Thursday, April 23, 2009

Iran National Interests and Blind Radicalsm

Iran National Interests Victim of Blind Radicalism
Ali Asghar Kazemi
April 21, 2009

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Almost two months before the presidential elections in Iran, on April 20, 2009 president Ahmadinejad made another controversial speech at the UN Conference on Racism in Geneva (Durban II), creating further dismay about this country in world public opinion. While many observers were expecting some kind of softening in Iran’s position with respect to world critical issues at this juncture, the speech came as a cold shower to na├»ve wishful thinkers.
The unfortunate events that overshadowed the substance of the conference at its start, are now well known to all; since the show was covered live on many world TV’s. Besides Mr. Ahmadinejad direct allusion to Zionism and Israel, which prompted the mass walkout of European delegates from the conference room, he took on other critical issues such as racism, segregation and intolerance that nobody can logically deny the fact as indefensible plagues in many countries including Iran and the West. But, hearing such accusations from the mouth of a pompous character, whose intolerance takes regular victims even among his own entourage in the cabinet (let aside the critics and opposition groups) for expressing their views, is indeed very strange.
How much ideological drives are permitted to encroach upon national interests? Are these conflict-ridden statements intended to promote Iran’s national interests or to satisfy personal hatred of an obsessive individual who happens to assume the responsibility of a nation? ..More

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Strategic Games in the Middle East

Strategic Games in the Middle East

Ali Asghar Kazemi
March 5, 2009

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On March 4, 2009 the Islamic Republic of Iran hosted a two-day international conference on Gaza and Israeli breach of humanitarian law and war crimes against Palestinians during the recent armed conflict between the two hostile parties. The conference took place after a similar meeting in Egypt backed by the United States for the reconstruction of Gaza Strip that endured severe material and human losses during the 22-day conflict. While the two conferences had more or less similar themes, they followed diverse objectives. The Gaza conflict can be visualized as a set of strategic games in which actors involved pursued different aims in the Middle East political arena.

How various actors perceive the games they are playing in the Middle East? What are the objectives, gains and losses pursued by rival states? What are the plausible outcome and implications of the games? More

Friday, April 10, 2009

Iran: Reform vs. Revolution

 

Iran: Reform vs. Revolution

Ali Asghar Kazemi

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“Men do not start revolutions in a sudden passion… Revolutions do not spring overnight. Revolutions come from the long suppression of human spirit. Revolutions come because men know that they have rights and they are disregarded.”

Woodrow Wilson*[1]

Revolution is an old concept in social theory. It has several distinctive indicators that make it different from other kinds of social events and political phenomena, such as coup d’état, rebellion and insurgency. The first and most obvious is that revolution has a large popular support. Secondly, it has a leadership who directs the movement and social forces. Finally, it aims at a redistribution of political power[2], although social, economic and cultural changes may not accompany this change. How can we explain revolutionary movements in our present international order? How much religious fervor in the Middle East is leading to revolution? Why people prefer revolution to reform? More


Prospects for Iran-US Negotiations

 

Prospects for Iran-US Negotiations

Ali Asghar Kazemi

April 9, 2009

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Barrack Obama’s Nowruz message to Iranians and leaders of the Islamic regime leaves the impression that the new US president intends to demonstrate that he is sincere to put into action his presidential campaign promises with respect to Iran. He had pledged to open direct talks with Iran for the purpose of alleviating the mutual misperceptions accumulated during the past 30 years with the purpose of paving the path for normalization of relations through diplomacy. While the Iranian supreme leader did not reject categorically the offer in response, he nonetheless used harsh words to criticize the United States past policies and advised the new president to take real actions in order to prove his good intentions.

Assuming that the two parties are indeed ready to engage into some sort of talks and negotiations, before this could materialized two important questions should be clarified: first, how to negotiate; and second, what to negotiate? It seems that without resolving these essential problems any ushering of the talks would be doomed to failure. This short comment shall try to discuss briefly the matter as preliminary thoughts on the point. More