The future of Iraq as a united and independent country is endangered by sectarian Shia-Sunni hostility says Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia religious leader whose Mehdi Army militia fought the US and British armies and who remains a powerful figure in Iraqi politics. He warns of the danger that “the Iraqi people will disintegrate, its government will disintegrate, and it will be easy for external powers to control the country”.
There seems always to be some combination of imperialists and Zionists available to sabotage any normalization of relations with Iran. This time, it’s the French, Israelis and Saudis, allowing the U.S. to play the role of frustrated peace-seeker. “The Saudis and the French are equal opportunity crooks,” but in terms of threats to peace in the region, nobody is more warlike than Israel.
Tikkun’s Editor’s Note:
Please be aware that “the Israel Lobby” is not equivalent to “American Jews.” As MJ Rosenberg notes, most American Jews are far more progressive than the organizations that officially speak for them (because most American Jews are not affiliated with those organizations). The Israel Lobby gets much of its strength from a minority of American Jews who back their positions with lots of money, and by the Christian Zionists.
By David Edwards
A UN report this month found that, ‘Torture and brutality are rife in Libyan prisons two years after the overthrow of leader Muammar Gaddafi.’ Around 8,000 prisoners are currently being held without trial in government jails on suspicion of having fought for Gaddafi.
On September 26, 2013, Turkey made the rather eyebrow-raising decision to put its long range missile defense eggs in a Chinese basket, announcing it had awarded a US$3 billion contract to the People’s Republic of China for its truck-mounted “shoot and scoot” FD-2000 system.
Brian Williams’ Iran propaganda
As if the US were the most reliable nation diplomatically speaking. The record shows we have broken and undermined more treaties and agreements than most modern powers. The question is not whether we can trust the Iranians but whether they should trust us.
By Glenn Greenwald
The fact that Iran claims it does not want nuclear weapons is not proof that it will not seek them at some point in the future. What is true is that US intelligence agencies have repeatedly, though secretly, concluded that they do not believe that Iran is building a nuclear weapon, and even top Israeli military officials have expressed serious doubts that Iran is building, or will build, a nuclear weapon.
There is ample reason for skepticism that anything substantial will change in Iran-US relations, beginning with the fact that numerous US political and media figures are vested in the narrative that Iran is an evil threat whose desire for a peaceful resolution must not be trusted (and some hard-line factions in Iran are similarly vested in ongoing conflict). Whatever one’s views are on the prospects for improving relations, the first direct communications in more than 30 years between the leaders of those two countries is a historically significant event.
Here is what NBC News anchor Brian Williams told his viewers about this event when leading off his broadcast last night, with a particularly mocking and cynical tone used for the bolded words:
“This is all part of a new leadership effort by Iran – suddenly claiming they don’t want nuclear weapons! ; what they want is talks and transparency and good will. And while that would be enough to define a whole new era, skepticism is high and there’s a good reason for it.”
Yes, Iran’s claim that they don’t want nuclear weapons sure is “sudden” — if you pretend that virtually everything that they’ve said on that question for the past 10 years does not exist. Here, for instance, is previous Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in an August 13, 2011, interview:
“Q: ‘Are you saying that at some point in the future you may want to acquire a nuclear deterrent, a nuclear weapon?’
“Ahmadinejad: ‘Never, never. We do not want nuclear weapons. We do not seek nuclear weapons. This is an inhumane weapon. Because of our beliefs we are against that.
“‘Firstly, our religion says it is prohibited. We are a religious people. Secondly, nuclear weapons have no capability today. If any country tries to build a nuclear bomb, they in fact waste their money and resources and they create great danger for themselves. . . .
“‘Nuclear weapons are the weapons of the previous century. This century is the century of knowledge and thinking, the century of human beings, the century of culture and logic. . . . Our goal in the country and the goal of our people is peace for all. Nuclear energy for all, and nuclear weapons for none. This is our goal.
“‘All nuclear activities in Iran are monitored by the IAEA. There have been no documents against Iran from the agency. It’s just a claim by the US that we are after nuclear weapons. But they have no evidence that Iran is diverting resources to that purpose.’”
In fact, the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a 2005 religious edict banning the pursuit of nuclear weapons, and in January of this year, Iranian official Ramin Mehmanparast declared: “There is nothing higher than the exalted supreme leader’s fatwa to define the framework for our activities in the nuclear field.” He added: “We are the first country to call for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. When the highest jurist and authority in the country’s leadership issues a fatwa, this will be binding for all of us to follow. So, this fatwa will be our top agenda.”
The following month, Khamenei himself said: “We believe that nuclear weapons must be eliminated. We don’t want to build atomic weapons.” The New York Times noted that “American officials say they believe that Ayatollah Khamenei exercises full control over Iran’s nuclear program.”
These are identical to the statements top Iranian officials have been making for years. In 2012, Khamenei ”insisted his country was not seeking nuclear weapons, claiming that ‘holding these arms is a sin as well as useless, harmful and dangerous.’” The following month, Iran’s top leader gave what Professor Juan Cole described at the time as “a major foreign policy speech” and said:
“The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”
Can that be any more absolute? Iran’s top leadership has been making similarly unambiguous statements for almost a full decade, even taking out a full page ad in the New York Times in 2005 to counter the growing clamor in the US for a military attack by proclaiming that Iran had no desire for nuclear weapons, was not pursuing them, and wanted transparency, accountability and peace — exactly what Brian Williams told his viewers last night was a “sudden” and newfound claim.
Obviously, the fact that Iran claims it does not want nuclear weapons is not proof that it is not seeking them or will not seek them at some point in the future; all government statements should be subjected to skepticism (and one can only dream of the day when US media stars subject the statements of their own government to the same skepticism accorded to those of leaders of non-allied countries). But what is true is that US intelligence agencies have repeatedly though secretly concluded that they do not believe that Iran is building a nuclear weapon, and even top Israeli military officials have expressed serious doubts that Iran is building, or will build, a nuclear weapon.
*To read the remainder of this article, please go to The Guardian
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Glenn Greenwald is known around the world for his courageous defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and more recently Edward Snowden.
For the past 10 years, he was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. He is the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, How Would A Patriot Act?, a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power, released May, 2006.
by BARRY LANDO
In his address to the UN a few days ago, President Obama came the closest any American leaders has come to acknowledging America’s shameful legacy with Iran: overthrowing a democratically- elected government, installing a corrupt, repressive dictatorship in its place. It was something of an apology-almost. In fact more than 30 years ago, during the hostage crisis, another American President, Jimmy Carter attempted to block a 60 Minutes broadcast that also suggested the U.S. owed Iran something of an apology.
BILL VAN AUKEN, wsws.org
In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, US President Barack Obama elaborated a doctrine of aggressive war in pursuit of US interests in the Middle East that stands in direct opposition to the founding charter of the UN and the most fundamental tenets of international law.
by DAVE LINDORFF
President Obama’s address to the UN General Assembly was such an astonishing string of brazen lies and falsehoods it must have had the assembled international delegates choking on their tea or coffee. Whether he was declaring that “together we have worked to end a decade of war” even as he was just blocked from unilaterally launching a war against Syria, or saying “we have limited the use of drones,” when his administration has upped their use from 51 strikes in Pakistan under the prior Bush administration to 323 so far under his own administration, as David Swanson has so meticulously documented in his Top 45 Lies in Obama’s Speech at the UN, it was all lies.
The past ten days have seen what could be the start of an historic turning point away from endless war in the Middle East. Public opinion in the United States, in harmony with the majority of people in the world, has clearly rejected U.S. military intervention in Syria.
But for this turn away from war to be complete and lasting, greater awareness is needed of the forces that have been pushing the United States into these wars, and will surely continue to do so until they are clearly and openly rejected.
By Press TV |
In a series of interviews with the Washington Post, military officers ranging from captains to a four-star general have expressed serious reservations concerning the consequences of a US military action against Damascus. Most of the officers spoke on the condition of anonymity.