Now they are pretending to care about Jerusalem. Really?
October interview on Turkey's long-standing partnership with Israel and the fate of the Kurds.
Turks will pay the price for supporting terrorists
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Marcel Proust said: “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” During the past two decades, I visited Iran on numerous occasions staying 10-14 days at a time. This time around, I stayed for 2 months and heeding Proust, I carried with me a fresh pair of eyes. I discarded both my Western lenses as well as my Iranian lenses and observed with objective eyes. It was a formidable journey that left me breathless.
Part I - Women of the Islamic Republic of Iran
It is hard to know where to start a travel log and how to describe a newfound world in a few pages. However, given the obsession with the status of women, it is perhaps appropriate to start with the women in Iran as I perceived them.
Western media with help from feminists and Iranians living outside of Iran portray Iranian women as being “oppressed” -- foremost because women in Iran have to abide by an Islamic dress code - hijab. Yes, hijab is mandatory and women choose to either wear either a chador or to wear a scarf. But what is crucial to understand is the role chador played in pre 1979 versus the post Revolution era.
Prior to the 1979 Revolution, the chador was indicative of a thinly veiled caste system. While a few distinguished women of high socio-economical background chose to wear the chador, the rest, the majority of Iranian women, were simply born into the habit. In short, the socio-economically disadvantaged wore the pre 1979 chador. In those days, the chador was a hindrance to a woman’s progress; she was looked down at and frowned upon. She could not move forward or up. She was oppressed. But Western feminists were blind to this oppression. After all, the Shah was modern and America’s friendly dictator.
The Revolution changed the status quo and chipped away at the caste system. A revolution, by definition, is a complete change in the way people live and work. And so it is with the Iranian Revolution. The post 1979 chador is no longer an impediment to a woman’s future. Today’s Iranian woman, the same (formerly) less privileged class, has found freedom in her chador. She has been unshackled and she marches on alongside her (formerly) more privileged colleague. This emancipation is what the Western/Westernized feminists see as oppression.
I myself come from yesterday’s tiny minority of “privileged” women, far too comfortable in my “Western” skin to want to promote hijab, but I will not allow my personal preferences to diminish the value of the progress made because of hijab. The bleeding hearts from without should simply change their tainted lenses instead of trying to change the lives of others for Iranian women do not need to be rescued, they do not follow – they lead.
On two separate occasions I had the opportunity to sit and talk with a group of PhD students at Tehran University’s Global Studies Department. Frankly, these young women charmed me. Their inquisitive and sharp minds, their keen intellect, their vast knowledge, their fluent English, and their utter confidence dazzled me. Western feminists would consider them “oppressed”. Seems to me that feminism needs rescuing, not Iranian women.
The inordinate success of women goes vastly beyond education; they participate in every aspect of society: motherhood, arts and sciences, high tech, film and cinema, research, business, administration, politics, sports, armed forces, bus and taxi drivers, fire-fighters, etc. Women’s active role in society is undeniable. What I found tantalizing was their role as cultural gatekeepers.
Women - The Cultural Warriors
Cultural imperialism is part and parcel of neocolonialism. The eradication of an indigenous culture and replacing it with a hegemonic one enables the hegemon to exert influence on the subject nation – to own it. And women are the nuclei. They hold the family together and pass on traditions. To this end, in every colonial adventure, regardless of geography, women have been the primary targets (i.e. victims of rescue). Iran has been no different. While some have indeed abandoned their culture in order to embrace that of another, the vast majority have resisted and fought back with authentic Iranian tradition.
One group of these cultural warriors left a deep impact on me. I attended a dance ensemble at the famous Roudaki Hall (Talar Roudaki). Girls aged 6 to 18 sent the packed hall into a thunderous applause when they danced to various traditional songs from around the country. Their dance was not MTV stuff. It reflected the beauty and purity of an ancient culture. Their movements and gestures were not intended to be seductive, they were graceful and poetic ushering in the ancient past and bonding it with the present, strengthening it. These were the women of Iran who would guard Iran’s precious culture and traditions against modern, Western culture deemed central to ‘civilization’ and ‘freedom’ by Western feminists.
It is not my intention to give the false impression that every woman in Iran is happy, successful, and valued. Like any other society, Iran has its share of unhappy, depressed girls and women. It has its share of women who have been abused and betrayed. It has its share of girls and women who turn to drugs, prostitution, or both. I came across these as well. I also noted that laws in Iran do not favor women, be it divorce, child custody, or inheritance. Yet women have leapt forward.
Part II – Esprit de Corps
Washington Just Doesn’t Get It
Numerous visitors have travelled to Iran and brought back reports describing the landscape, the food, the friendliness of the people, the impact of the sanctions, and so forth. For the most part, these reports have been accurate -- albeit incomplete. I do not want to tire the reader with my observations on these same topics; rather, I invite the reader to share my journey into the soul of the country – the spirit of the Iranian nation.
Washington’s missteps are, in part, due to the simple fact that Washington receives flawed intelligence on Iran and Iranians. This has been a long-standing pattern with Washington. Prior to the 1979 Revolution, a plethora of US personnel lived in Iran. Thousands of CIA agents were stationed there. Their task went beyond teaching torture techniques to the Shah’s secret police; they were, after all, spies. In addition to the military personnel that came in tow with the military equipment sold to the Shah by the U.S., there were official US personnel who worked at the American Embassy in Tehran. None got it.
They all failed miserably in their assessment of Iranians. These personnel were simply too busy enjoying a lavish lifestyle in Iran. As the aforementioned travellers have all repeated, Iran is beautiful, the food scrumptious, the people hospitable. These personnel attended parties thrown by those close to the Shah (or other affluent Iranians) and lived the kind of life they could not have dreamt of elsewhere. American ambassadors doled out visas to the lazy kids of these same families who would not have otherwise been able to make it to the US under normal student visa requirements.
These same Iranians, the privileged elite, provided Americans in Iran with intelligence – inaccurate, flawed information that was passed onto Washington. Washington was content. After all, why doubt your friends, and how could possibly the secret police trained by CIA not get the facts right? To this end, Washington believed Iran would remain a client state for the unforeseen future. The success of the revolution was a slap in the face, but Washington did not alter course.
For the past several decades, Washington has continued to act on flawed intelligence. Today, it relies on the “expertise” of some in the Iranian Diaspora who have not visited Iran once since the revolution. In addition to the “Iran experts”, Washington has found itself other sources of ‘intelligence’, foremost; the Mojahedeen Khalg (MEK) terrorist cult. This group feeds Washington information provided them by Israel. Previous to this assignment, the cult was busy fighting alongside Saddam Hossein killing Iranians and Kurds. Is it any surprise that Washington is clueless on Iran.
What Washington can’t fathom is the source of Iran’s strength, its formidable resilience. Thanks to its ‘experts’, and the personal experience of some visitors, Washington continues to believe that the Iranian people love America and that they are waiting for Washington to ‘rescue’ them from their government. No doubt Iranians are generous, hospitable, and charming. They welcome visitors as guest regardless of their country of origin. This is part and parcel of their culture. They also believe a guest is a ‘blessing from God’ -- mehmoon barekate khodast. Karime khodast. But this is where it ends.
While the Iranian people love people of all nationalities, including Americans, they see Washington for what it is. Over the past decades, Washington and its policies have adversely affected virtually every single family in Iran. These include those whose dreams and hopes were shattered by the CIA orchestrated coup against their nascent democracy and its popular leader, Mossadegh. Later, lives were turned upside down the Shah’s CIA/Mossad trained secret police arrested, brutally tortured, killed or simply made disappear anyone who dared venture into politics. Thanks to America’s staunch support, these stories never found their way to the papers. And then there are the millions of war widows and orphans, the maimed soldiers, the victims of chemical weapons supplied to Saddam Hossein by America to use against Iranians while the UN closed its eyes in an 8-year war. Not to forget the victims of American sponsored terrorism, and sanctions. Millions of Iranians have first hand experience of all that has been plagued upon them by Washington.
It is these victims, their families and acquaintances that fight for Iran’s sovereignty, that are the guardians of this proud nation. They are the source of Iran’s strength. Victor Hugo once said: “No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” There simply is no army on earth which can occupy, by proxy or otherwise, the land the people have come to believe belongs to them not by virtue of birth, but because they have fought for it, died for it, kept it from harm.
I met many such families; one in particular was more memorable. During the Shah’s regime, this family worked on my father’s farm. The father and his sons worked the farm and the mother helped around the house. In those days, this family and future generations would have simply continued to work on the farm, remain ‘peasants’ with no prospects for the future. But the revolution rescued them.
Shortly after the revolution, the war started. The boys in the family all went to war. One uncle lost his life to chemical warfare. The rest survived – and thrived. They got themselves free education provided by the same government America wants to dislodge. One of these boys, the man I met after some 35 years, Kazem, once condemned to be a ‘peasant’, had become a successful businessman. I spent hours talking to the family and to Kazem in particular. What impressed me was not just his affluence and his success in business, but the wisdom that only comes with age, and yet he had acquired it in youth. He had intellect and dignity. A gentleman, I found his knowledge of global affairs to be superior to most one would meet at a college in the US. He had experienced war and witnessed death. Iran belonged to him. He would fight for it over and over without hesitating to die for it.
This is the Iran the Diaspora has left behind, the Iran that is unknown to them. This is a far superior country than the one I left behind as a child and visited throughout the years. Iran’s guardians, its keepers, are all Kazems. It has been said that the strength of an army is the support of the people behind it. The whole country is that army. As Khalil Gibran rightly observed: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” With every wrong policy, America adds to the scars, strengthens the character and spirit of this unbreakable nation. This is what Washington is not able to grasp.
Iran Trip; September-October 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Supporters of Palestinians have been quick to shout out 'victory'. This is inaccurate
and dangerous. The defeat was in the court of public opinion, the
outrage against Israel's brutality and the killing of civilians and
destroying infrastructure was the only reason Israel stopped - for now,
because of pressure from outside. It was the dead children, the
disproportional use of force that put a stop to the present conflict.
The only reason Netanyahu stopped slaughtering the Gazans was because of
the international pressure, not HAMAS muscle. Israel is taking a
breather. Israel and Palestine signed a cease fire for an indefinite
period that basically puts them back where they were in 2012, and before
that in 2008, with the exception of thousands more dead and Gaza
completely destroyed. Military victory by definition is accomplishing
one's goal. The blockade has been eased before.
The world sided with Gaza as a people trapped in an open air prison, of
indiscriminate killing, of a grossly uneven battle. To cheer for
military victor of Hamas puts Hamas on the same footing as one of the most
powerful armies in the world. It opens the door for further Israeli
aggression in the future paving the way for a war between two sides where
as this is only a resistance to occupation - at a very high cost, only to
go back where they were 2 years ago with more negotiations pending. In a
month, when further negotiations are supposed to be taking place, all
Congressional members will be busy trying to win Israel's backing for the
This 'victory' is a halt to killing of Gazans, a political move by Israel
to rebuild goodwill and pressure allies. To discourage the BDS, and to
rebuild its image. The only victory would be for crimes against humanity
to be acknowledged, for genocide to be acknowledged, and Israel punished.
As it is, they are busy building more settlements and exporting Gaza's
gas. This is not victory. It is a pause.
More aid going to Israel from US. I
All this bragging, and without Israel being held accountable, will only
make the next battle more deadly, Israel more aggressive. Israel needs
Hamas as an enemy to expand. Before Hamas it was the PLO.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
As you know well, the crisis in Iraq escalated after the ISIL militants took control of Mosul in a lightning advance on June 10, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) Northwest of the capital, Baghdad.
The terrorist group is making great advances in Iraq’s north. The whole is worried at the situation particularly people of Middle-East. You are kindly requested to contribute to this interview so that we can raise world’s awareness regarding this issue and those funding and supporting them. The interview will be published at Iran’s leading news agency Fars News:
1) What do you think are the ultimate objectives of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant? Why have they embarked on a project of rabblerousing and igniting sectarian conflict in the region?
To try and determine what the objectives of ISIL are, it is important to understand how they came to being. It has been widely reported and established, correctly, that had it not been for the actions of the United States, be it the illegal war against Iraq or the arming of the militants to overthrow the Assad government, there would be no ISIL threat today. America’s contribution to these terrorists included arms and training. Britain also participated in arming and training anti-Assad rebels.
In June, Obama sought hundreds of millions for dollars for “moderate rebels” in Syria! Losing arms Iraq, Afghanistan.
But the aforementioned is the most obvious fact, which even US officials openly admit to. This degree of rare honesty serves to conceal and distract from the hidden agendas of which there are many.
The initial occupation of Iraq and the support of anti-Assad elements had a two-fold strategy. One was to re-establish American hegemony over the region, in particular the Persian Gulf – the lynchpin of U.S. strategy and its ambitions of global domination.
In addition to its presence and control of the region, America also wanted control of the resources – oil and water.
While the US’ import of oil from the region is negligible, the control of the system and the oil would give it the upper hand, especially with regards to Europe and Japan. In other words, US control of the oil flow from the Persian Gulf directly or through proxies, would give it leverage over its allies.
In 2012, the majority of Israel's crude oil imports came from Russia and Azerbaijan via tanker vessels.
In addition, the US would be able to safeguard Israel’s energy demand and reduce costs given that at the time, Israel relied on Russian oil. According to a 1975 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel, America guaranteed Israel’s energy demands. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/mou1975.html
A far more vital resource in that part of the world is water of course. In essence, another reason for the intervention in Iraq and Syria is water to create hydraulic security for Israel. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers provide Iraq and Syria with their water and depend essentially on agreements with Turkey where both rivers originate. Plans have been in the making to divert this water to Israel (and in some measure, to Southern Persian Gulf states).
These resources, water and oil, demanded compliant governments in Iraq and Syria. In 2013, Netanyahu publicly hinted at arming Syrian “rebels” . (http://www.jewishledger.com/2013/04/netanyahu-hints-at-arming-syrian-rebels/
ISIL serves these agendas in many ways. Foremost, it serves to weaken the central governments. For as long as they are busy fighting an enemy within, their capacity would be too diminished to fight the greater enemy without.
Second, ISIL falsely promotes the Western narrative of a Sunni-Shia divide in order to weaken the internal resistance. In fact, ISIL is killing all Moslems, Christians, and others.
The gruesome killings that are taking place and tweeted around the world, serve to direct hatred and anger at Moslems, regardless of the fact that the roots and origins of these terrorists. Curiously, this group does not target Israel.
The brutality of ISIL has painted a false image of Moslems and underscored – inaccurately – the Israeli narrative that it must fend itself against “Islamic terrorists”.
Perhaps the most important aspect of ISIL, in my view, is that it is waging a total war against Islam. Not long ago, the world learnt in horror that future leaders of America were being taught to wage a “total war” against 1.4 billion Moselms in order to “protect America against Islamic terrorists”.
The total war included transformation of Islam to “cult status”, bombing and starvation while reinforcing the notion that “mainstream” Muslims are dangerous, because they’re “violent” by nature. U.S. military did concede that some of the tactics would be considered “politically incorrect”. It seems to me that ISIL has solved the problem for them.
So at the end of the day, you have to ask who created, armed and trained the terrorists? And who stands to gain from their butchery.
2) Can we consider the threat of the disintegration and balkanization of Iraq serious? Is the ISIL capable of realizing its plans for dominating Iraq and Syria and destroying their sovereign governments?
The threat of disintegration and balkanization of Iraq is very real and very serious. The US has long sought to balkanize the entire region, not just Iraq. There is a plethora of literature on these plans introduced by neocon Bernard Lewis who proposed a plan for redrawing the borders of the larger Middle East into a mosaic of competing mini-states, thereby weakening the power of the existing republics and kingdoms. In 2006, Joe Biden openly called for Iraq to be divided into 3 parts. Everything that is happening today has been long in the making.
We cannot lose track of the fact that none of this would have been possible without the Iraq invasion. ISIL would not be a threat had the United States (Britain and regional allies) had not armed and trained them.
In January 2014, ISIL (then referred to as al-Qaeda affiliate) seized Fallujah. In February, the United States sent heavy weaponry, intelligence gathering drones, missiles, thousands of contractors to train the Iraqis and help with intelligence gathering. In spite of American training and sophisticated weaponry, a few short months later, fewer than 1000 ISIL fighters sent some 30,000 soldiers into retreat. Surely then, we must either accept that the United States with its sophisticated weaponry, its intelligence gathering and highly paid contractors is absolutely useless; in which case we must question the deployment of special forces and the aerial “humanitarian bombing” , or, concede that ISIL has been the beneficiary – deliberate or not. Which only underscores America’s role in all this. Curiously, the same month that 1000 ISIL members defeated 30,000 US trained soldiers, America asked for millions more in funds to arm rebels in Syria, even as (US) government officials have conceded that the US had armed ISIL in Syria.
In spite of promoting the false narrative of a Sunni-Shia divide, America was not able to balkanize the region. ISIL provides the opportunity to accomplish these goals – and more. If you look at everything that ISIL has accomplished to date, you will note that they have only served the United States and Israel at the expense of the region and Moslems as a whole.
This is a serious threat that needs to be taken seriously. I don’t believe that assistance from the US is the answer, as clearly indicated above, it would have he exact opposite effect. Without any military knowledge or training, I cannot really address what would be the best course of action. But it is important that every citizen, regardless of their ethnicity and religion see this group as a direct threat.
3) Do think that ISIL is the co-product of the US and Israel? Can we say that the ISIL and the Al-Nusra Front are being funded and equipped in part by the Israeli regime?
Please see above. In 2013, in a BBC interview, Netanyahu hinted at the possibility of arming Syrian “rebels”. In fact, former Israeli Intelligence Chief, Amos Yaldin told the audience at the Israel Policy Forum in February 2013: “And this military [Syrian], which is a huge threat to Israel, is now also weakening and, in a way, disintegrating. We still have risk from Syria-- a risk of being an AlQaeda country, a Somalia-type country -- but from military point of view, each one of these are less dangerous than the Syrian regular army." In essence, these rebel terrorists are weakening sovereign armies while killing the populations of both Syria and Iraq (not to mention others such as Palestinians).
4) Do you consider the current crisis in Iraq and Syria the result of a division between the Shiites and the Sunnis?
Not at all. This is how the Western media would like to project it.
5) It’s reported that around 3,000 of the ISIL fighters in Syria and Iraq are foreigners. Aren’t the United States and the European countries afraid of the returning of these terrorists to their countries? How do they justify the presence of their citizens in the ranks of terrorists fighting in a distant country thousands of miles away?
The West now has the perfect excuse not to let in refugees of wars they have created, to promote fear, and to crack down on liberties in their respective countries. The threat of ISIL is a fine propaganda tool for US and allies. At a minimum, the United States and Europe can take comfort in the fact that not once has ISIL threatened Israel. Which makes ISIL all the more questionable! This lack of hostility toward Israel and what is happening in Gaza mirrors bin Laden in 200-2009. While the world was supposed to believe he was still alive and an enemy and threat to the West, he was completely silent as Israel massacred Gazans in Operation Cast Lead. Important facts not discussed in the media.
6) Who is equipping ISIL and providing it with the state-of-the-art armament it currently possesses? Is it really possible for a fundamentalist cult to conquer and gain control over so many cities and provinces without the support and sponsorship of foreign powers - please refer to question 2. ISIL is serving the American/Israeli agenda – deliberate or coincidental, is for the intelligent reader to judge.
7) You know that US government has changed its approach towards ISIL as its warplanes conducted two rounds of strikes on ISIL artilleries on Friday. What’s behind this sudden change of approach? Is this related to Erbil?
Possibly several reasons. There are many American forces in Erbil. And of course there is an oil and gas conference scheduled in Erbil in December 2014. There have been huge demonstrations around the world with regards to what Israel is doing in Gaza and Americans have not been immune from the news. Now once again, US is attempting to show that it is concerned with and involved in humanitarian crisis. Frankly, this is all propaganda. And America’s standing in the world relies on propaganda.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Blowback in Ferguson
The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager and the ensuing protests in Ferguson, Missouri has rocked America. Even the mainstream media with its aversion to the truth, has been forced to address the militarization of the police in America – albeit years too late.
This is a short call from informing the mainstream media that the country has been living under pseudo martial law for decades.
On April 13, 2013, the ACLU (Shasta Chapter) invited me to be their keynote speaker to talk about government secrecy, drones and militarization of America. The Ferguson shooting and its coverage it the media prompted me to highlight some of the points made during that talk as they relate to today’s events.
Historians and political scientists have warned about dangerous war fever sweeping the United States. America’s entanglements overseas, its imperial ambitions, and the more recent “global war on terror”, a war of indefinite duration against an ill-defined shifting enemy, with no specific definition of victory, poses a grave danger to the very character of American government and society, unraveling the fabric of the Constitution.
The framers of the Constitution recognized such dangers when they carefully subordinated the military to civilian authority and attempted to limit the power of the President to initiate war. Gregory Foster, a former Army officer and West Point graduate who now teaches national security studies at the National Defense University in Washington said that the principle of civilian control of the military—an early building block of American democracy- has been reversed and become the civilian subjugation to the military.
Over half a century ago, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson concluded "by giving way to the passion, intolerance and suspicions of wartime, it is easy to reduce our liberties to a shadow, often in answer to exaggerated claims of security."
That day is here. Aside from constant surveillance, and the notorious “kill list”, war has been internalized and the militarization of the police force has put every American in danger. The biggest threat to Americans now comes from those who are paid to protect them. A threat which has been building for decades.During the Clinton administration Congress passed what's now known as the "1033 Program. The 1033 Progam formalized Reagan administration's directive to the Pentagon to share surplus military gear with domestic police agencies. Since then, millions of pieces of military equipment designed for use on a battlefield have been transferred to local cops -- SWAT teams and others -- including machine guns, tanks, and armored personnel carriers. The Pentagon's 1033 program has exploded under Obama.
Clinton also created the "Troops to Cops" program, which offered grants to police departments who hired soldiers returning from battle, contributing even further to the militarization of the police force. But what is most alarming about the militarize police their training.
Althuogh the role of the police is to ‘protect and to serve’, they are being taught to kill. Lt. Col David Grossman (retired U.S. Army) is one such teacher. Grossman, unapologitacally, told Front Line:
“Prior preparation is the heart of what I do. I teach law enforcement. Today I just came from a conference where I trained 700 SWAT cops. And most of what I do is I train military and law enforcement in what I call the bulletproof mind. Just as today we have body armor that the guys in World War II didn't have, the same way we can have mental preparation that they didn't have. And this bulletproof mind is vital. Prior preparation is that one variable in the equation that we can control ahead of time, and one of the key things is embracing the responsibility to kill.”“I tell my soldiers, I tell my cops: "You've got the most difficult decision any human being will ever face. You have to decide whether or not to kill another human being."
Well equipped, trained, and encouraged by the likes of [now former] Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City police commissioner Raymond Kel who proudly brag of “hav(ing) my own army in the NYPD” and who used that army to spy on peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors.”, it should come as no surprise that a SWAT team should blow a hole in a 2-year old, or the police kill an unarmed teenager, and all other horrific acts of violence we witness every day being committed by the cops.
So why has the media been silent on the militarization of police up to this point? Well, they are the watchdogs of acceptable ideological messages, responsible for manufacturing consent - Their goal is to control the news and information available to society by using censorship and propaganda. Big media is not designed to serve the welfare of the public.
So why break the silence now? The internet has made it virtually impossible to hide facts, and quite possibly, mainstream media has decided to do some damage control and take over the reins in order to control the flow of information. Regardless of what big media wants us to believe, what we witness is a blowback. Our wars have come home to roost.