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Posts Tagged ‘ Tony Blair ’

  • 4 February 2010
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • 4 Comments
  • US-Iran War

Deja Vu All Over Again

On the heels of last week’s testimony by Tony Blair before Britain’s Chilcot panel regarding the Iraq war, Seumas Milne discusses in the Guardian yesterday the parallels between the 2002 run up to war with Iraq and the current escalation in rhetoric and military forces aimed at Iran .

In his column, “The lessons of Iraq have been ignored. The target is now Iran”, Milne writes, “We were ­supposed to have learned the lessons of the Iraq war. That’s what Britain’s ­Chilcot inquiry is meant to be all about. But the signs from the Middle East are that it could be happening all over again.”

He goes on to compare the current Iran rhetoric and George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech, and analyzes the recent US announcement that it is “boosting its naval presence and supplying tens of billions of dollars’ worth of new weapons systems to allied Arab states.  The target is of course Iran.”

“In case anyone missed the parallels, Tony Blair hammered them home at the Iraq inquiry last Friday.” Milne writes, “Far from showing remorse about the bloodshed he helped unleash on the Iraqi people, the former prime minister was allowed to turn what was supposed to be a grilling into a platform for war against Iran. “

Tony Blair isn’t the only one who has apparently learned little from the lessons of Iraq.  In Daniel Pipes’ February 2 piece in the National Review, “How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran”, Pipes offers the Obama Administration some free political advice: “He needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him,” Pipes writes.  The answer to Obama’s political difficulties?  Bomb Iran.

Pipes states that such an attack would be “more politically palatable” because it would be limited to aerial strikes and thus “would require few ‘boots on the ground’ and entail relatively few casualties”.  No mention, however, of the Pentagon’s broadly accepted assessment that such strikes would not eliminate Iran’s nuclear program and would play into the hands of Iran’s government as it attempts to fight a growing popular uprising.

Like any good political strategist, instead of making the case that starting a war with Iran is good policy, Pipes argues that its good politics—he even supports his argument with polling data.  The cynicism in Pipes’ argument is underlined when he compares his proposed new war with Iran to 9/11, noting that the most deadly terrorist attacks on US soil were a political boon that “caused voters to forget George W. Bush’s meandering early months”—just think what bombing Iran could do for President Obama’s poll numbers.

“If Obama’s personality, identity, and celebrity captivated a majority of the American electorate in 2008, those qualities proved ruefully deficient for governing in 2009.”  So in Pipes’ world, “bomb, bomb Iran” is new “Yes we can”.

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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