September 15, 2011

Don't Play Ahmadinejad's UN Game


The 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly convened this week in New York City.

Libya’s ousted Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution Muammar Gaddafi dare not show his face due to an International Criminal Court arrest warrant upon his head for crimes against humanity. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez cannot attend either because of ongoing chemotherapy. But Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intends to be there.

We will no longer be entertained and infuriated by scenes of Chavez sarcastically speaking about satanic sulfur in 2006 or Gaddafi disdainfully chucking the UN charter over his shoulder in 2009. Nonetheless, Ahmadinejad plans on yanking the West’s chain yet again. He will distribute a book on alleged atrocities committed against Iran and Iranians by American, British and Soviet forces during World War II, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reports:

Ahmadinejad will go to New York late this week, taking 1000 English copies of Documents on the Occupation of Iran during World War II. Iran’s occupation by the Allies during World War II is an international issue. This book contains many documents referring to the abuses inflicted by the Allies against the Iranian people.

The five-volume work is to be presented as evidence at the UN General Assembly, a parallel story in the Tehran Times notes:

to demand compensation from the Allies for violation of Iran’s neutrality during that world conflict.

So even though his comrades from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party cannot be there, Iran’s chief executive will do his best to incite American, British and Russian emotions – and he is well accomplished at provoking negative responses. But unlike Alice, officials in Washington, London and Moscow should not respond in anger. Paying no attention to his theatrics will deny Iran’s president the pleasure he seeks.

Let’s not give Ahmadinejad a tale to spin for Chavez when he flys to Caracas after the New York visit.

(AP Photo)

January 26, 2011

World Economic Forum Live Stream

If you, like me, were not invited to this year's World Economic Forum, take heart: it's being live streamed below.

January 11, 2011

OxFam Web Cast: Examining Aid to Haiti

OxFam America is hosting a conference today at 3pm EST called Haiti, One Year On: Realizing Country Ownership in a Fragile State. A distinguished panel will examine aid effectiveness in Haiti. The event will be streamed live, here. Viewers will be able to submit questions to the panel's participants via the chat function below.

October 27, 2010

Ask Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs is hosting a Q&A with their editor Gideon Rose on Afghanistan and his new book: How Wars End. If you'd like to submit a question to Rose, you can email us at: with "Foreign Affairs Q&A" in the subject. We'll select the best questions to send along to Foreign Affairs.

July 29, 2010

Live Stream: Gingrich on U.S. Security at Risk

Free TV Show from Ustream

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will give a speech on U.S. national security at the American Enterprise Institute. It will be live-streamed here beginning at 2pm EST.

May 21, 2010

Letting Countries Lead

Our friends over at Oxfam America will be hosting a discussion this morning on how U.S. foreign aid can produce better results by promoting country ownership and bolstering anti-corruption efforts.

Panelists will include:

Josh Rogin, author of Foreign Policy's The Cable blog, Washington Post columnist (Moderator)

Raymond C. Offenheiser
, President, Oxfam America

John Githongo, Chief Executive of Inuka Kenya Trust and Head of Twaweza Kenya (Keynote)

Esther Tallah, Manager, Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria; board member of UNITAID

Honorable Minister Amara M. Konneh
, Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs, Liberia

The discussion begins at 9 a.m., and you can watch it right here on RCW after the jump:

Continue reading "Letting Countries Lead" »

April 27, 2010

Ask Foreign Affairs: Danny Ayalon

Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Daniel Ayalon will be answering questions about U.S.-Israeli relations and the future of the peace process in a Foreign Affairs web-event. RealClearWorld readers can submit a question for consideration by emailing it to us with "FA Question" in the subject line. We'll select the best and send them to Foreign Affairs.

April 26, 2010

Afghanistan: Searching for Political Agreement

Washington, DC readers should be sure to check out an event this Wednesday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on political reconciliation in Afghanistan. Gilles Dorronsoro, a visiting scholar at the Endowment who just returned from the country, will be discussing his trip and the likelihood of a unity government in Kabul.

Interested readers may register to attend Wednesday's event here.

April 19, 2010

Attention Tri-State Area RCW Readers

Do you live in or around the New York City area? Foreign Affairs has kindly extended an invitation to RealClearWorld readers for what should be a fascinating discussion with Isobel Coleman, director of the Council on Foreign Relations' Women and Foreign Policy program. The event will be held on Tuesday, April 27.

The discussion is part of the magazine's Foreign Affairs LIVE series, and will take place at the Council on Foreign Relations building in Manhattan. There will also be an audience Q&A and post-meeting reception.

Event registration begins at 5:30 p.m., followed promptly by the discussion at 6 p.m. Seating is limited and first-come, first-served, so if you're interested please email us with your full name, contact information and professional or academic affiliation. More event details after the jump.

Continue reading "Attention Tri-State Area RCW Readers" »

April 11, 2010

Compass Q&A: Reza Kahlili

9781439189672.jpgReza Kahlili (a pseudonymous pen name) claims to have lived a double life. To his friends, family and colleagues in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, he was a regime loyalist working in the dutiful service of the Islamic Republic of Iran. But to the CIA, this young revolutionary was known as "Wally," and for over a decade this agency insider claims to have relayed sensitive information about Iran's most secretive military body to the U.S. intelligence community.

RCW recently spoke with Kahlili about his new book, A Time to Betray. This interview has been edited for length and clarity:

RealClearWorld: Why Did you join the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)?

Reza Kahlili: One of my close childhood friends had decided to join, and in the beginning, the Guards came from the poor sections of Iran. It was a tight fraternity; we even called each other "brother." It was built to secure the country, but it was also a way to build up the country's infrastructure and give back to the people.

RCW: You worked in the computer department, correct?

RK: Yes, it was late 1979, just a few months after the revolution, and I assisted in connecting bases around the country to assure communication and information throughout the corps.

RCW: Then, you became a spy for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Why?

RK: The purpose of the revolution had changed. A radical minority was was now suppressing the majority. The Shah's officers - even those who surrendered willfully - were being executed, and plain-clothed Hezbollahi thugs were threatening people in the streets. Students were being tortured, and women were being raped in Evin prison.

RCW: And with this change the Guards also changed. The IRGC has been a hot topic since last year's election upheaval. What is the IRGC?

RK: There has been some misunderstanding about who is in charge in Iran, and many have falsely argued that the Revolutionary Guards are in charge; that Iran is really a military dictatorship. This is wrong. The IRGC will always be under the control of Iran's radical clerics. Its leaders can be, and have been, replaced. [Former IRGC chief commander Yahya Rahim] Safavi is just one example.

RCW: Who Are These "Radical Mullahs?"

RK: It all begins with Supreme Leader Khamenei, but you have other radical ayatollahs, such as [Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah] Yazdi. He is an influential cleric in Qom, and also the spiritual adviser to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He helped Ahmadinejad get elected in last year's fraudulent presidential election.

Many of these clerics hold influential positions in government; especially in the intelligence units. Khamenei has representatives on every base and in every governmental department. The power structure begins with him.


RCW: So is the IRGC religious, secular or both?

RK: Most join the IRGC because they truly want to see the Islamic revolution spread around the world. But the organization's legitimacy, once again, begins with the clerics, so religion plays a huge role.

RCW: The Guards have also been compared to a corporation.

RK: Yes, what started as a small band of brothers became a security apparatus, a terrorist organization and then a ministry. Money was funneled to the IRGC, and it became heavily involved in black market commerce; buying and selling arms.

RCW: What do you think of President Obama's Iran policy?

RK: I had high hopes he'd study the attempts of previous administrations to negotiate with the Iranian regime. President Obama hoped he could put a new face on America abroad, and that would then bring Iran to the negotiating table. This was a misunderstanding, and a failure to learn from the efforts at negotiation made by his predecessors.

RCW: What about Obama's sanctions plan?

RK: Can you close the black market? Even during Reagan's embargo, NATO was selling items to Iran. The leadership doesn't care about the well being of the country, and sanctions will not faze them so long as they can get what they want on the black market. Sanctions are another illusion of the West.

The world must then understand the implications should Iran go nuclear. They will be untouchable. They'll move arms more freely, and they'll be able to threaten the world's energy markets. Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) will not work on a suicidal state.

RCW: I'd like you to clarify that last point, because the activity you describe - moving arms, threatening energy outlets and acting with impunity - does not sound suicidal. What you describe is certainly troubling, but is it really suicidal?

RK: It is my opinion that they are suicidal. What if the Supreme Leader suddenly decided that the "Mahdi" was returning, and the end of days was near? It may all sound crazy to Westerners, but these people believe it deeply.

RCW: But Iran is believed to already possess chemical weapons. If they're indeed suicidal, why not use those?

RK: Can you wipe Israel off the map with chemical weapons? Can you kill millions? First impact is crucial, because no matter what Iran does, afterward, Iran will be no more. So in that case, would they rather fire ten missiles armed with chemical weapons to kill thousands, or fire nuclear-tipped missiles and shake the world?

RCW: So is containment out of the question?

RK: Iran doesn't hate the United State because of Iraq; it doesn't hate the United States because of Israel. They hate the United States because of the Qur'an. They believe Islam should conquer the world.

What would the consequences be for the world if Iran attacked the oil Gulf states, or Israel or Europe?

Why does a suicide bomber blow himself up? Answer that, and then tell me if containment will work.


Kahlili claims his book first required approval from a U.S. intelligence body prior to publication. The opinions expressed in this interview are Kahlili's alone, and they do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of RealClearWorld.

UPDATE: David Ignatius reviews the book, and confirms that Mr. Kahlili had worked with the Central Intelligence Agency.

March 16, 2010

Glassman and Pape at New America

There are two great events happening today at the New America Foundation, and we have 'em both live right here at RealClearWorld.

The first event, starting at 12:15 pm EST, will be a discussion with former Undersecretary of State James Glassman on "the role strategic communications can play in helping the United States in Iran."

The second event, set to kick off at 3:30 pm EST, will be a discussion with Professor Robert Pape on the rise of suicide terrorism in Afghanistan.

Steve Clemons will be moderating the day's events, and you can watch them both at either The Washington Note or right here on The Compass following the jump:

Continue reading "Glassman and Pape at New America" »

February 25, 2010

Ask Foreign Affairs

Reidar Visser of the Norwegian Institute will be answering questions about the upcoming Iraqi elections and Iraq's political future in a Foreign Affairs Web-event. RealClearWorld readers can submit a question for consideration by emailing it to us with "FA Question" in the subject line. We'll select the best and send them to Foreign Affairs.

February 18, 2010

Live Stream: Iraq's Elections & Iraq's Future

The Carnegie Endowment will be hosting Ad Melkert, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, to discuss Iraq's upcoming elections and the outlook on the country's political future.

The event will run from 12:15-2:00 EST and will be live-streamed below.

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January 27, 2010

Live Blog Recap: State of the Union Address

We broke down his speech, its substance and peculiarities, as well as the response offered by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

January 26, 2010

Tweeting Obama's SOTU

In addition to live blogging tomorrow night's State of the Union Address, the RCW editors will also be tweeting the evening's events alongside our blog. You can follow Greg Scoblete and yours truly on Twitter throughout the night for our pithy thoughts and 140-character conjecture.

You can also follow the best and brightest journalists, analysts and orgs from all over the foreign policy Twitterverse on RealClearWorld's Twitter hub page.

November 2, 2009

Europe After the Wall

Our friends at the German Marshall Fund are hosting a live-stream discussion on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Watch the whole thing live in progress HERE.

October 14, 2009

Trade and Global Development

Our friends at the German Marshall Fund will be hosting a discussion this afternoon on trade and U.S. development with Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios J. Marantis.

The event begins at 2:30pm EST, and can be viewed live below the jump:

Continue reading "Trade and Global Development" »

May 12, 2009

Miliband & New Media

FYI, Steve Clemons of The Washington Note will be live-streaming a new media roundtable with UK Foreign Minister David Miliband at 11 am EST.

Should be interesting, check it out.