• 4 November 2011
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • 0 Comments
  • Israel, Sanctions, US-Iran War


This morning, amidst the buzz of threats of war with Iran coming out of Israel and the UK, a resolution green-lighting an Israeli military strike on Iran picked up 15 new supporters in the House of Representatives.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX), sends a dangerous signal to Israel and Iran and undermines the U.S. President’s ability to try to prevent a potential strike that would drag the U.S. into a catastrophic war.

In the same vain, Gohmert’s fellow Texan, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry, told CNN last night that he would back a preemptive strike by Israel against Iran even if it sparked a war in the region.  Such inflammatory rhetoric a convenient way to put the sitting President in a box when Perry doesn’t have the burden of actually putting his money where his mouth is.

Regardless of the hype–particularly the spin we will hear next week when a new IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program is released–the fact remains that the U.S. intelligence community continues to assess that Iran has NOT made the decision to pursue a nuclear weapon.

In a public Senate hearing earlier this year, the Director of National Intelligence affirmed this yet again:

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI):  ..I read into that that Iran had not made a decision as of this point to restart its nuclear weapons program.  Is that correct?

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper:  Yes Sir…

Levin:  Okay, but what is the level of confidence that you have that as of this time they have not decided to restart that program? Is that I high level of confidence?

Mr. Clapper:  Yes, it is.

So perhaps we should be working to convince Iran not to make a decision, right?  Threats of war, or an actual attack on Iran, do the precisely the opposite.

Yet for some, like Gohmert and Perry, the threats are good politics.  For others the war threats build pressure for more sanctions.  And in Iran, the threats of war play well for hardliners seeking to rally a divided population by pointing to external threats.

So it seems like everyone has an ulterior motive for ratcheting up dangerous tensions with Iran.  But in the end, the vicious cycle of dangerous flirtations with war do nothing to actually prevent a nuclear weapons capable Iran–they only make it more likely.

Posted By Jamal Abdi

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Sign the Petition

 

7,349 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.

Sincerely,

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