Iran’s Leadership Battles

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larijani.jpg
Ali Larijani has essentially been fired by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is not letting Larijani leave the negotiating scene yet.
Despite Larijani’s blurry status, Iran has announced the “joint will” of Ahmadinejad and Khamenei that Iran’s top nuclear negotiator attend talks on Tuesday in Rome with Javier Solana.
Larijani, who has tried to resign on several occasions (one of which after the kidnapping and detainment by the IRGC of fifteen British sailors), reportedly cannot stand working with the reckless Ahmadinejad — though is on very good terms with Khamenei.
But with the firing, which Larijani learned through news reports rather than directly, Ahmadinejad is challenging Khamenei’s authority over Iranian state matters. Ahmadinejad knows that Larijani is an agent of those who actually want to resolve Iran’s nuclear situation in a constructive way while Ahmadinejad benefits from the crisis and tension with the US and Europe.
There has been a lot of movement in recent days on Iran’s nuclear program. Days after Defense Secretary Bob Gates met with Vladimir Putin, Putin is in Tehran meeting with Khamenei. And in the midst of these meetings, Gates states that a new course in Iran’s nuclear plans that might move its nuclear reprocessing requirements into Russia would curtail the need, possibly, for the US to deploy intermediate range missiles is Europe.
There has been fragile but real deal making going on — and it is progress on this front that Larijani wanted to have the government announce — but Ahmadinejad refused.
More on this soap opera later — but the big story here is that Ahmadinejad is challenging Khamenei directly and openly with Ali Larijani’s firing. It will be interesting to see if Khamenei turns the other cheek or further undermines the “Dick Cheney of Iran” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

31 comments on “Iran’s Leadership Battles

  1. Kathleen says:

    Messages from the OSP… Cheney on Iran
    The Roll-Out Presses On
    By Scott Horton
    10/24/07 “Harpers” — – Cheney Lays the Foundation for War
    This weekend the roll-out for the Next War continues. The most remarkable item is a speech delivered by the man who, by all accounts, has aggressively pushed for war against Iran for at least two years: Vice President Dick Cheney. Here are a few take-outs from his speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, up now at the White House web site:
    Operating largely in the shadows, Iran attempts to hide its hands through the use of militants who target and kill coalition and Iraqi security forces. IranÂ’s real agenda appears to include promoting violence against the coalition. Fearful of a strong, independent, Arab Shia community emerging in Iraq, one that seeks religious guidance not in Qom, Iran, but from traditional sources of Shia authority in Najaf and Karbala, the Iranian regime also aims to keep Iraq in a state of weakness that prevents Baghdad from presenting a threat to Tehran.
    Perhaps the greatest strategic threat that Iraq’s Shiites face today in — is — in consolidating their rightful role in Iraq’s new democracy is the subversive activities of the Iranian regime. The Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is the defender of the theocracy. The regime has used the Quds Force to provide weapons, money, and training to terrorists and Islamic militant groups abroad, including Hamas; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; militants in the Balkans; the Taliban and other anti-Afghanistan militants; and Hezbollah terrorists trying to destabilize Lebanon’s democratic government.
    The Iranian regimeÂ’s efforts to destabilize the Middle East and to gain hegemonic power is a matter of record. And now, of course, we have the inescapable reality of IranÂ’s nuclear program; a program they claim is strictly for energy purposes, but which they have worked hard to conceal; a program carried out in complete defiance of the international community and resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. Iran is pursuing technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons. The world knows this. The Security Council has twice imposed sanctions on Iran and called on the regime to cease enriching uranium. Yet the regime continues to do so, and continues to practice delay and deception in an obvious attempt to buy time.
    Given the nature of Iran’s rulers, the declarations of the Iranian President, and the trouble the regime is causing throughout the region — including direct involvement in the killing of Americans — our country and the entire international community cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions. (Applause.)
    The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences. The United States joins other nations in sending a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. (Applause.)
    Is Cheney threatening war against Iran? Yes, that’s exactly what he is doing. As Greg Djerejian reminds us, in the lead-up to the war against Iraq, Cheney gave a number of speeches making clear the intention to resort to arms against Saddam Hussein. And he used exactly the same language, including specifically the key phrase “serious consequences.” And note the focus on the Quds unit of the Revolutionary Guard. This is an exercise in target-practicing. As several sources have noted, Cheney has advocated targeting the Quds unit in the first bombing raids. He and his chief of staff David Addington have also advocated putting the Quds unit on the scheduled list of terrorist organizations, presumably for prior Congressional authorizations for the use of military force canbe drawn upon to justify the attack without the need to go back to Congress.
    And while I pulled out the passages of the speech that constitute the most undisguised saber-rattling against Iran, the entire speech is worthy of careful study. It shows a man who has disintegrated into a moral sewer. He regales his audience with the need to use torture techniques, which he tells us elsewhere he learned of from “our friends” in the Middle East (a phrase which, I am told, describes the brutal techniques used by the Egyptians.) And he then proceeds to cite a positively insane op-ed by Bernard Lewis, the subject of one of my prior columns, in which the Soviet Union is held up as a wonderful model for the United States. So there you have Dick Cheney wonderfully summed up: traditional U.S. values are for sissies. Real international strongmen torture their own citizens like the Egyptians and bully the neighborhood like the Soviets. Yep, those policies served the Soviet Union very well, as I recall. The country collapsed and its entire southern underbelly was peeled away. It’s enough to make you wonder whether Cheney is on hallucinogens. But this man is at the driver’s wheel of the nation’s national security establishment; he is the most powerful vice president in the nation’s history. And he has a president who knows nothing about the issues, doesn’t care to learn, and follows Cheney’s advice blindly.
    Kristol: Iran Threatens Victory in Iraq
    The first fifteen minutes of CheneyÂ’s Iran speech started with a discussion of Iraq, and made the case that the foe Americans were facing in Iraq was already Iran. This contention is nonsense, of course, a pure fable cooked up to push the war cause. The claim that Iranian explosives are being used by insurgents in Iraq is certainly true. But it has to be considered alongside the fact that the insurgents are fueled much more heavily by weapons and money out of Saudi Arabia, a fact that Cheney would rather not mention. However, on Fox News, William Kristol was out there making the same point.
    We’re winning in Iraq. That is the absolute crucial precondition to having success in the broader fight against Islamic jihadism. … And I think we are going to have to be serious about dealing with both their intervention in Iraq — which is now the only real threat, I think, incidentally, to relative success in Iraq — and their nuclear program.
    Got it? We would win in Iraq, but for the Iranians. Therefore the way to insure victory in Iraq is to wage war on Iran. Who could challenge that logic? And, of course, on Fox News, no one does.
    © The Harper’s Magazine Foundation

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  2. Kathleen says:

    POA… exactly right… she should have been protesting and fighting the expansion of Executive powers all along, including impeaching the sadistic sons of bitches.
    But who has time for filibustering when you’re stumping all the time?

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  3. Paul Norheim says:

    All those warnings about what would happen if the US attacked Iraq were correct – although it did not unfold immediately, but in slow motion. And now, after four years, one of the last pieces: the Kurdish component and the conflict with Turkey.
    I wonder if this will unfold simultaneously with an attack on Iran (and possibly Syria)? Then the chaos may intensify in three regions: from the Horn of Africa through the Middle East to Afghanistan, and possibly Pakistan in Central Asia (even India, over Kashmir, if Islamists manage to take control in the very unstable nuclear state of Pakistan).
    The media usually talk about one conflict at the time: the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the situation in Iraq, or in Afghanistan.
    Bush & Cheney always prefer to talk about “the big picture”.
    The more I see of that huge, nightmarish picture slowly becoming a reality – although a reality that is very different from the White House`s description of it – the harder it is to believe in the good old rational arguments (AIPAC-lobbying, national interest, oil, money to the big companies) as sufficient to explain the mayhem.
    There is a destructive force in all this, combined with fear (not to mention the mixture of apathy and paralysis among a large part of the American population, including the “opposition”) that seems to extend far beyond geopolitical or economical considerations. And that force is also self-destructive, a fact that only to some extent can be translated to rational terms: it obviously damages the “national interest” of the US as well as Israel. It puts the US economy at a greater risk, as well as endangering the energy supply.
    And then candidate Rudy Giuliani is promising an even bigger picture to the American people for the next few years, and the media and his competitors in the presidential race treat him as a sane, rational human being.

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  4. Carroll says:

    Posted by arthurdecco at October 23, 2007 08:05 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yea…so what is the US going to do now?…back out of NATO? Refuse to carry out it’s obligations as a member of NATO?
    Everyone sees that the US is letting the Kurds operate as a seperate state from Iraq already depite all the blather about about a unified Iraq being central to our ME concerns. And why are we doing this? For the Israeli interest in their relationship with the Kurds and their oil, for the Hunt brothers oil contract with the Kurds?
    For this we are going against Turkey, a fellow member of NATO?
    I wish NATO and the UN would kick our ass out of both institutions. That would take our fucking would be masters of the universe in DC down a notch or two and send them back to the farm.

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Ms Clinton said the accumulation of executive power had put America into “new territory” because Mr Bush and the vice president had taken the view that were what previously extraordinary powers were now inherent powers that belonged to the White House.
    “I think I’m going to have to review everything they’ve done, because I’ve been on the receiving end of that,” she said. Ms Clinton stated it was “absolutely” conceivable that, as president, she would give up executive powers in the name of constitutional principle.
    “That has to be part of the review I undertake when I get to the White House, and I intend to do that,”
    So, she is claiming she will “review” what Bush has done if she is elected? I haven’t seen her opposing any of it. Why can’t the posturing piece of shit “review” this stuff as its being instituted?
    Anyone that thinks she is going to relinguish any executive power, unconstitutional or otherwise, is an idiot. This woman will be as disastrous for Amerca as Bush has been, and equally as corrupt.

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  6. arthurdecco says:

    Sorry – that should have been typed as “PKK”, not PPK.

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  7. arthurdecco says:

    Carroll, Re: Turkey’s troops being killed or captured by the PPK & what that means.
    I can’t take the credit for the following – I copied it from: http://myblahg.com/
    BLAHG BITS OCT. 21/07
    “Turkey’s Casus Belli
    If Israeli soldiers taken hostage by Hezbollah were sufficient reason to launch a war against Lebanon does this mean Turkish soldiers taken hostage by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party is sufficient reason to launch a war against Northern Iraq? And because Turkey is a member of NATO is NATO now committed to take action?
    After the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, NATO’s secretary general, Lord Robertson, said, “If it is determined that this attack was directed from abroad against the United States, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.” The Washington Treaty, part of NATO’s charter, says that an attack against one or several member states will be considered as an attack against all of NATO. The article commits NATO members to take measures, including the use of force, to restore security.”

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  8. Carroll says:

    Oh goodie…the US has found another seat between the rock and hard place.
    “US Pressures Turkey not to Attack ”
    The Bush administration made a diplomatic ‘full court press’ with Turkish leaders to dissuade them from attacking the Kurdish Workers Party [PKK] guerrillas hiding out in Iraq after the killing of 17 Turkish troops and the capture of 8 others by the PKK on Sunday. Turkish Prime Minister Rejeb Tayyip Erdogan is alleged to have told US Secretary of State Condi Rice that the only way for the US to forestall a Turkish invasion is for its military to arrest the PKK leaders in Iraq themselves and to turn them over to Ankara.
    Under all this American pressure, The PKK is said to be offering a conditional ceasefire with Ankara. The ‘conditional’ part doesn’t seem very promising to me.
    Although the US says it cannot control the PKK because it has few troops in the north of Iraq, this excuse neglects another reason that the US is essentially coddling a terrorist group that is killing fellow NATO troops. The fact is that the PKK is being coddled by Massoud Barzani and his Peshmerga, who could stop them hitting Turkey if they so desired. The other fact is that the US only has one really reliable ally in Iraq, which is the Kurds, and their paramilitary or the Peshmerga is the only element in the new Iraqi army that fights with any spunk or initiative. The US cannot afford to alienate Barzani or the Peshmerga; hence it is forced to try to wheedle Turkey into inaction in the face of a rather dramatic set of provocations.
    ..Cole…
    Personally I don’t see Turkey continuing to take this shit. In fact if Turkey was to go in and wipe out the PPK hiding out with the Kurds I think it would help turn up the heat on the US to get out. Unless of course the neos want to declare war also on one of their fellow NATO members.

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  9. Paul Norheim says:

    Time will tell if (and how) she will keep her promise if she wins the election, but here is what Hillary Clinton said in an interview with British newspaper The Guardian today:
    “Ms Clinton said the accumulation of executive power had put America into “new territory” because Mr Bush and the vice president had taken the view that were what previously extraordinary powers were now inherent powers that belonged to the White House.
    “I think I’m going to have to review everything they’ve done, because I’ve been on the receiving end of that,” she said. Ms Clinton stated it was “absolutely” conceivable that, as president, she would give up executive powers in the name of constitutional principle.
    “That has to be part of the review I undertake when I get to the White House, and I intend to do that,” she said.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections08/hillaryclinton/story/0,,2197048,00.html

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  10. Kathleen says:

    What to do is THE question all right. Some are organizing a national strike on this next first Tuesday of November, asking everyone to simply not go to work, school, shopping, etc.
    It’s a start.
    I just skipped the last Repugnican “debate”. It’s all just so much noise, signifying nothing. And now that Congressman Stark was forced to apologize and Senator Gravel is being excluded from the Oct.30th debate, I just might skip the farce altogether myself.
    So after claiming we can’t afford health care for more children, Charlie Wrangle is considering lowering coprorate taxes from 35% to 25%. And here I’ve been asking Demz to lower taxes on the bottom tier. Silly me.
    I seem to have fallen through some rabbit hole. I have everything backwards and Saudi Arabia is a “War on Terror” ally, according to Busholini.
    The Republic is dead. Long live the Republic!

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  11. Carroll says:

    Posted by Kathleen at October 23, 2007 12:54 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Good piece.
    But I can’t help but believe that just “saying” go back to the constitution and checks and balances is enough.
    The constitution is there..but how do we “force” our governing bodies to uphold it? By telling them to govern by it? So far they have ignored both the constitution and ignored being told to carrying our their duty to uphold the constitution.
    We have ample proof that the majority of our elective government bodies have clearly “created” a system by drafting laws and regulations that allows them to govern for party, self and special interest, not for the public or common good.
    We all know that at the heart of it is money or the witholding of money, lobbies, etc., pure and simple, that keeps them in office or forces them out.
    I think we have to do more. We have to flesh out new definitions and expand Sections 3 and 4 of the constitution in order to be able to have governing bodies that will actually enforce the constitution and carry out their duties of checks and balances.
    These sections aren’t far reaching enough to do the job anymore. They are antiquated and out of date with current reality. Is there anyone who thinks that deliberately “lying” this nation into war shouldn’t be called treason? That our definitions of treason, bribery, subversion shouldn’t be changed to include “all” the many ways that government in the wrong hands of corrupt and ambitious politicans and officials are capable of doing this?
    Section. 4.
    The President, Vice President..and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
    Section. 3.
    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
    We all recongize that we have politicans deliberately acting against the interest of the whole country for their own agenda re foreign countries or criminal capitalism and it is a form of treason, we all recongize that our campaign contribution and election system is a form of bribery.
    Why do we think that treason and bribery have not been addressed since the constitution was written to reflect current times so that our governing bodies cannot create loopholes to faciltate their own party and political interest instead of the public interest?
    So Senator Rockerfeller can say that the fundraiser held for him by the telcom industry on the moring of his vote had nothing to do with his leadership to give them immunity from proscution?
    So Speaker Hastert could say 7 years ago when he killed revision of ERISA that the fundraiser breakfast given for him by the insurance lobbies on the morning of the vote had nothing to do with his campaign to keep ERISA in place for the benefit of the Insurance industry.
    So Bill Richardson could say at the Presidential debates that the foreign country Israel’s security is the “cornerstone of AMERICAN foreign policy”?
    How do you tell the very people who are the ones who have for decades deliberately designed the legistation and laws that let them circumvent the “true intent” of the constitution to follow the constitution?
    Something more has to happen.
    A older, very smart, very government involved friend of mine has quit discussing politics altogether..she says discussion is a pointless waste of time, that the system of corruption is now so entrenched it has become the accepted “norm”.
    That it is incapable of reform and will fall apart in it’s own time. She is probably right.

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  12. Kathleen says:

    One of my biggest worries about the recent Iran Resolution passed by the Senate, is not just that it will be a back door way to war with iranw without the need for congressional approval, but that the new war will be the excuse for declaring Martial law and cancelling elections.
    Bush ’08 Countdown Wall Calendar
    Counting down the days since the first inauguration of the president who said, “IÂ’m the commander, see? I donÂ’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. ThatÂ’s the interesting thing about being president.”
    Good luck with that counting….
    Is a Presidential Coup Under Way?
    By Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown. Posted October 23, 2007.
    The Constitution is being trampled and nothing less than American democracy itself is endangered — a presidential coup is taking place.
    Where is Congress? It’s way past time for members to stand up. Historic matters are at stake. The Constitution is being trampled, the very form of our government is being perverted, and nothing less than American democracy itself is endangered — a presidential coup is taking place. I think of Barbara Jordan, the late congresswoman from Houston. On July 25, 1974, this powerful thinker and member of the House Judiciary Committee took her turn to speak during the Nixon impeachment inquiry.
    “My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total,” she declared in her thundering voice. “And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution.”Where are the likes of Barbara Jordan in today’s Congress? While the BushCheney regime continues to establish a supreme, arrogant, autocratic presidency in flagrant violation of the Constitution, members of Congress largely sit there as idle spectators — or worse, as abettors of Bush’s usurpation of their own congressional authority.
    Why it matters
    Separation of powers. Rule of law. Checks and balances. These may seem to us moderns to be little more than a set of dry, legal precepts that we had to memorize in high-school history class but need not concern us now. After all, the founders (bless their wigged heads!) established these principles for us back in 17-something-or-other, so we don’t really have to worry about them in 2007. Think again. These are not merely arcane phrases of constitutional law, but the very keystones of our democracy, essential to sustaining our ideal of being a self-governing people, free of tyrants who would govern us on their own whim. The founders knew about tyranny. The monarch of the time, King George III, routinely denied colonists basic liberties, spied on them and entered their homes at will, seized their property, jailed anyone he wanted without charges, rounded up and killed dissidents, and generally ruled with an iron fist. He was both the law and above the law, operating on the twin doctrines of “the divine rule of kings” and “the king can do no wrong.”
    (Alert: Ready or not, the following is a high-school refresher course on American government. There will be a test.) At the front of the founders’ minds was the necessity of breaking up the authority of their new government in order to avoid re-creating the autocracy they had just defeated. The genius of their structure was that legislating, administering, and judging were to be done by three separate but coequal branches, each with powers to check the other two, and none able to aggregate all three functions into its own hands (a result that James Madison called the very definition of tyranny). Just as important, to deter government by whim, all members of the three branches were to be subject to the laws of the land (starting with the Constitution and Bill of Rights), with no one above the law. As Thomas Paine said, “The law is king.”
    These were not legal niceties but core restraints designed to protect citizens from power grabs by ambitious autocrats. Such restrictions also make our country stronger by vetting policies through three entities rather than one. This balanced authority helps avoid many serious policy mistakes (or at least offers a chance to correct them later), and it is intended to prevent the one mistake that’s fatal to democracy — allowing one branch to seize the power to rule unilaterally.
    Of course, sound schemes are oft screwed up by unsound leaders, and we’ve had some horrible hiccups over the years. John Adams went astray early in our democratic experiment by claiming the unilateral authority to imprison his political enemies; Abe Lincoln took it upon himself to suspend habeas corpus during the Civil War; Woodrow Wilson launched his notorious Palmer Raids; FDR rounded up and imprisoned Japanese-Americans; J. Edgar Hoover and the infamous COINTEL program spied on and arrested thousands in the Vietnam War years; and Ronnie Reagan ran his own illegal, secret war out of the White House basement.
    In all these cases of executive excess and abuse, however, outrage flowed from the public, courts stood up to the White House, congressional investigations ensued, and the American system regained its balance relatively quickly. As Jefferson put it when he succeeded Adams and repealed the Alien and Sedition Acts, “Should we wander [from the essential principles of our government] in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.”
    From “The Hightower Lowdown,” edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer, October 2007. Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country and It’s Time to Take It Back.

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  13. Kathleen says:

    To see what Senator Gravel said about it…
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-mike-gravel/why-nbc-and-the-dnc-want_b_69397html
    I did post his statement under the Revoltin Bolton thread.

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  14. Kathleen says:

    Carroll, I saw that piece, makes one shudder..,.,
    POA, yummmm.
    Meanwhile, Senator Mike Gravel is being exluded from the NBC debates on Oct. 30 for confronting Hillary on her Yes vote on the Iran Resolution.
    http://www.petitionspot.com/petition/letgravelspeakoct30
    D is for Dunce
    D is for Doormat
    D is for Disgusting Doormat

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  15. Sandy says:

    What POA said.

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  16. kotzabasis says:

    My dear Steve
    I’m always perplexed that a noble person like you stoops at times to the ugly passions of hoi polloi. But Marcel Proust is always relevant!
    My best wishes too

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  17. Carroll says:

    Israel shaken by troops’ tales of brutality against Palestinians
    A psychologist blames assaults on civilians in the 1990s on soldiers’ bad training, boredom and poor supervision
    Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
    Sunday October 21, 2007
    Observer
    A study by an Israeli psychologist into the violent behaviour of the country’s soldiers is provoking bitter controversy and has awakened urgent questions about the way the army conducts itself in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
    Nufar Yishai-Karin, a clinical psychologist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, interviewed 21 Israeli soldiers and heard confessions of frequent brutal assaults against Palestinians, aggravated by poor training and discipline. In her recently published report, co-authored by Professor Yoel Elizur, Yishai-Karin details a series of violent incidents, including the beating of a four-year-old boy by an officer.
    The report, although dealing with the experience of soldiers in the 1990s, has triggered an impassioned debate in Israel, where it was published in an abbreviated form in the newspaper Haaretz last month. According to Yishai Karin: ‘At one point or another of their service, the majority of the interviewees enjoyed violence. They enjoyed the violence because it broke the routine and they liked the destruction and the chaos. They also enjoyed the feeling of power in the violence and the sense of danger.’
    In the words of one soldier: ‘The truth? When there is chaos, I like it. That’s when I enjoy it. It’s like a drug. If I don’t go into Rafah, and if there isn’t some kind of riot once in some weeks, I go nuts.’
    Another explained: ‘The most important thing is that it removes the burden of the law from you. You feel that you are the law. You are the law. You are the one who decides… As though from the moment you leave the place that is called Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel] and go through the Erez checkpoint into the Gaza Strip, you are the law. You are God.’
    The soldiers described dozens of incidents of extreme violence. One recalled an incident when a Palestinian was shot for no reason and left on the street. ‘We were in a weapons carrier when this guy, around 25, passed by in the street and, just like that, for no reason – he didn’t throw a stone, did nothing – bang, a bullet in the stomach, he shot him in the stomach and the guy is dying on the pavement and we keep going, apathetic. No one gave him a second look,’ he said.
    The soldiers developed a mentality in which they would use physical violence to deter Palestinians from abusing them. One described beating women. ‘With women I have no problem. With women, one threw a clog at me and I kicked her here [pointing to the crotch], I broke everything there. She can’t have children. Next time she won’t throw clogs at me. When one of them [a woman] spat at me, I gave her the rifle butt in the face. She doesn’t have what to spit with any more.’
    Yishai-Karin found that the soldiers were exposed to violence against Palestinians from as early as their first weeks of basic training. On one occasion, the soldiers were escorting some arrested Palestinians. The arrested men were made to sit on the floor of the bus. They had been taken from their beds and were barely clothed, even though the temperature was below zero. The new recruits trampled on the Palestinians and then proceeded to beat them for the whole of the journey. They opened the bus windows and poured water on the arrested men.
    The disclosure of the report in the Israeli media has occasioned a remarkable response. In letters responding to the recollections, writers have focused on both the present and past experience of Israeli soldiers to ask troubling questions that have probed the legitimacy of the actions of the Israeli Defence Forces.
    The study and the reactions to it have marked a sharp change in the way Israelis regard their period of military service – particularly in the occupied territories – which has been reflected in the increasing levels of conscientious objection and draft-dodging.
    The debate has contrasted sharply with an Israeli army where new recruits are taught that they are joining ‘the most ethical army in the world’ – a refrain that is echoed throughout Israeli society. In its doctrine, published on its website, the Israeli army emphasises human dignity. ‘The Israeli army and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position.’
    However, the Israeli army, like other armies, has found it difficult to maintain these values beyond the classroom. The first intifada, which began in 1987, before the wave of suicide bombings, was markedly different to the violence of the second intifada, and its main events were popular demonstrations with stone-throwing.
    Yishai-Karin, in an interview with Haaretz, described how her research came out of her own experience as a soldier at an army base in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. She interviewed 18 ordinary soldiers and three officers whom she had served with in Gaza. The soldiers described how the violence was encouraged by some commanders. One soldier recalled: ‘After two months in Rafah, a [new] commanding officer arrived… So we do a first patrol with him. It’s 6am, Rafah is under curfew, there isn’t so much as a dog in the streets. Only a little boy of four playing in the sand. He is building a castle in his yard. He [the officer] suddenly starts running and we all run with him. He was from the combat engineers.
    ‘He grabbed the boy. I am a degenerate if I am not telling you the truth. He broke his hand here at the wrist, broke his leg here. And started to stomp on his stomach, three times, and left. We are all there, jaws dropping, looking at him in shock…
    ‘The next day I go out with him on another patrol, and the soldiers are already starting to do the same thing.”
    Yishai-Karin concluded that the main reason for the soldiers’ violence was a lack of training. She found that the soldiers did not know what was expected of them and therefore were free to develop their own way of behaviour. The longer a unit was left in the field, the more violent it became. The Israeli soldiers, she concluded, had a level of violence which is universal across all nations and cultures. If they are allowed to operate in difficult circumstances, such as in Gaza and the West Bank, without training and proper supervision, the violence is bound to come out.
    A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said that, if a soldier deviates from the army’s norms, they could be investigated by the military police or face criminal investigation.
    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The day of reckoning for Isr&merica nazis can’t come soon enough for me. Unfortunately it will be too late for four year olds building castles in their yard.

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  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Soap Opera”, eh?
    Well, considering that the lives of millions of people very probably depends on the internal machinations of both the Iranian and United States’ leadership, I would say your phrasing is a bit cavalier. Perhaps you need to plug in your humanity instead of your blender.
    Besides, why explain and justify your demonization of Cheney? The man is a monster of satanic proportions, and the sooner that FACT is recognized, the sooner substantive efforts can be made to give him his just reward, accountability before the law. Or are you now of the opinion that we are just to ignore the million or so dead Iraqis, as well as the five million displaced?
    “Soap Opera”, my ass. This is a critical crisis of leadership, and we are a blink and a nod away from a huge escalation of military conflict that could easily spin WAY out of control. And perhaps if you and your think tanker compatriots on both sides of the aisle would start calling a spade a spade, drop the swooning admiration for these corrupt and unaccountable monsters in power, we would be that much closer to putting out the flames.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    Posted by erichwwk at October 22, 2007 03:32 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Thanks for link ..I am going now to read it.

    Reply

  20. erichwwk says:

    Its interesting to not that FT’s online poll shows a slight majority view a nuclear armed Iran as not posing a threat to the West.
    Carrol, your metaphor of the matador and the bull brings to mind Chalmers Johnson’s review of Stephen Holme’s book:”The Matador’s Cape, America’s Reckless Response to Terror”. It is reprinted, with a Tom Engelhardt intro, on his tomdispatch.com @ http://tinyurl.com/3xzbb6

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  21. Matthew says:

    Steve: your linkage between the missile deployment and Iran reprocessing in Russia has to be right. Iran has acted like it has an ace up its sleave. And Putin leaves everyone–Iran, Israel, and USA–believing that Russia is sympathetic to their views.
    I would not be surprised if Iran makes a big show of suspending right at the brink.

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  22. Carroll says:

    Since we are commenting on “personalities” here, I am willing to bet that a lot of people around the world are secretly rooting Ahmadinejad on.
    Most of the world wants someone to stand up to the loudmouth Isr’merica bully, to poke it and taunt it. Ahmadinejad is crazy enough, if that’s how you want to describe him, to do just that.
    Ahmadinejad is the matador, Cheney is the bull.

    Reply

  23. erichwwk says:

    Steve writes:
    “how they are dramatically similar is that both have been declining in relative influence”
    From the Financial Times:
    Iranian opposition politicians, alarmed by the president’s policies had become increasingly supportive of Mr Larijani, seeing him as a rare and much-needed pragmatic voice in the regime. But they also say that Mr Khamenei, who earlier this year had seemed to be attempting to curb the president’s excesses, has recently given Mr Ahmadi-Nejad his full backing, believing that his radical approach is paying off.
    http://tinyurl.com/26cm7w

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  24. Steve Clemons says:

    kotzabasis — thanks for your note though your attacks on some of my posts are as robust as some of my attempts at metaphorical comparison. seriously though, i do realize that some would be taken back by the comparison of ahmadinejad and cheney. some in the u.s. government — who are friends of mine — have told me as much about their discomfort with that comparison.
    how they are dramatically similar is that both have been declining in relative influence and both see political gain in the increasing tension and potential collision between iran and the u.s. to some degree, ahmadinejad and cheney are able to help each other regain some influence in their respective countries.
    what fascinates and worries me is that whereas political factions fighting it out in the US administration — or even in Iran — is nothing new, what is new is that you have such weight on both sides of the equation. bob gates is battling cheney. and maybe — wings of iran’s political establishment are battling rogue elements of the al quds force and ahmadinejad.
    in that sense, I think that the comparison is apt — but i recognize and ‘respect’ your alternative take.
    thanks for sparring a bit with the blog. i do enjoy reading your commentary and understanding your take on many of these issues.
    all the best,
    steve clemons

    Reply

  25. erichwwk says:

    Apologies for the truncated msg. The omitted part, which begins the rant:
    While there is more than a grain of truth that Ahmadinejad is exploiting the US heavy handed opposition to the Iranian nuclear program (which Cheney illegally supported during his

    Reply

  26. erichwwk says:

    Haliburton reign)to offset his domestic economic failures, to call him the “Dick Cheney of Iran” raises questions as to your understanding of nuclear weapons, and your refusal to recognize that the proliferation problem lies with the USA, and not Iran. In that light, it is encouraging that Alex Salmond has made a major bid to win international backing for his government’s campaign to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons.
    “Tomorrow’s meeting will hear evidence from a Scottish advocate, John Mayer, that nuclear weapons are illegal under international law and the Scottish parliament would be “well within its competence” to pass legislation preventing crimes committed by weapons of mass destruction. From the Sunday Herald: http://tinyurl.com/ytfumg
    “The law of the whole world is against Trident. The Scottish parliament stands at a turning point to outlaw its threat or use, and in doing so will lead the world into a safer 21st century,” said Mayer.
    Salmond’s letter, sent last week, is addressed to the UK ambassadors of 122 countries party to the NPT. “In May, for the first time since the nuclear age began in 1945, the people of Scotland elected a government that is opposed to nuclear weapons,” he declared.
    While only 13% of Americans support the USA position on nuclear hegemony, it seems like most the US pundits and politicians are hell bent on using terror to demonize other nations, rather than look into the mirror at the real culprit. So tell me Steve, when so few Americans support what their national political leaders are doing on their behalf, is it not time to drop the charade that America is a democracy? When we pull the curtain behind the wizard of Oz, do we not find a spokesperson for the war and looting industry? Can we really have a democracy when that war industry is the means by which the top one tenth of one person of Americans “earn?” as much as the bottom one half of all Americans? Or does being outside the group of Americans who actually receive their income the old-fashioned way, by producing goods that actually pass through a free market, make that difficult to understand?

    Reply

  27. erichwwk says:

    While there is more than a grain of truth that Ahmadinejad is exploiting the US heavy handed opposition to the Iranian nuclear program (which Cheney illegally supported during his Haliburton reign)to offset his domestic economic failures, to call him the “Dick Cheney of Iran” raises questions as to your understanding of nuclear weapons, and your refusal to recognize that the proliferation problem lies with the USA, and not Iran. In that light, it is encouraging that Alex Salmond has made a major bid to win international backing for his government’s campaign to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons.
    “Tomorrow’s meeting will hear evidence from a Scottish advocate, John Mayer, that nuclear weapons are illegal under international law and the Scottish parliament would be “well within its competence” to pass legislation preventing crimes committed by weapons of mass destruction.
    From the Sunday Herald: http://tinyurl.com/ytfumg
    “The law of the whole world is against Trident. The Scottish parliament stands at a turning point to outlaw its threat or use, and in doing so will lead the world into a safer 21st century,” said Mayer.
    Salmond’s letter, sent last week, is addressed to the UK ambassadors of 122 countries party to the NPT. “In May, for the first time since the nuclear age began in 1945, the people of Scotland elected a government that is opposed to nuclear weapons,” he declared.
    While only 13% of Americans support the USA position on nuclear hegemony, it seems like most of the US pundits and politicians are hell bent on using terror to demonize other nations, rather than look into the mirror at the real culprit.

    Reply

  28. Hammeroon Nobslobin says:

    Ahmadinejad and Cheney? What war has Mr. Ahmadinejad “lied” the world into? How many innocent Iraqi men, women, and children has Mr. Ahmadinejad had killed? Is Mr. Ahmadinejad a power mad lunatic that flaunts human decency for simple spite? Hmmm, possibly with that last one but the evidence is “classified.” Criminy Steve, why would you make such a ludicrous comparison?

    Reply

  29. Kathleen says:

    Does anyone seriously think Dopey and Darth are going to allow any bleeding heart diplomats avert war with Iran? If uranium enrichment gets resolved, they’ll move on to some new trumped up excuse. Haven’t we seen this plot before?
    Whatever is going on with Iran’s leadership is all beside the point to Dopey and Darth. They’ve got the Plan and they’ll just keep repeating their twisted lies so the MSM can run with them. It’s not even a challenge to figure out their game anymore.

    Reply

  30. kotzabasis says:

    Steve, to print this shameful quote that compares Cheney to Ahmadinejad to please the political Scarlet O’Haras who follow you, shows that you have entered a redlight district willing to prostitute your sclolarly reputation for a “scarlet” coin.

    Reply

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