Obama Is Right to Be Wrong about IS

President Obama made a speech about the terrorist group IS and laid out his strategy about how to gradually “degrade and destroy” IS. Overall I think it was the best one could do in the current situation, and I believe objections to it would come from reality-divorced ideologues from the right (who want more war at any cost and do not consider how being erratic in war against IS could spiral into a disaster) and left (whose opposition to military intervention is an article of faith and have no problem with genocides and rapes if not committed by a western government), as it seems to be prudent, careful, and based on a coalition with the globe, as evident by John Kerry’s travel to Arab countries to gain their support, and would involve Europe as well. You can read a summary of his plan here. Does that mean Obama can prevent a disaster? Who knows? I don’t think it’s unlikely that in spite of Obama’s tactful and rational strategy, all would still fail. It’s a very tricky subject.

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In Iran: The Noose Around Reformists’ Neck Gets Tighter

A little more than a year has passed since Rouhani became the president of Iran, but it seems that the conservatives are in full oppression mode. I have already told you how Rouhani’s minister of science was removed by the conservative parliament for the “crime” of doing his job and implementing reforms. But the events of these days show that the conservatives are continuing to restrain Rouhani in his place. These events usually seem too domestic and too insignificant, but they are significant, so in this blogpost I will explain why they matter.

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Why As An Iranian I’m Skeptical of Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater”

The trailer of Jon Stewart’s Rosewater was released. I ought to be very  excited. No event was more defining of my life than the 2009’s Green Movement. Jon Stewart is a witty comedian with honorable sensibilities, whose coverage of 2009 events, sending Jason Jones to Iran to cover the election and then how he handled the protests, made him famous and popular in Iran. I have watched all Daily Show episodes since that time, and no other American has been as influential in my understanding of contemporary United States. Plus, the Green Movement deserves to have books and movies. So what’s wrong? Why I’m not excited? Why do I feel the movie is going to be a failure in my eyes?

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Crisis Group on Nuclear Talks: A Focus on Irreducible Core Interests rather than Maximalist Stances

Crisis Group is one of the best resources one has to understand international policy better. I have frequently read their reports, and I fully agree with their stances. Ali Vaez frequently appears on Persian TV and I consider him the best commentator on Iran’s international policy. Anyway they have a 40 page report on how the nuclear talks could be successful, and it’s a must read for everyone interested in the subject. The report itself is not new but it’s been edited and it should be read.

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Conservative Ayatollah: 3G Internet Is Immoral and Inhumane

One of the ongoing battles between the Rouhani administration and the conservative establishment of the regime is internet freedom. Rouhani administration has attempted unsuccessfully to unblock Facebook and Twitter. Before Rouhani the speed of internet was slowed down intentionally, but that changed a lot during his time, the minimum speed people could but was increased and the obstacles were removed, and 3G internet was introduced. Now a conservative cleric has taken it upon himself to battle this and has issued a fatwa against 3G.

makarem

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Ideological Persecution Complex and Gambling on the Oppressed

Many ideologies are shaped in reaction to real social ills and real oppression. They are in fact inspired by oppression, they are a plea for justice in an unjust situation. They are most of the times revolutionary ideologies, meant to overthrow and oppressive regime or social system. They are naturally considered liberating forces and attract well-meaning people who support them and leagues of angry supporters. Then a revolution happens, and that ideology becomes the regime or it becomes the dominant ideology. Then, to everyone’s surprise, it’ll turn out to be actually as repressive as the previous system or more, and soon it will lose all the respect it held as a liberating ideology.

But why? Was it because the power corrupted them? Was it because they were never sincere? I think among some individual believers this is possible, but ultimately the problem is somewhere else, somewhere integral to all revolutionary ideologies which makes them potential oppressive opportunities, and what makes them appealing in the first place.

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Rouhani’s Minister of Science Removed by the Parliament

Reza Faraji Dana, Rouhani’s minister of science, in charge of academia and science research, the most successful minister of Rouhani when it comes to implementing reforms in his own field, was impeached today, and he did not survive the impeachment, and was removed by the conservative Parliament of Iran.

faraji in majles

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Tyrants’ Crocodile Tears for Ferguson

Of course the thoughts of all people concerned with liberty and human rights go out to the people of Ferguson which is rooted in the racial tensions and inequalities and hope things get better for them. However some suspicious personalities are getting on the bandwagon too. Like the Supreme Leader of Iran:

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Link Round-Up 8/17/2014

Story of the week: Robin Williams passed away. David Wong of Cracked has a moving article on the link between comedy and depression. Salon has an interesting compilation of his best moments and Vulture has more moments. Jerry Coyne has the best overview of the reactions of the atheist community to his death. Ashley Miller discusses the role of depression in the light of his death. This is some teachers inspired by his role in Dead Poets Society, a sentiment I expressed in my own obituary as well.

JT Ebehard and Dan Fincke have both touching tributes.

Lauren Bacall was another great actor we lost. Here is a review of her great career. Richard Brody explains how being a strong woman shaped her career. This NPR article includes some of her interview highlights. But my favorite article after her death was Amy Davidson’s. And you can see her life narrated in pictures.

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