In Netanyahu vs Obama: the winner is likely to be #Palestine

29 Oct A youth holds-up a big Palestinian flag during a protest against the controversial separation wall in Ramallah

Make no mistake, after the US midterm elections, Netanyahu is going to take the gloves off. He is going to try to make life hell for Obama in any way he can in order to settle scores with him.

One area where Netanyahu is likely to try to make life difficult for Obama is Iran. If there is a deal between Iran and the P5+1, Netanyahu is likely to try to encourage the Congress to vote against the lifting of the sanctions. Or to slow down the implementation of America’s commitment, in any way possible, so that Obama looks like a lame duck.

And this is where the Palestinians enter the picture and are likely to be the biggest winner.

First scenario: Obama tries to settle scores with Netanyahu by not vetoing a very harsh resolution against Israeli settlements at the UNSC. Likely winner = Palestine as such a resolution is going to make it easier to isolate Israel and impose sanctions against the settlements in the international community.

Second scenario: AIPAC finds itself being pushed by both sides (Obama and Netanyahu), so it decides not to get involved or to reduce its involvement in such a scenario. Likely winner = Palestine. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the less AIPAC is involved in anything to do with Israel, the better.

Whatever you think of AIPAC, it is an American organization. Despite its excellent relations with Israeli governments, its unlikely that it would want to be seen as standing against the President of the US in a long drawn out battle with the Prime Minister of Israel.  Such fights are the stuff of nightmares for AIPAC as its main goal is to strengthen relations between Israel and US governments. Publicly taking sides in a fight between the leaders of the two countries would be the last thing it wants.

Third scenario (and the less likely one): Obama does not VETO UNSC resolution which recognizes Palestine. Winner = Palestine.

Whatever happens, one of the aforementioned scenarios is likely to be realized and no matter which one is realized, Palestine is likely to be the winner.

Was today your birthday? then lucky you as you share it with..

28 Oct ahmadinejad

none other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself.

Oh yes, 28th of October is the day when the village of Aradan in Iran’s Semnan province first heard the patter of tiny feet in 1956.  ahmadinejad

And since then, those very same feet have destroyed many things inside Iran.

But, you can’t say Ahmadinejad is not a man of miracles. How can you not believe in miracles when according to the Iranian regime in 2009 he won the presidential elections with votes cast for him in the state of Israel itself. Oh yes, those non-existent ballot boxes in Jerusalem were full of Ahmadinejad votes, thus allowing him to win his non-existent “people’s” victory.

But don’t be sad because you share a birthday with the man . There are people worse off than you. Feel bad for me. I spent so much time researching his life for his biography which I coauthored in 2007 that on couple of occasions I dreamed that I was speaking with him. I distinctly remember that in one dream I was asking him why in 2005 he said he father had died in 1993 when in fact he was alive. His father died in 2006 and not 1993. I can tell you one thing about that experience: at least I will never suffer from narcolepsy.

And we are not the only lucky ones. Today, on his 58th birthday the people of Iran received a brand new newspaper called HOMA (Havadaran-e Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) or supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. You can say what you want about the sanctions, from now on with this newspaper no one can complain about the lack of medication for insomnia in Iran.

So to all you birthday boys and birthday gals today, if you can’t beat the Mach-mood (Mahmoud in an Israeli accent) then join him. Put your dancing shoes on and start dancing to this funky video, made in honor of the man who put the MAD in AhMADinjead. Oh yeah…

 

What about human rights abuses by so called “Catholic” organizations?

27 Oct

Being an Iranian – Israeli and living in the Middle East, I am used to hearing stories about religious figures and institutions abusing the poor and the destitute in the name of religion.

However we must not lose sight of abuses by other so called religious groups.

I would be lying if I told you that I did not have to use all my might to fight back the tears when listening to the podcast below.

In it, you will hear about slave camps run by Catholic organizations in Ireland, until as late as the 1990s. About how women were raped by priests in some cases and forced to endure some of the worst working conditions while getting no pay. How their children were taken away from them.

And whats worst is that the Irish government does not seem to be pursuing the perpetrators in a serious manner.

You can to listen to the podcast “Ireland’s Forced Labour Survivors”. Its the second podcast below.

The Middle East does have its share of fanatics, but it does not have monopoly over abuse of power by so called religious organizations.

 

#Israel Defense Minister’s inadvertent gift to #Hamas, #Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad

26 Oct mashaal-6_300_0

Imagine this scenario: a room full of planners from Israel’s chief adversaries, all trying to come up with ways to hurt Israel.

“How can we drag the name of Israel through dirt?” says the official representative from Hezbollah.

“And at the same time, get Israel to do something of its own volition that would make it look like a racist, apartheid state without us having to lift a finger”, adds the official from Islamic Jihad.

“And while we are at it, get some credibility from inside Israel for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign which we want the world to impose against Israel”, says the official Hamas while getting excited.

“To do all this with one move? Too ambitious. We just couldn’t”, would probably be the consensus.

This may sound difficult, but today’s decision by Israel’s Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon just did the job for Israel’s enemies. A master stroke. How else can you explain hitting  three targets with one shot?

By deciding to create segregation in the West Bank by disallowing Palestinians from travelling on buses which Israeli citizens use, as Israel’s Defense Minister has just decided to.

You may say: “he did this for security reasons”.

No he did not. According to the front page of Haaretz (see below), his move is in fact in direct contrast to the position of the Israel Defense Forces which does not see a risk from shared buses which Palestinian and Israeli persons travel on.

With this new policy, Moshe Yaalon seems to be trying to win votes with minority settlement citizens. However he has also inadvertently delivered a massive own goal against Israel, much to the probable ecstatic delight of its enemies.

haaretz_photo

 

Video: Ruling #Iran – The Life of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei

21 Oct Ali_Khamenei_(cropped).jpeg

To date, most of what we know about the life of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei comes from Iran’s state media. As useful as it may be, we have to remember that the media in Iran is heavily censored.

As the most powerful man in Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei’s background and experiences are important for Iran watchers around the world. After all, it is our experiences which make us who we are today.

The BBC documentary below is one of the few investigative programs which has been made about the life of Ayatollah Khamenei.

In it, members of his family (who now live abroad), his former cell mate and other figures who have met him are interviewed.

This documentary was made in 2011. In my opinion, it is by far one of the most informative documentaries made about the life of the man who has the last word regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

 

شرکت در برنامه صفحه ٢ بی بی سی فارسی:امکان تشکیل کشورمستقل فلسطین

20 Oct 081218page_2_titles_512
چند روز پیش در برنامه صفحه ٢ آخر هفته بی بی سی فارسی شرکت کردم.
در این برنامه, همراه با مهراد واعظی نژاد کارشناس مسائل خاورمیانه و داریوش محمد پور، نویسنده و پژوهشگر علوم سیاسی در مورد به رسمیت شناخته شدن کشور مستقل فلسطین در مجلس عوام بریتانیا و عواقب ان گفتگو کردیم.
سوال دیگری که مطرح شد این بود که “چرا با این که تاکنون، بیش از ۱۳۰ کشور جهان، فلسطین را به عنوان یک کشور مستقل به رسمیت شناخته اند؛ هنوز خبری از وجود کشور فلسطین نیست؟”

Documentary: prostitution in #Iran

19 Oct iran prostitutes

The news about the recent acid attacks against a number of women in my ancestral city of Esfahan in Iran came as a shock, mainly because of its severity.

The regime does crackdown against women. There are arrests and some are even imprisoned. But this kind of violent attack by unknown assailants is foreign to many Iranians. Mention acid attacks against women and most Iranians are likely to tell you that this is far more likely to happen in other countries where extremism is more prevalent among the population. One reason why you are likely to hear such a response is because it is believed that the women were “targeted for not being properly veiled”.

This recent attack should start ringing alarm bells. Whether the government will crackdown hard against such extremism against women is unclear. One member of the Iranian parliament has pointed to Israel as well as other foreign countries as being behind these attacks!!

These attacks are not the only sign which show how life for women in Iran has gotten worst after the 1979 revolution. There are several government imposed discriminations against them, in society and at the work place. This is despite the fact that women form the majority of University graduates in Iran.

Iranian women also suffer because of poverty, much like the rest of society. But because there are fewer opportunities available to them, over the years increasing number have been forced into prostitution. This includes married women, and young girls.

The short documentary below which was made in Iran discusses this phenomenon and interviews a number of prostitutes. They discuss why they chose this profession and what life in Iran is like for women, especially those who do not belong to the upper class.

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