Cairo Speech, Treaty of Rapallo, German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, and Operation Barbarossa

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 14th, 2014

History 101

President Obama’s Cairo Speech of Islamist Appeasement Emboldened our Enemies

Candidate Barack Obama said during the 2008 presidential campaign that he would talk to our enemies.  Without preconditions.  He would discontinue the gunboat diplomacy of George W. Bush.  Instead he would open a dialogue with the people who wanted to kill us.  Find out why they wanted to kill us. And then resolve those issues that caused our enemies to want to kill us.  Which was the core of his foreign policy.  Being nice to our enemies to get them to like us.  And once they did they would stop killing us.

Some say this started with the Obama apology tour.  With his message of appeasement in Cairo in June 2009.  Where he told our militant Islamist foes, those people who have a tendency to kill Americans, we only want to live together in peace.  And that there is a level of conservative Islamism that was acceptable to the United States.  When the Arab Spring began in Iran (a sponsor of anti-American/Western terrorism) in June of 2009 (after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won reelection despite reported irregularities) President Obama did nothing to support the Iranian protestors.  And the enemies of the United States took notice.  The Cairo speech of appeasement.  Not condemning the Iranian election results and telling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he had to go (as he would tell Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak).  The message was clear.  America’s enemies could do whatever they wanted.  Even become a rogue nuclear power (see Iran: US and others ‘surrendered before the great Iranian nation’ in nuclear deal by Alexander Smith posted 1/14/2014 on NBC News).

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said world powers including the United States “surrendered before the great Iranian nation” in agreeing an interim nuclear deal with his country, state media reported Tuesday.

Iran reached the deal with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the U.S., Canada, Britain, China, and Russia– and non-member Germany…

Speaking to a crowd gathered in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan on Tuesday, Rouhani said: “Do you know what the Geneva agreement means? It means the big powers have surrendered before the great Iranian nation.”

Apparently appeasing our enemies only makes our enemies bolder.  And stronger.  Which is probably not a good thing.  North Korea is a rogue nuclear state.  But their need for food and energy make it unlikely that they will launch a nuclear weapon.  They have so far used the threat of doing so just to get what they desperately needed.  Food and energy.  Militant Islamists, though, want to rid the world of anyone who is not a militant Islamist.  Even if they have to die in the process.  Which they don’t mind.  Because for them this world is only the prelude for the far better afterworld.  Whereas the regime running North Korea has no desire to die.  They enjoy living in the here and now.  And know that won’t continue if they launch a nuclear weapon.

Neville Chamberlain opened a Dialogue with a Lying Adolf Hitler who lied to Chamberlain

The Allies blamed Germany for World War I.  And the Versailles Treaty made the peace following the war a difficult one for Germany.  Blame for the war, war reparations, loss of territories, emasculation (severe limits on Germany’s military strength), etc.  It did a number to German esteem.  Especially when they didn’t technically lose World War I.  The war ended in an armistice.  Where the combatants agreed to a cease fire as they were all exhausted by war.  Of course, America’s entry into the war would have most likely led to a German surrender.  For they were not yet exhausted by years of war.  And could extend the conflict indefinitely until Germany did surrender.  But that didn’t happen.  Which made for a lot of angry Germans when the Allies treated them as if they had surrendered unconditionally.  Setting the stage for an Adolf Hitler to come to power.  Which is what happened.

The war left the Germans isolated.   Russia pulled out of World War I before its completion and devolved into revolution.  Bringing the communists to power.  Replacing Russia with the Soviet Union.  These developments left them, too, isolated in the post-war world.  And then these two isolated nations found each other.  Signing the Treaty of Rapallo in 1922.  Renouncing any territorial or financial claims between them from the war.  And becoming trading partners.  Among other things.  Such as using Soviet soil to rebuild German armed forces in direct violation of the Versailles Treaty.  Where they trained for armor warfare.  Built an air force.  And even developed chemical weapons.  This new eastern friendship had another shared interest.  Poland.

 

Germany and Russia lost portions of Poland following World War I.  And they wanted them back.  But Hitler tested the waters first.  To see how the war-weary allies would react.  He marched troops into the demilitarized Rhineland in violation of the Versailles Treaty.  And the Allies did nothing.  Hitler sent an ultimatum to the Austrian chancellor to hand over power to the Austrian NSDAP (i.e., Austrian Nazi Party) or he would invade Austria.  The Austrian chancellor did.  And Hitler’s Wehrmacht marched triumphantly into Austria the following day.  And the Allies did nothing.  Then Hitler turned his eyes to Czechoslovakia.  And the Sudetenland.  Which he wanted to annex into the Third Reich.  And he was willing to do this with an armed invasion.  Something that got the war-weary Allies’ attention.  For the last thing they wanted in Europe was another war.  British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler.  And opened a dialogue with him.  Finding Hitler to be a reasonable man.  And the Allies agreed to give Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland to Hitler.  With Czechoslovakia having little say in the matter.  But it was for the greater good.  “Peace in our time.”  And it was the last territorial acquisition he wanted.  He promised.  So Hitler got the Sudetenland.  And within 6 months Hitler took the rest of Czechoslovakia.  Without firing a single shot.  Because the Allies were so eager to appease Hitler that they never considered that he was lying to them.  Which he was.

The Treaty of Rapallo allowed the Nazis to build the War Machine they eventually Unleashed on the Soviet Union

With the southern border of Poland secured thanks to the Allies giving Czechoslovakia to Germany it was time to recover their lost territory in Poland.  All they needed was a little help from their new best friend.  The Soviet Union.  And it came in the form of a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.  The Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics signed August 23, 1939.  Promising that neither would go to war with the other.  Or ally with a nation that does.  As well as the secret agreement to invade and divide Poland.  As well as dividing up Bessarabia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, etc.  Then, on September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland.  Launching World War II.  Something they couldn’t have done if it weren’t for their new best friend.  The Soviet Union.

After Poland came Norway.  Then France and the Low Countries.  The British held the Nazis off in the Battle of Britain.  Then came North Africa.  Yugoslavia.  And Greece.  Then came Operation Barbarossa.  Starting on June 22, 1941.  Something Hitler thought about since writing about it in Mein Kampf back in 1925.  Finding Lebensraum (i.e., living space) for the German people.  In particular the Bread Basket of Europe.  The Ukraine.  Which if you know your history, and your geography, was part of the Soviet Union.  Yes, that’s right.  Hitler lied to Joseph Stalin to get what he wanted.  Launching off points for the conquest of the Soviet Union.  A land he viewed as filled with sub-humans he would kill off with famine after taking their food.

The Soviet people paid a dear price for their leader’s treachery.  Enduring hell on earth on the Eastern Front.  With some 20 million dead by the time it was over.  It was these innocent Soviets who won World War II.  Who wore down the Germans with their wholesale dying.  At times 10 Soviets dying for every one German.  None of which would have happened if Stalin had read Mein Kampf.  Or if he didn’t make a pact with the Devil that led to World War II.  The secret agreements in the Treaty of Rapallo.  Letting the Nazis develop the war machine they eventually unleashed on the Soviet Union.  Which just goes to show you that you need to understand who your enemies are.  And once you do you cannot try to make nice with them.  For they will turn on you once you’ve served your useful purpose.  Just like Hitler turned on Stalin.  As Iran will turn on the United States after they served their useful purpose in getting them their nuclear weapons.  And when that time comes the cost of that war will be far greater than it would have been if it was fought before they had nuclear weapons.  With scenes from that war looking more like Hiroshima and Nagasaki than the hell on earth of the Eastern Front

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Hugo Chávez was loved by Venezuelans, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but mocked on SNL

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 10th, 2013

Week in Review

Justin Timberlake made fun of Hugo Chávez last Saturday night on SNL.  Impersonating Sir Elton John he sang a modified version of Candle in the Wind.  Some of the lines went like this:

You called George Bush the devil, when you spoke at the UN, you said he smelled like sulfur, and you called him Mr. Danger

And it seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind, If a candle could pull out two pistols at a press conference

And you said the U.S. caused earthquakes, and you outlawed Coke Zero

You helped to make your country the kidnapping capital of the world, but you also increased milk production by almost 50%

And it seems to me you once gave a speech where you encouraged shorter showers, and another thing you said was capitalism killed Mars

Yes you believed in a civilization that existed on the surface of Mars, but capitalism killed it all when it was introduced to Mars

Funny.  Because it’s true.  Albeit a bit disrespectful for the recently departed.  One thing for sure, though, when Justin Timberlake hosts SNL you will not be disappointed.  He’s talented.  The man can do it all.  And he’s got guts to sing a song like this about an icon of the American Left.  For there are some who revere Hugo Chávez (see Sean Penn, Michael Moore and Oliver Stone pay tribute to Hugo Chávez by Ben Child posted 3/6/2013 on the guardian).

Penn, who first met Chávez in Venezuela in 2007 and attended a candlelit vigil for the stricken firebrand in Bolivia in December, bemoaned the politician’s lack of credibility in North America. “Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion,” he said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chávez and the people of Venezuela.” Penn added: “Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of vice president [Nicolas] Maduro.”

Oliver Stone, who celebrated Chávez’s presidency and the successes of left wing politicians across South America in his 2009 documentary South of the Border, said the Venezuelan leader would be remembered fondly by historians as a champion of the poor. “I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place,” he said in a statement. “Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chávez will live forever in history. My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned.”

Michael Moore, who met Chávez at the Venice film festival in 2009 and posted pictures of himself with the president, tweeted: “Hugo Chávez declared the oil belonged 2 the ppl. He used the oil $ 2 eliminate 75% of extreme poverty, provide free health & education 4 all. That made him dangerous. US approved of a coup to overthrow him even though he was a democratically-elected president.”

High praise indeed.  You would be hard-pressed to find someone saying anything nicer about Chávez.  Unless you listened to someone who hates the United States even more than Hugo Chávez (see Ahmadinejad: Chávez Will Return by The New York Times posted 3/6/2013 on The Daily Beast).

Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad posted a letter on his website, promising that the deceased president would “come again” with Jesus and a Muslim prophet expected to redeem mankind. Ahmadinejad called for a day of national mourning for the “Latin American anti-imperialist figure.”

How about that?  The Hollywood Left loved Chávez as much as America’s number one enemy.  A man who suppressed his people during the Green Revolution.  In response to voting irregularities that kept him in power.  Something that happened in Venezuela, too.  Suggesting Chávez  was not as loved as some say.  Or as much as the Hollywood Left loved him.   Apparently, those who loved Chávez the most were those who didn’t have to live in his socialist utopia.

Many of the Venezuelan people did love Chávez, though. Because Chávez was a populist.  He nurtured a cult of personality.  He made the people love him.  Because he convinced the people that he was their champion.  As Penn, Stone and Moore believed.  Despite Chávez dying with a net worth of $1 billion.  Siphoned off the top of all that oil money that went to the people.  To eliminate extreme poverty.  That’s right.  He acquired wealth just like George W. Bush did.  From oil.  Only Bush did it in the free market.  While Chávez did it by just confiscating it.  Like all anti-capitalist socialists are wont to do.  Because they are the champion of the people.  Where everyone is equal.  Only some are more equal than others.

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President Obama’s Change in Policy during the Arab Spring to Support Change instead Stability spreads Instability

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 17th, 2013

Week in Review

Before the Arab Spring there was the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009.  Where thousands used social media to gather in protests over what they claimed were voting irregularities that kept President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power.  President Obama did not support the Green Revolution.  Despite Iran being a sponsor of terrorism, an enemy of the United States and the greatest threat to regional stability.  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suppressed the uprisings.  And jailed some of the opposition.  Where some have made claims of torture and rape.  But as closed a society Iran is these claims have been unsubstantiated.  Though we have the word of the ruling regime that crushed the rebellion that there was no torture or rape.

When the Arab Spring kicked off in Tunisia in 2010 President Obama announced a change in policy.  The U.S. would support change in the Arab world instead of stability.  When the Arab Spring spread to Egypt in 2011 President Obama told Hosni Mubarak that he had to step down from power.  Despite being a stalwart U.S. ally.  An enemy to al Qaeda.  And being the anchor of stability in the Middle East and North Africa.  Now the Muslim Brotherhood is in power there.  Who has close ties with Iran.

When the Arab Spring spread to Libya President Obama supported the opposition based in Benghazi.  Despite Colonel Muammar Gaddafi renouncing terrorism.  And being an ally of America in their War on Terror.  Like Mubarak he oppressed radical Islamists including al Qaeda.  Which explains why al Qaeda was part of the opposition trying to overthrow Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.  They hated him.  And his oppression of anti-western  radical Islamists.  President Obama supported the opposition.  Gave them weapons.  And helped enforce a no-fly zone.  In 2012 Islamists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  Killing 4 Americans.  Including the Libyan ambassador.  Chris Stevens.  Perhaps killed with weapons we brought into Libya.

When the Arab Spring spread to Syria President Obama did not support the opposition.  Despite Syria being a sponsor of terrorism.  And a close ally of Iran.  As Syria broke down into civil war al Qaeda joined the opposition.  Making any U.S. support now even more complicated.  However Syria turns out it will be a foreign policy failure.  In fact the foreign policy of President Obama has been to abandon U.S. allies that bring stability to the region.  While not getting involved in uprisings in states hostile to the U.S.  Bringing great instability to the Middle East and Northern Africa.  And beyond (see Police: 7 foreigners kidnapped in north Nigeria by SHEHU SAULAWA and JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press, posted 2/17/2013 on Yahoo! News).

Gunmen attacked a camp for a construction company in rural northern Nigeria, killing a guard and kidnapping seven foreign workers from Britain, Greece, Italy Lebanon and the Philippines, authorities said Sunday, in the biggest kidnapping yet in a region under attack by Islamic extremists…

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the abductions, though Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north has been under attack by the radical Islamic sect known as Boko Haram in the last year and a half. The country’s weak central government has been unable to stop the group’s bloody guerrilla campaign of shootings and bombings. The sect is blamed for killing at least 792 people in 2012 alone, according to an AP count.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, has demanded the release of all its captive members and called for strict Shariah law to be implemented across the entire country. The sect has killed both Christians and Muslims in their attacks, as well as soldiers and security forces…

Foreigners, long abducted by militant groups and criminal gangs for ransom in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta, have become increasingly targeted in Nigeria’s north as the violence has grown. However, abductions of foreigners in the north have seen hostages regularly killed…

Foreign embassies in Nigeria have issued travel warnings regarding northern Nigeria for months. Worries about abductions have increased in recent weeks with the French military intervention in Mali, as its troops and Malian soldiers try to root out Islamic fighters who took over that nation’s north in the months following a military coup. Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, put out a warning following the killings of polio workers in the northern city of Kano and the killing of the North Korean doctors.

President Obama campaigned in 2012 that al Qaeda was on the ropes.  While blaming the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on a spontaneous uprising because of a YouTube video.  Which if it was it means the average Libyan on the street in Benghazi walks around carrying heavy weapons.  Which is highly unlikely.  Then again, the opposition the U.S. supported in Benghazi included al Qaeda.  So maybe they did walk around the streets of Benghazi with heavy weapons.  Just waiting for dates with symbolic meaning (9/11) to attack Americans.

President Obama got what he wanted.  Change instead of stability.  For there is little stability in the Middle East or North Africa.  And now in West Africa.  Where Islamists and al Qaeda affiliates are reaching into Algeria.  Mali.  And Nigeria.  Radical Islamists are spreading their reach throughout the Middle East and Africa and in other parts of the world.  Fueled by the decline of U.S. influence.  And a rise in Iranian influence.  The winner in the Arab Spring?  It would appear that it is the radical Islamists that are benefitting most from the Arab Spring.  While the people in these countries go from a somewhat western culture of liberty (especially for women) towards oppressive theocracies.  Just as the Iranian people did during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.  No doubt the Iranian women who protested the Shah of Iran rue the day they ever joined that protest movement.  For they have none of the liberties they enjoyed under the Shah.

Guess this is what happens when you abandon your friends and help your enemies.  Your friends suffer while your enemies grow stronger.  And the world grows a more dangerous place.

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Economic Sanctions causes Collapse in Iranian Rial and Protests against Iranian Regime

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The economic sanctions are making their mark in Iran.  The people are suffering the economic consequences.  But so far it doesn’t look like it’s encouraging any change in official Iranian position on their nuclear program.  At least, not yet.  For the Iranian regime is beating back the protestors (see Iranian discontent rises as riot police fight protesters by Robert Tait, David Blair posted 10/3/2012 on The Telegraph).

Security forces used tear gas and batons against demonstrators angered by a dramatic collapse in the national currency, the rial, which has lost about a third of its value against the US dollar since Sunday. The hour by hour decline of the currency provides vivid evidence of the damage wrought by international sanctions, which were imposed because of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

There were voting irregularities in the 2009 Iranian elections.  Protests erupted throughout Iran.  And the Iranian regime suppressed them.  President Obama did not support the protesters.  Nor demand that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad step down.  Even though the Iranian regime is an enemy of the United States.  They are an active sponsor of terrorism.  And a threat to regional peace.  But when the Arab Spring reached our ally, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, President Obama demanded that he stepped down.  Even though he didn’t use his army to suppress his people.  Now the country is run by the Muslim Brotherhood.  And is moving closer to Iran.

With the invasion of Iraq Libya made peace with the United States.  They were no longer a threat to the United States.  Or regional peace.  Yet President Obama committed military force to support the opposition in their civil war.    When the Arab Spring moved on to Syria, an Iranian ally, supporter of terrorism, home of Hezbollah, President Obama made no move to support the opposition.  And Syria has degenerated into a bloody civil war.  Sending refugees across borders.  And causing cross-border incidents.  The very thing the Obama administration warned of in Libya.  And used to justify their support in that conflict.

American foreign policy these days may appear a bit confusing to our friends and allies.  The U.S. is supporting sanctions against Iran to get them to abandon their nuclear programs.  Which probably would not have advanced as far had the Iranian protests in 2009 led to a regime change.  But the U.S. did not support the protestors.  Unlike in Egypt and Libya.  Nations that weren’t enemies of the United States.  Like Iran is.  So it will be interesting to see where these new protests may lead to.  Hopefully they will end well for the Iranian people.

Behind the rial’s decline lies a precipitous fall in Iranian oil exports, which have dropped from about 2.5 million barrels per day last year to 1.1 million barrels in August, according to the International Energy Agency. This has deprived Iran of billions of dollars of revenues and exposed the regime’s failure to avoid the damage caused by sanctions.

The collapse of the currency reflects a general loss of public confidence. The anti-government website, Kalemeh, cited eyewitnesses accounts that demonstrators demanded the overthrow of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The collapse of the rial makes it far more expensive for Iranian companies to buy imported goods. Mr Kushner said the latest decline “means that most Iranian importers simply cannot afford to pay for goods if they must use the free market rate.”

Instead of trading with the West, Iran has tried to buy more goods from countries likes China, India and particularly Turkey. However, the fall in the currency raises the price of imports across the board, meaning that they could become unaffordable. “We will see a real financial crisis in the coming months because the economy cannot sustain this,” said Mr Kushner. “It is bad, but will become a lot worse.”

With the fall in oil revenues the state has to make up for that revenue by other means.  And it looks like they’ve depreciated their currency.  That is, they’ve printed rials.  Making them worth less.  Which can be hidden somewhat in a closed economy.  But not with international trade.  Because to buy foreign goods you first have to exchange your money for the foreign currency of your trading partner first.  And when your currency is greatly depreciated it doesn’t trade for much foreign currency.  Making those imports very, very expensive.  Taking more and more rials to buy them.  Putting them out of the reach of ordinary Iranians.  Hence the protests.  And the lack of public confidence.

The Iranian people are ready for change.  Will they get it?  Time will tell.  Unfortunately for the Iranians, time didn’t treat them well in 2009.

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The Clock is Ticking on the Iranian Problem but will we Act before they go Nuclear?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 15th, 2012

Week in Review

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is stirring up trouble in the Middle East.  Again.  He’s got his eyes on some strategically located islands that just might come in handy in some future plans (see Gulf states schedule special meeting over Iran-UAE island dispute by Alexandra Sandels and Ramin Mostaghim posted 4/13/2012 on the Los Angeles Times).

Foreign ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states are scheduled to meet in the Saudi capital of Riyadh following a visit by Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to a disputed island earlier this week in a move that has sparked a diplomatic spat between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran…

Abu Musa is one of three islands that both Iran and the UAE claim. Iran took control of the islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb — all located near important shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz — back in 1971, as the Gulf emirates gained full independence from Britain and British forces were withdrawn.

GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani has denounced Ahmadinejad’s visit to Abu Musa. In a statement, he called it a “clear violation of UAE sovereignty” and said it was “an irresponsible provocation and is not in line with the GCC policy of maintaining good neighborly relations with Iran,” according to media reports.

If you look at a map you can understand why Iran is causing all of this trouble.  Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb are in the shipping lanes proper.  Abu Musa is on the far side of the shipping lanes from Iran.  Ideal islands to have if you’re threatening to blockade the Strait of Hormuz.  Which the Iranians are threatening to do if anyone tries to stop their nuclear program.

Iran is the bully of the Middle East.  Always looking to start trouble.  They were sponsoring attacks on U.S. service personnel in Iraq.  They were inflaming the unrest on Bahrain.  They’re close with the Muslim Brotherhood who is gathering political power in Egypt.  They’re funding Hezbollah and Hamas in their attacks on Israel.  And, of course, they want to remove Israel from the map.  Which is just something their nuclear program can do.  Even the other Arab states are sick and tired of having to deal with Iran.  Who want to be the supreme power in the region.  Just like the British were at one time.  And who the Iranians condemned for it. 

Iran it the greatest threat to stability and peace in the area.  Which is growing ever more instable and less peaceful since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.  We can’t let Iran be a nuclear power.  For they won’t live in peace with any neighbor once they have it.  And threaten nuclear retaliation for any attempts to limit her influence and power in the region.  Or any action they take against Israel.  There is no good way for this to end.  Except, perhaps, the fall of the current Iranian regime.  Which may be the only way to stop it.  But after a decade of war who is going to start another?

There is a parallel to pre-World War II Europe here.  Hitler got away with provocation after provocation because no one wanted a return to war.  Not after World War I.  So we negotiated and dithered.  Even gave Hitler a sovereign nation.  Czechoslovakia.  Anything to appease him and avoid war.  And we know how that ended.  Once he had Czechoslovakia he attacked Poland.  Launching World War II.  Which was far worse than World War I.  And any war Iran starts as a nuclear power will be far worse than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.  Which means only one thing.  We can’t let Iran become a nuclear power.  But will we?

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Iranians attack British Embassy in Tehran, Keeps working on Nuclear Program despite Escalating World Opposition

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 4th, 2011

Week in Review

The Iranians have attacked the British embassy in Tehran.  Something like this hasn’t happen since the Iranians attacked the U.S. embassy in Tehran.  That’s the problem with a rogue regime.  They go rogue (see Storming of British Embassy in Iran: This rabid rogue state could tip the world into a new dark age by Michael Burleigh posted 12/2/2011 on Mail Online).

That rampaging mob of ‘students’ storming the British Embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, lobbing petrol bombs, ransacking the building, burning the Union Jack and threatening to hold hostage terrified members of staff inside the compound, was a deeply worrying spectacle for those of us who have studied the Iranian regime over the years.

The mayhem followed a vote in Iran’s parliament to downgrade diplomatic relations with Britain – a response to the tough new financial sanctions imposed by London last week over Iran’s nuclear programme, after the International Atomic Energy Authority warned that Iran is getting ever closer to building a bomb.

These protesters were clearly orchestrated by the Iranian regime, for the mayhem could never have taken place without sanction in a country where secret police stalk the streets, torture is endemic, criminals are executed in public and foreign embassies are closely guarded and monitored.

Far from being students, many of the thugs involved were elite members of Iran’s paramilitary Basiji brigades, a hard-core volunteer outfit under the control of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, who answer to the country’s top cleric, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran plays by no rules but their own.  Embassies are supposed to be sovereign soil.  Iranian territory ends at the walls of the British Embassy.  Just as British territory ends at the walls of the Iranian embassy in Great Britain.  This is sacrosanct in the international community of nations.  And here the state has orchestrated an attack on a foreign embassy.  This isn’t diplomacy.  This is the action of a rogue state.

So why did the Iranians do this?  Because they’re pissed.  No one is buying their story of why they are going nuclear.  They say it’s for energy.  But they also have said they want to remove Israel from the map. Which happens to be another use for nuclear technology.  Weapons.  And mass destruction.  So the international community of nations is starting to pull away from Iran.  Apply sanctions.  And a few other things.

As President Ahmadinejad said recently: ‘All our banking operations, all our trade, all our purchases and sales, all our agreements are being monitored and blocked’.

The truth is that the country’s nuclear ambitions are under siege as never before.

Israel’s intelligence agents are ruthlessly assassinating Iran’s top nuclear scientists one by one, while sabotaging the country’s nuclear processing plants using cyber-warfare and explosives placed by double agents – only this week there was a huge unexplained explosion at a nuclear facility in the city of Isfahan.

The Israelis are in survival mode.  Because they know what what’s going to happen if Iran gets a nuclear bomb.  They’re going to use it.  And they know where.  All that Iranian talk about hating Israel and wanting to incinerate it kind of telegraphed their intent.

The kind of behaviour we are witnessing in the attack on the British Embassy is all too frighteningly reminiscent of the day in November 1979 that so-called students burst into the U.S. Embassy, demanding that America surrender the exiled Shah, who was being treated in the U.S. for cancer.

The Supreme Leader of the day, Ayatollah Khomeni, endorsed the ‘students’, who settled down to a government-licensed siege, with U.S. diplomats held hostage in harrowing conditions for 444 days.

The young Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, now president, was one of the hostage-takers.

That’s right.  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of the thugs that violated U.S. sovereign territory back in 1979.  Once a thug always a thug.  Only he’s now the head of state.  And may shortly have access to nuclear weapons.

Indeed, many believe that Iran’s behaviour is so outrageous, and its nuclear capability now so dangerous, that a military strike is the only option left to the international community to bring the renegade nation into line.

Israel is already considering such action against Iran’s three main nuclear facilities, which are hundreds of miles apart: a Russian-built-and-staffed light water facility at Bushehr; a major underground uranium plant at Natanz; and two water facilities at Arak to convert uranium dioxide into weapons-grade plutonium…

The Iranians have threatened dire consequences if such an attack took place, including firing long-range ballistic missiles, thought to be more accurate than the Scud missiles Saddam Hussein launched against Israel during the first Gulf War.

They are also likely to retaliate against any neighbouring state that allows Israel to fly through their airspace towards Iran, including Turkey and Iraq.

They may risk attacking U.S. forces stationed in Iraq or the nearby Gulf states, sucking the U.S. directly into the conflict. Significantly, only the U.S. military has the necessary firepower to deal with Iran’s formidable military machine.

If the U.S. was dragged in, Iran would not only engineer conflagration in the Middle East.

It has also threatened to cut off oil supplies from the region by unleashing Chinese Silkworm missiles or suicide-bomber boats against tankers in the Straits of Hormuz, the world’s vital oil lifeline.

Industry experts calculate this would instantly send the price of oil soaring three times its present price to $300 or more a barrel – which would be even more catastrophic for our ailing economies than the unresolved eurozone crisis.

The Arab Spring is heading into winter.  ‘Moderate’ Islamists are winning elections.  That means these countries, one time friends and allies of the United States, are becoming more Islamist.  More like Iran.  It’s going to become harder and harder to isolate Iran in the Middle East when she gets more friends and allies throughout the region.  Which is going to make it easier for Iran to follow through on these threats.  So what do we do?  Trust Iran and do nothing while they develop and use a nuclear device?  Or strike now and risk a conventional war?

Something has to be done.  While Barack Obama has tried to play nice to our enemies the world has become a more dangerous place.  Obama has failed.  He just doesn’t get it.  The only thing our enemies respect is brute force.  And the will to use it.  So far he has shown the will to kill from a distance with drones and Special Forces.  Or invade a country that is no threat to U.S. security interests.  Where there was little chance of losing an extended military engagement.  So as not to alienate his antiwar political base.  But will he attack Iran to save vital U.S. security interests from nuclear attack?  Will he take that political risk?  Especially when all of this is happening in an election year?

Only time will tell.

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Political Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa: Democracy in Action or an Extension of the Iranian Revolution?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 26th, 2011

Democracy Movements Sow the Seeds of Shariah Law

The Arab world is ablaze with democracy movements.  Which is creating disorder and chaos.  A most fertile ground for Shariah law to take root and grow (see AP’s Al-Qaida calls for revolt against Arab rulers posted 2/26/2011 on myway).

Al-Qaida’s offshoot in Yemen urged Muslims to revolt against Arab rulers and establish governments based on Islamic law, according to an audio tape posted Saturday on militant websites…

He also said toppling longtime rulers is not enough and that new governments must be established based on Islamic religious law, or Shariah.

“One tyrant goes, only to be replaced another who may fix for the people some of their worldly issues by offering job opportunities and increasing their income, but the greater problem remains,” al-Rubeish said, according to a translation provided by SITE.

This is how the Iranian Revolution ended in a rigid theocracy.  Nothing at all what those female college students wanted when protesting against the Shah.  But this is the danger of revolution.  Disorder and chaos tend to favor the less savory types.  People with ulterior motives.  Who never let a good crisis go to waste.

Big Trouble in Little Bahrain

Bahrain is ripe for chaos.  A majority Shiite population ruled by a Sunni minority.  Home to an American naval fleet.  Supported by Saudi Arabia who is seen as too friendly to the United States.  And now an exile returns home (see Key Shi’ite opposition leader returns to Bahrain by Adam Schreck, Associated Press, posted 2/26/2011 on The Washington Times).

A prominent Bahraini opposition leader returned home from exile Saturday and urged the Gulf kingdom’s rulers to back up promises of political reform with action.

The return of Hassan Mushaima, a senior Shi’ite figure, could mark a new phase for an anti-government movement in the tiny nation which is strategically important for the U.S. because it hosts the U.S. Navy‘s 5th Fleet.

Mr. Mushaima heads a Shi’ite group known as Haq, which is considered more hard-line than the main Shi’ite political bloc that has led two weeks of protests. Mr. Mushaima returned Saturday from several months of voluntary exile in London, with a stop in Lebanon.

A more hard-line Shiite?  Sort of like in Iran?  This reminds me of someone.  I seem to recall another opposition leader in exile who returned to Iran following that democratic revolution.  What was his name?  It’s on the tip of my tongue.  Who was that?  Oh, yes.  Now I remember.  Ayatollah Khomeini.  In exile he wanted but one thing.  For the Shah of Iran and his government to be overthrown.  (And he wanted to impose Shariah law but he didn’t tell the people about that.  He would surprise them with that one later.  After he seized power.)  Surely Mr. Mushaima wasn’t in exile for anything like this.

Mr. Mushaima had been among a group of Shi’ite activists accused of plotting to overthrow Bahrain‘s rulers.

Then again he could have been in exile for exactly the same thing.  But is this any cause for concern?

Bahrain is the first Gulf state to be thrown into turmoil by the Arab world’s wave of change. The unrest is highly significant for Washington because Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy‘s 5th Fleet, which is the Pentagon’s main counterweight against Iran’s widening military ambitions.

Well, as long as we have nothing to fear from Iran, there should be no problem.  And what has Iran been doing lately that should worry us?

Iran Working on the Ingredients to Build an Atomic Bomb

Iran has been trying to build an atomic bomb.  They deny this but they have begun enriching uranium.  And enriched uranium is an ingredient of an atomic bomb.  But we can take Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for his word, can’t we?  Sure, he denies the Holocaust.  And he wants to wipe Israel from the face of the planet.  And he oppresses his people.  Locks up dissidents.  But despite all that, then candidate Barack Obama said he would sit down with this man and talk with him.  So that must mean he’s a reasonable man.

Well, that.  Or Obama is woefully naive and ignorant of Middle East history.  Ahmadinejad is a threat and a loose cannon in the Middle East.  Everyone should be worried about him.  And not trust a single word he says (he supported the democracy movement in Egypt while cracking down on dissidents in Iran).  He’s up to something.  And a bad something, no doubt.  Others know this.  And have taken action to delay his atomic bomb making ability.  Many believe that these people launched the Stuxnet computer virus with the objective of interrupting the Iranian nuclear program.  This malware spun some of their uranium-enrichment centrifuges out of control, damaging them.  It would appear they are unloading the uranium fuel to make repairs, further delaying their ability to make an atomic bomb.

Some will object to this interference into a sovereign nation.  And some have criticized those in the West.  Who are we to say who can and cannot have a nuclear program?  Well, the West has never started a nuclear war.  It would appear that we can’t get the same kind of assurance out of Iran (see Iran nuclear plans: Bushehr fuel to be unloaded posted 2/26/2011 on BBC News Middle East).

The IAEA report – obtained by the BBC and made available online by the Institute for Science and International Security (Isis) – says Iran is “not implementing a number of its obligations.”

These include “clarification of the remaining outstanding issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme”.

Six world powers are negotiating with Iran over its nuclear programme, and the country is subject to United Nations Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

Enriched uranium can be used for civilian nuclear purposes, but also to build atomic bombs.

The United States has been a nuclear power since 1945.  Who in the world today is worried about a U.S. nuclear first strike?  No one.  It’s not who we are.  And our history of being a nuclear power proves it.  Now who thinks Iran can be trusted with nuclear weapons like the U.S.?  Only those who see the world through the same prism as Iran.  Those people who want to see Israel and the United States destroyed.  Other, rational people know the world will be a more dangerous place with a nuclear Iran.

Saudi Arabia on the Right Side of Soviet Communism and Iranian Hegemony

And we come back to Bahrain.  Which can be the fuse to the tinderbox growing in the Middle East and North Africa (see Could the next Mideast uprising happen in Saudi Arabia? by Rachel Bronson posted 2/25/2011 on The Washington Post).

The unrest in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and Yemen (to the kingdom’s west, east and south) plays on the Saudis’ greatest fear: encirclement. The Saudis aligned with the United States instead of colonial Britain in the early 20th century in part to defend against creeping British hegemony. During the Cold War the monarchy hunkered down against its Soviet-backed neighbors out of fear of being surrounded by communist regimes. And since the end of the Cold War, the overarching goal of Saudi foreign policy has been countering the spread of Iranian influence in all directions – Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Yemen…

Sunni-ruled Bahrain, less than 20 miles from Saudi Arabia’s oil- and Shiite-rich Eastern Province, has been a longtime recipient of Saudi aid. It has also been a focus of Iranian interests.

The Saudis are “concerned about the events unfolding in Bahrain and throughout the region.”  And they weren’t too happy with President Obama on Egypt.  They were “reportedly furious that the Obama administration ultimately supported regime change in Egypt, because of the precedent it could set.”  And for good reason.  The Saudis have always been on our side.  I mean, they’re not perfect, but it doesn’t get much better in the Muslim Middle East.

The United States has a great deal at stake in Saudi Arabia, though Americans often look at the Saudis with distaste. As one senior Saudi government official once asked me: “What does the United States share with a country where women can’t drive, the Koran is the constitution and beheadings are commonplace?” It’s a tough question, but the answer, quite simply, is geopolitics – and that we know and like Saudi’s U.S.-educated liberal elites.

The Saudis have been helpful to us. They are reasonably peaceful stalwarts. They don’t attack their neighbors, although they do try to influence them, often by funding allies in local competitions for power. They are generally committed to reasonable oil prices. For example, although their oil is not a direct substitute for Libyan sweet crude, the Saudis have offered to increase their supply to offset any reduction in Libyan production due to the violence there. We work closely with them on counterterrorism operations. And the Saudis are a counterbalance to Iran. We disagree on the Israel-Palestinian issue, but we don’t let it get in the way of other key interests.

Saudi Arabia is not in as bad economic conditions as the other nations falling into unrest.  It may not fall.  But if Bahrain falls under hard-line Shiite control, that’s not going to help the Saudis.  The Middle East.  The United States.  Or world peace.  Before that happens, we should consider treating our friends better than our enemies.

Will Democracy Win the Day for Oppressive, Authoritarian Rule?

As volatile regions go, they don’t come much more volatile than the Middle East.  And, like it or not, many of the world’s economies are dependent on their oil.  We know this.  They know it.  And our enemies know it.

As chaos spreads opportunity knocks.  And it’s clear who is knocking.  Iran.  We have kept this oppressive, authoritarian regime’s ambitions in check so far.  It’s rather ironic, then, that it’s greatest enemy may be the key for her success.  Democracy.  In other countries.  That will cause chaos that Iran can exploit.  Much like they did during the Iranian Revolution. 

History does have a funny way of repeating itself, doesn’t it?

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Democracy or Theocracy Movements in the Middle East and Africa?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 20th, 2011

A Domino Theory in the Middle East and Africa

You may not know where Bahrain is.  But you’ve probably heard of it.  Long before the protests there.  It’s home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.  We support our operations for Afghanistan and Iraq from Bahrain.  So it’s pretty important to U.S. security.

It’s an island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia.  Not too far from Kuwait (the nation Saddam Hussein invaded back in 1990).  Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are still friendly to the U.S.  And these Sunni states provide a strategic counter to Shiite Iranian power in the Persian Gulf area.

Protests following the democratic uprising in Tunisia and Egypt got pretty bloody in Bahrain.  But is Bahrain going through a democratic uprising?  Or is it a civil war between Sunni and Shiite (see Saudi Arabia says it’s ready to help Bahrain’s rulers by Janine Zacharia and Michael Birnbaum posted 2/20/2011 on The Washington Post)?

Saudi Arabia on Sunday said it stands ready “with all its capabilities” to shore up Bahrain’s ruling royal family if a standoff with the Shiite-led opposition is not resolved soon, underscoring the kingdom’s deep concern about its neighbor’s ongoing political crisis.

Sunni-led Saudi Arabia props up Bahrain’s al-Khalifa family with cash and has long sought to prevent the tiny Persian Gulf state – with its majority Shiite population – from falling into Iran’s orbit. With dwindling oil resources, Bahrain relies heavily on Saudi Arabia for money and security.

This is what makes any ‘democratic’ uprising in the Middle East complicated.  You see, the Sunnis and Shiites don’t exactly get along.  The 8-year war between Iraq and Iran was a war between Sunni (Iraq) and Shiite (Iran).  They hate each other.  And the only way they appear to live in peaceful coexistence is when one is oppressing the other.

But the more stabilizing force tends to be the Sunnis.  The Sunni nations are typically the more modern nations.  The ones with women’s rights.  The Shiites are more old school.  They want to turn the hands of the clock back when there were no comforts in life but prayer.  And women were little more than chattel.  They’re a bit more radical.  Then again, the Sunnis have their own radicalism.  Let us not forget that Osama bin Laden is a Wahhabi Sunni.  As is Al Qaeda.  But the big destabilizing force in the Middle East is Iran.  And they’re Shiite.  They’re big, powerful and trying to acquire nuclear weapons.  So her neighbors are understandably worried.

Kuwait’s emir, Sheik Sabah Ahmed al-Sabah, also called the Bahraini king on Sunday and stressed that “the security of Bahrain is the security of the region,” reflecting the growing anxiety among gulf monarchies that Bahrain’s troubles could have a spillover effect. In Kuwait, protesters have already taken to the streets demanding more rights.

Talk about a domino theory.  We still don’t know what will rise from the ashes in Tunisia and Egypt.  They could very well go Muslim Brotherhood.  This would be a huge boost to Iranian interests in the area.  Adding Bahrain and Kuwait could very well seal the deal and give Iran the hegemony it so desperately wants in the region.

We need to be careful in urging democracy to break out in the Middle East and Africa.  Because sometimes stability is better than instability.  For there is a good chance that democracy will lose these revolutions in time.  Opening the door to the more radical elements (such as the Muslim Brotherhood).  Who may impose an oppressive theocracy instead.  Like they said they’ve always wanted to in Egypt.  And if they get what they want, say hello to $4/gallon gasoline.  Or more.  Because they will turn back the hands of time.  And cut off our oil.  Shutting down our economies.  And then, if they get their nuclear weapon, they’ll take it up a notch.

It is important to understand something.  They don’t want our land.  They don’t want our industry.  They just want to get rid of us.  The only thing that prevented the Soviets from destroying us was that they needed our food.  And our technology.  Iran wants technology to make their bomb.  But once they use it they’ll be content to go back to living in abject poverty.

Iran Likes Democracy as long as it is in Egypt

These protests are getting contagious.  Libya, Morocco and China.  And, yes, even Iran.  Now if there was ever a democratic movement for the U.S. to stick its nose into it would be in Iran.  This isn’t complicated. The Iranian people have been suffering under the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regime.  Ahmadinejad is the greatest threat to peace in the region.  He’s working on a nuclear bomb.  And he wants to incinerate Israel.  It doesn’t get simpler than this.  He’s the big bad now.  Osama bin Laden is holed up in a cave.  Kim Jong-il desperately needs western food and energy.  China may be flexing her muscle but she owns so much of our debt that she needs us to prosper if she is to prosper.  Iran, though, has no use for us.  And would be quite happy to see us in the past tense.

And how are the Iranians handling their protesters?  Sounds like they’re not quite as nice as the Egyptians were (see Iran Squelches Protest Attempt in Capital by Liz Robbins posted 2/20/2011 on The New York Times).

Despite a steady rain, large crowds of protesters gathered throughout Tehran, the capital, from the main thoroughfare to city squares, according to opposition Web sites and witnesses. Those sites and witnesses reported that ambulances were being driven into crowds and officers were making arrests. Security forces, some on motorcycles, deployed tear gas to disperse crowds near Valiasr Square. A hazy cloud of tear gas hung over Vanak Square.

Plainclothes officers randomly stopped and frisked people on the streets and removed people from vehicles, witnesses said. There were reports of police officers firing on the crowds, although that could not be immediately verified because foreign journalists were largely not allowed to report in Iran.

And this from the government that praised the people of Egypt of going after what they deserved.  Democracy.  It’s funny how they can praise democracy that can destabilize a nation friendly with the West but attack it within its own borders.  It almost makes one think that Iran has other motives in the region.

It was unclear how many people joined the demonstrations in Tehran on Sunday. Witnesses estimated that more than 20,000 people attended demonstrations on Feb. 14, making them the largest opposition protests since the aftermath of the 2009 disputed election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, president Obama said he would speak with Ahmadinejad.  To address our differences.  And find common ground.  He thought he could reason with him. Then came the Apology Tour.  And the Cairo speech.  He called for more democracy in the Muslim world.  Then came the Iranian election.  There appeared to be massive fraud.  And then the uprising.  Iranians trying to get some of that democracy that Obama spoke of.  And what did Obama do?  Acted timidly.  He didn’t attack Ahmadinejad.  He treated him with far more respect than he gave Hosni Mubarak.  And Mubarak was our ally.  And now the people of Iran are rising up again.  And the Iranian regime is fighting back against the forces of democracy.

The government, however, appeared to limit the electronic voice of the protesters on Sunday. Witnesses in Iran reported that the Internet was working very slowly, cell phone service was shut down in areas where people were demonstrating and satellite television, including Persian BBC, was jammed.

Out on the streets, the police in Tehran appeared to be recruiting teenagers to quell the protests on Sunday. Witnesses observed packs of young boys armed with batons, and wearing helmets and army fatigues.

A witness told the International Campaign for Human Rights that security forces on Mirdamad Street in Tehran had used live ammunition against protesters, and one person is believed to have been killed there, but that could not be verified.

There’s a difference between Ahmadinejad and Mubarak.  Ahmadinejad oppresses his people, supports terrorism, wants to incinerate Israel and seeks to disrupt peace throughout the Middle East.  Mubarak only oppressed his people.  Other than that Egypt was a stabilizing force in the region.  And yet look who’s still in power.

Time for a New Strategy

Instability in every nation other than Iran in the Middle East and Africa is cause for concern.  The one country where it can’t get any worse is Iran.  If their regime collapses anything that replaces it will be closer to democracy.  And if we support all of those democratic uprisings everywhere else, we should support the hell out of it in Iran.  Why, then, has our response there been so lukewarm?

I guess it goes back to the Cairo speech.  And the apology tour.  It would appear that our national security strategy is to get people who have a deep-seated hatred for us to like us. To believe that rolling over and showing our soft underbelly can get our enemies to forget tradition, custom and religion.  But after two years look what it has gotten us.  An emboldened enemy.  And fallen and threatened allies.

I think it’s time for a new strategy.

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