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Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
A Tangle in the Loom: WikiLeaks and Iran
The recent thread of WikiLeaks sheds light on a foreign policy problem of nuclear proportions.
In the past week, thousands of important documents and information have been leaked from various U.S. government agencies on WikiLeaks. The leaks are controversial, not only for their sheer number, but for release of cables and conversations between U.S. and very high-ranking officials from other countries. The leaks even prompted Barack Obama to enact new sanctions on Iran today. These sanctions blacklist 10 Iranian businesses connected to the Islamic Republic’s national bank and shipping lines, as well as five executives of these businesses.
On Monday, November 29, 2010, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad referred to the leaked documents as “American psychological warfare that would not affect his country’s relations with other nations.” While Ahmadinejad and his administration might be crediting the U.S. bureaucracy with a bit too undeserved organizational skills by calling the leaks “organized to be released on a regular basis,” the leaked documents definitely confirm prevalent theories about the relations between Iran and its Arab gulf state neighbors and its aspirations for regional hegemony.
It is well-known that Saudi Arabia and Iran are vying for regional hegemony, with Iran’s relative conventional military power and sphere of influence giving it a strong edge over the Saudi kingdom. Not only does this allow Iran to influence the trajectories of Iraq and Afghanistan, thus extending its regional influence, its status as a regional hegemon tips the regional balance of power away from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states that have alliances with the United States. Feeling threatened by such expanding Iranian influence even in the face of decades of sanctions, it is hardly surprising that the Saudi regime harbors strong animosity for the Khamenei’s. However, it was previously unknown that the Saudi-Iranian enmity went so far that Saudi Arabian King Abdullah repeatedly begged the United States to “‘cut off the head of the snake’ by launching military strikes to destroy Iran’s nuclear program,” one of the final pieces of Iranian policy that would enable it to secure the role of an undisputed regional hegemonic power. In order to curb Iranian influence, the United States announced in October of 2010 that it will sell $60 billion worth of military aircraft to the Saudi regime.
Saudi Arabia is not the only gulf state feeling pressure to eliminate Iranian challenges to the current balance of power. King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain argued in favor of forceful action by any means necessary to eliminate the Iranian nuclear program. Bahrain, a tiny kingdom on the Persian Gulf that is home to the American Fifth Fleet’s naval base, has been feeling Iranian pressure and influence for years. In July of 2007, Iranian advisor to Khamenei Hossein Shariatmadari stated that “The public demand in Bahrain is the reunification of this province with its motherland, the Islamic Iran.” An unnamed senior Omani military official (Oman being the country that helped secure the release of American Sarah Shourd from Evin Prison), is cited in a correspondence as unable to decide which would be worse – “a strike against Iran’s nuclear capability and the resulting turmoil it would cause in the Gulf, or inaction and having to live with a nuclear-capable Iran.” In a December 2005 meeting with American military commanders, United Arab Emirates defense chief and crown prince Mohammad bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi lobbied for American military action against Iran either “this year or the next.” Bin Zayed also expressed fears of a nuclear Iranian state, declaring that “any culture that is patient and focused enough to spend years working on a single carpet is capable of waiting years and even decades to achieve even greater goals.”
While Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, on MSNBC Live is not the best interviewer, the answers provided by Doctors Juan Cole and Trita Parsi in this brief interview are very informative and discuss the fears of changing regional balances of power.
Tensions continue to escalate between these states and power blocs in the Middle East. Yesterday, two prominent Iranian nuclear scientists, both professors at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, were attacked in different parts of Tehran. Assailents on motorcycles managed to attach and detonate magnetized car bombs to the cars of scientists Majid Shahriari and Fereydoun Abbasi, the former killed and the latter injured with his wife. Shahriari was involved in a major project with Iran’s nuclear agency, and Abbasi is a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and listed as one of several involved in secret nuclear activity in a 2007 U.N. resolution. Abbasi was formerly an expert for Iran’s Defense Ministry and a top specialist in nuclear isotope separation. The Iranian regime currently blames Israel and the United States for orchestrating these attacks. Intelligence analysts blame Mossad for the 2007 death of top Esfahan uranium plant scientist Ardeshire Hassanpour. In January of 2010, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi was also killed, but it is unclear whether his death was related to his support of Mir Hossien Mousavi or an Israeli/American operation; he also died in a car bombing similar to that of Shahriari.
The WikiLeaks available thus far clearly confirm the fears of Arab gulf states and seem to perpetuate Israeli public opinion and Netanyahu’s threat perceptions of Iran. In moving forward from the latest sanctions on Iran, the United States must decide how to manage these states’ interests to balance with its own in the Middle East and avoid yet another military conflict that would have, in Barak’s words, “unacceptable collateral damage,” on all sides.
"Alright y'all, now you add the butter!"
"I want a room deodorizer that smells like butter and bacon."
My roommate discovered this recipe in the fall. We got to work and pumped out a delicious apple pie in time for dinner with our professor part deux. Here it is:
Dough and Filling:
Dough for a double crust 9-inch pie (homemade, frozen, or refrigerated)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 1/2 cups peeled, chopped cooking apples
1 (16-ounce) jar applesauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. The dough you have to make or buy yourself. It's not a part of this recipe. Sorry! Paula Dean fail. Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of dough. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir in apples, applesauce, and lemon juice. Spoon apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter. Cut remaining crust into strips; arrange in a lattice design over top of pie. For crunch topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown.
Serve the pie with some vanilla ice cream for added fun and heart attack.
Tomato & Basil Bruschetta
- one loaf of bread (we prefer a fresh ciabatta)
- 4 fl oz of extra virgin olive oil (125 ml)
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- at least 6 fresh leaves of basil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 Kalamata olives (pitted and chopped)
- 1 large clove of garlic
Cut bread into thin slices. Pour olive oil into a shallow dish and place bread in it. Be careful to put it in long enough to cover all of the bread slice in olive oil, but not so long that it becomes too soggy to work with. Be sure to flip the bread as well.
While the bread is soaking in olive oil, dice the tomatoes and put them in a mixing bowl. Tear up basil leaves and add to the tomatoes. Add salt'n'peppa to taste. Chop the Kalamata olives and add them to the mixture. Pour any leftover olive oil over the mixture and leave it to marinate.
Preheat a pan over medium heat. Place bread in the pan and cook (and flip) until each side is golden-brown and crispy. This might be more difficult if you leave the bread to soak in the olive oil for too long. Remove the bread from the pan and lay each slice out on a serving dish.
Peel the clove of garlic and cut it in half. In addition to guaranteeing yourself some protection from vampires, rub the cut edge of the garlic over the surface of the bruschetta. Top each slice of bread with the tomato/basil/olive mixture and serve.
"Greek" Potato Lattkes
- 1.5 pounds of potatoes
- 8+ oz of feta cheese
- 4 scallions (chopped)
- 3+ tablespoons of fresh dill (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 egg
- flour for dredging
- Cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes whole and in the skins until soft. Drain water, then peel the skins off of the potatoes while still warm. The potatoes will be very, very hot and in order to make the process easier, using a spoon to help peel the potatoes is much easier. Place in a large mixing bowl and mash.
Crumble the feta cheese into the potatoes and add the scallions, dill, lemon juice, and egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper (the cheese will already be salty, so be sure to taste the mixture before adding more). Stir mixture well (it's much easier to just do the mixing by hand). Cover the mixture and chill until mixture is firm. This step is very important because otherwise when making the lattkes, it will be very difficult to get them to retain their shape.
Once chilled and firm, divide the mixture into walnut-sized balls, and then flatten slightly. Dredge them well in the flour (this will require a fair amount of flour, especially if you double this recipe, which we usually do). Heat the oil in the frying pan, and then fry the patties until golden-brown on each side. Drain on paper towels and serve while hot.
As previously mentioned, we tend to double this recipe because our groups are usually larger than 4-8 people, but it is a crowd-pleaser every time and it's very easy to make. Hope you love it too! Also, more vampires for your enjoyment.
- 1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 12 ounces Swiss chard or , stemmed
- 12 ounces baby leaves
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups small /
- 8 ounces salata cheese, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the water.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the and discard. Add the Swiss chard and cook until wilted. In batches, add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the pasta, 1/2 of the cheese, and zest. Toss well and thin out the with a little pasta water, if needed.
Transfer to a large serving bowl and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining and serve.
In a large saucepan or wok add plenty of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, diced onions, sweet basil, oregano, finely chopped garlic and mushrooms, toss to mix everything and thoroughly coat the onions and mushrooms. You can add the madras curry or cayenne at this point or part way through, but you want to make sure it is fully incorporated into the dish. Place on a med-low heat while you chopped the tomatoes. I like to chop my tomatoes in several different sizes so that some fully cook down while others only partially cook down so that there are some tomato chunks in the final dish. Add the tomatoes, stir and cover. Allow the sauce to cook down, stirring occasionally. Don't forget to test your dish throughout in order to discern whether you need to add more of one ingredient or another.
While the sauce is cooking down boil salted water. If you like your dish to be really spicy add some madras curry or cayenne to the water so that the pasta is cooked with the spice. Boil the pasta so that it is al dente. (This dish tends to be better with a heartier noodle, spaghetti, angelhair and fettuccine and so forth do not seem to complement the dish as well as other pastas such as penne or mostaccioli.
Once the sauce has cooked down, the mushrooms have cook through, and the onions have softened the sauce is ready. Feel free to add shrimp, other seafood and so forth to the dish in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking in order to warm them up and coat them in the sauce.
Lay the sauce over pasta and garnish with chopped fresh basil and feta. Enjoy!
As you can see I don't really measure things, if you would like measurements let me know and I will do my best to give you a more detailed idea of how much of each ingredient goes into this dish. Hope you enjoy it.
|Persian rice cooker|
So this is the first, not-test post for Cosmopolitan Cuisine, and what a better way to start it off than with a dessert? This past weekend, the group experimented with a Wolfgang Puck recipe for "Torta Regina." However, after first making the cake according to Mr. Puck and running out of hazelnuts, we threw walnuts into the mix and it turned out even more delicious. It turned out so well, that I am going to make it again for my family this weekend and will post photos. Please find the original recipe below, with our walnut addition. Enjoy!
- 8 ounces hazelnuts and walnuts combined, roasted and peeled
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 8 , separated
- 1/2 cup sugar
- or melted chocolate, for decoration
a 10 by 2-inch cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a , the nuts until coarsely chopped. Reserve. Process the chocolate until coarsely chopped. Add to the chopped nuts.
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until light and y.
In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Fold the nuts and into the egg yolk mixture. Carefully fold the egg white into the yolk mixture. Fill the pan 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until center is springy.
Remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack. with cocoa powder or decorate with chocolate drawings.
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- ▼ January (14)
- Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies; by Najmieh Batmanglij (Author)
- Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations; by Chris Fair (Author)
- Paula Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook; by Paula Deen (Author) & Melissa Clark (Contributor)
- The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook; Bay Books