September 10, 2007 archive

The “Iran crisis”: an interview with Dr. Stephen Zunes (part one of three)

Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco. He has written extensively on a range of foreign policy issues, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, non-violent struggle and nuclear proliferation. He is the author of 2003’s acclaimed Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism, is a regular contributor to Tikkun magazine and the Common Dreams website, among other places. He serves as Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus think-tank and as an associate editor of Peace Review. His articles can be viewed here, and information about his books is available here.

I asked Dr. Zunes a few questions about the current ‘Iran crisis’, the situation in Iraq and the Israel/Palestine conflict. The first part of the interview, dealing with Iran, is published below. The remaining two parts will be published shortly.

Four at Four

Four stories in the news at 4 o’clock. Simple, huh?

  1. In case you’re ignoring the so-called ‘news’ today, the Washington Post reports it’s all sunshine and roses in Iraq. “Army Gen. David H. Petraeus claimed major progress for the so-called ‘surge,’ the deployment of an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq last spring… He said he also believes that ‘it is possible to achieve our objectives in Iraq over time,’ although this will be ‘neither quick nor easy.'” So what are our objectives, aside from the oil, that is? The Independent gives a snapshot of life in occupied Iraq in — Under siege: what the surge really means in Baghdad. “For many Iraqis, the Americans have turned their land into a prison. The barriers, which have turned Baghdad into a series of ghettos, are meant to keep the bombers out, but they also keep residents penned in”. Baghdad is “a city divided by high concrete walls, barbed wire and checkpoints; armoured columns moving through deserted evening streets lit by the glow of searchlights and emptied by official curfew and fear.”

  2. More madness in our society’s death pact with the fossil fuel industry. The Independent reports, Shell could take nuclear option to mine oil from Canadian tar sands. “Shell is considering using nuclear power to operate its controversial tar sands programme in Canada. ¶ Tar sands extraction – mining oil from a mixture of sand or clay, water and very heavy crude oil – source url uses a huge amount of energy and water. Environmentalists say it results in more than three times as many emissions of carbon dioxide compared to conventional oil production. ¶ Now Canadian firms AECL and Energy Alberta have proposed building a nuclear reactor near the site of Shell’s vast Athabasca tar sands development.” But according to the Globe and Mail, the oil sands are already facing a capacity squeeze. “A lack of pipeline capacity to take Canadian crude to refineries in the United States between now and 2009 will increase competition for producers to get their output to market.” Which could “lower prices” and “consequently, producers could delay some oil sands projects to try to ensure they don’t have to discount their future output to guarantee it gets to market”.

  3. Jatropha in MaliI had never heard of enter jatropha before this story, Mali’s Farmers Discover a Weed’s Potential Power in The New York Times. “A plant called jatropha is being hailed by scientists and policy makers as a potentially ideal source of biofuel, a plant that can grow in marginal soil or beside food crops, that does not require a lot of fertilizer and yields many times as much biofuel per acre planted as corn and many other potential biofuels… ¶ Poor farmers living on a wide band of land on both sides of the equator are planting it on millions of acres, hoping to turn their rockiest, most unproductive fields into a biofuel boom.”. Jatropha is drought and pest resistant and produces seeds with up to 40 percent oil content. The plant sounds almost too good to be true. Why does it remind me of kudzu?

  4. How about some good news about whales for a change? The Guardian reports that Iceland renounces commercial whaling. “Iceland’s fisheries minister said the country will issue no new quotas for commercial whaling after the final batch expired last week. Einar K Guofinnsson said there was no demand for whale meat and therefore no need to issue fresh quotas. ‘There is no reason to continue commercial whaling if there is no demand for the product,’ he said. ¶ ‘The whaling industry, like any other industry, has to obey the market. If there is no profitability, there is no foundation for resuming with the killing of whales.’ ¶ Iceland has been unable to obtain permission to export whale products to Japan, depriving the industry of its primary – though dwindling – market.”

One more story below the fold…

The American and Iraqi people agree: U.S. Out of Iraq!

I’ll let the report speak for itself. From USA Today:

On the eve of critical testimony to Congress by Gen. David Petraeus, viagra generico 200 mg in farmacia senza ricetta pagamento online a Parma most Americans are skeptical of what he will say and support setting a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq regardless of the military situation there.

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday and Saturday finds that a White House push to spotlight progress in Iraq, including President Bush’s surprise stop in Anbar province last week, hasn’t fundamentally changed attitudes toward the war.

The propaganda isn’t working, and the American people aren’t being fooled.

click here A record 60% say the United States should set a timetable to withdraw forces “and stick to that timetable regardless of what is going on in Iraq.”

Regardless of what is going on. No excuses. No Friedman Units. No bullshit progress reports. Set a timetable and get out.

Of course, the Iraqi people might see it differently, right? Because all hell will break loose if we leave. Because all hell hasn’t yet broken loose. Right?

Let’s see…

congressional hearing live-blog

according to the CSPAN website, the hearing will air on cspan3, online at this link, and on cspan radio which is available online in multiple formats.  time listed is 12:30 pm edt. 

this is the cspan website description of today’s hearing:

Joint Committee
Status of War in Iraq
Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Washington, District of Columbia (United States)
ID: 200890 – 09/10/2007 – 6:00 – No Sale

  Skelton, Ike U.S. Representative, D-MO
  Lantos, Tom U.S. Representative, D-CA
  Petraeus, David H. Commander, Multinational Force-Iraq
  Crocker, Ryan C. Ambassador, United States, Iraq

A Joint Committee hearing on the status of the war in Iraq and political developments there was held to hear a report by the commanding general and the U.S. ambassador on conditions in Iraq.

really catches the scope and feeling of the whole thing, doesnt it?  (that line is blatantly paraphrased from ‘harry potter and the deathly hallows’)

Under Surveillance

Granny Doc posted a Daily Kos Rec List diary about new surveillance on deck after the end of this month.  But surveillance is nothing new.  Big Brother was watching me back in the 1970s.  And lots of other people, too.  It’s certainly not pleasant, but one adapts to it.  And it has its funny moments, too.

Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking about the subject of surveillance, in response to seeing the film http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=generic-discount-levitra The Lives of Others, recently released on video.

So, the purpose of this diary is mainly to get particular about surveillance.  Surely I’m not the only one around who’s been “watched”.  Perhaps, someone else has a tale to add.

Under Surveillance

Granny Doc posted a Daily Kos Rec List diary about new surveillance on deck after the end of this month.  But surveillance is nothing new.  Big Brother was watching me back in the 1970s.  And lots of other people, too.  It’s certainly not pleasant, but one adapts to it.  And it has its funny moments, too.

Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking about the subject of surveillance, in response to seeing the film http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=miglior-sito-per-acquistare-levitra-originale The Lives of Others, recently released on video.

So, the purpose of this diary is mainly to get particular about surveillance.  Surely I’m not the only one around who’s been “watched”.  Perhaps, someone else has a tale to add.

GBCW!

That’s right, I am threatening never to blog again!!!

Ever!

Are you listening Universe??? Are you trembling in fear from my intense but half-hearted blackmail?

If you don’t get the electricity hooked up at my house today all bets are off!

And I think we know who is more powerful here….so, Universe……Pal….if you ever want to read another buhdy diary, you better get on the stick and rearrange the time space continuum to make SURE I get power today or else….

The Myth About the Anbar Awakening

go site The obvious interpretation of the decision, made by Sunni leaders in Anbar province, to fight the most nihlistically violent factions of the insurgency, rather than fight the occupation forces, is that the presence of the occupation forces delayed the decision. 

Further, the fact that this “Anbar Awakening” (or “Sunni Awakening”) occured about six months before General Petraeus and “the Surge” arrived on the scene, shows that we really aren’t doing any good over there; not even by accident.

(Update!) Historic Vote: U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13th

(Front Paged, September 13, 2007, 12 AM PDT)

The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be voted on September 13th.

Here’s a petition for it, please sign it.

“We reaffirm our commitment to continue making progress in the advancement of the human rights of the world’s indigenous peoples at the local, national, regional and international levels, including through consultation and collaboration with them, and to present for adoption a final draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples as soon as possible.”

If the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples fails in light of all present circumstances, it will be an out-and-out de-affirmation
of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in my opinion of these general principles of human dignity.

The Morning News

viagra generico 50 mg pagamento online a Firenze From Yahoo News THE TOP STORY

Sharif deported from Pakistan
By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer
2 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was deported Monday hours after he had landed in Pakistan from seven years in exile hoping to campaign against the country’s U.S.-allied military ruler, officials said.

About four hours after he arrived on a flight from London, Sharif was taken into custody and charged with corruption, but then quickly spirited to another plane and flown out of Pakistan toward Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, an intelligence official said.

An official in President Gen. Musharraf’s office confirmed Sharif was deported but did not divulge his destination.

Our most important ally in the Global War On Radical Islam (or whatever they’re calling it today).  You know, the one with comprare viagra generico 50 mg a Venezia THE BOMB AND Bin Laden.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
follow url Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania. 

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

The Morning News

From Yahoo News THE TOP STORY

Sharif deported from Pakistan
By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer
2 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was deported Monday hours after he had landed in Pakistan from seven years in exile hoping to campaign against the country’s U.S.-allied military ruler, officials said.

About four hours after he arrived on a flight from London, Sharif was taken into custody and charged with corruption, but then quickly spirited to another plane and flown out of Pakistan toward Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, an intelligence official said.

An official in President Gen. Musharraf’s office confirmed Sharif was deported but did not divulge his destination.

Our most important ally in the Global War On Radical Islam (or whatever they’re calling it today).  You know, the one with THE BOMB AND Bin Laden.

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