Historians Against the War

Sign the Statement

HAW Conference

Speakers Bureau

Press Releases and Statements

Virtual Movement Archive


Teaching Resources

GI Resistance

Civil Liberties and Academic Freedom


Join our Listserv

Download HAW images


About us / Contact us

Sunday, September 30, 2012

[haw-info] Iran War Weekly - September 30, 2012

Historians Against the War is posting Frank Brodhead's "Iran War Weekly,' as a helpful resource for our members and friends. Frank earned a PhD in history at Princeton University and has co-authored several books on US foreign policy. He is a scholar and political activist who has worked with peace and social justice movements for many years. In 2010-2011 he produced the "Afghanistan War Weekly," which was widely used by antiwar groups across the country.

Iran War Weekly
September 30, 2012
Hello All – Will there be no October Surprise this election-year?  Interpretations of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's bizarre speech to the United Nations General Assembly uniformly agree that it amounted to surrender to President Obama's prohibition on a military attack on Iran before the election.  While the speech will be remembered primarily for the Wiley-Coyote bomb cartoon and his cartoonish explanation of Iran's nuclear program, Netanyahu also moved the now-or-never attack clock back until next spring.  Meanwhile, his Foreign Minister "leaked" a report that economic sanctions against Iran were working after all, and should be given a chance.  Whether Netanyahu surrendered because of his collapsing support in Israel, or whether there were additional threats and/or offers as well, remains to be seen. In addition to the speeches by the major players, I've linked several interesting commentaries and analyses.
Among the other good/useful reading linked below, I especially recommend Christian Stork's "Complete Idiot's Guide to Iran and the Bomb"; Bill Fletcher, Jr.'s introduction to Raha's "Open Letter to the Antiwar Movement"; the in-depth report (a first, to my knowledge) about the likely civilian casualties that would result from a military strike on Iran's nuclear sites (tens of thousands); a report on Pentagon thinking about the likely military scenario if Israel decided to go it alone; and an informative essay by Patrick Tyler on Israel's military elite and their resistance to diplomacy.
Regarding Syria, amidst continued reports of a military stand-off and the inability of Syria's armed opposition to unite, I've linked some good analyses of Qatar's proposed "Arab intervention force" – and what's in it for Qatar.
Finally, for those who would like user-friendly daily updates re: Iran and Syria, I recommend the websites of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMI) [UK] - http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/, and Syria Comment - http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/.
Once again, I appreciate the help that many of you have given in distributing the Iran War Weekly and/or linking it on websites.  Previous "issues" of the IWW can be read at http://warisacrime.org/blog/46383.  If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send me an email at fbrodhead@aol.com.
Best wishes,
Frank Brodhead
Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)
The US and Iran on a dead end path to war?
By Trita Parsi, Open Democracy [September 24, 2012]
---- There are three ways war between US and Iran can begin: through a deliberate decision by either Washington, Tehran, or Tel Aviv; through a naval incident in the Persian Gulf that escalates out of control; or through the gradual elimination of all other policy options - the dead end path to war. Of these three, it is the last one that is most worrisome and likely. Unless strong political leadership is quickly shown on all sides, with decisive diplomatic effort to escape the zone of political paralysis created by the dual track policies, we will descend further into this dead end. Electing a president that prefers to avoid war is not enough. The dual track policy is a one-way street towards confrontation. War - regardless of how much we prefer to avoid it or know it is strategically disastrous - may soon stare at us as the sole remaining outcome. http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/trita-parsi/us-and-iran-on-dead-end-path-to-war
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Iran and the Bomb
By Christian Stork, WhoWhatWhy [September 27, 2012]
---- As our Nobel laureate President ascended to the podium on September 25 at the United Nations for his last international speech before the election, we again were the recipients of fine oratory and rhetorical flourish about America's problems in the world. Focusing on the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa—what's often misleadingly termed, "the Muslim world"—Obama singled out Iran's treaty-entitled uranium enrichment activities, saying "make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained."  Given how easily the American public and media were manipulated into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, this moment should give us some pause.  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/27-5
The Black Swan of the Gulf
By Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Open Democracy [September 24, 2012]
---- It has become clear twenty months into the Arab uprisings that the Arab Gulf states have decided to clamp down and maintain their political status quo. I believe that the Gulf states will continue to maintain their position until they are subjected to a black swan event; something so unpredictable that it would finally jolt them into swallowing the bitter reform pill. This has become a classic chicken or egg dilemma. Introduce political reforms and watch economic development stagnate à la Kuwait or procrastinate until frustration leads to street protests à la Bahrain? The Gulf states have survived the first round of the Arab uprisings' unrest but it is unlikely that we have seen the end of them. But what are the possible black swan events that could take place in the Gulf? Here are several from an exhaustive list: [9 interesting speculations] http://www.opendemocracy.net/sultan-sooud-al-qassemi/black-swan-of-gulf
Also interesting - Bill Fletcher, Jr., "Raha's "Open Letter to the Antiwar Movement," The Black Commentator [Portside, September 27, 2012] http://blackcommentator.com/487/487_anti_war_iran_raha_fletcher_share.html
Iranian Diplomat Says Iran Offered Deal to Halt 20% Enrichment
By Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service [September 24, 2012]
---- Iran has again offered to halt its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, which the United States has identified as its highest priority in the nuclear talks, in return for easing sanctions against Iran, according to Iran's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Ali Asghar Soltanieh, who has conducted Iran's negotiations with the IAEA in Tehran and Vienna, revealed in an interview with IPS that Iran had made the offer at the meeting between EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Iran's leading nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Istanbul Sept. 19. Soltanieh also revealed in the interview that IAEA officials had agreed last month to an Iranian demand that it be provided documents on the alleged Iranian activities related to nuclear weapons which Iran is being asked to explain, but that the concession had then been withdrawn. http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2012/09/24/iranian-diplomat-says-iran-offered-deal-to-halt-20-enrichment/
[FB – A story from Iran's PressTV denied that Porter's interview with Soltanieh ever took place.  As Porter is a very reliable source, imo, one wonders what's going on with/in Iran.  The PressTV story is at "Iran's IAEA envoy denies IPS interview on enrichment," [September 26, 2012] http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/12952.  To my knowledge, Porter has not replied to the PressTV statement.]
How to Help Iran Build a Bomb
By William J. Broad, New York Times [September 28, 2012]
---- Advocates of airstrikes on Iran's nuclear facilities have long held that the attacks would delay an atom bomb for years and perhaps even buy Israel enough time to topple the Iranian government. In public statements, the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, has said that an attack would leave Iran's nuclear program reeling, if not destroyed. The blow, he declared recently, would set back the Iranian effort "for a long time." Quite the opposite, say a surprising number of scholars and military and arms-control experts. In reports, talks, articles and interviews, they argue that a strike could actually lead to Iran's speeding up its efforts, ensuring the realization of a bomb and hastening its arrival.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/sunday-review/how-to-help-iran-build-a-bomb.html?ref=world
"The Ayatollah's Nuclear Gamble: The Human Cost of Military Strikes Against Iran's Nuclear Facilities"
---- Based on the best information available as well as discussions with Iranian and Western nuclear experts, we have estimated the total number of people—scientists, workers, soldiers and support staff—at Iran's four nuclear facilities to be between 7,000 and 11,000. It is highly likely that the casualty rate at the physical sites will be close to 100 percent. Assuming an average two-shift operation, between 3,500 and 5,500 people would be present at the time of the strikes, most of whom would be killed or injured as a result of the physical and thermal impact of the blasts. If one were to include casualties at other targets, one could extrapolate to other facilities, in which case the total number of people killed and injured could exceed 10,000. http://nucleargamble.org/
[FB – This report cites the IAEA estimate that Iran has 371 metric tons of uranium hexafluoride, and that a military strike that sent this stuff into the air could severely affect hundreds of thousands of Iranians, depending on wind direction, etc. To read the full report (80 pages), go to http://nucleargamble.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Ayatollahs-Nuclear-Gamble-Full.pdf.]
The Entebbe Option: How the U.S. military thinks Israel might strike Iran
By Mark Perry, Foreign Policy [September 27, 2012]
---- According to several high-level U.S. military and civilian intelligence sources, U.S. Central Command and Pentagon war planners have concluded that there are at least three possible Israeli attack options, including a daring and extremely risky special operations raid on Iran's nuclear facility at Fordow -- an "Iranian Entebbe" they call it, after Israel's 1976 commando rescue of Israeli hostages held in Uganda. In that scenario, Israeli commandos would storm the complex, which houses many of Iran's centrifuges; remove as much enriched uranium as they found or could carry; and plant explosives to destroy the facility on their way out. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/27/the_entebbe_option?page=0,0
Also useful – John Glaser, "How to Go to War With Iran: Provoke an Attack," Antiwar.com [September 26, 2012] http://antiwar.com/blog/2012/09/26/how-to-go-to-war-with-iran-provoke-an-attack/; and NBC News, "US: Iran missile test is 'pure fabrication,'" [September 25, 2012 http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/25/14099243-us-iran-missile-test-is-pure-fabrication
Remarks by the President to the UN General Assembly
Full text of Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the UN General Assembly
From Times of Israel [September 27, 2012]
Iran's response to Netanyahu's UN speech
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad UN General Assembly Speech
Commentaries on the Speeches
Imminent Iran nuclear threat? A timeline of warnings since 1979
By Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor [November 8, 2011]
---- Breathless predictions that the Islamic Republic will soon be at the brink of nuclear capability, or – worse – acquire an actual nuclear bomb, are not new. For more than quarter of a century Western officials have claimed repeatedly that Iran is close to joining the nuclear club. Such a result is always declared "unacceptable" and a possible reason for military action, with "all options on the table" to prevent upsetting the Mideast strategic balance dominated by the US and Israel. And yet, those predictions have time and again come and gone. This chronicle of past predictions lends historical perspective to today's rhetoric about Iran. http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/content/view/print/422252
Netanyahu Backs Off on Iran
By Ray McGovern, Antiwar.com [September 28, 2012]
---- The main takeaway from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's U.N. speech was the inference that he has been forced to relent on the possibility of military action against Iran, with his threats deferred past the U.S. election on Nov. 6 and off into next spring and beyond. His ominous intonation that "everyone should have a sense of urgency" about Iran "amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon" went over like a dead trial balloon – fatally punctured when he pushed the acute-worry-date into sometime in 2013: http://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2012/09/28/netanyahu-backs-off-on-iran/
Also useful/interesting – Marsha B. Cohen, "Netanyahu's "Iranian Bomb": Rules of the Road (Runner?)," LobeLog [September 28, 2012]  http://www.lobelog.com/the-strategic-logic-of-netanyahus-iranian-bomb-rules-of-the-road-runner/; Nima Shirazi, "Benjamin Netanyahu: Master of Show-and-Tell,"  Wide Asleep in America [September 27, 2012] http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2012/09/benjamin-netanyahu-master-of-show-and.html; and from Aljazeera,"(Video) Netanyahu's 'red line,'" [September 29, 2012] http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2012/09/201292991010816234.html
Ahmadinejad and Netanyahu on the Iranian Nuclear Issue at the UN General Assembly
From Race for Iran [September 28, 2012]
White House: Obama, Netanyahu 'in full agreement' on Iran's nuclear program
By Reuters, et al., [September 28, 2012]
---- President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday expressed solidarity on the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the White House said, amid signs of easing tensions over their differences on how to confront Tehran. Obama, who opted not to meet Netanyahu on his U.S. visit, spoke by phone to the Israeli leader, who used his UN speech on Thursday to keep up pressure on Washington to set a "red line" for Tehran. But in a softening of his approach, Netanyahu also signaled that no Israeli attack on Iran was imminent before the November 6 U.S. presidential election. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/white-house-obama-netanyahu-in-full-agreement-on-iran-s-nuclear-program-1.467373
Also useful – John Glaser, "At UN, Obama Falsely Claims America Sides with Democratic Change in Mideast," Antiwar.com [September 25, 2012] http://news.antiwar.com/2012/09/25/at-un-obama-falsely-claims-america-sides-with-democratic-change-in-mid-east/
Obama Administration Sets Table for More Sanctions Against Iran
By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [September 24, 2012]
---- The Obama Administration is already announcing new sanctions against Iran roughly twice a month, and while it seems unclear how much more they can even theoretically do its clear they've set the table to continue. Today, the Treasury Department announced that they now consider the National Iranian Oil Company, one of the largest oil exporters on the planet, to be a "affiliate" of the Iranian military, allowing yet more sanctions against banks that have anything to do with Iranian oil.  …Officials say that the potential new sanctions won't apply to nations which have been granted "exceptions," which includes South Korea, Japan and the European Union. http://news.antiwar.com/2012/09/24/obama-admin-sets-table-for-more-sanctions-against-iran
Providing a legal basis to attack Iran
By Jeffrey H. Smith and John B. Bellinger III, Washington Post [September 27, 2012]
[FB – This is obviously a conservative view, passing lightly over the UN Charter and international law.]
---- Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have said they would consider a military strike against Iran. According to media reports, the necessary planning has been completed, and military options are "fully available." But there has been almost no discussion of whether an attack by the United States would be legal under domestic and international law. This should be a priority. Law is important, especially in issues of war and peace. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/providing-a-legal-basis-to-attack-iran/2012/09/27/e30e87a4-043b-11e2-91e7-2962c74e7738_story.html
More on the MEK
MEK Delisting Slap in the face for Average Iranians
By Leila Kashefi, LobeLog [September 24th, 2012]
---- Iranians inside and outside the country rarely agree about anything. They find common ground in their love of pomegranates, pride for Iranian athletes competing internationally, respect for Mohammad Mossadeq, the 1950s prime minister who nationalized Iranian oil before being ousted in a US-backed coup, and deep contempt if not hatred for the MEK…. As for the people of Iran, many are beginning to wonder why the US despises them so much.  Already suffering under the regime's boot, they are also subjected to US-led economic sanctions that are destroying the middle class while strengthening the hands of the system's loyalists. Now comes the news that the despised MEK is free to operate outside the country and steal their voice. For the Iranian people it seems like President Obama's inauguration promise of an outstretched hand has turned out to be a rude slap in the face. http://www.lobelog.com/mek-delisting-slap-in-the-face-for-average-iranians/
Also useful – Coleen Rowley, "'Our (New) Terrorists' the MEK: Have We Seen This Movie Before?" Antiwar.com [September 28, 2012] http://original.antiwar.com/colleen-rowley/2012/09/27/our-new-terrorists-the-mek-have-we-seen-this-movie-before/; and Associated Press, "Iran says Obama administration's removal of group from US terror list shows 'double standards'" [September 29, 2012] http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/iran-says-obama-administrations-removal-of-group-from-us-terror-list-shows-double-standards/2012/09/29/25c50a92-0a30-11e2-9eea-333857f6a7bd_print.html
Iran Reveals More About What It Calls Foreign Sabotage
By Rick Gladstone, New York Times [September 26, 2012]
---- Iran said Tuesday that it had amassed new evidence of attempts by saboteurs to attack Iranian nuclear, defense, industrial and telecommunications installations, including the use of computer virus-infected American, French and German equipment. An Intelligence Ministry announcement represented a new level of detail from Iran about the scope of sabotage attacks, and it appeared to reflect growing Iranian concern about security threats carried out clandestinely. Some equipment in question was even put on display, Fars said, calling it the first such exhibition "to show American, French and German equipment used for sabotage acts against Iran's vital and important facilities."  The accounts of sabotage came three days after the top Iranian lawmaker for national security and foreign policy, Aladdin Boroujerdi, said Iranian security experts had discovered explosives planted inside equipment bought from Siemens, the German technology company. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/world/middleeast/iran-reveals-more-about-what-it-calls-foreign-sabotage-acts.html?ref=world
Why Iran resists pressure to open Parchin to IAEA inspectors
By Cyrus Safdari, Iran Affairs [September 27, 2012]
---- Parchin is a military site that has been in the news lately because the IAEA is insisting on sending inspectors there, and Iran has been resisting the pressure. While this has naturally led many US media outlets to suggest that Iran is hiding something there, Hassan Beheshtipour explains Iran's position over at IranReview.org. http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2012/09/why-iran-resists-pressure-to-open-parchin-to-iaea-inspectors.html
Inside Iran
How to Save the Regime in Tehran
By Nazila Fathi, Foreign Policy [September 25, 2012]
---- Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi has a lot on her mind these days…. Iran contends that its nuclear program is peaceful, intended solely for power generation to bolster up a beleaguered economy. In any case, analysts have warned that a military strike is unlikely to halt the program and may only delay it for a few years. Iran has sheltered its nuclear facilities deep underground to protect from any possible military strikes, and has vowed that it would retaliate harshly if it comes under attack. But Ebadi points to another problem. War with Israel, she says, may rescue the Iranian regime at a time when it is extremely unpopular at home and is clinging to power with an iron fist. "It is the only thing that can save the regime," she said. "A war will stir nationalistic feelings and rally the people behind the government to defend the country. It will be catastrophic for the [Iranian] people, the country, and the region, but it will save Iran's rulers." http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/25/how_to_save_the_regime_in_Tehran?page=full
Also useful – From Reuters, "Ex-Iran president's son returns from exile, faces charges," [September 24, 2012] http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/24/us-iran-rafsanjani-idUSBRE88N07420120924
Defusing Israel's 'Detonator' Strategy
By Patrick Tyler, Los Angeles Times [September 25, 2012]
[FB – Patrick Tyler is the author of the new book, Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country – And Why They Can't Make Peace.]
---- Moshe Dayan, the one-eyed general who led Israel to military victories in the 1956 Suez war and the Six-Day War of 1967, believed in what he called a "detonator" strategy for the Jewish state. "When someone wishes to force on us things which are detrimental to our existence, there will be an explosion which will shake up wide areas, and realizing this, such elements in the international system will do their utmost to prevent damage to us." In trying to assess whether Israel will launch a preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear complex, possibly triggering a broad Middle Eastern war and a new shock to the global economy, Western leaders need to take into account Israel's capacity for playing the role of "detonator" in the Middle East, a strategy that can be seen in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand for "red lines" that, if crossed, would serve as a trigger for war. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-tyler-israel-iran-20120925,0,2052350.story
Israel's Foreign Ministry: Sanctions against Iran are having dramatic impact
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz [Israel] [September 27, 2012]
---- An internal Foreign Ministry document maintains that the additional sanctions imposed on Iran in recent months have caused far more damage to the Iranian economy than previous believed and have sparked additional domestic criticism of the regime. Against this backdrop, Israel has stepped up its efforts to have the European Union impose another round of sanctions, a senior ministry official said. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-s-foreign-ministry-sanctions-against-iran-are-having-dramatic-impact.premium-1.466860
Also useful – From the Associated Press, "Iconic Israeli newspaper Maariv faces collapse; critics allege it's part of anti-media blitz" [September 25, 2012] http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/iconic-israeli-newspaper-maariv-faces-collapse-critics-allege-its-part-of-anti-media-blitz/2012/09/25/4345d464-0749-11e2-9eea-333857f6a7bd_print.html
Syria and the Dogs of War
By Conn Hallinan, Foreign in Policy in Focus [September 29, 2012]
Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1
---- "Blood and destruction," "dreadful objects," and "pity choked" was the Bard's searing characterization of what war visits upon the living. It is a description that increasingly parallels the ongoing war in Syria, which is likely to worsen unless the protagonists step back and search for a diplomatic solution to the 17-month old civil war. From an initial clash over a monopoly of power by Syria's Baathist Party, the war has spread to Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, ignited regional sectarianism, drawn in nations around the globe, and damaged the reputation of regional and international organizations. Once loosed, the dogs of war range where they will. http://original.antiwar.com/hallinan/2012/09/28/syria-and-the-dogs-of-war/
Syrian War's Spillover Threatens a Fragile Iraq
By Tim Arango, New York Times [September 24, 2012]
---- The civil war in Syria is testing Iraq's fragile society and fledgling democracy, worsening sectarian tensions, pushing Iraq closer to Iran and highlighting security shortcomings just nine months after American forces ended their long and costly occupation here. The Syrian war's spillover has called attention to uncomfortable realities for American officials: despite nearly nine years of military engagement, an effort that continues today with a $19 billion weapons sales program, Iraq's security is uncertain and its alliance with the theocratic government in Tehran is growing. Iraq's Shiite-dominated leadership is so worried about a victory by Sunni radicals in Syria that it has moved closer to Iran, which shares a similar interest in supporting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/world/middleeast/iraq-faces-new-perils-from-syrias-civil-war.html?hp
(Video) Lakhdar Brahimi: 'Change has to take place'
From Aljazeera [September 23, 2012] – 25 minutes
----The UN special envoy to Syria explains why he believes the crisis there poses a real threat to the region. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidesyria/2012/09/201292383554431764.html
Turkish pilots killed by Assad, not in crash: leaked documents
From Al Arabiya News [September 29, 2012]
[FB Al Arabiya is Saudi Arabia's answer to Al Jazeera.  A threshold question is whether or not this report is genuine or fabricated.  In either case, it is bound to increase tensions between Turkey and Syria; and if it turns out to be genuine (or "not falsifiable") it could easily escalate the conflict.)
---- As political tensions mount between neighboring Syria and Turkey, newly-leaked Syrian intelligence documents obtained by Al Arabiya disclose shocking claims shedding light on the dreadful fate of two Turkish Air Force pilots. Contrary to what was publically claimed, the documents reveal that the pilots survived the crash, but were later executed by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad! This disclosure is the first in a series of revelations based on a number of newly-leaked and highly classified Syrian security documents which will be aired in a special program produced by Al Arabiya over the next two weeks.  http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/29/240805.html
Qatar Calls for Arab Intervention in Syria
Qatari Emir Pushes for Arab Invasion of Syria
By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [September 25, 2012]
---- Speaking today at the UN General Assembly, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani proposed an Arab coalition invasion force to enter Syria and "stop the bloodshed," citing the 1970′s Lebanese force as a guideline. He insisted the nations have a "military duty" to intervene. This was an extremely poor example because the Arab Deterrent Force (ADF), deployed to Lebanon at the onset of their bloody civil war, ended up staying for a solid seven years, morphing into a Syrian military occupation of northern Lebanon, which continued for decades. The Qatari government, as with the rest of the governments in the GCC, back the rebels against the Assad government, and many are keen to insinuate themselves militarily to install the Sunni rebels in the country. Russia and China, both allies of Assad, would oppose any foreign invasions. http://news.antiwar.com/2012/09/25/qatari-emir-pushes-for-arab-invasion-of-syria/
Qatar: Rich and Dangerous
By Felix Imonti, OilPrice.com [September 17, 2012]
---- Why would Qatar want to become involved in Syria where they have little invested?  A map reveals that the kingdom is a geographic prisoner in a small enclave on the Persian Gulf coast. It relies upon the export of LNG, because it is restricted by Saudi Arabia from building pipelines to distant markets.  In 2009, the proposal of a pipeline to Europe through Saudi Arabia and Turkey to the Nabucco pipeline was considered, but Saudi Arabia that is angered by its smaller and much louder brother has blocked any overland expansion. The fighting is likely to continue for many more months, but Qatar is in for the long term.  At the end, there will be contracts for the massive reconstruction and there will be the development of the gas fields.  In any case, Al-Assad must go.  There is nothing personal; it is strictly business to preserve the future tranquility and well-being of Qatar. http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Qatar-Rich-and-Dangerous.html
Also useful – (Video) "Is it time for Arab intervention in Syria?" Aljazeera [September 30, 2012] http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidesyria/2012/09/20129308816498990.html; and Jason Ditz, "Egypt's Mursi Opposes Invasion of Syria," Antiwar.com [September 26, 2012] http://news.antiwar.com/2012/09/26/egypts-mursi-opposes-invasion-of-syria/

Thursday, September 27, 2012

[haw-info] HAW Notes 9/27/12: Conference reminder and links to recent articles of interest

Note: The Call for Proposals for the April 5-7 HAW national conference, "The New Faces of War," in Baltimore is at http://www.historiansagainstwar.org/conf2013.  The deadline for proposals is October 30.

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

"'Our (New) Terrorists' the MEK: Have We Seen This Movie Before?"

By Coleen Rowley, Huffington Post, posted September 27

"Boykinism: Joe McCarthy Would Understand"
By Andrew J. Bacevich, TomDispatch.com, posted September 25
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University

"New Stanford/NYU Study Documents the Civilian Terror from Obama's Drones"
By Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian, posted September 24

"The Siren Song of American Imperialism"
By William Astore, History News Network, posted September 24
The author is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who teaches history at the Pennsylvania College of Technology

"How Hawkish Are Americans?"
By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted September 24
The author is a professor of history emeritus at SUNY Albany

"Who Is the Client State?"
By Stanley Kutler, History News Network, posted September 24
The author is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin

"The Persecution of John Kiriakou: Torture and the Myth of Never Again"
By Peter Van Buren, TomDispatch.com, posted September 11

"How We Became Israel"
By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, posted September 10
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University

"The Case Against War: Ten Years Later"
By Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy in Focus, posted September 11

"US Love Affair with Israel Masks a Real History of Mistrust"
By Jonathan Cook, The National, posted September 10

Suggestions for these listings can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.  Thanks to Rusti
Eisenberg for help with the above list.

Monday, September 24, 2012

[haw-info] Iran War Weekly - September 24, 2012

Historians Against the War is posting Frank Brodhead's "Iran War Weekly,' as a helpful resource for our members and friends. Frank earned a PhD in history at Princeton University and has co-authored several books on US foreign policy. He is a scholar and political activist who has worked with peace and social justice movements for many years. In 2010-2011 he produced the "Afghanistan War Weekly," which was widely used by antiwar groups across the country
Iran War Weekly
September 24, 2012
Hello All – The Iran/US/Israel conflict will take center stage this week, as the United Nations opens its new session.  While Presidents Ahmadinejad, Netanyahu, and Obama will be in the spotlight, much of the actual business among the contending players and their allies will take place off-stage, in the wings. For the Obama administration, the dramatic tension will be focused on keeping their re-election script undisturbed.  Presidents Ahmadinejad and Netanyahu, of course, have different roles.
The UN drama unfolds after several months of relative inactivity in the negotiations about Iran's nuclear program.  While representatives of Iran and the "P5+1" (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) had an apparently cordial meeting last week to discuss next steps, the United States has indicated its reluctance to renew high-level negotiations.  Whether this position is pending the election, or pending the weakening of Iran's negotiating positions as the economic sanctions do their work, remains to be seen.
Perhaps the most important event of the past week was the dog that didn't bark in the night.  While Israeli President Netanyahu reiterated on US television his bluster about "red lines" re: Iran's "nuclear capability" and the US Senate went on record in support of Israel's (not Obama's) position on Iran's nuclear program, the Israeli home front remained relatively quiet, and it appears that Israel's political and economic elite has beaten back possible plans for an Israeli unilateral and pre-US-election attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Among the good/useful reading linked below, I've spotlighted several important developments on the low-intensity battlefield that have trouble-making potential. One is the "de-listing" of the Iranian opposition organization MEK.  Long in the works, and after the expenditure of millions of dollars in bribes and lobbying, this story received extensive coverage from many knowledgeable analysts this week, turning over a rock to reveal (imo) some important lessons about US empire management.  Also this week Iran claimed some new rounds of sabotage of their nuclear program, both via cyberspace and by agents on Iranian territory.  And in Syria, the United States is now claiming that Iraq is allowing Iran to use Iraqi air space to re-supply the Assad regime with weapons and perhaps military advisers.  While the United States claims evidence from a "Western intelligence report," it has not presented any such evidence to the public.
Finally, for those who would like user-friendly daily updates re: Iran and Syria, I recommend the websites of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMI) [UK] - http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/, and Syria Comment - http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/.
Once again, I appreciate the help that many of you have given in distributing the Iran War Weekly and/or linking it on websites.  Previous "issues" of the IWW can be read at http://warisacrime.org/blog/46383.  If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send me an email at fbrodhead@aol.com.
Best wishes,
Frank Brodhead
Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)
Iran-U.S. Hostilities Must Stop
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, The National Interest [September 20, 2012]
---- President Obama's policy of engagement with Iran has failed. Recent steps have led to unprecedented hostilities between the two countries with Washington conducting a full-scale economic, covert, cyber and political war with Iran. Yet these measures have not quenched the thirst of the electorate, as both presidential candidates continue the trend of past election campaigns by competing to see who can deliver a more hostile posture toward Iran. Despite this saber rattling, a good relationship is still possible—but only if the United States changes course and opens up to the idea of genuine engagement…. I have been intimately involved in Iran-West relations for a quarter century. It's become clear to me that the main obstacle to normalizing relations is related to Israel's influence. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu plays a leading role in pushing both parties toward a third war in the Middle East. As many U.S. foreign-policy experts have told me, "In Washington, Iranian politics are mainly Israeli politics." http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/iran-us-hostilities-must-stop-7493
More Posturing on Iran
By Paul Pillar, The National Interest [September 23, 2012]
---- Two actions at the end of last week, involving two different branches of the U.S. government, continued a pattern of unthinking support for anything that gets perceived as opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran. One such action was passage by the U.S. Senate in the middle of the night of a resolution that declares that the United States and other countries have a "vital interest" in working "to prevent the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability." The other piece of anti-Iran posturing last week was the decision by the Obama administration to remove the Iranian cult-cum-terrorist group, the Mujahedin e-Khalq or MEK, from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. Both of last week's actions, which involve both political parties and both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, are discouraging not only for what they imply about discourse and policy on Iran but also for what they say more generally about U.S. policy-making. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/more-posturing-iran-7508#.UF-rOnDMMzk.twitter
A Persian letter to Arab revolutionaries
By Hamid Dabashi, Aljazeera [September 18, 2012]
---- Abolfazl Ghadyani is an ageing revolutionary. He put his life on the line to make the Islamic Republic in Iran possible. He is now a political prisoner of the Islamic Republic.  The letter of Ghadyani to Morsi is the exchange between one current political prisoner and another former political prisoner - and what binds them together is a common thread of struggle against tyranny. Neither [Canadian prime minister] Harper nor Obama or any Western European leader shares that common ground, or, a fortiori, the moral voice that it entails. There is thus a fundamental difference between Morsi speaking against the Syrian tyranny (and thus its Iranian backers) right in Khamenei's face in Tehran and Harper closing his embassy in Tehran in support of Israel. Ghadyani's letter to Morsi pulls down the phantasmagoric delusions of tyranny and hypocrisy to the ground zero of moral politics. 
(Video) Stand Up to Ahmadinejad's 8 Years of Lies on Iran's Human Rights
---- As Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives in New York for his last official visit to the United Nations, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has released a short video demonstrating and highlighting systematic cover-ups accompanying the marked rise in human rights violations over the eight years of his presidency. http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2012/09/ahmadinejad/
Top Myths about Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Program
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment [September 17, 2012]
---- Iran's civilian nuclear enrichment program is alleged by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to be a stealth nuclear weapons program. But there is no evidence at all for this allegation, and it was contradicted by Netanyahu's own Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, who admitted that Iran has not decided to initiate a nuclear weapons program. Israel's chief of staff, Benny Gantz, has also admitted that Iran has not decided to build a bomb. [and 9 more] http://www.juancole.com/2012/09/top-myths-about-irans-nuclear-enrichment-program.html
What's Next on Iran's Nuclear Dossier?
By Farideh Farhi, LobeLog [September 17, 2012]
---- So the resolution was not merely intended for Iran. Its emphatic, twice-mentioned support for a "comprehensive negotiated, long term solution, on the basis of reciprocity and a step-by-step approach, which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program consistent with the NPT" was also directed at Benjamin Netanyahu, who despite being told in no uncertain terms to let go of the idea of resolving the nuclear issue militarily at least for now, seems unable to do so. By avoiding inflammatory language, the board in effect delayed serious conversation about the intricacies of dealing with Iran's nuclear program until after the United States November 6 presidential election. http://www.lobelog.com/whats-next-on-irans-nuclear-dossier/
Ashton, Jalili hold 'constructive' four-hour dinner meeting
By Laura Rozen, Al-Monitor [September 19, 2012]
---- European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton held a 'useful and constructive' four hour dinner meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Istanbul Tuesday, at which he stressed Iran's interest in continuing negotiations, diplomatic sources told Al-Monitor. Jalili made clear that the Iranians would like negotiations to continue, diplomats said. Ashton, for her part, would also like to move the process forward, but stressed to the Iranians that it's time for them to get serious. http://backchannel.al-monitor.com/index.php/2012/09/2178/ashton-jalili-hold-constructive-four-hour-dinner-meeting/#ixzz27JQONEnG
Also useful – Laura Rozen, "EU, Iran nuclear negotiators Ashton, Jalili to meet in Turkey," Al-Monitor [September 17, 2012] http://backchannel.al-monitor.com/index.php/2012/09/2148/report-iran-eu-nuclear-negotiators-to-meet-in-istanbul/#more-2148
What If Iran Leaves the NPT?
By Reza Sanati, The National Interest [September 21, 2012]
[FB – In the blogosphere debates among experts on Iran, a majority of voices believes that the recent threat by several Iranian officials to leave the NPT is simply bluster, pointing out that such threats have been made before, and that the consequences of withdrawing from the NPT would be very damaging to Iran, opening the door further to sanctions and possible military action.  Still, other voices have suggested that this time the threat may not be so empty.  Below is a good example of the latter view.]
---- In the narrative of regime change, the American rationale is not difficult to understand. According to this scenario, Washington would keep pressure on the EU to cut off its oil exports from Iran, place extraterritorial sanctions on Iran's banking infrastructure that impede international business and put massive pressure on Iran's existing trade partners. Subsequent damage to the Islamic Republic's revenues and thus the average Iranian's quality of life would put intolerable strain upon the regime…. In this environment, Iran's rationale for continuing NPT membership is becoming obsolete, for the treaty has stopped functioning as a protector of its nuclear efforts and has instead become a liability. Currently, Iran's very membership in the NPT is facilitating onerous U.S.-led sanctions upon the country, obliging it to amorphous regulatory measures without providing Iran the benefits it gives other members, with no hope for a resolution. http://nationalinterest.org/print/commentary/what-if-iran-leaves-the-npt-7497
A Nuclear-Free Zone in the Middle East?
Iran and Israel face off at IAEA meeting
From Aljazeera [September 21, 2012]
---- Iran and Israel have clashed at the annual meeting of the UN atomic agency, further throwing into doubt a hoped-for 2012 conference on creating a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. In lively debates at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gathering of its 155 member states, Iran said on Thursday that Israel should accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. Neither Iran nor Israel has said whether they plan to attend a conference being organised by Finland on creating a Middle East free of atomic weapons that is meant to be held before the end of the year. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/09/2012920214314797245.html
Also useful – Jason Ditz, "Israel: Calls for Nuclear-Free Middle East 'Futile,'" Antiwar.com [September 20, 2012] http://news.antiwar.com/2012/09/20/israel-calls-for-nuclear-free-middle-east-futile/
Iranian Official Says Blasts Targeted Nuclear Sites
By David E. Sanger and Rick Gladstone, New York Times [September 17, 2012]
---- Iran's most senior atomic energy official revealed on Monday that separate explosions, which he attributed to sabotage, had targeted power supplies to the country's two main uranium enrichment facilities, including the deep underground site that American and Israeli officials say is the most invulnerable to bombing. The official, Fereydoon Abbasi, a nuclear scientist who narrowly escaped an assassination in his car nearly two years ago, just before he was appointed to lead the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said one of the attacks occurred on Aug. 17, a day before international inspectors arrived at the underground site. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/world/middleeast/iran-scientist-says-blasts-targeted-nuclear-sites.html
Who's Sabotaging Iran's Nuclear Program?
September 19, 2012 ]
---- The chief of Iran's nuclear program says the power lines to his nuclear facilities were sabotaged. U.S. Special Forces have trained for operations inside Iran for years. Do these latest disclosures suggest they are already on the ground? In recent years, the West's stealth war on Iran's nuclear program has been waged through sabotage, industrial explosions, cyber viruses, and targeted killings. But until recently elements of the country's civilian infrastructure were off limits in this not-so-secret shadow war. The disclosure is significant. To start, it is the first piece of evidence to suggest opponents of the Iranian program are targeting the country's electrical grid and doing so on the ground. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/19/who-s-sabotaging-iran-s-nuclear-program.print.html
Also useful - Najmeh Bozorgmehr and James Blitz, "Iran reveals nuclear plant sabotage
By, Financial Times [September 17, 2012] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/036f0d28-00dd-11e2-99d3-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz26yKIEI9F; "Iran warns of IAEA 'terrorist infiltration,'" BBC News [September 17, 2012] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19627623?print=true; "Iran Says Nuclear Equipment Was Sabotaged," Associated Press [September 22, 2012] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/world/middleeast/iran-says-siemens-tried-to-sabotage-its-nuclear-program.html?ref=world&pagewanted=print; and Anshel Pfeffer, "Siemens and Iran: A checkered past," Haaretz [Israel] [September 23, 2012] http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/the-axis/siemens-and-iran-a-checkered-past.premium-1.466417
Reconsidering war with Iran
Dan Plesch, Martin Butcher, and Ian Shields, Open Democracy [September 18, 2012]
---- There is considerable international discussion about a potential confrontation between Iran and the international community over its nuclear programme.  Conventional wisdom is that the US is unable to, or unwilling to risk, a pre-emptive attack and that Tehran is calling all the shots.  The US military, and likely political, readiness for a war using minimum ground forces indicates that the current seeming inaction surrounding Iran is misleading. The United States retains the ability – despite commitments to Afghanistan – to undertake no notice major military operations against Iran that could remove Iran's ability to retaliate and remove the regime's ability to function at all. This article (drawing on open source material) will challenge the notion that America will not attack first, and demonstrate that the US has the wherewithal to destroy the Iranian military capability. http://www.opendemocracy.net/dan-plesch-martin-butcher-ian-shields/reconsidering-war-with-iran
Senate approves resolution on Iran
By Donna Cassata, Associated Press [September 22, 2012]
---- The Senate has overwhelmingly approved a resolution that reaffirms U.S. efforts to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and says containment of a nuclear-capable Iran is not an option. By a vote of 90-1 early Saturday, the Senate backed the nonbinding measure that specifically states that it should not been interpreted as an authorization for the use of military force or a declaration of war. It endorses continued economic and diplomatic pressure on Tehran until it agrees to suspension of its uranium enrichment program in compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, cooperates with international inspectors and reaches a permanent agreement that its program is for peaceful purposes. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/2012/09/22/senate-approves-resolution-iran/f2DdHNUDP1Et9tT0vA6bcN/story.html
Mitt Romney screws up nuclear weapons 101.
By Joe Cirincione, Foreign Policy [September 18, 2012]
---- Governor Mitt Romney's description, caught on video, of what he considered the real nuclear threat from Iran has further undermined his national security credentials, showing a fundamental misunderstanding of nuclear threats. Iran's nuclear program has nothing to do with dirty bombs. Terrorists would not use uranium -- from Iran or anywhere else -- in a dirty bomb. It is unclear if Gov. Romney was just riffing, or if his advisors had fed him this line of attack. But it is dead wrong. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/18/dirty_bomb_muddy_thinking?page=0,0
U.S. official says cyberattacks can trigger self-defense rule
By Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post [September 18, 2012]
[FB – Irony alert.]
---- Cyberattacks can amount to armed attacks triggering the right of self-defense and are subject to international laws of war, the State Department's top lawyer said Tuesday. Spelling out the U.S. government's position on the rules governing cyberwarfare, Harold Koh, the department's legal adviser, said a cyber-operation that results in death, injury or significant destruction would probably be seen as a use of force in violation of international law. In the United States' view, any illegal use of force potentially triggers the right of national self-defense, Koh said. Cyberattacks that cause a nuclear plant meltdown, open a dam above a populated area or disable an air-traffic control system resulting in plane crashes are examples of activity that probably would constitute an illegal use of force, he said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-official-says-cyberattacks-can-trigger-self-defense-rule/2012/09/18/c2246c1a-0202-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_print.html
Iran blamed for cyberattacks on U.S. banks and companies
By Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post [September 21, 2012]
[FB – True?  Disinformation, considering the source?]
---- Iran recently has mounted a series of disruptive computer attacks against major U.S. banks and other companies in apparent retaliation for Western economic sanctions aimed at halting its nuclear program, according to U.S. intelligence and other officials. In particular, assaults this week on the Web sites of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America probably were carried out by Iran, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Friday. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/iran-blamed-for-cyberattacks/2012/09/21/afbe2be4-0412-11e2-9b24-ff730c7f6312_story.html?wpisrc=nl_cuzheads
US Removes the MEK from the list of "Foreign Terrorist Organizations"
Five lessons from the de-listing of MEK as a terrorist group
By Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian [UK] [September 23, 2012]
---- The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), or People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, is an Iranian dissident group that has been formally designated for the last 15 years by the US State Department as a "foreign terrorist organization". Its inclusion on the terrorist list has meant that it is a felony to provide any "material support" to that group. Nonetheless, a large group of prominent former US government officials from both political parties has spent the last several years receiving substantial sums of cash to give speeches to the MEK, and have then become vocal, relentless advocates for the group, specifically for removing them from the terrorist list… What makes this effort all the more extraordinary are the reports that MEK has actually intensified its terrorist and other military activities over the last couple of years. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/23/iran-usa?CMP=twt_gu
Some initial thoughts on the MEK being delisted
By Nima Shirazi, Mondoweiss [September 22, 2012]
---- US State Dept probably made such a decision for the following reasons: 1. The political pressure from MEK's highly-paid lobbyists was probably not as powerful a tool as the fear of these people getting prosecuted for supporting a declared terrorist organization.  2. The US and Israel are already funding, training and arming the MEK.  Delisting the group, in real terms, barely does anything in a tangible sense.  3. The decision may be designed to distract the Iranian delegation during its UN General Assembly visit next week. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/some-initial-thoughts-on-the-mek-being-delisted.html
Also useful - Chris McGreal, "MEK decision: multimillion-dollar campaign led to removal from terror list," The Guardian [UK] [September 21, 2012] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/21/iran-mek-group-removed-us-terrorism-list; Jasmin Ramsey, "Analysts Respond to Expected US Decision to delist MEK from FTO List," LobeLog [September 22, 2012] http://www.lobelog.com/analysts-respond-to-expected-us-decision-to-delist-mek-from-fto-list/; Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, "By Delisting the MEK, the Obama Administration is Taking the Moral and Strategic Bankruptcy of America's Iran Policy to a New Low," The Race for Iran http://www.raceforiran.com/by-delisting-the-mek-the-obama-administration-is-taking-the-moral-and-strategic-bankruptcy-of-america%E2%80%99s-iran-policy-to-a-new-low; and Scott Peterson, "Iranian group's big-money push to get off US terrorist list," Christian Science Monitor [August 8, 2011] http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0808/Iranian-group-s-big-money-push-to-get-off-US-terrorist-list
Iran's Top Atomic Official Says Nation Issued False Nuclear Data to Fool Spies
By Rick Gladstone and Christine Hauser, New York Times [September 20, 2012]
---- Iran's top atomic energy official said in an article published Thursday that because of foreign espionage, his government had sometimes provided false information to protect its nuclear program, which Western powers and Israel have called a cloak to develop a nuclear weapons capacity. The official, Fereydoon Abbasi, a nuclear scientist who is the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, did not specify the nature of the false information. Nor did he specify when it had been presented or to whom. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/world/middleeast/iran-atomic-official-says-it-gave-false-nuclear-information-to-fool-spies.html?hp
Iran: "We Lied!" -- not really
By Cyrus Safdari, Iran Affairs [September 21, 2012]
Inside Iran
2012 Iranian Oil Survey: Autumn Update
By Matthew M. Reed, PBS [September 21, 2012]
---- Iran's crude oil exports collapsed this summer after U.S. and E.U. sanctions came into effect July 1. According to the International Energy Agency, July exports sank to 930,000 barrels per day (b/d), compared to last year's average of 2.2 million b/d. Total oil production fell to 2.9 million b/d -- a low not seen since 1989. That same month, Iraq surpassed Iran in terms of total output, displacing its neighbor as the second-highest oil producer in OPEC for the first time in decades. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2012/09/business-2012-iranian-oil-survey-autumn-update.html#ixzz27JVECeOi
Curbs on Iran female students take effect
From Aljazeera [September 22, 2012]
---- International rights groups protest as 36 universities across Iran begin to ban women from 77 different majors. Human rights groups have urged Iran to lift restrictions on women attending university and enrolling in certain academic fields. Thirty-six universities across Iran have banned women from 77 different majors, including accounting, counseling, and engineering, for the school year that begins on Saturday, Iran's Mehr news agency reported in August. There was no official reason given for the move, but Iranian officials have expressed alarm in recent months about the country's declining birth and marriage rates, seen as partially caused by women's rising educational attainment in the last two decades. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/09/201292211424417429.html
(Video) Iranian Women's Liberation Movement in the Year Zero
Very Little Room for Diplomacy In 'Fortress Israel'
By Barbara Slavin, Al-Monitor [Sep 19, 2012]
---- Will Israel attack Iran or won't it? Reading Patrick Tyler's provocative new book, Fortress Israel, it is hard to have confidence that Israel's leaders will allow much more time for efforts at a diplomatic resolution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program. Tyler, a veteran former reporter for the New York Times and Washington Post, retells the history of Israel though its wars and other military operations, noting that Israel has frequently employed massive and disproportionate force as well as covert actions of questionable morality to gain territory, avenge attacks and destroy mortal threats before they can mature. The book argues, however, that such tactics have cost Israel opportunities for peace, turning the country into a new Sparta — a military fortress "in a steel cage" that is "more isolated than ever" in a volatile region. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2012/al-monitor/fortress-israel-detonates-chance.html#ixzz26vOGO0ni
(Video) Do Israelis 'heart' attacking Iran?
From Aljazeera [The Stream] [September 19, 2012] – 35 minutes
---- Anti-war Israelis want to preempt a strike on Iran. Israel's Prime Minister is demanding an international redline on Iran's nuclear programme and wants the US to provide it. At the same time there is growing speculation about a possible unilateral Israeli strike on Iran if the US doesn't act. According to polls, only 27% of Jewish Israelis support a unilateral strike on Iran. Will Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu order an attack even though his public does not support it? In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian Council and Natashya Mozgovaya, Chief US Correspondent for Haaretz. http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/do-israelis-heart-attacking-iran-0022345
Animosity Grows Between Iran and Bahrain in post-Arab Spring
By Jasim Husain, Inside Iran [September 13th, 2012]
---- The relationship between Iran and Bahrain has become a victim of the on-going Arab Spring. Despite the increasing animosity between the two neighboring countries, they have no choice but to overcome the current tide in their bilateral ties. Relations between Tehran and Manama have deteriorated over the past year and a half, with sustained attacks by Iranian media over the turn of events in Bahrain. To further infuriate Bahraini authorities, Iran has raised the issue of Bahrain in the P5+1 talks concerning its nuclear program. For their part, officials in Bahrain have responded by indirectly backing a key Iranian opposition group, namely the Mojahedin Khalg Organization (MKO). The newly-founded policy commenced in 2012 with officials encouraging legislators, noted for their anti-Iran tendency, to attend functions arranged by dissident groups. http://www.insideiran.org/news/animosity-grows-between-iran-and-bahrain-in-post-arab-spring/
Also useful – Jen Marlowe, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (in the U.S. at Least)," Informed Comment http://www.juancole.com/2012/09/americas-hypocrisy-in-bahrain-marlowe.html
A Syrian quartet worth hearing
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times [September 19, 2012]
---- The Middle East political space has been dominated by unprecedented and widespread anti-American mass rallies sparked by a blasphemous film, but last week it was also the repository of fresh efforts to address the tragic conflict in Syria. While in Damascus, the new UN envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, had his first audience with embattled President Bashar al-Assad, and in Beirut the visiting Pope Benedict XVI prayed for peace and condemned foreign import of arms into Syria as a "sin", the representatives of a brand new "quartet" consisting of Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran held their first meeting in Cairo, thanks to the singular initiative of Mohammed Morsi. The Egyptian president had unveiled his idea of a regional contact group on Syria at last month's special meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and reiterated that vision soon afterwards, at the Tehran summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NI19Ak01.html
(Video) Lakhdar Brahimi: 'Change has to take place'
From Aljazeera [September 23, 2012] – 25 minutes
Military Dimensions of the Civil War
State of the Internal Opposition
By Ammar Abdulhamid, Syria Comment [September 11, 2012]
---- For many months, rebel groups were on their own when it came to procuring weapons and supplies. The situation changed six months ago, with the establishment of a special Turkish-Qatari-Saudi "operations room" that supervised all arms flow to the rebels. However, and over the last few weeks, the situation changed again. A reported dispute between Saudi and Qatari officials put an end to the tripartite cooperation and Qatar and Saudi Arabia are acting separately, albeit still under Turkish supervision. The specifics of the dispute are not clear, but the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its role seem to lie at the heart of it. http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=16142
(Video) The Battle for Syria ("The Battle for Allepo" and "Assad Responds")
From PBS Frontline [September 18, 2012] – 60 minutes
Syria's Secular and Islamist Rebels: Who Are the Saudis and the Qataris Arming?
By Rania Abouzeid, Syria Comment []
---- Vast swaths of northern Syria, especially in the province of Idlib, have slipped out of the hands of President Bashar Assad, if not quite out of his reach. The area is now a de facto liberated zone, though the daily attacks by Damascus' air force and the shelling from the handful of checkpoints and bases regime forces have fallen back to are reminders that the rebel hold on the territory remains fluid and fragile. What is remarkable is that this substantial strip of "free" Syria has been patched together in the past 18 months by military defectors, students, tradesmen, farmers and pharmacists who have not only withstood the Syrian army's withering fire but in some instances repelled it using a hodgepodge of limited, light weaponry. The feat is even more amazing when one considers the disarray among the outside powers supplying arms to the loosely allied band of rebels. http://world.time.com/2012/09/18/syrias-secular-and-islamist-rebels-who-are-the-saudis-and-the-qataris-arming/
Towns in rebel-controlled Syria experiment with self-government
By Borzou Daragahi, Washington Post [September 17, 2012]
Assad's Army Unlikely to "Crumble"
By Joshua Landis, Syria Comment [September 17th, 2012]
---- A likely outcome of the Syrian struggle is that Assad and his army will not break; rather, they will likely retreat to the coastal region, where Alawite and loyal troops have a social base. They would be very hard to destroy on their home base, especially if foreign allies continue to support them with weapons and money. Should this happen, Syria's civil war could end more like Lebanon's — with a stalemate — rather than like Libya's — with the death of the dictator and destruction of his military. If Sunni Arab rebels manage to unify or if foreign powers intervene directly, the survival of Assad's military is unlikely. http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=16037
Allegations of Iranian Support for Syrian Government
US Threatens to Review Iraq Aid Over Iran Overflights
By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [September 19, 2012]
---- US allegations that Iran was smuggling weapons through Iraqi airspace emerged earlier this month, but after the Iraqi government demanded "evidence" and none was provided the whole story seemingly died, at least for awhile. Sen. John Kerry (D – MA) has now reportedly threatened a full "review" of all US aid to the Iraqi government unless they immediately and unconditionally halt all Iranian access to their airspace. The allegation now is that not only are cargo aircrafts supposedly sending weapons into Syria from Iran, but that civilian aircraft in general are being stocked full of troops and weapons by Iran and that any plane leaving Iran is automatically suspect. The US had initially demanded that Iraq force Iran to land all outgoing aircraft in their airports to search them, which Iraq said it had no intention of doing without evidence. The US has not provided evidence for the new allegations either, rather presenting them as assumptions. http://news.antiwar.com/2012/09/19/us-threatens-to-review-iraq-aid-over-iran-overflights/
Also useful – Louis Charbonneau, "Western report - Iran ships arms, personnel to Syria via Iraq," Reuters [September 19, 2012] http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/19/us-syria-crisis-iran-iraq-idUSBRE88I17B20120919; and Editorial, "On the Wrong Side," New York Times [September 23, 2012] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/opinion/on-the-wrong-side.html?hp