Working for International Dialogue and Peace

IS paid to stage bomb attacks in Iran

(source: AAP) July 4, 2016

A team of militants linked with Islamic State were paid 600,000 euros ($A897,000) to carry out a bombing campaign at 50 locations in Tehran and other big cities in Iran, according to a documentary aired on Iranian state TV.

Officials in predominantly Shi'ite Iran have have said in recent weeks that Sunni militants from Islamic State are targeting the country.
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Israeli Intelligence chief: We do not want ISIS defeat in Syria

(source: Almasda Nnews) June 22, 2016

Israeli intelligence Chief, Major General Herzi Halevy, said that the last three months have been the most difficult for ISIS since its inception.

In a speech delivered at “Herzliya” conference yesterday , Halevy explicitly said “Israel” does not want the situation in Syria to end with the defeat of ISIS “, the Israeli NRG site reported. ››read more

Pick Your Poison: Clinton Vs. Trump on Foreign Policy

by Stephen Zunes (source: Huffington Post) June 18, 2016

In their remarks to the nation following the Orlando massacre, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made their differences—and disturbing similarities—crystal clear.

Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for refusing to label the violence carried out by a mentally-disturbed American-born gunmen of Muslim background as a manifestation of “radical Islam,” leading her to begin using the less-inflammatory but still problematic term “radical Islamism.” More seriously, he reiterated his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States and to subject American Muslims to special surveillance and restrictions. ››read more

        Editor's note: Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.

Why our nuclear deal with Iran is turning to dust

by Robert Fisk (source: The Independent) June 16, 2016

Many of Europe’s largest banks won’t do business with Iran for fear of breaching other US sanctions, which have nothing to do with the nuclear agreement – but a lot to do with US agencies and prosecutors ››read more

Iran files lawsuit against US at IC Justice over seized assets: Rouhani

(source: Press TV) June 15, 2016

Iran has filed a lawsuit against the United States at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) demanding compensation over the seizure of USD 2 billion worth of the country's assets by a top American court. ››read more

Muhammad Ali Understood the Racist Roots of War and Militarism: And he called them out fearlessly.

by Phyllis Bennis (source: Foreign Policy in Focus) June 12, 2016

Muhammad-AliMuhammad-AliIn the history of our movements for peace and for justice, the most strategic activists, analysts, and cultural workers were always those who understood the centrality of racism at the core of U.S. wars. They grasped the ways in which U.S. militarism relied on racism at home to recruit its cannon-fodder and to build public support for wars against “the other” — be they Vietnamese, Cambodians, Nicaraguans, Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans, Somalis, Yemenis, Afghans, or anyone else.

It was Muhammad Ali who first described the Vietnam-era draft as “white people sending black people to fight yellow people to protect the country they stole from the red people.” He said no to the draft, refused to step forward to accept the legitimacy of the coerced registration, and was convicted of felony draft resistance. Even though he faced years in prison, he insisted, “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.” ››read more

What Blair accidentally revealed about Iraq during his criticism of Jeremy Corbyn was very interesting indeed

by Patrick Cockburn (source: Independent) June 10, 2016

Cameron claimed that Corbyn’s opposition to airstrikes showed he was a terrorist sympathiser and the Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn made a much-lauded speech full of bombast about supporting British airstrikes against Isis in Syria as being equivalent of battling Franco in Spain in 1936 and Hitler in 1940. The degree to which this was phony posturing on the part of Cameron and Benn is highlighted by the fact that neither has shown concern that the RAF’s actions against Isis in Syria in the six months since the famous House of Commons’ vote have been very limited. Out of 3,787 airstrikes by the US-led coalition of air powers in Syria up to 1 June, only 237 were carried out by non-US aircraft. ››read more

US effectively siding with Al-Qaeda in desire to get rid of Assad – former UK ambassador to Syria

(source: RT) June 8, 2016

The US is “ready to de facto ally” with its archenemies from Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria as part of its “obsession” by using “so-called moderate” groups to overthrow the Syrian government, former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, told RT in an exclusive interview. ››read more

Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows

by Medea Benjamin (source: lobelog) June 6, 2016

On the surface, it would seem that Saudi Arabia and Israel would be the worst of enemies — and indeed, they’ve never had diplomatic relations.

After all, the Saudis have championed the cause of the Palestinians, who are oppressed by the Israelis. Israelis say they’re besieged by Muslim extremists, and many of these extremists are motivated by the intolerant, Wahhabi ideology born and bred in Saudi Arabia.

But beneath the surface, these two old adversaries actually have a lot in common. In fact, in the contemporary Middle East, they’ve become the strangest of bedfellows. ››read more

        Editor's note: Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human rights organization Global Exchange. She is the author of a forthcoming book about Saudi Arabia entitled The Unjust Kingdom and is the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. Reprinted, with permission, from Foreign Policy In Focus.

Muhammad Ali Risked It All When He Opposed The Vietnam War

by Justin Block (source: The Huffington Post ) June 5, 2016

"Of all the people who opposed the war in Vietnam, I think that Muhammad Ali risked the most. Lots of people refused to go. Some went to jail. But no one risked as much from their decision not to go to war in Vietnam as much as Muhammad Ali. And his real greatness can be seen in the fact that, despite all that was done to him, he became even greater and more humane." ››read more

Not the Onion: US asks Russia not to Bomb al-Qaeda in Syria

(source: Informed Comment) June 5, 2016

The United States has asked Russia not to target al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria the Nusra Front arguing that airstrikes by Moscow could also hit other rebel groups, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview published Saturday.
“They [the U.S.] are telling us not to hit it [al-Nusra Front], because there are also ‘normal’ opposition groups [on those territories],” Lavrov said in an interview with local Russian media that was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website according to Russia Today website. The Russian top diplomat also stressed that “such opposition groups should leave terrorist positions,” adding that “we have long agreed on that.” ››read more

Drones and Blowback

by John Feffer (source: Lobelog) May 29, 2016

The U.S. drone campaign isn’t exactly a covert operation, though the CIA has generally refused to acknowledge its role in the attacks (the Pentagon is more open about its use of drones for strikes on more conventional military targets). But critics of drone attacks — myself included — have long argued that all the civilian casualties caused by drone attacks will produce blowback. Drone strikes and the anger they generate effectively serve to recruit people into the Taliban and other extremist organizations.

Even those involved in the program have come to the same conclusion.

Consider, for instance, this impassioned plea to President Obama from four Air Force veterans who piloted drones. “The innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruitment tool,” they argued in a letter last November. “The administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.” ››read more

        Editor's note: John Feffer is the the editor of LobeLog and the director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is also the author, most recently, of Crusade 2.0. He is a former Open Society fellow, PanTech fellow, and Scoville fellow, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and many other publications.

IAEA: Iran Continues to Comply With Nuclear Deal

by Jason Ditz (source: May 28, 2016

A new report from the IAEA has once again affirmed that the Iranian government is complying with the P5+1 nuclear deal, and that Iran’s stockpiles have all remained below the limits set forth in the deal.

The deal went into effect in January, unfreezing large amounts of Iranian assets and ending a number of sanctions on the nation in return for setting limits on their civilian nuclear program. The US has been under fire from Iran and the EU for reneging on parts of the relief promised, particularly continuing to threaten European banks that do business with Iran under the terms of the deal.A new report from the IAEA has once again affirmed that the Iranian government is complying with the P5+1 nuclear deal, and that Iran’s stockpiles have all remained below the limits set forth in the deal. ››read more

Hope and hype of Hiroshima can’t conceal Obama’s dismal record on nuclear disarmament

by Tim Wright (source: The Guardian) May 27, 2016

At great expense, the president has bolstered all three components of the nation’s “nuclear triad”: the strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles. This was the price paid for securing Republican support in 2010 for the ratification of a modest bilateral arms reduction treaty with Russia.

Obama’s much-publicised “nuclear security summits” largely ignored the greatest source of nuclear insecurity in the world today: 15,000 nuclear weapons, including 1,800 on hair-trigger alert. Instead, they focused on measures to keep “vulnerable nuclear material” out of terrorists’ hands – a vital endeavour, certainly, but for all the fanfare the results were small. ››read more

Saudi Arabia Has a Plan B to Try to Stop Iran’s Economic Rise

by Ladane Nasseri, Glen Carey (source: Bloomberg) May 26, 2016

The kingdom is mobilizing its Gulf allies to make sure that, more than four months after the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Iran’s opening-up to the global economy doesn’t go smoothly. Last month the Saudis scuttled a bid to stabilize crude prices because it would have allowed their bitter foe to grab a larger share of oil markets. And in Dubai, once their main gateway to the world, Iranian businessmen privately complain of increasing restrictions. ››read more

Iran Seeks Compensation From US for 1953 Coup

by Jason Ditz (source: May 18, 2016

Iran’s parliament today voted on a bill requiring the government to request compensation from the United States for damages caused by the CIA’s 1953 imposition of a coup d’etat against Iran’s democratically elected government. ››read more

Political Pressure Stymies US-Iran Ties

by Gareth Porter (source: May 16, 2016

All those interests combine to ensure that this administration and its successor will continue to issue ritual denunciations of Iran’s “nefarious activities” in the region. Thus, the chasm between US rhetoric on Iran and political reality can only widen in the years to come. But the harsh rhetoric will limit how far cooperation between Tehran and Washington can go. ››read more

Declassified documents detail 9/11 commission's inquiry into Saudi Arabia

by Philip Shenon (source: The Guardian) May 14, 2016

Investigators for the 9/11 commission would later describe the scene in Saudi Arabia as chilling.

They took seats in front of a former Saudi diplomat who, many on the commission’s staff believed, had been a ringleader of a Saudi government spy network inside the US that gave support to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers in California in the year before the 2001 attacks. ››read more

        Editor's note: Philip Shenon is the author of The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation

Obama Broke Pledge To Demand Syrian Opposition’s Separation From Nusra Front

by Gareth Porter (source: May 13, 2016

The gradual erosion of the cease-fire in Syria over the past month is the result of multiple factors shaping the conflict, but one of the underlying reasons is the Obama administration’s failure to carry out its commitment to Russia to get US-supported opposition groups to separate themselves physically from the Nusra Front – the al-Qaeda organization in Syria. ››read more

Extremists fear the Iranian nuclear deal might work

by Stephen Kinzer (source: Boston Globe) May 12, 2016

Stephen KinzerStephen KinzerWhen debate over the nuclear deal was raging last year in Washington, opponents relentlessly repeated a potent argument. They insisted that the deal made no sense because Iran is untrustworthy and never keeps its promises. Now, a new kind of Iran-related panic has broken out in Washington. This year’s fear is the opposite of last year’s. Opponents of the deal say it must be junked because Iran is living up to it. “Iran has complied,” the Congressional Research Service reported last month. Its conclusion is hard to dispute. Iran has dismantled more than 12,000 nuclear centrifuges, shipped 98 percent of its nuclear fuel to Russia, and poured cement into the core of its heavy-water reactor. This has set off waves of outrage in Washington and Tehran. The prospect that the nuclear deal might actually work terrifies hard-liners in both capitals. ››read more