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In the Name of God بسم الله


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Mohamed1993 last won the day on March 14 2018

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  1. Like I say, let's wait and see where this leaves Iran in the long-run. We can discuss this and go back and forth, the events on the ground speak for themselves.
  2. To me this issue of Hijab has become tangential. We have state media saying that she was not beaten and died of a heart-attack supposedly, but then the family, specifically the girl's father denying that and also denying that she had previous brain surgery. So I wouldn't trust the credibility of what the Iranian authorities, it's not as though they haven't lied before (remember the Ukrainian airliner incident where for 2 days they kept up a lie till they couldn't sustain it and had to be honest with their own people). But there is a bigger problem and it's one of lack of accountability. Even if one is to say definitively that this woman was not beaten, the conduct of security forces going around with batons and beating women with it who pose no threat to them is pretty clear. We've seen footage of Iranian security forces using ambulances to move their security forces to crack down so they won't be detected (which is a massive violation of any int'l protocol). So to those who basically argue that Mahsa herself wasn't beaten, there is still a lot here that cannot be justified. What kind of Islam are you hoping to promote where women are beaten if they don't obey wearing a cloth on their head? Since when did hijab become something the state has to enforce? What's next? The state enforcing the notion that everyone prays? That everyone fasts? That everyone gives charity? That everyone practices the appropriate amount of Amr bil Ma'ruf and Nahi an il Munkar? For those who claim that this is different because it goes on in public, well what about the many practices that happen inside Iran that's common knowledge that are quite contrary to the principles of Islam. When you have women that sell themselves just to make ends meet because of the economic situation in Iran, no one discusses how that in itself is problematic from an Islamic perspective. And to those who justify that that is because of sanctions, firstly that ignores internal economic corruption. Secondly, the government knows the consequences of choosing certain policies and if it claims that guarding the dignity of women is so fundamental then what about the dilemmas that women face that tarnish their dignity because of the policy course the government has chosen knowing full well the consequences? You can't justify a practice based on a certain worldview and then not be consistent in how you apply this worldview. Islam requires hijab, but it seems like there's this human imposed hierarchy of sin at play here. If women don't cover their hair, that's seen as a big sin that the state has to correct. But when you have state authorities that lie (as they did with the Ukrainian airliner), go around beating people up without cause, shooting at protesters, putting clerics on house arrest just because they don't agree with Khamenei there's no accountability there, even though if you take an islamic worldview in its entirety these should be dealt with too. When Montazeri criticized some of the state's policies around the executions in the late 80's, the constitution was changed and he was marked as an agent that was no longer fit to succeed Ayatollah Khomeini. Even today we see remarks by the revolutionary guard corps that tarnish the protesters as agents of the west and Israel, despite there being no attempt to provide evidence linking every single one of these protests to that. None of this would be considered "just" if we actually cared about applying Islamic principles consistently. But it seems like we've fully embraced this idea of selectively applying Islam as and when we think something legitimates it given our subjective criteria of how we rank various sins. All of this is besides the point anyway. Those who will defend the government no matter what will continue to do so, because they are convinced of its righteousness no matter what. However, as this continues the opposition will become more and more violent. Mosques and the Hijab are already being burnt. As calls for reform are ignored and protests continually painted as having no agency of their own and being influenced by the west, the reaction will become more and more violent. The reaction will not be limited to just the current government but against every symbol of Shiism. When that day comes, a lot of people will be in denial, but at least they won't be able to say they weren't warned.
  3. The people who seem to have a problem with moral indecency among liberals don't seem to have a problem with the fact that the former Republican president had an affair with a porn star and bragged about grabbing women by their privates. I don't identify with either political segment here in the US, but the alternatives to the Democrats (who are actually more center than far-left at least economically) are what you get with the Republican party, hypocrisy, more militarism and empty slogans. One can complain all they want about the liberals but let's look at how they act shall we? Also on the abortions issue, I'm also pretty pro-life (with few exceptions where the health of the mother or the foetus may be at risk), but why do these people's concerns for the well-being of the child end the moment the mother gives birth? I mean the US is the only developed country in the world and one of the few countries overall to not guarantee any kind of mandated maternity leave and these people don't seem to have a problem with that no matter how much it impacts the child's development in his/her early stages. It's true that a lot of muslims seem to have a problem with LGBT activism and I can certainly see extremes in some rallies but the point here is in a secular state infringing on their liberties could also come at a cost of challenging your own. If theoretically Christians come in and argue that LGBT folk shouldn't be tolerated, there is no argument you can make to then say but they must tolerate institutions that reject their version of God. It's a slippery slope and can lead to a lot of downstream effects people don't consider. Personally I'm a bit disillusioned with the kind of political systems we have today. One centralized authority to govern 300+ million people all with very different interests, values and ethical norms is just a recipe for hyper-factionalism and division, the kind that can have very detrimental consequences down the line if one is not careful. There is a strand within conservatism (although completely alien to what passes for "conservative" today) that emphasizes localism, smaller communities, a teleologically centered ethical framework that takes into account good aspects of tradition that we have sadly lost with the onset of modernity, hyper-individualism and what that has meant for not only how we interact with one another, but our ties to nature as well. A lot of arguments made by proponents of this view initially sound like leftists but they're not communists, in fact they believe in private property but they are opposed to some of the forces of modernity that they have argued have in many ways had a corrosive impact on human values. They propose the cultivation of organic, robust communities to resist these forces. Formerly their complaint was against industrialization but I guess you can make the same claim for how technology also seems to be doing the same thing.
  4. If you know your country's leaders are responsible for egregious violations of international law and have committed unspeakable atrocities why would you put yourself in a position in which you surrender your ethical and moral decision making to those very leaders. Yes, those leaders are elected but by a population who couldn't care less which person from a country they can barely point to on a map was killed in a drone or airstrike or a raid.
  5. People's rationality goes out the window when discussing these issues, and they resort to all kinds of nonsensical claims. I will say there are a few problems with these strikes; (1) The US has authorizations that allow it to go after the perpetrators of 9/11, the 2001 AUMF and 2002 AUMF, but while lawmakers have stressed this includes ISIS now since it is linked to Al Qaeda, I think it is stretched. Nonetheless there's little legitimacy in these authorizations for targeting Shia militias. (2) The other case when you can use force is to fight off an imminent attack or to stop an ongoing attack. This is what qualifies as defense. The administration has tried to paint these attacks as defensive. But these attacks are reprisal attacks, which aren't technically legal. Under international law, article 51 legitimizes the right to self-defense, but that's if the homeland is attacked and an effort is made to seek a UNSC resolution. None of those apply here. Then there's article 2 of the constitution, but again the word defense is grossly stretched to mean reprisals whenever US troops or contractors are killed. (3) The final point is the strategic value of these attacks. The administration said it was trying to deter Iran from future attacks and prevent them acting with impunity, but we've seen that hasn't worked given the rocket attacks yesterday again. I think we have to go back to how these attacks started, and there is debate over the direct involvement of Iran in these attacks, but Iran however much influence it holds over these groups to be able to stop these attacks has no incentive to do so at this point. Trump's decision to pull out of the JCPOA in 2018, and impose crushing economic sanctions are seen as an economic war against Iran by the Iranians so they have no incentives to use whatever influence they hold to stop these attacks and in fact they are likely to encourage more and more of them. We've seen with the surging attacks on Saudi Arabia, the attacks on Israeli shipping Iran is upping the ante to gain leverage for future talks. Biden acknowledged this much in the wake of the Soleimani strike last year, but for some reason Biden's policy on Iran is going haywire. He says he wants to go back to the deal but only if Iran rejoins this. Iran thinks rightly in my view since the US pulled out the onus is on the US to come back into compliance before Iran reverses its violations, which were a response to the US pulling out. Today, the IAEA was supposed to pass a resolution to censure Iran over its violations of the nuclear safeguards agreement, which Iran saw as very provocative since it is void of context with regards to how we got here. Luckily, the IAEA did not pass anything, the resolution was tabled, and hopefully that can give us the space to return to the table and talk about sequencing of Iran returning to its commitments and the US lifting the sanctions. The current impasse between the US and Iran is not sustainable without massive escalation in the region. Cooler heads that champion diplomacy need to prevail. The Republicans are promising to be as difficult as possible though, so Biden will need to risk some political capital if he wants to return to the deal. But the price of not doing so could land us into a hot war that no one wants.
  6. They've gone from Al Qaeda to now talking about great power competition with Russia and China, but seems like their solution is to deploy military assets to the South China Sea and to continue expanding NATO. The US needs an Africa strategy that China clearly has beyond just viewing it through a counterterrorism and economic aid lens. China is really gaining on that front and I haven't seen one policymaker discuss this, it's always about greater militarization which is just not how China works.
  7. (1) the Europeans proved themselves to be completely inept and a total vassal state of the US, so it's pretty rich for them to demand Iran make positive steps when it is them that failed to deliver any benefits to Iran and remember the maximum pressure sanctions are still on. So, now that they have a sympathetic administration on NATO and the value of European alliances, they are trying to be relevant in a way that's comfortable for them, scream louder and louder about Iran's actions to show America you are loyal so you get more favours in terms of NATO support. (2) Same as above (3) Yeah, I think so long as Iran can keep China on its side while it continues to renege on its commitments as it sees no sanctions relief, this will continue. I believe the Iranians are thinking that the west is probably not reliable anymore given that they can just pull out of agreements and impose sanctions whenever they like, so they will move east. That said, it's not good for Iran's independence in the long-term to be so reliant on China. It defies the neither east or west pillar of the revolution. (4) These are good steps but they are not enough. Iranians have been very clear on sanctions relief being the bottom line. I'm not sure if they will attend the meeting, their current position is they are consulting among themselves, as well as talking to China and Russia, so we will see. If they do meet, they have said it should be members of the P4+1 with the US as an observer, as it is their view that the US has left the deal, Iran has reneged on its commitments, but it is still a party to the deal since its actions were in response to a US pullout, which article 36 of the JCPOA permits. (5) So far, they've only offered to meet, and done a few signaling moves, but there's no movement on the sanctions at all. (6) Yes, this is precisely what I say in (4). Iran will continue with its suspension of the additional protocol on February 23rd because they've not seen sanctions relief and so far the moves are symbolic. I think the Biden administration has a number of different voices, his Iran envoy, Rob Malley and few others favour a clean return to the JCPOA, but there are more hawkish voices in the administration that are basically keen on adopting Trump's policy, like Brett McGurk and Jake Sullivan, they want the sanctions to stay in place unless Iran not only returns to its commitments but also negotiates a longer deal and missiles, in which case you may as well kiss the deal goodbye. There are others who seem to want a JCPOA - type of deal, where Iran would halt some of the things its doing outside of its commitments and the US would provide limited sanctions relief. This step would help the US to box in Iran's nuclear program, but would prevent the Biden administration from having to take important steps like lifting terrorism sanctions on the Iranian CB, the state owned Iranian oil company, etc. which Trump imposed as a means to impose political cost on the next admin. It seems to me like the administration is too worried about Republicans in congress as well hawkish dems like Menendez in the senate. But if it keeps moving slowly on this, it will be too late eventually, because I don't see Iran after having survived Trump's maximum pressure moving to accommodate the US' demands, they will probably continue moving East and think the West is a lost cause. The only thing is with this approach, the Israelis might strike militarily and then we could have a regional war. Iran's tame response to Soleimani's assassination and its non-response to Fakhrizadeh has exposed it as weak and I think some voices probably think that even if they strike, in an attempt to avoid war, which they are wary of they will probably not respond in a way that is escalatory. But this is risky because at some point they may think they have no choice given that they will probably invite more attacks if they do so. Also, if Iran is attacked, it almost certainly would move its program further and further underground to where airstrikes couldn't damage it and then probably go for a bomb. So, this is a risky move, but I have no doubt some voices in the Biden admin think Trump's approach to Iran exposed Iran's weaknesses and think its worth going along with it or at least using the sanctions as leverage to get more concessions out of Iran.
  8. You're right. And this may just be the way our world works, that you can't oppose every government's crimes especially as a country that's vulnerable to pressure from the outside, and you need some partners to hedge against the actions of your arch enemies. But to me it seems like if this is the stance, the rhetoric about opposing oppression turns out to be hollow and the Iranian government is better off looking after the needs of its own people who really are suffering under the weight of the sanctions imposed on them. If it's taking being silent about the atrocities of the Chinese state to feed your people, you're better off dropping the rhetoric of "resistance" altogether, stop arming groups like Hamas/Hezbollah and allow your own people to prosper.
  9. It was not an occupation earlier? It was the most highly militarized zone on the face of the earth, with some of the worst human rights abuses committed by the Indian military documented by the same organizations that have documented Israeli atrocities against Palestinians. https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/INDIA935.PDF. This document was from back in the 1990's. The status of Kashmir needs to be decided by a referendum that will never be held because both India and Pakistan do not want to let this territory go. The Pakistanis hold that the accession was not legitimate because Singh had lost control of some parts of the territory, while India argues that the instrument of accession, which notably does highlight the need for a referendum once all foreign forces withdraw (which would include India, the invitation by Singh would not legitimize this presence because he was not a leader that was elected, rather he was a monarch whose legitimacy was obviously questionable given that he was facing protests in some parts of the territory had lost territory even before the Pakistanis came in). And to hold onto an instrument from 1947 to legitimize the atrocities highlighted in the document I linked is ridiculous. Um, your initial argument was they back Hezbollah and now they normalize ties, you never mentioned they would normalize ties under certain conditions, so now you're changing your argument? So you concede it is possible for them to have backed Hezbollah and then still want to normalize ties on certain conditions? Yeah, one after 2003 post Iraq invasion, which included Iran demilitarizing Hezbollah and turning it into a political organization, and accepted the two-state peace process on Israel/Palestine in line with Arab initiative from 2002. This would be in exchange for full sanctions relief and a security guarantee that the US would not ever try to overthrow Iran's government. The US denied it then, because the Bush administration at the height of his arrogance thought they could just militarily win in Iraq and head to Iran. That failed. But today, if Iran made that same proposal under a Biden admin, the US/EU would take it. Not because they are interested in accepting Iran's government, but because they see China as the threat of the century, not Iran, which is a regional power but not a global one. On PLO/Hamas, you're not wrong, but that still doesn't mean Iran should be pouring its resources into the conflict. It was willing to make a massive bargain in 2003 and drop military support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah in exchange for restoration of full relations, so there are at least some elements of the leadership that have obviously contemplated this before. No reason they shouldn't now.
  10. Yes, interests change, you should really familiarize yourself with how geopolitics actually work; https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201008-syrias-assad-agrees-to-normalise-relations-with-israel-if-conditions-are-met/ Maybe you should read your own articles, it says Iran issued a "rare" criticism of Kashmir and that in the past it has sought to not antagonize India because it needed to balance its relationships with Pakistan. They issued this after 370 was revoked, but Indian forces have been occupying and terrorizing Kashmiris for far longer when Tehran's criticisms have remain muted. You saw one video of someone who you saw working for the CIA and used that as basis to conclude that the Uyghur thing isn't real or is exaggerated, and when I showed you a UN report, you dismissed it out of hand after inaccurately claiming the UN has not condemned China in a way it has condemned Israel. It isn't true. I mean your argument is like saying if one person who isn't credible says something on a particular issue, that particular issue is doubtful itself. There are numerous people beyond that woman that have reported on the Chinese states' atrocities in Xinjiang. You do not care to learn about them, because you;ve found one non-credible person and want to run with it. My solution is Iran should re-evaluate its interests, because its quite clear its foreign policy is not and never has been driven by any semblance of morality. It doesn't take the same moral position in other arenas, it doesn't take a moral position in its support for regimes that suppress their own people in the Middle East, it in fact supports those regimes. It's funny you talk of courage and all that, but Iran has no courage to go tell the Uyghurs or the Kashmiris that they are severing all ties with the governments oppressing them and arming them. It doesn't do that because it has a clear-eyed view of what its interests are and what they aren't. It isn't about moral courage, get that out of your head. So, given this it should evaluate whether this moral posturing, which is just posturing is actually doing it any good. It's annoying you because you can't explain the inconsistency of the government in Iran. I mean even the US harps on and on about its values, and supporting the aspirations of the people in Hong Kong and Tibet, and yet supports the oppression against Palestinians. Why? Because ultimately it is in their interests to show support for one and not another. It wants to weaken China. Iran wants to champion a regional order in which it delegitimizes governments that are allied with Washington and since it faces serious limitations in terms of its Persian and Shia identity, it uses the Palestinian cause to weaken the legitimacy of the region's governments and thus, Washington's influence. The actual concern for the people in Gaza is not what drives their policies. Otherwise, they would support the oppressed everywhere and they don't. This is my final post too.
  11. Yes, I watched the Uyghur interview, but you cite a video of one person and dismiss an entire report which doesn't conform to your worldview. Iran's ties with India are only weakened because the US put sanctions on countries trading with Iran, and India backed away because they needed the US more to confront their bigger adversaries i.e. China. Back when Hafez al Assad died, he was close to normalizing ties with Israel, it fell apart and Syria has repeatedly said it will normalize ties if Israel gives back the Golan. Israel is in a much stronger position now though and Syria is battered by civil war and is hardly much of a country and goodluck getting anyone to rebuild it while Assad is still in power. Well, it just shows you states align with people who fulfill their interests, oppression or the nature of the state is irrelevant. Arab states, or at least their dictators made that calculation. You have no argument to show why Israel's atrocities are worse than those of Indians in Kashmir or of Chinese against Uyghurs or of Russians against Chechnyans.
  12. On the contrary, when I supplied a report, you dismissed it and called the opinion of one person who is a hypocrite to substantiate that the entire thing was a fabrication. Yeah, they are out of Lebanon now except the Sheba Farms, which is Lebanese territory, if the Israelis give that up the way they gave up Sinai to Egypt in exchange for a security guarantee, they are no longer occupiers of those lands. They will remain occupiers of Palestine, but as I said Iran has no problem selling oil to India and helping the state that oppresses the Kashmiris it occupies. So why the focus on Israel? Is Iran severing ties to India? Is it stopping the sale of its oil to a state that occupeis and oppresses muslims internally and in Kashmir? They can hang onto their arms but why does Iran arm them? If the case is Iran is arming them because it's interested in fighting against oppression, then where are the arms for the Kashmiris? Why specifically Israel? You keep saying it's an illegal entity, but then you fail to provide a reason why its illegitimate in a way many states that conquered territory through force aren't that Iran trades with and has normalized ties with.
  13. After the camp David Accords were signed in 1978, the Israelis did not invade Egypt and reconquer the Sinai Peninsula they had lost in 1973. Israel isn't interested in giving up the west bank, but Iran does not have any influence there. But as far as Lebanon and Syria goes, based on the camp david accords with Egypt, it's not unfathomable that Israel would let Shebaa farms and golan heights go the same way they did Egypt in exchange for security guarantees. The Kashmiris are resisting occupation too, is Iran doing the same things to support them as it is doing in Gaza or Lebanon? The treatment of Uyghurs has in fact been documented over and over again by organizations that have frequently criticized Israel's occupation. https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/11/14/unprecedented-un-critique-chinas-xinjiang-policies#. The claims are not yet substantiated while they're substantiated by the same rights organizations that criticize Israel's occupation. So are we picking and choosing now on what is and is not convenient? Why is the Chinese state a legal entity btw? A lot of its territory was conquered through conquest and unjust means. So why is the modern day Chinese state, far larger than what China existed in its initial state legitimate? Btw, you cite Professor Finkelstein, who I admire a great deal, but his position is not that Israel is an illegal entity in itself, it is that Israel is illegally occupying territory that does not belong to it by international law, which is the only framework we have at this point to evaluate what is and isn't legal. https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2012/2/28/finkelstein-bds-and-the-destruction-of-israel/. https://vimeo.com/36854424. You seem to harp on and on about the fact that Israel is an illegal entity, but a lot of states throughout history have been established through force and injustice, if we want to overturn the decision in 1948 then who is to stop other people from saying we don't recognize x state's control over us because they carried out this injustice a couple of centuries ago? Where does one draw the line? What we do have is a framework for addressing these issues, and defining what is and is not legal based on the world that exists. You want a different world, that's fine, but that involves a lot more than just Israel's existence and it's not the world we live in.
  14. The way in which Israel may have been established is deeply unjust, but the fact remains that is considered a state by the authority that legitimizes states, i.e. the UN, which recognizes Israel in its pre-1967 borders, but does not recognize its illegal occupation of the west bank, gaza and the golan heights. I mean if you want to argue beyond that as to whether the foundations of the state makes the existence illegal, then we have to start digging up why we consider any state legitimate. The US conquered lands through expansion for example, does that mean the US is now an illegal entity? Should white people in America that have lived here since the 18th century go back and hand the land back to Natives? Wouldn't that be the equivalent of Israelis saying we lived here thousands of years ago and that gives us a right to Judea and Samaria. History is filled with conquests and illegitimate acquisitions of land and territory, the framework that we are operating within is the framework that was established after WW2, which grants statehood and distinguishes between what is a state and what is not a state. I'm not arguing for normalization with Israel, I'm simply arguing about the benefits of arming groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, which are in no way shape or form a legitimate threat to Israel's existence as a state. They do not possess the capability of destroying Israel without Lebanon and Gaza getting wiped out in response. The Iranian leadership knows this much, but it tries to support these groups as a means of gathering leverage to respond to attacks against it by the US or Israel or any of the gulf states as a power that's militarily at least conventionally weaker than the US. This is part of its assymetric warfare doctrine, and it's a strategy weaker powers often adopt. Iran doesn't take the same uncompromising approach toward China that it does Israel. It doesn't arm the Uyghurs, in fact by trading with the Chinese state and refusing to condemn its atrocities against the Uyghurs it is in effect giving legitimacy to the Chinese state's atrocities. Tell me if Iran traded with Israel for example, would you say it is not legitimizing it and that it is simply just compromising with it? I mean I think you're trying to find excuses to defend what is clearly an unjustifiable position. Is a simple condemnation too difficult?
  15. I think Arab publics are moving on, maybe Bahrain is an exception, but I doubt the younger generation of Saudis and Emiratis really care about anything else other than their ability to live nice lives. It is not perhaps the ethical position to hold but its reality. Not sure what makes Israel's enemies, God, when the Chinese communist party is literally putting up signs in mosques advocating complete loyalty and devotion to XiJin Ping and the communist party, which at its essence is anti-theist in its ideology. Iran may not have other alternatives other than China at this point, but it's not inaccurate to argue that they are making choices on who to see as enemies of God and who to not see as so, despite there being clear evidence of some of the people they rely on as showing they are clearly hostile to the idea of God. This is subjective. The US government is undoubtedly more aggressive internationally, but that does not mean the Chinese state isn't much more repressive internally. You say the relationship is based on mutual interests, yes, but that's how international relations work, people pick and choose who their partners and foes are based on their assessment of who is willing to cooperate and work with them and who isn't. It's very difficult to operate in international relations in some kind of absolutist moral way, because we live in a world where countries rely on each other for trade, investment, aid etc. The choices Iran seems to be making may well make sense, but it is also true that it has put aside any argument for behaving in a way in line with moral principles.
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