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by CTuttle

Return of The Living Dead…

5:02 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I always appreciate it when the Foreign Policy ‘wonks’ argue what I’ve said years ago…! Today, Stephen Walt, in FP, asked the eternal burning question…

Why do people keep predicting war with Iran?

… One of the background elements in this campaign has been repeated warnings that Israel’s leaders believed “time was running out” and that they were getting ready to launch a preventive strike on their own. This recurring theme has depended heavily on cooperation from sympathetic journalists and compliant media organizations, who have provided a platform to disseminate these various dark prophecies.

In September 2010, for example, The Atlantic published a cover story by Jeffrey Goldberg (“The Point of No Return”) based on interviews with dozens of Israeli officials. Goldberg concluded that the odds of an Israeli attack by July 2011 were greater than 50 percent. Fortunately, this forecast proved to be as accurate as most of Goldberg’s other writings about the Middle East. {…}

…Like I said, I can’t be completely sure that reason will prevail and that a war won’t happen, although there do seem to be a lot of sensible voices inside the Israeli security establishment who are counseling against it. What worries me most is that the people who have been sounding all these alarmist warnings will start to worry that their credibility is evaporating, and they will feel compelled to go to war because they’ve talked about it for so long. That’s just about the dumbest reason I can think of, but sometimes even pretty smart people do dumb things.

Does anybody realize that the last time Persia invaded any neighboring Nation, these United States were still British colonies…?

Now, what prompted my latest rant is this blatant agitprop from Ehud Barak, yesterday… Israel defense chief ‘suggests’ U.S. has new intelligence bringing worries over Iran in line with Israel’s…!

I thought Richard Silverstein best summed it up…

I don’t buy it. Not for a second. First, Barak Ravid, Haaretz’s stenographer for Barak, admits in a tweet that he hasn’t personally seen the report. He says that western and Israeli sources he considers “very reliable,” have. The Israeli source is likely Barak, who I wouldn’t consider reliable if he was the last defense minister on earth. The western source could very well be U.S. ambassador Dan Shapiro, who’s been leaking like a sieve to Israeli media on the Iran issue.

If you parse the Haaretz carefully (or even not so carefully) you won’t find a single piece of information in it that’s new or that even describes any aspect of the NIE. What I’m guessing is that Barak hasn’t even seen it himself. At no point does Ravid say that Israel has the report or has seen it. Which makes all of this nothing more than spin. Something unfortunately we’ve grown quite used to when it comes to Israeli security issues. Israel’s claims about Iran’s nuclear program have been riddled with deceit, lies and fraud. {…}

…Think on this as well: isn’t it a bit strange that there’ve been virtually no reports on the NIE in U.S. media. Why would the U.S. allow Israel to be the first to announce the news? Unless of course Barak is jumping the gun and doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Undoubtedly, there is a new NIE in the works and perhaps it does have strong things to say about Iran. But whether those things match what Barak is claiming is entirely dubious.

Even Emptywheel is confused by this new ‘leak’ war… I’m Confused. Are THESE Leaks Permissible, or Not?

…It’s okay for Ehud Barak, who was fed this intelligence either in normal intelligence sharing or alternately just handed the US the report in question and now is claiming that the report has been incorporated into the NIE (says a US official who seems determined to provide some explanation for this leak), to talk about leaked US intelligence on the record, but it’s not okay for the NSC spokesperson to do so.

It’s a new twist on the A1 cutout Dick Cheney used, I’m fairly certain: launder the leak through leaks to Israel, because no one in Congress or DC generally (except the FBI) gives a damn about leaks to Israel.

Whatever. I’m thoroughly confused. Am I right that the leak to Israel is considered acceptable but now the sources for the Reuters report will be targets of a witch hunt?

Ironically, let’s not lose sight that it is indeed a ‘war of leaks’… Saudi Arabia says it would ‘intercept Israeli planes en route to Iran’

…Saudi Arabia will not permit Israeli aircraft to cross its territory on the way to strike Iran, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Thursday. The message was passed to Jerusalem via Obama administration officials during recent talks in Israel, it claimed.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said later Thursday he had received no such message.

Senior Israeli officials reportedly see the move as a warning message from the US not to launch a unilateral strike, according to the paper.

Hmmm… But press on they must… Israeli leaders want to attack Iran before US election, says media report…

…The front-page report in the biggest-selling daily Yedioth Ahronoth came amid mounting speculation – fuelled by media leaks from both the government and its detractors at home and abroad – that war with Iran could be imminent, even though it might rupture the bedrock ties between Israel and the United States.

“Were it up to Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, an Israeli military strike on the nuclear facilities in Iran would take place in the coming autumn months, before the November election in the United States,” Yedioth said in the article by its two senior commentators, which appeared to draw on discussions with the defence minister but included no direct quotes.

Spokesmen for prime minister Netanyahu and for Mr Barak declined to comment.

Yedioth said the Israeli leaders had failed to win over other security cabinet ministers for a strike on Iran now, against a backdrop of objections by the armed forces given the tactical and strategic hurdles such an operation would face.

“The respect which in the past formed a halo around prime ministers and defence ministers and helped them muster a majority for military decisions is gone, no more,” Yedioth said. “Either the people are different, or the reality is different.”

I thought my favorite Persian, Cyrus Safdari, best said it… This is just a pathetic display…


Ramadan Kareem…!

by CTuttle

Those ‘Sneaky’ Persians…

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Last year, at about this time, I wrote a post entitled… The Persian ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and ‘the Phantom Menace’…! In it, I had featured Nami Shirazi’s most excellent post: The Phantom Menace: Fantasies, falsehoods, and fear-mongering about Iran’s nuclear program… An extensive look at all the din and hue in the MSM, of how close Iran was to the bomb, starting in 1984…! Basically, it averages out to Iran always being about two years away from the bomb…!

Now, in my latest installment, I’d like to feature the prolific, Robert Naiman, in both the Huffpoo and AlJazeera, today, in which he takes the Grey Lady, out behind the woodshed…

The New York Times misleading public on Iran

The paper has made faulty allegations about Iran’s nuclear programme without running proper corrections

…It’s deja vu all over again. AIPAC is trying to trick the United States into another catastrophic war with a Middle Eastern country on behalf of the Likud Party’s colonial ambitions, and the New York Times is misleading the public with allegations that say that the country is developing “weapons of mass destruction”.

In an article attributed to Steven Erlanger on January 4 (“Europe Takes Bold Step Toward a Ban on Iranian Oil”), this paragraph appeared:

The threats from Iran, aimed both at the West and at Israel, combined with a recent assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran’s nuclear programme has a military objective, is becoming an important issue in the American presidential campaign [emphasis my own].

The claim that there is “a recent assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran’s nuclear programme has a military objective” is misguided…

…Of course, referring to Iran’s “development of nuclear weapons” without qualification implies that it is a known fact that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. But it is not a known fact: It is an allegation. Indeed, when US officials are speaking publicly for the record, they say the opposite.

As Washington Post’s Ombudsman Patrick Pexton also noted on December 9:

This is what the US director of national intelligence, James R Clapper, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March: “We continue to assess [that] Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.

To demand a correction…

Yes, certainly a correction is in order… *crickets*

In the Huffpoo, Robert takes aim at the Wapoo…

WaPo: Sneaky Persians Menace Pentagon’s Noble Aim to Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Forever

…In a front page exposé on January 4, the Washington Post revealed that sneaky Persian agitators are conspiring to thwart the Pentagon’s noble aim of keeping 10,000-30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan on “non-permanent,” “non-U.S.” bases after “all foreign troops are supposed to be withdrawn” in 2014, just as these sneaky Persians conspired to thwart the Pentagon’s noble aim of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq.

The Post story is quite instructive, even if it is not exactly “news” in the common sense of the term. It presents the world from the point of view of diehard Pentagon revanchists who want to keep U.S. troops in Muslim countries forever against the will of the majority of Americans and against the will of the majority of people who live in these countries. It presents this diehard Pentagon revanchist view as if there were no interests in the world besides those of Pentagon revanchists and wily Persian agitators, such as the interests of the majority of people who happen to live in the United States, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Of course, in the world view of the diehard Pentagon revanchist, the concerns of these mere residents are largely irrelevant, if they have no military implications. How many divisions do these mere residents control? These mere residents are just pawns in a game of Pentagon-sneaky Persian chess…

Now, the intrepid, MJ Rosenberg, takes the Mittster out back…

Mitt Romney embraces the Neocons

Mitt Romney’s newfound relations with the neocons could spell disaster for the United States, as the war drums begin.

Misleading claims

His disturbing emphasis on Iran, which in no way presents a military threat to the United States – over the economy, no less – is very telling.

Romney insists that the administration’s engagement efforts have failed. Not quite.

Obama has hardly engaged in any diplomacy with Iran. After an initial foray in that direction, he quickly pulled back, deterred first by the Iranian government’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in 2009 and then by a Congress that, guided by AIPAC, vehemently opposes any negotiations with Iran.

According to Iran expert and journalist Barbara Slavin, the Obama administration has spent a grand total of 45 minutes in direct engagement with Iran.

Romney’s claim that “we have no sanctions of a severe nature” is just as false. The sanctions regime imposed by Obama is unprecedented in its severity. (Take a look at the full range of sanctions.)

According to a law signed by Obama in December, as of next summer, anyone who buys Iranian oil will be banned from doing business with the US. We have the largest economy in the world, so this act could do much to damage not only Iran’s economy, but also the economies of some of our most trusted allies, such as South Korea. If Iran retaliates by keeping its oil off the world market and causing prices to skyrocket, the dire effects will be felt globally. Including here at home.

Sanctions will probably not succeed in preventing an Iranian bomb (since the days of the Shah, Iranians of all political stripes, including the Green Movement, have supported Iran’s right to nuclear development), but it is just absurd to argue that Obama has resisted imposing them.

As for the claim that Obama was “silent” when Iranian demonstrators took to the streets, Romney must know that the US’ embrace of the demonstrators would have been the kiss of death to their movement. Or maybe Romney actually believes that their cause would have been advanced if they could have been convincingly portrayed as US puppets…

Can I get off this clown car, I’m getting sea sick…!

As MJ stole my line…

God help us all…!