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Total number of comments: 8 (since 2013-11-28 16:37:29)

Maziar

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  • Sunnis Big Losers in Iraq Elections, PM al-Maliki has Largest Party
    • I'm not a language expert. But I guess that won't stop me from expressing an opinion. In this article there is an interesting comparison amongst the Semitic and Indo-European language groups:

      "Thus, Najaf Province (about a million people) is almost entirely Shiite and everyone speaks Arabic (a Semitic language related to Hebrew). Dohuk, Suleimania and Irbil, which have joined to form Kurdistan, are almost entirely Kurdish (Kurds speak an Indo-European language ultimately related to English"

      Arabic and Hebrew have similar roots and are predominantly spoken in very much the same geographical area.

      In this article, Kurdish is "ultimately" classified alongside English as examples of Indo-European. Wow! The link in Wikipedia (link to en.wikipedia.org), for what it's worth, starts off by defining it as one of "several Iranian languages".

      Of course, the Indo-European family comprises many languages, one of which is English. But it is the geographical disproportionately that I find novel.

      I think the Kurds and the English have far less in common than the Arabs and Jews of the Middle East. And since there is linguistic root linking Arabic and Hebrew, I would have thought the more logical analogy might have been Kurdish and Farsi.

  • Top Ten Ways the US and Iran could avoid a Catastrophic War
    • Sorry Joe, but your comment is tantamount to justifying bullying. It's making a mockery of international law by replacing it with the law of the jungle.

      It's been indicated in informed forums like this one that what the USA is doing by means of sanctions in Iran is for all intents and purposes an economic blockade. The USA has to threaten other countries in order to make the sanction bite.

      Such behavior does not really constitute a very open-minded definition of being "well within those countries’ rights".

    • " Iran would have to stop being prickly and nationalistic and would have to give the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to everything they want to see."

      It has less to do with being "prickly and nationalistic" and more with common sense. Why shouldn't the IAEA have access to everything in the factories and R&D centres of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and other cutting edge defense contracting corporations?

      - May be I am reading too much into Prof. Cole's suggestion, but to me, it is definitely not a balanced and rational one, particularly as #1 on the list of measures to be taken.

      "Access to everything they want to see"? Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program is a pretext to contain an important player in the Persian Gulf region. By "contain" I primarily mean economically. Many neighbouring countries do not want to see a thriving, growing Iranian economy. Israel is more threatened by the situation it has created in Palestine than by the vague possibility of an Iranian nuclear warhead.

      So giving the IAEA unfettered access is an invitation to industrial espionage and sabotage (- we've seen examples of both in Iran by outside elements) in areas not just related to the nuclear industry. Furthermore, it means that this saga will never end. Any unfounded rumour created by anonymous "Western officials" can used to perform a snap inspection. In fact many of the accusations brought against Iran's nuclear program have been precisely that: unfounded rumours.

      And we all know (hopefully by now) that the IAEA has not been an honest broker in its dealings with Iran. It is influenced by Security Council politics and even infiltrated by agents from various spy agencies.

  • Surprise! Talking to Iran just Might Work this Time (Jahanpour)
    • I agree with Mark.

      Opening up all the sites? Which sites? The ones that any country may fancifully believe has a 'potential' for nuclear weapons testing without a shred of evidence to support it? Why not just have the CIA, Mossad, MI6, etc.. set up shop officially in Iran and perform industrial espionage 24/7 within a totally legal UN framework?

      I am not suggesting that the breakthrough research of the 21st Century will be emerging from Iran, but simply being able to know exactly what the Iranians are doing whenever you feel like it is an enormous asset to the various parties trying to influence the state of affairs in the region.

      May be I am reading too much into Mr. Jahanpour's suggestion. But we should also not forget that, given the way sanctions have been set up in the US, it would take an act of Congress (if I am not mistaken) to overturn them. An act of Congress these days is more difficult to achieve than an act of God.

  • Lawmakers Threaten Brooklyn College for Event on Boycott of Israel over Settlements (Democracy Now!)
    • Juan Cole writes: " Why is extreme Jewish nationalism somehow not only put up with but actually encouraged?"

      Given the context of this question (i.e. the analogy with "extreme Italian nationalism"), I am wondering if you meant 'extreme Israeli nationalism'?

      I often see suggestions/corrections like the one above as the primary attempt to deal a deathblow to an otherwise very good argument being laid forth. For example, look at this article:
      link to bbc.co.uk

      A Jewish-American friend of mine indicated that the use of the word 'Jews' in the BBC article allowed the otherwise acceptable viewpoint to be opened up for harsh criticism. Well, it would be wrong to say that all Jews are in favour of what is going on in Israel and Palestine. But then again, neither are all Israelis. So, if the use of the word "Jewish nationalism' is not OK, and 'Israeli nationalism' is OK, may be it's time to recognize that Israel is not just the homeland of the Jews. And if this latter suggestion is OK, then may be it's time to have a referendum in Israel and the occupied territories (that Israel plans to illegally annex) to decide on a one-state solution? Just thinking out loud.

  • Mourdock, Rape as a Gift of God, and Islamic Sharia
    • I disagree with the comment: "Sometimes our fundamentalists are worse than theirs."

      I wouldn't make a comparative statement when talking about religious fundamentalists. I think they all share the same position "at the bottom of the pile" in matters of progressive morality.

      The real difference I see between fundamentalists in the West and in the Middle East (for example) is that in the latter region their thoughts unfortunately appear to translate into everyday politics and the lives of people unchallenged, whereas in the West it can still be debated.

  • Campbell: Israeli PM Sharon Threatened Bush with Nuking Iraq (Mearsheimber & Walt vindicated)
    • Judging whether this was a bluff or not is not really the main point in my opinion.

      First of all, the article indicates that it was Bush's interpretation that 'escalate' would imply nuking. Sharon did not say that explicitly.

      The main point is that a nuclear weapon only serves as a deterrent if it is in the hands of a rational regime. Iran's regime is claimed to be irrational by the mainstream media and by war-hungry hawks. There have, of course, been notable statements by high-ranking people in Israel and the USA to the contrary. There isn't any proof Iran is developing nuclear weapons, but in spite of that, the 'irrationality' argument is used against Iran to support efforts to curb its indigeneous nuclear program (civilian or otherwise).

      What's interesting here is that Campbell's latest revelations might provide some evidence that Israel is an 'irrational partner'. Its ability to react disproportionately to aggression has been proved many times (Gaza, Lebanon). May be Sharon did think of using nuclear weapons. Can such a country be trusted with having a nuclear weapons arsenal?

  • Iran Must Free Josh and Shane Now
    • "Iranians have indicated in opinion polls that they want to hear more from Americans, but they can hardly expect us to visit in any numbers if they are going to go all paranoid and arrest ordinary people for hiking near their border."

      - Americans visiting Iran are not usually avid Fox News listeners. As for hiking near the Iranian border, one could contend that anyone hiking near this border, thanks to the devastation created by the US military and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, needs to have his/her head examined. The well-informed know that Iran is used as a major drug smuggling route from the East at least. Assuming the US citizens arrested weren't simply kidnapped while they were truly hiking on the Iraqi side, it doesn't require a create stretch of the imagination to realize that the Iranian authorities could easily be alarmed and would take action.

      The Israeli military would shoot such offenders, innocent or otherwise.

      As far as I can remember, the US military raided the Iranian 'consulate' in Kurdistan and kidnapped several Iranian officials.(link to en.wikipedia.org). And they were kept for a couple of Noroozes from their families. I can't recall reading about any big outcry in the West to release the Iranians.

      Does that justify Iran's actions? Not necessarily. But at the same time, the real facts are not known. How would the US respond nowadays if Iran took US diplomats hostage? The third Persian Gulf war might easily begin.

      "It isn’t fair that these innocent young people be made scapegoats for US-Iranian tensions." - With all due respect, in the treacherous and bloody history of US-Iranian tensions, speaking of fairness is somewhat naive, wouldn't you agree?

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