The Mousavi Mission
February 17, 2010
Traditional Iranian husbands, the sort found in the highest ranks of the Islamic Republic, sometimes refer to their wives as “the house.” For them, this is not just an expression of their understanding of gender relations. It is viewed as a necessary euphemism, vital protection for a woman’s honor. The mere uttering of her name, after all, might compromise her chastity. It is telling, therefore, that Mir Hossein Mousavi courted and eventually married Zahra Rahnavard.
February 10, 2010
Freedom's faithful are right now assembling in Tehran to mark the revolution that for three decades ate away at the ever-fewer rights that they had. So this is a protest not only against the regime, but against its seizure of power three decades ago. We had always known that there was an enlightened and democratic cohort in Iran. But, for years, it was silenced and, so, remained silent. Still, the boot on the human face can not last forever. Now we know that this cohort is enormous.
Live-Blogging the Iranian Protests
February 10, 2010
The New Republic is live-blogging news of events in Iran today, on the eve of 22 Bahman (February 11), the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 revolution. The Iranian opposition movement is slated to co-opt the state's annual rallies to stage another mass demonstration--the largest since December's violent protests on the Shiite holy day of Ashura. February 11, 2010, 6:41 pm.
February 09, 2010
As President Obama begins a push to impose harsher economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, his success will be determined largely by the answer to a single question: Will China and Russia get on board?
January 29, 2010
“The cruel God of the Jews has you beaten too.”--Racine An interview by Joe Klein in Time magazine is hardly a historical event. But, when the interview is with Barack Obama, it lays claim to some newsworthiness. This is especially true when it is ballyhooed as a firstanniversary event. Since, moreover, (right after awarding himself good grades on Al Qaeda in Yemen and Somalia) it’s clear that Obama wanted to make a point: “The other area which I think is worth noting is that the Middle East peace process has not moved forward.
Joe Biden vs. Ahmed Chalabi
January 22, 2010
With everyone riveted on health care and Scott Brown and "The Girl With the Curious Hand," little attention is being paid to looming disaster in Iraq, where the Shiite-dominated government is pulling a sectarian power play in advance of the country's national election in March.
Where We Buy Our Oil
January 14, 2010
Here's a map from the Center for American Progress showing most of the "unstable countries" that sell oil to the United States, although Venezuela's oddly left off (you'll have to click to enlarge): That's from a new report titled "Oil Dependence is a Dangerous Habit," which estimates that the United States now spends $1 billion per day on oil imports, with most of that money going to unstable or dangerous regimes (although our two top suppliers are still Mexico and Canada). One thing to note is that, for these purposes, it doesn't really matter where we're buying from.
I Don't Know That Much About Iran. But I Know Whom to Trust...
January 12, 2010
And they are Abbas Milani, Nader Mousavizadeh, a few others, amongst whom there is the controversial but very insightful Michael Ledeen. The conventional wisdom, frankly, is almost never a conclusion drawn from facts, but a conclusion drawn from temperament. I suppose this was the case with Barack Obama, who was sure that the ayatollahs and their president would negotiate on the basis of his sweet reason. Here’s a piece posted by Michael Ledeen on the Web at 8:25 p.m.
The State of the Opposition is Strong
January 08, 2010
A couple of days after June’s stolen election in Iran, Flynt Leverett and I were both guests on “The Charlie Rose Show.” Mr. Leverett was waxing eloquent about how Ahmadinejad could have actually won the election. His supposed evidence was a May poll, conducted by phone from Turkey, before the presidential campaign had even begun. Apparently he did not read the entire report of the poll, merely a summary, published in a Washington Post editorial. Much of the full report contradicted his conclusions.
Adios, Monroe Doctrine
December 28, 2009
The ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has provided Latin America with a revelatory moment. Beginning with the Monroe Doctrine--and extending through countless invasions, occupations, and covert operations--Washington has considered the region its backyard. So where was this superpower these past few months, as Honduras hung in the balance? More or less sitting on its hands. The fact is that the United States is no longer willing, or perhaps even able, to select who governs from Tegucigalpa, or anywhere else in the region for that matter.