Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 13, 2017

Iran - Trump Has No Strategy, Only Aims And No Way To Achieve Them

Trump hates the international nuclear deal with Iran.  The agreement put temporary restriction of Iran's nuclear program and opened it up to deeper inspections. The other sides of the deal committed to lifting sanctions and to further economic cooperation. Trump wants to get rid of the deal; but he is unwilling to pay the political price.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was negotiated and signed by the five permanent UN Security Council members (U.S., Ch, Ru, UK, F), Germany, the EU and Iran. If the U.S. defaults on the deal it will be in a lone position. The diplomatic isolation would limit its abilities to use its influence on other issues.

Trump has little knowledge of Iran, the nuclear deal, the Middle East or anything else. What he knows comes from Fox News and from Netanyahoo and other Zionist whisperers who get to his ear. All he heard is that the deal with Iran is bad. Therefore, he concluded, it must end.

The White House handed a paper to the media which is supposed to describe President Donald J. Trump's New Strategy on Iran. But there is no strategy in that paper. It list a number of aims the Trump wants to achieve. But it does no explain how he plans to do that. It is a wish list, not a program to follow.

The "Core Elements of the Presidents New Iran Strategy" are:

  • The United States new Iran strategy focuses on neutralizing the Government of Irans destabilizing influence and constraining its aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants.
  • We will revitalize our traditional alliances and regional partnerships as bulwarks against Iranian subversion and restore a more stable balance of power in the region.
  • We will work to deny the Iranian regime and especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) funding for its malign activities, and oppose IRGC activities that extort the wealth of the Iranian people.
  • We will counter threats to the United States and our allies from ballistic missiles and other asymmetric weapons.
  • We will rally the international community to condemn the IRGCs gross violations of human rights and its unjust detention of American citizens and other foreigners on specious charges.
  • Most importantly, we will deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.

The list is full of factual mistakes:

  • Iran stabilized Iraq when the Islamic State was only days away from taking over Baghdad. Iran also helps to stabilize Syria and to defeat the Islamic State.
  • Ballistic missiles are not "asymmetric weapons". Iran's neighbors Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have such missiles. Iran's missiles are no threat to the United States.
  • The IRGC is the equivalent of the U.S. special forces. It is funded by the state. It does not "extort the wealth of the Iranian people". (The IRGC's pension funds (bonyads) hold significant industrial assets. But they are different entities.)
  • The IRGC does not detain American citizens.
  • Iran has repeatedly declared that it rejects all nuclear weapons out of religious reasons. It signed several international agreements which prohibit and prevent it from seeking such weapons.

The White House list of aims, "the strategy", is followed by "background" information on Iran and its alleged behavior.  Some White House intern must have copied it from a neoconservative version of Wikipedia. It is a conglomeration of general talking points which lack a factual basis.

When the JCOPA deal was closed, Congress legislated that the White House must certify every 90 days that Iran sticks to the deal. Trump will now stop to certify Iran's compliance even as everyone, including the White House, acknowledges that Iran is fulfilling all its parts. The White House claims that non-certification is not a breach of the agreement. The issue now falls back to Congress which might re-introduce the sanctions on Iran which the agreement had lifted. If it does that Trump will say that it is responsible for all consequences.

It is not clear if or what Congress will do. Senators Corker and Cotton are pushing for legislation that amounts to an unilateral change of the nuclear deal. It would introduce new sanctions if Iran does not accept their demands. Trump seems to support that.

But it is not going to work. It is an unilateral breach of the contract and no other country involved in deal will support it. Trump may introduce new economic sanctions on Iran but why would Iran care? Unless all other countries follow Trump's lead, it can simply buy and sell elsewhere. 

The EU countries were again craven and offered to push against Iran's ballistic missiles if Trump does not completely break the JCPOA deal. This was utterly stupid negotiation behavior. Why offer concessions to Trump even before he makes a self defeating move? Still - they will not support breaking the deal.

Iran will not give up to its rights and it will not disarm. Obama pushed sanctions onto sanctions to make Iran scream. But the country did not fold. Each new U.S. sanction step was responded to with an expansion of Iran's nuclear program. In the end Obama had to offer talks to Iran to get out of the hole he had dug himself.

Now Trump is saying that stopping Iran from getting nukes is the priority. And that Obama was wrong to focus on it. The result is a bungled policy which will have either catastrophic, or no consequences at all.

Posted by b on October 13, 2017 at 01:42 PM | Permalink

Comments

Decertifying Iran has only one aim, sparking a reaction from Iran that Trump can use
to prod for war powers. Then he will look like a real macho man POTUS to the delight of
his fanboys.

Somehow, Netanyahu is pressure cooking him to go to war with Iran whose power seems
too great and oh, so close to its borders.

It now appears that more than pipeline right of ways and other economic aspects,
Syria's civil war is more directed at weakening Syria and rendering it less apt to reclaim
stolen territories or challenge Israel's ambitions of lebensraum.

Now, we must expect a gulf of Tonkin type incident to give Messieurs Corker and Cotton
a pretext to empower Netanyahu's war on Iran.

One thing is curious: why is it that when confronted to accusations of interfering
in US elections, the Russians do not protest that they are not AIPAC?

Posted by: CarlD | Oct 13, 2017 1:56:09 PM | 1

who exactly, other than Likud, US neo cons, is Trump appealing to with this? Who?

Posted by: Stephen | Oct 13, 2017 2:01:51 PM | 2

Trump was so off the wall he made Nikki Haley sound coherent.
I sometimes visit Nikki Haley's twitter account but not today. I just cannot stand the complete and total contempt for truth. Both of them get their talking points off of a postcard and are hailed as geniuses as long as they stick to them.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Oct 13, 2017 2:29:12 PM | 3

Trump: Known in America as the MORON (sometimes preceded by an adjective: F..king MORON).The US is living in one of Trump's (un)reality television programs except there will be no winner in the end....while the rest of life on earth is 'voted' off the show!!

Posted by: ger | Oct 13, 2017 2:34:48 PM | 4

The "Core Elements of the United Nations' New United States Strategy" are:

The UN new US strategy focuses on neutralizing the Government of the United States destabilizing influence and constraining its aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants.

We will revitalize our UN charter as bulwarks against US subversion and restore a more stable balance of power in the World.

We will work to deny the US regime and especially the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funding for its malign activities, and oppose VIA activities that extort the wealth of the UN members and their people.

We will counter threats to UN members from Nuclear weapons and other asymmetric weapons.

We will rally the international community to condemn the CIAs gross violations of human rights and its unjust detention of UN members' citizens on specious charges.

Most importantly, we will deny the US regime all paths to a global hegemony.

If the shoe fits.

Posted by: Blue | Oct 13, 2017 2:37:58 PM | 5

Thanks, b.

This paragraph of yours:

"The EU countries were again craven and offered to push against Iran's ballistic missiles if Trump does not completely break the JCPOA deal. This was utterly stupid negotiation behavior. Why offer concessions to Trump even before he makes a self defeating move? Still - they will not support breaking the deal."

I think it explains itself, they threw in the agreement on missiles and Iran's "destabilizing" proclivities as a sop to the US, to soften the alienation, in order to remain firm on not breaking the deal. Craven they are, but the reality of what they're NOT giving up is far bigger - especially since the two points they gave up are ephemeral whereas the deal itself is very tangible.

Your link in that para was to the Washington Post, and I astonished myself by reading the whole piece. Marvelous to see how the story stands up for the integrity of agreements and very explicitly and repeatedly ties in the rationale that breaking an existing agreement makes it harder to come to terms with North Korea, because that nation might now be more wary of a potential agreement with the US ;)

This seems useful. The meme is now being propagated at MSM level that breaking an agreement makes the US untrustworthy, and hampers its ability to do good in the world. Sickening, yes, but the power of a UN resolution over the US President is highlighted. One tiny step for humanity.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 13, 2017 2:40:36 PM | 6

Either knowingly or unknowingly, and it does seem largely unknowingly, Trump has a habit of taking things to the limit which often tends to expose their ludicrousness.

This scenario seems to be what has recently played out in Syria and Saudi Arabia.

This does seem to have the effect of taking on the deep state.

Starting with the dossier and continuing with various charades the deep state wants to get rid of or discredit him.

I've wondered why they haven't tried to tank the stock market. This may be so propped up by the Feds actions over the last several years that it is difficult to unwind.

Posted by: financial matters | Oct 13, 2017 2:41:30 PM | 7

"The White House handed a paper to the media which is supposed to describe President Donald J. Trump's New Strategy on Iran. But there is no strategy in that paper."

Trump never has a strategy; nor does the Pentagon.
Trump has a vision, sometime even a mission he conceives. The Pentagon never has a strategy. They have weapons and a mission to create chaos and instability.

This is what is now on Meth, hyperbolic fuel of propaganda. Iran=Terrorism, disobedience, evil.

Along come the great 21st Century strategists Putin and Xi. Russia and China will decide how this works out. They had the final stakes in the agreement of the sanctions on Iran, and they will decide how this hegemonic threat to them and their interests is thwarted.

Iran won't be alone against Trump, Congress and the neocons and their master Bibi.
Russia and China are huge stakeholders.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Oct 13, 2017 2:54:36 PM | 8

thanks b for highlighting this... and thank you @7 grieved for articulating all that..

i note in the press briefing from oct 10th"2:30 p.m. -- On-Camera, On-the-Record Briefing with CT Coordinator, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales and NCTC Director Nicholas J. Rasmussen on U.S. efforts to counter Hizballah, in the Press Briefing Room (room 2209)." in this briefing the sole purpose was to highlight how the usa is going to go after iran... so, i think their is a concerted effort on the part of the usa to go to war with iran, on the part of israel..

that the usa continues to isolate itself is made more possible thanks the erratic and unpredictable behaviour of president trump..

@6 blue.. nice post!

pat lang has a post up on this topic as well..

Posted by: james | Oct 13, 2017 3:15:59 PM | 9

The end result will be the US isolating itself to the point where it can't do much of anything other than blow stuff up. And if there's a deterrent to blowing stuff up that leaves literally no options. Look what happened with Syria, where the US attempt to salvage its unicorns through diplomacy led to "ceasefires" that accomplished nothing. Aleppo was liberated, the Astana process replaced the US-Russia negotiations as the nexus of diplomacy over Syria, and Turkey, while officially remaining within NATO, is behaving neutrally. The scale of that strategic defeat has hardly been recognized. The only real result of the last round of sanctions against Iran was to push it towards the Eurasian sphere, with Russia as the main beneficiary. Russia now uses Iranian airspace for operations over Syria, which shifts the balance of escalation dominance over the entire region. Trump's diplomatic impasse with the DPRK opens the opportunity for China to pull off a major diplomatic coup with ROK. China can offer results in ROK's interests if the US is unwilling to. All the US offers ROK at this point is a heightened probability of having much of their country destroyed, in exchange for inheriting a radioactive wasteland full of destitute people. But you can bet that China would want something from ROK in return, and it would be a major setback for US influence in the region.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 13, 2017 3:22:30 PM | 10

"The result is a bungled policy which will have either catastrophic, or no consequences at all."

It most certainly will have catastrophic consequences, with the europeans moving further away from the US (and closer to Russia and China); this would be yet another, in a line of many, self-defeating moves by the empire. Really, ever since 9/11, the US has repeatedly been shooting itself in the face in regards to that particular region. I don't see that trend changing anytime soon.

Posted by: never mind | Oct 13, 2017 3:42:24 PM | 11

This is the train wreck we have all been waiting for and it is happening in sloooooooow motion.

This train wreck is all about global private finance and their abuse of the zombie Americans to maintain their power and control. I think the jig is just about up. Even if Trump can sell another war to Americans, it is doubtful that his "karma" (read cattle prod of empire) can hold even the EU countries in support.

Yes, there are many suffering through this nightmare but I am encouraged that the travesties of empire are so evident to more people and this period will end sooner that if we had Clinton II as president.

Maybe, given the beatings that Gaia is giving to the US, maybe the populace will really stand up and demand domestic spending over more wars.....one can only hope....

Save the world and humanity, eliminate private finance and neuter inheritance

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 13, 2017 3:42:59 PM | 12

The US is a long way off the mark by attacking countries that show an interest in socialism and a resistance to the neoliberal world order.

Stephen Gowans does a great job of describing this in his new book, 'Washington's Long War in Syria.' This article is a nice synopsis of that book.

Gowans

""And I would have imagined, as well, that the US Left would regard its responsibilities to include disseminating a rigorous, evidence-based political analysis of how the US economic elite uses the apparatus of the US state to advance its interests at the expense of both domestic and foreign populations. How does Washington’s long war on Syria affect the working people of America?""

Posted by: financial matters | Oct 13, 2017 3:43:48 PM | 13

Trump's strategy is to deflect blame for another election promise that he does not intend to keep. Certifying a deal every 90 days that you were supposed to cancel is a continuous embarrassment. It seems certain to me that Congress will reject new sanctions and instead revise legislation to relive the President of responsibility for certification - thereby releasing Trump from the 90 day cycle of looking stupid. The Democrates will take credit for saving the world from big bad Trump, and Trump will give them credit for saving him from himself.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Oct 13, 2017 3:44:54 PM | 14

Trump may impose banking sanctions on anyone EU and China who deals with Iran, Russia and NK as they already did.

B is wrong it is EU that will fold, you see, look what the do with NATO, increase spending, this are real deed not a posturing EU can only afford.

Posted by: Kalen | Oct 13, 2017 3:47:35 PM | 15

@Grievd
"I think it explains itself, they threw in the agreement on missiles and Iran's "destabilizing" proclivities as a sop to the US, to soften the alienation, in order to remain firm on not breaking the deal."

Excellent point and fully agree.

Akao agree with others who consider that if inplemented Trump will succeed only in further isolating and weakening the US globally. The sanctions on Russia have achieved very little, if anything, and any sanctions imposed on Iran will achieve less. Iran has not been idle these last couple of years and has entered into significant deals with many US 'allies' - deals which can not fall through - the most recent being with Total (France).

Have to wonder about Israel. @CarlD | 1 comments are foreboding ...

What is worrying is that Trump's rhetoric is strengthening the Mullahs, thereby weakening Rouhani. If this were to continue, Iran may have difficulty maintaining the pace at which it is currently signing business deals - large and small.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Oct 13, 2017 3:54:42 PM | 16

Trump may say that stopping Iran from getting nukes is the priority, but the Agreement is credibly working and actually Trump has other gripes about Iran. The main problem that Washington right now hates Iran even more than usual because of Iran's success on the battlefield in Syria. Remember Trump on war? "You will be tired of winning. We will win win win." Ooopsy. It didn't work out.

The US has sanctioned the Islamic Republic since its conception nearly forty years ago. Meanwhile Iran has gained Middle East hegemony largely via poor US actions, mainly Operation Iraqi Freedom which converted Iraq to an Iran ally and the US attempt for Syria regime change with US-supported forces defeated largely by Iran militias in conjunction with the Syria Arab Army and Russian Air.

We can now say that the 1980 Carter Doctrine, stipulating the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf, has been replaced by the Khamenei Doctrine. Iran is now the Big Dog in the Middle East, which has driven Turkey and Saudi Arabia away from the US and toward Russia.

This makes Washington extremely unhappy and the US needs to do something about it. (sore losers) But what? The US is used to invading weak countries and losing, so how can it attack a strong country and win, at a time when US allies are flying the coop? It can't. The only thing the US can do is cry about the Joint Nuclear Agreement, but the other countries involved are onto that scheme. They are the Coalition of the Unwilling.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13, 2017 4:01:04 PM | 17

CarlD 1
True. They want their excuse for military action. Netanyahu appeasement is a big reason, too. Unfortunately, Trump's core praised his desire to get the US out of nation-building wars but ignored his push against Iran. There is some common sense out there saying not to do this. I wonder how fast Hillary would have us bombing Iran by now.

Posted by: Curtis | Oct 13, 2017 4:40:55 PM | 18

The last NIE which was considered to have been performed by intelligence professionals rather than the current crop of political yes-men had determined with pretty high confidence that Iran did not have nuclear weapons and had ceased attempting to build one, for religious and pragmatic reasons.
https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Reports%20and%20Pubs/20071203_release.pdf

Of course Israel was not about to let this interfere with drumming for war with one of the few regional powers who could actually counter it, so you had the massive Israeli/Neocon push for sanctions and eventually war. Since Iran hadn't really done anything, the only way to make them sound threatening to the world was by accusing them of terrorism and THE BOMB. To his credit Little Bushie refused to green light the war, based on a few stubborn old military men who carefully explained that it would be a guaranteed loser, so they had to wait until they could purge those and get Obama in the picture. They about had him convinced, but since the whole argument revolved around Iran's non-existent A-bomb, Iran deftly agreed to allow inspections (one might see the soft guidance of Russia here, since it mirrors the Syrian chemical weapons agreement). The Israelis were furious at having been out maneuvered (since they already knew there was no bomb), which is why Nettybooboo avoided meddling in US politics and foreign affairs by addressing the joint US legislature with condescending pictures of Wiley Coyote bombs about to go off at any minute--but this time it was Obama who declined to go to war for the Israeli/Neocons. Had to wait for the new sock puppet.

Trump was already so close to Israel this was going to be easy--except everyone kept verifying that Iran was sticking perfectly to the deal. But Israel already knew they would do that, it was actually those ballistic missiles and support for Hezbollah they were worried about--well, and the general desire to weaken Iran. That's why suddenly all the attention to the missile tests, even though the Iranians had cleverly avoided making that part of the deal. And cleverly added several parties to the deal. So now, as has been pointed out, while the US politicians will give themselves hernias trying to do Israel's bidding, they truly are in an awkward legal position. Trump refusing to certify Iran is in compliance, while every single entity agrees they are, exposes him as a buffoon with contempt for the truth or laws. Congress going along (which they will, as they are owned by AIPAC) and withdrawing the US from the parties to the agreement will complete the humiliation of the US, while everyone else party to the contract (which was everyone who matters) will essentially be granted a very legal free pass to ignore any US calls for sanctions (which they are tired of anyway), meaning any US sanctions will actually be sanctions on itself, not Iran. For the first time in a long time, US businesses will have to bear the cost of sanctions being decreed willy-nilly by the US. Be fun to see if this works out they way they think it will.

Posted by: J Swift | Oct 13, 2017 4:49:40 PM | 19

There is a pattern of poor US nuclear treaty behavior.
The US failed to fulfill its required obligations under the 1994 Korean Agreed Framework including building light-water reactors and heavy fuel shipments. Also the US continued with sanctions and terrorism charges and name-calling (axis of evil).
There is a more recent example of US treaty undependability. In 2010 Iran negotiated the nuclear treaty fashioned by Turkey and Brazil which was then torpedoed by the US even though the terms had earlier been agreed to.
So here we go again.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13, 2017 5:32:07 PM | 20

Nothing is certain, but there is little chance of military action against Iran.
1. The US never attacks countries capable of counter-attack (and even then they lose).
2. The US has 40,000 Americans and warships stationed in the Gulf area within easy range of Iran missiles.
3. Other US installations in Iraq and Afghanistan are also vulnerable.
4. Hezbollah, Iran ally, has tens of thousands of missiles aimed at Israel cities.
5. The US military currently is strung out and weak as a result of mismanagement and corruption.
The situation in Korea is similar.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13, 2017 5:41:54 PM | 21

Trump's speech is a bit over the top.

Remarks by President Trump on Iran Strategy
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. My fellow Americans: As President of the United States, my highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people.
History has shown that the longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes. For this reason, upon taking office, I've ordered a complete strategic review of our policy toward the rogue regime in Iran. That review is now complete.
Today, I am announcing our strategy, along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never, and I mean never, acquires a nuclear weapon.
Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world.
Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime that seized power in 1979 and forced a proud people to submit to its extremist rule. This radical regime has raided the wealth of one of the world’s oldest and most vibrant nations, and spread death, destruction, and chaos all around the globe. . .

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13, 2017 5:49:57 PM | 22

Trump is a in hard place.MSN attacks on him are all bogus.May his attempts begin to soften his hostile scum?As a indep voter the attack on Iran will soften his support.Zion wins,we lose.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 13, 2017 5:55:39 PM | 23

@11 ThirdEye

What is little discussed is that China suffered 114,000 battle deaths, 34,000 non-battle deaths, 340,000 wounded, 7,600 missing and during the Korean War. They have a significant interest in what happens in N Korea over and above any specific geopolitical concerns. But more than anything, watching Trump flail about with Korean, Syria and Iran is another example of an increasingly toothless hegemon that is no longer able to uniformly impose it's will. The serfs are getting increasingly brave as we watch the post-1991 world order collapse, slowly, then all at once as the Hemingway quote goes.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Oct 13, 2017 6:05:36 PM | 24

Trump like FOX or Bibi makes no sense. Perhaps we can add Trumps son in law to the list of whisperers who are making Trump look even more the fool than he, by nature and inclination, all ready is.
It's the US that is destabilizing 'the region' not Iran. Unlike the the US who are using terrorists in the pursuit of nefarious and dishonorable political games, Iran has joined Syria, Russia and Lebanon in eradicating terrorists and terrorism.
The US has no regional allies with whom to strengthen ties except Israel and those ties have been and are detrimental to legitimate US interests.
It's US ballistic missiles and its irresponsible, unilateral and politically motivated withdrawal from conventional arms treaties that the are real threat.
Thanks to decades of bullying and self serving unreliability, the US has no ability to rally anyone around it.
The UN has confirmed that Iran is sticking to its part of the deal.
I wish more nations would reject nuclear weapons (and energy; they are joined at the hip) for religious reasons, starting with mine.

Posted by: Carol Davidek-Waller | Oct 13, 2017 6:32:05 PM | 25

#2 Likud and US Neocons are the same thing.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Oct 13, 2017 6:36:40 PM | 26

I juts touched up that daft action plan of Trumps to make it more suitable for a peaceful world.

The International Communities new United States strategy focuses on neutralizing the Government of USA destabilizing influence and constraining its aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants.
We will revitalize our traditional alliances and regional partnerships as bulwarks against USA subversion and restore a more stable balance of power in the world.

We will work to deny the USA regime and especially the US Military and paramilitary groups (CIA etc) funding for its malign activities, and oppose the USA military Industrial Complex activities that extort the wealth of the USA people.

We will counter threats from the United States and its allies from colour revolutions, ballistic missiles and other asymmetric weapons.

We will rally the international community to condemn the USA’s gross violations of human rights and its unjust assault and detention of American citizens and other foreigners on specious charges.

Most importantly, we will deny the USA regime all paths and excuses to the use of nuclear weapons by building a world of peaceful nations based on intelligent, humane dialog.

There fixed for humanity...

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13, 2017 6:36:57 PM | 27

I think this could actually be a good thing (as long as it doesn't lead to a massive war ... not a sure thing). It is very likely to hasten the end of the American Empire and in particular the empire of the dollar. The reason sanctions still have a bite, is that the international financial system relies on the dollar as something like gold. You need some to back your currency, to trade with other nations, to raise capital from international banks, etc. It is also the reason the US can spend virtually unlimited amounts of money on war. As long as countries need to soak up dollars, there is no real consequence in terms of inflation.

So, why is that a good thing? It means America can stop running around killing people for no real good reason, and get back to being something like a normal country. That will be great for the World and good for Americans as well. People who think America will collapse without its empire are dead wrong. We can start fixing the many problems we have at home.

This is why many people supported Trump ... stop all these wars, and 'make America great again'. During the campaign and if you read his inaugural speech it was all there. But, didn't last long and the Democrats are probably more than half to blame with the despicable Russia-gate campaign. I honestly think Putin could have talked some sense into Trump, but he didn't get much of a chance. Although their one brief meeting led to something positive for Syria (although our real masters are trying to reverse that).

Posted by: SteveK9 | Oct 13, 2017 6:46:50 PM | 28

Among those goals this one sounded plausible: oppose IRGC activities that extort the wealth of the Iranian people. It should be followed with -- oppose Pentagon activities that extort the wealth of the American people.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 13, 2017 6:51:59 PM | 29

Each new U.S. sanction step was responded to with an expansion of Iran's nuclear program. In the end Obama had to offer talks to Iran to get out of the hole he had dug himself.

The US intelligence estimates have stated that Iran had no nuclear weapons program ongoing since at least 2003. Imho, your statement that Iran was ramping up that program is incorrect.

Posted by: sleepy | Oct 13, 2017 7:11:27 PM | 30

@25

The US forgot that what drove their rise to worldwide influence was skill in building and holding together mutually beneficial arrangements. Not necessarily alliances, but mutually beneficial arrangements. Yes, American financial, industrial, and technological power was on the rise, but it wouldn't have amounted to much were it not for a certain diplomatic skill. The last real display of American diplomatic skill was in achieving detente with the Soviet Union and China in the early 1970s.

China's main interest on the Korean peninsula is not having hostile forces encroaching on their border. They can achieve that more easily through dealing with ROK directly rather than through the US. Trump's saber rattling is alienating the ROK. They do not like being viewed as expendable cannon fodder. China's interests in DPRK is vastly different from what it has been in the past. DPRK used to be a vital counterweight to US power near China's border when China was much weaker militarily. Divided Korea also dampened economic competition to China, which is much less of a concern now. China has an interest in not having to constantly prop up DPRK economically and deal with the ongoing refugee problem, and especially in not having to clean up a post-nuclear wasteland.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 13, 2017 7:50:38 PM | 31

@31

Good catch. I think what resulted was the US foregoing any sort of arrangement with Iran over Iraq. They've dealt themselves out of the game from Iran to Syria.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Oct 13, 2017 7:56:10 PM | 32

Remarks by President Trump on Iran Strategy
THE PRESIDENT: As President of the United States, my highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people.

This is same opener as the Dubya's GWOT speech.

It is treasonous. The President's utmost priority and sworn duty is to support and defend the Constitution (which they have already eviscerated).

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 13, 2017 8:15:46 PM | 33

@34 ff... good to know trump is a liar in a long line of liars.. it seems like the main requirement for the most important political position in the usa is to be some sociopathic liar..

Posted by: james | Oct 13, 2017 8:28:14 PM | 34

Blue @ 6: Great take, unfortunately, it won't happen, but needs to.

Trump's words aren't coming from him, he's just mouthing the words his handlers give him. F**king Moron, sure fits.

Let's hope the adults in the world can blunt this empire's lust for hegemony.

Posted by: ben | Oct 13, 2017 8:44:46 PM | 35

Bibi musta been desperate to get Trump to just do something as his posse of amerikan propagandists and spruikers for free money for the apartheid ersatz state have been exposed as a cabal of rapists and molesters. The Winestain creep has always functioned as israel's number one spruiker on the west coast and it is becoming clearer every day that he didn't molest in isolation his board who protected him until they couldn't anymore comprised Lance Maerov, Tim Sarnoff, Ben Ammar, Paul Tudor Jones and of course Harv himself, a bunch of exploitative creeps who believed that the exercise of power thru rape, bullying and harassment was a jolly josh.
Hopefully the winestain fall will lead to the demise of continual, ubiquitous zionist propaganda as an entertainment.
Trump has done nothing more than expose the weakness of the zionist position with his lame 'announcement' he hasn't even asked the senate to follow up on the decertification because there is simply too much corporate opposition to forcing a recommencement of world-wide sanctions. All that would happen is that all the other signatories refuse to play along with the stupidity and amerika will lose market share with most of its largest trading partners because amerikan corporations will not be able to easily avoid sticking with sanctions.

That is the opposite of what amerika's tyranny by sanction is supposed to do, up until now sanctions (see energy sanctions against Russia over alleged Ukraine 'invasion') have been used to increase amerikan market share, the re-imposition of Iranian sanctions won't just destroy share for corporations it will destroy this dictatorial way of doing business in the so-called free market. I reckon it will likely do that anyway as amerika's cavalier refusal to recertify will have all other nations particularly those dubbed 'allies' in europe will be super reluctant to get caught in such a mess again.

Instead of forcing a sanctions bill thru Trump has opted for the old 'discussions' bulldust which hopefully comes to naught especially with it still being quite some time before a half senate rat race or whatever they call it. Tho there is always a danger that some of the DC scum may still stick out their paws for some AIPAC shekels at any time - expect a couple of racist anti-Persian 'leaks' from these discussions, but I don't believe it will be enough. The opposition from corporate amerika may cause a rift there too because as big as the AIPAC mob are and as zionist infected amerikan boardrooms are, money and its continued theft generally comes first.
Not to forget that the military junta who currently occupy the Whitehouse won't be too keen at the possibility of being drawn into another war they cannot win.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 13, 2017 8:51:54 PM | 36

Well said Debisdead.

The sanctions are simply leading to increased efforts at dedollariaztion which are sorely needed.

Posted by: financial matters | Oct 13, 2017 9:05:14 PM | 37

Quesrion: Why isn't the UN HQ removed from New York City to, say, Singapore (or Hong Kong, or Mumbai, or . . . ?) as the Exceptional Hegemon has such disregard for its work? (It would also reflect the accelerating pivot in world affairs to the "Third World".)

Posted by: nikkobaud | Oct 13, 2017 9:11:24 PM | 38

This is just an excuse to keep American troops and war equipment in the area to support the head choppers and start bombing anyone who is defeating the head choppers - except maybe Russia which is too tough for them. Iran may be too tough for them also.
Netenmoron and the U.S. "dual citizen" neocon military likely think they can still take Syria if Iran is out of the picture. But it very well may end up that it is the U.S. that ends up out of the picture.
If Drumpf is actually dumb enough to start WW3 for the sake of Israhell, the Chinese may feel the need to come in with Russia and clean the west out of there.
When American jets start falling out of the sky and those oh-so-expensive aircraft carriers sink, Drumpf may get a clue that his Israhell buddies don't give a damn how many Americans are killed. It is then that Drumpf will be in the cross hairs of every American and martial law will be declared.

Posted by: Tony B. | Oct 13, 2017 9:20:47 PM | 39

Stephen--that's the same question that came to mind in the primaries and general when Hillary kept bringing up the Syria No Fly zone. Just on and on about that utterly insane idea. Who was she trying to win over with that? Fatalists who want nuclear war? Was just baffling.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Oct 13, 2017 9:32:59 PM | 40

"The result is a bungled policy which will have either catastrophic, or no consequences at all."

It most certainly will have catastrophic consequences, with the europeans moving further away from the US (and closer to Russia and China); this would be yet another, in a line of many, self-defeating moves by the empire. Really, ever since 9/11, the US has repeatedly been shooting itself in the face in regards to that particular region. I don't see that trend changing anytime soon.

Posted by: never mind | Oct 13, 2017 3:42:24 PM | 12

That was my thinking, but in retrospect, it is based on false premises, like the likelihood of European elite to pursue their interests. Apparently, they do it at occasion, but each time it is a painful experience that has to be combined with some forms of abject abasement. Part of it is European self-definition of reasonable and responsible political parties. Because of prevalence of multi-party systems, it is much simpler, compared with USA, to distinguish "the responsible ones" and the extremists and demagogues. Denying the necessity of tight alliance with USA as the cornerstone of European security places you in the latter category. So Merkel has some bouts of verbal independence, but that is about it. So major EU powers will try to be "constructive".

It is harder to predict how hard will they try. What does it mean to "pressure Iran" to do something? Raise the issue at occasion? Or to cobble some sanctions? There are some small problems with the latter, because Europeans are more reluctant to proclaim that Iran violates the agreement on points that were not agreed upon. Perhaps more importantly, they may be emboldened by the lack of American consensus. Abasement in front of USA may by the litmus test of "political maturity", but what is "USA" on this issue? There are two tribes that hate each other, Republicans and Democrats, and on the straight question, preserve Obama's legacy or not, Democrats will be united and Republicans, not so much. Also, when we try to match American parties to European politics, if we take UK as the example, Democrats resemble Tories, and Republicans, Democratic Unionist Party.

Within UK there is an opposition to Tories that will deride the government for toeing Trump line (they did it already on a number of issue), but in other major EU countries, current Labour Party would be classified as extremist etc., and it is almost weird that the current leadership happens to control the party. Apparently, the previous party leader was so depressed, dejected and at wits end after loosing election to Tories that he grasp a very stupid idea: excel the Tories with the democratic process of electing the leadership (Tories have opaque process well insulated from unwashed stinking massess). Later he was horrified like "everyone else" (except the stinking and the unwashed) that Jeremy Corbyn, enemy of Trident and everything else that is good, got elected. Such "irresponsible opposition" seems to exists also in Italy and Spain, but seems to be absent in France and Germany (except for "certified extremists").

Thus my prediction is that Europeans will be very tepid in the support and partial opposition to Trump.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 13, 2017 9:52:49 PM | 41

Those who are angry with Trump are myopic.

Do you really think Obama signed the treaty with the intention of abiding by it? IMO it was a stop-gap measure. It merely forestalled conflict (because the Syrian conflict was taking longer than expected), it didn't end it.

The bitching about Iran has never stopped.

And let's not forget that Israel has made it clear that Iranian influence in Syria is a red-line. So, while it might seem that Trump is posturing by punting to Congress, AIPAC's grip on US Congress should not be dismissed.

I think a game of chicken is developing.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13, 2017 9:58:11 PM | 42

Piotr @42

I see it the same way.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13, 2017 10:01:54 PM | 43

@ Debsisdead and financial matters commenting about dedollarization stuff related to geo-political moves

I see Trump's efforts to piss off all the world so America goes down a part of the elite plan and that concerns me. I don't see the elite going down easily and believe that they think they can survive a catastrophic social meltdown....and they may be correct. Winning wars is not a strong suit for the US anymore (on purpose?) but being in a lot of them seems to have become SOP, which I see as trying to maintain the jackboot of global private finance control via the MIC/fear/assassinations/etc.

We are witnessing (or not) some serious shit, whatever is happening.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 13, 2017 10:06:07 PM | 44

We seem to give the creeps who comprise the elite a god like onmiscience and omnipotence, yet they screw up all the time, the winestain fall being the latest in a long line of fuck-ups by arseholes who in the end are just humans like the rest of us. The squeeze on them is getting tighter and while they generally scratch around using remaining wealth & attendant power trying to find a way to profit from their own screw ups, they are finding it more difficult each time. Will this latest Trump mess destroy them? No but it will make fucking the rest of us more difficult.
Kowtowing to these arseholes and attributing some sort of 'perfect plan' to them just aids them when blind Freddie can see they are shaky and eminently beatable.
Trump hasn't pulled this latest stupidity because he has some grand strategy, he has done it because he has put himself between the rock of his campaign rethoric and the hard place of amerikan foreign policy reality. The mess is identical to obamacare, 'the wall' and the 'muslim ban' in that regard. Each screw up weakens his position with those he most wants to respect him - the real movers and shakers, which is pretty funny given that most of them are no less fucked up than he is. Harv was the ultimate creep but he wasn't a pretender like agent orange who he coulda bought and sold many times over until he came undone - a reality that must concern all of these 100% dickheads.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 13, 2017 10:28:49 PM | 45

As with North Korea, Iran knows the U.S. only attacks countries with very weak militaries; Iran will be fine, the treaty remaining intact, and the U.S. will step one more rung down the world ladder of power and prestige.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Oct 13, 2017 10:39:07 PM | 46

What I've always liked about Trump is...
1. He's the only person who knows what he's doing.
2. He could never be worse than Hillary.
3. He said he would drain the SWAMP.
4. He thinks so far outside the square that no-one else can keep up.

This move puts the ambitions of the SWAMP front and centre and is already being thoroughly condemned by the real International Community. I didn't expect to see Russia, China, the EU, Iran and the signatories to JCPOA united so firmly, and soon, against the United States Of Amnesia and the SWAMP's puppeteers. But that's where we are today and Trump is only in the first year of his term.
I don't know what his IQ is, but it's certainly higher than 100.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 13, 2017 10:44:10 PM | 47

The point of Trumps speech has been missed.. the middle east is not about Israel, US, MIC, Zionist,Islam or anything like that.. Trumps speech was designed to destablize, mix-up and infect the boundaries of trust, to create sufficient chaos and back paddle doubt so that no body can make any lasting deals with anybody.. Trump seeks to make everyone everyone else's suspect.. so to speak..

the real object of Trump is oil and gas.. how best to get the oil away from those who now have it (Syria, Iraq, iran and Russia), and how to eliminate fair play competition in oil and gas and how to force every company to obtain a license from the select few before the licensee can engage in any part of the oil and gas business. Trump is a USA oil and gas man and he intends to not only protect and advance certain oil companies everyone else will feel the force and fury of the military forces, the state department corruption, the independent business men and women at the CIA, the office of the president, and the army, the navy, and the little neocon creeps, they all about using their big guns to get every else's oil but their own

Trump has not before made a more accurate speech or issued a more direct on-point set of threats than the ones he made yesterday. Trump is after getting everyone's oil and gas for a certain select few private companies, which only Trump, Tillerson and Netanyohu know about. If you own oil or gas, expect a visit from uncle sam. Israel has as much to do with it as does the USA ( the leadership of both nations are after the oil and gas but the people of the nations are kept in the dark).. its all about the oil and gas fields (and the markets which make those minerals so valuable). in Iraq, Iran, Syria, S. Turkey, Libya, Jordan, S. Africa, Venezuela and about the markets for that oil and gas in EU and China, and about the stoppers Ukraine and Georgia where the pipelines converge (Posted by: J Swift | Oct 13, 2017 4:49:40 PM | 20.. and in the Americas. Russia is the most efficient provider of oil and gas in EU, Middle East, and China. People from all nations and walks are life are dying to deny or facilitate the oil cartel monopolies.
Where or not Trump is an investor in the Russian oil and gas fields is immaterial, its about which oil companies the nation will allow to profit from the oil and gas business. Trumps speech was about business, his business.

below Posted by: J Swift | Oct 13, 2017 4:49:40 PM | 20 is a sample of the misunderstanding about Trump's intentions.

"Trump was already so close to Israel this was going to be easy--except everyone kept verifying that Iran was sticking perfectly to the deal. But Israel already knew they would do that, it was actually those ballistic missiles and support for Hezbollah they were worried about--well, and the general desire to weaken Iran. That's why suddenly all the attention to the missile tests, even though the Iranians had cleverly avoided making that part of the deal. And cleverly added several parties to the deal. So now, as has been pointed out, while the US politicians will give themselves hernias trying to do Israel's bidding, they truly are in an awkward legal position." Posted by: J Swift | Oct 13, 2017 4:49:40 PM | 20

Posted by: fudmier | Oct 13, 2017 10:57:44 PM | 48

More proof that MAGA is working..(Morons Are Governing America)...

Posted by: ben | Oct 13, 2017 11:16:02 PM | 49

I didn't expect to see Russia, China, the EU, Iran and the signatories to JCPOA united so firmly, and soon, against the United States Of Amnesia and the SWAMP's puppeteers. (1)
I don't know what [Trup's] IQ is, but it's certainly higher than 100.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 13, 2017 10:44:10 PM | 48

(1) In my country there is a proverb: do not praise the day before the sunset. If EU were serious, they would copy American solution: penalties on countries that follow restrictions on trade imposed by governments outside EU, and instructions to trade authorities to use trade war tools (reciprocal sanctions) on countries imposing penalties and fines on EU corporations that do not follow trade restrictions not enacted by EU. They should at least discuss such measures to apply real pressure on USA.

(2) Indeed, there are sources that claim that Trump is highly intelligent. But they are mostly speeches of Trump himself. I do not recall any other President making remarks on his own intelligence. Secondly, while some people are reliably stupid at an early age, for many more the mental efficiency decreases at some point. Say, a tycoon who is charmingly boorish when dealing with women in his middle age and simply boorish in a more advanced age.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14, 2017 12:15:05 AM | 50

The point of Trumps speech has been missed.. the middle east is not about Israel, US, MIC, Zionist,Islam or anything like that.. Trumps speech was designed to destablize, mix-up and infect the boundaries of trust, to create sufficient chaos and back paddle doubt so that no body can make any lasting deals with anybody.. Trump seeks to make everyone everyone else's suspect.. so to speak..
fudmier | Oct 13, 2017 10:57:44 PM | 49

I'm inclined to agree with that. The media is also complicit; keeping a high level of noise across the entirety of the MSM.
I fear most have no effective filters to deal with that.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Oct 14, 2017 12:43:41 AM | 51

Do you really think Obama signed the treaty with the intention of abiding by it?
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13, 2017 9:58:11 PM | 43

In retrospect, Obama started to violate the agreement very early, plus he devoted a lot of effort in futile attempts to "contain Iran", namely to sideline PMUs from participation in war againt ISIS in Iraq. That lead to at least a year of stalled war against ISIS. Naively, an agreement with Iran would facilitate an effective war on terrorist organization. With such observations, I wracked my brain: why did Obama spend such tremendous effort in negotiating with Iran, then with Congress etc. What was a positive effect on USA, or at least, on the Democratic Party. [Note that while benevolence of Obama can be easily doubted, he was quite intelligent, so he should have some valid reasons.]

One positive result is that Democrats gained the more fortunate side of this wedge issue: should our ME policy be forceful or sane? Sanity seemed to enjoy increasing popularity. [If that was the goal, he should do more to prevent HRC to be the Democratic standard bearer, while the woman may be actually sane, on TV she pretended to be a homicidal maniac. But now this is precisely good time for the Democrats to score some points.

Second positive result was that "our allies from the region were unsettled". When a Victorian lady was unsettled, a maid would bring the salts. When Gulf potentates are unsettled, they hugely increase purchases of American arms.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14, 2017 12:52:34 AM | 52

I think you are grossly underestimating or overestimating things. The Iran agreement was the most massive and best foreign policy the Obama admin delivered. Trump's mooting that is, til now at least, by far the most damaging and terrible thing Trump has done.

"Do you really think Obama signed the treaty with the intention of abiding by it?"

Yes, and rather obviously, it was abided by it during his admin.

Obviously all US-entered treaties should be first found as suspect until proven that the US is actually a good actor. In this case, and as much as Obama and Trump both suck, my sense is that Obama was trying to be a "good actor" on the part of the US via this agreement. And might have even been doing so for a rare glimpse of humanitarianism as opposed to his war crime wedding bombings and military-age drone strikes and complicity with SA on Yemen.

But charging folks with being "myopic" if they welcomed the recent peace via: Iran with that agreement, is going to far.

[And notwithstanding that any and all countries in the world should try to develop nukes, thus NK's motives, so as to not be invaded by the US rogue regime]

Basically--the warmonger and asshole Obama, if somehow having another 50 years of Presidency, would still have maintained the agreement and not flouted such. May have fashioned a different reason to bomb and make war with Iran, but not via this agreement. You're even more cynical than I am, which is rare.

Obviously I have no love for Obama, nor Trump. But

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Oct 14, 2017 1:17:05 AM | 53

Always remember the Gleiwitz incident..
Expect more incidents like this to come:

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/07/25/politics/navy-ship-iran-arabian-gulf/index.html

That is until another drunken or incompentent US Navy captain collides with an « IRGC « ship and blames Iran..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 14, 2017 1:46:15 AM | 54

Where did Trump learn the word destabilizing or that it is a bad thing?

This must be Russian meddling and influence!

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Oct 14, 2017 2:14:33 AM | 55

Piotr

Instead of looking at what good came after the agreement, you should look at what happened before it.

Obama was fully prepared to bomb Syria in September 2013. Doing so was the necessary 'nudge' to topple Assad. But Obama was blocked from doing so by Russia. As an alternative, the 'Assad must go!' Coalition set in motion a bold plan to 'double-down' with a new, fiercer extremist group: ISIS.

But the ISIS initiative would take time to develop. Time that the Iranians could use to further develop nuclear and missile technology. Wouldn't it be nice to stop-the-clock on that?

Although there were a couple of tentative meetings before September 2013, the secret Obama-Iranian talks started in earnest after Obama was blocked from bombing Syria. An "Interim Agreement" was reached on 24 November 2013 - about the same time that ISIS began its meteoric rise. Interim Agreement confidence-building measures were to be implemented immediately and the deadline for a final agreement was set for 20 July 2014 (ISIS captured Mosul about 10 June 2014).

Obama did everything he could to speed up talks. He set deadlines and even dangling the possibility of cooperation against ISIS: BBC on Nov 7 2014:

The letter, reported by the Wall Street Journal, also urges Ayatollah Ali Khamenei toward a nuclear agreement. The US president stresses any co-operation on fighting IS is contingent on Iran reaching such an agreement by a 24 November diplomatic deadline....

But Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled out co-operating with the US against IS, accusing Washington of having created the jihadist group as a tool against Iran.


The official line is that the talks were made possible by a change in Iran's government. The Wikipedia entry about the Iran deal makes no mention of the intention of US to bomb Syria in September 2013 - as though the occurrence or non-occurrence of bombing/Syrian regime change would have had no bearing on US-Iranian talks!

Furthermore, a number of analysts (as well as some patrons at the MoA bar) have have noted that the Iran deal is similar to what Iran had wanted to negotiate many years before.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14, 2017 3:03:29 AM | 56

@Piotr Berman

There's a reason the deal was made to begin with and it has absolutely nothing to do with Obama being this benign force of good that throughout his presidency sought everlasting peace and stability in the greater middle east. No one with skewed morals and clearly corrupted by money would care less about 'legacy' for when they would leave office.

Turns out some of the most toughest sanctions to ever be imposed on a country wasn't forcing the total collapse of the iranian economy and did just as much to strengthen iranian resolve to continue developing their national nuclear program while also building on the foundations of their "resistance economy". The sanctions regime wasn't an absolute to begin with as US allies in asia were still very much dependent on dealing with Iran for their energy needs. The europeans, having been at one time an important trading block, were the biggest losers after Iran. What was the purpose of the sanctions again? Regime change? Iranians trading their nationalistic pride for table scraps? This was clearly not happening and with their program continuing unabated, sanctions were evidently not working. The US had pretty much painted itself into a corner and needed to make a decision before it was made for them; either continue moving forward with the way things are and watch as the sanctions slowly start to unravel (with a fully realized independent iranian nuclear industry standing firmly in its place), start a costly war with no predictable outcome OR go back to negotiating a peace settlement (for the time being, regime change will never be off the table).

The US opted for peace because it couldn't, as they saw it then at least, afford to go to war (as it has been shown, time and again, to enthusiastically drop bombs on weaker countries) with a new european dilemma looming around the corner; what all the big EU nations really wanted now was for the nuclear issue (and with it: the campaign for regime change in tehran) to be resolved so they could start repairing relations with what used to be a good trading partner in the region. Could they fall back in line were the US to set an ultimatum? Yes, but only and only when they've exhausted all other options. European businesses have been flocking back to the iranian market (not as progressively as one would like, due to some reluctance from the big banks scared of getting fined by the US treasury on non-nuclear related iranian sanctions, but they ARE getting there) and it just isn't that easy to simply reverse their investments and flee the country (again). To counter such an eventuality,
mechanisms are being put in place to shield some european businesses from US reprisals when and if that day comes. This is groundbreaking and could potentially insulate the EU from US reprisals (on other matters as well might I add). There will come a time soon when Europe doesn't take after one country's (across the atlantic) foreign policy decision making.

Posted by: never mind | Oct 14, 2017 4:17:48 AM | 57

Trump's speech on Iran was so full of lies one has to wonder about his sanity and intelligence. He is a loser.

Posted by: Realist | Oct 14, 2017 4:49:24 AM | 58

As a Brit, I have often wondered at the US paranoia in relation to Iran. It became a little clearer when I read this: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/10/13/brief-timeline-iran-sponsored-terrorism-since-1979/

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Oct 14, 2017 6:05:25 AM | 60

As the article concludes, hopefully this will be of no consequence at all. All the noisome histrionics may be necessary to appeas; the fundamental right, and to temporarily mollify the Israel lobby and the Israeli Generals, who must be smarting from their still smoldering defeat in Syria.

Trump is a wunderkind semotician, and may go down in history for his masterful use of sound and fury, signifying . . . .

The problem with Iran is not that it is developing nuclear weapons, it is that Iran has become a client state of China. Aside from their role as a link in the fantasy chain that is the Greater Israel project, sanctions only serve to make Iran more reliant on China as its suzerain.

What is Trump's grand strategy, if indeed he has one, or what will be the outcome of his administration's maneuvers, is far from clear. As congress has demonstrated with Russia, it is quite capable of constraining executive authority if it wants to. Now, delaying rapprochement with Russia is foolhardy. But given the adversarial climate, there is no way of telling whether or not this administration has grown wise enough to employ reactance therapy in pursuit of long term policy agendas.

Posted by: Rhetoric | Oct 14, 2017 6:22:56 AM | 61

@ Shakesshav # 61

seems like the name Hezbollah comes up a lot in the list of bad guys. As far as I know they are Palestinians under occupation by a Western power. They do not speak Persian and have very little in common with Iran. As you infer, the common denominator between Iran and Palestine is Israel.

one could ask why the Israelis as occupiers are not able to control the people in the occupied territories and if they were not friends of the US would they not be accused of sponsoring them.

at any rate, it is amazing to see the lengths some people will go to paint Iran in a bad light.

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 14, 2017 6:55:13 AM | 62

Trump breaching an agreement and appease warmongers. Speak volumes whats going on now since everyone have been purged from the WH!

Posted by: Anon | Oct 14, 2017 7:11:45 AM | 63

Posted by: Stephen | Oct 13, 2017 2:01:51 PM | 2

Saudi Arabia. Hey, women can drive now, there.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 14, 2017 7:19:46 AM | 64

Trump is jealous of Obama's legacy and just want to reduce it to nothing: Obamacare,Nafta,Iran Deal etc.. That is his strategy!

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 14, 2017 8:36:55 AM | 65

"women can drive in KSA"
not without a legal tutor in the car, isn't it?

Posted by: Mina | Oct 14, 2017 8:54:17 AM | 66

seems like the name Hezbollah comes up a lot in the list of bad guys. As far as I know they are Palestinians under occupation by a Western power. They do not speak Persian Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 14, 2017 6:55:13 AM | 63

Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party with an armed militia that is predominantly based on Lebanese Shia community. The name means "party of God". Before this party was created during Lebanese civil war, the main Shia Lebanese party was Amal, a "secular leftist" party that now operates mostly in alliance with Hezbollah. Within Lebanese politics, I never read about Hezbollah trying to impose theocratic principles on the society at large, presumably the followers have lifestyle that is consistent with contemporary Shia "Twelver" doctrine. As a part of this doctrine, a Shia Twelver believer chooses a spiritual leader who is a cleric of high standing, a "Grand Ayatollah". That could loosely correspond to a Cardinal in Roman Catholic Church.

The militia of Hezbollah was originally formed with the help and training of a group of Revolutionary Guards from Iran. The leader of Hezbollah changed his marjah, the spiritual leaders, from a Lebanese cleric to Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. For religious reasons, Iranian education includes classic Arabic, so the communication between Hezbollah and Revolutionary Guards can be in Arabic, but some may learn Persian. It must be stressed that the power of a spiritual leader of Shia is rather subtle, it is not simply commanding the followers -- after all, the latter may choose another leader.

In the Lebanese civil conflicts, and later in the war with Israel and in the Syrian civil war, Hezbollah militia build the reputation of the best trained military force in the Arab countries. An exception can be made for ISIS, but Hezbollah achieve results without suicidal tactics of ISIS and al-Nusra (two offshoots of al-Qaeda).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14, 2017 9:08:15 AM | 67

Virgile

You think that Obama was a good president?

Posted by: Anon | Oct 14, 2017 9:21:46 AM | 68

When the US accuses Iran of being the world's major state supporter of terrorism, it means Iran ally Hezbollah, actually Hez's military arm, Iran-supplied, which defeated Israel's Lebanon invasion in 2006. That's bad. Must be labeled "terrorism" and punished.

Trump has also just spoken of Iran aggression. This is driven by his generals and refers to the recent defeats of US-supported anti-Syria militias by Iran militias. Here, counter-insurgency is "aggression" which has defeated the self-righteous US cause of "toppling a dictator."

So here we have two cases where US/Israel has acted against sovereign governments, outlawed under the UN Charter, and failed, and the US is using the failures to blather against Iran which hasn't attacked anybody.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 14, 2017 9:43:38 AM | 69

@Piotr Berman

There's a reason the deal was made to begin with and it has absolutely nothing to do with Obama being this benign force of good that throughout his presidency sought everlasting peace and stability in the greater middle east. No one with skewed morals and clearly corrupted by money would care less about 'legacy' for when they would leave office. never mind | Oct 14, 2017 4:17:48 AM | 58

Obama cared about "legacy", but as the events have shown, only to the extend of securing talking points for the Democrats. The main regional effect, apart from opening the economy of Iran to some extend, was a bout of paranoia among the Gulfie monarchs who had to redouble their purchases of overpriced weapons, plus some less visible form of bribery. From Machavelian perspective, the existence of a regional enemy that keeps the allies in fear and drives them to begging for support is a very sound approach. Some type of negotiations etc. may be needed to keep the allies in more obedient attitude. So far, that works very nicely in the Middle East and East Asia (Japan and South Korea afraid of North Korea).

From that point of view, the war in Yemen is a very good war. But overly erratic behavior of the hegemon may upset the arrangement, and this is Trump's fault. Full sanity, going to such extremes as actually resolving conflicts, would undermine the ability of the hegemon to collect the fleece from the sheep, but if you overdo the resolutely insane rhetoric, the sheep may develop their own thoughts, develop agreements with the designated enemy on their own, in other words, the collapse of thriving business.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14, 2017 9:48:27 AM | 70

Trump is fishing around for an international issue that he can win, which helps him with his base. Having recently been told that he (we) cannot cause change in NK without the direct aggressive involvement of China, Trump pivots to Iran.

Nothing else here to see or to listen to. Except for the distant drip of attempted Impeachment, growing louder every day.

Posted by: JSonofa | Oct 14, 2017 9:57:26 AM | 71

The Pentagon said in a statement that it is “identifying new areas where we will work with allies to put pressure on the Iranian regime, neutralize its destabilizing influences and constrain its aggressive power projection, particularly its support for terrorist groups and militants."

The Pentagon (who needs the State Department any longer?) has long criticized Iran for activities it says are destabilizing to the region, and reiterated eight areas of concern Friday:
— Ballistic missile development and proliferation
— Material and financial support for terrorism and extremism
— Support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and the regime’s “atrocities against the Syrian people.”
— “Unrelenting” hostility toward Israel
— “Consistently threatening” freedom of navigation, especially in the Persian Gulf
— Cyberattacks against the U.S., Israel and U.S. allies and partners in the Gulf
— “Grievous” human rights abuses
— Detention of foreigners, including U.S. citizens, on "specious charges" and without due process. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 14, 2017 10:21:10 AM | 72

Traditionally, westerners preferred symmetric swords, and easterners, asymmetric weapons like sabres. This proves that asymmetric weapons are evil. Of course, in the case of missiles, they tend to be symmetric, whether in good Saudi hands, or in hands of the vile ones. Presumably, Trump used the word "asymmetric" as a shorthand for "in evil hands".

OTOH, improvised explosive devices are very symmetric! Properly made, they are perfect discs. One could try another explanation of "asymmetric", namely a weapon that offers less risk to the user than to the victims. But it is the very nature of weapons that either they are useless, or asymmetric. The only defense of Trump's usage is that he did not invent that idiocy.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14, 2017 10:32:04 AM | 73

"We will work to deny the Iranian regime and especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) funding for its malign activities, and oppose IRGC activities that extort the wealth of the Iranian people."

And there is no better way to achieve it than reducing that wealth. One small problem with that approach is that the access to Western technology and financial system is neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve prosperity. A country can produce most essential products locally and get the rest by barter, like exchanging oil for foodstuff with Pakistan and India. By the way of contrast, joining Euro and getting help of financial wizards from Goldman Sachs allowed Greece to borrow many times more that it could repay, with rather woeful consequences.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14, 2017 10:48:58 AM | 74

Russia and Iran have bragged that sanctions have forced them to become more self-reliant, to develop domestic alternatives to what they formerly imported.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 14, 2017 10:54:44 AM | 75

The joke is that Israel recognizes no US sanctions and continues to trade with Iran. Sanctions are good for business. Israel loves US sanctions! Bring 'em on! Money, money, money.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/13/trump-iran-nuclear-deal-congress
Trump also deliberately misnamed the Persian Gulf the tArabian Gulf.

Posted by: Chipnik | Oct 14, 2017 11:13:44 AM | 76

48

4. He thinks HE IS so far outside the square that no-one else can keep up.

Fixed it for you.

Posted by: Chipnik | Oct 14, 2017 11:30:45 AM | 77

@ Shakesshav # 61 and Piotr Berman | Oct 14, 2017 9:08:15 AM | 68 its not about who is good or bad.. everyone is pitted against everyone else under the divide and conquer strategy employed by acquisition strategist seeking to steal other peoples's wealth.
Such strategist target a nation's resources or its market channels to apply their D&C strategy. . In the case of Rothschild banking its has almost always been about the oil and gas or access to the oil and gas markets.
If you analyze the time:event vs who owns(controls) the oil or from whom the area (market) buys its oil and gas.. you discover and can observe the acquisition strategy at work (divide a region whose resources are to be taken, into its political, ethnic and religious (PER) dimensions (between dimension division), then subdivide each PER dimension into issues(within dimension division), and subdivide the people again by issue (within issue subdivision): those who are for(+) vs those who against(-) each issue. PER division weakens collective people power and blurs the objects of each division, subdivision weakens the PER element to a net value of virtually no power; much like a seesaw (when two persons of equal weight seated opposite, oppose each other, the net is balanced to zero, but an outside third party effortlessly, sways the balance using very minimal force in either direction)._____________Political____Ethnic_____Religious__
____issue________:
same sex marriage___________for\against
religion______________________________________________baptist vs Catholic
race______________________________ white versus black
This kind of division renders mute the leadership of the area. No one can lead, no consensus can be reached.
The sea saw has been balanced, and a take over or take what one wants condition has been established.
it is this idea that explains Trumps Rhetoric..

Posted by: fudmier | Oct 14, 2017 12:05:14 PM | 78

fudmier | Oct 13, 2017 10:57:44 PM | 49

Correct. Trump's election team advisers on policy, and transition was filled Generals and Private citizens all connected to oil and gas.

His strategic interest is in creating a global market for LNG and US fracking oil and gas.

His plan is to deprive Russia of their European markets.
And he wants to replace the petrodollar with oil and gas in a commodity monopoly that enriches the US and creates millions of jobs on the land of the US and a new merchant fleet for LNG, as well as building new terminals for export and terminals in Europe for import.
All US customers will have to surrender to the Hegemon in order to buy (barter) energy for heating and power.

This monopoly will break Russia and deprive China of ME oil, deprive Eurasia of all but Russian gas.

It is in the resumes of Carter Page, General Kellogg, his best friend and partner in Vegas Phil Ruffin, and a host of others that oil and gas were going to be his secret play for global dominance and the "fuel" of the US economic growth. Though he's spending on weapons, the real stimulus is to be LNG exports and the infrastructure and ship building necessary in the US and outside markets. Also why Qatar had to be destabilized. It is the number one LNG exporter. Russia has to be battered into submission for this plan to work.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Oct 14, 2017 12:25:04 PM | 79

Nothing, if not an example par excellence of the core hallmark of the U.S. regime:
Psychological Projection.
Amazing how the entire apparatus is shedding the last remaining veils of what goes for a rogue governing entity.
The one question that is left demanding an answer should be: When was the last time America was that great in an inverted way?
Or, in a more practical, Orwellian way, has America ever been that lowbrow before?
It takes two to Tango, but only one unhinged 'Nation' can unilaterally destroy the entire planet?

What else will the able minded be insulted with next?

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Oct 14, 2017 12:50:51 PM | 80

Piotr,

thanks for the background on Hezbollah, I seem to have confused them with Hamas.

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 14, 2017 1:57:02 PM | 81

Quite apart from helping overthrow the legitimate government in 1953, it appears the US Deep State may have conspired to ensure that Carter was removed and that the new theocratic state in Iran eliminated its communists. The Islamic Republic even re-employed one of the Shah's spooks in its new security apparatus: https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-real-iranian-hostage-crisis-a-cia-covert-op/5324385

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Oct 14, 2017 5:23:27 PM | 82

I stopped reading at "Trump has little knowledge of Iran, the nuclear deal, the Middle East or anything else." Presumably, you still believe he is unlikely to win a significant number of delegates in the Republican primaries?

Scott Adams is a miracle-man that will open your eyes.

Posted by: Jamie | Oct 14, 2017 7:00:15 PM | 83

4. He thinks HE IS so far outside the square that no-one else can keep up.
Fixed it for you.
Posted by: Chipnik | Oct 14, 2017 11:30:45 AM | 77

Sorry, band-aids don't count...
You seem to have 'forgotten' what happened after Hillary's "Pot calls Kettle Black" accusations of sexual harrassment by Trump during the campaign. Trump called a press conference the centre-piece of which was a long table at which were seated several women, all of whom claimed to have been raped and/or sexually harrassed by Bill. They further stated that Hillary, Herself, had aided and abetted the cover-up of Bill's dick-headedness.

Hillary's part in that little piece of slam-dunk dumbfuckery is what NOT thinking outside the square looks like...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 14, 2017 8:23:12 PM | 84

The result is a bungled policy which will have either catastrophic, or no consequences at all

i rule out the possibility of no consequences at all...but i agree that its getting hard to differentiate between catastasis and catastrophe.

Posted by: john | Oct 15, 2017 9:17:36 AM | 85

@Jamie, #83:

From Ari Ben-Menashe's "Profits of War", pp. 41 f.:

In that same month, with the assassination plan abandoned, a serious attempt was made to get Ayatollah Khomeini to agree to talks. Israel wanted to know where it stood when he came to power. Prime Minister Menachem Begin agreed with the intelligence departments that nothing would be lost by trying to talk to Khomeini. But who was going to do the talking on Israel's behalf?

The task fell on the shoulders of an unlikely person—Ruth Ben-David.

In the early 1950s this charming, gracious French Catholic woman lived in Paris and entertained ultra-orthodox Jews who used to visit from Jerusalem. Rabbi Amram Blau, then head of an orthodox Jewish sect in Jerusalem known as Neturei Karte, meaning Guardians of the Citadel, was among those who visited Paris. Being a widower, he craved female attention. He was introduced to the stunningly attractive woman with whom he whiled away the hours. Eventually they fell in love. They decided to marry and she converted to orthodox Judaism.

Before her husband died, she frequently accompanied him when he traveled to Turkey to attend seminars at which Jewish rabbis and Shi'ite mullahs entered into religious debates and tried to establish how theology could be brought back to earthly government. In those meetings Ruth met the exiled cleric, Ayatollah Khomeini. When Rabbi Blau died, his son from his first marriage took over the leadership of the Neturei Karte. But it was Ruth who was recognized as the matriarch of the sect.

Prime Minister Begin entrusted Ruth Ben-David with visiting Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris on his behalf in December 1978. She was to sound him out about how he would see relations with Israel if he were to take over—and what his attitude to the Jews in Iran would be.

Khomeini gladly received the emissary, his old friend. It was said she was the only woman he would sit alone with in a closed room. She had a long conversation with him at his residence outside Paris, and she reported back personally to Begin.

According to accounts directed to intelligence analysts from the Prime Minister's Office, the meeting with the Ayatollah was very friendly. Khomeini made it clear that the Iranian Jews were Iranian citizens and Islam respected Judaism and all other religions that were not seen as heresy. He would not allow Baha'is to practice their religion in Iran, because in Islamic law it is stated that prophets who came before the Prophet Mohammed, including Moses and Jesus Christ, were true prophets, but anyone who came after him claiming to carry the word of God was a heretic, and heretics should be put to death. The Prophet Mohammed was the seal. Khomeini added that the Israeli state in Palestine was also a heresy and should not exist. However, the first interest of the Islamic state was to bring Islam and Islamic government to the Moslem populations in the Arab countries and rid the Moslem world of heretic governments. He also said that Mecca and Medina had to be liberated from the Saudis.

His message to Begin was clear: Don't worry, Israel. First on my agenda is to deal with my Arab enemies. Then I will deal with Israel.

Posted by: Gesine Hammerling | Oct 15, 2017 9:58:23 AM | 86

fudmier 48

good point about US
"the real object of Trump is oil and gas.. how best to get the oil away from those who now have it (Syria, Iraq, iran and Russia)"

have been reading William Engdahl (A Century of War:Anglo-American Oil Politics)

he refers to German plans/threat
for Berlin-Baghdad railway project as a major cause of WW1
as a threat to British hegemony.(German-Ottoman alliance)

we could have avoided an entire century of misery if all that had actually
come to fruition.and WW1 been avoided altogether.

although i doubt that was the only reason behind WW1

Posted by: chris m | Oct 16, 2017 10:58:40 AM | 87

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