Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 04, 2016

The Saudi War On Everything Iran May Bounce Back As New Houthi Missile

I still believe that, from the Saudi rulers viewpoint, the execution of a bunch of al-Qaeda types and the Saudi Shia rabble-rouser Nimr Baqr al-Nimr was a smart move to divert the attention of their people from the accumulating problems of their rulers and the recent 40% gas price hike. But it comes with now escalating costs.

The biggest danger to the al-Saud family which dictatorial rules over Saudi Arabia is the proven validity of an alternative Islamic system. The Islamic Republic of Iran has such an alternative system and its reintegration into the world after the nuclear deal shows its validity. Some people and Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia might get the idea that they also could also have a system where every vote counts and policies are decided at the ballot box. This without a kleptocratic, dictatorial family and, importantly, without doing away with their core Islamic values. This, not religion, is why the Saudis have fought Iran since its revolution in 1979 and why they try to curb its influence wherever they can. The al-Sauds fear for their family and its sinecures.

The Saudis, together with Israel, tried everything to sabotage the nuclear deal. They want Iran back in the isolation box. But it is now too late. I have not read one piece in "western" media today that was negative on Iran and/or positive on Saudi Arabia. The wind of international politics has changed and it is now Saudi Arabia that comes under pressure. The impulsive reaction of the current Saudi rulers is to escalate and escalate even more and to fight Iran wherever it is present, like in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, or even where it is not present like in Yemen.

While the Saudis claim that Iran supports the Houthis in Yemen there is not the slightest proof for that assertion. There have been no Iranians found in Yemen and no Iranian weapons. The Houthis the Saudis fight in Yemen are not Shia like the Iranians but are nearer to Sunni Islam than to Iranian 12er Shia. There has been no evidence that Houthis have received anything from Iran and all stories about Iranian weapon shipment to Yemen turned out to be false.

This is now likely to change.

After the killing of al-Nimr some Iranian hardliners organized a mob that stormed and ransacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran. This was an attack on what they see as appeasement policies of the Iranian President Rouhani. It was stupid of the Rouhani administration to not have foreseen such a move and increase protection for the embassy. It is now bending over backwards to apologize for the incident but to no avail.

The Saudis cut diplomatic relations to Iran and pressed Bahrain and Sudan to do the same. The Bahraini rulers need Saudi protection and Sudan the Saudi money. The UAE only lowered its diplomatic presence in Tehran from ambassador to chargé d'affaires. Interestingly the other Gulf countries did not follow the Saudi decision. The Saudis also stopped all civil flights between Iran and Saudi Arabia and forbid their citizens to visit Iran. Business between the countries will be stopped. Iranians on pilgrimage to Mecca are still welcome.

It is unclear what this is supposed to achieve. What could Iran reasonably do that would let the Saudi rulers retract these measures without losing face? This was another impulsive and erratic move that only hurts the Saudis people and the ruling family's international reputation.

More dumb moves are expected. The Saudis will likely up their proxy fight against Iran in Syria and possibly also in Iraq by giving more weapons and financial support to Jihadists of all strife. A new government in Lebanon, on which Iran and Saudi Arabia had recently agreed, is now again far away. The Saudis will also try to escalate the fight against the Houthis and their imaginary Iranian support in Yemen. But after nine month of bombing Yemen's infrastructure to dust there is little to escalate. All ground attacks by the Saudis and their various hired proxies have been fought to a standstill.

This then is the place where Iran can escalate in response. It has the technology and know how to hand the Houthis some serious missile capabilities. Such missiles would allow them to achieve pinpoint hits on Saudi targets. The whole southern Saudi Arabia would then become a Houthi shooting range. Saudi Arabia would have to file for peace or would have to evacuate significant parts of the country.

The al-Nimr execution and the diversion of the Saudi public to strife with Iran will help the Saudi rulers to calm down internal disturbances. But the escalation comes at significant international political costs and may end up, via Houthi missiles, to increase the internal problems the Saudis are so keen to avert in the first place.

Posted by b on January 4, 2016 at 01:48 PM | Permalink

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saudi arabia is a rogue nation... maybe they got the recipe from erdogan on his last visit?

Posted by: james | Jan 4, 2016 2:13:13 PM | 1

The BS nuclear deal between US and Iran was to get Iran to massively reduce its nuclear capabilities, which except for a war which the US is no way near ready for, So sophisticated subversion and sanction pressure was used instead.
And those corporations wanting access to Iran now what access to extract from Iran, not contribute to it's economy.

All the huffing and puffing by the Israeli state terrorists and Saudi tyranny about that deal, simply betrays their brutal idiotic methods, compared to more sophisticated methods to the US empire is capable of.

And The US already set up the war showdown between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with its divide and conquer policy, and its massive sales of weapons to the Saudi tyranny. That war is just A matter of time. It's proxies first and then it's full scale engagement between those two states.

Posted by: tom | Jan 4, 2016 2:22:50 PM | 2

Unless you know something and are not sharing this article is speculation. Arming the Houthi's would, in my opinion, be about as intelligent as was arming the Taliban in the 1980's. The armed Houthi's may take care of the Saudi's (just like the Taliban took care of the Russians in that case) but then who would take care of the Houthi's? and what other havoc would they cause? Different players here but the tactic would be similar and have the same potential of backfiring in the long run.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Jan 4, 2016 2:24:45 PM | 3

B, from what you are saying your 'smart move by KSA' is looking more and more like another dumb move by KSA... If the Saudis had executed just 'al-Qaeda types' and put out a press release showing how they are cracking down on terrorism the kingdom would be attracting support from their allies right now--"Those Saudis are brutal but at least they know how to get the job done." Of course, it's unclear how much right wing/Islamic State backlash they might have gotten domestically but I suspect it would have been minimal as long as the unofficial KSA paychecks to the terrorists kept coming.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jan 4, 2016 2:28:11 PM | 4

Missiles on Saudi. What a wonderful thought. A late Christmas present ;')

Posted by: Jim Mooney | Jan 4, 2016 2:34:30 PM | 5

USA checks Iranian nuclear ambitions while giving Saudis/Israelis/Turks/etc a freehand via its "lead from behind" policy.

What could go wrong?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4, 2016 2:37:56 PM | 6

So Saudi's execution of al-Nimr was not so bright after all. Maybe calmed the Saudi princes, but that's all.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has such an alternative system and its reintegration into the world after the nuclear deal shows its validity.
That will have no effect. The reaction will be entirely sectarian.

15% of the Saudi population are Shi'a. Divided between the Eastern Province, and the Isma'ilis in Najran, as far as I know. That's a quite a lot. The question is: will repression get over the problem, or will it continue to fester? It's a bit dangerous, as was said on the previous thread.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 4, 2016 2:39:06 PM | 7

This article partly compensates for the quite 'biased' previous one.
However I cannot agree on the point that the Rohani government was caught by surprise and could have prevented the events, this is stupid and makes no sense whatsoever.
All power centers in Iran are kind of astonished by the pure stupidity of the AL Saud retards, the level of astonishment might difer.

Posted by: Sufi | Jan 4, 2016 2:45:00 PM | 8

If I were the Houthis, I'd move forward into Saudi Arabia, perhaps take Najran, where the Ismailis must at least to a certain degree be in sympathy with the Zaidi Houthis. There can't be much resistance, although Saudi must have reinforced the defences since the earlier move. It would be a move for Iran to reinforce. Better than missiles.

If it doesn't happen, it will be because of tribal alliances, or a refusal of Ismaili Shi'a to ally with Zaidis. That would be a pity, as it's a great opportunity to do down the Saudis. Let us not forget the revolt in Najran against the Saudis in 2000 recounted by the War Nerd.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 4, 2016 3:08:50 PM | 9

Dunno... These KSA numpties seem like real wildcards to me. They are unpredictable to say the least. I could not say "good move" or "bad move until the fat Arab sings. And how do you suggest the Iranians deliver missiles to Yemen? Even if they wanted to, the blockade is thorough. Besides, it would then provide the Coalition of Idiots an excuse to succeed where the Saudis failed. Any excuse for a genocidal bombing campaign nowadays.
Sorry for being so cynical...

Posted by: Dan | Jan 4, 2016 3:10:17 PM | 10

Oh, how quickly the worm turns: one day a genius, the next day a fool. Personally, I doubt if the US was caught off-guard by all of this since the US thrives on keeping everyone at odds. The pattern is an old one ... european in origin, perfected by the settler state in its destruction of the Indigenous ... and carried to other nations beginning with Mexico and now destroying whatever stands in the way of the greed of capitalism ... people NEVER mattering whether indian peoples in the US, Phillipinos, Hawaiians, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, etc. Our support of Israel, and the support of Hitler by the pre-presidential Bushes, Kennedys, et al. Never a democracy ... we export only governments beholden (as we are) to our oligarchs.

And here is THE QUESTION: is there any real difference between our POTUS with his drones and the house of Saud with there head-choppers? If so, not much ...

Posted by: Rg an LG | Jan 4, 2016 4:04:59 PM | 11

There is another reason why Saudi Arabia created a crisis just after the killing of Alloush.

Saudi Arabia has failed to set a serious Syrian opposition group. It has just lost its strongest ally, Alloush, the leader of the militias it has been supporting for years. It now worries that the other side, the Syrian government will win an overwhelming diplomatic victory if the planned meeting in Geneva takes place. Therefore it is doing all it can to prevent that meeting to happen. The execution of Sheikh Nimr and the subsequent rupture of the diplomatic relation with Iran is the first move. More of these desperate gesticulation are necessary. But as they'll fail to change much of Iran and Russia's determination to move on on Syria, it will only confirm to the whole world that it is not Bashar al Assad and his government that are weak, isolated and on the defensive, but rather Saudi Arabia and its inept and amateurish leadership.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 4, 2016 4:09:26 PM | 12

Can you really say that policies are decided on the ballot box if the person how policies are defined and enforced is the unelected Supreme Leader? For "core" Islamic values not to be violated, is the government required to have institutions with no democratic checks and balances like the Supreme Leader and the Assembly of Experts? Shouldn't it be voters' own responsibility to express and support Islamic values through the ballot box?

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jan 4, 2016 4:11:15 PM | 13

#12 -- ""Saudi Arabia has failed to set a serious Syrian opposition group. It has just lost its strongest ally, Alloush, the leader of the militias it has been supporting for years. ""

good, excellent point ... this execution could simply have been payback ... and/or "dog ate my homework" excuse providing for why they're going to, say, no-show in Vienna ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 4, 2016 4:17:10 PM | 14

If the Saudi monarchy falls, will we finally get to learn what really happened on 9/11?

Posted by: lysias | Jan 4, 2016 4:20:23 PM | 15

b says:

...bounce back...

instead of blowback

'cause unintended consequences

are actually very intended.

Posted by: john | Jan 4, 2016 4:21:28 PM | 16

@Inkan1969

I'm not sure where you are getting your information from since as far as the Assembly of Experts and the election of the Leader in Iran are concerned the following opening paragraph in Wikipedia English says it correctly:

"The Assembly of Experts[1] (also Assembly of Experts of the Leadership) of Iran (Persian: مجلس خبرگان رهبری, Majles-e Khobregan or Majles-e Khebregan-e Rahbari‎‎), also translated as Council of Experts, is a deliberative body of eighty eight (88) Mujtahids (Islamic theologians) that is charged with electing and removing the Supreme Leader of Iran and supervising his activities. Members of the assembly are elected from lists of candidates by direct public vote for eight-year terms.[2]"

Posted by: ATH | Jan 4, 2016 4:27:26 PM | 17

It could be that the killing of Sheikh Nimr is to the Saudis what the shooting of the Russian plane has been to the Turks: a provocative blunder with unexpected consequences.
The two Sunni leaders, Erdogan and King Salman are very close to loose the 4 years old game of toppling Bashar al Assad. In these desperate moves, are they hoping to reshuffle the cards by provoking Syria's allies?

Posted by: virgile | Jan 4, 2016 4:28:01 PM | 18

I respectfully disagree that from the viewpoint of the Saudi government, executing Sheikh Al-Nimr was a good idea even if he was a rabble-rouser. (And some MoA commenters, like me, contend he might not have been.) Executing a Shi'a cleric would be sure to antagonise the minority Shi'a Muslim community, most of whom I believe live in the Persian Gulf regions of Saudi Arabia, in its northeast. The Shi'a Muslims might even start rebelling. The last thing the Saudis would want - given that they are pouring money, munitions and mercenaries into Yemen (to their south), and that the Yemenis have even started to invade some southern KSA districts - is to fight an insurrection on another front, and one hundreds of kilometres away with barren desert in-between.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 4, 2016 4:30:09 PM | 19

Houthis already have substantial missile capability. These have reportedly inflicted heavy losses on the Saudis and their friends. Where these came from is uncertain, but Iran will undoubtedly supply more.

Posted by: Andoheb | Jan 4, 2016 4:41:21 PM | 20

@18 virgile.. i was thinking that analogy in your first sentence yesterday.. there are some parallels.. regardless sa looks to be having it's chain yanked and responding in typical knee-jerk fashion.. it might have appeased the wahabbi nutjob home crowd, to offset getting rid of the al qaeda/isis terrorist (wahabbi citizenship fanbase) types that they also knocked off, but still looks like a bad chess move from my viewpoint..

Posted by: james | Jan 4, 2016 4:46:41 PM | 21

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jan 4, 2016 4:11:15 PM | 13
US Supreme Court who decided US presidential election of 2k was and still is not elected.

Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 4, 2016 4:52:32 PM | 22

Andoheb,

They are Quahir1 missiles. While the Yemeni Forces claim they are upgraded , obsolete Soviet ballistic missiles, re-engineered in Yemen,

Visual identification suggests that they are ancient, obsolete SAM-3 antiaircraft missiles, ( which the Yemen Army had thousands), with a new warhead and a guidance system conversion to make them ballistic missiles.

To date, Iran has supplied nothing to the Ansrallah Movement, other than kind words,.....

And a single shipment of Humanitarian aid to Yemeni NGO's.

Posted by: Brunswick | Jan 4, 2016 4:57:38 PM | 23

Sunni Islam is actually more democratic than Shia Islam. The Wahabist strain is just such a huge departure from traditional Sunni values. I wish I saved all my conversations with a Muslim friend about these issues. We boiled it down to making a comparison that Christians can understand. Sunni Islam is similar to Protestantism is that it is highly decentralized. Anyone that reaches that status of Iman (Minister) can issue a religious ruling (fatwa). Shia are similar to Catholics. The Grand Ayatollahs are bishops but in the Iranian government the Grand Ayatollah is the Pope.

The Wahabist are....I do not know how to properly describe them.

Sunni have a natural inclination to a democratic government (I'm not saying that Shia do not, 1954...). Western Imperialism has prevented every moderate attempt. The only place left for Muslims to organize is in radical religious groups. All other modes of reform have been destroyed. We are all witnessing the children of the Dulles era CIA. The world is awash in blood because two sociopathic brother's (Dulles Brothers) took over US foreign policy and eventually killed a President.

Posted by: AnEducatedFool | Jan 4, 2016 5:11:46 PM | 24

b

Thanks, Iranian goverment had no choice but to unload some internal hardliners steam due to her own internal reason. Sending or filling a letter of complaint to KSA chaired UNHC wouldn't have released the boiling steam. The rest is agreed.

Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 4, 2016 5:13:09 PM | 25

@Andoheb@20

Houthis already have substantial missile capability. These have reportedly inflicted heavy losses on the Saudis and their friends. Where these came from is uncertain, but Iran will undoubtedly supply more.

Bingo! Houthis don't need missiles, they already have plenty ballistic missiles and ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles), and have been killing Saudi ships and tanks with them. Where do they come from? The originals came from Russia, of course, the copies from Iran and North Korea.

What the Houthis/Yemen army really need in order to level the battlefield is MANPADs, and my guess is they haven't been provided with them out of fear the Saudis/Qataris et al will do the same in reverse with their takfiris in Syria/Iraq. There are only a few places MANPADs could come from, and whoever provides Houthis with them, would be easily identified.

Providing the Houthis with MANPADs is a "game changer" move, a significant escalation with serious consequences for the 4+1 in Syria/Iraq, but now that the gloves are off between Iran and the KSA, there is potential for a move in that direction.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 4, 2016 5:21:20 PM | 26

B@23

Your claim about Iran not directly arming Ansrallah may be true but can the same claim be stated for Hezbollah or Muqtada al Sadr's group in Iraq.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 4, 2016 5:23:26 PM | 27

@24

The current SL when selected by assembly of expert was not a grand ayatollah, wasn't even an ayatollah,after 25 years balancing the powers whithin, he earned it. Grand Ayatollahs wouldn't run for any office,if they get there they have achived above that,'it's not easy to get there, becoming a grand ayatollah, you need to have a lots and lots of fallowers who actually pay for their guidance, like real grass rout found raising for an office in US congress.

Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 4, 2016 5:27:18 PM | 28

I still find it very interesting that everyone seems to think that these "smart, stupid" whatever you want to call them are actually KSA indroendant choices

Lol they are flying the worlds most expesnive toys in yemen and getting their asses handed to them. Trust me when i tell you this. Saudis and Emirite Arabs in general are nothing but bedouin desert dwellers or as the line from titanic goes "new money"

If people are too blind to see the British/US/Israeli hands in this then go ahead and keep debating about the smoke screen or the true colour of wool being pulled over your eyes.

Saudis and Bahrain are not independant states. They are military bases for the US against Iran,Rusia,China grabbing control of the rest of the middle east.

Executing "rabble rousing" Nimr , will in turn be the downfall of KSA and all these "Analysts" think tanks and what not will finally realise that the ME is not what it always seems

Posted by: Deebo | Jan 4, 2016 5:33:05 PM | 29

@17

ATH, I apologize for that oversight. I should've noted, though, that the Assembly and other electoral candidates must be vetted by the Guardian Council, before the people can choose at the ballot box. The Council is half appointed by the Supreme Leader; the other half have to be nominated by the Head of the Judicial Power, who is also appointed by the Supreme Leader, before the Parliament can vote on them. I didn't find an expedient way to appeal a Guardian Council rejection.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jan 4, 2016 5:34:22 PM | 30

@Brunswick@23

They are Quahir1 missiles.

Not only, they also have the Russian-made OTR-21 Tochka, used in Yemen since civil war times, and more recently used to kill 150 "Saudi-lead coalition troops... Including the head of the Saudi Special forces in Yemen, Colonel Abdullah al-Sahyan."

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 4, 2016 5:37:37 PM | 31

@29
Not exactly corect the other 6 they need to be elected by the elected parliament like in US superman court

"The Iranian constitution calls for the council to be composed of six Islamic faqihs (expert in Islamic Law), "conscious of the present needs and the issues of the day" to be selected by the Supreme Leader of Iran, and six jurists, "specializing in different areas of law, to be elected by the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament) from among the Muslim jurists nominated by the Head of the Judicial Power," (who, in turn, is also appointed by the supreme leader)."

Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 4, 2016 5:49:32 PM | 32

Iraq Says Mosque Bombings Were False Flag ISIS Attacks

“An Iraqi official blamed the Islamic State group on Monday for the bombing of two Sunni mosques in a predominantly Shiite city in southern Iraq the previous night, saying the militant group seeks to stoke sectarian tensions,” AP reports. ISIS "did this to inflame sectarian strife in the country,” provincial security official Falah al-Khafaji contends.

ZeroHedge speculates:

Taking it a step further, one has to wonder whether there's a larger plan here. That is, if we assume ISIS, like the multitude of other Sunni extremist groups operating in the region, is taking its cues from handlers and benefactors, it's not difficult to imagine that "someone" could be attempting to create an excuse for an intervention in Iraq.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4, 2016 6:07:47 PM | 33

Save that date -- the next installment of Syrian peace negotiations:

"[Staffan] De Mistura is due to launch peace talks between Assad’s government and the opposition in Geneva on January 25, but it remained unclear whether the Iran-Saudi crisis would have an impact on that plan.

De Mistura has flown to Ryadh and is due to then visit Tehran ... Yeah, I can't see these two parties sharing a table ....

""UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply dismayed” by the Saudi execution of 47 people including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who has been critical of the Sunni royal family and was a driving force behind anti-government protests in 2011. snip

In his talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, Ban urged Saudi Arabia “to renew its commitment to a ceasefire” in Yemen after the Riyadh-led coalition announced on Sunday that it was ending the truce with Iran-backed rebels in the country.[yemen]

The U.N. envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, was to hold talks in Riyadh on Wednesday to push for a renewed ceasefire.

Alaraiya.net

It was a brilliant move in an effort to hit "re-set back to nil" at a moment when "progress" might appear on the far horizon.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 4, 2016 7:10:48 PM | 34

Note that the execution was the work of the Official Government of KSA ... while the attack on the Tehran embassy was the work of irate Iranian citizens ...

As I mentioned before in the prior thread, there is no "equivalence" -- the Saudi reaction (over-reaction) is absurd and should be being denounced, at very least seriously discouraged. As far as I can tell, thus far, the Government of Iran has apparently not responded in kind (they have not cut THEIR diplomatic relations with KSA)

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 4, 2016 7:20:12 PM | 35

@12 virgile '... it is not Bashar al Assad and his government that are weak, isolated and on the defensive, but rather Saudi Arabia and its inept and amateurish leadership.'

Yes. Solid observation. How come their best friends in USrael didn't warn them of that particular aspect of their stupid act?

@24 AEF 'The world is awash in blood because two sociopathic brother's (Dulles Brothers) took over US foreign policy and eventually killed a President.'

Ain't that the truth. Because of those two and their succeeding stream of 'investment bankers' at the CIA.

@33 SS from your link 'UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply dismayed” by the Saudi execution of 47 people including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who has been critical of the Sunni royal family and was a driving force behind anti-government protests in 2011.'

Ban Ki-moon is a US poodle, so this further indicates to me that USrael wouldn't mind at all if there were a change in management in Saudi Arabia ... and if the place goes up for grabs, why they - NATO - will just have to step in to provide 'stability'.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 4, 2016 7:47:02 PM | 36

@Wayoutwest@27

Your claim about Iran not directly arming Ansrallah may be true but can the same claim be stated for Hezbollah or Muqtada al Sadr's group in Iraq.

Let's assume your claim HA and/or Sadr militia have provided weapons to the Houthis is true, so what? You just want to demonstrate that someone issued a false statement, or are you upset the Saudi beasts are going to face armed resistance?

The entire planet has the moral obligation to arm the Houthis, provide all kinds of help to the Yemeni people, who are being massacred wholesale by the war criminal Saudis and their coalition of gangsters. Yemen is the new Viet Nam, without the 6 o'clock news coverage VN had of US atrocities, which means the world remains ignorant of the carnage Yemen is suffering.

If you had any sense of morality or human decency, instead of posting your moral equivalence drivel, you should be celebrating the Houthis are getting weapons, who cares from who.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 4, 2016 7:57:38 PM | 37

"Who was Saudi Shi’a Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr?"

http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/cityofbrass/2016/01/who-was-saudi-shia-sheikh-nimr-al-nimr.html

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 4, 2016 8:01:34 PM | 38

SS@34

Iran is not known to allow irate citizens to run amuck so it might be a planned Basij attack on the KSA Embassy, they certainly came prepared to torch the place and met little resistance from Iranian security.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 4, 2016 8:03:51 PM | 39

@Inkan1969

Apology accepted.

So now we CAN really say that policies are decided on the ballot box in Iran since the candidates for executive and legislative branches are elected directly or indirectly via popular suffrage (unlike Saudi Arabia and UAE and Qatar etc... one would notice). The fact that these candidates are vetted or not is irrelevant here since vetting is part of all the participatory systems in the world in one way or another (ex. legal minimum age for the Senate in the US or minimum signature of notable required in France)

Posted by: ATH | Jan 4, 2016 8:03:58 PM | 40

@24 AnEducatedFool,

Would the Wahhabis be equivalent to a Christian Reconstructionist movement gone militant with state funding?

@39 ATH,

I don't see how we can say policies are decided at the ballot box unless they can recall their "representatives" as easily as they can elect them. It's part of the weak-mindedness of liberal society that management somehow equals democracy.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 4, 2016 8:09:21 PM | 41

Thanks Kooshy. Here's a bit about Iran's factional infighting, to add to your comments about the govt.

Saudi killing of the militant Shi'ite leader is likely to strengthen Iran's hardliners in her Feb 26 elections: Islamic Consultative Assy (Parliament) & the 86-member Assy of Experts. Both are popularly elected, but only after candidates are pre-vetted by the Guardian Council.
The 290-seat Islamic Consultative Assembly has 285 directly elected members and five seats reserved for the Zoroastrians, Jews, Assyrians and Chaldean Christians, and Armenians.
Those who may NOT be candidates: large landholders, religious leaders.

The 86-member Assy of Experts has nominal, so-far-unexpressed power over the Supreme Leader. They select the Supreme Leader. As Khamenei's health is not great, this may occur soon. Members of the Guardian Council are also elderly.
Guardian Council consists of 12 members; six are clerics selected by Supreme Leader. Six are lawyers voted in by Parliament from among those preselected by the Head of the judicial system (also appointed by Supreme Leader). Guardian Council vets candidates for President, too. It has increased the economic and cultural influence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, an ideological fighting force separate from the Iranian Army.
Supreme Leader controls the military and foreign policy.

Rouhani seeks to downgrade Guardian Council power-- especially their power to exclude candidates for Parliament. "The (Guardian) Council has a supervisory role and not an executive one. The government ... has necessary means to prevent election disorders and possible fraud," Rouhani said in August, challenging its authority to vet the candidates. The reformers want to extend social and economic liberties. Khamenei charges they wish to make Iran a republic rather than a revolutionary force.

"Those who took over the first stronghold (2013 presidential vote) have plans to occupy the Assembly of Experts and the parliament ... to pursue their corrupt goals," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted hardline cleric Ahmad Janatti, chairman of the Guardian Council, as saying in May. Jannati's remarks echoed statements made by other Khamenei allies, who warned of "the seditionists' agenda for the elections aimed at overthrowing the establishment".

Hardliners use the term "seditionists" to describe those who aligned with opposition forces after the disputed 2009 re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. His win over reformists (62% of vote) triggered eight months of popular unrest that was eventually suppressed by force. As President Khamenei rec'd 94% of the vote.

Hardliners have dominated parliament since 2004, when the Council disqualified about 4,000 pro-reform hopefuls, including 80 sitting members of the current parliament. Council rejected a bill in May that would automatically qualify current lawmakers to run in the next vote.

The military owns a good part of the economy. Hardliner Ahmadinejad gave them oil & gas franchises; Rouhani has not. Rouhani is up for re-election in mid-2017, got only 50% of vote last time, the lowest of any elected President.

Maybe Rouhani was preselected just to negotiate the nuke deal.

Posted by: Penelope | Jan 4, 2016 8:09:25 PM | 42

@Wayoutwest

"Iran is not known to allow irate citizens to run amuck so it might be a planned Basij attack on the KSA Embassy..."

The same can be said about any country in the world and there is no need for a militia to do that. It is a well known facts, maybe not by you but among those who are following the real news, that the more than 10 or so Iranian embassies and consulates ransacked et pillaged during the 80's in the European cities were all done under the complacent eyes and noses of the security services of the protecting states. In actuality I believe doing it the Iranian way, i.e. keeping a façade of deniability, is more honorable that what the European state did... and for some are still doing.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 4, 2016 8:16:38 PM | 43

@Wayoutwest -- "Iran is not known to allow irate citizens to run amuck so it might be a planned Basij attack on the KSA Embassy..."

I don't have TeeVee news and have seen no coverage of what (if anything) the local police, much less the government, did to control the "mob" ... however, the Iranian government is under no obligation to use "lethal force" against its own citizens ... see also the Embassy's very own security force... it's a building ... they are citizens ...
it's still seems like an doubtful reason to sever diplomatic ties .... and it's very different from a government-ordered beheading (or a bombing or drone strike) ... Saudi's say they won't boycott Geneva ... but the month is still young ...
)http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-says-break-iran-ties-not-harm-syria-003454129.html)

Marc Lynch/WaPo.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 4, 2016 8:34:44 PM | 44

@Jonathan

The executive, legislative and local and regional representatives are all up for re-election, mostly every 4 years. So the policies at the local or government level can be revoked. The political scene is mostly composed of factions ranging from state-interventionists to liberal-capitalists in the economic spectrum and from liberal-reformist through centrist and all the way to conservative in the cultural and political spectrum. it's obviously not a perfect system but one in making that has the necessary minimum to be called participatory, unlike SA I would insist.

The role of the Leader is less prominent that what is portrayed in the Western media here. It is more a glue sticking everything in the political framework together, not intervening directly in the governance of the country or the alternation between different political factions at the legislative and executive levels but playing the role of the last arbiter and direction setter for important State level decisions (like the nuclear one). Somehow similar to the role that Queen Victoria played during late 19th century in England. One might even say with less nominal power than her since Khamenei is not the head of the "church" and he can be dismissed by an elected assembly. In brief the Leader in the Iranian system of governance is tending to be a legitimacy figure rather than a executive one and the direction things are heading toward is more of that rather than less.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 4, 2016 8:39:00 PM | 45

I don't see this angst over the Saudis and Geneva ... let them continue to negotiate with the Syrian Army and the Russian Air Force. Thats their position at Geneva anyway.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 4, 2016 8:46:12 PM | 46

the house of saud is not a rogue nation but is owned by Amerikas cia and thanks to you in England for the hand off. The elite of the house will leave to England and everyone without a private jet good luck.


Posted by: jo6pac | Jan 4, 2016 8:52:50 PM | 47

for anyone interested ...
Slate/Fred Kaplan Kaplan has more details on what happened in Tehran (there were two different Saudi Embassy seiges) -- I find he usually too-willingly accepts the "party line" ... There was smoke, there was appparently fire ... how much damage was done? RT says it was "set ablaze" ...

NBC

nbc:

In Tehran, the crowd gathered outside the Saudi embassy and chanted anti-Saudi slogans. Some protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the embassy, setting off a fire in part of the building, Sajedinia told the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

"Some of them entered the embassy. Currently, individuals who entered the embassy have been transferred out (of the building). However, a large crowd is still there in front of the embassy," Sajedinia told ISNA early Sunday.

Some of the protesters broke into the embassy and threw papers off the roof, and police worked to disperse the crowd, Sajedinia told ISNA. He later told Tasnim that police had removed the protesters from the building and arrested some of them. He said the situation outside the embassy "had been defused."

"ablaze" appears a bit of an exaggeration, but who knows?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 4, 2016 9:02:31 PM | 48

@Kooshy - sorry off topic, but do you know whats happened to Going to Tehran website run by the Leveretts? Its gone all quiet for the last 6 months or so? Thanks

Posted by: Irshad | Jan 4, 2016 9:20:11 PM | 49

@ATH@42

In actuality I believe doing it the Iranian way, i.e. keeping a façade of deniability, is more honorable that what the European state did... and for some are still doing.

If it wouldn't be that Iran is now rebuilding his relations with the world after a hiatus as a pariah, and ransacking embassies is not the best way of regaining trust lost as a responsible member of the fucking rotten "civilized world," I would say they should have taken some Saudi hostages for a lifetime, in exchange for Al-Nimr's body.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 4, 2016 9:39:21 PM | 50

@44 ATH,

I'm uneasy about Rouhani's rapprochement with the usurious Western financial sector[1], but from a systems standpoint I'm more worried about corruption in the assemblies than the figureheads. The usual failure mode of republics is that there is nothing binding the alleged "representative" to the popular will post-election and no effective means to stop disloyalty in progress. In the US, especially, we've had ample experience with "representatives" who, as an assembly, invariably take on some sacred duty of delivering concrete material benefits to elites while delivering excuses and pat stories (according to their Party's mythology) to their constituents. The question always on my mind is, how to prevent the color of public interest from enabling disproportional private benefit?

It could be that I'm not thinking Islamically enough with respect to the roles of citizens within an Islamic society. But if Iran has a system that guarantees sturdy alignment of policy outcomes with citizens' collective interests, even against vested interests of state officials, I'd love to hear it.

[1] Islamic finance on Wall Street would mean dropping shock troops onto one end and chopping every right hand down to the other end. I doubt I will be seeing this in the near future.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 4, 2016 9:42:01 PM | 51

@ATH@42

In actuality I believe doing it the Iranian way, i.e. keeping a façade of deniability, is more honorable that what the European state did... and for some are still doing.

If it wouldn't be that Iran is now rebuilding his relations with the world after a hiatus as a pariah, and ransacking embassies is not the best way of regaining trust lost as a responsible member of the rotten "civilized world," I would say they should have taken some Saudi hostages for a lifetime, in exchange for Al-Nimr's body.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 4, 2016 9:42:34 PM | 52

Najran looks amazing

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 4, 2016 9:50:39 PM | 53

I'm still mildly mystified by the logic which persuaded the Saudis (not famous for their military prowess) that Iraq-ifying a neighbor was a good idea? What prompted them to forget that the West's Colonial Crusaders have always chosen targets for Stone-Ageing which are too weak, and too remote, to pose a threat to the Homeland?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 4, 2016 9:56:26 PM | 54

@Lone Wolf

"Pariah status" or "rebuilding" a presumed broken relations "with the world" is what you have been made to believe by the MSM. Iran is actually reducing tension in the nuclear dossier to better work out its strategic realignment that are based on sovereignty and political independence. The first sign of which has already appeared in a strategic alliance in Syria.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 4, 2016 9:57:05 PM | 55

1960 Cuba. an entire country with citizens united in decency and goodwill. An example for all Central American peoples to desire similar education, health and improvement opportunities.

A threat to long established ruling families all over the world.

And now Iran. A similar example for better living conditions and demonstrated improvement without the ROYALTY and other smothering plutocratic rulers.

Curiouser and interestinger.

Posted by: Chu-Teh | Jan 4, 2016 10:01:17 PM | 56

@ATH@53

"Pariah status" or "rebuilding" a presumed broken relations "with the world" is what you have been made to believe by the MSM.

Me think you're so full of yourself you lack the subtlety to understand irony.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 4, 2016 10:03:37 PM | 57

There is reasonable possibility that the decision by the Saudi dictatorship to execute the high profile Shiite Sheikh Nimr may have been motivated, at least in part, by the desire to deflect the probability of retribution by the Shiite-hating Islamic State since the majority of the 47 executed along with Nimr were comprised of violent, hard-core Sunni devotees of ISIS. From the Saudi prism, the orgy of executions was on the one hand, a performance intended to downplay growing criticism of the kingdom's funding of the globally despised ISIS and on the other end, an act of appeasing ISIS by killing this highly popular Shiite leader. Nimr's execution could have been intended to mitigate the group's rage and reduce the potential to target Saudi institutions instead of Shiite mosques as they have done in the past.

Posted by: metni | Jan 4, 2016 10:11:51 PM | 58

@Jonathan

This sounds off topic but for the sake of a reply,

No political system is exempt from corruption and in my opinion this outcome might even be somehow inexorable due to the nature of a state based polity. The difference between the Iranian political scaffolding and the European systems in particular but also, at the limit, the American one is that the former is based on a younger society and still in formation while the latters have already passed the middle-age period in their life cycle.

And to answer your question: "how to prevent the color of public interest from enabling disproportional private benefit?" the only way for this to be possible in my opinion is the breakdown of states with globalist reach into local and regional states with decision-making being directly made by citizens... a Helvetic kind of confederation.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 4, 2016 10:18:09 PM | 59

@Lone Wolf
I didn't see any irony neither subtlety in your assumption:
"If it wouldn't be that Iran is now rebuilding his relations with the world after a hiatus as a pariah"
Are you saying now that you meant the above as an ironical predicate?

Posted by: ATH | Jan 4, 2016 10:25:02 PM | 60

Posted by: Irshad | Jan 4, 2016 9:20:11 PM | 48

Irshad,
Sorry no i have no idea, what happened to GTT site.

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 4, 2016 10:28:53 PM | 61

@ATH@58

I didn't see any irony neither subtlety in your assumption:

If you don't get it, you don't get it. Looking back at your posts, you think you came here as a magister dixit, not to share. I regret having addressed you. End of conversation.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 4, 2016 10:46:25 PM | 62

Not to forget, nearly a thousand Iranians died during the hajj in Mecca:

The 2015 Mina Crush disaster has increased tensions in the already-strained relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran, led to calls from politicians in a number of Muslim nations for changes in oversight of Mecca and the Hajj, and bolstered opposition to King Salman among the senior members of the Saudi Arabian royal family.

Posted by: Oui | Jan 4, 2016 10:51:34 PM | 63

Saudi Arabia steps up beheadings; some see political message | Oct. 20, 2014 |

King Abdullah announced plans for legal reform in 2007, but judges, drawn from the traditionally conservative clergy, have so far succeeded is putting off meaningful change.

In 2009 Abdullah replaced the long-serving, conservative justice minister with a younger scholar, Mohammed al-Issa. His attempts to introduce more modern training for judges and a system of precedent to make sentencing more predictable have so far been blocked by strenuous opposition from conservatives.

Even Saudis who want reform generally do not oppose the use of the death penalty by public beheading. Khalid al-Dakheel, a political sociology professor in Riyadh, said the turbulence in the region meant people wanted the justice system to be tough.

"You don't want to have a dictatorship similar to that of Bashar al-Assad in Syria or (former Iraqi leader) Saddam Hussein. But at the same time you don't want to have a government which is weak, especially in such a region and at such a time," he said.

In the most extreme version of the Saudi death penalty, known by the Arabic word for "crucifixion" and reserved for crimes that outrage Saudi society, the corpse is publicly hanged in a harness from a metal gibbet as a warning to others.

Saudi Arabia set its modern-day execution record of 192 back in 1995
Cornell U. – Death penalty data-base for Saudi Arabia

Posted by: Oui | Jan 4, 2016 10:52:42 PM | 64

Posted by: Penelope | Jan 4, 2016 8:09:25 PM | 41

Penelope-
From what I read in various Iranian news sites, Iran’s factional politics is similar and as intense as anywhere else, much like here in US which I have observed for long enough. Like here you have military interest, industrial interest, foreign interest, merchant interest, and no candidate is going to tell you where and whom their tail is hooked to, from what I have understood, in all ME Iran has the most checked and balanced electoral system anywhere. I just read in this coming Feb election there would be 1 million volunteers conducting the elections. And I believe there are more than 2 factions, since all the voters and candidates in right and left will not unify in a convention of a kind at the end, so one may fine tune his or her vote, there are provinces and you vote for your candidate in Provence you are voting, and not the district your address is. So if you are living in central Provence (Tehran) you can vote for all 30 candidates of your choice among as many as they are running for this Ostan = Stan = Provence. BTW Stuff you copied and pasted here don’t have much meaning.

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 4, 2016 10:55:37 PM | 65

@lone wolf,
I don't think I'm the only one not getting your irony here and actually I believe you are misleading us by attributing a post-facto irony adjective to your otherwise really truth-assumed predicate.
I'm coming to this forum to learn and share and will welcome anyone willing to have the same purpose of productive exchange of ideas. My vocabulary might sometimes seem pompous but this is not intentional. Its mostly likely due to the fact that English is my fourth language.
If you don't desire an exchange of ideas its completely your right and I cannot force it upon you.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 4, 2016 11:10:55 PM | 66

@ATH@64

I don't think I'm the only one not getting your irony here...

You just passed a survey? Talk about pompous. Laughable. It's evidently clear English is not your native language, no need to be redundant. Bye now, there are more important issues to pay attention to than dealing with your struggling pompousness.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 4, 2016 11:32:06 PM | 67

@lone wolf
I thought you said "end of conversation."
Your lack of credibility is really ironical!

Posted by: ATH | Jan 4, 2016 11:37:55 PM | 68

LW and ATH

Since you both mostly agree on the substance, arguing over language seems silly.

ATH _did_ say that English was his 4th language, and I am quite sure that MoA welcomes international participation.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 5, 2016 12:02:27 AM | 69

how many think like this author - michael krieger from sept 30th 2015, that there is a conflict at the top in saudi arabia and only a matter of time where one or the other goes? it seems that since Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud was given the position of 2nd in command in sa (and minister of defense responsibility), a lot of shite has hit the fan... this began with the war on yemen in march 26 2015 and continues on in everything else.. i don't know who is doing what inside the sa hierarchy, but it sure comes across as chaotic and troublesome.. regime change is a distinct probability! which guy goes? the old guy, or the young guy? scary either way..

Posted by: james | Jan 5, 2016 12:10:18 AM | 70

A couple of assassins and mass-murderers who are grateful for the chance to compare themselves to the Saudis and find the Saudis lacking ...

US warned Saudis of Nimr’s execution in advance


"There have been direct concerns raised by US officials to Saudi officials about the potential damaging consequences of following through on the execution, on mass executions, in particular, the execution of" al-Nimr, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.

Turkey: Politics behind Nimr’s execution

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told a press conference on Monday that the execution did not have Ankara’s support.

“We are against all instances of capital punishment, especially when it is politically motivated,” he said.


Both had meetings with the Saudis before their mass beheading festival and could have saved the Saudi junior woodchuck if they wanted to. I wonder what's in the collapse of the present Saudi regime for them? Control of orphaned Saudi oilfields in the one case and of orphaned Saudi Mamluk terrorists in the other?

Posted by: jfl | Jan 5, 2016 2:48:31 AM | 71

Lone Wolf says:

...ransacking embassies is not the best way of regaining trust...

maybe, but it's good for dancing in the street

i mean, listen to those Iranian protesters celebrating (in the background)...

Posted by: john | Jan 5, 2016 6:09:17 AM | 72

LoneWOlf @26

"What the Houthis/Yemen army really need in order to level the battlefield is MANPADs."

Aircraft keep falling out of the sky over Yemen quite regularly. They are always described as the result of 'technical reasons'. That covers a whole range of possibilites from engine failure to back end of aircraft disappearing after missile strike.

Here is a report on a recent incident (30 Dec) involving a Bahraini F-16.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3gkkdV4uhs

Some images of the crash site

http://www.russiadefence.net/t4766p90-yemeni-conflict-news-2#144770

Posted by: onatan | Jan 5, 2016 7:02:43 AM | 73

@jfl
Yes. Solid observation. How come their best friends in USrael didn't warn them of that particular aspect of their stupid act?

Why would they? They are quite happy to see the conflict between Iran and Saudi growing. Israel now appears like a 'civilized' and 'peace loving' country compared to these barbarians who cut heads and burn embassies.. The more the Saudis are feeling weak and isolated, the more arrogant and reckless they are becoming and USRael are taking advantage of that in not discouraging them of making stupid acts.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 5, 2016 9:13:39 AM | 74

The Real Reason Why Saudi Arabia Executed Sheikh Nimr

by Shireen Hunter

http://lobelog.com/the-real-reason-why-saudi-arabia-executed-sheikh-nimr/

Nor is this mere speculation. Saudi Arabia for some time has been trying to provoke Iran. First there was the Saudi military intervention in Bahrain. Then there were Saudi efforts to topple the Assad regime. These were followed by the bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut in 2013, which killed a number of Lebanese as well as Iran’s cultural attaché. More recently, during the Haj ceremonies, Saudi authorities harassed two Iranian youth and a large number of Iranian pilgrims died as well. The Saudi government, moreover, created many difficulties for Iranian officials trying to locate, identify, and transfer the bodies of the victims to Iran. And of course Saudi Arabia launched a full-scale war in Yemen against what it claimed were Iranian-backed rebels.

Another provocation came last month when Nigerian authorities arrested the country’s Shia leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaki, and the Nigerian army killed close to a thousand Shias for spurious reasons. Following Sheikh Zakzaki’s arrest Saudi King Salman reportedly congratulated Nigeria’s president for dealing effectively with terrorism (the king’s definition of terrorism apparently extends to the peaceful observance of religious rituals). Meanwhile, the abuse of the Shias in other countries, notably Azerbaijan, continued as did their indiscriminate killing by Saudi- influenced groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as illustrated by the beheading in November of a nine-year-old Hazara girl in Afghanistan.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 5, 2016 9:38:11 AM | 75

One also shouldn't forget that there's struggle going on between the "Group Abdullah" and the "Group Salman".

Abdullah was the former king and Salman is the current king of Saudi Arabia. Former king Abdullah and his "followers" did A LOT OF things to reduce the influence/power of the "Group Salman". E.g. Abdullah appointed his followers to influential positions.

But now with Salman on the throne, Salman is doing the same thing with his followers. Appoint as much of followers to influential positions as possible. And it seems the struggle is far from over.

And Saudi Arabia is in "not the best of financial shapes". No surprise there. A combination of:
- Falling/Fallen oil prices.
- VERY large military expenses (Yemen, Syria).
- Increased expenses for the saudi population. Saudi Arabia increased payments to its citizens to bribe them into not revolting during & after the "Arab Spring" in 2011.
- ((Very) large) subsidies for Healthcare, electricity, gasoline.

Recently the saudi government increased the price of gasoline by 50% (!!!!) from 15 cents to 22 cents. Outrageous !!!!!!!!

Posted by: Willy2 | Jan 5, 2016 9:38:47 AM | 76

To add to my @65

ISNA is reporting that in Tehran district 2299 person have been vetted and qualified to run for Tehran’s 30 parliamentary seats, , meaning there are more than 70 candidates running for each seat

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 5, 2016 10:01:26 AM | 77

I guess the saudis thought that zionist control of Western media would have them a total pass,and ignore their headchopping.They certainly have protected them since 9-11.
As Lysias says,will the truth of 9-11 ever be exposed?
And yeah,Ban Ki Moon might be the worst SG ever.Stooge indeed.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 5, 2016 10:29:46 AM | 78

Al Qaida’s Ayman al Zawahiri: Dead, duplicitous or oblivious?

http://wtop.com/national-security/2015/08/holdneeds-edit-jj-story-zawahiri-dead-duplicitous-oblivious/

A little bit old (5/15), but this guy is still routinely being used to make Al Qaeda announcements.

Posted by: Les | Jan 5, 2016 10:30:41 AM | 79

ATH@45

Iran is an Twelver Islamist Republic and Theocracy ruled by a Supreme Leader. All decisions are filtered by the Supreme Leader and religious council and the somewhat representative bureaucrats and representatives handle day to day government operations. Policy is made at the top and the religious leadership decide who will compete for the representative positions as opposition or government supporters.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 5, 2016 10:43:54 AM | 80

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 5, 2016 10:43:54 AM | 80

After all explanations, that’s what you think the Iranian system is, fine you have it.

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 5, 2016 11:02:10 AM | 81

“Iran is an Twelver Islamist Republic and Theocracy ruled by a Supreme Leader.’

Iran could have been any kind of republic run by a supreme leader, liker NK, what does the “Twelver Islamist” has to do, with having a “supreme leader” making all the decisions? As mentioned there are a lot of other type of regimes that a supreme leader makes all the decision. Wasn’t adding that to prove to other readers that you know the system, giving weight, to the rest of your assertion. The way I understand ATH knows the system well, so your insertion was for the rest of the readers.


Posted by: kooshy | Jan 5, 2016 11:25:58 AM | 82

@onatan@73

Aircraft keep falling out of the sky over Yemen quite regularly. They are always described as the result of 'technical reasons'. That covers a whole range of possibilities from engine failure to back end of aircraft disappearing after missile strike.

Here is a report on a recent incident (30 Dec) involving a Bahraini F-16.

Thanks for those links, it's been my impression Yemen army/Houthis have no flak capability, hence the Saudis control of the skies, and the carnage on civilians/damage to infrastructure.

I have read news of Saudi fighter jets downed over Yemen due to "technical failure" as you mentioned, that could or could not be the Houthis/Yemen army. I certainly hope they develop AA defenses, as the Vietnamese progressively did, that would help diminish the carnage and will give the Saudis a pause in their impunity.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 5, 2016 11:57:11 AM | 83

@82 kooshy.. wow likes to spread bs whenever possible.. he is the town idiot at moa..

Posted by: james | Jan 5, 2016 12:16:45 PM | 84

@40

ATH, vetting is not inherently fair just because it's vetting. The Head of the Judicial Power has to nominate six members of the Guardian Council before parliament can vote on them, and he is appointed by the Supreme Leader rather than elected. The other six are directly appointed by the Supreme Leader. It's people on the Guardian Council that vet who can stand for election, rather than objective laws like the minimum age requirement. A straightforward way to contest a Guardian Council rejection doesn't seem evident.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jan 5, 2016 12:17:35 PM | 85

@Inkan1969

Vetting might not be fair but as long as you have nation-state and citizenship based on the concept of NATION you have a degree of vetting. And my point was that having a vetting mechanism by itself doesn't deny the participatory adjective for a political system, Iran being the case in point. In ancient Greece, considered the birth place of democracy, vetting was omnipresent. In England and the US, considered by many as models for the representative political systems, heavy vetting was inherent part of the system until recently and even now is either overtly present or play an important role in the backburner.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 5, 2016 2:01:44 PM | 86

@ Lone Wolf @62.

What problem do you have with the opinion expressed @58? ATH is not the author as your referenced post seems to suggest. I am not here to pontificate, but as a follower of MOA and a very infrequent commentator. As such, I see no justification nor value in the ad hominem attack.

Posted by: metni | Jan 5, 2016 2:40:58 PM | 87

@metni@87

What problem do you have with the opinion expressed @58?

My apologies, that was a typo, if you see the quoted text @62 has nothing to do with your post. In fact, I remember reading your post last night and thinking that was a good insight into the complex motivations behind the criminal Saudi deeds.

I don't know what you consider an "ad hominem" attack, but it had nothing to do with you, your post was alluded purely by mistake. I was having a heated interaction with another poster who allegedly speaks four languages, all pompously, and his fifth language is bullshit.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 5, 2016 3:15:53 PM | 88

@lone wolf
End of conversation?

Posted by: ATH | Jan 5, 2016 3:19:21 PM | 89

@LoneWolf @ 88

Thank you for taking the time to respond and explain. Happy New Year to you and may we in 2016 witness the fall of the criminal Saudi kakistocracy.

Posted by: metni | Jan 5, 2016 3:25:23 PM | 90

@metni@90

Thank you for taking the time to respond and explain. Happy New Year to you and may we in 2016 witness the fall of the criminal Saudi kakistocracy.

You're welcome. Happy New Year back to you, and yes, we shall celebrate the fall of the profligate, depraved, criminal Saudis, if not this year, soon after.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 5, 2016 3:47:30 PM | 91

@john@72

maybe, but it's good for dancing in the street

i mean, listen to those Iranian protesters celebrating (in the background)...

That was a funny video john, thanks. I certainly hope Rouhani doesn't scapegoat those who ransacked the Saudi embassy, who like their predecessors at the US embassy decades ago, stand on higher moral ground than the Saudis will ever be.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 5, 2016 4:03:11 PM | 92

AHT@86

I don't think I can view Iran's small religious leadership using authoritarian selection and rejection of candidates as simple vetting even though it does allow some opposition to gain some power. When that opposition acts out the Leadership calls out the Basij and any popular gains made by the opposition are quickly crushed.

Our money and power driven system in the US is a mere shadow of even a representative republic no less a real democracy.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 5, 2016 4:18:44 PM | 93

The U.S. Doesn’t “Need” to “Stand With” the Saudis

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/the-u-s-doesnt-need-to-stand-with-the-saudis/

Posted by: D | Jan 5, 2016 7:59:23 PM | 94

"The United States should do everything possible to avoid choosing sides in an intensifying proxy war between the dominant Shiite and Sunni powers in the Middle East. Though history tells us we should tilt toward Saudi Arabia, our old ally, if we look toward the future, Iran is the more logical partner. The reasons are simple: Iran’s security interests are closer to ours than Saudi Arabia’s are."

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/saudi-arabia-iran-213504

Posted by: D | Jan 5, 2016 8:03:34 PM | 95

Can any of you recommend a good blog/site following the events in Yemen? With the media blackout it is very hard to find out was is really going on on the ground.. Txs.

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 6, 2016 12:13:19 AM | 96

Yesterday, I saw a headline on (I think) RT that said the US was "standing with the Saudis"
Today, I saw this.

Bloomberg/Noah Feldman: U.S. Can Afford to Side With Iran Over Saudis

To be sure, the Iranian government is a complex organism with many moving parts, and the whole response likely wasn’t planned or coordinated by a single actor. But the result was highly effective. It showed the Saudis that Iran took the execution as directed toward it. And it simultaneously gave other countries the cover they would need to side with Iran.

The Americans, rather remarkably, took the Iranian side. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry let it be known that he was talking to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. In the past, a U.S. secretary of state would’ve reached out solely to the Saudi foreign minister, not least because there were no official diplomatic ties to Iran. Meanwhile, a former deputy CIA director, Michael Morell, publicly praised the Iranians for their handling of the situation in Tehran. This was downright astonishing, given Americans' historical associations with embassy occupation there.
bqqTo be sure, the Iranian government is a complex organism with many moving parts, and the whole response likely wasn’t planned or coordinated by a single actor. But the result was highly effective. It showed the Saudis that Iran took the execution as directed toward it. And it simultaneously gave other countries the cover they would need to side with Iran.

The Americans, rather remarkably, took the Iranian side. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry let it be known that he was talking to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. In the past, a U.S. secretary of state would’ve reached out solely to the Saudi foreign minister, not least because there were no official diplomatic ties to Iran. Meanwhile, a former deputy CIA director, Michael Morell, publicly praised the Iranians for their handling of the situation in Tehran. This was downright astonishing, given Americans' historical associations with embassy occupation there.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 6, 2016 1:50:10 AM | 97

D @ 95

Just to lend an additional comment to your reasonable observation, the escalating sectarian Sunni-Shiite conflict you mention has itself been both an objective and by-product of engineered US foreign policy. Further efforts devoted at tightening our embrace of the House of Saud is less a choice than a consummation of an existing Faustian bargain. Iran is the perennialy demonized poster child of the Neoconservative cabal whose worldview is immersed in the hubris of imperial exceptionalism. And despite leaving behind a succession of disastrous policy failures, the delusional architects of regime change continue to exert disproportionate influence. It leads one to the conclusion that as a nation, we just don't seem to get it. The lack of real journalism, supplanted by a cadre of military-industrial corporate scribes has helped cultivate a coast-to-coast rabble of flag - waving "sheeple". Our country is in deep trouble and perhaps I am being overly pessimistic in the belief that neither the fourth estate nor any other institution is currently willing or able to pose a serious challenge that might help shift the present course away from a rendezvous with disaster.

Posted by: metni | Jan 6, 2016 8:38:16 AM | 98

metni says:

Further efforts devoted at tightening our embrace of the House of Saud is less a choice than a consummation of an existing Faustian bargain

Faustian bargain? it's fucking national security doctrine.

Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force

Posted by: john | Jan 6, 2016 9:05:15 AM | 99

John says:

Faustian bargain? it's fucking national security doctrine.

If you think you own the world, then you can unilaterally codify any doctrine to arrogate more power to satisfy your global objectives.

PS:The expletive in your line doesn't strengthen the statement.

Posted by: metni | Jan 6, 2016 9:32:40 AM | 100

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