The Path Towards War With Iran

Ramifications of the Proposal to Add Iran's Revolutionary Guard to the List of Terrorist Organizations

This month saw yet another escalation of the U.S. policy of isolating and pressuring Iran as the White House announced its intention to add Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. There is something to be learned from this about the nature of U.S. foreign policy if we care to examine the implications; and the ramifications of such a decision could be quite serious and potentially deadly, so it warrants a look.

The announcement was preceded by yet another declaration from the Pentagon that Iran was supplying “explosively formed penetrators” (EFPs) to Shiite militias combating the U.S. occupying forces in Iraq. The weapon is basically an improvised explosive device which projects a slug of metal upon detonation capable of penetrating armor. July, the Pentagon said, was a record-breaking month for incidents in which U.S. forces were faced with such weapons.

The actual evidence implicating the Iranian government in supplying the weapons is scant and relies upon two assumptions. The first is that Iraqis are not capable of assembling such a weapon, or at least not capable of manufacturing the required components, and the devices must therefore be supplied from elsewhere. The second is that the use of components manufactured in Iran could not occur without the knowledge and blessing of the Iranian government. Both assumptions are questionable, but the claim is given much the same appearance as fact as claims of Iraq’s WMD were prior to that invasion.

Whether the charges are true or not, the criticism of Iran is that they are contributing to the violence in Iraq. When Iran does so, it’s bad, presumably one of those things which makes Iran a part of an “axis of evil”. The U.S., on the other hand, which created the current state of violent affairs by waging what is known in international law as a war of aggression, “the supreme international crime”, against Iraq, is good. Our violence is legitimate and our intentions benevolent, while Iran’s violence (real or alleged), though far lesser in scale and in consequence, is illegitimate and their intentions evil. This unquestionable axiom is one of the most basic elements of the existing framework for discussion.

Similarly, reporting on the announcement that the White House is preparing to declare the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization has been completely devoid of any examination of whether this designation would be appropriate or not. The reasons for the proposal are given: Iran has defied the U.S. and refused to comply with U.N. resolutions calling for it to renounce its rights under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) to continue with research and development of its nuclear program while monitoring and verification inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are ongoing; Iran has supported attacks upon U.S. troops by supplying weapons to Iraqis combating the foreign occupation of their country; Iran has helped to arm the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan; and Iran has also supported Lebanon’s Hezbollah organization, such as during Israel’s war on Lebanon last summer.

This case against Iran is stronger in some respects than in others. Hezbollah, during last summer’s war, engaged in actions that clearly fall under the definition of “terrorism”; namely its indiscriminate use of rocket attacks against Israel. Iranian support for Hezbollah, then, it could reasonably be argued, would be support for terrorism. Indeed, this argument is quite commonly made and rarely, if ever, questioned. Yet the corollary, if we apply the same standard—that Israel’s indiscriminate attacks against Lebanon were, therefore, likewise acts of “terrorism”, that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is a terrorist organization, and that the U.S. government’s support for Israel is, therefore, likewise support for terrorism — is inconceivable for commentators and policy-makers.

If the charge was true, a similar argument in favor of the White House proposal could be made in the case of Iranian support for the Taliban. The charge happens to be frivolous. Iran has historically opposed the Taliban and supported its opponents, the U.S.’s allies in the Northern Alliance (when many of these same warlords were removed from power by the Taliban, the Taliban were greeted as liberators). In fact, it was the U.S.’s allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that historically supported the Taliban. Pakistan openly supported the Taliban right up until 9/11. At that time, Pakistan officially ceased its support and joined the U.S. as its “ally” in the “war on terrorism”. Unofficially, Pakistani support for the Taliban arguably never ended (a situation which has caused some complications in relations between the “allies”, including threats of U.S. forces entering Pakistan).

As for the U.S. itself, it too was friendly towards the Taliban. Representatives from the Taliban were wooed by U.S. energy corporation executives and there were proposals (in need of government approval) to work with the Taliban to construct a pipeline across Afghanistan to transfer the wealth of oil and gas from the Caspian Sea region to a port in neighboring Pakistan. Eventually, public outrage against the Taliban and their treatment of women (their harboring of Osama bin Laden was not such an issue then) forced both corporations (namely UNOCAL) and the government to turn a cold shoulder to the Taliban and policy shifted more towards regime change in order to create stable enough conditions to go ahead with the proposed deals.

Even so, in 2001, in the months prior to 9/11, the U.S. gave $168 million in what it called aid to the Taliban. In May alone, the U.S. pledged to give $43 million, ostensibly to assist the Taliban in its efforts to eradicate the poppy crop in Afghanistan, which, except for a very brief spell under Taliban rule, has long provided the world with most of its heroin (this was one result of the Soviet-Afghan war as it provided financing for the U.S.-backed Mujahedeen; and production since the U.S. war on Afghanistan has once again soared, blowing away all past records).

Iran, on the other hand, opposed the Taliban from the beginning, preferring the warlords which the U.S. now also calls allies. Evidence that Iranian policy has shifted from the historical precedent by180 degrees is nonexistent — but, as was the case with the invasion of Iraq—evidence is hardly necessary. Policy makers simply make this stuff up and expect people to believe it (an expectation which, unfortunately, is not unreasonable, as the case of Iraq proved). Then when hindsight proves them wrong, the inconsistency between what was stated and the truth can be attributed as an “intelligence failure”.

The Taliban has been responsible for acts of terrorism in Afghanistan since the U.S. began its war there and, prior to that, harbored Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization which was presumably responsible for the attacks of 9/11. If the charge was true, the case could be made that Iran’s support for the Taliban was support for terrorism. But once again, applying the same standard to itself leads to uncomfortable conclusions for the U.S. It was the U.S. and its allies, and not Iran, that supported the Taliban. One could go further and point to the U.S.’s support for the Mujahedeen during the Soviet-Afghan war, which gave birth to al Qaeda (“the base”) and precipitated the rise of the Taliban to begin with. We have historically found the same phenomenon with many other cases of U.S. foreign policy across the globe, such as the U.S. support for the Contras in the war against Nicaragua (for which the U.S. was condemned by the World Court). Further examples abound.

The most prominent charge against Iran in the case to list a branch of its military as a terrorist organization is its alleged support for Iraqi militias fighting U.S. troops. While this claim has been given significant coverage in news articles reporting on the White House’s intention to add the Revolutionary Guard to the list of terrorist organizations, the fact that such actions don’t fall within the definition of “terrorism” has gone unmentioned and the reasonableness of adding Iran to the list based upon this charge left unquestioned. Under international law, attacks upon military personnel of a foreign occupying power are not terrorism, but legitimate acts of self-defense. This is a well recognized fact to any competent observer, but inconvenient. If we acknowledged this, we would either have to face up to our own hypocrisy or reasonably explain why the same standard applied to others isn’t also applied to ourselves, and vice versa. Hence it is simply ignored.

As for Iran’s nuclear program, as a member of the NPT it is quite legal for Iran to research and develop nuclear technology so long as it is used for peaceful purposes only. There is no evidence that Iran is attempting to use its technology to build a nuclear weapon. It’s reasonable to be concerned about Iran’s intentions, but the IAEA should be allowed to fulfill its function to ensure that members of the NPT comply with its terms. More to the point, researching and developing nuclear technology as a member of the NPT does not fall within the definition of “terrorism”, which has become a catch-all phrase used to describe anything foreign nations do that the U.S. doesn’t approve of. The word has thus become virtually meaningless, much as “communism” had been before it with relation to U.S. foreign policy.

This is the existing framework, and the consequence of continuing within its limited confines is perfectly well understood: the U.S. will engage in military attacks against Iran with devastating and predictable consequences which will subsequently be seen as perhaps regrettable, but unaffecting our claims of benevolent intent. This violent end is becoming increasingly inevitable because the existing framework makes it so; it is designed to make it so. Current U.S. policy towards Iran is designed to create a casus belli for attacking Iran. Then, when it occurs, it will be pointed to as justification for the policy that led to it.

U.S. pressure against Iran through the U.N. Security Council, it’s insistence that Iran give up its nuclear program despite being a member of the NPT and despite the enforcement of sanctions, will lead to Iran becoming increasingly defiant until the point they finally decide to withdraw from the NPT treaty (which they have already threatened to do, as predicted) and insist upon the withdrawal of all IAEA personnel. Iran has claimed its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes only, but threats of violence against Iran by the U.S. and its Middle East ally, Israel, can only demonstrate to Iran its need for a nuclear weapon to deter aggression from these nuclear powers that have openly declared their intention to bomb should Iran refuse to comply with U.S. demands. This future consequence, too, is well understood, and predictable. U.S. policy towards Iran is self-fulfilling, which is to say that it produces the very result it claims to be trying to prevent.

This was true for U.S. policy towards Iraq, as well. It was well understood that, given the assumption that Iraq actually had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) — a claim for which there was no credible evidence at the time — Saddam Hussein would only be willing to use his WMD against the U.S. or U.S. forces as a final act of desperation in the event that the U.S. invaded Iraq. Iraq had no WMD, of course, and this never occurred, but the fact is that U.S. leaders claimed the policy was designed to prevent such an occurrence while in fact bringing about the very circumstances required to make such an occurrence most likely.

In addition, the war was ostensibly fought to secure and destroy alleged stockpiles of WMD to prevent them from winding up in the hands of terrorists while actually exponentially increasing the chances that this very thing would happen, as a result of the chaos and looting that would occur as a result of destabilizing the government and the resulting foreseeable breakdown of law and order. Had Iraq had WMD, it is quite possible that the weapons would have ended up in the hands of terrorists not in spite of but as a result of the U.S. invasion.

The U.S. claimed that Iraq was an enemy in the “war on terrorism” and justifies the ongoing occupation by arguing that it needs to stay to combat the terrorism and other violence that exists there now as a consequence of the U.S. invasion. The war, as predicted, has also had the effect of increasing anti-American sentiment throughout the region and served as a catalyst for recruitment of increasingly frustrated and disillusioned Muslims into radical and violent organizations willing to use terrorism to achieve their ends. The “war on terrorism”, in other words, has increased the threat of terrorism by no small measure. In this case, though predicted, the intent of the policy was not to increase the threat of terrorism; it simply wasn’t a consideration that warranted much attention in their planning.

Further examples abound and the pattern is a well established aspect of U.S. foreign policy, not only in the Middle East but across the globe. There is no slight inconsistency with the declared intention of U.S. policy and its actual consequences. If their declared intentions are honest, then U.S. leaders would appear to be inept. On the other hand, if U.S. leaders are not incompetent, then the declared purposes of policies they establish cannot possibly be the correct ones. Assuming our leaders aren’t nincompoops, the corollary seems all too obvious: policy-makers constantly deceive the public about their true motives for implementing existing policies. Thus, the U.S. didn’t go to war to prevent Iraq from using WMD or from providing WMD to terrorists. We may debate true purpose of the invasion, but that the declared intentions were completely implausible and ridiculous should be fairly self-evident to all by now (as it was at the time for many of us).

In the case of Iran, U.S. policy makers claim to be trying to ensure peace and stability in the region by preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and from supporting terrorism. The policies themselves, however, only serve to isolate Iran and increase the likelihood that Iran will withdraw from the NPT and actually begin to develop a nuclear weapon, as well as to provide motive for Iran to support attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq. Numerous commentators and foreign policy experts have observed that if the U.S. were to attack Iran, one likely consequence would be Iranian support for attacks against the U.S., from increased support for the Iraqi resistance fighters to support for terrorist acts by Hezbollah or other organizations against U.S. interests throughout the region, and possibly even at home. Once again, we see policies greatly increasing the likelihood of consequences policy-makers claim they are trying to prevent.

So what is the true reason for existing U.S. policies towards Iran? There may be a number of motivating influences, but we may again learn from the lesson of Iraq to make an educated guess about the answer. In that case, it was clear that Saddam Hussein had for too long successfully defied the U.S. and thus threatened U.S. credibility as the global superpower. An example had to be made of Iraq, and the consequences for the Iraqi people were simply not a consideration. This was true for the sanctions as well as for the war. For instance, when asked about UN sanctions that had resulted in the deaths of half a million children, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright responded, “we think the price is worth it”. It was well understood at the time that the sanctions only served to strengthen the Hussein regime’s hold over the Iraqi people while collectively punishing the Iraqi people themselves. But the policy remained consistent.

Like any good mafia don, credibility was at stake and the U.S. had to take action to set an example. This motive is easily identifiable amongst documents written by current policy makers, such as the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance draft, The Project for a New American Century’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” document, or the U.S. National Security Strategy announced early on by the Bush administration.

Also, Iraq has lots of oil.

That this is the true purpose of U.S. policy should not come as all too surprising, particularly when policy makers have openly declared their intention of establishing global dominance with a focus on the energy-rich Middle East. What is more difficult for many people to accept is that the reasons they are given for a particular policy, which are important to them, are of little or no consideration to policy-makers.

Thus, as former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had noted, the issues of WMDs and terrorism were chosen as the dominant justifications for the war. This was for a good reason; not because preventing proliferation and terrorism are high on the government’s agenda, but because it’s something the American people feel they have an interest in (particularly when made to feel threatened by images of a “mushroom cloud” that could be the “smoking gun” in the case of Iraq). The war was thus consciously and deliberately sold to Americans upon this false pretext. It’s not that policy makers don’t care about proliferation and terrorism; it’s just wasn’t a consideration when policy was being made towards Iraq.

The devastating consequences that many observers have predicted would result from an attack upon Iran do not have to be inevitable. A change of course is possible and there are alternatives to violence that would increase the likelihood that the stated purpose for U.S. policies would actually be fulfilled. In the case of Iran, this would mean establishing policies that increase the chances for peace and stability in the region. Ceasing from waging war and encouraging instability would be a good first step for the U.S. But we can go further.

It might be possible to establish policies that help increase the chances that Iran will continue to cooperate with the IAEA to ensure that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes only. This would require a cessation of the effort to isolate Iran and an increased effort to engage Iranian leaders in a constructive dialogue. And with relation to Iraq, it presents a historic opportunity for the U.S. to open up a dialogue with Iran and come to some consensus on what needs to be done to heal the situation, which might not be too difficult since both countries share similar interests in achieving a secure and stable Iraq led by a democratic, Shiite-dominated government. So far, meaningful steps towards peace and stability have been rejected by the current U.S. administration and a path towards war has once again been chosen as the desired course of action.

Jeremy R. Hammond is the editor of Foreign Policy Journal, a website providing news, analysis, and opinion from outside the standard framework provided by government officials and the corporate media. He was among the recipients of the 2010 Project Censored Awards for outstanding investigative journalism and is the author of The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination. You can contact him at: jeremy@foreignpolicyjournal.com. Read other articles by Jeremy, or visit Jeremy's website.

68 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on August 22nd, 2007 at 8:09am #

    The one “ramification” Mr Hammond does’t mention is that this latest piece of warmongering further alienates the world and that any US attack on Iran would receive little or no international support.

    The UN will not countenance a military attack and without the UN, Europe will not support it. Without Europe, no use of the European bases, which are NATO bases, not US bases, and cannot be used for non-NATO purposes without the consent of the host country. Diego Garcia is probably now off-limits too, with Brown trying to distance himself from Bush and the inhabitants having just won a court case entitling them to go back to their homes.

    Flying from Israel is also a non-starter. It would justify claims that the US is acting for Israel and would violate Jordaninan and Iraqi airspace, undermining King Abdullah and proving that the Iraqi governemnt is not in control.

    Thus the US has no ground forces and nowhere from which to launch big bombers. That leaves realtively small carrier-based planes. They can’t do much damage and will in any event have to be supplied from the US by sea.

    To crown it all, an attack on Iran would send Europe scurrying for home, leaving the US exposed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Bush and his cohorts know all that, so I would guess that they will not attack Iran. Bush’s plan is probably to “claim victory and leave … office”! He will try to keep the pot boiling until January 2009 and will then blame his successor for “capitulating”. Bush wants to create JUSTIFICATIONS for war, not actually wage that war. In his view, the attack should take place on 21 January 2009!

  2. Neal said on August 22nd, 2007 at 10:14am #

    Since it is not entirely clear from the public record whether Iran’s nuclear program is directed toward peaceful or non-peaceful ends, it may arguably be, as the author suggests, that the US government is engaged in disinformation. But, then again, the government could be telling the truth – or not. It does not, of course, depend on logic or the public record. It depends on what is actually occurring. While the author is correct to point out the absence of evidence, that is not the end of the matter.

    The Iranians, for whatever reason, have done little to help diffuse the problem. They could, for example, send clear messages to the Israelis that, notwithstanding the incessant bluster from Ahmadinejad, Iran has no hostile intentions toward Israel. Iran could also render its nuclear program into a truly transparent program, thus ending speculation about the country’s intentions. And Iran could follow the dictates of the Security Council. None of these steps has been taken.

    Instead of taking steps to diffuse the crisis, Iran has defied the UN. One would think that if Iran wanted to diffuse the crisis, Iran would simply comply, putting its nuclear program aside in order to provide assurances for a future program. One has to wonder why Iran does not so act.

    Further, Iran supports those Palestinian Arabs who are most hostile to Israel and supports Hezbollah, an NGO group which holds similar views. The Iranian government not only does not deny such involvement but it touts it as a morally justified position. A reasonable view for an Israeli to take is that Iran means Israel harm.

    In any event, Iran has convinced the vast majority of Israelis that Iran means to destroy Israel. Among those convinced are the political class including Israel’s military and policy making establishment. Whether or not Iran has such intention does not matter. What matters is the impression created by Iran’s belligerent leader, the country’s nasty behavior toward civilians (e.g. the massacre of non-Israeli Jews in Argentina for which Iran’s former leader has been indicted), the secrecy surrounding Iran’s nuclear program and the gutter antisemitism that is part and parcel of officialdom among the members of Iran’s ruling establishment. Such things stir up hostility, whether or not the author of the article wishes to report on such things.

    There is also the point that Iran has also scared its Arab neighbors by, for example, claiming that Bahrain and the other Persian Gulf islands belong to Iran, by failing to diffuse the nuclear program crisis. Such has led to the US agreeing to provide weaponry to Iran’s neighbors.

    In any event, one might think that Iran would not want to make an enemy of Israel, the Gulf states and the US to the extent of provoking a war. And, having done exactly what Iran supposedly – were the author’s theory correct – does not want, a rational government in Tehran would want to diffuse the situation – and in a hurry.

    Or, perhaps the Iranian government believe, as historian Benny Morris believes it believes, that the destruction of Israel is part of Allah’s work to end the occultation of the 12th Imam and bring about a new era where Islam, under Shi’a tutelage, reclaims lands in Europe (lost to Islamic rule over the last 300 years) for Islamic rule. I have no idea. What I know is that Iran has a long way to go to help diffuse the crisis – if it is not something secretly (or not so secretly) desired by the Iranian leadership.

    As the author notes, we should not assume that governments are stupid. That includes not only the US government. It includes the Iranian and every other government on Earth.

  3. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 22nd, 2007 at 11:11am #

    Iran has repeatedly done reiterated that it has no hostile intentions toward Israel.

    Israeli leaders, on the other hand, have repeatedly stated their intention to bomb Iran.

    Iran has allowed the IAEA access above and beyond that required by the NPT.

    The Security Council is in violation of the UN Charter and its own resolutions, which recognize Iran’s rights under the NPT to continue research and development of their nuclear program while IAEA monitoring and verification is ongoing. All relevant UN resolutions regarding Iran’s nuclear program are without prejudice to this clause of the NPT.

  4. uncle paul said on August 22nd, 2007 at 4:14pm #

    It seems to me that a major conflict with Iran is inevidble,This really is a powder keg,with so many varlibles it is Scary.#one,politics,every leader has to justify their slot through a host of particular interests in any of their respective countries.#two,There is such a rift between ,namely 3 ideological religious formats,that they will never reconcile on the creators not so green earth.#three, there is such a cultural deficit with respect to independent coutries,there is not a hope in (what ever your beleifs)hell that this will be resolved soon.In retrospect WW11 was paint by n#s because there was a more identifiable cause.Now days people are more informed and they just do not swallow every thing they they are fed.#four,wars ,actually provide for economic activity that bolsters the perfomance of the host aggesor contry.you do the math,sisereley :UNC

  5. Daniel said on August 22nd, 2007 at 5:20pm #

    While Israel fuels the fire concerning Iran’s dastardly intentions, it continues on with its blatant, imperialistic creation of ‘Greater Israel’ without a condemning comment from the non-Muslim world.

    George, encouraged by Christian Fundamentalists and Zionists alike, can and will attack Iran. With a Middle East war underway, then he can cancel the Constitution and institute despotic rule.

    Big Brother is getting closer by the day!

  6. Mike McNiven said on August 23rd, 2007 at 2:18am #

    Even if, for the sake of argument, all your points get accepted one very relevant fact must be mentioned as well: The Islamic Republic regime of Iran is the Persian version of the Taliban! Based on many studies, and the confessions of the ruling theocrats, two thirds of people of Iran do not want a theocracy! What the people of Iran are asking us is to condemn both the imperialist designs against them and the current anti-human rights rulers. Not caring about what is happenning to the people of Iran by the ruling theocrats is discrimination on the basis of national origin! Are we using them against the unjust system that is the modus operandi of US or we really care about their minimum rights as specified in the Universal Declarations of Human Rights as well? We can do better and that is the least that we can do for the people of Iran!

  7. Neal said on August 23rd, 2007 at 8:25am #

    Jeremy,

    You write: “Iran has repeatedly done reiterated that it has no hostile intentions toward Israel.”

    Evidently, the message has not been said in a manner whereby it might be remotely believed. Dovish historians such as Benny Morris seem to think that Iran is not only dead set on destroying Israel but that such is part and parcel of the ideology of the ruling clique. He may, of course, be mistaken but it is worth considering that the Iranians have not done a thing to convince him or most other Israelis. According to Morris:

    “To judge from Mr. Ahmadinejad’s continuous reference to Palestine and the need to destroy Israel, and his denial of the first Holocaust, he is a man obsessed. He shares this with the mullahs: All were brought up on the teachings of Khomeini, a prolific anti-Semite who often fulminated against ‘the Little Satan.’ To judge from Mr. Ahmadinejad’s organization of the Holocaust cartoons competition and the Holocaust denial conference, the Iranian president’s hatreds are deep and, of course, shameless.”

    Again, the Israelis, including Mr. Morris, may entirely misperceive the situation. But, surely the Iranians know that the Israelis perceive the situation as they do. Such is shown by polling data and by the obsession with the matter by the Israeli press – including the very dovish Haaretz newspaper -. So, if you are correct – which I tend to doubt as it is contradicted by the innumerable number of speeches, by Ahmadinejad, his associates and by his predecessors, on the topic -, the Iranians owe it to themselves to talk directly to the Israelis so that the hatchet is buried and the winds of war are not inflamed.

    Instead, Iran arms Hamas and Hezbollah, the country’s leader denies the occurrence of the central event in modern Jewish history and has repeatedly called for the Israel’s demise in speeches given to Iranians and to various groups of non-Westerners.

    The bottom line: public denials simply do not go far enough. They mean nothing. A visit by Ahmadinejad’s to Tel Aviv where he states his acceptance of Israel’s right to exist might be a start. But, more importantly, placing the nuclear program on a temporary halt would go very far.

    You write: “The Security Council is in violation of the UN Charter and its own resolutions, which recognize Iran’s rights under the NPT to continue research and development of their nuclear program while IAEA monitoring and verification is ongoing.”

    The goal of the Security Council is to keep the peace. How are resolutions directed to the fear, whether or not justified, that Iran’s government plans to develop nuclear weapons, opposed to the idea of keeping the peace? While it may or may not be true that one or more countries on the Security Council are using resolutions in order to make a case for war, that does not make the resolutions contrary to the UN Charter.

    To note: Iran has repeatedly asserted hostile intentions toward other countries. Iran had, until it was discovered, a secret program – and, on this point there is no doubt – that involved nuclear technology. The UN has every right, on such history, to investigate and to hold Iran to account and, as part of that accounting process, to require Iran to halt work on its project while the accounting by the IAEA is conducted and, depending on the findings, thereafter. That is quite obviously legitimate.

  8. Binh said on August 23rd, 2007 at 9:03am #

    Kenny writes:

    Without Europe, no use of the European bases, which are NATO bases, not US bases, and cannot be used for non-NATO purposes without the consent of the host country. Diego Garcia is probably now off-limits too, with Brown trying to distance himself from Bush and the inhabitants having just won a court case entitling them to go back to their homes.

    Flying from Israel is also a non-starter. It would justify claims that the US is acting for Israel and would violate Jordaninan and Iraqi airspace, undermining King Abdullah and proving that the Iraqi governemnt is not in control.

    Thus the US has no ground forces and nowhere from which to launch big bombers. That leaves realtively small carrier-based planes. They can’t do much damage and will in any event have to be supplied from the US by sea.

    NATO is controlled by the U.S., especially its Eastern European component, “new Europe” as Rummy put it. Poland and a few others have troops in Iraq, so clearly they are with the Bush program and would give a green light to the use of bases for an attack on Iran. They want American investment, after all.

    Brown toes the American line on Iran and will continue to do so, although he’s getting the Brits out of Basra ASAP which Bush is none to happy about. Diego Garcia is therefore not off limits.

    The U.S. has no bases/forces in Israel, so why even mention that?

    And then you assert that the U.S. has no bases from which to launch big bombers, therefore an attack won’t happen! Wrong, wrong, wrong again.

    The U.S. can launch attacks from U.S. soil if it has to (they did it with Iraq – B-2s took off from here and were refueled several times throughout the trips in March, 2003.) The U.S. also has a slew of bases in Central Asia, facilities in the Gulf States, half the American navy parked off Iran’s coast, and bases in Iraq and Turkey it can do bombing runs from. The U.S. has Iran surrounded militarily and could strike relatively quickly. That’s not even counting all the cruise missiles mounted on submarines and whatnot.

    Whoever gave you your information is either a quack or a liar. I suggest you stop listening.

  9. Kim Petersen said on August 23rd, 2007 at 9:13am #

    Please Neil,
    Your comment was a blatant disinformed sop to Zionism.
    The twisted interperetation attributed to Ahmadinejad has been exposed so many times (and it is really a criminal disservice to let such disinformation continue) and serves no purpose other than to falsely demonize Iranian leadership.
    If any leaders should be visiting foreign capitals on bended knee, it is the Israeli leadership, and that should, probably, begin in East Jerusalem with an apology to Palestinians for territorial theft and the war crimes heaped on them by Zionists.

  10. Neal said on August 23rd, 2007 at 11:17am #

    Kim,

    With due respect to Professor Cole, the Iranian government website has translated the noted speech to include the word “wipe.” However, that was not what I was actually referring to. There are, in fact, countless numbers of speeches in which the Iranian leadership has called for Israel’s destruction.

  11. Deadbeat said on August 23rd, 2007 at 12:53pm #

    Can you provide a link to support your claim. I never saw such “translation” that you speak of.

  12. Deadbeat said on August 23rd, 2007 at 12:55pm #

    I’m also sure that apologist for Israel and Zionism will claim that the an attack on Iran will be “War for Oil”

  13. Neal said on August 23rd, 2007 at 1:37pm #

    deadbeat:

    First, from Iran’s state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting: “Tehran, Oct 26 – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday called for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map’.” Moreover, according to that official website: “‘As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,’ said Ahmadinejad, referring to the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini.” http://www.iribnews.ir/Full_en.asp?news_id=200247

    Second, from President Ahmadinejad’s own official website: “Speaking at a conference dubbed “World without Zionism’ here Wednesday which was attended by thousands of students, he said any country which acknowledges the Zionist regime will actually be acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world. He further expressed his firm belief that the new wave of confrontations generated in Palestine and the growing turmoil in the Islamic world would in no time wipe Israel away.”
    http://www.president.ir/eng/ahmadinejad/cronicnews/1384/08/4/index-e.htm#b3

    Presumably, the President of Iran would correct the error if it really were an error. The same for an official organ of the government. I might also note that not all outside translators remotely agree with Professor Cole.

  14. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 23rd, 2007 at 7:20pm #

    Neal,

    You cited Benny Morris as saying that Ahmadinejad continuously refers to “the need to destroy Israel”. Ahmadinejad has never said anything suggesting that Iran intends violence against Israel. The “wipe Israel from the map” quote is used to suggest he intends violence against Israel. This is a fabrication.

    What Ahmadinejad has said is that the regime occupying Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories needs to come to an end. He was talking about regime change and mentioned two other oppressive regimes that rightly came to an end: the Shah’s Iran and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

    Instructively, nobody argues that he was saying Iran should “destroy” Iran or Iraq.

    You’re obviously familiar with the actual context of the “wipe Israel from the map” statement, so you already know this. Why you use the statement out of context while clearly aware of it I don’t know, but an explanation would be appropriate.

    You referred twice to “countless numbers of speeches in which the Iranian leadership has called for Israel’s destruction.” If by “destruction” you mean a change of regime, then you are right. But if you are implying an intention to militarily attack Israel, then you are incorrect.

    Israeli leaders, on the other hand, have repeatedly expressed their view that Israel should bomb Iran.

    You’re right, public denials are meaningless. We shouldn’t put any weight in public denials. However, we can’t just assume the opposite, either, without evidence.

    You suggest Iran should halt its nuclear program. But it already did halt its program, and it got nothing for it.

    You said “the goal of the Security Council is to keep the peace.” It’s true the purpose of the UN is to keep the peace, but the Security Council doesn’t always work that way. Take Iraq. The U.S. often uses its influence in the U.N. to push forward its own agenda, which often isn’t peaceful at all.

    In the case of Iran, the UN has no authority to insist that Iran surrender its rights under the NPT. That’s a violation of the UN Charter, the NPT, and relevant UN resolutions.

    The three present resolutions are steps on the path towards war, not measures designed to keep the peace. Their effect will be as I wrote in the article.

    I absolutely agree with you that Iran needs to be held to account for its nuclear program. That’s why the IAEA needs to be allowed to continue to do their job. Under the NPT, Iran may continue research and development of their program while monitoring and verification is ongoing. By law, nothing either the IAEA or the UN Security Council can do can prejudice that right under the treaty.

  15. Neal said on August 23rd, 2007 at 8:22pm #

    Jeremy,

    I do not accept your interpretation of the speech. In fact, my interpretation is that Israel was not the central subject of the speech.

    The real subject of the speech was a declaration of how Israel’s demise would fit into the schema of reviving Islamic power after 300 years of decline to European powers. In fact, Ahmadinejad went out of his way to say that the issue was not helping Palestinian Arabs or anything of the sort. Again, the issue was three hundred years of decline of Islamic power – with loss of territory in Europe which, according to Ahmadinejad, was and should, in the future, be Islamic – with Israel’s demise serving as his focal point to send a message to Europe that Islamic power was once again on the march. I think such was said rather directly in his speech.

    As for your interpretation, I take the idea of regime change as, in the case of Israel, essentially the same thing as wiping the country off of the map. It would be equivalent to telling Germany that, going forward, a ethnically German regime would no longer rule Germany – a regime change being necessary to accomplish that end. Such could only happen by means of war or insurrection. It is, in effect, a declaration of violent hostilities. In simple terms: regime change means war.

    As for the UN, I do not much care what that organization says or does. I take it as being entirely in the hands of corruption and power. That is, after all, how there are so many anti-Israel resolutions but few anti-Saudi resolutions. Such is the power of oil. And, the reason that resolutions against Israel die in the Security Council is that the US has different interests than those of the Arab League states. And the reason that Europeans sometimes support such resolutions is that they have substantial political and oil contracts in the Arab regions – with voting against Israel being the price paid to the Arab League for contractual preference granted to European states along with an uninterrupted flow of oil. But, as an organization actually dedicated to anything stated in its charter, the UN is a failure, whether or not resolutions, on the surface, serve this end or that end shown in the charter. So, to that extent, I agree with you.

  16. Deadbeat said on August 23rd, 2007 at 9:01pm #

    Thanks for the link. After reading several articles on the site I too would have to agree with their sentiments. There needs to be a regime change in Israel just like a similar regime change in South Africa. Zionism is the racism of the 21st century that needs to be confronted.

  17. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 23rd, 2007 at 9:22pm #

    Let’s keep to the point. We are discussion the claim that Ahmedinejad said Iran should “wipe Israel from the map” and the interpretation of this statement being an intent to commit violence.

    The context of his speech does not support such an interpretation. As I noted, he also spoke of the oppressive regimes of the Shah and Saddam Hussein and likened Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians to those regimes.

    Regime change does not mean war. The Shah, for example, fell as a result of an internal revolution, not as a result of outside aggression.

    Countless times throughout history governments have fallen as a result of people rising up against their oppressors.

    So, no, to speak of regime change is not to openly declare an intent to commit violence.

    “The issue of Palestine is by no means over, and will end only when all of Palestine will have a government belonging to the Palestinian people. The refugees must return to their homes, and there must be a government that has come to power by the will of the [Palestinian] people.”

    He was talking about an oppressed people and spoke of the hope that the regime oppressing them would be “eliminated from the pages of history” (or “wiped off the map”).

    There is nothing in his speech even remotely implying that Iran threatened violence against Israel.

    As for UN resolutions against Israel, they are well deserved. Israel has long been in violation of the UN Charter and continuously violates the Geneva Conventions. We may argue that other nations are also deserving of having resolutions passed against them for whatever various reasons, but it doesn’t make Israel any less deserving of condemnation.

    We seem to agree that the UN is a failure insofar as it actually achieves what its Charter states as its purpose for existence.

  18. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 23rd, 2007 at 9:23pm #

    Deadbeat’s comment is precisely on target.

  19. Shabnam said on August 23rd, 2007 at 10:12pm #

    Iran like many countries including China, India and majority of African countries, forget the Arab countries, DID NOT VOTE FOR THE PARTITION OF PALESTINE in 1948. Iran’s policy on Palestine remained unchanged before and after the revolution because Iran believes in one country for all not DESTRUCTION OF PALESTINE, therefore, Iran never voted for the creation of Israel in the first place to “destroy” it later. This is a crucial point. Iranian point of view has proven right. Many Jewish and Palestinian intellectuals believe in the same thing including Cohen, Menuhin and late Edward Said. So please stop manipulating the world population that Iran wants “to whip out Israel” since you have been exposed long time ago and this kind of manipulation is not going to save you. Iran also is in good standing with the IAEA. On 22 February, 2007, IAEA director Mr. ElBaradei in his report to the IAEA Board of Governors, concluded that “Iran has been providing the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and facilities…” and “The Agency is able to verity the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Hence, Iran was in COMPLIANCE with its NPT obligations. How many times do you want IAEA director assures the world population? Yet, after this report they pass
    Resolution 1747 where they demand something that IAEA director has already said Iran has fulfilled. Iran has no obligation to tell Zionists or Imperialists that has no intention to whip out “little Israel” because events of the last 60 years shows very well who wants to eliminate who!
    The Islamic Republic of Iran is not the Persian version of the Taliban. This nonsense can fool only the illiterate on the subject. The word Persian has been overused in the Zionist media aiming to put one
    against the other. I remember the world Persian used by William Safire in New York Times 11 years ago to scare the readers of Islamic Republic through the word “Persian Empire” like American Empire and
    The idea that Iran should be broken into many smaller states based on ethnicity occurs in Israeli strategic thinking for “greater Israel” and therefore the Zionists have done research among different Iranian ethnic groups. Brenda Shaffer in 2002 published her work on the Iranian Azeri and argues that Ethnic based nationalism, contributed to the demise of Multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman Empire. But multi-ethnic Iran is rarely included in this list. She does not like the fact that Iranian Azeri has been integrated and they identify with the nation state of Iran. She forgets the facts that many who are among elites including the supreme leader Khamenaii are from Azeri background. Israel and US have prominent presence in Republic of Azerbaijan and they are hopeful that by supporting few opportunists among Azeri or the Kurd they might be able to weaken the Iranian government through turmoil in those areas. But one must know that not all Azeri in republic of Azerbaijan are Shi’i Muslims; in fact a significant number of them are Sunni. Therefore her assertion that the Azerbaijanis’ Shi’i faith, according to Mangol Bayat – an independent Scholar, in the north and south, has provided them with a collective identity distinct from fellow Turks in the Sunni Ottoman Empire does not hold. Mangol Bayat argues that the two prominent Azerbaijani intellectuals figure Akhundzadeh and Talebzadeh who both lived in Tbilisi, Georgia, not in Azerbaijan both were the intellectual precursors of the Irania Nationalism. To make the story short one must remind the readers that many disturbances in ethnic areas are supported and are financed by the enemy in order to break Iran into many parts to create allies for Israel. Divide and rule mentality. We see what is happening in Northern Iraq today. Northern Iraq has been turned into a spy network for Israel and US and people of the region dislike the opportunist Kurds as well as the Zionists. Today, the Kurds are the only group in Iraq who support American occupation, therefore, they have bought the hatred of the population of the region for themselves.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mScWWtRfGQ&NR=1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykd-syzZ4ZY
    http://www.antiwar.com/prather/?articleid=11180
    http://student.cs.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0005345.html
    Brenda Shaffer. “Borders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity, Cambridge, MA and London, UK: MIT Press, 2002
    http://www.youtube.com/watchv=hQgZ3oLp_WY&mode=related&search=

  20. Ron Holland said on August 24th, 2007 at 1:19am #

    Is the Bush/Cheney Administration Desperate Enough To Bomb Iran?

    Yes and the result could likely be terror attacks against the US

    Learn what could happen when the United States is hit by another terrorist attack by Islamic extremists that creates an extreme response by Washington in The Final Presidential Executive Order at http://www.swissconfederationinstitute.org/swisspreserve14.htm

    This is a fictional case study from a new free online book, “The Swiss Preserve Solution” & read how the government reaction to another attack could dramatically curtail personal, financial, religious and civil liberties in the United States.

    Ron lives in NC at Wolf Laurel Resort.

  21. Shabnam said on August 24th, 2007 at 5:23am #

    If US is looking for a terrorist camp to bomb then the United States
    must bomb Israel first and then the White house and the Congress and Senate. How many times American people should scream “Israel out of the congress”? people of the world are fed up with the colonists plan who planted “little Israel” to wage continuous war against great people of the Middle East to rob them and kill them. US is implimenting another ZIONIST WAR if they dare to attack Iran and this will lead to destruction of the Zionist/Imperialist once and for all. Shame on Zionsts who are hated throughout the world.

  22. Neal said on August 24th, 2007 at 6:51am #

    Jeremy,

    I stand by my interpretation of Ahmadinejad’s statement. Here is language from the text by which I reach my conclusion. First (and I am using the New York Times translation which, for purposes here, is sufficient whether the word is literally “wipe” or some other word or words that pertain to Israel’s demise:

    “We need to examine the true origins of the issue of Palestine: is it a fight between a group of Muslims and non-Jews? Is it a fight between Judaism and other religions? Is it the fight of one country with another country? Is it the fight of one country with the Arab world? Is it a fight over the land of Palestine? I guess the answer to all these questions is ‘no.’

    The establishment of the occupying regime of Qods [Jerusalem] was a major move by the world oppressor [ the United States] against the Islamic world. The situation has changed in this historical struggle. Sometimes the Muslims have won and moved forward and the world oppressor was forced to withdraw.

    Unfortunately, the Islamic world has been withdrawing in the past 300 years. I do not want to examine the reasons for this, but only to review the history. The Islamic world lost its last defenses in the past 100 years and the world oppressor established the occupying regime. Therefore the struggle in Palestine today is the major front of the struggle of the Islamic world with the world oppressor and its fate will decide the destiny of the struggles of the past several hundred years.

    The Palestinian nation represents the Islamic nation [Umma] against a system of oppression, and thank God, the Palestinian nation adopted Islamic behavior in an Islamic environment in their struggle and so we have witnessed their progress and success.”

    Now note, if we go by your theory that the issue is not one of fighting, the speech makes little sense. The issue posited by Ahmadinejad is conquest – land once held by Islam that is now held by Western powers which, as he has it, planted Israel in the Islamic regions.

    But again: Israel’s demise is intended to have symbolic signficance, as the speech go on to say:

    “Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime [Israel] has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world. But we must be aware of tricks.”

    In simple English, the outcome of the fight between the Western powers and Islam turns on Israel’s future.

    As for the notion that the speech could even potentially involve anything other than a Israel’s destruction, the speech, after stating “The issue of Palestine is not over at all. It will be over the day a Palestinian government, which belongs to the Palestinian people, comes to power; the day that all refugees return to their homes; a democratic government elected by the people comes to power,” clarifies the matter so that there is no doubt that he has something akin to a conquest in mind – unless you really think that Israel’s Jewish population would voluntary give up all political rights:

    “Of course those who have come from far away to plunder this land have no right to choose for this nation.”

    In simple language, Ahmadinejad proposes that Jews have no rights in the land where they live. And you support such trash? I might add, the notion that he had in mind something peaceful makes no sense. He has in mind “struggle” and that, given the initial explanation, above quoted, that there has been an ongoing struggle between the West and Islamic powers in which land has changed hand over the course most particularly the last 300 years means that he does not have something peaceful in mind.

  23. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 24th, 2007 at 8:25am #

    Neal,

    You said, “Now note, if we go by your theory that the issue is not one of fighting, the speech makes little sense.”

    Ahmedinijad’s meaning is perfectly unambiguous. First of all, I didn’t say the issue wasn’t one of fighting. I said he didn’t even remotely imply that Iran intends violence against Israel. In simple English, the fight he’s referring to is the legitimate right of the oppressed to struggle against their oppressors.

    You quote Ahmedinjad as saying, “Of course those who have come from far away to plunder this land have no right to choose for this nation.”

    You then conclude, “In simple language, Ahmadinejad propses that Jews have no rights in the land where they live. And you support such trash?”

    Once again you’re deceptively taking statements out of context and asserting your own manipulative interpretation.

    You’re perfectly familiar with the context, as you’ve demonstrated repeatedly, so you must therefore know that “this nation” he was speaking of was the Palestinian people–the people living under an oppressive foreign occupation that is illegal under international law.

    Your simply not being honest. Here’s the full quote (NYT translation):

    “The issue of Palestine is not over at all. It will be over the day a Palestinian
    government, which belongs to the Palestinian people, comes to power; the day
    that all refugees return to their homes; a democratic government elected by the
    people comes to power. Of course those who have come from far away to plunder
    this land have no right to choose for this nation.”

    You asked me if I “support this trash”. Yes, I support people in their struggle for a democratic government free from oppression under a foreign occupation.

    Why you don’t support such a sound moral principle is beyond my comprehension.

  24. Neal said on August 24th, 2007 at 9:35am #

    Jeremy,

    Four points:

    One. The issue over historic Palestine would come to an end if Jews lost their rights. But, that is not the end of the matter asserted by Ahmadinejad. His context was the role of that dispute in the overall fight between Muslims and Christians. Such is the main topic of the speech, with historic Palestine serving as an important symbol in that fight. Such is clear from the material I quoted – and to which you do not address your comment.

    Two. His position rejects, at least for Jews, the right of migration from oppression to a place where refuge is available. That is the most basic of basic human rights.

    He, with that in mind, classifies those (i.e. the individuals involved) who migrated to a place where, legally speaking – as the world, at the time of the migrations, understood the term -, refuge was available. In other words, he is a bigot.

    Yes, those Jews who migrated to Israel have the same reasonable expectation of rights that any other people on earth have the right to expect after they migrate with the permission of the ruler of the land. And it is that right which, evidently, you also reject even though, as an American, you necessarily claim that right for yourself – unless you plan to return to Europe in order to make way for the return of Indian rule with you having no rights, since you are the beneficiary of invaders.

    Three. Most Israelis are not Europeans. Most were either born in Israel or their parents were refugees from lands claimed by Arabs – both in historic Palestine and from basically all the other so-called Arab lands. Ahmadinejad rejects their rights along with those Jews who came as refugees or otherwise.

    If the children of those who migrate or even invade a place have no rights, on what basis do Muslim Arabs justify their presence outside of historic Arabia? They, after all, are the beneficiaries of invasions and wars. The point: there is a statute of limitation that applies to such things. Those who have made a life in a place can stay there. That is something which the world accepts or else nearly all of us would need to move. But that is something that Ahmadinejad rejects, as his speech makes clear. I cannot imagine why you accept his view.

    You say, lastly, that you support people in their struggle for a democratic government against oppression. So do I. But, that is not what Ahmadinejad is asserting. His goal is to restart the battle over lands lost by Islam – primarily in Europe – to Christians, beginning, in his bizarre notion that Jewish refugees were invaders. And, as he states, the reason for the battle over Israel is not to support Palestinian Arabs – an Arab/Sunni people – but because such battle serves an important symbolic function.

  25. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 24th, 2007 at 10:56am #

    One, the context of the speech, insofar as it concerned a “historical fight” of which you speak, was the historical fight of the people of the Middle East against outside interference and oppression.

    But, yes, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “served as an important symbol in that fight.” In fact, the most prominent “symbol”.

    Two, what his position rejects is that the Jews had some sort of “right” to expel Palestinians from their land and continue to steal it from them through force. The rights to self-determination and freedom from oppression are two of the most basic human rights.

    Three is an irrelevant point, regardless of its validity (or lack thereof).

    In sum, he didn’t argue Jews have no rights. He simply observed (rightly) that Palestinians do, too.

    I cannot imagine why you reject his view.

    What Ahmadinejad is asserting is precisely what he says, which is support for people struggling for a democratic government free from foreign oppression.

    “The issue of Palestine is not over at all. It will be over the day a Palestinian government, which belongs to the Palestinian people, comes to power; the day that all refugees return to their homes; a democratic government elected by the people comes to power. Of course those who have come from far away to plunder this land have no right to choose for this nation.”

    That’s pretty unambiguous.

  26. hp said on August 24th, 2007 at 11:41am #

    But then again, if Iran’s President did indeed say Israel should be wiped from the face of the earth, who in their secret mind would disagree..
    I mean c’mom, Israel is always #1 at most despised country, worst trouble maker, most untrustworthy, most snake like, most racist, etc., etc., etc.
    Just because the Zionist monsters dictate the news and media, doesn’t mean we don’t really know. Just like we can spot a Zionist snake like Neal with one eye and one ear.

  27. Shabnam said on August 24th, 2007 at 11:46am #

    Modern Jewish immigration into Palestine began in 1882. The Ottoman Government was aware of this influx from the outset, and decided to oppose Jewish immigration to Palestine in 1881, some months before the increased flow of Jews got under way. There was a great pressure from the European on Ottoman Empire to accept Jews to settle on the east bank of the River Jordan, because neither the ruler nor the people of the empire desired to have Jews in their land. In November 1881, in response to the Anglo-German group’s approach, the Ottoman Government announced that: “Jewish immigrants will be able to settle as scattered groups throughout the Ottoman Empire, excluding PALESTINE.” * Toward the end of 1882, Ottoman ministers told Isaac Fernandez, a leading Jewish figure in Constantinople, that the empire did not want to have another national problem in the Empire.However Herzl asked that Palestine should be granted to the Jews with the great power protection but Abdulhamid II, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire rejected. He did not want the flow of Jewish immigrants into Palestine and ordered Jewish immigrants to be shipped to America. Herzl’s exchange for Palestine was “to regulate the whole finances of Turkey” * since the empire was in trouble financially. He told Herzl that “I cannot sell even a foot of land, for it does not belong to me, but to my people…When my empire is partitioned, they may get Palestine for nothing. But only our corpse will be divided.” *
    So here it goes. We know the Middle East was created through partition of Arab land and creation of Israel 60 years ago and since then we have not experienced one day of peace and prosperity. People of the region have been robbed, killed and put against each other by the Western powers and their servants, the local elites, and are determined to kill them all for complete control if that is necessary.

    * Neville J. Mandel, “The Arabs and Zionism”, 1980

  28. Neal said on August 24th, 2007 at 11:50am #

    Jeremy,

    We obviously are reading different speeches. You ignore the first half of the speech, where he states clearly that he does not much care about the fight between Arabs and Jews or the alleged justice of the Arab side or anything of the sort. The issue is Islam, not Arabs and not Palestinian Arabs. As he states and I repeat – and this is a long quote of four paragraphs:

    “We need to examine the true origins of the issue of Palestine: is it a fight between a group of Muslims and non-Jews? Is it a fight between Judaism and other religions? Is it the fight of one country with another country? Is it the fight of one country with the Arab world? Is it a fight over the land of Palestine? I guess the answer to all these questions is ‘no.’

    The establishment of the occupying regime of Qods [Jerusalem] was a major move by the world oppressor [ the United States] against the Islamic world. The situation has changed in this historical struggle. Sometimes the Muslims have won and moved forward and the world oppressor was forced to withdraw.

    Unfortunately, the Islamic world has been withdrawing in the past 300 years. I do not want to examine the reasons for this, but only to review the history. The Islamic world lost its last defenses in the past 100 years and the world oppressor established the occupying regime. Therefore the struggle in Palestine today is the major front of the struggle of the Islamic world with the world oppressor and its fate will decide the destiny of the struggles of the past several hundred years.

    The Palestinian nation represents the Islamic nation [Umma] against a system of oppression, and thank God, the Palestinian nation adopted Islamic behavior in an Islamic environment in their struggle and so we have witnessed their progress and success.”

    In short, the issue that interests Ahmadinejad is the place that the dispute plays in the larger dispute between Muslims and Christians. He recognizes that dispute as one in which, at times, Islam has prevailed and, more recently, as one in which Christian forces have prevailed. His goal – which differs from yours – is to reverse the general trend. He sees the fight in Israel as having symbolic significance to the larger fight.

    You, by contrast, have projected anti-Imperialist theory onto people who have different notions. Hence, you assume this is about justice in the sense that Muslims ought be masters of their own situations. Remote familiarity with Islamism shows that his agenda and your agenda have coincidental overlap in certain goals but which does not extend to ultimate goals and does not arise from the same reasoning.

    In a speech given by Ruhollah Khomeini long ago, he asserted that the goal of Islam is to conquer the world and bring it under Islamic governance and law. An anti-imperialist might share the goal – a first step to Khomeini in a larger agenda – of reducing Western power but, if honest, must be appalled by Khomeini’s equally imperialistic agenda. My suggestion to you is that Ahmadinejad’s statements about reversing trends in the rivalry between Muslim and Christian is central to the speech because that is what the speech states and because such is consistent with the Islamist view.

    Now, a careful study of the dispute shows that Arab position to be, in essence, that Jews have no right to refuge in a place where it was available. They are not seeking to share power. And, Ahmadinejad states fairly bluntly that Jews have no rights to any political power. You may prefer to cast that as you have. But, the bottom line is that, under Islamic rule, Jews would have no better rights – the few that remain – than do Christians in Iran or Copts in Egypt.

  29. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 24th, 2007 at 12:48pm #

    “We obviously are reading different speeches. You ignore the first half of the speech, where he states clearly that he does not much care about the fight between Arabs and Jews or the alleged justice of the Arab side or anything of the sort.”

    Yes, we’re clearly reading different speeches.

    The speech I read was Ahmedinejad’s actual speech.

  30. Neal said on August 24th, 2007 at 1:11pm #

    Jeremy,

    What I quoted is the speech as it appeared in The New York Times. You choose to overlook the portion of the speech which explains the subject Ahmadinejad addressed.

    That is your choice. But, it is not a fair reading of the speech. And, in fact, Ahmadinejad was – by clear implication – speaking about the longstanding struggle between Islam and Christianity, with the Arab Israeli dispute being a part with some symbolic significance.

  31. ashley said on August 24th, 2007 at 3:42pm #

    Good discussion. It has taken me many years to be able to even think this, but in response to Jeremy’s statement above:
    “We seem to agree that the UN is a failure insofar as it actually achieves what its Charter states as its purpose for existence.” my feeling is that the UN, created after the terrible destruction of WW II, was corrupted from the get-go by creating Israel without getting one single Arab vote. The people living in the country had all their rights trampled on and no proper compensation provided because what was being done to them was covered up. So there is no legitimacy whatsoever to the creation or ongoing existence of Israel and I believe, reluctantly, that since its creation Israel has not demonstrated that she has earned the right to exist in that part of the world.

    Ideally the Middle Eastern cultural diaspora should come together to form one foreign policy bloc a la USA or Europe, a MEU.

    First, the MEU should insist that Israel immediately dismantle every single one of its nuclear weapons or, failing that, it will no longer have the right to function as a state in the area.

    Second – at the same time – they should mandate immediate democratic elections by all Palestinians including and Jews living now in the territory and those now living as refugees because of their forced expulsions and so forth be undertaken.

    This will not happen, of course. But the root problem in the Middle East is the fundamental lack of overall leadership. Instead we see the imposition of force by more powerful but distant nations from different cultures and histories. Such influence is not the same as true leadership.

    In any case, as long as Israel is backed by the West, who she holds at bay with regular hyperbolising of atrocity propaganda and other guilt trips and political/financial leverage, and as long as she has 200+ nuclear warheads, there can be no resolution in this troubled part of the world. Israel, though clearly illegitimate and clearly a destabilising, immoral presence in the region, has earned the right to exist in terms of being determined and powerful enough to pull it off through violence and political coercion, but in the process she has made the world and the region in which her people chose to establish this new state, a far uglier and less civilised place. However, until the region itself wakes up and becomes responsible for itself, Israel’s disruptive influence in the region, and thus the world, will continue. And given her penchant for violence and self-serving policy, the result is inevitable: sooner or later the Zionist regime (shorthand for saying a Jewish state), will indeed be dismantled since there is no way they will will ever learn to live at peace with their neighbours after the 60 year track record of atrocity, genocide and outright hostility they have demonstrated towards them.

  32. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 24th, 2007 at 8:06pm #

    Yes, I’m aware that you were quoting the New York Times translation. But there’s a world of difference between what you are saying and what Ahmedinejad actually said.

    He was speaking of the struggle of Palestinians against their oppressors and its in that context that he said the occupying regime must go.

    That’s it. It’s plain language, at least in English. No hidden meanings or ambiguities. No need to interject any other meaning into it which doesn’t exist within his actual speech itself.

  33. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 24th, 2007 at 8:07pm #

    “And, in fact, Ahmadinejad was – by clear implication – speaking about the longstanding struggle between Islam and Christianity, with the Arab Israeli dispute being a part with some symbolic significance.”

    I’m not arguing that with you.

  34. Mike McNiven said on August 25th, 2007 at 3:17pm #

    It is very sad to witness that a context called Universal Declarations of Human Rights is missing here! DV, at the top of the page, introduces itself as being for “peace and social justice”! There is no social justice in Iran today–a violation of the stated goal of their brave uprising against the shah and the imperialists! Shabnam, as an Iranian woman, knows that first hand! That is why she is living outside Iran! People of Iran are not represented by any one person in their regime now! Ahmadinejad is the voice of the regime and not the people! Just this summer more than 200,000 women have been arrested for not having covered their hair “properly”! We in the West, while enjoying our relative freedoms must care about those who are lacking them! Iran is a big prison for two thirds of its population! The living conditions are worse than the time of the shah–which was terrible!
    According to a body of knowledge called “anthropology”, “the Iranian people” is consisted of the Tajiks, Daris (Afghans), Kurds, Balochs, Turkmens, Lurs, Guilaks, Azeris and Persians! So to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the Persian version of Taliban is very correct! The “Iranians” do not want this Taliban regime as you see that there have been daily clashes with Tehran forces in Iran’s Kurdistan, Balochistan, Turkmen Sahra, Guilan,… for the past twenty seven years! People of Iran did a revolution collectively and they are asking for a government that represent all of them!
    For the record, the first counter-revolutionary regime in the world, after the fall of the Fascists in 1945, is the Islamic Republic of Iran which is anti-woman, anti-science, anti-labor, anti-peasant, anti-artists, anti-writers, anti-Arab, anti-Jew, anti-homosexual, anti-social justice, … It is pro-religious apartheid, pro-ethnic apartheid, pro-gender apartheid, pro-stonning to death,…
    Actually, despite the daily rhetoric, the G-7 despots prefer the Persian Taliban rulers to any pluralistic democratic alternative! That is why Exxon-Mobil and Conocco-Philips, for example, are spending millions of $$ every year on a variety of programs to uplift the mullas’ image in US/UK! All power to people of Iran!!! No US/UK soldier in Iran!!!

  35. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 26th, 2007 at 12:51am #

    Had I written an article about the nature of the Iranian government, a discussion of its abuses would have been appropriate. However, the article is about the nature of the U.S. government and I don’t see where such a discussion would have been relevant to the point of the article. I don’t see why it should be “sad” that the subject isn’t addressed in the article or the comments. You seem to be implying that nobody knows or cares about the nature of the Iranian regime, which I think is erroneous.

    I’m not sure what you mean by referring to the Iranian government as “the Persian Taliban”. The Taliban are Sunni, Iran mostly Shiite. Iran opposed the Taliban and supported their opposition.

  36. Neal said on August 26th, 2007 at 1:05am #

    Jeremy,

    Mike McNiven was noting – and correctly noting – the nature of the government and personality whom you think cares one wit about Palestinian Arabs.

    The Iranian regime is a foul regime led by a Holocaust denier – a bigot and Antisemite. The man has visions that, in his quest against Israel, such will help bring about the return of the occulted Imam. And, the man sees a struggle against Israel as having symbolism in a struggle against Christians most particularly in Europe.

    Iranians are not known for their love of Arabs. And there is no imaginable reason to think that Ahmadinejad cares one hoot about Palestinian Arabs. Again, as he said at the very outset of his speech: the struggle is not about Palestine. The struggle is about Islam and its role in the world.

  37. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 26th, 2007 at 4:23am #

    Neal,

    I’m not disputing the nature of the Iranian regime with you, except on one point. You’ve argued that Iran has threatened violence towards Israel and to support that claim you cited Ahmedinjad’s speech. However, nothing in his speech suggests any such thing, and that’s the bottom line. Common claims made in the media that he openely threatened to attack Israel take one statement out of context using a dubious translation.

  38. Neal said on August 26th, 2007 at 9:33am #

    Jeremy,

    You evidently missed the point of my comments. To reiterate: the Iranian government, whatever its actual intentions, has convinced the Israelis – as in 85% of them, including of the defense establishment and political class – that Iran plans to acquire nuclear weapons and then attack Israel with them.

    The implications of that fact – and it is a fact that polling in Israel bears out – suggest that, in the remote event you are correct that Iran lacks hostile intention toward Israel, Iran needs to go a lot further to convince not only the world but the Israelis. That also suggests, since the Israelis will, more likely than not – and on this I disagree with famed historian Benny Morris that the Israelis will flinch and be destroyed in a second Holocaust -, act eventually to eliminate the threat – destroying most of Iran, that Iranians ought show up in Israel and bury the hatchet with the Israelis.

    Instead of burying the hatchet, the Iranian government hosts Holocaust denial conferences, supplies weapons and money to Hezbollah and Hamas and fails to comply with reasonable demands made by the UN Security Council.

    As for the speech, you have your reading of it. But, it is not the only interpretation and I am hardly alone in reading the speech the way I read it.

    There is also the point, with reference to Israel, that Iran has previously threatened Israel. For example, former Iranian President Rafsanjani’s December 2001 “Al Quds Day” sermon threatened, explicitly, the nuclear annihilation of Israel. According to Rafsanjani:

    “If, one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill, because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”

    And, more recently, Iranian clerics who follow Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi – i.e., Ahmadinejad’s spiritual adviser – issued a fatwa that justifies use of nuclear weapons. Perhaps these sorts of things, along with the lunatic rantings of Ahmadinejad, might somehow help convince the Israelis and any other rational person that the Iranian regime is dangerous.

    One last point. The Iranian government has done a lot more than threaten violence. It supplies arms and money to those who kill actual Israelis – i.e. to Hezbollah and Hamas. That is not a minor point. Such are in effect acts of war.

  39. Shabnam said on August 26th, 2007 at 12:13pm #

    Iranian people are consist of Kurds, Balochs, Turkmens, Lurs, Guilaks, Azeris, Arabs and other minorities but Persian speaking people brings in Tajiks and afghans who live in Afghanistan ,Tajikistan, and other Central Asian republic such as Uzbekistan as Iranian brothers and sisters who have been influenced by Persian culture and language during many centuries. Taliban mainly Pashtuns who hated Persian Afghan (northern) are those Afghans who were raised in Pakistan and educated in Madresa where funded by the Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States and Pakistan where heavily influenced by Wahhabi tradition and culture, therefore, one can not mix these two cultures. In fact they are opposite of each other. Dari or Persian is the name of one of Afghanistan languages, and the other language is Pushtu which is prevalent among Taliban. Iranian people, who fought against the shah, puppet of the West, are struggling for a democratic Iran for more than a century. Besides Russia, Iran is the only country in the region where had a constitutional revelation. Iranian people have been engaged in struggle for democracy since the constitutional revolution 1906- 1911. In fact, in 1953, the United States and British staged a coup d’etat against our democratically elected Prime Minister Mosaddeq who nationalized oil industry so they removed him from power and installed the shah who was a dictator and favorable to US and Israel and was hated by the majority of the population. Iranian people do not believe in US government when preaches “democracy” because of US support of dictatorship in Iran. Therefore, Iranian people are determined to bring democracy by themselves if it requires more years of hard work and do not want US government interference in Iran in any shape or form. As matter of facts millions of people have already expressed this belief through their articles in the Iranian websites in Iran and abroad. The only group in the region who supports US occupation is the Kurds in the northern Iraq, spy network of US and Israel. Iranians are not stupid to believe US government when preaches “democracy”. Many Iranians
    including the left, have referred to the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and have warned Iranian opportunists who cooperate with the Imperialist and Zionist of consequences for the Iranian democratic movement. At least Iranians are not killed everyday in large numbers by American Cruise missiles, they argue, and their oil wells are not being given to private contractors for “investment” purposes. Iranian women, under the IR, are the most educated who are politically, artistically,* active and have filled many seats at the universities. They are working as doctors, film directors, engineers, artists**, Journalists, drivers and other professions in Iran. It is true that Iranian Women should wear scarf but Muslim women in France and Switzerland can not wear scarf, reverse case, if they want to go to school or teach. Many women in the region wear scarf voluntarily and I think Hejob most likely is more political rather than religious. To wear scarf in many communities is a sign of being against the Imperialist/Zionist policy and their cultural influences. Since Iran is a targeted country, therefore, whatever happens inside Iran is magnified and reported quickly by those NGO’s *** who are financially supported by the west. For example, when in a village stoning was decided by the local people and later was stopped by the government was heavily reported by the Western media. This propaganda campaign was arranged by Shadi Sadr, a journalist, who has received an award in the Untied States. Many people condemned for not informing the authorities in Iran first
    before contacting the Western mass media. Therefore, this opportunity was captured by the opposition groups to put more pressures on the I.R. But when there was stoning in Northern Iraq, anyone hardly reported this case in the West otherwise Thomas Friedman would not have presented northern Iraq as democratic and would not say we should move our troops into “Democratic Kurdistan” on Charlie Rose show.
    Iranian journalists, activists and writers are showered by awards by the west every day and in many cases Iranians do not even deserve it. Under the Shah no political activist was awarded anything by the West. Therefore, “struggle” against the IR can bring you many “opportunities”
    and a ticket to the west. In a country with high unemployment rate, where partly the west is responsible for it because of sanction against Iran by the colonial and imperial countries and their servants who
    are named “international community”, makes these “opportunities” the only economic avenue for those who support “regime change”. But Iranian people are not STUPID to follow the manufactured opposition leaders such as Abbas Milani, Mohsen Sasegara, Mehrangiz Kar****
    who has received an award through The National Endowment fo Democracy by Laura Bush, Rob Sobhani and many others who are at the service of Imperialists and Zionists for regime change. Iranian people would certainly prefer I.R to these stooges.
    Ahmadinejad or I.R. leaders are not Anti-Semitic. Please stop
    censoring others by this excuses, no one listens to these rubbish anymore. They are anti Zionism like billions of people around the world for good reasons. Iranians used to be ignorant on Palestinian cause because Shah’s pro Israel policy against Arabs prevented any discussion on this subject, but even the Shah knew that Zionist Lobby exert a lot of influence on US government***** Since the revolution Iranians are more aware of the Palestinian cause and support their rights against the mass murderers. One thing must be said that Iranian youth, like other youth around the world, are very much influenced by the dominant culture of CONSUMERISM and corruption and they should not be trusted in their judgment in every move they make.
    Rafsanjani never said that Iran is going to bomb Israel. He was talking about the belligerence of the West against the Islamic world and mentioned, according to one of the Iranian opposition sites pro Israel, I could not find the actual speech in Persian:
    “If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate,” he posited.
    Finally Iran has nothing against Christianity or Judaism. Iran like other
    countries follow non-sectarian policy that benefits Iran in a hostile international environment. One example is that Iran support Christian Armenia in their claim of genocide against the Muslim Republic of Azerbaijan. Iran has no reason to apologize to the Zionist regime because Iran is not a threat to Israel or US or any other country. Israel must change the course and abandon occupation and abandon the fantasy of “greater Israel” to feel secure.

    Art and Iran
    http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jun/1064.html
    Iranian Hejab (Please look at the audience)
    http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jul/1251.html
    Stoning in Kurdistan
    http://web.peykeiran.com/vs2005/occurrences_body.aspx?ID=49
    NED and Iranian opposition
    http://www.ned.org/publications/newsletters/summer02.html
    NED and opposition movement
    http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=11670&sectionID=1
    Dance in IR (you never seen under Taleban)
    http://web.peykeiran.com/vs2005/iran_news_body.aspx?ID=42754
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQgZ3oLp_WY&mode=related&search=

  40. Neal said on August 26th, 2007 at 2:45pm #

    Shabnam,

    With due respect, those who sponsor Holocaust denial events are basically all Antisemites and, by and large, of the eliminationist stripe.

    Another point. The US was not a backer of Israel in the 1950′s and the US role in the coup against Mosedegh – who, to be fair to those Iranians who marched against him and, hence, helped support the American and British backed coup, had usurped all authority (i.e. was acting illegally) – had exactly nothing at all to do with Israel. It did, so that it is appropriately understood, have a lot to do with the USSR.

    The Shah eventually took a comparatively friendly view of Israel – at least by the standards of the region. Nonetheless, his regime, bad as it was – and it was a bad one -, is among the most tolerant ever to rule Iran. The current regime, by contrast, is among the most intolerant regimes on Earth. Which is to say, bad as the Shah was – and I have no brief for him or his rule -, his regime is a bright line compared to the current regime, which stones people to death.

  41. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 26th, 2007 at 8:49pm #

    Neal,

    How has the Iranian government “convinced the Israelis…that Iran plans to acquire nuclear weapons and then attack Israel with them.”

    Israelis may be convinced of that, but Iran has consistently denied that their nuclear program is intended for military purposes.

    There is no evidence to indicate that their program is intended for anything other than to produce energy.

    Ahmedinejad’s speech in question does not require interpreting. It’s simple and straightforward. You are reading meaning into it that isn’t there.

    Israel already has nuclear weapons and Israeli leaders have openely called for the (presumably conventional) bombing of Iran.

    Rafsanjani’s statement refers to the acquisition of a nuclear weapon as a deterrent to the US and Israel, both nuclear armed and hostlie to Iran.

    It was the US, after all, which was responsible for overthrowing the democratically elected Mossadegh and installed the hated Shah.

    You mention a fatwa issued justifying the use of nuclear weapons. You fail to mention that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa that the production and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islamic law.

    Hezbollah and Hamas are both organizations with a legitimate purpose–self-defense against armed aggression and resistence to illegal occupation. You criticize Iran’s support for these groups, but the US supports Israel financially, militarily, and diplomatically. Israel’s crimes are on a far greater scale than Hezbollah’s and Hamas’. One must either apply an equal standard or be a hypocrite.

    Shabnam,

    I think the people of Iran would disagree with you about the nature of the Shah regime compared to the present one.

  42. Mike McNiven said on August 26th, 2007 at 10:00pm #

    http://www.nasrinparvaz.com/Synopsis.htm

  43. Mike McNiven said on August 26th, 2007 at 10:26pm #

    http://dialogt.org/english/index.html

  44. Mike McNiven said on August 26th, 2007 at 10:35pm #

    http://www.iranpressnews.com/english/source/028728.html

  45. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 27th, 2007 at 12:23am #

    I wrote an article about US policy towards Iran and its consequences. A number of people have responded pointing out the oppressive nature of the Iranian regime. I agree and also think it’s horrible. Iran is hardly alone in being worthy of our criticism. However, it’s irrelevant to the point, unless, of course, people are trying to argue that US policy is justified because of the lack of justice and democracy in Iran. I don’t assume anyone is making that argument, but otherwise I don’t see the relevancy to the point of the article.

  46. Shabnam said on August 27th, 2007 at 7:28am #

    Neal: You are absolutely correct when you say Israel had nothing to do with the coup d’etat in1953. The coup d’etat planted by the American and British and carried out with the cooperation of internal enemies who were against Mossadeq. Neal, I understand that you are very upset with the Holocaust conference and I don’t blame you. If I were them I would have not held such a conference but this does not make them Anti-Semitics. This is part of the war game. Iran is under tremendous amount of pressure by both US and Israel and their allies. Iranians want a democratic government that keeps religion in private domain. But at this point we do not have many options. We need to create institutions where can support democracy. We need political parties that compete in a fair and free election. We do not want to substitute the present regime with the puppets of US in exile or inside the country like what happened in Afghanistan or Iraq.
    Mr. Hammond: you are right about nature of the regime, but we have no alternative at the present time and people of Iran are tired of ciaos and economic hardship. Frankly, when I read the Iranian websites where print opinions on everyday news, I find myself very much against these illiterate Iranians with reactionary points of view. Majority of them do not give opinions except attacking IR related or not. These people are extremely anti left or those who criticize neoliberal economic policy. They attack whoever tries to give a constructive criticism. People who mention Imperialism or Zionism are attacked viciously and reject them as “left” who are still in the past. One of Jonathon Cook’s paper “Why compare Iran with Nazi Germany?” was translated and placed at this site, PaykeIran, Mr. Cook was attacked by these Iranians viciously and he was accused of being puppet of IR. One wrote: “Petrodollars can buy everyone…” another wrote: “I have never read an article as shallow as this one…” I hope these examples shed a little bit of light on problems relating to the nature of “Iranian Opposition.” Iranian opposition groups are very diverse but those who have been heard so far are the most economically advanced Iranians. Majority of them are living in the West or in the region in countries such as Dubai, who cares about nothing but money. Therefore, those Iranians who care about Iran and Iranian people are trying very hard to prevent any military attack on Iran and remove the sanction to prevent further destruction. When you are economically impoverished you are the most vulnerable person and can do “anything” to survive. This is the aim of the sanction, strangulation of Iran through economic means. Iranian people can not fight on empty stomach for democracy. Iranian people are struggling for a democratic Iran whose population are confident enough not to be manipulated with this group or that group and can think independently. Today, we lack such a population in Iran . I appreciate everyone’s comment.

  47. Neal said on August 27th, 2007 at 7:46am #

    Shabnam,

    I am not upset that someone has held a Holocaust denial conference. Why should I be upset? I am, rather, surprised that the Iranian government would stoop to the gutter to advance its political agenda.

    That agenda has nothing to do with any pressure coming from Israel. Iran, if it preferred, could end its dispute with Israel in an instant. After all, it is Iran that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, not the other way around. And it is Iran which for years has spoken about Israel’s demise.

    \

  48. Shabnam said on August 27th, 2007 at 8:40am #

    I hope people bring in facts on the ground rather their own interpretation which is proven to be false. Iran, before the revolution, and many other countries did not vote for the partition of Palestine and wanted one country for all. So Why Iran wants to destroy Israel. This image falsely has been created to turn “international community”
    against Iran because Iran always has been the power of the region but Israel wants to be recognized as one. The case is reverse. If Israel wants to resolve the problems should accept the right of others and end the occupation. I think you do not read what the leaders of Isr are saying. How many times people like Lieberman, Podhoretz Gingrich, and Kristal, leaden, pearl…. Or others openly and loudly have demanded to bomb Iran? Now it is very clear WHO WANTS TO WHIP OUT WHO. Israel wants to whip out Iran and this has been communicated by Israeli officials and pro Israel figures in the US who are influential in Middle East policy decision making through the mass media. How many times have you heard Iranian officials demand such a nonsense for Israel? Please stop deceiving yourself since you can not mislead other.

  49. Neal said on August 27th, 2007 at 9:18am #

    Shabnam,

    The facts on the ground are that the Iranian regime does not recognize Israel’s right to exist in any boundaries, not the Iran wants Israel to cede land for Palestinian Arabs to create a state alongside Israel. That, after all, is what Mr. Ahmadinejad means by a world without Zionism – Zionism being, after all, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.

  50. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 27th, 2007 at 10:25am #

    No nation has a “right to exist”. That’s meaningless nonsense, except insofar as it serves as propaganda to justify the injustices of the past and present.

    Shabman makes what to me is the most relevant point insofar as that is concerned, which is that Israel denies Palestinians the right to self-determination (which is what is really meant by the “right” of a nation to “exist”). Israel is and long has been actively wiping Palestine off the map.

  51. Neal said on August 27th, 2007 at 12:25pm #

    Jeremy,

    With due respect, Jeremy, the Israelis do not deny Palestinian Arabs the right to a homeland. That is shown by the fact that the Israelis agreed, in December of 2000, to cede 97% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza, part of Jerusalem, to create a land bridge between the West Bank and Gaza and to pay $30 billion Dollar to compensate those Palestinian Arabs who were displaced. One may not like all of the details of the proposal but, frankly, your contention is objectively wrong. So says the Saudi Embassy to the US, not to mention President Clinton, which notes the above proposal on its website.

    Now, right to exist means, more or less, that the state of war that exists between the nations would come to an end and the nations would have normalized relations, like the US has with Canada. That is pretty easy to understand.

  52. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 27th, 2007 at 8:10pm #

    What you say never occurred. It is a myth. What Israel offered to the Palestinians was nothing of the kind. They were offered a discontiguous state of bantustans divided by Israeli highways which only Jews could use. Israel would have maintained control over large portions of the territory and illegal settlements would remain.

    No self-respecting person in his right mind could ever have accepted such an “offer”.

    The “right to exist”, as the phrase is used, means nothing like what you describe. It has nothing to do with a “state of war”. It’s a propaganda term used in an attempt to legitimize Israel’s confiscation of land.

    The corresponding right–legitimately–is the right to self-determination, which is denied to the Palestinians. That is the fact on the ground, as Israel continues to illegally occupy the land and continues to build illegal settlements and continues construction of the illegal wall by which it effectively annexes large portions of the West Bank.

    Those are the facts on the ground and the facts demonstrate perfectly clearly Israel’s rejection of the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people.

  53. Neal said on August 27th, 2007 at 9:21pm #

    Jeremy,

    No offense, but not only do the Saudis claim that such is what the Israelis offered but, in fact, the State Department says the same thing. And so does President Clinton and so does Dennis Ross. And, by the way, I found the official State Department transcript of the offer on a Palestinian website.

    Here is the version from the Saudi Arabian Embassy to the US (http://www.saudiembassy.net/StatementLink/03-ST-Bandar-0324-NewYorker.pdf). Please carefully read what follows:

    [QUOTE BEGINS] Clinton, who continued to apply his considerable energy to finding a Middle East solution, came to believe, in December of 2000, that he had finally found a formula for peace; he asked once more for Bandar’s help. Bandar’s first reaction was not to get involved; the Syrian summit had failed, and talks between Barak and Arafat at Camp David, in July, had collapsed. But when Dennis Ross showed Bandar the President’s talking papers Bandar recognized that in its newest iteration the peace plan was a remarkable development. It gave Arafat almost everything he wanted, including the return of about ninety-seven per cent of the land of the occupied territories; all of Jerusalem except the Jewish and Armenian quarters, with Jews preserving the right to worship at the Temple Mount; and a thirty-billion-dollar compensation fund.

    Arafat told Crown Prince Abdullah that he wanted Bandar’s help with the negotiations. “There’s not much I can do unless Arafat is willing to understand that this is it,” Bandar told the Crown Prince.

    On January 2, 2001, Bandar picked up Arafat at Andrews Air Force Base and reviewed the plan with him. Did he think he could get a better deal? Bandar asked. Did he prefer Sharon to Barak? he continued, referring to the upcoming election in Israel. Of course not, Arafat replied. Barak’s negotiators were doves, Bandar went on, and said, “Since 1948, every time we’ve had something on the table we say no. Then we say yes. When we say yes, it’s not on the table anymore. Then we have to deal with something less. Isn’t it about time we say yes?” Bandar added, “We’ve always said to the Americans, ‘Our red line is Jerusalem. You get us a deal that’s O.K. on Jerusalem and we’re going, too.’ ”

    Arafat said that he understood, but still Bandar issued something of an ultimatum: “Let me tell you one more time. You have only two choices. Either you take this deal or we go to war. If you take this deal, we will all throw our weight behind you. If you don’t take this deal, do you think anybody will go to war for you?” Arafat was silent. Bandar continued, “Let’s start with the big country, Egypt. You think Egypt will go to war with you?” Arafat had had his problems with Egypt, too. No, he said. “I’ll prove it to you, just to confirm,” Bandar went on. Bandar called the Egyptian Ambassador. Bandar reported that the Egyptian Ambassador, who was to join them shortly, was willing to support the peace process. “Is Jordan going to go to war? Syria go to war? So, Mr. Arafat, what are you losing?”

    When Nabil Fahmy, the Egyptian Ambassador, joined them, at the Ritz-Carlton, Bandar repeated much of his advice. Arafat said that he would accept Clinton’s proposal, with one condition: he wanted Saudi Arabia and Egypt to give him political cover and support. Bandar and Fahmy assured him that they would, and Arafat left for the White House.

    Arafat was supposed to return to Bandar’s house after his meeting with Clinton and, with the Egyptian Ambassador present, call the Crown Prince and President Mubarak. After three hours, when Arafat still hadn’t shown up, the Egyptian Ambassador told Bandar that something must have gone wrong. Bandar, too, was worried and called Arafat’s security detail. Arafat had left the White House twenty minutes earlier, he was told, and was back at the Ritz. When Bandar called, Arafat said that he needed to talk to him at once. George Tenet, the C.I.A. director, was on his way to the hotel to discuss the plan, and Arafat was then supposed to return to the White House. Bandar, accompanied by the Egyptian Ambassador, hurried to the Ritz.

    Arafat said that the meeting with Clinton had been “excellent,” but Bandar did not believe him; he thought that Arafat’s staff looked as if they had just come from a funeral. The Egyptian Ambassador later privately remarked that Arafat looked dead. Bandar asked Arafat if he wanted to talk to the Crown Prince or President Mubarak. No, Arafat replied. He said that he’d had a great time with the President, but the meeting had turned sour when Dennis Ross joined them. Yet, he went on, he and Clinton were in agreement. Bandar, concealing his disbelief, said that was good news. Soon after this exchange, Bandar got a note from a security officer, which said, “Urgent. Call the President.” In the corridor, Bandar called the White House and reached Berger.

    “Congratulations,” Bandar said, loudly and sarcastically, for he knew by then that the talks had failed. On what? Berger asked. “Arafat is telling me you guys have a deal.” Not true, Berger said, adding that he and Clinton had made it clear to Arafat that this was his last chance. Please, Berger said, tell Arafat that this is it. “It’s too late,” Bandar recalls saying. “That should have happened with the White House, not with me.” (A spokesman for Clinton recalled, “At one point, Clinton said, ‘It’s five minutes to twelve, Mr. Chairman, and you are going to lose the best and maybe the only opportunity that your people will have to solve this problem on satisfactory grounds by not being able to make a decision.’ . . . The Israelis accepted. They said they had reservations and Arafat never accepted.”)

    Bandar believed that the White House had hurt its cause by not pressing an ultimatum. Arafat, though, was committing a crime against the Palestinians-in fact, against the entire region. If it weren’t so serious, Bandar thought, it would be a comedy. He returned to Arafat’s room and sat down, trying to remember: “Make your words soft and sweet.” Bandar began, “Mr. President, I want to be sure now. You’re telling me you struck a deal?” When Arafat said it was so, Bandar, still hiding his fury, offered his congratulations. His wife and children were waiting for him in Aspen, he said, and he wanted to go. Bandar could see the life draining out of Arafat. He started to leave, then turned around. “I hope you remember, sir, what I told you. If we lose this opportunity, it is not going to be a tragedy. This is going to be a crime.” When Bandar looked at Arafat’s staff, their faces showed incredulity.

    The next evening, a White House spokesman said that Arafat had agreed to accept Clinton’s proposals, with reservations, only as the basis for new talks. Arafat said later that he had not been offered as much as had been described. When Bandar told all this to the Crown Prince, Abdullah was surprised, particularly about the offer on Jerusalem. A few months later, Abdullah asked Clinton, who was visiting Saudi Arabia, whether Bandar’s description of the offer was correct. Clinton confirmed Bandar’s details, and said that the failure of these last negotiations had broken his heart. Later still, the Crown Prince told Bandar he was shocked that Arafat had wasted such an opportunity, and that he had lied to him about the American offer. Bandar told associates that it was an open secret within the Arab world that Arafat was not truthful. But Arafat had them trapped: they couldn’t separate the cause from the man, because if you attacked the man you attacked the cause. “Clinton, the bastard, really tried his best,” Bandar told me last week when we met at his house in McLean. “And Barak’s position was so avant-garde that it was equal to Prime Minister Rabin”-Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in November, 1995. “It broke my heart that Arafat did not take that offer.”

    ********************************

    But as violence in the Middle East intensified and Barak blamed Arafat for the failure of the peace talks, Bandar began to worry. The Arab world was watching Al Jazeera, the satellite television network, which was constantly showing images of Israeli soldiers and suffering Palestinians. Bandar understood as well as anyone why Bush did not want to get involved. It was a mess, and Bush made it clear that he had no prestige to waste. Bandar was particularly angry with Arafat because if he publicly defended Barak’s account it would make him sound like an apologist for Barak and Israel. “I was there. I was a witness. I cannot lie,” he said privately. [QUOTE ENDS]

    “The Prince – How the Saudi Ambassador became Washington’s indispensable operator,” written by Elsa Walsh and originally published in The NewYorker on March 24, 2003 and now still available on the Saudi Arabian Embassy to the US Website

    According to Dennis Ross:

    [QUOTE BEGINS] To this day, Arafat has never honestly admitted what was offered to the Palestinians—a deal that would have resulted in a Palestinian state, with territory in over 97 percent of the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem; with Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of that state (including the holy place of the Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary); with an international presence in place of the Israeli Defense Force in the Jordan Valley; and with the unlimited right of return for Palestinian refugees to their state but not to Israel. Nonetheless, Arafat continues to hide behind the canard that he was offered Bantustans—a reference to the geographically isolated black homelands created by the apartheid-era South African government. Yet with 97 percent of the territory in Palestinian hands, there would have been no cantons. Palestinian areas would not have been isolated or surrounded. There would have been territorial integrity and contiguity in both the West Bank and Gaza, and there would have been independent borders with Egypt and Jordan.

    “The offer was never written” is a refrain uttered time and again by apologists for Chairman Arafat as a way of suggesting that no real offer existed and that therefore Arafat did not miss a historic opportunity. Nothing could be more ridiculous or misleading. President Clinton himself presented both sides with his proposal word by word. I stayed behind to be certain both sides had recorded each word accurately. Given Arafat’s negotiating style, Clinton was not about to formalize the proposal, making it easier for Arafat to use the final offer as just a jumping-off point for more ceaseless bargaining in the future. [QUOTE ENDS]

    “Think Again: Yasir Arafat,” by Dennis Ross, Foreign Policy July-August 2002.

    Must I post the official transcript and make you look foolish? And, by the way, President Clinton’s memoirs support what is stated by Ross. So, are you calling all of the above people liars? You must be kidding.

    As for the right to exist, if it is so unimportant, why does Hamas refuse to accept it? Obviously, it is very important to Hamas. And, it means exactly what I say it means.

    As for your comment that no one would accept something akin to what the Israelis offered, that is nonsense, even on your Bantustan theory – which is basically a falsehood. In fact, the many countries have accepted such things, including Israel. But, as it turns out, the Clinton proposal was, in fact, a very good offer. Arafat chose to lie about it. But, the offer is what I say it is.

  54. Neal said on August 27th, 2007 at 9:30pm #

    Jeremy,

    Actually, so that this nonsense comes to a factual end, here is the transcript of the meeting described in the Bandar article and by Dennis Ross. The source is the JMCC (i.e. The Jerusalem Media & Communication Centre), which is a Palestinian Arab website. Their version of the transcript bears a striking resemblance to what Ross states:

    [QUOTE BEGINS] Clinton Proposal

    Meeting with President Clinton
    White House, 23.12.2000

    Attendance!
    us
    President Clinton, Secretary Alright, John Podesta, Samual Berger, Steve Richetti, Bruce Reidel,Dennis Ross, Aaron Miller, Rob Maley, Gamal Hilal
    Palestine:
    Sa’eb Erekat, Mohammad Dahlan, Samih Abed, Ghaith Al-Omari.
    Israel:
    Shlomo Ben Ami, Gild Sher, Penny Medan, Shlomo Yanai, Gidi Grinstein

    Minuets:
    President Clinton:

    Territory:
    Based on what I heard. I Believe that the solution should be in the mid-90%’s, between 94-96% of the West Bank territory of the Palestinian State.

    The land annexed by Israel should be compensated by a land swap of 1-3% in addition to territorial arrangements such as a permanent safe passage.

    The Parties also should consider the swap of leased land to meet their respective needs. There are creative ways of doing this that should address Palestinian and Israeli needs and concerns.

    The Parties should develop a map consistent with the following criteria:

    * 80% of settlers in blocks.
    * Contiguity.
    * Minimize annexed areas.
    * Minimize the number of Palestinian affected.

    Security:
    The key lies in an international presence that can only be withdrawn by mutual consent. This presence will also monitor the implementation of the agreement between both sides.

    My best judgment is that the Israeli presence would remain in fixed locations in the Jordan Valley under the authority of the International force for another 36 months. This period could be reduced in the event of favorable regional developments that diminish the threats to Israel.

    On early warning stations, Israel should maintain three facilities in the West Bank with a Palestinian liaison presence. The stations will be subject to review every 10 years with any changes in the status to be mutually agreed.
    Regarding emergency developments, I understand that you will still have to develop a map of the relevant areas and routes. But in deleing what is an emergency, I propose the following definition:
    Imminent and demonstrable threat to Israel’s national security of a military nature that requires the activation of a national state emergency.

    Of course, the. International forces will need to be notified of any such determination.

    On airspace, I suggest that the state of Palestine will have sovereignty over its airspace but that two sides should work out special arrangements for Israeli training and operational needs.

    I understand that the Israeli position is that Palestine should be defined as a “demilitarized state” while the Palestinian side proposes ” a state with limited arms” As a compromise, I suggest calling it a “non-militarized state”.

    This will be consistent with the fact that in addition to a strong Palestinian security forces. Palestine will have an international force for border security and deterrent purposes.

    Jerusalem and Refugees:
    I have a sense that the remaining gapes have more to do with formulations than practical realities.

    Jerusalem:
    The general principle is that Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish ones are Israeli.
    This would apply to the Old City as well. I urge the two sides to work on maps to create maximum contiguity for both sides.

    Regarding the Haram/Temple Mount, O believe that the gaps are not related to practical administration but to the symbolic issues if sovereignty and to finding a way to accord respect to the religious believes of both sides.

    I know you have been discussing a number of formulations, and you can agree one of these. I add to these two additional formulations guaranteeing Palestinian effective control over the Haram while respecting the conviction of the Jewish people.
    Regarding either one of these two formulations will be international monitoring to
    provide mutual confidence.
    1- Palestinian sovereignty over the Hara, and Israeli sovereignty over (the Western Wall and the space sacred to Judaism of which it is a part) (The Western Wall and the Holy of Holies of which it is a part).

    There will be a fine commitment by both not to excavate beneath the Haram or Behind the Wall.
    2- Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram and Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall and shared functional sovereignty over the issue of excavation under the Haram and behind the Wall as that mutual consent would be requested before any excavation can take place.

    Refugees:
    I sense that the differences are more relating to formulations and less to what will happen on a practical level.

    I believe that is Israel is prepared to acknowledge the moral and material suffering caused to the Palestinian People as a result of the 1948 war and the need to assist the international community in addressing the problem.

    An international commission should be established to implement all the aspects that flow from you agreement: compensation, resettlement, rehabilitation, etc…

    The US is prepared to lead an international effort to help the refugees.

    The fundamental gap is on how to handle the concept of the right of return. I know the history of the issue and how hard it will be for the Palestinian Leadership to appear to be abandoning this principle.

    The Israeli side could not accept any reference to a right of return that would imply a right to immigrate to Israel in defiance of Israel’s sovereign policies and admission or that would threaten the Jewish character of the state.

    Any solution must address both needs.

    The solution will have to be consistent with the two-state approach that both sides have accepted as a way to end the Palestinian Israeli conflict: the state of Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people and the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people
    Under the two-state solution, the guiding principle should be that the Palestinian State would be the focal point for Palestinians who choose to return to the area without ruling out that Israel will accept some of these refugees.

    I believe that we need to adopt a formulation on the right of return that will make clear that there is no specific right of return to Israel itself but that does not negate the aspiration of the Palestinian people to return to the area.

    In light of the above, I propose two alternatives:

    1- Both sides recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Historic Palestine, Or,
    2- Both sides recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.

    The agreement will define the implementation of this general right in a way that is consistent with the two-state solution. It would list the five possible homes for the refugees:

    1- The state of Palestine.
    2- Areas in Israel being transferred to Palestine in the land swap.
    3- Rehabilitation in host country.
    4- Resettlement in third country.
    5- Admission to Israel.

    In listing these options, the agreement will make clear that the return to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and areas acquired in the land swap would be right to all Palestinian Refugees.

    While rehabilitation in host countries, resettlement in third countries and absorption into Israel will depend will depend upon the policies of those countries.

    Israeli could indicate in the agreement that it intends to establish a policy so that some of the refugees would be absorbed into Israel consistent with Israel’s sovereign decision.

    I believe that priority should be given to the refugee population in Lebanon.

    The parties would agree that this is implement resolution 194.

    The End of Conflict:
    I propose that the agreement clearly mark the end of the conflict and its implementation put and end to all claims. This could be implemented through a UN Security Counsel Resolution that notes that Resolutions 242 and 338 have been implemented and through the release of Palestinian prisoners.

    Concluding remarks:
    I believe that this is the outline of the fair and lasting agreement.

    It gives the Palestinian people the ability to determine their future on their own land, a sovereign and viable state recognized by international community. Al-Quds as its capital, sovereignty over the Haram, and new lives for the refugees.

    It gives the people of Israel a genuine end to the conflict, real security, the preservation of sacred religious ties, the incorporation of 80% of the settlers into Israel, and the largest Jewish Jerusalem in history recognized by all as its capital.

    This is the best that I can do. Brief your leaders and tell me if they are prepared to come for discussions based on these ideas. If so, I would meet them next week separately. If not, I have taken this as far as I can.

    These are my ideas, If they are not accepted, they are not just off the table, they also go with me when I leave office.

    End [QUOTE ENDS]

    Source: http://www.jmcc.org/documents/clintonprop.htm . It is exactly what Ross says was offered.

  55. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 28th, 2007 at 2:43am #

    I have a response but it’s not posting. This is a test.

  56. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 28th, 2007 at 3:00am #

    First of all, your first source isn’t “The Saudis”, as you misrepresent it, but The New Yorker magazine, which simply repeats the official myth offered by Washington. This isn’t surprising. It’s often enough repeated, but, as with claims of Iraqi WMDs, repeating a lie often enough doesn’t make it true.

    I’m not particularly interested in Prince Bandar “Bush” bin Sultan’s opinion on the matter, and he wasn’t there, so I won’t comment on it.

    What Clinton proposed and what Israel proposed are not necessarily one and the same, though he incorporated many of the Israeli demands.

    Not much is actually known about what was discussed and accounts vary.

    First of all, we now that Israel wanted to annex significant portions of the West Bank (maps: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/rossmap2.html, http://www.mideastweb.org/Rossmap_7_camp_david.gif)

    Israel not only wanted to annex settlement blocs, but wanted contiguity between them, which would have effectively diced up the West Bank into non-contiguous bantustans. Furthermore, future development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank were included in the Israeli plan (Moratinos Paper from the Taba negotiations summarizing Camp David: http://www.mideastweb.org/moratinos.htm).

    Israel demanded that “80% of the settlers”–by which is meant 80% of the settlements–be under Israeli sovereignty (Shlomo Ben-Ami’s diary account: ttp://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/benamidiary.html, Clinton Proposal: http://www.jmcc.org/documents/clintonprop.htm).

    Israel wanted to retain control over other areas of the West Bank for as much as 25 years. This would mean that the land returned to Palestine would only amount to about 70%, not 97%, according to the Foundation for Middle East Peace. This account is disputed by Dennis Ross, whose map fails to show contiguous areas between Israeli settlements and zones of “temporary” Israeli control (http://www.mideastweb.org/campdavid2.htm, http://www.mideastweb.org/lastmaps.htm)

    Israel wanted a non-militarized Palestine incapable of self-defense against armed aggression. Furthermore, Israel wanted to be allowed to station a military presense at “emergency locations” within Palestine (the Jordan Valley), as well as additional “early warning stations” elsewhere. (Maratinos Paper).

    Israel wanted access to Palestinian airspace and management rights over water sources in the West Bank. (http://www.mideastweb.org/campdavid2.htm).

    Israel rejected the right of return for displaced Palestinian refugees and denied responsibility for the refugee problem. (Schlomo Ben-Ami interview: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/benamidiary.html, http://www.mideastweb.org/campdavid2.htm).

    No self-respecting person in the same position as the Palestinians would ever accept such a “generous offer”.

    In the end, we may debate what was negotiated at Camp David, but the facts on the ground don’t lie. The development of illegal settlements was ongoing throughout the entire so-called “peace process” of which you speak, despite the fact that Barak agreed that negotiations should be based on UN resolution 242, which calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories, and that neither side should engage in “unilateral actions that prejudge the outcome of negotiations.” (Trilateral Statement: http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/22698.htm).

    The facts on the ground–including the continuing illegal occupation, the ongoing settlement expansion, and the illegal construction of the wall that effectively annexes significant portions of the West Bank–demonstrate perfectly unambiguously the US and Israeli rejection of the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people.

  57. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 28th, 2007 at 3:07am #

    Well, my short “test” posted just fine, but my longer response isn’t posting for whatever reason; so I’ll try posting it in pieces.

    First of all, your first source isn’t “The Saudis”, as you misrepresent it, but The New Yorker magazine, which simply repeats the official myth offered by Washington. This isn’t surprising. It’s often enough repeated, but, as with claims of Iraqi WMDs, repeating a lie often enough doesn’t make it true.

    I’m not particularly interested in Prince Bandar “Bush” bin Sultan’s opinion on the matter, and he wasn’t there, so I won’t comment on it.

    What Clinton proposed and what Israel proposed are not necessarily one and the same, though he incorporated many of the Israeli demands.

    Not much is actually known about what was discussed and accounts vary.

  58. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 28th, 2007 at 3:25am #

    First of all, we now that Israel wanted to annex significant portions of the West Bank. (1)

    Israel not only wanted to annex settlement blocs, but wanted contiguity between them, which would have effectively diced up the West Bank into non-contiguous bantustans. Furthermore, future development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank were included
    in the Israeli plan. (2)

    Israel demanded that “80% of the settlers”–by which is meant 80% of the settlements–be under Israeli sovereignty. (3)

    Israel wanted to retain control over other areas of the West Bank for as much as 25 years. This would mean that the land returned to Palestine would only amount to about 70%, not 97%, according to the Foundation for Middle East Peace. This account is disputed by Dennis Ross, whose map fails to show contiguous areas between Israeli settlements and zones of “temporary” Israeli control. (4)

    Israel wanted a non-militarized Palestine incapable of self-defense against armed aggression. Furthermore, Israel wanted to be
    allowed to station a military presense at “emergency locations” within Palestine (the Jordan Valley), as well as additional “early warning stations” elsewhere. (5)

    Israel wanted access to Palestinian airspace and management rights over water sources in the West Bank. (6)

    Israel rejected the right of return for displaced Palestinian refugees and denied responsibility for the refugee problem. (7)

  59. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 28th, 2007 at 3:26am #

    No self-respecting person in the same position as the Palestinians would ever accept such a “generous offer”.

    In the end, we may debate what was negotiated at Camp David, but the facts on the ground don’t lie. The development of illegal settlements was ongoing throughout the entire so-called “peace process” of which you speak, despite the fact that Barak agreed that negotiations should be based on UN resolution 242, which calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories, and that neither side should engage in “unilateral actions that prejudge the outcome of negotiations.” (8)

    The facts on the ground–including the continuing illegal occupation, the ongoing settlement expansion, and the illegal construction of the wall that effectively annexes significant portions of the West Bank–demonstrate perfectly unambiguously the US and Israeli rejection of the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people.

  60. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 28th, 2007 at 3:33am #

    (1) Map from Dennis Ross, “The Missing Piece”: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/rossmap2.html
    http://www.mideastweb.org/Rossmap_7_camp_david.gif
    (2) Moratinos Paper from the Taba negotiations summarizing Camp David: http://www.mideastweb.org/moratinos.htm
    (3) Shlomo Ben-Ami’s diary account: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/benamidiary.html
    Clinton Proposal: http://www.jmcc.org/documents/clintonprop.htm
    (4) http://www.mideastweb.org/campdavid2.htm
    http://www.mideastweb.org/lastmaps.htm
    (5) Maratinos Paper
    (6) http://www.mideastweb.org/campdavid2.htm
    (7) Schlomo Ben-Ami interview: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/benamidiary.html
    http://www.mideastweb.org/campdavid2.htm
    (8) Trilateral Statement: http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/22698.htm

  61. Neal said on August 28th, 2007 at 6:54am #

    Jeremy,

    That is nuts. What do you mean no one would accept such an offer. Arafat, in 2002, did accept the offer. However, it was too late. Too many people had died in his stupid war.

    In any event, as the Ross map shows, it was contiguous territory and not divided as you alleged. The transcript speaks for itself about what was offered.

    I gather that you are allergic to facts. But, frankly, Bandar has it correctly, so does Clinton and so does Ross. In any event, your argument that Israel did not offer a state is incorrect, as is most else of what you have been claiming in response to my writings.

  62. Neal said on August 28th, 2007 at 9:08am #

    Jeremy,

    And, by the way, you have picked interviews that do not really relate to the December 2000 offer. You have focussed on other discussions – mostly before December. As a person who negotiates agreements, I note the obvious: the history of negotiations is really the last offer. And, the last real offer was in December of 2000, as that was the last offer that occurred under US auspices and when the Israeli government had real authority to negotiate. There was no excuse, as Bandar notes, for what Arafat did in response to the December 2000 proposal. Such led to unnecessary bloodshed.

  63. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 28th, 2007 at 8:02pm #

    Arafat was a corrupt leader who didn’t have the Palestinian people’s best interests at heart. I said no “self-respecting” person.

    As I already noted, the Ross map doesn’t show contiguous areas between settlments, areas Israel would maintain control over, or areas where Israel would continue to maintain a military presence, and is therefore not an accurate map of what was offered.

    Bandar “Bush” wasn’t at Camp David. What you presented from Clinton was his proposal, which incorporated many of the Israeli demands but wasn’t identical to the Israeli proposal. Ross, as has been pointed out twice, isn’t honest about the reality of what was offered.

    The interview I cited was Shlomo Ben-Ami, who was a participant in the negotiations at Camp David in 2000. This was what he spoke of in his interview.

    There were also negotiations at Taba the following year.

    As I said, we don’t know much about what occurred or what was really offered. The paricipants never put out any official record of the negotiations and we only know what various participants have discussed with the media. Accounts vary and are contradictory.

    But we do know some things, and there are certain points which participants from both sides agree were part of the proposal. Among these are the points I listed above.

    No self-respecting person in the same position as the Palestinians would accept what was “offered” by Isreal.

    What was offered was not reflective of Palestinian rights under international law and was not a viable, contiguous state.

  64. Mike McNiven said on August 30th, 2007 at 12:06am #

    Please see an Iranian scholar’s view who lives in exile and –based on his own words– cares about Peace and Social Justice in his homeland:

    http://www.losangeleschronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=35885

  65. Jeremy R. Hammond said on August 30th, 2007 at 2:24am #

    As far as I can tell, the portion of the article relevent to the discussion here is the authors statement, “I wholeheartedly believe that a US war against Iran will be a catastrophe of unbelievable dimensions.”

    As I wrote before in response to the several other links you posted critical of Iran (rightfully), “I wrote an article about US policy towards Iran and its consequences. A number of people have responded pointing out the oppressive nature of the Iranian regime. I agree and also think it’s horrible. Iran is hardly alone in being worthy of our criticism. However, it’s irrelevant to the point, unless, of course, people are trying to argue that US policy is justified because of the lack of justice and democracy in Iran. I don’t assume anyone is making that argument, but otherwise I don’t see the relevancy to the point of the article.”

  66. Shabnam said on August 30th, 2007 at 12:29pm #

    Those who link readers of this page to an opportunist man in name of Hassan Daioleslam and write “Iranian scholar’s view who lives in exile and –based on his own words– cares about Peace and Social Justice in his homeland” do not know that this person brings nothing but nonsense that has captured attention of only few who are in the business of waging another Zionist war. This person who identifies himself in Persian as داعی and leaves “Islam” out of his last name, in fact had been active in “Liberation Movement of Iran” a platform of Islamists who are led by E. Yazi, a US citizen, former foreign minister of Iran after the revolution. The founder of this party was Mehdi Bazargan who was appointed as a prime Minster of Iran by Khomeini after the revolution and soon after that he was forced out of his post.
    This “scholar” ‘s brother is active in Mojahedin, MKO, where majority of Iranian people consider this organization as a terrorist and his leaders as traitors. This “Scholar” does not capture Iranian’s attention because Iranians who understand history and politics of Iran know he offers nothing but rubbish when he talks about “Iran lobby” in the US and beyond. If Iranian regime had a lobby like “Israel lobby” which is very influential in writing the American foreign policy and war script for the “empire”, then why there is so much pressure on Iran and so many economic sanction bills have passed the congress, dominated by the pro Zionists, which has no aim but destruction of Iran and her people through hunger and restriction of access to technology. How many more Iranians do you want to kill because of lack of spare parts for the civilian airplanes forget about access to buy a new one? Why they expect Iranians trust the “West” and relinquish her rights to enrichment for her energy needs under the NPT since Iran is a signatory to this treaty and expect the “West” to provide that for Iran? Iran and other weaker countries have a very bad experience with the west when they need assistance in obtainingthe technology and economic opportunities. This “scholar” forgets to tell you that people like Hushang Amirahmadi who he considers as part of “Iran lobby”, in fact is very much pro American “market economy” type of guy who had interaction with person such as Rafsanjani who is not trusted by the majority of Iranian people and the current Iranian administration and he lost the seat for presidency in the last election against Ahmadinejad. In many cases a vote for Ahmadinejad meant a VOTE AGAIST RAFSANJANI, who is darling of the well to do Iranians and those US officials who push for “market economy” American style and are looking for CURRUPT businessman to cooperate with American project in the M.E. This “scholar” considers those Americans who criticize the foreign policy of Bush and his associates in the M.E., people like Gary sick, Trita Parsi – close associate of the neocon Fukuyama- Brezenzsky, Ray Takeyh or Kucinich and others, as part of “Iran Lobby” deserves no attention. Why Amirahmadi or Abbas Milani is afraid to go to Iran if these people are part of “Iran lobby”? Milani who is involved in the “Iran democracy Project” at Hoover Institute is for regime change. Some people argue that the current Iranian administration is after Rafsanjani, who might have connection with Amirahmadi, but because Rafsanjani is very rich and has powerful circle of friends abroad, including US, among the corrupt international “business” community, current Iranian administration do not dare to go after him but they go after his associates and media circle that are influential in Iranian politics. However, this “scholar” so far has only captured attention of the Voice of America, VOA, part of CIA Propaganda tool and as far as I know he has been invited to this platform twice if not more. He is very much against the left and he thinks the left does not support regime change through military action. He attacks “Campaign Against Sactions and Military Intervention in Iran, CASMII,* and he considers the leadership of this platform, such as Dr. Abbas Edalat in England and Rustam Pourzal in US as part of “Iran Lobby”. Those who give attention, not many, to this rubbish they are either ignorant or part of the neocon that are actively pushing for a military strike on Iran. The opportunist Kurds who are working closely with the US and Israel are another group who demands military strike on Iran because they think destruction of Iran is necessary to establish “Kurdistan” in the middle East. Countries in Europe are joining together to bring about a stronger union to face the hegemonic US, some group with their supporters, Imperialist/Zionist, try to break up Iran into smaller parts to be easy to control and take over their resources and fulfill the “greater Israel” fantasy.
    This “scholar” has yet to write one or two sentences against the biggest terror machine of all, the American, Israeli and British’s weapon of mass destruction, in order to show his sympathy towards the victims of terrorist acts which have killed more than two millions of Iraqi people alone so far by a war based on lies and deception.

    http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/

  67. Mike McNiven said on August 31st, 2007 at 3:23am #

    http://www.iran-bulletin.org/Attack%20on%20Iran/NO%20WAR%20ON%20IRAN.htm

  68. Eric said on November 19th, 2007 at 10:30am #

    What a comment by Mrs. Albright as she today appears on the front page of USHMM.org , posing as an activist in defense of the defenseless