nowkars eg. Turkey, Jordan, Egypt or a collection of them. At any rate, it is going to be very bloody.

    When it all ends, tens of thousands of highly trained wahabi terrorists will go back to their countries which are all allies of western world. They wanted to wound Iran, but the game is going in the opposite direction. Alot of terrorist rebels are already turning their guns towards the west and its allies (Turkey today averted a terrorist chemical attack by the same people Erdogan is supporting). I have to paraphrase yourself here borrowing your beautiful sentence: “What can I say, God is turning their tricks against them”.

  103. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Moscow suggests missiles have yet to reach Assad
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/31/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE94T0K320130531

  104. Richard Steven Hack says:

    fyi: “You are wrong: Iranians have supplied oil, oil products, money, and advisors; perhaps even weapons.”

    All of that is irrelevant to the outcome.

    “The new paramilitary units have been formed almost certainly based on Iranian advise; those units have been decisive in unburdening the Syrian Army while keeping the anti-government forces engaged militarily.”

    I agree. What I’m talking about is having a major influence on the outcome – especially if there is foreign military intervention.

    “The Syrian Government strategy is to maintain control of the major cities and roads in South, Southwest, and Western Syria. They seem to be succeeding. Kurds can control the Northeast and the anti-government forces can roam the Syrian Desert to their hearts content.”

    Yes, but there’s no way the government can control the cities entirely. Infiltration will continue. There’s no way the insurgents can be kept entirely in non-essential areas. That’s now how guerrilla war works. The best Assad can do, as I’ve said, is not lose. He can’t win. Neither can the insurgents as long as the government forces remain stable and at least half the population continues to support the regime.

    “This could go on for years,”

    This is my point. It WON’T go one for years because neither Israel nor the US want it to. They want it resolved in their favor earlier rather than later. Which is why a foreign military intervention is inevitable.

  105. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Dan Joyner needs to read this…

    How We Lost The Syrian Revolution
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/syria-revolution-aleppo-assad.html#ixzz2UjfpWgCZ

    A “legitimate Syrian revolutionary” mourns his hijacked revolution…

  106. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Syria crisis: Rebels condemn opposition coalition
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22698358

    The Indians aren’t following their “chiefs”… More than lack of heavy weapons, this is probably one major reason the insurgents have been losing ground recently.

    However, far from meaning Assad is “winning”, such a status can only spur the desire for intervention on the part of the US, Britain, France and Israel – not that they need much “spurring”.

  107. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Big surprise…not…

    Chances of U.N. Peace Talks on Syria Appear Dim as Both Sides Dig In
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/world/middleeast/chances-of-un-peace-talks-on-syria-appear-dim-as-both-sides-dig-in.html?_r=0

    Like the Iran negotiations, there is no motivation for the US, Britain, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia or Qatar, let alone the jihadist factions, to talk peace. As long as the insurgents have support and the goal of the US and the others is either an Assad overthrow or even just militarily degrading Syria, there is no reason to hold any sort of negotiations for real. It’s just a diplomatic game.

  108. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Fair enough until the part, when for the goodness knows how many times, over how many years, you assert Israel/US/NATO will do what they feel like. And, everybody else who’s not busy being clobbered to death, just politely waits their turn at the slaughterhouse.

    The only question unanswered in this worldview is why these morons, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah just preemptively surrender. What morons!

    Richard, when you get carried away with the fantasies about the Omnipotent, despite the concrete examples of the screw-ups all over the place indicting nothing but abject incompetence, there’s no debating with you. I like my own fantasies, so I cannot in good conscience deny you yours.

    You come across so wedded to your convictions that I worry if I told you whatever US/Israel/Nato’s objectives for Syria was, they actually have achieved the complete opposite:

    -Syria is closer to Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia than ever before
    -Syrian army is battle hardened, and better armed than before
    -Israel’s freedom of action is severely constrained
    -The fragmentation of insurgent groups, disunity of the ‘national council’, the disagreements between Qatar and SA, the discord among France/UK/Israel with the rest of EU, and a paralyzed White House, has crowned even the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan; the world is looking in any direction other than towards the US for leadership.
    -Jordan and Turkey are up to their eyeballs in doodah.

    that I might break your heart.

    So I won’t.

  109. Fiorangela says:

    Hillary Leverett, @ 8:37 min: “By US law and practice, we are not allowed to talk to Iranian officials.”

    = = =

    former NATO ambassador Robert Hunter, in a discussion re Iran-US relations in NYC, a number of weeks ago:

    “The US is the only nation in the world that does not talk to Iran. Even Israel talks to Iran.”

  110. Smith says:

    US to take revenge for its Syria set-backs by trying to foment a rebellion in Iran at the upcoming election: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/30/us-aid-iran-dissidents-syria

  111. ToivoS says:

    BibiJon, great response to RSH. My sentiments exactly. His absolute assertions have always struck me as over the top, but I never challenged them before.

    The US is in serious retreat and is losing influence daily in the ME. That seems like an indisputable fact. These latest developments in Syria bring that situation home ever more clearly.

  112. Nothing but the Truth says:

    BiBiJon says:
    May 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Excellent comment in reply to RSH , ZUSA and ZATO have lost it , but they still don’t know.
    Mr. Pragma in Moon of Alabama is writing following comment :

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/05/syria-the-deadbeat-opposition-and-a-russian-checkmate/comments/page/1/#comments

    Johnboy (52)

    “”In which case, of course, any of those patented Israeli sneak-attack-retaliatory-strikes that are pre-emptively-counter-attacking something that the other side hasn’t actually done yet will end up:
    a) killing a lotta’ Russian soldiers and
    b) have to be carried out into the teeth of those Russian ship-based AA missile defences.””

    That’s hardly more than israel wet dreams.

    For a starter the often quoted israeli “power” against Russia derived from the fact that many israelis came from Russia works the other way around, too.

    More importantly though, the quality of military forces doesn’t depend on high-tech weapons (which is israels major bet) but on intelligence, professionality and troups. Just remember Hezollah vs. israel …

    And it depends on geography and facts on the ground – a factor often overlooked. For instance, due to geographic factors (too many people on too small an area and in particular friends too close to foes) no side will use nuclear weapons.
    In the end a war in syria or israel will come down to a conventional war. And Russia simply can bring way more troups and material into the theater than zusa can even dream of. And they can do it way cheaper.

    Sure, israel can create some damage. But only once and at the extreme risk of its complete destruction.
    Which leads us to yet another geographic factor. israel being so small and structured as it happens to be could be severely crippled to de facto death with 48 hours by Russia and there is plain nothing israel could do against it. Even *if* – which can be strongly doubted – zusa would help israel they’d arrive too late.

    That’s btw. in my minds eye the message of Iskanders possibly being delivered (and sure ready for express shipment) to syria.

    And Iskander *is* a message; that’s how Russia employs them. Iskander is Russias – below the nuclear barrier – final threat. That’s what they threatened against zusa “missile shield” in europe and that’s what they bring into “cannon boat” position against israel.

    And it is a veritable statement for a simple reason: zato has *nothing* that would come even close to a capability to stop that beast approaching with mach 5+, highest class evasive capabilities and a CEP of a few meters.

    That’s btw. a point often overlooked. Due to kinetic energy some Russian extremely high-speed weapons (starting with the sunburn) basically offer the killing effect of small nuclear payload missiles without crossing the nuclear barrier. At the same time that extreme speed leaves almost no reaction time to adversaries.

    Short version: israel (and, probably to a lesser degree, zusa) will continue to make lots of noise – but they won’t risk war. Simple as that.

    Because in the end it’s facts that count and not noise or PR.

    Posted by: Mr. Pragma | May 29, 2013 11:07:32 PM | 64

  113. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    How can supplying fuel for jet airplanes and military trucks be irrelevant to outcome?

    That is silly.

  114. yemi says:

    fyi,

    “fyi says:
    May 31, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    How can supplying fuel for jet airplanes and military trucks be irrelevant to outcome?

    That is silly.”

    Are you surprised?
    No do not be so because RSH has some kind of hypothetical reasoning base on what
    he wants the outcome of a situation to be.

    Nevertheless just keep your fingers crossed awaiting sillier if not silliest ones from him!

  115. yemi says:

    Nothing but the Truth,

    Nothing but the Truth says:
    May 31, 2013 at 4:15 am

    BiBiJon says:
    May 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    “Excellent comment in reply to RSH , ZUSA and ZATO have lost it”

    But I do believe one ‘S’ in the above quote can be ‘Z’ too.
    What do you think?

  116. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “Winston Chruchill fought in Afghanistan, in the 1890s. Churchill was quickly impresssed by the simple fact Afghan soldiers, seemingly friendly toward the Brits with whom they were working, often turned on the Brits and chopped them to pieces.”

    Are you suggestin cammeron/hague too were impressed by their friendly supported wahabi terrorist chopping down UK soldiers right in UK?

  117. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    WHEN DO YOU GUYS EVER LEARN?

  118. Rd. says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    “Nonetheless, from all accounts, they have a limited supply of antitank and antiaircraft missiles, which are the main “heavy weaponry” they need to deal with the Assad regime and which is what they’ve been asking for. “

    an inside view from interview with the late Yara Abbas – In her own word.

    “FSA has very developed weapons, and they have all kinds of weapons. Bombs, doshkas (heavy machine guns) and Shilkas (radar-guided anti-aircraft system), anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft weapons. An anti-aircraft weapon was just used in Idlib. “

    http://friendsofsyria.wordpress.com/

  119. yemi says:

    Mr Smith,

    “Smith says:
    May 30, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    US to take revenge for its Syria set-backs by trying to foment a rebellion in Iran at the upcoming election ”

    Yes you might be right.
    But to all their bad revenges they USA usually shot themselves on the toes because all their evil plots usually work against them in one way or the other.

  120. Don Bacon says:

    I doubt that Winston Churchill did any fighting in Afghanistan.

    In 1897, at the age of 23, Churchill was attached as a soldier-journalist to the Malakand Field Force, the British expedition under the splendidly named Sir Bindon Blood, dispatched to put down the rebellious Pathan tribesmen of the North West Frontier, on what is now the Afghan-Pakistan border. Young Winston was “embedded” as a journalist in Afghanistan simply by combining his role as a cavalry officer with that of a reporter for The Telegraph.

    His motivation was to make a name for himself in London in order to eventually establish himself in politics. More pragmatically, he also had to make a living to pay for his lifestyle in the Hussars.

    The Malakand Field Force was engaged in the Swat Valley as Britain fought rebellious Pashtun, or Pathan, tribesmen in the region.

    Churchill’s first published book was The Story of the Malakand Field Force. It details an 1897 military campaign on the Northwest Frontier. Savrola, written on the way to and after the Malakand campaign, is Churchill’s only novel, and in fact his only work of fiction.

  121. Nothing but the Truth says:

    yemi says:
    May 31, 2013 at 9:58 am

    “But I do believe one ‘S’ in the above quote can be ‘Z’ too.
    What do you think?”

    RSH is well a well informed person , no doubt.
    His main problem is that he doesn’t believe in ‘Devine’ scenarios , as he does not believe in God.

  122. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon.

    A book is just out, detailing Winston Churchill’s combat experience in Afghanistan in the 1890s. When he was indeed a very young man,

  123. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    I have not yet learned the background of the murderous thugs who got so much attention the other day. One posed with his bloody meat cleaver.

    If you are expressing dismay at Obama’s blunder, in trebling the US military presence in Afghanistan, I of course completely agree with you.

  124. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    I utterly d)eplore the vicious civil war in Syria. (I assume you know this already.)

  125. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Bravo. And yes, the utter lunacy in American officials being prohibited from speaking to Iranian officials, is only too obvious. But will this fact be noted in editorials and opinion pieces in US newspapers? Sometimes.

  126. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You downplay, if not ignore entirely, the role of Aipac and other powerful “pro-Israel” groups, in blocking any improvement in America’s relations with Iran, SO LONG AS IRAN IS UNFRIENDLY TOWARD ISRAEL.

    This is the core explanation of the situation. Full stop.

  127. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Rd.: ““FSA has very developed weapons, and they have all kinds of weapons. Bombs, doshkas (heavy machine guns) and Shilkas (radar-guided anti-aircraft system), anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft weapons. An anti-aircraft weapon was just used in Idlib. “
    http://friendsofsyria.wordpress.com/

    I suspect much of that was captured from the Syrian forces, not supplied from outside. Nonetheless, the FSA has been the one most complaining about not having enough ammunition.

  128. Richard Steven Hack says:

    fyi: “How can supplying fuel for jet airplanes and military trucks be irrelevant to outcome? That is silly.”

    Sigh…In the end, what matters is guns in the hands of boots on the ground. That is what I mean by irrelevant.

  129. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    May 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    And you are ignnoring the religious dimension of the Axis Powers love affair with the fantasy projects of Jews in Palestine.

    I can tell you with metaphysical certainity that neither Lebanon (the earlier French fantasy oroject in the Levant) nor Israel (the Americans’ fantasy project in Palestine) will long endure in their current forms.

    Axis Powers are well advised to find a mechanism so that the rights of Jews in Palestine will be respected on that day.

  130. Richard Steven Hack says:

    BiBiJon: “And, everybody else who’s not busy being clobbered to death, just politely waits their turn at the slaughterhouse.”

    Which I’ve never said – or have you missed the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other part you missed is how much damage was done to those countries in the process of the US losing.

    “The only question unanswered in this worldview is why these morons, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah just preemptively surrender. What morons!”

    Now you’re being moronic. When did I ever say any party would surrender?

    “I like my own fantasies, so I cannot in good conscience deny you yours.”

    And your fantasies of the Omnipotence of Iran match some others here.

    “-Syria is closer to Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia than ever before”

    That is not a goal of the Syria crisis.

    “Syrian army is battle hardened, and better armed than before”

    Irrelevant if the goal is to primarily bomb the missile arsenals.

    “Israel’s freedom of action is severely constrained”

    Hah! While they conduct strikes every month in Syria…

    “The fragmentation of insurgent groups, disunity of the ‘national council’,”

    Which is irrelevant if the goal is for the US and NATO to bomb missiles.

    “the disagreements between Qatar and SA”

    Irrelevant as long as both continue supplying the insurgents, and irrelevant if the goal is for the US and NATO to bomb Syria. We already know the insurgents can’t win.

    “the discord among France/UK/Israel with the rest of EU”

    All the US needs are UK, France and Israel – the rest are irrelevant militarily (except Germany).

    “and a paralyzed White House”

    Which is mythical. Obama is not “paralyzed”, he’s merely avoiding being blamed for whatever new bad result occurs from his next move on orders from the Crown and Pritzker families. Which doesn’t mean he won’t make that next move in his own time.

    “the world is looking in any direction other than towards the US for leadership.”

    And the US couldn’t care less as long as the US taxpayer pays up, enabling the ruling elites to continue with their military adventures.

    “Jordan and Turkey are up to their eyeballs in doodah.”

    And are still obeying orders from the US.

    You’re a Pollyanna who believes everything is turning up roses despite all evidence to the contrary.

    When the bombs fall on Syria, Lebanon and then Iran, we’ll see how many roses you find.

  131. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 31, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    There will be no boots on the ground from Axis Powers or Turkey.

  132. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pepe Escobar on Pipelineistan and the New Silk Road(s)
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-310513.html

    Why Iran is central to Central Asia – and why the US is determined not to let that happen. This is more significant than just bombing Iran for the benefit of Israel. It’s for the “benefit” – however erroneous – of the US, as Flynt pointed out in the post.

  133. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Moscow remembers Charlie Wilson’s War
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-310513.html

    Notable Quotes

    From Idris we have a fair idea of what McCain’s mission was all about. Idris says:

    What we want from the US government is to take the decision to support the Syrian revolution with weapons and ammunition, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons. The visit of Senator McCain to Syria is very important and very useful especially at this time. We need American help to have change on the ground; we are now in a very critical situation. … Of course we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria.

    [MY NOTE: The latter is precisely what Israel wants.]

    Missions such as Charlie Wilson’s and McCain’s are well-choreographed and signal the directions of future US policies, aside from cultivating domestic opinion in the US. The Vietnam syndrome needed to be got over before pressing the pedal on the Afghan jihad, whereas in the case of Syria, American public opinion is opposed to the US’ involvement in another war in the Middle East after Iraq.

    But that opinion is slowly changing. It is no mean achievement that almost two-thirds of American public opinion, according to the latest CNN poll, believe that the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria has been using chemical weapons in the current fighting. (The rebels who met McCain repeated the allegation.)

    Evidently, all this forms part of a dual-track strategy on the part of the Obama administration.

    The pursuit of the political effort in search of an intra-Syrian solution through dialogue is running parallel to what now appears to be the main track preparing for a more direct US military involvement, including a plan of multilateral military actions inside Syria.

    When McCain was in Turkey, there were media “leaks” in Washington that President Barack Obama has directed the Pentagon to draw up the operational strategy for enforcing a “no-fly zone” in Syria. The Daily Beast quoted an unnamed US official:

    The White House is still in contemplation mode but the planning is moving forward and it’s more advanced than it’s ever been. All this effort to pressure the regime is part of the overall effort to find a political solution, but what happens if Geneva fails? It’s only prudent to plan for other options.

    Significantly, at about the same time that the proposed peace conference may take place in Geneva in the coming weeks, the US plans to hold a set of big military exercises in Jordan called Eager Lion, with the participation of more than 15,000 troops from 18 Arab and other countries.

    The media reports suggest that after the exercises, those US military assets will be retained in Jordan, which might come handy for imposing a “no-fly zone” in Syria, such as F-16 fighter aircraft.

    The common perception is that the Syrian air defense systems deter the US and its like-minded allies and partners from imposing a “no-fly zone”. On the contrary, military experts estimate that there is no question that the US and its allies have the overwhelming capacity to suppress the Syrian government’s airpower.

    The Russians may think their S-300 missiles are invincible, but the Israeli air force has held military exercises with Greece, which has S-300 missiles in its inventory, and would know how to outmaneuver them. Suffice to say, the only real question that remains is whether Obama has the will and resolve to take the path of an overt military intervention in Syria.

    End Quotes

  134. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Many “suuiporters” of Israel in the US, and elsewhere, think Israel can impose whatever deal it wants, on the Palestinians, if Iranian power is destroyed.

    These fools seek to facilitate Israel expansionism, no matter how much damge this does to the US.

  135. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I expect Lebanon to continue to be independent. Relative power of Christian communities in that country tends to decline, due to simple demographic factors.

    The real problem with what you call the “fantasy project” in Israel/Palestine, is insane Isareli colonisation programme in the West Bank.

    I am deeply conscious of the extreme ignorance and stupidity of many Amerrican Protestant leaders these days. Almost always “low church” Evangelical. Virtually never Anglican, or Presbyterian.

  136. Richard Steven Hack says:

    fyi: “There will be no boots on the ground from Axis Powers or Turkey.”

    I said nothing about that. I said what matters is the battle on the ground in Syria. That is, with relevance to whether the insurgents or the Syrian military can or will win. I don’t expect any foreign troops in Syria except a limited intervention by Israel when they cross Syrian territory to attack Hizballah in Lebanon (and possibly some Turkish intervention in the north during a US/NATO air campaign.)

    Neither is relevant if the end goal is foreign military intervention to destroy Syria’s missile arsenal and airpower – which renders Syria and Lebanon vulnerable to Israel and removes their threat to Israel in the event of an Iran war.

    I repeat, the main problem for Israel in an Iran war is the COMBINATION of Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah missiles causing economic disruption in Israel. Israel has to remove Syria and Hizballah from the equation to the degree it can. THAT is the goal of the Syrian crisis from the point of view of the US and Israel. And that REQUIRES foreign military intervention in the form of an air campaign because the insurgents cannot do it themselves. If the US and NATO can’t get an air campaign started, then Israel will have to do it – which they are quite capable of doing. But I don’t think that will happen since the US is clearly moving forward with plans to attack Syria.

    Remember, EVERY SINGLE ONE of the UN Resolutions submitted by the US in the last two years had Chapter 7 language in it from the beginning, which would have authorized – however spun – direct military intervention in Syria. That’s why Russia and China vetoed them. This alone is proof that the US intends direct military intervention, even not based on the strategic necessity to defang Syria and Hizballah.

    That intention has not changed. The fact that it has not happened yet is by no means evidence, let alone proof, that the US will not do so.

  137. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Nothing but the Truth:
    http: “a) killing a lotta’ Russian soldiers”

    Hardly. Israel would attack the S-300 missiles AFTER transfer to the Syrian military and before the missiles are operational. They’ve already said so. And it would not be hard since Israel undoubtedly has excellent intelligence on those missiles.

    “b) have to be carried out into the teeth of those Russian ship-based AA missile defences.””

    Which Israel has already defeated several times in the past. That IS why the S-300’s are being sent to Israel!

    “And Russia simply can bring way more troups and material into the theater than zusa can even dream of. And they can do it way cheaper.”

    That’s ridiculous. First, Russia will not challenge the US directly militarily in Syria, regardless of losing its foothold there.

    Second, Russia can’t deliver any troops – except by air – a miniscule number – without crossing the US Navy – which they can’t and won’t do.

    It’s amusing to me how people here with zero knowledge of military affairs dream up these scenarios which are contrary to any common sense.

    “And Iskander *is* a message”

    And that’s all it is.

    “they won’t risk war. Simple as that.”

    And neither will Russia. Simple as that.

  138. Ataune says:

    RSH said:

    “That intention has not changed. The fact that it has not happened yet is by no means evidence, let alone proof, that the US will not do so.”

    But it is evidence, and believe me one of the main element of the proof as well, that the mere existence of an agressive will and a hugely disproportional amount of killing hardware, will not suffice to politcally advance your objectives.

    Since you are projecting an image of a literal and first degree person in this site, the problem with your “reasoning” become obvious: you are unable to delve into the details of the political game by persistently confounding strength with power. This is one the predominant trait of the American foreign policy in general and the neo-conservative brand in particular.

  139. Nasser says:

    “Hezbollah taught Hamas all those tactics to fight the Israelis. Hamas apparently decided to transfer their experience to takfiri groups.”

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2013/May-31/218984-hezbollah-fighters-find-nusras-tactics-in-qusair-irritatingly-familiar.ashx#axzz2UuMcQjLg

  140. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Ataune: “the mere existence of an agressive will and a hugely disproportional amount of killing hardware, will not suffice to politcally advance your objectives.”

    Sigh…you people are awesomely obtuse.

    Let me try to explain it to you in simple terms.

    I come up to you with a gun. I shoot you in the head.

    My intentions don’t matter. Whether I can achieve them – other than shooting you in the head – don’t matter. You’re still dead.

    Get it now?

    You people wave around geopolitical abstractions as if they matter. What matters is someone (Israel) wants to shoot Syria in the head. The people who can do that – the US – happen to have a monstrously larger military budget than Syria has. Who cares whether they will succeed in some abstract geopolitical purpose ten years down the road? The point is: they have the purpose, they have the guns.

    That’s how history is made: someone using guns to achieve some stupid purpose. It doesn’t matter whether the purpose is ever achieved. All that matters is that someone is using a gun to pursue a goal. As long as someone else doesn’t have a bigger gun, that someone else is in trouble.

    The axiom is: Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. You people are bringing pointless political arguments to the simple fact that the US and Israel can destroy Syria – and Lebanon and Iran. Who cares whether ten years from now the US will have failed to achieve its – alleged – political purpose? If the real purpose is for the military-industrial complex and the oil companies to make a profit, the political purpose will be irrelevant.

    The US failed in Iraq and Afghanistan – while the US military-industrial complex netted a hundred billion dollars a year for the last ten years in additional revenue.

    For them, that’s called a win.

    If an Iran war starts, and it costs the US FOUR HUNDRED BILLION dollars a year, for them, that’s called a win. If the oil price spikes and the US economy evaporates, for the oil companies, that’s called a win.

    For Israel, with Iraq in chaos, that’s called a win. With Syria in chaos, that’s a win. If Syria’s and Hizballah’s missiles are destroyed, for Israel that’s a win. If Iran is bombed into the Stone Age, for Israel that’s a win.

    Stop thinking as if the Beltway – or even anti-war – analysts are relevant in this. It’s about MONEY and POWER – and the people behind it don’t do “analysis”. They just shoot and grab regardless of the consequences more than one quarter’s worth of balance sheet down the road.

    I’m once again getting tired of arguing with people who just don’t understand how the world works.

    The US, NATO and/or Israel is going to attack Syria and Lebanon. After that, they’re going to attack Iran. Deal with it.

  141. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 31, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    When, in your estimation, will the US, NATO and/or Israel war against Syria and Lebanon could commence?

  142. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    May 31, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Good, so now you understand that we are in a religious war for the control of Palestine.

  143. Ataune says:

    RSH said,

    “My intentions don’t matter. Whether I can achieve them – other than shooting you in the head – don’t matter. You’re still dead”

    …persistently confounding strength with power.

    We are not living in a jungle, although some human beings might be liking it this way but this is not the reality of our lives. During thousands of years, we have constructed abstract planning to achieve our goals as a polity. We have also built sophisticated tools for communication. One simple example of it is the language we are using right here to dicuss… not to fight.

  144. nico says:

    Riichard Steven Hack says:
    May 31, 2013 at 2s50 pm
    Pepe Escobar on Pipelineistan and the New Silk Road(s)
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-310513.html

    Escobar averdion to Iranian regime is somewhat suspect.
    However its geostrategic views are acurate.
    All is said ib the conclusion.

    Chosen exerpt.

    “Faced with this Eurasian integration frenzy, the US does appear like an island on the other side of the world.”

    “The lesson here? No matter Washington’s obsession in isolating Iran. India – as well as Turkey – not to mention China and Russia, would always be betting on Asian integration.”

    “So the Big Picture, long term, indicates relentless Chinese expansion westwards – based on trade – versus a US strategy that is essentially military. What is certain is that a great escape from the Atlanticist-dominated routes of trade, commerce and finance has been on for quite some time. And the New Silk Road(s) will be built by emerging Asia – and not by a fearful, declining West.”

    The overall US geostrategic policy is to block asian integration.
    Asia has land, energy and raw material, manpower.
    What do Asian country need the US for ?
    Maybe for technology… that was handed by the US and followed by other western countries to China for Job offshoring.
    And now, they need the US against the mad mullahs, the bad bad bad kim or other western spies agency or politically invented threats.

    Such trend cannot be stopped, only retarded.
    However a good economic crisis with a collapse could do the job as well – if it spares one and only targets one’s competitor.

    At the end of the day, the west is truly in bad shape and doubling down on past mistakes in a suicidal forward escape.

    The neoliberal trend in the west which destroyed the cohesion and national solidarities for the benefits of the few, the ploutocratic management of the US, the intelligentia failure to correct course after the end of cold war with such nonesense as “The end of history”, the moral bankrupcy pervading all strata of the state and laws in the US (such as rewarding failure with free public money, stabbing the glass stillman act in the back, authorizing unlimited political funding by corporations, disolving past laws limiting media concentration…) all that participate to US degeneration and course toward the pit.

  145. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Sorry, I do not see that “we are in a religious war for the control of Palestine”.

    I do say that powerful Jewish groups play ignorant Protestants in the US for fools, to perpetuate what in some ways is a giant scam.

  146. James Canning says:

    Don Bacon,

    New book is “Churchill’s First War: Young Winston and the Taliban”, by Con Coughlin.

    (Fighting in Afghanistan, in 1890s)

  147. Don Bacon says:

    The US has had a ‘New Silk Road’ policy for some time. Unfortunately, like most US schemes, it lacks rationality since it would have to meet the sea through either Pakistan or Iran. Pakistan wouldn’t work, it’s not dependable, and China owns the port of Gadar, and then you’ have the Khyber Pass to get to Afghanistan. But Iran would work, through the port of Chabahar and then using highways built by India into Afghanistan. (NOTE: In speaking, SecState Clinton might say ‘Pakistan’ but she means ‘Iran.’)

    All that is needed, is regime change in Iran, with a government under US control — further evidence that the real issue isn’t nuclear, it’s regime change.

    Oct 18, 2012
    U.S. Security Engagement in Central Asia
    Robert O. Blake, Jr.
    Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
    . . .Security in Central Asia is a key strategic interest for the United States – and of course for each of the Central Asian countries, particularly as they look ahead to the transition in Afghanistan post-2014. Our security cooperation with these nations focuses on enhancing border security, strengthening regional counternarcotics efforts, countering violent extremism, and working towards a stable, secure Afghanistan.

    That is the essence of the New Silk Road vision, outlined by Secretary Clinton last summer during her landmark speech in Chennai: to strengthen regional economic integration and promote economic opportunity between South and Central Asia with Afghanistan at its center.
    http://www.state.gov/p/sca/rls/rmks/2012/199341.htm

    July 20 2011
    Hillary Clinton — Chennai
    . . .Because someday, that entrepreneur here in Chennai should be able to put her products on a track – on a truck or a train that travels unimpeded, quickly, and cheaply through Pakistan, through Afghanistan, to the doorstep of her customer in Kazakhstan. A Pakistani businessman should be able to open a branch in Bangalore. An Afghan farmer should be able to sell pomegranates in Islamabad before he drives on to New Delhi. Or as Prime Minister Singh put it so beautifully, “I dream of a day, while retaining our respective identities, one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore, and dinner in Kabul. That is how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live.” (Applause.)
    http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/07/168840.htm

    September 22, 2011
    FACT SHEET
    New Silk Road Ministerial
    . . .This vision complements efforts to seek a political solution to Afghanistan’s decades-long war. An Afghanistan firmly embedded in the economic life of a thriving South and Central Asia will incentivize those interested in peace and reconciliation. Afghanistan’s neighbors and near-neighbors have a major stake in ensuring that Afghanistan develops from a post-conflict society to an active player in the global economy.
    http://translations.state.gov/st/english/texttrans/2011/09/20110922155813su0.9749807.html

  148. Kooshy says:

    My Hat-off to president Ahmadinijad, in my opinion he is one of the best leaders Iran ever had in her
    history. He defended Iran’s international rights, he defended Iranian’s constitutional right, and he increased Iran’s industrialization/modernizaion more than any one before him.

  149. Don Bacon says:

    We need to recognizer, I think, that US policy toward Iran is driven primarily by perceived US policy needs and is not a slave to Israel or AIPAC, as some contend, wrongly I believe.

    I offered one important basis for US-Iran policy above — New Silk Road. It requires “regime change” in Iran, and has nothing to do with Israel. So for this reason, and others, “regime change” is the objective of “crippling sanctions,” and it has nothing to do with the concocted nuclear issue nor is it driven primarily by Israel.

    But don’t just take it from me. Here is an excerpt of a speech last summer by Michèle Angelique Flournoy, the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy of the United States.

    “. . .We are acting with urgency. We should act with urgency as the United States, but there is still time before any decision on military action needs to be made. The threat of military action does need to be credible, and it needs to be on the table to back up our diplomacy. but premature and unilateral military action by any party would undermine the international consensus that is needed to support a long-term campaign against Iran’s nuclear acquisition, and that campaign would need to continue the day after.

    Ultimately, in the mid- to longer-term, we want to see an Iran with a democratic regime that’s more responsive to the needs of its population.

    http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2013/05/centcom%20proceedings%202012/centcom_final.pdf

  150. Don Bacon says:

    Kooshy says:
    May 31, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I’m happy to see your comment on President Ahmadinejad, which is my opinion also, but I value yours more because you have seen the results of his administration up close.

    I have copied and filed many of your previous observations also, and I go my ‘Kooshy file’ occasionally with your words (with attribution) to substantiate my Iran comments.

    Let’s say it again, because he’s received more than his share of criticism:
    “He is one of the best leaders Iran ever had in her history. He defended Iran’s international rights, he defended Iranian’s constitutional right, and he increased Iran’s industrialization/modernizaion more than any one before him.”

  151. nico says:

    Mister Canning,

    To answer your previous unbielief regarding China vs US power struggle, you could usefully check this link

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/americas_misguided_pivot_to_asia_20130528/?ln

    Do not hesitate if you have further interrogation on how the real world works, I would be kind enough to oblige.

  152. Richard Steven Hack says:

    fyi: “When, in your estimation, will the US, NATO and/or Israel war against Syria and Lebanon could commence?”

    I’m still assuming it will occur this year, probably in the fall or late fall. However, as usual, I can’t predict exact timing. It could easily go over into next year depending on events on the ground and politically.

    Right now, the tone from the articles I read indicates that things are “on hold” until after the Geneva talks – and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are on hold until after the Iran elections as well.

    Then there will have to be a build up of naval and air assets in the Mediterranean.

    If the article I cited above is correct:

    Moscow remembers Charlie Wilson’s War
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-310513.html

    then the military buildup may occur after the alleged Jordan military exercises.

    How long all this will take is impossible to estimate without knowing the forces to be deployed. It apparently didn’t take long for the US and NATO to move against Libya. It should take longer to move against Syria, a more formidable foe.

    One thing I was thinking of today is that I’m pretty sure the US won’t station major naval assets within range of the alleged Russian anti-ship missiles, i.e., won’t station directly off the coast of Syria. More likely they will stage off the coast of Lebanon – still well within time on target flight range to Syria.

    The initial attack against the most dangerous Syrian anti-ship missile facilities will occur from cruise missiles launched from submarines off the Syrian coast – subs are not particularly vulnerable to anti-ship missiles as long as they dive after firing. High-altitude stealth bombers would probably also be used. Cruise missiles from ships off Lebanon or out of range of anti-ship missiles might be feasible. Certainly cruise missiles launched from high altitude aircraft will be done.

    Once the most dangerous Syrian antiship missiles are taken out, a steady degrading of the Syrian anti-aircraft facilities will occur. Since Israel seems to have had no trouble knocking out Syrian radar to attack the alleged Syrian nuclear facility, I expect that capability has either been shared with the US and NATO or reverse-engineered by them. I’m sure the US has ELINT facilities in Israel and elsewhere monitoring Syrian capabilities. There is little doubt that the US and NATO have the tactics and firepower to knock out Syria’s air defenses within a few weeks, if that.

    Within a couple weeks of air campaign, Syria’s air power and anti-aircraft capability will be in tatters. Then the US and NATO can go after the real target: Syria’s ballistic missile systems which are the only real threat to Israel.

    After that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the US and NATO just bombing Syrian military facilities indiscriminately in order to pin down Syrian forces, thus helping the insurgents – and also helping Israel which at that point will initiate an attack on Hizballah in Lebanon. Whether the US and NATO will assist Israel directly by bombing Hizballah as well is uncertain.

    Whether the US will try to “secure” Syria’s chemical weapons is unclear. It would be logical if the excuse for the attack is those weapons, but it would be difficult to do without significant boots on the ground – an unlikely scenario. In any event, once the missile and air delivery systems are taken out, the chemical weapons are mostly moot, being undeliverable except by artillery shell – and much of that will be destroyed.

    The Syrian campaign would probably be over within six to eight weeks, although it could go maybe a month longer. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon may well take several months and the outcome is uncertain. It depends entirely on whether Hizballah has sufficient defenses in depth in the Bekaa Valley to blunt a full-scale pincer invasion from the side and the south by several Israel divisions. Israel’s minimal goal will be to push Hizballah far enough north that the bulk of its missile arsenal will be out of range of southern Israel, and hopefully (for Israel) the bulk of the missile arsenal can be seized or destroyed. Hizballah itself is very likely to survive intact, however.

    I would expect Israel to seize and hold a portion of southern Lebanon for a time in order to prevent subsequent infiltration of Hizballah with their missiles back into southern Lebanon. But it’s unclear how long Israel will do that. Since the goal is to enable an Iran war, presumably they will try to hold southern Lebanon long enough to get one started and to involve the US.

    Whether Israel will attempt to seize any Syrian territory is also unclear. There would be perhaps some advantage to pushing the Golan Heights borders further into Syria. But holding new territory in both Syria and Lebanon might prove problematic for Israel. With Syria’s missile arsenal degraded, it would not be necessary, but if Israel does have significant concerns about Islamists taking over Syria, expanding the borders or hardening them might be in order.

    As for what will happen vis-a-vis the Syrian insurgency vs the Assad regime as a result, that is completely unclear – and mostly irrelevant to the goals of the US and Israel. I wouldn’t be surprised if the US and NATO demanded everyone stand down under threat of air attacks on BOTH the insurgents – under the claim that most of them are Al Qaeda – AND the remaining Syrian military. That would produce the only result which could possibly enable some sort of negotiated settlement.

    In any event, that scenario is likely to go on for months or even years and is irrelevant to the desired strategic outcome by the US and Israel: both Syria and Hizballah no longer effective actors in an Iran war.

    After that, the Iran war timing is also unclear. Certainly weapons inventories will need be replenished – to the relish of the military-industrial complex – and further diplomatic and military asset moves will have to be done. But I still believe a US/NATO naval blockade will be in the cards at some point, regardless of its legality under international law, and that may take time to set up both physically and politically.

    Of course, if Iran was so stupid as to militarily enter the war on Syria, well, ’nuff said. It’s on, then. Obama will be delighted as he can claim he never wanted one and it was all the Iranians’ fault.

  153. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Iran will not allow overthrow of Syria government: Iran deputy FM
    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/05/30/306272/iran-wont-allow-syria-govt-collapse/

    Could luck with that, Mr. Deputy Foreign Minister…

  154. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Presidential election won’t change Iran’s nuclear policy: Kerry
    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/06/01/306550/june-vote-wont-change-iran-npolicy-us/

    No shit…

  155. Richard Steven Hack says:

    US imposes sanctions on Iranian petrochemical companies
    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/05/31/306497/us-enforces-new-sanctions-against-iran/

    This was funny:

    The US also imposed separate sanctions on Niksima Food and Beverage JLT, a frozen yogurt company based in the United Arab Emirates, saying the company has been engaged in a transaction for the purchase of petrochemical products from Iran.

    That’s what I call scraping the bottom of the barrel for sanctions… :-)

  156. nico says:

    http://www.jpost.com/Iranian-Threat/News/Rebuffing-report-Tehran-says-US-not-Iran-sponsors-terror-315050

    Spokesman for Iran’s UN mission rejects US State Department report that claims terror activity highest since 1990s

    Weak statement though certainly diplomatic from Iran, playing into western hypocrisy and moral bankrupcy.

    While the US and cronies wedged illegal and criminal wars in the ME killing millions, while the effects of the US drone terrorist policies are felt in the region, while the morally disgusting apartheid state is supported to the hilt by westerners, while the US have created (with UK advices) the worst religious backward extremists and are fanning the flame of enmity only to implement their divide and rule policies, Iran and US are trading small words about terrorism.

    Ridiculous.
    The US are the bullies, the US are implementing the policy of terror evrywhere they go with their army.

    I saw the same in Russian diplomatic approach and Media, they are in a defensive position, when they communicate, and are playing into western narrative.

    The power of western MSM create the narrative, paradigm and mental jail into which all are playing.
    When leaders of Russia or Iran step out of the western narrative, they are simply censured in western MSM.
    Worst, the western narrative also permeate the Russian and Iranian narrative (I should say, the Russian more so, RIA-Novosti news publishing is sometime limit anti-Russian !)

  157. Richard Steven Hack says:

    An Interview with Pepe Escobar
    Shaky ‘Diplomatic Breakthrough’ on Syria
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/31/shaky-diplomatic-breakthrough-on-syria/

    I disagree with Pepe on certain points. He doesn’t understand my strategic analysis of the purpose of the Syrian crisis, i.e., taking out Syria and Hizballah to enable an Iran war. So he thinks things will likely drag on for years, like many analysts. I disagree, because I don’t see either the US or Israel wanting this to drag on. They need to control at least one main outcome: the elimination of Syrian and Hizballah missiles. And that can’t be done by the insurgents, certainly not in Lebanon and very likely not in Syria, no matter how long this drags on.

    And the military-industrial complex aren’t making any new profits, especially once Afghanistan winds down over the next couple years.

    And Israel doesn’t want the Iran situation to drag on for two, five or ten more years.

    Which leaves military intervention as the ONLY option for the US and Israel.

  158. Richard Steven Hack says:

    How AIPAC Rules
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/31/how-aipac-rules/

    Quote

    Last week the Senate passed Resolution 65, mandating a new round of sanctions against Iran and promising to support Israel if it should choose to launch a unilateral war. The bill contradicted explicit US policy in a number of areas: it imposed secondary penalties on US allies; it lowered the bar for military action to Israel’s preferred language of “nuclear capability” rather than acquisition of a nuclear weapon; and it interferes with the attempt to reach a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear impasse at a delicate time. No wonder Secretary of State John Kerry implored Congress not to pass the bill when he testified before the Senate Foreign relations committee last month.

    Nevertheless, the Senate bill came to a vote on May 22, and the result – in a roll call vote – was 99-0 in favor of the bill.

    End Quote

  159. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Patrick Cockburn on A War No One is Winning
    How Syria Became a More Dangerous Quagmire Than Iraq
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/31/how-syria-became-a-more-dangerous-quagmire-than-iraq/

    If Assad’s regime collapses, according to Cockburn, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq will go up in flames, Turkey may have problems, and the entire region will be destabilized.

    Which is exact what the US and Israel wants…in my opinion.

  160. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Washington betrayed Moscow over S-300 deal with Iran: Russian official
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/05/31/306384/us-betrayed-russia-over-iran-s300-deal/

    My guess is this means Russia will eventually deliver S-300’s to Iran under a settlement of the law suit. The reason will be that Russia sees the writing on the wall vis-a-vis Syria and knows that Iran is next on the US/Israel hit list. And since the US is kicking Russia in the nuts over Syria, Russia will retaliate by arming Iran more heavily as well as Syria. Russia may not be able to confront the US over Syria and Iran, but it can make US military actions in those countries more expensive.

    It ain’t much, but it’s something, I suppose.

  161. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Same as the above…

    Russia to sell MiG jet fighters to Syria, jet maker says
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57587007/russia-to-sell-mig-jet-fighters-to-syria-jet-maker-says/

    Won’t matter – they’ll never get off the ground. But hopefully (for Russia) Russia will get paid for them first. :-)

  162. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    June 1, 2013 at 4:32 am

    “fyi: “When, in your estimation, will the US, NATO and/or Israel war against Syria and Lebanon could commence?”

    RSH , I think you will have to reassess your ‘predictions’ very soon , in less than 3 weeks I guess.

  163. nico says:

    RSH,

    You take as granted tgat US will attack Iran, or even Syria directly.
    That is delusional.

    Russia, China and Iran clearly stated that they are against that and are implementing policies to prevent such situation to occur.

    The era of western military intervention in the ME is finished.
    After cold war, or even 10 years ago, Iran, Russia and China were not in a shape to contest US supremacy.
    That is not the case anymore.

    War was cheap, now war is expensive as per fyi.
    Let s hope it will not occur in Syria else it will be tge start of WWIII. (Speaking of an expensive confrontation !)
    Iran and Syria have a security agreement and Russia is involved with military outpost there.
    Should the west intervene militarily, it is much likely that it would escalate to full fledge confrontation in the PG with US bases and navy being targeted.
    The Iran leadership stated as much by claimibg that they will never ever let the Syrian regime to fall.
    The Russian leadership shiw as much by military equipment deals and their fleet deployment in the region.
    Besides, US troops are still caught ib Afghanistan. Guess what would happen there.

    0 chance of western intervention in Syria, short if WWIII.

  164. nico says:

    RSH,

    Delusional.

    Guess why the US have been waiting years for Irak and Lybia to dismantle their wmd before attacking ?
    And why, Iran will never ever ever abandon its nuclear program ?

    Containment is the only US option and is the current policy as priven by Haggle slip of tongue.
    The US syrian adventure should only be seen as defensive policy to dampen past failures.

  165. Karl.. says:

    US gov. terror-report, rules out Iran as a threat with loads of nonsense innuendos and unsourced claims. Follow link for full report.

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/05/210103.htm

  166. nico says:

    Russian missiles endanger Israel: Kerry
    http://edition.presstv.ir/iphone/detail.aspx?id=306512

    “”We ask them again not to upset the balance within the region with respect to Israel,””

    “The warnings to Russia are made by two Western countries that provide the Israeli regime with the most advanced weaponry. In late April, Israel received its fifth Dolfin-class submarine, capable of launching missiles with nuclear warheads, from Germany. The first two nuclear submarines were donated for free while the third was given at a 50-percent discount. Germany also paid for a third of the fourth and fifth submarines, according to International Defense News.”

    Too bad the power balance in the region is shifting, and the west do not like that… booo boooo booo
    The west would like to do what they like, when they like where they like and others should only shut the f**** up.
    Syria would get S300.
    Sure, dramatic and unacceptable…
    What a joke of a colonial behaviour.

  167. nico says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/10091629/Iran-cuts-Hamas-funding-over-Syria.html

    Wowww, are all arab leaders sold out or idiots ?

    Iran cuts Hamas funding over Syria

    “Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ prime minister in Gaza, called Iran’s support for Mr Assad “shocking” and accused it of acting out of “sectarian” motives.

    We never expected that a country like Iran, which talked about oppressed people and dictatorial regimes, would stand behind a dictator like Assad who is killing his own people,” he said. “To us, it shakes the basis of the Islamic principles that Iran has recited all these years after the Islamic Revolution.”

    Sure, Qatari sheiks are in such a strategic position of strenght vis a vis the US that they will force a peacefull solution in palestinian interests !

  168. jay says:

    I enjoy reading everyone’s personal, and generally thoughtful, opinions. Yet, I prefer evidence and analysis myself.

    Why attacking Iran is not in the cards – at least in the near future? As a sample, here is the classified “Confidential” report excerpt from the US-Saudi meeting:

    Al-Jindan stressed the importance of pursuing “everything short of military action” to prevent a nuclear Iran. Military action was a “non-option,” that could have no positive results. The problem had to be dealt with in a way that would not throw the region into a state of turmoil and negatively impact the economy. Al-Jindan added that as Iran’s neighbor, Saudi Arabia faced a “clear and present danger” of an attack by a nuclear Iran.

    The full report can be found at:
    http://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/10RIYADH154_a.html

    Everyone seems to comprehend that under the assured economic destruction doctrine (a move away from the detente approach) Iran will inflict significant long term damage to the Western (and Arab/Israeli) economies.

    The approach to destabilize Syria is failing. Early simulations suggested that the longer the civil turmoil in Syria lasts the higher the probability that Syria’s system will survice – even the turmoil and spillover in Turkey/Jordan was predicted using scenario simulations.

    US/UK, Obama/Cameron decided to push forward despite being told of low probabilities of success because they could not imagine the option of real diplomacy with Iran!!

  169. BiBiJon says:

    Richard,

    It is one thing being (simple) single-minded; it is one thing to spam with every BS piece of MSM you come across; it is one thing being completely unconvincing with your take on the machinations of ‘elites’ of various countries and boiling it down to size of their guns even though history shows it is ‘war’ that is episodic not lack of war in interstate affairs despite there ALWAYS being a bigger gun that strangely is silent 99% of the time.

    But, it’s quite another to be gratuitously argumentative, and rudely so to boot.

    If your purpose is to cower those who point out, for US’ and Israel’s own sakes as well as the targets, hegemonic policies are backfiring badly, then choose another tack, e.g. give us some examples of success that a rational elite might regard as worthy cause; describe an end point that justifies the effort and sacrifice. Rather than addressing the antiwar crowd here, or the ‘resistance’ supporters here, try addressing your mythical ‘elites.’ Convince them why they should start attacking post haste. I would like to hear your pitch for immediate war.

  170. Nothing but the Truth says:

    @All
    In the recent months I have read a lot about the sharp decline of gold prices , one reason could be this : ( and that’s definetely the case )

    http://www.dailypaul.com/286021/gold-price-plunge-could-be-to-punish-iran-oil-for-gold-program

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

    …As anyone with a brain is aware, the US dollar is the reserve currency of the world. This reserve currency statue’s allows the US to export inflation to other countries, by forcing them to buy US dollars to purchase oil (petro dollar). Iran has broken this chain with the oil for gold program, they are now selling oil to China, India and Russia for gold and bypassing the US dollar. This program has 2 hugely negative effects on the US dollar. First, it creates strong demand for gold around the world. As countries scramble to purchase gold to pay Iran for oil imports gold should rise in value. Thus exposing the US dollar is losing value against hard assets (not good for the US dollar). Second, it creates a means for other countries to purchase oil without having to purchase US dollars first. This would create the means for countries to limit the amount of US dollars they need, creating downward pressure.

    This is a MAJOR threat to the US reserve currency statue with dire repercussions if other oil exporting countries were to adopt this policy…

  171. Nothing but the Truth says:

    David Cohen to netanyahoo : ” Sir , we will crush those bloody Persians , everything is going according to plan Sir , will you give me that job in HSBC now , Sir ? ”
    But it seems our Turkish ‘friends’ think differently:

    http://www.bullionstreet.com/news/turkish-traders-likely-to-continue-iran-gold-deal/4824

    “Analysts said even if the Turkish government heeds this calling, Turkish businessmen will still find a way to continue trading with Iran….

  172. jay says:

    BiBiJon says:
    June 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

    As I noted above, even the Saudi’s, in private, don’t think war with Iran is workable. It is not what I think or opine – it is secret memo from the inside! Arguments are personal taste, like clothes, we change them everyday!

  173. nico says:

    jay says:
    June 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Information and sources are important, but deductions and critical thinking are even more.

    Did you notice that there no official information on truly important subjects …
    What is the fed true policy in manipulating gold prices ?
    What is the fed true balance sheet ?
    What is the USD M3 money supply ?
    What is the net gold inventory in the US (physical, less the loaned god to LBMA or banks) – heard of due diligence in the last decades ?
    What are the real information behind 9/11 ? (Beyond the official report BS)

    Information enable to decipher the real world, but obviously, truth is encrypted in the alleys of power.

    What should we believe, the official bull crap from politicians, or fact on the ground ?

    Fact on the ground are only visible much later with history, deciphering immediate events is based 90% on refkexions and critical thinking.

  174. BiBiJon says:

    jay says:
    June 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I totally agree with that sentiment. I think personal opinions deserve being aired, and debated in one or two threads. But even that debate ought to be exactly as you suggest: backed up by something concrete.

    RSH is trying to convince me (and anybody else he can get a hold of) that war is imminent, resistance is useless, and Various other Dr Who lines. I just want him to forget me, and pitch directly to Baltazar.

  175. خورشيد khurshid says:

    Iran Presidential Election 2013 – Candidates debate (part 1)

    Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf – he performed best. All his answers and arguments were geared towards demonstrating his successful experience of managing Tehran city as a Mayor. He used the “point-reason-evidence” model for answering all questions. For every point he mentioned he gave a sound reason to back his point and followed it by giving practical evidence from his role as a mayor of Tehran. Ghalibaf was the only candidate who could demonstrate his managerial skills in different job roles and used every opportunity to showcase his management skills. He was also the only candidate to invoke name of God before answering questions or commenting on others’ responses. In addition he remained calm, energetic, joyful and positive throughout the long debate session. He also did not moan about the nature of debate.

    Hasan Rohani – Did better in comparison to his interview the other day. He answered all his questions from the prospective of law and legal system. For example when answering question 1 he said appropriate law is needed to create attractive business environment. While answering question 2 he said “freedom of speech is needed”. He really could not show why he should be the president and what skills he had to manage the economy successfully. He also lost his calmness at the beginning of second session and complained about ridiculousness of the debating process.

    Ali Akhbar Velayati – his answers were from an overall policy perspective. It was more of what “strategy “ needs to be adopted for the economy but he did not explain much about how to materialize his strategy to achieve his stated policy goals. This is perhaps because of his prolong role as political advisor to supreme leader. He clearly demonstrated his strategic policy setting mindset.

    Saeed Jalili – His answer were theoretical in nature, for example, when answering question 1 he mentioned the need for “production based” employment without explaining how production can be stimulated in practical terms. When answering question 2 he said “policies should be based on the spirit of revolution” and “when making policy people should be consulted”. What needs to be done in practical terms to uphold spirit of revolution? What are the mile stones to measure that the spirit of revolution has been implemented in policies? What methods should be used to consult people for formulating policies? Jalili’s answers demonstrated his lack of practical project management skills. However, he was calm throughout the session and retained his smile all throughout. His flamboyant hair colour and style was quite entertaining to watch.

    Mohsen Rezaei – He performed similar to Jalili. His answers were vague at times and theoretical. His answers did not have much substance. Although, he managed to differentiate himself by pointing out that he was not part of previous conservative or reformists governments and therefore his plans are unique and independent. He lost his temper slightly during second session of debate.

    Mohammad Reza Aref – His answers were good in general but lacked to demonstrate his management skills and whether he ever undertook and completed any economic projects. He was also theoretical at times, for example, when answering question 1 he said “investment should be directed towards job creation”. But how should this be achieved? How will the bottle necks hindering investment for job creation be removed?
    He lost his temper during second session. But his reasons for his frustration were sound.

    Gholam Ali Haddad Adel – He did ok. His answers were not good nor bad, somewhere in the middle.

    Mohammad Gharazi – This was my favourite candidate. He started with full of energy and when answering question 1 his energetic style reminded me of US republican candidate “Ron Paul”; Although he calmed down as time passed. His was also the most comical candidate. I enjoyed his assessment of the “mining picture”; it was like watching a comedy show !!! His answers were shallow but entertaining !!

    Debate Structure – It was a disaster. I agree with Aref that it was insulting in nature. Telling candidates that they will be tested with multiple choice questions was ridiculous. Picture assessment was also preposterous. It was like taking an IQ test.

  176. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Opinions can be changed, and should be, if one’s perception of the crucial facts changes significantly.

  177. James Canning says:

    Weekend Financial Times today has interesting report on efforts by Hezbollah and Hamas, to pursuade Basah al-Assad to institute reforms in Syria, to allow peaceful resolution of the protest movement in that country. Failed efforts, that Iran had also supported.

  178. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I doubt Hamas is actually shocked at Iranian support for Assad regime in Syria.

  179. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    John Kerry would be obliged to oppose Russia’s delivery of S-300 missiles to Syria, even if he thought those missiles would not threaten Israel.

  180. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    The US had ample intelligence Iraq had destroyed its WMD, YEARS before the illegal American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Purpose of invading Iraq was NOT to destroy WMD.

  181. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    The US knew Libya WAS NOT moving forward with its nascent nuclear weapons programme. Ergo, NO NEED to attack.

  182. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    “Nico,The US had ample intelligence Iraq had destroyed its WMD, YEARS before the illegal American invasion of Iraq in 2003.Purpose of invading Iraq was NOT to destroy WMD.”

    No, I cannot believe that, sure you are kidding !?
    You mean the Irak embargo was useless from the very start ?
    Thus you surely mean the embargo was aimed at softening up the target, don’t you ?

  183. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm
    “Nico,John Kerry would be obliged to oppose Russia’s delivery of S-300 missiles to Syria, even if he thought those missiles would not threaten Israel.”

    Nobody is obliged to speak out BS.
    kerry is just saying he requests Syria to remain defenseless when the US want to rape her.
    He says that to Russia and Syria.
    Dumb, useless and nonesensical.
    What is kerry take about the end of UE embargo to send arms to rebels ?

  184. BiBiJon says:

    Anyone for goosebumps? listen …
    ==============================

    http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2013/05/iran-beyond-headlines-beneath-fold.html

  185. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    June 1, 2013 at 4:32 am

    So, once again we have to wait and see for another one of your numerous war predictions to come and go.

    Two items:

    In Yugoslavia, in Iraq, and in Lebanon, the air assets could not discover the rocket launchers and to destroy them from the air.

    US does not have that ability and neither does Israel.

    Secondly: for war against Iran, US will have to collect almost all of her air assets from around the world and station them in the Middle East.

    She will have to use Turkish, Jordanian, Saudi, Qatari, Omani, Kuwaiti, and Afghani air fields.

    I imagine that these country’s and oil-wells-with-flags comprehend that they would then be in a permanent state of war with Iran.

    Won’t happen.

  186. nico says:

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

    “Nico,The US knew Libya WAS NOT moving forward with its nascent nuclear weapons programme. Ergo, NO NEED to attack.”

    Surely you mean like the whole invented weaponization of Iran nuclear program ?

    I mean, as proven by the last few NIE…

    I am pleased to hear from you that the whole Iran nuclear issue is invented and that the 20% BS is just that.

  187. kooshy says:

    Don Bacon says:
    May 31, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks Don

    I really do believe that President Ahmadinejad has done well for Iran, the only difficulty I have is with post-election Iranian mentality and politics which is not geared to post election unification and support of the elected president. (Something to do with the Iranian mentality that the grievance will remain forever). The system and mentality of Iranian post-election is set for a long continued grievance and revenge which utilizes a political brutality that makes any unification eternally impossible. Here in US, candidates after elections do support (even if superficially) and protect the losing or last term past presidents, obviously the last term presidents will not interfere, mess up or demonize the elected in-coming presidents, this has not been the case in Iran as long as I know, and I think this is been exploited internally and externally in a damaging way to Iran’s national interest and security. That is why I thought I do want to say how much well President Ahmadinejad has done for Iran.

    I also value your comments and post here and in MOA.

  188. BiBiJon says:

    Need a defense attorney? Hire an Outlaw
    ======================================

    http://www.lakewyliepilot.com/2013/05/29/1927983/closings-expected-in-iran-satellite.html

  189. nico says:

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

    That gold prices are manipukated by the FED and that it is linked to USD status and the US currency policy is beyong doubt.
    Now, assertion that it is directly and specifically linked to Iran is not proven or even likely.

    The FED is printing trillions of USD, the shadow banking derivatives are piled up by quadrillions of potential liabilities.
    What is Iran standing in the overall picture ? Not much.
    Iran is still a potential world power to be, and for the time being is important as a pawn in the great game between east and west, between the oceanic superpower and the asians great powers.
    Iran has the capability to tip over the balance of power.
    The US is trying to do that by using force, when the leveretts are arguing that it should be done through a grand bargain.

    My take about gold value is that central banks of emerging countries and brics as well as investors are flying away from the USD.
    They are looking for shelter in gold when it is well known that the western world is bankrupt.
    Bad news for the USD as it would be de facto devaluated if gold price surges dramatically.
    Thus the FED is simply protecting the USD value against the world market using paper gold and derivatives.

    The issue is that back to reality, if the holders of the paper money are taking delivery of the physical gold then at some point there will be no more gold in western vaults.
    Where all this physical gold is gone ?
    Well in the eastern vaults.

    To resist such onslaught on the USD value against gold, I suspect that the gold deposit in western banks are used, on a loan basis, to supply the market and keep the system rolling.
    Thus the German central bank requesting its gold back from NYC and London… in more than years…

    My take us that there is no more physical gold in western vaults or at least it is quite depleted.
    But who cares ?
    When you are bankrupt and print trillions out of thin air, what difference does it make to steal physical gold deposit, or I rather mean loan. With the subprime, you know what is the worth of a loan…
    At the end of the day it is banking fraud and ponzi scheme, gokd, housing, loan… it all depends on confidence in the bank and the health of solvability ratio.
    As for the later, you know what such macro economic ratio are in the west.

    Well, as a conclusion, my take is that we are just watching in live at a gigantic bank run.
    The FED is only trying to keep the panic not to spread.

    How long can the FED hold ?
    That is the question. As when there is no more physical gold, then that will be the end, or rather the beginning of the end…

    We are just watching at a gigantic poker game with the FED being the desperate, endebted and broken player, trying to borrow evrywhere to keep the game rolling.

    What do you think about such assumptions ?

  190. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Oh, yeah, I have to reassess my predictions…not…

    White House: No role for Assad in transitional Syrian government
    http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/middle-east-north-africa/302773-white-house-no-role-for-assad-in-transitional-government

    So much for the Geneva talks…

  191. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Yes, NIE on Iran says Iran is not building nukes. BUT ill-considered stockpiling of 20 percent uranium is taken by many who follow this matter, to be an indication Iran might move forward with production of nukes.

    So, if Iran in fact is not intending to build nukes, the enriching to 20 percent is a significant blunder. In my view.

  192. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    It is true that Kerry has been a proponent of a more aggressive US posture toward Syria, than Obama himself.

    One must ask continuously what is the angle Aipac is pushing, whether openly or behind-the-scenes.

  193. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Saddam Hussein destroyed Iraqi WMD in 1991.

    The US knew this by 1995.

  194. BiBiJon says:

    According to video ‘lethal’ weapons are non-lethal. Depends who’s shooting
    ==========================================================

    http://www.guns.com/2013/06/01/the-mystery-of-the-free-syrian-armys-m40-recoilless-rifles-video/

    Watch the video!

  195. Richard Steven Hack says:

    fyi: “So, once again we have to wait and see for another one of your numerous war predictions to come and go.”

    Deal with it. Did you expect me to say it would happen next week so you could crow when it didn’t? I’ll be around to remind you when it does happen. That’s all you need to worry about.

    “In Yugoslavia, in Iraq, and in Lebanon, the air assets could not discover the rocket launchers and to destroy them from the air.”

    The forces were dispersed in heavy forests and there wasn’t an insurgency going on that threatened the whole country. Assad can’t afford to hunker down and let the insurgents (not to mention Israel) run around free. Whole different situation.

    “Secondly: for war against Iran, US will have to collect almost all of her air assets from around the world and station them in the Middle East. She will have to use Turkish, Jordanian, Saudi, Qatari, Omani, Kuwaiti, and Afghani air fields. I imagine that these country’s and oil-wells-with-flags comprehend that they would then be in a permanent state of war with Iran.”

    So? You think Afghanistan is going to prevent the US from using its airbases there? I’d like to see that happen. Neither will any of those countries.

    Look at the map here:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2012/04/2012417131242767298.html

    The US has at least 16 air bases in the region, plus there will be at least two and probably three US carrier groups, as well as one or more NATO carriers. The US can launch long-range airstrikes from several European countries, Cyprus. Israel, and Diego Garcia as well. In fact, the US can launch long-range airstrikes FROM THE US!

    More than enough.

    “Won’t happen.”

    Yeah, well, we’ll see.

  196. Richard Steven Hack says:

    BiBiJon: “I just want him to forget me”

    You’re forgotten. You’ve been forgotten for years.

    The problem is I see no reason to allow you to sit here and spout nonsense without some correction. Obviously that’s what you and everyone else here wants – to sit in your rosy little world where everything is fine and nothing bad can ever happen to Iran.

    The fact is you people can’t deal with the situation, so you dismiss it with a wave of your hand. It’s pure cognitive dissonance.

    Once again, what the hell are you doing here if you don’t think Iran is under threat? If I didn’t think the Iran crisis was an issue, I wouldn’t be here. I don’t give a rat’s ass about Iran otherwise.

    You think the Leveretts are running this site because they have nothing else better to do? They run this site because they can see a war coming. They’ve said it over and over. So why is it that everyone on this site CAN’T see a war coming?

  197. Richard Steven Hack says:

    OK. I guess I have to quit again.

    This site is pointless and is wasting my time. If no one wants the news I post, then there’s no point in my being here. Go ahead and snooze in your idyllic world where Iran is omnipotent and the US is too weak to attack anyone.

    I’ll be back when the bombs start falling on Syria.

  198. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    Junie 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm
    “Nico,
    Yes, NIE on Iran says Iran is not building nukes. BUT ill-considered stockpiling of 20 percent uranium is taken by many who follow this matter, to be an indication Iran might move forward with production of nukes.So, if Iran in fact is not intending to build nukes, the enriching to 20 percent is a significant blunder. In my view.”

    Mmmmh, I have to confess it is difficult to follow your circular logic…
    1 – you assert that Lybia, and Iraq were known to be without wmd
    2 – you assert that they were nonetheless marginalized and embargoed and eventually attacked
    3 – you agree that there is no weaponization project for the time being in Iran nuclear program
    4 – Your conclusion is that Iran blundered because of the 20% civilian medical needs that was not honored by foreigners.

    Well that is total nonesense.
    I mean, in my humble opinion.

  199. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    You ignore the fact Russia, China, Germany, France, UK and US insist Iran stop enriching to 20 percent.

    Why would they insist on this, if it was of no signfiicance?

  200. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I read all your posts.

    I agree Iran will likely find itself involved in hostilities, if it keeps enriching uranium to 20 percent, stockpiling it as a “threat”.

  201. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    June 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    What? Kerry didn’t say US is willing to drop all her previous demands, and leave Turkey,Qatar, and KSA dangling on the eve of their very own Turk/Arab springs just so long as Russia calms down a little.

    I am shocked, Richard. This totally unforeseen revolutionary and uncharacteristic turn of events must be the harbinger of the BIG one.

    In other news:

    ——-

    Guardian: 78% of Bits don’t want the UK to am the rebels.

    Most of EU countries don’t want to arm the rebels
    The axis of resistance played it such that not just Syrians, but most of the world sees for themselves this is no stinking Arab spring; now is the time to crush al_Qaeda.

    Quote
    ——
    I hate to even post this, for fear people will think it is an endorsement of it. I know some people (not here, necessarily, but on ICH certainly) balk at reading the words of their enemies – but I find it instructive.

    Ehud Barak on Russia and the Syrian Civil War
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/10089431/The-price-will-be-high-but-the-key-to-Syrias-civil-war-lies-in-Vladimir-Putins-Moscow.html

    Though he of course trots out all the tired chemical weapons lies, it is interesting that the Israeli Labor leader endorses a diplomatic solution lead by Russia.

    “True, Assad’s armed forces are weak and debilitated by infighting.” This may have been true in the past, but certainly this ZATO war is doing everything to reverse this.

    “Even more worrying is their intention to supply the Syrians with the S300 anti-aircraft system, which could alter the delicate balance of weapon systems in the region.” Delicate balance… you know, meaning one side grossly outweighs even the combination of all the others. “Balance.” Look it up in Webster’s Dictionary, the Israeli version.

    “That is why, in a mirror-image of what happened in Libya, where Russia was asked to support a European-led effort backed by the US, here Russia must be convinced to lead the international effort in Syria.” LOL, is Barak calling for a Russian no-fly zone and invasion of Syria? Far out dude.

    “There is no reason why a mutually agreed special role for Russia in post-Assad Syria, to include recognising its naval interests, could not be found.” Break up, break up, break up. It’s the Wests go to solution for the problems in the Middle East.

    I don’t make much of this. Just a simple endorsement of the power of Russia – a power Israel needs to recognize more and more as the US pivots towards Asia (despite Israeli attempts to keep the US focused on the region).

    Barak puts on the table several concessions (including ones, like missile defense, which are solely US interests… thanks, “ally”) but more interestingly the Caucuses, and energy delivery.

    The Russia-Israel relationship is one that I don’t know much about, but which seems entirely central to the outcome of the war in Syria.

    I found the discussion of the Russian oligarchs interesting. Anyone care to elaborate further on the Russia-Israeli relationship?

    Posted by: guest77 | May 31, 2013 11:58:58 AM | 44 at MofA

    ——-

    I agree, it isn’t what Kerry says. It is what Lavrov says that matters.

  202. Persian Gulf says:

    خورشيد khurshid says:
    June 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I think the second step of the debate wasn’t that bad. Though it could be performed a little better. for example they could give the candidates 30-60 seconds time to frame an answer for or against those issues raised instead of a yes/no option. I think this round was needed to differentiate the candidates. otherwise, they all talk the same more or less. frankly, if you go to the streets in Iran and randomly pick up someone, he/she would talk almost the same way as these guys. that he/she wants to bring down inflation, reduce unemployment and so on.

    The first step could be longer. 2.5 min was not enough, for sure. and instead of giving 90 seconds to everyone to talk nonsense, they could ask if any candidate has totally different idea with the one that was just expressed on the stage.

    The third step was ridiculous. and Aref made a big mistake in that step.

    Ghalibaf talked better, in my opinion. His reasonings are sound to me, and as you say he connects issues to his performance relatively well. The only thing about him is I sense a great deal of arrogance in the way he talks. it seems he leads in the pools by about 30%. I think the question is about the second contender in the second round of election.

    Aref personally is one of the best choices. however, his performance in this particular debate was really bad. Reformists are generally stupid! Instead of going back and forth between Khatami/Hashemi…they could support Aref few months ago when he announced his candidacy. That could be a step forward.

    Jalili looks clueless for economy. He doesn’t seem to have any idea about any particular aspect of economy. in the second step he simply said he thinks the questions are not right just to pass them over. not that he had any genuine criticism about the structure of that step or the question itself.

    If Gharazi intentionally talks like this to attract votes from specific segments of the society (which I think he does), that’s understandable. Otherwise it would be a pity to have people like him on the top level management of the country for so long. we say مملکت قحط الرجال که میگن همینه. چنین آدمی وزارتهای کلیدی رو برای چندین سال دردست داشته

    Velayati, Rouhani and Rezaei were just average, nothing special. Haddad is just wasting his and people’s time.

    Overall, it’s very confusing for people to elect. I think these gentlemen should have reached an agreement between themselves so that half of them could drop off. we could then have a better presidential debate. The situation is even worse than 1384 election. I remember it was very confusing back then. this year is by far more opaque. At least at that time 4 candidates (Hashemi, Karroubi, Moein, and Ahmadinejad) were projecting, personality wise, distinct images.

  203. Nothing but the Truth says:

    nico says:
    June 1, 2013 at 6:54 pm
    “What do you think about such assumptions ?”

    Sure nico , I am very familiar with all what you have mentioned.
    When I first saw the us debt-clock(www.usdebtclock.org/) some 8 years ago I knew as an economist that the ‘Empire’ is bankrupt and that time the us OFFICIAL debt stood at 8 trillion $ , now it’s more than double. Take the unfunded liabilities in addition ( 124 trillion $ ) and you will see that ZUSA is bankrupt beyond alternative.
    Benjamin Shalom took over from Greenspan and his Zionist masters ordered him to accelerate the demise of the ‘Empire’ and he is doing a fine job in this and the debt slavery until eternity is already happening in ZUSA.
    The Zio-Fascist elites in the ‘City’ and WS need just a little more time to secure all real remaining assets in the world with ‘Black Magic’ Fed money and then they care no whit about the fate of the USD .
    The destruction of the ‘Gold for Oil’ policy of Iran and controlled decline in gold prices is however a good opportunity for the Zio-Fascist to demonstrate their allegedly endless talmudic ‘powers’.

  204. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    June 1, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I believe Axis Powers war with Iran entails a theatre operations from Kabul to Beirut and from Tehran to Riyadh.

    That is 3000 kilometers by 2000 kilometers.

    For Iranians will try to expand the war in order to diffuse the fire-power of Axis Powers against them and to secondarily cause the allied states to Axis Powers suffer.

    Iranians, in my judgment, will not sit still and wait for Hezbollah be destroyed or the Ba’ath state in Syria overthrown; they will intervene militarily with Iranian soldiers.

    I believe this is well understood by the Axis Powers planners; they know that they will have to fight a long war of attrition inside many countries and also will have to occupy parts of Iran for decades.

    This will sap their strength and leaves them nothing for any other emergency.

    Israel stayed in South Lebanon for 18 years, US occupation of parts of Southern Iran could last several hundred years – I do not believe Americans are prepared for perpetual war with Iran.

  205. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    June 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    The P5+1, having escalated to strategic Never-Never Land, require a public face-saving way to bring the world back from the brink of World War III as well as try to shore-up what is left of the UN and NPT.

    What they are willing to offer Iran for that is not commensurate for the benefits that Iran could receive; the economic war against her and the hot war against her allies would not end.

    I believe that it is better for Iran that UN, UNSC, and NPT to be further degraded and discredited since Iran no longer receives substantial benefits from them.

    Let UNSC and P5+1 deal with the new age of barbarism that they have helped usher in since the collapse of the Peace of Yalta.

  206. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    June 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Please close the door behind you.

  207. nico says:

    Nothing but the Truth says:
    June at 12:26 am

    Thanks for the reply, I am not an economist, it is intersting for me to have your insight about that.

    “The Zio-Fascist elites in the ‘City’ and WS need just a little more time to secure all real remaining assets in the world with ‘Black Magic’ Fed money and then they care no whit about the fate of the USD .”

    I am not sure it works that way. At least for gold.
    You imply that western investors and bankers are playing against the fed.
    My take is that they are one and the same or at least are in league.
    If the fed is bankrupted, they will all be.

    Concerning gold, it is well known that the main buyers are China, India, Russia and eastern countries.
    The sellers are then obviously western countries.
    If it is that what you describe securing assets by “talmudic” controlled WS and City, then I am not sure to understand how it works.

    “The destruction of the ‘Gold for Oil’ policy of Iran and controlled decline in gold prices is however a good opportunity for the Zio-Fascist to demonstrate their allegedly endless talmudic ‘powers’.”

    My take is that there is no mean to stop Iran oil flow or trade.
    Hurt it, yes. Stop it, no.
    The US policy is only polarizing positions and creating new wall of distrust and delineating zones of influence.

  208. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    “Nico,You ignore the fact Russia, China, Germany, France, UK and US insist Iran stop enriching to 20 percent.Why would they insist on this, if it was of no signfiicance?”

    Because they are looking for excuses ?
    Yesterday they insisted on 0 centrifuges.
    Then 3, 5% limit.
    Then 20 % limit
    My take is that the acceptable limit is 23, 45%
    Why ?
    Because I say so.

  209. Neo says:

    On Ghalibaf’s economic policy as pertains to production, during the presidential debate:

    Ghalibaf has a rudimentary grasp of economic policy. He states that the Central Bank should be ‘independent’ in order to be able to perform its ‘real’ function. This is naive and tantamount to allowing the same conditions for grand theft and financial disaster as exists in the West with a total lack of accountability for private individuals who control the money supply and a cornerstone of national economic policy making through an opaque and unaccountable Central Bank structure.

    He also discussed the sectoral structure of the economy, and compared Iran’s with that of the West. His conclusion is that Iran needs to enhance its profits from (and therefore its share of) the services sector (rather than industry and agriculture) with some urgency, in order for Iran to have a growth pattern that is more similar to that of high income countries. This is an ignorant position, to put it mildly. The sickness of the West’s economy is precisely related to an over-sized service sector. Services – including finance – are meant to be there to serve other sectors. If your services are growing faster than production, something is wrong, and such a situation is unsustainable. The health of the Chinese, Brazilian and other emerging economies comes from their emphasis on agriculture and manufacturing.

    Ghalibaf has a poor grasp of economic realities in the world, and comes across as a well-rehearsed parrot in this part of the debate. He clearly has no indigenous vision and is happy to copy and paste foreign policies.

    I much preferred Jalili’s short and yet sharp response. He supports national production, import substitution and the protection of local producers, particularly in the start-up phase and in access to markets. His weakness was in failing to emphasise that this protection should be time-bound and performance based. He also did not address how Iran would ensure access to foreign markets. This is an important challenge in the context of sanctions.

    The other candidates’ responses lacked focus and largely sounded behind the times. Velayati made a good point about ensuring that local farmers receive a fair and competitive price for their produce. But he failed to even discuss manufacturing.

  210. nico says:

    Thanks to all who relay Iran presidential debate here.
    Very interesting.

  211. nico says:

    Neo,

    That Qalibaf, made such comment on central bank independance is shocking.
    In France, the central bank gained independance in 1973 only ! Ever since the debt grew and the growth stagnated.
    In Switzerland the central bank is not independant, if I remind well.

    It is proven fact in France that inflation before central bank independance was not higher than after.
    The difference was that before independance the interest rate of the debt was 0.
    After independance it was dictated by the market.
    It is also proven fact that almost all debt in France today is coming from compounded debt interests.

  212. Neo says:

    nico,

    yes, he totally looked like he was reading out some ‘well prepared’ notes. Am not sure he understands much about the economy.

  213. fyi says:

    Neo says:
    June 2, 2013 at 8:01 am

    In fact, none of them are willing to go to the voters that Iran only has the choice of surrender or to work harder, more efficiently, and more productively.

    But that is what will have to obtain for Iranians to prevail in the current economic war.

    I think, actually, many people in Iran understand all of that – but someone must articulate all of that.

  214. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Thoughts on the debates

    Neo-jan,

    “…well-rehearsed parrot”

    Well said, exactly my thoughts. The problem with Sardar Pasdar Ghalibaf is that we don’t know who he really is except that he says whatever he has to to get elected- and probably to stay in power if elected.

    In other words: opportunist par excellence- and has been since the old days.

    Gharazi has that biting Isfahani sense of humor, not everyone’s cup of tea (I find it amusing)

    Rohani comes across like the jerk he really is

    Agha Mohsen doing much better than last time, what’s up with the beard dye haji?

    Aref shouldn’t have gotten angry, the whole point of the exercise was to gauge the candidates spontaneous reactions- clearly he wasn’t comfortable with that.

    Haddad came across as a nice conciliatory guy, won’t do for the presidency

    Jalili and Velayati did the best and were the only two who seemed comfortable with the whole thing.

    I agree that Jalili is the only one with the right economic strategy but needs to explain it better.

  215. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Financial Times reporters talk to diplomats from China, Russia, Germany and the other three memebers of the P5+1, and the FT reports Iran must stop enriching to 20 percent if it wants to make a deal.

    You, FYI, and some others who post on this site, argue Iran has no need to make a deal.

    Fair statement?

  216. James Canning says:

    ico,

    To be clear, do you now think Germany “needed” to build a fantastically expensive fleet of batteships, in order to threaten Britain, prior to the outbreak of the First World War?

    Was this “need” in fact a matter of national pride?

  217. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Are you claiming the powers who want Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent lack the ability to impede Iran’s export of oil? To stop Iran’s export of oil, largely?

  218. خورشيد says:

    Persian Gulf says:
    June 1, 2013 at 10:02 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Finally, it is necessary to monitor P5+1+1 media coverage of Iran election. The last “+1” is for Israel. I say this because I am sure after the election there will be vicious western media campaign of “fraud” in election – after all countries that do not sign and dance with western tune are always accused of having fraud elections.

  219. James Canning says:

    Some who post on this site think some sort of conspiracy drove down the price of gold in recent months.

    But, price of iron ore is down about 30 percent in recent months.

    The pace of property development in China is an element of great importance, in the price of iron ore.

  220. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    You said yourself that Iraq and Lybia, were attacked while it was well known that they were defenseless.
    Thus logically, it makes no sense for Iran to abondon their deterence capability.
    As a conclusion all your logic is based on false assumption that Iran stopping its nuclear program will be for Ian benefit while history show you are totally and definetly wrong.
    Please do not embarass and humiliate yourself any further with this subject. I embarrased for you.

    James Canning says:
    June 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm
    What do I care about germany ?
    That UK have for centuries been and still is perfidious, ruthless, faithless and morally backward.
    That UK have been when the 2 or 3 last centuries are taken into account the worst criminal coutry on earth, way beyond NAZI, Soviets, US and Imperail Japan, is also beyond doubt.
    I already knew it.
    Just put the number together, with UK good offices in wwi, wwii, india, china, africa, the new world and so on.
    That truly a good track record for such a tiny a useless island.

    James Canning says:
    June 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    See first answer.

  221. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says: June 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    “”To be clear, do you now think Germany “needed” to build a fantastically expensive fleet of batteships, in order to threaten Britain, prior to the outbreak of the First World War?
    Was this “need” in fact a matter of national pride?””

    = = = =

    What the British archives reveal is that Great Britain quickly recognized that it was not capable of defeating the German navy in World War I. Because UK would have failed to sustain its empire if it fought fair, i.e. military-to-military, it targeted Germany’s civilian population. Deliberately. Britain led the blockade on Germany, including German foodstuffs, causing the death by starvation of 800,000 German civilians.

    Madeleine Albright’s barbaric declamation that starving half-a-million Iraqi children was “worth the price” follows in that proud tradition — of “winning” wars by killing civilians. (btw, Iran, a neutral in WWI, suffered the death-by-British-imposed famine of as much as 40% of its population as the British used Iran for a supply depot and bulwark against Russia/Germany in WWI. see Mohammad Gholi Majd, The Great Famine and Genocide in Persia, 1917-1919 )

    If the truth were ever told about US/British behavior in

  222. nico says:

    Fiorangela says:
    June 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Mister Canning position is that was fir Iran own good… obviously.

  223. nico says:

    Uk good offices in India.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_of_1876%E2%80%931878

    “The Great Famine of 1876–78 (also the Southern India famine of 1876–78 or the Madras famine of 1877) was a famine in India that began in 1876 and affected south and southwestern India(Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Bombay) for a period of two years. In its second year famine also spread north to some regions of the Central Provinces and the United Provinces, and to a small area in the Punjab.[1] The famine ultimately covered an area of 257,000 square miles (670,000 km2) and caused distress to a population totaling 58,500,000.[1] The death toll from this famine is estimated between 5.5 million to 29 million.”

    “In part, the Great Famine may have been caused by an intense drought resulting in crop failure in the Deccan Plateau.[2] However, the commodification of grain, and the cultivation of alternate cash crops also may have played a role,[3] as could have the export of grain by the colonial government; during the famine the viceroy, Lord Lytton, oversaw the export to England of a record 6.4 million hundredweight of wheat.[4]”

    Obviously that was again for India own good.

  224. nico says:

    UK good offices in China.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars

    “The Opium Wars, also known as the Anglo-Chinese Wars, divided into the First Opium War from 1839 to 1842 and the Second Opium War from 1856 to 1860. These were the climax of disputes over trade and diplomatic relations between China under the Qing Dynasty and the British Empire.”

    “the British government sent expeditionary forces from India, which ravaged the Chinese coast and dictated the terms of settlement. The Treaty of Nanking not only opened the way for further opium trade, but ceded territory including Hong Kong, unilaterally fixed Chinese tariffs at a low rate, granted extraterritorial rights to foreigners in China (which were not offered to Chinese abroad), a most favored nation clause, and diplomatic representation. When the court still refused to accept foreign ambassadors and obstructed the trade clauses of the treaties, disputes over the treatment of British merchants in Chinese ports and on the seas led to the Second Opium War and the Treaty of Tientsin.[8]These treaties, soon followed by similar arrangements with the United States and France, later became known as the Unequal Treaties, and the Opium Wars represented the start of China’s “Century of humiliation”.”

    Obviously for China own good !

  225. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    I assume you are aware Germany only once allowed its fantastically expesnive battleships to put to sea, during the First World War. ONE foray.

    The Imperial Navy could not defeat the Royal Navy, in a surface battle. Full stop.

  226. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Where do you get the idea I think it was a “good thing” for opium addiction to be a growing problem for China during the 19th century?

  227. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    You may have noticed that Nasser claims Iranians think the First World War was a good thing, because Germany badly injured the British Empire.

  228. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I have said numerous times I think the Western military intervention in Libya was a mistake.

    You might bear in mind that most of Obama’s generals opposed US military intervention in Libya.

    Iraq War was a gigantic scam, and a crime of immense proportions. The perpetrators have been protected and rewarded.

    Where on earth do you get the idea Obama would allow Iran to build nukes?

  229. nico says:

    Mister Canning,

    Well, yes the UK have an history of crimes and murder in order to satisfy the greed of a insignificant and useless island.
    Mister Hague should not think other country know nothing about that.

    Everybody with a minimum of historical culture is aware of that.

    Mister Hague sugar coated words only deceive delusional or agenda oriented people like you.

    But makes no mistake, all other educated people in the world know what UK is made of.
    Far worse than nazi and soviets. By a wide wide wide margin
    I stand by my words.

  230. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Nasser also claims that Iranians think the Second World War was a good thing, because Germany inflicted such damage on Great Britian.

  231. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    My “agenda” includes an Iran growing in wealth and power. Without losing awareness of some negative environmental effects of such growing wealth.

    What is your “agenda”?

  232. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Had I been “of age” in Britain in the early years of the 20th century, I would have done all I could to facilitate the growth of the wealth of Germany, provided it did not build a HIgh Seas fleet capable of threatening British control of the seas.

  233. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    It is true the British were extremely keen to keep Russia in the war, even after the Tsar was overthrown. Persia suffered during the First World War. But not as badly as Britain and Germany, and Russia, suffered.

  234. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    If Germany had won the First World War, it likely would have had a common border with Persia.

  235. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    “Where on earth do you get the idea Obama would allow Iran to build nukes ?”

    Where on earth do you get the idea the ango-saxon tyrants shall be given the choice to deny nuclear capability to Iran ?

  236. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    I am wading into this debate against my own better judgment.

    RSH says THERE WILL BE WAR, and there will be war. I’ve been waiting for his predictions of later this year or early next year, for three years now. If you call him on it, you either suffer from “cognitive dissonance”, “wishful thinking”, or better yet, you are too much of a moron and don’t possess the “strategic” thinking cap that only he can don.

    He says: “I don’t give a rat’s ass about Iran” and yet he hangs out here with a bunch of Iranians. Why? Because the Iranian crisis is an issue, so he has to insert his thoughtfulness.

    RSH says he’s been thinking. As Lefou said to Gaston: “a dangerous pastime.”

    “One thing I was thinking of today is that I’m pretty sure the US won’t station major naval assets within range of the alleged Russian anti-ship missiles, i.e., won’t station directly off the coast of Syria. More likely they will stage off the coast of Lebanon – still well within time on target flight range to Syria.”

    So, RSH, are you saying that American ships are more immune to Hezbollah C-802 anti-ship missiles than the US built (Northrop Grumman) Israeli ones? Surely you can do better than that. Did you put this much thought behind your other predictions?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INS_Hanit

    RSH, the US’ Syrian policy is to wound Iran; not to kill her. It is to have Iran expend many resources and to bleed her dry, so that she could go the way of the old Soviet Union. Another word, no all out war with Syria. I’ll be here for your predictions to come true. Have been for the past four.

    On another point, the Leveretts did not start this site to stop a war with Iran. In their manifesto, which does not appears here, but still can be seen in raceforiran site they say- and here is a summary:
    “We are launching this blog to track and understand the “race for Iran”, in all of its myriad dimensions. In practical terms, The Race for Iran seeks to serve three main purposes.”
    “First, The Race for Iran will present cutting-edge analyses of Iran and its geopolitics.”
    “Second, The Race for Iran will serve as a “clearing house” for essential material on Iran and its geopolitics.”
    “Third, The Race for Iran will provide a forum for an ongoing conversation about Iran and its geopolitics, for interested persons all over the world.”

    Not a word about stopping a war with Iran.

    I for one vote that you stay RSH. This site is so much richer for differing viewpoints, be it yours with, there will be war, or, James’ 20%.

  237. nico says:

    James Canning,

    Jalili stated few month ago that Iran is ready to take the risk of war and went as far as clearly stating that threat of nuclear strike from the West would not change Iran nuclear policy.

    Jalili, seems to be the favorite to be Iran president for the coming years.

    No attack from the west yet ?

    It will depend on the current events in Syria, with that I agree with RSH.
    However, my take is that the adventure is turning dour for the west.

    My pronostic, is that the west will find humiliation and ultimate failure in the Iran nuclear case.
    The alternate way being WWIII.

    I rather prefer my pronostic…

  238. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm
    “Fiorangela,If Germany had won the First World War, it likely would have had a common border with Persia.”

    Do you mean that was a goid thing for the world that Germany and UK anihilated each other ?

    Sure.

  239. nico says:

    By that do you mean, should Germany and UK have had nukes at that tile, there would not have been war ?

    Sure.

    Do you mean as a consequence that Iran getting nuclear capability would avoid further bloodshed in the ME and that would be for the common good ?

    Sure

    Do you mean that the anglo-saxon tyrants are trying to deny nuclear capability to be able to implement further bloodshed in the region at whim ?

    Sure.

  240. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    The Prussian aristocracy had an inflated fear of Russia, and the Prussian General Staff wanted war with Russia as soon as possible, provided the war could be blamed on Russia (for purposes of PR within Germany).

    This irrational fear brought catastrophe to the Prussian aristocracy.

    China and Russia are determined that Iran not build nukes. Are they part of the “Anglo-Saxon tyranny” you worry about?

  241. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    So, you think the suffering of Persia during the First World War was worth it?

    And Iran’s suffering during the Second World War was “worth it”?

  242. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Obviously you think Jalili was wrong when he indicated to the Financial Times recntly that Iranian enrichment to 20 percent was of not great consequence to Iran.

    You also make clear you see Iranian enrichment to 20 percent as part of programme to build nukes.

  243. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: June 2, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Thoughts on the debates

    Basiji jan,

    None of the candidates talked enough about entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology growth as much as they should. All took a highly state-centred approach. That’s a bit disappointing. Jalili especially could have capitalised on this, as Iran has done so well in science and home-grown technology under Ahmadinejad.

    Velayati was a lot more effective when he took the podium later in the debate. But still off the mark with his over-concentration on the money supply issue and inflation. And he makes no reference to the need for efficiency in subsidies to producers.

    He is right in saying that stability and policy predictability is important for business. But he is being a little disingenuous in not recognizing that the Iranian economy is both in transition and under siege, so how can one even hope for optimal market stability in this context?

    He has a pleasant style. Great for foreign minister post.

    Jalili is surprisingly good and sophisticated with his grasp of economic policy priorities. The other noticeable thing about him is that he does not distance himself from Ahmadinejad’s administration and its performance or even foreign relations to the extent that he could. After all, he was only involved in the realm of negotiations. So I can see why people are saying that he is close to Ahmadinejad.

    The thing that worries me about him is how humble he acts when around Khamenei. Mind you, this particular impression I have is very superficial. Is he as much of a ‘yes man’ as he seems?

  244. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm
    “Nico,Obviously yonu think Jalili was wrong when he indicated to the Financial Times recntly that Iranian enrichment to 20 percent was of not great consequence to Iran.You also make clear you see Iranian enrichment to 20 percent as part of programme to build nukes.”

    Is that so difficult for you to grasp that Iran is in the offing to become a world power ?
    That nuclear capability is not so extraordinary ? How many countries have such capability in the world ? 10 ? 15 ? 20 ?
    UNSC, germany, japan, canada, brazil, south africa, argentina, india, pak, israel, and so on.

    What is Iran ranking in term of wealth, population and size of territory ?
    Nuclear capability is Iran rightful claim and is only natural.
    All the BS out of western mouth is just that.

    Weaponization is for morally backwarded.
    But no need to say that by threatening Iran with nuke, US are only self fulfilling the prophecy.

  245. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    June 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    “China and Russia are determined that Iran not build nukes. Are they part of the “Anglo-Saxon tyranny” you worry about?”

    The anglo-saxon tyranny is fact on the ground, not some potentiality to be worried about.
    China and Russia need to acvomodate the west. Period.
    They do not care a whit about nuclear.
    Proof : Russia built busher nuclear reactor.
    Proof : China signed a deal with Iran to build an enrichment unit in Iran befire retracting because of western pressure.
    Proof : China and Russia accept Iran right to enrich while the west do not.
    Proof : China and Russia are blocking new UNSC resolution while the west are enacting unilateral sanctions
    Proof : China is still buying Iran oil and financially dupport Iranian project like the IP pipeline
    Proof : Russia and China are against western sponsored plot in Syria and support Iran participation i geneva talks, while the west is fighting a proxy war with Iran in Syria and are against Iran oarticipating i the talks (at the end of the day they will be forced to)

    Mister Canning, no need to use vague statement about an alleged support by China and Russia to stop Iran nuclear program, only based on Unsc resolutions that passed theur cure date long ago and were extracted by the US and croonies through threats, promise of reward and other ugly stunts.

  246. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Of course Russia supports Iran’s domestic nuclear power programme.

    Where do you get the idea that this indicates a Russian willingness for Iran to build nukes?

    Fools in the George W. Bush administration failed to back Russia’s effort to keep control of the nuclear fuel cycle, for the Bushehr nuclear power plants.

  247. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I have said before that Iran is an essential party for any peace talks (re: civil war in Syria).

    It is peculiar that foolish actions by the US, that are largely caused by pressure from Israel lobby, you describe as “Anglo-Saxon”!

  248. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I will say this once again: the US is NOT threatening Iran with an attack using nukes.

    ISRAEL LOBBY mandates such rubbish as “all options are on the table” etc etc etc etc.

  249. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I take it you do think Jalili is wrong, to suggest Iran is willing to end enrichment to 20 percent.

    Yes?

  250. fyi says:

    Neo says:
    June 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Populism – a crude form of socialism – posits the idea of equality of distribution (of goods).

    What is needed, however, is equality in production; that is, wider access to capital.

    Large private or state enterprises do not need subsidized loans and tax structures, small and medium enterprises do.

    The economic war, I hope, will make that clear.

  251. Don Bacon says:

    Senator John McCain today on Face the Nation today, regarding Syria–

    “. . .unfortunately a battlefield situation where [President] Bashar Assad now has the upper hand. . .And remember all this talk we’ve had in the past year or two. It’s inevitable that Bashar Assad will fall? Well I think we can’t make that statement today. . .And anyone that believes that Bashar Assad is going to go to a conference in Geneva when he is prevailing on the battlefield, it’s just ludicrous to assume that.”

    The warmongers will become apoplectic soon when it becomes totally apparent that Assad has out-lasted their predictions of his downfall and they are powerless to affect the situation. And since Syria was really about Iran, their distress will be multiplied.

    They knew it was coming, therefore the “pivot” to Asia-Pacific and the provocations of North Korea, the perennial bogeyman. Hillary Clinton, November 2011: “The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.” It should be good for the pineapple trade, but I don’t see much else coming out of it.

    As a matter of fact, in several senses Iran is at the center of the action, not the U.S. Talk energy, talk New Silk Road with an India connection, talk geographical location, and politics, economy – the largest steel producer in the Middle East — it’s Iran that’s where the action will center.

  252. Don Bacon says:

    Hey, the US can’t beat Iraq or Afghanistan, but it can sure whip yogurt.

    news report
    The US has imposed sanctions on Niksima Food and Beverage JLT, a frozen yogurt company based in the United Arab Emirates, saying the company has been engaged in a transaction for the purchase of petrochemical products from Iran.
    http://english.khabaronline.ir/detail/184836/United-State–Islamic-Republic-of-Iran–Sanctions-/Economy/Economy

    What a pathetic sign of national impotence.

  253. kooshy says:

    This could be a good news if true, however since the reporter is our good propagandist friend Joby of WP it is hard to believe or relay on so maybe that’s the reason it was allowed to be released. Or maybe the AIPAC and US intelligence services are trying to pressure the political indecision makers.

    “Russian, Iranian technology is boosting Assad’s assault on Syrian rebels”

    “RAMTHA, Jordan — Sophisticated technology from Russia and Iran has given Syrian government troops new advantages in tracking and destroying their foes, helping them solidify battlefield gains against rebels, according to Middle Eastern intelligence officials and analysts.

    The technology includes increased numbers of Iranian-made surveillance drones and, in some areas, anti-mortar systems similar to those used by U.S. forces to trace the source of mortar fire, the officials and experts said. Syrian military units also are making greater use of monitoring equipment to gather intelligence about rebel positions and jamming devices to block rebel communications, they said.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-iranian-technology-is-boosting-assads-assault-on-syrian-rebels/2013/06/01/aefad718-ca26-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_story.html

  254. Don Bacon says:

    Joby Warrick is probably laboring under the now-common illusion that it is illegal, immoral and fattening to help a (US/UK enemy) government defeat insurgents and terrorists.

  255. kooshy says:

    Don Bacon says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    “The US has imposed sanctions on Niksima Food and Beverage JLT, a frozen yogurt company based in the United Arab Emirates, saying the company has been engaged in a transaction for the purchase of petrochemical products from Iran.”

    Don-

    This is like when there is a large table in front of a child with a lot of “options” on it, but our baby child can only reach the plate near the edge which is the plate with lots of weaker (country) third party sanctions in it. These lighter reachable goodies are constantly getting picked by our child and thrown on the floor. Fortunately for the child’s safety this child’s grownups have placed plates of the larger options further on the middle of our table where is unreachable for our child. Or some of these options are too heavy for our child to pick; Couple of times in past our child has attempted but couldn’t lift the heavier options. These Couple of times that she did try to lift the heavy option she fell on her butt, crying under weight of the heavy option she couldn’t lift. Everybody in the household is hoping IF she becomes older before she seriously hurt herself, she gets less interested to pick options from the table ever again.

  256. Don Bacon says:

    Iran, not unlike China and Greece, had a developed civilization for thousands of years while Americans were running around in loincloths, carrying spears and wearing warpaint. So juvenile activity comes easily, and yogurt is yummy. Gimme some!

  257. Nothing but the Truth says:

    nico says:
    June 2, 2013 at 4:35 am

    nico I will come back to you soon , I am busy these days , sorry ….

  258. yemi says:

    James Canning,

    ” James Canning says:
    June 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Fair statement?”

    Yes, they are day dreaming!
    When all of them enriched to 100% with whom did they
    make deal?

    This is a supremacist agenda and you JC tends to push hard on this
    day by day. I do believe you are not one, if not we’ll kick out of
    this place!

  259. imho says:

    Smith says:
    May 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    ‘ABC Murders’ during “Arab Spring”
    “their support for the ‘Arab Spring’ for what it really is- a cover to violently topple independently-minded governments which don’t toe the line and which have the ‘wrong’ international friends. ”

    Frankly, the case is not so hard to need a Hercule Poirot detective to find out who’s the killer. But I like RT’s logic. Actually, in any criminal case you need to ask simple questions to find what was the purpose of the crime and who benefited more from it, then you’d look for proofs to support your claims on the suspect.

    But obviously (and unfortunately), it doesn’t work this way when the issue is politicized where people, whether pros or cons of the so-called Arab Spring cannot or are not willing to reason this way. Why ? I guess simply because, more than in any other case, failure of one is the success of the other and the success doesn’t necessary come with telling the truth.

  260. imho says:

    nico says:
    June 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    those are the right questions (about FED).
    And too much (so-called) information (wikileaks style) is a recipe for disinformation

  261. James Canning says:

    yemi,

    FYI says Iran’s enriching to 20 percent is not particularly important now. Jalili indicated to the Financial Times that Iran does not see enriching to 20 percent as particularly important.

    You disagree with Jalili? And FYI?

  262. Nasser says:

    James Canning,

    “The Prussian aristocracy had an inflated fear of Russia, and the Prussian General Staff wanted war with Russia as soon as possible, provided the war could be blamed on Russia (for purposes of PR within Germany).”

    – No, it was Britain that had an irrational fear of Germany! Franco Russian alliance pretty much meant the encirclement of Germany and they had good reason to be worried.

    Why do you refuse to acknowledge that Britain could have easily prevented German naval expansion by promising to stay neutral in the event of German war with France and Russia. And French irredentist tendencies would have been kept in check without British encouragement.

    I am not complaining though, the whole of humanity was done a favor by the fact that the Brits lost their empire over their irrational paranoia and obsession with Germany.

  263. Nasser says:

    James Canning says:

    “FYI says Iran’s enriching to 20 percent is not particularly important now. Jalili indicated to the Financial Times that Iran does not see enriching to 20 percent as particularly important.”

    – Iran should (and probably will) enrich to much higher levels ostensibly for the purposes of fueling marine reactors.

  264. Kathleen says:

    As is always the case thank you Leverett’s. Phil Weiss has an interesting post up about how Obama will not be pushing Israel in any way shape or form to do the right thing because he is holding his finger in the attack Iran dam.

    Folks should be linking this interview everywhere they can…Facebook others sites. Spread the Leveretts interviews around since Chris Matthews, Diane Rehm and other MSM outlets are to chicken shit to have them on their programs to help educate the public with facts about Iran and the middle east