Saturday, March 21, 2009

Iran Offers Conditions for U.S. Surrender





To chants of “Death to America” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed President Obama’s recent overtures to his country.

In between heaping praise on Iranian culture and expressing verses of poetic love that, “the United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations” – Obama emphasized that, “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”.

It was instantly declared to be a master stroke of diplomacy that would diplomatically isolate the Iranian Mullahs. Instead Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used the occasion to rally his base and denounce Obama as a liar. The Ayatollah challenged the Obama Administration to back up his flowery words with acts of appeasement when he stated, “Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime? Even the language remains unchanged.”

However, other news that could have diplomatically isolated Iran went unmentioned during Obama’s message. Iranian blogger, Omidreza Mirsayafi, died in prison on the same day as Obama’s rainbow-colored speech. Mirsayafi was jailed for allegedly insulting Iran’s leadership and he died amid claims that the Iranian government was at fault for his death. Bloggers are routinely harassed and jailed in Iran.

Ironically, the blogger was held in Evin Prison, which is the same prison that Iranian-American journalist, Roxana Saberi, is being held. Of course Obama also neglected to mention her in his mating call to the Iranian Mullahs.

Saberi is a brave reporter who defied the Iranian regime when it took away her press credentials in an attempt to silence her. After she was arrested her family didn’t know what happened to her until 10 days later when she finally was able to make a phone call to them. The arrest of Saberi came as the regime began another series of crackdowns on university students. Such oppression may be connected with the upcoming Presidential elections in June.

Saberi’s father publicly stated that, “We told her to hang on, and not give in. The whole world is with her.” Evidently, Obama is not with the whole world on this point. She is an obstacle to his diplomatic overtures.



The Master of Disaster

The Obama Administration is just stumbling around like a chicken without a head. When the White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, addressed pseudo-economist Jim Cramer’s critical stance towards the White House’s economic policy he stated, “I think you can go back and look at any number of statements (Jim Cramer) made in the past about the economy and wonder where some of the backup for those are, too”.

Robert Gibbs has a valid point. During the 2008 Presidential Election Cramer was enthusiastic about Obama’s campaign.

On June 22nd of 2008 Jim Cramer appeared on NBC’s, “The Chris Matthews Show”. During that time the show was stumping for Obama’s presidential campaign and so this episode was a veritable Obama-lovefest. During the show Cramer heaped praise on Obama’s economic plans and the following exchange was recorded;

“MATTHEWS: So the Election Day is over, the morning after election, if Obama wins, does the stock market go up?

Mr. CRAMER: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Even though capital gains go up?

Mr. CRAMER: Absolutely. We’re sick of it.

MATTHEWS: Whoa, what a--this is news we’ve made here. Jim Cramer says the market will resound positively to an election by--of Barack Obama.”


Interesting enough, on the day of Obama’s inauguration, the Dow fell in the most dramatic freefall of any other inauguration day in history. Then on March 5th stocks fell to their lowest level in 12 years.

Even as late as December of 2008 Cramer raved about the “Obama Factor”. His ridiculous pro-Obama rants are now quite embarrassing. He boasted that, “When Obama speaks, the market buys, it doesn’t just listen, so listen to Cramer to know where to spend the money!”

The euphoria of the Obama personality cult led to the election of a woefully inexperienced and radically leftwing president. Diplomacy was often held up to be Obama’s strength, but after a comedy of errors the president has been revealed to be too overwhelmed to conduct routine diplomatic affairs.

When British Prime Minster Gordon Brown came for a state visit the Obama Administration neglected to offer a customary press conference and formal dinner as our closest ally is accustomed to. The Administration’s reaction was indignant to the outrage of Britons. A State Department official who was involved in planning Brown’s visit angrily responded that, “There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment”.

The thoughtlessness of the Obama Administration seeped into every aspect of poor PM Brown’s visit (it’s a good thing that Great Britain really needs us, my apologies to our friends there). As many bloggers are aware, it is customary on such occasions for leaders to offer each other presents that show good will towards each other. Brown gave Obama a pen crafted from the wood of the 19th Century anti-slave trade ship (which is the sister ship of the vessel that the wood of the president’s Oval Office desk is made of).

Yet Obama gave his counterpart a set of 25 DVD movies, which turned out to be nothing but the first 25 of the American Film Institute’s list of the top-100 American movies. As if that isn’t thoughtless enough… when Brown went home and settled down to watch one of the movies, he discovered that the DVDs were formatted for North American DVD players and cannot be played on DVD players sold in Europe. A message stating, “Wrong Region”, appeared when Brown tried to play them.

Does it get any worse? Incredibly it does… Britons were outraged that two days after snubbing Prime Minister Brown, Obama lavishly hosted former IRA terrorist, Martin McGuinness. British blogger Archbishop Cranmer complained:

“Gordon brown entered the White House through a side entrance and was granted a half-hour chat with the President followed by a working lunch. There was no press conference and the British delegation was limited in numbers.

Mr. McGuinness will walk in through the front door of the White House and be given the full red carpet treatment. It is a de facto State Visit with full retinue and a joint press conference. There shall be two hours of talks and a lavish gala reception at which Mr. McGuinness shall be a guest of honour, seated on the top table.”


And this came after a rare spat of violence in Northern Ireland in which a policeman and two soldiers were murdered in separate incidents.

But don’t forget our illustrious Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and her recent diplomatic blunders…

As if it wasn’t enough to botch her first official visit as Secretary of State to the European Parliament by mispronouncing her counterparts’ names, insulting European sensibilities by saying that American Democracy is older than Europe’s and mocking multiparty democracy... She followed up this embarrassing episode with an “enlightened” visit to Russia.

Complete incompetence was the order of the day when Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a gift meant to symbolize Obama’s diplomatic overtures to the Russian government. She gave him a button that she believed stated “reset” in Russian and expressed her hopes that we could “reset” our relationship with Russia. As she handed Lavrov the gift she said, “We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” He replied that it was incorrect and the button actually stated “overcharged”. So how hard did they work to get one word wrong?

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

I think that it is fair to end this post with the full video footage of our Teleprompter President’s fantasy message to Iran…



The video starts off with Obama saying, “Today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz around the world. This holiday is both an ancient ritual and a moment of renewal, and I hope that you enjoy this special time of year with family and friends”…

One thing is for certain… Roxana Saberi, an American citizen, could not spend Nowruz with her family and friends because she was locked up in an Iranian prison while her president flirted with her captors.

49 comments:

beakerkin said...

The amazing thing about Obama is he believes by force of personality he can change anything. A theocracy needs the other to rationalize its failures.

No amount of reason can change this.

Freedomnow said...

Its utterly amazing that Democrats have no problem with using disinformation campaigns and other dirty tactics against Republicans, but feel that we must treat our enemies fairly.

Do they think that they are currying favor with our enemies?

WomanHonorThyself said...

good Lord my friend..your post title says it all............things are frightening and the masses remain in oblivion!!!

Vaya con Dios!:)

Huge-O Chavez said...

I'm disgusted with the direction American foreign policy has turned. I would not blame any country in the world for never trusting us to keep our word again. If we weren't completely isolated in the past, we deserve to be now.

We're nothing but "fair weather" friends.

Renegade Eye said...

See this. Stratfor is a think-tank of ex-CIA, with active contacts.

Iran wasn't happy about what Obama allowed to happen, in the SWAT area of Pakistan.

Freedomnow said...

Ren,

I've been hesitant about your statements in this regard, but it is sounding more and more like you agree with me that negotiating with the hardcore Taliban is a flawed strategy.

However, many people (through disinformation) have not been aware that the Americans have been involved in trying to win over moderate elements of the Taliban to our side. I fully support those efforts, which are dramatically different than giving power to unrepentent/murderous Taliban in exchange for promises that can easily be broken (and have been numerous times in the past).

Renegade Eye said...

Nothing moderate about the Taliban in the SWAT area. They have the population terorized.

The sad part is that the actual number of extremists in that area is small. Because of the drug trade and divided loyalties of the Pakistani army and ISI, mostly civilians suffer.

My group has armed defense at meetings.

Interesting that Israel also sent holiday greetings to Iran, which signals Israel will support the US's actions.

Freedomnow said...

That is strange because Iran fundamentally opposed to Zionism and Israel is Zionism personified. This is why they support Hezbollah and Hamas. (Of course thats all obvious, but in these days of Internet subterfuge you must state the facts plainly.)

Nothing about this holiday announcement makes sense. The Iranian Mullahs hate Nowruz because they view it as non-Islamic.

While I am talking about Afghanistan because there is no regular U.S. military presence in SWAT, I'm sure there are some moderates among the Taliban there as well (however few they may be). There is no organization that is completely monolithic.

And the Taliban's brutality could also create dissent within. One reason that the Nazis implemented the final solution in concentration camps was because they found that units in the field became demoralized after mass killings of Jews.

What did you mean by, "My group has armed defense at meetings." ?

Renegade Eye said...

In the SWAT area, to defend against Taliban, meetings need defense guards. The sad part is that the actual cadre of Taliban there is small (about 3,000).

Obama and Israel's gestures to Iran, are based on the ideas of the Iraq Report. Bush set the process in motion. Read the link I sent. That's not a lefty group.

Freedomnow said...

You wrote "MY" before "group has armed defense at meetings" so I thought you were talking about something that you were doing and that confused me.

The article you linked stated that, "The problem wasn’t Bush or Clinton or Reagan, the problem was the reality of Iran and the United States." I agree.

So far Obama's policy is no different than Bush's, other than to make stupid Nowruz greetings to religious fanatics that think that Nowruz is a pagan holiday... and furthermore neglects to even mention an American citizen unjustly imprisoned by those fanatics during the holiday.

Only a self-congratulating echo chamber of ignorance can produce such amateur diplomacy.

Renegade Eye said...

I don't understand how you can't see, the reason Obama didn't talk tough, is because he needs its help? Talking tough can come down the road.

Political prisoners is the last thing on his mind.

The bigger point is geopolitical realities. The US needs the help of Iran and Syria.

You are talking in moral terms, that don't apply.

Freedomnow said...

I’m talking in realistic terms. Since 1979 the Iranian leaders have given all their major speeches to the background chants of “Death to America”.

You can get arrested for displaying American or Western culture on the streets of major cities. Bloggers, journalists and activists are arrested and harassed in order to suppress Western-styled reform.

They dont want to help us because they fear our influence. Only by giving them Southern Iraq or Lebanon or Palestine or Israel will they give us any help because they need to feel that in return we are giving them influence that will prop up their regime against any increase in American influence that they “help” facilitate.

As long as there are democracy activists in Iran the Mullahs will fear us. Ignorant Westerners want to encourage the Iranian people to reform from within without realizing the implications. I want the same, but I understand the danger of reactionary totalitarians like the Mullahs. The more pressure internal democracy activists put on the Mullahs, the worse our relationship with Iran will get.

Some think that by attempting to warm our relations with the Iranian government we can help the democracy movement. I’ve yet to hear one convincing argument of how that will work. We can give Nowruz greetings every day for the rest of the year, but the deciding factor will always be the oppression of the Iranian government.

History has shown that while oppression can ferment discontent and revolution, that only applies to regimes that are incompetent in their oppression. Did Stalin or Mao face an effective revolutionary movement due to their oppression? No!!! Because like the Mullahs, their oppression was effective. For 30 years the Mullahs have ruled Iran with an iron fist without facing any opposition capable of overthrowing them. Its not because America wasn’t nice enough to the Iranian regime, its because the Mullahs effectively crush their opposition before they get anywhere close to overthrowing them.

It is time to rethink our silly notions about how we can charm the Iranian government into doing what they would consider to be against their own best interests. That is something that they will not do unless we sacrifice something unthinkable in return.

Reality does not conform to groupthink.

beakerkin said...

Freedomnow

Theocracy is just another variant of totalitarianism. It requires the other to rationalize its failures. Iran needs Israel and the USA as enemies or it will implode.

Commies like Renegade Eye need Israel to stoke populist hatred of Jews and form entryist alliances with Muslims. In actuality without Communist agitation Jews and Muslims would have found peace long ago.

Renegade Eye said...

Freedom Now: Your analysis doesn't explain why Iran helped the US overthrow Saddam and helped the US in Afghanistan.

The present government in Iraq, is friendlier to Iran than even Sadr. Iran wants Maliki or someone like him in power. According to Stradfor, they are against an abrupt withdrawal. They are afraid of chaos.

I wouldn't be surprised if they force a two state solution on Israel. I think it is a terrible solution, that will lead to a situation like dividing Ireland. A Palestinian state under Fatah or Hamas would be ruthlessly dictatorial. Iran is in position to force Obama, to get concessions from Israel.

Beakerkin: My position on the Middle East is self determination for Arabs, Jews and Kurds in a united federation of socialist states.

Theocracy is just another variant of totalitarianism. It requires the other to rationalize its failures. Iran needs Israel and the USA as enemies or it will implode.

If you mean as a diversion from internal problem, I agree.

Commies like Renegade Eye need Israel to stoke populist hatred of Jews and form entryist alliances with Muslims. In actuality without Communist agitation Jews and Muslims would have found peace long ago.

Coming from someone who openly advocates ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

I'm for "entryist alliances" with groups like Histadrut. If you knew what the word entryist meant, you would know the word alliances doesn't apply. Since when was Histadrut Muslim?

beakerkin said...

Here we go again with more Trotskyite
deception.

The person who advocates ethnic cleansing is the Marxist moron Renegade Eye. How many ethnically cleansed Arab states do you need. Lets also remember that there is no such animal as a Palestinian, Jordanian and Syrian. All the states were created by colonial powers in a treaty in 1920.

Kurds unlike Pseudostinians are a genuine ethnicity with a language and historical identity. However, they do not stoke the flames of populist anti-semitism. Therefore,
commies like Ren literally spit on
them while obsessing over fake indigenous people.

FYI The Jooooooos are the indigenous people and the Arabs are
invaders. Arabs need to settle their own refugees and are histories greatest colonialists.

Entryism is exactly what Communist
goons are doing in these Nuremberg
style rallies. Commies, Nazis, Jihadis and Anarchist clowns all uniting under the banner of Joooo
hatred couched under anti-zionism
or neocon cabal bit.

The comment section of your blog
does resemble the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Der Shturmer. The exceptions to this are CB, FJ and Pagan Temple.

You throw just enough red meat to hard core Jooooo haters like MILF from Lebanon, John Brown, Larry Gamboner and Liberal White Boy. Liberal White Boy is recognized by
Stormfront for his bigoted posts. How long would you link a blog that was similarly anti gay or Black?

Of course anti gay and anti Black sentiment do not further the entryist alliances.

One more thing, ask survivors who the actual Capos were. Capos were frequently commies who had a history of collaboration with Nazis. You seem to ignore this history even as you repeat it today with John Brown/Liberal White Boy. There were also plenty
of massacres by Commies in Western Ukraine/Poland before the Nazis even got there. They were later eclipsed by the Holocaust.

Ren stokes populist Joooo hatred and defends goons like Chavez in order to further the death cult.
Obviously, the Venezuelan Jews have nothing better to do than lie to Immigration officials.

beakerkin said...

Back to the post.

Totalitarians take many forms from the bug eyed lunacy of the Muhlahs to the equally bug eyed death cultists of Marx. Totalitarians need an other to justify their failed promises to the masses. The other is always blamed and to the bug eyed humans are mere cattle to be led and slaughtered.

Obama thinks by his magnanimous force of personality that those who treat humans as cattle
( Commies and Jihadis) will mend
their ways. Obama has spent too much time with academics and not enough time in the real world.

Note that the bug eyed Marxist looks to the Muhlahs as saviors rather than telling Arabs to mend their ways and make peace.

Freedomnow said...

Beak,

I have no problem with you unloading on Ren except for calling him a "moron".

There will be no hurling of foul-mouthed insults on this blog unless they are funny or at least creative...

Freedomnow said...

Ren,

The Iranian Mullahs are not one-dimensional beings.

Of course they would help the U.S. remove their greatest enemy Saddam Hussein, as well as enemies such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

As you stated Iran gained influence in Iraq, in addition to getting rid of Saddam Hussein.

Since Iraq is a Shiite majority it makes sense that as a democratic country they would develop a closer relationship with their Shiite neighbors. Hopefully the more secular Iraqi Shiites can influence the Iranians.

I believe in democracy and must sometimes place my democratic ideals above my battles with enemies like the meddling and oppressive Mullahs. On another note: When groups like the Nazis or Hamas are democratically elected, it is not the fault of democracy. Democracies are only as healthy as those participating in it. (There is a lack of critical thought on this issue.)

If the govt in Iraq is friendlier to Iran than Sadr, then how come Sadr is in exile in Iran? Iran’s training and funding of the Mahdi Army, which engaged in military conflict with the Iraqi govt, is not exactly a sign of Iranian benevolence towards the Iraqi govt. Is your assertion based on any factual information and not just Sadr’s unreliable propaganda that he is “independent” or will you concede that it is based on what you desire or at least a momentary lapse of judgment?

Iran is not committed to a two-state solution. They want a “wipe Israel off the map solution”. This is a concession that Obama would be hard pressed to squeeze out of the Israelis.

Israel will not sit by passively as Obama sells them out to Iran for any “concessions” either. They are not stupid. The problem is that in every conflict people have a U.S. centric outlook. Israel has their own agenda, so does Hamas and Fatah. It’s not as if the U.S. can just walk in and dictate conditions. This is all a fantasy.

Renegade Eye said...

Beak: About Obama's personality. Your comment is empirical or in a word you'd understand better is shallow.

The policy Obama is following, was started by Bush late in his term. It was one of the recommendations put forward by the Iraq Commission.

You didn't explain why Israel sent similar holiday greetings. Most likely because you don't know how.

Freedom Now: Iran was impressed that Maliki stopped Sadr. Iran's policy is naturally to support who is stronger. Sadr personally is more nationalist than Maliki. I can document what I said. Unlike Beakerkin who never can document anything.

Israel is the US's satellite in the Middle East. That drives the anti-Zionists nuts, but it's true. The relationship between the countries is dialectical. Israel will go along with Obama's policy.

Last year when Israel planned to attack Iran, Bush just stopped them.

Just like the antisemites, you talk like its a monolith. In order for Israel to survive as a Jewish state, it needs to be smaller. A Jewish state, with an Arab majority, would be a joke.

Israel will give Syria the Golan area, because with modern technology, its not important militarily.

The US has its agenda. It includes getting concessions from Israel. Iran will probably drop Hamas and Hezbollah for the right price.

Israel will talk to Hamas. It used to subsidize it.

Hamas's charter says Zionism grew from Bolshevism.

In the big picture Israel and Palestine is a sideshow.

Freedomnow said...

Ren,

How do you gage a person’s nationalism? I’m curious. How nationalistic is it to kill your fellow countrymen with money, weapons and training from Iran. Do you have any idea what kind of a traitor Sadr has been to his people? Both Shiite and Iraqi? Hitler claimed to be a nationalist yet he tried to bleed Germany dry of Germans because he was defeated. Are you that na├»ve to believe a totalitarian’s propaganda over his deeds?

My objective is not to make anti-Zionist fanatics get bent out of shape over Israel, nor is my objective to preserve Israel as a Jewish state.

My objective is to oppose totalitarian-warmongering terrorists and to fight for a day when their tactics become obsolete... When they can no longer manipulate the media and public opinion because we are educated against their tactics.

You say that I act like Israel is monolithic, but you are putting words in my mouth. The country is composed of secular leftwingers, religious rightwingers and everything in between. It is a healthy democracy with a broad diversity of people. However, they are surrounded by enemies and therefore the vast majority is a great deal more committed to fighting terrorism than Westerners who dictate arm-chair morality from their safe European and North American homes.

I don’t know what makes you believe that Iran is going to give up Hezbollah/Hamas and in return the U.S. is going to strong-arm an independently-minded country like Israel. If you have some intelligence data to support that then please share it, because either you have spies in D.C. and Tehran who have info nobody else in the universe has –or– you scored some killer peyote buttons...

Gert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Renegade Eye said...

From 11/10/2008 Stratfor:

After a three-month hiatus, Iran seems set to re-emerge near the top of the U.S. agenda. Last week, the Iranian government congratulated U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on his Nov. 4 electoral victory. This marks the first time since the Iranian Revolution that such greetings have been sent.

While it seems trivial, the gesture is quite significant. It represents a diplomatic way for the Iranians to announce that they regard Obama’s election as offering a potential breakthrough in 30 years of U.S. relations with Iran. At his press conference, Obama said he does not yet have a response to the congratulatory message, and reiterated that he opposes Iran’s nuclear program and its support for terrorism. The Iranians returned to criticizing Obama after this, but without their usual passion.

The Warming of U.S.-Iranian Relations
The warming of U.S.-Iranian relations did not begin with Obama’s election; it began with the Russo-Georgian War. In the weeks and months prior to the August war, the United States had steadily increased tensions with Iran. This process proceeded along two tracks.

On one track, the United States pressed its fellow permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom) and Germany to join Washington in imposing additional sanctions on Iran. U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs William J. Burns joined a July 19 meeting between EU foreign policy adviser Javier Solana and Iranian national security chief Saeed Jalili, which was read as a thaw in the American position on Iran. The Iranian response was ambiguous, which is a polite way of saying that Tehran wouldn’t commit to anything. The Iranians were given two weeks after the meeting to provide an answer or face new sanctions.

A second track consisted of intensified signals of potential U.S. military action. Recall the carefully leaked report published in The New York Times on June 20 regarding Israeli preparations for airstrikes against Iran. According to U.S. — not Israeli — sources, the Israeli air force rehearsed for an attack on Iran by carrying out a simulated attack over Greece and the eastern Mediterranean Sea involving more than 100 aircraft.

At the same time, reports circulated about Israeli planes using U.S. airfields in Iraq in preparation for an attack on Iran. The markets and oil prices — at a high in late July and early August — were twitching with reports of a potential blockade of Iranian ports, while the Internet was filled with lurid reports of a fleet of American and French ships on its way to carry out the blockade.

The temperature in U.S.-Iranian relations was surging, at least publicly. Then Russia and Georgia went to war, and Iran suddenly dropped off the U.S. radar screen. Washington went quiet on the entire Iranian matter, and the Israelis declared that Iran was two to five years from developing a nuclear device (as opposed to a deliverable weapon), reducing the probability of an Israeli airstrike. From Washington’s point of view, the bottom fell out of U.S. policy on Iran when the Russians and Georgians opened fire on each other.

The Georgian Connection
There were two reasons for this.

First, Washington had no intention of actually carrying out airstrikes against Iran. The United States was far too tied down in other areas to do that. Nor did the Israelis intend to attack. The military obstacles to what promised to be a multiday conventional strike against Iranian targets more than a thousand miles away were more than a little daunting. Nevertheless, generating that threat of such a strike suited U.S. diplomacy. Washington wanted not only to make Iran feel threatened, but also to increase Tehran’s isolation by forging the U.N. Security Council members and Germany into a solid bloc imposing increasingly painful sanctions on Iran.

Once the Russo-Georgian War broke out, however, and the United States sided publicly and vigorously with Georgia, the chances of the Russians participating in such sanctions against Iran dissolved. As the Russians rejected the idea of increased sanctions, so did the Chinese. If the Russians and Chinese weren’t prepared to participate in sanctions, no sanctions were possible, because the Iranians could get whatever they needed from these two countries.

The second reason was more important. As U.S.-Russian relations deteriorated, each side looked for levers to control the other. For the Russians, one of the best levers with the Americans was the threat of selling weapons to Iran. From the U.S. point of view, not only would weapon sales to Iran make it more difficult to attack Iran, but the weapons would find their way to Hezbollah and other undesirable players. The United States did not want the Russians selling weapons, but the Russians were being unpredictable. Therefore, while the Russians had the potential to offer Iran weapons, the United States wanted to reduce Iran’s incentive for accepting those weapons.

The Iranians have a long history with the Russians, including the occupation of northern Iran by Russia during World War II. The Russians are close to Iran, and the Americans are far away. Tehran’s desire to get closer to the Russians is therefore limited, although under pressure Iran would certainly purchase weapons from Russia, just as it has purchased nuclear technology in the past. With the purchase of advanced weapons would come Russian advisers — something that might not be to Iran’s liking unless it were absolutely necessary.

The United States did not want to give Iran a motive for closing an arms deal with Russia, leaving aside the question of whether the Russian threat to sell weapons was anything more than a bargaining chip with the Americans. With Washington rhetorically pounding Russia, pounding Iran at the same time made no sense. For one thing, the Iranians, like the Russians, knew the Americans were spread too thin. Also, the United States suddenly had to reverse its position on Iran. Prior to Aug. 8, Washington wanted the Iranians to feel embattled; after Aug. 8, the last thing the United States wanted was for the Iranians to feel under threat. In a flash, Iran went from being the most important issue on the table to being barely mentioned.

Iran and a Formal U.S. Opening
Different leaks about Iran started to emerge. The Bush administration posed the idea of opening a U.S. interest section in Iran, the lowest form of diplomatic recognition (but diplomatic recognition nonetheless). This idea had been floated June 23, but now it was being floated after the Russo-Georgian War. The initial discussion of the interest section seemed to calm the atmosphere, but the idea went away.

Then, just before U.S. presidential elections in November, the reports re-emerged, this time in the context of a new administration. According to the leaks, U.S. President George W. Bush intended to open diplomatic relations with Iran after the election regardless of who won, in order to free the next president from the burden of opening relations with Iran. In other words, if Obama won, Bush was prepared to provide cover with the American right on an opening to Iran.

If we take these leaks seriously — and we do — this means Bush has concluded that a formal opening to Iran is necessary. Indeed, the Bush administration has been operating on this premise ever since the U.S. troop surge in Iraq. Two things were clear to the Bush administration in 2007: first, that the United States had to make a deal with the Iraqi Sunni nationalist insurgents; and second, that while the Iranians might not be able to impose a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, Tehran had enough leverage with enough Iraq Shiite factions to disrupt Iraq, and thus disrupt the peace process. Therefore, without an understanding with Iran, a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be difficult and full of potentially unpleasant consequences, regardless of who is in the White House.

The issue of Iran’s nuclear program was part of this negotiation. The Iranians were less interested in building a nuclear weapon than in having the United States believe they were building one. As Tehran learned by observing the U.S. reaction to North Korea, Washington has a nuclear phobia. Tehran thus hoped it could use the threat of a nuclear program to force the United States to be more forthcoming on Iranian interests in Iraq, a matter of fundamental importance to Iran. At the same time, the United States had no appetite for bombing Iran, but used the threat of attacks as leverage to get the Iranians to be more tractable.

The Iranians in 2007 withdrew their support from destabilizing elements in Iraq like Muqtada al-Sadr, contributing to a dramatic decline in violence in Iraq. In return, Iran wanted to see an American commitment to withdraw from Iraq on a set timetable. Washington was unprepared to make that commitment. Current talks over a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Washington and Baghdad revolve around just this issue. The Iraqi Shia are demanding a fixed timetable, while the Kurds and Sunnis — not to mention foreign governments like Saudi Arabia — seem to be more comfortable with a residual U.S. force in place to guarantee political agreements.

The Shia are clearly being influenced by Iran on the SOFA issue, as their interests align. The Sunnis and Kurds, however, fear this agreement. In their view, the withdrawal of U.S. forces on a fixed timetable will create a vacuum in Iraq that the Iranians eventually will fill, at the very least by having a government in Baghdad that Tehran can influence. The Kurds and Sunnis are deeply concerned about their own security in such an event. Therefore, the SOFA is not moving toward fruition.

The Iraqi Stumbling Block
There is a fundamental issue blocking the agreement. The United States has agreed to an Iraqi government that is neutral between Washington and Tehran. That is a major defeat for the United States, but an unavoidable one under the circumstances. But a U.S. withdrawal without a residual force means that the Iranians will be the dominant force in the region, and this is not something United States — along with the Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis, the Saudis and Israelis — wants. Therefore the SOFA remains in gridlock, with the specter of Russian-Iranian ties complicating the situation.

Obama’s position during the election was that he favored a timed U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, but he was ambiguous about whether he would want a residual force kept there. Clearly, the Shia and Iranians are more favorably inclined toward Obama than Bush because of Obama’s views on a general withdrawal by a certain date and the possibility of a complete withdrawal. This means that Obama must be extremely careful politically. The American political right is wounded but far from dead, and it would strike hard if it appeared Obama was preparing to give Iran a free hand in Iraq.

One possible way for Obama to proceed would be to keep Russia and Iran from moving closer together. Last week, Obama’s advisers insisted their camp has made no firm commitments on ballistic missile defense (BMD) installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, repudiating claims by Polish President Lech Kaczynski that the new U.S. president-elect had assured him of firm support during a Nov. 8 phone conversation. This is an enormous issue for the Russians.

It is not clear in how broad of a context the idea of avoiding firm commitments on BMD was mentioned, but it might go a long way toward keeping Russia happy and therefore making Moscow less likely to provide aid — material or psychological — to the Iranians. Making Iran feel as isolated as possible, without forcing it into dependence on Russia, is critical to a satisfactory solution for the United States in Iraq.

Complicating this are what appear to be serious political issues in Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been attacked for his handling of the economy. He has seen an ally forced from the Interior Ministry and the head of the Iranian central bank replaced. Ahmadinejad has even come under criticism for his views on Israel, with critics saying that he has achieved nothing and lost much through his statements. He therefore appears to be on the defensive.

The gridlock in Baghdad is not over a tedious diplomatic point, but over the future of Iraq and its relation to Iran. At the same time, there appears to be a debate going on in Iran over whether Ahmadinejad’s policies have improved the outlook for Iran’s role in Iraq. Finally, any serious thoughts the Iranians might have had about cozying up to the Russians have dissipated since August, and Obama might have made them even more distant. Still, Obama’s apparent commitment to a timed, complete withdrawal of U.S. forces poses complexities. His advisers have already hinted at flexibility on these issues.

We think that Bush will — after all his leaks — smooth the way for Obama by opening diplomatic relations with Iran. From a political point of view, this will allow Bush to take some credit for any breakthrough. But from the point of view of U.S. national interest, going public with conversations that have taken place privately over the past couple of years (along with some formal, public meetings in Baghdad) makes a great deal of sense. It could possibly create an internal dynamic in Iran that would force Ahmadinejad out, or at least weaken him. It could potentially break the logjam over the SOFA in Baghdad, and it could even stabilize the region.

The critical question will not be the timing of the U.S. withdrawal. It will be the residual force — whether an American force of 20,000 to 40,000 troops will remain to guarantee that Iran does not have undue influence in Iraq, and that Sunni and Kurdish interests are protected. Obama promised to end the war in Iraq, and he promised to withdraw all U.S. troops. He might have to deal with the fact that he can have the former only if he compromises on the latter. But he has left himself enough room for maneuver that he can do just that.

It seems clear that Iran will now return to the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. If Bush re-establishes formal diplomatic relations with Iran at some level, and if Obama responds to Iranian congratulations in a positive way, then an interesting dynamic will be in place well before Inauguration Day. The key will be the Nov. 10 meeting between Bush and Obama.

Bush wants to make a move that saves some of his legacy; Obama knows he will have to deal with Iran and even make concessions. Obama also knows the political price he will have to pay if he does. If Bush makes the first move, it will make things politically easier for Obama. Obama can afford to let Bush take the first step if it makes the subsequent steps easier for the Obama administration. But first, there must be an understanding between Bush and Obama. Then can there be an understanding between the United States and Iran, and then there can be an understanding among Iraqi Shia, Sunnis and Kurds. And then history can move on.

There are many understandings in the way of history.

Freedomnow said...

Gert,

The ban on you is still in effect until you apologize to Beak for the anti-Semitic comments that you aimed towards him on this blog and your nasty attempt to blackmail him.

This is non-negotiable.

Freedomnow said...

Ren,

What you have cut and pasted in no way contradicts what I have been saying, but does manage to throw some falsehoods out.

Before I get to the falsehoods I should point out that the analysis comically notes that maybe Iran will follow up on its congratulations for Obama’s presidential victory.

Since then Obama has been stymied by Bush’s successful SOFA negotiations and cannot proceed with the withdrawal that he promised on his presidential campaign. That is no doubt, one of the reasons why the Iranians say that Obama is more of the same. Political reality slammed our unicorn president right between the eyes.

In any case, this analysis was premature in stating, “Therefore, the SOFA is not moving toward fruition”. The success of SOFA was a true example of diplomacy.

It goes on to credit Iran for the reduction of violence in Iraq and that does not account for the fact that Iran has switched its support to JAM splinter groups and continues to stoke violence in Iraq. On the contrary it makes a direct assertion that is outright false, saying that, “in 2007 withdrew their support from destabilizing elements in Iraq”, but Iran continued to send Revolutionary Guards to Iraq in order to support violence against the Iraqi govt. It was the building up of the Iraqi security forces to the point in which they finally became capable of taking the lead in defeating our enemies in combat which brought about this reduction in violence. Iran merely reacted to this situation, but continued its covert support of violence in Iraq.

The political reality is that the Iranian leadership is deceitful and not a reliable partner for negotiations. This political reality cannot be ignored. Negotiations with the regime should be done quietly so that we are not publicly mocked by Iran’s leaders to the chants of “Death to America”. Obama must learn to use the sort of diplomacy that made SOFA a reality. This was not done by flattering the Mullahs. It was done in backroom deals, without vain attempts to ensure credit for success.

There are many understandings of history, but reality must still be respected.

ravin said...

wow, lot's of issues here..not sure i want to address all of them...statfor may have implied at one time that iran doesn't want a sudden movement of US troops out of iraq because iran is keeping them busy in iraq and in afghanistan...

iran wants to run a natural gas pipeline from the south pars project in iran throught pakistan then into india...and about a year ago iran stated they could guarantee delivery of the gas thru pakistan after 2011...which is why they would want to have US troops out of the area or at least not able to interfere in their project

since, the likes of Mitt Romney who runs a hedgefund that invests in european companies that invest in iran...the Clintons take Arab money...maybe the iran thinks the US troops are going to protect their pipeline....just a thought

considering that china and india built the road from the iranian border thru afghanistan to the baluchisten area in order for india to bypass pakistan and use the port in southern iran then move the goods up iran thru afghanistan...so, maybe they think they will need that route to stop the US troops from gaining to much ground in pakistan

of course, i could say more...at another time...

freedomnow, i agree with some of ur ideas....i just would like to add the issues that do not get talked about

but, it is a long war and i have alot of enemies

take care...ravin ;))

Freedomnow said...

For a long time pundits emitted rather high levels of carbon pollution by stating that the U.S. only fought in Afghanistan to protect a pipeline there, but after years of hot air and no pipeline these accusations are fading.

The Stratfor report was written during negotiations of SOFA and was written on the mistaken premise that it would fail. It basically assumed that Obama would have the ability to dictate a withdrawal at his own discretion.

The first signing of SOFA came only a week after the report was issued and the final signing was about 2 weeks after that, giving this report a very short shelf life.

I hope at least that Ahmadinejad is as unpopular as the report painted him.

ravin said...

FN,

i don't recall hearing any pundits talk about the blue line project which has not been built as of yet...iran, and the US are still fighting over the land...some of the pipeline was built but it isn't up to full usage because of the attacks in western afghanistan and western pakistan...

the pipeline u r talkin about is the nabbacco pipeline that goes from azerbaijan to georgia...which the deal wasn't signed because azerbaijan doesn't have enough natural gas to fill the pipeline so they need natural gas from turkmenistan

that is all i have to say at this time about either project...or the south pars project

i never said i was against the war i am just against not looking at the broad war that we are in...

i do not want to see our troops stuck in the middle of something when all the muslims/arabs decide to come to their brothers side...

though i also do not believe all muslims believe in all the stuff they are taught much like christians and jews...one could include pagans for that matter

oh, ahmadinejad will win the race but that issue is for another day

have a good night freedomnow,

ravin ;))

Freedomnow said...

My personal feeling is that Ahmadinejad will win the election and I believe that the Stratfor report is wrong about him as well, but I was just hoping that at least on that point the report was not exaggerating. Although there are no great frontrunners in that election, it would be nice to see that buffoon lose.

ravin said...

i have to be honest...i didn't read that startfor report only because my time has been occupied with unfortuanetly doctors and lawyers...

but the whole ahmadinejad thing is that he managed to get former President Khatami to leave the race. In fact, Roxana Saberi had her picture taken with the former President.

With Khatami out of the race, the other opponent is really a hard liner and will not pull the votes that Khatami would have. Thus giving Ahmadinejad a win.

have a good night

Freedomnow said...

The Stratfor report was yet another report like the Iraq Study Group Report, that was proven wrong with time. Yet no one draws attention to their errors because they are errors that the media wants to desperately believe by any means necessary.

At this rate in 10 years from now history books will tell our children that Iran was to thank for freeing our embassy hostages in 81.

ravin said...

"At this rate in 10 years from now history books will tell our children that Iran was to thank for freeing our embassy hostages in 81."

Dear God, I hope not...

really, the hardliners in iran are still upset over 1953 not 1979...

the story of how khotemi came to power is quite interesting...

everyone blames the US for saddam... yet, saddam had more connections to france then the US same goes for khotmemi

Freedomnow said...

Sure, and the hostage crisis was nothing but a ruse to discredit the Bazargan government. It became a means to justify the Islamists' consolidation of power (well unsuspecting Iranian Leftists did the same, but paid for it).

Leftists fall for Islamist subterfuge every time.

beakerkin said...

Here we go again

the Persian people do not have a history of Jew hatred. In fact Persian history was generally tolerant of Jews until recently. Ren would know this if he had studied actual history instead of reading Mickey marxist cartoon versions.

The current regime is trying to be more Muslim than Saudi Arabia and is mimicking traditional Arab Muslim hatred of Jews.

As for the state of Israel there is still a decent sized Jewish community in Iran. If one sees an anti semite in Iran one is likely dealing with a Communist or a party hack.These are not to be confused with rthe Persian people.

FYI There are many groups in Iran with a greater claim to nation status than fake Arab refugees in Israel. How many posts has Ren dedicated to their cause? 0 Populist hatred of Jews is the cement of the grand Trotskyite alliance with Jihadis, Nazis and anarchists.

Z said...

So glad I stopped to see if you'd blogged...good to see another great post!

And, today, Iran's telling America they might not mind talking with us. SURE, they know we're weakened.
Funny, did WE ever say we wish them DEAD? Did WE ever threaten the grids of ANY country!? Did we hijack ships, did we blow buildings up?

And now Mr. Obama wants to chat.. we've lost everything, And so fast.

Freedomnow said...

Hey Z,

Its good to see you around.

Now radical Black Caucaus Democrats are putting Obama in the corner through unilateral diplomacy to Cuba, a violation of the Logan Act. This gets him caught between Cuban/American Obama-supporters and Leftwing Obama-supporters.

He cant control what he started.

FJ said...

Happy Easter, FN!

Freedomnow said...

Happy Easter to you too my friend!

FJ said...

Kawania che Keekeru!

FJ said...

I yoou need to "buy" a buck-tail this year, I'd understand. ;-)

FJ said...

Okay, holding out for the post-holiday 50% off buck-tail sale. I understand...

Freedomnow said...

Oh Nooooo~~~~~~~!!!!!!!!

FJ is celebrating weird holidays again and speaking in forked tongue.

It must be St Tammany's day.

Now that you and Tammany have given me fishing rights, I think I'll have to perfect my recipe for Fish House Punch. That way I can have something to keep me occupied while waiting for a bite.

FJ said...

Use LOTS of rum, FN... ;-)

FJ said...

She's free. I wonder what the mullahs got from Hillary for her.

Freedomnow said...

Hmmm... so much for Obama's Nowruz greetings. The Mullahs humiliated him. It was nothing but the Mullahs putting Obama in his place.

Although they have a long history of Socialism, they are more of Islamists than Socialists, like Obama's pal Chavez.

Obama is so caught up in rhetoric he cannot understand Iran's ambitions or motivations. They do not want him to succeed even if he gives Iraq to them, which he cant do anyway.

American secular culture has to be eradicated from the region, including Afghanistan. Democratic ideals and Western culture are threats to the Mullahs. He doesnt get it.

American liberal ideology works as a weapon against domestic enemies, but against foreign enemies it is completely toothless...

Z said...

Man, you don't post often, but they're sure worth waiting for. The post and the comments are a lesson and should be broadcast for more to read/hear.
Thanks,Freedom, and the good commenters.....great conversation.

I, too, wonder how much Iran got for the girl's release.

And, Beamish is right; I, too, believe obama thinks he can solve world problems by 'force of personality'. What a dreadful, very dangerous mistake to make.

Freedomnow said...

Hey Z,

You are too kind. Thanks for dropping by.

Sorry that I dont post often. I am a perfectionist and it takes too much time to crank out a post.

There is so much to write about and so little time...

nanc said...

just came by to check on one of my favorite bloggers!

glad to see you're still kickin'!

*8]

Freedomnow said...

Kickin' n' screamin'

Hi Nanc!!!!

nanc said...

throw a little salsa on it!