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Thread: The Iran beauty contest

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    Senior Member donsaeid's Avatar
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    The Iran beauty contest

    The Iran beauty contest

    As I wrote is Slate three weeks ago, the Democratic presidential candidates attack the current administration for not doing more to engage the Iranians - but their proposals are very similar to Bush's. Today, I had a Slate piece dealing with the Republican candidates and Iran. The Republicans, I wrote, have an even less convincing M.O.: They attack the Democrats for attacking the president and end up suggesting, more or less, the same thing. Maybe this is the real story here: There's only one serious option when it comes to Iran and a lot of politicians spinning it. After all, the 2008 campaign has already begun - and we can hardly expect to hear political rivals say, "We agree." Even if they do.

    For the leading candidates from both parties, the Iran question isn't a policy debate; it's a beauty contest. It's not about what the candidates say they want; it's about who you believe really means what they say. It's not about engagement versus the military option; it's about voters' - and the Iranians' - perception of the candidate's character. Do you believe Romney would dare do what Clinton would not? Do you think that Giuliani is more likely to go all the way than John Edwards?

    We keep hearing John McCain's observation that "there is only one thing worse than a military solution, and that, my friends, is a nuclear-armed Iran." This is not so different from the 2004 Barack Obama quote that I ended my Feb. 27 piece with: "[U]s launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in... On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse."

    McCain is the one that gets quoted, rather than Obama, because there's a public perception that McCain's threat is more sincere than Obama's. There's a commonly held assumption that Giuliani's threat is more credible than Edwards', because Rudy has a background as an uncompromising street fighter (albeit against crime in New York). Giuliani and the Republicans will use perception to their advantage: Even today, this tough-guy image makes the Republican Party more acceptable to voters when it comes to fighting terrorism.

    So, yes, they all want sanctions, and they all believe that no option should be taken off the table - McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have all said as much. But you have to ask yourself how much you believe them. If the public keeps believing that the Republican candidates have more of the toughness that's needed to execute the policy, then the Republican strategy is working better.
    نه غزه نه لبنان جانم فدای ایران


    «در زندگی زخم*هايی هست که مثل خوره روح را آهسته در انزوا می*خورد و می*تراشد.»
    صادق هدايت؛ بوف کور

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    Senior Member donsaeid's Avatar
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    The Immanence of War with Iran

    Frankly, for all of the ink spilled printing newspapers in this country, there has not been much noteworthy news to chew over in more than a month. A combined European American fleet remains stationed off of Lebanon -- there since October 2006. The American fleet off the Persian Gulf remains and continues to grow while America makes noises about attacking Iran. German ships still remain off the Horn of Africa near Somalia and Ethiopia.

    Reviewing the non-news from the Middle East, there is a new “government” in the “Palestinian Authority”(PA) which is attempting to relieve the cash shortage that has crippled the PA since Hamas ousted the PLO in elections in January 2006. The Israeli cabinet spent until 13:30 (it was cold outside the Prime Minister’s Office Building where I stood patrol yesterday in a jacket that was too thin for the cloudy day) Sunday debating what to do over this government, finally voting 19 to 2 to boycott it (according to the Jerusalem Post) while Qassam rockets continued to fall on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

    According to Hatzofé’s main news section, “the Palestinian Authority is going out to the diplomatic world to struggle to obtain recognition for the new government.” The article, written in Hebrew, talks about the planned trips of the new foreign minister and finance minister of the “Palestinian” Authority to Europe and the United States. While Washington appears to be hostile to the new cabinet, the Israel Herald reports that “Britain, Europe, open door to new Palestinian government”.

    All this is not really news, not even the rockets falling from the Gaza Strip on Israel. The European states have always taken a more tolerant view of Hamas than the American and Israeli governments.

    In more non-news, Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) reports that a “Poll Shows Israeli-Arab Holocaust Denial, Support for HizBallah.” Apparently a new University of Haifa study finds an “alarming” trend of Holocaust denial, sympathy with HizBallah, and belief that they will one day become citizens of an Arab state of “Palestine”.

    The survey, conducted by the university’s Dean of Social Studies Sammy Smooha, found that 28 percent of Israel's Arab citizens believe the Holocaust never happened. This percentage rose the more educated those asked were. Of college and high-school grads, nearly one third believe the Holocaust to be fiction. When you consider the nature of the content of the Arab news media, this is no surprise at all. More educated people tend to absorb more thoroughly what their own media tell them.

    While the belief that the murder of over six million Jews is fictional is not surprising, the sympathy for HizbAllah is. In spite of the fact that tens of thousands of Israeli Arabs were forced into bomb shelters during the war against HizbAllah, 48 percent, nearly half of them, believe that HizbAllah’s shelling of Israel’s northern residents was justified. The same percentage believes that the kidnapping of IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser was justified, and 90 percent considered Israel’s bombing of Lebanon constituted war crimes.

    In yet more non-news, an Iranian ex-pat is writing a book that will further these distorted views. Counterpunch.org reports that Sasan Fayazmanesh, chair of the Department of Economics at California State University, Fresno, is writing a book tentatively called The United States and Iran: Sanctions, Wars and the Policy of Dual Containment, due out this summer - which chronicles the US, Israel, and Iran relation since 1979.

    Interestingly enough, for all of his anti-Israel rhetoric, Fayazmanesh and I agree that “it is clear that Israel does not need a Western shield and is not really worried about Iran building a nuclear weapon. It is well known --and lately Olmert admitted it indirectly — that Israel has many nuclear warheads. With those warheads, and her advanced Western technology, Israel cannot possibly feel threatened by Iran developing a primitive nuclear bomb. As President Jacques Chirac stated in his January 31, 2007, interview with The New York Times: ‘Where would Iran drop this bomb? On Israel? . . It would not have gone off 200 meters into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed to the ground.’” For all the worry in Israel about an Iranian nuclear bomb, this is not the real threat that faces Israel from Iran.

    No, the real threat is outlined in this long analysis by Solly Ganor in Front Page Magazine.com from 15 March. It’s worth reading the full article, but let’s look at some of it anyway.

    According to Solly Ganor, Francis, the Christian Arab construction engineer (who had been a history teacher) sipping coffee in his salon had this to say. “The Americans, the Europeans, and even you Israelis really don’t know what it is all about, do you? During the last generation, hundreds of thousands of children have been taught all over the Moslem world in Madrass[a] schools to become martyrs for Allah in order to kill the infidels. These youngsters not only are ready to do it, but are actually in the process of doing it. Bombs are going off all over the world killing and maiming thousands of people, not only on 9/11 in the U.S., in London, Madrid, and Bali, but in Africa, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and many other places. The first signs of the Islamic Tsunami is already here, but the West doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to understand what is coming."

    He added, “When dirty bombs go off all over Western towns, who is going to stop the Iranians?"

    The Iranian leaders need what the Finns call “sisu”, the hair-raising, white-knuckled nerve to dare to do outrageous things, and the patience of carpet weavers and chess players to accomplish their war aims. They have both. In addition, the Iranian president, Ahmdinejad, has a vision, a messianic vision of what he needs to do. The Israel government, composed of elites who have lost faith in their essential mission in the world, has repeatedly demonstrated that it has none of these things. The American government relies on its outsized arrogance, bred of an outsized perception of its own power, to accomplish its war aims. And while a small elite in Washington may be aware of those war aims, the population of the United States has been fed a confusing diet of mixed signals by politicians who clearly do not know what these war aims are, or if they do, are not willing to admit them to the American public.

    The Iranian leaders do not need nukes. Dirty bombs will do just as well, along with an electro-magnetic pulse thrown in to cripple the computers and other electronic webbing the Americans and Israelis rely on so heavily.

    And now a look at the Book of Daniel: "At the time of the end the king of the south shall attack him. But the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. He shall advance against countries and pass through like a flood. He shall come into the beautiful land, and tens of thousands shall fall victim, but Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites shall escape from his power."[Daniel 11:40-41]

    Why look at this dusty Bible, at the prophecies of a Jew who lived in the days of the fall of the Babylonian Empire? Because the pudding is in the eating, and in the prophecy we see above, the “king of the south” is interpreted by our scholars to be a coalition of Arab nations led by Persia, the modern day Iran. The “beautiful land” is interpreted to mean Israel. There is a huge fleet sitting off the coast of Lebanon, and another sitting off the coast of Iran in the Persian Gulf. The “Persians” have as allies Syria and HizbAllah, and could possibly take over several Gulf nations which have either Iranian majorities living in them, or substantial Iranian minorities. A “Persian” attack would consist of, among other things, firing its missiles in the hands of its puppet, HizbAllah, at Israel, a repetition, this time with worse consequences, of the Lebanon war of last year.

    A crushing response to this would be aimed at Iran and could well result in a large force of foreign troops stationed here in Israel, this beautiful land, coming from that fleet off of Lebanon.

    Francis, the well educated Christian Arab interviewed by the author of the Front Page Magazine.com article, could not bring himself to name Israel as a force for good because he is an Arab. He himself had conflicted feelings about all this which he admitted to Mr. Ganor. But he spoke his warnings to Solly Ganor, who had the intelligence to write them down.

    A final thought for my Israeli friends who will read this – a warning from an Arab Christian who sees what is coming because he understands his Moslem neighbors better than we do. "Well, you Israelis should better prepare yourself for another round against Hezbollah. It will not be long in coming. It depends on the Iranians to give the word. This time you will have to destroy Hezbollah no matter what the cost may be."
    نه غزه نه لبنان جانم فدای ایران


    «در زندگی زخم*هايی هست که مثل خوره روح را آهسته در انزوا می*خورد و می*تراشد.»
    صادق هدايت؛ بوف کور

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