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Old 01-12-2006   #1
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Default Ahmadinejad's Mission and Mysticism

12 January Real Clear Politics Op-Ed - Ahmadinejad's Mission and Mysticism by Daniel Pipes.

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... In a fine piece of reporting, Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor shows the centrality of mahdaviat in Ahmadinejad's outlook and explores its implications for his policies.

... the "presidential obsession" with mahdaviat leads Ahmadinejad to "a certitude that leaves little room for compromise. From redressing the gulf between rich and poor in Iran to challenging the United States and Israel and enhancing Iran's power with nuclear programs, every issue is designed to lay the foundation for the Mahdi's return."...

Mahdaviat has direct and ominous implications for the US-Iran confrontation, says an Ahmadinejad supporter, Hamidreza Taraghi of Iran's hard-line Islamic Coalition Society. It implies seeing Washington as the rival to Teheran, and even as a false Mahdi.

For Ahmadinejad, the top priority is to challenge America, and specifically to create a powerful model state based on "Islamic democracy" by which to oppose it. Taraghi predicts trouble ahead unless Americans fundamentally change their ways.

I'd reverse that formulation. The most dangerous leaders in modern history are those (like Hitler) equipped with a totalitarian ideology and a mystical belief in their own mission. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fulfills both these criteria, as revealed by his UN comments. That combined with his expected nuclear arsenal make him an adversary who must be stopped, and urgently.
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Old 02-24-2006   #2
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Default U.S. Marines Probe Tensions Among Iran's Ethnic Minorities

24 Feb. Financial Times - U.S. Marines Probe Tensions Among Iran's Ethnic Minorities. (SWJ / SWC note: Cultural Intel Study taken out of context and FOUO is not "classified")....

Quote:
The intelligence wing of the US Marines has launched a probe into Iran's ethnic minorities at a time of heightened tensions along the border with Iraq and friction between capitals.

Iranian activists involved in a classified research project for the Marines told the FT the Pentagon was examining the depth and nature of grievances against the central Islamic government, and appeared to be studying whether Iran would be prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kind of fault lines that are splitting Iraq.

US intelligence experts suggested the Marines' effort could be evidence of early stages of contingency plans for a ground assault on Iran. Or it could be an attempt to evaluate the implications of the unrest in Iranian border regions for Marines stationed in Iraq, as well as Iranian infiltration.

Lieutenant Colonel Rick Long, a Marine spokesman, confirmed that the Marines Corps Intelligence Activity had commissioned Hicks and Associates, a defence contractor, to conduct two research projects into Iraqi and Iranian ethnic groups.

The purpose was "so that we and our troops would have a better understanding of and respect for the various aspects of culture in those countries", he said. He would not provide details, saying the projects were for official use only.

The first study, on Iraq, was completed in late 2003, more than six months after the US invasion. The Iran study was finished late last year.

Hicks and Associates is a wholly owned subsidiary of Science Applications International Corp, one of the biggest US defence contractors and deeply involved in the prewar planning for Iraq.

While most analysts would agree that Iran has a far stronger sense of national identity than Iraq, its ethnic mix is even more complex than its neighbour...
Read the entire article for insight on how a simple cultural intelligence study can be spun by the media... If I had my way there would be detailed cultural intelligence studies covering every inch of our planet - Faber College had it right: "Knowledge is Good"

Last edited by SWJED; 02-24-2006 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 02-24-2006   #3
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Originally Posted by SWJED
Read the entire article for insight on how a simple cultural intelligence study can be spun by the media...
Too true. The MCIA recently published a series of cultural intel pubs on central and southern Africa - there was no muttering about ulterior motives when those came out...

Back to Iran, here's something of historical interest:

Pocket Guide to Iran - 1943
Quote:
For about 3,000 years Iran has been a battleground. Its people took turns in conquering and being conquered. After 3,000 years of it they grew tired of war; they wanted to stay neutral in this war as they did in the last. But that did not suit Hitler's program...
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Old 05-28-2006   #4
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Default The Iranian Threat


From an Israeli perspective - The Iranian Threat page at the Jerusalem Post.

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Old 05-31-2006   #5
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Default Iran's Military Plans for Invasion by U.S.

31 May Washington Times - Iran's Military Plans for Invasion by U.S. by Iason Athanasiadis.

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Iran, apparently anticipating an American invasion, has quietly been restructuring its military and testing a new military doctrine that calls for a decentralized, Iraqi-style guerrilla campaign against an invading force.

Iran's military planners are acutely aware that a military confrontation with technologically more advanced U.S. armed forces would be rapid and multifronted, unlike the static and slow-paced 1980-88 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Therefore, a series of war games have been carried out since late last year to test the army's readiness...

Defense analysts said it makes sense for the Iranian regime to give the impression of upgrading and modernizing its military, but they questioned the need to prepare for guerrilla-type warfare because a full-blown U.S. invasion is not likely...

Iranian war planners expect that the first step taken by an invading force would be to occupy the oil-rich Khuzestan region, secure the sensitive Strait of Hormuz and cut off the Iranian military's oil supply.

Foreign diplomats who monitor Iran's army say that Iran's leadership has acknowledged it stands little chance of defeating U.S. armed forces with conventional military doctrine.

The shift in focus to guerrilla warfare against an occupying army in the aftermath of a successful invasion mirrors developments in Iraq, where a triumphant U.S. military campaign has been followed by three years of slow, indecisive struggle with insurgent and terrorist forces...
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Old 06-01-2006   #6
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Default Ethnic tensions could crack Iran's firm resolve against the world

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During the last week of May, thousands of Iranians demonstrated in the northwestern city of Tabriz, and the previous week there were protests at universities in five cities. The protests were triggered by the official government newspaper - the Islamic Republic News Agency's Iran - publishing a cartoon which depicts a boy repeating "cockroach" in Persian before a giant bug in front of him asks "What?" in Azeri.
Azeri-Iranians - who make up approximately one-quarter of the country's population - were particularly offended by the cartoon. These disturbances come at a bad time for the Iranian government, which is stressing national unity in the face of international concern over its nuclear program.

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Old 06-01-2006   #7
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Iranian Turkmens: We consider the insult to the Azeri people as done to us
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The Iranian Turkmens consider the insult to the Azeri people as done to them. The statement reads that the caricature published on the Iran Daily, which is insulting the entire Azeri nation, has been purposefully prepared.
“As a matter of fact, the expressions in the article display the viewpoint of the chauvinistic Farsi dominance in Iran towards the Turks. Farsi chauvinists try everything possible to prevent the Iranian Turks learn and use their native tongue. However, these fools fail to realize that the policy of assimilation against people has long been defeated in Iran and ethnic groups have been trying to preserve their customs, languages and cultures more than ever. People have realized that Farsi chauvinism is behind these propaganda activities against religion and sects, and that their sole purpose is to wipe out their ethnic cultures and languages. Today, the developments in different parts of Iran indicate that ethnic groups are now ready to defend their identities, honors and the heritage of their ancestors,” the statement reads.

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Old 06-01-2006   #8
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Default Iran: Ethnic tensions and the regime’s last stand

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There is little new about the most recent events taking place in the predominantly Azeri areas of northwestern Iran where “ethnic” protests have been rocking the region. The protests began in the city of Tabriz and quickly spread to Zanjan and Ardebil, and then to the nearby Kurdish city of Urmîye, where large populations of ethnic Azeris also live. Iran’s so-called Security Forces have opened fire on the protestors leaving at least 3 people dead. Many blame these protests on the recent publication of an insulting cartoon, which depicts the Azeri as a cockroach. However, these “ethnic” protests have more likely been another explosion of the forever escalating, ethnic tensions in Iran. Iran is composed of several ethnic groups from Azeris to Arabs, Baluchis, Turkmen, and of course, Kurds. All of which lack basic cultural, political, economical and human rights.
.....

Last edited by GorTex6; 06-01-2006 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 06-01-2006   #9
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Default Armenia ambassador to Iran proposed to bring military force from his country

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Armenia ambassador to Iran Gegam Garibjanian holding secret talks with government of Iran proposed bringing of military force from his country to stop the actions in South Azerbaijan.
.....
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Old 06-02-2006   #10
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Default Iran Through Prism of Iraq

2 June Washington Times commentary - Iran Through Prism of Iraq by Michael Barone.

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To learn lessons from history, including recent history, it's essential to get the history right. That's why, to understand what to do about the mullahs' regime in Iran, it's worth revisiting the debate over the intelligence in Iraq. This is especially so in view of the recent announced decision to participate in talks with Iran, provided the mullahs call a halt to the country's enrichment of uranium...

The precise facts were unknowable, and so decisions had to be made on the known facts -- all of which pointed to Saddam developing WMDs. Intelligence agencies in the past overestimated the time it would take regimes -- the Soviet Union, China, India, Iraq -- to develop nuclear weapons. Under the circumstances, it was prudent to act on the assumption WMDs would be developed sooner rather than later.

Fast forward to today, and Iran. We have every reason to believe the mullahs' regime is developing nuclear weapons. We know Britain, France and Germany in three years of talks with Iranian officials have made no progress in persuading them to stop. And we know Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to destroy Israel and to attack other countries. His letter to President Bush, taken by some as an invitation to talks, reads like a demand for capitulation to fundamentalist Islam.

What to do in these circumstances? First, assume Iran is bent on getting nuclear weapons -- and don't rely totally on estimates it won't get them for 10 years. Second, understand the case for military action is not as strong as it was in Iraq. Iran is a much larger country, and the nuclear program sites are widely dispersed and probably strongly fortified. Third, -- and most importantly -- there is every indication the Iranian people hate the mullahs' regime and like the United States.

That means direct negotiations with the Iranian government, which seem sure to be futile, could give the regime prestige and reduce the chances of its peaceful overthrow. But be clear about maintaining the military option: It seems likely air strikes could substantially delay if not destroy Iran's nuclear program. And keep stepping up direct communications with the Iranian people...
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Old 06-02-2006   #11
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Third, -- and most importantly -- there is every indication the Iranian people hate the mullahs' regime and like the United States.
I recall hearing the something about Iraq three years ago, and it would now seem that many of them hate us too.

It is also worth noting that Hussein also thought that Iranian revolutionary was lacking in support when he started the Iran-Iraq war, after eight years his lack of foresight was painfully obvious. Are we destined to make the same mistake?

I fail to understand why it is that some people think that governments just appear for no reason. The Iranian government may not be democratic but it would not have come into being without the support of a large part of the population, likewise it could not continue without at least the acceptance of most of the people. Finally even if the population was not supportive of the current government there is no reason to think they would be more supportive of one installed by a foreign power.
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Old 06-03-2006   #12
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Finally even if the population was not supportive of the current government there is no reason to think they would be more supportive of one installed by a foreign power.
Spot on. The majority of the Iranian populace does not support their current regime. This opposition runs the gamut from vehement and strident, to indifference and just wanting to be left alone. However, a US intervention would be like a clumsy intervention in a domestic dispute - the hostility festering under one roof suddenly uniting in opposition to the stranger. And any US support to the opposition for which not enough care is taken to maintain its covert nature, will serve only to completely deligitimize that opposition.
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Old 06-04-2006   #13
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Default Shah's son on Iran's revolution from within.

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Mr. Pahlavi is so focused on the future of Iran that he prefers not to spend time on the past. Even so, when I ask what might be different today if the Iranian revolution had never taken place, he points to a chain of events that seem even worse with hindsight than they did at the time: "The Russians probably would not have invaded Afghanistan the way they did, and Saddam Hussein would not have attacked Iran. . . . From Sudan to everywhere else you can think of, there have been acts of terrorism, attacks on apartments in Khobar, the blowing up of Marine barracks in Beirut. It's been all over the place. If you look at the world the way it was before this regime took over, we didn't have any of these problems."

And yet a solution to all of this is percolating up today, Mr. Pahlavi says, and it's coming from the Iranian people. In fact, he insists, in dealing with a belligerent Tehran, "there is only one thing that the outside world can do, and that is to tell the regime: 'We are serious about supporting the people who are inside Iran who are against you.' That is the only thing that will make Mr. Khamenei [Iran's supreme leader] and everybody stand down. Because nothing else ruffles them. The only thing they are really scared of are the people themselves."

Peaceful revolutions from within have worked before, so why, he asks, isn't the West investing in the Iranian people -- "the same way they supported so many movements in Eastern Europe that ultimately brought down communist governments that were under Moscow's umbrella?" Dissidents are everywhere, in the universities, workplaces, the conventional armed forces, he adds: "There are thousands of cells . . . each trying to bring as much pressure as they can -- but with very limited resources. Imagine the cumulative weight of all these resistance groups in a civil disobedience act -- nonviolent, we don't believe in violent change -- that could begin sustained pressure to the point of paralyzing the system until it would collapse."
Moral leverage.....
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Old 06-05-2006   #14
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Covert support of opposition groups within Iran needs to be approached with care, as I mentioned in a different thread. Aside from the issue of legitimacy, there is also the hard fact that the Iranian opposition is not only fragmented, but there is a great deal of dissent on goals and approaches within and among the various opposition factions.

The son-of-shah is not exactly a disinterested speaker, but his support exists mainly in exile and he is only a figurehead for what is virtually the weakest faction in-country. As much as the vast majority of Iranians dislike Mullahcracy, they aren't exactly eager for a re-run of the Shah. Giving him much attention would simply be a repeat of the stupidity exhibited with Chalabi in the run-up to OIF.
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Old 06-05-2006   #15
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My greatest source of frustration with the Iran issue revolves around yet another example of information operations. The vast majority of us acknowledge that Iran is pointedly seeking a nuclear weapons capacity. While transparent acquisition of weapons themselves would lend considerable prestige to Iranian ambitions for the role of pre-eminent spokes-nation of Islamic strategic aspirations, it could (and probably would)still be challenged by both Pakistan (possessors of said weapons) and Saudi Arabia (guardians of Islam's holiest sites). Thus there is, IMHO, less for Iran to gain by this approach than a more sublime and opaque pursuit of capacity.

Capacity, of course, is a cover. Assembly of these weapons is a minor extension once the knowledge base becomes technologically entrenched. Yet, as civilized governments worldwide mobilize their diplomatic efforts, this capability has taken a back seat to the actual possession of weapons. Understandable and, moreover, consistently positioned at the forefront of our discussion points as the logical endgame of this unfolding process.

Still, one will note the consistent drumbeat from Iran towards the world, but more notably to its own peoples, of their "natural right" to this capability under the NPT. While our diplomats have noted the aborgation of this "natural right" by the constant employment of duplicity and subterfuge tactics over an eighteen year period by Iran against IAEA inspections, we HAVE NOT, in my opinion, highlighted this position.

Namely, the past points clearly to the future. Iran's past activities in this regard makes IMPOSSIBLE any creditable inspections by the IAEA henceforth. Iranian ability to circumvent these inspections is a proven and exercised tactic, and will remain so.

As such, our argument must first be directed to the Iranian people. The civilized world has no desire to prevent Iran from a peaceful nuclear energy program. However inspection safeguards, as normally exercised, are no longer a valid means to affirm this goal. Iran, by its duplicity, has rendered null this "natural right" under NPT provisions. THIS point must lead any commentary by our leading diplomats, and the message must be pointed at both ours and the Iranian peoples. Over and over again. It must further be driven home repeatedly that the NPT WILL collapse should Iran continue its current path. Moreover, if that treaty holds any continuing importance to the world, including the Iranian people, it will be the Iranian theocrats who must bear the burden of its demise. The Iranian peoples must then be made aware that THEY will bear the burden of that consequence.

It is this central point that makes the Russian fuel offer still valid. It is also this point that thoroughly invalidates Iranian notions of legitimacy to their continued pursuit of nuclear capability. Finally, it is the ONLY means that I believe circumvents the Iranian gov't. ability to mobilize its population to the regime's cause. But as clear as that position seems, it appears to me that we haven't made that case to the Iranian people, nor our own. Doing so effectively will mobilize our populations, while separating the Iranian gov't. from theirs.

Instead the discussion has already moved to sanctions or air-strikes, both of which will rally the Iranian people while finding considerable resistance among the populations of all other concerned nations.

Let the mullahs wear the black hats for a change. They seem comfortable in black in any case.
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Old 06-05-2006   #16
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Good point. Our President should use FDR's fireside chat format to keep americans better informed and do his best to see that his message gets to the population of Iran.
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Old 06-05-2006   #17
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Yeah. MSM won't give POTUS thirty minutes a week on T.V. Worse, we've nobody in our government with both the credibility and skill at delivering this message like FDR. Condi's the closest, and she's really not a warm and engaging speaker. Appears visibly nervous to me and has sort of a stilted, robotic, and slightly icy demeanor. Plus, we need this message to be delivered in Europe and Iran by people whom those folks implicitly trust. I've no idea who they'd be.

Maybe it is GWB adopting a TEDDY ROOSEVELT approach of speaking softly, but carrying a BIG STICK. I just don't trust that he can consistently pull it off without suffering "foot in mouth" disease at some point.
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Old 06-05-2006   #18
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Iraq is the source of our Iran trouble - it is this issue that has largely drained the President of the domestic support he needs to conduct foreign policy. The various scandals, infighting and fits among the Republican party haven't helped, either. Fact is, the President holds virtually supreme power over US foreign affairs and matters of state and war. Unfortunately, that power is diminished any time the President's power and prestige is diminished.

Speaking as a liberal, I don't like the idea of George W. Bush in charge of US foreign policy. I like the current situation even less: right now no one is in charge. American foreign policy at the moment is driven by inertia and blind reaction to overseas events - all our programs are either legacies or hasty expedients.
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Old 06-06-2006   #19
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I agree it seems like we have been down that road before both with Chalabi and a few decades ago with the Shah. Hopefully we have learned something from our own history.
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Old 06-08-2006   #20
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Originally Posted by Stu-6
I agree it seems like we have been down that road before both with Chalabi and a few decades ago with the Shah. Hopefully we have learned something from our own history.
We also covertly supported the Ayatollah and assisted in his rise to power, destablizing the Soviet puppet in Kabul and luring the bear to invade Afghanistan.
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