In a New York Timesop-ed this week that advocates bombing Iran, the author, Alan J. Kuperman, director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Austin, begins by suggesting that President Barack Obama should “sigh in relief that Iran has rejected his nuclear deal”.
In fact, Iran has said it is still open to discussion with the U.S. about its nuclear program, but that if meaningful dialogue is to continue, the threats of sanctions and military aggression must first cease.
The U.S., however, continues to threaten yet further sanctions, while also insisting that the threat of force must remain “on the table” — a threat of aggression that itself violates the U.N. Charter, which forbids member nations from threatening the use of force as a tool for leverage in international relations.
Outlining his rationale for the decision to send yet more troops to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama on Tuesday began with a familiar refrain: “We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people.”
“Al Qaeda’s base of operations”, he said, “was in Afghanistan, where they were harbored by the Taliban”, who “refused to turn over Osama bin Laden”.
In fact, the Taliban offered to either try bin Laden in their court system or hand him over to a third country if the U.S. provided evidence of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The evidence, however, was not forthcoming, and so the Taliban did indeed refuse on that basis.
The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Tuesday on a resolution calling on President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the ‘Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’ in multilateral fora.” Continue reading →
With a general election in Iraq scheduled for January 2010, the U.S. is encouraging the Iraqi legislature to pass the requisite election law, while international oil corporations continue to compete for contracts to exploit Iraq’s natural energy resources.
After a meeting at the White House on Tuesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Obama said, “We are very interested, both of us, in making sure that Iraq has an election law that is completed on time so that elections can take place on time in January.”
Iranian officials have accused the U.S. and British governments of involvement in a terrorist attack on Sunday that killed or injured dozens. Five commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were included among the dead in the suicide bombing, responsibility for which was claimed by the Baluchi terrorist group Jundallah (Soldiers of God).
IRGC commander in chief Mohammed Ali Jafari said, “Behind this scene are the American and British intelligence apparatus, and there will have to be retaliatory measures to punish them.” He also claimed that Iran had documents proving U.S. and British involvement, according to the New York Times. Iranian officials have said that the attack was launched from Pakistan, where Jundallah is based.
Aspects of the Quràn by Syed Zahoor Ahmad sets out to “clear some of the misconceptions surrounding Islam and present it in its true colors” by presenting nine aspects of Islam that are commonly misrepresented in the West.
The author’s means of doing so, for better or for worse, is to simply let the Quran speak for itself. Ahmad offers a few brief introductory remarks in the beginning of the book touching on distortions of Islam. But the bulk of the book’s pages are devoted entirely to collections of verses from the Muslim holy book.
The New York Times is putting out its standard fare on Iran’s nuclear program as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) releases its latest report. Under the headline “Atomic Agency is Pressed on Iran Records”, the Times reported last week that the U.S. is “pressing” the IAEA “to make public evidence that they believe points toward an Iranian drive to gain the ability to build a nuclear weapon, part of a broad effort to build a case for far more punishing sanctions against the country.”
This information is from “documents and computer files” that Iran insists “are fabrications”. But the IAEA, “according to current and former officials there, has studied them with care and determined that they are probably genuine.”
In an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy Journal, retired Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul responds to charges that he supports terrorism, discusses 9/11 and ulterior motives for the war on Afghanistan, claims that the U.S., Israel, and India are behind efforts to destabilize Pakistan, and charges the U.S. and its allies with responsibility for the lucrative Afghan drug trade.
Retired Lieutenant General Hamid Gul was the Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from 1987 to 1989, during which time he worked closely with the CIA to provide support for the mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Though once deemed a close ally of the United States, in more recent years his name has been the subject of considerable controversy. He has been outspoken with the claim that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were an “inside job”. He has been called “the most dangerous man in Pakistan”, and the U.S. government has accused him of supporting the Taliban, even recommending him to the United Nations Security Council for inclusion on the list of international terrorists.
The propaganda campaign to paint the victory of the incumbent candidate in Iran’s June presidential election as having been a stolen one began early. Even before the election, the seed was being planted that the election would be stolen to give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a win. This narrative played nicely into the hands of the reformist opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who cried foul following the favorable results for the incumbent. But what evidence is there to support this narrative?
In one prominent example, on June 7, five days before Iran’s presidential election, the website Tehran Bureaureported:
In an open letter, a group of employees of Iran’s Interior Ministry (which supervises the elections) warned the nation that a hard-line ayatollah, who supports President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has issued a Fatwa authorizing changing votes in the incumbent’s favor.
In a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which has been widely touted as a sharp break from that of his predecessor’s. Judging from commentary in the media, Obama has ushered in a new age of diplomacy and international engagement. Clinton herself suggested as much.
But setting aside the platitudes that comprised most of Clinton’s speech and looking closely at her remarks that actually spoke meaningfully towards U.S. policy under the Obama, a different picture emerges, one not of a change of course from Bush but rather of near perfect continuity between the two administrations.
Obama’s foreign policy parallels Bush’s. The train may have switched tracks, but it’s still headed in the same direction.
Shahid R. Siddiqi began his career in the Pakistan Air Force, and later joined the private sector where he was until recently in a senior management position. At the same time, he worked as a broadcaster with Radio Pakistan and was the Islamabad bureau chief of the English weekly magazine, “Pakistan & Gulf Economist“. In the U.S. in 1994, he co-founded the Asian American Republican Club in Maryland to encourage the participation of Asian Americans in the mainstream political process. He now writes columns, with articles appearing in the Pakistan daily Dawn and The Nation, among others. He is a contributing writer for Foreign Policy Journal.
In an interview with Foreign Policy Journal, Mr. Siddiqi explains Pakistan’s ongoing military offensive against militant groups in the Swat district and the context in which the government made the decision to launch it. He explains why the Pakistan Taliban had support in the Swat Valley, how a peace deal between the militants and the government came about, and why it collapsed.
The Western media reported at the time that the peace deal between the Pakistani government and militants linked to the Pakistan Taliban would allow Shariah, or Islamic Law, to be implemented in the Swat district. But in an interview President Asif Ali Zardari suggested that this wasn’t really an accurate characterization of the deal. What exactly was the truce agreement between the government and the militants?
Gary Sick at the Daily Beastexplains how the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) have become a formidable power in Iran. “Technically,” he writes, “they take their orders from the leader, but has he ever dared to contradict them? On the contrary, he seems always to court them by granting them ever-greater influence and responsibilities.”
President Ahmadinejad “has appointed his fellow guardsman to positions throughout the bureaucracy” and “The economic role of the Revolutionary Guards has been remarked on in recent years. The Guards themselves and companies run by the Guards have won major contracts in every corner of the economy, from airport construction to telecommunications to auto manufacturing.”
Imagine if Iran had hijacked a ship delivering humanitarian aid in international waters and kidnapped its passengers, including a Nobel laureate and a former U.S. Congresswoman. Do you think just maybe you might have heard about it?
But when Israel does precisely that, there is near total silence. Where it is being reported, the mainstream media is employing couched language that is apologetic towards Israel.
A New York Times story, for instance, reported under the headline “Activists Held by Israel for Trying to Break Gaza Blockade” that “Nineteen foreign activists of the pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement were being held in Israel awaiting deportation on Thursday, two days after the Israeli Navy seized control of their boat off Gaza.”
The mainstream media is reporting that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein told his FBI interrogators after his capture that he lied about having weapons of mass destruction (WMD) because he feared Iran. But there’s just one problem with this claim: Saddam Hussein never claimed to have WMD, but , as everybody knows, repeatedly denied that this was so.
This propaganda line had its origins early on following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. David Kay, who early on headed up the CIA’s effort to find WMD, the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), suggested at the time that Saddam had “bluffed” about having WMD in order to deter Iran.
The deception served to absolve the Bush administration of responsibility for having lied about the “threat” by making it seem as though it was reasonable to arrive at that conclusion since Saddam had claimed to possess WMD, even though he did not.
In actual fact, however, far from admitting possession, Iraq repeatedly denied having WMD in the months and years leading up to the invasion.
Following the announcement of victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over his main opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi in Iran’s presidential election on June 12, the country erupted in turmoil as supporters of Mousavi flocked to the streets to protest what they claimed was a fraudulent election, while state security and militia forces cracked down on dissenters, sometimes violently. Iran claimed that the unrest was being fueled by foreign interference, a charge reported but generally dismissed in Western media accounts. But there is ample reason to believe that the U.S. likely had a hand in fomenting the chaos that has since plagued the country many commentators have compared to the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah.
The role of the U.S. in overthrowing the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 and installing the brutal regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is by now well known. In his speech in Cairo last month, President Barack Obama even referenced the CIA-backed coup, acknowledging that “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”