Working for International Dialogue and Peace

The Wall Street Journal misrepresents Iran nuclear negotiations

by Cyrus Safdari (source: Iran Affairs) September 30, 2014

As part of what appears to be a concerted campaign in the Right-wing and pro-Israeli media outlets in the US against US nuclear negotiations with Iran, which have a consistent theme of portraying the Obama administration as somehow "caving in" to Iranian demands, the Wall Street Journal today goes far out of its way to misrepresent the state of affairs in an article about President Rouhani's speech at the UN. ››read more

Obama’s Syria Strategy and its Regional Implications

by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett (source: Going to Tehran) September 28, 2014

The Syria policy that the United States and its partners in the region have been pursuing since the spring of 2011 has helped, in a big way, to create the situation in Iraq, with this dramatic ascendance of the Islamic State. We have created this problem, and now we’re coming up with pseudo-solutions that are only going to make the problem worse…The one thing that could come of this is that you’re going to create more channels for the Islamic State to get hold of Western weapons and military equipment than it already has. Having the Saudis train these so-called moderate fighters is just going to augment the problem that we’re supposedly trying to deal with. ››read more

General Assembly Speech of Iran’s Rouhani at U.N. General Assembly

by Hasan Rouhani (source: September 26, 2014

Arriving at a final comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran will be a historic opportunity for the West to show that it does not oppose the advancement and development of others and does not discriminate when it comes to adhering to international rules and regulations. This agreement can carry a global message of peace and security, indicating that the way to attain conflict resolution is through negotiation and respect not through conflict and sanction. ››read more

        Editor's note: The video of this speech is available on YouTube:

Coalition of the Clueless

by Sharmine Narwani (source: RT) September 26, 2014

Down the road, we will discover that the only coalition able and willing to fight extremism does indeed come from inside the region, but importantly, from within the conflict zone itself: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. For starters, they are utterly vested in the outcome of their efforts – and would lead with political solutions alongside military ones. Those elusive boots-on-the-ground that everyone is seeking? They live it. Pit that group against Obama’s Coalition-of-the-Clueless any day and you know which side would win handily. ››read more

The Justice Department Claims This Defamation Case Will Reveal State Secrets—But Won't Say How

by Molly Redden (source: Mother Jones) September 20, 2014

In an unprecedented move, Attorney General Eric Holder has intervened in a defamation lawsuit, seeking to have the case thrown out on the grounds that it will reveal state secrets [1]—without publicly explaining how it would do so. On Wednesday, a lawyer for the plaintiff in the case, a Greek business mogul accused of doing business with Iran, fired back at Holder in a letter to the court that essentially says: Prove it. ››read more


by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett (source: Going to Tehran) September 16, 2014

Obama’s speech on the Islamic State provides damning testimony as to how little he has done to challenge the foreign policy orthodoxies embodied in the “bipartisan commitment to dominance” described by Hillary. In his initial presidential campaign, Obama seemed, to some extent, to run against those orthodoxies, which have done so much to weaken America’s international position since it came out of the Cold War as the most powerful state in history. Now, the public presentation of his Islamic State “strategy” makes all too clear just how thoroughly Obama has embraced them. ››read more

‘US failure to look into Saudi role in 9/11 has helped Isis’

by Patrick Cockburn (source: The Independent) September 14, 2014

Senator Graham maintains that there is a “dark side” to Saudi Arabia exemplified by 9/11 and its aftermath that the American public need to know about and which has hitherto been concealed. The US and other Western governments have yet to explain why their “war on terror” has so demonstrably failed with the rise of Isis, but tolerance of Saudi complicity in 9/11 will surely be part of the answer. ››read more

        Editor's note: ‘The Jihadis Return: Isis and the New Sunni Uprising’ by Patrick Cockburn has been published.

Book review: The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising

by Belen Fernandez (source: Middle East Eye) September 5, 2014

As Cockburn documents, the current predicament has much to do with the refusal to properly assign blame in the aftermath of 9/11: the Saudis and Pakistanis were exempted from accountability despite their essentially parental roles for various Islamic extremist movements. Twenty-eight pages of the 9/11 Commission Report, for example, were excised because they contained details about the links between Saudi Arabia and the perpetrators of the attacks.

The reason is simple:

“Saudi Arabia is an enormous market for American arms, and the Saudis have cultivated, and on occasion purchased, influential members of the American political establishment. Pakistan is a nuclear power with a population of 180 million and a military with close links to the Pentagon.” ››read more

        Editor's note: Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, published by Verso. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin magazine. - See more at:


by Adam Forrest (source: Vice News) September 3, 2014

Rajavi and SaddamRajavi and SaddamThere was a charismatic leader, Rajavi. There was a black-and-white world view imposed: followers cutting themselves off from family, followers losing their personality. There was mind manipulation. At Camp Ashraf in Iraq there were talks lasting for days on end. I remember one task where we had to write down our old personality in one column on a board, and the new personality in a different column. I remember a guy who said, “My brother works in the Iranian embassy in London. Before I loved him as my brother, now I hate him as my enemy. I am ready to kill him tomorrow, if necessary.” And everyone applauded. ››read more

To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia

by Owen Jones (source: The Guardian) September 1, 2014

The so-called war on terror is nearly 13 years old, but which rational human being will be cheering its success? We’ve had crackdowns on civil liberties across the world, tabloid-fanned generalisations about Muslims and, of course, military interventions whose consequences have ranged from the disastrous to the catastrophic. And where have we ended up? Wars that Britons believe have made them less safe; jihadists too extreme even for al-Qaida’s tastes running amok in Iraq and Syria; and nations like Libya succumbing to Islamist militias. There are failures, and then there are calamities. ››read more

Is nonprofit "United Against Nuclear Iran" a Mossad front?

(source: IRMep) August 29, 2014

According to reporter Matt Apuzzo, Judge Ramos finds the government involvement "very curious." Apuzzo subtly poses the question of why the Obama administration Justice Department is not indicting UANI under its zero tolerance policy wielded against whistle-blowers and journalists if UANI in fact possesses classified information. However the Justice Department intervention is no surprise to those who have watched Israel lobbying organizations twist and turn their way out of public accountability before warranted civil and criminal processes for decades. ››read more

U.S. may use secrets act to stop suit against Iran sanctions group

by Emily Flitter (source: Reuters) August 29, 2014

Greek businessman and ship owner Victor Restis last year sued UANI for defamation after the New York-based group, whose advisors include former intelligence officials from the United States, Europe and Israel, accused him of violating sanctions on Iran by exporting oil from the country. Earlier this year, U.S. government lawyers declared their interest in the lawsuit, warning that information related to UANI could jeopardize law enforcement activities. ››read more

Inconvenient truth – the West's intervention in Syria is key reason for growth of ISIS

by Ian Sinclair (source: Stop the War Coalition) August 28, 2014

Hillary Clinton, in what was likely an early attempt to position herself as strong on foreign policy for the 2016 US Presidential Election, recently criticised President Obama’s alleged failure to ‘help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad’. This, she said, had ‘left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled’. ››read more

Billionaires Make War on Iran And the United States Government is Helping

by Philip Giraldi (source: UNZ Review) August 27, 2014

There is a group of Jewish American billionaires who are apparently doing their best to make sure than negotiations with Iran go nowhere in the mistaken belief that they are doing what is best for Israel. And they would also appear to be assisted in their efforts by the White House, which is at the same time claiming that it wants the talks to be successful. The odd relationship is currently playing out in a Manhattan courtroom where the Justice Department is seeking to squash a lawsuit that it fears might expose the extent to which the government has hypocritically played fast and loose with classified information while simultaneously sending journalists and whistleblowers to jail over allegations that they have done the same. ››read more

Obama’s Foreign Policy and the Future of the Middle East

by Ambassador Chas W. Freeman (source: August 23, 2014

It’s time to recognize that the United States can’t solve the Israel-Palestine issue, can no longer protect Israel from the international legal and political consequences of its morally deviant behavior, and has nothing to gain and a great deal to lose by continuing to be identified with that behavior. Israel makes its own decisions without regard to American interests, values, or advice. It would make better decisions if it were not shielded from their consequences or had to pay for them itself. America should cut the umbilicus and let Israel be Israel.

It’s time to stop pretending the United States assigns any real importance to democracy, the rule of law, or human rights in the Middle East. We pay for gross violations of all three by Israel, support their negation in Egypt, and do not interfere in the politics of illiberal monarchies like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Clearly, U.S. policy is almost entirely about interests, not values. ››read more

        Editor's note: Chas W. Freeman served as U. S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm).

How the War on Terror Created the World’s Most Powerful Terror Group

by Patrick Cockburn (source: The Nation) August 22, 2014

There are extraordinary elements in the present US policy in Iraq and Syria that are attracting surprisingly little attention. In Iraq, the US is carrying out air strikes and sending in advisers and trainers to help beat back the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (better known as ISIS) on the Kurdish capital, Erbil. The US would presumably do the same if ISIS surrounds or attacks Baghdad. But in Syria, Washington’s policy is the exact opposite: there the main opponent of ISIS is the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds in their northern enclaves. Both are under attack from ISIS, which has taken about a third of the country, including most of its oil and gas production facilities.

But US , Western European, Saudi, and Arab Gulf policy is to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, which happens to be the policy of ISIS and other jihadis in Syria. If Assad goes, then ISIS will be the beneficiary, since it is either defeating or absorbing the rest of the Syrian armed opposition. There is a pretense in Washington and elsewhere that there exists a “moderate” Syrian opposition being helped by the US , Qatar, Turkey, and the Saudis. It is, however, weak and getting more so by the day. Soon the new caliphate may stretch from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and the only force that can possibly stop this from happening is the Syrian army. ››read more

Billionaire Thomas Kaplan Named in Suit Against Anti-Iran Group

(source: New York Times) August 21, 2014

The lawsuit has taken on larger importance as it threatens to reveal government secrets. It also could make public the inner workings of United Against Nuclear Iran, which is run by former United States government officials, has lobbied for tough sanctions against Iran and has helped write legislation on Capitol Hill. The Obama administration has temporarily blocked release of the group’s internal documents, including its emails and donor lists, saying the records are likely to contain law enforcement secrets. ››read more

Desmond Tutu's plea to people of Israel: liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine

by Desmond Tutu (source: Stop the War Coalition) August 22, 2014

A quarter of a century ago, I participated in some well-attended demonstrations against apartheid. I never imagined we’d see demonstrations of that size again, but last Saturday’s turnout in Cape Town was as big if not bigger. Participants included young and old, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, blacks, whites, reds and greens ... as one would expect from a vibrant, tolerant, multicultural nation.

I asked the crowd to chant with me: “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.” ››read more

James Foley’s murder will see calls for military action – just what Isis wants

by Owen Jones (source: The Guardian) August 20, 2014

The counter-history favoured by supporters of western intervention is that these are the grim consequences of failing to support “moderate” Syrian rebels. Given that weapons provided by the CIA to such groups ended up in Isis’s hands, this is surely naive. What needs far more scrutiny is the role of western allies such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia – which is armed to the teeth by Britain and the US, and whose social norms are all but identical to those of Isis.

According to the veteran Middle Eastern correspondent, Patrick Cockburn, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies are the “foster parents” of Isis. And the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, has pointed out that Saudi financial support has proved critical to the rise of Isis. How long can western public opinion tolerate support for the Saudi dictatorship? ››read more

Kurds, ISIS and the crisis in Iraq - is US and UK military intervention the answer?

by Lindsey German (source: Stop the War Coalition) August 20, 2014

The creation of an extremist caliphate in Iraq and Syria is indeed a serious problem. What has allowed it to happen? Contributing to it has been the funding of ISIS and other groups in Syria, much of it from princes in Saudi Arabia and from Qatar, in the west’s repeated attempts to overthrow Assad in Syria. Turkey, a Nato member allowed these groups to bring money and arms across its border into Syria. What we are seeing in Iraq now is blowback on a major scale. ››read more