Posts tagged ‘Iran’

June 24, 2011

Ripping Obama to Shreds

by WIZ

Victor Davis Hanson does a great job of it:

Barack Obama’s cries from the heart as a senator about the possibility of a Bush intervention in Iran being a de facto violation of the War Powers Act have been widely circulated — juxtaposed to his sophistic gymnastics about bombs over Libya not really being much more than “kinetic action” and thus exempt from the Act. Then we have another doublet with Hillary Clinton, who said this month:

. . . the bottom line is, whose side are you on? Are you on Qadhafi’s side or are you on the side of the aspirations of the Libyan people and the international coalition that has been created to support them?

Yet said in May 2003 in the context of Iraq:

I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.

The point is not that the Obama administration is two-faced, hypocritical, and shameless. Most administrations are; they act quite differently once they are in the White House and governance requires adult responsibility quite different from the cheap rhetoric of the campaign trail.

Rather, the significance in Obama’s case is twofold: Obama suffers the wages of hypocrisy far more keenly because he set himself up as a new-style politician, promising to buck the “establishment” with his hope-and-change agenda, only to govern in the worst style of a Chicago brass-knuckles machine-made pol, humiliating those who actually believed the planet-cooling/seas-receding nonsense of 2008.

Second, Obama has utterly embarrassed the entire liberal attack on the Bush’s administration’s efforts in Iraq and against terrorism. The venom between 2003 and 2008 was both cruel and nasty, and yet it was always presented as principled rather than partisan, not a grasp for power but the product of deeper respect for the American civic traditions. Now we see that entire era as a complete fraud — on matters of dissent, skepticism of the War Powers Act, Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, preventive detention, wiretaps, intercepts, Iraq, and predator targeted assassination. The hysterical commentary was never based on the merits of those acts, but simply because George Bush, a political opponent, embraced them. How do we know this? Through hypocritical couplets like those above — and the almost complete silence of the antiwar Left. Where now is Cindy Sheehan, the award-winning Michael Moore, the New York Times discounted ads to Moveon.org, the impassioned floor speeches from a Senator Reid or Kerry?

That is the real legacy of the Obama administration: In a way the most extreme right-wing nut could not, Obama has humiliated, embarrassed, and rendered bankrupt seven years of prior dissent, showing it up for what it was all along.

No words or comments on my end could follow up that assault.

June 5, 2011

Dying at Your Dad’s Funeral

by WIZ

Only in Iran?

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May 28, 2011

Saturday Morning Video: Benjamin Netanyahu Before U.S. Congress

by WIZ

Drink your morning coffee, sit back, do your Saturday cleaning, and enjoy Bibi’s pep talk to the U.S. Congress (which gave him 27 standing ovations compared to Obama’s 25 before him. When was the last time this happened and it was labeled anything else but unpatriotic and inciting treason?)

Also, when it’s done, check out this map and see how difficult it would be to establish a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

March 26, 2011

Tell Me Why, Barack.

by WIZ

He gives his reasoning behind intervening in Libya, but I still want to know why not also intervene in the Ivory Coast, Bahrain (here, here, here, and here), Yemen (here, here, here, here, here, here) , SyriaIran (2 years ago – here, here, here), Congo, or even Burma?

My lighter side says that maybe I should just be ok with the fact that the U.S. is intervening somewhere and not standing idly. I then think about the other two quagmires we are in and sigh.

On a lighter and related note, this is amazing.

March 22, 2011

Ranking Our Foreign Priorities

by WIZ

Jeffrey Goldberg gives a great top 7 analysis.

February 22, 2011

No Desire for an Islamic Revolution

by WIZ

Matt Yglesias translates a French article for us:

This new generation isn’t interested in ideology, their slogans are all pragmatic and congrete; they don’t speak of Islam the way their predecessors did in Algeria in the late 1980s. Above all they reject corrupt dictators and demand democracy. That’s not to say that the demonstrators are secular, but simply that they don’t see Islam as a political ideology to be used to create a better order, they’re well inside a secular political space.

This is a continuation of Roy’s work over the past several years on “the failure of political Islam.” The basic idea here is that in part thanks to the example of Iran, you just don’t have a mass constituency that’s prepared to believe that Islam or Islamic rule offers answers to the concrete problems of poverty, corruption, and slow economic growth. People may be religiously observant or culturally conservative in ways that western liberals (or even western cultural conservatives) would find alarming, but the Egyptian people are asking “where are the jobs?” and don’t think the answer is going to be found in the Koran.

February 15, 2011

Internet Freedom

by WIZ

Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton gave a speech today on Internet rights at George Washington University. Read the full (and long) speech here. Here is a good paragraph:

When countries curtail internet freedom, they place limits on their economic future. Their young people don’t have full access to the conversations and debates happening in the world or exposure to the kind of free inquiry that spurs people to question old ways of doing and invent new ones. And barring criticism of officials makes governments more susceptible to corruption, which create economic distortions with long-term effects. Freedom of thought and the level playing field made possible by the rule of law are part of what fuels innovation economies.

She meant the above when the following happens:

In China, the government censors content and redirects search requests to error pages. In Burma, independent news sites have been taken down with distributed denial of service attacks. In Cuba, the government is trying to create a national intranet, while not allowing their citizens to access the global internet. In Vietnam, bloggers who criticize the government are arrested and abused. In Iran, the authorities block opposition and media websites, target social media, and steal identifying information about their own people in order to hunt them down.

February 4, 2011

Mayhem in the Streets of Egypt

by WIZ

TheAtlantic has a contributing writer that was mistaken for an Iranian in Cairo and was subsequently drug through the streets:

 

I have an Iranian stamp, a tourist visa from 2009. Like the United States, Iran includes a photo of the visa-holder on the visa itself. So they saw the visa, with all my biographical details and my photo and “Islamic Republic of Iran,” and thought they were looking at the passport information page of an Iranian citizen. Pretty soon I was being dragged through the street like a deformed farm animal, and the people around me were yelling “Iranian! Iranian!” while I cried out in my best English in protest. We passed two cafés, and no one even bothered to take a shisha pipe out of his mouth to inquire about me.
The men ultimately delivered me to a government building on the Nile, where a man in a police uniform spoke English and confirmed that I was either a native English speaker with an accent appropriate to his nationality, or an Iranian with an unusually effective ESL teacher. He guessed the former and let me go, but not before telling me by way of apology that there are “foreign people in the crowds who want to create danger and kill Egyptians.” He said roadblocks and crowds along the corniche were advised to hunt down “Iranians, Hizbullah, Qataris, Hamas, and” — because why not? — “Israelis.”

 

It’s incredible that he was able to get away basically unscathed and then able to write about it for the world to see. Its unfortunate during national crises that broad brush prejudices are brought out of the closet and applied so draconianlly and as the author said indiscriminately.

Along with the note on national crises, one of the larger roles of protesting (nonviolently, mind you) is to grab the attention of national and international eyes. They will see despotic leaders order troops to beat up on civilians and cause disgust in the viewer. This was a key aspect of the American civil rights movement. Unfortunately, it can get quite tiresome for the protesters to constantly be beaten and then have the national/international powers remain idle.

November 29, 2010

Car Bombing Scientists

by WIZ

It gets deep in Tehran. Two nuclear/defense scientists, one of whom was known to of been aligned with the Revolutionary Guard, were targeted with bombs underneath their cars. One was killed and the other was injured. Nuclear chief Salehi rushed to see the injured scientist at the hospital and subsequently released this caveat:

“Don’t play with fire. The patience of the Iranian nation has limits. If it runs out of patience, bad consequences will await enemies.”

Salehi went on to comment more:

“The enemy took our dearest flower, but must know that this nation, through resistance and all its might, will make efforts to remove problems and achieve its desires.”

There is speculation that Israel/the West is behind sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program. The full article is worth reading.

September 29, 2010

“How To” with Iran and Human Rights

by WIZ

A handbook was created for the Islamic nation whose leader not only denies the Holocaust ever happening but believes 9/11 was an inside job. PBS tracked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s pernicious lies while recently in NYC for a UN General Assembly:

“Iran is the freest country in the world”:

This is while there are at least 800 political prisoners in Iran whose sole “offense” has been protesting the terrible state of the nation, at least 110 people have been killed since last year during demonstrations and in detention centers, at least two prominent supporters of the Green Movement have been assassinated, and at least eight people have been executed.

Obama reacts here.

September 26, 2010

“Our Silence Sends Our Voices To The World”

by WIZ

Once you get past Iran and its progressing nuclear program, its missiles, its connections to Hezbollah, its ambiguous and dangerous leadership, and its connection some see to the Rapture, you have the above video. I watched it at first and didn’t know what it meant. Its translation is here:

Tomorrow is Saturday. Tomorrow is a day of destiny.
Tonight, the cries of Allah-o Akbar are heard louder and louder than the nights before.
Where is this place? Where is this place where every door is closed? Where is this place where people are simply calling God? Where is this place where the sound of Allah-o Akbar gets louder and louder?
I wait every night to see if the sounds will get louder and whether the number increases. It shakes me. I wonder if God is shaken.
Where is this place that where so many innocent people are entrapped? Where is this place where no one comes to our aid? Where is this place that only with our silence we are sending our voices to the world? Where is this place that the young shed blood and then people go and pray — standing on that same blood and pray. Where is this place where the citizens are called vagrants?
Where is this place? You want me to tell you? This place is Iran. The homeland of you and me.
This place is Iran.

Watching a video like this will send you in one direction. Reading these tweets or viewing these pictures with captions sends you in another completely opposite direction.

We can’t continue to see and view others in broad brush strokes. More so, this surpasses Islam and pervades every other religion, ethnicity, and aspect of life. It would be ignorant of me to think of my friend who is Jewish as a cookie cut identical to the last Jew I met, in his thinking, his religious views, and his politics. This world is too complex, our thoughts are so vast and deep (everyone is included here, not just the educated), and our issues are so deep that we can’t settle for cutting ourselves short in discourse with others and our own thinking. This all goes beyond mid term voting, 2012 general elections, and politics. This is life. And the one manning the camera above, speaking in private, has no voice but to speak into a camera. Their voice is against the tyranny of their Islamic Republic. And we think all of those crying out Allah Akbar are about to kill themselves and others. Let’s get real.

September 9, 2010

Castro on Israel/USA vs. Iran

by WIZ

Jeffery Goldberg received a random phone call from Cuba inviting him down to chat with Fidel Castro. The topic: his Iran/Israel article. Goldberg’s piece on Castro is one of many parts and is rather interesting.

Castro went on to analyze the conflict between Israel and Iran. He said he understood Iranian fears of Israeli-American aggression and he added that, in his view, American sanctions and Israeli threats will not dissuade the Iranian leadership from pursuing nuclear weapons. “This problem is not going to get resolved, because the Iranians are not going to back down in the face of threats. That’s my opinion,” he said. He then noted that, unlike Cuba, Iran is a “profoundly religious country,” and he said that religious leaders are less apt to compromise. He noted that even secular Cuba has resisted various American demands over the past 50 years.

At this point, Castro seems more levelheaded and apt to share his thoughts. I am looking forward to the rest of the pieces by Goldberg.

September 2, 2010

Nuclear Crossroads: Israel, Iran, and the USA

by WIZ

Moving across a few counties gave me a great opportunity to catch up on my Atlantic reading (thanks Nate Dog for driving). For at least an hour, I read up on Iran, Nuclear Warfare, Henry Kissinger, and the current brouhaha that is percolating over Iran’s soon-to-be nuclear capabilities. Here are some of my thoughts on this article.

There is a “50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by next July”, according to Jeffery Goldberg. The repercussions of such a decision give Israel and the USA no easy answers at all. Each decision (Israel bombs Iran’s nuclear reactors, Israel doesn’t bomb Iran’s nuclear reactors, the US support Israel, the US doesn’t support Israel, the US seeks more negotiations, the UN continues its sanctions) could prove to be disastrous for Israel and the US and even give worldwide sympathy to Iran. The last two, negotiations and sanctions, have proven to be somewhat helpful.

Some high up leaders in Israel believe Iran is taking advantage of Obama’s tendency towards negotiations. That time has allowed for stricter UN sanctions which have cut off Iran’s connects to foreign supplies needed for nuclear bombs. As Goldberg points out, “when they [Iran] make the parts themselves, they are making parts that don’t have quality control.” (When Goldberg mentioned this comment to a senior Israeli official, he said, “We agree with this American assessment, but we also agree with Secretary Gates that Iran is one year away from crossing the nuclear threshold.”)

The move towards nuclear capability has larger-than-life implications (both literally and metaphorically). Robert D. Kaplan quotes Henry Kissinger’s 1957 book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy that “by acquiring nuclear weapons, a nation becomes able, for the first time, to change the regional or global balance of power without an invasion or a declaration of war.” “Iran,” Kissinger told Kaplan, “merely by pursuing nuclear weapons, has given itself a role in the region out of proportion to its actual power, and it gains further by the psychological impact of its being able to successfully defy the United Nations Security Council.” The ability for Iran to wield control over its people two summers ago with the faulty election and now with nuclear progress places it in many Christianists apocalyptic sights. After reading Kaplan’s piece, I am left wondering what limited war would look like between multiple nuclear capable countries.

Back to Goldberg. There is skepticism on both sides (Israel and USA) whether Barack Obama would side with such measures taken up by Israel. We have to remember this is not an invasion of Iran (see Iraq and Afghanistan) but the proposed bombing of the Natanz, Qom, Esfahan, and Bushehr nuclear reactors. Add to that the probability of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and Iran retaliating against U.S. troops or Israel (“Hezbollah, which now possesses, by most intelligence estimates, as many as 45,000 rockets—at least three times as many as it had in the summer of 2006, during the last round of fighting between the group and Israel.”)

A question that kept popping up in my mind throughout this piece (and as I read a Zionist periodical at the doctors the previous day) was why is there such a stubborn sacredness over this land to the point of nuclear bombing? Before calling me an idiot or ignorant, I can see the promises from G-D to Abraham and his descendent’s that Israel would once again belong to them (possession, not ownership).  The point we are at now is using nuclear bombs and a ballooning U.S. military “stipend” to protect Israel from ever being powerless again (and stopping Iran from creating the new Auschwitz). You are stuck in a messy situation anytime you have a Holocaust denier as your president (Iran) but this stubborn zeal over land by both sides has gotten quite old for me. Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was quoted as saying “Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing. Attacking them would also create the same kind of outcome,” he said in April. “In an area that’s so unstable right now, we just don’t need more of that.”

August 12, 2010

The Point of No Return

by WIZ

Christopher Hitchens and Jeffery Goldberg discuss the Iran/Israel beef that involves nukes.

August 12, 2010

TheAtlantic: September 2010

by WIZ

I am excited to get my copy in the mail any day now. Check out the articles and dispatches all here. It looks to have some interesting articles and pieces, as usual.

August 4, 2010

Reading up on Obama’s’ Foreign Policy Cred’s

by WIZ

Three links to give you three different views.

Bad
Decent
Good

July 12, 2010

Don’t Stone!

by WIZ

CNN’s Belief Blog describes how stoning by Strict Islamist states such as Iran is not in accordance with the Qaran:

“Stoning is not a Quranic punishment, it is Islamic jurisprudence. It happened later,” says Mir-Hosseini, an expert on Iranian family law at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. “The punishment for any kind of sexual relations (outside of marriage) in the Quran is 100 lashes,” she says.

“How you prove adultery or fornication is to have four male witnesses – or two women for every male equivalent – all of them known to be upright, with no questions about their moral character, who witnessed the actual act of intercourse between the male and the female,” he says.

“Basically, in normal life, this is next to impossible, to have four people testify that in the same place, at the same time, they saw the act of penetration,” he argues.

July 10, 2010

The Briar Patch

by WIZ

Andrew Sullivan describes the after-effects still living themselves out after America invaded Iraq and Afghanistan:

What has neoconservatism achieved? In Afghanistan, the best possible option is a country dominated by an increasingly Islamist and nuclear-armed Pakistan. In Iraq, the best possible option is a country dominated by Shiites far more aligned with Iran than many Sunni Arab states. And so the upshot of the Bush-Cheney years is an empowerment of both Iran and Pakistan, the two Muslim countries either with or close to nuclear capacity. That is the end result of a policy designed above all to prevent WMDs getting into the hands of terrorists. I mean: you couldn’t make this up.
And still they want more war. In fact, they are now angling for American support for Sunni Arab states (and Israel) to launch a war against the Shiite power of Iran. Not content with enmeshing the US in two intractable wars, they actually want America to take sides in the ancient intra-Muslim feud between Shiite and Sunni. Yes, that sounds like something brilliant doesn’t it? No unintended consequences could come from diving into that briar patch.
July 8, 2010

Death by Stoning

by WIZ

An Iranian woman is scheduled to be stoned to death. Her forced confession was later recanted:

She was forced to confess after being subjected to 99 lashes, human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei said Thursday in a telephone interview from Tehran. She later retracted that confession and has denied wrongdoing. Her conviction was based not on evidence but on the determination of three out of five judges, Mostafaei said. She has asked forgiveness from the court but the judges refused to grant clemency. Iran’s supreme court upheld the conviction in 2007.

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June 9, 2010

Obama and the past year of Tehran

by WIZ

Jonathan Schanzer describes Barack Obama’s role with Iran over the past year:

After learning Iran was building a covert uranium-enrichment facility near the city of Qom, Obama inexplicably chose not to hammer the Iranians during a major policy address at the United Nations in September. Obama, in fact, asked France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s Gordon Brown to keep the facility secret so that he could deliver a general speech. The topic? Nuclear disarmament.

Then, on Nov. 3, in a speech marking the 30th anniversary of the Tehran hostage crisis (when Iranian radicals held 52 American hostages for 444 days), the president bent over backward to let the Iranians know that Washington was trying to accommodate them. He announced that he had “accepted a proposal by the International Atomic Energy Agency” that would enable Iran to continue enriching uranium for medical purposes, similar to a deal forwarded by Turkey and Brazil last month.

To be sure, this was a mixed message. How could the United States allow Iran to maintain facilities for enriching uranium for one purpose but forbid the country from enriching uranium for others?