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A brief history of Iran-US relations, part 3: Understanding US withdrawal from Iraq

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Cole Juan with captionOn February 27, my wife Lori and I were privileged to hear Juan Cole, the University of Michigan’s distinguished expert on Middle Eastern affairs, at a luncheon of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. It occurred to me that notes from Prof. Cole’s brief lecture, with a few supporting resources, could provide a valuable structure for understanding the back-stories that make today’s crises add up.

Part 1 of this thread sketched Prof. Cole’s list of the foundational events of Iran-US relations during the 20th century. Part 2 outlined the rise of Ahmedinejad, Iranian weapons in Iraq, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. This Part 3 is his response to audience questions.

By all means, check out his Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion for reflection on news events as they happen.

* * *

ENORMOUS CHANGES IN THE OIL INDUSTRY: OPEC, which began in an era of oil-engendered prosperity, now faces the eventual end of its oil supplies. “We are now playing a game of musical chairs. The Washington power elite looked at the Gulf and said, ‘We could be the ones without a chair at the end.’ One thing you can do – take out a pistol… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 23, 2007 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Politics, Terrorism

A brief history of Iran-US relations, part 2: Ahmedinejad, nukes, and weapons

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Cole Juan with captionOn February 27, my wife Lori and I were privileged to hear Juan Cole, the University of Michigan’s distinguished expert on Middle Eastern affairs, at a luncheon of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. It occured to me that notes from Prof. Cole’s brief lecture, with a few supporting resources, could provide a valuable structure for understanding the back-stories that make today’s crises add up.

Part 1 of this thread sketched Prof. Cole’s list of the foundational events of Iran-US relations during the 20th century. This post offers my notes from the remainder of the lecture, and Part 3 suggests an exit strategy from neighboring Iraq.

Quotation marks indicate quotes of Prof. Cole. Other comments contain links that serve as citations.

By all means, check out Prof. Cole’s Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion for scholarly reflection on news events as they happen.

* * *

2005: REFORMERS APPEAR IMPOTENT – HARDLINERS SURGE. As it became apparent that the reform movement was unable to make sweeping change (partly due to persistent resistance from the US), Iranians began to see it as impotent. [In a comment, (see below), a knowledgeable friend points out that the US President’s inclusion of Iran in his axis of evil comments – during a time of reform – unwittingly contributed to the downfall of the reform movement.] Hardliners closed it down, setting the stage for a resurgence of control by religious conservatives.

2005: AHMEDINEJAD ELECTED PRESIDENT. … A populist “dressed as a janitor,”… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 12, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Iran, Islam, Politics, Terrorism

A brief history of Iran-US relations, part 1: Constitution to Khatami

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One hears bits and pieces of Iranian-American history in the blogosphere. They travel like whispers, implied in stories that seem to fall somewhere between gossip and truth. But I have felt for some time that if Americans really understood their country’s past relationship to Iran, public policy would be dramatically different.

Juan ColeLast week, my wife Lori and I were privileged to hear Juan Cole, the University of Michigan’s distinguished expert on Middle Eastern affairs, at a luncheon of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. It occurs to me that notes from Prof. Cole’s brief lecture, with a few supporting resources, could provide a valuable structure for people – perhaps especially Americans – to understand the back-stories that provide the, “Oh, I get it!” when reading of today’s crises. Ironically, much American history is well known to people of other nations, but remains virtually untold here in the US.

Mostly following Prof. Cole’s chronology, then, here’s my list of headline-making bullets from the last hundred years of Iranian-American relations. Quotation marks indicate direct quotes from Prof. Cole. Italics indicate quotes from other sources, which are referenced by links within the quotes themselves. Watch for Part 2: Ahmedinejad, weapons, and nukes in a week or so, along with Part 3: Understanding US withdrawal from Iraq.

By all means, check out Prof. Cole’s Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion for reflection on news events as they happen.

* * *

  • 1905-1911: IRANIANS DEMAND A CONSTITUTION; US INFLUENCE WELCOMED. The US started off looking like “an honest broker” to the Iranians. From 1905-1911, the Iranian public demanded a constitution and good government. They got the constitution. American advisors were invited to help with the government.Churchill
  • 1913: OIL PRODUCTION BOOMS – UK SEIZES PROFITS. The British government, at the impetus of Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, partly nationalized the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1913 in order to secure British-controlled oil supplies for its ships. Iranians would receive, perhaps,15% of the profits from their own oil for the next forty years. 85% of the profits fueled British economic growth, instead. APOC eventually became British Petroleum (BP).

[One wonders how many millions we’re talking about here. It must have paved roads, built schools and hospitals, and paid teachers for half a century of British, rather than Iranian, citizens.] … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 6, 2007 at 2:09 am

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Politics, Terrorism

Iowa State Senators: “Grassley Should Start Listening to Iowans”

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The State Capitol of Iowa, featuring its golde...
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The Des Moines Register:

“The will of Iowans and the rest of America is marching steadily toward reform.”

The following is a guest opinion on health care reform by State Senators Jack Hatch and Joe Bolkcom that appeared in Saturday’s Des Moines Register. [I encountered it as a reprint at Blog for Iowa – Monte]

As we head into August, a few Washington lawmakers are standing in the way of health-care reform that America desperately needs. While patients are denied crucial treatment and families go bankrupt from medical bills, Sen. Charles Grassley and a cadre of his Senate colleagues have provoked a stir by steadfastly refusing to support the most essential piece of President Barack Obama’s proposal: a public health-insurance option. We think it’s time for Grassley to start listening to Iowans and work with the president for real health-care reform.

A public health-insurance option would introduce much needed competition into the health-insurance market, extending quality care to as many as 300,000 Iowans, while providing incentives to insurance companies to offer their current customers a better deal. Unfortunately, in a July 30 Des Moines Register editorial, Grassley said he opposes giving Americans the choice of a public option “because it is a pathway to a completely government-run system.” Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s chill. We’re both partly wrong. (Sermon of 1 Feb 09)

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In the aftermath of  World War II, many European intellectuals (later joined by Americans and many others) were forced to ask this question:  how could this have happened? This referred to two world wars, and especially the Holocaust. […] They diagnosed the sickness that had befallen Western civilization in general and “Christian” Germany in particular to be excessive confidence.

Brian McLaren in Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope

Mark 1:21-28 (NIV*)

Arguing over a sales commission (Chicago Theater Blog)

Arguing over a sales commission (Chicago Theater Blog)

21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Strange thing to say, isn’t it?  Rabbis certainly did have authority to teach the Scriptures. But when Jesus spoke, something else happened.

And as if to prove it:

23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24″What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

Remember, we’re in Chapter 1 here.  Who else in the room would have even thought this? Virtually no one but Jesus himself. How shocked they must have been to hear it. What a statement!

And what a source! Jesus reacts immediately. First:

25″Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly.

Why would he shush, if it’s true? Why would an evil spirit say it, anyway? Read the rest of this entry »