I feel bad for Israel. Whenever I talk to people about Iran’s becoming a nuclear power, one thing I hear is, “I hope Israel takes out their facilities.” It seems a little strange that the American people’s foreign policy is to ask Israel – alone in the midst of bloodthirsty sharks – to go ahead and take out the big, bad Iranis.
If we took out the Iranis, what would they do? They can’t attack America. They’d probably attack Israel. Which means no matter if America or Israel attacks Iran, Iran will strike at Israel. Poor Israel.
But one thing we have to admire: Israel’s unswerving focus on surviving. While we’re wringing our hands over executive compensations, Israel is debating its very future. We’re upset about cars, Israel is considering ways to strike nuclear facilities. (Which they are good at, needless to say.) And Israel is remarkably consistent on this point. Even the slightly-left-of-center Kadima was staunchly anti-Iran. The current hodge-podge of rightists, leftists, and centrists is likewise anti-Iran. Nothing seems to unite these disparate factions that the threat of nuclear holocaust.
Nuclear holocaust. One holocaust wasn’t good enough? Puts a different spin to things, doesn’t it? Does it change your mind on how we ought to approach the issue? if Iran does nuke Israel…how will you feel if you did nothing to stop yet another senseless holocaust against the Jews? It boggles the mind, it really does, how such a small minority of people brings out so much hatred.
But Israel will survive. I know it. And America will never leave Israel stranded. Our destiny is tied with Israel’s.
So, Iran has teh Bomb, eh?
Not surprised. It was evident and obviously that powerful world powers will do everything to make sure Iran becomes a nuclear power. People are very much interested in tilting the balance of power from the West to the East.
But, think about this for a second. What mechanism are these Eastern powers using vis-a-vis the West’s techniques? When we want to prevail we use jeans, rock and roll, and salacious movies. We move markets. But the East? No, they’re still stuck in the barbarian ages where the man with the biggest stick is chief.
I don’t know if this will work. Sure, they will freak Israel out. Oh, boy, will Israel freak out. But America? We’re too busy worshiping Obama or worrying about getting our next fat-laden meal to think much about Iran. And those who think right are worried, but, really, what’s Iran going to do?
The world needs to pay attention to Japan. They threatened us. We nuked them. End of story. If Iran directly threatens us with any nuclear weapons, I guarantee we will strike back with such force Australia will vibrate from the shockwaves. Not because the president – whoever he may be – is a good ole American. Nope. It’s because if he doesn’t swing the big stick, and hard, and sever a head, he won’t be reelected.
It’s all about reelection, folks. If we know their weak spot, why not use it? 😉
Islam is as much a political force as it is religious. And this is common with mmost religious movements prior to this modern age. For most of humanity’s history, religions played and intrinsic rôle in the political life of a polity. However, while most other religious movements have accepted the separation of religion and poltics, Islam retains this belief that religion and state cannot be separated. Indeed, one fundamental purpose of Islam was to establish the way (شريعة shari’ah) to a just society through it’s religious laws (called, thus, the “shari’ah”). Thus, an Islamic state is a legitimate state.
Among Shiites there is a dispute whether a legitimate Islamic state can be established. Some say they must wait for the return of the Hidden Imam. Others say agents of the Imam may establish a provisionary state until he reappears. Others believe that a truly legitimate, authentic Islamic state may be established by the Imam’s agents before he reappears.
For many Shiites, the legitimate Islamic state died with Muhammad. His supposed successors prevented the rightful sucessor from taking his place at the head of the Islamic state and when his turn came, supporters of these usurpers attempted to overthrow him. They likewise killed the son of the rightful successor (by the way, who was evidently علي بن ابي طالب ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin). And since then they have been trying to kill the rightful bearers of authority.
But this has not always been the case. The Fatimids (Isma’ili Shiites) established a potent caliphate to rival the Sunni one. The Qizilbash claimed be led by the Imam, and established a Shiite empire (forcing all their non-Shiite subjects to convert), which reunited Persia and made it Shiite. But these were exceptions that proved the rule: Shiites cannot establish a legitimate Islamic state. Either they fail or their Sunni enemies defeat them (or their Sunni enemies defeat them by making them fail).
This should explain why the notion that cresting an Islamic state was not only possible and permissable but that there is a way and structure and organized manner to do so, was so shocking, novel, and captivating.
Despite centuries of doctrine otherwise, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini capitalized on the Shiites’ yearning for political deliverance and unveiled before them the way to their salvation: Velayat-e Faqih.
My friends, I now make a personal appeal to you. A history-making time has arrived, and your help is needed.
After three decades of virtual tyranny, the people of Iran have had enough and want to overthrow the regime and replace it with a new one. This isn’t a revolt of sore losers. The issue is no longer Moussavi not winning the presidency. It’s about the system. It’s about the old guard that has kept Iran suppressed and oppressed for so long. It’s about Khamene’i and Ahmadi-nezhad. More importantly, it’s about replacing the old guard with a new guard.
Granted, the system will still be theocratic. Granted, Rafsanjani (who is rumored will be the new Supreme Leader) isn’t all buddy-buddy with the West. Granted, Iran will not become fully democratic or transparent. But this is a crucial step in the right direction.
Moussavi promises sweeping changes, changes that will make Iran more democratic and transparent. He wants to curtail the authority and interference of the Supreme Leader. He wants to diminish if not eliminate the volunteer Basij (the feared extralegal enforcement forces). He wants to end political suppression. Moussavi wants a new Iran.
But more importantly, the people of Iran want a new Iran.
And they need our help. They don’t need our government’s help; they don’t want our government’s help. They need our help, the help of individuals.
So, what can you do?
1. Blog about the situation. Give them moral support. Encourage them. Embolden them to continue the Green Revolution until it meets its objectives.
2a. Put pressure on CNN, Fox News, Sky News, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, and Twitter to do all that it can do to help the Green Revolution. They have already done a lot thanks to intense demand from individuals. If we keep up the pressure, there might be more they can do. The people of Iran need, absolutely need, these media to operate efficiently and reliably in order to orchestrate the Green Revolution. This is truly a revolution via new social media.
2b. Forget pressuring the government. It’s useless. Instead, focus on actions and venues that can make a real difference now. Twitter, Facebook, and Google have more clout and can do more than the US government at this point.
3. Put aside political differences. Focus away from Ubaama’, from the government’s shenanigans, from Democrats’ idiocy. Kossacks, HuffPosters, and even St. Andy of the Sacred Heart Ache have been doing a lot to help the Green Revolution. Let us set aside our differences to tip the balance in favor of the people of Iran. If you blog, blog more about the Green Revolution than anything else. If you’re a Twit (h/t S. Weasel), Tweet about the Green Revolution (use the hashtags #iranelection and #gr88). Mention it in your Facebook postings. Cooperate with all people who support the Green Revolution or who are helping it.
4. Wear green, and be open about why. Change your icons to green. It is such a wonderful sight to open up Twitter and see, as the phrase has been used a number of times in last few days, a Sea of Green. People from all over the world, people from all political thoughts, people from all ethnicities and cultures and religions, are green to support the Green Revolution. If you’re on Twitter, change your timezone and location to Iran. (This is not only to support the Irani revolutionaries but also to confuse Irani government censors who are trying to find Irani Twitterers and arrest them.)
5. Also extremely important is cyber-revolutionary activity. Can you set up a Tor relay? Do it. Can you set up a proxy server that Irani revolutionaries can use? Do it. (E-mail me at muslihoon (at) yahoo (dot) com for how to contact certain people who are central information sources for proxies that Irani revolutionaries can use. Do not publicly post available proxies, as the fascist government is monitoring such announcements to track down revolutionaries and arrest them..) Do you have any other ideas that can help the Irani revolutionaries or hinder the fascist government’s efforts? Share them. (Tip: no DDoS as that affects the Irani revolutionaries as well.)
Thomas Jefferson said: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” This may be the unhappy case with Iran today. But change is needed. And we should do our part.
Every little thing you can do will help the people of Iran. They know the world is watching them. They need to hear our constant voices of support.
This is not only in the national security interests of The United States — the new regime, who is cognizant of all that the American people, along with people around the world, have done to help them succeed, will be less likely to want to blow all of us to Kingdom Come — but is essential as Americans who support democracy and freedom. The people of Iran are yearning to be free. They need our help. Let us, without any hesitation, extend our hand and help them in any way we can.
You can help make the world a better place. You can help be part of a grand effort to make an entire people more free. You can help put the axe to the root of tyranny in Iran. The question is: will you? If you will, let this be your burning passion until the Green Revolution succeeds. We’ve harped on about regime change in Iran for a very long time now. That time has come. Let us not miss this opportunity.
There is a lot going on in Iran.
I am very exhausted, though. I’ve been following the revolution on Twitter for almost two days now. It gets tiring. Haven’t been getting enough sleep. I woke up after a six-hour sleep to more than a thousand text messages on my phone.
Lots of rumors. Let’s see what happens. In any case, it’s a historic event.
More over the next few days. I can’t blog from work, and my time at home is often spend doing homework or other stuff. Hope to find the strength to blog. Although, I also do not want to offend people I admire a lot, which I might because I have quite different views.
So, Ahmadinezhad has said he wants to get rid of Israel. And many preoccupy themselves with how, practically, Iran could accomplish it. Launching a nuke at Israel is considered so impossible that it is dismissed. (Then again, hijacking civilian passenger airplanes and crashing them into buildings was similarly dismissed.)
But Iran doesn’t have to launch a missile. All it has to do is give a nuke to Hezbollah, who is across the border from Israel.
Ever heard of a dirty bomb? Iran could be the first one to use it, through Hezbollah.
This may seem like a somewhat random post, but I’d like to point out an interesting aspect of political geography: the difficulty of grouping states together.
Consider, for example, Iran. Iran is often grouped into the “Middle East” (also known as the “Near East) but it differs markedly from other Middle Eastern states: it is Shiite rather than Sunni (Syria has a Shiite government with a Sunni population while Bahrain has a Sunni government with a majority Shiite population; Iraq has a significant Shiite demographic: but none of these is like Iran, where both the government and population are Shiite); it is ethnically Persian rather than Arab (and, consequently does not share the dominant language of the Middle East, Arabic); it has an elected theocratic government rather than the monarchies and dictatorships of most of the Middle East. Even historically Iran differs significantly in that most of the Middle East was part of the Sunni caliphate’ particularly the Ottoman Empire, while Iran had been under its own local regimes.
But where else, then, could Iran be grouped into? Iran is certainly not Central Asian or South Asian (despite the Persians’ influence on the latter). And Iran shares closer relations to and with Middle Eastern states than Central Asian or South Asian states. As such, the common inclusion of Iran in the “Middle East” makes sense.
And what of Turkey? Like most Middle Eastern states, it is Sunni. Unlike most Middle Eastern states, it has a popularly elected governmen and has little, if any, connection with Arabic culture and civilization. Yet, like Iran, it has shared close relations with other states of the Middle East: indeed, for centuries it ruled the Middle Eastern states (except for Iran, but it battled with Iran, figuratively and literally, for dominance and influence over the area). Can Turks and Arabs (or, for that matter, Persians and Arabs) be lumped together?
One example that amuses me is Egypt (and can include or be used for any of the Arab states of Northern Africa, beginning with Egypt and stretching to Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean): are Egyptians Arabs, Middle Easterners, or Africans? And as Egypt has been considered to be in Africa for centuries now, can Egyptians, as Africans, claim benefits or special arrangements for Africans or people of African origin?
And what about Mediterranean states? Should they not also be considered to be a group unto itself? Does not a state’s location on the Great Sea play an important part in its character, politics, culture, and tendencies?
And how about Afghanistan? Is it Middle Eastern, South Asian, or Central Asian? Or this a case, as some say is with Turkey, that parts belong to different areas (the Pashtun areas being South Asian; the Tajik and Uzbek areas being Central Asian; the more Persian or Dari areas being Middle Eastern)?
It is not easy to group states together into useful categories or geopolitical regions, yet doing so makes considering the world and its manifold issues easier. And, indeed, in some cases such categorization even makes sense as far as issues go. But there has yet to be a comprehensive system developed: all systems in use are debated and problematic to some degree.
As such, while we ought to consider a state’s location, we should not put all of our understanding of a state’s problems or issues solely in the context of geopolitical location. In some ways, each state is an entity unto itself or may involve issues, characteristics, or aspects common or dissimilar to the states around it.
It is almost amusing that for many decades Russia and the United Kingdom lorded over Persia/Iran while enjoying good relations with Israel and only towards the end The United States became involved in Iran and yet since the so-called Islamic Revolution, Iran’s vitriol has been spewed against The United States and Israel with hardly any regard given to The United Kingdom (rather than assigning the title of “the Little Satan” to The United Kingdom, it is used for Israel) as Iran moves more and more into Russia’s grasp.
And of the four entities (The United States, The United Kingdom, Israe, and Russia), the two to not have engaged in imperialism or colonialism are The United States and Israel. And unlike The United Kingdom, which gave up imperialism and colonialism, Russia never gave up on its imperial and imperialist desires, continuing its imperialist policies even while ruling the Soviet Union (indeed, the guise of anti-imperialist communism allowed it to quite effectively expand its empire). So much for Iran’s anti-imperialism!
And, of course, it bothers me that Russia is getting away with it.
Ah well. I hope some day Iran will realize how it is being used by the Russia-China Axis and thereupon attempt to gain true sovereignty by ending within itself all foreign and alien forces such as Russia, China, and Islamism. Considering that the so-called Islamic Revolution could not even deliver on its claim/promise of Irani sovereignty within Iran–and how can Iran be sovereign when it depends on the Russia-China Axis and while the Axis calls the shots–the utter failure of the Revolution becomes apparent.
Which may explain why Iran’s demagogues have always tried to distract their people with fabricated conspiracies and enemies.
I’m going to go on a limb here and express confusion on something. (Usually I like to point out stuff I know, but this issue merits being discussed.)
It is quite easy to understand the modi operandi of states like China, Russia, The United States, and The United Kingdom. It is also easy–for those who are familiar with them–to understand the geopolitical strategies and policies (insofar as one can call them “political”) of militant and non-militant Islamists, terrorists and otherwise.
But one entity that seems to confuse many people is Iran. Now, it is important to understand the motivation, reasons, and ultimate goals of a state in order to determine why the state has such-and-such policy, how the state will implement it, and what other aspects can be expected, predicted, or considered most likely to occur.
The problem with Iran lies in our lack of reliable information close to the decision-makers. Whereas a similar lack of information exists regarding North Korea, we know what to expect from North Korea. North Korea will do what North Korea is wont to do, because that is what it has done for a long time now. The same cannot really be said about Iran. Read the rest of this entry »
We should have taken out Muqtada as-Sadr (سيد مقتدى الصدر, sayyid muqtadā aS-Sadr; titled: حجة الإسلام, Hujjat al-islām, meaning “proof or expert on Islam,” meaning he’s a middle-ranking Shiite cleric).
Within Iraq, one may say that there are two prominent factions: the activists, under as-Sadr, and the quietists, under Grand Ayatollah as-Sistani (السيد علي الحسيني السيستاني, as-sayyid ‛alī al-Hussaynī as-sīstānī; titled: آية الله العظمى, āyatullāh al-‛uZmā, meaning “Great Āyatullāh,” referring to the senior-most level of Shiite clerics).
After a period of time, the activist Shiites, who are organized in political parties and militias, gained control of and prominence in Iraqi politics. As-Sadr is certainly a person to consider. He’s no small fry. But one needs to also see why he seeks this attention. Read the rest of this entry »
So, I have two questions.
Asking questions is always good. Read the rest of this entry »
geoff of Uncommon Misconceptions has been doing an excellent job posting on what can be called the Second Cold War: the efforts of Russia and China to check, hinder, diminish, and threaten America’s influence (or, rather, that of capitalism and The West) just as The Soviet Union tried to do during the First Cold War. I do lament that this is something that has not been on the People’s mind lately. (Although I do know that certain agencies of the government have kept this on their mind, seeing it as a continuation of a traditional threat or issue rather than the resurgence of a new one.)
For more information, please read the following by geoff of Uncommon Misconceptions:
- “The real problem with Iran”
- “More on Iran and its relationships”
- “The Sino-Russian clubhouse, and guess who wants in?”
- His comment on “On the question of more troops – addendum”
Now, let us delve a little into international relations. Read the rest of this entry »
In the November 12, 2006, issue of Magazine of The New York Times, letters to the editors were published which had some very good points. I present them here with some comments by me. Read the rest of this entry »
In “So, how’s that peacekeeping thing going?”, HayZeus of HayZeus, Inc., links to a post, “The Gathering Storm, Redux” by Spook86 of In From the Cold, which discusses the situation between Israel and Lebanon. It is a good (though not very optimistic) read.
Two questions, if I may:
1. Would Hizbullah still be interested in taking on Israel considering Hizbullah’s claims that it suffered more than they expected in the last encounter? Or are such claims (as I suspect) simply propaganda to lull their opponents into a false sense of security?
2. How would a new Israel-Lebanon war benefit Syria and/or Iran? (I ask so as to figure out Syria and Iran’s intentions.)
I believe Hizballah was emblodened by what happened last summer, despite the losses it suffered at the hands of the IDF. Their rapid resupply strikes me as someone getting ready for an inevitable rematch, vice an organization looking for some sort of diplomatic settlement.
The potential benefits to Iran and Syria are enormous. By backing Hizballah, they get an eager proxy who can fight their common enemy, with little danger to themselves. Supporting terror groups in the Levant has always been Damascus’s favorite tool for putting pressure on Israel, and potentially forcing some sort of favorable settlement over the Golan. Creating a short-range problem also forces the Israelis to spend defense dollars on that problem, versus concentrating their resources on traditional enemies, i.e. Iran and Syria.
If there is a second Lebanese War, I don’t expect the Israelis to confine their operations to Lebanon. It makes no sense to allow Iranian transports to land in Damascus, offload military hardware and return to Tehran for another load. Israel must devise a military strategy for crushing Hizballah, and neutralizing Syria as well–no small feat. Once those issues are resolved, they can focus on Iran. Meanwhile, Tehran has to decide how far they want to go in supporting both Hizballah and Syria. Currently, the Israeli nuclear deterrent, coupled with weaknesses in Iran’s conventional forces, limits what they can do.
(With thanks to HayZeus for bringing this to my attention, and to Spook86 for such a great post and for answering my questions so well.)
I unreservedly and severely condemn Harvard University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government for hosting Hojjat-ol-Eslam wa-l-Muslimin Mohammed Khatami. There are simply no reasons to justify this invitation whatsoever. I cannot believe they invited him to speak at their university.
They say that there are some political differences between The United States and Iran. In that case, The United States had only political differences with Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and Saddam Hussein. Why did Harvard not ask these prominent and world-shaping politicians to speak at their university?
And on this occasion Khatami endorsed Iran’s policy of executing homosexuals.
And I find Harvard’s silence after Khatami’s remarks to be absolutely abominable, reprehensible, and unacceptable. Evidently, they feel no need to condemn Khatami and his endorsement of Iran’s bloody policy of executing gays, adultresses, journalists, human rights activists, and outspoken critics, not to mention heretics (which would include Baha’is and heretical Shiites).
Right now my blood is boiling. Feh. Harvard University is henceforth scum in my eyes.
(Story, information, and pictures from “Khatami advocates killing gays” by John of Average Gay Joe, “Harvard sits silent while Khatami defends executing gays” by Allahpundit of Hot Air, and “At Harvard, Khatami justifies Killing Gay People” by Michael of Gay Orbit.)
Personally I’m mad Israel didn’t do more.
Indeed. I am still quite displeased, and my displeasure has been increasing with reports that the Israeli government is negotiating with terrorist regimes. I understand their desire to get back their abducted soldiers, but to continue this cycle of “kidnap and negotiate release of prisoners” is unacceptable.
I am usually very supportive of the Israeli government, but I am finding more reasons to oppose it than to support it. I have always been a fan of Likud – even though its prime ministers have not been hawkish enough for my tastes – and I think it is time Kadima were laid to rest.
I believe Kadima was founded by Ariel Sharon for his own political uses. I do not believe an actual centrist coalition exists. What “centrist” coalition may be said to exist is in reality Israelis united behind Ariel Sharon. As soon as Ariel Sharon became incapacitated – and it seems that God will be recalling him soon – Kadima’s raison d’etre expired.
Maybe Hezbollah was surprised by Israel’s reactions. I think being surprised is stupid: Israel knew Hezbollah was going to strike and had prepared beforehand to strike back. For Hezbollah to move into a position to fire first and not to see Israel’s preparations to respond is utterly ridiculous. I don’t buy it. But Hezbollah’s swift acceptance of and, so far, overt adherence to the ceasefire indicates to me that Hezbollah direly needed the attacks to end.
Which would be reeeaaal nice. They started the war when they wanted, and they ended the war when they needed it to end. Neither Lebanon nor The United Nations will disarm Hezbollah: indeed, Hezbollah’s rearmament has begun.
The Arabs will not do the responsible thing and eliminate Hezbollah. The Lebanese authorities are still spineless, Syria and Iran are supporting Hezbollah, and The United Nations doesn’t care either way.
All we can do is prepare for the next round, whenever it begins. It doesn’t help that the threat across the Lebanese border hasn’t gone away while Israel needs to put into place measures to protect itself from Iran. *throws hands in the air* The Second Coming should just come already.
Christopher Taylor alerted me to two Irani websites. Let us take a look tonight at Irani propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »
According to a post (““The Real Winner in Lebanon””) by the inimitable Jeff Goldstein of protein wisdom, it may be possible that there is more than meets the eye regarding the Lebanon issue. More may be going on, more may have been planned, and more may be intended than what we can see on the surface. Read the rest of this entry »
Captain’s Quarters informs us (“Iran Agrees To Discuss Nuclear Halt” by Captain Ed) that Iran has backed down on its insistence on continuing its nuclear development, saying it is willing to negotiate (where before it insisted there could be and would be no negotiations). Especially after Hezbollah’s pyrrhic victory, this may be seen as a sign that Iran thinks it lost in the Israeli-Arab War or that it needs to soften its stance in face of a strong or assertive West. I would disagree with such an assessment.
Such tactics are quite routine for rogue states like Iran and North Korea: they make inflammatory remarks and then ever so often signal willingness to negotiate or back down. It’s part of their campaign to confuse us (with all this blustering, we either misread their true intentions and beliefs or are at a total loss as to what their true intentions and beliefs are).
What I would like to know is what words Iran is using in Farsi to announce this shift in policy. What they say in English and what they say in Farsi can be quite different.
This is just my guess, though, for what it’s worth.
It seems that Olmert may be in trouble. The very circumstances that bouyed the popularity of his government might lead to his own undoing. Read the rest of this entry »