American “sailors” and “mechanical failures”

The wording sailors is quite amusing. If two Iranian ships full of highly armed soldiers would have had the same kind of mechanical failure both at the same time and would accidentally enter US waters, they would rather have been called: militants, elite soldiers, Qods-Force or what ever seems more threatening.

But in this case all the international press is repeating “sailors”, and even though in this case like in other cases it is clear that these sailors were most probably on a spy mission like in this case (the source is referenced: The Guardian) or like US drones that regularly accidentally enter Iranian Air space.

Guardian story about CIA Agent: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/12/robert-levinson-iran-missing-cia-secret

Anyhow Iran’s reaction has been very mild. Looking back at what Turkey did as a Russian Airplane entered its Airspace for a few seconds, it shows how much Iran has actually softened its stance. While this is good for the “Sailors” it seems that some GOP candidates are quite frustrated that the Americans were set free as easily:

http://lobelog.com/republicans-self-defeating-attack-on-obamas-iran-policy/

US “boats”: speed boats in full camouflage and highly equipped with weapons:

 

US boat camouflage coloring sailors Iran Persian Gulf

More info about the boats: http://www.popsci.com/what-were-boats-that-iran-captured?src=SOC&dom=fb

“On their way from Kuwait to Bahrain”:

US Sailors on the way from Kuwait to Bahrain

These highly trained professionals should be trained better in navigation.

And here their weapons:

US sailors weapons Iran Persian Gulf

Great article by Glenn Greenwald in the Intercept:

https://theintercept.com/2016/01/13/us-media-condemns-irans-aggression-in-intercepting-us-naval-ships-in-iranian-waters/

Glenn Greenwald is the holder of multiple awards including the George Polk Award

The origin of the “modern” Sunni Shia conflict

This conflict is not going on forever as stated by many people who lack the knowledge and hence oversimplify and trivialize. Less than two decades ago there was not such a violent conflict. Hence this is not an endless conflict and we can go back to the situation that we had not too long ago.

We have to take a look at the beginnings, analyze the ones who profited most and stop to listen to their rhetoric

http://qz.com/476191/remembering-the-bomb-that-started-the-middle-easts-sectarian-war/

Another interesting article on this topic is the following one written by Seymour Hersh the Pulitzer Prize winner for the New Yorker in 2007. What he wrote then can explain a lot of things that are happening today in the middle east:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

If you ask me the Sunni Shia conflict as it has gotten momentum after the Iraq war had three main reasons:

  1. It was a “good” way of divide and conquer used by the US who had big problems fighting Sunni and Shia insurgency. Violence between these two groups took the load off the US army in Iraq.
  2. After the invasion of Iraq, Iran had emerged as the winner of the happenings, neither the self called “leader of the Arab world” Saudi Arabia nor their partners, the US, could be happy about this outcome. Saudi Arabia as country that is suppressing its own Shia minority was not happy to have a Shia dominated Iraq, and a democracy as a neighbor. Democracy in Iraq would indeed be poised to put a Shia leadership on Shia majority Iraq.
  3. Arab public polls in 2006 (as effect of the war between Israel and Hezbollah) had shown that the Arab public was in fact favorizing non Sunni leaders. The most favorite politicians were Hassan Nasrallah, Bashar Assad and Ahmadinejad. (Two Shia and one Alawite).
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7347613.stm
    http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Poll-Nasrallah-most-admired-leader-in-Arab-world
    This was a major blow back for the wannabe “leaders of the Arab world”. Strengthening sectarianism seemed to improve Saudi Arabia’s position in a Arab world that was favorizing non Sunni leaders that were in contrast to the leadership of Saudi Arabia not appeasing to the West and to Israel.

Iran was in its best position right after Saddam was removed. A huge military threat next to Iran was removed making Iran the undisputed power after Israel in the region. With the start of the sectarian conflict Iran has only lost, as this conflict has inflicted huge costs on Iran. It is also interesting to point out that Iran was in its policies mainly opposed to Israel was never going against Sunnis. Infact Iran’s opposition to Israel was on behalf of Sunni Palestinans, who were supported by Iran and Syria more than by any country in the Persian Gulf region (mostly crazily rich countries that never took any Sunni refugees while advocating them selves as truly Sunni nations).

So, who profited:

  1. Saudi Arabia: With the US worried about Iran as emerging power in the region, arms sales to Sunni monarchies took off, making Saudi Arabia the biggest importer of US and European weapons. the result is a more and more aggressive foreign policy by Saudi Arabia. The positive or at least neutral views on Shia and the anger on Sunni monarchies are replaced with fear and hate mongering towards Shia, making Saudi Arabia the protector of Sunnis in the region, though Saudi Arabia has refused to take any Syrian refugees, leaving the load on the shoulders of much poorer nations in the region and on the shoulder of Christian European countries.
  2. USA: Through divide and conquer, the insurgency against the US turned towards violence between the insurgents.
  3. Israel: The opposition and hate towards Israel was replaced with hate between the two main factions of Islam, fighting off each other at heavy costs, while Sunni Arab countries and Israel moving closer together than ever before.
    Israeli official: Israel quite content if Syria war goes on

    Jerusalem Post: Israel treating al-Qaida fighters wounded in Syria civil war
    The biggest opposing Arab power and most dangerous neighbor set back for decades and thrown into a devastating civil war.

But how would these profiteers fuel the conflict and keep it rolling:

  1. Use proxies in Iraq to start attacks on Shia, trying to provoke counter attacks. Thanks god for the most part counter attacks remained quite rare, also because Grand Ayatollah Sistani the most important Shia leader called for Iraqi unity and discouraged counter attacks for almost a decade until finally calling for resistance, not against Sunni Iraqis but against IS.
  2. Declare a for the Arab world NOT uncommon way, of putting down demonstrations in Syria, as a sectarian war towards Sunnis, even though Assad had been the most secular leader in the Arab world and the only one standing up against Israel. Hosting the biggest share of Sunni Palestinians for years,  having a Sunni wife he was hardly some one fighting Sunnis. Using opinion building tools like Al Jazeera and Al Arabia (controlled by the Qatari and Saudi monarchs) the Syrian conflict was miss portrayed of an Army of Alawites fighting the Sunni people of Syria. 5 Years into the conflict it is clear that the Syrian Army is consists of a big share of Sunnis who rather fight against the opposition who is more and more non Syrian with the biggest and most mighty groups (IS and Al Nusra) being mainly foreign mercenaries from Chechnya, Tunisia, … , where as Sunni Syrians often flee from rebel owned areas to Government controlled areas.
    Read more about this: here

 

Executions here, police killings there

Proven death sentences in 2014: 35 (USA), 61 (Iraq), 90 (Saudi Arabia), 289 (Iran).

You hear only about Iran, but there are countries that are worse:

In Nigeria, 659 death sentences were recorded in 2014, a jump of more than 500 compared with the 2013 figure of 141.

In Egypt, courts handed down at least 509 death sentences during 2014, 400 more than recorded during the previous year. This included mass death sentences against 37 people in April and 183 people in June following unfair mass trials.

Source: http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/reports/death-sentences-and-executions-2014?page=2

From all countries above who do you think is on the biggest drug smuggling route of the world?

Correct: Iran.

Afghanistan presently produces 80 percent of the world’s heroin which provides billions of dollars in illicit profits for the powerful drug Mafia. Heroin trafficking and production have flourished under US military occupation and transformed Afghanistan into a dysfunctional narco-colony.

In the past 30 years, 3,734 Iranian border guards have been killed and more than 12,000 wounded in clashes with smugglers.

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/afghan-opium-production-hits-all-time-high/5414293

Iran has a real problem with this:

Iran lies directly in the path of the world’s largest flow of heroin.
There are some analysts who describe Iran’s heroin addiction problem as the “worst in the world.” Estimates of the number of addicts vary widely – from one million to more than three million habitual drug users. A 2006 report estimated that 8 percent of the adult population was addicted to drugs.

Out of the 170,000 people in jail in Iran, 68,000 are there for drug trafficking and 32,000 are there because they are addicts.

Source: http://www.narconon.org/drug-information/iran-heroin-drug-addiction.html

So what should a 3rd world country crippled under sanctions do? Build more jails? Hold more costly prisoners? Be more morale than the US and stopping executions at all? Yes, should it? But then why are you not so much upset when there are death sentences in the US? Are death sentences, invasions, meddling in other countries ok when you are a democracy? Don’t you think these are double standards?

Also what do you think about: US police killings headed for 1,100 this year, with black Americans twice as likely to die. (The Guardian)

How convenient isn’t it? No court costs, no prison costs and no bad image, because all people only compare death sentence numbers. Also, let’s try a test: replace in the title of the Guardian article (above in blue) US with Iran, and black Americans by an arbitrary Iranian minority. The conclusion would be clear, right? (White) US republicans would be furious even the UN, Amnesty and Human Rights Watch would be all over the story.

Speaking of all this: Yes, Iran is a dictatorship, and yes every execution is one execution too much, but after reading this article it should be clear that we have clearly double standards here, we comfortably ignore Iran’s hard situation trying to stop drug smuggling (and thus also protecting not only Iran’s youth but also other countries down the road) while being under sanctions. It should be also clear that focusing on just Iran can only have one reason: political motivation.

The Atlantic: World Public Opinion poll found that Iranians hold a more favorable opinion on the US than anywhere else in the Middle East

A 2009 World Public Opinion poll found that 51 percent of Iranians hold a favorable opinion of Americans, a number consistent with other polls, meaning that Americans are more widely liked in Iran than anywhere else in the Middle East. The U.S. favorability rating isn’t even that high in U.S. allies India or Turkey, and is two and half times as high as in Egypt. The same survey found that almost two-thirds of Iranians support restoring diplomatic ties with the U.S. (Iranians’ view of U.S. leadership is much worse, at 8 percent as of early this year.) But even these figures are likely on the low end of actual sentiment, as many Iranians might fear expressing such views to a strange pollster, out of fear of drawing the suspicion of the authorities…

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/the-iran-we-dont-see-a-tour-of-the-country-where-people-love-americans/258166/

Interested in reading more about USA-Iran? Here is a nice collection: http://theotheriran.com/category/usa/

US Jewish journalist tells of relative freedom on rare trip to Iran

News For The Blind

http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-jewish-journalist-tells-of-relative-freedom-on-unprecedented-trip-to-iran/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=40b69903cc-2015_08_13&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-40b69903cc-55201169

An American-Jewish journalist just back from an unprecedented week-long reporting trip to Islamist Iran described a relatively free hand in choosing who to interview and what questions to ask, despite being assigned a government minder.

In a longform multimedia piece published Wednesday in the Jewish Daily Forward, the newspaper’s deputy managing editor Larry Cohler-Esses detailed the process of obtaining a visa to the Islamic Republic — with the help of a member of the Iranian Jewish community who wrote a letter on his behalf — and his subsequent conversations in Iran with ayatollahs, government officials and regular Iranians on Jews in general and Israel in particular.

“Though I had to work with a government fixer and translator, I decided which people I wanted to interview and what I would ask them. Far from the stereotype of a fascist Islamic state, I found a dynamic push-and-pull between a theocratic government…

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The hostage crisis was 1979, this is the new Iran: Iranians celebrating deal with the USA

Do you want to see more US friendly Iranians, or hear the stories from Americans who really have been in Iran instead of speculating about it from the far?
Are you interested in seeing how Iranians reacted to 9/11?

Visit this site to find more: http://theotheriran.com/category/usa/

Source for the photos: Huffington Post

The Guardian: Iran’s Jews reject cash offer to move to Israel

Iran’s Jews have given the country a loyalty pledge in the face of cash offers aimed at encouraging them to move to Israel, the arch-enemy of its Islamic rulers.

The incentives — ranging from £5,000 a person to £30,000 for families — were offered from a special fund established by wealthy expatriate Jews in an effort to prompt a mass migration to Israel from among Iran’s 25,000-strong Jewish community. The offers were made with Israel’s official blessing and were additional to the usual state packages it provides to Jews emigrating from the diaspora.

However, the Society of Iranian Jews dismissed them as “immature political enticements” and said their national identity was not for sale.

The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported that the incentives had been doubled after earlier offers of £2,500 a head failed to attract any Iranian Jews to leave for Israel.

Iran’s sole Jewish MP, Morris Motamed, said the offers were insulting and put the country’s Jews under pressure to prove their loyalty.

Despite the absence of diplomatic ties with Israel, Iranian Jews frequently go there to visit relatives.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jul/12/israel.iran