MID EAST UNDERNEWS

The Progressive Review

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Syria

A few good words for Iran

Juan Cole - It is natural that Westerners should find Israel more simpatico than Iran, given the Israeli government’s alliance with the West and Iran’s antipathy. But here are some differences between the two that are in Iran’s favor, which I point out just to balance out the unfair way the two are covered.

1. Iran does not have a nuclear bomb and is signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Despite what is constantly alleged in the Western press and by Western politicians, there is no evidence that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program; and, the theocratic Supreme Leader has forbidden making, stockpiling and using nuclear weapons. In contrast, Israel refused to sign the NPT and has several hundred nuclear warheads, which it constructed stealthily, including through acts of espionage and smuggling in the United States, and against the wishes of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. And, its leaders have more than once implied they are ready to use it; then prime minister Ariel Sharon alarmed George W. Bush when he intimated that he’d nuke Baghdad if Saddam tried to send SCUDs tipped with gas on Israel.

2. Iran has not launched an aggressive war since 1775, when Karim Khan Zand sent an army against Omar Pasha in Basra in neighboring Iraq. Though, whether that was a response to Ottoman provocations or actually an aggressive act could be argued. Who started a war is always a matter of interpretation to some extent, but if we define it as firing the first shot, then Israel started wars in 1956, 1967 and 1982. If the principle of proportionality of response is entered into the equation, then you’d have to say 2006, 2009, and 2014 were also predominantly an Israeli decision.

3. Modern Iran has not occupied the territory of its neighbors. Iraq attacked Iran in 1980 in a bloodthirsty act of aggression. Iran fought off Iraq 1980-1988. But after the hostilities ended, Tehran did not try to take and hold Iraqi territory in revenge. The UN Charter of 1945 forbids countries to annex the land of their neighbors through warfare. In contrast, Israel occupies 4 million stateless Palestinians, who are treated as any subjected, colonized population would be. Nor is there any prospect in my lifetime of those Palestinians gaining citizenship in their own state; they are going to live and die humiliated and colonized and often expropriated.

4. All the people ruled over by Iran can vote in national elections and even Iranian Jews have a representative in parliament. In contrast, of the 12 million people ruled by Israel, 4 million of them have no vote in Israeli politics, which is the politics that actually rules them.

5. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is not trying to undermine the Obama administration’s negotiations with his country, aimed at making sure Iran can have nuclear electricity plants but that it cannot develop a weapon.

Iran’s government is not one I agree with on almost anything, and it is dictatorial and puritanical. I wish Iranians would get past it and join the world’s democracies. Israel is better than Iran in most regards– for Israeli citizens it has more of a rule of law and more personal liberties. But just to be fair, there are some ways Iran’s policies are better than Israel’s.

Great summary of why we screw up so badly in the Mid East

Juan Cole - The Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003 on false pretenses of protecting Americans from a dire threat in the Middle East. Over 100,000 US troops were stationed in that country for 8 1/2 years and the US more or less ran that country during that period. Yet the US only succeeded in fomenting civil war and creating al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which morphed into ISIL or Daesh and then took over eastern Syria and north and western Iraq.

That is, a US military conquest in the Middle East left the region substantially more insecure and threatening to world order than it was beforehand. The US military does not for the most part know Arabic. They don’t know how to rule countries like Iraq or Syria and have no business, in international law, rampaging around invading them. The US was mostly clueless in Iraq and seldom controlled more than the land on which US troops actually stood. The 2006-2007 Sunni-Shiite civil war, which left tens of thousands dead and millions (yes) displaced and homeless, many to this day, was fought under the nose of 180,000 US troops. In many instances Iraqi political and militia leaders manipulated the US military into helping them disarm enemies (‘ those terrorists over there!’) and so aid the ethnic cleansing campaigns. The US military was helpless before the back-alley reprisals and faction-fighting.

Americans developed a myth that a temporary, minor troop escalation of 30,000 and some counter-insurgency measures worked to tamp down the violence. It is always all about us. But in fact, the ethnic cleansing of mixed neighborhoods just eventually ran out of steam. Shiite militias ran out of Sunnis to kill once most of them had fled the neighborhood for west Baghdad, Mosul or Syria and Jordan.

There is no prospect whatsoever that US ground troops could make the slightest difference to Syria’s civil war. And in fact, Daesh would gain enormous prestige by taking on the troops of the superpower on its own terrain. It would snipe them, set roadside bombs, ambush them, and capture, torture and humiliate them. And the resulting publicity (at which Daesh is very good) would attract fighters to their cause. Many Syrian rebels would rally around the newly anti-imperialist caliphate, and angry young men would flock there to take the Marines down a peg. We have seen this picture before, and have over 4,000 dead soldiers and some 30,000 more significantly injured to show for it. What we don’t have to show for it is a success in Iraq, and nor would we in Syria.

The US infantry is a blunt instrument. It can win against another conventional army. But it has seldom had much success in colonial guerrilla wars (and indeed no one has– the French lost Algeria and Vietnam, the British lost Kenya and India, the Italians lost Libya and Eritrea, etc., etc.) In an age of C4 plastic explosives, Manpads, TOW missiles, RPGs, etc., nationalist guerrillas given refuge by local populations can always take an unacceptable toll on a democratic government that undertakes a neocolonial adventure

Maybe war doesn't work

Daily Beast - The American-led bombing campaign is doing little to stem the tide of foreign fighters joining the war in Iraq and Syria. Four thousand of these fighters have joined the conflict since the allied airstrikes began, U.S. intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast.

That’s nearly as many combatants as coalition forces claimed to have killed, raising fears that if ISIS can continue to withstand a sustained air campaign, it could keep its ranks restocked for years, if not decades, to come.

“The numbers are not moving in our favor,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) told The Daily Beast last week, after emerging from a secret briefing at the Capitol with retired Marine Gen. John Allen, presidential envoy in the campaign against ISIS.

Corker added that when the strength of the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels is compared to the fighters supporting ISIS, “we are losing now in numbers.”

Why not negotiate with ISIS?

Clancy Sigil, Counterpunch - Sooner or later, as we learned in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, and as all trade unionists know, you have to sit down with your worst enemy and work out a deal. It always seems impossible at first. Their atrocities and a desire for blood revenge fog our mind, and the very idea of talking to the suicide bombers’ shot-callers is “appeasement of evil”, which it is.

But why stick on a failing principle when lives are at stake? ISIS doesn’t want our money but our recognition of the Caliphate as a legitimate state. Whether we like it or not that’s pretty much where it is. They ain’t going away any time soon. Journalists have stopped calling ISIS the “so called” or “self styled”. That’s how we tried wishing away the IRA with stunning lack of success at first.

“We don’t negotiate with terrorists”? Sure, we do. After swearing on the King James Bible “no surrender to terror”, the British government, with lots of talk and some money, bought peace from the armed and quite ferocious IRA (which on one occasion bombed me out of my bed). Yet today former IRA killers like deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and Mary McCardle sit in the Northern Ireland Assembly as part of the peace agreement with Sinn Fein (alias IRA).

Israel, which trumpets the “we never reward terrorists” line, constantly negotiates prisoner releases and swaps all the time in return for dead or alive IDF soldiers. It’s a fairly open secret that the French and probably British and Germans deal via foreign intermediaries, or their own secret services, with some pretty nasty ISIS genociders...

ISIS is our original sin because of the lying, deadly way we invaded Iraq. You break it, you pay for it, in the no less immortal words of one of the chief liars, Gen. Colin Powell.

Shit, man. It’s only money.

Paris: Beyond the anger

John Kerry boosts Mid East anger at U.S.

Security Council votes to keep Mid East conflict going

America in the Mid East: Three decades of failure

I'm confused

Word: Mid East

Word: A Quaker look at the Mid East

Time for Kurdistan?

40 maps that explain the Mid East

56% of Americans support an interim deal with Iran that would ease some economic sanctions on that country in exchange for concessions on Iran's nuclear program.

Former CIA official shocks House committee with the truth about Mid East policy

The Mid East explained

Name one significant thing the American government has done since 9/11 to make it less likely that some in the MId East would want to attack it.

2012

The wars in the Middle East are not just about oil; they're about gas

The good old days

LEGITGOV

What Arab Spring was really about

The truth is that the Arab Spring uprisings, not just in Libya but across the Arab world, drew much of their explosive strength from the combination of very different people and strands of opinion united by hatred of oppressive and corrupt autocracies.

Infrequently asked qustions:

If Osama bin Laden was so important, why haven't we done better against Al Qaeda without him?

American Mid East terrorism since 1981

Proportional representation key to a new Mid East

U.S. insisted U.N. exempt mercenary murders from prosecution

American hypocrisy in the Middle East

TEN GREAT COMMANDMENTS FOR MID EAST POLICY

OASES IN THE DESERT OF MID EAST DEBATE

Study finds little difference in Obama and Bush troop deployment

Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera director resigns amidst 'US intelligence links' row

Al Jazeera uncovers another anti-Muslim course by US military for its officers

Al Qaeda

What difference has Osama bin Laden's death made?

When in history has a country as powerful as America been as afraid of a force as small as Al Qaeda?

If Bin Laden is dead why aren't we safer?

Personal to NSA: Forget Snowden, the president is cutting deals with Al Qaeda

How do we tell when we're meant to surrender our Constitution to fight Al Queda and when we're meant to give them more arms?

Recovered history: Back when we liked At Qaeda's predecessors

America's strange ally: Al Qaeda

.@Harpers - Percentage of U.S. veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seeking disability benefits: 45

How Bush and Obama strengthened Al Qaeda

The Al Qaeda scorecard

Obama Has Awlaki’s 16-year old son, friends killed at dinner

Navy Seals did die in vain

What Al Qaeda really accomplished

The Al Qaeda Myth: Never has American spent so much and lost so many to defeat so few

The unnoticed, unreported part of the Bin Laden story
 
Bin Laden cost us $3 trillion
 
Bin Laden: The monster America built
 
Oh shucks, Bin Laden not quite the cause of all our problems

What Bin Laden was really up to

Forgotten tales of Bin Laden
 
Now that Bin Laden's dead, can we have our country back again?
 
WHERE'S BIN BEEN?

Dubai

WHY YOU MAY NOT WISH TO GO TO DUBAI

Egypt

The Egypt back story


A 12 year old who should be running
for president of Egypt

TSA Chief Pistole helped train Mubarak's thugs

Eric Holder: One reason Obama waffled on Egypt

The roots of the revolution

The CIA's role in Egypt

Iraq

IRAQ NEWS & ARTICLES

Iran

Word: Some sense about Iran and America

Juan Cole on where Iran stands now

Ten reasons Netanyahu is full of it on Iran

Uh oh, Iran's new president isn't quite behaving the way the American elite want

Surprise support for milder approach to Iran

Iran's Former Nuclear Negotiator Gives 'Ten Reasons Iran Doesn't Want the Bomb'

How many would die in attack on Iran?

Plops in the Iranian plot

Just a reminder

Israeli officials simmer down about Iran after meeting with US aides

Five top Israeli figures who don't want to bomb Iran

Obamadmin sending signals of no war against Iran

Iran and the 2012 election

AC/DC song used to hack Iran nuclear plant computers

The global dangers of our Iran strategy

US funded and trained Iranian group on terror list


INTERNETOCRACY

Three reasons not to attack Iran

Only 13% of Americans want military action against Iran

British preparing for possible U.S. attack on Iran

A plea from Iran

Haaretz says Peres is only politician who can stop Iran attack

OUR STRANGE HISTORY WITH IRAN

ISRAELI GENERALS AND INTEL CHIEFS OPPOSE ATTACK ON IRAN

OBAMA CHICKENS OUT ON A DEBATE WITH AHMADINEJAD

IRAN AYATOLLAH WANTS TONE DEAF RELIGION

SAUDI ARABIA GIVES ISRAEL CLEAR SKIES TO ATTACK IRANIAN NUCLEAR SITES

THE MYTH OF IRAN'S NUCLEAR POWER

TOP GENERAL: IRAN WOULD HAVE TO BE INVADED AND OCCUPIED TO STOP NUKE PROGRAM

THE REAL DANGER WE FACE IN IRAN

DOES THE IRANIAN THREAT SOUND FAMILIAR?

TOP WRONG BELIEFS ABOUT IRAN

AHMADINEJAD READY TO TALK WITH U.S.. . .BUT ONLY IN PUBLIC

BIG FEDERAL CONTRACTORS HELPING IRAN SPY ON ITS CITIZENS

AND NOW A WORD ABOUT THAT FAMOUS IRANIAN REFORM GROUP: THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE IRANIAN ELECTIONS

THE MOUSAVI HIS SUPPORTERS DON'T REMEMBER

THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION IS NOT 14O CHARACTERS LONG

WESTERN MISCONCEPTIONS MEET IRANIAN REALITY

HILLARY CLINTON THREATENS IRAQ-TYPE WAR AGAINST IRAN

AHMADINEJAD SAYS TWO STATE SOLUTION IS FINE WITH HIM

IRAN WILLING TO ABANDON URANIUM ENRICHMENT, ENVOY SUGGESTS

FIVE FORMER SECRETARIES OF STATE SUPPORT DIRECT TALKS WITH IRAN

MAJOR ARMADA PREPARES FOR IRAN BLOCKADE

FORMER ISRAELI SPY CHIEF SAYS LAY OFF IRAN ATTACK

BUSH GIVES ISRAEL OKAY TO PREPARE FOR ATTACK ON IRAN

IRAN COUNTDOWN: OBAMA DOES TOUGH TALK

MAKING DEMOCRATS FACE THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN AN IRANIAN WAR

IF WE INVADE IRAN. . . . DAY BY DAY

BUSH REGIME THREATENS COMPANIES TO GET OUT OF IRAN

GALLERY: THE LAND WE'RE GETTING READY
TO BOMB

BUSH'S IRAN BAITING COULD LEAD TO DISASTER
SAYS UN NUCLEAR WATCHDOG

WHY IRAN SANCTIONS WON'T WORK

IN PRIVATE TALKS, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER DOWNPLAYS IRANIAN NUKE THREAT

IRAN SAYS IT WILL FIRE OFF 11,000 ROCKETS WITHIN A MINUTE OF U.S. ATTACK

JOINT CHIEFS HEAD SAYS U.S. HAS ENOUGH FORCE TO ATTACK IRAN

A FEW THINGS OUR CANDIDATES DON'T KNOW ABOUT IRAN

TOP PENTAGON OFFICIAL "I HATE ALL IRANIANS"

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW STORIES

Israel & Palestine

ISIS

American bombings grow ISIS

Who's winning the ISIS war?

Obama's ISIS strategy in tatters

Why the war on ISIS is illegal

American prisons helped build ISIS

War on ISIS could cost $22 billion a year

Why Netanyahu is full of it about Hamas and ISIS/ISIL

Obama telling us one thing about ground troops, his generals another

Obama didn't say anything about privatized boots on the ground

Something they forget to tell you about beheadings

Obama's no win approach to the Mid East

ISIS: Another US Mid East plot gone astray

We interrupt the panic for a few facts about ISIS

 Jordan

Jordan gets a Green Party

Why Jordan shies away from reform

Libya

Benghazi vs. Iraq War: Compare the lies and the deaths

CIA worked closely with Libya on tortures and renditions

Secret cables reveal America’s cozy relationship with Gaddafi

Why Libya isn't quite the moral issue Obama claims

Hillary Clinton: Obama ready to ignore Constitution & Congress on Libya

Media hiding CIA ties of Libyan rebel leader

Al Jazeera finds foreign troops on the ground in Libya

Obama's illegal war

Libya: Humanitarian neo-colonialism

U.S, aided Qaddafi with billions in loans through a covert banking operation

The CIA in Libya

Australian - In one of three interviews yesterday, Mr Obama said the rebels were “saying the right things” so far. “Most of them are professionals, lawyers, doctors, people who appear to be credible,” he told CBS.

Great former thoughts of Barack Obama: President Barack Obama, as an Illinois state senator in 2002, said that using military force to topple a murderous dictator amounted to a “dumb war” and should be opposed. The “dumb war” Obama was criticizing was the planned invasion of Iraq and the murderous dictator was its leader, Saddam Hussein. - CNS

Amazing video of Obama sampling Bush

Cost of Libya Intervention $600 Million for First Week

Libya: Another war that could go on forever 

The most comprehensive study of how to write and pronounce that Libyan thug's name

When Biden said president should be impeached for starting war without congressional approval

Obama violates Constitution with undeclared war

The dangers of intervention in Libya

Arab League shaken by shift from no-fly to you-die zone

US supports Libyan war crimes resolution as long as it doesn't include Americans

Muslims

138 MUSLIM SCHOLARS CALL FOR PEACE TALKS WITH CHRISTIAN LEADERS FOR THE "SURVIVAL OF THE WORLD"

MUSLIMS FEEL SNUBBED BY OBAMA

Why Pastor Jones didn't cause deaths in Afghanistan

MUSLIMS PRAY 80 FEET FROM PENTAGON 9/11 SITE

GALLERY: STUFF THE SAME DISTANCE FROM GROUND ZERO
AS THE PROPOSED MUSLIM CENTER

ANTI-MOSQUE CROWD ALIGNS ITSELF WITH AL QAEDA

Pakistan

How not to reduce violence

Panetta threatens invasion of Pakistan

GOP senator talks up possiblity of war with Pakistan

Guardian: Pakistan agreed to Bin Laden deal a decade ago. . .complete with simulated outrage
 
Saudi Arabia

Questions about how one goes about blowing up a Saudi Arabian ambassador in an overpriced Washington restaurant

New questions about Saudi figures and 9/11

Lloyds' mysteriously drops suit against Saudi Arabia over 9/11

United Arab Emirates
 
Why does U.S. have mercenaries in the United Arab Emirates?

GROUPS

MIDDLE EAST
ABRAHAM FUND
AD HOC COMMITTEE TO DEFEND THE UNIVERSITY

ANTI-WAR CELEBS
ARAB-AMERICAN DISCRIMINATION LEAGUE

ARTISTS FOR PEACE
BLACK VOICES FOR PEACE
BRING THEM HOME NOW

CALL TO CONSCIENCE
CAMPAIGN AGAINST SANCTIONS
COALITION OF WOMEN FOR PEACE
CODE PINK

COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS
DIVEST FROM ISRAEL
END THE OCCUPATION

FOUNDATION FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE
GLOSSARY OF OCCUPATION

GUSH SHALOM
HISTORIANS AGAINST THE WAR
INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER
ISRAELI BOYCOTT

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT
IRAQ PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE
JEWS FOR PEACE IN PALESTINE  & ISRAEL
JEWISH UNITY FOR A JUST PEACE
JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE

JEWISH VOICES AGAINST THE OCCUPATION
LABOR AND THE WAR
MEDIA WORKERS AGAINST WAR
MIDDLE EAST REALITIES

MIDDLE EAST RSRCH & INFO PROJECT
MIDDLE EAST TIME LINE
MUSLIM PEACE FELLOWSHIP

NOT IN MY NAME
NATIONAL YOUTH & STUDENT PEACE COALITION
NOT IN MY NAME
NOT IN OUR NAME
OCCUPATION WATCH CENTER
ONE STATE SOLUTION

PALESTINIAN SOCIETY FOR PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS & ENVIROMENT
PEACEFUL ENDS THROUGH PEACEFUL MEANS

POETS AGAINST THE WAR
SOLDIERS FOR THE TRUTH
STOP WORLD WAR 3

STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE
SUSTAIN (STOP AID TO ISRAEL)

TARGET OIL
WOMEN IN BLACK
VETERANS AGAINST THE IRAQ WAR
VETERANS FOR COMMON SENSE
VISIONS OF PEACE WITH JUSTICE IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE
VOICES IN THE WILDERNESS
UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE
US LABOR AGAINST THE WAR

WALK OUT ON WAR
WAR STRIKE
WIN WITHOUT WAR

WOMEN IN BLACK

MID EAST INFORMATION

BODY COUNT
CHICKENHAWK DATABASE
COOPERATIVE RESEARCH
COST OF IRAQ WAR BY STATE
CRADLE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
FACTS ABOUT ARABS
GLOBAL SECURITY

GULF WAR I ARCHIVES
HOW MUCH WILL WAR
    COST YOUR STATE?
MAP OF MIDDLE EAST

PEACE MOVEMENT INFO
POP QUIZ
RELIEF WEB
TEACHING THE WAR
WHAT IS ISLAM?

MID EAST MEDiA

AL-JAZEERA
ANTI-WAR
ARAB NEWS

ARAB NEWSPAPERS
ARUTZ SHEVA NEWS SERVICE

BEIRUT DAILY STAR
DAWN - PAKISTAN

DEBKA FILE
DEMOCRACY NOW

ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
ELECTRONIC IRAQ
GULF TIMES

HAARETZ
IRANIAN

JANG - PAKISTAN
JERUSALEM POST
PALESTINE CHRONICLE
TEHRAN TIMES
TURKISH DAILY NEWS

WAR REPORT
WAR TIMES