Tag: iran

The Iran protests and American journalistic hackery

Before new years and continuing until the present, Iranians have taken to the streets to demand political and economic reforms. Over 400 protesters have been reportedly arrested and 20 killed. Having cracked down violently on protests in 2009, too, the Iranian government appears to face a crisis of legitimacy.

Much of the commentary from the political right, however, launders the protesters’ real grievances to make partisan political points. Take Fox News opinion columnist Stephen L. Miller (@RedSteeze on Twitter). Yesterday evening (US time), he had published a garden variety “Why aren’t liberal feminists supporting Muslim women in the Middle East?” article.

In this case, the specific language was: “Women are leading in Iran. Where is their voice of support from the left?”

So the question must be asked: Where are the women’s movement supporters in the United States and Europe, which gathered en masse to protest a newly inaugurated American president last year?

The question presumes that a protest in America against Iran’s government would have much influence in toppling Iran’s government. It presumes Americans shouldn’t care about the actions of their own government–or at least shouldn’t care any more about their own government’s actions than they do about those of foreign governments. After all, why should Americans protest bad governance and abuses of power in America if they don’t protest about foreign countries?

The question could be asked about anything. Why hasn’t Stephen L. Miller written anything about North Korea’s human rights abuses lately? Why hasn’t he written about democratic backsliding in Poland and Hungary governments?

Hell, Miller was outraged about the IRS reportedly scrutinizing tax exemption applications from Tea Party groups. Even if a conspiracy against the Tea Party existed (and it didn’t–liberal groups applying for tax exempt status were scrutinized, too, according to an audit conducted years later), would it really be as bad as South African leader Jacob Zuma’s hundreds of crimes of corruption?

One can imagine the story framed in Miller’s terms:
So the question must be asked: Where are the conservatives and Tea Partiers in the United States, which gathered en masse to protest a newly inaugurated American president on Tax Day?

Another cliché gaining being pushed on Iran is the typical: “Why isn’t the media covering this story that I read about in the media?” Stephen Miller wrote on December 30:

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Real Women’s March is happening in Turkey

When my friend forwarded me this short article by the BBC, it was touching and pride filled moment; an incredible feminist alliance, standing up in the face of an actual oppression from men, unlike past protests and campaigns that are against futile and unwarranted apparent problems, western women ‘face’ which I wrote about here. Hundreds of brave Turkish women protested on the streets of Istanbul, against the antagonism and violence they face with the dress code that is enforced on them, chanting “We will not obey, be silenced, be afraid. We will win through resistance” after a rise of incidents involving men’s violent conduct towards women wearing more revealing clothing then what is expected of them.

 

I was sure that other feminists, including the intersectional feminists we all know I am so fond of, would be standing with their sisters, using their voice to back them up and unite for women’s right for fairness. Sadly, for the last 3 days I have been checking feminist sites such as The F Word, Feministing, and my all-time favourite, Everyday Feminism, but none had anything written about it. Instead their front pages are congested with articles such as 3 ways men wanting to ‘focus on her pleasure’ during sex can still be sexist, or how to be a feminist porn director. Important subjects no? Real paramount and pressing issues that women around the world are faced with every day.

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Assorted geopolitical thoughts from yours truly

Sorry, I’ve been busy with research and writing. But I took some time for an update on five important developments, which you might have missed. As the world is busy with the disillusioned illiberal democracies, here are some other updates you should be reading about.

  1. India-Iranian geo-strategic convergence. India recently started a naval port in Iran. Details here.
  2. Brexit is turning out to be a geopolitical struggle between EU and UK, which might get nasty.
  3. What does Suez crisis tell us about declining hegemons and rising peer rivals, and how it is similar to South China sea rivalry between US and China? Read here.
  4. The politics of human rights is essentially politics, rhetorically espousing values. Here’s why.
  5. Finally, how threatening is EU Army for UK, US, and Russia and what does International Relations theory tell us? Read here.

The future of nuclear security post-Obama: A report on the final Nuclear Security Summit

Absence of Iran and Russia & the Czech complacence.

Approaching the end of his presidential term, Barack Obama convened leaders from over 50 countries for the final Nuclear Security Summit. The March 31-April 1 Washington gathering marks the end of a high-level diplomatic process with roots stretching back to the 2009 Obama´s Prague Summit speech.  In light of contemporary narratives of terrorists´ willingness to hijack unguarded nuclear materials, or target nuclear sites, a wide participation of all vital players became a sine qua non of securing vulnerable substances. The absence of representatives from Russia and Iran casts doubts on the undertaking´s future success.

As a part of his 2009 Prague speech, President Obama articulated his concerns regarding nuclear proliferation and insufficient security of hitherto acquired materials. His address initiated a series of summits aimed at safeguarding existing nuclear supply, including the minimisation of the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU), participation in international organisations, and prevention and detection of illegal trafficking of materials indispensable for the weapon-creation. Recent stagnation and lack of improvement coupled with the 2016 non-participation of key actors in the endeavour not only highlight the flawed architecture of the process, but also contributed to the loss of momentum and might render the previous achievements futile.

Together administering the vast majority of the total global stock, involvement of Russia is an essence for any significant political breakthrough to be achieved. Its absence has been officially blamed on “shortage of mutual cooperation on agenda”; even though the rationale seems to lie in Russia’s desire to demonstrate the deadlock inevitably resulting from the failure to recognize the country´s rejuvenated position in the world.

Regardless of the genuine reason for Russia’s decision to boycott the summit, it will undoubtedly have repercussions capable of stalling, if not outright undermining the progress. Recent comeback of Russia to the leaders’ club and the use of other than hard-power instruments to manipulate system for own benefit manifests the position the country has asserted, as much as its ability to influence and steer the course of events. Similar empty chair crises had in the past served to teach a lesson of no bright prospects of advancement without the absentee.  While the U.S. administration speaks of the missed opportunity for Russia and slipping further into isolation, Obama must be well aware that chances for considerable change in nuclear security domain wane as his term slowly draws to the close, and Russia´s assistance would have enhanced future outlooks.

As Obama declared preceding the gathering, “…we’ll remain vigilant to ensure that Iran fulfils its commitments.” Not inviting Iran to the summit puts the fervor of commitment to the test.

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EDITOR’S EXCLUSIVE: The Iran US détente is working

On the eve of President Barack Obama’s verbose, long, and overtly rhetorical last annual State of the Union address, which can in my opinion, in right concentration technically be weaponised as it was so boring and devoid of policy that it can kill, Iran did an interesting thing, captured ten US sailors in gunpoint. The details are sketchy, but here it goes. Two riverine fast water craft of the US navy, allegedly broke down, and entered Iranian waters. Iran intercepted them, and arrested the sailors, and brought them to Iranian shores for questioning. Ten sailors, including one woman were then kept in confinement, and then within 24 hours, they were released after a thorough questioning. At no point was anyone ill-treated, or tortured or threatened. In two more days five other Americans including a Washington Post journalist were also released.

The hardliners in both the countries are not happy, especially in US. Given the fact that this is election season is not helping either. Apparently the US is weak, and the Obama administration has given up on strength to control deviant powers and Iran, emboldened by the new nuclear deal is pushing the limits of American resolve. This will only get worse, and other powers would also push US as the perception of America is now a weak country. To sum it up, in short, it is all the fault of the nuclear deal. That’s the ongoing narrative. That’s also very wrong.

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Weekly Reading List: Germany, China, Middle East and South Asia updates

Hello everyone. Not a great start to a year for geopolitics, is it? Not talking about my personal life, although that stands true for both.

Here’re are few posts from my weekly columns.

  1. The Middle East just got more deadly, as the proxy war heats up between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  2. But there’s good news between India and Pakistan, with hints of truce.
  3. China is still on its way to be a giant player of the global order in Asia, whether peacefully or in an adversarial mode, only time will tell.
  4. Finally, horrible week for Germany, and no…I am not talking of the mass sex assault on scores of German women by alleged migrants of Arab and North African origin.

Remember, life goes on. So chin up…hopefully the year will turn out to be better the the first few weeks.

Takeaways from Marco Rubio’s foreign policy speech to Republican Jewish Coalition

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition has been energizing conservatives and was shared frequently on Twitter. In it, the Senator from Florida and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee outlined a hawkish position to bolster what he feels is a waning American influence in the world and support Israel against the boycott campaign. Here are some key takeaways from his speech (which can be viewed in full at his website):

Rubio opposed international campaigns to pressure Israel over its West Bank settlements.

He called the European Union’s product labeling rule, which requires products produced in the West Bank to be labeled as “made in settlements” anti-Semitic.

“The rule applies to no other country – not to Russia, which invaded Georgia and Ukraine, nor China, which occupies Tibet. The EU is singling out only Israel,” Rubio said.

“Discriminatory laws that apply only to Jews are now being written into European law for the first time in more than half a century. I believe we need a president who is not afraid to call this out for what it is: anti-Semitism,” he continued.

He also promised to “defund UN entities that attack Israel or promote anti-Semitism.”

The US did, under President Obama, cut off funding to UNESCO after UNESCO voted to admit Palestine. That was in accordance with laws passed in 1990 and 1994. As such, the US lost its voting rights within UNESCO.

Rubio also promised to oppose the domestic “BDS” (“boycott, divest, and sanction”) campaign within the US.

Rubio would not follow the nuclear deal with Iran.

Rubio reaffirmed his past promises to abandon the nuclear deal the Obama administration and five other nations negotiated with Iran that attempts to stop or limit its nuclear development.

“Let me be loud and clear about how I will begin: I will immediately shred this president’s disastrous deal with Iran. … And those who are now rushing to do business with Iran need to know that upon taking office, I will re-impose the sanctions that President Obama plans to waive over congressional objection,” he said.

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