Archive for Iran

Cautiously Optimistic

Posted in Middle East with tags , , on September 21, 2013 by Black Pumpkin

I will admit I am a pretty pessimistic guy.  In fact, I am often so pessimistic that when I have those rare optimistic moments, they are immediately followed by skepticism.  And that’s where I find myself now.  I am watching the developments in Syria and it seems like progress is being made.  There are hopeful signs and it seems like real change is possible.  Of course, with situations like this, things could take a turn for the worse at any moment.  So all of my optimism is very cautious.

And the same could be said about Iran today.  It seems like Iran is ready to negotiate with the US about its nuclear program.  In fact, there are a number of reasons to be hopeful about this.  According to Foreign Policy, about 20 reasons, with one important caveat.  And so again, I find myself thinking that this looks really good, not only for Iran and the US, but for the world.

I am certainly not holding my breath and thinking that everything will turn out rosy and smelling fresh, but I think sometimes, some optimism is warranted.  And, for now, I have cautious optimism about Syria and Iran.

Unfortunately, I am not at all optimistic about Iraq.  They are pretty fucked.


OK, so there’s that…

Posted in Middle East, War and Peace, WTF? with tags , , , , on September 7, 2013 by Black Pumpkin

I can’t remember the first time I heard that we (the US government) knew about Iraq’s use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War that last from 1980-88.  But Foreign Policy has the CIA documents.  So I guess there is no question that this is true.  Which leads me to a somewhat obvious conclusion in another area of the Middle East.

We cannot go after Assad and his use of chemical weapons if we are going to blatantly disregard its use by other countries.  Believe it or not, we supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War and so we just ignored his use of chemical weapons.  Which makes the invasion of Iraq in 2003 all the more hypocritical.  We really shouldn’t go down that road again.

Assad must be held to account for not only the civil war that he felt was necessary but his use of chemical weapons.  But it shouldn’t be the US that holds him to account for it.  He needs to be brought before the International Criminal Court or something similar.  I certainly don’t think that he should be allowed to get away with what he has done.  But, at the same time, the US is really in no position to punish him.

We really need to show some kind of consistency before we have any room to tell others what they can and cannot do.  The hypocrisy of the US government is really astounding.

The Birth of Democracy… Or An Abortion?

Posted in Middle East with tags , , on June 19, 2009 by Mort the Sport

I want to take back what I said in my previous post about North Korea. I said that the situation in Iran is not important. It is. In fact, it’s vitally important. I find it extremely encouraging that those people who feel disenfranchised by a theocratic regime are taking to the streets to protest the injustice of their government. I fear that more lives will be lost as the protests continue, and I also fear that this movement will result in no measurable political change for the Iranian people. I hope my fears are unfounded.

Since Grand Ayatollah Khamenei has already sided with Ahmadinejad and has the declared that the election must stand, it seems to me that further protests will lead to further violence as the government cracks down harder on the protesters. If this happens, it will be a sad day for peaceful protest because all the reports that I’ve read have characterized the protesting as non-violent and intergenerational.

It’s interesting that politicians in the US (especially Republican ones) want to take this turn of events as an opportunity to declaim (very solemnly) the virtues of democracy in action. I’m not sure how many of them criticize the dictatorial regimes with whom we have cordial relations (e.g., Saudi Arabia). After all, the seedbed of Wahhabism–you know, that virulently fundamentalist form of Islam promoted by Osama bin Laden–is Saudi Arabia. Of course, we don’t criticize the Saudis too much because we need to be on polite terms with them because of our addiction to oil. We’re like crack addicts who don’t mind the gang banging as long as we can get our fixes. But I digress. I guess what I’m saying is that Iran is an easy target for US politicians, and I admire Obama’s measured approach. Too much cheerleading from the US will have a negative effect.

That said, I hope that even if this movement does not cause real political change for the Iranians in this election cycle, it will eventually lead to a quiet revolution because it will demonstrate the moral inferiority of the Iranian government.

Iranian Election – Fair or not?

Posted in Middle East with tags , on June 13, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Let’s be honest.  It is difficult for us in the United States to determine if the Iranian election was fair or not.  I’m sure there will be a lot of speculation one way or the other.  But how are we to really know what is going on halfway around the world.  We see the media reports about the turn out and there was speculation that this would help the challenger, in this case, Mir Hossein Mousavi.  But I think it is clear that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being the incumbent has an advantage, plus he was really popular with some segments of the population.

At least at this point, it appears that Ahmandinejad has won with about two-thirds of the vote.  But who knows if this will stand.

So we may never know the truth about the election and whether it was fair or not.  And more importantly, the Iranians may never know the truth.  But sometimes perception is reality.  And that is why we now see riots in the streets.   The people perceive that the election was stolen, and so they have taken to the streets.  It is unfortunate, but understandable, that they feel that they have to riot in order to be heard.  But then again elections are only as good as they are perceived to be.

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”    – Joseph Stalin

UPDATE: Well, as I have read (and thought) more about this situation, I have come to conclude that it is extremely likely (I don’t know why I am being so cautious with my words) that the election was rigged.  It seems likely that the true leader of Iran, the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decided before the election that he wanted Ahmandinejad to continue to be the president because Mousavi was too moderate.   The really unfortunate thing is the way that the state police forces are dealing with those that are protesting this election fraud.  This is an ugly situation that looks likely to only get uglier.  Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into another civil war in the Middle East.