Category Archives: Thoughts

Think before you comment…

Well, I’m back from a trip and there seems to be lots of random comments here under different posts which I honestly can’t read. I’ve glanced at a few and many of them contain nothing but misinformation and misinterpretations as well as some personal attacks.

For instance, one of the most abundant things people say is along the lines of ‘why are you over here if you liked Iran so much.’ Well, I’m not here because I wanted to live in freedom and democracy. I could have just as much personal and social satisfaction in Iran, in addition to the happiness that goes with being around family and in the motherland. I’m here for studies and possibly work. The main problem in Iran is bad economy, corruption and mismanagement, not liberty, democracy and free speech– which you don’t get much of here particularly if you’re originally from the Middle East these days.

So please do some proper research and thinking and avoid personal accusations before enlightening me.

Thank you.


America’s Khamenei

The West, and particularly, the U.S. are extremely loud when it comes to defending their ‘democratic’ systems. Iran’s regime is, in their opinion, the best example of an oppressive, non-democratic system, standing in stark contrast to the ‘democracies’ of the U.S. and allies.

Yet, as time goes by, and thanks particularly to George W. Bush, it is becoming more and more clear that this democracy is little more than illusion. The current president of the United States was elected by a very marginal majority in his both terms, and is constantly being criticized by other popularly-elected wings of the state, as well as the public and intellectuals. Yet, he has shown that his power is almost indefinite and unreachable: he can easily veto any legislation by the Congress and the Senate that he doesn’t like, he is the Commander-in-Chief, and more recently, he has shown that he can reverse a court’s verdict by pardoning one of his servants, Lewis Libby. What’s more, he has several intelligence agencies under his control and can manipulate one with the other; he also gets all the support typically given to the president in times of war, thereby, opening places like Guantanamo Bay and undermining justice and human rights in the name of the war on terror (the so-called “state of exception“).

Makes you wonder what really makes the Supreme Leader of Iran different from the President of the U.S. in terms of the concentration of power, and what distinguishes between the democratic republic of America and the oppressive Islamic Republic of Iran…

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The Jewish Equation

Dude, you may laugh about our futile attempts to have a Jewish state in this hole, but nothing is funnier than the Iranian “democracy”.
We do have a demographic problem, even if the Palestinians will have a state that will be a good neighbor, which i doubt because they want our land. We have a big Arab population in Israel that has full rights, including voting. And they do not feel as they belong here, they want Israel to go away so they can live in Palestine.
The solution of 2 states for 2 peoples doesn’t attract them, they want either one Arab state, or two states, one purely Arab, and the other multinational. It’s not just about territory, listen to what Hammas is saying, they want to destroy Israel to the ground. But I assure you that if they do, or if you do, we can guarantee mutual destruction, if you know what I mean. Better leave us alone and mind your own business, it’s a shame that a great country like Iran, with all its oil and gas, has to threaten small countries just to get some attention and some spare dollars from Russia or US.

The above was a comment by a reader on my previous post. First, let me thank you for leaving the post. There are a few interesting points here:

1. Let’s just not laugh at each other. Iran is not and cannot be a democracy with the status quo and I have eluded to that previously. But it certainly has what it takes to get one, and is closer to getting it than almost any of its neighbors. We did have a democracy in 1953, but the CIA and the MI5 made sure it wouldn’t last more than a year…

2. My understanding is that the Arab citizens in Israel are not treated equally with the Jews at all. I believe that if Israel really wants to get these people to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state, it has to CONVINCE them, not force them into accepting it. You can’t convince Arabs of Israel’s legitimacy by force, but by pleasing them, treating them equally, letting them hold high-ranking political offices. I assure you that the day Israel does that even the need for a two-state solution may disappear. You CAN get Arabs to live under a truly democratic Israel which treats its citizens equally.

3. You said we should mind our own business. I couldn’t agree more! I have said a zillion times in this blog that I think Ahmadinejad is a moron. We have lots of issues ourselves to take care of. Arab-Israeli issues are Arabs’ Israelis’ business. And mind you, this is not America’s or the EU’s business either.

Even though I disagree with much of what the IRI says about Israel. I do agree that there’s a fundamental issue that is always being ignored. The issue being the fact that Palestinians are paying the price for somebody else’s crimes. I understand the kind of scar that WWII left on the Jewish community, but let’s not forget who committed the crimes. Were it the Arab Muslims or European Christians? You want to prove that Jews are not the victims of history? Go after the folks that victimized you, not the ones that had nothing to do with it. You’ve been fighting the wrong enemy since day one, and your scars will not heal until you claim your rights where they were taken away from you.

The Jews have produced the greatest geniuses of man’s history, I wonder why they can’t solve their own simple equation.

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On Islam and Democracy

There has been a never-ending debate about whether or not democracy would be compatible with Islam and vice versa. Many people have expressed their opinion on this. Lately, an Iranian band, Kiosk, have written a song calling religious democracy (i.e. Islamic democracy, in their particular case), “Pizza-ye Ghormeh Sabzi” (a funny and nonsensical mixture of a Western meal, pizza, and a traditional Iranian plate, Ghormeh Sabzi, which is a stew).

Before saying what I really think about the compatibility of Islam and democracy, I would like to distinguish two different contexts in which the two might clash.

The first case is one in which an Islamist party is to function as a political force, and potentially get a popular mandate for governance. The latest events in Turkey, where the moderately-Islamist party AKP was to gain control over the country’s presidency is one such example. Another example would be the election of Hamas in Palestine by popular vote.

In both such cases the process in which these parties were elected was completely democratic. If these parties do not violate the principles of a democratic constitution (which is likely to include some secular principles) their power will be completely legitimate, and their access to political influence would not be a violation of the principles of democracy, but an example where they are being very well-applied. Democracy is a system of government in which the rulers are selected by popular vote. A democratic constitution must allow for any party of any background to have access to power, that includes an Islamist party.

The suggestions by some that Islamist governments are illegitimate and undemocratic is absolute bullcrap and has no relevance whatsoever. A governing body in Turkey or Palestine gets its mandate from the majority Muslim population of those countries and not leaders of the so-called civilized nations of the West or their mouthpieces.

The second case in which democracy and Islam may come into contact is, as is the case in the Islamic Republic of Iran, at the moment where basic laws and regulations of the state are to be defined in the constitution. It is at this level where Islam and democracy are, in my opinion, significantly at odds.

Basically, in a democracy the governing body is elected by popular vote and is to apply the rules defined by the people of a nation as the fundamental terms of their social and political association. In Shari’a, however, the sovereign is the person who has access to God’s orders and is to apply them in society and make sure society functions on the basis of those God-given principles. The person who has such a privilege is called Velayat-e Faqih in Shi’ism. So in this type of government, the society functions not on the basis of social conventions, but how Velayat-e faqih reads, understands, interprets and applies the Almighty’s orders.

How can the sovereign get its mandate at the same time form God and the nation? That is the central dilemma and the topic of the debate. The Islamic Republic’s approach is a system in which Velyat-e Faqih (or the Supreme Leadership) has the ultimate say in all matters, while the nation gets CONSULTED on a large number of, but not all, issues.

A closer look at the constitution of the Islamic Republic would reveal a circularity with Velayat-e Faqih at the center and the people running constantly, and in vain, around the circumference. Here’s how it works:

1. In the Islamic Republic, the legislator is the parliament (or ‘Majlis’) whose members are elected by citizens.

2. Members of the parliament have to be approved by the Guardian Council before the elections on the basis of their loyalty to the Islamic Republic Constitution and Velayat-e Faqih, as well as some personal qualifications (e.g. education, etc.)

3. The member of the Guardian Council are selected directly by Velayat-e Faqih and consist of 6 lawyers and 6 clergymen.

4. The bills passed by the parliament have to be approved by the Gurdian Council on the basis of their agreement with the Constitution and the rule of Velayat-e Faqih.

5. Velayat-e Faqih itself is selected by the Assembly of Experts, composed of clergymen, elected through popular vote.

6. As is the case in the Parliamentary elections as well as municipal etc., the potential candidates for the membership of the Assembly of Experts must be approved by the Guardian Council.

In summary, the source of all laws and regulations in the Islamic Republic is Velayat-e Faqih which is selected by the elected Assembly of Experts. But the candidates for the Assembly of Experts have to be clergymen AND indirectly (through the Guardian Council) approved by Velayat-e Faqih before election. In other words, one Valy-e Faqih (the Supreme Leader, currently Khamenei) selects the next one, despite all the elections.

The Islamic Republic may not be the best example of the concurrence of Islam and democracy, but the tension and circularity evident in its Constitution shows that Islam and democracy may never be a happy couple without serious compromises on the part of one or the other or both.

That said, if the people of Iran where to elect a party to power today under a democratic and non-Islamic system, it would likely be an Islamist (and perhaps ironically socialist) party. And that wold be completely legitimate for a country where Islam is the religion of the vast majority and has run deep in many people’s beliefs and worldview. The secular intellectuals are and have always been out of touch with the masses, giving room to smarter extremists to maneuver.

The possibility of an Islamist party in power, governing on the basis of a democratic and somewhat secular constitution is the only real and sustainable alternative that can be offered to any Islamic nation from Turkey to Iran to Saudi Arabia to Pakistan to Indonesia and so on. Indeed, the AKP has done an excellent job in Turkey and will continue to do so if not suppressed by the secular fascists.

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Europe Going Down America’s Path

One could argue that if Sarkozy ran for presidency in the U.S. right now, he would be lucky to win a single state beyond Texas and Arizona! While Americans are trying hard to get themselves out of the quagmire that Bush and the Neo-Cons dragged them into, the French have elected a man that will prove to be the most right wing (in terms of American politics, not the French system!), the most feared and the most hateful person ever wanting to be the president of France after Jean-Marie Le Pen. Nicolas Sarkozy, if successful in pursuing his plans and winning in the upcoming legislative elections, could turn the French government into a neo-fascist, totalitarian and inefficient state– albeit with some economic improvements at a high cost.

This trend of repeating America’s mistakes after 9/11 and pursuing hardline and aggressive policies on the basis of rash judgments (something the Europeans rightly resisted when America was committed to the cause), are not limited to France. Germany may be going down the same path with Angela Merkel, as well as Britain with the success of the Tories.

[Scotland is a nice exception, though, with the SNP’s outstanding success and its promise to give Her Majesty some well-deserved spanking.]

The question is just why Europe is going down America’s path post-9/11 while America itself is trying hard to get out of the mess. Could it be the incredibly overblown fear of Islamism and terrorism? I think that might be one reason: Immediately after it was announced that Sarkozy had won the elections, one of the most popular comments in BBC’s “Your Reaction” section celebrated Sarkozy’s win as yet another way to “stop the expansion of Islamism in Europe.”

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Why Brit soldiers should exaggerate

There’s a post here by Cyrus F. posing this question at the end:

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman claims these are “staged” statements. But what would the marines lose? Would they face an uncertain period of time apart from their families and loved ones? Would the costs of telling the truth be so high for them that not even one would confirm his or her statements made in Iran? Does the Iranian spokesman really expect the sane people of the free world to believe him instead of 15 free men and women?

It’s a fair question. I do think that the British servicemen/woman who were captured by Iran where under some sort of pressure to make the kind of statements they did, particularly Turney’s 2nd and 3rd letters.

However, I also think that they should and probably did exaggerate their bad treatment by the Iranians. The reason is that criticism of their behavior has been pretty outrageous. Take this article for instance by a British conservative who thinks that the sailors’ confessions questioned, not only the cause of the war on Iraq and the Royal Navy, but the entire British culture.

An American general has gone as far as saying,

Well, they’re idiots, he [the sailor who apologized at length on Iran TV] and the other 14 are, have to be, because there’s no excuse for this kind of behavior.
I can tell you that they wouldn’t take me without firing a shot. I would take as many with me as I possibly could.
They weren’t in captivity more than 28 microseconds before they started … briefing, in front of a big map about where they were, and apologizing, and so on—absolutely despicable behavior, deplorable behavior.
They are going to have—and they should have—a lot to answer for when they finally get home.
They acquitted themselves horribly and dishonorably.

So these sailors and marines, who do need some sort of a future in their military/navy jobs can’t live with the embarrassment of what they did, unless they provide plenty and exaggerated accounts as to why they made such statements. (We all have sort of an idea how merciless the higher-ranks can be in the military environments, and we can see how seriously upset a part of the British public has become with how the Iranians showed the other face of ‘the lion’).

Now, why would these soldiers/marines, who were obviously not physically-tortured or held captive for more than a few days, sell their pride and cooperate to that extent with their captors?

Here’s what I think: they just realized how the ‘brutal enemy’ treated them reasonably well, compared that with how their bosses treat the enemy’s captives and doubted their cause even more than before.

What’s the merit in standing for a cause that has no value, for a bunch of lies, for a group of greedy, power-hungry thieves at the expense of one’s own life and some other poor folks’ future?

This is the question a lot of these soldiers might be asking themselves at one point or another, and that’s why they could never fight like Iranians did against Iraq or the Vietnamese did against the U.S.

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Fake British Boundaries in the Persian Gulf

Craig Murray argues what the british are broadcasting as evidence that their sailors were in Iraqi waters when arrested is most likely false and fake, adding this will only worsen the situation:

A) The Iran/Iraq maritime boundary shown on the British government map does not exist. It has been drawn up by the British Government. Only Iraq and Iran can agree their bilateral boundary, and they never have done this in the Gulf, only inside the Shatt because there it is the land border too. This published boundary is a fake with no legal force.

B) Accepting the British coordinates for the position of both HMS Cornwall and the incident, both were closer to Iranian land than Iraqi land. Go on, print out the map and measure it. Which underlines the point that the British produced border is not a reliable one.

I personally hope Iranians will release these sailors ASAP, but must add that defending one’s territorial integrity is a must, particularly in case of Iran and the Persian Gulf and given the kind of things that have happened before.

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