Uzbekistan’s Karimov: The Death of One of Washington’s Favorite Tyrants

The Progressive September 7, 2016
The death of long-time Uzbekistan dictator Islam Karimov has brought rare U.S. media attention to the Central Asian country of 30 million. Uzbekistan is ranked among the half dozen worst countries in the world for human-rights abuses. What U.S. government officials and our media mostly ignore, however, is that American taxpayers subsidized that regime and its brutal security apparatus for most of Karimov’s 35 years in power.

How the U.S. Contributed to Yemen’s Crisis

Santa Cruz Sentinel April 17, 2015
[Republished by, Common Dreams, Lobe Lob, Reddit, and]

As a Saudi-led military coalition continues to pound rebel targets in Yemen, the country is plunging into a humanitarian crisis. Civilian casualties are mounting. With U.S. logistical support, the Saudis are attempting to re-instate the country’s exiled government — which enjoys the backing of the West and the Sunni Gulf monarchies — in the face of a military offensive by Houthi rebels from northern Yemen. None of this had to be…

Hardliners on All Sides Undermining Iran’s Nuclear Talks

The Progressive & Common Dreams, April 5, 2015
Reaching an interim nuclear deal with Iran would have been difficult enough even without hardliners in both Iran and the US seeking to undermine them. Many US critics of the draft treaty deny this, however, naively assuming Iran is as weak as it was several decades ago, when foreigner powers could impose policies and even replace governments at will. Not only have such imperialist intrigues become more difficult overall, the reality is that Iran has, for better or worse, reemerged as a major regional power—as it has been for much of the past two and half millennia. If President Obama and other Western leaders could dictate terms of a nuclear agreement, they certainly would. They realize they cannot, however. [FULL LINK]

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…

What Obama Didn’t Say in his UN Speech

The Progressive September 24, 2013
[Republished by Common Dreams and]
   In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama made important and valid points on the issues of human rights, arms control, and global governance. But note what the President did NOT say. The President addressed Russian and Chinese obstructionism on Syria. Their abuse of veto power has, in the words of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, held the Security Council “hostage.” But the President wasn’t willing to acknowledge U.S. obstructionism and abuse of its own veto power…

US policy weakens Iran’s pro-democracy movement

[Santa Cruz Sentinel &,
May 31, 2013, updated Sept. 11, 2018
While the outcome of the Iranian elections scheduled for June 14 may be hard to predict, it will make little difference as long as power remains firmly in the hands of Ayatollah Khamenei and other hard-line clerics. Indeed, while there are contending factions vying for the country’s relatively weak presidency, the narrow ideological spectrum within which candidates are allowed to run for public office offers little hope for change — at least through the electoral system. Following the 2009 election, in which the incumbent right-wing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner despite his apparent loss to the popular reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the people of Iran rose up in a popular civil insurrection, which was brutally crushed… The repression, corruption, economic injustice, imposition of ultraconservative social policies, and poor treatment of women and minorities has led to so much dissent that it has forced the regime to jail many of the Iranian Revolution’s own leadership… [FULL LINK]