“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Maybe we are back to the future with cake diplomacy. Iraqi president to meet Khamenei.

Remember Bud McFarlane taking a chocolate cake to Iran? That was in 1989. Reagan was President and Bush I, was Vice President. The incident was over a search for moderates in Iran and a reaching out to Iran for accommodations in dealing with Hezbollah and the release of US hostages in Lebanon

The plan backfired as hard-liners in the Iranian Government leaked the secret dealings. Now remember this is 1989. The story is from a 1989 report from The Guardian reporting the death of Ayatollah Khomeini.
At first incredulous at the report of a flight to Tehran by Mr McFarlane and Oliver North bearing a Bible and a chocolate cake, the public was engulfed in yet another major presidential scandal.

The controversy not only tarnished President Reagan, but has raised questions about Mr Bush himself, and the extent of his involvement in the contra facet of the affair.

While officials in Washington will be hoping for an improvement in relations with a post-Khomeini Iran, they will be aware of the weight of history, which militates against such a course.

The US is arguably still paying for its actions in 1953 when the CIA and British intelligence restored the Shah to power at the expense of the nationalist Mohammed Mossadegh. For historians such as Mr James Bill, the US later reaped the whirlwind in the shape of Ayatollah Khomeini.

In his book The Eagle and The Lion, Mr Bill argues that the coup was 'a momentous event in the history of Iranian-American relations', as Americans aborted moderate Iranian nationalism.

Twenty-five years later it would face a much more radical version. Instead of the secularist, Western-educated Mossadegh, Iranian nationalism would be incarnated in the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The American intervention in 1953, writes Mr Bill, 'left a running wound that bled for 25 years and contaminated America's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran following the revolution of 1978-79'.

Iranian suspicion of the US will not be lessened by the appearance of Mr Reza Pahlavi, the son of the deposed Shah currently living in exile in the US, on American television chat shows. The heir to the Peacock Throne said he was more confident than ever of the success of the 'liberation of his compatriots from the yoke of dictatorship'.

Now here we are in 2006, seventeen years later. The US is immersed in a civil war in Iraq. Tomorrow, President Bush will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki in Jordan as Iraq is too dangerous. The US still has no dealings with Iran, yet some still expect Iran and additionally Syria to help. Today the Iraqi president meets Khamenei in Iran , after receiving full honors yesterday from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

We should not expect anything helpful from Iran. Nothing. There will be those that will defend the visit saying The Administration has nothing to do with it. I do not believe that is true and if The Bush Administration has no part in this, it is worse. That indicates we have no control over a government we are supporting, fighting for and dying to protect.

In your wildest dreams did you, as I, when we reluctantly or eagerly supported the decision to invade Iraq, believe that after over three years of war it would be necessary to look to Iran and Syria for a solution to an Iraqi civil war involving the best of the US Army and Marines and US National Guardsmen? That is what is going on.

Iraqi president to meet Khamenei BBC

Mr Talabani was received with full honours by his Iranian counterpart
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is due to meet Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on the second day of a key visit for Iraq's future.
Mr Talabani is hoping to secure Iranian help to improve the security situation in Iraq, which is on the verge of civil war according to UN chief Kofi Annan.

On Monday, Mr Talabani held talks with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said Iran was ready to do whatever it could.

The US has repeatedly accused Iran of impeding efforts to stabilise Iraq.

We are in dire need of Iran's help in establishing security and stability in Iraq
Jalal Talabani

Iran: Who holds power?
But Mr Ahmadinejad said a secure, progressive and powerful Iraq was in the interests of Iran and the whole region.

Mr Talabani, a Farsi speaker, is the first Iraqi head of state to visit Tehran in almost four decades.

"The issue of establishing security in Iraq is the most important part of our talks. We are in dire need of Iran's help in establishing security and stability in Iraq," Mr Talabani was quoted as saying on Iran's state-run TV.


The past week has been one of the bloodiest since the American-led invasion in 2003.

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters in New York that drastic action was needed to prevent a civil war.

However, US President George W Bush played down such talk, saying the latest bombings were part of a pattern of attacks sparked by al-Qaeda militants seeking a sectarian break-down.

Speaking at a news conference in Estonia, Mr Bush said in order for the US to open a dialogue with Iran, the Iranians would have to "verifiably suspend" its nuclear fuel enrichment programme, which could be used in weapons production.

The BBC's Frances Harrison in Tehran says Iran seems increasingly concerned about the uncontrollable level of violence in Iraq.

Last week's multiple car bomb attacks in Baghdad's Sadr City - in which more than 200 people were killed - were the deadliest in Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003.

The UN says violent deaths among civilians hit a record high in October, with more than 3,700 people losing their lives - the majority in sectarian attacks.


  1. MSNBC is reporting al Sadr's militia has been receiving training from Hezbollah.

  2. Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei told visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that US-led forces had to leave Iraq if security was to be restored in the violence-riven country.

    "The first step to solve the security issue in Iraq is the exit of the occupiers from this country and leaving the security issues to the people-based Iraqi government," Khamenei was quoted as saying by state television.

    "Americans will absolutely not succeed in Iraq and the continuation of Iraq's occupation is not a mouthful that Americans can swallow," Khamenei said Tuesday during a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

    "The main reason for the current situation in Iraq is the US policies that are being carried out by some intermediaries," the Iranian leader said.

    He put the blame for Iraq's insecurity on "some US agents in the region who are mediators of these policies".

    "Reinforcing terrorist groups and inflaming the wave of insecurity and killings in Iraq will be very dangerous for the US agents and the region,"
    Khamenei said.

    He also pledged that the Islamic republic would come to Iraq's assistance if requested.

    "If the Iraqi government asks, Iran will not refrain from any action to establish stability and security in this country." ...

  3. Mr Nasserallah of the HB was a student of Mr al-Sadr Sr.
    Now the Student is the Teaher.

    HB trains Somalians, Syria arms them.
    HB trains Iraqi, Iraqis fought with HB in the 34 Day Conflict against Israel.

    Iran supplies HB with Silkworm antiship missiles.

    Iran believes that US presence in Iraq is the cause of the violence, there.

    It is all so apparent, get on board the Peace Train.

  4. Then again Hezbollah in Iraq is part of the UIA ruling Government coalition. So what is the problem, with Iraqis working hand in hand with Hezbollah, the US already does, too, in Iraq?

    Our Allies in Demo-crazy

  5. Deuce,

    I am really starting to worry about this most recent eruption of your BDS! Take a deep breath and repeat after me, "There is a plan; Bush is the man."

    While meditating, focus on Rich Lowry's terminal case of BDS.

    Bush Adrift

  6. Deuce,

    re: Hezbollah

    That recommendation to destroy both Syria and Hezbollah, last summer, is starting to look prescient. But, we can all be glad that Madame Rice was able to extract the Franco-American UNSC Resolution 1701. Otherwise, the whold war would have been an exercise in futility.

  7. Allen,
    I think I can recognize a leader in trouble. This thing is past partisanship.

  8. Deuce,

    re: recognize

    I think you can also. This has never been partisan, except in the minds of those truly suffering BDS - a malady which they project onto others.

  9. Postscript on Talking [Victor Davis Hanson]

    If Hamas is seriously talking of a truce, was that slight change in attitude because we "engaged" them and continued material aid, or because we cut funds, they are near broke, and isolated from their erstwhile international supporters? And did Syria leave Lebanon because American diplomats went to Damascus, as in the past, with more talking points? And did Iran finally become the focus of the Security Council because America dialogued with Teheran? And why did all those years of engaging Khadafi suddenly come to fruition circa 2003?

  10. Wasn't Bush the President in 1989?

  11. Mr Bush 41, 870, was in the White House in '89

  12. buddy larsen,

    This has got to be good news!
    Supreme Court to NYTimes: Buzz off

    At long last, some skunks may get deodorized.

  13. The cake incident occured in 1985 while Reagan was president and losing his memory. Khomeni died in 1989, and that is the report I quote from. Sorry for the confusion.

  14. That is GREAT news, on the NYT and SCOTUS. That Justice Ginsberg is fronting the opinion is even better. At long last, she has done the right thing.

  15. check it out, "Outdoor Survival Tips", from Popular Mechanics.

  16. (BPRW) (BW) (SIMMONS-JEWELRY-COMPANY) Statement from Russell Simmons upon Landing in South Africa

    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 27, 2006--I, Russell Simmons, have arrived @ 5:30 pm Monday, November 27th, safely in South Africa. I am here because the most important and powerful Muslim preacher and the most important and powerful Jewish Rabbi I have met in my lifetime - The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Rabbi Marc Schnier - both, individually, told me to come here.

    I am funded by the Diamond information Center and am here to promote the Transparency and Integrity that is found in the conflict free, Greatest Diamonds in the World (which to me represents truth). I am inspired by my lovely wife Kimora Lee Simmons, and my children Aoki Lee and Ming Lee Simmons. I am on a fact-finding mission to learn how the diamond industry, in conjunction with Simmons Jewelry Company, can positively affect the lives of The Black Africans here who are suffering from poverty, HIV and lack of high quality education.

    I have heard from Ken Sunshine directly (Petra Nemcova and Leo DiCaprio's publicist) that Petra is worried about the political and, possible, business ramifications of this trip and that she is awaiting her advisers to respond to decide whether she can join me on this trip. I know her presence as a celebrity and the chairman of her Happy Hearts foundation will give added attention to this mission, which is much needed to make it a success. I pray that her advisers, including Ken Sunshine and all other parties will advise her to accept this invitation, as planned.

    I am sending this out because I sincerely believe that the more people I can mobilize to support this mission, the greater chance we'll have to help improve the lives of the African people. The more people talk about this mission, the more I can serve humanity.

    Further, I believe that I am protected by the One God that protects all of humanity.

    Russell Simmons

  17. Good to know he's hot on the case:

    Sam said...
    From Air Force One, the president spoke to the leaders of France and Egypt.
    Addressing the upcoming meetings with al-Maliki, Hadley said,
    "We're clearly in a new phase characterized by an increase in sectarian violence that requires us to adapt to that new phase."
    Diplomatic Efforts on Iraq

  18. Re: Lebannon. Why is hezbullah now trying to pull down the Lebanese government?

    I can think of one reason, they don't want to deal with the Euros when they next attack Israel. It's not that the French would, you know, like, actually fight, its more a question of Iran's place on the global stage. Nasrallah killing French soldiers won't endear the muslims to the French and two of the most prominent candidates for the Role now played by Chirac are right wing.

    further, all the french have left is pride. If they are shown to be impotent in Lebanon again, this will not endear the Iranians to the french population, a population now facing increasing mayhem at the hands of muslim youths.

    so my theory is this: bring down the government, by whatever ham handed means necessary. Let the "government that replaces Siniora repudiate the UN resolutions enabiling UNIFIL and demand that they leave immediately.

    then attack Israel.

    It's just a theory.

  19. Hey, here it is
    The new date has been announced.
    UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the mandate of the 160,000-member multinational force in Iraq.

    The council acted quickly in response to a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who said a top government priority is to assume full responsibility for security and stability in the country but it needs more time.

    The resolution, drafted by the United States, extends the mandate of the multinational force for one year starting on Dec. 31 and authorizes a review at the request of the Iraqi government or by June 15.

    The resolution contains the same provision as past resolutions - a commitment that the council "will terminate this mandate earlier if requested by the government of Iraq."

    Al-Maliki's request for the one-year extension with a termination clause came as the Bush administration stepped up diplomatic efforts to stabilize the country.

    Now it just depends upon what the Iraqi Government wants. Interesting times, indeed.

  20. skipsail, the demand by Nassar that the UN troops leave the border area between Israel & Egypt, was one of the key signals for the IDF that the 1967 war was on.

  21. so buddy, if a new, hezbullah dominated gummint in Lebannon demands that the UNIFIL forces leave, israel should go to a war footing immediately.

  22. re; war footing

    Why must Israel attack Hezbollah through south Lebanon?


    Be sure to enlarge.