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OMG! What if peace broke out?

Peace in the ME is not very likely, certainly not soon. Here are some articles on the varying degrees of difficulty faced by both the U.S. and Iran if serious negotiations go ahead.

"While the congressional playing field is not entirely clear yet, one thing is obvious. Obama is going to need support in his peacemaking efforts. That support will need to come from the U.S. public and he will need to know that he has it in order to counter what is sure to be a furious onslaught from the most powerful forces that oppose any normalization with the Islamic Republic. That onslaught is coming and it is going to be furious. Obama will also need support from Iran, of all places. Rouhani will need to maintain the positive face he is portraying. And Rouhani should not be alone in this endeavour. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, apparently recognizing that Rouhani had not gone far enough in distancing himself from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial, has made sure to unequivocally acknowledge the Holocaust and its horrors. However prominent one thinks that issue should be, the clear statements were obviously intended to forestall the use of that issue against progress in upcoming nuclear talks." Mitchell Plitnik at Lob Log

And this from Tehran: "Yes, a shoe was thrown at Rouhani upon his return from New York City from a group of about 50 or so male demonstrators. But there were more supporters than detractors. It is also true that the intractable Hossein Shariatmadari of Kayhan has found 5 "lamentable" aspects of Rouhani’s trip and performance (including the way the President answered the Holocaust question, his reference to Israel instead of the Zionist regime, and of course, the phone call). But he has also had to defend himself  against the charge of sounding more like Bibi Netanyahu than the Leader’s representative to the state-run newspaper." Fahrideh Farhi also at Lobe Log

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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OMG!  Is this all happening on our Kenyan socialist president's watch?!?  Could that Swift-boated John Kerry really know what he is doing in diplomacy?!?  Is that why Hilary was making all those trips to the Middle East?!?

What will all the apocalyptic end-timers out there do if peace breaks out?!?  No Armaggedon?!?

OMG, indeed!


Not-completely-off-the-subject:  check out Bill Mahr's rant on the Californication of the country from last Friday's Real Time.

By all means we should take Iran up on its initiative and see whether it will match deeds with words.  Perhaps it will, and we will all be better off for it.

       But contrary to the opinion in the links above, and separate and apart from Iran standing down its nuclear weapons program, there is nothing wrong or suspect in continuing to pursue a policy of isolating Iran unless it also mends its ways in other respects.  Before we get carried away with gratitude toward Iran for a possible peace initiative, we should recall that Iran, more than any other nation, is responsible for the carnage going on in the Middle East and is a force for evil there.  A new article in The New Yorker by Dexter Filkins points out that Iran is not only assisting Bashar Assad in his war on his own people, a war that has thus far killed 100,000 Syrians, and is not only supplying Assad with weapons and soldiers drawn from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Iran is actually directing Assad’s dirty war through the Quds force, the elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.  Iran is in charge of Assad’s brutal war.  You can find Filkins’ New Yorker article here

     In addition, through Shiite Hezbollah, which Shiite Iran funds and which takes orders from Iran, which is in fact Iran’s cat’s paw in Lebanon, Iran has destabilized Lebanon.  The Special Tribunal for Lebanon – established by the U.N. – in The Hague has indicted Hezbollah members for the brutal assassination in 2005 of Rafic Hariri, the Sunni President of Lebanon.  And Hezbollah’s army, which was built with Iranian funding and training, is more powerful than the Lebanese Army, making Hezbollah the de facto governing force in southern Lebanon.

     And it is because Hezbollah, instructed by Iran, has sent troops into Syria to aid Assad that the war has now spilled over into Lebanon, where Sunni and Shiite Lebanese are bombing each others neighborhoods.

     Don’t forget that Hezbollah was responsible for the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 250 American marines in 1983. 

     And according to special prosecutors in Argentina, Hezbollah and Iran were responsible for the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires that killed 84 and wounded hundreds.  And according to this June 19 article, the special prosecutor also found that Hassan Rouhani, now President of Iran and in charge of Iran’s current charm offensive, was a member of the committee that planned the bombing.

     And Bulgaria has said that the evidence points to Hezbollah as the culprit behind the 2012 bombing of a tourist bus carrying Israelis that killed 5 Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver and injured 32 other Israelis.

    The Filkins article is especially good at explaining the mayhem that Iran wrought in Iraq, where the killing continues unabated.

     Last, lets recognize that it is the sanctions-backed-by-the-credible-threat-of-force regime that has caused the Iranian initiative, not the innate goodness or peacefulness of Iran.  See yesterday’s  NYT’s story on what dire straits Iran is in.


Of course, why not remember all of that. Along with other things to remember about the ME. England, France, and the Sykes Picot Agreement (1916), England and the Balfour Declaration (1917), the British withdrawal from Palestine (1948), the 1948 war, the 1967 war and the Occupation, the Oslo Accords, the Intifadas, the attacks from Gaza and on Gaza, etc., etc. Lots of stuff to remember.

Tell me Jeff, do you get paid by the word or by the incident?

Oooops! Forgot this: Iran Staggers as Sanctions Hit Economy.

Soon Thomas Erdbrink of the NYTimes (who is doing a good job) can write about the starving children, people dying of ordinary infections, and all that other great stuff that sanctions bring to a country.

Margaret asks me "Tell me Jeff, do you get paid by the word or by the incident?"

I don't get paid at all, Margaret. Do Mr. Plitnik or Mr. Fahri, whom you quote at length above?

I regret that you respond with snideness to a substantive comment that is at odds with your point of view.

If you're so right and I'm so wrong about things, you should be able to demonstrate it with the only responsible and respectable rhetorical weapons that matter and count -- the adducing of facts in support of reasoned argument.

Repetitive comments are not necessarily substantive. Intimations by you and your beadel Gerelyn that views I cite or that my own views are anti-Semitic are offensive. I have no obligation to answer your every and too-long comments. As far as I can tell we do not disagree about the flourishing of Israel. Your need to respond to every story, opinion or comment that raises doubts about your own views is obsessive and unwelcome. I'm sorry to hear you don't get paid for these, at least that would offer a feeble justification.


(Why mention my name in a thread I have not commented on?)  

(I'm not qualified to be Jeff's beadel.  I wish I knew one one-hundredth of what he knows.)

(I wish you did, too.) 

(Where is the list of contributors?)


Margaret: I didn’t say you had to respond to me. But if you do respond to my substantive comments, it should be with substance, in turn, and not with invective.


The invective continues and increases in your last comment.  Gerelyn isn’t my “beadle,” or “my” anything, or in any manner my subordinate or inferior, and she doesn’t act at my direction.  What a thing to say!  We both seem to be pro-Israel, and I appreciate and admire her support of Israel, but so what?  She and I have never communicated with each other in our lives except in a few cross comments – probably not more than a half dozen – on your blog over the period of about a year.  I’m not responsible for what she says and she’s not responsible for what I say.  If you have a problem with anything she’s said, you should take it up with her.  It seems to me that she’s quite capable of defending herself, as I now see she has in a comment of her own.


My comments are pro-Israel, all right, but if that makes them “obsessive,” what would you call your never-ending stream of anti-Israel posts?


It is true, however, that I’m the skunk at your anti-Israel party, and that’s what you truly resent.  I’m spoiling the party and I’m proud to do so.


I’ll address your remarks about anti-Semitism a little later.

Margaret says: “Intimations by you and your beadel Gerelyn that views I cite or that my own views are anti-Semitic are offensive.”


I’ve already addressed your offensive reference to Gerelyn, so now I’ll just talk about the issue of anti-Semitism.


I’ve never called any of your remarks anti-Semitic, but to be honest about it, I haven’t done so because you threatened to kick anybody off your blog who dared to.  But now that you’ve raised the issue, I’ll unburden myself.


When Congress was considering a pro-Israel measure, you filed a post on April 17, 2013, entitled “Knesset on the Potomac.”  I didn’t say anything about it, though perhaps I should have, but if I had, I would have pointed out that the title of your post was extremely offensive in that it insinuated that the Congress was no longer the legislature of the American people, but of Israel and Israel’s American agents, who control it and pull its strings.  I would have stated that this was not only a falsehood, but that it invoked stereotypical anti-Semitic images of Jewish control and I would have noted the resemblance to what out-and-out anti-Semites call Zionist Occupied Governments (or “ZOG,” in their parlance), of which they claim the U.S. is one.


I also didn’t say anything, though perhaps I should have, when in your December 26, 2012 post, entitled “Even Tom Friedman Gets It Right,” you linked (the link with your glib and gleeful aside, “Not for the faint of heart!”) to an M J. Rosenberg piece that claimed that the American agents who were subverting our government were not your run-of-the-mill Jews, but the rich Jews among us.   I would have pointed out that just as we Jews were not germs in the body politic of Germany, Jews (rich or otherwise) are not a Fifth Column in the United States, the subverters on behalf of Israel of  our democratic institutions.


And then there was your post of December 14,  2012, entitled “A Secretary of Defense ... UPDATE,” in which you insinuated that there was a  “nefarious Jewish lobby that secretly controls U.S. foreign policy.”  I didn’t call that anti-Semitic, either, but I did call it despicable.  That’s when you asked me to stop posting on your blog (a dis-invitation I declined to accept) and falsely accused me of “willful misrepresentations of others’ comments.”  I see that your original post has now been mushed together, making it difficult to read, and the comments – including those on this subject between Carolyn Disco and me, on the one hand, and you on the other – have disappeared altogether, but I’m confident of my accuracy.


Notice that almost all of these remarks of yours to which I take exception don’t even have to do with Israel, but with your fellow Jewish citizens.


I don’t ever lightly raise the issue of anti-Semitism and I don’t call people anti-Semitic just because they oppose Israel.  In fact, I have been known to attack people who do.  When the editorial staff of the New York Sun accused Nicholas Kristof of the NYT of the blood libel, I took a stick to those fellows.  Read the editorial and then scroll down to the comments.  I am “Jeff” there, as I am here.  You can find it here


But when remarks cross the line, I would like to think that I have the moxie to say so.


I see that my link in the above comment of mine isn't working.  I don't know why.  It works for me off site. 

If it doesn't work for you, and you are interested in it, then google "The New York Sun" and "The New Blood Libel" 

That works, too.

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