Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Flyntt and Hillary Leverett: About exactly right on Iran

Barack Obama has never been a foreign policy politician. His political tradition is from Chicago, which is probably the US' least internationally oriented city of its size. So while his instincts on campaign were good, they did not spring from strongly held convictions or a substantial body of thought on foreign policy issues.

The result of that is that the people who surround him, who have more forceful ideas and agendas on foreign policy than he does, are able to shape his policies - possibly steering them away from where Obama would go if he had thought the issues through himself.

On foreign policy it might be more useful to think of the Obama administration as the Biden/Rahm administration, with Obama as a very effective spokesperson for their ideas. Neither Biden or Rahm could have won the Democratic primaries, especially in early 2008 when foreign policy was a major issue for voters, but sometimes in democracies people do not get what they thought they voted for.

If Cheney and Rumsfeld were Neocons who steered a Republican president without strongly held foreign policy views towards an Israel-first version of conservative foreign policy, then Biden and Rahm and Neolibs who are steering Obama towards an Israel-first version of liberal foreign policy. Neither is an expressed preference of voters and both are to the detriment of the United States.

So in their opinion piece, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett complain that Obama put together a foreign policy team that was inclined to work against the positions he took on the campaign trail and that put the US in a position where it does not have the flexibility to actually execute the ideas Obama campaigned on.
Because President Obama assembled a national security team that, for the most part, did not share his early vision for American-Iranian rapprochement, his administration never built a strong public case for engagement. The prospect of engagement is still treated largely as a channel for “rewarding” positive Iranian actions and “punishing” problematic behavior — precisely what Mr. Obama, as a presidential candidate, criticized so eloquently about President George W. Bush’s approach...
They compare his approach to the approach of Richard Nixon, a politician who by the time he became President of the United States did have his own well-formed foreign policy views and agenda. Nixon had the huge relative advantage the that Taiwan lobby was not nearly as resourceful as the Israel lobby that Obama must deal with.

So where this leaves us is that Iran is sticking to a freeze for freeze agreement reached informally at the end of the Bush administration. This agreement is not a particularly good one for Iran. Eventually the US will be in a position to credibly threaten military strikes on Iran. The more uranium Iran has enriched by that point, the stronger its position to deter such strikes (even without actually building a weapon.)

At its current rates of enrichment, it will take around ten years to get enough LEU that it could be further enriched to 12 to 15 nuclear bombs - which if memory serves, is about all the uranium Iran has domestically right now. Cutting that time in half to five years now when any attack would face retaliation in Afganistan and US forces in Iraq would be a great strategic advantage for Iran. Iran for political reasons though would rather not be the party to break the agreement.

Enter the Neolibs who have this fixation on sanctioning Iran. This fixation boils down to punishing Iran for not accepting Israel. I have not read one proponent of sanctions say "I believe sanctions will stop Iran's nuclear program" because it would be an absurd assertion. What sanctions will do is create the accurate impression world-wide that the US is taking active measures to make more Iranians unemployed and it will allow Iran to increase its rate of enrichment.

Barack Obama goes along with this because there is nobody in the room when decisions are made who will say what his campaign advisers would have said, or what the Leveretts would say, which is that increasing the US hostility with Iran - which is the one possible outcome of the current US path - is short, medium and long term, the single most harmful thing the US can do against US interests in the region.

We can make several predictions today with reasonable confidence. I've been wrong with predictions before, predictions are difficult, but I expect the be borne out. 1) Iran will be enriching uranium when Obama leaves office. If Obama gets two terms, which I still consider likely, Iran will have enough LEU for nearly 10 weapons. 2) There will be a tightening of sanctions, both unilateral and UN in 2010. 3) From the moment sanctions are increased, Iran will within 90 days increase its rate of enrichment by at least 30%, by at least 50%, maybe doubling it, over that next 365 days from that point. 4) This chain of events will be to the detriment of the US, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Like the invasion of Iraq, a burst of US hostility with Iran accomplishes a short-term goal of Israel - in this case the punishment of the main country to challenge its legitimacy as an ethnic state - at substantial cost to other US interests.

The Leveretts also present a very interesting idea of why China and Russia have been going along with sanctions. I was surprised and disappointed when the first resolution was passed because it made mandatory what were clearly, explicitly and correctly presented by the IAEA as voluntary gestures that Iran had a right not to take.
For three years, Moscow has given just enough on sanctions to keep the nuclear issue before the Security Council, because Russian officials calculate that is the best way to constrain unilateral American action. But Russia has consistently watered down any sanctions actually authorized.
Stunts like pretending Iran was forced to disclose the Qom facility and using that supposition to whip up hysteria for sanctions, as well as the connections Hillary Clinton admits the administration had to the election protests, as well as the US failure to cancel programs introduced by George Bush to fund and orchestrate movements in Iran committing acts of terrorism and other attempts to destabilize the country demonstrate that Obama is not capable of taking practical steps to reduce the hostility with Iran.

The entire region, including interests the US is concerned about will suffer for his inability.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vast majority of Iranians believe the elections were fair


Really, there just has never been a reasonable argument that the elections were fraudulent. If there had been the entire episode would have gone much differently - including possibly the removal of Khamenei by the Assembly of Experts.

I've talked about the lack of evidence of fraud before, and these results are completely expected in that light.

What is important now, is that the US community of Iran scholars seems nearly unanimous in its insistence that Iran's elections are fraudulent. It is funny at this point reading articles by Juan Cole, Roger Cohen or others that cannot discuss the election without the prefix "fraudulent".

You really get the feeling that they believe if they insist hard enough, their insistence itself can take the place of evidence.

The problem isn't that they are all convincing each other of how fraudulent the election must have been, since of course most Iranians share their contempt for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The problem is that this widespread and false impression the permeates their community can result in poorly informed US policy.

This poll might have helped bring the US community of Iran scholars back into reality, but unfortunately we see these scholars grasping at ways to maintain their beliefs despite any contrary evidence.

Juan Cole in his Salon article claims Ahmadinejad has around 60% support. I guess that is the most unfavorable reading possible of the poll. 80% of Iranians consider him the legitimate ruler of Iran. But 60% support is enough that Cole's early claims that the results themselves were proof of fraud are now conclusively false. If Ahmadinejad has 60% support then the presumptive conclusion in light of a 63% victory in an election would have to be that the election was honest. At least until proof otherwise becomes available.

Funnily, Cole actually tried to support his claim that the election was fraudulent recently by claiming that the votes were counted in 10 hours. 10 hours is not a fast amount of time for local polling locations to count fewer than 2000 votes each. Cole's assertion that it was a sign of fraud relies on the early rumors that people wearing black and riding bikes stole the ballots from the polling locations. Those rumors were not repeated in Mousavi's or any of the other candidate's contentions of election irregularity. The only plausible explanation is that the rumors were false. These rumors were spread so quickly, and were so well designed that they do point to outside pre-planning.

Gary Sick also provides humor in discussing a result that if the election was held today, 49% of voters would choose Ahmadinejad. He claims that this 49% number is what he expected and would have forced a run-off. Basic arithmetic would show that if 49% of people polled would choose Ahmadinejad, and a substantial number of people do not vote, then that 49% in this case translates to over 60% of actual voters and both reaffirms the results and argues against fraud just as all of the poll's other findings.

The problem is that this society of Ahmadinejad-haters - in convincing themselves that regardless of the vote count and more recently the polls, most Iranians must feel the disgust for Ahmadinejad that they do - are able to misguide US policy.

Iran is fairly well unified behind Ahmadinejad and the reformers, who never had been either pro-US or willing to make the changes the US would want in Iranian policy, are now as weak as they have ever been. They are nearly impotent as a factor in Iranian politics and I hope they are able to avoid hanging or prison.

The US Iran policy community seems to be awaiting the imminent and triumphant return of the reformist after which they will lead Iran in a popular capitulation to US Middle East desires. Just a crazy idea. I've read that any leader who gets better relations with the US will be a national hero. Crazy. The Shah is the opposite of a national hero.

I hope we are not headed towards disaster when the fantasies of the US' Iran policy community - which are fueled by a heavily distorted view of Ahmadinejad that is held by Israelis but not Iranians - meet reality.

If Obama's advisers are not able to accept that their views on Ahmadinejad - and therefore their views on the country that gives Ahmadinejad 80% legitimacy - are not universal truths but results from biases in their own analyises, it is very predictable that Obama's policies will end up harming the US.

Wow. Iran had another enrichment plant

I guess we'll just add this to the table.

Of course Iran did not have to report the plant until six months before introducing uranium under its safeguards agreement.

The United States is going to demand access to the site and will not get it. Other than that, nothing changes with this new information.

We may well hear some concocted theory about why Iran has an NPT responsibility to report the plant earlier. That theory will go against the written terms of the NPT and safeguards agreements and will be of no importance on the ground.

The real issue is, as it has always been, the US' and Iran's options to manage an increase in pressure on Iran. Nothing changes with this information.

Let's say the US gets sanctions. What sanctions do is break the agreement that Iran freeze its number of productive centrifuges while the level of sanctions is frozen. Iran can certainly increase its productive capacity, if only by putting into production centrifuges that are already on line. It is possible that Iran could double its capacity, enriching enough uranium - only to 5% enriched, not to weapons grade - for almost a dozen uranium bombs before Obama ends his second term.

Another interesting development is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's suggestion that the US sell it 20% uranium.

This is really saying that after Iran is done getting its uranium to 5%, it will have a pretext, no matter how flimsy, for going further to 20%. After reaching 20%, I guess Iran will suspend enrichment and freeze its capability into place.

If the US gets sanctions, all of this happens more quickly. I'm not sure Iran is getting a good deal right now with its freeze at about 5,000 centrifuges in production.

Iran has the most leverage against the US that it has ever had, and more than it can expect to have indefinitely. The US will decrease its exposure in Iraq over the medium term and over the long term will remove its vulnerabilities in Afghanistan. But it has done neither yet.

Iran's best move at this point would be to get as much uranium enriched as possible while the US can most effectively be deterred - but Iran seems to have given its word and be honoring its word not to increase its number of productive centrifuges.

The US is willing to introduce sanctions. I'm not sure why. But once sanctions are introduced, the first Iranian response is to increase its number of centrifuges in production.

Second, if sanctions actually reach the point that Iran is being hurt, Iran has a lot more levers to hurt the US than Iraq did after the Kuwait war. Certainly the US will pay a price in Iraq and Afghanistan if an when Iran begins feeling squeezed.

At that point, there is a real danger of a spiral of hostilities. A spiral would be bad for Iran, but it would be bad for the world oil market and disastrous for the US positions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

In the end, at worst for Iran, it will trade whatever the US bombs - meaning as much of its nuclear program as the US can reach and whatever other targets the US attacks - for increased ascendancy as well as humiliating defeats for the US in Iran's border states.

Will these defeats alter the US' appetite for interfering in the Middle East? It's hard to predict that far in advance.

Iran's calculation is that any coming hostilities with the US will be far less threatening to the country than the Iran-Iraq war. Iran will survive, toughened, still with a military nuclear capability and still with a clear path to regional dominance.

US failure in Iraq has begun creating cracks in US prioritization of Israel's regional dominance and in the perceived legitimacy of the project of ensuring that Israel have a permanent Jewish majority despite the wishes of almost everyone in the region and the rights of the Palestinian refugees.

The US setbacks that result from any spiral of hostilities will be of much greater scale than the losses in Iraq. Iran can only expect that in the end its rivalry with Israel will be impacted in a way favorable to Iran by all of the events.

So are we headed towards sanctions, which are the first step down a road of increased confrontation? We can only guess. The US has to understand the ramifications. It is possible that there can be a controlled escalation - in which sanctions Iran knows about and commits in advance that it can unofficially live with are accompanied by an increase in Iranian uranium production that the US knows about and commits in advance that it can unofficially live with.

Does the US still have dreams of Iran giving up a military nuclear capability essentially for free? In exchange for talks that could lead to further concessions from Iran in exchange for more normalization with the US? If so, the US is drastically misreading Iran.

If the US is going into this uncontrolled, then the spiral probably is not going to be to the US', or Israel's liking. I doubt Obama is reckless enough to take that course, but time will tell.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A quick comment about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

I'll just say that a lot of what you think he says, he didn't actually say. He's very aggressively mistranslated on a routine basis now.

I'd suspect that if you read the full texts of his statements you'd find him basically reasonable all the time.

He is an anti-Zionist. He does believe the creation of Israel was an injustice that should be corrected by the people there now and also the refugees who were forced out having a referendum where they'd be free to vote to end Israel's status as a Jewish state.

The problem is that his real point of view is very offensive to people who have emotional ties to Israel, but it isn't that offensive to people who aren't already attached to Zionism. The distortions and exaggerations are meant so you'll be as offended by what you think he says as Zionists already are by what he actually says.

Original "Wiped off the map" speech

Yesterday's UN speech

Interview with the Associated Press

Interview with Ann Curry from MSNBC

Transcript of Ahmadinejad's 2009 UN Speech

From payvand.com

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

"All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, and peace and blessing be upon our Master and Prophet, Mohammad, and his pure Household, and his noble Companions"

"Oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam Al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attest to his rightfulness"

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

I thank the Almighty God for granting me, once more, this opportunity to address this important international meeting.

I wish to begin by congratulating you, Mr. President, for having assumed the presidency of the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly and wish you all the success. I also extend my thanks to H.E. Mr. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, for his excellent stewardship of the work of the General Assembly during his term.

Over the past four years I have talked to you concerning the main challenges facing our world. I have talked about the roots and underlying causes of these challenges and the need for the world powers to review their outlook and workout new mechanisms to address the pressing international problems. I have talked about the two conflicting outlooks prevailing in our world; one that is based on the predominance of its materialistic interests through spreading inequality and oppression, poverty and deprivation, aggression, occupation and deception, and tends to bring the entire world under its control and impose its will on other nations. This outlook has produced nothing but frustration, disappointment and a dark future for the entire humanity.

The other outlook is the one that spouses with the belief in the oneness of the Almighty God, follows the teaching of His messengers, respects human dignity and seeks to build a secure world for all members of the human community, in which everybody can equally enjoy the blessings of sustainable peace and spirituality. The latter is an outlook that respects all human beings, nations, and valuable cultures in defiance of all types of discrimination in the world, and commits itself into a constant fight to promote equality for all before the law on the basis of justice and fraternity, laying a solid foundation to guarantee equal access for all human beings in their quest to excel in knowledge and science.

I have laid emphasis time and again on the need to make fundamental changes in the current attitudes towards the world and the human being in order to be able to create a bright tomorrow.

Friends and Colleagues;

Today, I wish to share with you a few points about the changes that should take place.


Clearly, continuation of the current circumstances in the world is impossible. The present inequitable and unfavorable conditions run counter to the very nature of human kind and move in a direction which contravenes the truth and the goal behind the creation of the world.

It is no longer possible to inject thousands of billions of dollars of unreal wealth to the world economy simply by printing worthless paper assets, or transfer inflation as well as social and economic problems to others through creating sever budget deficits. The engine of unbridled capitalism with its unfair system of thought has reached the end of road and is unable to move. The era of capitalist thinking and . imposition of one's thoughts on the international community, intended to predominate the world in the name of globalization and the age of setting up empires is over. It is no longer possible to humiliate nations and impose double standard policies on the world community.

Approaches in which realization of the interests of certain powers is considered as the only criteria to weigh democracy, and using the ugliest methods of intimidation and deceit under the mantle of freedom as a democratic practice, and approaches through which sometimes dictators are portrayed as democrats, lack legitimacy and must be totally rejected.

The time has come to an end for those who define democracy and freedom and set standards whilst they themselves are the first who violate its fundamental principles. They can no longer sit both the judge and the executor and challenge the real democratically- established governments.

The awakening of nations and the expansion of freedom worldwide will no longer allow them to continue their hypocrisy and vicious attitudes. Because of all these reasons most nations including the people of the Untied States are waiting for real and profound changes. They have welcomed and will continue to welcome changes.

How can one imagine that the inhuman policies in Palestine may continue; to force the entire population of a country out of their homeland for more than 60 years by resorting to force and coercion; to attack them with all types of arms and even prohibited weapons; to deny them of their legitimate right of self-defense, while much to the chagrin of the international community calling the occupiers as the peace lovers, and portraying the victims as terrorists.

How can the crimes of the occupiers against defenseless women and children and destruction of their homes, farms, hospitals and schools be supported unconditionally by certain governments, and at the same time, the oppressed men and women be subject to genocide and heaviest economic blockade being denied of their basic needs, food, water and medicine.

They are not even allowed to rebuild their homes which were destroyed during the 22-day barbaric attacks by the Zionist regime while the winter is approaching. Whereas the aggressors and their supporters deceitfully continue their rhetoric in defense of human rights in order to put others under pressure.

It is no longer acceptable that a small minority would dominate the politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world by its complicated networks, and establish a new form of slavery, and harm the reputation of other nations, even European nations and the U.S., to attain its racist ambitions.

It is not acceptable that some who are several thousands of kilometers away from the Middle East would send their troops for military intervention and for spreading war, bloodshed, aggression, terror and intimidation in the whole region while blaming the protests of nations in the region, that are concerned about their fate and their national security, as a move against peace and as interference in others' affairs. Look at the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is no longer possible to bring a country under military occupation in the name of fight against terrorism and drug trafficking while the production of illicit drugs has multiplied, terrorism has widened its dimensions and has tightened its grips, thousands of innocent people have been killed, injured or displaced, infrastructures have been destroyed and regional security has been seriously jeopardized; and those

who have created the current disastrous situation continue to blame others. How you can talk about friendship and solidarity with other nations while you expand your military bases in different parts of the world including in Latin America. This situation cannot continue. It is all the more impossible to advance expansionist and inhuman policies on the basis of militaristic logic. The logic of coercion and intimidation will produce dire consequences, exacerbating the present global problems.

It is not acceptable that the military budget of some governments exceeds far larger than those of the entire countries of the world. They export billions of dollars of arms every year, stockpile chemical and biological weapons, establish military bases or have military presence in other countries while accusing others of militarism, and mobilize all their resources in the world to impede scientific and technological progress of other nations under the pretext of countering arms proliferation. It is not acceptable that the United Nations and the Security Council, whose decisions must represent all nations and governments by the application of the most democratic methods in their decision making processes, be dominated by a few governments and serve their interests. In a world where cultures, thoughts and public opinions should be the determining factors, the continuation of the present situation is impossible, and fundamental changes seem to be unavoidable.


Any change must be structural and fundamental both in theory and practice, involving all domains of our life. The outdated mechanisms which themselves were instrumental in and the root cause for present problems in human societies can never be used to bring changes and create our desired world. Liberalism and capitalism that have alienated human beings from heavenly and moral values will never bring happiness for humanity because they are the main source of all misfortune wars, poverty and deprivation.

We have all seen that how the inequitable economic structures controlled by certain political interests have been used to plunder national wealth of countries for the benefit of a group of corrupt business giants. The present structures are incapable of reforming the present situation.

The political and economic structures created following the World War II that was based on intentions to dominate the world failed to promote justice and lasting security.

Rulers whose hearts do not beat for the love of humankind and who sacrificed the spirit of justice in their minds never offer the promise of peace and friendship to humanity. By the grace of God, Marxism is gone. It is now history. The expansionist Capitalism will certainly have the same fate. Because based on the divine traditions referred to as a principle in the Holy Quran, the wrong like the bubbles on the surface of water, will disappear. There remains only what that can be used forever towards the interest of human societies.

We must all remain vigilant to prevent the pursuit of colonialist, discriminatory and inhuman goals under the cover of the slogans for change and in new formats. The world needs to undergo fundamental changes and all must engage collectively to make them happen in the right direction, and through such efforts no one and no government would consider itself an exception to change or superior to others and try to impose its will on others by proclaiming world leadership.


All problems existing in our world today emanate from the fact that rulers have distanced themselves from human values, morality and the teachings of divine messengers. Regrettably, in the current international relations, selfishness and insatiable greed have taken the place of such humanitarian concepts as love, sacrifice, dignity, and justice. The belief in the One God has been replaced with selfishness. Some have taken the place of God and insist to impose their values and wishes on others. Lies have taken the place of honesty; hypocrisy has replaced integrity and selfishness has taken the place of sacrifice. Deception in interactions is called foresight and statesmanship; looting the wealth of other nations is called development efforts; occupation is introduced as a gift towards promotion of freedom and democracy, and defenseless nations are subjected to repression in the name of defending human rights.

Friends and Colleagues;

Settlement of global problems and administration of justice and maintenance of peace will only be materialized with collective determination and cooperation of all nations and states. The age of polarizing the world on the premises of the hegemony or domination of a few governments is over.

Today we must rise together in a collective commitment against the present challenges; we must take change seriously and help others through collective work to return to the basic moral and human values. Messengers were sent by God to show the light of the truth to human kind, they came to make people aware of their individual and social obligations. Piety, having faith to Allah and its judgment of human behavior or conduct in the next world, belief in the primacy of justice in both lives, seeking one's happiness, well being and security in the happiness, well-being and security of others, respecting human kind, making efforts to expand love and compassion against hostility were all on top of the teachings offered by the Messengers of God from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ and the last one Prophet Mohamamd (PUH). All of them came to do something to eliminate war and ignorance, to eradicate poverty and uproot discrimination in order to spread happiness in the entire world. They are the best gifts that God Almighty has granted to human beings.

If the belief in Entezar( A waiting patiently for the Imam to return) will turn into a common and we join hands to achieve prosperity for all, then there will be more real and increasing hopes for reform.


In my opinion, we have several important agendas in front of us. The Secretary- General and the UN General Assembly can take the lead by undertaking necessary measures for the fulfillment of our shared goals on the basis of:

1. Restructuring the United Nations in order to transform this world body to an efficient and fully democratic organization, capable of playing an impartial, equitable, and effective role in the international relations; reforming the structure of the Security Council, specially by abolishing the discriminatory privilege of veto right; restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people by organizing a referendum and free elections in Palestine in order to prepare a conducive ground for all Palestinian populations, including Muslims, Christians and Jews to live together in peace and harmony; putting an end to all types of interferences in the affairs of Iraq, Afghanistan, Middle East, and in all countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

As our great Prophet said, a government may survive with blasphemy, but never with oppression. Oppression against Palestinians and violation of their rights still continue; a new group of Palestinians who lived in al-Qod al-Sharif were again forced out of their homes as the destruction of their residential homes continues by the occupiers; bombings in Afghanistan and Pakistan have not yet sopped; and Guantanamo Prison has not yet been shut down and there are still secret prisons in Europe.

Continuation of the present situation adds to hostilities and violence. Oppression and military aggression must be stopped. Regrettably, official reports concerning the brutalities of the Zionist regime in Gaza have not been completely published. The Secretary-General and the United Nations have crucial responsibilities in this respect and the international community is impatiently waiting for the punishment of the aggressors and the murderers of the defenseless people of Gaza.

2. Reforming the current economic structures and setting up a new international economic order based on human and moral values and obligations. A new course is needed that would help promote justice and progress worldwide by flourishing the potentials and talents of all nations thus bringing well-being for all and for future generations;

3. Reforming the international political relations based on the promotion of lasting peace and friendship, eradication of arms race and elimination of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;

4. Reforming cultural structures , respect for diverse customs and traditions of all nations, fostering moral values and spirituality aimed at institution of family as the backbone of all human societies;

5. Worldwide efforts to protect the environment and full observance of the international agreements and arrangements to prevent the annihilation of nature's non-renewable resources.


Our nation has successfully gone through a glorious and fully- democratic election, opening a new chapter for our country in the march towards national progress and enhanced international interactions. They entrusted me once more with a large majority this heavy responsibility.

And now, I want to declare that our great nation that has made great contribution to the world civilization, and the Islamic Republic of Iran as one of the most democratic and progressive governments of the world is ready to mobilize all its cultural, political and economic capabilities to engage into constructive process aimed at addressing the international concerns and challenges. Our country has been a main victim of terrorism and the target of an all-out military aggression during the first decade of the revolution.

All through the past thirty years we have been subject to hostile attitudes of those who supported Saddam's military aggression and his use of chemical weapons against us, and then they took military action in Iraq to get rid of him. Today, our nation seeks to create a world in which justice and compassion prevail. We announce our commitment to participate in the process of building a durable peace and security worldwide for all nations based on justice, spirituality and human dignity, while being dedicated to strongly defending our legitimate and legal rights.

To materialize these goals, our nation is prepared to warmly shake all those hands which are honestly extended to us. No nation can claim to be free from the need to change and reform in this journey towards perfectness. We welcome real and humane changes and stand ready to actively engage in fundamental global reforms.

Therefore, we emphasize that:

The only path to remain safe is to return to Mmonotheism (believing in the Oneness of God) and justice, and this is the greatest hope and opportunity in all ages and generations. Without belief in God and commitment to the cause of justice and fight against injustice and discrimination, the world architect would not get right.

Man is at the center of the universe. The man's unique feature is his humanity. The same feature which seeks for justice, piety, love, knowledge, awareness and all other high values. These human values should be supported, and each and every fellow humans should be given the opportunity to acquire them. Neglecting any of them is tantamount to the omission of a constituting piece of humanity. These are common elements which connect all human communities and constitute the basis of peace, security and friendship.

The divine religions pay attention to all aspects of human life, including obedience to God, morality, justice, fighting oppression, and endeavor to establish just and good governance. Prophet Abraham called for Oneness of God against Nimrod, as Prophet Moses did the same against Pharaohs and the Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) did against the oppressors of their own time. They were all threatened to death and were forced out of their homelands. Without resistance and objection, the injustices would not be removed from the face of the earth.


Dear friends and colleagues;

The world is in continuous change and evolution. The promised destiny for the mankind is the establishment of the humane pure life. Will come a time when justice will prevail across the globe and every single human being will enjoy respect and dignity. That will be the time when the Mankind's path to moral and spiritual perfectness will be opened and his journey to God and the manifestation of the God's Divine Names will come true. The mankind should excel to represent the God's "knowledge and wisdom", His "compassion and benevolence", His "justice and fairness", His "power and art", and His "kindness and forgiveness".

These will all come true under the rule of the Perfect Man, the last Divine Source on earth, Hazrat Mahdi (Peace be upon him); an offspring of the Prophet of Islam, who will re-emerge, and Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) and other noble men will accompany him in the accomplishment of this, grand universal mission. And this is the belief in Entezar (Awaiting patiently for the Imam to return). Waiting with patience for the rule of goodness and the governance of the Best which is a universal human notion and which is a source of nations' hope for the betterment of the world.

They will come, and with the help of righteous people and true believers will materialize the man's long-standing desires for freedom, perfectness, maturity, security and tranquility, peace and beauty. They will come to put an end to war and aggression and present the entire knowledge as well as spirituality and friendship to the whole world.

Yes; Indeed, the bright future for the mankind will come.

Dear friends,

In waiting for that brilliant time to come and in a collective commitment, let's make due contributions in paving the grounds and preparing the conditions for building that bright future.

Long live love and spirituality; long live peace and security; long live justice and freedom.

God's Peace and blessing be upon you all.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bin Laden says the dispute between the West and the Islamic world is primarily over Israel

Several commentators have noticed the emphasis Osama Bin Laden placed on the conflict over Zionism in his most recent recording, and claimed it represents a change in strategy on his part. That claim is simply not true. I'll post some links further down, that were compiled by commenters at Matt Yglesias' blog earlier.

The idea that Israel is not central to the Western dispute with the Muslim world is very widespread, especially in the United States. It is an idea that is clearly and easily shown to be nonsense, so it is worth taking a look at how and why that idea is so widely held.

The first reason it is possible is that there is a strong information imbalance in the United States. Most people who care enough about the Middle East to become informed about it in the United States are Jewish and feel an ethnic connection with the project of Zionism and with Israel. Even non-Jews who become knowledgeable, in the course of careers or studies involving the Middle East, are disproportionately influenced by people who feel that ethnic connection.

Because of the information imbalance, it is possible for consensus views to form that are completely outside of the realm of plausibility.

The reason an outlandish consensus has formed that Bin Laden's and other Muslim antipathy towards the West are not fueled by Israel is that Israel depends on Western, and especially US support for survival. Israel could not survive as a Jewish state for 10 years without US support, not only directly, but also in propping up relatively pro-Zionist dictatorships especially in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and also in organizing opposition to relatively anti-Zionist governments in the region, including Iran.

But while Israel depends on US support, US support for Israel depends strongly on two factors. The first factor is that most Americans do not understand how expensive it is for the US to prevent a one-state solution with a Muslim majority from prevailing over what is now Israel. The second factor is that most Americans do not understand that a peaceful solution like the one that came about in South Africa is acceptable to most Muslims even as it is unacceptable to most Jews.

So understating the cost the US must pay to ensure that a Jewish majority state is viable while at the same time exaggerating the risk of an outcome worse than that in South Africa is critical for the survival of Israel. People with emotional attachments to Israel - often subconsciously, maybe sometimes cynically - routinely and reflexively distort the US narrative regarding Israel in these two directions.

We can expect to constantly hear understatements of the price the US pays and must pay to ensure Israel can remain a Jewish-majority state. We can also expect to constantly expect exaggerations of the desire of Muslims to kill every Jewish person in the region, rather than live in a Muslim majority state as Black South Africans live in a Black majority state.

One example is that the goals the US was trying to accomplish by invading Iraq could have been accomplished vastly more effectively and vastly less expensively if the US wasn't publicly committed to defending Israel's Jewishness.

Anyway, here are some links about Bin Laden and Israel:


“The American people should remember that they pay taxes to their government, they elect their president, their government manufactures arms and gives them to Israel and Israel uses them to massacre Palestinians. The American Congress endorses all government measures and this proves that the entire America is responsible for the atrocities perpetrated against Muslims. The entire America, because they elect the Congress.”

(Bin Laden’s Nov 2001 interview with DAWN)


“REPORTER: Mr. Bin Ladin, you’ve declared a jihad against the United States. Can you tell us why? And is the jihad directed against the US government or the United States’ troops in Arabia? What about US civilians in Arabia or the people of the United States?

BIN LADIN: We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal whether directly or through its support of the Israeli occupation of the Prophet’s Night Travel Land (Palestine). And we believe the US is directly responsible for those who were killed in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. The mention of the US reminds us before everything else of those innocent children who were dismembered, their heads and arms cut off in the recent explosion that took place in Qana (in Lebanon). This US government abandoned even humanitarian feelings by these hideous crimes. It transgressed all bounds and behaved in a way not witnessed before by any power or any imperialist power in the world. ”

(1997 interview Bin Laden gave to CNN’s Peter Arnett)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Text of Osama Bin Laden's 9/14/2009 Recording

Bin Ladin Says US Should Stop Supporting Israel or Face 'War of Attrition'
Jihadist Websites -- OSC Summary
Monday, September 14, 2009
Document Type: OSC Summary

On 14 September, a forum participant posted to a jihadist website numerous links to an 11-minute and 20-second audio statement by Al-Qa'ida leader Usama Bin Ladin titled "Address to the American People." The audio statement is produced by Al-Qa'ida's Al-Sahab Media and distributed through Al-Fajr Media Center. The statement is dated Ramadan 1430, corresponding to September 2009.

A translation of the statement follows:

"Praise be to God, Who created people to worship Him, ordered them to be just, and permitted the wronged to mete out fair punishment to the wrongdoer.

"American people: This address to you is a reminder of the causes of 11 (September) and the wars and consequences that followed and the way to settle it once and for all. I mention in particular the families of those who were hurt in these events and who have recently called for opening an investigation to know its causes. This is a first and important step in the right direction among many other steps that have deliberately gone in the wrong direction over eight barren years that you have experienced.

"The entire American people should follow suit, as the delay in knowing those reasons has cost you a lot without any noteworthy benefit.

"If the White House administration, which is one of the two parties to the dispute, has made it clear to you in the past years that war was necessary to maintain your security, then wise persons should be eager to listen to the two parties to the dispute to know the truth, so listen to what I am going to say.

"At the beginning, I say that we have made it clear and stated so many times for over two decades that the cause of the quarrel with you is your support for your Israeli allies, who have occupied our land, Palestine. This position of yours, along with some other grievances, is what prompted us to carry out the 11 September events. Had you known the magnitude of our suffering as a result of the injustice of the Jews against us, with the support of your administrations for them, you would have known that both our nations are victims of the policies of the White House, which is in fact a hostage in the hands of pressure groups, especially major corporations and the Israeli lobby.

"One of the best persons to explain to you the causes of the events of the 11th is one of your citizens, a former veteran CIA agent, whose conscience awoke in his eighth decade and decided to tell the truth despite the threats, and to explain to you the message of the 11th. So he carried out some activities for this purpose in particular, including his book "Apology of a Hired Assassin."

"As for explaining the suffering of our people in Palestine, Obama has recently acknowledged in his speech from Cairo the suffering of our kinfolk there, who are living under occupation and siege. Things will become clearer if you read what your former president, Carter, wrote about the racism of the Israelis against our kinfolk in Palestine, and also if you listened to his statement weeks ago during his visit to the destroyed and besieged Gaza Strip. He said in that statement that the people of Gaza are treated more as animals than human beings. For us God suffices, and He is the best disposer of affairs.

"We should have a lengthy pause at this point. Any person with an iota of mercy in his heart cannot but sympathize with those oppressed elderly, women, and children living under the deadly siege. Above that, the Zionists pound them with US-made incendiary phosphorous bombs. Life there is tragic beyond limits, to the point that children die b etween the arms of their parents and doctors due to the lack of food and medicine and the power outages. It is indeed a disgrace for world politicians who are content with that, and their loyalists, who are behaving as such with prior knowledge and premeditation, and under the influence of the Israeli lobby in America. The details of that are explained by two of your fellow citizens. They are John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their book "The Israel Lobby" in the United States.

"After reading the suggested books, you will know the truth and you will be severely shocked at the magnitude of deception that has been practiced against you. You will also know that those who make statements from inside the White House today and claim that your wars against us are necessary for your security are in fact working along the same line of Cheney and Bush, and propagating the former policies of intimidation to market the interests of the relevant major corporations, at the expense of your blood and economy. Those in fact are the ones who are imposing wars on you, not the mujahidin. We are just defending our right to liberate our land.

"If you thoroughly consider your situation, you will know that the White House is occupied by pressure groups. You should have made efforts to liberate it rather than fight to liberate Iraq, as Bush claimed. The White House leader, under such circumstances, and regardless of who he is, is like a train driver who cannot but travel on the railways designed by these pressure groups. Otherwise, his way would be blocked and he would fear that his destiny would be like that of former President Kennedy and his brother.

"In a nutshell, it is time to free yourselves from fear and intellectual terrorism being practiced against you by the neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby. You should put the file of your alliance with the Israelis on the table of discussion. You should ask yourselves the following question so that you can determine your position: Do you like the Israelis' security, sons, and economy more than your security, blood, sons, money, jobs, houses, economy, and reputation? If you choose your security and stopping the wars -- and this has been shown by opinion polls -- then this requires that you act to stop those who are tampering with our security on your end. We are prepared to respond to this option on sound and fair foundations that have been mentioned before.

"Here is an important point that we should pay attention to with regard to war and stopping it. When Bush assumed power and appointed a defense secretary who had made the biggest contribution to killing more than two million persecuted villagers in Vietnam, sane people predicted that Bush was preparing for new massacres in his era. This was what took place in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Obama assumed power and kept the men of Cheney and Bush -- namely, the senior officials in the Defense Department, like Gates, Mullen, and Petraeus -- sane people knew that Obama is a weak person who will not be able to stop the war as he had promised and that he would procrastinate as much as possible. If he were to decide, then he would hand over command to the generals who oppose this aimless war, like the former commander of troops in Iraq, General Sanchez, and the commander of the Central Command who was forced by Bush to resign shortly before leaving the White House due to his opposition to the war. He appointed instead of him a person who would escalate the war. Under the cover of his readiness to cooperate with the Republicans, Obama made the biggest trick as he kept the most important and most dangerous secretary from Cheney's men to continue the war. The days will show you that you have changed only faces in the White House. The bitter truth is that the neoconservatives are still a heavy burden on you.

"Once again, if you stop the war, then that is fine. If you choose not to stop the war, then we have no other option but to continue the war of attrition against you on all possible axes, just as we did with the Soviet Union for 10 years until it disintegrated, with the grace of God. Continue the war for as long as you wish. You are fighting a desperate, losing war that is in favor of others. There seems to be no end in sight for this war.

"Russian generals, who learned lessons from the battles in Afghanistan, had anticipated the result of the war before its start, but you do not like those who give you advice. This is a losing war, God willing, as it is funded by money that is borrowed based on exorbitant usury and is fought by soldiers whose morale is down and who commit suicide on a daily basis to escape from this war.

"This war was prescribed to you by two doctors, Cheney and Bush, as a cure for the 11 September events. However, the bitterness and losses caused by this war are worse than the bitterness of the events themselves. The accumulated debts incurred as a result of this war have almost done away with the US economy as a whole. It has been said that disease could be less evil than some medicines.

"Praise be to God, we are carrying our weapon on our shoulders and have been fighting the two poles of evil in the East and the West for 30 years. Throughout this period, we have not seen any cases of suicide among us despite the international pursuit against us. We praise God for this. This proves the soundness of our belief and the justice of our cause. God willing, we will continue our way to liberate our land. Our weapon is patience. We seek victory from God. We will not give up the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We hold on to Palestine more than we hold on to our souls. Continue the war as long as you wish, we will never bargain over it (Palestine).

"Endless war will not tire me
"For I am now fully grown and strong
"For this, my mother begot me (lines of poetry)
"Peace be upon those who follow guidance."