Michael Rubin

Iraq is on a precipice

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Iraq is on a precipice
June 12th, 2014  09:12 AM E

By Michael Rubin, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes. The views expressed are his own.

Iraq is on a precipice from which it may never recover. The fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, to forces ostensibly from the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), may simply be the tip of the iceberg. What has happened in Iraq increasingly appears not simply to be a binary struggle between government and insurgent, but rather a more complicated problem that may be impossible to fully unravel.

I drove from Tikrit through Beiji to Mosul earlier this year, and into Syria along the same roads ISIS and other insurgents now use. Even then, government control over Mosul was tenuous. Iraqi soldiers at checkpoints on the outskirts of town urged me and my driver to reconsider my trip because Mosul was not safe; they relented only because a local vouched for me. After all, while Tikrit was home to former President Saddam Hussein and his immediate entourage, Mosul was the hometown of much of Saddam Hussein’s officer corps. It still is. As I continued on to the Syrian border, a special security agent at a checkpoint separated me from my taxi driver and another man accompanying us to ensure that I was there of my own free will. A senior security official in Baghdad subsequently told me that was standard protocol. It also reflects, however, the lawlessness of that area. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran News Round Up July 26, 2012

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syria
syria (Photo credit: themua)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin
 
(E) = Article in English

Diplomacy

  • Mohammad-Reza Tabesh: “We must support the government of Syria, which is at the frontline of the struggle against Israel… But we should support it as long as the government of Syria does not treat the people of Syria badly and the rights of the people are not violated.”
  • Ali-Reza Mahjoub: “Survival of the Syrian government is in the interest of our region.”
  • Jafar Qaderi: “The government of Syria… must continue the path of reform, enforce the popular will, and respect the popular vote.”
  • Fatemeh Alia: “We must support the trend of reform in Syria.”
  • Mousa-al-Reza Servati: “We oppose the West because of belief that any reform must take place based on the choice of the people and implemented by the people of Syria. People can achieve whatever their wishes through elections”
  • Amir-Hossein Qazizadeh: “What we see in Syria… is a domestic Syrian issue and intervention in internal affairs of states is incorrect and illegal…” 
  • [E] The Indian media reported that the country’s government has decided to attend the 16th heads-of-state summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran at the highest level, and that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will represent New Delhi in the high profile meeting.
  • [E] Iran and Russia lambasted the western and Arab states for their interferences in the internal affairs of Syria, and called on them to stop unconstructive acts in the Muslim country.

Military and Security

Iran News Round Up July 20, 2012

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English: Key Petroleum Sector facilities (2004...English: Key Petroleum Sector facilities (2004) Iran (Wall Map) 2004 “Iran Country Profile” Iran map with insets: Population Density, Ethnoreligious Distribution, Key Petroleum Sector Facilities, Southern Caspian Energy Prospects and Strait Of Hormuz (2.5M) (source: CIA map) http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/iran_country_profile_2004… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin.  .
 
(E) = Article in English

Diplomacy

  • Egypt‘s President Mursi denies entry visas to Iranian citizens
  • Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, temporary Tehran Friday prayer leader, condemns “massacre of Muslims in Myanmar”:
    • “They are killing Muslims in a savage way and the president of Myanmar is doing so by saying ‘We do not consider Muslims as citizens…’ Sometimes a suspicious death happens at a remote place in the world and they start screaming but in this case, they are silent, which makes us believe that the United States is guilty of this crime as well…”
    • “Syria is paying the price of supporting the innocent Palestinians, Hezbollah and the Islamic Iran… The unholy and ominous alliance of the United States, Britain, Europe, the reactionary Arabs, and al-Qaeda, this murderous group and some neighboring countries of Syria, which are dreaming of reestablishing their past empire [Turkey] are behind the crimes… They can’t beat the Syrian people with this terrorist act, just as the Islamic Republic solidly remained in its place after the blast at the office of the Islamic Republican Party.”
    • Discussing arrest of Ayatollah Nimr in Saudi Arabia and suppression of the Shi’a in Bahrain, Khatami continued: “The Khalifa and al-Saud clans should know that an infidel government may survive but injustice is not lasting…”
  • [E] Iran’s embassy in Sofia denied Israel’s allegations about Tehran’s involvement in a terrorist attack in Bulgaria, and stressed Iran’s strong opposition to any kind of terrorist act.

Military and Security

Trade

Iran News Round Up July 17, 2012

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Iran extends its railway system to Iraq and Sy...

Iran extends its railway system to Iraq and Syria(01-2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin
 
(E) = Article in English

Politics

Diplomacy

Military and Security

Iran News Round Up May 31, 2012

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Dr. A.Q. Khan's designed the centrifuges loose...

Dr. A.Q. Khan’s designed the centrifuges loosely based on Zippe-type gas centrifuges. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin
(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • Ahmadinejad addresses newly elected parliamentarians:
    • “The cabinet never intervenes in the work of the legislature… Tomorrow you will enter the parliament and you will appoint the committees. The chairman, deputy and other positions are all within your capability. We believe in this. We do not have an egoistic, politicizing view attempting to recruit and mobilize or to engage in factionalism… There is a division of labor… Why did the revolution take place? Was the purpose to elect some executives from the southern [poorer] parts of town, the villages and distant places to come to live in northern Tehran? When these people came to office, they did not have any money for their daily needs, but they have become billionaires, factory owners and merchants. Was this the purpose of the revolution…? The head of the chief inspectorate does nothing but shouting insults against the cabinet. And when it comes to the parliament, it is not answerable to anyone but God Almighty. This is also apparent in our constitution, which may be a fault… God forbid the day when people say about elected officials: ‘Such a pity; what we wanted and what we get.'”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, says he will not run for president in 2013. He said this while participating at the funeral of brother of Mohammad Mousavi Khoeinihain Tehran

Military and Security

Nuclear Issue

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Iran News Round Up February 13, 2012

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Revolution Day Poster
Revolution Day Poster (Photo credit: gordontour)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin.  To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

  (E) = Article in English

Politics

  • The Islamic Republic celebrates the Revolution Day:
  • Hamid Rowhani, head of the Historical Studies Foundation, calls the Ahmadinejad group “the Hojjatiyeh Society,” a reference to the pre-revolutionary semi clandestine Hojjatiyeh Charitable Society banned by Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini. Rowhani also accuses the Ahmadinejad group of believing in “the Satanic thesis that one must spread corruption to hasten the emergence of the Imam of the Era, and of expanding embezzlement, corruption, theft of public funds and moral and economic corruption.”
  • Ayatollah Mohi al-Din Haeri Shirazi, Assembly of Experts member, says that “the Mahdavi government [government of the 12th Imam of the Shi’a] in Iran began with the victory of the revolution…” Haeri Shirazi added that the Twelfth Imam remains hidden during this government, and “his deputy, His Holiness [Ali Khamenei] is in charge of the affairs.”

Diplomacy

  • Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani addresses the crowd in Mashhad on the occasion of the Revolution Day:
    • “I urge some regional states that were on Saddam’s side during the [Iran/Iraq] war and are now conspiring against the Iranian nation along with the United States to stop doing so, since the clemency of the Iranian nation towards them will not be repeated…” Larijani added that the regional countries should not follow the policies of the United States towards Iran hoping to find “burned ground,” and concluded: “If there is a conspiracy against our nation, it will spread to the entire region.”

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