At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Iran’s nuclear program in October 2013, more than a dozen men and women in yellow rain jackets sat in the gallery seats of the wood-paneled room, a bright presence amid the standard-issue dark suits of Washington. It wasn’t raining. They were supporters of the Iranian exile opposition group the Mojahedin-e Khalq, often referred to as the MEK, but known to most Iranians as the Mojahedin. Activists distribute all manner of yellow paraphernalia at the group’s demonstrations: hats, banners, flags, inflatable rubber clapper sticks, and, most of all, the jackets. The yellow jackets — often emblazoned with portraits of the group’s two co-leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi — have become its calling card. During the hearing, the powerful then-Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, spoke out for the Mojahedin. About an hour and a half into the proceedings, Menendez issued an explicit threat to Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman over attacks against the group’s members in Iraq.
The rise of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has led to arguments in favor of U.S.-Iran cooperation in combating the group, as immediate American and Iranian interests in Iraq are very similar: Both countries view ISIL and the broader Sunni jihadi movement as major threats to their national interests. American and Iranian military forces in Iraq are fighting the same enemy and, on the surface, U.S. air power seems to complement Iran's on-the-ground presence in Iraq. While the United States and Iran ultimately have divergent long-term goals for Iraq, and face disagreements on many other issues, limited tactical cooperation in weakening ISIL in Iraq may be possible. This paper examines Iranian objectives and influence in Iraq in light of ISIL's ascendance. In particular, the paper focuses on Iran's ties with Iraqi Shi'a parties and militias and the implications of Iran's sectarian policies for U.S. interests. In addition, the paper examines the role of specific Iranian actors in Iraq, especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in addition to the clergy and the Rouhani government. Finally, the paper concludes with policy recommendations for the United States.
2014-11-06Obama’s secret deals with Saudi Arabia & Qatar. What’s behind lower gas-prices and the bombings of Syria and of Eastern Ukraine:
The following report reconstructs U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, on the basis of what I have deemed to be reliable news accounts of his Administration’s actions, not of its mere words. This reconstruction is grounded in the linked-to news-sources, all of which I have investigated and verified — and some of which I wrote. The ones that I wrote are themselves sourced to the links within those reports, all of which I have, likewise, personally checked and verified. Consequently, the chain of verifications back to this reconstruction’s primary sources is available to any online reader, and every reader is encouraged to track back to its ultimate source any allegation that might appear to be at all questionable to him or her in the present article.
TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1 describes how future Army forces, as part of joint, interorganizational, and multinational efforts, operate to accomplish campaign objectives and protect U.S. national interests. It describes the Army's contribution to globally integrated operations, and addresses the need for Army forces to provide foundational capabilities for the Joint Force and to project power onto land and from land across the air, maritime, space, and cyberspace domains. The Army Operating Concept guides future force development through the identification of first order capabilities that the Army must possess to accomplish missions in support of policy goals and objectives....
The Obama administration’s determination to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is pushing the Middle East towards a regional war that could lead to a confrontation between the two nuclear-armed rivals, Russia and the United States. ..
2014-10-01Building a Better Syrian Opposition Army: The How and The Why (Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution)
... In his speech to the nation in September 2014, President Obama finally pledged to build a moderate Syrian opposition, one capable of taking on both the Asad regime and Sunni extremist groups like ISIS. Weeks later, the Congress passed bills appropriating $500 million for that mission. As of this writing in early fall 2014, the administration’s plans are not completely clear. Nevertheless, from what has become publicly available, it does appear that Washington has adopted the strategy toward Syria presented in this paper. Consequently, this study should be seen as an effort to explain in greater detail how such a policy should be implemented, why it makes sense for the United States, and why it is a reasonable (perhaps even necessary) move by the U.S. government. ...
Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East.
It is not by chance that the very title of this contribution links the return of fascism on the political scene with the crisis of contemporary capitalism. Fascism is not synonymous with an authoritarian police regime that rejects the uncertainties of parliamentary electoral democracy. Fascism is a particular political response to the challenges with which the management of capitalist society may be confronted in specific circumstances.
In the basement of Washington’s swank Mandarin Oriental Hotel on a balmy spring day, the conference guests were finishing up their boxed lunches as the conversation shifted to their host’s pet topic—Iran. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, perhaps DC’s premier neoconservative think tank, had gathered donors, supporters, press and other interested parties for a two-day meeting on Middle East policy. And some of the Hill’s most rapacious hawks for sanctions on Iran were in the room that day to receive awards. The moderator, a veteran Bloomberg reporter, hailed FDD executive director Mark Dubowitz as “the architect of many of the sanctions we have against Iran right now, who advised Congress on how to draft that legislation and has also advised Treasury and the White House on his opinions about sanctions.” The praise was telling. Although Dubowitz tried to give credit to Congress, the White House and the departments of Treasury and State, groups like the FDD play an outsize role in shaping policy on the delicate and potentially explosive issue of Iran’s nuclear program.
The race to the bottom of the oil barrel in Iraq has the US and its Western ‘proxy’ creatures driving a hard nail into the sectarian conflict of Shia and Sunni branches, culminating in forces pushing for the exit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Make no mistake, the entire campaign surrounding the Islamic State of Iraq ‘terror-actors’ otherwise known as ISIS, ISIL and now IS, ironically, promotes US, Israeli objectives throughout the Middle East as well as those in the House of Saud and their Qatari friends…