Failed by the Fourth Estate

In a recent op-ed entitled "Blunders to Remember" David Ignatius of the Washington Post apologized for his shortcomings in "being wrong on the overriding question of whether the [Iraq] war made sense." The op-ed’s recognition of the media frenzy that accompanied the invasion and occupation of Iraq reminded me once again of just how the … Continue reading “Failed by the Fourth Estate”

The Long History of Lies about Iran

There was a flood of articles and analyses on the tenth anniversary of invasion of Iraq on March 19, most of which focused on the lies, exaggerations, and half-truths that the War Party told the American people and the world in the run up to the war. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Afghanistan, … Continue reading “The Long History of Lies about Iran”

P5+1 Coalition Fraying on Eve of Second Almaty Talks with Iran

On the eve of its second round of talks with Iran on curbing its nuclear programme in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the so-called P5+1 (U.S., Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany) is showing signs of growing disunity, according to the European Union’s former top foreign policy official. Speaking at a forum at the Brookings Institution here, … Continue reading “P5+1 Coalition Fraying on Eve of Second Almaty Talks with Iran”

Obama at the Edge of a Cliff in Middle East

With Syria and Iran, President Barack Obama faces getting mired in two wars that could set the entire Middle East aflame, and perhaps the rest of the Islamic world, too. Such an outcome would be in part due to Mr. Obama’s Middle Eastern policy, and the willingness of the current United States Congress to support … Continue reading “Obama at the Edge of a Cliff in Middle East”

United States Plays Into the Hands of Despotic Dictators

Recent events surrounding North Korea and Iran and past U.S. pressure on autocratic rulers indicate that trying to isolate such despots is exactly what they want. So why does the U.S. government continue to blunder into these failed policies? The answer is that human nature takes over. If a brutal, authoritarian ruler, such as Kim … Continue reading “United States Plays Into the Hands of Despotic Dictators”

The Syrian Back Door to War With Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry has long urged increased US support for Syria’s Islamist rebels, and now he has his wish: shortly after being confirmed, he announced the US would now directly aid rebel groups, rather than "indirectly," as we’ve supposedly been doing. Not only that, but the definition of "non-lethal" aid is being stretched … Continue reading “The Syrian Back Door to War With Iran”

Former Hostages Call for Broadened Dialogue with Iran

On the eve of resumed talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) in Almaty, Kazakhstan over its nuclear program, two former hostages of the U.S. embassy takeover in Tehran argued that the aura of mistrust that has dogged relations for decades must be addressed. “The ghosts of 1979 … Continue reading “Former Hostages Call for Broadened Dialogue with Iran”

The Talented Mr. Takeyh

If there’s one thing mainstream "Iran experts" hate, it’s well-credentialed, experienced analysts who dare challenge Beltway orthodoxies, buck conventional wisdom and demythologize the banal, bromidic and Manichean foreign policy narrative of the United States government and its obedient media. Such perspectives are shunned by "serious" scholars who play by the rules they and their former … Continue reading “The Talented Mr. Takeyh”

Iran’s Nuclear Politics

The good news is that, after many weeks of stalling and delays, negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program are scheduled to begin on Feb 26, in Astana, Kazakhstan. The bad news is that we have no good reason to be at all optimistic about the prospect of a breakthrough. The … Continue reading “Iran’s Nuclear Politics”

Devil Is in the Details for Iran Nuclear Deal

After a year of fruitless negotiations that are expected to resume soon, Iranian and U.S. experts are urging both sides to show more flexibility and make more concessions on its nuclear programme. A letter written this month by seven former Iranian parliamentarians now living in exile urges Iran and the P5+1 – the U.S., Russia, … Continue reading “Devil Is in the Details for Iran Nuclear Deal”