Elkern on fate and the “——- Lobby”

Obama-At-AIPAC2mar07 I really doubt that Israel will bomb Iran in any big way – but I really do think they are trying to get us (US) to do it for them.

Like Turkey, Persian Iran would be a natural ally for Israel, surrounded by Arabs. "The enemy of my enemy is my freind" translates to "the neighbor of my neighbor is my ally".

Israel wouldn't want Iran to be destroyed – like we did to Iraq – but rather, merely "flipped", and this would work a whole lot better for them if we would do the messy part. How many "Regime Changer" missiles do we have stockpiled?

Lacking direct experience in the region, I could be totally wrong here; if so, please correct me. A Koranic sense of Justice would lead Iran to defend Palistinian Muslims; my New Testament ethics lead me to share this sentiment. But I would bet that there's a strong tribal memory among Shiite Persians of persecution at the hands of Sunni Arabs which could pull them in the opposite direction. I would bet a second beer on the proposition that Israeli Jews are more accutely consious of ethnicity even than religion. Furthermore, I'd bet a third (somebody's gonna get fat, dumb & happy off this wager) saying that non-Israeli Jews are even more likely to think this way. Tribal solidarity is the strength and the curse of Judaism; how many will think outside that box?

Actually, I'm pleased to say that several of the clearest voices speaking out against the Israel Lobby in the US are Jewish progressive intellectuals. Sadly, they are often vilified as "self-hating Jews", which could only piss me off more if I was Jewish.

I've recently been worried by the possibility that the Israel Lobby is now willing to risk visibility because the US is pretty much used up, and won't be worth bothering with much longer. But this overreach could also be explained by individual and/or collective hubris.

Still, what I see is a strong contigent of Israelophiles in the US with great (horrible?) bureaucratic infighting skills, pushing the US into conflict with Iran. Babak, the Dispensationalist "Christians" provide cannon-fodder in the voting booth, but not Seals in the bureaucracy.

We must not let this war happen. I just hope that Freeman is correct in chosing to bail out screaming "Lobby", and I hope that Adm. Blair can keep his chair & keep our policy safe & sane.

But maybe it will be more palatable if we don't think of it as fighting 3 wars at once, but rather as one big war streching from the Med to the Himalayas…




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37 Responses to Elkern on fate and the “——- Lobby”

  1. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    New Testament aside, all analysis, imo, should rest upon the assumption that Issac Edward Leibowitz (may God bless his Soul) use to donate money to AIPAC before the Flame Deluge.

  2. Pattonmat89 says:

    If I remember correctly, weren’t Iran and Israel close friends during the days of the shah? Mossad helped train his secret police, and they did business together.

  3. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The chance of War between US and Iran is low; its highest probability was in 2006.
    Nevertheless, there is always the possibility of such a war until and unless the cold war between US and Iran is terminated.
    Such a war poses the greatest danger of turning into WWIII and a lesser danger (more likely scenario) of a 20-year long war – sort of like Elizabethan England against Spain.
    The greater danger of this war is to the United States since it will put US in the same position, for centuries to come– in the minds of Iranians and the Shia (if not all Muslims), as the (usurper) Omavid dynasty and its Khalif Yazid who perpetrated the massacre of Karbala. That is, the war will unleash a Shia emotional reaction whose effect cannot be calculated or estimated correctly but will harm the United States for decades, if not centuries, to come. I am not making this up – watch the footage of the burial of Ayatollah Khomeini and see for yourself.
    And what I have stated above equally well applies to Israel. I would caution them not to become the modern equivalents of Yazid, Shmr, abi Weqas and assorted other evil-doers of Karbala. For once those Shia emotional forces are unleashed all bets are off – in my opinion. The dimensions of the war can no longer be gauged let alone controlled.
    I do not think Iran can be flipped – that no longer exists in the realm of possibility. I think US & EU would be better off with a pricky but independent Iran which is suspicious of all geopolitical actors in that part of the world: US, UK, France, China, Russia, and India.
    In regards to Iran being an enemy (historical or tribal) of Sunni Arabs that is just not the case. The reason is that independent Arab states did not exist in Mesopotamia, Arabia, and the Levant for 600 years. There was never a war fought between modern Iranian state (established circa 1500) and any Arab state until 1979. The wars were with he Russian Empire, and with Turkic ruling houses of Ottoman Empire, Sheibanian Kingdom of Uzbeks, and the Mughals of India as well as 3 civil wars.
    Ultimately, the people and the government of the United States, through their representatives, must decide the question of “What price Israel?”, in my opinion.

  4. mo says:

    If Israel wants Iran “flipped” and looks to it to be a “natural ally” it had better be ready for some severe disappointment.
    If they believe that the Iranians are naive enough to consider Israels hands clean of any US attack then the naivete is theirs.
    Sunni persecution of the Shia does not translate to Shia allying with Israel against the Palestinians and is ancient history in comparison to Israels modern day persecution of Sunnis in Palestine and Shia in Lebanon.
    Sorry but I’m afraid this line of thought, if I understand it correctly, is a dead end.

  5. Iran is strategic for its location. Unfortunately, like Poland that means that it has others interested in its location and position of influence. The BOMB will not really help Iran and I think they understand this. The dynamics controlling Iran’s future are demographics, oil, and the moves by adjacent powers, such as Russia. They now see a way out by patience between being saddled with active US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The problem is their own economy and world wide events like the economic meltdown occurring. I would argue that Iran is not in control of its own destiney , but maybe US is not either. Look for large currency blocks to form to rival dollar and Euro and different trading rules on oil perhaps even by end of this year. The de facto devaluation of the dollar is going to have many many international repercussions. No one is really explaining to the citizens of the US the long term impacts just as Nixon failed to explain his devaluaton and floating exchange rates. That decisions real impacts are in fact part of the US economic problem now. Hidden before from the US and its allies. Clinton was right–The Bond Ghouls Rule!

  6. @Pattonmat89,
    You are correct that Iran and Israel used to be allies in the days before the Revolution. In fact, Trita Parsi goes into detail about the history and nature of this alliance in his book, Treacherous Alliance. The alliance was an uneasy one, premised mainly on the conditions noted by Elkern (the enemy of my enemy, the periphery strategy, and power balancing). It was, like Israel’s nuclear bomb, an unacknowledged fact – one known and respected but not discussed in public. Even the Islamic Revolutionaries found a use for dealing with the little Satan when they needed parts to fight Saddam’s armies in the 1980s.
    Of course, times are different and in pushing the US to eliminate a “near enemy” in Iraq, Israel only strengthened Iran’s power (and threat) over the region.

  7. FredS says:

    “How many “Regime Changer” missiles do we have stockpiled?” I believe these are on backorder, though we seem to have exported plenty of ‘terrorist seeking’ bullets.
    “Lacking direct experience in the region, I could be totally wrong here…”
    Well, at least he got that part right.

  8. curious says:

    speaking of old testament…
    anybody notices that zbig was the representative in 1977 talk with Iranian Shah? lol. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    man, this is like watching TV re-run. Maybe there should be a statistical analysis to predict when the next middle east conflict will happen. It ticks like a clock, every 20 yrs or so.
    The Iranian Shah meeting with Alfred Atherton, William Sullivan, Cyrus Vance, President Carter, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1977.

  9. Will says:

    Elkern also had a good post at Rootless Cosmo of Irak as another Arab Nabka- courtesy of Dubya.

  10. curious says:

    We are paying them to screw with international policy. Ka-ching.
    America’s pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, welcomed the congressional action, saying it would increase US aid to Israel to 2.55 billion dollars in fiscal year 2009, up from 2.38 billion dollars this year.
    “The US commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge is the cornerstone of American policy in the region,” AIPAC said in a statement Friday.
    “This year’s package holds heightened significance for US security interests, as the US and Israel face new challenges from Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons as well as the growing influence of radical anti-western forces to Israel’s south in Gaza and to the north in Lebanon.”

  11. JohnH says:

    Gareth Porter has an interesting interpretation of what is going on: “The Iranian condemnation of Israel and embrace of the Palestinian cause have been largely a strategic ploy to turn Arab public opinion against the Sunni regimes’ policies of hostility toward Iran.
    Shlomo Ben-Ami, who was Israel’s foreign minister and minister of public security from 1999 to 2001, observed in a lecture in Bologna in November 2007 that Iranian policy toward Israel has been misunderstood. Iran has been “more an enemy of an Israeli-Arab reconciliation than of Israel as such”, said Ben-Ami.”
    By paying lip service to the Palestinian cause, Ahmadinejad has been wildly successful at showing the hypocrisy of Arab rulers making him the most popular person in the Arab world. America’s beloved tyrants in the region lose face, legitimacy, and their ability to threaten Iran.
    As is their wont, Israel chooses to respond disproportionately, for unknown reasons. Maybe it’s a cultural need to create an existential threat where there is none. Maybe it’s good domestic politics, distracting from other pressing, real problems. Or maybe it’s a ploy to get the US involved , again for reasons known only to their psyche.

  12. zanzibar says:

    I am always confounded by reports of Israeli attack threats on Iran to disable their nuclear program.
    If my memory serves me right there was a discussion here at SST around the Hizballah/IDF war. It seemed the conclusion was that Israel has no military ability to destroy all the Iranian nuclear related facilities. So why do we keep getting these stories?
    Since the only military force with the capability to take out Iranian nuclear facilities is the US, the key question is why should the US engage in such an unprovoked pre-emptive strike? Specially considering that the NIE on Iran is rather clear that there is no nuclear weapons program. And the last time we engaged in a war of choice based on false pretenses in Iraq it turned out to be a strategic debacle for the country and destroyed the credibility of an Administration. My question is broader – why should the US be concerned if Iran has a nuclear weapons program and develops weapons and delivery capabilities? Pakistan, Israel and India already have an arsenal of nuclear weapons and no one seems to be threatening air and missile strikes. And Pakistan could even be considered to be a nuclear weapons state in a low grade civil war and contains terrorist elements that have actually attacked other countries including the US.
    If ever Iran dropped an atomic bomb on Israel they would be wiped out by Israeli and likely US retaliation. MAD has worked so far – even between Pakistan and India – long standing adversaries with an active terrorism and insurgency problem. Why would it not work between Israel and Iran?

  13. confusedponderer says:

    “How many “Regime Changer” missiles do we have stockpiled?” I believe these are on backorder, though we seem to have exported plenty of ‘terrorist seeking’ bullets.
    “Lacking direct experience in the region, I could be totally wrong here…” Well, at least he got that part right.

    For the activists, regime change has only be postponed. I don’t believe it’s off the table.
    There has been a stir here in Germany about Iran and it’s “brutal crackdown on the peaceful and gentle religion of the Bahai” by the dictator of Iran, Ahmedinejad (nearly original quote from TV news on ZDF), followed by interviews with photogenic, well dressed, well spoken, educated Bahai.
    It was all very smooth and professional, and it had a clear message.
    Thinking of it, the Bahai would do just fine as the public face of a regime change campaign against Iran.

  14. confusedponderer says:

    PS: I am aware that oppression of the Bahai in Iran is real, and that it indeed has intensified under conservative rule.
    But that doesn’t mean that the legitimate grievance of the Bahai cannot or isn’t instrumentalised for other, more worldly, ends.

  15. jon says:

    Rattling the tiger’s cage requires little risk and effort. Putting your entire arm in may prove more costly. Israel excels at these dire threats, backed up by its occasional military actions – generally against those without adequate resources to defend themselves. Despite this, Israel has maneuvered itself into quite a pickle.
    Iran has even better relations with its neighbors. Its primary concerns would be US behavior on its borders and clandestine actions, its Kurdish population, the resurgent Taliban, al Qaeda, and Pakistani rogues. These are not inconsiderable issues, but they pale in comparison to the strictures that Israel faces.
    The US is less likely now to engage in military adventures against Iran. But it may be to the US’ advantage, when dealing with Iran, to have Israel playing the bad cop.
    For there to be an alliance of some sort between Israel and Iran, there needs to be something of value that each can bestow upon the other. I’m not sure what Israel has to offer, except maybe some old F-15 parts. Maybe Israel can be of assistance on issues of Kurdish autonomy?
    Iran’s support of Syria, Hezballah and Hamas builds some Arab good will, and helps deflect the natural animosities, never fully tamped down, between the more conservative Sunnis and Shias. Israel’s behavior has been an absolute gift.
    Israel has succeeded in making alliances with most of its arab neighbors, save Syria and Iraq. I doubt that Israel would want to serious endanger those relations for Iranian benefit.
    When Gentiles criticize Israel, they are routinely labeled antisemitic. When Jews venture critique, they are labeled self-hating. Few people embrace these labels, so it becomes a simple tactic to deflect helpful concern and advice.
    Israel can rely on the support of the Jewish community in the US, but less and less reflexively. The support is based on clan, culture and religion, riven with fissures. If Israel faces an existential threat, there will be a coming together. However, at this point any substantive threat that Israel faces will be of its own making, and more likely to continue to be related to Palestinian issues.
    Change in Iran is most likely going to be along the lines of whether a Rafsanjani will be returned to power, or whether the more conservative ayatollahs will continue to hold firmly to power. The thought that a new Shah will come riding in from LA to put things back as they were thirty years ago is more than highly unlikely. There is no indication that the average Iranian is likely to be embracing Israel in the near future.

  16. Homer says:

    Elkern: Israel wouldn’t want Iran to be destroyed – like we did to Iraq
    Judging by the pro(-extremist-)Iranian histories and the nature of the main powerful religio-political parties in Iraq (al-Dawa, SCIRI), I think it is reasonable to posit that `Iraq’ was not destroyed.
    In fact, the very opposite is true.
    In response to the horrific attacks of 9/11, the Bushies, the loyal Bushies, and/or the US (inadvertently) ***created*** a burgeoning fundamentalist Islamic republic which has a long history and close ties to religious fanatics in Iran.
    Sort of telling, no, that the US recently appealed to Russia, **not Iraq**, for help with Iran, so that Iran would stop their enrichment program.
    The US has created a grotesque monster whose true face will be revealed in the next few years.

  17. ISL says:

    Agreeing with the general consensus that flipping Iran is improbable as is war, I would like to focus on why the Lobby is suddenly so visible.
    Elkern: “I’ve recently been worried by the possibility that the Israel Lobby is now willing to risk visibility because the US is pretty much used up, and won’t be worth bothering with much longer. But this overreach could also be explained by individual and/or collective hubris.”
    William R. Cumming touched on this too, a significant devaluation of the dollar is probably the only real and current existential threat to Israel.
    My point: If one is engaged in numerous technically illegal activities (ummm spying) even though largely unenforced, low visibility is key. Visibility could easily backfire, particularly if Obama chose to actively oppose the Lobby (need not be public). Hence big risk, and it seems, small upside for the probable.
    So SST’ers, any ideas on non-economic explanations?

  18. @Zanzibar,
    I don’t think even the U.S. military believes it can completely take out Iran’s nuclear facilities. (This is even truer if Iran does indeed have covert facilities.) In fact, I would argue that the U.S. military has a clear eyed view of Iran’s defensive capabilities as well as what it knows of its nuclear development and intentions, and thus made the decision that this is a nut too tough (or too costly) to correct.
    Unfortunately for the U.S., unlike 2000, there are far, far more military assets at stake and vulnerable to Iranian counterattack to undertake the task of “taking out” Iran’s nuclear facilities. Besides, unless you completely wipe out those facilities and the technical people involved with them, you will not end Iran’s capability to one day field a nuclear weapon. In fact, I’d argue that you would only ENSURE that Iran reverses its current course (to wit, achieve a breakout capability but not actually develop a weapon) and initiate a crash course to deploy such a weapon.
    So I am with Babak on this. The actual likelyhood of an attack seems lower now than in the recent past. This is part of why there is such incessant (Isreali led) screeching and wailing about Iran. There is simply not much they can do alone and they know it. In fact, I’d be more worried if no one was saying anything.
    Of course, the tension remains too high and therein lies the realm of unforeseen mistakes, misunderstood actions, and accidental military confrontation. This worries me more than any “bolt from the blue” by either Israel or the U.S.

  19. Milton Arbogast says:

    “I’ve recently been worried by the possibility that the Israel Lobby is now willing to risk visibility because the US is pretty much used up, and won’t be worth bothering with much longer. But this overreach could also be explained by individual and/or collective hubris.”
    Israel has contempt for the US. Does anyone really think that AIPAC is interested in non-Jewish United States? The thing that really drives the Israeli’s mad is the idea that the Arab-Persian world, whose history and culture make a mockery of Judaism, even exists.
    So, yes, I completely agree. Like a tribe of Bernie Madoff’s, Israel will patiently siphon off all equity in the US, and then move on, to make their theocracy legitimate.
    Shleppers in the US, in the eyes of Israel, are good for cannon fodder only. 8.1% unemployment? Excellent. More young Americans will join the Army.

  20. Milton Arbogast says:

    What is happening in Pakistan right now seems to be the end of non-Muslim rule in that country. What do others think?
    If it is, then Iran doesn’t look as threatening to Israel as Pakistan. Does it?
    Reliance on toady Satraps kept in power with a failing currency looks increasingly “used up” to return to my previous thought.
    Where will Israel turn next?

  21. VietnamVet says:

    I’ve finally come to the conclusion that schizophrenia has hit the American psyche. If the US leadership was rationale, bombing Iran would only come up in the context of Mutually Assured Destruction. But, America is still at war with Islam. Obama Administration’s basic strategic plan is still to kill them all. 17,000 more troops are being sent to Afghanistan. Predator bombing campaign continues in Pakistan.
    Schizophrenia is the only explanation for page A14 of the Sunday Washington Post. The headline reads “A New Approach to Fighting Rebels in South”. Immediately below is a color picture of a convoy with the lead Humvee flying the Jolly Rogers.
    In the article the Lt. Colonel is bitching that the locals don’t tell him anything. The light colonel doesn’t realize if he was patrolling Quantico, VA flying the black skull and cross bones the natives wouldn’t tell him jack shit either. He is the bad guy. He is using the same tactics and his job is identical to the SS in France.
    COIN may have worked years ago, but America doesn’t have the money, troops or the will rebuild Afghanistan. Too much time and blood has flowed to win their hearts and minds.

  22. jr786 says:

    Turkey a natural ally of Israel? Surrounded by Arabs? This is nonsense. Turkish Muslims feel brotherhood with Palestinians, not zionists.
    There is something called the Karbala Paradigm that is one reason why Shia identify with Palestinians. A sense of justice is what compels all Muslims to feel for the them. It is sunnat for Muslims to stand up against oppression and tyranny, whatever the cost.

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Gareth Porter is wrong.
    He does not understand the depth and extent of anti-Israel feeing across the Islamic world.
    Mr. Ahmadinejad had only stated what hundreds of millions of Muslim think in regards to Shoah and the State of Israel. And perhaps 2/3 of Muslim government leaders think like him. On this, the so-called West has lost Muslims – as Muslims have lost the West.
    The most one could reliably say, in my opinion, is that he made a decision to go public exactly at the time that Mr. Bush was pursuing his belligerent policies against Iran.
    Mr. Ahmadinejad wrapped himself in the mantle of Islam, raising the flag of Palestine – making certain that any US attacks on Iran will be viewed by a plurality of Muslim people and states as an attack on Islam.

  24. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You wrote: “why should the US be concerned if Iran has a nuclear weapons program and develops weapons and delivery capabilities?”
    The reason is that Don Americo’s protection racket – with all its attendant geopolitcal benefits – will erode.

  25. zanzibar says:

    My instinct is with you that even the US does not have the military capability to “eliminate” Iran’s nuclear programs. I remember that our discussion here implied thousands of sorties and thousands of missile strikes which of course would not be taken kindly in the Middle East as well as in other parts of the world.
    Protection racket implies protection money. I don’t see any such “transfers”. Of course if you consider Chinese and Saudi purchases of US debt maybe that could qualify. The only benefit I see is the dollar as reserve currency which has allowed us to live well beyond our means by accumulating large debts. But for how much longer such largesse will be bestowed is a good question?

  26. elkern says:

    Col. Lang –
    Shocked & honored that you bumped my post to a new thread. Hope it wasn’t just a lesson in the danger of dabbling & babbling outside my field of expertise.
    Homer – we destroyed the Iraq which had been able to field a technologically competent military strong enough to challenge Iran (much larger neighbor) and pose a threat (Scuds) to Israel. We destroyed Iraq’s systems of education, health care, energy and even plumbing, not to mention any military hardware heavier than a pickup truck. The middle class and most educated Iraqis now live as refugees in Jordan or Syria. The next generation of Iraqi children will have lower IQ (malnutrition, disease, stress) compounded by religious rather than secular education. Militarily, “Iraq” will be about as powerful as Jordan (haha?) for a while.
    Their Northern states (Kurdistan) may yet succeed where our Southern states (Confederacy) failed.
    The only threat that Iraq can project outside its borders for the next 40 years is by exporting suicide bombers.
    Their economy is also destroyed. Even with all that oil, they won’t be buying “honor” in the Arab world by sending money to Palestine for a while.
    Iraqi society is dead, too. National identity is less important, sectarian identity moreso now, and again, there’s the Kurdish paoblem…
    We destroyed Iraq.

  27. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The exhanges among geopolitical actors are not in the form of cash alone.

  28. Homer says:

    Sure, of course, I agree with much of what you say.
    How can I not?
    In several obvious and indisputable ways, Iraq has been utterly destroyed.
    But what you are not acknowledging is that there are two sides to every coin.
    During this dark period of wanton destruction, a `new’ burgeoning religio-political form of Iraq, a pro-extremist-Iranian Iraq, which is not loyal, responsive, or submissive to the US, has been created **inadvertently**.
    Back in the days of SH, as you know, a proto-type of this `new’ religio-political form was quashed and its members were ruthlessly persecuted.
    As many (but not enough people) know, Al-Maliki (Dawa), al-Hakim (SCIRI), et al. in the Iraqi Parliament have no history of working with the US prior to 2003-ish.
    They are loyal to extremists in Iran. They are not Chalabis. They are not loyal to the US. They have bled the beast of its blood and treasure patiently, cautiously, and skillfully.
    Their empowerment and the empowerment of the fanatics in Iran was a creative act **inadvertently** caused by the US.
    Before they were persecuted, now they reign.
    That is not destructive.
    That is creative, but not in a manner that is beneficial to the US.
    How can Sunni fanatics murder nearly 3000 people, and then in response to these murders Shiite fanatics with long and intimate ties to extremists in Iran get the reins of power thrust into their hands by the US??
    Where is the outrage?
    Has almost everyone forgotten who and what al-Dawa is?
    Why was al-Dawa taken off the list of state sponsored terrorist organizations?
    Is al-Dawa and the SCIRI still being funded by Iran and the US?

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Why do you consider Iranians extremists?
    Could you please explain the usage of this word?

  30. Homer says:

    Babak Makkinejad: Why do you consider Iranians extremists?
    Pls excuse the fact I was not 100% clear.
    I do not, as you say, `consider Iranians extremists’.
    But, perhaps like you, I do consider ***some*** Iranians to be extremists, just as I consider some Israelis in the IDF, some Americans with nationalistic tendencies, and others to be extremists also.
    Babak Makkinejad: “Could you please explain the usage of this word?”
    By `extremist’, I am much in line with the conventional sense of the word as in the OED: extremist, n. (and a.) One who is disposed to go to the extreme. Having written that, I really should devote some time to formulating my own sense.
    As for `extreme’, my principles have been informed by `Euro-American values’; so, obviously, what I think is extreme is not extreme to all.
    To flesh out what I mean by `extremism’ and `extremists’ pls note the following:
    1) Israel’s War Crimes
    The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.
    2) DEATH PENALTY: Seven Women Face Stoning in Iran
    Under Shari’a law, a prisoner is buried up to her breast, her hands restrained. Rules also specify the size of the stones which can be thrown so that death is painful and not imminent.
    3) The Texas Clemency Memos
    In this case Bush’s signature led, shortly after 6:00 P.M. on the very same day, to the execution of Terry Washington, a mentally retarded thirty-three-year-old man with the communication skills of a seven-year-old.
    4) 10 Pro-Iranian Shiites Held in Kuwait Bombings, The Washington Post December 19, 1983
    Kuwait announced yesterday the arrest of 10 Shiite Moslems with ties to Iran in terrorist bombings that killed four people and wounded 66 last Monday at the U.S. Embassy and other targets.
    “All 10 have admitted involvement in the incidents as well as participating in planning the blasts,” Abdul Aziz Hussein, minister of state for Cabinet affairs, told reporters after a Cabinet session, United Press International reported.
    Hussein said the seven Iraqis and three Lebanese were members of the Al Dawa party, a radical Iraqi Shiite Moslem group with close ties to Iran.

  31. elkern says:

    Homer –
    I said we “destroyed” Iraq mainly to point out that we didn’t “flip” it. “Regime Change” was one of the more reasonable excuses for the invasion, in a sick faux-realist (huh?) kinda way. I suspect that Bush screwed that plan by having an attack of Christianity which led him to veto Chalabi (isn’t that Arabic for “Cheney’s poodle”?) in favor of “democracy”.
    Looking at what has actually happened in Iraq since our invasion as if it were intentional (OK, it’s a stretch, but work with me here) makes me even more paranoid about the pro-Israeli faction(s) here trying to maneuvre the US into bombing Iran. This framework kills off a couple explanations, mainly Oil, Permanent US Bases, and Rovian Politics, leaving:
    – Oedipal reasons (Bush beats Daddy)
    – good for Israel (means, motive & opportunity)
    – good for Iran (motive, but no means)
    – Cheney’s psychological problems (textbook case of MOB = Mean Ol’ Bastard)
    I’m worried now about Obama repeating the JFK/LBJ mistake in Vietnam: going to war because they were afraid of being called names by the Republicans (“Who lost China?” would have been repeated as “who lost Vietnam”). In a democracy, war can happen for peculiar domestic political reasons largely unrelated to the real interests of the country. Sick, isn’t it?
    PS: Col Lang – Why the JINSA link below my post? You think I’m Hasbara? You turning me over to “them”? (mostly joking – I’m not really that paranoid yet… but maybe I should be…)

  32. inquire says:

    “I just hope that Freeman is correct in chosing to bail out screaming “Lobby”, and I hope that Adm. Blair can keep his chair & keep our policy safe & sane.”
    Perhaps your optimism is premature:

    Obama Conditions Palestinian Aid on Recognizing Israel’s “Right to Exist”
    In Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Obama administration has announced it will withdraw its entire $900 million aid pledge if the pending Palestinian unity government doesn’t recognize Israel’s “right to exist.” The warning was reportedly delivered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week. Clinton told Abbas the US Congress won’t approve Palestinian aid unless the Palestinian government also renounces violence. No such conditions have been imposed on Israel. The Israeli government refuses to renounce violence and has never recognized the right of Palestine to exist. Palestinians have also criticized the demand they recognize Israel’s “right to exist” because it forces them to go beyond recognizing Israel within secure borders, but in fact affirm the legitimacy of their dispossession and ongoing occupation.

    Source: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/12/headlines#5

  33. zanzibar says:

    Unfortunately protection costs real money.
    Not sure if the taxpayers who underwrite these “projects” with cash get a good deal at the end of the trade for intangibles.

  34. Homer says:

    elkern: I said we “destroyed” Iraq mainly to point out that we didn’t “flip” it…. I suspect that Bush screwed that plan by having an attack of Christianity which led him to veto Chalabi (isn’t that Arabic for “Cheney’s poodle”?) in favor of “democracy”.
    Iraq was flipped by the US in a manner that enabled Iraqi `religious fanatics’ (American POV) to legitimately seize the reins of power through an election.
    As many know, Al-Dawa and the SCIRI have been around for decades. They have no history of working for the US, prior to 2003-ish. They are and always have been pro-extremist-Iranian. Al-Dawa was recognized as a state sponsored terrorist organization.
    Consequently, the Dawa and the SCIRI could not have been even the US’ thousandth choice.
    As we all know, one reason the US did not depose SH awhile ago (supposedly) was so that such pro-extremist-Iranian religio-political factions would not seize the reins of power and thereby increase the power of extremists in Iran.
    Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened.
    Iraq was flipped for Iran by the US.
    Some food for thought …
    1) The Iran-Iraq War: Struggle Without End
    CSC 1984
    The stronger stance against Iran is partly in response to Iranian support for the Shiite faction that may have been responsible for the bombings of the American Marine and French Headquarters of the Multi-national Peacekeeping Force in Beirut. The Shiite faction, Al Dawa (the Call), was expelled from Iraq in early 1980 by President Hussein. Drawing its support from the large Shiite population in southeastern Iraq, Al Dawa attempted to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state to replace the secular Ba’ath Socialist government of President Hussein. The present leader of Al Dawa, Hojatoleslam Mohammed Baqr Hakim, is operating from Tehran where he has directed terrorist attacks against targets throughout the Middle East. It is uncertain if Tehran is directly controlling the activities of Al Dawa abroad or if it is just giving tacit approval for Al Dawa’s activities. In either case, Iran’s support of Al Dawa is unacceptable and cessation of hostilities favorable to Iraq is now the
    preferred option for the White House.
    2) Cheney ’94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire C-SPAN
    3) Iraqi Shi’i Opposition Leader Visits Syria and Lebanon, Praises Kuwaiti
    Support BBC. February 27, 2000
    Hakim, meanwhile, criticized the American plan to remove Saddam Husayn
    from power.
    “This plan is vague and lacks support to the field issue,” he said.
    The plan, said Hakim, did not consider the protection of the Iraqi people, the opposition operations nor the field and practical issues.
    He said the Iraqi people were doing “a wide and active” operations but
    they were facing relentless oppression.
    “Among the obstacles facing the Iraqi people to remove their regime is the international position which does not care with the humanitarian side, oppression and the destruction of the weapons of mass destruction,”
    he said.
    4) Iraq: Bush’s Islamic Republic
    By Peter W. Galbraith
    Real power in Shiite Iraq rests, however, with two religious parties: Abdel Aziz al-Hakim’s Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Dawa (“Call,” in English) of Iraq’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari. Of the two, SCIRI is the more pro-Iranian.
    SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state. They propose to make Islam the principal source of law, which most immediately would affect the status of women. For Muslim women, religious law—rather than Iraq’s relatively progressive civil code—would govern personal status, including matters relating to marriage, divorce, property, and child custody. A Dawa draft for the Iraqi constitution would limit religious freedom for non-Muslims, and apparently deny such freedom altogether to peoples not “of the book,” such as the Yezidis (a significant minority in Kurdistan), Zoroastrians, and Bahais.
    This program is not just theoretical. Since Saddam’s fall, Shiite religious parties have had de facto control over Iraq’s southern cities. There Iranian-style religious police enforce a conservative Islamic code, including dress codes and bans on alcohol and other non-Islamic behavior. In most cases, the religious authorities govern—and legislate—without authority from Baghdad, and certainly without any reference to the freedoms incorporated in Iraq’s American-written interim constitution—the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL).

  35. In regards to anti-semitism: If anti-semitism is to be regarded as being in the realm of the worst, then it necessarily follows that pro-semitism lies in the realm of the best. Going further, the most semitic must be the most virtuous.Thus, on a hierarchical scale of virtue, Jews in general are only somewhat virtuous, as are Lebanese, Syrians and Iraqis. The most semitic and, therefor the most virtuous, must be the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula, the Saudis, in particular. Doesn’t it then follow that the worst anti-semites are those who attack the Saudis? Those who malign Ambassador Freeman for associating with Arabs must, therefor, be vicious anti-semites.

  36. Fnord says:

    Theyve propably already gotten a no, and are now working to undermine Obama in order to pressure him on a future decisionmaking cycle post some event. And they want to get Hezbollah good too.In a sense, Lieberman becoming foreign minister makes perfect sense. That is a a proudly raised middle finger if I ever saw one, as was the Freeman event.

  37. curious says:

    Netanyahu Gets More Time, Hopes to Forge Broader Coalition
    Israel’s Incoming Government Could Clash With Obama Administration
    While Netanyahu has compromised in past dealings with Washington — an earlier term as prime minister was cut short after he made land concessions at the urging of President Bill Clinton– his still-to-be-finalized coalition partners may not leave him much room to maneuver.
    “The more narrow the government the more difficult it will be for Netanyahu to make some gesture towards the U.S.,” said Gerald Steinberg, chairman of the political science department at Bar-Ilan University outside Tel Aviv. On issues such as settlements, if pressure comes from Washington, “it is likely to lead to a major confrontation.”

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