Archive for the ‘Foreign Affairs’ Category

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Five Sentenced to Death in Iran for Post Election Protests

In Foreign Affairs,human rights,Injustice,Iranian election aftermath on November 17, 2009 by Editor Z

A reminder that well our attention may be diverted, the autocratic regime in Iran is not letting up.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran has sentenced five people to death over the unrest that followed the country’s disputed June presidential election, state television reported Tuesday.

At least three others caught up in the turmoil have received death sentences previously.

Iran began a mass trial in August of prominent opposition figures and activists, accusing them of a range of charges from rioting to spying and plotting what authorities have called a “soft revolution” to topple the country’s Islamic rulers.

The opposition led massive street protests and clashed with security forces in the weeks following the disputed June 12 presidential election. The opposition claimed fraud after election authorities declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner of a second term and their anger unleashed the most serious internal unrest in Iran in the 30 years since the Islamic Revolution.

A Justice Department statement said the five sentenced to death were members of “terrorist and armed opposition groups,” state television reported. The statement said the courts have sentenced a total of 89 defendants since the process began and 81 of them got prison terms ranging from six months up to 15 years.

“So far, 89 of defendants were tried and based on their cases, death sentences were issued for five of them,” the statement said.

It said the 81 people sentenced to prison terms were charged with a range of offenses from security violations, agitating against the Islamic Republic, violating law and order, damaging public and private property, and assaulting civilians and security forces.


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Why is McCain Such a Credible Voice on Afganistan?

In Foreign Affairs,History,neoconservatives,politics on October 12, 2009 by Editor Z

What I find interesting is that someone who voted for and has spoken fervently in support of the Iraq War which diverted resources from the war in Afghanistan and said in the long run we can just “muddle through” the war in Afghanistan; is taken seriously in this latest debate on possibly escalating troop levels there.


Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those who thinks we should retreat from there immediately. After all Afghanistan is the war where there was a threat and where elements of Al-Queda have received aid and we should continue to battle to defeat or mollify such elements, though as we have seen in Iraq nation building is something that only bogs us down. People should remember that just because you throw money and soldiers at a problem does not automatically solve a problem, unless they have a solid strategy to guide them.

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Why is McCain Such a Credible Voice on Afganistan?

In Foreign Affairs,History,neoconservatives,politics on October 12, 2009 by Editor Z

What I find interesting is that someone who voted for and has spoken fervently in support of the Iraq War which diverted resources from the war in Afghanistan and said in the long run we can just “muddle through” the war in Afghanistan; is taken seriously in this latest debate on possibly escalating troop levels there.


Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those who thinks we should retreat from there immediately. After all Afghanistan is the war where there was a threat and where elements of Al-Queda have received aid and we should continue to battle to defeat or mollify such elements, though as we have seen in Iraq nation building is something that only bogs us down. People should remember that just because you throw money and soldiers at a problem does not automatically solve a problem, unless they have a solid strategy to guide them.

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Iranian People Would Be Willing to Get Rid of Nuclear Weapons Making Capacity

In Foreign Affairs,Iranian election aftermath,neoconservatives,nukes on October 6, 2009 by Editor Z


Image: World Public Opinion.org

Next time a neoconservative tries to persuade you that an invasion or ‘military strike’ is beneficial to the United States and is necessary; one may want to examine this data from a new world public opinion survey (H/T Washington Independent). Considering this is a nation’s whose regime and titular ‘president’ have such an authoritarian approach towards dealing with those in power, it amazes me that Iranians would be brave enough to voice such an opinion.

A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll finds that two-thirds of Iranians would favor their government precluding the development of nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions against Iran.

Only one-third would be ready to halt enrichment in exchange for lifting sanctions. However, another third, while insisting on continuing enrichment, would agree to grant international inspectors unrestricted access to nuclear facilities to ensure that that there are no bomb-making activities.

The WPO poll also finds that six in 10 Iranians believe that economic sanctions, imposed by the United States and the United Nations over fears that Iran’s nuclear program might produce an atomic weapon, are having a negative impact. Seven in 10 say they believe sanctions will be tightened if Iran continues its current nuclear program.

As the Washington Independent points out, Iran is far from a democracy and doesn’t necessarily appraise the wishes of public opinion. Having said that, the citizens of Iran polled say that their desire to compromise and conclude this standoff in a course of action that does not involve the use of force is congruent with ours.

Sanctions, the bedlam that was a product of the June Iranian elections, and the continued bellicosity of Ahmadinejad and intransigence of the Ayatollahs place the governing structure of the Islamic Republic in a vulnerable and precarious position.

Comparatively, while Iranian opinion in the streets seems to be in favor of negotiating away the ability to construct nuclear weapons, the U.S Public seems to be in favor of using military force to thwart Iranian attempts at developing a nuclear weapons program, at least according to one poll (although a vast bi-partisan majority still back direct talks with Iran).

But right now a military strike would be a victory short-lived, only cause the government to enhance its efforts to reconstitute a nuclear program, drive them to even greater extremes, further destabilize neighboring countries where U.S and International forces are stationed and weak regimes are installed in power, and despite the actions of the Iranian regime over the past months, solidify the Iranian populace around their “leader” in a show of nationalism and deflate the dissident movement at a juncture when the U.S and other countries should be exploiting schisms in the Iranian state.

And quite simply laid out for those who have little doubt, if you disapproved of the government and then a foreign government came and launched an attack on your country would you be more likely to coalesce around your country (via 9/11) or run into the arms of the foreign land that authorized the strike?

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What Do You Call an Iranian Leader Who was Born Jewish, but Now denies tyhe Holocaust?

In Foreign Affairs,Iranian election aftermath,off-beat,stupidity,Video on October 3, 2009 by Editor Z

White Supremacist (Dave Chapelle) – watch more funny videos

The blind Black Klansman from the Dave Chapelle Show Suddenly Comes To Mind

I don’t know how reliable this is, but evidently you call him Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yup, that’s right the Iranian leader who has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and has time and again denied the holocaust, may in fact have been born a Jew. Maybe his parents forgot to mention it.

This knowledge was obtained from a 2008 photograph of Ahmadinejad displaying his ID card in a photograph. According to the article in the London Telegraph, Ahmadinejad’s real last name was Sabourjian, which translated is an old Jewish way of say ‘cloth weaver’. The family converted to the Islamic faith and moved to Tehran sometime after Mahmoud’s birth in 1956. The altering of ones name when they change faith is customary in Iran. Nonetheless it is said that his billingsgates against the Israeli state, the Jewish faith, and the atrocity of the holocaust could be his way of trying to conceal his roots.

According to his wiki (which is always a source that has to be taken with a grain of salt though) one biographer dispells the leader’s alleged Jewish origins and that his last name was ‘Sabaghian’, which means ‘dye masters’ in Persian .

If this is true this is awkward to say the least. If many of his most ardent conservative supporters were not aware of this I wonder how they feel? Though this is not unheard of among forces hostile towards Jews. Hitler himself was believed to have Jewish blood in him, some say his Paternal grandfather was Jewish.

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Another Reason to End the Iraq War

In Foreign Affairs,Iraq War on October 2, 2009 by Editor Z

General Ray Odierno:

“I’m not sure we will ever see anyone declare victory in Iraq, because first off, I’m not sure we’ll know for 10 years or five years,” Army Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters at the Pentagon.

Odierno is in charge of military operations in Iraq. According to Odierno a load of Iranian weapons was supposedly discovered in Iraq. He goes on to say that what the U.S is doing now is laying the foundation for a “long term strategic partner of the United States” as well as function as a stabilizing force of sorts in the often volatile Middle East.

Given the past six years of often bungled strategy and the hardships we now face in Afghanistan, a stabilizing force may be the best we can hope for. But given all the sacrifice made in this invasion, it hardly seems worth it since Iraq, although headed by a barbarous dictator before was not in as precarious of a state as it is now, that all scarcely seems worth it, and the presence of Iraq being a functional stabilizing force is not exactly a given either. And the idea that we can stay forever occupying a land but never win makes this endeavor all the more senseless.

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John Kyl (R-Arizona) Says Regime Change Should be Ultimate U.S Goal in Iran

In Chattering classes/punditry,Foreign Affairs,Iranian election aftermath,neoconservatives,nukes,politics,television on September 27, 2009 by Editor Z

This past week Iran was once again in the headlines. A Summer of violence inflicted on dissidents by the military and security forces following the Iranian Presidential “election” in June, as well as fears that the Islamic Republic could soon acquire nuclear weapons; have gained the country much attention and has created much concern.

Last week at the United Nations, the country’s “President” faced protests by those denouncing his brutish tactics against Iranian protesters in his own country. His diatribes against Israel and denial of the holocaust caused many to walk out during his speech before the United Nations last week. And intelligence of a subterranean facility connected to the country’s nuclear program; elicited rebukes and renewed talk of International sanctions by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and even Russia to a lesser degree.

Now, as the United States remains mired in two Middle Eastern conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq (both countries next to Iran), some of the neocons in the United States think maybe two millitary stalemates aren’t enough.

It appears that Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) and outgoing Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) are mulling regime change in Iran. Kyl and Bond who each appeared on Sunday morning political talk shows, aren’t yet urging an all out Iraq-style pre-emptive war just yet, nevertheless he says regime change should be the ultimate objective of the United States in its policy towards Iran.

“What we’re trying to do here eventually is get a regime change,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Get a group of people in there that are more representative of the Iranian people, that we really can talk with in a way that might end up with a good result. I think it’s very difficult to do that with the current leadership and especially the elected president,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

My Pavlovian response to such rhetoric is usually a mix between a roll of the eyes, fear of another military adventure that ends in an outright fiasco, and anger that anyone could be stupid enough to be so cavalier after what we have endured with Iraq. But the so-called election this past Summer (and no Senator Kyl he isn’t the “elected President” of Iran he stole the election at least as far as we can tell) shows that there is a reservoir of suspicion and resentment towards Amadinejad that has gone beyond him and was so audacious as to be aimed even at the Mullahs who hold the real power in the country.

Action should be taken for sure, and as of now it appears that Obama is attempting to adopt the approach similar to that George HW Bush took in 1990 following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq; attempting to build legitimacy with the International community specifically within the UN membership to denounce and punish Iran, rather then the bungled neoconservative model of the Iraq war.

As Josh Marshall on TPM points out, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates even says that any sort of military action towards Iran would have limited results. After attacking any facilities what is to say that Iran won’t immediately work to rebuild such capabilities? Would we once again be forced to militarily reconstructing the entire sociopolitical framework of a nation where we are viewed with suspicion and whose culture Americans by and large have little familiarity with? Such a move would further destabilize the global economy, driving further up the price of oil. Not all the weapons sites are likely known in Iran since U.S Intelligence in the country is scant at best if existent at all. It sits in a region where its two neighboring countries Iraq and Afghanistan have unstable, inept regimes that are seen as effective by much of their citizenry and are just possibly fragile enough to also be forced from power in reaction.

The international community would likely not stand alongside the United States and Israel in such an attack, and such talk would only cause Iran to expedite the development of a nuclear program and do something that this summer shows Ahmadinejad and the government were never able to do and that is make him legitimate in the eyes of the Iranian people. His tirades and fear mongering would be validated and any opening the U.S may have had with the Iran citizenry could be very well sealed shut if we are perceived as trigger happy. An attack on Iran could turn more of them against us and in the wake of such an attack we could see a flood of Iranians crossing into Iraq armed with a newly formed hatred in their hearts and thousands of U.S soldiers in their sights.

Finally, the government of Ahmadinejad is not the body that really hold the bulk of the decision making power is done by the mullahs and the Grand Ayatollah. In the larger configuration of things Ahmadinejad is a minute component in the more vast system of the Iranian elite.

If we have learned anything from nearly a decade of struggle and Afghanistan and our invasion of Iraq, its that War and regime change are something that is easy to spout off about, but violent, costly, and painstaking to carry out. We are already locked in two wars rebuilding two nations,to enter a third would be the most absurd and tragic of follies.

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