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06 March 2018


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What do you think of Iran? Constitutionally it is an interesting and new mixture of western style democracy (election of the majlis and the president) with the council of guardians as the final arbiter. Do you think that might be a model for other Muslim countries? I am genuinely interested.


Russia/Putin has never said it will help Syria regain ALL of its territory. As for Turks fighting Kurds in Syria, the Kurds have chosen NOT to submit to the government of Syria, so I do not think there is any reason for Russia to defend the Kurds from Turkey.
Do you really think that Russia should defend the Kurds from Turkey, win that battle, and then attack the Kurds on behalf of Syria?


You did not ask me, so pardon me for my reply.
Sistani has been unequivocal in his opposition to the Iran model of government as applied to Iraq. He is the most respected religious authority in Iraq, and he seeks no political power. He thinks that is not the appropriate role for a religious leader.
Remember, Sistani has refused to ever meet with USA authorities, military or civilian. He met with UN leader who was killed long ago, but he regards USA was/occupation as illegal as well as wrong.
Remember, Sistani was the person who called the people out to defend Sadr when USA surrounded the Kufa Grand Mosque in Najaf. And so many people came out and put themselves between USA military and the mosque that USA backed off.
And Sadr was NOT in any way a part of Sistani's organization.
So Sadr had/has the final word when he speaks, but he wants no part of ordinary politics.


@VietVet - "Although the Turkish Army left Iraq;..."

When did that happen? As far as I have been able to find, the Turkish Army (TKK) still has about a thousand troops in multiple bases within Iraq's Duhok Province and at Bashiqa in Iraq's Nineveh Province.

Just three weeks ago several Turkish soldiers were killed by gunmen at a Turkish base near the Iraqi city of Zakho. And two weeks ago the Iraqi Ambassador to Russia was complaining to Russian FM Lavrov that the Turkish presence was considered an invasion by Iraqis. They have been invited to leave by the Iraqis many times. But have not left since they got there back 20 years ago.

Babak Makkinejad

I think the Philosopher-King, with the power to suspend Sharia was the real innovation. The Guardulian Council was already present in the 1905 consitution. Both had accepted the principle of separation of powers and representative government.

Babak Makkinejad

It could not be a model for other Muslim states until and unless they come to the Ijma'a that they can never become like Western European country and furthermores, that Iran is the core state of their civilization.


Barbara ann,
in response to comment 45: ""

It isn't just the Treaty of Lausanne but also the Treaty of Sevres.

The Sèvres treaty marked the beginning of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, and its dismemberment. The terms it stipulated included the renunciation of all non-Turkish territory and its cession to the Allied administration.[6] Notably, the ceding of Eastern Mediterranean lands allowed the creation of new forms of government, including Mandatory Palestine and the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon.[7]

The terms of the treaty stirred hostility and nationalist feeling amongst Turks. The signatories of the treaty were stripped of their citizenship by the Grand National Assembly led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,[8] and this ignited the Turkish War of Independence. In that war, Atatürk led the Turkish nationalists to defeating the combined armies of the signatories of the Treaty of Sèvres, including the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. In a new treaty, that of Lausanne in 1923, Turkish sovereignty was preserved through the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.



and then


If Erdogan is as I suppose he is, then he will see a lot of 'things to fix'.

It speaks for itself and himself that he is pissing off people up to ... China. We're speaking of troubling up turkomens along the silk strait. A new 'Big Game'.

That's a lot of territory and a lot of people and especially a lot of people who won't like that.



Very True, in my (poor) opinion. Kurds of Syria are little idealist but realistic. And pragmatic and combat proven. They don't want a state. They want "arab" drop from Syrian Arab Republic, no big deal in a multi-ethnic country.
Around fighting, never forget Viet-Minh/North VietNam were very weak when US war begin. But not the will to fight and win.
This is a fact that clear big countries politics.
Turks are likely to suffer.I hope time will say.


@Outtheere @Babak Makkinejad
Thank you both. I find it indeed a model that could at least theoretically combine elements of the will of the people with the longer term perspective that is so lacking in Western style democracy. In Europe Ireland and Poland come to mind where the Catholic Church has (had) tremendous powers. I have read "Revolutionary Iran" by Michael Axworthy. Do you think it is a fair description of modern Iran?

Account Deleted

Re Turkish troops in Iraq:


"Even if the Afrin operation has not yet been completed, we have the capacity to carry out both operations simultaneously," Çavuşoğlu said.



The Viet Minh were quite weak when they started fighting the French, but in 1950 they acquired communist China as an active sanctuary and sponsor on their northern border. After that they got stronger and stronger until they had a full blown army as well as a big guerrilla and political establishment. They were never weak during their war with the US and got immensely more strong after they brought the NVA down from the north in 1965. Do you think the US will be a dependable sponsor for the Kurds? pl

Babak Makkinejad

I have not read that book, do not know.

Please note that both "secularism" and "Liberty" have many roots in the West but it is significant, in my opinion, that the first one could be traced to the famous Hadith of Jesus on giving the King what is his due etc. and the second one to the distinction that Saint Paul made between "License" and "Liberty" - neither of which exists in Islam.

The idea of representative government and elections could be supported within Islam by reference to the Quranic injunction: "Consult Among Yourselves!" and to the practice of electing the 4 early Khalifs.

Basically, if you take my argument seriously, one may conclude that Muslim countries could have representative systems of government but without Liberty and Secularism as understood in the West.

Muslim Thinkers, likely could graft the idea of Liberty to Islam after a lot of labor, but Secularism? That is a pipe dream, in my opinion.


I agree with your statement about hardware help from Russia and China and others marxist states. Albeit very weak in front of US military power, Air Force and Navy.

With regard to Kurds and US, the 2 have little in common. Help Kurds then US is on the verge of losing Turkey, huge strategic gain for Russia. The US is stuck with no good choice.

Best plan for US diplomacy (it's free!):
Kurds: stop Turkish Air Force. Its material and human damage are huge and Kurds have nothing to oppose.
Syria: quit this country and help peace between Syrians only.
Turkey: calm down its anti-Kurdish fury. Help this country to dry up its wounds and resume its place in democratic countries with économic gains.

Vast and difficult plan, then the US is again appreciated for his wisdom (and loved) in this little region.


IMO, can't work and wouldn't work. Iranian system is based on principles of Shia islam ( a cardinal like election by Assembly of experts for the head of state, Valley e Fagih, Governance of the Jurist) and cultural Iranian nationalism. No other arab country shares high majority (92%) shia and cultural Iranian nationalism. Iranian nationalism is millennials old, Pan Arab nationalism started in 1900s, and individual arab country nationalism does not exist, european colonialist knew that from day one, IMO that is the main reason they will not and can not accept a independent Iran.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

The overwheming drive in US policy in the Near Easr is 'what's good for Israel. Since Israel has a plan to balkanize all its neighbors to pevent any of them from even having a functional economy, it's a cinch that is the goal of American diplomacy in the region. Letting Erdogan drive seemingly at will over Syria's northern frontier is just part of the multifaceted campaign to destroy the Syrian central government and leave the place an ungovernable collapsed state. Isreal will never treat with any entity in Syria that claims the Golan heights (where the water is) or the coast (Where the oil is)


Thanks for that link. I was fairly certain Erdogan had not removed Turkish troops from northern Iraq, this confirms it.



Thanks for answering my question.

Emad is the Persian transliteration of the word a la Hezbollah not Hizbullah, Taleban not Taliban and the like.

Account Deleted

Turkish forces took Jindires today, seemingly without a major fight. They also advanced on the Azaz front NE of Afrin. According to my reading of the map this this puts them only 3-4 villages on each front from cutting off the remaining roads/tracks to Afrin itself - no wonder the civilian population is leaving. I wonder if the forthcoming siege will get the same Western media attention as Allepo & Ghouta.

Account Deleted

And for the Gary Johnsons out there, I of course meant Aleppo.


Clearly a reference to Army Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters article "Blood Borders"published in the June 2006 Armed Forces Journal. Peters is a member of PNAC.


different clue

I assume the little symbolic drawing is what's called a sigil. But I don't know what sigil it is if that is what it is. I looked up sigil images on the yahoo and didn't see it pictured.

I hope someone will tell me what the sigil is. Unless it is one of those "those who don't know don't need to know" sort of things.


different clue

That is the "tughra" (signature) of Suleiman the Magnificent. All Ottoman sultans had one modeled on that of suleiman's. Tayyip does not have one yet. pl

Babak Makkinejad

May be "Magnificent" to Turks; he captured Tabriz, could not hold it, and like Napoleon & Moscow centuries later, set it on fire before leaving.

He likely would have done the same to Vienna; capture it, hold it briefly, burn it, and leave.


Thanks a lot. I find Iran tremendously interesting as the whole world tried to stifle the revolution in the Eighties but Iran prevailed. What tremendous energy was generated. I can compare this achievement only to postrevolutinary France. Just as France changed all of Europe (Germany can only be understood if you understand the importance of the reforms of Napoleaon) so maybe Iran (has already?) will change the Middle East. I have to say I don´t find anything attractive in Salafism. Nothing I can relate to as a Christian who believes we are totally going the wrong way. Iran is a different story.


Story in Al-Monitor:

Russia considering course change after new challenges in Syria

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/03/russia-eyes-updating-syria-strategy.html#ixzz59JUek9Ha

"Russia once saw a return on its investments like the de-escalation zones, its use of private military companies (PMC) and engaging opposition groups. But these efforts are no longer producing the kind of results Moscow wants. Perhaps others have learned to adapt and deal with them. But Russia will not back down in the face of challenges, even if it means more political losses or physical expenditures. Instead, it will revise its course. Moscow already appears to be shifting its military and diplomatic strategies.

Russia's Defense Ministry plans to make use of the "gray zone," that Cold War-like area between peace and conventional warfare."

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