Why Republicans Might Attack Iran Before General Elections?

If an attack occurs, democratic nominees will be framed as weaker potential commanders-in-chief


Why Republicans Might Attack Iran Before General Elections?
by Omid Memarian

"Do you think that the Bush administration will attack Iran before the general elections in November?" I asked Congressman Henry A. Waxman(D-Calif.) in his office in Washington. He said this is impossible, and explained that Congress will not support the administration due to the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also mentioned that since the release of the National Intelligence Estimate, which clarified that the hardliner government in Tehran had halted Iran's nuclear weapon program in 2003, the possibility of going to war with Iran has decreased dramatically.

But I received differing and worrisome answers on the question from the other side of the political spectrum, indicating that the mood of majority Democrats in congress is not the dominant mood in Washington.

For example, one of the strongest scenarios among neo-conservatives is based on the hypothesis that in the case of any military attack against Iran -- even a limited air strike -- the greatest beneficiary among the three presidential candidates would be John McCain. The reason for this is that the American people's first priority would become national security instead of the economy, and since there might be a "perception" that McCain would deal with foreign policy issues better than economic ones, he would have a stronger chance of winning in November.

In addition to bolstering McCain, they believe that a strike would also bring the Islamic Republic of Iran to its knees for its defiance over the nuclear program, its alleged involvement in Iraq and meddling in the Middle East process by supporting groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

If an attack occurs, democratic nominees will be framed as weaker potential commanders-in-chief -- Senator Obama is talking about engaging in dialogue with U.S. adversaries while the perception of having Sen. Clinton in the White House during wartime, seems unfavorable.

The Republicans have already paved the way for action against Iran by passing the Kyle/Lieberman bill, which labels Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization for its involvement in supplying and arming the insurgents in Iraq (and consequently killing American troops). This bill, which Senator Clinton and Senator McCain have endorsed, is the first in recent history to label a faction of a sovereign government as a "terrorist organization."

Patrick Clawson, a senior scholar in a hawkish institute in Washington told me that the arrest of four Iranian diplomats in northern Iraq in January 2007 has been effective in deterring Iranians and that it is in the interest of the United States to pursue this path. He also argued that the UN Security Council's sanctions against Iran have been somewhat effective. However, he claimed there are still members of Al-Qaeda in Iran that hardliners in Tehran have refused to hand over to the Americans, hence making Iran an easy target.

No wonder President Bush called Iran the most dangerous threat against the United States along with Al-Qaeda earlier last month. The implication of his statement is clear: in the so-called war on terror, the United States is not only fighting with Al-Qaeda, a radical Sunni group, but also with Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which is basically a part of Iran's official army.

In fact the stage is set for an attack, more likely an air strike, on Iran. President Bush suffers from the lowest approval rate and some of his closest allies have left the White House. Additionally, military officials continuously complain about the role of Iran in Iraq as well as Tehran's defiance in stalling its nuclear program. President Bush can save the day for Republicans by ordering a military attack against Iran.

Only last month Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation's top military officer, said that "the Pentagon is planning for potential military courses of action" against Iran.

Surprisingly, this is not something that terrifies hardliners in Tehran. Many believe that any kind of military attack by the United States will enhance Iran's position in the Muslim World, and that Iranians will rally behind the flag in support of the government.

Unlike the Republicans' perception that in case of an attack people will come to the streets and celebrate, as in Baghdad in 2003, radicals in Iran do not see a military attack on Iran as detrimental. Simply because such an attack will only mobilize patriotic Iranian people behind their government, even though many of them hate the government, and in the long term will only strengthen the hardliner's position in power.

Given this scenario, come November, there will be a Republican president in the White House, a continuing hardliner government in Iran, and a decimated region with no hopes for peace, human rights or democracy.

- (First appeared on HUffingtonPost)
- Omid's blog


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Anonymos2, 1- When did I

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Anonymos2, 1- When did I excuse Israel and others? Let me make this as clear as possible: Israel is occupying Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian lands. The world community, including Arabs, have the right to use force against Israel to free their land. That’s why I supported the 3 wars waged by Arab states against Israel although I believe Abdul Nasser and Ghadafi and Asad were leftist lunatics. However, Israel has absolute right to exist just as much as Palestinians do, and I will never, ever, support fundamentalist groups such as Hezollah and Hamas and IRI who want to hijack the Israeli Palestinian issue to take over and establish a fundamentalist state like Iran. As far as U.S support for Israel, it has been grossly exaggerated by leftist and Islamic media around the world, although I seriously believe that some U.S support for Israel need to be cut. Here are three facts: Germany is pioneer in providing Israel with submarine force and technology, France is pioneer in providing and establishing the Israeli nuclear program, and Israel spies on the U.S, and its resisting all U.S and U.N and Russian and other efforts to establish a Palestinian state. My friend, someday some Iranians, like you, need to realize that everyone whether its U.S, Iran, Switzerland, Russia, Israel, Lebanon, the Maldives Island,,,are responsible for their own action regardless of what strong ties it has with other nations. We live in an inter connected world. Your mentality of “master” governments and “puppet” governments and others belongs to the colonial and ancient historical times where there was a DIRECT OCCUPATION. Unless your country is directly occupied, then, you are responsible for your policies, not others, not even your closest allies.
2- You’re wrong. This idea was actually warned by many free thinker Iranians before the revolution even happened. Many warned that Khomeini will establish an Islamic caliphate, but no one listened. When the revolution happened, the vast majority of Iranians and many progressive people around the world realized that fact. Recently, with the growth of Islamic movements around the world, is when others also have started to realize what Khomeini did in 1979 has affected the entire world, and there is threat out threat far greater than communism that needs to be stopped before it spreads like cancer.
3- Again, that Saddam was “used” by U.S is a medieval and colonial type mentality. Did you know most of Iraqs army under Saddam was Soviet based, technologically and weapons wise? Do you remember the Sokhoi bombing flying over Iranian cities?
B- Based on what logic are you expecting U.S to support Iran after the revolution when Khomeni said “ we will not rest until the flag of Islam has been risen over the White House” and blind anti Americanism has and is in regime’s core existence?
C- Agreed.
D- Based on what logic do you say “U.S sent Kurds to Iraq”? Yeah I agree that Iran helped Kurds in Iraq under Saddam, but they also helped and heavily supported shite Mullahs in Iraq as soon as the revolution prevailed so they can overthrow Saddam to establish a fundamentalist state like Iran.
E- Based on what logic do you say that why would U.S spend so much capital, resources and image to “destroy both Iraq and Iran”? I mean I’m really amazed on some of the logic used here. What is the end point of “destroying Iran and Iraq?
4- A- You should care why U.S helped Mujahedeen (Not Al Qaeda) in Afghanistan. That is what will explain to you the rest of the story. Also, U.S support for “extreme groups throughout the history to overthrow democratic government” is baseless and you know it. Do you know which government was in power in Afghanistan when Mujahedeeen were fighting? A tyranical communist government established under direct Soviet occupation of Afganistan.
B- I agree that U.S was stupid. It was also stupid (under Carter) when he called Khomeini a “holy man”.
C- How is U.S supporting MK? Explain. How come U.S categorizes the MK under terrorist organization and still support it? With what money? How are these funds transferred? Does the Senate know? Iraq is a sovereign government elected freely by the Iraqi people under U.N supervision and in an election directly supervised by numerous human rights organizations and the U.N (Something Iran hasn’t experienced under the “republic” of IRI). Iraq is letting the MK stay, not the U.S.
D- What U.S, as a nation, and the world community, need to understand, is the horrifying threat the Islamic Fundamentalism movement represents.
5- A- yes, U.S should not support Saudi Aabia the way it is doing now.
B- Are you saying you didn’t know Wahabbi is an extreme sect of Sunnism? And you don’t believe that Salafi (Almost identical to Wahabism) belief of Hamas and other Muslim brotherhood groups are extreme sect of Sunnism also?
C- The regime in Iran will never ever let there be peace between Israel and Palestine. If Iran respects the right of Palestinians, it should respect Mahmoud Abbas who is democratically elected by Palestinians as their president, not to use any and all power to overthrow him. Furthermore, the U.S and others are accepting Hamas as elected by Palestinians, but the U.S, Israel, Russia, China, Europe, U.N and pretty much all countries in the world, except Iran, are asking Hamas to accept Israel. In todays civilized world my friend, you can’t be a part of huaman civilizaation when you’re asking other countries to be eliminated like Khomeini, Khamenei, Ahmadi Nezhad and Hamas are doing.
D- The argument that IRI is a “humane” government for assisting Palestinian, just totally left me speechless. No comment on that.
6- The first democratically elected in the Middle East was the Afghanistan elections after the fall of Taliban and the liberation of its people from them. Furthermore, Mahmoud Abbas was elected as president, in a democratically elected process, long before Hamas was elected.
B- agreed.
C- According to many polls, most Palestinians recognize Israel as a country, they just want it to give up their land. They didn’t elect Hamas because it didn’t recognize Israel. Although I agree that Israel is making it tough everyone ,, even its friends, to solve this problem.
D- Also agreed.
7-I don’t believe U.S said “terrorism doesn’t exist without state sponsorship”. Its just saying, there are terrorist sponsoring states out there, and most people agree with that, whether they agree with U.S policies or not. Totally agree with you on the rest.
8- My friend, even the Iranian regime is not hiding the fact that is not supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. So your argument that “Neo Cons cooked up this belief that Iran is supporting Hezbollah” contradicts Iran’s own admittion, history of Hezollah and the region, Iran’s ideology and policies ,and realities! Again, one of those things that makes someone speechless!
B- The co called “president” in Iran is nothing but a PR director for outside world to fool the world that they have a “republic”. All policies in Iran are directed by a group of Mafia like religious groups, headed by the godfather, the supreme leader. Iran’s undeniable policies are to support any group that has a fundamentalist Islamic ideology just like theirs.
C- Now you’re resorting to making up things. First of all, although Iranians are mostly “born” shites, but most of them like you and me, do not hold extreme religious beliefs and do not associate themselves with a fanatic group like Hezbollah just because their shites like them. So I really don’t know where do you get this! A serious question, have you ever been to Iran? Second, the fact that Shite population were “oppressed” in Lebanon is comical. Lebanon used to be the Paris of the Middle East. Before the rise of extreme shite (And some Christian) groups in the mid 70s, all people in Lebanon used to live in peace and harmony, and even today, no one is getting oppressed in Lebanon because of their beliefs. Even in todays Lebanon, all religious groups live in peace and harmony with full rights guaranteed and practiced, and if it wasn’t for fascist groups like Hezbollah, we would not see whats happening now. And if you think all Lebanese shites support Hezbollah, you need to do much more research and go out and try to meet some Lebanese shites, not just in the U.S, but elsewhere. Most Lebanese shites that I met in the U.S and elsewhere, were more liberal than anyone else, and they despise Hezbollah as much as we despise the IRI.
D- OK, so now that Hezbollah is in the government recognized and part of the U.N, it needs to act responsible and respect the majority will of Lebanese. The Lebanese people clearly and democratically elected a parliament and a president where Hezbollh is a minority, not majority.
E- Again, if you think Hezbolah’s main arms supporter is not Iran, then you’re stating something even the IRI itself is not denying!
Anonymos2, sometimes it feels like you’re saying that although logic, history, common sense, facts and news are clearly showing that IRI is engaged in this or that activity, but just because the IRI is too smart to leave any evidence behind, then we should act as if none of those are happening. I mean that’s just not logical my friend. This government acts like Mafia, and the vast majority of Iranians and , increasingly vast majority of people around the world, are beginning to realize the nature and intentions of this regime. It seems like your swimming against the flow.


Anonym7, U.S main reason to

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Anonym7, U.S main reason to support them was to defeat the Soviets who were occupying their land, not to terrorize Iranians! What logic are you using? I have to admit this the first time I heard someone claiming U.S supported Mujahedden to terrorize Iranians!


Farhad: I think I did look at the issues out of the box!

by Anonymous-2 (not verified) on

The issues are complex, they have historical roots, and of course there are political reasons intertwined; nothing new in the game of politics.

However, I believe I am looking at the issues out of the box in my own attempt of understanding the current issues that impact the Middle East, and the world. It would be stupid and naive of me just to take things as they are presented as opposed to understanding the underlying issues which have turned the Middle East into one of the most chaotic and most discussed regions of the world.

You Stated:

Anonymos2, we have two options when analyzing an event or an argument:

1- “Think outside the box and use logic 2- Take things at face value. You are a prime example of people who accept things at face value.”

• Exactly, I am asking you to think out of the box. You may think out of the box for every other historical event but not the situation in the Middle East and not the atrocities committed by former colonial power, the U.S. and Israel. You seem to excuse the U.S., the West, and Israel for everything they have done and continue to do.

2- 1979 Revolution and Khomeini’s belief that he could spread the Revolution was over 30 years ago; as Iran felt more secure that it had succeeded in securing its position in Iran and as times passed this ideology waned. Iran has no such ambitions exporting its Revolution throughout the Middle East.

• All of this concept that Iran wants to spread its Islamic influence and spread the Caliphate (which by the way Shiite’s don’t believe in Caliphs but this is a Sunni belief) have all been spread after the U.S. failed in Iraq, and realized that through its own stupid doing, it has eliminated Iran’s enemy and replaced it with a more friendly neighbor whose government has historical alliances with Iran as well as a common religious bond.
• It seems like you are taking the U.S. saber-rattling at face value.

3- “The maniac Saddam”:

• Was used by the U.S. whenever they needed him.
• The maniac Saddam took advantage of the Shah’s departure and lack of American support for Iran after the 1979 Revolution.
• The maniac Saddam realized that Iran’s army was in shambles and the country still weak with no super power coming to its rescue; a ripe time to attack its long time foe, a miscalculation by the maniac Saddam.
• The disputes between Saddam and Iran are historical and go back along way, way before the 1979 Revolution. These disputes existed during the reign of the late Shah over Iran’s rights and usage of the Shatt-el-Arab as well as the three islands in the Persian Gulf... Furthermore, don’t forget it was the U.S. and the Shah who sent forces into Iraq to destabilize Iraq by supporting the Kurd in order to win Iran’s concessions in the waterways of Shatt-el-Arab. Once the Shah received what he wanted, he left the Kurds unto themselves and abandoned them; just like the U.S. forces did in the First Gulf War – the rest is history.
• As usual the U.S. was more than happy to contain and destroy both countries economies for its own benefit; don’t forget who supported, funded, and provided fighter jets, satellite imagery, chemical and biological weapons to Saddam to attack Iran – The U.S., France and Germany; and of course most of the Arab countries (especially Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait where happy to oblige) by not only providing funds to Saddam but also allowing their territories to be used as a launching pads against Iran.

Hopefully, this provides you with a historical prospective of why Saddam attacked Iran and who aided Iraq in this bloody 8 year war. It was not Iran who started it, nor was it out of fear that Iran was going to export its Revolution (Iran was deemed too weak as a country at that time), but other factors. These are not face value thinking but historical facts.

4- You state: “Furthermore, U.S supported Al Qaeda to fight the Soviets and Al Qaeda and Mujahedeen were friends of the U.S those days, it did not support them so later on it would slam civilian aircrafts into its most important buildings. Why is that so hard to understand?”

• I don’t care what the U.S. intentions where in supporting Al-Qaeda, the Mujahedeen, and the Taliban’s. This has been the U.S. strategy throughout its short history in supporting such extremist elements and terrorist groups to either (a) over throw democratic governments which do not support U.S. agenda; and (b) as a means to fight their battles against their enemies.
• What all of this proves is the U.S. stupidity in funding, training, providing arms to terrorist organizations only to have these groups later turn against the U.S. and making the world less safe for everyone! So let’s put it this way, the U.S. is in the business of supporting terrorists – this is what I said, and none of your excuses of why the U.S. conducts in such activities are acceptable for a country who says we are “Fighting a War on Terror”. When they are directly responsible for the terrorists they have unleashed in the world.
• Just a note – the U.S. is currently supporting another terrorist group, the “MEK”. It matters not that they are on the U.S. Gov. Official Terrorist list – so long as the MEK can overthrow the IRI; they will support, fund, arm and unleash this cultist terrorist group on Iran and the Iranian people. And many of you on this site condone this – that’s the funny part – you call Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists but not the MEK!!
• Again, you are taking things on a very superficial face value as opposed to looking at the cause and effect of the misguided, U.S. foreign policy and its short term solutions to very complex issues. There is no quick fix, but one needs a long term strategy – the U.S. lacks rational thinking to plan out long term strategy!!

5- Your last paragraph had multiple statements each requiring their own response as such I am breaking down your statement You State: “Hamas beliefs are if not identical, then very similar to Wahabi beliefs, are you saying that Hamas considers shites infidels also? If so, how come is not killing Iranians? And how come the shite government in Iran is supporting it? You know why, because they have a common enemy: the U.S. The U.S itself allied with the Soviets to fight the Nazis. So please don’t be so naïve my dear friend! Your Hamas and Hezbollah argument is royally flawed !”

• Majority of the Wahhabi sect are in Saudi Arabia – this is where Wahhabism is practiced and the fact that the U.S. gov. considers Saudi Arabia as its friendly ally despite this most irrational, and fundamentalist, fanatical, extremist sect which has not only killed Americans but teaches hatred and violence toward all non-Wahhabis is mind boggling. However, as is typical of the U.S. - The U.S. simply turns a blind eye when it comes to Saudi Arabia. As it says, the “enemy, of my enemy is my friend”!! Exactly the U.S. motto!
• Hamas is a Sunni sect of Islam; I don’t know on what basis you consider their belief similar to that of Wahhabis? Unless you know for a fact which I doubt – this is merely a hypothesis on your part.
• Iran supported the rights of the Palestinians from the beginning since 1948. It was one of the few countries who believed in the one state solution and voted on that basis at the UN in 1948. It has not changed its position, however it has continuously stated that whatever the Palestinians decide Iran shall respect. At this point the Palestinians can’t even get the U.S. or Israel to accept their democratically elected representative, Hamas, let alone the concept of a Palestinian State. However, Iran has respected the decisions of the Palestinians in recognizing Hamas or any government of their choosing.
• Furthermore if Iran provides any assistance to the Palestinians, it is not only because of political interest but also humanitarian. Where are the Arab countries? And why should Iran not provide assistance to the Palestinians? The issue of Palestine impacts the entire region, and is the main cause of animosity of the Muslim world against Israel. If the P/I issue was resolved no country would have any further excuse to be against Israel, unless of course Israel continues to be a proxy for the U.S. in its hegemonic interest in the Middle East. The issue is Israel says, “It is either may way, or no way” – and this type of attitude is never going to work, unless Israel changes its attitude.

6- “ No one is asking Hamas to step down, if Hamas believes in Israel’s existence, the world will definitely tone down its rhetoric against it.”

• Hamas as you may recall was elected through the first democratic elections in the Middle East (no one can refute this, neither the U.S. or anyone else). However, much to the chagrin of the U.S. and Israel Hamas as opposed to Fattah was chosen by the Palestinian people as their representatives. Once again the U.S. and Israel demonstrated their hypocrisy; did not recognize Hamas, and refused to negotiate with the elected representative of the Palestinian people.
• Hamas according Zbigniew Brzezinski will evolve but it will not evolve if it is continually ostracized – and this is exactly what the U.S. and Israel are doing.
• Why is everything one way for the benefit of Israel – what concessions in the past 60 years have either Israel or the U.S. given to the Palestinians so that the Palestinians should automatically recognize Israel when they have received absolutely nothing in return from either Israel or the U.S.? It would be stupid of the Palestinians to take this step forward without Israel showing any good faith. This is the last card that the Palestinians have – recognize Israel and get nothing back in return? There is a need for confidence building and Israel has to prove that it is sincere! History has demonstrated that Israel has no interest in going back to the 1967 borders, it has no interest in dismantling the settlements; it has no interest in allowing the right of return of the Palestinians; all Resolutions which have been passed against Israel with only three no votes: U.S., Israel and some small little country or island (can’t remember its name but is included in the UN Resolutions).
• In conclusion Israel and the U.S. have to take the first step forward and engage in dialogue with Hamas – this is diplomacy if they want issues resolved. I am sure neither the Palestinians or the Israelis like the current situation and from everything that I have read a majority of the Israelis want their government to negotiate with Hamas. Unfortunately, the political leaders of the U.S., the strong Israeli Lobby and the Israeli Gov. are unwilling to do so.

7- On Terrorism:

Terrorism is an ideology one person’s “terrorist” is another’s “resistance fighter”.

One must look at the cause and roots of why individuals/groups engage in such activity. We may not agree with their policy, but we cannot disregard why this is taking place. And unless it is addressed it is not going to disappear. You cannot destroy an ideology!
Aside from the U.S. continuity with 27 years of ongoing attacks against Iran, such assertions accord with a longstanding U.S. foreign policy myth that believes terrorism cannot exist without state support. If a state is needed to explain the continued existence of groups like Hezbollah, then Iran is an ideal candidate. Ergo, the connection must exist. Such claims serve to bolster the central, but fallacious, political doctrine for the Bush administration that the Global War on Terrorism really exists.

The alternative is to understand that terrorism is fundamentally community-based. Sub-state groups with grievances that they feel cannot be addressed in any other way resort to terrorism as a way of increasing attention to their plight and pressuring those whom they perceive to be oppressing them. Though they may welcome external financial support, the impetus and motivation for terrorist groups’ actions is not dependent on it. Indeed, the more pressure they are subjected to, the stronger their collective will to resist increases.

When this dynamic is understood, the problems of addressing terrorism also come into focus. Rather than looking for global fantasy structures such as al-Qaeda and their state supporters, the international community needs to employ methods to address the needs of sub-state groups, while simultaneously working to curtail their activities as conditions improve.

8- On Hezbollah:

The conflict in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah had hardly begun when the Bush administration and its neoconservative supporters began blaming Iran for the conflagration. On July 25, Henry Crumpton, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, told a reporter that Iran is “clearly directing a lot of Hezbollah actions. Hezbollah asks their permission to do things, especially if it has broader international implications.” Meanwhile, in the July 24 Weekly Standard, William Kristol called Hezbollah’s fighting an “act of Iranian aggression” and suggested “we might consider countering it … with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.”

However, giving Iran another tongue lashing, or worse, deciding to attack it, will do nothing to stop the violence in the region. Not only is there no evidence that Iran had a role in instigating these rounds of violence, the possibility itself is unlikely.

• Iran’s control over Hezbollah has been steadily declining since approximately 1996, during the reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami. Money does continue to come “from Iran” to support Hezbollah, but not the Iranian government. Instead, it’s private religious foundations that direct the bulk of support, primarily to Hezbollah’s charitable activities. Nor are the amounts crucial to Hezbollah’s survival; even the high estimate frequently cited in the press—$200 million per annum—is a fraction of Hezbollah’s operating funds. However, the most important reason for not targeting Iran for the continued fighting in Lebanon is that this conflict is antithetical to Iran’s interests.

Neoconservatives clearly have another agenda in attacking Iran besides stopping Hezbollah. By blaming Iran for these flare-ups, neoconservatives are following their decade-long program to encourage a military attack against the Islamic Republic.
The broad assertion that Iran supports Hezbollah is verifiable, but it is important to understand what the nature of this support is, and the extent to which Iran is able to influence the actions of this Shi’ite Lebanese group.

• Since 90 percent of Iran’s population is Shi’ite, its citizens had an undeniable interest in the fate of its co-religionists in Lebanon following the Revolution of 1978-79. Like Iranians, the Lebanese Shi’ite community was under oppression both from Sunnis and Maronites. Moreover, Palestinian refugees, settled in Lebanon without consultation with the Shi’ite community, served as a drain on weak local economic resources and drew fire from Israel. The Shi’ites felt helpless and frustrated. The successful revolution in Iran was enormously inspirational to them. While the Iranian central government was weak and scattered after the Revolution, semi-independent charitable organizations, called bonyad (literally, “foundation”) sponsored by individual Shi’ite clerics began to help the fledgling Hezbollah organization establish itself as a defense force to protect the Shi’ite community. This was simply not state support. Given the semi-independent corporate nature of Shi’ite clerics, especially in the early days of Iran’s revolution, when internal power struggles were endemic, there was little the Khomeini government could do to curtail these operations.

Hezbollah maintains a stronger commitment to the symbolic legacy of the Iranian Revolution than Iranians, according to Georgetown University professor Daniel Byman. In a 2003 Foreign Affairs article, Byman pointed out that, “Iran lacks the means to force a significant change in the Hezbollah movement and its goals. It has no real presence on the ground in Lebanon and a call to disarm or cease resistance would likely cause Hezbollah’s leadership, or at least its most militant elements, simply to sever ties with Tehran’s leadership.”

In short, Hezbollah has now taken on a life of its own. Even if all Iranian financial and logistic support were cut off, Hezbollah would not only continue, it would thrive.

• Hezbollah has achieved this independence by becoming as much a social welfare and political organization as a militant resistance organization. In a 2004 speech, Dwight J. Simpson, a professor of international relations at San Francisco State University, reported that it had “12 elected parliamentary members and many Hezbollah members hold elected positions within local governments.” At that time, the group had already built five hospitals and was building more. It operated 25 primarily secular schools, and provided subsidies to shopkeepers.

• The source for their money, Simpson reported, is zakat—the charitable “tithe” required of all Muslims. The Shi’ites, having seen their co-religionists in Iraq succeed in initial elections there in 2005, had hopes that they too would assume the power in Lebanon that accorded with their status as the nation’s largest community, approximately 40 percent of the population. The growth of Hezbollah’s charitable operations increased non-state-level financial support for the organization not only from Iran, but from the rest of the Shi’ite world, since formalized charity is a religious duty. As this charitable activity increased, Hezbollah was on the road to ceasing its activities as a terrorist group and gradually assuming the role of a political organization. Even in its current engagement with Israel, its “terrorist” activities have been reframed as national defense, especially as Hezbollah began to use conventional military forces and weapons.

• Many of these weapons, it is claimed, have been acquired from Iran over the years, but even this is not fully verified. The rockets used by Hezbollah have been tentatively identified as Katushya rockets, of the form manufactured by Iran, and known as Fajr-3 and Fajr-5. But the United States has not been able to identify that these rockets are absolutely Iranian.

• Moreover, no country has yet been able to verify Iranian Revolutionary Guard presence in Lebanon and their participation in various conflicts., and rumors that they have aided in the firing of the rockets have been vehemently denied by Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

Given the loose and ambiguous nature of the Iranian government’s control over support for Hezbollah, claims by U.S. officials that Iran has an organized state-level support system for such activities are clearly exaggerated. Similar to all of their false accusations that Iran is arming Iraqi Shiites – when it came to providing proof General Petraeus and US officials had absolutely nothing to show for it, simply assertions!

Sorry assertions don't mean anything, especially from a country which has demonstrated it lies, and provides disinformation in order to create a policy to serve its political agenda!


Kashsni, one good statement !

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Kashani says: "Furthermore, U.S supported Al Qaeda to fight the Soviets and Al Qaeda and Mujahedeen were friends of the U.S those days, it did not support them so later on it would slam civilian aircrafts into its most important buildings. Why is that so hard to understand?"

You are absolutely right and I understand that. US supported those guys so they would terrorize others, i.e., Russians and Iranians ... but what goes around comes around ....


What is wrong with a

by pahlavi-chi (not verified) on

What is wrong with a surgical attack on the Pasdaran's bases and facilities only. Once they are put out of use then we take care of the rest. Believe me we are ready.


Anonymos2, we have two

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Anonymos2, we have two options when analyzing an event or an argument : 1- Think outside the box and use logic 2- Take things at face value. You are a prime example of people who accept things at face value. My friend let me teach you some history like you claimed you were going to teach me !!! And I appreciate that! When the French revolution happened, one of the main policies of the revolutionary government was to “export its revolution to the world, starting with its neighbors”. The result was a unified Monarchist governments in Europe whom felt threatened by this movement and as result, attacked France and brought death and destruction to it, and if it wasn’t for Napoleon, France would’ve been in ruins. Now, the issue is what were those ideas that the French were promoting and to what benefit of French people, the revolutionary government, which supposedly democratically represented the French, exported those ideas? Fast forward to 1979, the Islamic regime hijacked a revolution and its main policy was to “export its revolution to the world, starting with its neighbors”. The result was a maniac like Saddam threatened by this movement, so he attacked Iran and brought death and destruction to it. Now, again, what were those ideas? How did me, you and other Iranians benefited from exporting Islamic fundamentalism ideas to the world? Did we approve of it? So, you’re taking things at face value disregarding all the efforts the regime made in Iraq prior to the war to provoke the shite fundamentalist forces to rise against Saddam. So yes, the U.N declared Iraq as the party the fired the first bullet, but really, as Iranians, humans and thinkers, are we that naïve to not really look at what took place? Furthermore, U.S supported Al Qaeda to fight the Soviets and Al Qaeda and Mujahedeen were friends of the U.S those days, it did not support them so later on it would slam civilian aircrafts into its most important buildings. Why is that so hard to understand? Hamas beliefs are if not identical, then very similar to Wahabi beliefs, are you saying that Hamas considers shites infidels also? If so, how come is not killing Iranians? And how come the shite government in Iran is supporting it? You know why, because they have a common enemy : the U.S. The U.S itself allied with the Soviets to fight the Nazis. So please don’t be so naïve my dear friend! Your Hamas and Hezbollah argument is royally flawed ! No one is asking Hamas to step down, if Hamas believes in Israel’s existence, the world will definitely tone down its rhetoric against it. And Hezbollah, like you said yourself, has members in the parliament. That being said, lets look at the Hamas and Hezbollah issue in the two methods I described above. A- Face Value: There is a difference between terrorist organizations and “terrorizing governments”. Iran, for example, is a terrorizing government, not a terrorist government. (It is however he biggest inspirer and supporter of terrorism). Although terrorist in definition means someone who “terrorizes”, but it doesn’t mean that in political terms. Terrorist are non government organizations, who do not wear military uniform but engage in combat and do not follow rules of engagement and who kill innocent people. Hamas and Hezbollah clearly do that, eventhough, against an occupying country like Israel. But it does kill innocent Israeli, Palestinians (Ex. Fatah group) and Lebanese. You can argue that Israel is a terrorizing government, (I think it is ) , but if we wanna solve the issues of terrorism, terrorizing governments and to bring peace to the world, we need to clearly define each concept. We shouldn’t be mixing definitions. So, even if you don’t look at it using logic and just taking face value, Hamas and Hezbollah are still terrorist organizations. Now if you feel Israel is a terrorizing government, then the approach you take to confront Israel would be totally different than the approach you take to confront Hamas and Hezbollah. It is satirical to suggest that Hezbollah and Israel are both “terrorists”. B- Use logic and history: Logic and history tells us that Iran since unable to gain support among governments and public opinion around the world to gain power and influence, resorts to forming militias with fundamentalist ideologies, to be used as its hitmans. They have hijacked the Israeli-Palestinian struggle to gain support among disfranchised young Arabs (and Pakistanis) and some other Muslims. They have inspired Muslim clerics around the Islamic world to rise to create an Islamic nation (Like Khomeini). The result of that is thousands of small militia group working in hiding and as ghosts. Iran does not distinguish between shite and Sunni groups (It supports one of the biggest Sunni fundamentalist groups, Hamas). They are using these groups to destabilize and militarize the region so they can present their case and gain influence. Terrorism is Iran’s tool for survival. This is a revolutionary regime that has left our country in a revolutionary state for 30 years now, and it is vital for them to create instability to be able to further their agenda. All I’m asking from you is to think outside the box.


So, Anonymous-2, what’s your point?

by bijanam (not verified) on

Let’s say you know history and only you know it. Let’s say what you know what is the definition of truth. Zionists are the real terrorists, US is the true sponsor of terrorism around the world by supporting whoever that protects her interests. So what? That will Justify existence of IRI and Hezbollah?. If they go out and murder women and children in the markets, it is justified. If they come and hijack planes and blow some 3000 people into pieces, it’s OK, they are doing it for the right cause.
IRI has every right to have nuclear weapon to dominate the Middle East and f**k every Saudi royalty or every ruler of ME to propagate the message of your Imam Khomeini. According to you, the justice will only be done when Hezbollah and Hamas as IRI’s proxies wipe Israel off the map. I guess you have not read history long enough or have only focused on some selective recent history. Open your eyes and try to understand and have appreciation for reality. Wake-up from your dream and face the reality that it is very likely that Bush will attack Iran before the end of his term, as Mr. Memarian’s post speculates.
Unfortunately, you are the one who has the facts upside-down.

-The fact is that Khomeini’s Islamo-facsism has no chance of spreading thru the resource- rich region of Middle-East (The civilized world and specially the most powerful civilization would not let that to happen)

-The fact is, the Democratic (or Zionist, or apartheid or criminal, whatever you want to name it) State of Israel is here to stay. The only time you can change that is when you accept the end of planet earth as you know it today.

-The fact is , that peace and respect for democracy and the power behind it will eventually prevail. (an Obama election will likely delay the world peace by at least a generation)

So, Mr. Anonymous-2, go and read a few more history book to find out when and how the currently respected (and accepted) boundaries of different countries were formed.


It Depends on your definition of Attack

by MallyJack_Secrets on

If you are suggesting that the US is planning an invasion of Iran prior to the election, I'd say I doubt it, but would not be surprised by anything that the worst US president in history might do on his way out the back door of the White House.

But if your definition of attack is a surgical strike on the nuclear weapons facilities (let's face the truth shall we?), then this is a far more expected adn logical response, especially given Iran's blatant flaunting of the treaties, the rest of the world except the US and Russia have decided to abide by. Which is pure defiance and arrogance on the part of Iran. And arrogance begets arrogance.

So I think you are right if attack means bunker buster bombs on natanz.

But I think you are wrong if you mean attack like "The liberation of Iraq"

Somebody I know once said, "When it comes to Iran, the US finds itself between Iraq and a hard place."

PS> How does one become a HuffingtonPost writer?


Who's yo daddy?

by ...the ism (not verified) on

No one in the Bush administration is dumb enough to attack Iran … not even Bush’s VP Dick. The world’s one and only super power can’t even secure a road from Baghdad’s airport to Green Zone! US’s yearly budget of close to 490 billion dollars can’t even bitch slap a few sandal wearing, teenage punks in Iraq or Afghanistan. Two weak, piss poor, 3rd world countries seem to be a major challenge for Uncle Sam and his pockets! If anyone’s going to make a move it’ll be Israel because they will not hesitate for a second to drop nukes on Iran. They’ll do it and they’ll do it without anyone’s permission. They’re priority is focused on Iran and unlike the US, Israel is the boss!


I have a scenario too.

by AnonymousMM (not verified) on

Egypt might attack China before 2015... then again this might not actually happen.


They do not dare

by Alborzi (not verified) on

They think about it and would have attempted if Iraq had not happened, but they realize (after Iraq experience) that it will be a messy deal and it will be too painful to even think about it ( Iraq would be a walk in the park compared to Iran), it will not happen. A limited bombing will only give Iran the excuse to go ballistic. It is not going to happen.


Neither black nor white!

by Kamangir on

It's very clear to me that the the US could get rid of the IRI without any war or attack. The IRI is a fragile regime that depends very much on Iran's oil to survive and the republicans, specially characters such as Cheney, know the oil world and know how to hurt Iran's already ruined economy by using oil as a weapon, specially bearing in mind that Iran imports large percentage of its own gas.

Now, It's not very clear if 'regime change' is the real agenda, mainly because an attack on Iran, would benefit the IRI. Everything seem to indicate the some sort of milatry confrontation with the IRI will take place sooner or later as I believe that the real aim of the powers (not only US) is to re-shape the entire region and that can only be achieved amid caos. Their main target should be the province of Khuzestan and despite what others believe, I think they do have the power to invade that province (not the rest of Iran, but only khuzestan) prior to that they'd need to paralize Iran's army and revolutionary guards and they can very easily do that with their mighty and now free air force. With Iran's military and defence capabilities collapsed (under constant and continous and intensive strikes) the US forces can enter khuzestan just as Iraq did (and bear in mind that when Iraq did that Iran had its air force and military literally intact)

The US can very easily paralize Iran, however their concern should be the unconventional and asymetrical tacticts Iran may be able to use in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. This would include the Hormuz straight and the fact Iran could collapse it (temporarily) If such conflict spins out of control, where tactical nuclear weapons are used, then we're looking at a very volatile situation with other countries in the region getting involved. This includes the possibility of Iran, hitting neighbour countries, Iraq situation getting out of control, again.

A US attack on Iran, is a very dangerous game with unknown consequences that doesn't help Iranian people, all the opposite.

We all want to get rid of the IRI mafia, we want to improve our country, we see Iran's potential in becoming a democracy some day, but this cannot be achieved by a nasty war. We've seen Iraq's situation and what led to that. Our message to the West and the rest of the world should be: stop supporting the IRI because of your financial benefits. Stop dealing with such a criminal mafia called the IRI that has brutalized Iranians for three decades, stop doing that and we the Iranians will do the rest.


Farhad Jan you have your facts upside down!

by Anonymous-2 (not verified) on

Iran started the Iraq war? What a big fat lie - we are getting tiered of teaching history to some who either don't know and refuse to read. or are simply bent on passing the wrong information to readers.

Iran funding al-Qaeda no friend - you should take a look at who started al-Qaeda, who has continued to fund and support Al-Qaeda - Saudi, U.S. and Pakistan; Iran has had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda.

The same countries which have supported Al-Qaeda are the same who have funded and supported the Talibans!

The minimum that you should be aware of is that Al-Qaeda belongs to the Wahhabi religous sect which considers Shiite Iran, Shiite Iraq, Shiite Hezbollah as heretics.

Get your information straight!

Yes, Iran is a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. But the it has only been the U.S. and Israel who have labeled both of these groups as "terrorists". And neither of these two countries are considered the entire world, nor are they in any position to provide the definition of who a terrorist is when they themselves are involved in acts of terror.

I am not even going to bother discussing a known fact that Hamas was democratically elected to represent the Palestinian people. Even the U.S. can't deny this. Furthermore Hezbollah supports the majority population in Lebanon and is represented in the Lebanese parliament.

You want to speak about 'terrorism" why don't you tell us which terrorist groups are being supported, armed and funded by the U.S. and Israel?

In fact the history of Israel in order to steal the Palestinian land and to conduct ethnic cleansing and engage in political assasinations was conducted by Zionist terrorist groups.

The problem of the Middle East started with the former colonial powers, and after the colonial powers (UK, France, Italy etc.) completed their task of pillaging, robbing,mass murdering, terrorizing, humiliating the Muslim World this honor was passed to the United States.

Unfortunately, you have your facts upside down. The greatest sponsor of terror is the U.S. and its number one ally Israel, along with another puppet client state of the U.S. - Saudi Arabia.

The reason for the spread of Islamic extremists was also was fueled by the U.S. as it served its interest against communism, and the former Soviet Union; and still serves its interest depending on which country it aims at destabilizing.


Whatever happens to Iran by

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Whatever happens to Iran by U.S, Israel, Europe, China, Russia,,,,, is a result of the evil policies the regime in Tehran has taken for the last 30 years. It got us involved in the longest war of the 20th century because it wanted to “export its revolution to the holy land of Iraq”, the result: more than 1 million Iranians dead and more injured, a country in ruins and a civilization in decline. It has been the center of promoting and supporting a deadly ideology of Islamic fundamentalism. There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that Iran is the biggest supporter of major and non-major Islamic groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Taliban,,and others, and the reason is very clear and I don’t even think they hide it anymore, its because they want to lead an Islamic resurrection movement that has blind and irrational Anti Americanism (America because it stands against everything they stand for and is the sole and biggest hurdle in front of them to achieve the goal of Islamic empire) in its core,,and are creating and using these groups to act as their hitman. We have been so lucky, and the U.S has shown rarely seen patience and great respect for our people that it hasn’t nuked us any time the last 30 years! We, the Iranian people, are adults and want to act like adults and reasonable people to take responsibility ourselves. It is our regime that is the biggest threat to world peace (Even recent world opinion poll confirmed that). We want to live with everyone, U.S and others, in peace and harmony and believe the regime in Tehran is the biggest obstacle for that. No one else is to blame. We have woken up and are speaking up


And then some criticize the IRI

by Mehdi on

If this is the level of deception, repression, power-hungriness, lying and outright fraud in the "most democratic" and the most modern and the most secular country with the best human rights record, with the highest number of educated people, with the highest or near highest percentage of the best of everything, and here people can be controlled and manipulated so easily, should we expect anything at all from a country like Iran?

Not to justify repression anywhere in the world, but it is important to realize that the "major" source of trouble in the world today is NOT in the Middle East. Sure, Iran and the rest of the Middle East has its own share of thieves, corrupt politicians and warmongers. But they are not in control!

Warmongering is an old business. There is a lot of easy money to be made with it. Mafia made a name for itself by creating fake "dangers" and then extorting money from people in exchange for "protection." People would pay "willingly." This is exactly how the US government is currently extorting its own people, the terrified Israelis, as well as the rest of the world. Speaking out against it does work. Communicating the facts and spreading the information does work. Don't be convinced otherwise, because that's what the lovers of the darkness are hoping for!


Unfortunately, and sad this is US policy

by Anonymous-2 (not verified) on

I had feared this was the intention all along. We have very few in the Congress who know what is really taking place and if they do, they do not dare raise their voice else their jobs are going to be at risk. As such, even if it means engaging in another military attack on a country which poses absolutely no threat to the U.S., to Israel, to the region and to the world, does not matter - a story will be created and once again fed to the American public and unfortunately it will be bought, and even if they don't buy it, this Gov. does not give a damn.

Patric Clawson's statement about Iran's support of Al-Qaeda is full of crap. He knows for a fact that the money supplied to Al-Qaeda (even now) has been coming from the Saudis and in fact the Saudi Royal family. The support and funding of Sunni insurgents has also been provided by Saudi Arabia as well as the U.S.

Todate, regardless of all the talk about Iran destabilizing Iraq, and providing arms - there has been no proof whatsoever. Neither Petraeus or Mullen have been able to provide any valid and credible info. In fact there is none, because most of the weapons have been created in Iraq and not in Iran. Furthermore whatever happened to all of the missing U.S. ammunitions? But then no one ever asks this question!

The U.S. needs another excuse to prolong its stay in Iraq so Iran is a great bogyman. And unfortunately, those in the "power elite" of this country believe that it is worth the sacrifice of Americans to march into another war for the sake of the U.S. and for spreading democracy (really hypocritical).

Yes, once more the drum beats of war are beating hard and clear; and this is what the Republicans are banking on to win the elections.

However, I hardly think Iran is going to be sitting with its hands folded waiting for the Americans or Israel to attack; and if they do; then what they are witnessing in Iraq is only the icing on the cake!

U.S. has no foreign policy, no strategy, no understanding of diplomacy - war is their diplomacy and foreign policy.

God protect Iran from these warmongers.

Thank you for this article.

Best regards