Iran sanctions and wishful thinking

By
May 7, 2009

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate
– Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

So what’s so difficult in getting Iran to drop its nuclear program? All it needs is a great American leader who uses sanctions to break the Iranian economy so badly that popular discontent sweeps away the leadership. It is replaced without a shot being fired.

That simplistic solution to one of the most complex problems of the Middle East was part of a keynote speech greeted with thunderous applause by 6,000 delegates to the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The speaker: Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2012.

In the fourth month of the administration of President Barack Obama, who favors talking to America’s adversaries rather than ousting them, the Gingrich prescription sounded like a throwback to the days when neo-conservatives predicted that the U.S. troops invading Iraq would be pelted with flowers and sweets. Wishful thinking at its finest.

But in panel discussions and forums at AIPAC, one of the most powerful lobby groups in the United States, the idea of sharply tightened sanctions had plenty of proponents. The preferred lever: cutting off gasoline supplies to Iran, which relies on imports for around 40% of its domestic consumption.

On the final day of the conference this week, several thousand AIPAC activists converged on Congress to press their representatives for passage of pending legislation to sanction companies that sell, ship, finance or insure gasoline exports to Iran. Firms that continued dealing with Iran would be banned from doing business with the U.S.

Would an additional layer to a stack of sanctions imposed since 1995 get the Iranians to drop what the West insists is work toward a nuclear bomb? There is no reason to believe it would. There is every reason to believe more sanctions would inflict hardship on the Iranian people.

“With all the economic pain sanctions have imposed on the Iranian economy, there has not been a single instance in which that pain has translated into a desirable change in the Iranian government’s policies,” Trita Parsi, the president of the Washington-based National Iranian American Council, told a congressional hearing last month. “The Iranian people have suffered the brunt of the economic pressures.”

A MATTER OF NATIONAL PRIDE

That tends to be the case with most sanctions that seek to change a government’s behavior or its ouster. A case in point closer to Washington than Tehran — Cuba. Almost five decades of U.S. economic sanctions have failed to bring down Fidel Castro or the brother who succeeded him.

Iran introduced gasoline rationing in June, 2007, a move that sparked riots in Tehran, with angry citizens setting ablaze gasoline stations. It was one of the most visible demonstrations of anger against the Iranian government since President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad took office in 2005.

But by and large, say Trita and other Iran experts, a good deal of the people’s anger over economic duress is directed against the United States, more so because the nuclear program has become a matter of national pride. It enjoys such broad public support that no politician running for office would risk advocating its termination.

So it would be naïve to expect public Iranian concessions on the nuclear front before the June 12 presidential elections. Registration for candidates opened this week and Ahmedinejad is expected to run for another four-year term. His most serious challenger to have announced his candidacy so far is a moderate, Mirhossein Mousavi, who was prime minister during the Iran-Iraq war from 1980 to 1988.

When he campaigned for the presidency and announced he was prepared to open a dialogue with Iran, Barack Obama said he would do so without “self-defeating preconditions.” But he also spoke in favor of sanctions, including the idea of throttling gasoline supplies. Overall strategy is still a work in progress.

As far as “self-defeating preconditions” go, setting an August deadline for Iran to curb its nuclear program, as did Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman this week, must surely rank at the top of the list. It’s an either-or proposition which makes a mockery of the word diplomacy.

It remains to be seen whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on that timeline when he meets Obama in Washington on May 18. So far, they don’t seem to be of one mind on Iran, an absolute priority for Netanyahu, part of intertwined Middle East problems (including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) for Obama and his team.

Robert Satloff, head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israeli think tank, put it in stark terms at an AIPAC panel discussion when speakers were asked to predict the state of U.S.-Israeli relations in a year’s time: “I fear that if we and the Israelis are not totally on the same page from A to Z on this issue…next year we may be dealing with the most serious face-to-face disagreement in the 61 years of this relationship.”

Next year, if not before.

496 comments

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The stage is set.

Iran can choose to comply with the request to stop it’s nuclear industry, or it will pick a very dark future.

The UN council is nothing except a massive diplomatic blocking device. It seeks to stop war at any cost. Even if that cost is genocide, nuclear proliferation, or the annexation of parts of Georgia.

If the security council’s actions allow Iran to get a nuke, we will be in for very uncertain times.

Because it will prove that diplomacy does not work, and that unilateral action by the West is the only way to ensure a nation’s compliance with UN demands.

Obama’s only real desire is that this hopefully doesn’t happen in his first term. Because if it does, it means war with Iran.

Posted by John Smith | Report as abusive

Simplistic solutions? Bernd is absolutely correct. We can talk until out jaws fall off and nothing will change. With state control of media in Iran, and indoctrination since birth, the presumption of rationality and assessment of freely available fact is pure fantasy on our part. like Saddam, the only fact and rationality they understand is force. Further, it may take a generation or two afterward to dispel the mindset so deeply ingrained in these peoples by the collaborating grip of state and religion. This is a far more complex matter than the simplistic solutions currently being floated.

Posted by coltrain | Report as abusive

Funny, this administration never seems to engage in “wishful thinking” well at least not according to the sycophantic media. Why don’t we just cut out all this nastiness and hand the Iranians a nuclear weapon? It’s laughable that people think sanctions don’t work, the fact is the sanctions aren’t really enforced by many nations and that repressive regimes always spin them as caused by the outside. Oh well, we’ll soon see what a nuclear armed theocracy run by a cabal of reactionaries is like. Should make the mid east even more fun soon.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

if Obama is serious about moving MidEast poliices towards any realistic solution, he has to pull Israel out of its nuclear closet first. the time of good old double standards is over.

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive

It seems difficult for people to comprehend but it’s very likely that Iran will get the bomb. It doesn’t mean the end of the world, it does mean a geopolitical shakeup. Iran is not a mad country willing to annihilate itself, it is a rational player on the global stage and wants what many other countries want, power, influence and status.

The question is how all the players in the Middle East come to terms with this. You can bomb Iran now but it will only strive harder to get the bomb, not to mention solidify national support for the program in Iran whereby the conservatives will get an even stronger grip on the country. Not to mention the consequences to the rest of the world should Israel launch an attack.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to build illegal settlements, carve up the West Bank so no viable Palestinian state is possible. Israel wants the world to believe the two are not related, yet it points fingers at Iran when it comes to Hamas (rightfully). Correction, Israel sees what it sees and wants what it wants.

Having a double standard on nuclear weapons also isn’t cutting it these days. It’s not a unipolar world where one can apply the, “do as i say, not as i do” foreign policy anymore.

If Israel wants peace, it also has to join the international community and withdraw to the’67 borders, dismantle the settlements, tear down the horrific apartheid like wall and work towards giving Palestinians a viable state. Israel is in as much danger as Iran is into giving into the ultra-right wing, religious conservatives.

Posted by Alan T. | Report as abusive

State control of media and indoctrination since birth? Wow, they sound exactly like the USA!
How about leaving Iran alone? Why shouldn’t Iran have a nuclear program, since Israel is nuclear-armed? Why not tell Israel that a price for persuading Iran to give up its nuclear program is for Israel to give up all its nuclear arms and stop making more?

Posted by Roy Fischer | Report as abusive

Like Saddam? Here we go. AIPAC and supporters of Israel seem to have complete tunnel vision and keep trying to sell these apocalyptic visions of the world coming to an end.

Look where Iraq is now. Does Israel care that Iraq turned into a mess? Thousands of civilians dead, thousands of troops dead? Not really, they simply wanted Saddam gone at any cost. The rest of the world, especially the United States meanwhile is paying for the Iraq war.

It’s the same mentality towards Iran, regardless of the consequences to the region and to the world at large, Israel seems not to care so long as it gets what it wants.

Speaking of talking until our jaws fall off, what of the Palestinian issue and the continued illegal building of settlements, the land grabs? The world has continuously denounced these actions yet Israel continuously ignores the rest of the world.

Collaborating grip of state and religion? Are we talking about Israel because it surely applies to Israel as well. Let’s not kid ourselves here.

Yes, the issue is far more complex yet Israel wants to paint a simple apocalyptic vision to the rest of the world in order to further its interests. Fear mongering isn’t going to work.

Posted by Alan T. | Report as abusive

The closest anyone has come to progress on the Iranian nuclear programme appears to have been the Russians’ straightforward insistence that Iran pay her bills on time, or else work stops. It ought not to be beyond the wit of man (oh all right, it’s probably beyond the wit of policy makers!), to craft an approach to enrichment along similar lines.

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

Bernd avoids the tough bit, so what is a reasonable, not so wishful approach to Iran?

Talk seems to do no good.
UN do nothing but talk. So they do just that, no good.
Security Council has repeatedly proven their impotence.

Shall we sit back and wait for the disaster to happen or end the program for them?

I’m not suggesting any easy solutions, just curios if there are any.

Posted by KM | Report as abusive

What is not discussed in “polite circles” is O-I-L. Mess about to much with Iran, they and perhaps a few others turn down or off, the oil…and?????
There is also that little outfit called “China/Russia buds of Iran Inc” that just might get involved.. as they are business pard’s.
We have NO other option but to go diplomatic and hope for the best. We can only hope some fools somewhere do not start shooting up Iran and push us into “them or us” corner.
Sorry for all the “USA tells the world what to do as we lead it” ego’s our there….those days are gone. USA has enough to just try and graciously get out of Iraq and AFG, just might end up another NAM, sans draft of cours as one thing in USA to wave that little imported flag, quite another to serve it in combat for 99.9% of our patriotic citizens.
Whole new world coming, even Fiat, not exactly a big player in USA, now is buying our major firms. Citizens get used to having gone by the “tipping point”.. GWB “tipped USA” and it may have been enough to start us on a decline AKA England…lot’s of talk and that’s about it. The Mid East is no longer playground for USA messing about…

Posted by chuck | Report as abusive

The world wants to see a middle east and a world without nukes and this must include Israel anything short of this would be wishfull thinking and delusional, what is good for the Goose must surely be good for the gander. Iran does not need anyone’s permision to advance itself.

Posted by Gabriel | Report as abusive

It has always seemed a great irony to me that the only nation to have ever used nuclear weapons against a civilian population is at the forefront of insuring that their enemies remain at that disadvantage.

Posted by perry wynn | Report as abusive

I find it hard to believe that intelligent people are advocating more sanctions that clearly do not work. It’s not that not enough sanctions have been tried, it’s that too many have been tried, and have failed, for the threat to have any credibility.
Look at Iraq: much harsher sanctions against a much smaller and much more isolated country failed entirely. They starved the Iraqi people, sure. But did that help the US fulfil any strategic objectives? No. They had to go in and fight it out. And even then they didn’t do so well, did they?
And Iraq didn’t have any levers that it could pull to make America’s life much harder. Unlike Iraq, Iran has massive and critical influence in each of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. It can credibly threaten Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the GCC and Israel, all American allies. So why would a weapon that failed even against a weak opponent succeed against a much stronger foe? Why would sanctions that failed against a much weaker Iraq and a much weaker North Korea work against Iran? What makes this time so different?

Posted by Firas | Report as abusive

I’m all for a nuclear-free Middle East.

That’s why a nuclear-free Israel — it’s the only nuclear-armed state in the region — is the key first step.

Israel has surreptitiously built dozens — if not hundreds — of nuclear weapons since the 1960s, at one time with the help of the rogue apartheid regime then in power in South Africa.

Let’s have sanctions against Israel until it gives up its nuclear arsenal. At this time, any Iranian nuclear arsenal is merely theoretical. Israel’s atom arsenal is a fact.

Posted by Manny Paltiel | Report as abusive

So, yet another sanction proposal towards a country they don’t like by the AIPAC and pro-Israeli ideologues. Running around the world with their 2×4 to hit whomever they don’t like. (Or 2×2 to hit whomever they like!) For decades, these guys controlled America foreign policy, and wrecked America reputation.

Why do the AIPAC guys have so much hatred, and so scared of Iran nuclear program? Iran, a country so backward they still struggle to produce a nanogram of bomb material after more than a decade of trying. What’s their chance of actually making a tiny little bomb, not to mention deploying it as a weapon? For this the APIAC goes huff and puff looking for yet another war. On a country on the other side of the world. In their twisted minds America still runs the world like the good old days.

Why? Because they are actually citizens of Israel on a biblical crusade. They are not swayed by mere facts, rationality, sense. Trouble is, this time around there is no GW Bush, the fundamentalist idiot, to be kicked around as their toy.

Posted by The Real Deal | Report as abusive

Sanctions don’t work period. Never did, never will. They did nothing to remove Castro from power in Cuba, and Cuba doesn’t even have oil. There always will be somebody willing to buy oil from Iran, and somebody willing to sell to Iran just about anything for the right price.
Neither work negotiations. The whole run-up to WWII was about the French and the Brits reluctantly negotiating with Stalin about mutual defense, the French and the Brits negotiating their separate peace with Hitler, Molotov negotiating carving-up of Europe with Ribbentrop (closely watched over their shoulders by Stalin and Hitler, respectively), and small fries negotiating whatever and with whomever they could. We all know the results of those negotiations.
If somebody doesn’t here’s the brief summary. The first ended nowhere. The next 2 resulted in pacts that Hitler tore apart when he thought the time was right. And the small fries were trampled over without regard to any negotiations that ever took place.
Neither work international treaties and international law. See above the example of how these worked with Hitler. Ahmadinejad is no better than Hitler, just less empowered. Germany was a major power, Iran is just a small fry (but with ambitions to grow into a major power). NPT is not worth the paper it was written on. Iran is a signatory to it, as well as Iraq is and N. Korea was until recently. It didn’t prevent Kim from actually making the bomb, nor it does anything to stop Iran. NPT regime didn’t prevent India and Pakistan from becoming nuclear club members (though neither signed it). And for Saddam not joining the club the world must thank IAF (Israeli Air Force) bombing the crap out of Osiraq, not NPT. Same thing with Syria, another NPT signatory secretly building a reactor with N. Korean assistance, and another successful IAF raid demolishing it.
Any treaty is worth something only when it can be realistically enforced. And the best ways of enforcement are either mutual interest, or use of force (or a credible threat thereof). There’s no mutual interest between USA and Iran, at least not one Iran would value above the nukes. And the use of force doesn’t seem to be on the table. In that respect, Obama is no Reagan, not even Bush (Sr. or Jr. – both fought wars when they saw fit).
The best way to deal with Iran would be a regime change. No, not democracy building – that was Bush’s miserable failure after the war with Iraq was brilliantly won (in terms of conventional armed conflict between states). There must be a son of late Shah (or a nephew, or somebody remotely related to the house of Pahlavi) who would gladly accept the scepter and build the state according to local traditions (of which democracy is a very small, if any, part, and brutality is a large part). But that seems to be too improbable for as long as Obama occupies the White House.
Nuclear Iran is the worst nightmare for the West since the days of Cold War, if not WWII. Not only Israel, most of Europe is within the range of Iranian missiles. While Israel has a half-backed Arrow anti-missile system theoretically capable of intercepting the ballistic nuclear warheads, Europe has no defense at all. Besides, Iran controls most of oil used by EU, and closure of shipping routes will trigger a total paralysis of Europe energy and transport systems.
Looks like Europe is impotent to act on its own, and with Obama not inclined to use, or even threaten the use of force, the only real hope for the West is IAF.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

The reason that sanctions don’t work in the Middle East is, like we found with Iraq there is so much money there; businesses and member nations are under great temptation not to honor the sanctions.
It is apparent that the United States is the only country that sees UN resolutions as having any meaning and the only country that tries to enforce sanctions.
Until other nations start to enforce sanctions instead of taking advantage of the increased prices and continuing to do business with sanctioned nations the sanctions will never work.

Posted by Craig Coal | Report as abusive

Hopefully I’ll live long enough to see my country (U.S.) not wasting my tax donations and all of our time in trying to be the world’s hall monitor.

I wish we were as motivated in our nuclear program as Iran is, then maybe we could all afford our energy bills.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Sanctions won’t work. Iran is building a new pipeline to India, China and Pakistan. They will have the money to continue.
Now let’s stop looking at this through Oil colored glasses. If you were in charge of Iran and you watched the US invade and take over Iraq Oil fields and listened to the crap coming out of the Bush Administration about Syria, and Korea and saw how the world treats countries with nukes (Korea vs Iraq) wouldn’t you be trying to build a nuke to protect your sovereignty? The only reason this is even an issue is Oil. No one seems to care that Brazil claims to have enriching techniques and equipment that surpass the US. So why are the countries in this tiny region so different? Iran, like Syria and pre invasion Iraq do not do business with the big oil companies like Exxon, or BP. These oil companies want access to their oil in the worst way.

The American People do not have any reason to care if Iran gets a nuke or not. Except that fear mongers have scared you into thinking that if Iran gets a nuke the next thing you know your city will be engulfed in a mushroom cloud.

Now if Iran wanted weapons grade bomb material they could get it without building reactors. But they do not want to build just a few bombs. They want to make sure that Israel will not attack them again, that the US and their oil mercenaries will not invade and take their oil and gas. And, of course those in power hate to be deposed. Ask the Bank CEOs.

As long as oil is profitable there will be those that want what they do not have and wars will be waged for fun and profit. If you want the Middle East to become nothing more than a shrug of the shoulder again you have to crash the price of oil well below $30 a barrel. The US would have to actually start pumping all that oil we have and really start converting our transportation industry off of Oil. This will not happen until the Auto Industry stops playing around with hybrids and starts looking into alternative transportation motivation. Batteries are too heavy and costly but the current Auto Industry seems to want to continue down that road at the consumer’s detriment and the oil company’s delight. Of course I do not see this administration nudging them in any other direction.

So will Iran get a nuke? No time soon. Israel will preemptively strike. The oil companies who do not want their oil glowing green will force the US and GB with their allies into action and the oil wars will continue. Or will the people finally say enough is enough and force congress to put a stop to it. This current economic situation may be just what the Oil Wars needed, lots of young people graduating and out of work ripe for the recruiter’s pitch.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

Hello Bernd,

Sanctions don’t work? It really depends on what do you expect from sanctions.
If you expect regime change – sanctions failed and will never work.

I hope we agree on main point: Iran influence is not positive.

I see sanctions somewhat working by reducing Iran influence.

1. They cripple Iran development;
2. They denying Iran military advances;
3. They reducing Iran ability to bank roll many US adversaries Iraq insurgence/HEZBOLLAH/HAMAS/Afghanistan pro-Iran mujaheddins etc.

Iran is big and potentially very rich country.

1. Sanctions Iran prevent from refine own oil that cost Iran a lot.
2. Iran infrastructure falls apart, roads, electrical grid, aircrafts etc.
(Russia/China also don’t jump to propel this country to XXI century)

3. Iran pushes hard to develop own weapons. All types missiles/drones/nukes etc. Today Iran pays 3x times price for second hands Russian/China technology. But the biggest point Iran doesn’t have access to western precision machinery, precision tools and know-how.

I have to give Iran credit that despite sanctions she made big progress on weaponry, political influence and covered ops like HEZBALLH/Iraq/HAMAS.

But I have little doubts that without sanctions Iran will do exactly the same just on much much bigger scale.

I got impression that so feel the rest of the World.

-Sergey

Posted by SKV_USA | Report as abusive

Israel has been going through hoops to secretly buy oil from Iran while simultaneously claiming that Iran plans a nuclear Holocaust against Israel, not to mention lobbying heavily for sanctions against Iran until the Americans fight another war for them and ironically nuke the Iranians for the crime of allegedly thinking about possibly starting a program to potentially build something that could someday, in the far distant future, perhaps, be used to defend itself against Israel, while Israel sits on the only – and completely illegal- stockpile of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. As we all know, there are two kinds of International Law, the one that applies to Israel, and the one that applies to everybody else.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Well another thing that the new administration is not big on is what does work or what to do if talk fails. Then again no one in the media seems to want to follow up on these things. They say he has closed Gitmo, but as far as I know it’s still operating and there is no plan to actually close it, just good intentions and we all know where those lead.
Please oh enlightened folk who say sanctions don’t work, what does?

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

“…
Please oh enlightened folk who say sanctions don’t work, what does?…” – Posted by Edward M. Blake

_____________________

Brute force. Or a credible threat of using it.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

A refreshing insight from Getplaning. I’m glad to also see that Reuters has dared publish something that could easily be tagged as anti-semitic along with anything else that is even midly critical of Israel’s domestic and foreign policy

Its nice to see that their blatant hypocrisy catches some people’s attention.

There is nothing wrong with having powerful friends like the US and no one can blame them as they are a sheep surrounded by wolves in the Middle East. But to say that they are opportunistic would be a gross understatement.

Hopefully Obama can keep is cool and not be coerces into making any rash decisions due to pressure from the Jewish Lobby. Let it be known that I do understand the plight of Israel against certain aggresors, but I also see it how it is as a wider push to consolidate their holding over the region.

The great unspoken truth is that Israel have never had any intention of dealing honorably with the Palestinians, and this has become obvious to the likes of Iran. While Israel can point to a Palestinian threat, they can keep on stealing Palestinian land, and establishing ‘facts on the ground’. And this is funded directly and indirectly by America. Essentially, Israel is an undeclared state of America, kept afloat be the USA. So why should the Iranians believe a word of what Israel or America says, faced with such belligerent hypocrisy. So there is very little hope that Iran will voluntarily stop development of nuclear weapons. And if provoked they will use them. The problem has never been Iran, it has always been Israel.

Posted by steve | Report as abusive

Then again no one in the media seems to want to follow up on these things. They say he has closed Gitmo, but as far as I know it’s still operating and there is no plan to actually close it, just good intentions and we all know where those lead.

It seems pretty likely that no one in government believes sanctions will cause Iran to terminate their nuclear program. But that is not the same thing as saying that sanctions will not have any effect on Iran’s behavior. Any country subject to sanctions will experience what economists call effects at the margin; that is, some choices (perhaps not directly related to a program that is the target of the sanctions) will be made differently because of the sanctions. For example, if a country subject to sanctions is compelled to make certain transactions on the black market instead of on the open market, its costs will increase and its ability to undertake projects requiring such transactions will be limited. Over time, such limitations at the margin can be expected to have a substantial cumulative effect. The marginal effects of sanctions are unlikely themselves to cause Iran to terminate its nuclear development program; however, the marginal effects of sanctions may limit Iran’s options overall, including options with respect to the nuclear development program. And those limitations may impede Iran’s ability to conduct its nuclear development program. I would expect that this is the sort of thing that is in the minds of policy makers who advocate sanctions and that they do not expect Iran instantly to capitulate because of sanctions.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

When I first visited Iran some 18 months ago, I was struck by the love and respect that many of the Iranians I met had for America. I was surprised, too, how many of them spoke American English having studied in the states during the years of the last Shah of Iran. At the rise of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, many of them returned home to Iran. Most of those I spoke with said that
Israel was more likely to attack
their country first before America over the issue of a
possible nuclearised Shia state. Their anti-Israel feeling was palpable, while their feeling for America was more complex and more awe-inspiring to them, despite their ugly feeling specifically toward the then
Bush Administration. Sanctions have obviously hurt the Iranian people, but such has not stopped them from going about their daily business with a pride and defiance against such. As for President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, I heard hardly a word spoken about him, either for or against him, during my ten-day visit to Tehran and elsewhere in Persia. One would almost think he didn’t exist! Whatever, my own personal feeling is that both Israel and the United States suffer from what I call “Iranophobia” that instills their reactions and views on Iran beyond the point of trying to engage the Iranians in some kind of positive intercourse rather than with more sanctions and threats. Perhaps Barack Obama is the key to such a future and positive dialogue
with Tehran? Although, Israel’s new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not give way to Washington no matter what Obama may do or say other than perhaps getting the US to back any future military retaliation
against Iran. Such would be absolutely fatal to all concerned and would leave the Middle East in a greater political mess than it already is. Worse still, it would put Iran on a out and out war footing against all things to do with Israel and the world jewry. In the end, the Shia Nation would feel forced to then become a nuclear state one day out of the war ashes inflicted upon it by Israel and/or the United States. Without dialogue, only death awaits. Truly, Alex Albion. London, UK.

All the AIPAC members should be expelled to their promised land and live America and American tax payers alone. They have no loyalty to America and they are an agent of Israel. America should stop supporting Israel in return for friendship of more than billions of world populations across the globe. Israel is a danger to world peace and stability and must be denuclearized before it commits an stupid act.

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

CIA’s own Dennis Blair testified to the Senate Foreign Affairs Cttee in Feb 09 that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons programme and has not made the political decision to have one, so the fear-mongering that grips America and Europe must have other reasons. Is it to appease some single-issue lobby groups? What will AIPAC and Anti-Defamation League talk about if the Iranian ‘threat’ did not exist? Like all organisations they need a reason for existing, shame their reasons are malignant AND bad for US interests. It is time they were shunned by the US body politik.

Posted by Raad | Report as abusive

Isn’t the best solution for all nations, including Israel, to destroy their nuclear arsenals.

Otherwise it will always be a case of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Posted by Mr. McTague | Report as abusive

Your very thought proving article is saying past and present US govts. have allowed the pro-Israeli lobby to make decisions and present them as US policy.
What the current administration, congress and senate have to decide if this is to continue. If so, are the people of the USA prepared to pay whatever price comes from these decisions, especially in the light of the current world situation when various power balances among nations regarding their influence, finance and economics are altering rapidly.

Posted by Varo Dharmarajah | Report as abusive

The notion of disarmament and leaving Iran alone is straight our of fantasy books and ignores the ideas of Darwinian natural selection.

The world is faced with Islamofascism, a notion so dangerous that it must be destroyed in every shape and form.

Imagine if people in the late 30′s believed that Hitler needs to be left alone or that he needs to disarm (in fact people made the same claims).

The West has been under attack and it must flex its muscules and destroy any traces of Islamofascism as soon as possible.

Attaching moral equivalence to the cause of Israel/West and the savagery that exists in the middle east is extremely dangerous and trivializes the complex nature of the mess in the middle east. For peace to flourish in the middle east, Islam must secularize and nation states that embrace Islam must democratize and embrace capitalism. Israel is a country that embraces individulism (although it is very much socialistic).

Posted by Massud Ghaussy | Report as abusive

As always, the U.S. has to put aside what is best for the world when it comes to the Apartheid State of Israel. Iran always wanted to be democratic like the United States, but we squandered that chance by incubating a coup and putting back the Shah in the late 50′s. We paid the price in the 70′s and still till today. The only solution that is best for us is direct talks with Iran, if done correctly with the right pace, Iran can a great friend and ally in the M.E.

Posted by guest | Report as abusive

May 7th, 2009 12:45 pm GMT – Posted by Anonymous . .what a load of cr&a&p! Be scared, very scared is all you hawks have to say .. give it a rest already. I am more worried about China but I am sure you are more worried about profits!

Posted by flyingeagel | Report as abusive

National Geographic, October, 2002, clearly, and impartially, lays out the brazen Israeli policies to confiscate Palestinian property, deny them the opportunity to earn a living and create a ring of settlements that would make it impossible for any future Israeli administration to share the territory. These were all tactics used as part of the Czarist pogroms.

Israel is a big disappointment compared to its promises during the 1950s pretty much the same as the United States is a big disappointment compared to the promises of the 1950s.

Let’s have the Iranians and Israelis sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Then let’s insist on a two-state solution, just as the U.N. originally proposed in 1948 when Israel was formed. Then let’s designate AIPAC as a terrorist organization. No doubt that’s how the Iranians and other Arab states see them. Kind of like, “Yo, kid, stop bullying the neighbors or you’re going to spend a lot of time in your room.”

Posted by jumper_SC | Report as abusive

Iranian president’s statements on Isreal being wiped out
are sufficient to proceed bombing of Iran

Posted by jjmk4546 | Report as abusive

I thought World War 2 proved that hesitation to react to a threat can cause a tiny spark to turn into a blaze the size of the continent.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

is there a proof that sanctions have worked in any country? Cuba?no. north korea? no. pre-invasion iraq? no. anyone else? seriously. this is utter non-sense. it will be interesting to see the impact that AIPAC has on this outcome, which most likely will go their way. all this while, 2 AIPAC lobbyists are having charges of spying on the united states for israel being dropped with no consequences. its a shame how pathethic our government officials have become.

Posted by sidney | Report as abusive

“Iranian president’s statements on Isreal being wiped out
are sufficient to proceed bombing of Iran”

May 7th, 2009 8:03 pm GMT – Posted by guest

A very ignorant comment. The President of Iran said no such thing. The statements of the Iranian President have been reflected by the western corporate media in a manipulated way. Iran’s President was describing the removal of the right wing regime that is in power in Israel. He never demanded the elimination or annihilation of Israel.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Whoops! Attributed ignorant post to “guest” when I should have attributed said ignorance to “jjmk4546!”

Apologies

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Iranian people are tired of the current dictator regime.
The only way to bring the peace to the Middle East is by helping Iranian people to take control of their government from the zealous Mullahs.
Having a democratic Iran is the only solution.
No one wants this regime to go, BLOOD MONEY
OIL, GAS, COPPER, WOMEN, all exported cheaply to enrich a MAFIA named Islamic republic of TERRORISTS.

Posted by Zal | Report as abusive

Imagine we are in the year 2045

Lets listen to a bit of news just coming in.

The United Usurpers of Fartland (UUF) which was set up by Chinese settlers in west Africa a few decades ago, has just announced that anything that moves in the world is considered to be a security threat to it and its interests. It defines its interests as what ever has value all over the world in the name of demohypocracy which it wants to impose upon the entire world. It has just threatened the USA that, it either does away, not only with its nukes but also has no right to have nuclear energy for civilian use, or else it will impose sanctions on it (and of course the military option is also on the table). The UUF which is the largest consumer of fatty acids, considers the large deposits of fatty acids found in the USA as its own and considers the possession of nukes by the USA as a real threat to its interests.

The UUF, to get at its ambitious plan of dominating the world, is constantly saber rattling and demonizing the USA as a real danger to humanity. It insists that in a demohypocracy, there is no room for any other ideology and everybody must succumb to their idea of a utopia “freely” or else they will be screwed!! zzz zch sorry we seem to be having trouble with the broadcast…

Well, one wonders how the people of the USA are feeling right now…

Posted by Bluebirdiran | Report as abusive

Iran shall prevail in it’s quest to go nuclear come what may, we have a new president Obama who believes in change and as a minority who i am sure has seen and experienced injustices/prejudice my guess is that he would do the right thing. A two state solution and a nuclear free Middle East with no exceptions.

Posted by Gabriel | Report as abusive

I agree. Choosing an illegal settler to represent Israel abroad does make a mockery of diplomacy. For Lieberman to trot around Europe lecturing officials on the ‘threat’ of Iran and its nuclear program is downright laughable. This squatter from the occupied West Bank is in no position to discuss Iran, peace, or nuclear weapons for that matter.

He wanted to bomb Gaza back to the stone age and he got his wish. It’s quite easy to bomb refugee camps. But if Lieberman and AIPAC want to turn Iran into another Gaza they’re in for quite a surprise.

Kudos to European diplomats for managing to keep a straight face during the meetings. I think policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic understand the real issue is not Iran, but Israel’s campaign to wipe Palestine off the map

Posted by Nu'man El-Bakri | Report as abusive

Well, still no answers from the sanctions don’t work cabal. I imagine they are mostly Europeans who think that talking is the answer to everything and are basically still of the mindset that appeasement works. They’re big on talk until it’s too late and we have to deal with their blunders. The laughable part is some people still cling to the thought that Iran isn’t on course for building nuclear weapons, if they at least were honest and said they wanted nukes to keep the mullahs from being dragged out of spider holes after regime change I’d at least have to respect that, but they still cling to the fiction of “civilian use”. It’s that kind of lie that insults my intelligence,it’s a direct slap in my face to think I’m so stupid I don’t know what you are really after. Of course there are some people that stupid, so I guess I also can’t blame them for that. To me the bigger fiction is that diplomacy works. Where has diplomacy worked with a radical theocratic despotic regime? Wanting to talk doesn’t make you weak, but it certainly makes you look weak to those who only understand force and thuggery, i.e. the Iranian gov’t.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

am an american i am tired of seeing our flags burned and out military spread out all over the world, for the sake of “maintaing peace”. we have caused more problems then even the british and the french did during their era of “world conquest”. mr. blake foolishly made remarks about how diplomacy does not work. well let’s see, have our bominng campaigns worked in iraq, afghanistan, vietnam?? NO. how many dead soldiers who died for no reason. how many innocent civilians murderd for no reason. all this while we side with the “lover of demcracy and freedom” with european countries and the biggest culprit israel. I don’t recall seeing any latin american, african or middle easter countries being the causes for WW1, WW 2, or the holocaust. i don’t recall seeing the atomic weapons being created and used by the iranians or iraqis, or afghans. it is easy for people like mr. blake to make ridiculos comments like he does because he is in the safe and comfort of his home and he would relate american bombing campaigns to the video games he plays at home.

Posted by sidney | Report as abusive

What exactly does everyone think will happen if Iran gets a nuke? I think it is clear that Iran wants to protect itself. Why should Israel be the only nuclear power in the region? What balance it that? It is obvious that many countries do not feel the same way toward Iran as the fear mongers in the US do. India, China, and Pakistan have gone into business with Iran and when the US ambassador to India tried to stop the deal the India Prime Minister told him it was none of our business and that India didn’t see Iran’s quest for nuclear independence as a threat. The one thing we must continue to ask ourselves is why do the fear mongers in the US think we should be concerned with Iran when India and many other countries are not? Maybe it is because India only wants to buy their oil and unlike the US is not the mercenary of the big oil cartels. Personally, I think it would be better if the big oil cartels would just outfit their own military and stop using ours at taxpayer expense. The use of the US military as corporate mercenaries goes way beyond protecting the People and no where does the Constitution say the Federal Government is to protect an individual or corporation’s business ventures from socialist movements. It is one thing to protect our ships from pirates on the high seas. It is something totally different to invade a country in order to hand over the oil fields to big oil. It has been know since just before the last administration took power that Exxon, BP and Chevron needed access to Syrian, Iranian and Iraqi oil fields if they were to be able to take advantage of the growing economies in India and China. The last administration got caught with their pants down lying to the American people in order to persuade us to invade Iran. I hope we have learned our lesson. The tax payer was burdened with the costs of acquisition while the oil corporations reaped the profits. And, now they are trying to do it again with Iran’s Nuclear Program. A program the CIA has stated does not exist. But that is no deterrent to the fear mongers. Fear does not have to make sense. It just has to get the desired results.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

Any realistic person can not or would not believe that without addressing Israeli nuclear issue, the world can not solve Iranian nuclear issue. AIPAC is trying to fool the world that the world can solve Iranian nuclear issue without addressing Israeli one. By the way, Iranian does not have dictatorial regime, in the Middle East we have few dictators offcourse, who are freequently get invitation from white house.

Posted by Elena Borisova | Report as abusive

So where has diplomacy worked? Is it working in North Korea? Is it working in Iran? Is it working in the Israeli Palestinian conflict? Please let me know where all the talk is working? Talk is cheap. You can make your ridiculous ivory tower arguments about right and wrong in the vacuum of the normative world, try and find a working example from the real world. All this talk of America’s time being over is funny, who exactly is running things now if not America? More cheap talk form the Europeans, who by the way we learned all we know about mistreating developing nations from and whos messes we are still cleaning up to this day, why don’t you do something other than talk? Yada yada, all your empty talk amounts to nothing. Don’t hate America because you no longer matter in the world scheme of things. Hate yourselves for your abdication of your responsibilities. It’s easy to have better health care and education when someone else is subsidizing your national defense. Can any European country even defend itself without calling on the hated Americans? The Europeans, always there when they need you.
Even your European style president isn’t going along with your sad hide under the covers and hope the monsters go away strategy of foreign policy.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Edward Blake,
Maybe you and I live in different worlds but North Korea and Iran are exactly zero threat to the U.S. You want to continue having 30-40% of your income taxed away to deal with your false fears of the world, that’s your choice, but there’s less and less people in this country following you here in 2009.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Let’s see. You live in a neighborhood and own its only gun. You also have a friend in a different neighborhood that owns more guns than anyone in ANY neighborhood and always backs your actions – right or wrong.

Yet you feel that no one in your neighborhood has the right to own, or even attempt to build a gun.

You also try to convince those in other neighborhoods that your arrangement, though unique among neighborhoods, must to be supported and maintained by all the world’s neighborhoods.

You deem those nations that don’t support your nation’s ‘unique’ position to be hateful of you.

Sound familiar? This is the scenario regarding Israel that AIPAC wants us to accept and maintain – at our expense – here in the U.S.

Why in the world do we continue to fall for such surrealism?

Posted by Petruccio | Report as abusive

Well by Mr. Ham’s logic we never should have fought in WW2 as the Nazi’s were no threat to us then either. I’d rather have my tax money spent on keeping nuclear weapons out of terrorists hands then pissed away on what the current regime wants to spend that money on. We’ll see how many people in this country want to spend on such wasteful things once we get attacked again. Perhaps then people will remember again that we are at war. Sadly a few years without an attack on our soil and we quickly go back to the idea that we are somehow safer by acting the doormat to the world. I’m not in favor of the cowboy go it alone preemption policies of the last regime, but I find playing the “humble” doormat to the world just as objectionable and just as dangerous. Don’t forget we were attacked before we started preempting, because we appeared weak.
It’s such a shame that we need regular tragedies to teach us that the world isn’t a nice place where everyone wants to get along. While wanting to talk doesn’t make you weak, it does give the appearance of weakness to those who understand nothing other than goonery and violence.
I still await the answers to where has diplomacy with thuggish despots has gotten anywhere and what alternatives there are to sanctions. All I see is more anti Israel screeds and America bashing.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Anytime one state negotiates an agreement with another that is called diplomacy. Diplomacy is the “art of conducting relationships for gain without conflict. It is the chief instrument of foreign policy. Its methods include secret negotiation by accredited envoys (though political leaders also negotiate) and international agreements and laws. Its use predates recorded history. The goal of diplomacy is to further the state’s interests as dictated by geography, history, and economics. Safeguarding the state’s independence, security, and integrity is of prime importance; preserving the widest possible freedom of action for the state is nearly as important. Beyond that, diplomacy seeks maximum national advantage without using force and preferably without causing resentment.”
Mr. Blake if you want an example of where diplomacy has worked you need look further than the
Constitution of the Untied States. Diplomacy works most of the time. The examples you present are the few more difficult diplomatic situations of the current day. Rushing in with brut force does no more than what you have today in Iraq. Basically, war is a very costly mess in both life and wealth. You seem to think EU is not doing its far share on the Iran or Korean or Israel/Palestinian issues. Why would they? Israel is not their puppet. They had no beef with Iran or Korea. Unlike the US they do not go to war because an oil company can’t get their hands on another country’s oil fields. Why else would the US care about Iran? The US does not need one drop of Middle East Oil. There is plenty of oil in the US, Canada, Mexico, and South America that we could cut off the Middle east supply today and replace it in full with oil from the Americas. So what is keeping us there? What does the American Tax payer care about the Middle East? Why has US oil production dropped over the last 20 years? Did you know that only 17% of our oil consumption is from the Middle East? Did you know that our biggest oil importer is Canada? The only reason we are in the Middle East is because of the desire of Exxon to get its hands on Syrian, Iranian, and Iraqi oil.
The reason why sanctions do not work is because the last to be effected are the Military and the political party in charge. All sanction do is anger the effected people. Not against their country but against those imposing the sanctions.
I do not think diplomacy will work either since, the real issues are not being made public and I see no reason for Iran to give Exxon “access” to their oil and gas fields nor do I seem them stopping their nuclear program.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

So diplomacy works when in the simple cases. Let’s be real the EU isn’t doing anything anywhere. Where were they when Yugoslavia broke up in their own backyard? Yes it’s all about oil, yup you got it, what can I say once you ignore reality and go to the conspiracy theories and anti corporate hoopla you seem to love. I am no fan of MNC but they are not the devil behind all the world’s evils, but once you get into it with idealogues it’s pointless. Everything is some dire conspiracy of the Illuminati or Zionists or whatever particular bugbear they are railing against. I am not so foolish as to believe everything my government tells me, nor so gullible to believe what pampered leftists post on blogs either. You go about you life believing that crap and you’re just as bad as the jingoists who believe America is always right. The answer lies between the extremes, but that require thinking rather than regurgitating something you read on the internet.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Lol, did I just read someone compare Hitler to the current Irani regime. Wow, our american, Rupert Murdochian fear machine media is working perfectly. To compare the Nazi gov’t and the Iranian gov’t takes a quality I don’t have I guess.

Great analogy by Petruccio, your post sums it up perfectly. There’s no gov’t in the world as hypocritical as ours here in the U.S. Our current gov’t is very very similar to the British lead government in the U.S. in the 1700′s. Crazy taxes on things that do us no good, our government in no way represents the desire of the people, and we all know how it ended that time when ppl got mad enough.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

LOL Did I see someone obviously completely miss what I was talking about? Oh yes I did. I certainly have a quality you lack it’s called perspective and objectivity. I’d explain what I was talking about but it’s clear most here aren’t interested in real debate but just want to spew the same invective at the same targets. Clearly the Iranian government, headed by a cabal of unelected theocrats ( religious fanatics can always be trusted to be rational actors) is a reliable source in the new world order where the West is always in the wrong. Good luck with that. I still await what to do, I know the Europeans hate the Jews, I mean where did those Israelis come from again. Nevermind, we forget the past unless it allows us to slander America.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

I think Mr. blake exposed who and what he really is. another one of those sad and depressed conservative americans who can’t play cowboy any more on the world stage. unfortunatelly people like him were “lassoed” up here in america. after 8 years of “playing” president, the GW bush act is up.our “european” president is only just starting to clean up the mess that you all left america and the world in.once again you sit at your computer, spewing the same “yippy cai yaaay” nonsense about “taking action” and “diplomacy is for wimps”. are you ready to see more coffins drapped with american flags??? cuz dick and george aren’t here anymore to tell the media to “not cover that” you ready to pay more taxes to launch another war?? you say where has diplomacy worked?? well see it shouldn’t matter whether we are using a war to not solve our issues or diplomacy, the point is, we are involved in conflicts we don’t need to be. some of these conflicts were there before america ever existed. do we really care about the israeli-palestine issue?? what benefit does israel provide america?? they are not a major trading parter, and they don’t have any resource we need. infact they are a burden because we have to send them money and aid and they have brought us into their conflicts. do we really care who runs the middle east, the sunni, the shias? saudia arabia? iran? who cares. let them fight it out, we’ll pay for what we need and let them decide their own fate. Thomas jefferson once said that our motto should be “commerce with all nations, alliance with none”. that includes israel, saudia arabia, pakistan, and anyone else who has been a thorn in our side for the last 20 years. i think its about time you get in touch with your own true american values.

Posted by sidney | Report as abusive

Same old story, yes we get it you hate George Bush who doesn’t? But more to the point who cares? He’s no longer president, the anointed one is. I’ll type slowly, since you seem too dense to read what I said, where did I say diplomacy was for wimps? What I said is that in many place around the world, they feel that way. If you don’t believe that you are quite simply a fool. If the other side in a dispute thinks you are weak, where will talk get you? I still await an answer to where diplomacy has solved an issue with a regime like that in Tehran.
It’s amazing that if you don’t agree with the messiah and think America needs to debase itself in order to make up for Bush you are some kind of angry conservative. Wrong, I’m just not a head in the clouds , let’s all get together and sing Kumbayah ivory tower intellectual liberal dreamer. I don’t live in textbooks or the fantasy world where talking solves everything, even with people who only use talk to keep you busy until they get what they want.
I’d love to have a real honest relationship with the Iranian people, but the mullahs will never let that happen, how else can they stay in power with out the Great Satan to blame for their failings? It’s a shame that people can’t discuss this like adults, but I fear many of the posters are just barely adults and don’t understand enough of the real world. I was young once too and believed that the old fogies didn’t have a clue, then I grew up got a real education in the world, not out of books or listening to lectures or reading blogs. You will too and you’ll see, of course then you’ll be trying to rationalize to kids who think they know everything because they read it on the internet. I’m not angry, more sad that these things never change.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

“Lol, did I just read someone compare Hitler to the current Irani regime. Wow, our american (sic! – A.), Rupert Murdochian fear machine media is working perfectly. To compare the Nazi gov’t and the Iranian gov’t takes a quality I don’t have I guess.” – Posted by Michael Ham
____________________________________

Well, you definitely don’t have that little something that allows humans to see the facts as they are, and think based on these facts, not Obama/Ron Paul/Whatever smooth talker’s propaganda. Murdoch, unlike you, does have it, maybe that’s why he’s at the top of Forbes list, and you are not.
But let me try and educate you. You don’t see the similarities between Ahmadinejad and Hitler, do you? Let’s count.
1. Hitler was pathological Anti-Semite. Ahmadinejad is, too. He’s on record advocating “wiping Israel off the map” – many times over.
2. Hitler was ideology driven. Ahmadinejad is, too. Take Quran, replace “Muslim” with “Aryan” – you’ll get Mein Kampf. For Hitler, any one who was not pure blood Aryan was untermensch (sub-human, in case you don’t know German). Islam treats infidels the same.
3. Hitler aimed for world dominance. Iran is too small and weak for that – just yet, but already aims at regional dominance.
4. Hitler was trying to get his hands on wunderwaffe (wonder weapon) until his very last days. V2 rocket, Me262 jet, Maus superheavy tank – just a short list of candidates to that role. According to some historians, Hitler was at some point only a few months away from building nukes, before Allied bombing and Red Army advance put paid to his plans. Doesn’t Ahmadinejad’s persistence in making nukes look similar?

And just FYI, the word “American” is supposed to begin with capital A. Was it mistype or sign of disrespect?

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

To all who say Israel must this, Israel can’t that, Israel should be made to whatever, pressed not to whatever else…
Israel is a sovereign state, not a banana republic. As any sovereign nation, Israel has the right to take whatever measures they see fit to ensure survival and security of the nation. Whoever dislikes it can stick their dislikes up their rear end, including BHO.
Israel will not sell out their land and their security because if they do, it will turn into liquidation sale – isn’t that the dream of Ahmadinejad, ben Laden, and Hitler? The 2 state solution, as outlined in Arab Initiative, looks very much like the final solution outlined in Wannsee.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Iran claims it has a peaceful nuclear industry.

Logically, this would mean that their facilities are open to investigation by the UN.

So why is Iran building further secret facilities, designed to resist military attack?

If their facilities have nothing to hide, then the UN should be able to investigate fully. And Israel will have no cause to attack them.

Oh well. There are two ways this will end:

1. Iran is destroyed in a month, much like Iraq was, without any chance to fight back. And this time, America will just let it lie there beaten, rather then occupy it.

2. Iran gets a bomb, and the UN security council is proven irrelevent in modern politics.

Trust me. The world will pick option 1. Option 2 is too dire to think about.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

The thing I’ve never been able to figure out is just what does the American tax payer get back from their open-ended blank-check? Does it get a voice on the issues, or are the voices supplied for them? As for Mr Anonymous’ assertion that Israel is a sovereign nation, why do they need so much “aid” and support from America? They look more like an apartheid regime to me.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

Israel doesn’t intend to use nuclear weapons against Iran. Attaching the precondition that Israel get rid of nuclear weapons in order to get Iran to stop pursuing them is nonsense. If a nuclear balance were needed, that need would have manifested itself by now.

You can’t side with tyrants just because they’re comparatively less powerful. These are the people who have killed Americans and Israelis under no pretense of self-defense.

Posted by Chris Rudolph | Report as abusive

I think there’s a very serious problem with Israel’s policies. On the one hand, the country receives billions of dollars in aid from the United States. On the other, Israel has nearly half a million settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and a large number of nuclear weapons.

I have two questions for those who say that we should apply more sanctions to Iran and follow Israel’s objectives in this respect. First, how on earth can we expect Iranians or Iranian politicians to support denuclearization, when Israel clearly has a massive military superiority, due in large part to their undeclared possession of nuclear weapons, a situation which no major American or European politician has taken any steps to change? There are clearly double standards at play here, especially given that Israel, which isn’t a signatory to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, has a large number of nuclear weapons, while for Iran, which is a signatory, there is absolutely no credible evidence that they’re in the process of developing nuclear weapons.

Second, more fundamentally, how is it that the U.S. government can continue to give billions of dollars in aid to Israel, while the latter takes no steps whatsoever to decrease its nearly half-million settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while trying to divert everyone’s attention to the “Persian threat”? I mean to ask this question not as a moral one, but as a strategic one. How could Americans possibly think that waging economic warfare on Iran and bankrolling Israeli settlements is going to further U.S. interests? It seems to me totally ludicrous.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Israel is not an Apartheid regime.

Such a term is based on an error of logic. It proposes that the Jewish minority are ruling over a nation in which there is a Palestinian majority.

This is not true. Because Israel exists as a separate nation, in borders it has defined. In Israel, the Israeli’s are the majority.

The reality is that “Palestine” does not exist as a nation and has not for decades. Part of it is now Israel. The other parts are Gaza and West Bank.

The pretense that Israel is on occupied land is not relevent. Nobody cares. Least of all the UN.

The only reason Gaza is still considered occupied is because the UN does not recognise Hamas. It is considered “occupied” for political convenience.

There is only one truth. There is Israel, there is Gaza and there is West Bank. There is no apartheid.

Posted by Insert meaningful name here | Report as abusive

To Mr. Bernd Debusmann:

Most commentaries regarding Israel and Iran will always be lacking in maturity. Anyone seriously wishing to sort out the reasonable from the trash has their work cut out for them: there is nothing worthy of salvage. I speak not about your commentary on the current Iran nuclear ambitions, but about the people leaving commentaries who find your words to be an excuse to copy and paste their worthless rhetoric.

Posted by SG | Report as abusive

Dear, dear, “Insert meaningful name here” seems to have a poor knowledge of the meaning of apartheid appearing here. My understanding of the word, and the meaning in the Oxford dictionary is “noun: the official system of segregation or discrimination on racial grounds formerly in force in South Africa.” (I’d also include religious next to racial… a wee addition would would also put a lot of other Middle-Eastern regimes into the same basket[-case].)
As for assertions that nobody cares, and the UN doesn’t care that it’s compounds, hospitals and schools were recently bombed, is I would suggest quite simply wrong, although I can only speak for myself as I’m not in a position to speak for “everybody/nobody”.
To me the Israelis are a very clever, creative and country packed with good potential, being run by paranoid zealots who fear the seeds they have sown.
Perhaps you’d be good enough to explain what the American tax-payers’ get from their no-questions-allowed, seemingly bottomless blank-check policy?

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

It seems to me that the number of U.S. politicians that AIPAC has bought should lead to an investigation of treason for said politicians. I don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons nor Israel. I absolutely do not see what entitles Israel to nuclear weapons. Iran hasnt been invading other countries, Israel has, Iran doesn’t bomb red cross trucks, Israel does, Iran doesn’t bomb U.N. refugee camps, Israel does. The Likud party has a motto “The only good Arab is a dead Arab.” Apparently it applies to pretty much every non-Jew, they have even attacked American ships in the past. Best case scenario we just turn the middle east into a giant glass bowl, then insert pipes to suck out the oil.

The definition of the word is to an “official system of segregation or discrimination on racial (or other) grounds”.

In this case, the Palestinians cannot be considered to be segregated. This is because Gaza and the West Bank are separate regions from Israel.

The segregation argument is based on the Arab belief in a one-state solution. They believe that Gaza, Israel and West Bank are parts of a single Palestinian territory.

The mistake is that this treats the Arab-Israel war as a war of colonization, when it was actually a war of political independence.

To argue that the Palestinians are segregated from Israel is like arguing that the French are segregated from the English.

In the sense that “nobody cares”, I mean from that perspective. The existance of Israel as a sovereign separate nation is settled by the UN.

Regarding your “blank check” statement, the answer is simple. Israel can act with restraint as long as it maintains a qualitive advantage over their rivals.

While it is true that Israel receives military aid, other military goods are purchased by Israel as a customer. The nation does not exist on the single-handed sufference of America, as you seem to believe.

Posted by insert meaningful name here | Report as abusive

Thank you “Insert meaningful name here” for your response. It would seem our dictionaries are pretty nearly the same, probably just different editions. I am a bit uncertain about the “Israel can act with restraint as long as it maintains a qualitive advantage over their rivals” statement as it appears to me that there is a qualitive military advantage (on the Israeli side), and in the recent Gaza debacle (where the Hams’s morons displayed an appalling lack of concern for their “citizens” not to mention neighbours), I didn’t see much that was “restrained”.
The recent efforts by the AIPAC lobby to put Iran in to the cross-hairs also seems to me to illustrate an attempt to further minimise the possibility of peace in the region.
My wish for Israel and her neighbours is for one-year of uninterrupted peace. After one-year of uninterrupted peace, perhaps it might be possible to have another one afterwards, followed by many more. I suspect it will require brave concessions from both (or should that be many?) sides.
I would like to offer a link which I believe illustrates the problem of fanatics running any country, and one which also illustrates Israels potential. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/world/ middleeast/10jerusalem.html?pagewanted=2 &ref=global-home

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

I totally agree.

Well its seems there’s a lot more clowns in the van than you’d think, I always love that gag.

Let ME try to break it down and simplify for the board.

1.) Hitler killed 11 million people, Prez Ahmadinejad has said some one-liners neocons don’t like to hear, of which are normally twisted by their neocon talking head media puppets.

Well that’s it, end of the list, we understand?

The scariest thing is how you people have upmost faith in your political party in government, on both sides. Our foreign policy has been trash all 24 years I’ve been on the planet. Someday hopefully something will click in your children or grandchildrens minds that the republican and democratic parties are the EXACT SAME THING!!!!!!

Big bailouts- Republicans Check, Democrats Check

Big warmongering and nation building- Republicans check (mostly in Iraq), Democrats Check (mostly in Afghanistan)

Big taxes- Republicans check, Democrats check

Big welfare budgets- Republicans check, Democrats check

Blank check for the Drug war support-Republicans check, Democrats check

Open borders- Republicans check, Democrats check

Siding with monster foreign governments like Israel, Saudi Arabia, China, etc-Republicans check, Democrats check.

I love my country, and if any of you people do too you’ll stop siding with political parties who do nothing but tear it down and destroy it piece by piece.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Hi Peter H,

The following is the link to a piece by Rachel Shabi, an Iraqi Jew, which also illustrates Israel’s potential. She highlights some interesting facts that are often overlooked:

Israel, Land of Broken Promises

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/wo rld/middle_east/article6241582.ece

Posted by Nu'man El-Bakri | Report as abusive

So this means Mr Ham, that according to you the correct political party for America is:

1. Against banks and capitalism.
2. Isolationist.
3. Low taxation.
4. Against welfare.
5. Supporting drugs.
6. Closing the borders, and
7. One that actively wishes for America to stop being a superpower.

Forgive me, but this is unlikely to occur in America any time soon. Or in many other nations either.

But I wish you luck in finding one. Try Somalia.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Anon, wow, let’s start at the top.

1.) The bailouts are 100% anti-capitalistic, if a company can’t be supported by the free market it should fail. Ironically I work at a bank that received TARP funds and the whole thing was completely idiotic, banks should’ve either merged with good ones or just simply cut costs and changed strategies, again no bailout required.

2.) Isolationist politically sure, if that means better home security and of course I don’t want isolationist economics, I’m for limited gov’t and free markets.

3.) Low taxation yes, there we go, much better than having the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the world. Yet we get mad at companies for leaving for better tax rates (a capitalistic idea) and give the government a free pass, despite it being 100% their fault.

4.) Yes I’m against most non-medical welfare, but not for the reasons other people are. It creates generation(s) of people who would prefer to just get low gov’t checks and never advance themselves. The gov’t creates a feeling of dependence and never lets an enormous chunk of the country reach their full potential.

5.) I don’t support drugs, never done any illegal ones in my life. I support freedom of choice and people should be furious that americans don’t even have the choice of smoking something that grows in nature in the confines of their own house. It’s unforgiveable.

6.) Closing the borders no, protecting the borders. Currently our market can’t handle the rate of people coming in, if our tax policy were what it should be (10-15% corporate tax rate) than we could but that’s not reality.

7.) Which of my points of view makes us less of a superpower? I think having troops in 190 countries spreads us out and so thin that we can’t be a superpower. 8 years and we still haven’t defeated tiny afghanistan, anyone (including terrorists) can cross our borders without any problem, we have to beg communist china for money and we can’t even pull our own dead bodies while they float over one of our most historic cities weeks after the disaster.

I just get so let down and dissapointed when I read posts like Anon’s as he justifies how out of control the power, size and spending the U.S. government has become.

“People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both”-Benjamin Franklin

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

I love how people bring out that Ben Franklin quote like it means anything in the modern world. Everyone gives up a certain amount of freedom for security, it’s obvious to anyone who has a grasp of the real world as opposed to the normative fantasy ideal world. It’s the same when Obama says some want to force us into a false choice between our values and security, it’s very clear that in the real world that isn’t a false choice. In a perfect world of course we wouldn’t need to make this choice, sadly we don’t live in a near perfect world.
I think it’s laughable that anyone would consider a nation run by a cabal of mullahs to be a rational actor, they believe some omnipotent omniscient god, who apparently is very concerned if we eat pork or how our women dress is the basis for laws. Sounds perfectly rational and reasonable to me, I mean why not let them have nuclear weapons, clearly they would be good stewards of them, unless God told them to use them or give them to one of their terrorist proxies. I mean it’s not like they have suicide bombers ( oh wait they apparently have a group of them as well as supporting proxies) or support terror organizations ( oh wait they do)….oh well since Israel has ‘em, let everyone have them.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

“Do not fear the man who has a hundred nuclear bombs. Fear the man who only wants one.”

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive

[...] rather than Tehran, especially as the nuclear issue has become a matter of national pride (Reuters). The Khaleej Times writes that while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces criticisms over [...]

That’s an interesting quote Anon, I’d be curious to know who made it. Interesting because the countries with most the nukes (U.S., Israel, Russia) are the ones who are quickest to use their military and start preemptive wars.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Michael Ham,
“1.) Hitler killed 11 million people, Prez Ahmadinejad has said some one-liners neocons don’t like to hear, of which are normally twisted by their neocon talking head media puppets.

Well that’s it, end of the list, we understand?” – Nope, just the beginning of the list. Here are additions and corrections.

Hitler killed many more than you think – only Soviet losses topped 20M. Check your facts. Wikipedia would be a good starting point.

“Some one-liners” by a mere clown should be treated as such. But if that clown is the head of a near-nuclear state, these one-liners are rightfully perceived as a credible threat.

There is no need to “twist” his one-liners, he said it in no equivocal terms, and he meant it. And that was reported not only by so hated by you “neocon” Fox, left of center Reuters and outright liberal CNN and BBC carried it, too. So there’s agreement across most of political specter. Which extreme outside of it you represent, left or right?

He didn’t just talk, he killed. The hangings in Iran compare only to Communist China and far exceed the notorious Texas death row, and applied not only to regime opponents, but to anyone who strays from their local brand of Islam. You can be hanged there for any reason, including sex outside of marriage, sexual orientation, or even a drink of alcohol. It’s not like “3 strikes you are out” long jail term for habitual criminals here in some states, it’s more like “3 drinks you are swinging”.

It would be only half that bad if he limited his murderous activities to internal affairs. Shia militias in Iraq, Hezbullah, and Hamas all are Iran proxies, and they do murder day in, day out. Road side bombs killing our servicemen (and scores of locals in addition) in Iraq are being manufactured in Iran. Hezbullah is armed and bankrolled by Iran. Hamas rockets – the most advanced ones they smuggle through the tunnels – made in Iran.

Ahmadinejad already killed as many as he could, and keeps doing so. The only reason he didn’t come close to Hitler’s tally is not his fault, it’s just that his killing capacities are limited. Hence his desire to get nukes – with these he’ll be many times over more capable to murder.

“…monster foreign governments like Israel, Saudi Arabia, China…” – you are lumping a democratic modern state with an absolute theocratic monarchy directly from Dark Ages, and a Communist dictatorship. What, in your opinion, makes Israeli government “monstrous”? Inefficient, bureocratic – maybe, but they don’t oppress their citizens, and don’t commit atrocities even close to the other 2. The last 2 compete each other and Iran in quantities of executions and apply capital punishment for economy and lifestyle transgressions. Israel, in all 61+ years of its being, executed only one man – Adolf Eichmann. Even the most notorious sadist of extermination camps Demjanjuk was let go because of a smidgen of doubt about his identity. While Saudis are among US “allies” (but only because of their oil reserves and OPEC influence), China was never considered one. It’s quite another matter that China is the largest holder of US debt – but you personally are at fault as much as any US consumer. Can you claim you never shopped at the likes of Walmart, and never bought Chinese made cr@p?

“Well its seems there’s a lot more clowns in the van than you’d think, I always love that gag.” – oh, you finally looked at the mirror?

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

I forgot about that clown van comment, funny the lefty anti Israel crowd does need a van, the normal compact not sufficient to contain their numbers. I notice that Israel and America bashing are still all the rage. All those other regimes are just misunderstood and harmless, heaven forfend we actually trace terrorist funding back to a regime that is “standing up to America” is apparently wrong since some how Israel’s actions justify this.
I’m old enough to be used to this sad bitter nonsense from young liberals who don’t know better or old hippies who never learn. Not that the neo cons are right either, neither edge of the spectrum is right and they are often closer to each other, just blaming different culprits, than the realize.
I don’t expect to win converts today, but years from now much of the young crowd will realize that all this liberal guilt fades when you actually grow up and have to operate in the real world and are no longer discussing politics in the abstract drinking lattes on their parent’s dime. They won’t remember this, but they’ll know the same feeling when they read what the next generation is saying.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Anonymous whether it’s 11 or 20 million people it changes nothing, so i’m not gonna waste time double-checking stats no one can be sure of.

I’m not defending Ahmadinejad in the slightest, just saying relating him and what he’s done to Hitler is enough for a mentally handicapped diagnosis. The only good thing about him is he’s not willing to let the West intimidate him and turn him into a puppet like we have so many other countries governments.

I don’t take one word CNN says about politics seriously, nor any of the Murdochian lies spread across Fox News/Sky News/New York Post.

No matter what Iran does, I can promise you the U.S. will be more quick to the trigger on killing muslims in some region and Israel with regards to Palestine. Like every other unbiased poster has said it’s 100% hypocritical for us to say who can have nukes when we have them and let our buddies have them.

This doesn’t surprise me, republican party-line voters like Edward Blake and anonymous will always side with whatever lies the gov’t spits them with regard to foreign policy and with regard to anything a republicans hands touch. Same thing democratic party line voters are doing now with Obama, he’s a replica of Bush but they still support everything he does.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

So Reuters is the only valid news source? I’d have to say you should stop listening to them as they pretty much tout the same line as the others you discount. Who should be believed, bloggers ..lol oh to be young and foolish again.
I enjoy your obvious lack of reading and understanding of what I say, I am no Republican, nor am I a Democrat, hell I voted for Bob Barr last time because I’m officially done with the “major” parties. Anyways I love a person who doesn’t let the facts get in the way of their ranting. You go kid!!

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

There are some interesting comments here, and some comments which to me reflect an intransigence on way or the other (and some which seem to be on the wrong topic!). The thing that worries me is the attempt by the AIPAC lobby (who appear to be very one-track-minded, with the end of the line being war) to hype up a potential nuclear threat from Iran.
I’m not particularly blessed with a great understanding of nuclear processing (maybe the “could have tried harder” comment on my old school reports might have had something to do with that one), but I do try to understand the issue. My understanding is that you need 90% refined uranium to make a bomb.
The following is an excerpt from the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding the Iranian enrichment program from the http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/Iae aIran/index.shtml website which describes enrichment levels of 5%, more in keeping with nuclear power production as claimed by the Iranians.

“4. On 29 September 2008, the Agency conducted a PIV at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP), the results of which confirm the physical inventory as declared by Iran, within the measurement uncertainties normally associated with such a facility. Between 29 October 2008 and 15 January 2009, Iran fed a total of approximately 50 kg of UF6 into the 20-machine IR-1 cascade, the 10-machine IR-2 cascade and the single IR-1, IR-2 and IR-3 centrifuges. The nuclear material at PFEP, as well as the cascade area, remains under Agency containment and surveillance.3 Iran has transferred a few kilograms of low enriched UF6 produced at PFEP to the Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories4 at the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre for research and development purposes.
5. To date, the results of the environmental samples taken at FEP and PFEP5 indicate that the plants have been operating as declared (i.e. less than 5.0% U-235 enrichment). Since March 2007, 21 unannounced inspections have been conducted at FEP.”

That is just an excerpt, the pdf is available at the website for anyone interested in further details.

Given the recent (seemingly fabricated/false) claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction which lead to an as yet unfinished, and rather messy regime change in Iraq, which followed on the heals of an operation in Afghanistan to apprehend Bin Laden and his Al Quaeda organisation (which seems to have morphed into something else and has left Bin Laden as a long forgotten issue [and it's worth noting he is a Saudi national]), combined with a nuclear armed Pakistan seemingly spiraling out of control, coupled with a “War Game” at the rump of the Cacuses which is rattling Russia’s cage, combined with a bit of an economic melt-down to which huge amounts of tax-payers funds might not even touch the sides of the hole, why is there such a desire to add even more chaos?
Personally I’ve just about totally lost all faith in my government (the UK) to tell the truth. It’s a bit early to tell what the President Obama is going to be like, (I won’t give up hope in the west, as to me it’s my only option… but the politicians really need to up their game, or should that be stop playing games?), I don’t believe a word of the AIPAC lobby. I don’t believe Amidinjad in Iran. But I do have a glimmer of belief in the International Atomic Energy Agencies report. Perhaps it’s a good time in history for all the parties to take a step back from the brink and rethink the best way to approach the problems facing not just the Indian Ocean arena, but the whole more-connected than ever world.
(Thanks for the interesting link Nu’man El-Bakri, I did notice it had a comment at the end of it I’d describe as intransigent, but unfortunately the Times is very selective over which comments it publishes. I’d rather read relatively unedited comments such as these, even the ones I don’t agree with, otherwise what’s the point in them?)

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

This is first time I see some one to come to terms and call a spade a spade. USA policies in Middle East were a disaster under Bush and the economic fall out of the Iraq war is still not fully realized. Isreal is the problem in Middle East. Looking at the atrocities commited by Isreal makes one think if the same people ever suffered the holoucast? If they had, they would not do what they do to the Palestinains with ethnic cleansing and torture. The label of terrorist to the Plaestanian Freedom Fighter is wrong. People under yoke of oppression and occupation have the right to fight the occupier with any and all means they can muster. Wake up America before Isreal leads you to other war with Iran which will destroy America of what is left over from Bush era. Iraq war was for benefit of Isreal and oil but it has back fired and Iran has gained which it could have never got so in regular course of events. Isreal’s threat of war against Iran is hollow and no matter what the think tanks and pundits sitting in west may predict, Muslim Middle East countries will unite against Isreal if it went to war against Iran as Isreal is the thorn in their flesh than Iran.

Posted by Rajesh Kumar | Report as abusive

Edward that’s fine if you wanna call me young and ignorant with my assessment of your voting standards, but rest assured you’re being 100% hypocritical because you’re calling me a lefty and in my 2 chances to vote I’ve wrote in Ron Paul, the most conservative representative member of our government in both our lifetimes.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Well that’s the danger that’s run when people make assumptions, the clear danger being when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me! That aside, I just wonder for all those who don’t trust the media, where do you get your info? I like to read various sources, if you get both ends of the spectrum, you know the truth lies somewhere between them. Plus I happen to be a well versed in actual sources, not some blogger who I have never heard of, or the current popular folks like Chomsky. Comes from a poli sci background and just being a veteran of political forums and debates with other informed people.
I’m really not slamming the younger set too hard, because I was much like that when I was younger. I thought I had all the answers, or at least where to find them. I learned as I got older that the whole right and wrong stuff becomes hazier as you have more to worry about than grades and beer. I prefer over eagerness to apathy. I’m sure you won’t let me discourage you and I wouldn’t want to, but at the same time I think you’ll come to understand if not agree with where I come from.
BTW I would have voted for Ron Paul but I started to really pay attention to what he said beyond his cool soundbites and found his foreign policy to be dangerously naive. Not sure about Barr’s but I figure the Libertarians need some votes. At least I can somewhat identify with their policies.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

“…I do have a glimmer of belief in the International Atomic Energy Agencies report…” – Posted by Peter H
__________________________

Do you? Iran showed only what they wanted to show, and IAEA swallowed it, hook, line, and sinker. The inspection was one planned well in advance, limited in place, time, and scope. Somehow Iran doesn’t allow surprise inspections – why would be that? All the numbers you’ve copied so diligently contain not much more truth than Madoff’s financial statements.
No surprise here. Al Baradei seemed much more preoccupied with alleged Israeli nukes than with his direct responsibilities to police NPT members, be it Iran, Syria, or his native Egypt. Israel is not, and never had been a party to NPT, so IAEA is totally irrelevant with anything that has concern with Israel. 2 other non-members, India and Pakistan, both publicly declared and tested their nukes, yet all of them don’t attract as much of attention of both IAEA and some posters here as Israel. All that despite they don’t have any proof of Israel possessing nukes except for statements by defector (traitor by any other name) and convicted felon Vanunu, who tried to monetize his “revelations”.
IAEA did nothing to stop Saddam from building a reactor producing weapon grade plutonium (Pu) – Israeli Air Force did. IAEA did later nothing to inspect Saddam’s other facilities – US Army did. IAEA did nothing to destroy Syria’s illicit Korean-built Pu-producing nuclear reactor – Israeli Air Force did.
Do you still believe in IAEA?

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Alright Ed, sorry for the assumption. I was an breath away from being a Liberatarian until they chose Bob Barr, to me he just seems out to get Republicans because they didn’t make him famous enough. He voted yes on both the Patriot Act and War in Iraq, I’m glad he’s acknowledged these as mistakes but his lack of judgement at the time really made it impossible for me to vote for him and I’ll probably remain an Independent for a long time.

I prefer Paul’s foreign policy, get out of NAFTA, stop the wars and secure the border.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Rajesh Kumar,
Who would shoot a pregnant woman at the wheel of family car, and then come to the car wreck and deliberately shoot 3 surviving girls still strapped in their child seats, all under 10? Freedom fighters, or are they terrorists?
The sniper that shot a baby girl sitting in the lap of her father – was he a freedom fighter? Her name was Shalhevet – google for it, if you don’t believe me.
Who would bomb a city bus full of civilians? Freedom fighters?
Who fires rockets at residential areas that have no military objects nearby? Freedom fighters?
According to your logic, the Bombay shooters are freedom fighters for Kashmir, aren’t they? Or these methods are legitimate only against Jews, but terrorism if used against your native India? Then I have a definition for your mindset – Antisemitism. As used to say Goebbels, “every Anti-Semite is a potential National Socialist”.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Yes Annonymous I do have a glimmer of faith in the the IAEA, they appear to have facts and figures from tests carried out to back up their report, as opposed to noise from the familiar voices (AIPAC being probably the loudest). Dismissing arguments with a blanket “irrelevant” isn’t an argument. Dismissing El Baradi because he is Egyptian might appeal to a certain sector of society, but it doesn’t do anything for me other than illustrate a racist, anti-everybody but me and my own kind attitude.
My understanding is that El Baradi isn’t conducting these tests all by himself (or with a team of Egyptians), there is an international team of scientists behind him (I could copy and paste more the the IAEA website, but the link is there for anyone who cares to look). The weapons inspectors, who inspected the Iraq weapons before the “Shock and Awe(fully conceived, executed and still unfinished despite having been there longer than it took to defeat Hitler)” campaign appear to have been right in their assessment of the Iraq weapons which also gives me reason to have faith in the IAEA assessments… or perhaps to you that is also “irrelevant”, maybe because they weren’t representatives of AIPAC? It is my own governments (the UK under Tony Blair) “Intelligence” report that was quoted by the American government that he did have WMD’s that over-rode that assessment. It appears that “Intelligence Report” once it got to Downing St wasn’t adamant enough and needed to be changed for some reason never quite explained.
And I’m sure you consider this response irrelevant. I consider your response to have about as much validity as a Madoff investment statement which you have introduced, possibly as some kind of distraction? But I would suggest that anyone who invests in the AIPAC contentions will get a similar return on their investment, and the hood-winkers will later be rolling around laughing at their investors gullibility and deride them for not having checked the investment more closely before investing, having ridden rough-shod over the rafts of legislation relating to reporting on financial transactions being policed by our politicians and judiciary, and if they are busted, there’ll be a fall guy to take the flack, and the tax-payers of this and the next generation, or two, will pick up the tab.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

The IAEA can only investigate what the nation chooses to show it.

If Iran wants to make a nuclear bomb, this means secret enrichment. Something the IAEA will not be able to determine.

So your faith in the agency is misplaced. But one thing is true.

If Iran does get a nuclear bomb, the IAEA will be blamed for it. Because they will be shown to be ineffective and incapable of upholding the NPT. And the agency will become irrelevent.

While America’s ‘shock and awe’ policy will once again be proven to be the best way to enforce UN demands.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive

Dear Annon, I can only refer you to my previous comment. As for you suggestion that “Shock and Awe” will be the best way to enforce UN demands, does that include the ones in http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews  /idUSTRE54A5MQ20090511 ? Or is that not relevant, because you don’t like it? Why should anyone believe you and not the IAEA?

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

It seems that you are more in a mood to speak then to listen, Peter.

If you continue to believe in the IAEA and it’s ability to prevent non-proliferation, then good for you. Expect to be disappointed.

Regarding Israel, the comment is not valid to this discussion, as well you know.

Considering that Israel is in control of the West Bank, it can create those settlements.

Prior to Israeli control over that land, it was annexed by Jordan. Since 1950, West Bank has been a region without an owner.

And as there is no currently existing nation called ‘Palestine’, the right and control over that region is Israel’s as sole successor nation.

The ‘request’ by the UN to stop the settlements is not a crass demand and not based on any binding legal obligation. It was merely suggesting Israel meet terms on a peace process long since frozen.

So to equate it with the demands placed on Iran is a bit silly.

Posted by anon. | Report as abusive

I am amazed that people are actually debating whether Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. Wow, it boggles the imagination, but then again what can you expect from uninformed people who believe anything from the IAEI. At least a good portion of people realize that Iran what Iran is up to. Of course they then want to argue since Israel does it that makes it okay.
I bet these people still believe that all the money in the oil for food program went to feed hungry Iraqis rather than greedy U.N. officials. It seems the US and Israel are the only dishonest players on the international scene.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Here is 5 points metric to check if state can be trusted.

This metric roughly measures political stability, and how much gov can be influenced from outside and cares about own people. This metric is not about good vs. bad since many people here cannot put apart Iran from US

Pakistan, Iran, N.Korea and … Russia don’t score well.
Israel, US, UK, France do fine.

1. State don’t kill own citizens in numbers.

You can expect that government will avoid enormous civilian losses that associated with any major/nuclear war at any cost. It also give other states influence polices by applying pressure.

Iran know for it brutality during war with Iraq ‘human waves attacks’ cost 1,000’000′s. So Pakistan. N.Korea lost 1,000,000′s to simple starvation.

2. State has proven record of transparently passing power from one gov to another without major troubles.

It insures that next gov will not suddenly change curse. Other countries have time react by politics not force.

Iran know to ban many candidates without any explanation.

3. State don’t raise kids in hate/nationalism.
It takes ~7-10 yrs to grew generation of ‘hate’ using school system. ‘Generation of hate’ supports war and make society very unstable.

We all were/are subjects to ‘Patriotic’ education. What about school plays about suicide bombers like in Iran? What about geography lessons where maps Great Persia cover half of neighbor states? What about injustice lessons that fault West/infidels for everything?

4. Individuals who hold powers come from general society not from ‘elite groups’ like clerics or nobles.

Elite groups often don’t have kids and/or disconnected from the rest of society. They also cannot quickly produce new leader quickly to replace aging guy who hold power. Sound like Iran’s Ayatollah & N.Korea Kim’s.

5. State has history of successful passage through crisises.
Israel scores the best :). Russia lost territory/had cups. Iran lost territory/enormous casualties at war.

I also see that all nuclear powers don’t engage other nuclear powers. Once first shot fired they rush to negotiations (Russia/US, Russia/China, US/China).

I see Iran constantly engages US. I see Pakistan engages India. see N.Korea constantly engage US.

Posted by SKV_USA | Report as abusive

SKV_USA

You should’ve just used the condensed version of the list.

1.) Those who have money have better governments and use that money to buy influence and prop up puppet governments that bow down to them and to make examples of those “evil” countries.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Or you could have used the even simpler, the US is not to be trusted, unless they are grovelling and taking the blame for something.
I guess it makes things simpler if you don’t bother for nuance and just go with what all the cool kids are saying. Apparently there are no bad actors, again except the US, Israel and I guess you gotta go with the Nazi’s.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Ed I really thought we were on the same page, you don’t have any faith in the Republican or Democratic parties but yet you still have unwavering faith in the US gov’t which is 99.9999% Republican and Democrat, how is that?

The countries SKV came down on aren’t any good, but I hate when people lower their standards of the US so far that we’re basing our quality of government in comparison to North Korea. I mean how far have we stooped to what we will and won’t accept?

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

I fail to see how pointing out how the US is always wrong to a large segment of the posters here equates to unwavering support. I find the unwavering attacks on the US to be just as bad as saying the US is right all the time.
BTW what countries would you like to compare the US to: Russia or China who are still totalitarian states with little freedom and a small ruling class, the EU what with their cowardly foreign policies and tax heavy welfare states, South American dictatorships or leftist regimes that use class warfare to divide people and steal elections. I want to know who should be the arbiter or good government.
I’m not saying the US is always right, or even often right, but the real world doesn’t exactly provide any good governments. You have to accept the lesser of the many evils. Do I like things the way they are..no, do I think they will ever change… sadly also no.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Edward I’d like for us to have high standard and compare what we have to what we’re capable of, rather than comparing us to governments we know we’re more humane then.

I guess I’m just not as quick to defend that bastards in Washington as you, the only reason our government is any better than others is because of the genius insight of the founding fathers. We’d be the exact same otherwise.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

I still don’t see myself as defending Washington so much as taking the critics to task. If people mindlessly criticize how is that any better than to slavishly defend?
If you want to compare our government to some unobtainable ideal normative model than it will always fail. The ideals only exist in theory and in text books. The real world is far murkier and unpleasant and if you act on principle in an unprincipled world all you do is end up a principled sucker. Is it right, is it admirable, no, is it pragmatic and unfortunately necessary..sadly yes.
I will agree that the Founding Fathers had it right and it becomes more clear with every year that the growth of the Federal government is stealing that genius. It becomes clearer and clearer that the wrong side won the Civil War (and if you think that war was about slavery you are more naive that I thought). The United States is supposed to be just that, a union of states and the loss of state’s rights to the national government is the root of most problems nowadays. However the Supreme Court allowed the corruption of the commerce clause to allow the Federal government into our daily lives shows that the Constitution is barely worth the paper it’s written in these days. It was envisioned as limited national government with the state’s holding the balance of the unenumerated powers, but once the court’s began their activist broad readings it ceased being that and now it’s the states that have to fight to assert their own powers before the might of the overreaching thieves in Washington.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

In response to Roy Fisher’s naive comment…

Why shouldn’t Iran have a nuclear program….Look around the world at the nuclear powers, none are bent are on the destruction of another nation. Israel’s ambiguous stance on its own nuclear program is not an existential threat to any country. Israel has fought more wars in its 61 years of existence quite possibly than any other country, and not once has their been a threat of nuclear war, rather it is a deterrent. When the leader, the elected leader, of a nation declares another nation a “one bomb country” implying that all it would take was one nuclear weapon to quote, “wipe it off the map”, that is cause for alarm. When that same country is a supporter of multiple terrorist organizations in terms of arms and monetary support, that are operating not only in Israel but other allies such as Egypt and Jordan, this is cause for alarm Mr. Fisher. It is absurd that you would compare the need for Iran’s nuclear program in line with Israel’s. Iran is under no threat what-so-ever if it chooses to abandon their weapons program. If an attack were to come, it would be against Iranian military/nuclear installations. Compare this to the terrorist organizations who take orders from Iran, who fire at innocent civilans. Israel on the other hand faces Iran’s call for its destruction, Hamas (an Iranian proxy) has it written in their charter for the destruction of Israel and Jews everywhere. Further, an Iranian nuclear capability would spark an arms race in the Middle East basically throwing out the NPT. With a Shiite country in control of the bomb, there would undoubtedly be a sunni country working on getting once to balance this. Sure Mr. Fisher, why not arm every country with nuclear capability. I suggest you read up more thoroughly on Ahmedinejad, Iran’s hand in terror, and the history of the Middle East. So Mr. Fisher, you suggesting Iran should be “left alone” is unintelligent, dangerous, and frankly proves your lack of any sort of background on the situation at hand. Reuter’s deeming this the “best comment”, perhaps most foolish is more fitting.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Edward I think we agree on the state of the US Gov’t, I guess I just don’t get offended when people bring up the mile long list of it’s faults if they’re all accurate. We’re the country and gov’t with the most power in the world, so we should be subject to the most criticism.

The wrong side did win the Civil War, I would’ve preferred that all the crazy religious kooks got to keep their own gov’t and had an eventual slave uprising. That would’ve really limited the power of this gov’t and we certainly wouldn’t be so quick to warmonger and nation-build cuz we wouldn’t be able to afford it.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Well fine, don’t get offended when they list all the faults, but how about listing some faults of others? How about our accomplishments? Self hate is the worst hate of all. I don’t hate America, nor do I feel one shred of guilt for being born in a great nation, as many liberals seem to feel. No one gave me anything, I made myself what I am and I don’t feel the need to apologize for being American. Am I proud of our legacy of dirty tricks and regime change in many places, no, but I also ask myself, would it be better if the Soviets had done it instead. It’s easy for people to look at things done during the cold war and not put them in context. For some people the cold war is something they read about in books. For me it was a very real thing and living under the threat of nuclear armageddon makes you look at things differently. Would I have approved of what we did or made the same choices, I would like to think not, but it’s easy to judge looking back.
It’s funny how people speak of things they would die for, well in my mind there are also things I would kill for. It’s easy to judge actions with the luxury of time and with knowledge of how things turned out, harder to make the decision at the moment. I guess that’s why I get offended, when armchair quarterbacks want to judge from their ivory towers without perspective or relativity. America is not perfect, far from it, we may not be even the closest, but we are a product of an imperfect world. The Europeans ask who appointed us “world police”, I’ll tell who did, they did when they abdicated their responsibilities and slept meekly under our protection. Should we be intervening everywhere in the world, emphatically NO, but don’t pretend if we didn’t get involved that many of these crises would fester and grow or other opportunistic nations wouldn’t and they certainly wouldn’t be doing it for any less self interest than we do.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Edward, there’s an ENORMOUS difference between being proud to be an American and being proud of our government. I love this country 100% because of our civilians, the passion and the love for each other, I hate our government and give them zero credit, every big politician in our government now can go right to hell.

Keep in mind though while the government was making you fear the Soviets, they were also arming and writing blank checks to Osama. Him being in power has led to the deaths of 8000 Americans, 120,000 Iraqi’s, 8,000 Afghani’s, tens of thousands of injured americans, Iraq and Afghanistan in shambles, hundreds of thousands of American soldiers who can’t sleep at night and can’t live normally due to mental illness, contributing to the worst economic timeframe of both our lives.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Peter H,
Let me try again.
You accuse me in dismissing IAEA as irrelevant. It’s not as simple as you try to present it.
In case of Iran, IAEA is relevant, though I wouldn’t rely on it exclusively. Here’s why.
Firstly, because it works inside a totalitarian state, and therefore is limited in the scope and timing of access. Can you claim that the inspectors can go whenever and wherever they want, and talk to whomever they want without notifying the regime first? I highly doubt it.
Secondly, IAEA is politicized, and each IAEA employee has their own agenda, which is sometimes personal, but more often it’s the agenda of the country that individual represents, or a mix of the 2. Therefore, it’s as inefficient as any organization with competing agendas. Also it’s not impartial, again due to its members pushing, overtly or covertly, their agendas. Particularly, ElBaradei (that’s how it’s spelled @ Wikipedia) keeps invoking alleged Israeli nukes as often as Cato used to repeat “Carthaginem esse delendam” (“Carthage must be destroyed”, in case you don’t recognize the phrase in Latin). He (or maybe certain circles in Egypt and/or wider Arab/Muslim world that made possible for him to be what he is) is so obsessed with Israel, and spends so much energy on this issue, that it seems he lacks time and energy for anything else.
Here we come to another issue – what relevance has IAEA with regard to Israel. The answer – none whatsoever. Israel is not, has never been, and has no plans to be a party to NPT, and therefore IAEA has no jurisdiction over it. I repeat – none whatsoever. No more than it has jurisdiction over India or Pakistan. Yet nobody on this forum ever hinted that India (or even Pakistan, for that matter) is a pariah state, while every second post keeps piling it on Israel, even though there’s no proof of Israel having (or not having – that’s the beauty of ambiguity!) the nukes.
I, for one, would be more concerned with Pakistan. Its nuclear arsenal is proven to exist, its government is unstable, the army and security apparatus are unreliable, and Islamic fanatics are openly challenging the government with armed assaults every now and then. And Bin Laden allegedly hiding there and waiting for his Taleban friends to overthrow Bhutto and get their hands on nuclear tipped missiles. And then – who knows – instead of launching the rocket at India as it was intended, it can be loaded onto a rusty innocent-looking freighter, sailed to NY (or London), and there detonated by the crew of suicide bombers. Oh, by the way, here IAEA is also irrelevant – Pakistan has nothing to do with NPT, either.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Thank you for taking the time to read my comment Anonymous. I agree with you suggestion that the IAEA is imperfect, and I would add to that the UN (and the EU). I don’t see this as a reason to dismiss them, I see it more as a reason to rectify the problem.
I also agree that Pakistan is a major problem as it spirals out of control (a repetition of a section of a previous comment here). And to make it worse is that not only do they have nuclear war-heads up for grabs, but also suitcase bombs which don’t even need a ship to transport them, although obviously their explosive footprint will be appropriately smaller due to the smaller nature of the weapon.
My main concern over this AIPAC attempt to include Iran in the quagmire that is evolving in that part of the world is that the winner will not be Israel, it won’t be Iran, it won’t be America, it won’t be any of the big oil companies, it won’t be any of the NATO, APAC (not to be confused with AIPAC) countries who get drawn into the vortex, it won’t be any of the UN member states who join on the side of whatever coalition AIPAC can whip into action, and it won’t be any of the smaller nations in the region. Now who does that leave left?
I totally reject the oft repeated assertions that I am either anti-Semetic or anti-American (although must admit to the probability I am “irrelevant”). I will come clean and confess that I have grown to be completely anti the New Labour “government” which has done such an awful job in discharging it’s responsibilities in the UK, which does not make me anti-British, quite the opposite otherwise I’d be anti-myself!
The way I see it is that the entire world is what, for the purposes of illustrating my point, I will describe as a bicycle with bent wheels, a crocked frame, wonky handle-bars, worn-out brakes, a stretched chain, knackered gears and bald tyres. It is not to late to rebuild the bicycle. A bent worn out bicycle will never provide a smooth safe ride, it needs to be straight, with good tyres, a good steering system, a good propulsion system AND A GOOD BRAKING SYSTEM. (And no that does not meant to be breaking). History is littered with advanced, superior forces been wiped out by hairy barbarians, an non-to-flattering description of my ancestors [not that they have a monopoly of wiping out advanced civilisations!)

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

I find that people who are actually “anti” something rarely admit they are, they often don’t even realize they are, yet their words give them away. Self hate is just sad, no matter how one attempts to parse it.
I wonder also if sanctions don’t work, what exactly are the purposes of these international organizations, since sanctions seem to be the only thing they can use against violators.
Iran has mastered this regime of useless, toothless and biased organizations. They continue to play this game and edge closer and closer to their obvious goal of becoming a nuclear armed power. Whether that goal is legitimate or not is a distinct issue, but whether that is their goal is only disputed by the most naive.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Israel’s policy of ‘nuclear ambiguity’ ended when former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted the Jewish State does indeed possess a nuclear arsenal.

Officials were quick to dismiss his comments as a slip of the tongue, but it simply confirmed what many, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, knew all along. Gates often lists Israel within the nuclear club whenever he discusses the dangers of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel has used its nuclear weapons to blackmail Washington. It has used its various nuclear alerts to gain unfettered access to state-of-the art military equipment, intelligence briefings, a blank cheque, and a green light to terrorize its neighbors.

Israel’s increasingly aggressive behavior towards Iran suggests that Netanyahu expects nothing less than total obedience from the Obama administration (and U.S. taxpayers) to maintain Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East.

Posted by Nu'man El-Bakri | Report as abusive

Hello George, you’re comments are very good. I find them mildly amusing and won’t take offence as I must pay all due respect to your very great age and vast experience which no doubt eclipses everyone else’s. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that they are genuinely a prime example of something that is truly irrelevant, but you may be reassured by my commitment to give them due thought and consideration; before dismissing them.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

May 12th, 2009 2:02 pm GMT – Posted by Michael Ham

“1.) Those who have money have better governments and use that money to buy influence and prop up puppet governments that bow down to them and to make examples of those “evil” countries.”

I agreed on “better governments” more suited to have nukes.

My point about global security not about what you see is good or bad. While I don’t see how “puppets gov” related to this topic. I have nothing against pets.
Who must be prevented from having nukes:

Poor countries that struggle to feed own people. (Seams to be unstable)
Regimes that killed own people.
(Seams to be uncontrollable)

Posted by SKV_USA | Report as abusive

“I wonder also if sanctions don’t work, what exactly are the purposes of these international organizations, since sanctions seem to be the only thing they can use against violators.” – Posted by Edward M. Blake
___________________________
Edward,
Looks like we agree on this one. There is no way to impose on Iran sanctions that would make its economy much more miserable than it is under the sanctions already in place. So you are right, IAEA and UN are toothless.
Sanctions tend to be efficient when they’re delivered by F-15. B-52 would be even better – it carries larger payload. Too bad BHO has no guts to sanction this kind of action, and F-15 is the largest plane IDF has. But hopefully even F-15 will suffice.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Anonymous – 8th May

“So why is Iran building further secret facilities”….maybe you have information that IAEA & CIA or MI6 don’t have which you would want to share; because no one has identified secret nuclear facilities and the declared sites are inspected continuously – Isfahan continuously and Natanz 23 times minimum these past 12 months.
Mate, you need to go and educate yourself before coming out with these tired and frankly pathetic lies.

And yes, Iran does not give unfettered access to IAEA inspectors, because it is not obliged to; she has not signed the second protocol. Same as Israel is not inspected because it has not signed the NPT. With Israel threatening Iran every other day….of course not reported by the Western press , but blazoned galore on Jerusalem Post and Haaretz…..there will be no signing of the 2nd protocol unless Israel submits herself to the NPT also. As for Iran’s leaders not being rational, well they have played some of the most amazing games of regional diplomacy and power politics by a 3rd world nation in the past 50 years; they are highly rational alright, they just got the upper hand and the US/EU govts don’t like it.

Posted by Raad | Report as abusive

Wow I thought this article was about Iran, but it seems all the people who want to see Iran get the bomb only want to talk about Israel. Much like the Iranian government, rather than address problems at home would rather talk about Israel as well. Why are some people so prepared to take what Iran says at face value? Intelligent and educated people really believe this is about civilian nuclear power? Wow Iran certainly has the upper hand if they can convince people of that, but I’m sure it’s more about the anti Israel and anti American issues that people even put up the facade of peaceful uses. I’d have more respect for the Iranian government if they would at least admit what their real goals are.
But seriously, aside from slandering other countries do people really delude themselves that the end goal of the Iranian program is peaceful? If so I have a ponzi scheme you might be interested in.
I guess religious fanatics are rational by some people’s definition, I don’t know how they reach that conclusion based on the totally irrational basis of religion, particularly the brand that they practice but whatever, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

The question here is whether or not sanctions would be effective. I can’t think of a single instance of one country punishing another with sanctions, starving them or whatever that made the majority of citizens turn to each other and say ‘We better do what they want or they’ll hurt us’. People of other countries react the same way we do. How would we react if OPEC cut off the oil to force us to do something like drop support of Israel? It’s simple psychology. Bombing the Germans didn’t make them stop supporting the Nazis, it made them angry at us. Punishing the people of Iran will not bring them to heel.

Posted by Davidfromcali | Report as abusive

Bombing the Germans did not stop them supporting the Nazi’s. It just made them angry. Same with sanctions.

Absolutely correct. The Nazi’s were only stopped by being completely overpowered by the Allies.

There is only one way to ensure Iran does not make a nuclear bomb, if it refuses to stop due to UN sanctions.

And that is a swift war. Reduce the nuclear plants, military forces and political leadership to smoking craters. Then pull out and leave it to the UN.

Posted by anon. | Report as abusive

I’m just curious as to how many ties we’re gonna take off before we realize shooting ourselves in the foot doesn’t work.

Two wars have left the world hating us, for some reason a lot of foreign leaders like Obama (for now) so this is the last time we should be looking to destroy another middle eastern country.

The only way I would approve of war with Iran would be if I thought they were an imminent threat, which no one with any number of operating brain cells thinks.

Anonymous you’ll have to tell me the big difference between the Bush and “BHO” (these ppl just can’t get over his middle name) foreign policy. Bush was already pulling out of Iraq so you can’t be mad at Obama for that, Obama just send a massive amount of soldiers over to Afghanistan and with your pro-war strategy you have to approve of that.

My prediction is like every other Republican all that matters to you is speeches, not policy. Bush was always blathering about “axis of evil” and needing to raise “terror alerts” and what not. You don’t have to worry though, soon enough Obama will create some excuse that “imminent terror” is upon us and he’ll be ready to waste plenty more of my and your tax dollars on some nation building project.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

*Toes* in the first sentence, not ties

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

“…“BHO” (these ppl just can’t get over his middle name) …” – Posted by Michael Ham
________________________________________

Somehow the Democratic (but for whatever reason not Republican) Presidents of late went down the history books by their initials. FDR, JFK, LBJ – why not BHO?

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Anonymous i know why 99% of Republicans say BHO, it’s to emphasize their point of view that he’s muslim and scary and they want everyone to be reminded of his middle name. That’s unnecessary, just remind everyone of all his policies and his budget, that’s plenty scary enough. If you’re part of the 1% who actually says it just in reference to him than my apologies.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Edward M Blake @13th May …. several things would explain why you do not understand the Iranian angst and why they are so far apart from your view point: (1) there is a very robust economic rational for developing nuclear energy in Iran that never gets a hearing in the West (2) Iran has been threatened by Israeli nuclear subs from the Gulf of Oman since 2000, so if they react to Israel, there is a pretty sound reason for that, (3) Iranians are dealing with their internal issues, but of course what you get on Western media is a vision of a country and leadership obsessed with annihilation of the other…why this deliberate distortion? (4) it is a delicious irony that you call Iranian leadership fanatic – irrational because they are religious and have a faith-based approach to the world; well you have exactly the same factless, faith-based approach towards Iranian nuclear issue and intentions and advocate violence on the back of it. It is a shame you have not learnt the lesson of stumbling into Iraq quagmire and > 100k dead, not to rely on just gut-feeling. The day you can show me an Iranian nuclear weapons program, I will believe you, until then you are crying wolf. And that tells more about you, than it says anything about the Iranian’s intention.

Posted by Raad | Report as abusive

Where did I indicate violence was the solution? Another supossedly well informed poster who doesn’t even read my post. Sort of makes it clear that your information isn’t very well researched. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but I still am when people trust a theocracy’s word for anything. The very basis of their government and religion is utterly irrational. I have never said Iran doesn’t have the right to a nuclear weapon either, although I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea. All I ever do is try to bring some balance to the constant America and Israel bashing that goes on whenever this subject is broached. I just want some honesty, I mean other than gullible people, everyone knows that the Iranians are seeking nuclear weapons. By your logic show me an Israeli nuclear weapon or you are crying wolf. I know the Israeli’s have nukes as solidly as I know Iran seeks nuclear arms.
You can try to demonize into something I’m not and if that makes you feel better than good for you. I simply don’t accept the conventional wisdom that America and Israel are always nefarious. I know that must mess with your whole sad world view, but too bad. All you haters can gather and back slap each other about how evil America and Israel are, but how does that advance any real issues other than blind hatred. I don’t hate the Iranians, I don’t think they are evil and out to wreak havoc, I do think they are a repressive fanatical illogical regime that seeks nuclear arms to protect themselves from regime change and seeks to expand their power in the region. Much like America and Israel, I just don’t let blind hatred and ideology warp my vision. Read what I actually posted, not what you want to attribute to me to weaken my real points.
You believe what you like and you get your news from your “trustworthy” sources that have no bias, LOL.. I will get use my own intellect to judge based on a broad reading rather than rely on the ideologues you let twist your opinions.
I know people don’t like to admit that they are only getting one side of the story, but you are. You choose who to believe, I’ll actually get multiple sources, because it’s always good to have perspective, unless you don’t want to ever have to think for yourself.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

REMIND!!! He IS a Muslim. Why do you DENY!

Not only that he is DANGEROUS for FREEDOM!

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Hey wait a minute, Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, and if you don’t believe that they’ll cut off your head or stone you for disagreeing.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

You want the truth, Mr Ham?

Obama has three main differences to Bush.

1. His speech gaffes are not widely publicised.
2. He says ‘hope’ a lot. Or at least he did.
3. His administration is based on the swirling hate held for the previous administration.

Obama still supports the missile shield in Europe. He still understands the need to win in Afganistan and Iraq. He understands the need to maintain American interests as the main superpower in the world. He is still ready to support Israel, even when it needs to take hard (and possibly harsh) action.

And he will not allow Iran to get a nuclear bomb.

Obama is only biding his time. He wants to get to the end of his first term without war, and possibly pull out of Iraq first.

But when push comes to shove, you better believe that Obama will be ready for war. Iran refuses to negotiate at it’s peril.

I do not live in America. You could consider me to be a very right-wing person in my political views. And I believe that Obama used his speaking skills to manipulate public opinion.

But that aside, I am confident that Obama will do what needs to be done. His supporters might not be happy with the result, though.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive

Edward M Blake …methinks you are protesting too much: are you wriggling at the end of a skewer?

Posted by Raad | Report as abusive

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemes; thou annointest my headwith oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. and I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever.
Amen.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

May 15th, 2009 4:22 am GMT – Posted by Raad

Edward M Blake …methinks you are protesting too much: are you wriggling at the end of a skewer?

That’s the best you can do? Ask I suspected, nothing but the same sad nonsense. I understand you’ve got nothing to say but America is the Great Satan, so I won’t hold it against you. I wonder if all these folks who fall for the Iranian line will come out and say they were wrong when they detonate their first test bomb, I doubt it, most likely just say they needed it to protect themselves for the big bad Americans or to balance the Israeli arsenal. No answer to that religious issue either I see, tough to argue that one rationally huh?

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Any proposals of sanctions against Iran and the issue would immediately become religious not politicial. The implication then spreads to all countries around the world with a substantial muslim population.

Politicians around the world would have to wake up to the religious ideaology and have to decide on where they stand, normally they prefer not too and remain silent.

I am surprised the media even raises this issue as like a politician it remains conveniently silent.

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Posted by travel insurance comparison | Report as abusive

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