Obama, Nowruz, Greens & Israel

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I thought that President Obama’s Nowruz message to Iranians was — like last year — excellent. I think that this kind of public diplomacy is enormously important in reaching out for the prospects of change — even if the Iran government is recalcitrant.
Here is a clip from the transcript:

I said, last year, that the choice for a better future was in the hands of Iran’s leaders. That remains true today. Together with the international community, the United States acknowledges your right to peaceful nuclear energy – we insist only that you adhere to the same responsibilities that apply to other nations. We are familiar with your grievances from the past – we have our own grievances as well, but we are prepared to move forward. We know what you’re against; now tell us what you’re for.
For reasons known only to them, the leaders of Iran have shown themselves unable to answer that question. You have refused good faith proposals from the international community. They have turned their backs on a pathway that would bring more opportunity to all Iranians, and allow a great civilization to take its rightful place in the community of nations. Faced with an extended hand, Iran’s leaders have shown only a clenched fist.
Last June, the world watched with admiration, as Iranians sought to exercise their universal right to be heard. But tragically, the aspirations of the Iranian people were also met with a clenched fist, as people marching silently were beaten with batons; political prisoners were rounded up and abused; absurd and false accusations were leveled against the United States and the West; and people everywhere were horrified by the video of a young woman killed in the street.
The United States does not meddle in Iran’s internal affairs. Our commitment – our responsibility – is to stand up for those rights that should be universal to all human beings. That includes the right to speak freely, to assemble without fear; the right to the equal administration of justice, and to express your views without facing retribution against you or your families.
I want the Iranian people to know what my country stands for. The United States believes in the dignity of every human being, and an international order that bends the arc of history in the direction of justice – a future where Iranians can exercise their rights, to participate fully in the global economy, and enrich the world through educational and cultural exchanges beyond Iran’s borders. That is the future that we seek. That is what America is for.

Interestingly, a report has just surfaced that Neda’s fiance, Caspian Makan, who became a voice and face of the opposition movement in Iran has visited Israel and may meet Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Suffice it to say that his stock value as a leader of Iran’s opposition has just declined as Iran’s government will be able to point to the optics of collaboration and support from Israel. This may just be one of those accidents or errors in judgment that people thrown quickly into the international spotlight experience.
I think we need to work toward a day when Persians, Arabs, Jews, and others can travel freely throughout the region without having to play a shell game about passport stamps and not fear the consequences of people of any persuasion entering any of the countries in the Middle East.
But regrettably, Israel and Iran aren’t there yet — and Caspian’s trip to Israel unfortunately taints the optics — though I don’t think the substance — of the Green Movement’s legitimacy.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

18 comments on “Obama, Nowruz, Greens & Israel

  1. Pahlavan says:

    Meanwhile;
    “Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms
    WASHINGTON — President Obama said Monday that he was revamping American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons. But the president said in an interview that he was carving out an exception for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have violated or renounced the main treaty to halt nuclear proliferation.”

    Reply

  2. nadine says:

    We’re talking about an open alliance that the whole world knows about, Don, which has entirely trumped religious animosity. Iran is helping Al Qaeda too, according to Gen. Petraeus, as well as Hamas and Fatah. It’s been going on a long time. Remember the Karine A? Stop denying reality, it just makes you look stupid.

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  3. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    It’s not about you.
    We’re talking severe religious animosity here, not just common enemies.
    ‘Nuff said.
    (This could be rap material.)

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  4. nadine says:

    “It’s all BS. all wrong.
    Iran is Shi’ite, Taliban and al Qaeda are Sunni.
    Shi’ite Iraq has the closest ties with Iran.
    ‘Nuff said.” (Don Bacon)
    Iran is Sh’ite, Hamas is Sunni. Not only Sunni, but Salafi who think Sh’ites are heretics who deserve to die. Does it stop Hamas from being clients of Iran or accepting their missiles? Not a bit of it.
    My enemy’s enemy is my friend. ‘Nuff said.

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  5. mj says:

    ” … I would consider it a miracle (since the scrolls descibe the ancient jewish kingdom exactly as the jews have been saying it was-for the last 2000 years.” (Mar 21 2010, 5:18PM)
    Perhaps others, a touch more cynical, may consider it a valuable self-serving ‘coincidence’.
    It proves what? That the same fairy stories were circulating then as now. Wake up Sindbad, rather circular don’t you think! Where is the independent corroboration from a dozen other ancient civilizations and cultures (e.g. India, China, Egypt) — or did the ‘Big Chooser’ of the self-chosen forget to send the telegrams on this big announcement to the universe?
    BTW: how many light years does this ‘truth’ apply to? Across all ten zillion galaxies? Or just out to past Saturn? Dangerous infantilism and does not justify stealing other peoples property!

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  6. Idiocracy says:

    “… we insist only that you adhere to the same responsibilities that apply to other nations.” — Israel a benchmark by any chance?
    What arrogance!

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  7. ali says:

    it’s an understood talk that IRAN wants his overcome in middle east and israel wants his overcome.Arabs are not shi’ite thats why they are trying to reback or keep in limitations of IRAN . they want their insurgency. there are grouping in the muslim world. previously iraq has the power in sadam’s sovereign but it demolished completely after his death penalty . Before that it was on the hand on egypt but after 1971 israel’s attack it was totally escaped from egyptian’s hand.Now the imbalancing power module slope is lying towards the IRAN’s Nuclear power generation and that is what Today America ofcourse at the back door chanel its ISRAEL, is so worried and they are trying arabs, pakistan, lubnan, and other proclaiming closest neighbours in backdraw position, not to support them morally or physically.just to stand alone . In my opinion the nuclear threat is really thwarting but with peace reforms and continous dialogus with cold mindsets without hurting anyone’s ideologies and suggestions it can be achieved positively.

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  8. Don Bacon says:

    The US military claims of ties between Iran and the Taliban, and with al Qaeda, have been shot out of their howitzers for years.
    Currently Petraeus is in political trouble (he’s a political general with 2012 ambitions) for his anti-Israel remarks. So he’s counter-attacking.
    nadine, the selective quoter par excellence, of course quotes Petraeus on Iran/Taliban but not on Israel.
    It’s all BS. all wrong.
    Iran is Shi’ite, Taliban and al Qaeda are Sunni.
    Shi’ite Iraq has the closest ties with Iran.
    ‘Nuff said.

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  9. marcus says:

    To the all to many here;
    Jerusalem has been “occupied” by at least 24 different powers and destroyed at least 17 times.
    Today in real time it is “occupied” by the jewish nation.
    The arabs want to be the “occupiers” of jerusalem, maybe in 2000 years they will get it back
    In the meantime we can all marvel at the unique historical events which have restored the jews to their ancestral land.
    BTW the discovery of the dead sea scolls(after 2000 years hidden) in exactly the same year as israel`s independence is one of those marvels of it`s rebirth-if I was religous I would consider it a miracle ( since the scrolls descibe the ancient jewish kingdom exactly as the jews have been saying it was-for the last 2000 years.

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  10. Carroll says:

    “The United States believes in the dignity of every human being, and an international order that bends the arc of history in the direction of justice.”…
    (Except for Palestine.)
    This is what causes the Arabs to laugh out loud…just as they laughed Gates off the stage at the Arab Gulf Council meeting a year ago for saying something similiarly hypocritical.

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  11. marcus says:

    ” suffice it to say that his stock value as a leader of the opposition has just declined”
    This is exaclty at the core of the problems in the ME. Muddled brains who think that visiting the only democracy in the ME as well as the only country standing up to the iranian dictators is a bad thing
    Playing along with arab political correctness only perpetrates the big lies that inhibit democracy and progress in the arab world
    This blog is oh so very politically correct on TWO continents,it cetainly is no help in the real world
    By visiting israel this mans credibilty has risen not only in the west but as well with millions of arabs who want to democratize their societies

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  12. nadine says:

    “If the trainers were Iranian “officials” then why did the commanders have to be “smuggled” across the border. ”
    Plausible deniability. The same reason the Iranians didn’t announce that Revolutionary Guards were training Sadr’s insurgents in Iraq — it was possible that America (under Bush) would do something about it. Now, I expect they will be more open, since Obama has proved himself to be such a weakling.

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  13. samuelburke says:

    “Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, U.S. CentCom commander General David Petraeus made the obvious point that the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a strategic problem for the United States. Among other things, he said “the conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world.”
    Numerous scholarly studies and government panels-including the 9/11 Commission and the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World-have reached similar conclusions.”
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/

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  14. Dan Kervick says:

    “They were smuggled across the border to the city of Zahidan, in southeast Iran, an hour’s drive from training camps in the desert.”
    If the trainers were Iranian “officials” then why did the commanders have to be “smuggled” across the border. The weasel words come later from ambassador Eikenberry:
    “Iran or elements within Iran have provided training assistance and some weapons to the Taliban.”
    So Iranian officials? Iranian soldiers of fortune? Who knows.
    Anyway, why are these commanders blabbing about this alleged assistance to a UK paper? Were they paid for their story?

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  15. nadine says:

    “Iranians train Taliban to use roadside bombs
    TALIBAN commanders have revealed that hundreds of insurgents have been trained in Iran to kill Nato forces in Afghanistan.
    The commanders said they had learnt to mount complex ambushes and lay improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have been responsible for most of the deaths of British troops in Helmand province.
    The accounts of two commanders, in interviews with The Sunday Times, are the first descriptions of training of the Taliban in Iran.”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article7069779.ece
    Not that this rises to an affront, no, no of course not. I don’t think there is anything Iran could do to get Obama to recognize them as an enemy. Insults and derision haven’t done it. Killing our troops doesn’t qualify either.

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  16. nadine says:

    From Petraeus’ congressional testimony this week:
    “On Tehran’s ties to al Qaeda, Gen. Petraeus said the group “continues to use Iran as a key facilitation hub, where facilitators connect al Qaedas senior leadership to regional affiliates.””
    http://washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/17/tehran-aiding-al-qaeda-links-petraeus-says/
    Not that Obama intends to notice Iran providing refuge and and aid to Al Qaeda to help them kill our troops. No, no, no, that’s not an affront. When one enemy helps another, that’s only a reason to be more obsequious and polite. It’s only an affront when Israel builds some apartments in Jerusalem. That’s the affront – time to talk big and look tough, boys!
    It’s the Obama Rule: Get tough only with allies who can’t hit back. Appease enemies.
    Who the hell does Obama think he is kidding?

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  17. Don Bacon says:

    Obama: “The United States does not meddle in Iran’s internal affairs. . .The United States believes in the dignity of every human being, and an international order that bends the arc of history in the direction of justice.”
    Ahmadinejad: “Enemies have tried to weaken our country but they have failed and in the coming year we will stand even more firmly against them than before.”
    Now where did Mr. A. get the impression that the US was meddling with Iran’s internal affairs? Obama said it isn’t happening. I guess he’s misinformed. And that “international order” bit, too, that was rich.
    The Iranian people aren’t stupid, Mr. Obama.

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  18. Dan Kervick says:

    “Together with the international community, the United States acknowledges your right to peaceful nuclear energy – we insist only that you adhere to the same responsibilities that apply to other nations.”
    That doesn’t seem quite true, does it? The responsibilities of other nations don’t seem to include the requirement that they outsource their nuclear fuel enrichment to other countries.
    “The United States does not meddle in Iran’s internal affairs.”
    Well, nobody is going to believe that. But I guess you have to tell pious lies like that when you are conducting public diplomacy.
    The Nowruz message continues the US strategy of attempting to divide the Iranian people from their government. It addresses the Iranian people directly, who are “you” throughout the message, while the government is “they”. I hope the administration is not expecting too much from the “green movement”.

    Reply

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