Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 08, 2013

Big Changes In U.S. Middle East Policy?

There seems to be big, though forced, moves in U.S. Middle East policy underway. Israel is getting some beating while a temporary deal with Iran is in the making.

After trying again and again to get Netanyahoo to accept serious negotiations with the Palestinians U.S. Secretary of State Kerry had finally enough and started to talk tough:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday harshly criticized Israel’s decision to build roughly 5,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem and other settlements, alongside the release of a group of Palestinian prisoners. Kerry said settlement expansion sends a message that “perhaps you’re not really serious,” during an interview which aired on Israel’s Channel 2, as well as in Palestinian media.
...
“If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that’s been taking place on an international basis,” he warned.

Adding an additional warning to the Israeli public, Kerry urged making peace “with a leadership that is committed to non-violence,” otherwise Israel “may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence.”

At the same time negotiations about Iran's nuclear developments in Geneva seem to come to a solution. In an unplanned move Kerry, as well as the French, German and British foreign ministers, will come to Geneva today to sign a preliminary deal with Iran. Netanyahoo called any such a deal a "historic mistake" and a very "bad deal" (video). He is losing it.

But the U.S. has no other chance. It is either deal with Iran now or see all the international sanctions against it disappear:

Robert Einhorn, a former State Department official who supports the administration’s negotiating strategy, dismissed as “not achievable” the maximalist approach advocated by Mr. Netanyahu.

“I don’t think any Iranian government could sell that deal at home,” Mr. Einhorn said during a conference call hosted by the Israel Project, a nonprofit organization that promotes Israel’s security. “I think we would pay a price in terms of the unraveling of sanctions if it looked like we, and not the Iranians, were the cause of the impasse.”

Iran's new government showing a friendlier face and explaining it's nuclear program in English while keeping its principal position is giving the U.S. a chance to unwind itself from an increasingly untenable hawkish position.

The other party against a U.S. deal with Iran is Saudi Arabia. Warning shots are now fired against it. Witness yesterday's BBC feature about a Saudi quest for Pakistan build nuclear weapons. There is nothing new in the piece. That the Saudis financed those weapons and will have emergency access to them has been known for decades. Relaunching the story now helps to move the eyes away from Iran and towards the real villain in the Persian Gulf area.

The Saudis will have to change their position on Iran as well as on Syria where the Syrian army is making steady progress or they will become, together with Netanyahoo, the new focus of U.S. and European enmity.

Posted by b on November 8, 2013 at 04:24 AM | Permalink

Comments

a palestinian serves USrael and aids the FSA insurgency
Younes Arbib
Free Thinkers on Facebook:
On the photo is a Palestinian Young Doctor (35 years) from Gaza/ Palestine. He is Palestinian and he had to fight against the Zionist Israel.
He is a medical doctor from Gaza and he should have to help Palestinians in the Gaza/Prison. He is a medical doctor and he had learned at school to help all living on Earth.
Unfortunately, his identity was not enough to make him aware; Unfortunately, its high training were not enough to teach him the right choices in life.
He traveled from Gaza to Egypt, from Egypt to Turkey ..........., from Turkey to Syria in which he blow himself in the streets of Syria and in which he dead the innocent dreams and the thriving perspectives.
He dead his own Siblings in the interest of its Zionist masters and Wahhabism administrators, ... the Zionist Israel/ Al-Qaeda.
His identity was a lie, its study was a cheat and his religion is unknown, he is and was worse than Satan.
............... It's just sad.
In life are normal people with normal thinking brain, in life are stupid people with less functional thinking organs.
Unfortunately in life are other different people with different bodies and with no brain.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=391488244287984&set=a.106618056108339.8884.100002804357668&type=1&theater

Posted by: brian | Nov 8, 2013 4:39:31 AM | 1

I wonder how much of this is for real... might as well be some kabuki to pretend a break-up in israeli-us relations as a real change towards a new middle east politics. An Iran that is deeply involved or maybe even officially protected by china and russia wouldn't be an easy target or maybe even impossible to attack - maybe the us are trying to save the last bit of influence that they can have in iran (and maybe that's not even such a tiny bit if iran plays it smartly).

Posted by: peter radiator | Nov 8, 2013 6:56:06 AM | 2

There has been a definite shift. Seems to me that since September 3 2013 (hmm - an aside - 74 years to the day since Britain declared war on Germany) - since the "missile test" aimed at Syria incident - there has been quite a bit of back peddling. Maybe Putin and Lavrov gave them cause for pause.

Posted by: DM | Nov 8, 2013 7:17:51 AM | 3

I hope you are right. Israeli provocation and scare tactics over Iran have become embarrassing and Netanyahu is finally being exposed as the main problem to a deal rather than any part of a solution . I am slightly surprised at the US response to Iran's peaceful overtures and hope that it's a genuine chance to resolve the disgraceful sanctions placed on them.
Perhaps even more astounding is the slight criticism of Israel by Kerry , albeit a slap on the wrist rather than the severe slapping Israel deserves. The relationship is beginning to look like a parent with his troublesome adolescent child , the question is how much bad behaviour the US will put up with and to what extent the Israel lobby can influence direction. Israel looks at the moment to be swimming against the tide, but they are the masters of illusion and deception so only a fool would write them off.

Posted by: Andy | Nov 8, 2013 7:58:49 AM | 4

The US is in a dilemma and is divided into factions with radically different policies.
The long dominant neo-cons are still pursuing that elusive global hegemony which will allow them to close up their histories and get down to the business of torturing dissidents and massacring subsistence farmers. They continue to back their boy Netanyahoo. Continuity is their thing. They live in a world in which it is always 1950. Nothing changes. Russia is the source of all evil (defined as defiance of the American Way which is inevitable) China is poor, foreign, non-white, inferior, important only because its population is so vast and antlike. Yes, friends they are racists at heart.

They are still the most powerful lobby in Washington but they are no longer unchallenged. A growing number of insiders are realising that the world has changed and that the old follies can no longer be persisted in with impunity.
Iran is a perfect example. For a long time the US has been able to get away without defining its relations with Iran. But now it realises that if it doesn't work out a modus vivendi with Tehran someone else- the Shanghai Co-operation Pact or whatever it is called- will. China and Russia are sitting patiently on the borders of the middle east. They don't want to go in but, if they have to they will have to. They cannot allow the US to do an Iraq on Iran. And they won't.

So there is a growing party in Washington, which is widely supported in the NATO capitals, pushing for a lowering of military tensions in the region where the prospect of hegemony has begun to disappear and the possibility of defeat and humiliation can not be ignored. There has been a sudden conversion on the road to Damascus.

And there is something else which is clouding the skies in Washington, and the NATO capitals too. Last week RT reported that the Food Stamp programme is being cut at a time when demand is at record levels. Today PressTV reports that two million Americans are due to lose their Unemployment benefits soon. Meanwhile in Europe interest rates have been cut yet again. Growth is negative. The world economy is settling back into a Depression that has no precedent for breadth or depth.

They are going to need those armies at home, putting down bread riots and following up leads from the NSA. The US has to change its foreign policy because it cannot change its domestic policy of war against the poor.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 8, 2013 9:35:02 AM | 5

Obama and the US Military badly need to get out of the Middle East quicksand and pivot over to contain a rising China. The longer the US stays in the Middle East, the more America's resources, public image, and position melts away.

This grand policy change is just the cutting and running strategy on a regional scale, instead of a national scale. At the moment John Kerry is whizzing around on 3 major issues all linked to this running from ME in order to focus on China strategy:

1) Trying to get an Israeli-Palestine deal.
2) Making Peace or at least not making hostility towards Iran.
3) Trying to cobble a Geneva peace conference on Syra.

While the Palestinian issue continues, the US loses a lot of goodwill and is isolated internationally. As several top Generals have said this more than any issue has led to a lot of US troop deaths the last 10 years. On Iran it needs help getting out of Afghanistan, needs Iranian oil on the Markets to lower the Oil Price, needs help stabilizing Syria, Iraq and needs to lower tensions of a regional war between the Resistance Axis and Israel-Saudi.

In short the US can't move forces around China if a massive war in the Middle East breaks out. Even if the US won such a war against the Resistence it would probably take 10 years and by then China would be a superpower and the US would be fully drained.

This is not a debate between Hawks and Doves, it is a clash between China Hawks (Obama, the Military leadership) and Zionist Hawks (Congress, AIPAC)

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 8, 2013 9:36:03 AM | 6

Great post, b. In 3 month's time Bibi will known as Netanya-Who?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 8, 2013 9:38:33 AM | 7

"Big Changes In U.S. Middle East Policy?"

The short answer is a NO. Long answer is here: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/11/216236.htm

Why not? Among other things:

"The President said that he will use all elements of U.S. power, including force, to secure the core interests of the United States in the Middle East. He said the United States will confront external aggression against our partners, as we did for Kuwait in the Gulf War."

"We also believe very strongly that we must continue to consult with Saudi Arabia as well as with the Syrian coalition leadership and our international partners, including Special Representative Brahimi and the Government of Russia in order to prepare for the Geneva conference. But I will make it clear: We will continue to support the opposition in the meantime and we will not stand idly by while Assad continues to use weapons enormously disproportionate to those in the possession of the opposition in order to kill innocent men, women, and children."

Kerry's hate towards the legal Syrian Gov. and its President is such that he is even not mentioning them. This US attitude has resulted that so-called opposition has refused to negotiate in Geneva and Moscow with Assad. Than, statements about Hezbollah and Iran leave no doubt there is no word about any "changes". However, there is a signs of empire's impotence and powerlessness, which resulted in public displeasure how empire managed with its vassals which Saudis describes as "tactical differences".

Otherwise, this sleazy statement which bordering with intellectual perversity make me wonder, "who raise this kind of people and in what kind of environment?"

Partial answer might be found here: http://voiceofrussia.com/2013_11_07/Bush-family-ties-to-the-Nazis-and-Skull-and-Bones-are-significant-Andrew-Kreig-7942/

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 8, 2013 9:39:53 AM | 8

Yep, Kerry coming to town to move the goal post on the deal.

Posted by: jo6pac | Nov 8, 2013 9:42:34 AM | 9

Dubai (AFP) - Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has ordered the disbanding of the main jihadist faction in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, in an audio message aired on Al-Jazeera Friday.

Zawahiri also stressed that the Al-Nusra Front was an "independent branch" of the global jihadist in Syria.

"The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is to be abolished, while the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) remains functioning," he said.

This might be result of Riyadh negotiation. Practically, conceded that they are defeated.

Not sure if this is ISIS, according to Wiki it is a same: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant.

But looks like NATO's mercenaries are leaving, no more that stupid flag and insignia. Whether they are going to inflict carnage like they are doing in Iraq remain to be seen.

SAA is the best guarantee of Syrian statehood and independence.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 8, 2013 10:00:11 AM | 10

I'm not exactly hopeful, but I'm open minded that US ME policy could be undergoing a paradigm shift. Here's why. According to Matthew Simmons' well researched book, "Twilight in the Desert"(2005), Iran may have the last great reservoirs of easily accessible light sweet crude on the planet, as well as the most natural gas (possibly second to Russia: Simmons). As Simmons pointed out in his book, the giant Gharwar field in KSA is estimated to now (2004) be pumping 80% water as the reservoir is saltwater flooded to lift the diminishing oil resource to extraction levels. KSA's newly discovered field NNE of Gharwar, is good, but nowhere near a 'giant'. Twilight in the desert, indeed.

A big IF, but assuming US must know close to actual reserves KSA has in the ground, and know that Iran's reserves are now larger than KSA's, suddenly détente with Iran is not only practical, but if multinational oil companies can get into the Iran oil patch, détente is a win-win for US and the oil majors.

When Bibi called the negotiation with Iran, "the deal of the century" that struck me as almost conciliatory. Kerry's speech highlighted by b above also was a departure from the old script vis-à-vis Israel, particularly that part about 'violence' vs 'nonviolence', which I think relates directly to the negotiation with Iran.

Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 8, 2013 10:08:40 AM | 11

Can't put this on the Open Thread, where it belongs.
Those interested in US policy who don't follow Bill Blum should look him up:
http://williamblum.org/aer/read/122


Here's a taste

“I’ve written the Introduction to a new book recently published in Russia that is sort of an updating of my book Killing Hope. 4 Here is a short excerpt:
“The Cold War had not been a struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. It had been a struggle between the United States and the Third World, which, in the decade following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, continued in Haiti, Somalia, Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere.
“The Cold War had not been a worldwide crusade by America to halt Soviet expansion, real or imaginary. It had been a worldwide crusade by America to block political and social changes in the Third World, changes opposed by the American power elite.
“The Cold War had not been a glorious and noble movement of freedom and democracy against Communist totalitarianism. It had typically been a movement by the United States in support of dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and corrupt oligarchies which were willing to follow Washington’s party line on the Left, US corporations, Israel, oil, military bases, et al. and who protected American political and economic interests in their countries in exchange for the American military and CIA keeping them in power against the wishes of their own people.
“In other words, whatever the diplomats at the time thought they were doing, the Cold War revisionists have been vindicated. American policy had been about imperialism and military expansion.”

Posted by: bevin | Nov 8, 2013 10:13:30 AM | 12

I was writing while bevin was posting @4. As usual, I agree with him. His much wider arguments about why policy is changing ring absolutely true, to which my @10 is merely a post script.

Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 8, 2013 10:26:13 AM | 13

"They are going to need those armies at home, putting down bread riots and following up leads from the NSA."

Do not bet on this, a masses are equipped with smartphones, headphones and messaging and typing all day long. Not to mention they have been bamboozled since its inception with various detractions from government's media and entertainment outlets.

"The US has to change its foreign policy because it cannot change its domestic policy of war against the poor."

Foreign policy is merely reflection of domestic one, you cannot separate one from the other.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 8, 2013 10:44:34 AM | 14

neretva, ISIL and ISIS are one and the same, but they have no interest in Zawahiri's views.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 8, 2013 10:58:50 AM | 15

' ... they will become, together with Netanyahoo, the new focus of U.S. and European enmity.... '

Wouldn't that be sweet. I've been watching this myself and waiting for the other shoe to drop ... is a change agonna come? What do you think is going on ?

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 8, 2013 11:01:16 AM | 16

Never underestimate the stupidity of the US government, think back to the negotiations with North Korea, then Bubba negotiated a deal whereby 500,000 tons of heavy oil would go to NK, plus two light water reactors to replace the graphite moderated ones, together with the lifting of sanctions, then the knuckle dragging Republicans took over and played hardball, in fact they moved the goalposts, when NK warned that unless the US kept it's part of the bargain NK would resume nuclear research, needless to say they did not keep to the bargain and now NK is a nuclear weapons state, immune from attack. The moral of the story is yes, the US is exceptional, exceptionally stupid.

Posted by: harrylaw | Nov 8, 2013 12:04:56 PM | 17

I have some hope that the Geneva thing will work. A short time time but with a pledge for the long term aims which will include Iran keeping its program at the current state (-20% enrichment which isn't needed any more as the TRR can now be refilled) and sanctions mostly lifted.

The biggest reason for my hope? Reportedly Lavrov is now flying to Geneva. There is the grown up that is needed to get the deal done.

Posted by: b | Nov 8, 2013 12:14:17 PM | 18

Colm @ 5 interesting thoughts but the thing is the Persian gulf is such a crucial element of US power that they can't ever afford to loose it. They can't give it up to the Russians and expect to be able to confront China. It would just be an epic ass whopping.

OTOH, if they can offer Iran a sweetheart deal to switch sides and be their local gendarme that would work out well. But that might be more costly than they can bear.

Posted by: Lysander | Nov 8, 2013 12:21:39 PM | 19

Further in response to Neretva at #9: We know that ISIS/ISIL/ISI doesn't pay any attention to Zawahiri because on the occasion of the first dispute between them and Jabhat al-Nusra, in May/June, Zawahiri issued a communique saying they should pull their horns in, and they ignored him. A simple explanation for this has struck me, and it is this: Zawahiri answers to CIA, but ISIS/ISIL/ISI answers to Bandar.

Bernhard, I'm not clear about what exactly this means: "The P5+1 want Iran to halt its nuclear program for six months in exchange for temporary sanctions relief." I do not think that Iran will be in any mood to do it. The whole bargaining attempt is based on blackmail, regarding the supposedly 'crippling' sanctions, and it's not very compelling because it seems that Congress will go ahead and forbid any easing of the sanctions. It is a truism that Congress is more firmly under the thumb of Israel than the White House.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 8, 2013 12:25:58 PM | 20

I think bevin @ 4 is on to something when he says that the armies will be needed at home to deal with what is coming. But if a deal is reached in Geneva, and hopefully one will be, what I'm worried about is the Saudi and Israeli reaction. An expansion of the war in Syria and Iraq to include Lebanon and Iran is a definite possibility. The Saudis and Israelis are fully committed to maintain their regional hegemony at all costs even if it means blowing the Middle East to smithereens.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Nov 8, 2013 12:34:15 PM | 21

"...Congress will go ahead and forbid any easing of the sanctions."

They will certainly try. They are currently trying.
One problem is that if the US Government maintains/intensifies sanctions while large sections of the UN are giving them up or doing everything to get around them the big loser will be the USA.
Israel may have influence in Congress but it is negligible when compared with the Chamber of Commerce or any other business lobby. AIPAC only seems powerful when it piggybacks its wants on those of the capitalist class.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 8, 2013 12:40:39 PM | 22

@ Lysander

OTOH, if they can offer Iran a sweetheart deal to switch sides and be their local gendarme that would work out well.

Yeah thats my worry in this whole thing... if Iran switched back to the Pro-US camp, it would be a catastrophe for anyone opposed to the US Empire. I'm reminded of the cable Iran sent the US after 9-11 offering to make peace with them, reign in the Palestinian resistence behind the 2 State Solution, and turn Hezbollah into a purely political party.

Just hoping that Iran is smart enough to see that betting on a rising China is smarter than betting on a falling US. Also agree that if Iran does get flipped the US could use the Persian Gulf to further surround Russia-China.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 8, 2013 12:57:51 PM | 23

"Reportedly Lavrov is now flying to Geneva."

He won't be there.

Rowan Berkeley #19

It could be, to me it is situation of "good cop, bad cop".

"A simple explanation for this has struck me, and it is this: Zawahiri answers to CIA, but ISIS/ISIL/ISI answers to Bandar."

If you are trying to convince me that "vassals" are acting independently than I am wrong address. That narrative belong to domain of public diplomacy and NYT or the Council of Foreign Relations.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 8, 2013 12:58:04 PM | 24

In my opinion the key is whether Iran is allowed to enrich, [as is it's legal right] to 3.5% for reactor use, Kerry and Hegal seem to imply that they can, on the other hand news that the Iranians could suspend nuclear enrichment for 6 months,would give the US/Israel victory, since it would be very hard to start up again, with claims that they had breached the understanding, [the last time Iran suspended enrichment, the US simply pocketed the Iranian concession and carried on with the sanctions as if nothing had happened].

Posted by: harrylaw | Nov 8, 2013 1:02:53 PM | 25

Congress will go ahead and forbid any easing of the sanctions.

I'm guessing the deal being workered out is factoring in Congress hardline. My guess is the deal will offer sanctions relief from Europe to begin with. Let's not forget that the US has had sanctions on Iran since 1979. It was only when other nations started signing up to the sanctions that Iran began to suffer.

If the EU ends its own oil embargo and various other European sanctions, along with maybe Russian and Chinese improved trade, Iran would likely bring enrichment down. Also lets not forget that President Obama has the power to sign waivers. I think when Japan made it clear it needed to buy Iranian oil they got a waiver for it.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 8, 2013 1:10:25 PM | 26

Here's a bombshell: THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT DID NOT HAVE SARIN OR OTHER NERVE AGENTS.

The latest edition of Alastair Crooke's Conflicts Forum reports that the Syrian govt. only had precursors for chemical weapons, but never mixed them. This is why Syria's chemical arsenal is being destroyed so rapidly.

Another fascinating bit of info.: the Turkish govt. informed the oppositionpin that there would be a "major development" in Syria in August before the chemical weapons attack.

http://www.conflictsforum.org/2013/conflicts-forums-weekly-coment-18-october-%e2%80%93-1-november-2013/

Posted by: LLza | Nov 8, 2013 1:20:36 PM | 27

Imho these changes in foreign policy are somewhat superficial, and are part of a ‘change’ scenario that subsequent US admins. take on, like change is great.

Dems and Reps have traditionally cheered different wars, invasions...

These changes - very evident by now - are right in the line with Democrat opinion, mantras and past opposition to G. W. Bush.

For ex. against Saudi Arabia: Dems made much of of social issues in a ‘strict’ Islamic country, mocked Bush for his allegiance to KSA (for oil or whatever..), blamed KSA as responsible for 9/11 (see e.g. Michael Moore, Democrat boards, etc.) Were not openly pro-Iran, that is too scary ad contradictory, but Kerry embodied that attitude in the past, he was at one point a champion for normalization of relations with Iran, just one link below, there are plenty more.

Plus, very gingerly oppo to Isr. in the form of refusing to all out support, champion Isr. as some Biblical Miraculous Outpost that would save the world or needed to be saved ...

FT, 2009. Kerry on Iran.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d5c6395e-55e6-11de-ab7e-00144feabdc0.html

behind a pay wall? doesn't work? here the opening..

quote:

One of the most senior Democrats in Washington has dismissed a key element in the west’s long standing strategy on Iran’s nuclear programme as “ridiculous”. His comments throw open the debate about how far the US and its partners should go in seeking a compromise with Tehran after on Friday’s presidential election.

John Kerry, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee and the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, told the Financial Times in an interview that Iran had a right to uranium enrichment – a process that can produce both nuclear fuel and weapons grade material.

The US and the world’s other big powers have repeatedly demanded that Tehran suspend enrichment – a policy pioneered by the former Bush administration that has since been given the force of international law by successive United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“The Bush administration [argument of] no enrichment was ridiculous . . . because it seemed so unreasonable to people,” said Mr Kerry, citing Iran’s rights as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. “It was bombastic diplomacy. It was wasted energy. It sort of hardened the lines, if you will,” he added. “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.” etc. etc.

end quote.


Posted by: Noirette | Nov 8, 2013 1:20:39 PM | 28

- on Zawahiri's video today. He is just reading the letter that was published in May and ignored by ISIS. The video is therefore likely old and only first time published today. It has no meaning.

- Congress and Iran sanctions. Congress can make no more direct Iran sanctions. Those are already in place. It can only make sanctions that press third party/countries to not deal with Iran. World consensus is pro-Iran and against further sanctions. Other countries will just ignore third party sanctions and say that they are illegal under the WTO (which they are). If the U.S. does not make a deal now all sanctions will break down. That was also the case with Iraq in the early 2000s which is why some in the U.S. saw the war on Iraq necessary. But this time the U.S. public is not willing to go to war. Hence - deal now with Iran or lose all leverage.

- Lavrov as well as the Chinese foreign minister will come to Geneva tomorrow. P5+1+Iran will be there on full FM level. That certainly smells like a deal in the making. (Also: Expect a sideline deal on Syria.)

The U.S. is losing credit over the Israel/Pal issue. This may well be one of the reasons why Kerry was really pissed off by Netanyahoo's stand:

American influence in culture, science and education around the world took a high-profile blow on Friday after the US automatically lost voting rights at Unesco after missing a crucial deadline to repay its debt to the world's cultural agency.

The US has not paid its dues to the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in protest over the decision by world governments to make Palestine a Unesco member in 2011. Israel suspended its dues at the same time and also lost voting rights on Friday.

Posted by: b | Nov 8, 2013 1:35:50 PM | 29

Colm 22,

Very doubtful that the US can get the same deal that they rejected in 2003 when they seemed invincible. If they want to flip Iran today they would have to acknowledge them as THE regional power rather than Israel. Once all sanctions are lifted Iran becomes an 3 con omit super power that dwarfs either KSA or Israel. I doubt Washington policy makers are ready for that.

Besides, neither Russia or China are stupid. They will make their own offers to Iran that will only raise the price the US has to pay.

Posted by: Lysander | Nov 8, 2013 1:42:35 PM | 30

great article b and i hope you are correct! thanks to bevin for @4 which i think is fairly bang on too.. my only concern is the degree of apathy that the usa populace seems capable of expressing.. i don't know if the armies will be needed on the people at home.. they've been dumbed down with smart phonesa, smart meters and etc..

Posted by: james | Nov 8, 2013 1:53:23 PM | 31

-b@28 From Bloomberg... Iran Deal Signaled by Foreign Ministers Flocking to Geneva

The Chinese and Russian foreign ministers are due to join their French, German, U.K. and U.S. counterparts tomorrow in the Swiss city, where negotiators have been seeking for the past two days to complete an initial accord.

“Foreign ministers don’t show up to be embarrassed,” said Jim Walsh a security analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who has traveled to Iran for talks with nuclear officials. “They’re in town because they’re close enough to a deal to come.”

Posted by: CTuttle | Nov 8, 2013 4:52:21 PM | 32

Y'all should read Philip Giraldi's Israel and You and Me about the Israeli Lobby's impact...!

And here's the WSJ... Emerging Iran Deal Brings Jitters to Washington

Posted by: CTuttle | Nov 8, 2013 4:59:34 PM | 33

US policy in the middle east and all over the world took a blow today when because Palestine joined UNESCO, the US and Israel refused to pay their dues and so have lost their voting rights to that organization, to the consternation of many US officials, here http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/08/us-unesco-voting-funds-palestine-decision now the Palestinians need to apply for membership of the other 63 UN Agencies and make the US/Israel stop funding them and dare them to wreck the whole UN system, then the world will see who the real pariah's are.

Posted by: harrylaw | Nov 8, 2013 5:03:02 PM | 34

Oh My... Tzipi Livni claims she had sex with two Palestinian figures, Erekat and Abed Rabbo and threatens them with video proof

The chief Israeli negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, said this week that she has had sex with the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority in the peace negotiations with Israel, Saeb Erekat and the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation(PLO) Yasser Abed Rabbo.

And, it would seem that Bandar Bush is up to no good... Bandar Meets Mossad Director, Saudis Infuriated

‘A meeting between the Saudi Arabian spy chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the director of "Israel's" Mossad intelligence agency, Tamir Bardo, has infuriated Saudi authorities.

Posted by: CTuttle | Nov 8, 2013 5:14:22 PM | 35

allegiance! "The Israeli American Council recently commissioned the distribution of leaflets to thousands of Jewish Americans asking them where their allegiance would lie in the event of a real crisis between the U.S. and Israel. The leaflet was originally endorsed by representatives of Israel’s foreign ministry. When Netanyahu learned of this endorsement he directed the ministry to disassociate itself from the questionnaire.

I think it’s reasonable to assume he was worried by the prospect of the survey indicating that in the event of a showdown between himself and President Obama, a majority of Jewish Americans would be Americans first and not Israel firsters." http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36772.htm

Posted by: brian | Nov 8, 2013 5:41:19 PM | 36

@34....so palestinians DO have their uses!
from backing FSA in syria to sex services for the Master Race ...palestinians are not showing themselves in a good light

Posted by: brian | Nov 8, 2013 5:42:54 PM | 37

I agree @34,I have always believed Madam Livni had a relationship with Erekat, you know Master and Slave, Erekat loved being humiliated, that's why the negotiations have been going on for 20 years, he can't stop going back for more.

Posted by: harrylaw | Nov 8, 2013 6:24:52 PM | 38

To: B

- I would recommend you to visit Sibel Edmond's "Boiling Frogs Post". she has a VERY good view on what's happening Central Asia.


This Mrs. Edmonds has noticed that the focus of the US is shifting from the Middle East to Central Asia + the Far East.

Willy2

Posted by: Willy2 | Nov 8, 2013 6:27:48 PM | 39

Oooops. Forgot to add the weblink
http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/

Posted by: Willy2 | Nov 8, 2013 6:28:29 PM | 40

@34 The picture of that harridan Livni is far too flattering of the lying trollop.

Posted by: harrylaw | Nov 8, 2013 6:40:53 PM | 41

@b #28

"When I Hear the Word Culture I Reach for My Gun" or correctly

"When I hear the word culture ..., I release the safety on my Browning"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanns_Johst

that's the U.S.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 8, 2013 7:33:00 PM | 42

those targeting alawis are committing genocide
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201788819575144&set=a.10200425052761826.1073741835.1021408357&type=1&theater

Posted by: brian | Nov 8, 2013 9:34:32 PM | 43

@34 - the "Livni sleeps with Palestinian negotiators" story you linked to, allegedly "broken" this week by the Lebanese newspaper Al Diyyar, is actually rehash of a story that was floated in, and then retracted by, the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm on 3 Nov 2012. I recognize it because it is so close a copy of that story that it even repeats the bizarre mistake the Egyptian paper made of mangling a reference to the Haaretz reporter Ari Shavit, whom it manages to turn into a famous but unfortunately non-existent rabbi: "Rabbi Ari Shefat".

The original story in Al-Masry Al-Youm (http://www.masrawy.com/ketabat/ArticlesDetails.aspx?AID=188784) said that Livni admitted in an interview with the Times newspaper that she slept with Palestinian leaders in return for political concessions.

The Times did reprint an interview with Livni on 15 Feb 2009, which referred to her years as a Mossad agent, and in which she was asked whether she had ever slept with anyone as part of her professional duties. But the answer she gave in that interview was an unequivocal 'no'. The article is behind a paywall, but can be read in full here: https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?785-Looking-for-love-Livni-the-lonely-spy

On 5 Nov 2012, presumably after being threatened with a lawsuit, Al-Masry Al-Youm issued a correction (http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/1220966) acknowledging that Livni had not made any such admission in her interview, and apologized to its readers. But by that time, the story had already gone viral in Arab media. And of course retractions never get the coverage of the original "scandal". The result is that from time to time, the exact same"Livni is bonking the Palestinian negotiators" story still breathlessly appears as "breaking news", including apparently this week in al Diyyar, according to the story you linked to.

From the timing of the original Al-Masry Al-Youm article, i.e. in the run-up to an Israeli election, it was probably originally planted as a partisan smear against Livni. (Did you know there is actually a department in the Israeli defense establishment whose purpose is to plant stories in Arab newspapers which Israel can then cite without having to acknowledge that its own assets are the actual source of the information? http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/idf-reviving-psychological-warfare-unit-1.148134). But since then, it has generally been regurgitated as an attack not against Livni, but against the Palestinian negotiators. It works equally well against either, depending on your preference.

Posted by: Diane | Nov 8, 2013 11:30:31 PM | 44

Diane @43 ...it was probably originally planted as a partisan smear against Livni...

Mahalo, Diane, that certainly makes sense because she did indeed pose a threat to Likud and Bibi, early on...!

Posted by: CTuttle | Nov 8, 2013 11:56:46 PM | 45

Tzipi is a bit of a dimwit. Her role in Zio-politics is as a symbol for her father (Stern Gang or some such) and a useful idiot. The movers and shakers don't like to leave her near a microphone for more than a few seconds at a time bcs she nearly always manages to say something silly/inconveniently truthful.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 9, 2013 12:18:21 AM | 46

Hoarsewhisperer @45 She certainly reminds me of any sort of Rahmbo/Clintonian DLC centrist, Dimwit, that they'd waste millions on...!

Posted by: CTuttle | Nov 9, 2013 12:28:10 AM | 47

I have a TV interview in which, after some cajoling, Tzipi admits that IOF 'soldiers' are legitimate targets for disgruntled Pals (quickly followed by a hiccup in her career).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 9, 2013 12:30:08 AM | 48

Imo, it's possible that she's a nice person, but had to be bullied into 'getting with the program' bcs it would be a disaster for Zion if the daughter of one of Zion's leading lights defected. That's pure speculation on my part. Rowan Berkeley follows this stuff in infinitely more detail than I.
My specialty is the laughable predictability of bullies/liars = cowards.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 9, 2013 12:51:01 AM | 49

I'm rather struggling to understand how sleeping with Livni is something that the Israelis can hang over the head of the Palestinians negotiators who managed to throw their leg over and get their rocks off.

Livni: Erekat screwed me!

Erekat: I intend to screw the Israelis, and Livni's as good a start as any!

Heck, Erakat should show the video at dinner parties; he can even slo-mo through the really good bits.

Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 9, 2013 4:23:00 AM | 50

@45 "Livni always manages to say something silly/inconveniently truthful" Very true how about this truthful remark, Livni: I was the Minister of Justice. I am a lawyer… But I am against law - international law in particular. Law in general. http://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/2011/01/2011124165334291715.html

Posted by: harrylaw | Nov 9, 2013 5:41:21 AM | 51

@ harrylaw.
Even though that's not the sort of stuff I meant, it is certainly germane.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 9, 2013 6:09:14 AM | 52

thanks to Diane (#43) for nailing that obvious piece of disinfo. Livni to me has a peculiar distinction, which I wouldn't bring up against women in general. An Israeli once asked me online, "Don't you think she's good-looking?" I thought that was one of the most audacious tributes to brainwashing that I'd ever heard, personally. Photographing her in anything but a hideously unflattering light is a task requiring highly developed professional skill. This one dates from May 2008, when Olmert was still Kadima leader:
http://niqnaq.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/tsippi-in-paradise2.jpg

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 9, 2013 7:01:25 AM | 53

Since the sanctions on Iran inhibit it's oil revenue drastically , I assume they are unable to support Assad as much as they would like to. the flip side of this is that due to increased production, revenue for Saudi/Qatar oil sales have sky rocketed and ultimately ended up being paid to the mercenaries in Syria for their services and weapons. It appears the sanctions on Iran have intensified since 2010 ...Around the time the Syria crisis was beginning. Does this not make Assad's survival all the more impressive considering the support enjoyed by the US in attempting to bring about regime change to both Iran and Syria?
Furthermore, wouldn't any easing of sanctions place Iran in a much better position to help Syria and in the same instance reduce the amount of money/weapons Saudi/Qatar can supply to Syrian terrorists? Taking this into consideration, doesn't this make the negotiations between the US and Iran doomed to failure?

Posted by: Andy | Nov 9, 2013 7:04:03 AM | 54

I can see AIPAC and all the assorted Zionists rallying all their efforts to try to derail any chance of a deal..France and Britain are already making the right noises, echoing Netanyahoo's "concerns"..


I guess stooges will always be stooges!!!

Posted by: Zico | Nov 9, 2013 7:35:21 AM | 55

Andy @53
It only dooms the negotiations if regime change in Iran is still a priority of US, likewise regime change in Syria. Bernard's question titling this post "Big Changes In U.S. Middle East Policy?" is supported by quite a bit of evidence on the ground, and further explained in Bevin's 'backgrounder' post @4. I'm still thinking that Russia has played a totally invisible role somehow. Perhaps shooting down those two missiles launched in the Med no one ever explained? (And went out of the news cycle overnight.) Perhaps counter-threatening KSA after Bandar's threat about the Winter Olympics? Secretly arming Iran with the advanced S-300s? Anyhow, something's changed, as easily witnessed by KSA hissy fit, and US confrontation of Israel.

Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 9, 2013 8:04:01 AM | 56

It seems that the French FM Fabius is making some enemies as he is the one who is currently blocking a temporary deal with some issues about the Arak heavy water reactor which will not even start before 2015/2016.

Reasons?

- Needs to feel personally important?
- Smells a new weapon deal with the Saudis?
- Has some bad memories Israel knows about?

Whatever - it seems his other "western" colleagues are pissed about his hold up.

Posted by: b | Nov 9, 2013 8:31:04 AM | 57

Were I to take a guess, I'd say it has something to do with Peugeot stopped doing business with Iran, due to the US-spearheaded sanctions. And now there are rumors of US automakers making plans to move in on their territory for when and if sanctions are lifted? Though I have little faith in the negotiations, I'd say France feels like they're getting the raw end of a possible deal.

Posted by: never mind | Nov 9, 2013 9:14:27 AM | 58

b@57.
Maybe all 3 points you mention. Guardian had this:

"... But Fabius told France Inter radio on Saturday that Paris would not accept a "sucker's deal". He said: "As I speak to you, I cannot say there is any certainty that we can conclude." (sounds like Israel's 'deal of the century, to me)

"...Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, in Washington, argued that the heavy-water plant at Arak should not be an obstacle to achieving a stop-gap deal to defuse tensions.

Kimball said construction work "is more than a year from being completed; it would have to be fully operational for a year to produce spent fuel that could be used to extract plutonium. Iran does not have a reprocessing plant for plutonium separation and Arak would be under IAEA safeguards the whole time.

"Arak represents a long-term proliferation risk not a near-term risk and it can be addressed in the final phase of negotiations. France and the other … powers would be making a mistake if they hold up an interim deal that addresses more urgent proliferation risks over the final arrangements regarding Arak."

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/09/iran-nuclear-negitiations-arak-reactor-crucial

Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 9, 2013 9:40:19 AM | 59

France, I presume, is desperate to fill the economic hole that their agreement to the sanctions on Iran have put them in ($4B is quite a lot for France).

Plan A to fill that hole, as far as I can tell, was to be the "new" pro-West Syrian puppet state (there was no other clear reason for France to be so aggressive on the issue as far as I could tell). As this pro-Western Syrian puppet is clearly not going to emerge, France is now left to Plan B - hoping for some business to come out of the small schism between the US and the Saudis and the Israelis.

So I suspect we will see France back both of these terror states vigorously in this period of apparent US realignment in the Middle East. You know, Liberté, égalité, head choppé, apartheidé.

The fact is that the Resistance's smack down of the US over Syria has huge implications that represent a historical shift in the region. One of which will be the usual imperialist suspects (UK, France, Turkey) having to unhitch their economic wagons from US war policy and find new business partners no matter how unsavory the political consequences. But of course these countries cannot provide the same steady economic benefits that a huge market like Iran could.

Russia is still the big winner in this realignment as far as I can tell. France is left picking up the scraps until regime change comes to Saudi Arabia (via Russia, the US, Iran, internal infighting... who knows). Then they will again, like they did with the Iran sanctions, be left holding the empty bag.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 9, 2013 9:41:33 AM | 60

I'm beginning to sense that there will not be a deal. I hope I'm wrong but Iran has nothing to give up: it doesn't have a secret weapons programme, it doesn't have many secrets of any kind. It doesn't sponsor "terrorism". All the excuses that have been advanced for subjecting it to sanctions are fictitious. It isn't planning to wipe out Israel. It doesn't bomb Hebrew Community Centres in Argentina.

Nothing contributes more to the weakness of a Great Power's diplomacy than its overwhelming strength. The US is strong enough, still, to be able to afford to weaken itself. This patient will remain feverish and irrational until he has been bled copiously.

The US doesn't gain very much from a deal with Iran. Not in the short term.

In the long term persisting in its current policies is suicidal. Which is what most proto-hegemons are. Which is why global hegemony has been such an elusive dream.

If there is a deal with Iran there will be an instant outbreak of calamity howling from Israel and its echo chamber. This should not disturb Obama but it will. He cannot take the disapproval of anyone but his friends, because, like Groucho Marx, who didn't want to join any club that would want him as a member, Obama has no interest in the approval of black people or liberals, while he craves the forbidden love of racists and authoritarians.

On the other hand if there is no deal, and the sanctions grind on, while Iran will suffer in the short term, in the long term the US will be the loser because the campaign against Iran has become unsustainable. The propaganda campaign has lost all credibility. The very worst charges have been made and discredited. "Wolf" has been called so often that it has lost its power except among the most credulous.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 9, 2013 10:09:20 AM | 61

France does not have the power to hold up this deal. They are simply grandstanding for the hopes of some deals with the Saudis and the Israelis. They are just as disingenuous as the rest of the West here.

They have no goal here except whatever crumbs they can grab for the flagging French economy.

This is only being reported in the NYTimes because they are such nuthuggers of the Israelis.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 9, 2013 10:20:28 AM | 62

“The more details Israel accumulates regarding the deal taking shape in Geneva,” a senior Israeli official said, “the greater the astonishment at the haste to sign an agreement that is so bad for the world.”

When the Israeli's stop confusing themselves with the whole world, that will really be some progress.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 9, 2013 10:24:35 AM | 63

My guess is the deal will offer sanctions relief from Europe to begin with. - Colm at 26

I have read that it is European sanctions that hurt Iran the most. Scotching or lightening them so much it becomes moot will be on offer, I suppose. For a simple reason: They drive everybody crazy.

Their scope is not clear, there are many workarounds (or under the radar moves), it is all cumbersome, expensive, heavy in paperwork and decision-making, hazardous. The sanctions affect so many biz. - Iran is a big importer.

The ‘nukulear’ quarrel seems vain, far removed, nothing to do with tennis shoes, fancy flatware, translation services, etc. those who think about it tend to agree with Kerry in my post above. Plus, what use are sanctions in this globalized world if they aren’t applied by everyone? See China for ex. So the litany goes. Note, Big Corps (Monsanto, Cargill, Nestlé...) hate sanctions..

So all this is a sign of US policy change, for whatever reason (weakening of US hegemony, Putin saying No to Syria attacks, US public not so much on board, Corps having more influence, one faction prevailing over another in the US, etc.)

One other factor is the US poodles in the EU are loosing the plot, and are discredited. France is the prime example. GB is a case apart, it isn’t part of Continental Europe, say, so that is more complicated.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 9, 2013 10:30:53 AM | 64

Typical dissembling. The Administration's movement toward rapprochement with Iran has been in the works since well before the 2012 election.

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-04-05/opinions/35450671_1_nuclear-weapons-senior-iranian-officials-iranian-leader

Beyond re-stating what is already obvious to high school students (Get-the-Netanyahoo is against rapprochment with Iran! The Oil Sheiks of Araby are also negative!) why don't you just come out once and scream, er I mean, admit your fried take is half-assed and half-wrong all the time?

Whenever reality doesnt perfectly fit the Moonie program blatant spin and gaping factual holes are always sure to follow in an attempt to re-arrange reality in your own minds. Works well here under the hermetic seal inside the eternal I/P internet crackhouse, of course.

Oh and one more corrective: Russia and the US are now and always have been (at least since the mid-late Stalin era anyway) batting for the same Team Imperialism. You can look it up.

Keep up the good work somatising each other and off the streets where you might could actually provoke some meaningful intercourse with the opposing team.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 9, 2013 10:46:06 AM | 65

@61

I don't see how their can't be a deal done.

It seems to be the same dynamic as Syria. The west can either take the deal, get a few concessions, save face and announce to the whole world how great they are or they can start a major war that will engulf the whole region that will destroy their economies (or in the case of Israel, her cities) and most certainly end with a nuclear armed Iran anyway.

This is a replay of the recent Syrian stare down. The west has no real options to hold back Iran that I can see.

As for the ramifications of making the deal... well the Saudis can make all the noise they want but their rule is so delicate that they are easily dealt with. The real problem will be an obstinate Israel. How the US deals with that relationship will prove to be the real change in Middle East politics.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 9, 2013 10:48:05 AM | 66

@65 aww, b has a fan.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 9, 2013 10:51:26 AM | 67

http://www.chacha.com/question/what-does-somatising-mean

"Somatization: The process by which psychologic distress is expressed as physical symptoms. Somatization is an unconscious process. In somatization, mental experiences or states are 'converted' to bodily symptoms such as migraines."

Hmm, had a bad headache this morning. Must go out, provoke intercourse.

Posted by: ruralito | Nov 9, 2013 11:33:03 AM | 68

I'm still thinking that Russia has played a totally invisible role somehow. Perhaps shooting down those two missiles launched in the Med no one ever explained? (And went out of the news cycle overnight.) Perhaps counter-threatening KSA after Bandar's threat about the Winter Olympics? Secretly arming Iran with the advanced S-300s? Anyhow, something's changed, as easily witnessed by KSA hissy fit, and US confrontation of Israel. Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 9, 2013 8:04:01 AM | 56
I'm afraid that's a 3 strikes & ya out situation you have there. The supposed missiles shootdown did not go out of the news cycle overnight, it was debunked. The only report of Bandar's threat to Putin mentions no counter-threat. And as of Sep 4, there were no S-300s operational in Syria:
Putin also confirmed that Russia has supplied some components for S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria, but has suspended completion of those deliveries.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 9, 2013 11:52:24 AM | 69

@68

The missile launch is an interesting topic. @2:45 the Syrian minister mentions the missiles "detection of the two missile that were launched towards Syria".

It seems to be the kind of event that - whatever happened - has taken on a life of its own.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 9, 2013 12:44:52 PM | 70

Bevin says:

"I'm beginning to sense that there will not be a deal. I hope I'm wrong..."

Interesting statement. Contrary to bevin, I sort of hope that there won't be a deal. Because so far as the news is leaking, the potential deal is not to my liking.

"...but Iran has nothing to give up: it doesn't have a secret weapons programme, it doesn't have many secrets of any kind. It doesn't sponsor "terrorism". All the excuses that have been advanced for subjecting it to sanctions are fictitious. It isn't planning to wipe out Israel. It doesn't bomb Hebrew Community Centres in Argentina."

Excellent point! Every "deal" should contain the elements of compromise on both sides. Now what is it that Iran is supposed to compromise? I totally agree with bevin: "Iran had nothing to give up"

On one hand there is the nuclear issue and Iran's inailienable rights as a sovereign state under NPT. No where in NPT does it mention an upper limit to enrichment of Uranium, an upper limit to the number (or efficiency) of the centrifuges, or an upper limit over how much our civilian nuclear program could expand. Iran does not have any significant of Uranium ore; if there is any significance to the nuclear stand off from Iran's point of view it is about its sovereignity, its inalienable rights as a sovereign state under NPT and its global standing as a sovereign nation. So I completely agree with Cyrus Safdari when he says:

"But even if the position of the US is that there is no right to enrichment, by explicity stating it so, the US has now made it impossible for any deal to go through. Any sort of compromise now reached and agreed to by Iran under these conditions of non-recognition of Iran's rights under the NPT, would amount to an at least tacit approval and endorsement by Iran of the idea that the US has a veto power over Iran's (and by implication, everyone else's) NPT rights. Any agreement now worked out will always be tainted as Iran's giving up its rights.
....
It [Iran's sovereign right to enrich Uranium on its soil] has to be dealt with or else no legitimate deal can happen.

On the other hand such a deal has other possible consequences unrelated to the nuclear issue, possible consequences which in my opinion are harmful to Iran. Lifting sanctions will most likely result in at least foreign capital flowing to Iran's oil, gas and even mining industries, a furry of privatization (including to the foreign capital) of Iran's natural resources. It will likely push Iran further down the path of exporting crude (and perhaps other natural resources) and importing pretty much everything else. It will push Iran away from the path of self sufficiency.
I am worried.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 9, 2013 2:27:00 PM | 71

I am sorry but I made a mistake with my HTML tags in the previous comment I will try to correct it and re-post it.

Bevin says:

"I'm beginning to sense that there will not be a deal. I hope I'm wrong..."

Interesting statement. Contrary to bevin, I sort of hope that there won't be a deal. Because so far as the news is leaking, the potential deal is not to my liking.

"...but Iran has nothing to give up: it doesn't have a secret weapons programme, it doesn't have many secrets of any kind. It doesn't sponsor "terrorism". All the excuses that have been advanced for subjecting it to sanctions are fictitious. It isn't planning to wipe out Israel. It doesn't bomb Hebrew Community Centres in Argentina."

Excellent point! Every "deal" should contain the elements of compromise on both sides. Now what is it that Iran is supposed to compromise? I totally agree with bevin: "Iran had nothing to give up"

On one hand there is the nuclear issue and Iran's inailienable rights as a sovereign state under NPT. No where in NPT does it mention an upper limit to enrichment of Uranium, an upper limit to the number (or efficiency) of the centrifuges, or an upper limit over how much our civilian nuclear program could expand. Iran does not have any significant of Uranium ore; if there is any significance to the nuclear stand off from Iran's point of view it is about its sovereignity, its inalienable rights as a sovereign state under NPT and its global standing as a sovereign nation. So I completely agree with Cyrus Safdari when he says:

"But even if the position of the US is that there is no right to enrichment, by explicity stating it so, the US has now made it impossible for any deal to go through. Any sort of compromise now reached and agreed to by Iran under these conditions of non-recognition of Iran's rights under the NPT, would amount to an at least tacit approval and endorsement by Iran of the idea that the US has a veto power over Iran's (and by implication, everyone else's) NPT rights. Any agreement now worked out will always be tainted as Iran's giving up its rights.
....
It [Iran's sovereign right to enrich Uranium on its soil] has to be dealt with or else no legitimate deal can happen. "

On the other hand such a deal has other possible consequences unrelated to the nuclear issue, possible consequences which in my opinion are harmful to Iran. Lifting sanctions will most likely result in at least foreign capital flowing to Iran's oil, gas and even mining industries, a furry of privatization (including to the foreign capital) of Iran's natural resources. It will likely push Iran further down the path of exporting crude (and perhaps other natural resources) and importing pretty much everything else. It will push Iran away from the path of self sufficiency.
I am worried.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Nov 9, 2013 2:28:43 PM | 72

If there's no deal, Iran must exit NPT...It's now open that France and Britain are more pro-Zionists than even the US..Who would've thought!!!

Posted by: Zico | Nov 9, 2013 3:13:15 PM | 73

Zico@72: Agree that Iran should exit NPT is there is no deal in addition to several other measures that Iran could take. But France and Britain are not more pro-Zionists than the US. They are more pro-Saudi. Pleasing KSA is what's driving their position.

Posted by: MikeA | Nov 9, 2013 5:10:32 PM | 74

So...high hopes for a deal....

Then....

The piece of shit Netanyahu farts forth, the whores in Congress don thier kneepads, and pfffft, the talks stall.

Sorry, but someone ought to off that Netanyahu alpha hyena.

And all those barking inferiors that form his pack in DC should be tarred and feathered out of office.

Unchecked, eventually, Israel will be the cause of another epic world war. It is truly disheartening to see American "leaders" so subservient to such a despicable little sandpit of racists, murderers, and liars.

Really, at this point, is it REALLY such a bad thing if Iran gets nukes? I'd trust Iran with nukes far more easily than I trust these lying scheming pieces of shit at the helm of the Israeli garbage scow. And those racist maniacs DO have nukes.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Nov 9, 2013 5:26:08 PM | 75

Rowan@68,
I'm speculating about Russia, but this piece from JPost about 2 months ago, speaks to Iran; I did not mention Syria:

"...Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the transfer of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, according to the prestigious Russian daily newspaper Kommersant.

The newspaper reported on Wednesday that the Russian government will revive the transfer three years after it canceled the original transaction."

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Report-Russia-to-supply-Iran-with-S-300-anti-aircraft-missiles-325843

The "debunked" missile story was not debunked, it was explained, oh my, by the Israelis, as part of a "test". And that 'debunking' story by the Bulletin Atomic Scientists is why the story disappeared, if not overnight, very quickly. Wayne Madsen and others had very different take on those missiles, incidentally, and there are still questions.

Bandar's threat wasn't really a threat was it? An implied threat, I suppose, but every bit of that part of the story is hearsay. If Putin, or Russian foreign ministry did respond to Bandar's implied threat, it would certainly not have been at that photo op while Bandar was in Russia, would it? I think you can tell he difference in speculation and assertion, can't you?

Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 9, 2013 5:35:22 PM | 76

It looks to me as though there was nothing there to begin with. O"Bama and the neocons were actually blindsided by the revulsion and resistance to their 'destroy Syria in the daylight plan' and so, when Mr Nice Guy won the election in Iran and called them out at the UN they had to do something, Now they've done it. What they'll cook up as an 'explanation' for the talks failing remains to be seen,

I think they did manage to bullshit everyone for a few minutes, but they're still funding and arming the people killing Syrians as we speak, and it looks like the war with Iran will resume soon.

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 9, 2013 6:03:41 PM | 77

okie farmer, did you see this:

"Russia delivered four helicopter gunships to the Iraqi government days after PM Nuri al-Maliki's demand for more military aid to the US to fight al-Qaida was met with cold reception in Washington.

"The four Russian-made Mi-35 aircrafts were the first to be received by Baghdad as part of a $4.3bn (£2.6bn) deal with the Kremlin.

"Under the agreement about 40 more military aircrafts, including Mi-35 and Mi-28NE 'Night Hunter' attack helicopters, are expected to be shipped to Iraq by the end of the year, Abbas al-Bayati, an MP with al-Maliki's ruling State of Law Coalition told Ria Novosti.

D"ozens of Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft surface-to-air missiles are also to be delivered.

"The deal was signed in October 2012 but its implementation was later cancelled by the Iraqi government over corruption concerns.

"A Russian military expert suggested Iraq backtracked under pressure from Washington."

Iraq being a very convenient link between Syria and Iran, as Bandar understands, as well as having massive oil reserves.

Logic dictates that the US should make the best deal it can with Iran, because, if it doesn't Iran will turn to the Shanghai consortium and take Iraq with it. That would really change the strategic map of the region. It would also remind us that the Caspian Sea is just a lake.

But logic is always contending with the most sordid considerations in Washington where the views of a racketeering casino owner are given more weight than those mere masters of diplomacy.

Will there be an agreement? I'm in two minds: you would think so but, on the other hand, Uncle Sam, with a belly full of Bourbon and a mouth as wide as the Mississippi Delta, is always liable to shoot himself in the foot rather than stare down AIPAC.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 9, 2013 6:46:50 PM | 78

-b@57 - Smells a new weapon deal with the Saudis?

Marcy wrote a great post today... After Reportedly Being Offered Saudi Weapons Sales, France Tries to Blow Up Iran Deal...

Posted by: CTuttle | Nov 9, 2013 7:29:59 PM | 79

Unfortunately:

Iran-bound S-300 anti-aircraft systems ‘dismantled’ – Russia
http://rt.com/news/iran-russia-s300-dismantle-160/

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 9, 2013 9:26:05 PM | 80

Right, my understanding is that the P3 (+1?) – that is France - UK -US ( + Germany?) never really wanted a deal that recognised the Iran right to enrichment (I’m not clear about Germany). They used France as the blocker (in the past it was the US, but given the show they played in September 2013 at the UN, they couldn't really do it). France then gets a nice thank-you note from SA (4bn USD weapon deal is no too bad a sweetener).

(while I was typing this, my feed reader reported that Cyrus Safardi is thinking along the same lines)

Interesting is that Iran is not painted / demonised as the deal breaker - for now at least. I suspect Russia and China won't be happy at all and there will be a price to pay (forcing their foreign ministers to come to Geneva for nothing [*]); they’ll probably pay even less attention to the US-congress sanctions as a first step. They may even invite Iran to full membership of the SCO.

[*] possibly the gathering of the foreign ministers in Geneva was a kind of payback for the Syria thing. Schoolyard level antics is apparently the only way the P3 can play.

Posted by: Philippe | Nov 10, 2013 1:14:32 AM | 81

West killing the deal was expected. Despite of some optimists opinion, West's goal of regime change remains in both Iran or Syria, just methods adjusted.

@Philippe | 79
"I suspect Russia and China won't be happy at all and there will be a price to pay"

To be fair, Russia and China are quite happy with Iran's sanctions status quo, especially Russia. They voted four rounds of sanctions against Iran for many reasons, and extra illegal US sanctions are circumvented anyway.

* Very high oil prices are bringing hundreds of billions of extra revenue for Russia.

* China isnt happy about oil price, but they make up for it with a huge Iran's market. Pre-sanctions their mutual trade was just a few $ bln., now its close to $50 bln., and should reach $100 bln. in near future.

* Tension in ME brings a lot of revenue from weapons sales for both Russia/China.

* Plus incentives they got from West/arabs.

Therefore Russia/China are quite happy if Iran's embargo remains, they just cant allow Iran to fall (especially China). So for them its a delicate balancing of keeping Iran weaker and facing East, but not too much pressure so Iran wouldnt break/surrender.

Posted by: Harry | Nov 10, 2013 2:19:07 AM | 82

Why is the United States encouraging Turkey to be ready for an Iran war, in a bi-partisan document prepared by US Congress?

From Rhetoric to Reality: Reframing U.S. Turkey Policy http://bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/US%20Turkey%20Policy.pdf

Snippets:

… Justice and Development Party (AKP) … has given little support for important U.S. regional efforts, such as preventing a nuclear Iran …

AKP officials have disengaged from international efforts to prevent a nuclear Iran and spoken out against any potential military action...

If, in fact, it becomes necessary to use military force to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Turkish air space would be critical to the mission …

... beginning discussion about the possibility of using force to prevent a nuclear Iran, what that means for the U.S.-Turkish relationship, and what help the Turks could provide in such an event.

Posted by: c531219 | Nov 10, 2013 3:27:19 AM | 83

bevin@78
Yes, I saw that article - it made me think that Malaki's trip to US was kabuki, giving US a chance to sell Iraq arms, knowing they wouldn't, so Iraq could go 'guilt free', so to speak, to the Russians for the arms they needed.

And, Harry@82, I'm afraid you're right about at least Russia's position re: Iran - catastrophe if price of oil were to go down much. Here's a quote from comment section of the 'dismantled S-300" piece from RT,

"... Russia will never hand Iran S-300, unless there is a real threat of attack against them. The S-300 is a bargaining chip in Russia hand not only with Iran, but with the USA, the NATO, and with Israel. Why give it up."

guest77, that RT article was about 2 weeks prior to the article from Kommersant that JPost quoted. I have no idea what that might mean. Possibly Russia changed their mind? Whatever, Russia is playing wicked tricky diplomacy over there.

Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 10, 2013 7:18:00 AM | 84

Meanwhile, US propaganda attempts to create a connection between Latin America and Hezbollah continue with an indictment against the son of the President of Suriname:

According to today's unsealed indictment, Bouterse "held himself out as Commander of that country's Counter-Terrorism Unit." Prior to his arrest in August 2013, Bouterse "worked to give Hezbollah access to Suriname," the indictment stated.

Bouterse, the indictment alleged, agreed "to allow large numbers of Hezbollah operatives to use Suriname as a permanent base, for among other thing, attacks on American targets." In addition, Bouterse purportedly "supplied a false Surinamese passport for the purpose of making clandestine travel easier."

http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/11/son_of_surinames_president_cha.php

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 10, 2013 11:10:37 AM | 85

Re #85, I looked at the indictment, and it's quite clear that no genuine Hezbollah people ever came anywhere near this lunatic.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 10, 2013 12:22:10 PM | 86

@86 True. Not that I expect right wing zio-pundits to make that clear next time they try and point to the "Latin America-Hezbollah Nexus".

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 10, 2013 6:02:12 PM | 87

@ okie farmer | Nov 10, 2013 7:18:00 AM | 84

I'm confident that Russia and Iran are both playing 'kabuki' over the S-300.
One of the early excuses Russia gave for non-supply of S-300 to Iran was that production capacity was fully committed to fulfilling a Chinese order for 11 S-300 units. It seemed a peculiarly premature and superfluous move on China's part at that time and it should surprise no-one if those units are already 'finding their way into' Iran via (virtually silent, low-profile) China.

Given all the Yankee bluster, it's easy to assume that because we don't hear other countries blathering about their plans/achievements/wish-lists, those 'quiet' countries aren't doing much. But, in real life, very few people feel as compelled to talk (when they've got nothing much to say) as the Yankees (and their "Israeli" friends).

Similarly, when Yankees use the word 'respect' they mean 'fear' which helps to explain why (since their Syria back-down) no-one 'respects' them any more.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 10, 2013 11:17:24 PM | 88

Meanwhile, Libya, so long teetering on the edge of no longer being a nation in any sense at all, seems to have fallen into the abyss.

The prime minister of Libya, presumably from his five-star hotel room, seems to be threatening foreign intervention. This is a new evolution (or, more correctly, devolution) in World Quisling-ism I think, where the rat doesn't doesn't merely take charge after an invasion, but actually invites the invasion while already in charge.

The strangest things happen in these neoliberal paradises, eh?

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 11, 2013 8:54:21 PM | 89

Pathetic.


http://www.blacklistednews.com/Propaganda_Alert%3A_The_Times_Sinks_to_new_Depths%3A_%E2%80%9CAssad%E2%80%99s_snipers_target_unborn_babies_in_wombs%E2%80%9D/30247/0/38/38/Y/M.html

"Assad’s snipers target unborn babies in wombs”

"He said local rumours suggested that the snipers were mercenaries from China and Azerbaijan, working for the Assad regime. This cannot be verified."


To paraphrase ol' Fisky's joke about the LA Times being renamed "Officials Said..." I'd like to suggest that nearly every article ever written on the Syrian war be retitled "This cannot be verified".

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 11, 2013 9:59:00 PM | 90

doh. I broke the site.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 11, 2013 9:59:27 PM | 91

Very strange story in Egypt.

American captured in Sinai with high tech equipment kills himself in an Egyptian jail.

http://spytalkblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/james-lunn-desert-faux.html#more


It had all the elements of a true life thriller: a retired US military officer caught in the dangerous North Sinai desert with advanced electronic gear.

In the context of Navy SEALs and CIA agents roaming the globe hunting for al-Qaeda terrorists and their allies, it seemed entirely plausible that an American spy would be caught at some point in that extremely volatile, dangerous region.

Adding to the mystery, the US Embassy in Cairo declined to say anything about James Henry Lunn other than that he had been found dead Sunday in his jail cell in Ismailya, Egypt. Local authorities called his death a suicide, saying that Lunn had hung himself in his cell with a shoe laces. They also called him a “retired military officer,” but the embassy denied that, too.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 12, 2013 8:31:53 PM | 92

The comments to this entry are closed.

 

Site Meter