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Working for International Dialogue and Peace
Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and Director of the Council for the National Interest, says that “military and intelligence personnel,” “intimately familiar” with the intelligence, say that the narrative that Assad or Russia did it is a “sham,” instead endorsing the Russian narrative that Assad’s forces had bombed a storage facility. Giraldi’s intelligence sources are “astonished” about the government and media narrative and are considering going public out of concern over the danger of worse war there. Giraldi also observes that the Assad regime had no motive to do such a thing at this time. ››read more
With the latest hasty judgment about Tuesday’s poison-gas deaths in a rebel-held area of northern Syria, the mainstream U.S. news media once more reveals itself to be a threat to responsible journalism and to the future of humanity. Again, we see the troubling pattern of verdict first, investigation later, even when that behavior can lead to a dangerous war escalation and many more deaths. ››read more
The threat of further U.S. military action in Syria looms with the Pentagon reportedly drawing up plans for a response to Tuesday's deadly chemical attack that Defense Secretary James Mattis will present to President Donald Trump Thursday evening. ››read more
Congress is in an apparent race with the Trump administration to see who can pose the greater threat to the sustainability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)–the nuclear accord between the United States, other major world powers, and Iran. ››read more
Central Command leader Gen. Joseph Votel today called for the US to use “military means” against Iran as an effort to disrupt their “activities,” saying it was vital that the US “expose and hold them accountable for the things that they are doing.”
Votel did not specify exactly to what extent he intended the military means to be used directly against Iran, or in what context. He did however complain of Iran committing “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East. ››read more
Imposing new sanctions on Iran that are unrelated to the JCPOA and have almost zero chance of producing the desired results is needlessly antagonistic. In fact, Iran’s cheeky response this week to new U.S. sanctions was to impose “its own sanctions regime on U.S. military companies involved in supporting Israeli settlements.” This tit-for-tat dynamic risks eroding trust between Iran, the United States, and the other signatories to the deal (the U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany), creating a disincentive for Iran to comply with the deal’s restrictions. Most worryingly, this may even be the intention of those who oppose the deal. They recognize that pulling out of the JCPOA unilaterally would be too costly for America diplomatically, but if they can provoke violations on Iran’s part, they can destroy the deal and avoid blame. ››read more
The fact is that Mattis, too, is obsessed with Iran. He has hyperbolically called the Islamic Republic “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East” and — in a Trump-esque descent into the world of conspiracy theories — suggested Tehran is working with ISIS. “Iran is not an enemy of ISIS,” Mattis declaimed in 2016, because “the one country in the Middle East that has not been attacked” by ISIS “is Iran. That is more than happenstance, I’m sure.” According to the Washington Post, in the run-up to the talks over Iran’s nuclear program, “Israelis may have questioned Obama’s willingness to use force against Iran. … But they believed Mattis was serious.” The general, in his capacity as head of U.S. Central Command, even proposed launching “dead of night” airstrikes on Iranian soil in 2011, in retaliation for Tehran’s support for anti-American militias in Iraq — a proposal rejected by White House officials who were worried that it “risked starting yet another war in the Middle East.” ››read more
Negotiations on a treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons have begun in New York, but have been publicly condemned by the United States, which is leading a coalition of more than 40 countries – including Australia – boycotting the talks.
At least 113 countries are part of the negotiations which have begun at UN headquarters in New York this week, aiming to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. ››read more
The video chastises Iran for its tolerance towards Jews. “Iran raised its slogans against the US and Israel to deceive the Sunnis, while Iranian Jews live safely in Iran under its protection, and it has provided them with temples and churches as seen in Tehran and Isfahan,” the narrator says. Several captured soldiers are decapitated in the video, one of whom is wearing a “Ya Hossein” badge, indicating that he was a Shiite fighter. ››read more
If an AIPAC spinoff did, in fact, help fund the attack on J Street—particularly if it effectively commissioned one of the country’s most prominent Islamophobic organizations to do so—it suggests that the powerful lobby feels increasingly threatened by the upstart Jewish group. J Street’s convention this year drew some 3,500 people attendees from around the country, as well as top Democrats as speakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential running-mate, Sen. Tim Kaine. Also, AIPAC’s position on the JCPOA was not popular within the Jewish community. According to a Los Angeles Jewish Journal poll conducted in July 2015, 53 percent of Jewish Americans wanted Congress to approve the deal while only 35 percent opposed it. ››read more
Iran's chief Armed Forces spokesman has dismissed reports about alleged “unprofessional behavior” by Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf, saying the US had better watch more carefully the moves of its naval forces in the region.
"Reports released by American sources about unprofessional behavior by Iranian vessels are devoid of any truth," Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said on Saturday. ››read more
When Abu Yasser was dispatched to lead one of twenty sleeper cells in Baghdad, he was allowed to rape a woman after assassinating a male member of her family. The majority of his targets were Shiites, whom Sunnis view as heretics. “If we killed a guy, and we saw that he had a sister or mother, we could do whatever we wanted to them because they were Shiite,” he said. He spent almost a year in Baghdad, where he carried out assassinations, facilitated suicide bombers, and planted roadside explosive devices. ››read more
A travel book is ... well, it is either about places, or people, or everything or sometimes despite having lots of words, nothing. Lois Pryce, in her third book, manages a compelling everything. In 2011, she finds a note on her motorbike, requesting her to visit Iran: ``Please do not think of what happened here and in Teheran. We are not terrorists. The Persian people are the most welcoming in the world''. This invitation intrigued her as she realised that her knowledge of Iran came entirely from the British and US media, and it wasn't pretty. ››read more
BEIRUT—After weeks of saber-rattling over Iran as the “number one terrorist state” in the world, the Trump administration appears to have quietly dialed down the rhetoric a notch.
Here in the Middle East, however, where every peep and creak out of Washington is scrutinized to death, interested parties haven’t stopped speculating about a U.S. confrontation with Iran. Fifty days into his term, Trump’s foreign-policy course remains an enigma. He swears “all options” remain on the table with Iran—but do they?
There are already some early actions that hint at Trump’s policy directions—and limitations—in the Middle East. In three key military theaters where U.S. forces are currently engaged, some important corners have been turned ››read more
This week President Donald Trump issued a revised Executive Order (EO or Order) restricting immigration from six majority Muslim countries and more than halving the US refugee program. This version includes some significant changes: it is more carefully written; it removes Iraq from the list of countries falling under the ban; and it exempts those with green cards and valid visas. Nevertheless, it remains a false, dangerous, cruel, arbitrary, and bigoted assault on Muslims and the very idea of America as an open, welcoming society. ››read more
One of the promises that President Trump has kept is his promise to be tough on Iran. Though he has not canceled the nuclear weapons agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), he has "officially put Iran on notice," and he has imposed new sanctions.
More seriously, the New York Times reports that Secretary of Defense General James Mattis considered ordering the Navy to intercept and board an Iranian ship in international waters to search it for weapons being shipped to Yemen in support of the Houthis. According to White House officials, the operation was called off, not because it would likely have been an act of war, but because word of the operation leaked.
Mattis and the rest of the Trump administration have based this canceled operation and other plans to get tough on Iran on a number of myths about the Islamic Republic. ››read more
A commander with Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says an American warship recently drew its warning by sailing “unprofessionally” close to the force’s vessels near Iranian territorial waters. ››read more
Iranian Foreign Ministry officials issued a statement today criticizing the attempt by US lawyers to seize Iranian money held abroad to pay for a US-based lawsuit in which a New York judge ordered Iran to pay $7 billion in damages for 9/11.
That Iran didn’t do 9/11 was a key part of Iran’s unsuccessful defense in the lawsuit, which seemed very much beside the point in the case, and the Obama Administration and Congress authorized seizing Iranian funds irrespective of long-standing sovereign immunity prohibitions against such lawsuits. ››read more
Iran has been found in full compliance with a nuclear deal with leading world powers, a UN nuclear watchdog said in a report. It comes amid heightened fears the US may walk out of the milestone pact, with tensions flaring up between Tehran and Washington.
The latest report on the deal’s implementation produced by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and obtained by Reuters and AFP on Friday confirms that the Islamic Republic is far from exceeding the limit for the amount of the low-enriched uranium it is allowed to keep. ››read more
Nima Jan said he was traveling to the stadium to cheer for Burroughs. “You proved that you are a noble man.… This is a big chance for us,” Jan said. “We do not pay attention to the behavior of America's government” toward Iran. The two-day tournament began Thursday, when U.S. wrestlers faced off against Georgia, Russia and Azerbaijan. But it wasn't always certain that the Americans would get to compete. Just as in years past, the athletes were at the mercy of tensions between the two governments. ››read more