Discussion in 'Community' started by KnightWriter, Jun 14, 2009.
I guess not. That 56:29 looks pretty intimidating
The bit with the dude in question begins 20 minutes in and lasts 15 minutes.
Okay, so I finally got around to watching the video (watched them both actually).
I wondered about that too. Would it actually work? I'm not sure I could imagine Khamenei feeling all that much pressure from an effort to crack down on the IRGC. Also, considering the political situation in Iraq where the Iraqi PM really didn't want to piss off the Sadrists, would such a campaign have been possible? So yeah, if this idea of his doesn't work then we're right back where we started: war, sanctions, or doing nothing.
The part I found interesting was the last segment where the speaker explained the Iranian domestic political aspect of this, particularly how some of the Iranian political elite wanted to deny Ahmadinejad a political victory that they basically scuttled negotiations. I guess I had always assumed the negotiations failed because of Khamenei's ideological opposition to concessions, but now that the rebellious Ahmadinejad has been replaced with the much more deferential Rouhani I guess he's now more comfortable with negotiating with the West?
It's hard to know what's going on in Khamenei's head or what he actually wants. As far as his public announcements go, he's been speaking with two tongues since the election of Rouhani. It's like he wants to delay for as long as he can before making a decision. On the one hand, he has championed and encouraged "heroic flexibility/moderation" in one speech, while in another expressing pessimism and concern due to distrust of American leaders, and in yet another speech announcing his backing and support of the diplomatic effort and in the very next sentence saying that he's "not optimistic". Politically, he's certainly playing his cards cleverly. If talks succeed, he can point to public speeches where he backed their effort openly, and even that the "heroic moderation" was his own idea, that he was the bigger man who was willing to compromise. If talks fail, he has stated his pessimism publicly and is on record calling American leaders untrustworthy and "dishonest in their relations", so the failure will of course be the Americans' fault.
I am myself pessimistic as well, but I retain a small hope that things will be settled before this escalates to a military conflict. Certainly, the greatest adversary to this effort is the West's insistence on making public all the demands and bargaining chips and what have you that they have going in to the talks, shooting both the Iranians and themselves in the foot. When you announce to the world what you're going to be demanding from the Iranians, no parties can make any concessions without looking weak and losing face very publicly. Iranians compromising will lose face. The P5+1 compromising will look weak. So we end with a standoff where no one is willing to budge, afraid of how it would look. If the details of the negotiations are kept secret, it's easier to bargain with each other.
(It doesn't matter if the Iranians are public about it back home, because they're a belligerent dictatorship, so no one will believe them anyway. Anyone will think it's desperate posturing, and it probably will be.)
Khamanei is playing dictator 101, to be honest. Keeping his subjects off-balance by them not really being sure where he stands.
Breaking News: deal with Iran, President Obama to speak
Iran and US deal talks continue to progress, Israel doom-mongering about it continues. Clearly Iran has gone about terrifying Israel all wrong, all they had to do was improve their relationship with the US, which in requires them to stop being so batcrap crazy and overcome deeply ingrained suspicion (with reason) of the US.
(Yes, the above has a more than slight sarcastic refrain to it.)
Deep down Iran wants nuclear options not for a weapon but as fuel. They see the oil reserves dropping and need a way out. Even if their reserves lasts another fifty years its fifty years without nothing to show for it. As much as the Islamic movement hates to admit it but they are fighting for a future. A future free from oil. They want to sell their oil and keep the rest of the money for themselves and for their people. They view the Saudis with distrust cause they sold out. The smaller oil states are just wasting their money on high rises in the desert. Those states are so dependant on water that if you took out the water desalination plant the city would evacuate overnite of all foreigners. Iranians see as oil as a finite resource the other states as water to be wasted. In the next fifty years Iran will be a threat to Israel cause they will have an economy not based on oil. They will have a thriving economy and will be a competitive match for Israel.
Do you have a single source to back that up?>
Well, that escalated quickly.
This happened today:
Former Saudi intelligence minister urges Gulf States to join Iranian nuclear talks
Spies are frequently very pragmatic people; this statement reflects that. I'd think the Gulf States would do well to join in the negotiations; right now, Iran has a somewhat better position, but probably could find security guarantees/economic benefits to be amenable in exchange for greater transparency on its nuclear development.
I've watched him make this case before. And it makes sense. As immediate neighbours they would have the highest stake in the outcome of this process, and it's in Iran's interest to be mindful of its neighbours' concerns. Still, the P5+1 are, if not neutral, more neutral brokers than the GCC, and I would understand if Iran had reservations. We'll see what happens. Ironically, Iran might see its interests better addressed with it's sworn enemy as its negotiating partner than its neighbours.
I thought he had.
The difference is that with the sworn enemy is that said country never viewed Iran seriously as an equal opponent because they're not. If we could negotiate with the Russians then Iran isn't a realistic "never negotiate" threat.
No, I agree with you. The US (and the rest of the 5+1 group) are better negotiating partners precisely because they're major powers that feel no threat from Iran and have no significant stake in this, other than wanting to prevent a nuclear arms race in the region (and as a secondary interest, keeping their allies happy). Whereas immediate neighbors of Iran, like the GCC, are geopolitical rivals and would naturally seek to use their position of leverage to marginalize Iran as much as possible. As is, their interests are already represented by the US, but the US will obviously not go out of it's way for them either, positioning the US, and by extension the P5+1 group as a whole, as arbiters between the respective rivaling interests. There is a reason the GCC wants in, after all. If they felt their equities were already guaranteed by the P5+1, they would see no need to join. When all is said and done, negotiations are about balance of interests.
In conclusion, I see both upsides and downsides. On the plus side, it would be good that Iran and the GCC members face each other at all, as their relations at present is not in the best of shape. More contact would be a positive. Maybe they could even reach agreement on other issues of contention between them in the process. The downside is that I doubt that that would happen. I think what would more likely end up happening is the GCC assuming a maximalist position on how to utilize its new leverage, demanding too much in exchange for too little, which would obstruct progress and risk unraveling P5+1 (5+2 in this scenario) unity.
Things are still somewhat ideal for cooperation between and the GCC: Neither entity is a fan of Al-Qaeda, and Al-Qaeda is certainly not a fan of the Gulf States or Iran; I'm not sure that's enough to forge solid links with, but it'd definitely be a start.
Iran could, arguably, conduct a different set of negotiations with the GCC and the P5+1; the P5+1 is obviously concerned with Iran & Europe, not necessarily Iran and the gulf, while the GCC is obviously Gulf-centric; P5+1 is obviously pretty immune from much of anything Iran could realistically do. The GCC is not, at least, not as much.
I'm glad to see the progress of talks, to go back to an old point, I think a huge part of why Khamanei may be behaving as he is is also to try to maintain stability for his own power after 2009, and the troubles that caused, and he faces big problems if he's got large opposition from both outside and inside Iran.
It's a good possibility. He's been on top since the late 1980s as I recall; all he's got left is that power and maintaining it.
Well, during the Green Revolution one of the ideas being talked about was that there is, technically, ways that one can remove him from his position, so I'd say he could well have interpreted that as a threat where he'd be better off moderating himself rather than going head to head and risking losing that power. The Assembly of Experts has the ability to remove the Supreme Leader, and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was viewed as being sympathetic to, if not in support of, the Green Revolution to some extent.
What are those? Can't say I'm familiar with them.
But those those who sit in that particular council that have the constitutional authority to do that are usually people who have proven their hardliner credentials themselves and would tend to agree with him, so it's not much of a threat. Unless he were to take things so far to the brink that the cowards among those turn against him.
Edit: Hashemi Rafsanjani has been severy marginalized as of late. He even got barred from participating in the recent election for being "too old".
I wasn't aware of Rafsanjani's marginalization, although that he was in charge of the Assembly of Experts would lead me to think that organization isn't so hardline as to be a safe backing for the Supreme Leader.
Has his marginalization limited his involvement in the Assembly of Experts, or was that just limited to him not being able to be a part of the most recent election?
I' think he still retains his seat in the Assembly, but there have been a lot of smear campaigns hurled at him as of late, accusing him of corruption and embezzling, as well as siding with "the sedition" (the Green Movement). Even his daughter was both harassed and threatened a while back. The image of him as a money grabbing opportunist has traction in the general populace as well, both among supporters of the regime and otherwise, and goes back a long time. Rafsanjani jokes are a category of their own. One funny one that I recall says, in the role of him; "So what, I happen to own a little land, and incidentally Iran is in it. "
In my assessment, those who have feared his influence have made these attacks on his image to lay the groundwork, so that if he ever challenges the leadership, there is a history of accusations to point to and thus easier to dismiss him. Without considering myself an expert on Iranian politics, I think I can nevertheless say with a great deal of certainty that he won't be a threat going forward. He did and does have a lot of influence. There is a reason he was barred from running, after all. But I think his role is played out now.
This article is over a month old, but nevertheless offers a nice recap of recent events in the nuclear standoff and US-Iran relations, and gives an interesting perspective to boot.
Just bumping this thread with an FYI:
For anyone who hasn't been following the developments (or lack thereof) in the nuclear negotiations lately, this NPR segment on it puts you up to speed, followed by commentary from various perspectives. The segment begins around the 8 minute mark and is a half hour long.
Nuclear negotiations resume with Iran
Since nobody else is saying it, I guess I'll have to:
Iran will be able to sell gas to the U.S. again
They have not been able to sell gas to the U.S. for 20 years, and this deal might move the cost of gas down to $2.