Tag Archives: Iran

Why Obama Must Shackle Bibi


Without any sense of irony, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told fellow paranoiac Jeffrey Goldberg that Iran is ruled by “an apocalyptic messianic cult.” Yet, as Goldberg makes clear, perhaps inadvertently, Netanyahu himself is guilty of the same: His view of Iran as simply the latest incarnation of a timeless and eternal anti-Semitism, most recently the Hitler regime, makes any engagement or diplomatic solution amount to appeasement; war is the only answer. And the messianic part is that Netanyahu, a la Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush, believes he has been summoned by history to save the world (or in Bibi’s case, the Jews). To the extent that Netanyahu believes this stuff, he is a very dangerous man, and the Obama Administration would do well to keep him on a very tight leash. Continue reading

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Iraq: Why the End is in Sight

The war in Iraq is drawing to a close — and hardly on the terms of those who initiated it. It’s end is being hastened by Iraqi democracy, and by the retrenchment of U.S. power globally, accelerated by the sharp economic downturn Continue reading

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Israel Gets Real on Iran


Trita Parsi: In public, Israeli leaders have spoken in apocalyptic terms of Iran’s nuclear program, but among themselves, they know better. Continue reading

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All the Hysteria That’s Fit to Print?

Benny Morris’s manic rant is further evidence that the New York Times op-ed page, like the New York Post’s, is willing to believe anything its told about ‘Mad Mullahs’ Continue reading

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Why John Bolton is Right on Iran


Armageddon Man is unhappy with his President

Guest Column: Dr. Gary Sick
As usual, John Bolton is absolutely right. His policy prescriptions may be reckless to the point of foolishness (“When in doubt, bomb!”), but his understanding of what is happening in Washington policy (as outlined in his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday) is unerringly accurate.

While much of the world was hyper-ventilating over the possibility that the United States (and maybe Israel) were getting ready to launch a new war against Iran, Bolton was looking at the realities and concluding that far from bombing the US was preparing to do a deal with Iran. He had noticed that over the past two years the US had completely reversed its position that originally opposed European talks with Iran. Continue reading

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Behind the ‘Phony War’ on Iran

This from my new op ed in the National:

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s rocketeers – helped by its Photoshop mujahideen – managed last week to set off a wave of hysteria by test-firing four medium-range missiles to underscore its capacity to retaliate against any US-Israeli air strikes. (Well, three actually, the photo retouching was needed to disguise the failure to launch of the fourth.) But the hysteria seemed more like going through the motions of pre-existing agendas than a sign of impending combat.

The piece touches on what I believe is the significant debate in Washington, which is not that usually reported pitting those who actually want to attack Iran against those who want to pursue diplomacy; instead, it is being fought between those who believe diplomacy will only succeed if the Iranians believe they’re facing a real military threat, and those who believe that creating that such a belief would retard rather than enhance diplomacy and risk unintended escalation.

In other words, all Bush’s talk about the military option remaining “on the table” is an increasingly transparent bluff. But the real diplomacy will begin only after a new U.S. president is seated.
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The Wrong Questions on Iran – Again

Neither Sy Hersh’s reports of stepped up proxy warfare nor the tit for tat saber-rattling (Israeli practice mass long-distance bombing raids and Iranian medium-range missile testing) suggest that anything has changed in the basic equation that says neither Israel nor the U.S. will attack Iran.

Besides the backlash that the U.S. military isn’t prepared to risk by initiating a new war of aggression in the Middle East; besides the fact that the U.S. economy could not absorb the shock of oil shooting past $200 a barrel; besides the difficulties in eliminating a nuclear infrastructure dispersed in hardened facilities, no all of which may be known; there is a simple truth: It’s already too late. The objective, remember, according to Bush, was to prevent Iran mastering the “know-how” to make weapons-grade material. The bad news, then, is that Iran has already mastered that know-how, and it can’t be reversed by bombing. Time for some grownup diplomacy then, eh? Continue reading

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Biggie Smalls Says Israel Won’t Bomb Iran

About 13 years ago, while working on a British TV magazine program, I found myself spending a couple of days with Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls/the Notorious B.I.G. (I swear, I still have the tape, but it’s analog.) This extended interview took place at the time when Tupac Shakur was yelling from the rooftops that he was going to kill Brooklyn’s greatest rapper, and getting plenty of publicity and selling records by doing so. Biggie wasn’t particularly alarmed. He’d been a hustler in Bed-Stuy for too long to take seriously threats that are broadcast. In far more colorful language, he said words to the effect of “On the streets, when someone is telling anyone who’ll listen that they’re going to kill you, you don’t have to lose any sleep over it. You’re not going to hear about beforehand when the real killer comes.”

Exactly. (Yes, I know, Biggie was eventually, tragically, murdered — but his point is proven by the fact that his killers had nothing to do with Tupac.)

And that’s why it’s hard to take seriously last week’s New York Times report about an Israeli military exercise in the Mediterranean being a “dry run” for an air attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Well, you can take it seriously as a PR stunt, aimed at sweating the Europeans into imposing more sanctions on Iran for fear that Israel will “do something crazy.” But when Israel bombed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981, and when it struck what it claimed was a Syrian nuclear facility late last year, there was no coverage of the preparations for those missions in the New York Times. Continue reading

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Iraq to Bush: Nobody Likes You, Beavis…

Extract from a piece I did in the National this week on the floundering effort to negotiate a U.S.-Iraq security deal to replace the current UN Resolution that expires in December:

The problem, for the US and for those Iraqi political factions most dependent on its presence, is that the vast majority of Iraqis oppose a long-term US presence, which to them feels like an occupation. The demand for the US to agree to a departure date enjoys overwhelming support – and public opinion is clearly reflected in the response of Iraqi parliamentarians to the security deal with Washington.

What the Bush administration is encountering here is the unkind reality of just how few friends America really has in Iraq. Sure, it has an alliance with the government of Mr Maliki, the prime minister, and with its largest party, the Supreme Islamic Council. And it also has cordial relations with some of the Sunni nationalist parties and, of course, with the Kurds.

But none of these groups shares the US agenda for Iraq. Instead, each has responded to the US presence as an opportunity to pursue its own ends. Each has engaged in tactical alliances with Washington in the hope of using US power against its foes in the intra-Iraqi power game.

To read the whole thing, click here. Continue reading

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U.S. Calls a Straw Poll in Iraq: It May Not Like the Result

By seeking a permanent security deal with Iraq, Bush has forced Iraqi politicians to show their hands. And none wants a long-term U.S. presence

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