Category Archives: Blockade of Iran

The Urban Legend on Arab Reaction to the Lausanne Nuclear Deal………

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Western media, especially American media, are full of talk, analysis, anguish, and punditry about the regional impact of the Lausanne nuclear deal made by Iran and the six world powers. I am speaking about the alleged Arab reaction. It is all based on a vast media campaign, whispered leaks to select American columnists, and private complaints by highly-placed “Arab” officials to unnamed bureaucrats. This campaign has utilized the vast media owned by some Arab kings, princes, potentates and their fronts in some Arab capitals and in the West. Thus it has created an urban legend about “Arab” anger and disappointment about a deal that will lift the economic blockade from Iran.

It is obvious that the sources of this alleged “anger” come from some of the GCC states of the Gulf and not from most other Arab states. That is why President Obama has invited the GCC leaders exclusively to Camp David in order to calm their alleged fears. And no other Arab leaders.
Now the members of the GCC whose regimes have leaked or expressed their dissatisfaction are almost certainly only four members: Saudi Arabia (including Bahrain), Qatar, and the UAE. These four countries have, with a total population of about 30+ million represent maybe some 12% of the total Arabs. I am not even counting the fact that almost half the ‘total’ population are imported temporary expatriate laborers who couldn’t care less about the issue. Can we say that these princes and potentates speak for the Arab world? Can we say these entitlement “born” leaders speak for other countries that “elect” their leaders? Now what about the others: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, etc, etc?

So, forget the reports about “Arab” anger. It is mostly an urban legend created and encouraged by the dominating vast media of Saudi Arabia and Qatar who have created so many news outlets and gobbled up so many other Arab media.

So, show me the figures, the reliable polls……..
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Kerry and Zarif: Three Is Not a Crowd in France………

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“A veto-proof, bipartisan majority of House lawmakers have signed an open letter to President Barack Obama warning him that any nuclear deal with Iran will effectively require congressional approval for implementation. A group of bipartisan senators have penned a bill mandating that any deal be reviewed and approved by Congress, but the House letter notes that lawmakers have another way to halt an agreement — by refusing to roll back sanctions………..”

Secretary of State John Kerry and Javad Zarif of Iran have been seeing each other a lot. Mr. Kerry has probably seen the Iranian minister more than any other foreign minister, certainly much more than Avigdor Liberman (I know, I know: Avigdor Who?) or Benyamin Netanyahu. I am sure he is content with not seeing the latter two, as would any minister or leader outside the United States. They seem to get along fine, might even be bonding: there are smiles and lakeside walks and long chats. But underneath it all there are short taut strings for both men, the Iranian and the American.
I can just imagine the Frenchie Laurent Fabius lurking around, crashing their intimate talks, wanting to hear it all, scheming to throw new wrenches into the process. A representative of other non-participating potentates. And to think that there is a French equivalent of “three is a crowd“, although this may not always be the case in France, if you get my drift.
It is remotely possible that if the Iran nuclear talks are derailed by the many evil forces working to do so, one of these men will defect to the other country. It can be either one of them. Unless they both defect at the same time…….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Western Weapons Sanctions: Unintended Long-Term Consequences………

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“It is a tribute to Iranian ingenuity that Iran has been able to keep the planes flying, given US sanctions in place since 1979. The Iranians have done so by a combination of smuggling – using shadow companies to buy parts – and cannibalising parts from civil aircraft. They have also engaged in reverse engineering, though this seldom produces a perfect match, resulting in weaker parts. Justin Bronk, a research analyst in the military science programme at the London-based Royal United Services Institute, said of the plane spotted over Iraq: “This is the equivalent of a late Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom D or E variants. We do not know which one.” Bronk, who specialises in combat air power, added: “It is extremely impressive that the Iranians have kept this airworthiness given the ban on spare parts. The Iranian aerospace industry is one of the best in the world in keeping old aircraft airworthy.”…………”

For some reason they can’t seem to get more modern warplanes from their Chinese and Russian allies. Or maybe the mullahs are just as attached to old American jets as the Shah was to new ones.

In any case, they have managed to improvise and build up their technical skills and weapons industries. Necessity is truly the mother of invention, and a fount of new research, technical skill, and knowledge. If and when the American-European blockade is lifted, they will probably find themselves with a robust domestic weapons and space industry that can only be rivaled by the Israelis.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Nuclear Iran: Israeli-Western Narrative and the Khamenei Narrative……..

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“Such a compromise would fall well short of the maximalist demands of Iranian hardliners, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who continue to believe that Iran should have a nuclear-weapons option, if not the bomb itself. It would also provoke outrage among sceptical members of America’s Congress and Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who insist that Iran’s record of cheating means it should have no enrichment programme at all. But that is the nature of compromises; neither side will get all it seeks……………”

The Economist narrative seems to have been taken straight from the mouth of Benyamin Netanyahu. Yet how do they presume to know the mind of Khamenei? To know what Khamenei thinks? They seem to quote him without actually quoting him: a neat journalistic trick (we bloggers also use it). Let us see what Khamenei has said publicly on Twitter (and let’s assume that he means it):
@khamenei_ir:
“Iran considers the use of WMDs as an unforgivable sin. Nuclear energy for all and nukes for none”
“We consider the use of WMDs as Haraam; we believe that it is everyone’s duty to secure humanity against this great evil.”  4/17/2010
“Islamic Republic of Iran considers the use of nuclear, chemical and similar weapons as a great and unforgivable sin.” 8/30/12
“Iranian nation is a victim of the use of CWs. That is why Iran is ready to counter WMDs by all its means. ” 

All sides in this argument dissemble (lie) about the nuclear issue. We know for certain that Mr. Netanyahu dissembles (okay, lies) regularly, almost everybody knows that. For twenty years he has been predicting an Iranian breakthrough to “the bomb” within ‘six months or a year’. He has slowed down now, for he used to do his predictions almost every two weeks. The West also dissembles in its claim that its focus is solely on the Iranian nuclear program. We know that is not true: there are regional strategic factors involved that have pushed the economic blockade, especially for the U.S. administrations. And not just the Israeli position or the pressures for war from some Arab princes and potentates (check Wikileaks cables).

As for Iranian officials, some of them would like to have “the bomb” and to have an excuse to clamp down even more on dissent and to block potential Western cultural influences. Toward that target they would be happy to scuttle the talks. As would many politicians in the United States and most if not all of the political and media elites in Israel.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Middle East Love-Hate: Iran and America, Islamic Republic Blues………..

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“One of the reasons this episode is deeply confusing might be because the “vibe” in Iran, the general feeling of walking down the streets, through the markets, the way we were received everywhere by total strangers and passersby, was overwhelmingly friendly. I have said that Iran is the most outgoingly warm, “pro-American” place we’ve ever shot—and that’s true: in Tehran, in spite of the fact that you are standing in front of a giant, snarling mural that reads “DEATH TO AMERICA!”, you will, we found, usually be treated better by strangers—meaning smiles, offers of assistance, curious attempts to engage in limited English, greetings and expressions of general good will—than anywhere in Western Europe, It would be hard to imagine strangers in Germany or France or England, on recognizing you as American, giving you a thumbs-up and a smile simply for your nationality. That was overwhelmingly the case in Iran…………”

This is a love-hate relationship: more love on the popular level, more hate on the political level. I have seen it in the Middle East and even among some Iranians in America. Many Iranians dislike American foreign policies in the region. They especially hate the unilateral economic blockade that they correctly believe Israeli leaders and their American political allies have pressured and browbeat Mr. Obama into imposing on their country.

Many mullahs and hardliners also naturally suspect and fear an opening to America. After all, they see how China has changed under Chairman Mao’s heirs so that it is now a “people’s republic” and “communist” only in name. Can the “Islamic Republic” be far behind? Probably not: many people in Iranian cities hope so. It is already changing profoundly from the inside.

Iran still probably has the most pro-American people in the whole Middle East. Many Iranians have relations, family ties, among the huge Iranian-American diaspora. They are also a relatively young population reacting to an orthodoxy their government has tried to impose on them, with waning success. They welcome mainstream American journalists who often visit, then go back home and declare their undying support for the economic blockade. (No surprise there: few if any would dare declaring against the sanctions and keep their jobs with the New York Times or Washington Post). Talking on a popular level, not on a government level: most mullahs and Revolutionary Guards are hardly pro-anything American and the U.S. Knesset Congress is violently anti-Iranian.

It is different from the Israelis that media propaganda here routinely picture as the most pro-American. Maybe they mean some shared ‘Western’ political and social values, and in many cases shared citizenship. Maybe the Mossad and the CIA and the military have some close cooperation, maybe, but that is government. The Israeli ties also reflect a degree of dependence, what many Muslims see as a one-way street that is often shaped by domestic American politics.

Nor do many others in the region feel friendly toward American policies. After all, the biggest attacks on the American homeland were planned and executed mainly by terrorists from two major allied Middle East countries. No doubt more are being planned and thwarted even now.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Human Shield Theory, Axis of Evil Theory, and other Propaganda Tools………


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Yesterday I watched former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on CNN dutifully repeating the usual claim that Hamas is using Gaza civilians as human shield. She was giving the usual bi-partisan spiel, or spin, about the newest Gaza war. But then that is the exact opposite of the spin or spiel we get from Hamas and its supporters.

Usually whatever Mr. Netnayahu claims is initially accepted, before the other side starts its own PR machine. It is taken for granted to be true in most media here, unless otherwise claimed or proven. Apparently Hamas has learned this lesson, a fact that caused a frustrated Netanyahu to grumble recently about “telegenically dead Palestinians“.

I am not sure about the claim that Hamas is deliberately placing rocket launchers amid civilian areas. I doubt it. But it is telling that nobody, not even Arabs, believe that Israel is using its civilians as human shield. That tells me something about certain national perceptions.

So, we are to believe that Palestinians don’t love their own people, their children, and use them as human shield, and that Israelis love their people and don’t use them as human shield.

But hasn’t this same ‘human shield’ story been used against other countries as well? Or the similar idea that some regime, Cuba or Iran, is impoverishing its own people, holding them as human shield, because it invites a Western economic blockade by not succumbing to the will of Western powers? The idea that the countries of an Axis of Evil would use their people as cheap fodder while the Axis of Goodness would not. Some might say that the numbers of war veterans wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq and then neglected by their own countries would refute that.

This “human shield” charge is largely based on Western notions that other peoples do not care for their citizens as much, that human life is cheaper in Palestine than it is, say, on the streets of Chicago on a Saturday night, or in Compton (Calif), or in parts of the Bronx or in Detroit on any night. Which is obviously untrue.

During WWII, the Germans could have claimed that Churchill was using civilians as human shields. And vice versa. And while we are talking old wars and human shields, think of Stalingrad and London under the Blitz.

Stay tuned…………
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Oh oh, Qassem Suleimani is Back Stalking Your Dreams………


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‘“Suleimani’s orchestration of brutal military campaigns in both Syria and Iraq set the stage for the Sunni Arab response turning to extremism,” explains Derek Harvey, a longtime Iraq intelligence analyst who now teaches at the University of South Florida. Harvey lists some of Suleimani’s mistakes: “He missed opportunities for moderation while still protecting Iranian interests. His partnership with extremism in Syria resulted in the threat growing in Syria and rebounding to Iraq. His refusal to counsel some moderation and inclusion by [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-]Maliki developed a fertile environment for [the Islamic State] and others to exploit.” Suleimani’s reversals are significant because he has become something of a cult figure among those who follow the paramilitary Quds Force he directs. I have likened him in past columns to John le Carré’s fabled spymaster, Karla. The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins chronicled what Arabs call Suleimani’s “khilib, or understated charisma,” in a memorable profile in September. Suleimani seemed a man who could run circles around rival commanders.……………”

Also sprach David Ignatius who has access not only to reliable unnamed high U.S. intelligence officials, but also to highly unreliable unnamed Arab Wahhabi princes and high officials. What is almost endearing about these relationships is that he believes everything that they tell him and tries to sell it to us. Occasionally I think he has converted to Wahhabism (which is neither Sunni nor Shi’a, but wayyyy out there).

If this Qassem Suleimani were head of government he would be labeled public enemy number one in Western media. In the same way that Ahmadinejad was, except that Ahmadinejad often asked for it with his big mouth. Or Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez or many others of the Third World.

But no need to worry: his organization, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), I believe, is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government while the U.S. Knesset Congress considers it Satan’s twin, even though it is an official military organization of a sovereign country (the North Korean or French or Ukrainian equivalents are NOT listed as a terrorist organizations). Oddly, the IRGC have never shot in anger at any American (well, not directly), unlike the Israeli IDF (remember the USS Liberty?), or the German Wehrmacht many of whose officers served along Americans later on, or the Viet Cong some of whom….. you get the point. Not only that: anyone who deals with them is also listed as terrorist. The bank where IRGC commanders deposit their pay and finance their homes, the baker who sells them hot oven-baked Iranian bread in the morning, the butcher who provides them with lamb for the chelo kebab, and the Afghani barber who trims their beards (he is also probably a Taliban agent). Anyway, it has become hard to separate fact from fiction when we read about him. More on this Suleimani later…….

Qassem Suleimani: Plotter with Morsi, Drug Smuggler to GCC, Election Manager in Iraq …….

More on Iran’s Qassem Suleimani: Solving the Mystery………

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Under Knesset Pressure: Obama Expands Blockade of Iran before Talks………

      


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“Under pressure from Congress to demonstrate that it is not easing up on sanctions on Iran’s oil sector or on its nuclear and missile programs, the Obama administration on Thursday announced an expanded list of Iranian companies and individuals that it said it would target to block their trading activities around the world. The administration’s announcement came shortly before Wendy Sherman, chief American negotiator on the Iran agreement, was scheduled to testify on the nuclear accord with Iran and the sanctions issues to the Senate Banking Committee…………….”

No profile in courage here, but then politics is not about courage, it never is. On the eve of expanded nuclear negotiations, the Obama administration tightens the blockade of Iran. Just to keep the hawkish Knesset in Washington (both Republicans and Democrats) at bay. To keep Ben Netanyahu’s groupies, his fan club, happy.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Breaking Distortion! Mandela Inspired Western Blockades of Third World Countries!……….

      


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“Nelson Mandela helped popularize use of sanctions. His greatest impact was as a moral leader, but Nelson Mandela also left a legacy in diplomacy by helping popularize the use of international sanctions to pressure a government to change its policies. Since sanctions were imposed in an effort to end apartheid and bring down South Africa’s white-minority government, they have been used hundreds of times, especially by Western countries. President Clinton, who ordered sanctions against Cuba, Libya, Iran and Pakistan, mused near the end of his second term that the United States had become “sanctions-happy.”…………..”

Cute but poisonous distortion of history in the L.A. Times. It says: “Nelson Mandela helped popularize use of sanctions”, and I haven’t read a pile of dung (caca, if you prefer) that smelled worse than this one today. Mandela inspired starving out the peoples of Cuba and Iran? This piece somehow ties American and Western sanctions against Third World peoples to Mandela. The cruel Western blockades of Cuba and Iran were apparently inspired by Nelson Mandela, according to this twisted logic.

Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher, applied sanctions exclusively to several third world countries, but refused to apply sanctions against the worst offender of the time, the apartheid White supremacist regime of what was called (with a straight face) the “Republic of South Africa”. AS did much of the U.S. Congress. After all, it ain’t kosher (nor halal) to blockade white folks, even in Africa.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Pushing the Next American War on the next Muslim Country………

      


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“The heightened rhetoric came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was to meet behind closed doors Wednesday with members of the Senate Banking Committee, which is weighing new sanctions against Iran’s energy and financial sectors, similar to a measure approved by the House in August. Kerry will appeal to skeptical lawmakers of both parties to wait at least a week before considering the new wave of punitive sanctions, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. He will ask them to put the sanctions a “temporary pause”………………”

It is not really about the Iranian nuclear program, stupid. I stopped believing that a few years ago, listening to Netanyahu and American senators and legislators and some Gulf media of the princes.
It is about the omnipotent Israeli lobby in Washington pushing for yet another war of choice against another Muslim country that has some regional strategic reach. It is about the Persian Gulf money lobby (absolute tribal Saudi princes and UAE shaikhs, even lowly Bahrain shaikhs) pushing for yet another American destructive war of choice on yet another Muslim country. A proxy war they are not willing to fight nor to participate in.
It is about a war that will not be sanctioned by the United Nations, and hence will be a certified Western war of aggression. Maybe it is about some inexplicable insatiable American desire to get bogged down in yet another faraway war that is erroneously painted as a cakewalk. Maybe it is a way to keep the military-industrial complex thriving.
It will be a war about all of the above.
What it is not about is a desire to reach a peaceful solution on the part of a U.S. Congress, both houses and both parties, that is in the Israeli pocket.
Which is how most Muslims and Arabs see it, once one gets away from the views publicized by controlled Gulf and Saudi media like Alarabiya, Asharq Alawsat, Al-Hayat, and others.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com