Archive for Iran

Saudi Arabia going after Hezbollah in Lebanon would be another misjudgment that adds to a dangerous and combustible moment in the Middle East. Trump Is At The Center Of The Chaos!

Posted in Middle-East Time Bomb with tags , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2017 by sheriffali

NYT “Lebanon was stunned on Nov. 4 when its prime minister, Saad Hariri, speaking from Saudi Arabia, delivered a halting resignation speech. Mr. Hariri said he left Beirut because he feared assassination. He placed the blame for his long-distance resignation on Iran and its main ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

 

In the days since, Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah of plotting against the kingdom and ordered Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon. Threats from top Saudi officials are causing new turmoil in a tiny country with complicated sectarian politics, failed power-sharing arrangements and a long history of foreign meddling.

 

Since the Arab uprisings in 2011, Lebanon has largely avoided the conflicts sweeping the Middle East. Even the war that is raging in Syria, Lebanon’s much larger neighbor, has generally left the country unscathed. That calm is now threatened as the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies set their sights on Hezbollah and its patron, Iran.

 

Why would Saudi leaders risk a new conflagration? They see a way to make common cause with Washington by targeting Hezbollah, one of Iran’s most effective allies. President Trump has consistently singled out Iran’s support for Hezbollah and other groups that Washington considers terrorist organizations.

 

 

But Saudi Arabia is already overstretched. Its war against Houthi rebels in Yemen drags on, and the diplomatic dispute with Qatar remains in a stalemate, too. If Saudi leaders think they can score an easy victory in Lebanon against Hezbollah, it will be another misjudgment that adds to a dangerous and combustible moment in the Middle East.

 

Hezbollah was part of Lebanon’s national unity government formed in late 2016 with Mr. Hariri as the prime minister. Iran and Saudi Arabia — which views itself as the protector of Lebanon’s Sunni community — blessed the power-sharing agreement.

 

Hezbollah agreed to the deal because it wanted to avoid conflict in Lebanon and to direct its energy toward the Syrian war, where it fights alongside the government of President Bashar al-Assad. As a leader with strong ties to both the Sunni Arab states and the West, Mr. Hariri provided Hezbollah with political cover as it continued to dominate Lebanon.

 

The militia’s important role in the fighting in Syria has made it more powerful than ever. But Mr. Hariri’s resignation exposes Hezbollah and its allies in the Lebanese government to harsher United States sanctions, a potential war with Israel or even an economic blockade led by Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies, similar to the one imposed on Qatar.

 

Hezbollah, which was founded in the 1980s during a civil war and an Israeli invasion, is now the country’s dominant political and military force. It is unrealistic of Saudi leaders and the Trump administration to expect that it can be supplanted by a popular Lebanese groundswell against it or removed by a foreign military force without causing catastrophic damage to Lebanon.

 

Saudi Arabia’s new ruler, King Salman, and his son and designated heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, are pursuing a far more aggressive foreign policy than previous Saudi rulers. They have been bolstered in this by Mr. Trump’s support for the kingdom in its conflict with Iran. Now that Iran’s ally, Mr. Assad, has essentially won the civil war in Syria, Saudi Arabia is looking to contain Iranian influence elsewhere. Lebanon is a tempting target.

 

The Saudis have also been emboldened by their recent outreach to Shiite factions in Iraq, especially the nationalist cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who visited the kingdom in July and met with Prince Mohammed. The Saudis are hoping to cultivate Mr. Sadr and other Shiite leaders who can be a counterweight to Iranian influence in Iraq, especially ahead of parliamentary elections next year.

 

But the Saudis won’t be able to find a Sadr in Lebanon, a political figure who can offer a serious alternative to Hezbollah and Iranian influence in the Shiite community.

 

Since the end of Lebanon’s civil war in 1990, Hezbollah has entrenched itself in the largely Shiite areas of southern Beirut and southern Lebanon. With Iranian support, it opened schools and hospitals, provided business loans and fielded candidates for parliamentary elections. It also extended its military capability, deploying thousands of missiles along the border with Israel.

 

In February 2005, Rafik Hariri, a billionaire construction tycoon and Lebanon’s former prime minister, was assassinated in a bombing in Beirut. His death deprived Lebanon of its most prominent Sunni leader — and Saudi Arabia lost its most important Lebanese ally. After Mr. Hariri’s death, his son Saad took over his father’s Saudi-based construction empire and the Sunni political mantle in Lebanon.

 

In the summer of 2006, Hezbollah fought a monthlong war with Israel, which ended in a draw and increased the militia’s popularity across the Muslim world. But by early 2011, Hezbollah’s standing began to wane after a United Nations tribunal indicted several of its members for Mr. Hariri’s assassination.

 

If Mr. Hariri’s killing was a first salvo of the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Lebanon, subsequent battles also did not go Riyadh’s way.

 

In May 2008, Hezbollah broke a post-civil-war vow not to turn its weapons against other Lebanese factions. At the time, Lebanon was mired in a political stalemate between a United States- and Saudi-backed government — which included Sunni, Christian and Druze parties — and Hezbollah and its allies.

 

Hezbollah was infuriated by a government decision that outlawed its underground fiber-optic communication network, which was critical to its success during its 2006 war with Israel. Hezbollah’s leaders sent hundreds of fighters into largely Sunni neighborhoods of West Beirut. They overpowered Sunni militiamen and seized the offices and media outlets of political rivals, including Mr. Hariri.

 

Hezbollah’s success so alarmed the Sunni Arab states that Saudi Arabia toyed with the idea of sending an Arab military force to intervene in Lebanon. Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister at the time, asked a visiting American diplomat whether the United States and NATO could provide equipment, logistics and “naval and air cover” to assist such an army, according to a classified American diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks. Prince Faisal warned Washington that Hezbollah’s actions would lead to an “Iranian takeover of all Lebanon.”

 

Years later, Saudi leaders organized a similar force to wage their war in Yemen, against Houthi rebels allied with Iran. A day after Mr. Hariri’s resignation, the front page of a Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper declared, “Hariri departs Hezbollah’s republic.” The subtext was clear: Without its most prominent Sunni leader, Lebanon is under Hezbollah’s full control — and it will be fair game in the latest battle with Iran.”

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Republican Opponents Of The Iran Deal Are The Same People That Still Advocate Invading Iraq Was A Good Thing. Meanwhile, General Colin Powell Fully Supports The Iran Agreement

Posted in Iran, Peace, Politics, War with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2015 by sheriffali

Republican Colin Powell, former National Security Adviser, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Secretary of State support the Iran Deal.  He revealed his support in fairly laudatory terms on Meet the Press.

 

Here’s the summary:

 

It’s a pretty good deal… I know there are objections to it, but here’s why I think it’s a good deal,” the former Secretary of State said. He continued, “One of the great concerns that the opposition has that we are leaving open a ‘lane’ for the Iranians to go back to creating a nuclear weapon in 10-15 years are forgetting the reality that they have been on a superhighway for the last ten years to create a nuclear weapon or nuclear weapons program with no speed limit.”

 

And while Dick Cheney Tried to ignore the reality that under the Bush Administration Iran went from 0 Centrifuges to 5,000, Colin Powell was not ignoring reality.

 

 “In the last ten years they’ve gone from 136 centrifuges up to something like 19,000 centrifuges.” That is something Republicans never talk about. Powell pointed out, “This agreement will take them down to 5,000 cent all of this will be under IAEA supervision and I think this is a good outcome.”

 

“They had stockpiled something in the neighborhood of 12,000 kilograms of uranium. This deal will bring it down to 300 kilograms,” Powell said. “It’s a remarkable reduction. I’m amazed that they would do this but they have done it.” [Daily Kos]

 

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Clint Eastwood The Stunt You Pulled During the GOP 2012 Convention Had A Major Flaw; “The Empty Chair Really Represents The Do Nothing Republicans.”

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2015 by sheriffali

These Chicken Hawks Want To Spend The Money On Senseless Wars But Are Hell Bent On Cutting Social Services For Students The Poor And The Needy.

 

Hey Clint, what type of country do you envision? One where the Rich get Richer and the Poor die of lack of Food and Medical Services! Any country that fails to take care of the vulnerable in their Society has no business criticizing anyone about Human Rights, Freedom and Democracy. We know you are a good Actor, Director and Producer, but, it seems self evident that your thoughts are no different than the Repugnant Republican Reprobates.

 

We are most certain that you are cognizant of the fact that President Obama has pulled us out of the deep and unforgiving waters that George W Bush, Dick Cheney and the Republicans threw us into.

 

However, you may disagree with my personal opinion, but you of all people should apologize to President Obama for your phantasmagoric rationales and internecine Empty Chair Metaphor!

I am not suggesting this because Mr. Obama is looking for an apology, but by you taking this Giant Step may cause the Republicans pause as to the sanity of the GOP Party.

 

 

Twitter @sheriffali

 

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Republicans And Some Democrats Whining About The Iran Deal Should Stop Being So Sanctimonious. 100 Years Ago July 15, 1915 the U.S. Invaded HAITI And Occupied It For 19 Years. President Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary Of State William Jennings, Quipped “Think Of It! Niggers Speaking French.” A Chilling Echo Of Jim Crow Era Bigotry Of The Time

Posted in Sanctimonious America with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2015 by sheriffali

[Washington Post] “In Haiti, the reality of American actions sharply contradicted the gloss of [American leaders’] liberal protestations,” wrote the historian Hans Schmidt, whose 1971 book on the U.S. occupation is still a widely cited text. “Racist preconceptions, reinforced by the current debasement of Haiti’s political institutions, placed the Haitians far below levels Americans considered necessary for democracy, self-government, and constitutionalism.”

 

A century ago, American troops invaded and occupied a foreign nation. They would stay there for almost two decades, install a client government, impose new laws and fight insurgents in bloody battles on difficult terrain. Thousands of residents perished during what turned out to be 19 years of de facto U.S. rule.

 

The country was Haiti, the Caribbean nation that’s often seen by outsiders as a metaphor for poverty and disaster. Yet rarely are Americans confronted with their own hand in its misfortunes.

 

On Tuesday, a group of protesters marched to the U.S. Embassy in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince in commemoration of the grim legacy of the U.S. occupation, which began in July 1915 after President Woodrow Wilson used political chaos and violence in the country as grounds to intervene. Some in Washington feared the threat of competing French and German interests in the Caribbean.

 

The liberal, democratic values Wilson so famously championed in Europe were not so visible in Haiti, a largely black republic that since its independence from France a century earlier had been regarded with fear and contempt by America’s white ruling classes. “Think of it! N——s speaking French,” quipped William Jennings Bryan, Wilson’s secretary of state, in a chilling echo of the Jim Crow-era bigotry of the time.

 

Though framed as an attempt to bring stability to an unstable, benighted land, the United States “also wanted to make sure that the Haitian government was compatible to American economic interests and friendly to foreign investment,” writes Laurent Dubois, a Duke University academic and author of “Haiti: The Aftershocks of History.”

 

“In Haiti, the reality of American actions sharply contradicted the gloss of [American leaders’] liberal protestations,” wrote the historian Hans Schmidt, whose 1971 book on the U.S. occupation is still a widely cited text. “Racist preconceptions, reinforced by the current debasement of Haiti’s political institutions, placed the Haitians far below levels Americans considered necessary for democracy, self-government, and constitutionalism.”

 

Twitter @sheriffali

 

Open Washington Post Link For Full Article http://wpo.st/v1wS0

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United Nations Five [5] Permanent Members Russia, China, France, Britain And The United States Chose Peace Over War, Death And Destruction. Republicans And Benjamin Netanyahu Wants War To Kill More Of America’s Sons And Daughters Like George W Bush And Dick Cheney Did In Iraq!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2015 by sheriffali

[NYT] UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution that creates the basis for international economic sanctions against Iran to be lifted, a move that incited a furious reaction in Israel and potentially sets up an angry showdown in Congress.

 

The 15-0 vote for approval of the resolution — 104 pages long including annexes and lists — was written in Vienna by diplomats who negotiated a landmark pact last week that limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for ending the sanctions.

 

Iran has pledged to let in international monitors to inspect its facilities for the next 10 years and other measures that were devised to guarantee that its nuclear energy activities are purely peaceful.

 

The Security Council resolution, which is legally binding, lays out the steps required only for the lifting of United Nations sanctions.

 

It has no legal consequence on the sanctions imposed separately by the United States and the European Union.

 

The European Union also approved the Iran nuclear deal on Monday, putting in motion the lifting of its own sanctions, which include prohibitions on the purchase of Iranian oil. Europe will continue to prohibit the export of ballistic missile technology and sanctions related to human rights.

 

Diplomats have warned that if the United States Congress refuses to lift American penalties against Iran, the Iranians may renege on their commitments as well, which could result in a collapse of the entire deal.

 

The resolution takes effect in 90 days, a time frame negotiated in Vienna to allow Congress, where members have expressed strong distrust of the agreement, to review it. President Obama, who has staked much of his foreign policy ambitions on the Iran pact, has vowed to veto a congressional rejection of the nuclear accord.

 

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Open New York Times Link For Full Article

 

http://nyti.ms/1JslNnC

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US Warship Heads To Yemeni Waters; Could block Iran weapons

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2015 by sheriffali

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stepped-up response to Iranian backing of Shiite rebels in Yemen, the Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to beef up security and join other American ships that are prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels.

 

The deployment comes after a U.N. Security Council resolution approved last week imposed an arms embargo on leaders of the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels. The resolution passed in a 14-0 vote with Russia abstaining.

 

Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. A massive ship that carries F/A-18 fighter jets, the Roosevelt is seen more of a deterrent and show of force in the region.

 

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea in response to reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis. Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels.

 

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ship movement on the record.

 

Saudi Arabia and several of its allies, mainly Gulf Arab countries, have been trying to drive back the rebels, who seized the capital of Sanaa in September and have overrun many other northern provinces with the help of security forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The U.S. supports the Saudi campaign.

 

Western governments and Sunni Arab countries say the Houthis get their arms from Iran. Tehran and the rebels deny that, although the Islamic Republic has provided political and humanitarian support to the Shiite group.

The U.S. has been providing logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi coalition launching airstrikes against the Houthis. That air campaign is now in its fourth week, and the U.S. has also begun refueling coalition aircraft involved in the conflict.

 

White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not comment specifically on any Navy movements in Yemeni waters, but said the U.S. has concerns about Iran’s “continued support for the Houthis.

 

“We have seen evidence that the Iranians are supplying weapons and other armed support to the Houthis in Yemen. That support will only contribute to greater violence in that country. These are exactly the kind of destabilizing activities that we have in mind when we raise concerns about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East.”

 

He said, “The Iranians are acutely aware of our concerns for their continued support of the Houthis by sending them large shipments of weapons.”

 

The expanded U.S. Navy activity in the region comes at a sensitive time, as the U.S. and six world powers have reached a framework deal with Iran to control its nuclear program. Since the preliminary deal with reached on April 2, Iran and the U.S. have been disputing the details of the deal. And on Monday, a lawyer for Tehran-based Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian said Tehran had charged Rezaian with espionage and three other crimes. The Obama administration dismisses the charges as “absurd.”

 

The U.S. Navy generally conducts consensual boardings of ships when needed, including to combat piracy around Africa and the region. So far, however, U.S. naval personnel have not boarded any Iranian vessels since the Yemen conflict began.

 

Officials said it’s too soon to speculate on what the Navy ships may do as the Iranian convoy approaches, including whether Iran would consent to a boarding request, and what actions the Navy would take if its request was refused.

 

Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been pushed to the brink of collapse by ground fighting and the Saudi-led airstrikes in support of current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia. Observers say the fighting in the strategic Mideast nation is taking on the appearance of a proxy war between Iran, the Shiite powerhouse backing the Houthis, and Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia.

___

Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn in Washington and Ahmed al-Haj in Sanaa, Yemen, contributed to this report.

 

Twitter @sheriffali

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Iraq War Whores Are Again Pushing For Another Middle East War With Iran

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2015 by sheriffali

Remember Iraq: Americans 4,500 Killed, 30,000 Severely Injured, 50,000 Plus With PTSD Including Afghanistan, The Total Cost Stands At 6.1 Trillion

 

Thirteen years after the Iraq War was started by George W. Bush and his administration, it’s easy to see how big of a disaster the conflict was. There were no weapons of mass destruction, trillions of dollars were spent, and hundreds of thousands of lives – both Iraqi and American – were lost.

 

In 2002, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) was one of the most vocal opponents of invading Iraq, saying that he believed “[President Bush] would mislead the American people” when it came war. And now that the US is dealing with another tense situation in the Middle East, the same people who were so wrong about Iraq are calling for military action against Iran.

 

McDermott spoke to the Huffington Post about the politicians and pundits currently calling for more war and said he recognizes that their arguments are the same as they were over a decade ago.

 

“There is a principle of communication which is very well known and has been documented in a variety of different ways. But it comes down to, if you can make people afraid, you can make them do anything,” said McDermott. “And these warmongers are fearmongers, and they are creating as much fear in the American people as possible.”

 

Examples of repeat performances include comments from Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), current chair of the House Armed Services Committee, said in 2002 that “a policy of ‘hoping Hussein can be contained’ had allowed Iraq to become ‘one giant WMD factory’ that threatened the entire Middle East and America,” said HuffPo.

 

Last month, Thornberry said the Obama administration’s negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program were “ratifying Iran as a threshold for nuclear power … [that] will breed instability and increase security competition in both the Middle East and the wider geopolitical order. This must not be allowed to happen.”

 

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) both championed for the Iraq invasion, with Graham even calling an attack on Iraq “long overdue.”

 

Recently, the pair released a statement on Iran, saying, in part:

“Any hope that a nuclear deal will lead Iran to abandon its decades-old pursuit of regional dominance through violence and terror is simply delusional. The Obama Administration’s failure to recognize and counter this threat has only served to expand Iranian influence.”

 

 

It’s not just the GOP that’s recycling old arguments. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) predicted in 2002 that an Iraq war would be “somewhat easier” than the Gulf War. Now Schumer is “backing a bill that would require speedy congressional approval of any Iran agreement before any of the deal could go into effect,” reported HuffPo.

 

While the dates and places may change, the cries from the Warhawk wing of the federal government remain the same. As long as the US can protect its financial interests in the Middle East, there will always be politicians who call for a military invasion regardless of the consequences.

 

Twitter @sheriffali

 

http://www.ringoffireradio.com/2015/04/same-war-pimps-from-iraq-catastrophe-are-main-voices-on-iran/

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