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European Policy Analysts Want the United States to Stay in Iraq

I have interviewed 14 policy analysts from ten European countries regarding the US debate on Iraq. In a nutshell the main conclusions are:

1. European analysts largely support sustained US military involvement in Iraq. A sudden withdrawal or public announcement of a timetable was considered dangerous by a majority of those questioned.

2. Europeans feel that America is not doing enough to draw Syria and Iran into the nation-building process. However, there is no consensus on whether or not this is an achievable goal.

3. The Soft-Partition Plan, which is gaining traction among American policy makers, is an issue of fierce debate in the European discussion on Iraq. Most experts are resigned to the possibility that it is the only logical political option, but it by no means enjoys majority support.

During this highly politicized period in the U.S. debate, these European views might of interest as an outside perspective. 

In the past, Europeans have strongly criticized the US policy in Iraq, but now we don't want you to pull out. I find it newsworthy, because it indicates that Europeans still believe that the US is able to stabilize Iraq, while more and more Americans doubt whether the US can end the civil war and the insurgency.

The conclusions are published at Atlantic Community: Europeans Want America to Stay in Iraq and have been written by yours truly and my colleagues at Atlantic Community: Niklas Keller and Will Nuland. I have also asked a few more questions, which will be the topic of two more articles to come.

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Pamela on :

And Dr. Jean Y. Haine of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute warned that “the tendency for the Pentagon to control civilian aspects of reconstruction is not a recipe for success….force protection will remain the highest priority. In other words, the game is tipped in favor of the spoilers.” --- I understand that to Dr. Haine it might look like the Pentagon has a 'tendency to control civilian aspects of reconstruction', but that is by default. Rumsfeld complained publicly that other agencies, e.g., USDA, were not carrying their weight. _______________________________________________ “It is, in fact, a strategic contradiction to have a military surge on the one hand and an increased rhetoric against Iran on the other,” noted Dr. Jean Y. Haine. --- There is no contradiction, given that it is Iran contributing a great deal toward the need for the surge in the first place, from arms to safe haven. And my military contacts tell me they've been killing Iranians in Iraq for some time now. I'm not quite sure Dr. Haine has a good feel for the situation. ____________________________________________ “US should make significant efforts to form a new international framework under the authority of the UN Security Council.” --- And my head should stop exploding. Seems to me that we've been getting kicked around for being unilateralist because hardly anyone else WANTED to join the party. Now Spain will get back in and Germany will deploy outside Afghanistan? Who knew? ____________________________________________ Boleslaw Wozniak, of the Center for European Strategy questioned the likelihood of “encourag[ing] Arab speaking and Muslim countries to provide all the front-line troops of the new international force in Iraq.” --- Someone is actually proposing this? I am at an absolute loss to come up with any Arab/Muslim country that would be a good fit for 'front-line troops'. Although if the PKK doesn't knock it off, we'll have Turkey in there whether we like it or not, and I can't say I blame them. ______________________________________________ Others, however, were strongly opposed to a partition. In their view, any such announcement would only result in accelerated bloodshed and further isolate any remaining nationalist sentiment in the country: --- A lot of what I've read recently and what I'm hearing from people on the ground is that no announcement will be needed. It's already happening to some extent from the bottom up, not the top down. Thanks Joerg, looking forward to parts 2 and 3.

Kevin Sampson on :

Re. #2 A stable, prosperous, and reasonably democratic Iraq would be a deadly threat to the authoritarian regimes in Syria and Iran. Of course it's not an achievable goal.

pen Name on :

No, that is not a threat to us in Iran. It is a threat to your friends - the soft dictatorships of Moroco, Jordan, Tunisia; the police states of Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, and Oman; the hard dictorships of Egypt and Azerbaijan. Why is that so many of your friendly states are dictatorships?

Kevin Sampson on :

"Why is that so many of your friendly states are dictatorships?" LOL And you aren't? Who picks the candidates in your presidential elections? What exactly is the role of the Guardian Council in your government, and who is it composed of? What exactly is the role of Der Fuhrer, excuse me, the 'Supreme Leader' in your government?

Anonymous on :

Who else can do anything? Germany, France, and the UK sure failed with their highly vaunted "soft power" on Iran. All they accomplished was facilitating an Iranian stall for years - ever since Schroeder was chancellor. So, one might ask whose side the European trimvirate was really on. "I find it newsworthy, because it indicates that Europeans still believe that the US is able to stabilize Iraq, while more and more Americans doubt whether the US can end the civil war and the insurgency." The idea that US cannot stabilize Iraq is ridiculous. I think you are right about the Europeans. But you take the American leftist press too seriously and find it way too credible. You are not listening to a cross section of the American people. The ones who yell the loudest are the ones succumbing to psychological warfare by being hand-wringing defeatests. Well, not actually. They know better too. They just want to make things sound real bad to dis the Republicans and win the next election. That's the only war they care about. They are no more serious about stopping the war in Iraq than were ever since before it began. It's all just politics. Hot air. As in how fast the accusations of high crimes and misdemeanors stopped the moment the Democrats got control of the House and were obligated to impeach a president they accused of such things. Get it? As for the Americans who don't believe in make-believ, many are getting fed up with the whole world situation and want out ASAP for a new round of isolationism. But that doesn't mean we think we can't win. Most feel that for a reasonable amount of time, we should continue -- so long as the Iraqi people are holding up their end of the bargain. BTW, "Civil war?" "Insurgency?" Call things what they are! The vast majority of violence is by foreign terrorists against Iraqi civilians, even now mostly in Sunni areas, where the Sunni are fed up with them and cooperating with the Coalition. What little true Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence you can dig up is paid for crime. Iraqis being paid by al-Qaeda to set a bomb or act as a sniper. Painting false pictures with words.

Anonymous on :

Sorry, I forgot that this is what prompted me to comment in the first place: "Europeans feel that America is not doing enough to draw Syria and Iran into the nation-building process." ROTFL!!!!!! How can they insult their own intelligence so? Syria and Iran, nation BUILDERS? HA! My Irony Detector just blew a fuse! Jeez, let's ask the fox to guard the hen house. Let's ask the devil to help people get to heaven. "However, there is no consensus on whether or not this is an achievable goal." Which means that many are condeming the US for not attempting the impossible. Figures. Perversity is endless.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Yeah, good point on the nation builders. We should not have used the term "nation-building," but made clear in another way that the analysts suggest that the US should try harder to make Iran and Syria part of the solution rather than (remain) part of the problem. Instability in Iraq is not in Iran's and Syria's long-term interest, because the violence could spill over into their own countries...

Mr. Bingley on :

"Instability in Iraq is not in Iran's and Syria's long-term interest, because the violence could spill over into their own countries..." I'm not sure about this. It may in fact be very much in their interest, as an unstable Iraq is no longer a threat to them and also provides a sink and focus for their own internal dissidents.

Kevin Sampson on :

“Instability in Iraq is not in Iran's and Syria's long-term interest, because the violence could spill over into their own countries” In the case of Iran, which is much, much more ethnically homogenous than Iraq, this seems unlikely. And it seems unlikely that the basij, or other elements of the Iranian state security apparatus, would be unable to handle this contingency. As for Syria, I haven’t noticed them putting themselves out to relieve the instability in Lebanon. Apparently they aren’t concerned about that spilling over into their own country. Why do you suppose that is?

David on :

"Most feel that for a reasonable amount of time, we should continue -- so long as the Iraqi people are holding up their end of the bargain." What are you smoking? EVERY poll shows that at least 70% of Americans want out of Iraq and feel Bush is doing a piss-poor job.

joe on :

A great idea - part of the solution. If I did not know you better I would think you were joking. I assume you also trust the Russians.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

I am not saying that Iran is your best friend in this effort, but Iran was very cooperative, when the US toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan. Iran has a stake in Afghanistan, because of the huge drug problem in Iran. Similarly, instability in Iraq and a US withdrawal would mean trouble for Iran, I believe. And I certainly don't expect the US to trust Iran. Why do you talk about "trust"? It seems quite a few Americans in the blogosphere do not even trust the Brits. Though, what are the alternatives to working with Iran? Build a 60 feet high wall around the thousands of miles of the Iraqi border? Bomb Iran? Will that reduce the violence in the Middle East? Or do you expect Iran to stop the interference, if Germany cuts its trade ties with Iran? No, this won't make a difference. Iran continued its war with Iraq in the 80s, when the entire West was supporting Iraq and had sanctions on iran. Or shall the US continue to turn a blind eye to Saudi Arabia arming the Sunnis in Iraq, while Iran arms the Shiites? One way this is could play out is that in a few years many Arabs will consider the Iraq war as a US plot to make Arabs kill themselves. Or do you think Iran is willing and able to invade Iraq and stabilize it? I don't think so.

Pamela on :

"It seems quite a few Americans in the blogosphere do not even trust the Brits. " As a whole, I think it's safe to say we trust the British people, but it's obvious they've been neutered by their 'elites' and their gov't. ---------------------- Britons give many reasons for leaving, but their stories share one commonality: life in Britain has become unbearable. They fear lawlessness and the threat of more terrorism from a growing Muslim population and the loss of a sense of Britishness, exacerbated by the growing refusal of public schools to teach the history and culture of the nation. What it means to be British has been watered down in a plague of political correctness. Officials say they do not wish to "offend" others. http://www.daily-journal.com/archives/dj/display.php?id=404231 (check out the comments) ------------------------------ The head of the UK’s Commission for Equalities and Human Rights – a new, vast and largely unaccountable bureaucracy concerned with tackling the oppression of minorities, real or imagined – has called for British history to be rewritten to reflect the roles played by other races and religions – singling out, not surprisingly, Muslims for a bit of positive PR. Trevor Phillips told a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth that the revisionism should start with the story of how Muslims helped the English fleet, led by Sir Francis Drake, to fight off the Spanish Armada in 1588. Phillips said forces of the Ottoman Empire delayed the sailing of the Spanish fleet so the English navy was better prepared, but claimed the story had been ‘airbrushed’ out of historical accounts. http://monkeytenniscentre.blogspot.com/2007/09/rewriting-history-of-britain-and-islam.html ----------------------- And this is an absolute must read. It's by 'Theodore Dalrymple', the nome de plume of Anthony Daniels. He worked for years as a psychiatrist in prisons and hospitals in the UK, gave up in disgust and moved to France. He has, in some respects, lived to rue the day. The uselessness of a police force that once excited the admiration of the world is now taken for granted by every Briton who calls the police only to obtain a crime number for insurance purposes, not in the expectation or even hope of any effort at detection. This is not because the individual policeman is lazy, ill-intentioned, corrupt, or stupid, though in the present system he might just as well be: for the system in which he works imposes upon him all the effects (or defects) of precisely those qualities. P.C. Copperfield is clearly a man who wants to do a good job, like most of the policemen I have met, but the system actively and deliberately prevents him from doing so. http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_1_oh_to_be.html ------------------- Joerg, I encounter quite a few Brits on the internet every day. I cannot tell you how disgusted they are.

Anonymous on :

Joerg: Iran was cooperative in Afghanistan in the sense that it got out of our way. Iraq was being planned then, but we just as easily have substituted Iran for Iraq. They were frightened. It hasn’t stopped them from harboring Al-Qaeda and refusing to hand them over. Remember the big terror season in 2005 in Saudi Arabia that was planned in Iran and the order to execute the attacks originated in Iran. That is not CIA or NSA intel (who trusts or believes them anyway) that is the Saudis complaining publicly to Iran. We cant stop Saudi Arabia from doing much of anything. One they are not arming the Iraqi insurgents. You can buy explosives, assault weapons and RPGs on the market. The insurgents, I take it you mean Al-Q or the Mahdi army, aren’t kitted out with American-made Javelins or current Russian kit; they’re fighting with 80s surplus Russian arms. “One way this is could play out is that in a few years many Arabs will consider the Iraq war as a US plot to make Arabs kill themselves”. Come on. Right now you really should be tazed bro. Obviously some Arabs will attempt to explain their barbarity by conveniently displacing responsibility for their actions on another. Reminds me of Historikerstreit back in the day. The Kurd/Shia/Sunni conflict had been suppressed by Saddam. At the first glimpse of freedom, they were going to start fighting.

Anonymous on :

Our strategy is quite clear: we will use all available means to defend our strategic interests. Without the chaos is Iraq, US would have attacked Iran in 2004. But we have not created the chaos in Iraq. You did. pen Name

Anonymous on :

Joerg: the ethnicities look at the present Iraqi situation as an historic opportunity to marginalize the arab Sunnis. The grievance real or imagined have existed for centuries and now history has graciously presented them an opportunity to re-order Iraqi society. I for one see a great similarity between the expulsion of ethnic Germans or German speakers from central Europe post WWII. '46 and '47 were a chance for a settling of accounting with an indulgent and disinterested Russia. The actual level of the minority's culpability for German occupation or collaberation was largely irrelevant; what exactly was the crime of the Transylvanian Saxons? Or for that matter, the German Hungarians? Germans from the Kurland or Ostpreussen? The expulsion of the Germans makes sense in CZ and PL, but not in most countries were in happened. It was just an opportunity to eradicate the presence of what in the past had been a troublesome minority and ensure a resurgent German could posit not extra-territoral claims. I would opine that the expulsion greatly weakened the economic bases of these countries and more importantly impoverished their national cultures, but the Zeitgeist proclaimed it was time to be German free and the people acquiesced...

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Dear anonymous commentators, I appreciate your comments, but would like to encourage you to use a name for your comments. If you don't want to see your real name on the internet, then just use your first name or your nickname or use the first name of the kid you had a crush on in junior high. :-)

pen Name on :

The analogy is not apt. The Shia-Sunni war in Iraq is not ethno-linguistic. It is religious. Yugoslavia is a better example: Muslims, Catholics, and the Orthodox fought each other in spite of the fact that they were racially and lingusitically identical. Arabic is the language of Iraq's Sunnis and Shia. Racially they are the same. There are also others, incidentally, that are people who have no other country except Iraq: Yazidi Kurds, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Turkoman, etc. Where would they go? And please please do not see Iraq throught the lense of fighting us. You cannot. Help Iraq if you can.

Pamela on :

pen Name Correct me if I'm wrong please, but it is my understanding you are in Iran. If so, can you comment on the following article? (it talks about the implications of the Irsaeli attack in Syria for Iran) http://www.ocnus.net/artman2/publish/Analyses_12/Silence_in_Syria_Panic_in_Iran.shtml A quote from the article ---------------------------- The systems didn't even light up, gave no indication whatever of any detection of enemy aircraft invading Syrian airspace, zip, zero, nada. The Israelis (with a little techie assistance from us) blinded the Russkie antiaircraft systems so completely the Syrians didn't even know they were blinded. Now you see why the Syrians have been scared speechless. They thought they were protected - at enormous expense - only to discover they are defenseless. As in naked. Thus the Great Iranian Freak-Out - for this means Iran is just as nakedly defenseless as Syria. -----------------------

pen Name on :

I do not have the specialized military knowledge to comment on the efficacy of air munitions and air war tactics accurately. I will tell you what I have learnt from open sources. 1- That the power to undo nuclear Iran does not exist in the International arena. See http://www.iiss.org/whats-new/iiss-in-the-press/press-coverage-2006/january-2006/can-iran-nukes-be-stopped 2- For the past few years, the possibility of a US war against Iran has been accepted by the general population. [School-girls in high-schools sometimes discuss it. There is resignation but not fear.] Anyway, the Russian systems are not adequate to defend the Iranian air-space and the Iranian military doctrine is based on deterrence more than defense. 3- Israel does not have the capacity to inflict serious damage on Iran; she has the capacity to make Iran really mad and there will be a severe attack on Israel from Iranian rocket forces. Wait and see. 4- During the War of Sacred Defense we were attacked by chemical weapons supplied by you. Moreover, US supplied satellite intelligence to Iraq. And we could not replensih our weapons because you had sanctioned us. There was a time that we had only about a month's worth of wheat in Iran. Yet we fought. We have lost our fear of war since we were pushed too far during that war. 5- The type of attack that is described can only be waged by US. That requires the United States to gather almost all of her air assets from all over the world. While that attack will be painful it will be just the start of a prolonged war of attrition. Ayatullah Khamenei has already stated as much in his sermon on the start of Ramazan in which he stated that "do not expect a hit-and-run attack". 6- 40% of US Army's hardware (tanks, APC, Cannons, etc.) are in Iraq. In the event of a war with Iran, some or all of that very very expensive hardware will be lost - destroyed by us, or by you since you will not be able to take that stuff out of Iraq. 7- From Kuwait to Baghdad is a 12-hour land trip. That is how your armed forces are supplied in Iraq. I imagine that that supply line will be cut and you will need thousands of soldiers to guard that supply line. At the best, you could re-supply your forces by about 30% from the air and that is under benign conditions. Iran has SAMs and re-supply of your forces from the air will not be benign after the war has started. 8- Your forces in Iraq are scattered in small units all over that country. They can be attacked without you being able to bring your technological superiority to bear (tanks, etc.) You can be hurt plenty enough locally in the near-abroad of Iran - in Iraq and Afghanistan. 9- Israel is not interested in adding Iran to the list of her enmies by attacking Iran directly. Israeli leaders have been very careful in their statements. They prefer US to attack Iran. My advise to you people is that unless you are Jews, you have no dog in the war between Judaism and Islam that is currently taking place. Therefore do not take sides and do not go out of your way to spit in the Muslims' eyes. A millenium ago, the Catholic Church concluded that there was no advantage in fighting Islam. Jews have not yet learnt that. If you care about State of Israel for some emotional need (Shoah, guilt of Christian persecution of Jews for 2000 years, etc.) I urge to persuade them to go back to 1948 borders and leave the Palestinian people alone. Otherwise the war will go on as it has been going on for the past 60 years.

Pamela on :

1- That the power to undo nuclear Iran does not exist in the International arena. I read that article and that's not quite what I took away from it. What I got is that the diplomatic and economic conditions are unlikely to succeed. The article specifically states "short of military action". 6- 40% of US Army's hardware (tanks, APC, Cannons, etc.) are in Iraq. In the event of a war with Iran, some or all of that very very expensive hardware will be lost - destroyed by us, or by you since you will not be able to take that stuff out of Iraq. The military guys I spoke to said 40% doesn't sound even close, but I can't find a reliable figure myself. I've emailed the Public Affairs Officer of CentCom to see if they can help. Worst case scenario, they tell me to piss off and stop bugging them. 9- Israel is not interested in adding Iran to the list of her enmies by attacking Iran directly. Israeli leaders have been very careful in their statements. They prefer US to attack Iran. ADDING Iran to their list of enemies? Uh, penName, that nutcase President of yours keeps ranting about wiping the 'Zionist entity' off the map, so I think you guys made it onto the list awhile back. As to the remaining items on your list, I think - correct me if I'm wrong - your premise is that we would come in or engage in land conflicts. We have 3 naval battlegroups in the area with 7 more available. We could stand offshore and pound you for months on end. Once your command and control is gone, so is any inter-operability of your forces. You would be dependent on Syria, and we've already seen Israel handle them. Any even moderate Iranian incursion into Iraq would be spotted easily and dealt with. I know of one instance when only about 500 Iranians came over. We let them in, fell in behind, ran them into a pincer movement and not one came home. I'm sorry. I don't mean to be cavalier about your countrymen or arrogant about my own country. I don't want more war. But if we keep hearing about Iranian arms in Iraq, there will be - well, there already are - voices calling for some kind of action. Personally, I favor more stringent sanctions to bring you to your knees economically - much better than bloodshed - as long as it works.

pe Name on :

am not aware of the case of a 500-person Iranian incursion into Iraq. I have not heard nary a peep about it. Will you please elaborate: date-time-location-objective? This would have been very important news indeed; wonder why US did not use it as propaganda? Our President has stated what hundreds of millions of Muslims think. I believe that at least 2/3 of Muslim heads of state or government think that as well. There is a war between Judaism and Islam in Palestine. You have taken sides in that war and so have we. On the issue of Shoah, Israel, etc. you have lost Muslims. You have to kill hundreds of millions of Muslims if you do not like them to hold these views. I premised my statements on how the war will evolve and not how it will begin. You will start with your usual air tactics like the war against Serbia and later Iraq. [I assume that the Iranian military has had 5 years to prepare for that type of initial attack. Already Iran has been organized into autonomous military districts with orders to fight at their own discretion] We will most likely retaliate and eventually the war will spread to Iraq and Afghanistan. We will not be sending large formations into these areas; rather small ones that are difficult to intercept and attack. At any rate, I believe you will be hit and will be hit hard. As far as I can tell, we are not counting on Syria to relieve us only to help us where she can. Whether Israel can "take care" of Syria is something that we have to wait and see. Again, I think you have accepted the claims of "Victory through Air Power" strategists. They did not get you victory in WWII, or in Vietnam. Nor in the war of Israel & Hizbuallah. But, you are welcome to try again. However, let us not argue about who is going to hurt whom more. Once the war comes we will be able to better judge its dimensions as the months and years pass by. We will be fighting for our country and people; pray tell me, what would you be fighting except for fantasies of your political leaders? Our differences are not bridgeable since you are not interested in a settlement with us – you want our surrender. And you will not get it. You want to dominate Islam and Iran. If the war in Iraq had gone as well as you had imagined we already would have been at war with you. I have no doubt that your country would have attacked us in 2004 or 2005. I cannot judge the veracity of your government's claims about purported Iranian arms in Iraq. We clearly supply arms to the certain Shia groups who are represented in the legitimate government of Iraq. A government that you have setup and support as well as us. It is possible that some of those arms have been sold to others in the chaos of Iraq. I would also like to point out that Chinese weapons have been found in Afghanistan. Are you going to attack China? I note here that your own weapons have been found in the hands of PKK - being used against your allies in Turkey. Are you fighting Turkey? But most likely these claims are the usual lies of your government trying to convince gullible people such as yourselves for starting a war with Iran. For the fact remains that it is your ostensible friendly polities of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Qatar and others that are supporting the Sunni insurgents of Iraq who are killing your troops. Perhaps you ought to attack Saudi Arabia and UAE were the hijackers came from? As I tried to indicate to you in this forum, we went through the War of Sacred Defense with much less than what we have today. You cannot bring us to our knees. There are many many tactical and strategic decisions that we can make to counter your moves. You have truly a binary choice: A hostile nuclear-armed Iran or a non-hostile nuclear-armed Iran. US and EU have brought us to this. Do not blame us for taking all necessary means to defend ourselves, our friends, and our interests. Let the war begin; you will regret it as you have with Iraq and Vietnam. For you fight for shadows and we fight for God and Country.

Pamela on :

am not aware of the case of a 500-person Iranian incursion into Iraq. I have not heard nary a peep about it. Will you please elaborate: date-time-location-objective? This would have been very important news indeed; wonder why US did not use it as propaganda? I was first told of it about 3 months ago - it came from soldiers who had watched them come in and were told to stand down - and were furious - until they received the next orders. They couldn't tell any of this until they were back stateside and would NEVER be allowed to tell when or where. The military does let out to the U.S. media that some Iranians have been killed in Iraq, but they rarely give details - it's called OPSEC - operational security. -------------------- You want to dominate Islam and Iran. No. We just want to stop Islam from trying to take over the world. Iran is welcome to it. --------------- I would also like to point out that Chinese weapons have been found in Afghanistan. Are you going to attack China? I note here that your own weapons have been found in the hands of PKK - being used against your allies in Turkey. Are you fighting Turkey? I HAVE heard about the Chinese weapons in Afghanistan - but there is nothing in any media I can find that gives much detail. Can't find much of anything, frankly. I have read some very speculative pieces saying such munitions may be associated with Chinese Muslims who fought with the muhajadeen against the USSR and now the US, but nothing that ties the Chinese gov't to them directly or indirectly. Muddy waters, there. As for the PKK - I know about it and it just PISSES me off. It's not that we're arming the PKK, it's that we're arming the Kurds - some of whom happen to be PKK. Whatever one thinks about the merits of an independent Kurdistan, the PKK is a bad actor and always has been. As I noted earlier on this thread, if they don't knock it off, we're going to have Turkey in Iraq whether we like it or not and I won't blame them. penName, don't mean to ignore the rest of your post, but I've got to go for today and get some work done. Back later

pen Name on :

Lst I looked, it is your warships going up and down the Persian Gulf telling us "I will kill you, I will kill you, I will kill you..." It is you who want to dominate the world not us in Iran and not Islam. Accept us teh way we are or leave us alone.

pen Name on :

Here is a map, drawn by a member of your armed forces, to change the political map of Muslim states. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=NAZ20061116&articleId=3882 I draw your attention to the fact that in this map all oil wells are part of small, un-defendable Arab states that could be easily dominated by you. Note that in this map Kuwait remains what it is today; an oil welll with a flag. Quite frankly, I would like to see your country broken up into smaller pieces; A hispanic repblic in the South West, A Baptist state in the South and Middle, and a weak state in the East. Oil & Power; that seems to be your motivation. Why? Is it going to buy you another color television set? Or a better car? Or silk stockings?

David on :

@Pen Name Just curious. Do you agree with the statement that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made this week at Columbia that "there are no homosexuals in Iran"? And what is your view on the policy of executing homosexuals?

pen Name on :

He is correct that we do not have the homosexual culture that you have. We do not have intra-adult homosexuality that you have, our has been historically different. We have had, in the Muslim countries, a fair amount of adult/child male sodomy. It is illegal but it happens. There is also a form of adult sodomy that males have practiced; similar to what sailors in European navies had been doing for centuries. Both these cases are a form of female substitution. There are historical references in Persian, Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and other sources to effeminate men and their peculiarities. But that was not, to my knowledge, the dominant form of sodomy. I have no historical or personal knowledge of female activities in this area. The homosexuals executed in Iran had raped young boys. Some had killed as many as 23 young boys between the ages of 8 to 12. I support the death penalty especially when it comes to violence against children. This is one of those areas that you can learn from us and our practices. Your question is rather interesting because of what that question and similar ones imply: I observe here that you (US & EU) have a preoccupation with Shoah, Homosexuality, and Status of Women. You are then in collision course with the world of Islam not just us in Iran. You have elevated Shoah into a semi-religion, almost a god. While we can discuss (once you are ready) to discuss the historical dimensions of Shoah and its use as an instrumentality for stealing Arab (Muslim) land, we can never accept it as you do – a form of religion. There is only one god and that is Allah (God). We are fundamentally very very conservative polities. We can accept child adoption and contractual “marriage” among homosexuals. To us these are abominations and forms of perversion and corruption of Earth that has to be cleansed. Perhaps you feel proud to live in Sodom and Gomorrah; perhaps you think that God will be more forgiving to you this time. I do not understand why you care about our women. We do not care about the status of Hindu, Chinese, African, South American, or your women. That is because it is not our place to care about your women or any one else’s. And there are more oppressed women in the world than the Iranian women. And you are not going to marry them or offer them political asylum. So why? Is all of this because of a deep need to prove your-selves better than us? But you must know that no man is justified in the eyes of God including the inhabitants of US & EU. As I have stated here before, accept us the way we are or leave us alone.

Sue on :

"But you must know that no man is justified in the eyes of God including the inhabitants of US & EU." Well, yes, but trying to justify man before God by instituting religious law as the law of the nation is doomed to failure, because mankind can never be justified in the eyes of God. In the European middle ages, nations tried to live according to church canon law, and it did not result in a better society. It was a miserable failure because religious institutions are all products of flawed mankind, not God. Living in a godly way is ultimately an individual endeavor; you can't legislate it on a mass basis. Your comments about women indicate that you think of women as responsibilities or possessions, somewhat more like children rather than co-equal citizens. Forgive me if I am misunderstanding you.

Sue on :

I should clarify that yes, mankind can be justified before God but not by his own efforts. And efforts include attempts to enforce canon law based on holy texts ( I am a Presbyterian by confession but a de facto Arminian:).

pen Name on :

In the Muslim polities we have no other source for Law except from within the Islamic Tradition. [I am excluding the personal law that governs the inter-communal relationship of the religious minorities in the Muslim states]. You in US & EU have 2 other sources of Law - the Roman Law and the Common Law (of the Germanic Tribes). So forus, all law, by definition, is the Cannon Law [in your parlance]. Now you might agree or disagree with this or that part of the Islamic body of Laws but you cannot get rid of it. I agree with you that certain aspects of the enforcement of the Islamic Law in Iran is very much misguided. There are 2 reasons for this; the misguided belief in that one may reach some sort of Muslim Utopia in this manner and the other is fear that if one is lax even in minor items then the entire edifice of the polity will collapse [ a familiar argument in Rabbinic Judaism as well]. I think you have a valid criticism here on which you can build a case and present it not just to us in Iran but also to Saudi Arabians, Pakistanis, Egyptians, North Africans, and others. This could be the beginning of dialogue. My personal views towards women are grounded in the reality that the nature of woman is Love. Everything else flows from the acceptance of this thesis or its rejection. I believe your legal frameworks in US & EU has rejected this thesis to the detriment of your women. Be as it may, I am not concerned about that since it is none of my affairs. But my point was broader - my point was that I do not care about women's situation in other parts of the world. I am not going to marry them, have any interaction with them, live with them. Why should then I confront an African and start ranting about how Africans treat their women? Who am I to tell them how to live their lives?

Mr. Bingley on :

[i]My personal views towards women are grounded in the reality that the nature of woman is Love.[/i] Dude, you've obviously never encountered Hillary.

David on :

As a Christian, I find your comments to be deeply offensive. Also, your celebration of the death penalty only illustrates the barbarism of that policy - whether it occurs in Iran or America.

pen Name on :

Why do you need to call those who disagree with you "barbarian"? Do you not believe in the reality of Evil? I do not find anything barbaric about hanging those 2 young men that had methodically raped and killed poor young boys in Southern Tehran. I can envsion the last moments of the lives of those little boys - who with those dusty feet earlier had been playing with their little plastic cars, or runnig around like little birds. Their childhood and their lives were violently taken away from them. Perhaps Christ could forgive them after a long stay in Hell - but I cannot even though I did not know any of those boys personally. I am sorry that I was not there to hang the rapist murderers myself. If you have a child and he is raped and killed, then come preach to us. On this issue, I am with the Americans.

Pamela on :

If you have a child and he is raped and killed, then come preach to us. Absolutely. In fact, I'm in favor of the death penalty in cases where only the sexual molestation - and not murder - of a child is involved.

David on :

Actually, it was two teenage boys - ages 16 and 17 - who were executed. According to Human Rights Watch the charges against them were a complete sham. It is estimated that over 4000 gays and lesbians have been executed in Iran since 1979. Pamela, are you also in favor of executing children?

pen Name on :

A 16 or 17 year old knows the difference between Right and Wrong. They are not children - they are passed the age of Reason. Any way, until last year, 15-year olds could vote in the elections in Iran. Majlis raised it to 18. And there are now efforts to restore it back to 15. This is another practice that you can learn from us.

Pamela on :

Pamela, are you also in favor of executing children? No. What's your point? That children can also be child molestors? If the crime was committed before the age of majority, I'll go with life in prison w/no parole.

Anonymous on :

"A 17-year-old Noblesville boy charged with raping a 14-year-old girl pleaded guilty Friday morning to sexual battery as part of a plea agreement that would require him to spend at least one year in prison. Eleazar Renteria, 17, was charged as an adult in November with rape, a Class B felony, and criminal confinement and sexual battery, both Class D felonies. He's also charged with battery, a Class B misdemeanor." http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070908/LOCAL/709080363/1015/LOCAL01

David on :

I view any regime that persecutes minorities - including gays and lesbians - as illegitimate. One brave gay man in Tehran speaks out: [url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/28/AR2007092801322.html?hpid=opinionsbox1] I'm here. I'm gay[/url]. Evidently gays and lesbians are more numerous than your president admits: [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/world/middleeast/30gays.html?_r=1&oref=slogin] Gays insist they exist in Iran[/url].

pe Name on :

So for a government to be legitimate for you it has to tolerate Sodom and Gomorrah? Never.

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