Assad regime in Syria crucial to Iran
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad welcomes his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon the latter's arrival at Al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus on February 25, 2010. (Getty Images)
August 30th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Assad regime in Syria crucial to Iran

Editor's Note: Bernard Gwertzman is the Consulting Editor of CFR.org. This interview is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.

By Bernard Gwertzman, CFR.org

After months of opposition in Syria to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, if Syrian  government were to fall “ it would be a tremendous blow to the Iranian regime,” says Iran expert, Karim Sadjadpour. Not only is Syria Iran’s chief regional ally, Syria is the country which allows Iran to supply its “crown jewel” in the Middle East, the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.  He also says that it is unlikely that the comments made by Iran’s foreign minister over the weekend that Syria should take account of the views of the protestors was a serious remark. He says that Iran believes strongly that one should not give in to protestors because to do so “doesn’t alleviate the pressure, it projects weakness and invites even more pressure.”

How is Iran reacting to the upheavals in the Arab world? They’ve been fairly quiet haven’t they?

I’m sure they aspire to influence the upheavals and power vacuums that are taking place in various Arab countries as much as possible, but their ability to do so is somewhat limited.  I don’t see Iranian influence being a major factor, for example, in post-Ghaddafi Libya . There aren’t strong cultural or religious links between the two countries. Iran has perhaps greater inroads with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt given their mutual ties to Hamas, but it’s unlikely that proud, predominantly Sunni Arab Egypt will take its cues from Shiite Iran.

Initially Iran wholeheartedly embraced the Arab upheavals when it appeared that only U.S.-allied autocracies were at risk, but the uprisings in Syria are hugely concerning to Tehran. The Assad family in Damascus has been Iran’s only regional ally since the 1979 revolution, and if it were to fall it would be a tremendous blow to the Iranian regime. Hezbollah in Lebanon is the crown jewel of the Iranian revolution, and Syria has been the key conduit to Iran’s patronage of it. If the Assad regime were to fall it would make it logistically very difficult for Iran to continue to support Hezbollah the same way it has over the past few decades.

Why do you think about the comments over the weekend from the Iranian foreign minister who said that Syria should listen to the protests of its people?

I think the violence and brutality in Syria escalated to such a level that Iran was forced to publicly acknowledge it. But I am sure that at the same time, in private, the Iranians have offered Assad their unequivocal support and advised him not to compromise or reform. While publicly they’ve asked the Assad regime to listen to the voice of the people, I am sure privately they’ve advised him not to succumb to popular demands. The long held strategy and philosophy of the hardliners in Iran is that you never compromise under pressure because it doesn’t alleviate the pressure; it projects weakness and invites even more pressure.

We’re at a loss to know exactly what’s going on, but are there signs that the Iranians are giving tangible support through their intelligence and other security agencies to the Assad regime?

Given how crucial the Syrian-Iranian relationship is to Iran, I am sure that Tehran is offering everything it possibly can to buoy Assad, whether it’s financial, tactical, or military support. We’ve heard that Iran has offered Syria technological aid to help control the internet and jam satellite broadcast. I suspect Iran is doing everything in its power to ensure is that the Assad regime does not fall.

Has anything come of Iran’s efforts to reopen relations with Egypt?

Despite the fact that the chief impediment, from Iran’s vantage point, to better relations with Egypt was President Hosni Mubarak and his alliance with the United States, this issue is still complicated in Tehran.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sees it as his duty to remain loyal to the policies and ideals of Ayatollah Khomenei, and the breaking of ties with Egypt was something that Khomeini initiated given late-President Anwar Sadat’s friendship with the Shah of Iran.

If Egypt maintains its close rapport with the United States—including its strong military alliance–I think it could be some time before Egypt and Iran normalize relations. Another point of contention is the street in Tehran  named after Sadat’s assassin, Khalid Islambouli. Egypt has long requested that Iran change the name of that street and Iran has long refused.

On other international issues affecting Iran, what do you think will happen to the American hikers who were recently sentenced to eight years in prison?

I think the term we should be using is no longer “hikers” but “hostages.” Iran has made it very clear that they would like to barter these young men for Iranians who are in U.S. prisons for various reasons, whether it be arms trading or other illicit activities. What I find interesting is that when you look at Iran’s neighbors Dubai and Turkey, they’ve managed to build thriving economies by trading in goods and services. Yet Iran, even 32 years after the Iranian revolution and subsequent hostage taking,  remains in the business of trading in human beings.

It is somewhat reminiscent of the hostages which Iran took not only in 1979,  but also the hostage taking in 1980s Lebanon via Hezbollah. It is very difficult for the U.S. government to deal with hostage taking because the concern is that if you release Iranian prisoners in exchange for Americans, you are simply rewarding bad behavior and encouraging hostage taking in the future.

On the internal situation, there are continuing reports of people close to the Supreme Leader Khamenei seeking to get rid of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. How big a split is there in the leadership in Iran?

I think Ayatollah Khamenei and his royal court grew tired of Ahmadinejad’s insubordination and delusions of grandeur and wanted to put him in his place. That said, I think Khamenei will want to keep Ahmadinejad in office until his term ends in 2013 because Khameni’s modus operandi is to wield power without accountability; that requires a president who has accountability without power. So a weakened, lame-duck Ahmadinejad who can absorb popular criticism for deteriorating economic conditions or political and social repression is ideal for Khamenei. He can continue to try and project the image of a magnanimous guide staying above the fray, though I think far fewer people are fooled by this ruse after the contested 2009 election.

I thought it was interesting over the weekend that Mehdi Karrubi who was one of the leaders of the opposition to Ahmadinejad in 2009, has been not even seen by his wife for six weeks, and is reportedly been under psychiatric pressure to “confess” to crimes.

Both Karrubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi have been essentially in solitary confinement for the better part of the last year. I think the regime was shrewd not to send them to Evin prison, which could have provoked an international or domestic outcry. Instead their homes are their prisons. They are not allowed to see anyone, they’re not allowed contact with the outside world. An advisor to Karoubi told me that if they were in Evin they’d at least be allowed 30 minutes daily “outdoor time”, which they are currently deprived.

Looking at the Iranian opposition and comparing it to the opposition movements elsewhere in the Middle East, I think there is one key distinction.  Whereas the opposition movements in places like Syria, Egypt, and Libya have all been seemingly united in wanting to bring down their respective regimes, the Iranian opposition still remains divided about their precise endgame.

People like Moussavi and Karrubi who were participants in the 1979 revolution, and up until 2009 were insiders in the Islamic Republic, still claim that they are seeking a reform of the system. But I think many among Iran’s younger generations would like to see a more dramatic change. I think that’s one reason, among many, why you haven’t seen the protests in Iran snowball like they have elsewhere in the Middle East; the Iranian opposition has yet to coalesce around a common end game.

Do you get the impression if students, if they had their druthers would like a different kind of regime?

In my experience few younger generation Iranians, many of whom have access to the internet and satellite television, and have traveled to nearby countries like Turkey and Dubai, think that having a Supreme Leader who purports to be the Prophet’s representative on earth, is an attractive form of government in the 21st century.

Yet at the same time I think the word ‘revolution’ is not romanticized in Iran the same way it is currently in the Arab world. My friend Rami Khouri, a well-regarded Arab intellectual, recently wrote that it is condescending to refer to the current upheavals in the Arab world as an “Arab Spring”, they should be referred to as “Arab Revolutions”.

In Iran I think it’s precisely the opposite. Given the experience of the last 32 years, the term “revolution” doesn’t have positive connotations for many Iranians. It represents intolerance, repression, and backwardness. “Spring” on the other hand has positive connotations, a rebirth of sorts, something more progressive and tolerant.  I suspect far more Iranians would welcome an Iranian spring rather than another unpredictable revolution.

Post by:
Topics: Iran • Syria

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. 100% STRONGER!

    For current Iran Government, its a win win situation whether Assad remains or not. The Majority of Syrian support Iran.

    August 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      It doesn't make sense what you said. It's not true – "The Majority of Syrian support Iran". The Assad-regime is a protegé of Iran, hence get its support. This regime is of an ethnic minoriy – the Alawis, while the majority is made up of Sunnis.

      August 30, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Reply
      • Johnny

        Ron Paul called ugly names on TV because he does not support the government wars.

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLQoxmGnp-o&w=640&h=390]

        August 31, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
      • Pharos

        God bless Israel.
        Ron Paul has some good ideas. Other ideas he has are unworkable, naive and just plain stupid.
        Israel is 60 years old. Hurray!
        How do you like that? 60 years of victory vs. 60 years of defeat for its enemies.

        September 1, 2011 at 4:04 am |
    • khaled

      The Magority Is absolutly against Iran

      August 31, 2011 at 6:24 am | Reply
    • sara

      Since when 'majority of syrian supports Iran'?? all syrians absolutly hate Iran ( the regime not the people) even before the revolution started. let alone that Iran's regime is now partnering with Alassad's to kill the protesters in Syria. do. Some comments here are led by alassad electronic Shabbiha who deliberatly trying to mix cards and mislead readers.

      August 31, 2011 at 10:46 am | Reply
      • picasso56

        absolutely true!

        August 31, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
      • abby

        it is not about the syrian people liking iran .. it is about political ties between the two countries .. people unfortunately have nothing to do with it ..

        September 1, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Joe Spizbo

      Good stuff

      August 31, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • Askhow

      In most demonstrations in Syria the crowds have been chanting anti Iranian and anti Hizbullah slogans. The majority Sunni Syrians seriously despise their Alawite (A shiite sub-sect) leaders' relationship with these two groups. Iran and Hizbullah are both very worried what would happen if the Alawite regime falls in Syria. Your comment is not well informed at all.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • rik

      Iran imprisons and kills it's own people. Iran is next.

      August 31, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Reply
    • risab

      WHY israel zionist IS CRUCIAL TO american IMPERIALIST??????

      September 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  2. khaled

    assad will not falls in easy way because assad clan fight as a religius duty they will not care for the Sanctions . and iran support him with billions of dollars . he has 120000 of alawit soliders just under his brother maher . Except for the security forces which are alawite 95% . so he will not fall if there are no Military strikes . also the Military strikes will Encourage the other soliders to Defecting the army .

    August 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      How about placing a high bounty on Maher or Bashar al Assad? Those close to him might see the incentive to do something for a large sum of money!

      August 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Reply
      • picasso56

        Bingo!

        August 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
      • alanmirs

        They all are very rich what do you mean by large some of money?

        September 1, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • coco199

      j. von hettlingen!

      It could be a good idea; I can spare 100 US $ but is it a good move now or better after ICG will pronounce that Maher is a criminal ? Is it such a fund now?

      August 30, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • khaled

      There IS an important point about iran . If NATO decided to go in military strikes for the Syrian regime IRAN will not get involve because IRAN can not expose there Nuclear reactors for the military stikes . specialy that IRAN in its way to make an nuclear bombs.

      August 31, 2011 at 6:33 am | Reply
    • ann

      Unfortunately you are probably right. But I hope nothing is done until the people themselves request it which probably wont happen either. Its their revolution, power to the people!

      August 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • zedeislam

      Assad cannot stop the revolution that has started in the region to remove people like him from power. Iran is next , no question about it . This is a new world , and Assad , and his family don't know , or try to deceive themselves about it. Iranians are very much aware of this , that's why they do everything in their power to stop Assad from falling .It won't work.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:33 am | Reply
  3. khaled

    IF THE WORLD DONT STAND WITH THE PROTESTERS THEY WILL BE KILLED FOR THE FUTUER . AND IRAN WILL BE STRONGER AND AMERICANS Existence WILL BE AT RISK.AND THE SYRIAN REGIME WILL FEEL STRONGER SO ISRAEL WILL BE ON IRANIAN LIST AND IT IS NOT SECRET THAT IRAN About to MAKE NUCLEAR BOMB. O AMERICA IT IS NOT ABOUT OIL IT IS ABOUT Existence

    August 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      America isn't going to be striking Syria anytime soon. Until those Sunni protesters decide they've had enough and start killing the allawites where ever they are found Assad isn't going anywhere. You might be willing to stand up and protest and even get shot at, but Assad's made it clear that unless you are willing to take up arms against the allawites you aren't going to get anywhere.

      Non-violence is always the better path, but without the willingness to spill blood (and not just your own) you won't gain freedom. American's are taught this from birth, freedom only comes at the cost of blood.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply
      • ann

        I wasnt taught this way, and I do believe in some situations respectful communication can work effectively. This is why its important to establish a government where you can vote people out who are not representing the voices of all of the people.The problem there is to prevent regimes and others from lying about vote count.I think Iran's involvement and bad advice to Assad has hurt him(look at Irans massacre of its own people and no freedom of press.If you speak against the government peaceful in all of these countries, you are arrested.) But I also lamment with you, I dont see Assad going anywhere, and the fact that heis killing people that are peaceful has marked his own grave and its too late to resolve that. So Mr Assad, the world sees no alternative than for you to escape to Iran, because what youve done now, theres no repairing it. Iran is complete with manipulation and lies to its own people, and you were their PAWN, they used you, as they use Hizzbollah and Hamas and probably AQ for their own agenda of murder, so that it appears their own hands are clean from the blood.After all, theyve never liked Arabs much, but they will use you and abuse you without your knowing.Perhaps you can go to Iran and live among their rich officials, while their own people suffer...one reason Islamic states dont work, you need a secular state to hear different voices so that their is fairness for all people.I pray for all of the Middle East to be free. Palestinian need to open up the dialogue again, because both sides have good people, you just need to bring both sides of the good together from both countries and chart a new course, even if it means having meetings without officals. Make a plan and present it, the world is cheering both sides on for a peace process, as complicated as it is, we hope you will finally succeed.

        August 31, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  4. coco199

    The majority of Syrians don't like fundamentalism(via Teheran) neither theocracy(via Ryadh); because Syria is secular...closer in thinking with Turkey or Lebanon.
    On the other hand 70-80% of Syrian population is against Teheran because of Teheran's support for Assad.
    Syrians begin to identify Assad's regime with Iran,Russia,China..... People need to love and hate; today they hate Assad ,Iran,Russia,China and a bit Brazil,South Africa ,India. They hate Hezbollah from Lebanon too. But they don't hate Hamas and Palestinians.Palestinians were killed by Assad and Hamas was intelligent and silent.

    August 30, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Reply
    • picasso56

      are u syrians closer to america now to stretch a hand of help? what do u think of america's evil image implanted in ur media?

      August 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  5. MoreAware

    If nobody stands in face of Imperialists, they re-colonize the entire world again. Russia, China , and in particular India are in danger too. If that disease become transferred from Libya to Syria and then to Iran, then it becomes stronger to transfer to India then to China and at last to Russia. A small dose of that was audaciously tested on Russia in conflict on Abkhazia: to attack and slaughter and then tell the world that it was for democracy. Happily Russians could revamp the red army to push the invasion back. But imperialism is waiting like a vulture on Russia to find the right time when the right person comes on the top of the Russians and creates a chaos, similar to Yeltsin. People of the world should wake up to this danger: a world full of Somalia, a world full of shanty towns and favelas.

    August 30, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  6. coco199

    Statement to the Syrian People
    by لجان التنسيق المحلية في سوريا on Monday, August 29, 2011 at 4:27pm

    Statement to the Syrian People:In
    an unprecedented move over the past several days, Syrians in Syria and
    abroad have been calling for Syrians to take up arms, or for
    international military intervention. This call comes five and a half
    months of the Syrian regime’s systematic abuse of the Syrian people,
    whereby tens of thousands of peaceful protesters have been detained and
    tortured, and more than 2,500 killed. The regime has given every
    indication that it will continue its brutal approach, while the majority
    of Syrians feel they are unprotected in their own homeland in the face
    of the regime’s crimes.While we understand the motivation to take
    up arms or call for military intervention, we specifically reject this
    position as we find it unacceptable politically, nationally, and
    ethically. Militarizing the revolution would minimize popular support
    and participation in the revolution. Moreover, militarization would
    undermine the gravity of the humanitarian catastrophe involved in a
    confrontation with the regime.Militarization would put the
    Revolution in an arena where the regime has a distinct advantage, and
    would erode the moral superiority that has characterized the Revolution
    since its beginning. Our Palestinian brothers are
    experienced in leading by example. They gained the support of the entire
    Palestinian community, as well as world sympathy, during the first
    Intifada (“stones”). The second Intifada, which was militarized, lost
    public sympathy and participation. It is important to note that the
    Syrian regime and Israeli enemy used identical measures in the face of
    the two uprisings.The objective of Syria's Revolution is not
    limited to overthrowing the regime. The Revolution also seeks to build a
    democratic system and national infrastructure that safeguards the
    freedom and dignity of the Syrian people. Moreover, the Revolution is
    intended to ensure independence and unity of Syria, its people, and its
    society.We believe that the overthrow of the regime is the
    initial goal of the Revolution, but it is not an end in itself. The end
    goal is freedom for Syria and all Syrians. The method by which the
    regime is overthrown is an indication of what Syria will be like
    post-regime. If we maintain our peaceful demonstrations, which include
    our cities, towns, and villages; and our men, women, and children, the
    possibility of democracy in our country is much greater. If an armed
    confrontation or international military intervention becomes a reality,
    it will be virtually impossible to establish a legitimate foundation for
    a proud future Syria.We call on our people to remain patient as
    we continue our national Revolution. We will hold the regime fully
    responsible and accountable for the current situation in the country,
    the blood of all martyrs – civilian and military, and any risks that may
    threaten Syria in the future, including the possibility of internal
    violence or foreign military intervention.

    To the victory of our Revolution and to the glory of our martyrs.
    The Local Coordinating Committees in Syria

    August 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Reply
    • ann

      Very well stated, and its the will of the people and this message should be heeded. Even though I dont know how they can overtake the regime without support and more death of the masses. I pray for a good outcome and applaud the people for wanting a true democracy so that all of their voices may be heard. Ive heard many good things about Syrian people, I hope that all of the nations involved with revolution will represent al of the people, and it sounds like this is the goal of Syrians, who live together in peace. Know that the democratized world are praying for and supporting you.

      August 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  7. Matt

    As Meir Dagan had said in 2009 Iran would not fall, see we did not have the demographic in the social stratification to force regime change, it was only going to be possible if we had gone ahead with the overt module in 2007 to deconstruct the security forces then they could not have put down covert module regime change.

    That is why we knew that Iran would not fall, Iran has used its tactics in Syria and been harsher, but due to the demographic have not been able to put it down, this is what you people refer to as green movements and blue movements. In Iran we had placed heavy emphasis on the use of feminism as a conflict theory when harnessed correctly can be more deadly than an insurgency, to make up for the lack of the demographic of the class structure.

    Why else do you get sent off to study sociology.

    August 30, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  8. khaled

    There IS an important point about iran . If NATO decided to go in military strikes for the Syrian regime IRAN will not get involve because IRAN can not expose there Nuclear reactors for the military stikes . specialy that IRAN in its way to make an nuclear bomb.

    August 31, 2011 at 6:32 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Neither Iran nor any Arab state will volunteer itself to a war it will certainly lose. Regadless of its nuclear ambitions.

      August 31, 2011 at 7:42 am | Reply
    • Shahin

      Thinker's right. you people should really start to realize that no country is dumb enough to start a war that's impossible to win. That's the main reason why Iran can and will never be a threat to Israel or any other country for that matter. Iran is playing defensive, not offensive as most Americans claim. That nuclear bomb is just a way of guaranteeing Iran's safety (MAD principle).

      August 31, 2011 at 10:52 am | Reply
  9. MoreAware

    coco199
    Sir, you can do these better with cooperation with your present regime. Show patience. Syrian people who participate in current turmoil are the worst enemy of their independence. Join building your country. Learn lessons from Israelis in their commitment in learning, building, changing, working hard, patience, looking to far reaching interests rather than immediate comforts, care for each other. Lebanon Hezbollah and inspired by them all people of Lebanon, Christians and others have learned that from Israel. This is the reason that Lebanon have become such a powerful danger. This is the reason that imperialism wants to dismantle Syrian to turn Lebanon back to pre-history again; to prevent Lebanon lesson to become domino in the third world. To eliminate rivals in Truisms, university education, big contractors, doctors, scientists and to prevent a real calm Spring of Arabs and Iranians happen. Imperialists have killed 50000 in six million Libyans. Imperialist want to prevent Arabs to reach the critical mass for development. Lebanon is almost there. The war is not for Syria. The war is for Lebanon. Iran is looked upon only as a decayed apple to fall. Their money wasting people.

    August 31, 2011 at 7:49 am | Reply
  10. UFO2012

    The real problem is not Syria or Iran. The real PROBLEM is the occupation. The problem is Israel GOVERNMENT !! By changing the Israel government you change Middle East.

    August 31, 2011 at 8:42 am | Reply
    • tm

      Which person who does not have an agenda really beilives that. The Arab countries were fighting amongst themselves and killing there people way before 1948. Its Its just good excuse to say look over there instead off over here where the real problems are

      August 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • ann

      The REAL problem is radicals, many who are trained by Iran and Syria, who both have populations who want their freedom of choice, not to be dominated by regimes who do not allow freedom of speec or of press, and to be killed if you speak against them. The YOUTH have awakened, dont blame Imperialism or the West or Oil or Resources. This has to do with HUMAN BEINGS. It is their country and they are not being represented well. If they want him to leave , he should leave, but now its TOO LATE for his rebirth. He took Irans (government not the people)Imperialistic, Radical Islamic advice and killed his own people, so there is no returning for him. To say this is about Lebanon, what are you talking about? Who killed Rafik Hariri ???in Lebanon(probably Iran backed Hizzbollah, and thats who everyone thinks did it)..probably with the help of Syria who had troops there. All of you who talk this way BLAME the West, Israel or occupation for everything going on...Iranian people will be the first to tell you that Iran gov plays the blame game on Israel and the West to deter its own people from the problems within its own country caused by their own government. Looks like you and others are taking lessons from IRAN. The people want their freedoms in the Middle East amd ALL OF THE WORLD supports(except regimes like them) their desire for democracy(voice of all the people).

      August 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  11. ronin48

    Wasn't a major component of Bush's rationale for going into Iraq that creating a democratic state in the heart of the Middle East who inspire democratic uprisings in other countries? Looks like Dubya was right - and if Assad toppling in Syria knocks out a major linchpin of Iranian support in the Middle East, kudos for that, too, since Iran is the primary strategic threat to the US in the region.

    August 31, 2011 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • K.C.

      Excellent point ronin48. I do remember that being discussed then, but you never hear about it now. Otherwise, President Bush would have to be given significant credit for major changes taking place, and as we all know, there are other people wanting to take that credit.

      August 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
      • Moi

        Guess what – IRAQ is 100% in the Iranian quarter now... and MUCH stronger than they ever were before GW went into iraq..

        September 1, 2011 at 2:57 am |
  12. Mosaddegh

    OK dear Muslim brothers lets kill each other based on little differences (Sunni , Shias etc) and make the hand of Israel more stronger . Israelis are very good people they give 3 times more water to Sunni Paletinians than themselves , they loved Sunni controlled Iraq , they also love Sunni Afghanistan and Pakistan so those countries are never been bombed in favor of them , they are like the savior of Sunni Muslims !!!!

    August 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Reply
    • ann

      You know I am not pro anyone, I am pro "resolve your issues", because both sides have made mistakes. I think if more Muslim countries talked to Israel and acknowleged them as a state instead of wanting them out, and the rocket launchings stopped, you would have some results. I think Israel should stop the building until after talks resume. I think if Iran and its croonies stayed out of the business between the 2 countries, they could solve it. Iran has issues with Israel, so therefore even though most of them dont like Arabs, they will use Arabs to hurt Israel. If Islam is truly peaceful and respectful and believes in dialogue and solving issues, then they should walk the talk. Iraq would have been a success early on from that regime oppressor if Iran and Syria hadnt interfered along with other insurgents who PRESUMED USA were occupiers(which was not the case), nor did they hate Muslims.And the baathist who started a war with other Muslims, and some of the Shia who were pushed by Iran to rebel prevented the rebuilding.Iran and Syria are partners in crime and their own people know it(God save their good people).Iran didnt want to see Iraqi be successful, as they were enemies.But they are rebuilding their lives and all of the world support them in their efforts to live together in peace, its Gods will. And Palestine and Israel have new generations coming up, and I pray that they will dialogue with each other more, play sports together, enjoy music together. Some of older generations cant let go of the past. Both sides want peace, why wouldnt they? But outside interferences like Iran and Syria and some others do not want to see that, because they simply dont want Israel there, and its THEY, who need to revise their thinking.Its time to start over and THINK PEACE.Palestinian will have better lives when you interferences let them resolve it, because yesterday is gone.Living with a hateful heart is wrong and life threatening to the owner.Start over today and meet your neighbors, give forgiveness and resume peaceful measures for talks. Dont allow hateful hearts to change the GOOD and innocent heart you were born with.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Reply
      • alanmirs

        You must be very young as all you say has happened and Israel has never accepted the fact that she is occupier, look at the events in resent days the Israel government assassinations, and are news which no one questions, the help and arms they give to PJAK and Kurdish terrorist group, and so on
        Think logic
        To emigrate one seeks for a better standard of life and safer environments and yet the most settlers in Israel come from the western countries with the opportunity for a better standard of life and safer environment exists in their society, there for it seems that most settlers are either castoffs from their community seeking satisfaction of their aggression or ambitious politicians aiming for position by deception

        September 1, 2011 at 3:53 am |
  13. Ahmed

    Kill both heads of the dirty 2 headed snake, assassinate assad and ahmadinejad...not sure what you are waiting for...

    August 31, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  14. Richie

    Hu,

    I think I need my head checked...

    So I was watching Nickelodeon news and a very real and serious question was posed to Dick Cheney...

    If you pay informants $50,000 to make up anything to get kids into Gitmo, and you need to keep water boarding them -or use other enhanced "techniques" that run in parallel with our global pile of hit in attempts to "determine" their innocence until they become so sick and radicalized that they can be classified as a threat, and some become so brain dead they literally start eating their own hit, then won't Iran do the same thing to our "professionals"?

    Well, you know the United States does not engage in activities like that, right??

    Cause it is available using open source methods that we do have an intelligence service and they do have a building...

    I have even seen the commercials on MSNBC, CNN, History, Discovery -all before they went animal whoop-that they even recruit for something called the Clandestine Service...

    So in response to your serious question of whether these "professionals" should be water-boarded, I know I can not deny we have an intelligence service, but there can never be any lawful proof that they have even one employee...

    Oh, you are so "controversial" big dick...Sure am itch...

    But let me rephrase the question them, assuming their is no lawful proof in the upside down reality of what can not be lawfully proved and our intelligence service has no employees, should someone be water-boarded to determine if they really are -kind of like you making an innocent kid eat hit so you can determine his innocence and make him a threat for life...

    I said there would never be any lawful proof!!!! And if these sad "professionals" did break down after their second water board there should have been no lawful proof to even trigger such outrageous and preposterous claims, so my court of law, probably under DOD authority now where only one man has access to the truth and his criminal defense, will side with me that no such activity ever took place, especially on US soil!!

    So along with my previous suggestion HU about making every one in the military a no cause special agent so every attack can be followed with putting the full force of no cause law under the survivors, why not simply say that DOD does not even lawfully exist cause they are all under cover of the civil air patrol now...

    Poet took the other half of this country- that put their little ego and money on the left horse of my extra judicially managed horse race running backward- and completely severed fact from fiction, truth from fantasy, right from wrong everywhere and forever now, so it is really not a stretch at all now with my Nickelodeon News...

    Cause I honestly have a letter addressed to you as my Senator on official stationary letter head that no such activity-of any of the kinds I mentioned-ever takes place but every word was the absolute truth without even the slightest exaggeration..

    I mean it is the perfect legal defense for everything four star piece of hit cause this advance of soldiers does lawfully exist so if you fire on my civil air patrol, because they just mowed your family in half sitting on my pipeline, you are breaking the rules of war cause there was just never any lawful proof such activity ever took place...

    The real tragedy poet is your repulsive and shameful administration was the only one capable of severing all reality from every corner of this country giving the most perfect cover for this style of warfare the nation over everywhere and forever all so you can hold the fragile gains on being more right than wrong on the economy for as long as you can cause the only thing our Skull and Bones Senate is good at is waiting on the road for an ambulance to chase...

    August 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  15. String

    This month America’s deadliest in long Afghan war: 66 troops dead

    August 31, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  16. brathead

    2 crooked regimes hell-bent on world domination!

    August 31, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  17. Eric

    Well 'The Great Recession' should properly be named 'The Panic of 2008', but the former is what the masses seem to have settled on, oh well.

    August 31, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  18. Soltan Ahmad

    The first and general governmental attorney in Hama city/Syria has resigned because of serious violations of human rights and torturing and killing of prisoners in Syrian jails.
    Video is available on this link:
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBIGcQzyfEs&w=640&h=390]

    August 31, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  19. Boun Khammoungkhoune

    It has been so much pressure on the part of the Iranian estremist leaders... for sure next fall of dictatorial regime will Iranian leadership...!!! It will be a greal deal of vitories of the peace and freedom loving people Iran soon...!!!

    August 31, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  20. donald

    I wonder if they are gay???.

    August 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  21. Reader

    photo of them two holding hands looks very...gay.

    August 31, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  22. Chris

    I've had quite enough of any government that brutalizes its people rather than appear "weak". They ARE weak. Only the weak are brutal in the first place. The strong - confident in their strength - are gentle.

    August 31, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  23. TDJ

    The Iranian regime is a criminal, illegitimate regime. I have no doubt about it.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:50 am | Reply
    • Joe

      Did CNN tell you that?

      September 1, 2011 at 2:15 am | Reply
    • Critic

      You are too naive. The world you know is only depicted by media. I have traveled to Iran and lived there for years. I can not believe the big lies media told us before that. I have very good Iranian friends.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  24. Joe

    More Israeli propaganda...

    September 1, 2011 at 2:14 am | Reply
  25. Am1

    Ron Paul likes huge male elephant trunks in his palms

    September 1, 2011 at 2:41 am | Reply
  26. studdmuffins

    Iran is slowly being isolated, at least in public. Behind closed doors many of her so-called enemies play the good Muslim by not ratting out a brother to the Great Satan.

    September 1, 2011 at 6:10 am | Reply
  27. Critic

    Unfortunately, this interview was 100% based on speculations. Any evidence was mentioned. Just imagination. Look to these sentences fro the text, do you see any evidence that support them?!!! these sentences from the text:
    I think the... (Question2)
    But I am sure that... (question 2)
    I am sure privately... (question2)
    I am sure that...(question 3)
    I suspect Iran is...(question 3)
    I think it could be...(question4)
    I think the....(question5)
    I think Ayatollah Khamenei.........(you find!!!)
    I think Khamenei will........
    I think far fewer............
    I think the regime was.........
    I think there is one........
    I think that’s one reason...........
    In Iran I think it’s precisely....
    ....................................................................Oh! come on man! you are just imagining and thinking. The world should be based on "Evidence". We need an "evidence based world". What is the sin of people that they should be fed with "The thoughts of a POLITICIAN"?!!!! Who can see one, and for the sake of God, one evidence in this interview while it is published in CNN!!!!! and at the top page it is written " with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations"!!!!!
    Lets think about what we see and read in media. The media is shaping our mind whatever it likes. So what is the status of thinking? Didn't we have great scientists before the invention of MEDIA?!!! They had thought based on solid evidence, we should follow their logic.

    September 1, 2011 at 7:11 am | Reply
    • Critic

      very good

      September 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  28. Desiguyz

    Persian gulf is divided between Arabs and Arbized Asians. those who mimic them in culture mannerism, faith, use of violence as political tool and above all intense hatred towards Israel.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  29. auto

    http://rt.com/news/syria-media-war-latakia-581/ MEDIA WAR!

    September 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Reply

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