Aug 11

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 10:49 am Mountain Time

Jeffrey Goldberg, writing the cover story of next month’s Atlantic, newly online today, gives us something new — well, not new, but something newly revived — to #PANIC!!!! about: Israel attacking Iran in the near future. Outlining the scenario that he envisions potentially unfolding, Goldberg writes:

PPM169_atlantic_0910_coverWhen the Israelis begin to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the formerly secret enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center at Esfahan, and possibly even the Bushehr reactor, along with the other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program, a short while after they depart en masse from their bases across Israel—regardless of whether they succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants, or whether they fail miserably to even make a dent in Iran’s nuclear program—they stand a good chance of changing the Middle East forever; of sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full-blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger, by making them targets of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks, as they have been in the past, in a limited though already lethal way; and of accelerating Israel’s conversion from a once-admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper among nations.

Again I say, #PANIC!!!!! Although, Goldberg then adds:

If a strike does succeed in crippling the Iranian nuclear program, however, Israel, in addition to possibly generating some combination of the various catastrophes outlined above, will have removed from its list of existential worries the immediate specter of nuclear-weaponized, theologically driven, eliminationist anti-Semitism; it may derive for itself the secret thanks (though the public condemnation) of the Middle East’s moderate Arab regimes, all of which fear an Iranian bomb with an intensity that in some instances matches Israel’s; and it will have succeeded in countering, in militant fashion, the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, which is, not irrelevantly, a prime goal of the enthusiastic counter-proliferator who currently occupies the White House.

Read the whole thing.

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Dec 27

The Green Revolution enters a new phase

Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 11:17 am Mountain Time

There is some serious unrest happening in Iran right now. Andrew Sullivan is in flood-the-zone mode.

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Aug 05

Gibbs backtracks on “elected leader” comment

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 1:13 pm Mountain Time

Sounds like President Obama gave somebody a tongue-lashing:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Wednesday said he had misspoken in calling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran’s elected leader and that Washington will let the Iranian people decide whether Iran’s election was fair.

“Let me correct a little bit of what I said yesterday. I denoted that Mr. Ahmadinejad was the elected leader of Iran. I would say that’s not for me to pass judgment on,” Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“He’s been inaugurated. That’s a fact. Whether any election was fair, obviously the Iranian people still have questions about that, and we’ll let them decide about that.”

Well, good. That’s what the administration’s position should be. Whether the damage from Gibbs’s misstatement yesterday is already done, I’m not sure, but I’m certainly glad he corrected it.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, there’s this:


P.S. As an aside, the reason Gibbs was speaking from Air Force One is because Obama was in Northern Indiana today — proving once again that the Greater South Bend Area became the center of the political universe just as soon as I left. Argh.

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Jun 24

It sounds like today was a day of horrific violence in Tehran (WARNING: graphic photo on linked page). Excerpt:

An Iranian blogger (whose URL I will not publish) live blogging from Baharestan Square in central Tehran today captures but brief glimpses of the unimaginable horror that took place today. Bus loads of protesters were stopped and unloaded from their buses by “black-clad police” and literally herded. When the massing was sufficient, as the barely controllably distraught Tehran caller to CNN described first hand, hundreds of the regime’s Basij thugs poured out of an adjoining mosque and commenced a massacre with axes, clubs, guns and gas.

(Hat tip: InstaPundit.) Much more from Nico Pitney, including these accounts:

“just in from Baharestan Sq – situation today is terrible – they beat the ppls like animals”

“In Baharestan Sq. in the Police shooting, A girl is shot and the police is not allowing to let them help!”

“In Baharestan we saw militia with axe choping ppl like meat – blood everywhere – like butcher . . . Fighting in Vanak Sq, Tajrish sq, Azadi Sq – now . .”

“I see many ppl with broken arms/legs/heads – blood everywhere – pepper gas like war… ppl run into alleys and militia standing there waiting – from 2 sides they attack ppl in middle of alleys… saw 7/8 militia beating one woman with baton on ground – she had no defense nothing -… so many ppl arrested – young & old – they take ppl away”

That last quote is from @persiankiwi, a protester who has been one of the better sources of real-time information on Twitter. Now it seems she is in trouble, if not arrested or, Allah forbid, dead already. After witnessing and recounting the Baharestan Square massacre, she then proceeded to tweet a final series of updates that sounds a bit like the last entries of the dwarves’ journal in Moria (“drums in the deep … we cannot get out … they are coming”). Except this is real life:

they catch ppl with mobile – so many killed today – so many injured – Allah Akbar – they take one of us

they pull away the dead into trucks – like factory – no human can do this – we beg Allah for save us –

Everybody is under arrest & cant move – Mousavi – Karroubi even rumour Khatami is in house guard

we must go – dont know when we can get internet – they take 1 of us, they will torture and get names – now we must move fast –

thank you ppls 4 supporting Sea of Green – pls remember always our martyrs – Allah Akbar – Allah Akbar – Allah Akbar

Allah – you are the creator of all and all must return to you – Allah Akbar –

That was ten hours ago. Since then, her Twitter feed has fallen silent.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan quotes a contradictory report about what happened at Baharestan Square:

I was there from 5:15 to 7:30. It was very tense. Being out in Baharstan was an act of defiance. No one said anything, there were only a few chants coming from outside the square. Although the police were a lot nicer, the Basij continued to be brutal. No one was allowed to stand in one place, we had to keep on moving. The moment we stood in one place, they would break us up. I saw many people get blindfolded and arrested, however it wasn’t a massacre. I heard that someone was killed, however I didn’t see it.

That’s from a “trusted source” per the National Iranian American Council’s blog. Not sure what to make of it. If the source is correct, are @persiankiwi and the others lying then? Or did different people simply see different things in different parts of the square, and/or at different times?

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Jun 23

Photos from Iran

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 1:05 pm Mountain Time

The Boston Globe‘s always exceptional photoblog, The Big Picture, has a typically fantastic post about the Iranian uprising, titled “A troubled week in Iran,” featuring great photo after great photo of the turmoil, all 990 pixels wide.

This follows on the heels of three previous posts with photos of the election and subsequent protests. Lots of great stuff. Definitely worth checking out.

(Hat tip: Robin Sloan’s excellent Iran Tracker site.)

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