Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 18, 2013

Obama Designed Iran Negotiations To Fail

The U.S. is not serious in regards to negotiations with Iran. Negotiations require offers and demands from both sides that can be weighted and exhcanged against each other. But while the U.S. has skyhight demands, which would restrict Iranian sovereignty, it offers nothing substantial.

For the next negotiation round on February 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the U.S. has issued a new demand, the complete shut down of Iran's enrichment plant in its underground facility at Fordow. Of all places relevant to Iran's nuclear program, which is as U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed solely for civilian purpose, Fordow would be the most difficult to destroy during an attack on Iran. Why, if not for preparation of such an attack, would the U.S. demand that that place be shut down?

The U.S. has also made a new "offer" to Iran. In exchange for shutting down Fordow and other places the U.S. offers not the lifting of UN sanction, not the lifting of unilateral U.S. or EU sanctions, not the lifting of restriction of financial transactions with Iran. No, none of that. If its new demand would be followed by Iran the U.S. would lift unilateral sanctions it introduced, through threats to third parties, just days ago:

Tighter U.S. sanctions are killing off Turkey's gold-for-gas trade with Iran and have stopped state-owned lender Halkbank from processing other nations' energy payments to the OPEC oil producer, bankers said on Friday.
...
A provision of U.S. sanctions, made law last summer and implemented from February 6, effectively tightens control on sales of precious metals to Iran and prevents Halkbank from processing oil payments by other countries back to Tehran, bankers said.
Turkey, which depends on energy imports from Russia and Iran, has paid Iran in Turkish Lira which Iran used to buy Turkish gold which it could then bring out of the country and exchange for any other currency.

The U.S. is threatening Turkish banks with cutting off their international business if they continue the gold transfer.

"Halkbank can only accept payments for Turkish oil and gas purchases and Iran is only allowed to buy food, medicine and industrial products with that money," one senior Turkish banker told Reuters.

"The gas for gold trade is very difficult after the second round of sanctions. Iranians cannot just withdraw the cash and buy whatever they want. They have to prove what they are buying ... so gold exports will definitely fall," he said.

These new introduced sanction through illegal threats to third parties, are the only ones the U.S. is willing to lift.

These sanctions, where the U.S. dictates through a Turkish bank what Iran can buy or not buy, are a ploy comparable to the deadly "oil for food" scheme that killed so many children in Iraq:

Former programme heads such as Hans von Sponeck questioned whether the sanctions should exist at all. Von Sponeck, speaking in University of California, Berkeley in late 2001, decried the proposed "Smart Sanctions", stating, "What is proposed at this point in fact amounts to a tightening of the rope around the neck of the average Iraqi citizen"; claimed that the sanctions were causing the death of 150 Iraqi children per day; and accused the US and Britain of arrogance toward Iraq, such as refusing to let it pay its UN and OPEC dues and blocking Iraqi attempts at negotiation.
If Iran would fall for this the U.S. would soon dictated in deep detail what Iran is allowed to buy and what not. Iran should no accept such a game through a Turkish bank. A whooping 40% of Turkeys energy comes from Iran. It is Turkey's problem if it finds no reasonable way to pay for that. Sure, the Russians could supply some additional gas should Iran stop deliveries. But then Turkey would totally depend on Russian good will. As its position with regards to Syria is the opposite of Russia's position, the strategic risk of depending on a sole energy source is immense.

During the Almaty talks Iran will of course not commit to such an unreasonable exchange:

"Lately they have said 'Shut down Fordow, stop (uranium) enrichment, we will allow gold transactions'," [Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry,] said, according to the Mehr news agency. "They want to take away the rights of a nation in exchange for allowing trade in gold."
...
"We are ready for negotiations, negotiations that have a logical approach which officially recognizes our rights completely. Of course steps must be concurrent and of equal weight," he said.
The Obama administration is simply not serious with negotiations. One of its former members, Vali Nasr, who is now dean of the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, has a new book coming where he explicitly says so:
In Iran, Nasr demonstrates Obama’s deep ambivalence about any deal on the nuclear program. “Pressure,” he writes, “has become an end in itself.” The dual track of ever tougher sanctions combined with diplomatic outreach was “not even dual. It relied on one track, and that was pressure." The reality was that,“Engagement was a cover for a coercive campaign of sabotage, economic pressure and cyberwarfare.”

Opportunities to begin real step-by-step diplomacy involving Iran giving up its low-enriched uranium in exchange for progressive sanctions relief were lost. What was Tehran to think when “the sum total of three major rounds of diplomatic negotiation was that America would give some bits and bobs of old aircraft in exchange for Iran’s nuclear program”?

The talks in Almaty are designed to fail. They will fail. It is Obama's strategy, or rather lack thereof, that there will be no progress at all.

Turkey, which is an U.S. ally, will feel the brunt of the new sanctions the Obama administration introduced. Who will the Turks blame when the lights go out in Ankara?

Posted by b on February 18, 2013 at 01:32 PM | Permalink

Comments

Not sure what Iran's best move to counter these sanctions would be, but I'm thinking the government can loosen control and allow Iran's small business men to engage in small time trade. Perhaps The Iranian government can sell small amounts of gas/oil to individuals in Iran who could then resell it to individual companies in Turkey. I would imagine it would be hard to stop thousands of small transactions. Just a thought. Don't know if that's practical.

The other option is escalation. Iran had mentioned in the past plans to build nuclear subs, which would require 60%-90% enriched uranium. I'm just sayin.

Posted by: Lysander | Feb 18, 2013 2:56:35 PM | 1

what way can we Americans help the suffering people in Iran and Syria....Americans that are against their gov't policy on these issues? Are there legitimate humanitarian sources to send help? The Syrian army reminds me of the brave Serbian army of the 90's....defending their sovereign homeland from demonic outside forces.There are excellent western commentators we read...but as a rule most people here shy away from foreign topics.

Posted by: kingsley smith | Feb 18, 2013 3:03:54 PM | 2

First, I'm not yet sure, how much the american position is designed to please israel for some time.
Second, who cares anyway? After all the americans have tried to hit Iran time after time and haven't reached so much - other than being recognized as criminal scum by more and more people on this planet.

Let's look at the facts on the ground.

There are ways even for real crooks like those (supposedly) eastern gangs who rip of people, steal credit cards and a ahole lot of other schemes. Yet somehow they earn money. Anyone who ever looked a little closer can tell you how it's done: Through the finance mafia; pay a banker enough and he forgets all laws and rules. Or look at the drung gangs. They could light their cigars with dollars processed for them by greedy and "forgetful" banksters.
When gangsters and crooks can process billions why on earth should Iran, a widely respected country, not be able to do so? Does really anyone here believe that there aren't banksters happily saying "yes, sir" if the profit is attractive enough?

There is also electronic money that gets processed through countries outside us an eu jurisdiction. Quiten often, this is used for lawful purposes simply for reasons of privacy or practicality.

Whatever Iran has/needs to buy or sell in large quantities can be gotten through Russia, China and many others. Even more so as it's not against UN sactions.

Furthermore, Iran has experience since years and they have adapted their economy.

Now, let's look at the other side:

One of the largest industrial complexes of France just declared losses. Well, it happened to be the car manufacturer who formertimes made billions with Iran.

In Turkey the air gets hot and the gas gets tight. I think, the Iranians are perfectly right in assuming that Turkey will be on it's knees much quicker than Iran. After all, having an increasingly critical Kurd situation while the gas gets more and more scarce and therefore necessarily expensive istn't something Turkey, which has not prepared itself since years and years can just shrug off.

I think the eu will get weaker and weaker in their position. After all, they have no stakes in it and are just obediently following us and israel wishes.

I think the Iranians should - and will - show themselves peaceful and read for honest negotiatons but at the same time bluntly ignore american noises. An quite probably they are and will continue having small sidelines through which they make the EU understand that they will pay and pay hard for blindly following the us line.

Last but not least: While the americans try to frighten Iran by loud (and irrelevant) noise they are cutting their naval power in the gulf in half; instead of 2 carrier groups there will only be one. The us simply can't afford any longer all the trouble it started all over the globe.
Unlike myself the Iranians will, however, be polite enough to not laugh loudly in the face of the americans. Although that happens to be the only adequate response to us menacing attempts.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Feb 18, 2013 4:01:49 PM | 3

The real loser in all this will be Turkey. She has paid and is paying a high price for doing US/EU/GCC bidding in Syria - becoming the new Pakistan of the Middle East acting as the staging ground for terrorists to go cause mayhem in Syria. Now the US wants her to suffer so they can punish Iran! This shows how little Westerners care about their own regional allies, letting them suffer the consequences for their misguided policies.

The question is will Turkey accept US demands or ignore it. After all, they dont want to end up like the Greeks, chopping forests to burn the wood to stay warm.

Posted by: Irshad | Feb 18, 2013 7:14:24 PM | 4

I got a kind of chill when I read that Vali Nasr was in the Obama administration and is now criticizing him very openly. If he gains traction, I fear for his future in US academia, maybe any any future whatsoever....

Obama or one of his empowered minions might view this as a form of whistle blowing or even worse -- and he use the full force of the Federal judiciary and investigative powers of its enforcement arms to go after whistle blowers. The worst would be viewing Nasr's revelations as a form of supporting the enemy....

Obama negotiates with Iran, as it does with any foreign government not bending to the US will, just as Bush/Cheney did: With obfuscation, threats, moving goal posts, threats of nothing off the table, more threats, more sanctions, etc. He is merely practicing an extension of Bush/Cheney foreign policy and is cementing such policies as usual and customary, with only a few peeps from lefty critics and strongly worded blog posts or books criticizing him.

I used to call Bush the Worst President Ever. I now feel Obama deserves that ranking.

Posted by: jawbone | Feb 18, 2013 7:21:50 PM | 5

Concur, all the US will do (And has done, not limited in any means to Iran) is create a global black market where prices and lack of regulation/Taxes/Guarantees that are critical to 'A' Government (More so TAX) and in general the Client/Seller as rules and procedures in line with legal processes.

The black market of course is far cheaper, thus worth the risks. If you asked any vehicle driver, rich or poor in any country in the world if he would like 1/3 of his or her fuel but it is 'A bit doddgy' (Not the product, it's pucker, top notch, it's just from Ali, one of those Arabs, good bloke but don't get on a plane with him if you know what I mean) from a 'Arthur Daley' character they would all say yes; the reason is simple, its not drugs, deemed wrong in the minds eye, and each and every person knows fuel is a commodity controlled by a higher power and in general pisses each and every one off in some way.

Sanctions never work, history can prove that, the UN is the 'Holy Grail' of failed sanction agendas, sure it cripples, but it hits the every person, Man, Woman and child, be it health, hygiene, nutrition to access medicines, education, employment to the general civil society and its well-being, and these are the 99.999% that have nothing to do with the geopolitical constraints or situation, in fact breaking every element of the UN's charter.

The other-side of the coin is as mentioned above, the black market kick's in, and unlike the cheaper 'Fuel' for the car scenario, the darker side like poor grade even banned medication, rejected foods (Contaminated) finding a new home rather than being disposed (Irony is, many FDA banned products or recalls, tend to find there way to troubled states, I have seen this in Kosovo, W. Africa, Haiti).

This is when a sanction is not a sanction (Specifics) but a way to collapse a civil society/Government, as in going well beyond slowing the Iranian nuclear program and affecting all segments of the population, the key is also to cripple SME's. Iran has a unstable fiscal situation, devaluation of the rial, unemployment increasing, basic commodity prices hiking (Including staples: food). This causes discontent, in turn polarizing the population (The goal); we get the one side, those who support the government blame external influences for the dire economic situation, and the other who blame the regime/Gov. The turning point is where eventually turning those most loyal to a regime against them, this can be with or without a carrot, but carrots are readily available to those with sway. What is apparent, these sanctions are driving 75 million people into poverty to encourage regime change or the dismantling of the actors.

The one failure is the West lack to understand the unity of a religion and its people, and seemingly ironic as we strive to keep our faiths intact, and march on as Christian soldiers. However on the flip side and pertaining to Iran, not all is fair, the poor are downtrodden irrelevant of the situation by the controlling power, (this is not only Iran, but essentially the world over)- my point is the high officials in government and high ranking clerics do not suffer as the people do, and if that continues, they Iran may fall as the faith is then broken...

Posted by: Kev | Feb 18, 2013 7:35:37 PM | 6

I think one of the reasons why US sanctions worked [past tense], was because everything evolved around the $ [dollar] globally. In today's world, where we witness a shift [if not rift] in who's calling the shots, countries like Russia and China are in negotiations to step away from having their currencies being pegged against the dollar. Let's also not forget that pesky Iranian oil bourse thingy in which all transactions are done in non-dollar currencies. Never play poker with a 'guy' that always brings along his poker 'buddy.'

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 18, 2013 8:28:06 PM | 7

I disagree with b's assessment here. It is correct to point out that we have raised our demands against them. The important point is that these have NOT been presented as preconditions for further negotiations. We (being an American I mean the US govt) are agreeing to sit down and talk. What is perfectly clear is that US sanctions against Iran have failed to force them to accept our terms. The best that those sanctions have accomplished is that they give the US negotiating chips to give back to the Iranians for whatever the Iranians are willing to give in return. These latest demands have increased our pile of negotiating chips but they have not really increased pressure against Iran.

I still believe that the US is willing to come to some kind of acceptable agreement with Iran during these negotiations. The final result of these negotiations will include the following (more or less).

The US accepts that Iran has the right to build nuclear energy plants.

Iran agrees that it will not use that technology to develop nuclear weapons.

In exchange the US will have to drop the sanctions. These new sanctions are the bargaining chips that the US is building for these negotiations. I think this tactic is totally absurd because it is forcing the US into "conceding" even more chips for Iranian agreement. At some point if we build our chip pile too high, the US will lose face if it "pays" too much for Iranian agreement.

In any case I see this as no more than some foolish efforts by the US to enhance its negotiating position. The Obama admin knows that war with Iran will be a disaster and they must know by now that Iran is not going to back down. The US needs that agreement for our own interests.

Posted by: ToivoS | Feb 18, 2013 8:44:35 PM | 8

"I used to call Bush the Worst President Ever. I now feel Obama deserves that ranking."

Maybe I'm a sucker, but for all the lousy stuff Obama has done, for all the hopes dashed, he still seems better than the alternative. Maybe it is just reporting and propaganda - and I'll gladly be taught a lesson on all this - but it seems as though Obama is the only person of power in the USA standing in the way of arming the Syrian jihadists and also against the purest outright war mongering on Iran (McCain style "Bomb-bomb Iran" nonsense). I do also feel that it may be possible to slide a piece of paper (sanded down on both sides, of course) in between him and Israel sometimes as well, which is better than nothing.

I don't know. I'm not happy with him, but I do feel like he at least can visualize that we are on the edge of the abyss, and one wrong move and the US and the world are in a place it really doesn't want to be, as opposed to the place that it is in (where 99.9% still don't want to be - I don't think he gets that though). I think Obama's problem is that he still thinks that just by easing back on the rhetoric and being slightly slicker he can maintain the position of the US as dictator of the world. Is that better than just being out and out for it? I don't know, but it does give the rest of us some breathing room.

Posted by: guest | Feb 18, 2013 8:46:42 PM | 9

@ jawbone [#5],

Q: I used to call Bush the Worst President Ever. I now feel Obama deserves that ranking.

R: A congress filled with 'democratic' millionaires is as close in touch with reality as all those 'real whatever cows' on the idiot box. W was a plain, stupid idiot. Obomber is a cross dressing wolf in lambskin tights. I really wish the Norwegians would demand their Nobel Peace Prize back and kick this SOB in the nuts.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 18, 2013 8:55:08 PM | 10

The US wants as much to be @ peace with Iran as Israel wants to share land with Palestinians. Lots of brouhaha, but in the end we're left with hasbarhaha.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 18, 2013 10:06:47 PM | 11

From the Iranian perspective, the only real solution is the hard and long road to become industrially productive and to become self-sufficient in as many fields as their needs call for.
The coup of 53 brought a government which happily obliged its western masters by accepting their colonial gift of becoming a country with a single raw material as its product and importing every single other thing from the west. They want to undo what they did in 1963 (white revolution)? That is actually good for Iran!
Gentlemen... You want to rid us of our heroin addiction (ie. oil dependency)? That is fine by us! Of course coming off heroin will involve incredible pain and misery, BUT THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO! We have no other choice and we have to come off heroin sooner or later, if we are to survive as a nation.
The funny part is that had it been to Mr. Khamenei and the current people in charge of Iran, we would never come off heroin of our own accord! All the US has to do is to pull Iran into WTO, give us some generous(!!) loans from IMF and world bank on the condition that we would speed up our privatization process and include ever more foreign capital in this process of privatization (starting from our minerals) and before Mr. Khamenei can do his next prayer the Americans would be able to dictate us any term they wish! But thank god they are too stupid to see that (because we are not smart enough to see it)

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Feb 18, 2013 10:18:28 PM | 12

ToivoS (8)

"We (being an American I mean the US govt) are agreeing to sit down and talk. What is perfectly clear is that US sanctions against Iran have failed to force them to accept our terms. The best that those sanctions have accomplished is that they give the US negotiating chips to give back to the Iranians for whatever the Iranians are willing to give in return. These latest demands have increased our pile of negotiating chips but they have not really increased pressure against Iran.

I still believe that the US is willing to come to some kind of acceptable agreement with Iran during these negotiations."

Funny. americans seem to really believe their absurd and retarded views.

Negotiating chips? Hello? You are collecting "negotiating chips" since years and years and all you got so far is an even worse reputation in the world. What you call "negotiating chips" is what others call "proof that americans are scum".

What have you reached? Nothing. Except innocent civilians like ill kids suffering.

And just look at that incredible hybris! The "americans show good will to sit down and talk". WOW.
Of course that position completely ignores the fact that the usa is not in any position to dictate anything another country does or does not. The Iran has signed the NPT (israel, americas friends) did not, there is NO proof whatsoever that Iran intends to build nuclear weapons (israel HAS nuclear weapons and even is threatenting to use them).

The only "problem" with Iran is arbitrarily created by usrael scum.

Let me explain it to you:

The mighty (haha) usa have attacked a country (Iraq. You know, that's the country ca. 85% of the american soldiers couldn't even point at on a globe shown to them) that was weakened by years of sanctions and an attack years before.

They failed. Weakened little Iraq was to big a chunk for the americans.
Sure they destroyes houses, schools, hospitals. Sure, they killed over a million of unarmed civilians. But in the end they were thrown out and considered worse than pestilence.

They attacked Afghanistan a country with few inhabitants who widely lived in rather simple conditions. Also a country that was still suffering from former wars.
And the americans failed.

The price they payed is in the trillions, in the thousands of death americans (one good outcome, at least) and in the hundreds of thousands with traumas who stroll american streets and considerably increase the level of violence in their own country (partly because their own government doesn't care about them).

Thinking logical (i.e. unamerican) I'd rather come to the conclusion that the usa has found the worst and most costly way to ruin itself rather than winning wars.

Now guess what happens if the tired and disappointed us soldiers waged a war with a large and strong country, a strong and loyal military.

Negotiating chips? Wake up! If the us ever were insane enough to make their threats true, Iran would suffer but the usa wouldn't survive it.

And that's just looking at Iran and ignoring Russia and China (and lots of other countries who hate the usa for all their inhumane crimes and arrogance).

The reality is quite different. The reality is that if the usa doesn't break free from their israeli parasite controller they will sink together with them.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Feb 18, 2013 11:05:01 PM | 13

Mr. Pragma | Feb 18, 2013 11:05:01 PM | 13

“Negotiating chips?”

Yap according to maudlin Albright the Americans collect 500000 dead Iraqi children chips and it was a good bet.
Exceptionalist read necks would not change unless they are kicked in the nut, that Iranians will do you can bet on that.

Posted by: kooshy | Feb 18, 2013 11:26:01 PM | 14

Obama is the natural progression of caretakers for the empire. Vetted, and hand picked by the folks who own the U.S., he's there to semi-negate the opposition on the left. Given the ok to push forward some social change, to appear progressive, yet still accomplish the major objectives of empire. Iran is still on their list for government change. Nothing they say about their longing for peace is true.

Posted by: ben | Feb 19, 2013 10:17:12 AM | 15

Pirouz @12
You are right.

Iran seems to be paralysed by its leadership. In fact the US and EU are running an enormous risk by employing these sanctions. The world is full of countries (the great bulk of humanity) which are the victims of the imperial system and would do much better if they left it and formed trade blocs which excluded the US and its satraps.

Part of the problem would seem to be that the Iranian government is scared of allying itself with nationalist and socialist regimes such as that in Cuba. Cuba can give master-classes on the advantages of self sufficiency.

Then there are countries like Russia which have enormous industrial capacity lying idle: if Iran, Russia, Venezuela and Iraq were to form an oil and gas cartel they could very soon attract India, Pakistan and the Chinese into a market which, currently, the empire not only exploits but insults.
And then there is Africa.

What is needed is a return to the sort of trajectory that Bandung was on: a self defence league of the colonies, former and neo.

Such an example would be followed closely around the globe, for the great weakness of the Empire is that its aggression, prompted by sheer greed and uncontrolled by rational calculation, is aimed at people everywhere. It is becoming very difficult to sell Americans and western Europeans on racist imperial policies which are clearly financed out of their declining living standards: warplanes constructed out of old age pensions; terrorist guerrillas, in Syria and dozens of other countries, being paid with salaries clawed back from Irish binmen and Greek teachers; armies and air forces financed by unemployment insurance funds, poll taxes and privatised utilities sucking the substance out of the poor.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 19, 2013 1:40:14 PM | 16

@12

Self-sufficiency is the way to go not only to state of Iran but for every country on Earth. It is good to be even as individual, not having anything to do with governments. But there is big if... If "they" allow you, meaning not being occupied militarily and your Central bank managed by BIS. In another words, not dependent on IMF, MMF to patch you deficits and dependent upon credits for "developments", or, in case of Iran - Asian Bank for Development. Not being into realm of Dollar Hegemony. My recommendation would be exit from UN too, but that probably wouldn't be wise move.

The rest of your article in fiction, without ground and basis in Iran's foreign policy. From the day one Khomenini said “neither East, nor West”, they have deep pessimism toward the West and the East (meaning SU or Russia) as well. That feeling was reinforced by support of almost whole (except Syria and Libya) world for Iraq in war with them.

There are several principles hard-coded in Iran's Constitution namely:

1) prevention of the foreigners’ domination on Iran,
2) non-alignment towards the dominant and great powers,
3) establishment of relations with peace-seeker states,
4) negation of seeking dominance by Iran over other countries,
5) preservation of Iran’s independence in all aspects,
6) Islamic-worldism, and
7) Third-Worldism.

If anybody on this world lean lessons from history than that would be an Iranians. As far as I can see they have glued themselves to above principles. Good for them.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Feb 19, 2013 5:07:38 PM | 17

Yesterday I read an article on the Voice of Russia site.


"Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University, has given a breakdown of key problems in US-Russia relations that could eventually bring about a second Cold War.

There are four major components to the US foreign policy that Moscow has been far from happy about.

- These include the NATO expansion into Eastern Europe; the so-called “selective cooperation,” which is essentially obtaining

- concessions from Moscow without reciprocity;

- “democracy promotion” in Russia, which as often as not boils down to interference with Russia’s home affairs;

- and the general sentiment in the Kremlin that the US just doesn’t care about Russia’s national security."

So, pretty much same story whether it is Iran, Russia, China, Japan, S. or N. Korea, or Germany or Turkey.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Feb 19, 2013 5:21:02 PM | 18

Amazing, reading the comments from some of you. Whats it take for you to realize that Obama is a complete and utter fraud??? He is merely a marrionette, fabricated to uphold the charade of partisan politics that keeps the ignorant amongst us divided from one another. Its an epic con-job, with the masses as the patsy. How does this piece of shit Obama differ from GWB in his exploitation of the fictional "Global War on Terrorism". Has he put a stop to torture??? NO! Has he ceased renditions??? NO! Has he rolled back any of the provisions of the Patriot Act?? NO! Has he investigated or indicted any of the CRIMES and PERJURIES committed by the felonious scum that lied us into Iraq??? NO! Has he scaled back our manipulative and murderous Middle East agenda? NO!

He has in fact ESCALATED the policies and actions that are the reason behind the loathing that our flag instills in a burgeoning portion of the world community.

Obama isn't worse of better than that hapless monkey Bush. He is, in fact, just a successor, just a new figurehead for the same agenda. Our so called "representative government" became a fiction, long ago. The only reason for the illusion of two party political partisanship in DC is so that these elitist megalomaniacal bastards can keep us bickering and distracted amongst ourselves while they pursue global interests that have NOTHING TO DO WITH REPRESENTING THE ACTUAL INTERESTS OF THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.

Its a charade, an epic deception. And our media has rendered the majority of us ignorant enough to fall for it. Damn this fraud of a President. He is far far more dangerous than that insipid little wannabe cowboy Bush, who was, is, an absolute idiot. Obama is shrewd, polished, and convincing, while pursuing the polar opposite of what he promised us.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Feb 20, 2013 12:14:06 AM | 19

@ PissedOffAmerican [#19],

Well said. Some seem to equate hearing with actually listening and seeing with reading. Voting every 4 years doesn't equate with democracy either. Ff-ing 'free speech zones!' Carlin gave an astute analysis when he said that 'We have 35 different jelly bean flavors and 2 parties to choose from [and that can be extended to Media, etc.]'

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 20, 2013 3:22:22 AM | 20

Syria

Hezbollah ‘invades ‘ Syria

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 20, 2013 3:35:54 AM | 21

Article with more links about Syrian 'invasion'.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Feb 20, 2013 3:39:59 AM | 22

I'm not sure what Obama & The Chickenhawks think they're doing but I'm thinking of February 26, 2013 as the first day of "pass the popcorn, please" phase of US Histri(onics).

They're yet to figure how to get out of Afghanistan in one piece.
They're still boring us silly with their Syria bluster.
They're still boring us silly with their Iran bluster.
And they're pretending to "encircle" Russia and China.

Even the world's most recent ex-superpower (with no cohonies) hasn't a snowflakes chance in Hell of transforming all those flights of fancy into facts on the ground worth celebrating.

I still feel feel sorry for the Turks though (the people, that is - not their bought-and-paid-for Pro-West leaders).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 20, 2013 8:09:47 AM | 23

Hezbollah arrests Lebanese man spying for Mossad

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/02/20/289936/hezbollah-nabs-lebanese-spying-for-israel/

"Lebanon’s resistance movement of Hezbollah has arrested a Lebanese national in the city of Baalbek on charges of cooperating with Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

The arrested Lebanese national currently resides in Hezbollah’s security compound in the city, a Lebanese TV channel reported on Wednesday.

More than 100 people have been arrested in Lebanon on suspicion of collaborating with Mossad since April 2009, including members of the security forces and telecommunications employees.

Tel Aviv has launched an intelligence war against Hezbollah following its defeat during the 33-day war against the Lebanese resistance movement in 2006.

In late January, a top military court in Lebanon charged a Lebanese national with collaborating with the Israeli spying agency and passing information on the whereabouts of the Hezbollah leader.

The man identified by Lebanese media as Talal Khalil reportedly disclosed information to Israel about security bases belonging to the Hezbollah resistance movement.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said the accused had been in contact with Israel since 2001 and could face a death sentence."

Posted by: вот так | Feb 20, 2013 11:20:48 AM | 24

Forget Obama as an individual, he's a puppet, same as Busg was. Others make the decisions, these puppets are simply the talking face in front of the public.

Posted by: вот так | Feb 20, 2013 11:22:18 AM | 25

Kerry was the US pol who seemed the most conciliatory and more to Iran, that is when he went up against G. Bush in 04.

In fact his position was quite surprising. (Couldn’t find a link.)

Doesn’t mean much for sure, expecting consistency is naive.

one link on Kerry:

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/12/21/the_kerry_plan_for_iran

Obama, too, has done somewhat more than anyone to downplay, stifle or postpone “conflict” - aka, turn US aggression down a tiny notch or pretend to. He used ‘secret diplomacy’ etc. English:

http://worldmeets.us/letemps0000015.shtml

http://www.wnd.com/2012/10/october-surprise-obama-secret-iran-deal-cut/

(links work for me but might not for you.)

It all looks very much like bait and switch, or the conventional, expected, difference between Reps and Dems, or some semi-attempts to actually normalize and negotiate, sincerely or not. (2004-2012.) Sincere, because ppl fool themselves to feel good and may genuinely hope for some surprise wins!

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 20, 2013 12:09:25 PM | 26

And what's up with Bulgaria?Is the ouster of its PM linked to that accusation of Hezbollah involvement in the Israeli bus bombing?Interesting stuff there huh?Why would Hezbollah bring about their designation as a terrorist org by the EU?More Zio horsehockey I'm sure and wouldn't it be wonderful to a have a Ziofree press?Ho ho.The plan that can't be spoken,might have been the best work of science fiction(at the time,but like Jules Verne,much true in regards to modernity)in history.Or just a true story.Are we screwed or what?arrrrgggg...

Posted by: dahoit | Feb 20, 2013 2:39:55 PM | 27

As I've said repeatedly, to those who are STILL drinking the Obama Kool-Aid - which appears to have a half-life of some hundreds of years - Obama's main concern is to avoid being BLAMED for starting another Mid-East War and thus "tarnishing" his oh-so-precious Nobel Peace Prize (which he has done absolutely ZERO to EARN).

His method is to squeeze Iran slowly until it is forced to retaliate in some way that he can use to "justify" starting the war.

This is why I expect him to at some point, possibly by end of this year or early next year, to push for a US/NATO naval blockade of Iranian shipping. He can spin this as an "extension" of his unilateral sanctions regime, rather than as the act of war it actually is. The brain-dead US electorate will accept that explanation.

After all, according to a Gallup poll reported on today, a full NINETY-NINE PERCENT of the US electorate believes Iran is a "threat" to the US.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Feb 20, 2013 4:00:38 PM | 28

"...a full NINETY-NINE PERCENT"

Uh huh. That would be the consumers of american media information. You can get just as stupid listening to Rachel Maddow as you can listening to Rush Limbaugh. Two sides of the same fuckin' coin.

Can there be a more despicable calling than that of purposely dividing the people along partisan lines by hawking partisan BULLSHIT??? Both of these scumbag mouthpieces should be hung, alongside 99.9% of our so-called "leaders".

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Feb 20, 2013 5:53:07 PM | 29

The neocon pundits in the press are scared shitless about the slight easing of pressure and deescalation of rhetoric since Hillary left as SoS. They have succeeded in selling the majority of Americans on the demonization of Iran and Syria; they just haven't managed to convince enough that we need to go to war. In fact there is a minority who, even if they accept the demonization, are reminded of similar war drums for Iraq 10 years ago. Even if Obama did not want to attack Iran and Syria, he could not challenge the fabric of neocon disinformation and government infrastructure that has already been invested in the project of demonization. The most he could do initially, would be to point out legal road blocks (like supporting an AQ affiliate in Syria) and to allow the new SOS actually to try a little diplomacy with Iran. Right now, he hasn't even gotten Hagel through confirmation yet.

The neocons have been leading the narrative. Even so-called liberal outlets like NPR have daily stories either about Iran's nuclear threat or about Syria's nonviolent, democracy-loving (car-bombing, kidnap-fundraising) activists. Obama may not want to change direction from the Bush era -- his policies on drones, privacy, banking and torture certainly have not been an improvement. But if he did want to make a significant shift, he'd have some serious impediments, some of them from his own party.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Feb 20, 2013 8:39:06 PM | 30

dahoit @ 27 (What's up with Bulgaria?)
I stumbled on this yesterday from Gareth Porter at IPS.
http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/02/bulgarian-revelations-explode-hezbollah-bombing-hypothesis/

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 20, 2013 9:37:19 PM | 31

@ALL
The Supreme Leader of Iran a few days back made some remarks on nuclear weapons and US talks.
I don't know what you feel , but in my opinion it is the most brilliant speech , I have ever seen from him :

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/02/19/289813/leaders-remarks-on-nukes-us-talks/

Following is the text of the Leader’s speech:

I am telling you, the US officials are irrational people. Their remarks are illogical. Their deeds are illogical [and] tyrannical.

They expect others to give in to their illogical demands and bullying. Some do so. Certain governments and some political elites in certain countries give in to the American officials' chutzpah and bullying. But the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic cannot be forced into surrender. The Islamic Republic has argument and logic; it's capable and powerful. Hence, it will not accept illogical words and actions. In what way are the American officials irrational? A sign that shows they are irrational is the contradictions between what they preach and what they practice. They say something and act in a different way.

They claim they are committed to human rights. Yes, the Americans are bearing the flag of human rights and claim they are committed to human rights not only in their own country, that is, the US, but in the whole world. This is merely a claim. How about in practice? In practice, they deal the heaviest blows to and show the highest disrespect for human rights in other nations; their secret jails [are spread] across the world [from] Guantanamo Bay Prison [to] Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq; their attacks on civilians [continue] in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries. Their drones take off to spy [on other nations] and also exert pressure on people. You hear news [of US drone attacks] from Afghanistan and Pakistan on a daily basis. However, the unmanned aerial vehicles, as an American magazine wrote the other day, will cause trouble for the Americans themselves in future.......

Posted by: Tehran | Feb 21, 2013 3:17:47 AM | 32

.. neocon pundits in the press are scared shitless about the slight easing of pressure and deescalation of rhetoric since Hillary left as SoS. - Rusty Pipes.

Yes, that is it.

Sanctions on Iran:

Iran’s export revenues depend on fossil fuels for about 50%. In 2012 its export of FF have sunk about 40%. (Rough so ??)

IEA last week estimates that loss of export “cost” 40 billion dollars in 2012. Some sources say 38, etc. For ex. Such numbers are of course very questionable.

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=56955

Inflation is at about 25% ? (2012.) Steep devaluation of the currency.

Prices for basic goods, many of them imports, meat, rice, vegetable oil, have doubled or more.

The Woodrow Wilson Center published a paper, Feb. 2013, on med and pharma shortages in Iran.

This paper aims to explain how sanctions have impacted the Iranian pharmaceutical and medical supply business, leading to the shortages we see today. It will also look at why the legal exemptions put in place to prevent such shortages from happening are ill-designed and insufficient at achieving that goal.

PDF:

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/sanctions_medical_supply_shortages_in_iran.pdf

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 21, 2013 11:37:57 AM | 33

The very fact that usrael tries and tries any and every dirty trick against Iran basically is proof that the Iranian people has a very fine government. I envy them.

Just compare that to the whores and thugs we have in europe. Sweden, for instance, one known and respected as a fine country, has become an ugly pit where the leaders cave in to us demands even before being publicly asked. Or germany, once a great country striving to be truly democratic, nowadays is hardly more than a us satellite state where the only reason to not fulfill every us request was if the second thug in power, the eu, demands otherwise.

usrael will fail. If only because they lack a decisive power: culture.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Feb 21, 2013 12:22:40 PM | 34

Iran supreme leader :

I am not a diplomat. I am a revolutionary. For this reason, I say openly, honestly and clearly that offers of negotiations are meaningful when the two sides show their good intentions

Posted by: End | Feb 21, 2013 1:05:08 PM | 35

Those who support IRI, they are within 3 categories:
1) they are IRI members
2) they are IRI lobbyists and mercenaries
3) they don't know the criminal IRI regime

To first and second category-groups, I say loud and clear: "GO TO HELL". To the last group I would say: Go educate yourself about this inhuman and terrorist regime.

Posted by: Mansur | Feb 21, 2013 3:12:40 PM | 36

@ Mansur

and you are pro western ... right !?

Posted by: End | Feb 22, 2013 2:39:51 AM | 37

@Mansur

very unwise comment , Mansur , go and educate yourself.

Posted by: Tehran | Feb 22, 2013 4:05:39 AM | 38

Here are some references to educate yourselves about the criminal and terrorist IRI regime.

[propaganda advertisment links deleted - b.]

Posted by: Mansur | Feb 23, 2013 11:13:50 PM | 39

Mansur - 36, 39

Another Khalid Ameyreh style sectarianism pusher who things Shia are worse than Israelis.

Posted by: вот так | Feb 24, 2013 2:21:10 PM | 40

To b, who are not brave enough to use his real name. By "propaganda advertisement", what R U referring to, and what R U getting at? There were just two articles like yours, only to reveal so many facts about the criminality and terrorist nature of IRI, unless U R one of the IRI lobbyists or reformers and support IRI.

Posted by: Mansur | Feb 24, 2013 2:54:45 PM | 41

Mansur - 41

"To b, who are not brave enough to use his real name."

You like that sound of fresh, shiny minted Shekels jingling in your pocket, don't you.

Posted by: вот так | Feb 24, 2013 3:25:30 PM | 42

mansur (36)

"To b, who are not brave enough to use his real name."

Wow. You're hitting hard, Mansur Rastani. Being at that I'd better confess right away that "Mr. Pragma" is not my real name. Actually I'm not existing at all - as can easily be proven by the fact that I don't have a wordpress blog.

Trusting that you will never ever tell anyone: b *has* a real name. It is "Flash Gordon". And there are zillions of printed booklets to proof it! That man can even be seen in movies.

Now, if you will excuse me, being completely non-physical I'm feeling a little lousy and have to create some *real* personae of myself.


Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Feb 24, 2013 5:17:48 PM | 43

Mr. b I didn't know U R too coward to post all my comments, U & UR website R not worth it to spend time on.

Posted by: Mansur | Feb 24, 2013 9:18:55 PM | 44

While I posted this comment in a more recent thread, I think it really belongs here.

U.S. moves to expand economic sanctions on Iran as nuclear talks end

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2013/02/27/268573.html

"U.S. lawmakers will introduce a bill on Wednesday that expands economic penalties against Iran and is designed to force countries like China to buy less Iranian crude oil, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Reuters on Tuesday..."

AIPAC had that bill written up and distributed to their quislings probably weeks ago. And "force China"? I don't think so.

US insincerity with Iran aimed at pleasing Israel: Analyst

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/02/27/291129/us-insincere-with-iran-to-please-israel/

“Let us name the elephant in the room here. It is [the former US Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton in Doha, three years ago, admitted and I quote, Iran is no conceivable threat to the United States of America, but could be a threat to our allies. “Our allies” the name is Israel,” Ray McGovern said in an interview on Wednesday.

He went on to say that Israel aims to persuade the United States to do precisely what it has done to Iraq.

“In other words [Israel wants the United States to] devastate it (Iran), make it no longer a viable economy, so it cannot in any way enhance or support the near threat to Israel, which is Hezbollah and Hamas,” McGovern added.

The analyst also noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran has blocked the United States and Israel from completely dominating the Middle East.

McGovern further pointed to the illegal US-engineered sanctions against Iran and said embargos have never worked.

He stated that sanctions are tantamount to an act of war and expressed hope that Americans would "stand up and say this is not right."

Posted by: вот так | Feb 27, 2013 4:47:07 PM | 45

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