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Total number of comments: 8 (since 2013-11-28 16:33:19)


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  • Omar Khayyam (337) "I venerate the finest vintage so as to avoid self-worship"
  • Top Myths about Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Program
    • Professor Cole,

      Your use of the term 'myth' in the title of this posting is telling. Despite the fact that the dominant views in the US surrounding the Iranian nuclear program are false (evidence of weaponization, Iranian aggression against Israel)these 'myths' have attained a large degree of reality in popular consciousness. As Walter Benjamin recognized, what makes myths effective have less to do with internal validity or consistency than with the ability to make it seem that they have this coherence.

  • Top Ten Differences Between Rick Santorum and JFK
    • 4. John F. Kennedy supported peaceful revolutions

      I'm sorry but your post comes off sounding like an encomium to Kennedy. He also supported undermining democratically elected governments in the Third World - like that of Lumumba in the Congo - under the pre-text of anti-communism.

  • At Oscars, Director of "A Separation" Slams War Talk
  • Post-American Iraq by the Numbers
  • Iraq Adopts Iran's Backing of Assad
    • Professor Cole,

      I also differ with your claim that the official Iranian press has been silent on events in Syria. The state news media in Iran has adopted the line of the Asad regime, portraying the protesters as thugs and terrorists. It has not, to say the least, been sympathetic towards the protests, but this does not translate into silence.

      I disagree with your argument about Iran's isolation in the region. In addition to Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, you neglected to mention Hamas in Gaza, another close ally of Tehran. The Emir of Qatar was in Iran today, and he has hardly been on poor terms with the Islamic Republic, especially in recent years. Iran also continues to enjoy warm relations with Oman and, at the very least is confronted with a new Egyptian regime that is far less hostile towards it than Mubarak had been. The highly symbolic act of allowing Iranian navy liners to traverse the Suez earlier this year is evidence of this.

  • Notar: Syria and the Palestine Card
    • Describing what the regime has done in allowing Palestinian refugees residing in Syria to storm the border with Israel as further evidence of how Assad has "mastered the use of the Palestinian issue" seems like an exaggeration. If this is indeed a "major component of the regime's new strategy" to combat the current uprising, then it, as with the lip-service paid to political reforms, has failed to forestall protests. It has been clear that demonstrations have grown stronger in the wake of the tactics used on the anniversaries of the Nakba and the Naksa. I agree that the regime's support for the Palestinians had traditionally been stronger - although at the same time, as you note, self-serving - than that shown by other Arab regimes, but it has failed to be consequential as a strategy to appease popular demands, and has, if anything, revealed the weakness and desperation that Asad now suffers from at home. The thesis is interesting but I disagree that this is what ultimately sets Syria apart from Tunisia and Egypt, as you claim at the beginning of your remarks.

  • The First Middle Eastern Revolution since 1979
    • Professor Cole,

      I agree with much of your post, with the exception of your comments on Iran which I think are anachronistic. It may seem today that the influence of "Iran's authoritarian rule by ayatollah" has little resonance beyond poor Shi'ite communities in Iraq and Lebanon, but that was not the case in 1979 when the revolution did in fact, as many have observed, shake the Islamic world from Morocco to Indonesia. One of the reasons that Saddam invaded shortly after the Pahlavi regime was toppled was out of fear that the revolutionary zeal next door would cross his borders, and many Arab regimes (with the exception of Syria, South Yemen, and Algeria to name a few) threw their weight behind him not out of devotion to his framing the war as an age-old battle between Arabs and Persians but again to stem the revolutionary tide. So while it may seem as if the fervor from the 1979 model has attenuated today, I would hesitate to claim, as you did in the post that that model "appealed to almost no one in the Middle East," especially at that point in time.

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