Congress vs. Obama on Iran: Washington’s Warmongers Take Aim At Iran Diplomacy

[Foreign Policy In Focus, “Z” & Alternet] Hardliners in Tehran are not happy with the recent rapprochement between the United States and Iran and the related progress in negotiations to address Western concerns about the Iranian nuclear program. But the bigger threat may come from hardliners in the Washington, including prominent Democrats. As the first step in a de-escalation deal whose details have yet to be worked out, Iran would agree to strict safeguards to prevent the enrichment of uranium to a degree that could be used for the development of nuclear weapons. In return, the US would agree to a partial lifting of economic sanctions. Further lessening of sanctions would be dependent on further Iranian concessions. A bipartisan coalition on Capitol Hill is pushing legislation that would make such an interim agreement impossible.
[See the FPIF LINK, or Alternet, and the follow-up op-ed, Congress seeks to undermine Obama’s rapprochement with Iran
in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Nov. 15, 2013.

Interview: Commentary on the OPCW and the Nobel Peace Prize

Institute for Public Accuracy October 27, 2013
Nobel Prize for OPCW: Examining Both Organizations,
Institute for Public Accuracy October 11, 2013
STEPHEN ZUNES, Professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, wrote the piece “The U.S. and Chemical Weapons: No Leg to Stand On.”

He said today: “Under the Bush administration, the OPCW and its leadership was attacked and undermined because it dared to use inspections rather than unsubstantiated claims to determine the existence of these dangerous arsenals and peaceful means rather than war to eliminate them. Under the five years of tireless leadership under Jose Bustani, a Brazilian diplomat, the number of signatories of the treaty grew from 87 to 145 nations, the fastest growth rate of any international organization in recent decades, and his inspectors oversaw the destruction of two million chemical weapons, constituting two-thirds of the world’s chemical weapons facilities. However, because he insisted that the OPCW inspect U.S. chemical weapons facilities with the same vigor it did for other countries and his efforts to get Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and open their facilities to surprise inspections would undermine U.S. claims that Iraq was still developing them, the Bush administration successfully forced his removal…

“The subsequent OPCW leadership has been far weaker and more averse to challenging great power prerogatives, as indicated by the fact that they are currently in the process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal while the vast stockpiles belonging to U.S. allies Israel and Egypt remain intact. Nevertheless, the fact that the OPCW exists made it possible to avoid a U.S. attack on Syria and the likely disastrous consequences that would have resulted.”

US Invasion of Grenada: A 30-Year Retrospective

Truthout October 25, 2013 and republished by
The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW21)
   It has been exactly 30 years since US forces invaded Grenada, ending that Caribbean island nation’s four-year socialist experiment. The island nation no bigger than Martha’s Vineyard, with a population that could barely fill the Rose Bowl, was defeated with relatively few American casualties. President Ronald Reagan’s decision to occupy the country and replace the government with one more to his liking proved to be quite popular in the United States, with polls indicating that 63 percent of the public supported the invasion. On this anniversary, it would be worth looking back at the Grenadian revolution, the U.S. invasion, its aftermath and the important precedent it set for “regime change” through U.S. military intervention…

The Deteriorating Situation in Libya (audio)

On China Radio International October 22, 2013
The kidnapping and brief detention of the Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan a couple of weeks back probably marked one of the lowest points for the civilian government in this vast country where, in the post-Gaddafi lawlessness, the situation seems to deteriorate by the week. It was also probably the point which showed the world just how prominent and daring these militias and various tribes are.
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The Maldives: a serial coup in progress?

Open Democracy October 15, 2013
Should Britain, the United States and others who claim to be concerned, stand by and allow reactionary forces to stage-manage a phony election, this sends yet another inconsistent and disheartening message to those struggling for peaceful democratic change in the Islamic world and beyond. In the latest episode of what appears to be a serial coup in the Maldives, the country’s Supreme Court… threw out the results of the first round of presidential elections just hours before the scheduled date of the second round in which pro-democracy leader Mohamed Nasheed was expected to win handily…

The Nobel Committee’s Rebuke to Washington’s Unilateralism

Foreign Policy In Focus October 11, 2013
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), one of the most effective instruments for international arms control, sends an important message to those who have insisted that unilateral military action is the best means to eliminate and prevent the use of these deadly agents. Although a case can be made that it is more appropriate for the Peace Prize to go to individuals struggling for justice rather than to international organizations…

Interview: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Wins Nobel Peace Prize as U.S. Opposes Calls for WMD-Free Middle East (Video)

Democracy Now October 11, 2013
Video & Transcript
As the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons wins the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, we look at international efforts to rid Syria and other countries — including the United States — of chemical weapons. While Syria recently pledged to sign the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, four other countries have not: Egypt, North Korea, Angola and South Sudan. Israel and Burma have signed the treaty, but not ratified it. Both Egypt and Syria say they maintained chemical weapon arsenals to counter Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia, both signatories of the treaty, missed a 2012 deadline to destroy their remaining chemical weapons arsenals — which is some 95 percent of the global stockpile. We speak to 2013 Right Livelihood Award winner Paul Walker of Green Cross International and Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle East studies. Transcript

On Syria, most thoughtful people are torn

Open Democracy October 5, 2013
Indeed, with the exception of some neo-conservatives and other hawks who apparently have never seen an opportunity for western intervention they didn’t like and some on the far left who assume that any regime hostile to western imperialism must be progressive, I’ve generally been impressed with the maturity of the debate around Syria.  Most thoughtful people are torn on these questions, myself included. Once again, however, Hashemi misrepresents me…