Category Archives: Iran

US Interventionism In-Action: Fighting Both With And Against Iran

Foreign Policy, Iran

Foreign policy confusion is in part a consequence of intervening everywhere. The US can’t get its story straight. NBC’s Richard Engel, an excellent foreign policy correspondent of the Arwa Damon caliber, was on the nose when he recently said the following:

the Obama Administration’s foreign policy toward Iran … seems “convoluted” and “incoherent” at best, given the fact that the U.S. seems to be contradicting itself in its support and opposition to Iran in a number of countries.

Engel explained how the U.S. is fighting both with and against Iran in Syria, which he said is “an incredibly convoluted dynamic.” He said that while the U.S. is negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, it is supporting the fight against Iran in Yemen, where Iran-backed Houthi rebels recently forced out that country’s president and Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against them in retaliation.

“We’re fighting both with and against Iran in Syria, and fighting with Iran in Iraq,” Engel said. “There are many people who I’ve spoken to — many in the military, many policy analysts — who say that what we’re seeing here is an incoherent policy regarding not just Iran, but regarding the Middle East in general.”

Engel also said many in the military were “taken by surprise” when Saudi Arabia started bombing Yemen because they did not “consult extensively” with the U.S. military.

“Senior officials who would have been expected to know that there was going to be an operation in Yemen, they didn’t,” Engel added. “They were finding out about it almost in real time.”

About one thing Engel is wrong: US foreign policy is not newly “incoherent” and “convoluted” since Barack Obama. Did the CIA not back a coup in 1953 against Mohammad Mosaddegh, the Prime Minister of Iran, even though he was democratically elected? Did we not back the Mujaheddin against Russia in Afghanistan, before the former morphed into the Taliban and al-Qaida? Did George Bush’s puppet government in Iraq not turn to its coreligionists in Iran soon after it was ensconced? Are our people and diplomats not under frequent attack (such as in South Korea, Okinawa, on and on), due to blowback over the perception that the US bestrides the world like an arrogant colossus?

MORE Engel.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Move On. Nothing More To See @ The Site Of The Rand Paul Crash (Ron, Rand: Politicians Both)

English, Iran, libertarianism, Republicans, Ron Paul

Libertarians seem fascinated with tracking Rand Paul’s every move, waiting for some critical-mass of evidence to show that Rand is no libertarian. How often can one relive the same eureka moment? Move on. There’s nothing more to see at the site of the Rand Paul crash.

“Rand Paul: Action Hero, Or Political Performance Artist?” was penned in 3/1/2013, when Rand was first presenting himself to the public in a big way. Back then, there were still questions to be asked. Matters were inconclusive on the Rand Paul front.

Like most Americans, I like an action hero. I am just incapable of telling whether Rand Paul is such a hero, or whether he is no more than a political performance artist.

One thing should always be a certainty for libertarians:

“It is a smart libertarian who retains a healthy contempt for politicians, even the libertarian ones. Ultimately, they’re all empire builders, who see nothing wrong in using fame and the public dime to peddle their influence and their products.
The people—at least those who’ve never fed at the “public” trough, unlike every single politician and his aide—are always morally superior to the politicians.
In all, some politicians are less sickening than others, but all fit somewhere along a sick-making scale.”

The Daily Beast’s “Why Real Libertarians Hate Rand Paul” is yet more hoo-ha about Rand Paul’s latest un-libertarian mistep—Paul signied Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) open letter to “the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The letter stated, rather condescendingly, that Iranian leaders ‘do not fully understand our constitutional system.’ Soon a new president would be in office, Cotton wrote, and that president could (if Republican, would) ‘revoke’ any executive agreement President Obama signs.”

While the Beast pardons Justin Raimondo for his prolonged Rand Paul crush; I cannot forgive the Beastly writer for a usage such as “cyber-bullying” and “… it feels like.”

UPDATED (3/22): Ron, Rand: Politicians Both.

Ron and Rand Paul are just … politicians. A few years back, in the midst of the Ron Paul orgy, Karen De Coster pointed this out rather gruffly. She must have gotten flack of the order even she didn’t feel like handling, because she did not repeat the observation. It bears repetition. Here: Rand and Ron Paul are politicians. Senior is way better than junior, but he too showed all the trappings of a politician. We just turned a blind eye, b/c he was ours.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Iran To The Rescue

Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Israel

“Leave ISIS To The Homies” (Sept. 2014) observed that “ISIS’s neighbors, Israel included, didn’t seem particularly concerned about the barbarians at the gate.” The column worried that the “promise of eternal American intervention had, likely, enabled inertia and apathy among regional players,” when the wise thing for “U.S. meddlers” would be to “quit degrading the Syrian Army,” and “leave ISIS to Syria, Tehran and Tel Aviv.”

It has come to pass. the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is leading Shiite militias in battle against ISIS, near “the Islamic State-held city of Tikrit,” Iraq. And Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, like myself, thinks “it could turn out to be ‘a positive thing.’”

Yes, “let the locals take out their trash.”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

‘Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive’

Foreign Policy, Iran, Islam, Terrorism

The dilemmas faced by “a mulish military power which doesn’t know Shiite from Shinola” are enormous.

The Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, resigned on Jan. 22, “after Houthi rebels seeking greater political power effectively seized control of the capital, Sanaa.” (Foreign Policy)

For years, Yemenis had felt the brunt of “U.S.-trained units of elite Yemeni special forces” combined with CIA drone strikes from above. Now the superpower must decide “whether, and how, to cooperate with the Houthis — who are widely seen as an Iranian proxy force — in the fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni-based group that claimed to have orchestrated this month’s attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo.”

The Houthis hate al Qaeda, which is “a Sunni militant group that sees the Houthis and the Iranian as apostates.” So do we, the Americans, hate al Qaeda. But we also hate the Iranians (principally because Israel is threatened by Iran, which is no threat to the US).

Another dynamic is at play besides the Sunni-Shia dynamic. It is that between the forces of centralization, with which the US generally sides (witness Iraq), and the forces of decentralization, with which the Arab people with whom we meddle generally side, given the tribal, familial focus of their societies.

The Houthis are demanding greater regional autonomy (like the Kurds of Iraq); the US is inevitably looking to empower another puppet central power like Hadi’s so as to lord it over its Yemeni client state.

In the words of Sir Walter Scott, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

The War Party Is Coming

Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq

Judging from the move today to ramp up the US’s involvement in Iraq, Michael A. Cohen’s advice to Barack Obama to continue what Cohen deems a “relatively low-key effort” in that country is unlikely. The president, at the behest of the Republicans, has ordered 1,500 additional American soldiers to Iraq.

Writing at Foreign Policy magazine, Cohen urges Obama to make haste and to continuing the push for a nuclear non-proliferation agreement with Iran, before the new Senate is sworn in and thwarts such an agreement:

Time, however, is of the essence. With a November 24 deadline fast approaching and the distinct possibility that a GOP-controlled Senate will push for new sanctions on Iran, reaching a deal sooner rather than later — even if it means concessions from the United States, for example, on the number of centrifuges that Iran can maintain — is essential.

MORE.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

The ‘Chickenshit’ Comment

Foreign Policy, Iran, Israel

Stephen M. Walt is no friend of Israel. He and John Mearsheimer have condemned the “Israel lobby’s” influence on U.S. foreign Policy in an eponymous book. In Foreign Policy, this week, Walt, however, condemned the White Houses’ “chickenshit” comment, vis-a-vis Bibi Netanyahu, for assorted reasons, one of which is that “Netanyahu’s decision not to attack Iran wasn’t a show of cowardice (or being a ‘chickenshit’); it was a sensible strategic choice”:

… the idea that Netanyahu is a coward who lacks the guts to pull the trigger against Iran assumes Israel had a genuine military option vis-à-vis Iran in the first place. In fact, Netanyahu’s saber rattling towards Iran has always been a bluff, because Israel lacked the military capacity to conduct a strategically significant strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Sure, the Israeli air force could do some damage to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, but it doesn’t have enough aircraft or the bunker-busting capacity to destroy all of its enrichment capacity. This situation with Iran isn’t remotely like Israel’s 1981 Osirak raid against Iraq, or even its 2007 attack on a reactor site in Syria, which involved bombing a single vulnerable location. An Israeli attack might delay Iran’s far more advanced program by a few months or maybe a year, but it would also encourage Iran’s leaders to start an all-out sprint for an actual bomb. And that is why prominent members of Israel’s national security establishment went public with their own concerns about Netanyahu’s hollow threats. A few Israeli Strangeloves might have believed an attack would draw the United States in to finish the job, but the risks were enormous and both Bush and Obama made it clear this gambit wasn’t going to fly. …

MORE.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint