My IPS analysis on Iran crisis ripples

… is here. Also archived here.
Of course, the 1,200-word format is ways too short to give due consideration to all the actual and potential ripples from the recent crisis in Iran; and as it happened what I ended up giving shortest shrift to in the piece was the effects Iran’s internal crisis will inevitably have on the prospects for ramping down the still very dangerous confrontation between the US and Iran over Iran’s nuclear technology program.
So what the article dealt with mainly were the also very important arenas of Iraq, the balance in the Persian Gulf more generally, Arab-Israeli peacemaking, and Afghanistan.
On Gulf balance issues, I just went back and re-read this December 2003 JWN post, ‘Geopolitics of the Gulf 201’. It still looks pretty helpful today (along with its precursor, ‘Geopolitics of the Gulf 101‘.
I had written about the effects of the Iran crisis on the nuclear issue in this June 20 post on JWN. I see that Laura Rozen has a new post on her blog on (mainly) this topic. Hat-tip for that, btw, goes to the interesting new blog being produced by Trita Parsi’s National Iranian-American Council.
The bottom line from the ‘experts’ cited by Rozen on how the Iranian crisis will affect the prospects for Obama getting a negotiated resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue is really all over the place.
She quotes Parsi himself as saying,

    “It’s very tough for the president to engage in a serious manner within the next three-to six months because of how the Iranian government has been conducting itself… It’s politically far more difficult for him to pull this off,” than before the Iranian government crackdown on opposition supporters. “I’m not saying it’s impossible.”

Then she quotes Georgetown University’s Daniel Byman as saying,

    “Some people are more optimistic, some are less… To me, we can hope to have more leverage, but we could have less. My impression is, we were going to try [engagement]. If it didn’t work, we’d move on. We would not be naïve that it would work.”

That is a fascinating quote, for two reasons. First, he is frank in admitting he does not know which way it will go. Second, what’s this thing about “moving on”? It strikes me that is almost certainly a reference to a plan that if the negotiations didn’t work the US would attack Iran militarily, or allow Israel to fire the first shot in that.
Anyway, I’ll try to get back to this topic more when I can.

24 thoughts on “My IPS analysis on Iran crisis ripples”

  1. For Isr vr Ira it would be too simple I suppose to just say that if anyone attacks anyone we will get whoever started it first.
    The whole ‘premption’ idea of attacking a country because of what they “might” do could lead to blowing up half the world. Stupid,stupid,stupid.

  2. If Obama is serious about engagement, which remains to be seen, there are lots of ways to negotiate.
    Condi publicly “offered to negotiate,” a cynical ploy that was designed to be rejected–publicly. An Obama offer could be just as cynical, giving Iran a six month deadline.
    At this point back channels would be much more productive, which would show sincerity, build confidence, and not cause apoplexy on the part of the neocons. Quietly pulling back on black ops would be a good place to start.
    The real issue, however, is whether any American can truly offer Iran the game changer–sovereignty of its internal affairs and its energy resources. If the President cannot, then all this chatter about negotiations is nothing more than mindless gibberish.

  3. The Iranians have shown no interest in negotiating away there nuclear option. More time is what they need and they are “negotiating” for time and more time every month and year.
    The US has not had any interest in negotiations until lately… and now more time will be needed. The US will take time lining up the presuure pionts (Russia and China)to get Iran to the table….these take time too…
    It seems the Irianians are getting exactly what they want- time… at a price…

  4. The Iranians have shown no interest in negotiating away there nuclear option.
    Why should they? They have as much right as any other country to develop nuclear power.

  5. The entire premise of “talking” to the US/UN is based on that…. I didn’t invent it.
    Why should they or why not is the question, it is the whole piont.
    The leaders believe it is in their interest….regardless of consequences…but as we see the leaders need not democratic consensus.
    How do you change a leaders mind? This is the real question…. and if you can not come to agreement… what is the next best option for both?
    The best but imperfect case for a countries change in coarse is Libya… not perfect, but no longer a periah…it wasn’t the bombs or threats that changed its mind. Lessons to look at, not what sanctions, but what internally changed.

  6. “They have as much right as any other country to develop nuclear power.”
    Not the issue. The issue is/was their refusal to be transparent about their nuclear weapons capability intentions. Despite six years of EU and Russian negotiations.
    Given the current events, looks like the issue may turn out into “will Obama let Iran become the North Korea of the middle east.”?

  7. The issue is/was their refusal to be transparent about their nuclear weapons capability intentions.

  8. Salah, bro
    Amazing how these characters can be so g-ddamn brazen. Lies, subterfuge, propaganda, deceit, venality is what characterises them best. Instead of being ashamed they wear it on their chests with pride. So Iran should be transparent but not Israel. Why? Cuz their crazed necrophiliac Yahweh says so.

  9. “Did Israeli told any one or UN agencies what their attentions 30 years ago?
    Did Israelis come forward and been transparent about their nuclear weapons when some voices come out talking about Israeli capability?”
    True but the times were very different in the ’60s and ’70s.
    Once Saddam had gone, there was no longer a regional existential threat to Iran, so why would they want nukes? Well it’s pretty clear now the answer is to preserve the Islamic Republic, as it is presently constituted – ie the current regime – from the desire of many, of not a majority, of the people to have a more western-style democracy.
    That Guardian Council, or so I read, is made up of very old men, rather like the Politburo used to be up until Gorbachev.
    The Iranian govt has always vehemently claimed that its nuclear intentions are totally peaceful, while declining to put the issue beyond doubt.
    The difference now is that nobody will believe them, least of all the Iranian spokespeople in the west like Parsi. Whatever its previouis intention, it is now obvious the current regime desperately needs nuclear weapons for self preservation.

  10. bb.
    True but the times were very different in the ’60s and ’70s.
    bb, we talking here about a matter of life here of course time a factor, but not different. why should be time different for Iran not for Israeli or Pakistan?
    Let not foll ourself with your nut picks of Saddam here,during Shah Iran start her program with US aid, way before Saddam… so its not Saddam you convenient picks here. The argument IS it her right or NOT?
    My point if you go read my comment is what mean “been transparent about your nuclear weapons”, tell us which State on earth came forward and had been transparent about their nuclear weapons?
    Which of these states who developed their program? Germany? US? Franc? UK? di they were been transparent?
    The difference now is that nobody will believe them, least of all the Iranian spokespeople in the west like Parsi.
    US/Bush told you and all the world that bringing democracy/Freedom to Iraq, do they did?
    Very simple Google about that you find who can believe what you believe?
    And as for Parsi, made my luage when some picking some ODD voice here jsut like Ahmad Galabi and his ilks about Iraq!! how much truth what he was talking to western people /media about Iraq?
    the current regime desperately needs nuclear weapons for self preservation.
    Yap, you said it, it’s his right, if you have problem with that’s your problem to them.. then why should be attacked?

  11. The CNN reports of what is going on in Iran are scary. I don’t think these are the people we want to befriend, if I could I wouldn’t want to live on the planet with.
    The Gaza whinners somehow lost their vocal cords now, cowards.
    Iranians wounded during protests are being seized at hospitals by members of an Islamic militia, an Amnesty International official told CNN.
    Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami says rioters in Iran will be “firmly” dealt with if they continue to protest.
    more photos »
    “The Basijis are waiting for them,” said Banafsheh Akhlaghi, western regional director of the human rights group, referring to the government’s paramilitary arm that has cracked down on protesters during the violent aftermath of the June 12 presidential election.
    Amnesty International has collected accounts from people who have left Iran and expatriates with relatives there who say the Basij has prohibited medical professionals from getting identification information from demonstrators wounded in the streets, Akhlaghi said on Saturday. They are also not allowed to ask how the injuries happened.
    Once the patients are treated, the militia removes them from the hospital to an undisclosed location, she said.
    Iran has restricted international news agencies, including CNN, from reporting inside the Islamic republic. However, CNN has received similar accounts, including that of a woman who arrived in the United States from Iran with a broken ankle and thumb. Watch reports of the crackdown on protesters at their homes »
    The woman, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of her safety, said she was injured in a rally, but was too scared to go to a hospital. Instead, a doctor came to her home to treat her.
    “The point is, when they are being taken to the hospital they don’t actually get there,” her friend who accompanied her told CNN last week. “Just like the reporters are being told not to report what they really see. Hospitals, administrative levels, are being told to stay out of the public because they’re saying you’re accusing the regime of being hostile.”
    Don’t Miss
    Sunday last day for Iran candidates to file complaints
    Iran’s security council to Moussavi: Back off
    Blog: Punished mercilessly? Is this Islam?
    In Depth: Iran election fallout
    Amnesty International is also reporting the detention of at least 70 scholars and eight politicians — most from former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s administration — in addition to several opposition activists and international journalists.
    More than two weeks into turmoil, Iran’s leaders turned up the heat Friday as a high-ranking cleric warned protesters that they would be punished “firmly” and shown no mercy.
    “Rioters and those who mastermind the unrest must know the Iranian nation will not give in to pressure and accept the nullification of the election results,” said Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami during Friday prayers in Tehran, according to Iran’s state-run Press TV.
    “I ask the Judiciary to firmly deal with these people and set an example for everyone,” Khatami said.
    Khatami also blamed demonstrators for the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who emerged as a powerful symbol of opposition after her death a week ago was captured on a cell phone video. Khatami said the foreign media had used Neda for propaganda purposes.
    Human Rights Watch, citing interviews with people in Iran, said Friday the Basij is carrying out brutal nighttime raids, destroying property in private homes and beating civilians in an attempt to stop nightly rooftop chants of “Allahu Akbar” (God is great).
    The nighttime chanting is emblematic of the protests 30 years ago during the Iranian revolution, which toppled the monarchy of the shah.
    “While most of the world’s attention is focused on the beatings in the streets of Iran during the day, the Basiji are carrying out brutal raids on people’s apartments during the night,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director for Human Rights Watch.
    Residents from northern Tehran neighborhoods told Human Rights Watch that the Basij fired live rounds into the air, in the direction of buildings from which they believed the chants were sounding.
    Basij members kicked down doors and “when they entered the homes, they beat” people, a resident said.
    The rights group said it had collected similar accounts of violence from several other neighborhoods. Such accounts also are consistent with numerous accounts CNN has received of nighttime roundups of opposition activists and international journalists from their homes. Amateur videos sent to CNN also show members of the Basij, wearing plain shirts and pants and wielding clubs and hoses, dispersing protesters and beating a handful of Iranians at a time.

  12. The Gaza whinners somehow lost their vocal cords now, cowards…..Iranians wounded during protests are being seized at hospitals by members of an Islamic militia, an Amnesty International official told CNN.
    The Gaza??
    Let see Gaza in real HUMMAN EYES?
    Today a group of Israeli extremists / Settlers in Al-Khallil town injured 13 Palestinians………IDF blocked the roads in & out and arrested 20 Palestinians because they defending/ stand against the Israeli Settlers!!
    Ok let compare the Israeli human’s rights abuses with Iran’s human rights abuses, which country should be attacked/ concerned by what it called “Amnesty International”?
    What Amnesty International say about those thousands of Iraqi in US custody in Iraq they detained for so long in unknown US camps inside Iraq until today?
    Please give a break, we got sick and tired of these “Amnesty International” and other US tools agencies, they are not more than a mouth of …….

  13. Btw, when all talking about Mullah/Iran they forgot another regime in ME which similar or far more aggressive with his own people specially women, in addition barding terrorists till now (check iraq after 2003)!!! guess who is this regimes
    Saudi regime? What is your opinion?

  14. Parsi said something else that was quite interesting that H didn’t include. He said:
    “But Parsi offered an alternative theory. That a possible motive for the alleged vote fix was to preserve a united hardline regime that could engage with the U.S., without the internal rifts that plagued Iran the last time it had a Reformist president split from the harder-line clerical establishment. ”
    Is he suggesting the vote fix and the sheer brutality which is happening now has a possible “bright-side-for-Obama” interpretation? If so, this gal has heard everything.

  15. When I grew up, got to meet and even strike up a friendship with my childhood idol Dosh (the late Kariel Gardosh), I asked him which, to his mind, was his most enduring political caricature. For that, he replied, we need to return to December 1956, approximately a month after the Sinai Campaign and the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Dosh noticed that while the international community was seething about Israel’s feisty self-defense, it wasn’t overly perturbed about the human rights and self-determination brazenly crushed beneath heavy military armor right in Central Europe.
    The hypocrisy, Dosh recalled, was hardly surprising but nevertheless galling, particularly the shamelessness of it. So he compressed it all into one frame. In the background a house labeled Hungary is going up in flames. In the foreground UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold, in firefighter gear, wields a hose labeled UN. But he’s not dousing the blaze. He’s drenching little Israel – Dosh’s iconic sandal-clad Srulik – who stands soaked, angry and perplexed as he’s subjected to more wet punishment.
    Dosh produced way more dramatic and memorable cartoons, but he estimated that the situation portrayed in this one would always stay topical. He predicted that Israel would always be the world’s whipping boy, thrashed for the misdeeds of others and used for diversionary tactics. Instead of dealing with urgent crises and genuinely alarming dangers, the powers-that-be will rage at Israel to draw attention away from their own dereliction and cowardice.
    “The old czars,” Dosh noted, “used to say, ‘Beat the Jews and save Russia.’ Today it’s ‘beat the Jews and save the world.'” He reckoned “this would stay true even when nobody remembers Hammarskjold.”
    IF DOSH only knew how right he was. Today he’d probably have produced a very similar pen-and-ink commentary, but with Iran burning and Barack Obama extinguishing – Israel. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    As pro-democracy demonstrators are killed in Teheran and as its ayatollahs further their designs to arm themselves with nukes, the leader of the free world harps on Israeli settlements. You can almost understand where he’s coming from. Iran is a tough customer, and crazy too. It’s tempting not to rile it and to deflect criticism by focusing on some lonely remote outposts in the middle of Judea and Samaria’s barren moonscape.
    Not only isn’t Israel scary like Iran, it’ll broadmindedly collaborate in an effort to appease its detractors. How facile it therefore is to claim that peace and bliss on earth hinge on tearing down a few Jewish tents, rickety lean-tos, ramshackle sheds and decrepit trailers. It’s true heroism to take them on in the guise of securing global propriety. It’s plain to see that no greater peril plagues humanity – if we only avert our gaze from Iran, that is.
    Accordingly, to stress the need to downplay the Iranian fuss, Obama gave his people a lesson in moral relativism: “It’s important to understand that, although there is amazing ferment taking place in Iran, the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised.” Not unexpectedly, Obama informed the unenlightened masses that he won’t take sides:” I take a wait-and-see approach… It is not productive, given the history of US-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections.”
    Of course it’s one thing to entertain such notions, but quite another to broadcast them out loud. All sorts of perceptions may prevail in the Oval Office and shape policy, so long as they’re not ballyhooed. Blabbermouth statecraft, however, is a bad idea. Noisy hype doesn’t go unnoticed, especially not in the nuance-sensitive Mideast. Obama may arrogantly consider himself superclever, but his overtly declared nonintervention is equivalent to intervention. His error is eerily reminiscent of the series of egregious errors toward Teheran during the term of Jimmy Carter, the past-president most like Obama, though hardly as radical.
    IN HIS MEMOIRS, Ayatollah Khomeini’s first foreign minister Ebrahim Yazdi writes that “the shah was doomed the minute Carter entered the White House.” The novice president indiscreetly sent all the wrong signals, beginning with an exceedingly public cold-shoulder to the shah. The mullahs were heartened and exuded confidence. Increasingly shaken, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi sought to ingratiate himself to Carter by relaxing restrictions on opposition agitators. That further emboldened the religious fanatics and spawned unrest. Carter admonished the shah against quelling the disturbances by force.
    Willy-nilly, Carter’s bungling was instrumental in installing a reactionary, repressive theocracy in Teheran. Under the banner of freedom, Carter helped the forces of medieval darkness. The shah was a goner and the ayatollahs repaid Carter by holding 52 American embassy staffers hostage for 444 days until he was replaced by Ronald Reagan.
    Carter’s indisputable legacy was the bloodshed of the Iran-Iraq War, the carnage at the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center and Israeli Embassy, the burgeoning of Hizbullah and Hamas, the co-option of Syria/Lebanon and Gaza into Iran’s evil sphere, massive worldwide terror-mongering and lately nuclear ambitions and rhetoric about wiping Israel off the map.
    During the entire embassy standoff fiasco, strikingly ineffectual Carter dithered piteously. Yet he compensated for inaction on one front by hyperactivity on another. As per the Dosh depiction, he turned the water-jets on Israel.
    CARTER’S ENTIRE diplomatic energy reserves were misspent on pressuring Menachem Begin at Camp David, and quite ruthlessly. His latent anti-Semitism would finally manifest itself with the publication of his Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. His misguided liberalism in international affairs led Carter to bolster the worst despots in our time while lashing out at one of the most intrinsically democratic of societies anywhere – Israel.
    Unrepentant, same said Carter hobnobbed with Gaza’s terror-kingpins last week and spuriously censured Israel for treating Gazans “more like animals than human beings… Never before in history has a large community been savaged by bombs and missiles and then deprived of the means to repair itself… This abuse must cease. The crimes must be investigated. The wall must be brought down, and the basic right of freedom must come to you,” he told Hamastan’s ayatollah-proxies, without a word about Israel’s pullback from Gaza, the uprooting of 21 settlements and the atrocities that Gaza subsequently unleashed on Israel.
    Carter is Obama’s mentor and Obama is the new Carter. Their motto is: In democracy’s name be kind to democracy’s most rabid enemies and be nasty to embattled democrats. Hence, while it’s “not productive” for Obama to meddle in Iran, it’s imperative he meddle in Israel. Deja vu. As in Carter’s administration, a lopsided artificial balance must be struck in pseudo-sophisticated statesmanship.
    In other words, no matter where fires flare uncontrollably, the fire hoses will be aimed at Israel. This is why Dosh’s nearly 53-year-old caricature remains ever-relevant – just as he predicted.

  16. In other words, no matter where fires flare uncontrollably, the fire hoses will be aimed at Israel.
    So where all “the fire hoses will be aimed at” for that last 60 eras Madam Sarah?
    People they should realize as bb said time in different now and leave what you have in minds when your small kids and come to the reality you are living in small village now called “world” so get off the horse and talk to all sort of people without precondition on your own early learning.
    Btw, whatever Jew have problems around the world includes Islamic world its not Islamic/ Iran fault its all WORLD fault… when people like you can understand this clear fact.

  17. appoligies thsi should be read as
    So where all Israeli’s “the fire hoses” aimed at, for that last 60 years Madam Sarah?

  18. My brother Salah, you fought the Iranians while in the Iraqi army, you used gas weapons, they used under age children soldiers. A Million Iranians died, you were neighbors, you both had plenty of oil and could have led tranquil lives pursuing your cultural, familiar, religious, or other interest, but no, somehow you chose to fight, because you are led by autocrats with no accountability to the welfare of their people. You did not have a say, you had to fight.
    Look at a map, not only the Gulf has oil, but it is also empty, there is room for everybody, what is your problem? That a nephew of the prophet parted ways many centuries ago and started his own version of Islam? Is that worth the killings and destroyed futures?
    Why don’t you look inside and ask why the hell you had to go through that. Was it really Israel’s fault that you fought your neighbor. I am sad for you, and for what your lives and your country could have been if you had a more balanced and rational attitude, like that of “no drama Obama”.

  19. Sarah Honig, you ‘feisty self defense’ minx. Why does O’bama meddle in Izzy and not in Iran? Cuz he is paying you mucho $$$ while he is paying nothing to Iran. If you couldn’t figure that out you must be brain dead. I really like your geopolitical recapitulation especially with the parts about evil and with everything centered around dirty little Izzy. You must have been getting private lessons from HK, Bernie Lewis, papa and son Pipes and W. BTW what up with the dis on Jimbo. I thought you folks would love him as he spouts morality as much as you folk do or at least a close second.
    Titus: That nephew of the Prophet (PBUH) didn’t start his own religion. He was martyred by the forces of reaction. He fought against tyranny then as Hamas and Hizbullah do now. You know very little, just enough to disparage, so shut the eff up.

  20. Titus,
    One day people will get their desire but with their own minds not as outsider like to do…
    Titus, you either don’t know (I doubt it) or you try to cover them.
    1 – US / Germany supplied the Chemical weapon to their spoiled Saddam, and wait Saddam was in Cairo very close to US embassy their before coming back in 1968….. So he is not chosen by his people, this street / gangster most Iraqi knew him along back can be the angle they looking for, isn’t Titus?
    If you like more detail you should ask, but we are with limited space.
    2- 1980 Israeli Attacked Iraq what you call this act in any dictionary of International law? Is it a crime? What about killing dozen of Iraqi scientists as came out from Israelis themselves?
    These are few examples refreshing your memory here
    Yes wealth is bigger than us but the greed and criminals looks for the Honey Pots that was very obvious after 2003 with Iraq.
    Apologies for been out of topic
    Have a good day

  21. So I just read that there is a private check point that has its own set of rules what a palestinian can carry to and from work. They can’t have more than 5 slices of pita, more than 10 olives, large bottles of water or soda.
    It is shit like this that makes every human, muslim and non-muslim, want to come over and kick the crap out of you MOFO’s and then stuff it back down your throats.
    One of these days the tables will turn. If someone says that it will not change then life is shit and not worth living. Hopefully in my life time…

  22. Why don’t you look inside and ask why the hell you had to go through that. Was it really Israel’s fault that you fought your neighbor.,
    Part of its not All

  23. Hey Muezzin, I see you escalated to insults and physical threats, very typical attitude of your side, and not very brave given that you hide on the other side of a computer. Post your name and location if you are going to make threats. Let’s see how Helena deals with moslem transgressions, hasn’t banned a moslem since the days of the prophet.
    Oh, and I have news for you, all Americans have to go through checkpoints at every airport and cannot carry fluids or beverages either, yes thanks to the gift of Islam and the privilege of having them in our midst, say that we don’t sacrifice for multiculturalism Muezzin.

  24. Muezzin spews:

    Titus: That nephew of the Prophet (PBUH) didn’t start his own religion. He was martyred by the forces of reaction. He fought against tyranny then as Hamas and Hizbullah do now. You know very little, just enough to disparage, so shut the eff up.

    I have very little use for more knowledge about the Prophet and his creation of a religion that could not even hold together past his own nephew. I couldn’t care less about what the disagreement was all about, but when the US pulls out of Iraq the followers and detractors of the nephew will blow each other to pieces as only the peace loving religion knows how to. They already started at the rate of 40-60 per suicide bombing.
    Forces of reaction? Which mosque and Imam (PBUH) feeds you that waste? If blaming others was an olympic sport Arab countries would finally have some medals to show. Look inside my friend, that is where the problems may be coming from.
    Oh, and please save the orders and expletives for your own family, you are not going to tell me when I can speak or that I have to walk behind you, or cover my face.

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