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Program Information
Takes on the World
Former CIA analyst Paul Pillar
 Jeff Blankfort  Contact Contributor
June 14, 2017, 12:08 p.m.
Former CIA analyst Paul Pillar, author of two recent articles for National Interest and Consortium News, ISIS Attack Exposes Anti-Iran Propaganda and Trump Fans the Mideast Fires of Hate, explores the origin of US antagonism towards Iran and false labeling of it as the “leading state sponsor of terrorism”in the years following the World Trade Center attack despite Teheran’s efforts to join the US in fighting terrorism, citing GW Bush's speech declaring Iran part of an “axis of terror” with No. Korea and Iraq, despite the fact that the latter was its enemy.

He points out that Iran, far from being a sponsor of terror, has been actually fighting ISIS, mainly in Iraq but also in Syria and that its most recent link to terrorism may have been the attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 which killed 19 US servicemen and which a US Court blamed Iran.

He notes that Trump, while demonizing Iran, has given the Saudis a free hand to do what it wishes in the region against its Shia neighbor and has endorsed the Saudis blockade of its leading political competitor in the Sunni world, Qatar, which is home to the largest US base in the region. This flies in the face of Secretary of State Tillerson;s efforts and those of the Pentagon to de-escalate the confrontation.

Two other points of contention between the Saudis and Qatar are the latter's support of the Muslim Brotherhood whose largely peaceful means of incorporating Islam with politics the Saudis see as a threat and its hosting of Al-Jazeera which the Saudis and other Gulf monarchies have long seen as “a thorn in their side.”

Pillar notes that the oil companies have not been playing a major role in formulating US regional policies and that they would prefer being able to do business with Iran, not restricted by sanctions which, Pillar points out, are about to be increased under new Senate legislation
Interviewed by Jeff Blankfort

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00:33:20 1 June 14, 2017
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