Leveretts, doosti e khaleh kherseh


Ari Siletz
by Ari Siletz

The greatest potential conflict of interest between the US and the IRI is over the control of Middle East oil. Flynt and Hillary Leveretts' recent research has shown that this conflict is a reality not just a potential. Furthermore, the Leveretts have argued that the IRI is the only viable Iranian regime, the Green movement being inconsequential. A simple 2 plus 2 argument adds up to a US war with Iran. 

War is about control of Middle East oil:

A quote in a recent Atlantic Magazine article explains Iran’s threat to US oil interests:

“…if America allowed Iran to cross the nuclear threshold, the small Arab countries of the Gulf would have no choice but to leave the American orbit and ally themselves with Iran, out of self-protection. “There are many countries in the region who, if they lack the assurance the U.S. is willing to confront Iran, they will start running for cover towards Iran,”...”

This hawkish statement sets up a scary threat. But is it a likely threat? Don’t worry, some could say, the Arabs would never line up behind Iran. This is where the Leveretts swoop in to spike the setup. Their research claims that the Arabs would do exactly that. They give poll data to back up the following statement:

In six Arab countries where the ruling authorities have devoted a lot of effort in recent years telling their people that the Islamic Republic aspires to regional hegemony, is seeking nuclear weapons, and that this would be a bad outcome for Arab interests -- local Arab populations are not buying the argument.

In other words, if Iran goes nuclear the US supported ruling Arab elite would fall and the new Arab regimes would be Iran influenced. A nuclear Iran really does mean that the US no longer controls the Middle East. To spell out what this means to the US: dominance over the world’s energy supply is at the heart of the American financial and military empire. Lose this control, lose the empire. This is an existential threat paralleling the one claimed by Israel.

Where the Green movement comes in:

To have a chance at rescuing Iran from this war, Iranians need to show that the Leveretts are wrong about the Green movement being unimportant. We need to show that there is an alternative to the IRI. And very importantly we have to show that Green governments will not rely on international conflict for survival the way the IRI does. In particular, the movement needs a well thought out, peaceful, and clearly articulated Israel-Palestine policy, and it needs to let the whole world know it. The Green movement was at first about votes, then about civil rights, now it is about our country’s survival.


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more from Ari Siletz

The Leverettes do not give a hoot who rules Iran

by MM on

as long as a peace plan is implemented.  The Leverettes may not have mentioned "democratically elected" or "popular", but their reference to Sadat and the ensuing peace plan between Egypt and Israel was very telling for me.

Darius Kadivar

Ari Jaan You should write a short story on this theme

by Darius Kadivar on

listen to the BBC documentary I posted below. It is really interesting.

It could be an excellent pretext for a novel. Knowing your excellent writing skills I am sure you can come up with a short story.


Mind boggling logic

by Asghar_Massombagi on

So this is all as easy as ABC, is it?  Start from dubious premises and arrive at self aggrandizing conclusion.  The hawkish premise that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the secure supply of cheap oil is a propaganda point that you seem to accept at face value.  Ignoring its imperial hubris (the world belongs to the US) there is no evidence that the IRI has any beef against full integration into the world capitalist system. This is a regime whose alleged anti-imperialism is essentially cultural.  What have they done in the past 30 years to convince you that they are in any way interested in challenging the world capitalism? Or the OPEC?Secondly the Leverettes' analysis is about the Arab public opinion and whether or not Iran is becoming isolated in the Mideast ( Who Says Iran is Becoming Isolated in The Middle East, see MRZine.org).  There is nothing in their analysis that suggests a nuclear Iran would pull the small Arab states away from the US orbit?  Why? These states’ military spending per capita is much larger than Iran.  Just last year, one of the biggest arms sales in the history of the region, initiated originally by the Bush administration was completed by Obama to these so-called vulnerable oil puppets.  Apparently the formidable nuclear arsenal of the US, Israel, not to mention Sunni fundamentalist Pakistan will pale next to Iran's yet to be materialized nuclear bomb; not yet hatched, to be perhaps maybe potentially possibly manufactured sometime in the future single lonley one bomb, allegedly, not quite sure.  This is analysis??  We might as well speculate about life on Mars.

So enter the Green movement, whatever it is, based in Berkeley I assume.  "We" need to craft a reasonable Israel-Palestine policy.  Why? Why should the "Green" movement care to craft anything for Israel-Palestine conflict to begin with?  Have the Arabs asked for this?  Or the Israelis?  What’s in it for Iran?  

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

The Leveretts opine in favor of a US-IRI rapproachement, yet their poll data realizes the US' worst fear: the IRI is an extremely potent threat against US global interestst. If the US policy makers were holding back war thinking an Arab-Iran alliance is far fetched, now they know better. Thanks to the Leveretts convincing them that Iran has a lot of respect in the region. Together with Jeffrey Goldberg's Atlantic article saying a nuclear Iran would take the Arabs out of the US orbit, a US decision maker would be inclined to act quickly before the alleged nuke scenario happens.

Anahid Hojjati

Shifteh jan, you need to make a clarification

by Anahid Hojjati on


 Dear Shifteh, in your comment, you wrote:"I'm not saying those alternatives are perfect in any way or that they will work, but I am saying that people who are actively seeking a military attack on Iran are vested in making the Green Movement non-existent, impotent, and considered finished. " So what does this mean? Just because I say that Green movement belonged to a cross section of the time and it is finished and now movement is something beyond green, does that mean that I am pro attack?

 Shifteh jan, I am also familiar with your blogs about eventful days but in those blogs, you don't appear to know anything beyond what we know about what Iranians inside Iran want. you are reporting the events based on eye witness accounts. Am I missing something? Do you have some extra information recently? What makes you think from recent events and also nonevents in Iran to conclude that pople are still behind Moussavi? 

Sargord Pirouz

You're mistaken, MM. The

by Sargord Pirouz on

You're mistaken, MM. The reference to Sadat is made as to how he was perceived by the West (which was negative) before the peace effort and ultimate rapprochement. They've never directly attached an objective rendering of "democratically elected".

The Leverett's are on the record, stating "Ahmadinejad won, get over it." Which is sound advice, from an the perspective of advocating American policy. 


Leverestt's, 2-3 (?) articles back, made it clear what they want

by MM on

The Leverettes give credit to IRI in calming extreme forces such as Hamas and Hezbollah in the Middle East.  A few articles back, the Leverettes made a reference to Sadat which made it clear how they are viewing IRI geo-politically. 

The Leverettes argued that while Sadat was also not a democratically elected government in Egypt (nor internally popular), yet the US was able to sponsor a peace-deal between Israel and Egypt that has lasted since the 70's when the deal was signed. 

If the US gets IRI on board, there isn't that much more resistance out there from anyone else for either a peace plan between Lebanon-Israel, Palestine-Israel or a comprehensive ME peace-plan.

Shifteh Ansari


by Shifteh Ansari on

Thanks for the thought.  I'm afraid the crowd that lives outside Iran is making the same mistake of the past 3 decades again, mistaking their "wishes" for what the majority of Iranians inside Iran are prepared to do and what is attainable in a reasonable timespan.

Iranians inside Iran may or may not want a regime change yet, I'm not sure on that.  But I do know that they do not want another hasty and emotional revolution/regime change such as the one their parents had.  I think Iranians knew relatively early on that this government was not going to be representative of them and their needs, yet they have endured and tried to "negotiate" with the same government, trying to avoid bloodshed and major losses, all the time growing, all the time learning--steps needed for reaching their final destination of a democratic state. 

I know it irks many people to hear this, as many (first and foremost myself) hate the Islamic Republic of Iran and wish to be done with it.  But I believe that the Green Movement is a fundamentally "reformist" grassroots movement which to this day continues to attempt bringing change with minimal casulaties.  I'm sure you will agree that "overthrows," unfortunately, do not have minimal casualties.  Unless, of course, they are done and controlled from outside the country in which case I have another observation to share.  More than making another hasty and emotional mistake in having another revolution, Iranians hate the idea of foreign interference in their affairs.

Again, as much as I hate the Islamic Republic myself, we will all need to get behind the people of Iran and support THEM in what they are trying to achieve.  Iranians inside Iran have not listened to Iranians outside Iran for three decades.  Do you honestly think they will start now?  

We can hate and question and ridicule Karroubi and Mousavi on so many different warranted grounds.  But until people inside Iran give up on these guys as their leaders, we have to accept them.  And guess what happens then?  We will have to go along and accept the replacements Iranian people choose for these guys.  Under no circumstances can leaders for the Iranian people's movement be found or suggested or dispatched by Iranians outside Iran.  We just have to accept that.

I will propose another idea here.  I think those of us who loathe the idea of a military attack on Iran should be so careful in eliminating the alternatives Iranian people are trying to explore for a relatively peaceful change even if the change is not as drastic or as we wish for it to be.  I'm not saying those alternatives are perfect in any way or that they will work, but I am saying that people who are actively seeking a military attack on Iran are vested in making the Green Movement non-existent, impotent, and considered finished. 

Please proceed carefully everyone.  I hate the Islamic Republic of Iran, but I hate more anyone who would attack it and harm its innocent people.

Sargord Pirouz

I think you're misreading

by Sargord Pirouz on

I think you're misreading the Leveretts' perspective, Ari.

Their analyses conclude with an advocacy of rapprochement initiated by the US with Iran, based on American interests. It's a position I wholeheartedly endorse.

The majority of the so-called Green movement simply represents the more liberal element of the Iranian electorate, which drew roughly 35% of the vote in the last presidential election. This oppositional element remains, but it isn't a credible vehicle for regime change. That's always been an unrealistic expectation.

Personally, I don't see a war coming during the next two years, at least. But it's a dangerous situation, I admit.


Leveretts 'defense' of the

by vildemose on

Leveretts 'defense' of the IRI actually promotes a US war with Iran despite appearences--


Darius Kadivar

FYI/"Useful Idiots":documentary on Dictatorship Apologists(BBC)

by Darius Kadivar on

The phrase 'useful idiots', supposedly Lenin’s, refers to Westerners duped into saying good things about bad regimes.

Listen Here

It mentions Press TV's Shahab Moussavat and George Galloway


Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

"...it is ludicrous of Leverettes to claim Arabs somehow will become loyal to Islamic Republic."  Maybe, but they are influential policy advisors. US decision makers don't go to you and me about Arab-Iran relations, they go the likes of the Leveretts. Their importance isn't so much in whether what they say is right or wrong, they are significant because their research is believed by decision makers. Ironically, believing the Leveretts 'defense' of the IRI actually promotes a US war with Iran despite appearences--as this blog argues. 


Milking it

by Fred on

The opportunistic couple is doing what NIAC lobby has been doing from the day of its creation.

The whole premise of the lifetime president of NIAC lobby and by extension his crew was that Islamist Rapist Republic is solidly in control and the problem is a strategic competition between IRR and Israel.

Of course the strategic competition nonsense never passed the test of history during the previous regime in Iran.

And now after that being in control nonsense too has been answered on the streets of Iran, NIAC lobby has turned to IRR version 2, i.e. Rafsanjani’s crew the Islamist Greens and pushing a new nonsense just as this couple is doing.

The reality is too vivid for all the nonsense after nonsense to cover up but there are those who can still milk it some more.

Iran minus IRR is and will be Israel’s strategic partner; it is just the nature of the equation in the region.


Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

In the context of this blog I would define the Green movement operationally, not ideololgically.

1.Who are the Greens?

The Iranians who go out in the street to protest againt Khamenei's regime.


2. Who are its leaders/activists?

The few who when they say, "go protest," people go protest, and when they say "don't go protest" people don't go protest. Operationally this narrows the Greens down to the Mousavi-karoubi organization, and those who support it out of political expedience (me).

You state insightfully:

"... who can cater to the religious crowd while skillfully rescuing Iran from them..."


A very tall order though. Khamenei on one side and the Mousavi-Karoubi crew on the other (throw in Rafsi) monopolize control of Iran's religious energy. There is hope however. In Iran's presidential debates Mousavi not so indirectly warned of the consequences of too much anti-Westernism. Whereas Ahamadinjad insisted that any concession on that front would undermine Iran's political independence. For their own interests, the operational Green leaders have incentive to act as you and I would have done vis a vis the West ie. find a graceful way to end the hostilities.


What the Mousavi-Karoubi crew haven't done is explain how they would deal with Israel. The signals so far are bad news for peace. Perhaps they should stop the "ham ghazeh, ham lobnan" business and work on selling more creative solutions the puzzle. Those solutions are there; they just can't see it yet. 


Anahid Hojjati

I am with COP where he writes:" I am afraid this Green just ...

by Anahid Hojjati on

I also think that green movement's time has already passed. Now what we have in Iran is just a movement for freedom and "sarnegooni' of IRI. Green movement is what we had from winter of 2009 until some months ago when Moussavi was not able to use the generated momentum and do any meaningful leadership. So i agree with COP where he writes:"What Iran needs is a strong leader - or group - who can cater to the religious crowd while skillfully rescuing Iran from them. I am afraid this Green just won't cut it."  


On Arab countries' thoughts on Iran

by Onlyiran on


Arabs are scaring their population about Iranians' fate!

by Anonymouse on

While there have been Islamic movements in the Middle East and Africa it is ludicrous of Leverettes to claim Arabs somehow will become loyal to Islamic Republic.  They're not Shiites for one.

Just because some people make noise it doesn't mean they're in power.  Tea party is making a lot of noise in US, are they in power?  Neo-cons and neo-Nazis have found ground in Europe and have been making noise, are they in power?

Arab Governments are using Islamic Republic as a scare tactic to keep their population under control and who can blame them!  Islamic Republic has one leg in grave and under tremendous pressue and Leverettes are claiming the regime has drank from the fountain of youth?

Islamic Republic has chosen a path of bullying tactics instead of diplomacy and they've doomed themselves to this behavior.  It's like a school yard bully who is menacing to his peers.  He thinks that if he shows any "softness", because of the pain he has caused, he'll be punished for his behavior.

Green movement is here to stay and it covers ALL those who want wholesale change and it is not that far off.  A lot closer than before. 

Everything is sacred


But exactly who is "green" Ari jon?

by Cost-of-Progress on

You noted:

"...the movement needs a well thought out, peaceful, and clearly articulated Israel-Palestine policy, and it needs to let the whole world know it. The Green movement was at first about votes, then about civil rights, now it is about our country’s survival."

Green, as known in the context of its so called leaders, the former murderes of Iranian people and looters of Iranian resources now turned "refromist"? Or Green as a movement evolved into an entity independent of these anti-Iran elements who are part of the same rotten regime that has brought us to this point in history? 

What Iran needs is a strong leader - or group - who can cater to the religious crowd while skillfully rescuing Iran from them. I am afraid this Green just won't cut it.