Noam Chomsky: The Iranian Threat (ZSpace)
[An ISS] study makes it clear that the Iranian threat is not military. Iran’s military spending is “relatively low compared to the rest of the region,” and less than 2% that of the US. Iranian military doctrine is strictly “defensive,… designed to slow an invasion and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities.” Iran has only “a limited capability to project force beyond its borders.” With regard to the nuclear option, “Iran’s nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy.”
Though the Iranian threat is not military, that does not mean that it might be tolerable to Washington. Iranian deterrent capacity is an illegitimate exercise of sovereignty that interferes with US global designs. […]
Iran is also supporting terrorism, the study continues: by backing Hezbollah and Hamas, the major political forces in Lebanon and in Palestine – if elections matter. The Hezbollah-based coalition handily won the popular vote in Lebanon’s latest (2009) election. Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian election, compelling the US and Israel to institute the harsh and brutal siege of Gaza to punish the miscreants for voting the wrong way in a free election. These have been the only relatively free elections in the Arab world.
Shan Shan: Shanghai Power Politics: China Shuts Out Iran from SCO (Enduring America)
Jian Junbo: Iran vote shows China’s Western drift (Asia Times)
China voting for sanctions on Iran signals a change in [its] position on international affairs; it could be a shift caused by the increasing economic interdependence between China and the West.
Nathan Coombs: The excess of the left in Iran (Culture Wars)
Up until the formation of the guerrilla movements of the Fidayeen and Mujahideen in the 1970s, the central leftist organisation, the Tudeh Party, operating from outside the country, had renounced direct revolutionary activity and was tainted by its failure to oppose the CIA sponsored coup against the democratically-elected nationalist leader Dr Mossadeg in 1953. The Tudeh Party, owing a slavish allegiance to Joseph Stalin, initially opposed Mossadeg’s project of nationalising Iran’s oil companies, thanks to a bizarre interpretation of what the Soviets’ wishes would be about the balance of power between British and American imperialism. By the time they eventually realised an imperialist coup was underway and an alliance with the nationalist bourgeoisie was essential, they failed to act decisively, and thus the Pahlavi monarchy was imposed upon the country, until its fall in 1979.
Matthew Reiss: Jeju islanders want love, not war (Asia Times)
South Korean defense and intelligence officials initially said that the sinking of the Cheonan – with the loss of 46 lives – did not involve North Korea. An international investigation, however, blamed Pyongyang for the incident. It was followed by a crackdown against the report’s critics, and concerns persist that Seoul may be drifting toward rigid tendencies thought to have been abandoned when it ended one-party rule in 1987.
Civil investigator SC Shin, assigned by the Korean National Assembly to participate in the Cheonan investigation, found no evidence of damage to the interior of the ship, no burning of cable housings, nor any signs on sailors’ bodies of pressure, burns or shrapnel from the alleged torpedo explosion.
He reported that the ship radioed naval headquarters and the Coast Guard that it had been grounded. Shin also reported that four Aegis destroyers of between 6,800 and 9,600 tonnes were participating in a naval exercise 130 kilometers from the scene, and he described the 1,200 ton Cheonan being split in two as the likely result of a collision with a much larger ship. After he made his findings public, he was charged with defamation by defense officials who blamed the wreckage on a North Korean torpedo, and he was questioned by the Seoul Prosecutor’s office. A member of the National Assembly who contradicted the report’s conclusions was also charged with defamation.
The Mass Arrests, the Security State and the Toronto G20 Summit (Socialist Project)
Jonathan Owen, Brian Brady: The last post: McChrystal’s bleak outlook (Independent)
Sacked US General Stanley McChrystal issued a devastatingly critical assessment of the war against a “resilient and growing insurgency” just days before being forced out. […] It was this briefing, according to informed sources, as much as the Rolling Stone article, which convinced Mr Obama to move against the former head of US Special Forces […] General McChrystal’s presentation to Nato defence ministers and Isaf representatives provided an uncompromising obstacle to Mr Obama’s plan to bring troops home in time to give him a shot at a second term, according to senior military sources.
Rob: War is peace – government and media doublethink in Britain (Black and White Cat)