• 7 February 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • MEK, US-Iran War

Palin Parrots Pipes on Iran

Following her keynote address to the national Tea Party Convention yesterday, Sarah Palin added fuel to the the flames of speculation about her possible bid for the presidency in 2012.  During an interview with her now-employer Fox News, Palin was asked her opinion about President Obama’s chances for reelection:

If the election were today, “I do not think Obama would be re-elected,” she said. But he has a chance if he gets “tough” on terrorism, she added. “Say he played the war card. Say he decided to declare war on Iran, or decided to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. But that changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years.”

Forgetting for a moment that it is the Congress, not the President, that is empowered with the authority to declare war, this is a pretty brash statement, even for Palin.  It is rare that a public figure would call for military action against Iran so explicity — and to call for such drastic action as a purely political ploy breaks an even stronger taboo in Washington circles. 

So it cannot be a coincidence that Palin’s advice to President Obama comes just days after prominent anti-Islam activist Daniel Pipes wrote nearly the identical thing in the National Review.  “How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran” was the title of the article, which my colleague Jamal picked apart well enough that I don’t have to here.  But I thought it interesting that Palin would so casually align herself on foreign policy issues — by all accounts her political Achilles Heel — with such a divisive figure as Pipes. Pipes, who became a comically ironic figure when President Bush tried to appoint him to the US Institute of Peace, has long advocated a war-hungry foreign policy, particularly against Islam which he calls a “threat” and “a true danger to American Jews.”  “Pipes is to Muslims what David Duke is to African-Americans,” according to James Zogby of the Arab American Institute.  In 2007, Pipes wrote a column in the New York Sun calling for the US to send overt support to the MEK terrorist organization:

Belatedly, the Bush administration needs to take three steps. First, let the MEK members leave Camp Ashraf in a humane and secure manner. Second, delist the organization from the terror rolls, unleashing it to challenge the Islamic Republic of Iran. Third, exploit that regime’s inordinate fear of the MEK.

Except for the most extreme right wing, Pipes’ particular brand of scholarship is deemed to be highly questionable, rooted in an unscientific methodology and characterized by gross generalizations of nearly all Muslims as “fanatics” and “militants.” 

Thus, it was surprising to see Sarah Palin associate herself so closely with Pipes’ views on Iran while gearing up to run for President in 2012.  Even after being excoriated throughout the 2008 election as not knowledgeable enough on foreign policy issues, Palin has chosen an awkward entree to the field.  Her choice of informal advisors is sure to turn off a large swath of voters who tend not to be so radical on Middle East issues, particularly after the Iraq war.  And brusque statements about sending troops into battle for such an asinine reason as political expediency are not likely to help her convince voters that it’ll be “no more politics as usual” under a President Palin, come the next election.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    3 Responses to “Palin Parrots Pipes on Iran”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Daniel Pipes is more than a “anti-Islam activist.” He’s actually a Jewish hate monger.

    It’s people like him that have gotten America into these messes in Afghanistan and Iraq. They don’t care if the results of these fiascos hasten American decline. They serve only to elevate the short term interests of Israel.

    Palin’s remarks are not surprising. She’s pandering the pro-Zionist power group that Pipes is part of. There’s money and power there. You can’t get elected with a platform that defies this group. And it seems like the candidate that gushes the most before them, the better the chances of their election- or so their thinking goes. In this, Palin’s position is totally predictable. Hilary Clinton behaves in much the same way.

    It’s an outrage that the interests of a foreign country- Israel – are able to trump that of the American republic, through money, the media, lobbying and manipulated politicians.

    Say what you will about the Islamic Republic. But at least their leaders are not subjects of manipulation in the name of foreign interests, to further the Zionist cause of a self-proclaimed ethnic elite.

  2. Iranian-American says:

    Wow, I guess we see what get’s Pirouz all riled up. I agree, Daniel Pipes is a hate monger (not really sure what him being Jewish has to do with it).

    Daniel Pipes and people like him have not gotten American into the messes you describe. Come on, get a hold of yourself and be serious. You are giving people like him too much credit. As far as Afghanistan, whether you agree with it or not, it had nothing to do with Daniel Pipes and people like him. It had to do with 9-11. Most Americans that pay no attention to politics felt like something needed to be done, and US politicians, well-aware that unlike certain countries, voting is actual fair, knew that supporting military action was in their best political interest. Furthermore, many of them probably wanted to attack regardless of the fact that it would help them politically.

    I understand you oppose the actions the American government took. I believe any government in that position would have done the same thing. It’s not saying its right or wrong. The Taliban killed many innocent Americans and they were in Afghanistan. Here is where you go, “Yeah but, American helped the Taliban first, and ….”. Yeah, I know. But whatever happened before that, 9-11 is why the US attacked Afghanistan. The Iraq mess, on the other hand, people like Daniel Pipes did contributed somewhat to that.

    I’m sure Obama is far too pro-Israel for your taste, but then again, I would guess anyone short of Ahmadinejad is too pro-Israel for your taste. Regardless, Obama gushed less than McCain and Palin before the pro-Israel lobby and still won the election. If the pro-Isreal lobby was really as powerful as you imagine them to be, Clinton would have been the Democrats candidate, not Obama. Since Obama’s election, the US administration has applied more pressure on Israel than we have seen with previous administrations. I agree it is a long way from being close to “fair”- whatever that means, but this is a step in the right direction for America.

    It’s true the leaders of the Islamic Republic are not subjects of manipulation to further the Zionist cause, but they certainly are subjects of manipulation in the name of foreign interests. The kind of support Iran provides groups like Hamas is not in the interest of the Iranian people. The comments Ahmadinejad makes about the Holocaust are not in the interest of the Iranian people. These policies and statements are evidence of manipulation in the name of foreign interests.

    You can try to be as proud as you want about Iran, but the truth you are so desperately trying to avoid realizing is that Iran’s situation is far worse than the US or Israel. The Iranian government does far worse to it’s citizens than the US or Israel. The Iranian government steals much more from it’s citizens to put in their own pockets, and to send to the Hamas and Hezbollah so that the killings continue (most of which are Arab lives). It is fitting that they rape protestors in their prisons, because the leaders of the Islamic Republic are raping Iran.

    Say what you will about the Israel, but at least their government does rape their own women and children or shoot them dead in the street.

  3. Iranian-American says:

    … at least their government does NOT rape their own women and children or shoot them dead in the street.

    I wonder, how does the Israel government respond to protests by Arab citizens? I know that the Israel is a somewhat racist country and that they treat Arab citizens poorly, but I think even Israel allows it’s Arab citizens to protest without arresting or shooting them dead in the streets. I ask because I honestly don’t know.

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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