Friday, October 11, 2013


by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Los Angeles, CA

Muslim Brotherhood

* Special thanks to "Google Images", "", "",
"The Washington Post" and "The Daily Beast - News Week"


This week we're back with a brand new article.  Because of the complexity for this subject it has taken us longer than expected to complete as we spent many hours of research to document the subject at hand.  Since much of the information documents the history of the Middle East dating back to the establishment of Israel as a State and member of the United Nations we are taking a very broad look at the New and changing Middle East, the Middle East of today! 

Over the past few weeks we all have seen how badly the Federal Government has mismanaged the nations budget and have forced a shut down in Washington until both political parties can come to an agreement on how to proceed since the Government is broke and in debt to the tune of over a $Trillion Dollars$.  We feel the Democrats must take responsibility for this disaster since it is the Democrats who have presided over most of the spending which has caused this collapse and shut down in Washington.  In a sense they are trying to blackmail us into borrowing more to fund their wasteful form of Government!

As we are writing this article we begin to get the feeling that the Democrats as a political party are loosing step with the times.  The Democratic Party of today has no real vision for the countries future and are content to do the countries business in the antiquated fashion of the 1930's or 40's.  Bigger Government, more bureaus and more and more of everything no matter what the cost.  Is there a better way?  There must be.

When we explore the Presidency’s of the last three Democrat’s in the White House a curious pattern begins to emerge and become all too clear.  It’s as though a graph could be plotted drawing a clear and distinctive lack of accomplishments in the office for the Secretary of State under the  Presidency’s of Carter, Clinton and Obama.  Or could it be that under the Republican Presidencies’ of Reagan, Bush ’42 and Bush ’44 the White house enjoyed a highly successful era of foreign relations leadership and accomplishments in the Middle East?  This article will attempt to reveal the failure and weak commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East by these three Democratic Presidents.

As the civil war in Syria exploded with the use of Chemical Weapons upon its own people we again see the failed efforts of the United States and the United Nations to mediate a peaceful settlement in this conflict.  These regional conflicts in the Middle East all stem from the war for Israeli independence in 1947 as Islamic forces seek once again to confront Israel in a military conflict. has recorded this event as follows:

On 15 May 1947, the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations resolved that a committee, United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), be created "to prepare for consideration at the next regular session of the Assembly a report on the question of Palestine".  In the Report of the Committee dated 3 September 1947 to the UN General Assembly, the majority of the Committee in Chapter VI proposed a plan to replace the British Mandate with "an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem..., the last to be under an International Trusteeship System".  On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the adoption and implementation of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union as Resolution 181 (II).  The Plan attached to the resolution was essentially that proposed by the majority of the Committee in the Report of 3 September 1947.

The Jewish Agency, which was the recognized representative of the Jewish community, accepted the plan, but the Arab League and Arab Higher Committee of Palestine rejected it.  On 1 December 1947, the Arab Higher Committee proclaimed a three-day strike, and Arab bands began attacking Jewish targets.  The Jews were initially on the defensive as civil war broke out, but gradually moved onto the offensive.  The Palestinian Arab economy collapsed and 250,000 Palestinian-Arabs fled or were expelled.

On 14 May 1948, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, declared "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel".  The only reference in the text of the Declaration to the borders of the new state is the use of the term, Eretz-Israel.

Avraham Adan raising the Ink Flag marking the end of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War
The following day, the armies of four Arab countries—Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq—entered what had been British Mandate Palestine, launching the 1948 Arab–Israeli War;  Saudi Arabia sent a military contingent to operate under Egyptian command; Yemen declared war but did not take military action.  In a cablegram of the same day from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to the UN Secretary-General, the Arab states gave a justification for this "intervention". After a year of fighting, a ceasefire was declared and temporary borders, known as the Green Line, were established.  Jordan annexed what became known as the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip. The United Nations estimated that more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled during the conflict from what would become Israel.

Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations by majority vote on 11 May 1949.  In the early years of the state, the Labor Zionist movement led by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion dominated Israeli politics.  These years were marked by an influx of Holocaust survivors and Jews from Arab lands, many of whom faced persecution and expulsion from their original countries.  Consequently, the population of Israel rose from 800,000 to two million between 1948 and 1958.  During this period, food, clothes and furniture had to be rationed in what became known as the Austerity Period. Between 1948–1970, approximately 1,151,029 Jewish refugees relocated to Israel.  Some arrived as refugees with no possessions and were housed in temporary camps known as ma'abarot; by 1952, over 200,000 immigrants were living in these tent cities.  The need to solve the crisis led Ben-Gurion to sign a reparations agreement with West Germany that triggered mass protests by Jews angered at the idea that Israel could accept monetary compensation for the Holocaust.

The key information to be learned from this historical text is (1) the inability of Arab forces to achieve a military victory against Israel resulting in a cease fire in 1948 and (2) The official recognition of the boarders for the Israeli State and it’s admission into the United Nations.  Since this time the United States along with the United Nations has been committed to the preservation of Israel.

The United States has always been a mediator in Middle Eastern tensions between Israel and The State of Palestine brokering many peace deals and resolving other difficulties in the Middle East until the 1970’s When the Islamic Revolution in Iran deposed the Shah and the creation of an Islamic State under the leadership of the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter.  This is where our story really begins.


December 2,1978 a "total of six to nine million" anti-shah demonstrators marched throughout Iran. According to one historian, "even discounting for exaggeration, these figures may represent the largest protest event in history.“

President Carter
1977 - 1981

Cyrus Vance
Secretary of State
With the Inauguration of President Carter in 1977 the Islamic Revolution in Iran began.  The inability of the Carter Administration under his Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, to mediate peace between the Shah of Iran and Islamic forces led to the fall of Iran's Government and an Islamic State was formed under Ayatollah Khomeini.  This was the beginning of many other problems in the Middle East which would follow in nation after nation all spawning other Islamic States.

With the fall of Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavī  other problems formed for the Carter Administration. American hostages were taken by the Khomeini forces.  A rescue attempt was made by US Army forces which hugely failed and spelled the end of Jimmy Carter's Presidency.  The following Administration under President Ronald Reagan secured the release of these hostages but the rip in US Middle East foreign relations was irreversible. 

Fear: American hostages sit in a corridor, blindfolded so they cannot see the faces of their kidnappers at the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran -1979.  A total of 52 Americans were held for 444 days.  (

Overview of the wreckage at the Desert One base in Iran.  US Hostage rescue attempt ordered by President Carter code named “Eagle Claw” and carried out as the “Desert One” mission failed with disastrous results in 1980.  (


President Clinton
1993 - 2001
Madeline Albright
Secretary of State

Under the Presidency of Bill Clinton a new round of Islamic advances became successful not only in the Middle East but world wide and the age of the Islamic Jihadist or Terrorist was now in full swing. The Clinton strategy was simple.  He ignored problems to go unchecked and grow!

Some Historians believe that with the fall of the old Soviet Union under President Reagan that a vacuum was created in world power and that this vacuum was filled by an accelerated Islamic Revolution across the Middle East and world wide. 

We once again turn to our friends at wikipedia .com for further history on the Clinton Administration:

Bill Clinton
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Page semi-protected

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III; August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. 

Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president from the baby boomer generation. Clinton has been described as a New Democrat. Many of his policies have been attributed to a centrist Third Way philosophy of governance. Before becoming president he was the Governor of Arkansas, serving two non-consecutive terms from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992. He was also the state's Attorney General from 1977 to 1979.

Military and foreign events

Many military events occurred during Clinton's presidency. The Battle of Mogadishu occurred in Somalia in 1993. During the operation, two U.S. helicopters were shot down by rocket-propelled grenade attacks to their tail rotors, trapping soldiers behind enemy lines. This resulted in an urban battle that killed 18 American soldiers, wounded 73 others, and one was taken prisoner. There were many more Somali casualties. Some of the American bodies were dragged through the streets – a spectacle broadcast on television news programs. In response, U.S. forces were withdrawn from Somalia and later conflicts were approached with fewer soldiers on the ground. In 1995, U.S. and NATO aircraft attacked Bosnian Serb targets to halt attacks on U.N. safe zones and to pressure them into a peace accord. Clinton deployed U.S. peacekeepers to Bosnia in late 1995, to uphold the subsequent Dayton Agreement.

Capturing Osama bin Laden had been an objective of the United States government from the presidency of Bill Clinton until bin Laden's death in 2011.  It was asserted by Mansoor Ijaz that in 1996 while the Clinton Administration had begun pursuit of the policy, the Sudanese government allegedly offered to arrest and extradite Bin Laden as well as to provide the United States detailed intelligence information about growing militant organizations in the region, including Hezbollah and Hamas, and that U.S. authorities allegedly rejected each offer, despite knowing of bin Laden's involvement in bombings on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. However, the 9/11 Commission found that although "former Sudanese officials claim that Sudan offered to expel Bin Laden to the United States", "we have not found any reliable evidence to support the Sudanese claim." In 1998, two years after the warning, the Clinton administration ordered several military missions to capture or kill bin Laden that failed.

In response to the 1998 Al-Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed a dozen Americans and hundreds of Africans, Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. First was a Sudanese Pharmaceutical company suspected of assisting Osama Bin Laden in making chemical weapons. The second was Bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Clinton was subsequently criticized when it turned out that a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan (originally alleged to be a chemical warfare plant) had been destroyed.

To stop the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Albanians by anti-guerilla military units in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's province of Kosovo, Clinton authorized the use of U.S. Armed Forces in a NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999, named Operation Allied Force. General Wesley Clark was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and oversaw the mission. With United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, the bombing campaign ended on June 10, 1999. The resolution placed Kosovo under UN administration and authorized a peacekeeping force to be deployed to the region.

NATO announced that its forces had suffered zero combat deaths, and two deaths from an Apache helicopter crash. Opinions in the popular press criticized pre-war genocide statements by the Clinton administration as greatly exaggerated. A U.N. Court ruled genocide did not take place, but recognized, "a systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments". The term "ethnic cleansing" was used as an alternative to "genocide" to denote not just ethnically motivated murder but also displacement, though critics charge there is no difference. Slobodan Milošević, the President of Yugoslavia at the time, was eventually charged with the "murders of about 600 individually identified ethnic Albanians" and "crimes against humanity."

In Clinton's 1998 State of the Union Address, he warned Congress of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's possible pursuit of nuclear weapons:
Together we must also confront the new hazards of chemical and biological weapons, and the outlaw states, terrorists and organized criminals seeking to acquire them. Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade, and much of his nation's wealth, not on providing for the Iraqi people, but on developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. The United Nations weapons inspectors have done a truly remarkable job, finding and destroying more of Iraq's arsenal than was destroyed during the entire gulf war. Now, Saddam Hussein wants to stop them from completing their mission. I know I speak for everyone in this chamber, Republicans and Democrats, when I say to Saddam Hussein, "You cannot defy the will of the world", and when I say to him, "You have used weapons of mass destruction before; we are determined to deny you the capacity to use them again.

To weaken Saddam Hussein's grip of power, Clinton signed H.R. 4655 into law on October 31, 1998, which instituted a policy of "regime change" against Iraq, though it explicitly stated it did not provide for direct intervention on the part of American military forces. The administration then launched a four-day bombing campaign named Operation Desert Fox, lasting from December 16 to 19, 1998. At the end of this operation Clinton announced that "So long as Saddam remains in power, he will remain a threat to his people, his region, and the world. With our allies, we must pursue a strategy to contain him and to constrain his weapons of mass destruction program, while working toward the day Iraq has a government willing to live at peace with its people and with its neighbors."American and British aircraft in the Iraq no-fly zones attacked hostile Iraqi air defenses 166 times in 1999 and 78 times in 2000.

Clinton's November 2000 visit to Vietnam was the first by a U.S. President since the end of the Vietnam War.  Clinton remained popular with the public throughout his two terms as President, ending his presidential career with a 65 percent approval rating, the highest end-of-term approval rating of any President since Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Further, the Clinton administration signed over 270 trade liberalization pacts with other countries during its tenure.  On October 10, 2000, Clinton signed into law the U.S.–China Relations Act of 2000, which granted permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) trade status to People's Republic of China. The president asserted that free trade would gradually open China to democratic reform.  Clinton also oversaw a boom of the U.S. economy. 

Under Clinton, the United States had a projected federal budget surplus for the first time since 1969.
After initial successes such as the Oslo accords of the early 1990s, Clinton attempted to address the Arab–Israeli conflict. Clinton brought Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat together at Camp David.  Following the peace talk failures, Clinton stated Arafat "missed the opportunity" to facilitate a "just and lasting peace." In his autobiography, Clinton blames Arafat for the collapse of the summit.  The situation broke down completely with the start of the Second Intifada.

Upon examination of this article we quickly notice what was termed as the "third way philosophy of government" Clinton was credited with.  During his Presidency we notice many military events but curiously, we also see the absence of action on other events which would come back to demand his attention. 

The Beirut Barracks Bombings (October 23, 1983, in BeirutLebanon) occurred during the Lebanese Civil War when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force (MNF) in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen. An obscure group calling itself 'Islamic Jihad' claimed responsibility for the bombings.
Suicide bombers detonated each of the truck bombs. In the attack on the building serving as a barracks for the 1st Battalion 8th Marines (Battalion Landing Team - BLT 1/8), the death toll was 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since World War II's Battle of Iwo Jima, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States military since the first day of the Vietnam War'sTet Offensive, and the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II.  Another 128 Americans were wounded in the blast. Thirteen later died of their injuries, and they are numbered among the total number who died.  ( (Photo:

The USS Cole  bombing was a suicide attack against the United States Navy guided-missile destroyerUSS Cole (DDG-67) on 12 October 2000, while it was harbored and being refueled in the Yemen port ofAden. Seventeen American sailors were killed, and 39 were injured.  This event was the deadliest attack against a United States Naval vessel since 1987.

The terrorist organization al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack. A U.S. judge has held Sudanliable for the attack, while another has released over $13 million in Sudanese frozen assets to the relatives of those killed. The American Navy has reconsidered their rules of engagement in response to this attack.  (

President Clinton's light handed approach in dealing with terrorist attacks on US installations and the USS Cole did not detour Islamic forces who were already in the New York area preparing and planning for the "9/11" attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  US Intelligence was aware of Osama bin Laden's organizations during this period.  Because of poor judgement by the Clinton Administration delays in security and detection of and for terrorist activities within the boarders of the US were not put in place until 9/11 under the Bush administration.  The early warning signs were all around President Clinton and yet he still did not act!


President Obama
2009 -
Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State

2009 - 2013
The Barack Obama Administration came into office severely criticizing the previous administration.  The new President pledged to close the Army detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba which was holding Islamic enemy combatants who were accused for being involved with the "9/11" attacks against the US and were awaiting trial by Military Tribunal. President Obama also pledged to have these prisoners stand trial in US Civil Court with all the privileges for US Citizens.  These and many other pledges were made and were later discarded.

The new President's father and stepfather were both Islamic.  President Obama claims Christianity as his religious faith but has not been formally associated with any Church since 2008 where he had attended the congregation of the Rev. Jeremiah Write since 1988.  If the Presidents religious preference seems to be unclear that's because he chooses to shield his faith from public view.  He makes no presentation of his religious preferences for ether Islamic or Christian.

During the Presidency of Obama in April of 2011 Osama bin Laden was finally killed in Pakistan by US Navy Seals having been a major target in the "war on terror from 2001 - 2011. With Hillary Clinton serving as his Secretary of State the Middle East has been continuous turmoil with civil wars in both Egypt and Syria.  In the case of Syria the Russians have pledged to make an effort to remove Chemical weapons from Syria.

John Kerry
Secretary of State
2013 - 
With the Presidents second term in office Senator John Kerry was appointed as his new Secretary of State replacing Clinton who did not wish to serve a second term in the office.

With the Middle East falling into Islamic Revolution from nation to nation Kerry's job will be to insure the safety of Israel with a new re alignment of nations in the "New Middle East" as he works with the United Nations towards this goal.

Clearly; Syria has been Kerry's first task in the "New Middle East". The Iranian Islamic Revolution of the 1970's has been the example for revolution and civil war in the Middle East in a world where Terrorism and civil war have gone hand in hand.  This is the reality of today's world.  

Since the Islamic state of Iran was established under Ayatollah Khomeini in 1978 The United States has placed economic sanctions on the country.  The following article from "The Daily Beast - News Week" reports on a new round of talks between Iran and the United Nations and the US Secretary of State Kerry.  Achieving a lasting peace in the new Middle East still remains to be seen.

Suddenly, Great Expectations
for Iran-U.S. Relations

by Christopher Dickey Sep 27, 2013 12:24 AM EDT

American diplomatic breakthroughs with Russia and Iran mark a turning point in the Middle East. By Christopher Dickey.

What was the venerable Brillo-haired boxing promoter Don King doing at a meeting between think-tankers and the president of Iran? We didn’t know until the end.
There’d been a surprise announcement: a major breakthrough in nuclear negotiations with Iran over at the United Nations. A journalistic scrum suddenly surrounded the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who’d delivered that news. But King, the man who once brought us the “Thrilla in Manila” and the “Rumble in the Jungle,” jostled past the reporters to tell Zarif, “I want to promote ‘A Fight for Peace in the Middle East!’”
This weird scene was not the most important moment, I suppose, in a day fraught with what seemed to be breakthroughs, but in its way it was the most emblematic. The United Nations General Assembly (or 
“Hell Week,” as some call it) suddenly has turned into a circus of diplomacy, a riot of expectations. A “fight for peace in the Middle East”? That’s what we’re watching right now.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif (R) attend a meeting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany about Iran's nuclear program on September 26, 2013 in New York City.
(Thomas Koehler/Getty Images)

First came news that the Security Council, frozen by Western posturing and a Russian veto through two years of horrific war in Syria, is about to sign off on a resolution requiring the Assad regime to give up its arsenal of chemical weapons. The deal between Washington and Moscow, hammered out a few days ago in Geneva, seems to be holding up in New York. A senior State Department official called it “a breakthrough won through hard-fought diplomacy.”
The resolution does not include the specific threat of military action—yet. But it left open that possibility if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fails to act in good faith during the several stages of disarmament. A month ago, any such measures would have seemed inconceivable. Indeed, a month ago Assad was refusing to admit he had any chemical arsenal at all. But a month ago the horrific images of Syrian children killed by sarin gas, innocents swaddled in their shrouds, forced President Barack Obama to address the carnage. He threatened a punitive act of war. Despite a dithering Congress and a disdainful American public, the diplomatic doors opened. The Russians, of all people, came to Obama’s rescue with the chemical-weapons disarmament gambit. The deal at the Security Council on Thursday was a continuation of that process.
But the even bigger revelation of the day was the progress made on a diplomatic agreement to end the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. No, nothing is signed, sealed, or delivered. Far from it. But what had appeared a shallow charm offensive by recently elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suddenly looked like it had substance.
It’s normal for diplomats at such meetings to have these sorts of conversations, Zarif told the meeting in the Hilton. But ‘we had more than a chat.’

You’ll remember that both the Iranians and the Americans had led the press to expect a big diplo-moment on Tuesday, when Obama and Rouhani gave speeches before the General Assembly. They were both supposed to attend the same luncheon and perhaps do something world-shaking after more than 30 years of Iranian-American hostility like, for instance, shaking hands. But they didn’t. Rouhani was a no-show.
After that, Tehran and Washington buzzed with rumors that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had jerked Rouhani’s chain. The two are not exactly allies. In the very limited democratic process that exists inside Iran’s theocratic regime, Rouhani had Khamenei’s approval to run for election, but he wasn’t his pick to win. Now Rouhani kept repeating that he’d been elected in a landslide on a platform of moderation and with a mission to end the devastating economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations. The only way to do that would be with a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions in a way the West could accept. And that was something it seemed Khamenei could not abide.
Yet on Thursday, Foreign Minister Zarif forged ahead at a meeting with his counterparts from Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia, and the United States. Secretary of State Kerry sat right next to Zarif at the conference table. Both of them had big smiles on their faces. Then they went off to talk one-on-one. (Zarif’s English is flawless.)
It’s normal for diplomats at such meetings to have these sorts of conversations, Zarif told the meeting in the Hilton. But “we had more than a chat.” Indeed. The meeting itself was unprecedented in the 34 years since Iran’s revolution. And there was a lot to talk about. The United States is concerned about Iran’s role in Syria supporting the Assad regime, and its influence in Afghanistan, where it could create havoc as the United States is trying to withdraw. But all the chatting seemed to go well.
The breakthrough conversations about nuclear disarmament led to more relaxed interactions across the board. “I am optimistic,” Zarif told the Hilton meeting. “Now we have to match our words with actions.”
Another high-level encounter is due to take place in Geneva in mid-October. Don King probably won’t be there. Kerry and Zarif might. And the fight for peace in the Middle East will go on.

"The Daily Beast - News Week"

As we close this article we are posting an article from "The Washington Post" written by Ted Koppel, formorly of "ABC News", which could sum up the United States involvement in the Middle East entitled "30 Years After the Iran Hostage Crises, We're Still Fighting Reagan's War" - the crises Jimmy Carter couldn't handle!  We get the feeling the Democrats are unable to deal with foreign policy in the Middle East as well as the Federal Budget.  

Join us next week when we will attempt an escape from reality traveling back into the past for a journey through the history of  "American Steam Locomotives".  It should be very educational and a lot of fun!  This has been Felicity writing for the Noodleman Group.

30 Years After the Iran Hostage Crisis, We're Still Fighting Reagan's War

"The Washington Post"

By Ted Koppel
Friday, January 21, 2011; 1:00 PM

On Jan. 20, 1981, 52 American diplomats, intelligence officers and Marines were finally released after being held hostage for nearly 15 months at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Americans saw it as the end of a long national nightmare. Iranians saw it as a successful phase in what the Pentagon would come to call the Long War.
We were wrong; they were right.

On the face of it, the Iranians achieved what they wanted. President Jimmy Carter had labored with key advisers through the last night of his presidency, desperately trying to bring about the hostages' release before Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th president. The Iranians, though, were determined to humiliate our 39th president and were not about to free the captives on Carter's watch.

As the television networks began their Inauguration Day coverage, the expected moment of release became the theme. TV screens were split to accommodate parallel images from Washington and Tehran. Just outside the Iranian capital, camera crews were taken to Mehrabad International Airport, where the soon-to-be-former hostages would board their flight to freedom.

At ABC News, where I worked at the time, one of our camera crews had been granted access to the Oval Office the previous night. We had video of Carter, looking grim and exhausted in a cardigan, consulting with his aides until, quite literally, it was time to dress for the inauguration of his successor. Those images and live shots of desperate diplomacy, followed by the stately run-up to the transfer of power in Washington, played on one side of the screen. The preparations for departure from Mehrabad played on the other.

The Iranians stage-managed the drama down to the last second. Precisely at noon, just as Reagan began to recite the oath of office, the planeload of Americans was permitted to take off. The Iranians' message was blunt and unambiguous: Carter and his administration had been punished for America's sins against Iran, and Reagan was being offered a conciliatory gesture in anticipation of improved behavior by Washington.

That was hardly the interpretation that the Reagan administration put on the event. The new president portrayed the hostage release as a long-overdue act by which the Iranians acknowledged the obvious: There was a new sheriff in town. The feckless days of the Carter administration were over, and the Iranian mullahs had bowed to the inevitable. Indeed, the administration seemed to be saying that Iran's greatest concern was now the possibility of U.S. retaliation for the humiliation of the preceding 444 days.

That last point probably was a part of Iran's strategic calculus. Iran was not then, and is not now, any military match for the United States. Without the American hostages in Tehran, Iran was plainly vulnerable to U.S. power.

Further complicating its position, since September 1980, Iran had been fighting a massive invasion by the Iraqi forces of Saddam Hussein, the beginnings of a bloody war that would last most of the decade. The United States officially proclaimed neutrality - Henry Kissinger famously observed that it was a shame both nations couldn't lose - but Washington considered Iran the greater threat and covertly assisted Hussein.

Once the hostages were released, however, no reprisal came, and the Iranian leadership offered no evidence of wanting to reconcile.

In their approach to the United States in the decade that followed, the mullahs provided chilling evidence of how closely they had studied the influence of the media and public opinion on U.S. foreign policy. During the hostage crisis, they learned how obsessively engaged our news media becomes when U.S. prisoners are taken. What Americans consider one of our greatest national virtues - concern for the individual - the Iranians recognized as a vulnerability.

We in the American news media have a tendency to obsess over one crisis at a time, often to the exclusion of other important issues. Indeed, I can hardly overlook my own role in this. The title that ABC News gave to its nightly coverage seemed hyperbolic at first, but it proved frighteningly prescient: "America Held Hostage." The story held America's interest so tightly and for so long that our specials on ABC eventually morphed into a regular program - "Nightline."

Iran watched and learned. They realized that the fixations of the American media could lead to shifts in U.S. policy. They observed how the hostage crisis cost Carter a second term, and they would soon learn that what influenced one administration could be applied to another.

On Oct. 23, 1983, a truck loaded with explosives was driven into a barracks building in Beirut housing U.S. Marines, who were there as part of an international peacekeeping force. The driver died in the suicide attack, as did 241 American military personnel. Eventually, the bomber was identified as a member of an organization called Hezbollah, which was believed to have been funded and trained by members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

By the time even that much was established, Reagan had ordered all U.S. military personnel in Lebanon evacuated to ships of the 6th Fleet, off the coast. A brief time later, those ships received fresh orders and sailed off. There had been no great public support for engagement in Lebanon in the first place, so there was little reaction to the abrupt departure. (The U.S. invasion of Grenada, occurring at the same time, consumed much of the public's attention.)
Iran saw how a devastating attack could force America out of Lebanon, with little outcry back home and no retaliation for the bombing. And just as hostages had proved useful to Iran during the Carter administration, they would be used again to manipulate the Reagan White House. Dozens of Americans and Europeans were kidnapped in Lebanon and held hostage during the early and mid-1980s. Again, Hezbollah was believed responsible, and Iranian patronage was more firmly established.

In relatively short order, these tactics would draw the Reagan administration into one of the more bizarre covert negotiations in recent history. Among those kidnapped in Beirut was the CIA's station chief, William Francis Buckley. He was held and tortured for 15 months, and at one point he was reportedly taken to Iran. He died in captivity. Reagan's distress over Buckley's ordeal in particular, and over the fate of other American captives, was a factor behind the Iran-contra affair.

Far from punishing the Iranians, Washington arranged for Israel to sell weapons to Iran. The Israeli stockpiles would be secretly replenished by the United States, which was legally prohibited from selling directly to Iran. In return, Iran would free some hostages. Finally, Iran's payment for the weapons would be used to buy arms for anti-communist forces in Nicaragua, thereby circumventing a congressional ban on sales to the contras there. That was the icing on the cake.

It was a fiasco. Reagan, whose staunch opposition to communism around the world would lead to the collapse of the Soviet empire, found his administration embroiled in negotiations with the sponsors of Hezbollah. The scheme clearly circumvented U.S. law, and had others in the administration not taken the fall, it could have led to Reagan's impeachment.
What Iran learned in those years - and we're still absorbing the consequences of those lessons today - is that kidnapping and terrorism are useful weapons against the United States. Ultimately, Reagan's broad-shouldered bravado was no more effective in dealing with Tehran than Carter's mild-mannered diplomacy.

We've still not found our way. Instead of taking military action against Iran, the United States has twice invaded Iran's bitterest enemy, Iraq. And what Iran couldn't do for itself, George W. Bush did for it: Saddam Hussein is gone, and Tehran's influence in the Persian Gulf is greatly enhanced.

There was every reason to celebrate the release of those 52 Americans on Jan. 20, 1981. But what Iran learned then and has applied in the decades since has been costly for the United States. Here we are, 30 years after what we thought was the conclusion of a crisis, still wondering if the end will ever be in sight.

Ted Koppel, who was managing editor of ABC's "Nightline" from 1980 to 2005, is a contributing analyst for "BBC World News America."
Koppel's recent essays for Outlook include Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news and "Nine years after 9/11, let's stop playing into bin Laden's hands.

"The Washington Post"

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