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Archive for April, 2011

Bahrain in the shadow of Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States

Posted by alanmirs on April 25, 2011


By Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Special to CNN
April 25, 2011 — Updated 1032 GMT (1832 HKT)



    • Bahrain’s fate is bound to regional politics, says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam
    • Saudi Arabia’s suspicion of Iran is a key factor, he says
    • Iran has a vested interest in what happens in Bahrain
    • “Is it not impossible to keep Iran out of what is happening in the area?” asks Adib-Moghaddam


Editor’s note: Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is University Lecturer in Comparative and International Politics at SOAS, University of London. He is the author of “Iran in World Politics: the Question of the Islamic Republic,” and his most recent book, “A metahistory of the clash of civilizations: Us and them beyond Orientalism” has just been published by Columbia University Press and Hurst.

(CNN) — There are disturbing accounts from major human rights organizations about abuses in Bahrain and the systematic state violence that has been unleashed on the opposition movement against the monarchy of the Al-Khalifa family.

And yet Bahrain has not become the story because the movement for social justice, government accountability and independence is being violently suppressed, but because of wider strategic calculations that bind the fate of the island to the future of regional politics.

There are at least three strategic issues at stake when it comes to the political present and future of the country. First, Bahrain hosts a major naval base for the U.S. fifth fleet, and the ruling Al-Khalifa family has been a trusted ally of the United States for several decades……………….

If Iran is indeed a regional superpower, is it not impossible to marginalize it? If Iran has so much ideational power in the wider Arab and Islamic world, would it not be in the interest of all stakeholders to forge a security architecture for the region that would include such a central country?

Is it not irrational and ultimately impossible to keep Iran out of what is happening in the area? Is it not time for a sustained period of diplomatic detente? Shouldn’t we finally strive for peace in Western Asia? Isn’t peace and real security what the increasingly vocal civil societies are calling for?

To my mind, addressing these questions with a strategic understanding of the geopolitical realities of the greater West Asian area is likely to yield better policy, both with regard to Bahrain and beyond. To that end, we need many more unclenched fists.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Arshin Adib-Moghaddam.


How Dictators Emerge? Bahrain, Conspiracy, Liberation, Persians, British, Iran

It was one of the first states in the Gulf to discover oil and to build a refinery; as such, it benefited from oil wealth before most of its neighbors

The country has been headed since 1783 by the Khalifah family, members of the Bani Utbah tribe, who expelled the Persians. From 1861, when a treaty was signed withBritain, until independence in 1971,Bahrainwas virtually a British protectorate.

Bahrain and Persians

In 1888, Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, the British Plenipotentiary Minister toTehran, presented a War Office map to the Iranian King Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, in which the islands were presented as Iranian territory.

In his 1892 book Persia and the Persian Question, George Nathaniel Curzon, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India recognized the islands as belonging to Iran, but a decade later in 1902 the British occupied the islands as a buffer against the growing Soviet influence in Southern Iran.

Being afraid of the growing Soviet influence in the Southern regions ofIran, the British forces occupied three Iranian islands, named Abu Mousa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb in the year 1902.

IranandBritainfought over the islands for decades until 1968, when the Britons pulled their troops out from the Indian Ocean andPersian Gulfas a reconciliatory stance.

Then, in 1971, as the colonial protectorate of Ras al-Khaimeh andSharjah,Iransigned an agreement with Sharjah with the arbitration of British government to take responsibility for the islands’ security while recognizing the sovereignty ofBahrainand the UAE.

What does Israel-backed UAE say?

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ElBaradei: US, Europe Weren’t Interested in Compromise With Iran

Posted by alanmirs on April 25, 2011

Officials Withheld Key Info From IAEA Chief in Push for Regime Change

by Jason Ditz, April 20, 2011

Former IAEA Chief and current Egyptian Presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei has given a high profile interview to Der Spiegel this week. Though the interview largely centers around domestic politics, it also delves into his IAEA experience, particularly with respect to the attempts to broker a deal on Iran

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State Department cable reveal U.S. thirst for all things Iranian

Posted by alanmirs on April 18, 2011

By Warren P. Strobel


McClatchy Newspapers


WASHINGTON — At a November 2009 meeting, top Iranian security officials allegedly discussed staging a student takeover of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran, much as students had seized the U.S. Embassy there three decades earlier, according to a State Department cable.

But Ali Larijani, a powerful politician and speaker of Iran’s parliament, urged caution as Iranian-Saudi tensions rose. Referring to the 1979-81 U.S. hostage crisis, Larijani told his colleagues that “one experience occupying a foreign embassy is enough — in fact we have not yet extricated ourselves from the last experience.” The second-hand anecdote, related to a U.S. diplomat by an unidentified Iranian in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is one of hundreds about Iran contained in classified U.S. cables obtained by WikiLeaks and recently passed to McClatchy.

Taken together, the cables portray a U.S. government ravenous for any scrap of information about Iran, no matter how incomplete or contradictory — and admittedly blind to much of what is taking place in a country where the U.S. has not had an official presence in more than a generation.

Read more:

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Arab leaders exploit their countries’ divisions to stay in power

Posted by alanmirs on April 16, 2011

Arab leaders threatened by the region’s uprisings may have finally hit on a tactic that can undermine popular support for protesters: playing on religious and national divides.


Syrian anti-Syrian regime protesters, holds posters and chant slogans calling for the Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down during a protest in front of Syrian embassy in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday, April, 2. The extraordinary wave of protests has proved the most serious challenge yet to the nearly five-decade rule of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, one of the most rigid regimes in the Middle East.

Nader Daoud/AP

Nader Daoud/AP

By Nicholas Seeley, / Correspondent / April 4, 2011

Amman, JordanSince Tunisians overthrew their dictator in January, sparking protests across the Middle East, Arab regimes have been seeking to shut down the demonstrators before they, too, are shown the exit. Among the most popular formulas: fueling longstanding social or religious divisions.In a region notorious for such schisms, many of the protest movements were, at first, remarkably united across sectarian lines for political and economic change. But as wary leaders began framing the protests as a matter of identity or religion rather than reform, citizens turned on protesters – significantly weakening their movements.”Authoritarianism thrives and supports itself on dividing and ruling,” says Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “It will use whatever the best methods are for dividing a society, whether it’s national questions, ethnic questions, sectarian questions…. [Regimes] keep the people from uniting against them by playing on these types of insecurity.”

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Mideast unrest could boost Iran, but it faces upheaval at home

Posted by alanmirs on April 16, 2011

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rapid implementation of fuel subsidy cuts – estimated at $20 billion to date – could stir discontent.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reacts during a news conference in Tehran, Iran, on April 4.

Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

   By Roshanak Taghavi, Correspondent / April 15, 2011

WashingtonTehran has much at stake in the tumult wracking the Middle East, with popular uprisings in the region potentially opening the way for Iranto expand its political influence……………… 

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The subsidies were eliminated weeks ago. There have not been any protests. In fact, the action has led to a significant reduction in energy usage. People who used to turn on the air conditioner and at the same time leave the windows open are no longer continuing this wasteful practice. Gasoline usage has gone down significantly also. At the same time, a recent Goldman-Sachs report has predicted that Iran will be the world’s 12 largest economy by 2025. So, let’s just stop these predictions of doom and gloom

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U.S. democracy aid may be double-edged sword in Iran

Posted by alanmirs on April 10, 2011


By Fredrik Dahl

TEHRAN | Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:17am EDT

TEHRAN (Reuters) – The United States has earmarked tens of millions of dollars to promote democracy in its arch-foe Iran, but some activists whose work such support is supposed to encourage warn it may do more harm than good

Reuters Tehran Iran


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No time for celebrating victory over Iran

Posted by alanmirs on April 4, 2011

By Abolghasem Bayyenat – posted Friday, 21 January 2011

Over the past few days, the dominant mood of Israeli media has been one of euphoria and celebration over the recent announcement by the outgoing Israeli intelligence chief, Meir Dagan, that even under worst-case scenarios Iran will not be able to build nuclear weapons until at least 2015. Referring to the latest revised assessment by Dagan of the chances of nuclear weapon development by Iran and similar adjusted assessments over the past decade, an Israeli intelligence analyst writes, “These adjustments were not the result of mistaken evaluations, but due to the difficulties Iran has encountered in advancing its program, largely because of the Mossad’s efforts”.

Along similar lines, another Israeli self-identified “dove” political analyst expresses his agreement with Dagan’s recent announcement by writing, “although blowing up some Iranian facilities and killing a few Iranian scientists were risky acts of aggression, they were worth it. They contributed to the hobbling of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, pushed its goal off by at least several years, so these acts of sabotage and assassination were justified.”

These celebratory observations do not only characterise the mood of the Israeli media and Israeli politicians. Many Western media and politicians also feel euphoric at the thought of the Iranian nuclear program being disrupted by covert acts of sabotage. To cite only one example, the Washington Post wrote in a recent editorial reflecting on Dagan’s assessment that, “there appear to be solid reasons to conclude that UN and other Western sanctions and covert operations have hindered the Iranian program” and that “without more advanced centrifuges, Iran would have trouble in any attempt to create a bomb out of the low-enriched uranium it has stockpiled”.

No time for celebrating victory over Iran ON LINE OPINION


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Opinion | The Attacks on Libya: Lessons for Iranians

Posted by alanmirs on April 2, 2011

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