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  • A Tipping Point Approaches.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on March 21st, 2015 (All posts by )

    The Obama Administration is close to announcing a deal with the government of Iran on their nuclear program. The deal will include some weak language on delay in the acquisition of a nuclear weapon by Iran and the dropping of all sanctions against the regime by the US and its European allies. This will be a disaster, in my opinion. The New York Times has another editorial today which includes delighted anticipation of the deal and more invective against Prime Minister Netanyahu who opposes the deal.

    “In a way, the administration has already won,” said Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East adviser to Democratic and Republican administrations. “If you get agreement by the end of March, it will be historic in nature, it will have demonstrated that the administration is prepared to willfully stand up to Republican opposition in Congress and to deal with members of its own party who have doubts, and has withstood Israeli pressure.”

    The “historic agreement” will fulfill the ambitions of the allegedly “moderate” Iranian president Rouhani. The Weekly Standard has a nice biography of Rouhani ( which means “pious” or “a cleric” in Arabic.) by some people who know the story and who can use Persian language sources.

    Yet since 1979, throughout his entire political career, he has systematically violated what even hard-nosed Islamic jurists might consider sacred obligations that rulers owe their subjects.

    Fereydoun or Rouhani? Theologian or doctor of laws? Restorer of traditional Persian civility and patron saint of the riyal, Iran’s currency, or systematic violator of the rights of man and false prophet? More-or-less trustworthy, pragmatic interlocutor with the West or deceptive enemy? Who really is the man at the helm of the self-declared “government of prudence and hope”? What is his story?

    The story is about what one would expect from this bunch. He was also involved in the “Iran-Contra” scandal of the Reagan Administration where he again played “moderate.”

    He was one of the “moderates” that CIA memoranda to then-director William Casey said were on the other end of the weapons pipeline. According to Rafsanjani’s memoir, on November 3, 1985, Rouhani reported to his boss that he would soon be inspecting the newly delivered Hawk missiles, which the clerical regime had demanded in return for some half-dozen Americans held hostage in Lebanon (the number of hostages changed from time to time). In March 1986, according to Rafsanjani, Rouhani suggested that Iran should extort more Hawk missiles in return for the hostages. Rafsanjani authorized his deputy to help with “administering the political issues and the negotiations” with the visiting officials from the Reagan White House.

    He has a long history as an opportunist, inherited perhaps from his father who had an instinct for choosing the right patron. He also has a fine sense of revenge, arranging the execution of Iranians who provoked him before the Revolution.

    Rouhani’s autobiography stresses his intention to reorganize and enforce discipline in the new army. Other sources, however, depict him as vengeful and ruthless, a commissar less interested in revitalizing the army than in getting even with the officers who’d ridiculed him when he was in uniform. By July 1980, “Fidel Castro” had purged 12,000 servicemen. Rouhani even demanded abolishing the Army Special Operations unit and called for the public hanging of officers to terrorize the military, though Mostafa Chamran, defense minister in Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan’s moderate transitional government, prevented this.

    He even arranged the assassination of a professor who had ridiculed him as a student years before.

    Rouhani’s autobiography, which details Mazlouman’s sins against Islam and insults to Rouhani, actually explains, almost glibly, why Mazlouman was assassinated. “Among the professors of the faculty, one of the professors who would in class attack the laws of Islam, was Reza Mazlouman,” Rouhani remarks, adding, “who several years ago was killed in Paris.” What Rouhani is surely doing here, with the approval of the Ministry of Intelligence’s ghostwriters, is bragging. He finally won his classroom debate.

    This is who Obama and Kerry believe they will sign an “Historic Agreement.”

    And Bibi Netanyahu will not stand in the way. He and Israel are to be punished.

    The tense conversation came on the same day the White House announced that Denis R. McDonough, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff, would deliver the keynote address on Monday to the annual conference of J Street, a pro-Israel group aligned with Democrats that has been fiercely critical of Mr. Netanyahu.

    The moves confirmed that instead of acting quickly to smooth over tensions with Mr. Netanyahu that burst to the fore in the weeks running up to the Israeli elections, the White House is stoking the acrimony.

    What is less clear is whether the approach will lead to a lasting policy shift or was merely a public round of venting.

    “J Street” is of course not “Pro-Israel.”

    With J Street, the issue is not merely its views but its preposterous actions. Hanegbi must be conscious of how ridiculous it is to describe as “pro-Israel” an organization which actively lobbies the US government to undermine the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel.

    I feel we are on a train with an engineer who is determined to take this curve far over the speed limit and who will brook no interference from Congress, Israel or any other doubter. This is an historic mistake and Israel is the modern equivalent of Czechoslovakia in 1938 which was destroyed to appease Herr Hitler.

     

    12 Responses to “A Tipping Point Approaches.”

    1. David Foster Says:

      “a train with an engineer who is determined to take this curve far over the speed limit”…Churchill used the same analogy in the mid-1930s, citing a poem from a late 19th-century issue of Punch:

      Who is in charge of the clattering train?
      The axles creak and the couplings strain,
      and the pace is hot and the points are near,
      and sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear,
      and the signals flash through the night in vain.
      For death is in charge of the clattering train.

      The whole poem can be found here:

      https://lifeondoverbeach.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/who-is-in-charge-of-the-clattering-train-2/

      …but the engineer on the train in the poem (and the real-life accident on which the poem was based) was only sleepy, after being on duty for more than 16 hours…and the British appeasers in the 1930s were motivated largely (although not entirely) by national exhaustion after the horrible experience of the First World War. Today’s appeasement seems motivated by factors that are much worse.

    2. David Foster Says:

      “points”…Brit-speak for a railroad switch

    3. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Obama’s middle east policy is a bi-partisan invention. It was laid out in a report issued in 2006 by the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan congressional commission that was co-chaired by Bush 41’s former secretary of state James Baker (“F*** the Jews, they didn’t vote for us anyway”) and former Democrat congressman Lee Hamilton. The report is discussed at length in an excellent article, which you should read in full:

      “Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy: The president has long been criticized for his lack of strategic vision. But what if a strategy, centered on Iran, has been in place from the start and consistently followed to this day?” an Essay by Michael Doran on Feb. 2 2015
      http://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2015/02/obamas-secret-iran-strategy/

      The article lays out the 2006 Report’s four main policy recommendations:

      “withdraw American troops from Iraq; surge American troops in Afghanistan; reinvigorate the Arab-Israeli peace process; and, last but far from least, launch a diplomatic engagement of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its junior partner, the Assad regime in Syria. Baker and Hamilton believed that Bush stood in thrall to Israel and was therefore insufficiently alive to the benefits of cooperating with Iran and Syria. Those two regimes, supposedly, shared with Washington the twin goals of stabilizing Iraq and defeating al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadi groups. In turn, this shared interest would provide a foundation for building a concert system of statesa club of stable powers that could work together to contain the worst pathologies of the Middle East and lead the way to a sunnier future.”

      Spengler tells us (“Obamas Secret Iran Strategy Began in 2006 with Robert Gates”) that the ISG 2006 report “was a carbon copy of the Council on Foreign Relations report of 2004, written under the supervision of [Robert] Gates [Secretary of Defense 2006 — 2011 for Bush 43 and Hussein] and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carters national security adviser”.

      The policy has a lot of high level institutional support in the Bush 43 and Obama administrations. Not only did Gates carry over, but Hamilton’s staff included Denis McDonough, Hussein’s chief of staff, and Benjamin Rhodes, another Hussein toad.

      Of course, as Spengler says: “the Bush administration … never would have conceded so much to Iran, despite its 2006 embrace of the Gates strategy. At some point, no doubt, the Republicans would have given the mullahs an ultimatum, while Obama (as Doran documents) conceded everything at every step of the way. Obama justifies his policy towards Iran on the basis of the same realist approach that Robert Gates brought to the last two years of the Bush administration, but there is a difference. McBama and the Weird SistersIran-born Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, and Samantha Powerharbor a deep emotional antipathy to the United States, and a deep sympathy for anti-imperialist movements. They believe that the United States is a main instigator of the worlds evil.”

      Calling a pro-Iranian policy realist is a true abuse of the English Language. Anyone who claims that the Mullahs of Iran are rational actors in foreign policy is not a realist, he is an opium smoker.

      One additional note: As far as I am concerned Jeb Bush has completely disqualified himself to be the Republican candidate for president (as if Jeb’s positions on immigration and common core were not enough) by using the immensely evil reanimated demon zombie, James Baker, as a foreign policy adviser. ABB.

    4. Mike K Says:

      Interesting concept. The same delusion infected the Reagan Administration with Iran-Contra. It was Ollie North who came up with the idea to rip off the Iranians. The Reagan people thought there really was some softening.

      The Iranians are looking forward to great things.

      “I believe achieving a deal is possible. There is nothing that can’t be resolved. The other party to the talks also has to make a final decision,” he was quoted as saying.
      The United States and Iran broke off nuclear negotiations ahead of schedule Friday, setting up make-or-break talks in the coming week for a deal providing long-term assurance to the world that the Iranians cannot develop nuclear weapons.
      Top Russian negotiator Sergey Ryabkov and other officials have told The Associated Press that the United States and Iran are drafting elements of a deal that commits the Iranians to a 40 percent cut in the number of machines they could use to make an atomic bomb. In return, Iran would get quick relief from some crippling economic sanctions and a partial lift of a U.N. embargo on conventional arms.

      Rouhani is totally untrustworthy but then so was Hitler. The wish is father to the thought.

      And I’m sure the Russians are trustworthy.

    5. Mike K Says:

      “Benjamin Rhodes, deputy national-security adviser for strategic communication and a key member of the president’s inner circle, shared some good news with a friendly group of Democratic-party activists. ”

      Rhodes, of course, is well qualified with his MFA in “fiction writing.”

    6. grey eagle Says:

      The DEA says there are 5 million heroine addicts in the US. If each addict uses 1 oz heroine per day, those 5 million ounces convert to 156 tons of heroine per day or 57,031 tons per year smuggled into the US and hand delivered to each addict in spite of the world’s best anti-smuggling program run by the best minds at the DEA and Homeland security.

      Iran has more oil than it can ever use. Why does it need nuclear power?

      Iran wants to build nuclear weapons that will be smuggled into every US city along with the daily heroine shipment.

      That’s what jihadiis do.

    7. ErisGuy Says:

      In a way, the administration has already won

      And in more important and realistic way, USA has lost, which has been one of the goals of the administration all along.

    8. Mike K Says:

      The Obama Administration seems to be ignoring another coming crisis.

      Khamenei is gravely ill with cancer of the prostate and a succession crisis is likely.

      Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, age 75, had undergone treatment for prostate cancer. State-run media released rare photos of the most powerful man in Iran receiving visitors at a hospital. His illness will have put ambitious men in motion.

      The second development was the election earlier this month of Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a hard-line mullah, to head the Assembly of Experts, the clerical body that selects and nominally oversees the supreme leader. Mr. Yazdi triumphed over Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a founder of the Islamic Republic and Mr. Khamenei’s chief rival going back to the regime’s earliest days.

      Oh Oh. Obama’s triumph looks even more shaky.

    9. PenGun Says:

      Oh boy. 100mg is a strong dose of heroin, will maybe kill a newbie.

      You cannot put Genies back in bottles. We should know that by now. You cannot stop Iran acquiring a nuke. Get used to it and come up with some reasonable ideas.

      As well you are trying to fulfill Brzezinski’s strategy which includes control of Europe as part of the swing to attempting to control the rise of China. This entails having Europe separated from the very strong relationship it had with Russia. If the US cannot do this they lose and become just another power over time. This is where the Ukraine comes in and Vlad, being no fool, understands his regime is the next in line for regime change. He is not going to allow that. They will fight in the Ukraine over this. The Ukrainians will lose, whatever that means in the end.

      This opens a large can of worms that includes capable air defense for Iran and probably Syria. A resurgent Russia and mo problems for Uncle Sam.

    10. Mike K Says:

      “Get used to it and come up with some reasonable ideas.”

      Another snark from PenGun. You would not know a reasonable idea if it bit. All you do is boats about how cool you are.

    11. PenGun Says:

      “Another snark from PenGun. You would not know a reasonable idea if it bit. All you do is boats about how cool you are.”

      If you really think you can just stop the development of what is becoming mid level technology then I guess you have a point. I think that’s a dumb idea, and in the long term unworkable. I dunno know ’bout no baots. ;)

    12. Rich Rostrom Says:

      “J Street” is of course not “Pro-Israel.”

      That’s wrong. J-Street is pro-Israel. They are just severely delusional about what is “pro-Israel”.

      J-Street believes, quite sincerely, that if Israel would be nicer to Palestinians, There Would Be Peace and everyone could live happily ever after. Therefore, defeating Netanyahu (who is mean to the Palestinians) is “pro-Israel”.

      J-Street also believes, quite sincerely, that the Iranian mullahs don’t want or intend to build nuclear weapons, and that when they lead mobs in chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”, they don’t really mean it. It’s what Richard Landes calls “liberal cognitive egocentrism”.