The Mahmoud and Robert Show comes to Afghanistan

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates traded insults on Wednesday in Kabul. Gates accused Iran of claiming to support the Karzai government in Kabul but of playing a ‘double game’ and secretly giving aid to the Taliban. Ahmadinejad complained that the US fostered Sunni radicalism in the 1980s as part of its struggle to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan, and now had no right to complain about radicalism and terrorism in the region.

In this exchange, Ahmadinejad surely won on points. Gates’s allegation of substantial Iranian support for the hyper-Sunni Shiite-killing Taliban is implausible on the face of it, and makes Gates look silly in regional eyes.

Russia Today reports on the tiff:

The dispute is particularly unfortunate, since the US and Iran largely have the same goals and friends in Afghanistan, and the Obama administration should have been talking to Iran all along about their overlapping interests in that country.

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10 Responses

  1. It would be nice if folks stopped demonizing Ahmadinejad. I'm not hearting the guy, but he does actually say a lot of reasonable things. He's like Putin used to be that way. Doesn't make him not a thug, doesn't make him an enlightened ruler – but the comparison with the thugs we call 'leaders' sure doesn't always come off in favor of our thugs.

    And yeah, Gates has had a very ugly career. He may be 'respectable' in the US political establishment, but so are a lot of other pretty awful things.

  2. Are you suggesting Obama did not try to talk to Iran about 'their overlapping interest'??

  3. Hojat-ol-Islam Ahmad Ghabel was on his way to the funeral of Ayatollah Montazeri when he was arrested in Mashad. After seventy days of being incarcerated in the Intelligence Ministry Bureau of Mashad, he was taken to the quarantine wing of Mashad's Vakil Abad prison.

    In a brief contact he was allowed with his family, Hojat-ol-Islam Ghabel told them, they took me to the Revolutionary Court while my hands and feet were chained. I told them 'You intend to humiliate me by putting me in chains but I see nothing other than splendour in this'.

    Although Ghabel's house and passport have been confiscated by the Special Court for the Clergy, the SCC refuses to conduct his trial saying it does not even recognise Ghabel as a valid clergy.

    Truly this Green Movement is an epic of resistance against tyranny in which all its adherents whether academic, worker, artist, writer, clergy or whatever part of the Iranian society they are from are making legends that will be remembered forever by Iranians in the next generations.

  4. Ramin Karimloo from Love Never Dies
    by azadi5

    It's good to see an Iranian who is not afraid of saying he is Iranian make it in the Opera/theatre scene. Ramin Karimloo (born September 19, 1978) is an Iranian-born Canadian musical theatre actor, recognised chiefly for his work in London's West End. He will originate the role of the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies, which continues the story of the Phantom of the Opera.

    link to

  5. This is Khoozestan, Iran:

    اينجا خوزستان است …

    link to

    If IRI pays so little attention to those who are rolling in the oil fields, we can imagine how the rest of the poor in Iran are doing; substandard living.

  6. From NIPOC – the Network of Iranian-American Professionals of Orange County. ( For the fourth year in a row, Iranian-Americans in Southern California will be displaying Norooz banners in the streets of Irvine, California to commemorate Persian New Year. These 3 by 6 feet banners are installed on Culver (Interstate 5 to Campus), Jeffery, and University Drives (across from Mason Park). This project is funded and organized by the hard work of selfless Iranian-Americans living in Southern California. The goal is to give our Spring message of Hope to the entire Orange County community. The banners give the message of NoRooz. Wishing all a new beginning full of HOPE with a gift of LOVE for PEACE and JOY and a gift of WISDOM For HEALTH and WEALTH.We hope Irvine paves the way for many more cities to embrace and enjoy NoRooz.

    Public is invited to participate in several community events planned in the Southland. Sizdeh-Bedar is celebrated this year on Sunday April 4, at William R. Mason Regional Park with thousands of visitors expected to celebrate the 13th day of NoRooz. This is a picnic style event lasting the whole day. Mason Regional Park is located at 18712 University Drive Irvine, CA 92612

    Farhang Foundation, has also installed the NoRooz street banners alongside of Wilshire Corridor, Westwood Blvd. and Mid-Wilshire (near LACMA), from March 1-30, 2010. See photos
    link to

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  7. Banned Iranian Journalist Mehrdad Balali Explains the Reasoning Behind the Recent Conflicting Treatment of Journalists in Iran

    link to

  8. I don't see a whole lot of overlap in American and Iranian interests in Afghanistan. Iran wants a quiet neighbor that won't stir up trouble along its border. So they agree with the Americans that the Taliban and Hekmatyar types are not ideal.

    But beyond this, the US wants a compliant puppet state which it occupies and has bases in, from which it can threaten Iran and imcite terrorist groups, as the South Africans did with Renamo in Mozambique, and ultimately bomb and invade at its pleasure. The Iranians would find even their traditional enemies in Afghanistan a good deal less dangerous than that.

    Not that they're likely to be dumb enough to support them against the Americans, having absorbed the lesson of the American experience, as Ahmadinejad made clear.

  9. Man, couldn't Gates think of anything that was even remotely related to the truth?

    I wonder if Iran or Israel is more of a threat to US hegemoney in the region… certainly Iran in the short term, but I'd say Israel in the long run.

    Not that US hegemoney is a good thing.

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