Posted tagged ‘Gulf states’

Why the Iran nuclear deal will mean war

September 8, 2015

Why the Iran nuclear deal will mean war, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, September 8, 2015

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Iran . . . is not looking for a deterrent weapon against its neighbors. With the fall of Saddam, it faces no serious threat of invasion by Sunni forces. Today its nuclear program can have no other purpose except to expand its power and territory while forcing the United States out of the region. Nuking Israel would help seal its right to rule over the Muslim world while intimidating its enemies.

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Like a snake oil salesman trying to move a gallon of lies by promising that it’s either buy the bottle or die, Obama sold the Iran deal as the only alternative to war. In fact the deal is a certain road to war.

Or as Churchill said, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” Before long, the British and French were facing Czech tanks redesignated as Panzers that had been seized as part of the Nazi spoils of appeasement.

When Obama claimed that the Iran nuclear deal was the only alternative to war, he was lying in more ways than one. The United States has already been dragged into Iran’s war for control of Iraq. That war was one of the levers that Iran exploited to get its way on its nuclear program. Iran also came close to dragging us into its war in Syria and we are hovering on the edge of being dragged into Yemen.

Iran and ISIS have done a thorough job of carving up entire countries into Shiite and Sunni blocs. And there’s no sign that this Islamic realignment of the Sykes Picot borders is going to stop. If the process continues, the scale and scope of the war will expand and transform the region away from nation states.

Everyone will have a choice between backing a Sunni ISIS or a Shiite ISIS. Obama chose the Shiite ISIS.

This would be happening even without the deal, but Iran’s victory and Obama’s appeasement will speed up the process. Russia is blatantly joining the Shiite military coalition as part of Tehran’s victory celebration. And the Russians aren’t there just to protect Assad, but to push America out of the region. As areas of operations overlap, there will be incidents. And Obama will back off once again.

But it’s not just about Syria. Iran promised its Russian and Chinese backers that they will benefit from a major regional realignment. Nations allied with the US will be overthrown or suppressed. And once that process really gets underway and will begin to threaten oil supplies, even a Democrat won’t be able to stay out. But by then America will have little credibility, few allies and major strategic disadvantages.

The real test won’t be in Syria. It has already come and gone in Yemen. It will probably come in Bahrain. Bahrain has a majority Shiite population and is the home of the Fifth Fleet. During the Arab Spring the Saudis put down Iran’s “civilian” uprising in Bahrain using tanks. The next time, it won’t be that easy for the House of Khalifa or the House of Saud. If there’s one thing that Iran knows it’s how to arm and train insurgencies and this time around its bid for a takeover of Bahrain will have Russian backing.

Iran’s Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain played a significant role in the Arab Spring protests under the umbrella of political Islam and human rights organizations. Iran’s ideal game plan would be for its front groups to win Western political backing for a takeover the way that the Muslim Brotherhood did in Egypt. Turning over Bahrain to admirers of the Iranian Revolution would seem insane, but so was turning over Iran to Khomeini or Egypt to Al Qaeda’s parent Muslim Brotherhood organization.

The Saudis have had to consider the possibility that Obama, Hillary or Biden would back Iran over the Saudis in Bahrain as they did in Iraq and Yemen. And they have been making their own plans.

Some months after Iran’s Ahmadinejad visited Cairo and met with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi, the Saudis reversed the Qatari-Obama coup that had put the Muslim Brotherhood in power. As the deadline for last year’s negotiations with Iran approached, the Saudis began dumping oil to hurt Russia and Iran. A similar Saudi move against Iran had helped bring on the Islamic Revolution. The Saudis probably don’t expect to undo that disaster, but they were hoping to offset any Obama-backed Iranian recovery.

Instead of fighting to keep sanctions in place, the Saudis were instead poisoning the well.

Whether he understood it or not, by signing off on Iran’s Shiite bomb, Obama was also signing off on an Egyptian-Saudi Sunni bomb. Israel’s nuclear capability was tacitly understood as a defensive weapon of last resort that would not trigger a regional arms race. Genocidal military invasions of Israel came to an end and any weapons remained under wraps.

Iran however is not looking for a deterrent weapon against its neighbors. With the fall of Saddam, it faces no serious threat of invasion by Sunni forces. Today its nuclear program can have no other purpose except to expand its power and territory while forcing the United States out of the region. Nuking Israel would help seal its right to rule over the Muslim world while intimidating its enemies.

A Middle Eastern MAD with Iranians and Saudis in a nuclear standoff would be bad enough, but both powers have a long history of using terrorists to do their dirty work. And the transfer of nuclear materials to terrorists is a lot harder to track than ICBM launches.

Iran and Saudi Arabia getting the bomb won’t be the end. It will only be the beginning. A decade ago, Iran had already funneled a billion dollars into helping Syria get its own nuclear reactor. A nuclear Iran will expand its points of proliferation to the Shiite regime in Baghdad, to Hezbollah in Lebanon and any other Shiite allied states it can set up. The Saudis will expand their own nuclear capabilities to their GCC allies and Egypt so that instead of two nuclear powers, there may be as many as ten nuclear nations.

Imagine the Cold War in miniature with a lot more proliferation and Jihadists with nukes on both sides.

That is what the Iran nuclear deal really means. Every Sunni kingdom will be glaring out from under its own nuclear shield as petty tyrants keep one finger on the populace and the other on the button. A single popular uprising could see nuclear weapons in the hands of Al Qaeda or ISIS.

On the other side, Iran will be aggressively expanding its influence while engaging in escalating naval confrontations with America and its allies. It’s possible that Obama, Biden or Hillary will be able to run away fast enough to avoid a war, but they won’t be able to avoid the resulting economic chaos. And the war will follow them home as Muslim countries have a history of settling their scores by aiming at more “legitimate” non-Muslim targets. That is how 9/11 happened as part of a Saudi power struggle.

And if the United States stays, our people will be trying to keep the peace in a region gone nuclear where American bases will be prime targets for Iran and its terrorist allies. The United States will retaliate against a nuclear strike directly from Iran, but what if it comes from one of the Hezbollahs?

The question isn’t whether there will be a war. It’s how bad the war will be.

That is what Churchill understood and Chamberlain didn’t. While Churchill had fought in Afghanistan against the forerunners of the Taliban, Chamberlain had run family businesses. He saw the military as an unnecessary expense and war as something that could be negotiated away. Churchill knew better.

We are up against something similar today.

The Middle East has exploded before. It will explode again. All we’ve been doing is keeping the lid on. Obama’s surrender means that we won’t control how that explosion happens, but it won’t stop us from getting dragged in anyway once the bombs start going off.

Obama’s advisers have told him to outsource American foreign policy to Tehran. And that’s what he did. Turning over your power to your enemy won’t make him your friend. It won’t stop a war.

It will make the war much worse.

Should Israel and its Arab neighbors form an alliance against Iran?

September 3, 2015

Should Israel and its Arab neighbors form an alliance against Iran? The Hill, Eli Verschleiser, September 3, 2015

Could a nuclear deal with Iran accomplish more than decades of diplomacy in the Middle East and, rather ironically, create new alliances between Israel and Arab neighbors?

That’s a key question as we gear up for the battle on Capitol Hill over President Barack Obama’s controversial pact with Tehran to limit uranium enrichment in return for lifting of sanctions. Critics say the agreement paves the way for a double reward of Tehran— a huge influx of cash and an eventual, unfettered path toward nuclear arms.

Neither the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, nor the United Arab Emirates or for that matter any of the other Persian Gulf states are too excited about the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. The role of Iran in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and the rise of Islamic State terror and the Muslim Brotherhood, have become a much bigger problem for Arab leaders than the tired conflict with Israel. Those countries have a Sunni majority, while Persian Iran is led by rival Shia Muslims.

Iran, of course, is also a major oil rival for the Gulf States and became more powerful following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The Saudis have been publicly moderate on the deal but said to be privately angry over it. Epitomizing the old Middle East adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the Saudis were reported to have offered Israel the ability to use their airspace to strike at Iran. This is a crucial step in keeping a military option on the table as it would save time and fuel if such a strike were necessary. “The Saudi authorities are completely coordinated with Israel on all matters related to Iran,” a European official was quoted as saying in an Israeli TV report.

Clearly momentum for alignment with Israel in some form is building.

“To all those who think the Persian state, and the regime of the Rule of the Imprudent… the dictatorial fascist Persian regime which controls it, is a friendly country, whereas Israel is an enemy country, I say that a prudent enemy is better than an imprudent one.”

Those words were written by Abdallah Al-Hadlaq in the official newspaper of Kuwait, Al-Watan.

It is not the first time the author has expressed support for ties with Israel. As far back as 2009 he called on his government and other Gulf states to put aside their differences with Jerusalem and forge an alliance against Iran.

But the fact that his column was published in a government daily in a country without full press freedom speaks volumes.

“The state of Israel and its various governments have waged more than five wars with the Arabs, yet never in the course of these wars did Israel think to use its nuclear weapons against its Arab enemies,” Al-Hadlaq wrote. “Conversely, if the Persian state, with its stupid, rash and fascist regime that hides behind a religious guise, ever develops nuclear weapons, it will not hesitate to use nuclear bombs against the Arab Gulf states in the first conflict that arises.”

Were the Saudis to show leadership in rallying other Sunni-led states against Iran it could have a significant impact on a new order in the Middle East.

Furthermore the new coalition could collectively work wonders to get rid of ISIS, as Jordan’s King Abdullah recently declared in a CNN interview that the war against ISIS ‘is our war’. The Iranian nuclear threat and the ISIS threat can top the agenda in this new coalition.

“Iran does have enough politico-military and economic potential to counter-balance Saudi led “Sunni” states in the Middle East and beyond,” wrote Salman Rafi Sheikh in an essay for the magazine Eastern Outlook last March. “It is precisely for this very reason that Saudi Arabia’s anxiety about an agreement has fueled a flurry of intense diplomacy in recent days to bolster unity among “Sunni” states in the Middle East in the face of “shared threats”, especially those emanating from Iran.”

Rafi Sheikh, a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, noted that “this deal is most likely to send political jolts across the entire Middle Eastern political landscape, with Saudi Arabia and Israel standing as the most sensitive areas to bear its shocks; and as such, are most likely to clutch their hands into an alliance against Iran, and by default, against the US ambitions as well.”

There is great potential for Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to rally Gulf states as well as Turkey, Egypt and Jordan to stand up to an Iran that will only become more emboldened with the huge influx of post-sanctions billions and new political bona fides that will make Tehran bolder.

Increased security cooperation as Iran bides its time for an eventual bomb –after the agreement period, or in the worst-case scenario, in violation of the agreement — may eventually lead to more nuclear proliferation in the region.

Will that mean a nuclear pact between Israel and its former enemies? That will be a fascinating development that could never have been imagined even a decade ago.

And it will truly be a sad irony if, after nearly 70 years of a solid relationship between the United States and Israel, the Jewish state had to turn to despotic regimes with little or no human rights to solidify its security position, feeling far less than confident that Washington has its back than it has in the past.

However this may simply be the beginning of an Arabic Israeli accord where both groups can begin to understand and accept each other.

Our World: The anti-peace administration

August 12, 2015

Our World: The anti-peace administration, The Jerusalem PostCaroline B. Glick, August 11, 2015

ShowImage (9)President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and White House aides receive an update from Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz via teleconference in Lausanne. (photo credit:WHITE HOUSE)

The US has striven to achieve peaceable relations between the states of the Middle East for nearly 70 years. Yet today, US government is disparaging the burgeoning strategic ties between the Sunni Arab states and Israel.

In a briefing to a delegation of visiting Israeli diplomatic correspondents in Washington last week, a senior Obama administration official sneered that the only noticeable shift in Israel-Arab relations in recent years is that the current Egyptian government has been coordinating security issues “more closely” with Jerusalem than the previous one did.

“But we have yet to see that change materialize in the Gulf.”

If this is how the US views the state of Israel’s relations with the Arabs, then Israel should consider canceling its intelligence cooperation with the US. Because apparently, the Americans haven’t a clue what is happening in the Middle East.

First of all, to characterize the transformation of Israeli-Egyptian relations as a mere question of “more closely” coordinating on security issues is to vastly trivialize what has happened over the past two years.

Before then Egyptian defense minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood regime headed by Muhammad Morsi in July 2013, there was a growing sense that Morsi intended to vacate Egypt’s signature to the peace deal with Israel at the first opportunity. Just a month after Morsi ascended to power in January 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood began threatening to review Egypt’s continued commitment to the peace treaty.

The main reason Morsi did not cancel the peace deal with Israel was that Egypt was bankrupt. He needed US and international monetary support to enable his government to pay for imported grain to feed Egypt’s destitute population of 90 million.

During his year in power, Morsi used Hamas as the Brotherhood’s shock troops. He embraced Iran, inviting president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Cairo in February 2013.

If Morsi were still in power today, with its $150 billion in sanctions relief Iran would have been in a position to support Egypt’s economy. So it is possible that if Morsi were still president, he would have felt he had the financial security to walk away from the peace treaty.

In happy contrast, under Sisi, Israeli-Egyptian ties are closer than they have ever been. Just last week Egyptian diplomats told Al Ahram that Israel’s support was critical for building administration support for Sisi.

Over Ramadan, Egyptian television broadcast a pro-Jewish mini-series.

Israel is closely working with the Egyptians on defeating the growing threat of Islamic State, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups waging a bloody insurgency against the regime in Sinai.

Last summer, it was due to the close coordination between Sisi and Israel that the US failed to force Israel to accept Hamas’s cease-fire terms, as those were represented by the Islamist regimes of Qatar and Turkey.

In part due to Israel’s critical support for Sisi’s government, and in part owing to their opposition to Iran’s rise as a regional hegemon armed with nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan have all joined Egypt in viewing Israel as a strategic partner and protector.

Last year Saudi Arabia together with the UAE and Jordan supported Israel and Egypt in opposing Hamas and its American, Turkish and Qatari defenders. Had it not been for this massive Arab support, it is very likely that Israel would have been forced to accept the US’s demands and grant Hamas control over Gaza’s international borders.

In June, as negotiations between the US and the other five powers and Iran were moving toward an agreement, the Council on Foreign Relations in New York hosted a meeting between then incoming Foreign Ministry director general Dore Gold and retired Saudi General Anwar Eshki, a former advisor to the Saudi ambassador to the US. The two revealed that over the previous 18 months, they had conducted five secret meetings to discuss Iran.

Although President Barack Obama harangued Israel in his speech at American University last Wednesday, claiming that the Israeli government is the only government that has publicly opposed his nuclear deal with the Iranians, Monday US congressmen now shuttling between Egypt and Israel told Israeli reporters that Egypt opposes the nuclear deal.

As for the Gulf states, according to the US media, last week they told visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry that they support the nuclear deal.

Kerry addressed his counterparts in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

But the fact is that the only foreign minister who expressed such support was Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah. To be sure, Attiyah was charged to speak for all of his counterparts because Qatar holds the GCC’s rotating chairmanship. But given that Qatar has staked out a pro-Iranian foreign policy in stark contrast to its neighbors and GCC partners, Attiyah’s statement is impossible to take seriously without the corroboration of his colleagues.

As for Qatar’s statement of support, Qatar has worked for years to cultivate good relations with Iran. It might have been expected therefore that Attiyah’s endorsement of the deal would have been enthusiastic. But it was lukewarm at best.

In Attiyah’s words, Kerry promised that the deal would place Iran’s nuclear sites under continuous inspections. “Consequently,” he explained, “the GCC countries have welcomed on this basis what has been displayed and what has been talked about by His Excellency Mr. Kerry.”

The problem of course is that Kerry wasn’t telling the truth. And the Arabs knew he was lying. The deal does not submit Iran’s nuclear sites to a rigorous inspection regime. And the GCC, including Qatar, opposes it.

In his briefing with Israeli reporters, the high-level US official rejected the importance of the détente between Israel and its Arab neighbors because he claimed the Arabs have not changed their position regarding their view of a final peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

But this is also nonsense. To be sure, the official position of the Saudis and the UAE is still the so-called Arab peace initiative from 2002 which stipulates that the Arabs will only normalize relations with Israel after it has ceded Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan and allowed millions of foreign-born Arabs to freely immigrate to the shrunken Jewish state. In other words, their official position is that they will only have normal relations with Israel after Israel destroys itself.

But their official position is no longer their actual position. Their actual position is to view Israel as a strategic ally.

The senior official told the Israeli reporters that in order to show that “their primary security concern is Iran,” then as far as the Arabs are concerned, “resolving some of the other issues in the region, including the Palestinian issue should be in their interest. We would like to see them more invested in moving the process forward.”

In the real world, there is no peace process. And the Palestinian factions are fighting over who gets to have better relations with Iran. Monday we learned that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas wishes to visit Iran in the coming months in the hopes of getting the money that until recently was enjoyed by his Hamas rivals.

Hamas for its part is desperate to show Tehran that it remains a loyal client. So today, no Palestinian faction shares the joint Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian interest in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear armed regional hegemon.

The administration showed its hand in that briefing with the Israeli reporters last week. For all their talk about Middle East peace, Obama and his advisors are not at all interested in achieving it or of noticing when it has been achieved.

The day after the deal

August 9, 2015

The day after the deal, Israel Hayom, Prof. Eyal Zisser, August 9, 2015

(Please see also, Russia and US woo Saudis to help save Assad – albeit putting Israel and Jordan in danger from S. Syria.– DM)

[Soleimani] wanted Russia and Iran to agree on the division of the Middle East in a way that would serve their clients in the region (among them, Assad) and check their joint enemies (the Islamic State). After figuring that out, they probably moved on to the next topic: how to marginalize America in the region. As a means to both ends, Russia will continue to serve as Assad’s protector (despite his many crimes), all the while providing Iran with international backing. But above all it will send arms to Iran, to the Syrian regime, and if needed, to Hezbollah.

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Over the weekend it transpired that Maj. Gen. Ghasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, had visited Moscow two weeks ago and met with President Vladimir Putin. The Quds Force, in case you forgot, is in charge of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ clandestine operations (including terrorism). The Quds Force is responsible for providing aid to Hezbollah and Hamas as well as to Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. In light of his direct involvement in terrorism, the international community imposed sanctions on Soleimani, including travel restrictions.

Only last week, at a hearing on Capitol Hill, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry vowed that the U.S. will make sure the sanctions on Soleimani would stay in effect and that the Obama administration would counter Iran’s efforts to destabilize the Middle East. But no one takes Kerry seriously anymore. While Kerry continues to engage Iran’s unimportant Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the real wheeling and dealing is actually in Moscow.

Soleimani did not go to Moscow because he had tickets to the Bolshoi. Rather, he arrived because he wanted to discuss “the day after the nuclear deal” with Putin. Namely, he wanted Russia and Iran to agree on the division of the Middle East in a way that would serve their clients in the region (among them, Assad) and check their joint enemies (the Islamic State). After figuring that out, they probably moved on to the next topic: how to marginalize America in the region. As a means to both ends, Russia will continue to serve as Assad’s protector (despite his many crimes), all the while providing Iran with international backing. But above all it will send arms to Iran, to the Syrian regime, and if needed, to Hezbollah.

The Russians, unlike the Iranians, don’t consider Israel to be an enemy state. But as a famous Russian official once said: “When you chop wood, chips fly.” Israel has become the latest chip — the collateral damage. Soleimani’s visit is just the tip of iceberg. It shed light on the not-so-secret deals that are being negotiated in the wake of the “Vienna nuclear agreement.” Europe, as usual, is focused on profit and its corporate executives are already traveling in droves to Tehran to ink deals. There are also political deals Iran wants to secure, which are as important for Tehran. Their price, however, will be measured in blood rather than in euros or dollars.

No one in the Middle East, it seems, is keen on parsing each and every provision in the nuclear deal. Nor is there an attempt to see whether, in the grand scheme of things, it is will have been a worthwhile endeavor some 10 or 15 years from now, when its key elements expire. In this region, what counts is the way this agreement is perceived here and now — and what really matters to people is the way it is portrayed in the media. Under that criteria, Iran is the victor and America is the vanquished, because it caved to Iran. The deal, according to how the media has portrayed it, is a crushing political blow to Israel and the moderate Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia.

This knockout victory will likely produce a new Iranian-American partnership. At the very least, the two nations will mend fences. This will alienate many of Washington’s clients, who will have to look elsewhere for a more reliable ally. Egypt and the Saudis have already realized this and turned to Russia for aid and arms, figuring it would be more trustworthy than the “staff of this broken reed” (Isaiah 36:6).

Saudi Arabia is reportedly sending feelers to see if there is a deal to be had with Russia and Iran. Under the terms of the proposed deal, Saudi Arabia would withhold aid to the Syrian rebels if Iran ends its rogue presence in the state. Such a deal would secure Assad a victory over the insurgents, or a least ensure his regime survives.

The ongoing developments have caused panic, but not over the rising clout of Iran and Russia. The White House, it seems, is fretting over the possibility that Congress may vote against the Iran deal and further tarnish Obama’s image.

Into the fray: Iran- Reaping the storm that Barack sowed…

July 18, 2015

Into the fray: Iran- Reaping the storm that Barack sowed…, Jerusalem PostMARTIN SHERMAN,July 16, 2015

ShowImage (3)Map of Middle East. (photo credit:Courtesy)

It is through this Islamo-philic prism that the Obama administration’s attitude to, and execution of, its foreign policy must be evaluated – including its otherwise incomprehensible capitulation this week on Iran’s nuclear program.

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Obama is the first US president who genuinely conceives of Islam as not inherently opposed to American values or interests.

You’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith – Barack Hussein Obama to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, September 7, 2008

I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story Barack Hussein Obama, Cairo, June 4, 2009

Islam has always been part of AmericaBarack Hussein Obama, the White House, August 11, 2010

Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding Barack Hussein Obama, the White House, February 18, 2015

Barack Hussein Obama is the first US president who is explicitly and overtly unmoored, both cognitively and emotionally, from the moorings of America’s founding Judeo-Christian cultural heritage, and who genuinely conceives of Islam as not inherently opposed to American values or American interests.

A question of cultural affinity?

It is through this Islamo-philic prism that the Obama administration’s attitude to, and execution of, its foreign policy must be evaluated – including its otherwise incomprehensible capitulation this week on Iran’s nuclear program.

Almost two years ago, I wrote a column titled, “Will the West withstand the Obama presidency?” (11/28/2013). In it I warned: “For anyone who understands that the US Constitution is not a Shari’a-compliant document…

it should be alarmingly apparent that the Obama incumbency is a dramatic and disturbing point of inflection in the history of America and its Western allies… whose political practices and societal norms are rooted in Judeo-Christian foundations in a cultural rather than in any religious sense.”

There is little alternative explanation to account for the metamorphosis that has taken place in how the US has approached resolving the impasse with Tehran, as starkly laid out by two former secretaries of state, Henry Kissinger and George Shultz.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, “The Iran Deal and Its Consequences” (April 7), they note that the negotiation has been turned “on its head.” As they point out: “For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests – and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability.”

Risible inspection mechanism

Even before the specifics of the risible inspection mechanism, which one Israeli minister aptly described as “worse than worthless,” Kissinger and Shultz laid out the difficulties that would render any extended inspection endeavor ineffective: “In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect.”

With considerable prescience, they warn: “Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another. Any report of a violation is likely to prompt debate over its significance – or even calls for new talks with Tehran to explore the issue.

Envisaging the problems likely to arise in enforcing any agreement, they caution: “Compounding the difficulty is the unlikelihood that breakout will be a clear-cut event.

More likely it will occur… via the gradual accumulation of ambiguous evasions. When inevitable disagreements arise over the scope and intrusiveness of inspections, on what criteria are we prepared to insist and up to what point? If evidence is imperfect, who bears the burden of proof? What process will be followed to resolve the matter swiftly?”

Reminiscent of taqiya?

But even without the daunting generic difficulties described by Kissinger and Shultz, the inspection mechanism provided for in the nascent deal make a mockery of Obama’s contention (July 14): “… this deal is not built on trust; it is built on verification,” and, “Because of this deal, inspectors will also be able to access any suspicious location… [They] will have access where necessary, when necessary.”

One can hardly imagine a more grossly misleading representation of the deal – so much so that it is difficult not to find it strongly reminiscent of the Muslim tactic of taqiya (the religiously sanctioned deception of non-Muslims).

Indeed, immediately following the announcement of the agreement, Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, made a stunning admission to CNN’s Erin Burnett. Starkly contradicting the president’s contention of “access where necessary, when necessary,” Rhodes conceded, “We never sought in this negotiation the capacity for so-called anytime, anywhere,” which is diametrically opposed to the impression he conveyed in April this year when queried on this issue.

You couldn’t make this stuff up

For as it turns out, it provides the Iranians with ample warning of impending inspections on any suspected violation, and ample ability to forestall the definition of any given suspicious event as a possible violation.

Thus in the case of a suspected infringement in any undisclosed (to the international community) site, the Iranians will have at least 24 days’ notice. Moreover, inspectors will not be able to conduct surprise visits but will be required to “provide Iran the basis for such concerns and request clarification.” No kidding!!! But wait, there’s more.

If Iran’s explanations do not adequately assuage international concerns, inspectors “may request access to such locations” to make sure no illicit activity has occurred. But first they need to “provide Iran the reasons for access in writing and will make available relevant information.” You can’t make this stuff up.

But here’s the kicker: Should the Iranians and the inspectors prove unable to “reach satisfactory arrangements,” Tehran will resolve any concerns “through necessary means agreed between Iran and the IAEA.” If there is still no agreement two weeks after the initial inquiry is filed, the crisis will be resolved by vote in the so-called Joint Commission – consisting of the six world powers, a representative of EU and – wait for it – Iran.

Like warning drug dealers of a bust

Astonishingly, nearly all the decisions of the Joint Commission, tasked with overseeing/ administering the implementation of the deal, are to be made by consensus – which in effect gives Iran veto power over them. In the case of inspection access, it is sufficient for two of its eight members (say China and Russia) to abstain for Iran to block any decision it dislikes.

It is thus difficult to dispute Benjamin Netanyahu’s characterization of the deal during his address in the Knesset when he likened it to giving drug dealers notice of an impending raid: “It’s like giving a criminal organization that deals drugs a 24-day warning before inspecting its drug lab.”

But worse – the deal requires the international inspectors to expose the sources of intelligence that lead to the detection of the possible infringement – thereby virtually ensuring the termination of their effectiveness.

As Netanyahu remarked: “The agreement also requires the world powers to… show Iran the very intelligence for which they want to conduct the inspections in the first place.”

It is possible that all this could be nothing more than mind-boggling incompetence and blatant lack of foresight? Or are these glaring loopholes the reflection of intent.

Devil not in details

After all, the more you think about the unenforceable, unverifiable agreement just concocted in Vienna, the more implausible it seems. As Alan Dershowitz points out in a Jerusalem Post opinion piece this week, “The devil is not so much in the details as in the broad outlines of this deal.”

Rather than the detailed minutiae of the deal, it is its deeply flawed overall structure that makes it so difficult to comprehend – unless the motives for its conclusion are reexamined.

For unless one is imbued with the child-like naiveté to believe that the tyrannical clergy who head the totalitarian theocracy in Tehran, on seeing their defiant intransigence vindicated and having vast additional resources placed at their disposal, will suddenly change their worldview, the picture of emerging realities is decidedly bleak and bewildering.

The spectacle unfolding before us is almost incomprehensible by any rational criterion.

Virtually the entire developed world, led by the only superpower on the planet, has for all intents and purposes conceded a legitimized path to weaponized nuclear status for a fanatical fundamentalist regime, ideologically bent on the destruction of America and its allies, and a major proliferator of terrorism, committed to attaining regional hegemony at the expense of relatively pro-Western governments.

Despite dwarfing Iran in terms of military might, economic wealth, physical size and population, Tehran’s interlocutors have provided it with vast resources to enormously enhance its nefarious pursuits across the region and beyond.

The New Middle East: Conflicts on steroids

The ominous consequences are not difficult to foresee.

As Ariel Ben Solomon, the Post’s Middle East correspondent, wrote in a recent report, “Iran deal to see Middle East conflicts go on steroids,” “A stronger Iran will translate into a more robust Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthi movement in Yemen, and Shi’ite forces in Iraq and Syria, and increasing sectarian strife fueled by Shi’ite minorities or Iranian agents throughout the Arab world.” (July 16) There is precious little reason for believing any other outcome is plausible.

In a July 15 interview, New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez lamented another aspect of the deal, relating to easing restrictions on conventional weapons to Iran: “When you lift the arms embargo to a country that is the major sponsor of… terrorism in the world and is already destabilizing the region in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria [and] Iraq, to give them – after they are going to get $100 billion-150b. in economic relief – the opportunity to buy conventional weapons and improve their missile technology doesn’t seem to me to be in the national interest of the United States.”

The intriguing question is, of course, does this seem to President Obama to be in the national interest of the United States? And if so, why so? If so, how so?

‘No alternative’: A mindless mendacious mantra

The almost Pavlovian response of the apologists for the Iran deal is that its critics have not offered a feasible alternative. This is a claim – for want of a better word – so feeble that it barely merits a response.

As Sen. Menendez points out: “We never tested the proposition that dismantling elements of Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure was possible. It is pretty hard for me to believe that the world powers, sitting on one side of the table, the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany and the European Union looking at the Iranians… suffering under staggering sanctions… and falling oil prices couldn’t get a deal that eliminated some of that infrastructure.”

Rebutting John Kerry’s claim that such a goal was achievable only in “a world of fantasy,” Menendez retorted, “I don’t know that that is a ‘world of fantasy.’ Isn’t it possible with all the world on one side of the table, and Iran reeling with economic challenges, that you couldn’t have done better as relates to eliminating that nuclear infrastructure.”

Of course if the underlying assumption is that alternatives are only feasible if Iran deigns to accept them, then the apologists may be right. However, if the rationale were not to accommodate the ayatollahs, but to coerce them, the alternative is clear: Enhanced sanctions backed by the credible threat of military action aimed at destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities and their attendant infrastructure.

Arab arms race or Arab client states

But despite the overwhelming preponderance of power in their favor, the US and its Western allies seem to have forsworn the use of force, or even the credible specter thereof. As Kissinger and Shultz remark: “The threat of war now constrains the West more than Iran.”

This will clearly have a devastating impact on both friend and foe in the region.

It will destroy the confidence of US allies who will therefore be compelled to either acquire their own appropriate arsenals, as they can no longer rely on America for their security, or to become compliant client states of a hegemonic Iran.

For Iran it sends an equivocal message that it can violate the terms of the deal with impunity – for if what it encountered at Vienna is all the West can throw at it, what does it have to fear? There can be little doubt that what happened in Vienna this week has shredded America’s standing in the Middle East.

Some might even suspect that that was the purpose of the exercise.

Column One: Obama’s age of nuclear chaos

July 16, 2015

Column One: Obama’s age of nuclear chaos, Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, July 16, 2015

ShowImage (2)Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gestures as he talks with journalist from a balcony of the Palais Coburg hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Not only will the US and its allies remove the sanctions imposed on Iran over the past decade and so start the flow of some $150 billion to the ayatollahs’ treasury. They will help Iran develop advanced centrifuges.

They even committed themselves to protecting Iran’s nuclear facilities from attack and sabotage.

Israel still may have the ability to attack Iran’s nuclear sites. If it does, then it should attack them as quickly and effectively as possible.

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On Tuesday, we moved into a new nuclear age.

In the old nuclear age, the US-led West had a system for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It had three components: sanctions, deterrence and military force. In recent years we have witnessed the successful deployment of all three.

In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, the UN Security Council imposed a harsh sanctions regime on Iraq. One of its purposes was to prevent Iraq from developing nuclear weapons. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, we learned that the sanctions had been successful. Saddam largely abandoned his nuclear program due to sanctions pressure.

The US-led invasion of Iraq terrified several rogue regimes in the region. In the two to three years immediately following the invasion, America’s deterrent strength soared to unprecedented heights.

As for military force, the nuclear installation that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad built in Deir a-Zour with Iranian money and North Korean technicians wasn’t destroyed through sanctions or deterrence. According to foreign media reports, in September 2007, Israel concluded that these paths to preventing nuclear proliferation to Syria would be unsuccessful.

So then-prime minister Ehud Olmert ordered the IDF to destroy it. The outbreak of the Syrian civil war three years later has prevented Assad and his Iranian bosses from reinstating the program, to date.

The old nuclear nonproliferation regime was highly flawed.

Pakistan and North Korea exploited the post-Cold War weaknesses of its sanctions and deterrence components to develop and proliferate nuclear weapons and technologies.

Due to American weakness, neither paid a serious price for its actions.

Yet, for all its flaws and leaks, the damage caused to the nonproliferation system by American weakness toward Pakistan and North Korea is small potatoes in comparison to the destruction that Tuesday’s deal with Iran has wrought.

That deal doesn’t merely show that the US is unwilling to exact a price from states that illicitly develop nuclear weapons. The US and its allies just concluded a deal that requires them to facilitate Iran’s nuclear efforts.

Not only will the US and its allies remove the sanctions imposed on Iran over the past decade and so start the flow of some $150 billion to the ayatollahs’ treasury. They will help Iran develop advanced centrifuges.

They even committed themselves to protecting Iran’s nuclear facilities from attack and sabotage.

Under the deal, in five years, Iran will have unlimited access to the international conventional arms market. In eight years, Iran will be able to purchase and develop whatever missile systems it desires.

And in 10 years, most of the limitations on its nuclear program will be removed.

Because the deal permits Iran to develop advanced centrifuges, when the agreement ends in 10 years, Iran will be positioned to develop nuclear weapons immediately.

In other words, if Iran abides by the agreement, or isn’t punished for cheating on it, in 10 years, the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world will be rich, in possession of a modernized military, a ballistic missile arsenal capable of carrying nuclear warheads to any spot on earth, and the nuclear warheads themselves.

Facing this new nuclear reality, the states of the region, including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and perhaps the emirates, will likely begin to develop nuclear arsenals. ISIS will likely use the remnants of the Iraqi and Syrian programs to build its own nuclear program.

Right now, chances are small that Congress will torpedo Barack Obama’s deal. Obama and his backers plan to spend huge sums to block Republican efforts to convince 13 Democratic senators and 43 Democratic congressmen to vote against the deal and so achieve the requisite two-thirds majority to cancel American participation in the deal.

Despite the slim chances, opponents of the deal, including Israel, must do everything they can to convince the Democrats to vote against it in September. If Congress votes down the deal, the nuclear chaos Obama unleashed on Tuesday can be more easily reduced by his successor in the White House.

If Congress rejects the deal, then US sanctions against Iran will remain in force. Although most of the money that will flow to Iran as a result of the deal is now frozen due to multilateral sanctions, and so will be transferred to Iran regardless of congressional action, retaining US sanctions will make it easier politically and bureaucratically for Obama’s replacement to take the necessary steps to dismantle the deal.

Just as the money will flow to Iran regardless of Congress’s vote, so Iran’s path to the bomb is paved regardless of what Congress does.

Under one scenario, if Congress rejects the deal, Iran will walk away from it and intensify its nuclear activities in order to become a nuclear threshold state as quickly as possible. Since the deal has destroyed any potential international coalition against Iran’s illegal program, no one will bat a lash.

Obama will be deeply bitter if Congress rejects his “historic achievement.” He can be expected to do as little as possible to enforce the US sanctions regime against his Iranian comrades. Certainly he will take no military action against Iran’s nuclear program.

As a consequence, regardless of congressional action, Iran knows that it has a free hand to develop nuclear weapons at least until the next president is inaugurated on January 20, 2017.

The other possible outcome of a congressional rejection of the deal is that Iran will stay in the deal and the US will be the odd man out.

In a bid to tie the hands of her boss’s successor and render Congress powerless to curb his actions, the day before the deal was concluded, Obama’s UN Ambassador Samantha Power circulated a binding draft resolution to Security Council members that would prohibit member nations from taking action to harm the agreement.

If the resolution passes – and it is impossible to imagine it failing to pass – then Iran can stay in the deal, develop the bomb with international support and the US will be found in breach of a binding UN Security Council resolution.

Given that under all scenarios, Tuesday’s deal ensures that Iran will become a threshold nuclear power, it must be assumed that Iran’s neighbors will now seek their own nuclear options.

Moreover, in light of Obama’s end-run around the Congress, it is clear that regardless of congressional action, the deal has already ruined the 70-year old nonproliferation system that prevented nuclear chaos and war.

After all, now that the US has capitulated to Iran, its avowed foe and the greatest state sponsor of terrorism, who will take future American calls for sanctions against nuclear proliferators seriously? Who will be deterred by American threats that “all options are on the table” when the US has agreed to protect Iran’s nuclear installations and develop advanced centrifuges for the same ayatollahs who daily chant, “Death to America”? For Israel, the destruction of the West’s nonproliferation regime means that from here on out, we will be living in a region buzzing with nuclear activity. Until Tuesday, Israel relied on the West to deter most of its neighbors from developing nuclear weapons. And when the West failed, Israel dealt with the situation by sending in the air force. Now, on the one hand Israel has no West to rely on for sanctions or deterrence, and on the other hand, it has limited or no military options of its own against many of the actors that will now seek to develop nuclear arsenals.

Consider Israel’s situation. How could Israel take action against an Egyptian or Jordanian nuclear reactor, for instance? Both neighboring states are working with Israel to defeat jihadist forces threatening them all. And that cooperation extends to other common threats. Given these close and constructive ties, it’s hard to see how Israel could contemplate attacking them.

But on the other hand, the regimes in Amman and Cairo are under unprecedented threat.

In theory they can be toppled at any moment by jihadist forces, from the Muslim Brotherhood to ISIS. It’s already happened once in Egypt.

The same considerations apply to Saudi Arabia.

As for Turkey, its NATO membership means that if Israel were to attack Turkish nuclear sites, it would run the risk of placing itself at war not only with Turkey, but with NATO.

Given Israel’s limited military options, we will soon find ourselves living under constant nuclear threat. Under these new circumstances, Israel must invest every possible effort in developing and deploying active nuclear defenses.

One key aspect to this is missile defense systems, which Israel is already developing.

But nuclear bombs can be launched in any number of ways.

Old fashioned bombs dropped from airplanes are one option.

Artillery is another. Even suicide trucks are good for the job.

Israel needs to develop the means to defend itself against all of these delivery mechanisms. At the same time, we will need to operate in hostile countries such as Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere to destroy deliveries of nuclear materiel whether transferred by air, sea or land.

Here is the place to mention that Israel still may have the ability to attack Iran’s nuclear sites. If it does, then it should attack them as quickly and effectively as possible.

No, a successful Israeli attack cannot turn back the clock. Israel cannot replace the US as a regional superpower, dictating policy to our neighbors. But a successful attack on Iran’s nuclear program along with the adoption of a vigilantly upheld strategy of active nuclear defense can form the basis of a successful Israeli nuclear defense system.

And no, Israel shouldn’t be overly concerned with how Obama will respond to such actions.

Just as Obama’s nuclear capitulation to Iran has destroyed his influence among our Arab neighbors, so his ability to force Israel to sit on the sidelines as he gives Iran a nuclear arsenal is severely constrained.

How will he punish Israel for defying him? By signing a nuclear deal with Iran that destroys 70 years of US nonproliferation strategy, allows the Iranian regime to grow rich on sanctions relief, become a regional hegemon while expanding its support for terrorism and develop nuclear weapons? Years from now, perhaps historians will point out the irony that Obama, who loudly proclaims his goal of making the world free of nuclear weapons, has ushered in an era of mass nuclear proliferation and chaos.

Israel can ill afford the luxury of pondering irony.

One day the nuclear Furies Obama has unleashed may find their way to New York City.

But their path to America runs through Israel. We need to ready ourselves to destroy them before they cross our border.

The Iran Deal: Making War More Likely?

July 16, 2015

The Iran Deal: Making War More Likely? American ThinkerStephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen, July 16, 2015

The deal is done. Iran has sort-of promised it won’t build nuclear weapons, but even the promise has serious caveats: Iran can continue to build weapons platforms to deliver the non-existent weapons; it can cooperate with friendly countries to acquire enhancements to weapons delivery technology; and it can prevent entry to requested facilities by international inspectors for 24 days per request; it need not account for prior military activity. And Iran will be vastly richer.

Based on the world’s experience with the efficacy of multinational inspection regimes and with Iran specifically, it would be wise to assume that the Islamic Republic will move (continue?) covertly to build nuclear warheads, perhaps just leaving out the nuclear fuel. Iran will likely begin testing rockets so that they will be able to release a future nuclear weapon securely at the right moment to get the right blast effect.

The rocket is as important as the nuclear weapon it carries.

Nuclear weapons don’t go off if they plow into the ground, because as they disintegrate they can’t achieve the necessary chain reaction; they must explode above ground at a fixed altitude

Allowing Iran to openly acquire ballistic missile technology can shorten the time from weapons acquisition to weapons use, increasing the relative nervousness of the neighbors — not a recipe for stability. Israel will have to try to interdict and disrupt Iranian ballistic missile testing on an active and overt basis. Because Israeli is not a signatory to the Iran deal, it can expect to be censured by its allies and everyone else. But Israel will have no choice.

If a nuclear weapon were to be fired at Israel, in the few minutes from launch to impact Israel could, in theory, launch its own nuclear weapons from diverse platforms including land-based intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs), from F-4’s and F-15’s, and from the newer Israeli submarines. Iran would face annihilation. It potentially could mean the same for Israel, although Israel’s anti-missile system may be sufficient to block the Iranian strike. A lot will depend on how good the Iranian technology is, how well tested it is, and what Israel’s countermeasures are.

The above scenario suggests this might be the time for Israel to place whatever nuclear cards it holds on the table. Israel has long been a presumed nuclear power, including by the CIA since the 1970s, and Secretary Robert Gates said so explicitly in his confirmation hearings. But Israel’s official posture remains “nuclear ambiguity” and a vague statement that Israel would not be the first to use nuclear weapons in the region, hinting that the program was designed as a deterrent. But given that Iran is likely on its way to being a nuclear power as well, and has threatened Israel specifically and directly with annihilation, Israel’s deterrence may well be enhanced by a less ambiguous posture.

While the first of the deal’s unintended consequences is that it forces Israel to officially become a nuclear power, there are others.

The deal increases the chances of direct conventional warfare between Israel and an emboldened and wealthier Iran. It may come as a consequence of Israel’s “interdict and defeat” effort in Syria; too many Iranian missiles in the hands of Hizb’allah; the deployment of Iranian troops in Syria threatening Israel; a firefight in the Golan or southern Lebanon; or conflict on the high seas. The list is a long one.

And Israel is not the only country that views Iran with alarm. Egypt and Saudi Arabia will urgently step up their search for nuclear capability. Egypt has gone down this road before and the Saudis have been leaning on Pakistan for a bomb.  Neither Egypt nor Saudi Arabia is inherently stable, and instability runs different scenarios. Saudi Arabia has IRBM delivery systems and F-15s that can be used to deliver a nuclear weapon. Egypt does not presently have the rockets, but it has a good nuclear science base that it gained in cooperation with different international partners. How viable its nuclear science pool is today is unclear; but in the 1980s Egypt was working with Iraq on the creation of plutonium fuel for weapons (at the Osirak reactor, among other locales) and was partnered with Argentina and perhaps others in building a version of the American Pershing II mobile nuclear missile. It is not unreasonable to think these programs or variants of them will in some way be revived.

The U.S. administration may think the Sunni Arab states have nowhere to turn for technology, but that would be wrong. Russia, for example, and China are more than capable under the right circumstances of cynically supporting both sides in the region — greatly enhancing the chances of war.

In the short term, the Saudis and Egyptians will need to rely on under-the-table relationships with Israel to resist pressure from Iran, which will grow apace thanks to the Washington-led deal; whether this can be concretized and turned into a workable and useful collective security pact is an important consideration. At a minimum, given the substantial barriers to overt cooperation, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States will be heavily exposed and at risk for some time.

The security consequences do not only accrue to the regional countries, but to the United States and our European allies as well.

The U.S.-led deal leaves the Islamic Republic on the road to nuclear weapons capability, now or in five years or in ten — we don’t actually know because the administration gave up its demand for information on Iran’s previous military activities. The cost of this, which we already are seeing, is further diminution of American power and influence in the Middle East as neither our Arab allies nor Israel believe we can protect them. This fuels Russian as well as Iranian ambitions. Europe, which needs oil from the Middle East, can consequently be expected to back away from NATO, encouraging Russian nibbling on the margins of Europe — Estonia is already panicked. The Atlantic Alliance system andPax Americana that emerged from the ashes of WWII will collapse.

In the face of that possibility, the U.S. — whether in this administration or the next — will find that it cannot stand aside. In some manner, however halting, the United States will have to agree to do what Israel by circumstance is being forced to do, namely move militarily to truncate Iran’s nuclear program.

That being the case, it would be wise for the U.S. to pick up the leadership gauntlet earlier rather than later, and to do so in the company of as many friends and allies as it can muster.