Iran, Mitchell, Lebanon and Iraq

Syrians were split on the Ahmedinehad victory. Damascene friends called me to express their contentment when they believed that Mousavi was slated to win, as al-Jazeera suggested early on. I was with family in Latakia over the weekend when the Ahmadinejad landslide was announced. Many people in that coastal city smiled happily when they asked me what I thought of the Iranian election results. They were particularly gratified to have an American reaction. I plan to write about my trip soon and about the building boom taking place in Syria.

Juan Cole presents Six arguments for why the Iranian Presidential Election Was Stolen.

Gary Sick: “The willingness of the regime simply to ignore reality and fabricate election results without the slightest effort to conceal the fraud represents a historic shift in Iran’s Islamic revolution. All previous leaders at least paid lip service to the voice of the Iranian people. This suggests that Iran’s leaders are aware of the fact that they have lost credibility in the eyes of many (most?) of their countrymen, so they are dispensing with even the pretense of popular legitimacy in favor of raw power….”

Tritta Parsi: “It’s one thing if Ahmadinejad had won the first round with 51 or 55 per cent. But this number … just sounds tremendously strange in a way that doesn’t add up … It is difficult to feel comfortable that this occurred without any cheating.”

(Addendum) T_Desco does not argue that Ahmeddinejad won, as I first wrote. See his correction of me in the comment section. Brian collects arguments that he won fairly, also in the comment section below.

T-Desco explains the elections here, here and here.

The WSJ argues that Ahmadinejad’s victory is good for Syria. (Thanks T_desco and Norman)

“Not all big Arab states stand to lose with Mr. Ahmadinejad’s victory. Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, Mr. Obama’s top Mideast envoy, is in Damascus Saturday for talks with Syrian officials.

With Mr. Ahmadinejad likely staying put in Tehran, Washington may have more interest in trying to woo President Bashar Assad away from Iran’s orbit. That could translate into leverage for Damascus amid U.S.-Syria negotiations. For instance, Syria wants the U.S. to loosen economic sanctions imposed on it for alleged links to terror financing.”

Also in the WSJ

“… Sen. Mitchell flew into Damascus after a stopover in Beirut, …. A big part of the thaw has been the dramatic rehabilitation of Syria’s Mr. Assad in the eyes of many Western and Arab officials.

The Bush administration and its Western and regional allies spent years isolating Syria. ….. But Mr. Assad also proved instrumental in a Qatar-backed peace plan last Spring that ended a long political standoff in Lebanon. Shortly after, he entered into indirect peace talks with arch-foe Israel.

Mr. Assad’s hands-off approach in recent months in Lebanon has encouraged some Western officials and analysts into thinking he’s eager to play a supporting role in cooling Mideast tensions further.

The Lebanon elections, though they went against Syria, may help pave the way for more productive talks with Washington, says Joshua Landis …

If Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds onto power in Friday elections, Mr. Assad could be a useful ally for Washington in pressuring Iran into meaningful talks. Sen. Mitchell’s stopover follows lower-level visits by U.S. diplomats in recent weeks. U.S. officials are pressing for help stabilizing the Iraq-Syria border and for support in Arab-Israel peace efforts….”

Mitchell Cites Syria’s Role in Mideast Peace Effort
Published: June 13, 2009

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — George J. Mitchell, the Obama administration’s Middle East envoy, said during a visit with Syrian leaders here on Saturday that the country had a vital role to play in forging peace in the region…..

“Syria has an integral role to play in reaching comprehensive peace,” Mr. Mitchell said. Syria and the United States share an obligation “to create conditions for negotiations to begin promptly and end successfully,” he told reporters after a 90-minute meeting with President Bashar al-Assad in the capital, Damascus.

A senior Syrian official described Saturday’s talks as “very positive” and said Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Assad also discussed the security situation in neighboring Iraq. …..

“I’ve held substantive discussions with President Assad and on the full range of serious issues in our bilateral relationship,” Mr. Mitchell said. “We seek to build on this effort to establish a relationship built on mutual respect and mutual interest.”

Despite the diplomatic overtures, the Obama administration renewed Bush-era economic sanctions against Syria last month as a way to keep pressure on the country to cooperate.

The following article by Scarlett Haddad (copied below in part) explains why Hizbullah and Syria are content with the election loss in Lebanon. It reviews a number of parliamentary seats that Hizbullah and Syria withdrew candidates from, resulting in March 14th or Jumblatt victories. It also argues that Saudi Arabia and Syria are coming to terms on Lebanon, as they did in the 1990s. Saad Hariri will preside over the government, but Syria’s and HIzbullah’s political interests will be respected. This makes sense for it goes a long way to explain the outcome of the elections as well as the behavior of all sides and accords with the new dynamic of compromise that is taking hold in the region now that Bush is gone.

If Walid Jumblatt is the bellwether of Lebanese politics, his recent mia culpa is significant:

Walid Jumblatt today spoke about his mistakes in being aggressive in criticizing Bashar Assad in the past and he said that Syria is Lebanon’s natural depth and he said that 1559 was the worst thing to happen to Lebanon … and that all that must be put behind them as they all work together as one …

Et si le Hezbollah ne voulait pas vraiment gagner les élections? (Thanks Why Discuss)
Par Scarlett HADDAD | 13/06/2009 l’Orient (Read the whole article.)

….De plus, le Hezbollah avait aussi saisi avant tous ses autres partenaires au sein de l’opposition le désintérêt de la Syrie à l’égard du processus électoral libanais. Alors que certains alliés de la Syrie annonçaient sans relâche que Damas comptait entrer dans la bataille électorale par le Akkar, la Békaa-Ouest et Tripoli, rien ne s’est passé jusqu’à la fermeture des bureaux de vote. Même auparavant, certains piliers de l’opposition s’étaient plaints auprès des dirigeants syriens d’un afflux d’argent en provenance d’Arabie saoudite, contrairement à l’accord conclu entre le roi Abdallah d’Arabie, l’émir du Qatar et le président Bachar el-Assad au cours de leur rencontre au sommet du Koweït, lorsqu’ils s’étaient mis d’accord pour ne pas intervenir dans le cours des élections libanaises. Là aussi, les autorités syriennes n’avaient pas réagi, tout comme elles n’étaient pas non plus intervenues dans la composition des listes de l’opposition, laissant quasiment tomber certains de ses alliés. De l’aveu de certains chefs de l’opposition, la Syrie n’a donc rien fait pour favoriser une victoire de ses alliés. Et lorsque la question a été directement posée aux dirigeants syriens, ceux-ci ont laissé entendre que le résultat des élections ne compte pas, à partir du moment où les relations entre Damas et Washington sont en train de s’améliorer, tout comme celles de Damas et de Riyad. Les autorités syriennes seraient donc prêtes à ouvrir une nouvelle page avec Saad Hariri devenu Premier ministre, du moment que leurs relations avec les dirigeants saoudiens sont devenues plus cordiales. D’ailleurs, comme toujours, c’est Walid Joumblatt qui a donné le ton en déclarant hier au Akhbar que « Saad Hariri peut dialoguer avec la Syrie, et cela est inévitable ». Mais plus important que les considérations internes libanaises, la Syrie a des défis régionaux et internationaux à relever. Elle s’apprête à relancer le processus de négociations avec Israël et souhaite montrer de bonnes dispositions à l’égard de l’Occident. Pour elle, les élections libanaises ne constituent pas un enjeu très important, d’autant que ses alliés libanais restent forts et en mesure de s’opposer à d’éventuelles décisions qui visent à les marginaliser…

En somme, les résultats des élections législatives arrangent un peu tout le monde, l’équilibre des forces est pratiquement inchangé, ce qui rassure l’Occident, et la victoire indiscutable de Saad Hariri lui permet de jouer un rôle nouveau sur la scène interne et régionale. Seuls ceux qui espéraient un véritable changement sont déçus…

US could lift Syria sanctions: Carter

DAMASCUS (AFP) — Former US president Jimmy Carter said on Thursday he believed the new US administration of President Barack Obama could lift sanctions on Syria and upgrade ties by sending an ambassador to Damascus.

“I think the United States will respond… to any positive steps that Syria takes,” Carter said at a press conference after meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

“There’s no doubt on my mind that the American president wants to have full and cooperative relationships with Syria, and that involves the lifting of sanctions in the future and that also involves the appointment of an American ambassador to Damascus,” he said.

State media accuses Israeli PM of rejecting all peace initiatives by conditionally accepting Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s speech:

Obama’s response:

“The president welcomes the important step forward in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a written statement. “The president is committed to two states, a Jewish state of Israel and an independent Palestine, in the historic homeland of both peoples. He believes this solution can and must ensure both Israel’s security and the fulfillment of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for a viable state, and he welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s endorsement of that goal.”

Syrian state media on Monday slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “torpedoing peace” in a speech accepting a Palestinian state but shackled by unacceptable conditions.

“Netanyahu’s speech torpedoes all peace efforts” wrote the mass-circulation Al-Watan in its report of Sunday’s speech.

Al-Baath, the mouthpiece of Syria’s ruling party, commented: “Netanyahu has confirmed that he rejects the Arab initiative for peace along with all the initiatives and resolutions of the Security Council relative to peace” in the Middle East…..

Another Syrian newspaper, Ath-Thawra, said Israel appeared to be far from thinking about peace.

The Israeli leader’s speech “shows it is useless to await any change in the programme of Netanyahu or the Israeli government,” it said.

“The United States, which is working for peace, finds itself today with two alternatives: they can either go back and maintain the status quo marked by crisis, which we hope doesn’t happen, or assume their responsibilities in pushing Israel to talk seriously in order to bring about peace and security.”

Suleiman: Netanyahu’s Rigid Stance Calls For More Arab Unity, Safeguarding the Resistance

“The Israeli stance expressed by PM Netanyahu is characterized with rigidity, whether in dealing with the issue of peace, or on the level of settling the issue of Palestinian refugees. [This] calls on Arab leaders for more unity and to safeguard the spirit and willingness of the resistance,” Suleiman said.

Iraq and Syria

U.S. commander sees fewer foreign fighters in Iraq
Mon Jun 15, 2009

BAGHDAD, June 15 (Reuters) – Iraq has seen a significant fall in the number of foreign fighters arriving to battle U.S. and local forces, and efforts by neighbouring Syria are starting to bear fruit, U.S. General Ray Odierno said on Monday….

“We have seen a significant decrease in the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq in the last eight to 10 months,” Odierno, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, told a news conference alongside the Iraqi defence and interior ministers. “For the most part it has just been a trickle … We have seen some fighters coming through Syria, but Syria has been taking some action over the last few weeks, so hopefully that will continue,” Odierno said. Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply in the past year…..

Stable Iraq Key to U.S.-Syria Dialogue
By Peter Harling
1 June 2009, Defense News

Engagement with Syria has been featured among the U.S. administration’s prom­ised foreign policy changes, yet so far a mechanism for coopera­tion has elud­ed both sides. Renewed negotiations with Israel must wait for the political dust to settle in Jerusalem.

Damascus is unlikely to ac­cede to U.S. requests for shifting poli­cies toward Hamas or Hizbollah, and certainly will not do so before signifi­cant progress has been made on oth­er fronts. The United States has renewed sanctions.

That leaves the topic of Iraq, where both sides expected the road to be smoothest because of apparent shared interests. In­stead, U.S. officials accuse Dam­ascus of allowing — if not abet­ting — the infiltration of militants across the border to Iraq.

Securing this border was sup­posed to be the most straightfor­ward of issues, but the question is more complicated than it first appeared and will require a broader discussion about politi­cal reconciliation in Iraq and a better understanding of Damas­cus’ fluctuating relationship with Sunni armed groups.

Different Perspective

When Iraq’s former regime col­lapsed, Syria openly supported those resisting the occupation, busing militants across the bor­der and creating an image that has shaped U.S. opinion ever since. However, the intensifying conflict transformed Syria’s threat perception from one cen­tered on the U.S. agenda for the region to one more concerned about Iraq’s breakup, sectarian dynamics, the influx of refugees and the uncomfortable expansion of Iranian influence.

Syria’s policy also was driven by the government’s desire to de­flect its own jihadi problem and rid itself of home-grown activists while placating the jihadi move­ment as a whole. That policy eventually backfired: Those who didn’t die came back more expe­rienced, better connected and ful­ly indoctrinated — more of a risk than before.

As Iraqi Sunnis turned away from foreign volunteers and Dam­ascus adjusted its own posture, Syria lost both a useful outlet and the indulgence of the jihadi com­munity. A series of violent inci­dents culminating in the 2008 bomb attack in the Syrian capital underscored this shift.

Syria’s dysfunctional border controls are also an important factor. Corruption has long been rife, enabling cross-border net­works to operate with cover from high-ranking officials. Moreover, technology is deficient; Damas­cus only recently introduced a centralized computer system to monitor entries and exits.

Despite an antiquated approach to illegal crossings, notable ef­forts have been made, such as en­gaging tribes, improving routine controls, and even cracking down on corrupt magnates in order to better protect Syrian territory.

Ironically, Syrian officials now complain that the United States and Iraq aren’t doing enough on the Iraqi side to seal the border.

Two issues stand out. First, the ambiguous links that Washington accuses Damascus of enjoying with al-Qaida and other armed groups provide Syria with far bet­ter intelligence on the former and more leverage on the latter than the search-and-destroy approach typically pursued by the United States. In other words, Syria may think twice about severing ties that bolster its security and en­hance its political clout,

Second, opening and closing the tap of insurgents going into Iraq likely will remain a valuable pressure point for Damascus in future negotiations with the United States. That said, while U.S. demands on Syria are clear, Syria’s expectations are clouded in strategic ambiguity.

There are other obstacles to ef­fective security cooperation. The uneven quality of U.S. intelli­gence, particularly human intelli­gence from questionable Iraqi sources, along with a propensity to favor short-term benefits over long-term infiltration, has gener­ated skepticism in Syrian quar­ters. It will take time before enough trust exists for the Syrian regime to allow the U.S. to by­pass political interlocutors and engage the intelligence communi­ty directly.

Perhaps most important, no matter what is done in Damas­cus, U.S. efforts to eradicate the insurgency will only go so far without a political breakthrough in Iraq. Less violence and suc­cessful elections in Iraq have led only to token reconciliation and little reform. Simply arresting ever more opponents is not a so­lution while fundamental issues go unaddressed. Security steps are not what will make the biggest difference in Iraq now.

Political ones will. And that is also the arena where cooperation with Syria may prove the most fruitful.

Today, Damascus has a keen in­terest in Iraqi stability, after hav­ing paid a high price for promot­ing the reverse. Moreover, at a time when its economy is danger­ously ailing, it wants to become an outlet for Iraq’s oil products, a supplier for its emerging markets and a route for transit trade. De­veloping economic ties will en­hance Syrian buy-in.

Officials also have realized that an unstable Iraq serves Iran, not Syria, and now see value in recon­ciliation. If Washington pressures Baghdad to implement a genuine reconciliation process, Syria can help by using its access to impor­tant insurgent players. In that context, sifting unredeemable al­Qaida elements from more main­stream resistance will become easier. Only if it is built on a shared vision, with promise of sustainable economic benefits rather than immediate security gains, can the U.S.-Syrian dia­logue on Iraq succeed.

By Peter Harling , the Damascus-based director for Iraq, Syria and Lebanon with the International Crisis Group, an independ­ent, nonprofit, non­governmental organization working to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.

Why is Dennis Ross being ousted as Obama envoy to Iran? (Thanks T_desco)
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Dennis Ross, who most recently served as a special State Department envoy to Iran, will abruptly be relieved of his duties, sources in Washington told Haaretz. An official announcement is expected in the coming days.

The Obama administration will announce that Ross has been reassigned to another position in the White House. In his new post, the former Mideast peace envoy under President Bill Clinton will deal primarily with regional issues related to the peace process.

Washington insiders speculate that a number of reasons moved the administration to reassign Ross. One possibility is Iran’s persistent refusal to accept Ross as a U.S. emissary given the diplomat’s Jewish background as well as his purported pro-Israel leanings. Ross is known to maintain contacts with numerous senior officials in Israel’s defense establishment and the Israeli government.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem surmised that another possibility for Ross’ ouster is his just-released book, “Myths, Illusions, and Peace – Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East.”

Ross, who co-wrote the book with David Makovsky, a former journalist who is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued against a linkage between the Palestinian issue and the West’s policy against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Ross and Mokovsky also raised the possibility of military action against Iran.

“Tougher policies – either militarily or meaningful containment – will be easier to sell internationally and domestically if we have diplomatically tried to resolve our differences with Iran in a serious and credible fashion,” they wrote.

Another possible reason for the reshuffle could be Ross’ dissatisfaction with his present standing in the State Department, particularly given the fact that Washington’s two other envoys to the region – George Mitchell, who is overseeing the Mideast peace process; and Richard Holbrooke, who is dealing with Pakistan and Afghanistan – wield great influence and are featured prominently.

A diplomatic source in Jerusalem speculated that perhaps Ross preferred to work for the National Security Agency, which answers directly to President Barack Obama, and would thus be considered a more enhanced role. (…)

Comments (60)

t_desco said:

Sorry, but that was not the point I was trying to make (I know it must be difficult to edit the blog from Syria. Btw, what does the Cultural Revolution have to do with elections…?).

It is logical that you didn’t link the post (“46.“) where I am actually formulating the point:

“It is important to understand that we are seeing two things here, in my view: the struggle of hardliners vs. reformers on one hand and, linked to this but not identical with it, on the other hand palace wars (not unlike North Korea, btw) between the groups backing Ahmadinejad (probably including Khamenei) on one side and the groups linked to Rafsanjani on the other side.

The youths protesting in North Tehran are genuinely interested in reforms and so is (probably) Mohammad Khatami, but the people around Rafsanjani may actually be more interested in preserving their (considerable) interests.

Palace wars can turn pretty nasty (”thuds and screams from inside the Topkapi Palace”, as Brad DeLong likes to say…) and sometimes they can even leave the confines of the palace and engulf the whole country (like, for example, when Mao’s power was challenged and in response he unleashed the ‘Cultural Revolution’).”

Regarding Juan Cole’s claim that Ahmadinejad was “not popular in the cities”, my point was that one should “not make such sweeping judgements without access to any reliable polling data”. So why should I make such judgements?

June 15th, 2009, 7:13 pm


Majhool said:


With regard to “access to any reliable polling data”, unfortunately access to such reliable data will remain subject to doubt in an authoritarian system such as the one in Iran.

What stands out as a result is the fact that a large segment of Iranians has challenged the results and the authorities.

Bottom line is that Iranians demonstrated that they are not happy and are moving towards reform. Najadi’s win will always be challenged.

June 15th, 2009, 8:06 pm


Innocent Criminal said:

Very well put T_desco

WSJ is correct in that Syria believes its better for it to have a hardline Iran, in the short term at least. This scenario will make Syria look more moderate and give it leverage over the west. Hence why Syria was rushed to congratulate Ahmedinijad and Toe Khameni’s line. But i dont agree that a backward thinking monkey like Ahmedinijad is good for either Iran or Syria in the long term. He is the George W. Bush of Iran. Conservative, idiotic and believes he’s God-sent

Iran had a couple of reformers in the presidency and that did not affect its relationship with Syria negatively. Sure things have changed for the worst for Syria since then but the syrian-iranian strategic alliance is based on ideals both sides of the Iranian political spectrum agree on (anti-israel, pro-HA and for nuclear enrichment). What they disagree on is eceonomic policy and deplomatic reapproachment with the west & US in particular.

June 15th, 2009, 9:30 pm


Innocent Criminal said:

and besides, the reformers will eventually come back to power. maybe not this election but one day. Syria’s appeared stance against them now might make the reformers hold a grudge in the future

June 15th, 2009, 9:35 pm


t_desco said:


I fully agree.

Hopefully it is understood that I never “argued that Ahmeddinehad may well have won”. Nor did (or do) I argue that Ahmadinejad may well not have won. I simply don’t think that one can (or should) make such a judgment on the basis of the information available. And, as far as I know, ‘popular’ does not mean ‘more popular’.

I see that I will have to change my laconic and elliptical style of posting to prevent such mishaps in the future.

June 15th, 2009, 9:37 pm


brian said:

‘Syrians were split on the Ahmedinehad victory. Damascene friends called me to express their contentment when they believed that Mousavi was slated to win, as al-Jazeera suggested early on’

Mousevi was never SLATED TO WIN…as his base is the middle class of cities like tehran…

Meanhile as for Juan Cole, here is my letter to him:
Hello Prof Cole
I cant post on your blog, so I will write here. Its interesting and revealing to see so many on the left and you yourself condemning the recent iranian elections.When the 2004 US elections were stolen were you half so incensed?

This is a serious issue as many will use this ‘evidence’ to attack iran either with more sanctions or worse.

Ive read your post:
Where you write:

‘Top Pieces of Evidence that the Iranian Presidential Election Was Stolen

1. It is claimed that Ahmadinejad won the city of Tabriz with 57%. His main opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is an Azeri from Azerbaijan province, of which Tabriz is the capital. Mousavi, according to such polls as exist in Iran and widespread anecdotal evidence, did better in cities and is popular in Azerbaijan. Certainly, his rallies there were very well attended. So for an Azeri urban center to go so heavily for Ahmadinejad just makes no sense. In past elections, Azeris voted disproportionately for even minor presidential candidates who hailed from that province.’

Is that the best eg of ‘evidence’??? This is conjecture not evidence! Its astonishing for you as a professor to use ‘anecdotal evidence’. But if this is your shot, then you don’t have a case.

‘. The Electoral Commission is supposed to wait three days before certifying the results of the election, at which point they are to inform Khamenei of the results, and he signs off on the process. The three-day delay is intended to allow charges of irregularities to be adjudicated. In this case, Khamenei immediately approved the alleged results.’

Mousevi was claiming an election win before the results were even out. Why havent you included that in your commentary?

‘am aware of the difficulties of catching history on the run. Some explanation may emerge for Ahmadinejad’s upset that does not involve fraud. For instance, it is possible that he has gotten the credit for spreading around a lot of oil money in the form of favors to his constituencies, but somehow managed to escape the blame for the resultant high inflation’
‘Favors’? That’s the sort of comment id expect from the rightwing… Hugo Chavez also used oil money to ‘favor his constituents’…ie the poor venezuelans…or are you going to claim his elections victories are fraudulent? Chavez has endorsed Ahmadinejads win.
‘But just as a first reaction, this post-election situation looks to me like a crime scene. And here is how I would reconstruct the crime’
The only crime is the middle class reponse to losing…they went on rampage, claiming fraud where there is none…after all how would they know they had won?? Hmm? Do they have special insight? Or is it that they hate to lose?
‘As the real numbers started coming into the Interior Ministry late on Friday, it became clear that Mousavi was winning. Mousavi’s spokesman abroad, filmmaker Mohsen Makhbalbaf, alleges that the ministry even contacted Mousavi’s camp and said it would begin preparing the population for this victory’
Abroad? Really and where is he? Why would the ministry contact Mousevi at all?Do you have proof FROM the ministry that they did?

You ened with the following:
‘What I’ve said is full of speculation and informed guesses. I’d be glad to be proved wrong on several of these points. Maybe I will be.’
Duh! So we go from evidence to ‘speculation and informed guesses’…Is that what is driving the riots?
Your comments section is full of neer-do-wells, also afflicted with the speculative devil.
Yours is a shameful evidence-free commentary from a usually acute observer…what went wrong?
You may like to read some other commentarys on this issue, to gain some perspective:
‘US Media Campaign to Discredit Iranian Election’


June 16th, 2009, 2:24 am


brian said:

Why ahmadinejad won:

‘As Robert Fisk relates from someone not-regime-friendly in Tehran:
But I must repeat what he said. “The election figures are correct, Robert. Whatever you saw in Tehran, in the cities and in thousands of towns outside, they voted overwhelmingly for Ahmadinejad. Tabriz voted 80 per cent for Ahmadinejad. It was he who opened university courses there for the Azeri people to learn and win degrees in Azeri. In Mashad, the second city of Iran, there was a huge majority for Ahmadinejad after the imam of the great mosque attacked Rafsanjani of the Expediency Council who had started to ally himself with Mousavi. They knew what that meant: they had to vote for Ahmadinejad.”
My guest and I drank dookh, the cool Iranian drinking yoghurt so popular here. The streets of Tehran were a thousand miles away. “You know why so many poorer women voted for Ahmadinejad? There are three million of them who make carpets in their homes. They had no insurance. When Ahmadinejad realised this, he immediately brought in a law to give them full insurance. Ahmadinejad’s supporters were very shrewd. They got the people out in huge numbers to vote – and then presented this into their vote for Ahmadinejad.”‘

June 16th, 2009, 2:30 am


brian said:

Gary Sick: “The willingness of the regime simply to ignore reality and fabricate election results without the slightest effort to conceal the fraud represents a historic shift in Iran’s Islamic revolution.’

which they never did…Gary, stop inventing lies! Why are u so ready to have a privatising leader in Iran? Which is what Mousevi is…

June 16th, 2009, 2:33 am


brian said:


‘Without any evidence, many U.S. politicians and “Iran experts” have dismissed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection Friday, with 62.6 percent of the vote, as fraud.

They ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad’s 62.6 percent of the vote in this year’s election is essentially the same as the 61.69 percent he received in the final count of the 2005 presidential election, when he trounced former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The shock of the “Iran experts” over Friday’s results is entirely self-generated, based on their preferred assumptions and wishful thinking.

Although Iran’s elections are not free by Western standards’

June 16th, 2009, 2:36 am


majedkhaldoun said:

I do not think Ahmadinajad is backward thinking Monkey
he won in Iran Fair and square,there is no foul play,
his victory will make it very difficult for USA to leave Iraq,and for Syria to give more concessions,is unlikely.

June 16th, 2009, 5:01 am


Majhool said:

interesting, take it for what its worth.

June 16th, 2009, 6:43 am


t_desco said:

By “palace wars” I meant internal struggles for power and influence among elites. I borrowed the metaphor from Yves Dezalay’s and Bryant Garth’s book, “The Internationalization of Palace Wars: Lawyers, Economists, and the Contest to Transform Latin American States”, University Of Chicago Press, Chicago 2002.

Revenons à nos moutons:

Tribunal refuses to respond to criticism over procedural changes
By Patrick Galey

The United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on Monday did not respond to remarks made in a Lebanese newspaper, criticizing recent changes to its operating mandate.

On Monday, Al-Akhbar newspaper suggested that amendments to the 14 Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE), adopted unanimously by STL judges, could “blow the transparency of the tribunal.”

In particular, the revision related to rule 96 – on exposing the court to skepticism – could allow the STL to “hide information” up to a non-specific date “if it needed to protect any person,” it said.

A spokesperson for STL told The Daily Star: “For us it’s just another article. Our policy is not to react to what the press says on its own interpretation of current developments.”

“We don’t react publicly to these sorts of things. The RPE are a matter for the judges. They are the ones who adopt them or refuse them. It’s their prerogative,” Radhia Ashouri said. (…)
(The Daily Star, June 16, 2009)

Radhia Ashouri: “For us it’s just another article.”

What a strange thing to say. Shouldn’t the role of the spokesperson be to inspire confidence in the impartiality of the tribunal?

Having said that, it would be nice to see an informed comment from an expert about those changes in the rules and what they really mean in the context of international law and particularly in comparison with established international legal standards, norms and procedures.

June 16th, 2009, 7:40 am


trustquest said:

For the media in Syria, nothing is happening in Iran, since the ruler already congratulated Ahmadinejad on his winning in the election no one dare to mention that people there rejected that outcome.
Ahmadinejad should have consulted the Syrian dictator and got some advices from him how to do it. He would have been advised not had allow the internet, tweeter, facebook etc. and to repress any technology and communication tools, as the case in Syria now where no one dare to write about the mess in Iran, all they are writing about is poetry.

The real question now, who will come next and which Arabic country is more qualified for the same thing happening in Iran.

Majhool, the video shows a lot of similarity with Syria case regarding the structure of governing.

June 16th, 2009, 11:51 am


Dan said:

Actually Mousavi is better for Syria and the Palestinians because he will quietly build Iranian might and change the Middle East. Remember that Mousavi won the Iraqi war as prime minister (when this post was like the president today) and he bought the first centrifuges from Pakistan. The technological cadre of Iran is relatively secular and an overdose of crude religion will suffocate it.

Mousavi is a builder type not the big mouthed boaster type that is so common in this area. Unfortunately for them Arabs usually go after the latter kind and lose. The Israelis are certainly wiser to prefer Ahamdingad.

June 16th, 2009, 1:37 pm


Atassi said:

The man won the “Ahmedinehad victory” with a real campaigning tools, “Mabrook” for him and for his supporters.
As for soured Israeli and Golf-states, making it as of a Green revolution may not work, I would tell them to watch-out for an incoming “SAND Revolution”. It can be a revolt against the incompantances rulers and thieves of the Arab world.
As for the Iranian oppositions, they need to work harder to gain more tractions in ALL of Iran and not just the capital, the oppositions missing a formations of an organized entity to work with all of the citizens of Ira, but it seem they have a greater chances to perform and pull it off than others in that part of the world..

June 16th, 2009, 3:14 pm


DAN said:

Actually Mousavi is better for Syria and the Palestinians because he will quietly build Iranian might and change the Middle East. Remember that Mousavi won the Iraqi war as prime minister (when this post was like the president’s today) and he bought the first centrifuges from Pakistan. The technological cadre of Iran is relatively secular and an overdose of crude religion will suffocate it.

Mousavi is a builder type, not the big mouthed boaster type. Unfortunately there are always those who go after the latter kind and fall with it. This has happened again and again in the region. It’s very illuminating that the Israeli establishment solidly prefers Ahmadingad. They smell who is the real danger.

June 16th, 2009, 4:41 pm


t_desco said:

Unlike some other people, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett do indeed argue that Ahmadinejad won:

“(…) Like much of the Western media, most American “Iran experts” overstated Mir Hossein Mousavi’s “surge” over the campaign’s final weeks. More important, they were oblivious — as in 2005 — to Ahmadinejad’s effectiveness as a populist politician and campaigner. American “Iran experts” missed how Ahmadinejad was perceived by most Iranians as having won the nationally televised debates with his three opponents — especially his debate with Mousavi.

Before the debates, both Mousavi and Ahmadinejad campaign aides indicated privately that they perceived a surge of support for Mousavi; after the debates, the same aides concluded that Ahmadinejad’s provocatively impressive performance and Mousavi’s desultory one had boosted the incumbent’s standing. Ahmadinejad’s charge that Mousavi was supported by Rafsanjani’s sons — widely perceived in Iranian society as corrupt figures — seemed to play well with voters.

Similarly, Ahmadinejad’s criticism that Mousavi’s reformist supporters, including Khatami, had been willing to suspend Iran’s uranium enrichment program and had won nothing from the West for doing so tapped into popular support for the program — and had the added advantage of being true.

More fundamentally, American “Iran experts” consistently underestimated Ahmadinejad’s base of support. Polling in Iran is notoriously difficult; most polls there are less than fully professional and, hence, produce results of questionable validity. But the one poll conducted before Friday’s election by a Western organization that was transparent about its methodology — a telephone poll carried out by the Washington-based Terror-Free Tomorrow from May 11 to 20 — found Ahmadinejad running 20 points ahead of Mousavi. This poll was conducted before the televised debates in which, as noted above, Ahmadinejad was perceived to have done well while Mousavi did poorly.

American “Iran experts” assumed that “disastrous” economic conditions in Iran would undermine Ahmadinejad’s reelection prospects. But the International Monetary Fund projects that Iran’s economy will actually grow modestly this year (when the economies of most Gulf Arab states are in recession). A significant number of Iranians — including the religiously pious, lower-income groups, civil servants and pensioners — appear to believe that Ahmadinejad’s policies have benefited them.

And, while many Iranians complain about inflation, the TFT poll found that most Iranian voters do not hold Ahmadinejad responsible. The “Iran experts” further argue that the high turnout on June 12 — 82 percent of the electorate — had to favor Mousavi. But this line of analysis reflects nothing more than assumptions.

Some “Iran experts” argue that Mousavi’s Azeri background and “Azeri accent” mean that he was guaranteed to win Iran’s Azeri-majority provinces; since Ahmadinejad did better than Mousavi in these areas, fraud is the only possible explanation.

But Ahmadinejad himself speaks Azeri quite fluently as a consequence of his eight years serving as a popular and successful official in two Azeri-majority provinces; during the campaign, he artfully quoted Azeri and Turkish poetry — in the original — in messages designed to appeal to Iran’s Azeri community. (And we should not forget that the supreme leader is Azeri.) The notion that Mousavi was somehow assured of victory in Azeri-majority provinces is simply not grounded in reality.”

Watching the Ahmadinejad-Mousavi debate on Press TV, I also got the impression that Ahmadinejad won simply because his translator spoke very clearly whereas I had some difficulty understanding what Mousavi’s translator was saying…

Today’s pro-government rally, however, looked smaller than yesterday’s massive pro-opposition demonstration.

So who won, Felipe Calderón or Andrés Manuel López Obrador…?

June 16th, 2009, 4:52 pm


Dan said:

There are reasonably sounding arguments for both sides in the Iranian election results but this is not the main issue. The most important point is that the elites can’t live forever on hope alone, they must have freedom from religious oppression. It’s reasonable to predict that without freedom Iran will lose its technological advantage and slip back into a third world situation. I doubt that the elites can stand much longer being under a constant threat of physical violence and a religious education is not a good replacement for a PhD in the natural sciences. The decline of a big country is a slow process but is unpleasant nonetheless.

June 16th, 2009, 5:35 pm


majid said:

Déjà vu. March 14 and March 8 duel in Tehran

June 16th, 2009, 5:43 pm


ghassan said:

The difference here is that in Beirut, March 8 marched on March 8 and March 14 on March 14. In Tehran, it is on the same day! It is dangerous and wish luck to both of them!

June 16th, 2009, 5:54 pm


Dan said:

If Ahmadinejad really won the question is what happened to the majority that demanded reforms in previous elections. If these masses has really disappeared it means the regime succeeded in destroying its own elites and is doomed to slow decline. It wouldn’t be the first time rulers preferred the continuation of their rule over their country’s interests but it’s a mighty quick case of cultural cleansing.

June 16th, 2009, 6:38 pm


majid said:

OK GHASSAN, I see the one week difference in the timing of the two events. But what is it with this little corner of the ME that seems to set the trend and acts like the barometer for the whole region? This is the second time in less than 100 years. The little corner’s reach this time even exceeded its previous reach.

June 16th, 2009, 7:12 pm


Kamal said:


M14 and M8 were in the streets simultaneously and it passed peacefully. While M14 did not havea mass mobilization on March 8, they were already in the streets demanding the resignation of the Syrian-puppet government.

June 16th, 2009, 8:02 pm


norman said:

It is funny how the people who never believed that Iran has democracy are crying it’s demise now.

Obama was very clear today by expressing that it is an Iranian matter to decide and the US will have to deal with whoever there.

that is a smart move by the US to show the Iranians that we have no intention in destabilizing Iran.

June 17th, 2009, 1:34 am


Majhool said:


what is your own understanding of the system in Iran? Do you think Iran has/had Democracy? whatever that term means to you.

Since we are at it, Does Syria has a democratic system?

June 17th, 2009, 3:12 am


abbas said:

could someone tell me why the demonstrators are holding signs in English ?

June 17th, 2009, 4:49 am


Majhool said:

to gain sympathy of the west and embarrass the regime. “cedar revolution” did the same thing. did you have any doubt?

June 17th, 2009, 4:56 am


majid said:

“could someone tell me why the demonstrators are holding signs in English ?”

Because Mr. Obama spoke in English in his youtube message. They think he doesn’t know other languages. They are being nice to foreigners. It is a well known trait of easterners i.e. being nice to foreigners.

June 17th, 2009, 5:51 am


majid said:

Twitter is collaborating with the demonstrators.

June 17th, 2009, 6:22 am


abbas said:

that is not being nice to foreigners, it is the inferiority complex that all easterners suffers from toward the west until they immigrate to the west and see the west as the great lie that ever existed. holding signs in English makes them come as unsincere in the eyes of fellow country men

June 17th, 2009, 6:22 am


majid said:

I bet you didn’t know I was sarcastic. I just couldn’t resist the temptation when I read your question.

June 17th, 2009, 6:25 am


Off the Wall said:

English Signs = International Exposure
As Simple as that.

Most western journalists, especially american ones are too lazy and/or provincial to learn the languages of the counties they are supposed to cover, or to translate signs, except for words of romance and what translates into 4 letter words, which excite them as it does teenagers. So if Mo does not go the mountain, the maintain comes to Mo (No disrespect intended).

June 17th, 2009, 6:54 am


Yossi said:

Does anybody else notice the similarity with the M8/M14 demos with respect to Mousavi’s supporters being a little more ahhm attractive ahhm?

June 17th, 2009, 7:23 am


offended said:

Well, when we protested against Israel, we carried signs like “IDF = murderers”..etc.. why? because we wanted the world to hear, because the subject matter had international implications.

Here I’m not sure, I’m inclined to agree with OTW, but then what’s the international exposure is for? eventually, nothing will scratch your back better than your nail.

June 17th, 2009, 7:28 am


offended said:

…… and Ahmadnejad supporters being more rumpled and shabby?! : )

That being said, Persian girls can take the front seat to the Lebanese girls anyday; lean, fit, exquisite and graceful….

(now that once-in-blue-moon visitor will come and cry sexism, so I better stop here..)

June 17th, 2009, 7:34 am


Shami said:

Yossi ,they lack of choice ,that doesnt mean that they are in great love with Musawi,the iranian people used him as good pretext.
As for the beauty of persian women ,i agree that those we see in these demonstrations are by far more attractives than those of the poor iranians that we are used to see near the shrines in Damascus.
In my opinion ,the most beautiful women are russians

June 17th, 2009, 7:45 am


majid said:

Actually, if you come to think about it, it is more like the wali faqih is playing the west against itself. They already mastered the game since 2005. So now they can play it in Tehran leading Obama and co. to think Iran is an apple ready to harvest, so he can sit down and watch and naively enjoy the spectacle as a fruit to his Cairo speech. Meanwhile, the centrifuges are running full steam. No hurry to negotiate because as you (West) can see we (Iran) may give you what you want in terms of civil liberties and democratic rule. Within few months the Mahdi (A.S., MAMHAS) will appear. The story will be over. The demonstrators will just go home with one infallible sign from one of his sacred fingers.

June 17th, 2009, 7:57 am


Off the Wall said:

Add to beauty, with or without, a great deal of independence, determiniation, and an incredible drive for accomplishments.

As for why, legitimacy my friend. Even someone like me, who appreciated the restricted Iranian model as being better than what we have in the Arab world, had to pause. Although, I never give legitimacy to unelected overseers, Iran had elections that managed to bring those who are not completely in line to power before. This time, it is so shaky, and I do not think that it is over yet.

However, I do not think Iran is about to go into civil war. To my knowledge, it never had. The mullahs will adjust, as I said earlier, in few more months, we can expect a series of laws and decrees that will attempt to correct a revolution that has gone lax on social rigidity. Expect some to question why women have 1/4 or 1/3 of their hair showing and not fully covered. We will probably see a stricter (never to be reported) cases of harassment of middle and upper middle class boys and girls by basiej in universities, a continuation of reduction of girls quotas in engineering and sciences. It will get ugly for them. This will give their reformer spirits few new individual or small group battles, and drive most of their energy to circumvent these restrictions.And voila, they are kept busy with mundane things of being middle and upper middle class boys and girls, yearning for a semi-western lifestyle, and having to create their own illusion of it in their small circles. It is a full time job for most teens and even twenty-something.

Wow, I feel bad, I hope no Iranian revolutionary is reading my post.

June 17th, 2009, 8:34 am


offended said:

I think you ended up feeling bad because you assumed that the Mullahs are going to become more strict in Iran. I doubt it. I think with the momentum of the opposition right now, the Sumpreme Guaradian will have to accommodate them somehow.

June 17th, 2009, 8:47 am


Off the Wall said:

I would love for what you said to happen. But after the debacle in Syria with the new law, I am afraid that dark forces of ignorance and rigidity always manage to assert themselves. They may accommodate on cosmetic political issues, but on social issues, I am afraid they will push back.

June 17th, 2009, 9:05 am


Dan said:

I’m reading Syria Comment for a long time. The responses here are very erudite, clever even brilliant but very careful not to pass the “safe limits”. Something is lacking, Hope. In the last centuries all hope has bled out of the Middle East to be replaced by quiet despair. Quiet despair of individuals and nations that a better tomorrow may yet come. Despair of ever having a lively technological society where political critic doesn’t matter, not hunted by those who don’t have any other qualifications. We have replaced external colonialism with an internal one and liberation is so much harder.

But the world is changing. The American empire is on a declining course. It’s allies will be greatly weakened in a few decades. The non-Arab Muslim states are getting strong and feeling their strength. In the new multi-polar world there will be new opportunities, new friends. The sleeping giant feels the gentle breeze on its face and moves in its sleep.

Our brothers and sisters all over Iran are now fighting for themselves and for us. They are sacrificing their young lives for our children. There was an Englishman who promised his nation only blood, sweat and tears but they won over the beast. We will win too because we have no other choice. Please pray tonight deep in your heart for our Persian blood brothers!

June 17th, 2009, 11:32 am


Akbar Palace said:

Within few months the Mahdi (A.S., MAMHAS) will appear. The story will be over. The demonstrators will just go home with one infallible sign from one of his sacred fingers.


How do you know “within few months the Mahdi will appear”?

Which “story will be over”? Can you please explain this further?



Please pray tonight deep in your heart for our Persian blood brothers!


Too bad for the Iranians that GWB isn’t still president. If you haven’t noticed, Obama isn’t “fazed” by the demonstrations in Iran and the risk the average demonstrator is subjecting himself to.

In any case, I hope they succeed with their democratic rights.

June 17th, 2009, 11:34 am


offended said:

It’s still a draft law. And I have faith the people of Syria will reject it. Don’t lose hope, my friend.

June 17th, 2009, 11:34 am


offended said:

Yes, Palace. please tell us what would GWB have done instead?

June 17th, 2009, 11:45 am


Shai said:


An adviser would have asked GWB: “Mr. President, what about Iran?” And Bush would have answered: “… I-ran? (long pause) No, this morning I-walked!…” 🙂

June 17th, 2009, 11:58 am


offended said:

LOL! sadly true. But by the time GWB wakes up from his reverie, Cheney would have huddled with Abrams (Elliot, not the tanks), Bolton and McCain and decided they need to bomb the snot out of the Iranians……………….to liberate them.

June 17th, 2009, 12:38 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Yes, Palace. please tell us what would GWB have done instead?


GWB would have unequivocally supported the Iranian protester’s calls for freedom, democracy and a tranparent count of their votes, and at the same time, used this opportunity to condemn the theocratic government of Iran.

Of course this is a hypothetical exercise, but it is backed up by our experiences with the Bush Administration and the Iraqi, Afghani, and Lebanese fight for democracy and Bush’s looooong history of isolating autocratic regimes.

But if you prefer a US leader turning his attention away from freedom movements and, instead, deal with thuggish regimes, that’s your prerogative.

June 17th, 2009, 12:49 pm


offended said:

My assessment is that Obama would love to meddle if it was feasible for him. It’s not a principled nor a cowardly stance, it’s pure calculation. He knows that, as a president with high hopes placed on him, he should put his money where his words are. A singular statement by the state department wouldn’t do sh*t. And if he made promises to the Iranians he should be able to make good on them. And more importantly, as a guy with triple the IQ of Bush, he knows that eventually he would need to engage with Iran through diplomacy, and hence it’d be a difficult position for him to support Mousavi now and deal with Nejad later.

June 17th, 2009, 1:11 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Offended said:

My assessment is that Obama would love to meddle if it was feasible for him. It’s not a principled nor a cowardly stance, it’s pure calculation…he knows that eventually he would need to engage with Iran through diplomacy…and decided they need to bomb the snot out of the Iranians……………….to liberate them.

Dan said:

Our brothers and sisters all over Iran are now fighting for themselves and for us. They are sacrificing their young lives for our children. There was an Englishman who promised his nation only blood, sweat and tears but they won over the beast. We will win too because we have no other choice. Please pray tonight deep in your heart for our Persian blood brothers!


I would say that since most Iraqis feel they are better off with democracy as opposed to the Baathist government of Saddam Hussein (despite their grave sacrifices), and considering that the Iranians (according to Dan) are “sacrificing their young lives for [their] children”, I would say most Iranians would prefer a strong stand against the current Iranian regime as opposed to the “hands off” approach that you and our High IQ president seem to prefer.

Of course, to me, coddling thugish, undemocratic regimes is stupid.

June 17th, 2009, 1:37 pm


offended said:

looking at the balance sheet, the ‘sacrifices’ the iraqis had to endure in order to get ‘liberated’ surpasses the benefits by many folds. Saddam has gone but welcome to sectarianism, corruption…etc…And there’s no guarantee that the situation won’t plummet back to even worse than Saddam when the US army leaves.

Likewise, any person with a decent IQ would realize that a military adventure in Iran (come to think of it, your zionist backside wants iran to be bombed for any reason, to hell with protesters), such an adventure would be disastrous. In case you’re not aware, let me break it to you: the US can NOT invade Iran. Period. There’s no enough money, no enough political capital invested. No enough troops. Nothing. Nada.

Besides, who and what the US is going to install in place of theocracy? you really think the Iranian people will simply approve and trust whoever the US picks?

Engaging in diplomacy is the only option. Maybe it’s a shortcoming on the Zionists/neocons part that they can’t talk/negotiate/communicate…etc.. But the president with the high IQ knows better.

And by the way equating diplomacy with ‘coddling with thugs’ is ….quite dumb.

And please, stop feigning concerns about the Iranian people. Like you really care for what they wish.

June 17th, 2009, 2:25 pm


Peter H said:

GWB would have unequivocally supported the Iranian protester’s calls for freedom, democracy and a tranparent count of their votes, and at the same time, used this opportunity to condemn the theocratic government of Iran.

True, and the result would have been to hand Ahmadinejad a golden opportunity to slander the protesters as American lackeys, not to mention cripple the elites in the Iranian system (like Rafsanjani) who\’ve turned against Ahmadinejad.

June 17th, 2009, 5:52 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Offended said:

Engaging in diplomacy is the only option.

Says who? Sorry, I know you and Syria Comment promotes negotiations with despots, but most of the free world doesn’t.

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday there were signs of irregularities in Iran’s presidential election and urged a transparent examination of the results.

PARIS (AFP) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday branded Iran’s election result a fraud as the international outcry over the security forces’ crackdown on the opposition in Tehran intensified.

Canada ‘deeply concerned’ by reports of voting irregularities in Iran: Cannon

June 18th, 2009, 10:58 am


Peter H said:

Akbar Palace, you miss the point: Obama has not become more forcefully involved in supporting the opposition because that would be a gift to Ahmadinejad, for the reasons I gave above. Germany, France & Canada aren’t laden with the same baggage that the United States carries in Iran: they don’t routinely project power into the Middle East; they don’t pursue a containment policy against Iran, they didn’t orchestrate a coup d’état against a man who is now revered Iranian hero, and they weren’t the key backer of a reviled Iranian dictator.

Frankly, I trust the judgment of Iran’s opposition leaders more than yours:

“Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, said she has no complaints about Obama’s rhetoric. “What happens in Iran regards the people themselves, and it is up to them to make their voices heard,” she said in a telephone interview from Geneva. “I respect his comments on all the events in Iran, but I think it is sufficient.” ”

“But some Iranian human rights activists backed Obama’s cautious approach. “I think it’s wise for the U.S. government to keep its distance,” said Hadi Ghaemi, a New York-based spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, which wants the international community not to legitimize the Iranian regime’s claim that Ahmadinejad won the election. While the Obama administration ought to express support for the Iranian opposition’s safety and for human rights in Iran as the regime clamps down on dissent, any expression of political support for the protesters would only “instigate the cry that the reformers are somehow driven and directed by the United States, whether under [former President George W. Bush] or under Obama, and there’s no reason to give that unfounded allegation” any chance to spread.”

June 18th, 2009, 2:35 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Peter H.,

Thanks for the reply. Fair enough.

Of course, I don’t buy the “baggage” thing, the “project power into the Middle East” thing, nor do I (and most Iraqis) regret the US conducting regime change in Iraq.

If the US didn’t “lead the way” on that, Saddam and his cute little boys would still be sitting on their deadly thrones.

I think the US has a duty promoting freedom in the world. Judging from this website, the Palestinians and Syrians aren’t crying to Germany for recognition, they looking to the US.

June 18th, 2009, 3:11 pm


EHSANI2 said:


It is touching to see that you care and that you are keeping track of how “most Iraqis” feel.

Is Sean Hannity and mark Levin still believers in this democracy promotion endeavour?

June 18th, 2009, 4:11 pm


Ford Prefect said:

You might want to add to your list of peace and democracy promoters in the Middle East the defunct and blood-thirsty homo sapien species of Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Daniel Pipes, and Elliott Abrams – to name just a few. The Iraqis sure love them passionately.

June 18th, 2009, 5:04 pm


Akbar Palace said:

It is touching to see that you care and that you are keeping track of how “most Iraqis” feel.


As an esteemed contributor to this website, I don’t need to remind you of the many Hamas and Hezbollah supporters on this website.

So, just as a suggestion, I’d skip the whole “caring” issue altogether. That went down the toilet a loooong time ago.

The US and our allies care about a stable ME. Unfortunately, Saddam Hussein didn’t get the memo. That the Iraqis gained some semblance of freedom and democracy was a by-product of regime change. Apparently more Iraqis prefer the current regime to Saddam’s.

June 19th, 2009, 12:09 am


Ford Prefect said:

“The US and our allies care about a stable ME.” Yes, that is a fact but for some administrations, not all – a fact anyone would have observed even after listening to Daniel Pipes all day long (yuk, I feel sick already).

For example, and sadly enough, the last defunct and discredited US administration proved right the opposite. They just somehow missed the “stability” memo. (But wait, they probably just couldn’t read it due to severe retardation).

So thanks to Bush, his Dick, and their mentally-deformed supporters Iran today is stronger, N. Korea is nuclear and the Middle East is boiling with instability and extremism. Some kind of caring I would say.

One should be thankful that an new administration with the right intentions is finally at work.

June 19th, 2009, 3:41 am


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