Iranian Stall-tactics Continue

 On the eve of Iran’s formal response to incentives too end its nuclear program, they barred United Nations inspectors from an underground nuclear installation, breaching their obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“UN officials described as unprecedented the decision to block their inspection of the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Iran is obliged under the 1968 non-proliferation treaty to inform the UN of progress at its nuclear sites.” [1]

So, the question is what are we going to do? Are we to allow Iran to continue to delay meeting their obligations to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty until they have the nuclear weaponry that they are determined to have?

Below is an article that I put together back in January of this year—2006—and still nothing has been done and I donot believe that anything will be done. Russia and China have major oil interest in Iran, so even if we were in the position to use force against Iran…would that mean that Russa and China would join forces with Iran?

“Has Iran Successfully Used Stall Tactics to Evade Sanctions” January, 2006

Has Iran successfully used stall tactics to evade sanctions being placed on them by the west? Not that sanctions are effective anyway. Now that Iran has resumed nuclear enrichment activities, what will be our options for stopping them from developing nuclear weaponry?

The New York Times is reporting that,

Foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany scheduled a meeting for Thursday morning in Berlin to discuss the situation. All three nations have reacted to Iran’s resumption of nuclear research by threatening to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible punitive actions, and Iran has responded with defiant new warnings.

The tougher new European approach fits in with the United States’s strategy. Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview with Fox News, said Wednesday that the Bush Administration would seek the adoption of “a resolution that could be enforced by sanctions, were they to fail to comply with it.” [2]

However, the two years spent by the EU negotiating and by the US in an attempt to appease our disgruntled allies has allowed Iran to prepare for such sanctions; rendering the possibility of sanctions ineffective if they were to be applied. The New York Times:

“The issue cannot be solved by imposing sanctions or similar measures,” said Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president. The West would regret any such attempts, he warned in a speech on Wednesday as Iran celebrated the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha. “I believe the West has played this game too late and played into Iranian hands,” said Abbas Milani, director of Iranian studies at Stanford University. “At this stage, they are convinced that the more hardball they play, the more the West will collapse.” Mr. Milani said that news reports from Iran suggested that its government had used the last few years to sign up oil deals with various countries to gain their political support, dispersed its nuclear activities to some 300 sites around the country and stockpiled food, medicine and other materials to survive any sanctions. [2]

In fact, not only is Iran prepared for any sanctions placed upon them, but simply as the result of possible sanctions being placed on Iran, the price of Crude oil has gone up. This from United Press International:

Energy prices up as Iran pushes nuke plans NEW YORK, NY, United States (UPI) — Crude oil prices rose Thursday as traders watched the deteriorating relationship between Iran and western powers clashing over nuclear issues. Prices for high-quality crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 62 cents to $64.56 a barrel. Products` prices edged up, too: Gasoline futures gained 2.53 cents to $1.7584 a gallon, and heating oil picked up 2.15 cents to $1.7486 a gallon. Natural gas was steady at $9.238 per million Btu. Iran`s decision to resume nuclear enrichment activities raised the specter of the United States and various European nations referring the Islamic republic to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions. [3]

So, what do we do now? Well there has been talk that the US may bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. This may be our only option at this point and I’d say that it is a distinct possibility that we will.

[1] Nuclear inspectors barred from Iran plant Francis Harris in Washington August 23, 2006 http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/nuclear-inspectors-barred-from-iran-plant/2006/08/22/1156012541214.html

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/12/international/middleeast/12cnd-iran.html?oref=login

[3] http://news.monstersandcritics.com/business/article_1075476.php/Energy_prices_up_as_Iran_pushes_nuke_plans

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Once again the UN has proved their incompetence!

The United Nations has proven time and time again to be irrelevant, incompetent, and meddlesome to the point of appearing as instigators of instability in the world.

On the sfgate.com website this morning there is an article entitled, “Hezbollah night-vision gear was from Britain, Israel says It’s believed to be an export to Iran in drug-fighting effort”

Israeli intelligence officials have complained to Britain and the United States that sensitive night-vision equipment recovered from Hezbollah fighters during the war in Lebanon had been exported by Britain to Iran. British officials said the equipment had been intended for use in a U.N. anti-narcotics campaign. Israeli officials say they believe the state-of-the-art equipment, found in Hezbollah command-and-control headquarters in southern Lebanon during the just-concluded war, was part of a British government-approved shipment of 250 pieces of night-vision equipment sent to Iran in 2003.

Iran is a terrorist state and has been since the 1960’s, so why would the UN send such sophisticated military equipment to them? Do they really think that Iran is going to help in a drug-fighting effort? It’s known internationally that Iran will lie, deceive and delay any efforts to rein them in, and that they support Hezbollah, not to mention that they want to see Israel wiped off the map.

“These are tactical night-vision systems … given to Hezbollah by Iran. The Iranians are the 100 percent provider of all the materiel, especially intelligence materiel, to Hezbollah,” Radowicz said. (Lt. Col. Olivier Radowicz, an Israeli army spokesman)

One more question…what ever happened to “we will not, and do not, negotiate with terrorist and states that support terrorist?”

It seems to me that there are a lot of elements out there that are trying to perpetuate instability in the world, and the UN, along with the greed of weapons manufactures and the countries which sell these weapons are two of the major offenders.

A War against Islam? Or Victimhood?

Montville defines victimhood as a state of individual and collective ethnic mind that occurs when the traditional structures that provide an individual sense of security and self-worth through membership in a group are shattered by aggressive, violent political outsiders. Victimhood can be characterized by either an extreme or persistent sense of mortal vulnerability. [1]  

Furious young Muslim men crowded around the local mosque on his street, surrounded by television cameras. They complained that their friends, other young Muslim men from Walthamstow, in East London, had been unfairly accused of plotting to blow up airliners. [2]

A complicating aspect of victimhood is that sometimes both groups in a conflict see themselves as the “victim” and their opponent as the aggressor. In dialogues, they may even compete over who has suffered more and who has been more victimized by the other. Each side will try to persuade third parties that the other group has been the obvious oppressor or aggressor. Many Israelis and Palestinians currently exhibit this mentality, due to their fear of the other and the memory of past encounters between the two groups. Both Israelis and Palestinians see themselves as having been “the victim” in their conflict since before Israel became a state. 

Britain has become an incubator for violent Islamic extremism, fueled by dissatisfaction at home and growing rage about events abroad, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.In one of Europe’s largest Muslim communities, young men face a lack of jobs, poor educational achievement and discrimination in a highly class-oriented culture. Prime Minister Tony Blair is the most outspoken ally of President Bush, and their policies in Iraq and Afghanistan are seen by many Muslims as aimed at Islam. [1]

These Muslims see US and UK foreign policies as a threat to Islam, so in their eyes what happens to one Muslim happens to all of them. We fight extremist Muslim factions and we are guilty of attacking Islam? I don’t think so! I think that they use it to fall into their physiological safe place as victims. Face it victimhood and martyrism has been a part of life in the Middle East for all of recorded time. Generation after generation has been bread to live as victims; they are a dysfunctional breed of people who have never had any control over their lives and, they feel the need to blame it all on someone instead of taking control and responsibility for themselves and their actions. They angered their God somehow so He sent them floods…

A number of conflict theorists, among them Edward Azar and John Burton, stress the importance of fundamental human needs in the development and resolution of deep-rooted or intractable conflicts. [3] This theory states that “individuals and groups have undeniable needs and rights for security, dignity, respect in both physical and psychological terms, that is, involving identity, recognition, participation, and control over their own destiny.”[4] If a group is suffering from the effects of victimhood, these human needs are clearly threatened or absent. Human needs theorists contend that correcting this problem is essential for successful conflict management or resolution. 

In Volkan’s work on the formation of group identities, he argues that identity groups have “chosen traumas” and “chosen glories.”[5] Identifying these traumas is crucial because in most cases, groups have never properly mourned their losses or healed from their experiences. It has been found that a sense of victimization actually gets passed down from generation to generation, regardless of whether a person has physically experienced any trauma themselves. So, whether or not members of a group have suffered personally from specific instances of victimhood, certain traumas nonetheless become the “chosen traumas” of the group. These mental representations serve to connect the group while simultaneously creating hatred toward the aggressor. In order to move beyond conflict to peacebuilding, the group needs to properly mourn these past crimes and learn to see themselves in a new light and in a new relationship with the other.

A process of empowerment is important in addressing people’s desire for some degree of control. Trauma causes its victims to feel a loss of control over their destinies as well as an inability to change their situations. Therefore, as Herman and others indicate, in order to recover from victimhood, victimized individuals or groups must feel that they have regained power and control over themselves. [6] This is necessary to enable better functioning and also to make dialogue and eventual coexistence with the enemy possible. Survivors of victimhood and trauma have a deep need to feel as though they are in complete control of their lives and future.  

Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, which advocates Muslim involvement in the democratic process and opposes violence, said, “It’s not hard to comprehend the mind of a Muslim.” He said young British Muslims look around the world and “everywhere they are getting bombed,” so they increasingly respond by saying, “Don’t just sit down and take it — let’s fight them.” [2]

“Don’t just sit down and take it — let’s fight them.” What a way to think…after all, if you are a law abiding citizen and you are trying to make life better for yourself and family and not strapping dynamite to yourself and setting out to kill as many people as you can, then the fight is not against you. Innocent people die in any kind of war, it’s true and it’s a cliché, but, we see more innocent lives being taken in the war against terrorism because the terrorist are Muslim and they do not hesitate to put their fellow Muslims in harms way in order to satisfy their own agenda.

Muslims, who are angry with the west, for innocents dying, are directing their anger in the wrong direction. I live in the US and if we were fighting a war within our boundaries and my neighbors homes were being bombed because the US military had their weaponry placed between my neighbors homes, then I would be angry with our military for using my neighbors as shields. More Muslims are responsible for getting innocent Muslims killed than anyone.

I would say to Muslims who are feeling anger over what is happening, to use that anger in a positive way. Stand up and display your anger, but be angry at those within the Muslim faith who are doing the most harm to your religion and people, and help the rest of the world to stop them. After all these extremist are criminals of the worst sort, not because they are Muslim but because they perpetuate hate and death. Separate yourselves from the radicals and work for a better world for all. Show the world that not all Muslims are responsible for what the hate mongering few are doing. Show the rest of us what Islam really is and should be. 

Stand tall and take responsibility for yourself, life, and faith; don’t be a victim!

[1] Joseph V. Montville, ‘The Psychological Roots of Ethnic and Sectarian Terrorism” in the Psychodynamics of International Relationships. Vol. 1, Eds. Montville Volkan and Julius (Lexington Books, 1990)

[2] Kevin Sullivan and Joshua Partlow  Young Muslim Rage Takes Root in Britain” ‘Unemployment, Foreign Policy Fuel Extremism’
Washington Post Foreign Service

[3] Ronald J. Fisher, The Social Psychology of Intergroup Conflict and International Conflict Resolution (Spring-Verlag New York, 1990)

[4] Ibid.

[5] Volkan, Enemies

[6] Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror (Basis Books NY, 1992)

Ethics?—Feeding the Rich and Starving the Poor: We Need Change!

Ethics

–1) Motivation based on ideas of right and wrong

–2) The philosophical study of moral values and rules

“America should always be mindful of the ravages of poverty, for if we are not among its victims, its reality fades from us.”
–Dorothy Day, Founder of the Catholic Worker Movement

There is an ever widening economic disparity between the rich and poor. The poor fell to a much lower echelon during the Reagan presidency, and during the Clinton presidency, the rich went forth resplendently well. The top 1% of households accumulated roughly 17% of the nation’s income in 1998. And, in 2003, Bush gave us a tax cut which the richest 5% of taxpayers received most of the economic gain. As Jack Newfield said so well, “This is a class-warfare policy of shooting the wounded and looting the amputees.”

 This mounting absorption of wealth has given the exceedingly wealthy dominion over politics by means of exuberant campaign contributions, and mass media possession, whose commentary makes them sound like constituents. Few politicians whom have nationwide followers are disconcerted about the ever-increasing gap betwixt rich and poor and the attrition of democracy by means of vast wealth. American politics can be summed up by Gary Hart’s quoted statement in a February 2 New York Times Magazine profile: “How do you make the principles of equality and justice and fairness work in a time when everyone’s well off?”

Ever increasing apartment or home rent, a minimum wage that has been moribund at $5.15 an hour since 1997, and the rising costs for health insurance are amongst the causes of hunger among the working poor in the United States. The greater majority of poor people work. However the roughly $10,700 a year that $5.15-an-hour minimum-wage jobs pay is in no-way adequate to keep a family together. More than 90% of Americans trapped in low-wage jobs are adults, more than 75% work full-time. They are not substance abusers, alcoholics or the mentally ill; they are average, hard working Americans trying to make it in a world where our country’s elite work to keep them down.

It is extremely difficult for people in low-wage jobs to break away from the cycle of poverty. Most obey the law and pay their bills, some try to improve upon their education, and they rarely ever able improve their job status and living conditions.

Jim Hightower said it in such an eloquent way, “If our so-called national leadership had not lost its shame gene, surely it would be red-faced over its failure to do some little something about the plummeting value of the minimum wage. Today’s miserly minimum of $5.15 an hour delivers a sub-subsistence income of $10,700 a year, if you get full-time work. That’s gross, in two meanings of the word. Millions of Americans–most of them adults and supporting families–are working either for this wage or are paid just a few coins more and have their poverty pay pegged to this wage floor.”

In a report from Families USA (which analyzes Census Bureau data) estimates that as a result of welfare reform, 675,000 low-income people, mostly children, do not have medical coverage. In an article by the late Paul Wellstone he stated that, “NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, collected data on people who visited Catholic social service facilities in ten states with large numbers of people eligible for aid and found an increase of 27 percent in the number of unemployed who do not receive welfare assistance.” He continued, “It also appears that many people who find employment are working at jobs that pay below, often far below, the poverty line. I fear that welfare reform is creating a new class of people, the “Disappeared Americans,” many of whom are children.”

Paul Wellstone went on to say, “Because of these disturbing reports, I recently proposed a welfare tracking amendment that would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to report annually to Congress on the employment, wage, health insurance and childcare status of former Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients. The amendment was voted down 50 to 49 in the Senate, but I will keep submitting it until the Senate does the right thing.” (Paul Wellstone is sorely missed by those of us that care for people as he did!) He said, “The logic in its favor is straightforward. Congress has a serious responsibility to evaluate the new policies it creates and to conduct oversight to discern whether its goals are being achieved. When you try something new, you need to find out whether it works. Why should welfare reform be any different? It is time to find out what is happening around the country to families that lose public assistance, especially in a period of prosperity, when we have seen an increase of 400,000 children in deep poverty.”

The Swedish sociologist, Gunnar Myrdal, once said, “Ignorance is never random.” Paul Wellstone said, “Sometimes we choose not to know what we do not want to know. In the case of welfare reform, we must have the courage to find out.”

I have no heart for somebody who starves his folks. –George W. Bush discussing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and US food donations on CNN (January 2, 2003)

In her article “Hungry in America,” Trudy Lieberman reported that, “At the end of 2002 the US Conference of Mayors reported a 19 percent increase in the demand for emergency food over the previous year. Food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and other emergency food providers now serve at least 23 million people a year. “They are America’s dirty little secret,” says Larry Brown, who directs Brandeis University’s Center on Hunger and Poverty. “They are hardworking have-nots who cannot pay the rent, medical bills, and still feed their families.”

In his article “How the Other Half Lives,” Jack Newfield ended with this statement, “The message of history is that only a participatory democracy can challenge a predatory plutocracy.”

The most recent attempt to raise the minimum wage was folly: republicans packaged it with an outrageous request to negate the estate tax which would benefit only the wealthiest of American citizens; another egocentric provocation in a long line of unethical practices by the GOP.