The real problem of ‘getting to yes’ with Iran

by Gareth Porter

[Obama asked] “Does Iran have the political will and desire to get a deal done?”… The premise of Obama’s remark was that US demands are purely rational and technical in nature…[but] Iran is acting irrationally in refusing to accept that US demand.

Gareth Porter examines and dispels these assumptions.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/real-reason-nuclear-talks-stalemate-297894422

The emergence of ‘Shiaphobia’ and anti-Shia bias in the media

by HR

Groups who claim to be Sunni Muslims, such as ISIS and Al Qaeda are not labelled as Sunni Militants (even though they actually do claim their cause to be sectarian) – so why the double standard in reporting Shia Muslim news stories?

HR draws attention to the negative media reporting regarding Shia Muslims.

http://www.digital-resistance.com/analysis/emergence-shiaphobia-anti-shia-bias-media/

Muslims should be doing more?

A trend following recent terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists is people demanding “moderate Muslims” speak out against the violent acts and “do more” to prevent future attacks. The people making these demands are often members of the public voicing their opinion on social media, but celebrities and media personnel have also made similar remarks.

Although most simply demand “moderate Muslims” speak out against these acts or wonder why they don’t, some go so far as to hold all Muslims responsible for the acts of a few.

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Iran’s nuclear program is not the problem

On 24 November 2014 the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China + Germany) around Iran’s nuclear activities ended in an extension of the interim agreement proposed in 2013. It was hoped by many a permanent agreement could be reached, resulting in the lifting of the sanctions inflicted upon Iran by the US and the reintegration of Iran into global trade and relations. However, even if an agreement can be found at the end of the extended interim agreement, it is unlikely to normalise relations between Iran and the West.

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The Mockingjay of Palestine: “If we burn, you burn with us”

by Ramzy Baroud

“I want to tell the people that if you think for one second [they] will treat us fairly if there’s a cease-fire, you’re deluding yourself. Because you know who they are and what they do.”

Ramzy Baroud draws parallels between the latest Hunger Games movie, Mockinjay, and the occupation of Palestine.

Does [Mockinjay author] Collins know that Katniss, who didn’t choose such a fate, but had to step up in defense of her people, is represented in thousands of men, women, and yes, children of Gaza? Does she know that her stories were already written and enacted by real people, who may never have heard of her franchise and may never live to watch her movies? Does she know that criminal leaders such as President Snow are not something of fantasy, but they actually exist, here today in the persons of Benjamin Netanyahu and countless other Israeli leaders who call for the absolute annihilation of Gazans at a whim?

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/12/08/the-mockingjay-of-palestine-if-we-burn-you-burn-with-us/

Why foreign military intervention usually fails in the 21st century

by Richard Falk

Given the way elites think and militarism is structured into the bloodstream of major states, foreign military intervention is intrinsic to the war system. We must work now as hard to eliminate war as earlier centuries worked to eliminate slavery. Nothing less will suffice to rescue the planet from free fall to disaster.

http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/why-foreign-military-intervention-usually-fails-in-the-21st-century/

Australia’s incremental steps to war

Regardless if it is technically at war or not, Australia is becoming more and more involved in the fight against Islamic State (IS). Keeping in line with the US, the operations of Australian armed forces are gradually being escalated. It is likely the Australian government had considered an extended military role in Iraq as early as August, and was encouraging the US to increase its military involvement there.1 But politicians know the unpopularity of sending Australian troops overseas, so the government adopted an incremental approach to escalation, as if breaking the news to the public gently, with each step further involving Australian armed forces in the conflict. Over the course of two months Australian operations evolved from humanitarian aid drops into airstrike missions and the deployment of SAS Commandos as military advisers. How long before the government commits ground troops to the battle?

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Show 1 footnote

  1. In fact The Australian revealed that even this early the ­Abbott government was considering an extended military role in Iraq and was encouraging the US to increase its military involvement there and possibly in Syria. Morton R & Balogh S 2014, ‘Greens warning on Iraq “mission creep”’, The Australian, 26 August 2014, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/greens-warning-on-iraq-mission-creep/story-e6frg8yo-1227036515694

Personal politics and supporting Palestine

Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal pointed out that Israel arouses a level of condemnation that never seems to apply equally elsewhere.1 I have seen a similar theme on social media: why do many individuals who vocally support Palestine remain silent on other conflicts and tragedies around the world, many of which have a higher mortality rate than the Israel/Palestine conflict? (Examples provided include fighting or persecution in places like Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Nigeria).

The implication of this theme is that Palestinian supporters either perceive the lives of others around the world as less worthy of support, or that the real reason for their support of Palestine is actually a hatred for Israel (with the unspoken accusation of anti-Semitism).

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Show 1 footnote

  1. Stephens B 2014, ‘Palestine and double standards’, Wall Street Journal, 4 Aug 2014, http://online.wsj.com/articles/bret-stephens-palestine-and-double-standards-1407194971