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Matthew Hoh: The US Obsession With Iran

Today Matthew Hoh returned to the show for the 8th time to discuss the US obsession with Iran. We discussed the MI6 CIA coup against Mohammed Mosaddeq in 1953 that installed the Shah of Iran until he was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. From there a US obsession starts to form in policy, media, sanctions, proxy wars, war and general foreign policy. We discuss how US/Israeli thinking about Iran shaped policy in overthrowing Saddam Hussein in 2003, Assad in Syria from 2011 and still to this very day.

Please feel free to comment if I have missed any links in the show notes.

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Show Notes

“As one senior British official put it: "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.”” Policy Beyond Baghdad Aug 18, 2002 Newsweek

"I would have loved nothing better than to have served under your command in this great venture" Kermit Roosevelt quotes Winston Churchill as stating about the 1953 Iran Coup, Kermit Roosevelt, Countercoup: The struggle for the control of Iran Page 207

"Instead, Mr. Obama decided to make the rebel training program a “covert action” run by the C.I.A. He signed a secret finding allowing the agency to begin preparing to train and arm small groups of rebels in Jordan, a move that circumvented the legal issues and allowed the White House to officially deny it was giving the lethal aid. Besides the legal worries, there were other concerns driving the decision to make the program a secret. As one former senior administration official put it, “We needed plausible deniability in case the arms got into the hands of Al Nusra.” Obama’s Uncertain Path Amid Syria Bloodshed October 22nd 2013 NYT

"From: Jake Sullivan

To: Hillary Clinton

Date: 2012-02-12 09:01

Subject: SPOT REPORT 02/12/II

The Good and Bad of Ahrar Al-Sham: An Al Qaeda-Linked Group Worth Befriending By Michael Doran, William McCants, and Clint Watts January 23, 2014 

"Nusra Front, however, hasn’t bothered Israel since seizing the border area last summer—and some of its severely wounded fighters are regularly taken across the frontier fence to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals… Only about one-third of the Syrians treated in Israel, however, were women and children. An Israeli military official acknowledged that most of the rebels on the other side of the fence belong to Nusra but said that Israel offered medical help to anyone in need, without checking their identity. “We don’t ask who they are, we don’t do any screening…Once the treatment is done, we take them back to the border and they go on their way,” he said." Al Qaeda a Lesser Evil? Syria War Pulls U.S., Israel Apart Mountaintop on edge of Golan Heights illustrates complexities. WSJ March 12th 2015

"The Saudis could never reconcile themselves to the US-led invasion of Iraq, not because it toppled Saddam Hussein but because it led to Shia majority rule in an Arab country. When Hosni Mubarak was toppled by Egypt’s popular revolt in 2011, Riyadh accused Mr Obama of betraying a US ally. Saudi perceptions of US complacency in the face of Iran’s advances in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen are a grievance far outweighing western perceptions of Isis jihadism as the main threat in and from the Middle East. After the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to a lightning Isis offensive in 2014, even the late Prince Saud al-Faisal, the respected Saudi foreign minister, remonstrated with John Kerry, US secretary of state, that “Daesh [Isis] is our [Sunni] response to your support for the Da’wa” — the Tehran-aligned Shia Islamist ruling party of Iraq." Mutual suspicion frays historic US-Saudi ties Barack Obama faces a ruling family under unpredictable new management on his farewell trip to Riyadh David Gardner APRIL 20 2016 Financial Times

Savak - Iranian Secret Police 

"It was also interesting to confirm that President Carter gave the Iraqis a green light to launch the war against Iran through Fahd.” Talking Points, State Department, "Talking Points" [for Alexander Haig meeting with Ronald Reagan], Top Secret/Sensitive, circa April 1981


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