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Horace Campbell on the situation in Ethiopia, resolving ethnic conflicts, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

January 16, 2021

Great Ethiopian Renaissasnce Dam

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December 4, 2020 KPFA

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Dr. Horace Campbell, Director of African Initiative, African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University speaks on the recent conflict in Ethiopia and on ideas of how to resolve the tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia (and the other countries which share the waters of the Nile River) concerning the completion of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

This is a part of an interview that appeared on KPFA in Berkeley, CA on December 4, 2021

Twenty minute interview – section on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam starts around 16 minutes into the interview.

Seven weeks old, but still entirely relevant.

Both in terms of resolving ethnic conflicts in the country and resolving the issues surrounding the completion of the dam between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia Dr. Campbell offers frank but concrete suggestions concerning how to resolve these conflicts peacefully.

Contrast that with (soon-to-be) ex U.S. President Trump’s comment that Egypt might blow up the dam…

Reading About Xinjiang – The Qiao Collective’s Bibliography

January 16, 2021

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Xinjiang: A Report and Resource Compilation

I have just downloaded this compendium of information on Xinjiang, China, copied all the links and, starting in the next few days, I will over time read as many of the articles there in and watch as many of the videos as I can. There is enough material here to think about and keep someone busy until the end of the COVID-19 virus and long afterwards. A great deal of information gathering, intellectual work has gone into putting what is essentially an annotated bibliography together on the situation in Xinjiang China.

It is important that people – all people, but especially people here in the United States – familiarize themselves with China – with its history, its current situation it growing global connections. Each of you could do a lot worse. The United States is heading, no – has already entered – a new Cold War with China. It has become very nasty in a short period of time, starting with the Obama presidency and now gotten worse during the Trump years. Like the “old cold war” with the Soviet Union, it is largely based on exaggerations and lies, hiding what is essentially socio-economic competition.

Will this competition be peaceful, graceful or will it be – as appears to be shaping up, graceless (on the side of Washington) ultimately leading to a military “contest” that will benefit no one?

I hope not but given that the United States’ is suffering from a deepening malaise, wounded beast syndrome, it’s hard to say.

My starting point for becoming better informed about this subject is that, we in the United States are being lied to about China and specifically about Xinjiang. Of this I am certain. As a result one needs to give attention to two tasks: the first – the deconstruction of the lies. So many of the articles cited here, some of which I am already aware of, address this. But if we are being lied to, if the truth is being stretched to such a degree that it is no longer true, the question remains: what IS going on in Xinjiang and why?

Central to the increasing vilification of China has been the supposed treatment of Chinese Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China’s northwestern region. The Chinese government has been accused of serious repression – the term genocide is bandied about – of this population of Turkic culturally based Muslims. Missing from this narrative is a 30-40 year Western sponsored terrorist campaign to undermine the region, and as is with most campaigns of this nature , to split Xinjiang off from China, partition the country in a word, the age old way that imperialist countries (UK, USA) try to defeat their adversaries. The campaign of course hidden under a cynical human rights banner. will, I am convinced, fail. In fact it has already, the propaganda aside. Indeed the more it fails the more shrill are its advocates.

Part of this bibliography is political, a large part in fact… it details what is referred to as U.S. hybrid warfare against China, much of which centers around Xinjiang. But there is much historical and cultural information as well. There is more than enough material here to answer such questions.

Finally the Qiao Collective is a collective, as I understand it, of Chinese marxists – Communists as they define themselves – who live outside China and have come together in a collective to question… no – attack … the mainstream narrative developing here and in Europe about China that is taking on the aspect of a New Cold War. Their website is a goldmine of information, perspective. Try it, you’ll like it!

They write with “an edge”; some people find that offensive. Personally I find it refreshing. I hoping – and looking forward to the Qiao Collective putting out a similar bibliography on the Belt and Road Initiative to match this one.

The January 6 Storming of the White House – “A Singular Event” With Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. The Beginning of a new Venture

January 14, 2021

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Clowns, Police and Military Veterans: The Storming of the White House

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This is the version on YouTube.

Some of you have seen it on Facebook – It’s the same interview now shown live on the two “platforms” – Facebook and YouTube.

This is the first in a series of talks that Ibrahim Kazerooni and I will be doing. We have been engaged in political commentary – both interviews and in writing for 11 years now. In a program hosted by Jim Nelson – KGNU – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues – we have done – rather faithfully – programs once a month, sometimes more now for all this time. As the title of the program suggests, our program is about Middle East developments and U.S. policy (or lack thereof) in the Middle East.  I do believe that listeners to that program get a analysis of the current situation in the region – if not unique – certainly far different than what appears in the mainstream media.

Now we venture out to cover other subjects.

Who are we?

Ibrahim Kazerooni

Close friends and collaborators for going on 20 years, we are quite different in our philosophical make up. Ibrahim Kazerooni is, among other things, an Islamic (Shia) scholar and theologan.

He comes from a long line of imams in his family, a family that with roots both in Iraq – the holy of city of Najab – and Iran. Indeed “Kazeroon” from where the family name comes is a town in southwestern Iran. He has lived in Iraq, Iran, Great Britain, Denver Colorado and now in Detroit Michigan. He is an imam at the Islamic Center of North America in Dearborn Michigan, the largest mosque in North America. Needless to say with such a background he is a deeply, no, profoundly religious person. Ibrahim has a PhD from the Joint Iliff School of Theology – University of Denver Korbel School of International Studies doctoral program. He also has a Masters’ Degree in Mining Technology from Great Britain. He is married and has two children.

He is also an excellent cook, a fact verified by anyone who has had the pleasure of eating one of his meals.

Rob Prince

Rob Prince. Brooklyn, New York City born, he grew up from the age of 5 in Jamaica Queens. He grew up in a Jewish family whose roots are in Bialystok Poland, Grodno Belarus and Vilnius, Lithuania. He is a secular Marxist.

Prince attended New York City public schools in the 1950s and early 1960s, when they were by far among the best sources of public education in the country, if not beyond. Prince graduated with a degree in French Literature in the Spring of 1966 from St. Lawrence University in Canton New York. On his graduation, he found two fully paid invitations for foreign travel waiting for him at home: his draft notice to help blow up bridges in Vietnam and an invitation to join the Peace Corps in Tunisia to help build them. Preferring then and now to build (cultural) bridges rather than blow them up, he went on to spend approximately 2 1/2 years in the Peace Corps in Tunisia where he served his country honorably as a volunteer in Tunis and Sousse and a member of the staff for 5 months after his assignment left.

Prince has been involved in the country’s peace movement since his Tunisia days in Colorado and elsewhere. For the past 11 years, along with colleague Ibrahim Kazerooni, he has been a commentator on KGNU – Boulder’s Hemisphere’s Middle East Dialogues program hosted by Jim Nelson. In Colorado he taught at what was then called Community College of Denver – Red Rocks, Metro State College of Denver and since 1993 at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies from where he retired in 2015. He is married to Nancy Ellen Fey whom he met when she was sitting on a rock on the northern side of Grand Mesa 52 years ago in a place called Rulison, Colorado.

Fey and Prince have two grown daughters, Molly Fey Prince and Abigail Stella Prince, both of Denver and, most recently, a grandson,Theodore “Teddy” Prince Pile

Was Ahed Akhil of Beit Ummar, Palestine murdered for no reason? Coloardo Group calls for an investigation.

January 12, 2021

Ahed Akhil, 24 year old sweet shop (candy store as we would call it) in Beit Ummar, killed by an Israeli security guard and left for five hours to bleed to death.

The Israeli policy in the West Bank, when stripped to its essential, is simple enough: make life intolerable for the Palestinian people living there so that they will be forced to leave. Some have, many however, in what is a political act in and of itself, refuse to be pushed out their ancestral lands. The recent killing of Beit Ummar resident Ahed Akhil and the consequences for his family are a case in point.

Was Ahed Akhil murdered?

Just a month earlier, he had just opened a sweets shop called “Walls of Jerusalem” in his home town of Beit Ummar, a town of 18,000 people living with Area C of the West Bank, completely administered by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). He had gone to a nearby open market established by Rami Lev just outside the Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion to by some kind of specialty cheese there where he was shot and killed. The market serves both Israeli settlers and Palestinians from Beit Ummar.

As his now devastated family members tell it, Ahed Akhil was never involved in Palestinian politics. With no history of violence, he was not active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fateh or Hamas; nor did he have any known enemies.

One thing for certain, the Israeli military explanation of Akhil’s death lacks credibility. According to Israeli sources Akhil was in the process of attacking an Israeli at the marketplace with a knife; he was shot and killed by what sources say was an Israeli security guard.

Gush Etzion is actually a complex of 22 settlements with a population of 70,000 settlers. Like all other settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights, it is deemed illegal by international law.

Members of Akhil’s family have been interrogated. There is a likelihood that the family will be harassed now by the Israeli authorities for years to come. Not only has the Israeli military refused to return the victim’s body, but it has announced – as it has done thousands of times that it will demolish the Akhil residence.

Read more…

Clowns, Police and Military Veterans: The Storming of the White House – Domestic and International Considerations: A discussion with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. 8 pm MST, Live on Facebook and YouTube

January 10, 2021

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Live at 8 pm MST on Wednesday, January 13

To register for the live program:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobPrince1106/posts/10158452823808884

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpmZey_0Tz8

The specter of Fascism – American style – embedded in the costumes of clowns and people wearing MAGA caps and carrying semi automatic weapons – haunts the nation. The storming of the Michigan state capitol by right wing fanatics was a dress rehearsal for the storming of the White House on January 6. And what is the Jan 6 blotch on the American body politic a dress rehearsal for? A discussion with KGNU – Boulder Hemispheres Middle East Dialogue commentators Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince.

Due to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, the United States had to Organize a Coup at Home…

January 7, 2021

The British burn down the White House 1814. The last time till yesterday (Jan 6, 2021) the White House was penetrated and assaulted.

The United States’ Day of Shame – Three articles

At this point, as I did yesterday, I am refraining from making too many comments about the storming of the White House by a mob of rightwing idiots, kooks, racists, religious fanatics, the (not so) Proud Boys and other assorted lowlifes, instigated and encouraged by the still President of the United States Donald Trump and his equally demented sidekick, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Most got away unrepentant as ever. Few to date have been arrested and charged with the high crimes they have committed. Apparently some of them are selling their White House trophies on Amazon for big bucks.

I’ll weigh in next week  in more detail on a live stream with colleague Ibrahim Kazerooni on YouTube and Facebook later, but hopefully not to repeat what is already well known. Have my own ideas as to what happened and will probe some of the consequences, especially as they concern foreign policy.

But for the moment…  I simply want to provide three of the better articles of what appears to have been a coordinated effort to insure that White House security was too weak to stop the mob.

  1. Some among America’s military allies believe Trump deliberated attempted a coup and may have had help from federal law enforcement officials This article appeared in “Business Insider” and interviews European military intelligence operatives that have trained with U.S. intelligence people
  2. Storming of the Capitol Was Openly Planned But Ignored by Law Enforcement This article, written by Ryan Devereaux is “The Intercept’s” contribution. The Intercept is a political research wing of the Nation Magazine. 
  3. FBI, Homeland Security, White House Advisers, Foresaw Possible Riots, Looked The Other Way by William Arkin writing in Newsweek. 

They all cover similar ground, all worth reading.

Cheers.

Rob P.

The Iran Nuclear Deal in a Rapidly-Changing Middle East – a Zoom Conference – January 21. Sign up before it’s too late!

January 6, 2021

Palestinian Scholar, Zarefah Ramzy Baroud Interviewd by Center for Freedom and Justice – Colorado

January 5, 2021

Zarefah Ramzy Baroud

The Center for Freedom and Justice – Colorado (CFJ-Colorado) – plans to go live, doing live interviews on Facebook and YouTube that will also be available to watch afterwards.

The interview will take place on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 7 pm MST. It will be posted afterwards both on Facebook and YouTube

Access to the live interview sign up:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CFJColorado/live/

YouTube: https://www.facebook.com/CFJColorado/live/

In the first interview, in what will be seires of interviews,  CFJ-Colorado will itnerview Zarefah Ramzy Baroud. She will discuss the situation of children incarcerated in Israeli prisons – 1/3 of which come from the town of Beit Ummar in the West Bank…and why the United States Congress has not cut funding to Israel for such actions, although it is specified in the Leahy Amendment.

Gary Anderson from CFJ-Colorado, water engineer with rich experience in the Middle East, will interview Baroud. She wrote her Masters thesis on U.S. military aid to Israel. The interview will discuss the Leahy Laws, provide background on how U.S. aid is being used to harm Palestinian children, and tackle the issue of what can be done.

Transcript 1: The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA): Can It Be Resurrected? Is It Too Late? KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

January 5, 2021

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Later on we can dissect this Congressional letter to Biden – what’s positive and negative about it – but what is the most important point is the clear commitment to return to the Iran Nuclear Deal. There is no mention in it of some kind of negotiating process as a prerequisite to return to the agreement. That would meet the Iranian position as you mentioned earlier.

This is hopeful.

The other point is that, as you mentioned Jim, public support for this position exists in Colorado and the rest of the nation. Without going into too many details a coalition has come into being; it’s called “Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy and Peace.” Some of the groups include the Friends Committee on National Legislation, J-Street and the National Iranian-American Council as well as the Colorado chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace as well as some individual (like myself) who are involved.

It’s hosting a zoom conference on the JCPOA on January 21. Trita Parsi of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft will keynote. Just letting the listeners know about that.

Rob Prince

What concerns us – there is the idea of the parties that signed the JCPOA of somehow going back to the negotiating table in order to start to negotiate once again in order to hijack, revise the agreement suggesting that the United States is re-engaging in the agreement when in fact, they are not – they are trying to revise it. The Iranians have made it clear that there is no negotiation: it’s either the United States returns to the 2015 agreement, or it doesn’t do so.

Ibrahim Kazerooni

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Transcript 1: The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA): Can It Be Resurrected? Is It Too Late? KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

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Tonight on Hemispheres the Middle East Dialogues with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. This evening Kazerooni and Prince will discuss the JCPOA (Iran Nuclear Deal) and can it be saved by President-Elect Biden’s foreign policy team? Just before the holidays many House Democrats signed (150) a letter to the incoming Biden adminstration to return to the nuclear deal with Iran and to lift the current sanctions placed on Iran by the current Trump adminstration. As always Prince and Kazerooni will give their insightful and well reseached views on the current situation with Iran. That’s the Middle East Dialogues on Hemispheres.

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Jim Nelson: This evening we are going to be discussing the Iran Nuclear Deal.

I want to put it in context…

With the new year fast approaching and the Biden Presidency soon beginning the question of whether the U.S. will return ot the Iran Nuclear Deal – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – is on the table

Recently 150 members of Congress, all Democrats, sent an open letter to President-Elect Biden to return to the JCPOA, among them four Colorado Congressmenbers – Jason Crow, Diana De Gett, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter. In exchange for the U.S. rejoining the agreement, they are asking Iran to rejoin as well – well, they never left – . If the United States joints it is expected that Iran will lower the levels of in uranium enrichment program. This would be in exchange – as the 2015 agree3ment stipulates – that the United States along with the Europeans would lift their sanctions against Iran.

A coalition of groups in Colorado – calling themselves – Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy and Peace – has come together – also calling on the Biden Administration to rejoin the JCPOA – Rob can fill us in on their activities -.

Is there a realistic possibility that the U.S. will return to the agreement? In a more general sense, will the U.S. leave the Trump Administration’s “go-it-alone” polices and return to international cooperation? The Paris Agreement on Climate Change? The INF (Intermediaate Nuclear Force Agreement)? The Open Skies Agreement? The W.H.O (World Health Organization)? Etc…

So Ibrahim and Rob, will the United States return to the JCPOA?

Rob Prince: I’ll start Jim; I like the term realistic possibilities for the United States returning to this JCPOA agreement – we’ll get into that – but for starters I want to connect with what we talked about last week.

Last week on the program, we noted that it was the 10th anniversary of the immolation of Tunisian brother Mohammed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid, we looked at the onset of the Arab Spring with uprising in Tunisia. That event was the beginning of a genuine popular grass roots revolt throughout the Middle East. That was a genuine revolt – in protest to the socioeconomic conditions in Tunisia, the corruption there, the repression.

It was a movement that appeared to have great possibilities for far reaching institutional and social change but in the end, the results were – we could say “hijacked” and institutional restructuring was hijacked and neutralized by Western powers – foremost among the United States. Ten years on very little, if anything had changed institutionally very little, not only in Tunisia but throughout the region.

One of the things we’re concerned about – will this happen again?

So Ibrahim, this isn’t the first time, is it that a social movement that looked so promising was somehow “detoured” ?

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Certainly not.

Now we have ample proof that the United states – in both the Arab and non-Arab World have meddled and tried to derail, undermine and to a degree neutralize social movements that take place. In the United States, at least during the post Second War War period there has been a good deal of such activities. But before World War II we saw the same kind of behavior from other colonial powers such as the British and the Russians.

In the case of Iran in particular, in 1905, there was a Constitutional Movement in which both the British and the Russian czars collaborated and derailed that Constitutional Movement, turning it into little more than window dressing. It result in the tyrannical rule of the Pavlavi dynasty instead of a democratic system.

Then in 1952-1953, the British and the Americans, during the democratic uprising in Iran there was the case of Mohammed Mossaddegh. He was a democratically elected prime minister coming after a reign of centuries of tyranny in Iran through various dynasties. His election gave hope that the country was moving towards some kind of constitutional reform in which somehow the wings of the ruler at the time, Pavlavi, would be clipped and a new democratic constitution would be put in place with a parliament that would have effective power.

Unfortunately the United States in coordination with M.I.-5, M.I.-6 and the British government organized a coup – and as they say, the rest is history.

These kind of things have repeatedly taken place.

We’ve briefly touched upon this – if our listeners, our audience would remember, that the political power in the Middle East for at least the last three or four decades has relied on external powers and external governments to prop up and protect them. Hence when the Arab Spring began and immediately the old and loyal puppets were replaced, some new one was installed that would suggest some degree of change although nothing substantive or concrete took place.

What cioncerns us – there is the idea of the parties that signed the JCPOA of somehow going back to the negotiating table in order to start to negotiate once again in order to hijack, revise the agreement suggesting that the United States is re-engaging in the agreement when in fact, they are not – they are trying to revise it. The Iranians have made it clear that there is no negotiation: it’s either the United States returns to the 2015 agreement, or it doesn’t do so.

The Iranians have made it clear that there is no negotiation: it’s either the United States returns to the 2015 agreement, or it doesn’t do so.

By the way, as I was reading some articles, documents in preparation for this broadcast, I had the impression that most of those writing about the JCPOA have not read the full text of the JCPOA – or nuclear agreement with Iran.

If you look at the text, under the heading “Dispute Resolution Mechanism” it’s clearly outlined that, if Iran sees that other parties to the case are not prepared to adhere to the agreement, it has every right to withdraw and I read::

“If Iran believed that any or all of the E.U-3 were not meeting their commitment on this JCPOA, Iran could refer the issue to the Joint Commission for Resolution. The Joint Commission would have fifteen days to resolve the issue unless the time period was extended by consensus. After the Joint Commission consideration, any participant could refer the issue to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and ultimately to the United Nations Security Council .”

Ultimately, within that paragraph – Paragraph 36 – it says that:

“After this thirty days process the issue is not resolved, a joint commission would consider the opinion of the Advisory Board for no more than five days in order to resolve the issue. If the issue still hasn’t been resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining participant – and if the complaining participant and if the complaining participant deemed the issue to constitute significant non-performance then that participant could treat the unresolved issue as ground to cease performing its commitment under this JCPOA in whole or in part.”Right from the beginning (of the agreement) Iran faced Obama’s intransigence not to remove any of the sanctions. The initial agreement was that in exchange for Iran limiting its enrichment of nuclear material that sanctions would take place and all the sanctions would be removed. A full change would take place and all the sanctions would be lifted.

Right from the beginning (of the agreement) Iran faced Obama’s intransigence not to remove any of the sanctions. The initial agreement was that in exchange for Iran limiting its enrichment of nuclear material that sanctions would take place and all the sanctions would be removed. A full change would take place and all the sanctions would be lifted.

Obama didn’t do it. The European countries didn’t do it.

Right from the beginning (of the agreement) Iran faced Obama’s intransigence not to remove any of the sanctions. The initial agreement was that in exchange for Iran limiting its enrichment of nuclear material that sanctions would take place and all the sanctions would be removed. A full change would take place and all the sanctions would be lifted.

Obama didn’t do it. The European countries didn’t do it.

At the time Iran waited patiently, reminding everybody that this U.S. and European failure to reduce and eliminate sanctions, she considered to be a violation and a breech. And as a result, it might withdraw from the agreement.

Instead of waiting the required 30 days for a response, Iran gave 60 days, than an additional 15 days, 2 more months for a response.

Instead, the U.S. and Europe expected the Iranians to adhere to all aspects of the agreement while refusing to do so themselves. But once Iran realized that none of the parties (U.S., UK, Europeans) that signed the JCPOA with Iran intended to honor their part of the bargain it was forced also to water down its commitment too.

Rob Prince: Ibrahim, what you are describing is quite accurate – that’s what happened. Still, what I’d like to do is to start off on a little more hopeful note.

Undoubtedly this – getting the United States to return to the 2015 JCPOA and honor its commitments therein – is an uphilll struggle, the details of which we’ll talk about a little bit later.

But I wanted to go back to the letter (letter of members of Congress to the incoming Biden Administration). This was a letter that was published on Christmas Eve signed by 150 members of Congress, virtually all from what I can tell, were Democrats. I don’t know of any Republican that signed it, but still, that’s quite a number and among them were four Colorado members of Congress – Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter – were among the signers.

I just wanted to read from the first paragraph:

“…We particularly welcome your commitment to the restoration of American leadership and diplomacy. With respect to Iran, we agree that diplomacy is the best path to halt and reverse Iran’s nuclear program, decrease tensions in the region, and facilitate our nation’s reincorporation into the international community. We are united in our support for swiftly taking the necessary diplomatic steps to restore constraints on Iran’s nuclear program and return both Iran and the United States to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a starting point for further negotiations.”

Later on we can dissect this Congressional letter to Biden – what’s positive and negative about it – but what is the most important point is the clear commitment to return to the Iran Nuclear Deal. There is no mention in it of some kind of negotiating process as a prerequisite to return to the agreement. That would meet the Iranian position as you mentioned earlier.

This is hopeful.

The other point is that, as you mentioned Jim, public support for this position exists in Colorado and the rest of the nation. Without going into too many details a coalition has come into being; it’s called “Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy and Peace.” Some of the groups include the Friends Committee on National Legislation, J-Street and the National Iranian-American Council as well as the Colorado chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace as well as some individual (like myself) who are involved.

It’s hosting a zoom conference on the JCPOA on January 21. Trita Parsi of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft will keynote. Just letting the listeners know about that.

To be continued…

Read more…

Open Colorado Letter to Prominent Colorado Personalities Asking For Public Support of the JCPOA (the Iran Nuclear Deal)

January 3, 2021

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(Note – The letter below is signed by more than 75 signators, among them many well known public personalities. five members of the Colorado State Legislature, numerous academics, a number of rabbis, some present and former labor leaders, several retired military and a number of prominent peace activists.

Letters like this to elected officials are appearing all over the country.

In one, drafted by the Imams of Shi’ah Communities in Wayne County Michigan to President Elect Joe Biden, they write

“…We would like to show our support for your policies of honoring internatinoal treaties and returning to a more engaging foreign policy, especially the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) signed under President Obama. We believe that this deal, if honored in its totality, would reduced tension in the volatile region of the Middle East and will result in a stable Gulf Region. Indeed, by reinstating the nuclear treaty and lifting sanctions on Iran, you will be giving life to a major diplomatic agreement whose primary goal is to reduce the prospect of a global crisis and ultimately peace. We hope that your administration would take the bold steps necessary to bring stability and peace not only to our country, but globally.”)

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Colorado Letter:

Dear ,

We represent multiple groups and numerous individuals in Colorado who support the incoming Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, in tandem with Iran. These measures were initially agreed to by the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus Germany), and Iran on July 14, 2015. They became effective on January 16, 2016, securing an international agreement that effectively cut off pathways to an Iranian nuclear weapon. The JCPOA was unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran was in compliance with all terms of the JCPOA until May 2019, a year after the United States withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions. Following the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign and 2018 unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA, Iran gradually ceased complying with limits under the accord. Iran’s nuclear program is now advancing without effective restraints, tensions have risked boiling over to war, threatening Israel and the rest of the Middle East as well as American interests and citizens. Meanwhile, the Iranian people are caught between government repression and punishing sanctions.

Iran’s steps outside of the JCPOA are reversible, and, according to Iran’s official position, they will return to compliance with their obligations if the U.S. does the same. President-elect Biden has diminished leverage and a short window to reverse this damage ahead of Iran’s June 2021 elections. The best and only option for Biden is to uphold our prior commitments, return to the deal and seek to engage Iran in follow-on negotiations

We recognize that there are significant disputes between the U.S. and Iran, including over regional security and human rights in Iran. However, such tensions are worsened by sanctions and military threats, whereas diplomacy has succeeded on the nuclear issue. Restoring the JCPOA provides a sound platform for further diplomacy to address the full range of areas of disagreement between the US and Iran.

We ask that you make a public statement in support of President-elect Biden taking all diplomatic measures necessary to re-enter the JCPOA, which includes lifting “non-nuclear” sanctions imposed to frustrate attempts to re-enter the deal.

Signed,
● Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy & Peace
● J Street – Colorado Chapter
● Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) – Colorado Advocacy Team
● National Iranian American Council – Colorado Chapter
● Physicians for Social Responsibility Colorado
● Veterans for Peace – Chapter 79, Denver
● Veterans for Peace – Chapter 983, Colorado Springs
● Veterans for Peace – Chapter 120, Boulder
● Nader Hashemi (Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of
Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies)
● Andrea Stanton, Ph.D. (Chair of Department of Religious Studies/Associate
Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Denver)
● Rob Prince (Commentator of KGNU’s Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues weekly
radio show)
● State Representative Mike Weissman (HD-36)
● State Representative Jonathan Singer (HD-11)
● State Representative Steven Woodrow (HD-6)
● State Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet (HD-30)
● State Representative Karen McCormick (HD-11)
● Mike Cerbo (Former Executive Director of Colorado AFL-CIO; former State
Representative HD-2)
● RTD Board Director Paul Rosenthal (former State Representative HD-9)
● David Sanger (Past President of the American Federation of Teachers Colorado)
● Olivia Abtahi (filmmaker and author of Perfectly Parvin )
● Robert Preuhs, Ph.D. (Chair of the Department of Political Science at MSU Denver)
● Rabbi Eliot Baskin
● Jeremy Kaplan, MD
● Judith Steinberg, J Street National Board
● Sheila Rucki (Professor of Political Science and President of the Faculty
Federation at MSU Denver)
● A. Marie Ranjbar (Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado,
Boulder)
● Morteza Karimzadeh (Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of
Colorado, Boulder)
● Masoud Aghajani (Postdoctoral Mechanical Engineering Research Associate at
the University of Colorado, Boulder)
● Ellen Brock
● Joe Bryan (Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado,
Boulder)
● Mara Goldman (Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado,
Boulder)
● Emily Yeh (Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder)
● Neda Shaban (Department of Geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder)
● Adam Rovner, Ph.D. (Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of
Denver)
● Rebecca Galemba (Associate Professor at University of Denver’s Korbel School of
International Studies)
● Thomas Zeiler (Professor of History and Director of the International Affairs
program at the University of Colorado, Boulder)
● Mark Belkin (Former Director of Organizing and Communications at United Food
and Commercial Workers, Local 7; Executive Committee Member of J Street
Colorado)
● Joe Drexler (Retired Head of Strategic Campaigns of United Steelworkers Canada;
Retired Director of Industry and Corporate Affairs at ICEM Global Union
Federation)
● Jason Moses (Co-Chair, J Street – Colorado Chapter)
● Nancy Reichman (Co-Chair, J Street – Colorado Chapter)
● Merrill Glustrom (Co-Chair, J Street – Colorado Chapter)
● Reggie Gray
● John Kane (Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Regis University)
● Kevin Amirehsani (Chair, National Iranian American Council – Colorado Chapter)
● Dr. Bob Knott (National Iranian American Council – Colorado Chapter)
● Bob Kinsey (2008 and 2010 Green Party candidate for US Senate)
● Byron Plumley (Founder of the Peace Studies Department at Regis University,
former head of the Colorado office of the American Friends Service Committee,
Loretto Peace Committee)
● Dr. Nicolas A. Jackson
● Shirley Whiteside
● Eva Hutt
● Rabbi Caryn Aviv, Ph.D.
● Rabbi Brian Field
● Reverend Susan McKee
● Heather Oginsky
● Sara Avery (Coordinator, Friends Committee on National Legislation Colorado
Advocacy Team)
● Daniel Talero (Clean energy and sustainability consultant)
● Simone Shenassa
● David Ruchman
● Lisa R. Hartman, J Street Colorado
● Daniel Recht, J Street Colorado
● Howard Bellowe, J Street Colorado
● Faye Diamond, J Street Colorado
● Greg Diamond
● Leslie Glustrom
● Matt Young, J Street Colorado
● Edward A Stein
● Mary Hey (Founder of the Soviet Sister City Project, now Boulder-Dushanbe Sister
Cities)
● Jim Halderman (Chair, Rotary International Peace Committee, District 5450)
● Mark Pfundstein (Retired Military Intelligence Professional)
● Rev. Judith Smith Ray
● Erik Braaten
● Zari Banki-Cardenas
● Paul & Nancy Oberman, J Street Colorado
● Rabbi Rachel Kobrin
● John Huyler, former Lieutenant, U.S. Navy

Media Contact: sara.avery@gmail.com

End of Year Letter from a friend in Teheran… Bagher Asadi.

January 2, 2021

Bagher Asadi. Teheran. December 31, 2020 (see note below)

Dear Friend/Colleague

The New Year 2021 is right here and knocking on the door. Around these days at the end of each year, all of us tend to wish each other a new year better than the outgoing one. But, this year, with the almost one-year-old Corona pandemic still around and more than kicking, at least in most of the countries seriously afflicted with the naughty virus, the annual customary well-wishing truly comes from the heart. The pandemic has taken such a heavy toll in many societies, on both sides of the development divide, that almost every heavily impacted country – state – feels reeling under the burden. The COVID-19 roller-coaster has indeed exhausted whole populations, even if, it is a matter of deep satisfaction and gratitude, that only a very small percentage of each country’s population has been seriously infected. The psychological burden on everybody, including those not directly touched and afflicted, and the pervading sense of uncertainty, has been tremendous and deeply disquieting, with longer term human cost yet to emerge in years to come.

Seven months into the situation – in October – and having heard and read about the sudden demise of this or that close friend or colleague, or his wife or relative, due to Corona infection, I – for one – had the feeling that we had been spared the predicament. Well, that was not to be. First my wife, and then my son, and finally myself, became infected with the virus. Their infection, gladly of a weaker variance, was overcome through home-bound quarantine, and mine, of a stronger nature and substantial lung infection, required 6 days of hospitalization and a month of quarantine at home. Thanks God, all of us are alright now, and seem to share the deeply cherished common feeling that nothing in life is more precious than being healthy, first and foremost. All that comes with the baggage of living in an utterly unjust world – whatever the locale – seem to have to be relegated to the backburner till one is safely out of the Corona doldrums. And now tiptoeing into 2021, everybody, everywhere – whether in an advanced capitalism in the United States or in a heavily-sanctioned developing society like Iran – is also grappling with the added anxiety and uncertainty if –and when – the ‘savior’ vaccine will be available adequately – and whether to be administered ‘indiscriminately! Read more…

PRESS RELEASE: COLORADANS WELCOME CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT FOR RETURNING TO IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL – 1

January 2, 2021

Work with a new coalition – Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy & Peace, See contact info below for more detals

______________________________________________________________________

The public is invited to our large virtual event at 5:30pm MST on Thursday, January 21(https://tinyurl.com/COFORJCPOA) to support a return to the JCPOA. We’ll be cohosting it with the Center for Middle East Studies at Denver University. The event will feature the insights of Nader Hashemi (Center for Middle East Studies), Barbara Slavin (Atlantic Council), Trita Parsi (Quincy Institute), Hassan El-Tayyab (FCNL), and Dylan Williams (J Street).

______________________________________________________________________

PRESS RELEASE COLORADANS WELCOME CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT FOR RETURNING TO IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Denver, December 27, 2020: Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy & Peace, a
grassroots coalition, welcomes the public support shown by 150 U.S. Representatives, including Representatives Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, Joe Neguse, and Jason Crow for the Biden administration’s commitment to return on a compliance-for-compliance basis to the Iran Nuclear Agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA). They signed a Congressional letter (https://tinyurl.com/ycjwqcg3) to President-elect Biden stating that “diplomacy is the best path to halt and reverse Iran’s nuclear program, decrease tensions in the region, and facilitate our nation’s reincorporation into the international community.”

We also urge Senator Michael Bennet and Senator-elect John Hickenlooper to show their public support for a clean return to the JCPOA. Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy & Peace is a coalition of grassroots-led chapters of national organizations J Street, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Jewish Voice for Peace, and others.

We recognize that there are significant disputes between the U.S. and Iran, including over regional security and human rights concerns. However, such tensions are
worsened by sanctions and military threats, whereas diplomacy has succeeded on the nuclear issue. Restoring the JCPOA provides a sound platform for further diplomacy to address the full range of areas of disagreement between the U.S. and Iran. The public is invited to our large virtual event at 5:30pm MST on Thursday, January 21
(https://tinyurl.com/COFORJCPOA) to support a return to the JCPOA. We’ll be cohosting it with the Center for Middle East Studies at Denver University. The event will
feature the insights of Nader Hashemi (Center for Middle East Studies), Barbara Slavin (Atlantic Council), Trita Parsi (Quincy Institute), Hassan El-Tayyab (FCNL), and Dylan
Williams (J Street).

# # #
Media contact: Sara Avery, 303-489-2431, sara.avery@gmail.com

YEAR-IN-REVIEW: VIOLATIONS AGAINST PALESTINIAN CHILDREN UNREMITTING IN 2020 Dec 31, 2020

December 31, 2020

Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Ali Ayman Saleh Abu Alia on December 4, 2020, in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: Courtesy of Abu Alia family)

End of Year Letter from Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Defense of Children International – Palestine

As this difficult year comes to a close, our team is taking a moment to reflect on the challenges Palestinian children faced in 2020. Our year-in-review analysis exposes the different ways Israeli forces violated the human rights of Palestinian children this year, even as COVID-19 triggered months of isolation, economic hardship, and health crises for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.

Read Defense for Children International – Palestine’s year in review »

We mourned the loss of nine Palestinian boys between the ages of 14 and 17 killed by Israeli forces over the course of the year, including 15-year-old Ali Abu Alia, who Israeli forces shot dead on his birthday. These children will never grow up to live with justice and freedom.

Acting as the legal representative of Palestinian children unlawfully killed by Israeli forces, DCIP submitted legal observations to the International Criminal Court in March. Israeli authorities must be held responsible for killing Palestinian children, and we will continue pursuing justice and accountability through all available mechanisms.

Our field team documented 55 injuries to Palestinian children like 16-year-old Mohammad Moqbel, who was detained by Israeli forces after a soldier broke his jaw with a rifle stock. He is finally out on bail after receiving legal aid from one of DCIP’s lawyers.

Israeli forces continued arresting and detaining Palestinian children, putting children in grave danger in crowded conditions during the pandemic. Our legal team defended and supported 193 Palestinian children charged in the Israeli military court system, ensuring that they had free legal representation and an advocate in their corner while they endured a system that has no interest in justice.

Give a year-end gift to support Defense for Children International – Palestine »

This year, it felt like tragedy moved faster than hope could keep up. The entire world is living in a state of emergency.

We don’t know what 2021 will bring, but we are choosing to move forward with hope. Our community of Palestinian children’s rights advocates is larger and stronger than ever, and our team here in Palestine is encouraged by your solidarity and support. Thank you for all you have done during this difficult year to support Palestinian children. We’re sending you our warmest wishes for a peaceful and healthy new year.

In solidarity,

DCIP_Staff__headshot_BParker_200x200.png

Ayed Abu Eqtaish
Accountability Program Director
Defense for Children International – Palestine

Audio Tape: The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA): Can It Be Resurrected? Is It Too Late? KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, December 29, 2020. 6-7 PM Mountain States Time.

December 31, 2020

Ceililng Shabestan in Fatima Masumeh Shrine, Qom, Iiran

Audio Tape: The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA): Can It Be Ressurrected? Is It Too Late? KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, December 29, 2020. 6-7 PM Mountain States Time. (details below).

The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA): Can It Be Ressurrected? Is It Too Late? KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, December 29, 2020. 6-7 PM Mountain States Time. (details below)

December 28, 2020

from Denver’s January 4, 2020 anti-war demonstration, one of about 80 throughout the U.S. that came together on two days’ notice

The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA): Can It Be Ressurrected? Is It Too Late? KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, December 29, 2020. 6-7 PM Mountain States Time.

Just before Christmas some 150 members of the House of Representatives – including 4 from Colorado (Crow, De Gette, Neguse, Perlmutter – signed a letter to President-Elect Joe Biden urging him to return to the Joint Comprehesive Plan of Action as it was written and agreed upon in 2015 by Britain, China, Iran, Russia, USA and the European Union, that is without conditions. At the heart of that agreement: Iran would limit the enrichment of nuclear materials in exchange for the USA and Europe lifting sanctions against Iran.

Here in Colorado a growing coalition, Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy and Peace, in which the Friends Committee on National Legislation, J-Street, and the National Iranian-American Council in conjunction with the state chapter of Jewish Voice For Peace have come together press the incoming Biden Administration to do likewise. This coalition is holding a zoom conference on. Thursday January 21 at 5:30 MST on the subject. The public is invited. It will feature feature the insights of Nader Hashemi (D.U. Center for Middle East Studies), Barbara Slavin (Atlantic Council), Trita Parsi (Quincy Institute), Hassan El-Tayyab (FCNL), and Dylan Williams (J Street). Media contact: Sara Avery, 303-489-2431, sara.avery@gmail.com.

In the face of stiff opposition from groups like AIPAC, Christians United For Israel, and assorted neoconservatives, is there enough public support to accomplish this important step towards peace and away from the growing possibility of confrontation?

This and more, KGNU – Tuesday at 6 pm MST.