• 17 November 2010
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • Uncategorized

Lieberman to Push for Iran War Resolution?

Senator Joe Lieberman on Tuesday signaled that the incoming Congress may consider endorsing war with Iran.

Speaking before the Foreign Policy Initiative, a neoconservative think tank formed by many of the chief architects of the Iraq war, Lieberman was questioned by accomplished war advocate Bill Kristol about how the new Congress will factor into Iran policy.

Lieberman said that Congress would focus on pressing the Administration on sanctions, but also suggested Congress may decide to formally endorse military options against Iran.  According to Lieberman, Congress’ role should include “that we express what I believe is actually there in the Congress and I think it’s there in the American people.  Nobody wants to use military force against Iran, but there is a base, a broad bipartisan base of support if the Commander in Chief comes to a point where he thinks that’s necessary.”

MR. KRISTOL: And so Congress could —

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: Could express that in some way, but I think that’s not tomorrow, but it may be down the road depending on — I mean, when you think about it, by January it will have been six months since the sanctions began to be applied to Iran, and it’s fair to say that there’s been no voluntary limitation of their nuclear weapons program.

While Lieberman was careful to say that such a Congressional action endorsing war would be in “support” of the President if he decides force is necessary, the pro-war crowd is clearly trying to turn up the pressure on Obama and is unlikely to be satisfied with compromise.  Republicans have already demonstrated a willingness to undermine the President on foreign policy, with incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s suggestion to Benjamin Netanyahu that Republicans would be a “check” on Obama as just the latest example.  Earlier this year, House Republicans introduced a resolution endorsing Israeli strikes against Iran, undercutting the authority of the President and his civilian and military leadership to prevent such an attack by sending a signal that Congress would stand with Israel instead of the President.

Lieberman, who recently joined his Senate colleague Lindsey Graham to “up the rhetorical ante” on Iran by endorsing the military option against Iran, buys into the argument offered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week  that escalating war rhetoric against Iran should be part of US policy.  This is the next step in paving the path to war—whether under Obama or, as was the case with Iraq in the 90’s, to tee up war for the next President.  Once the war threat is out there, it doesn’t go away.

Such advice defies pushback from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and dire warnings about the consequences of strikes from US military leaders.  It ignores a recent USIP-Stimson report that states, “Even veiled allusions to the ‘military option’ reinforce those Iranian hardliners who argue that Iran requires nuclear weapons to deter the US, and protect Tehran’s security and freedom of action.”  And it flies in the face of Iranian democracy activists and human rights defenders who say that war can only undercut their cause.

Lieberman argued yesterday in the Wall Street Journal that Obama can seize an opportunity to forge a “bipartisan foreign policy” by teaming up with new Republican leadership in Congress to thwart “anti-war Democrats and isolationist Republicans.”  But it is unclear how long Lieberman and the pro-war crowd will be willing to wait before pushing to further undercut the President by signaling that Congress is ready for war with Iran.

Posted By Jamal Abdi

    One Response to “Lieberman to Push for Iran War Resolution?”

  1. Pirouz says:

    Exactly who are “those Iranian hardliners who argue that Iran requires nuclear weapons to deter the US, and protect Tehran’s security and freedom of action” that the USIP-Stimson report refers to? Names and positions of these “hardliners” please.

    Jamal, you have any idea who they’re referring to?

    All I’ve ever heard from Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, Larijani etc. is that they don’t want nuclear weapons.

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7,350 signatures

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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