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Entries in Gary Sick (9)


Iran Video Analysis: "Tehran Is Not Making a Mad Dash for the Bomb" (Gary Sick)

Gary Sick, an official in the Carter and Reagan Administration and now a leading Iran analyst based at Columbia University, critiques Iranian foreign and nuclear policy "from the inside", noting the motivations from the Islamic Republic's domestic concerns and its recent history with the United States and in the Middle East.

A take-away line, "Iran is not making a mad dash for the bomb. It has the capacity, but it is not doing it", leads Sick to chide the West over its current negotiating position, "We're never going to make them go back to zero capacity."


Iran-Israel War Talk: "Do We Always Have to Be Taken In By This Transparent Ploy?" (Sick)

We have been around this track many times before, with exactly the same level of manufactured hysteria, peaking with a campaign of sanctions and then just as mysteriously vanishing. 

How can you tell this is not the real thing? Well, if Israel were actually considering a highly dangerous strike on a well-armed enemy, would they be kicking the idea around for everyone to see?

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The Latest from Iran (28 April): Ahmadinejad Watch

2000 GMT: A Matter of Intelligence. The reformist Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution have issued a statement that the reinstatement of Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi by the Supreme Leader is unconstitutional and paves the way for absolute dictatorship.

1955 GMT: Campus Watch. Claimed footage of a demonstration at Soreh University in Tehran on Wednesday --- students were protesting the presence of security forces which made the campus a "garrison":

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Libya (and Beyond) Feature: Should the US Intervene? (Gary Sick)

Libyan forces have said they want to do it themselves. They have also said they could use some targeted assistance. Clearly, in this case, most of the world wants to see the insurgents win, but if others come in and fight their battles for them, what does that do to their cause?

It seems to me that this is an instance where pragmatism and caution should prevail.

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WikiLeaks and Iran: Is Tehran Establishing Bases in Latin America? (Sick)

Gary Sick, an official in the Carter and Reagan Administrations, covers a little-known story in the WikiLeaks documents, considering the possibility of an Iranian power play in Latin America to challenge the US.

However, he --- and the American diplomats handling the cases --- avoid the sensational conclusion of Washington v. Tehran in the region.

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Wikileaks Special: A Guide to Day 3 of EA's Coverage


1. Gary Sick assesses the revelations in the documents about the Obama Administration's "engagement" strategy towards Iran.

2. Scott Peterson reports on the scepticism over the sincerity of US approaches in light of the documents.

3. Gareth Porter dissects media coverage of stories such as the call of Arab leaders for military action against Tehran and North Korean missiles to Iran.


1. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asks about the Mystery of the Disappearing Anti-American Graffiti in Iran.

2. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives a US Congressman the ultimate answer to US questions about human rights.



Wikileaks-Iran Analysis: Assessing Engagement and War (Sick)

According to the record, the Obama administration was briefing allies almost from the start — and before Iran had even had a chance to respond to offers of engagement — that we expected this initiative to fail and that we were actively preparing the pressure track that would immediately follow.

Iran could hardly have been unaware of all this, so the chance that they would respond favorably — even before the contested election in June 2009 and the brutal crackdown that followed — was essentially zero. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Obama was never sincere about his engagement strategy. It has yet to be tried.

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Assessing Ahmadinejad in New York: Reality is a Minority Dwelling Place (Sick)

Ahmadinejad, like some other leaders, has constructed an alternative universe based on a vision of what his own country and the world should be. That vision is attractive to the very many people who are unhappy with the ways things actually are.

So when Ahmadinejad wants to condemn the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, he declares that the original event that set these interventions in motion – the 9/11 attack – was a fraud perpetrated by the Americans on themselves. The fact that Osama Bin Laden has proudly claimed credit for the attack is simply irrelevant. The myth fits into the ideal political universe of Ahmadinejad (and others – not just in Iran) who prefer to see all unpleasantness in the Middle East as the perfidious work of outsiders, especially the West.

This hugely complicates any effort of Ahmadinejad or other members of the Iranian regime to pursue a consistent and pragmatic diplomatic path. However, it preserves their revolutionary image with a broad swath of humanity. It also helps explain why Obama’s offer of an outstretched hand – which does not fit in this alternative universe – was not easily accepted.

In fact-checking Ahmadinejad and others who have their own idealized political agenda, one should never forget that the “reality-based” universe is in fact a minority dwelling place.

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Iran Special: Sarah Shourd and Ahmadinejad's Gamble for Power (Gary Sick)

Iran has had bitter internal disputes ever since the revolution. What is different this time is that it has gone public. The release of Sarah Shourd, as welcome as it is, is only a symptom of a much larger process: the attempt by Ahmadinejad to make the presidency into an indispensable and ultimately independent policy-making center. In that contest, he has allied himself with the Revolutionary Guards, arguably the real power behind the sanctified throne in Iran, rather than the Supreme Leader.

This is not good news for the United States in its on-again off-again efforts to engage with Iran. Ahmadinejad has given some evidence of wanting to forge an opening to the United States, as have presidents before him. But Ahmadinejad, like his predecessors, is hostage to a hostile internal environment that fears a deal with America could interfere with the cozy military-industrial-political consortium involving not only the Supreme Leader but also his protectors and economic beneficiaries in the Revolutionary Guards.

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