Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 25, 2012

Israel's Anti-Iran Campaign - A Favor To The U.S.

Back in November Uri Averny wrote:

Everybody knows the scene from school: a small boy quarrels with a bigger boy. “Hold me back!” he shouts to his comrades, “Before I break his bones!”

Our [Israeli] government seems to be behaving in this way.

He is right that this is the strategy Netanyahoo and Barak are using to push more sanctions against Iran and eventually for the U.S. to attack it. An op-ed in Ynet-news today claims that the strategy works:

It certainly looks as though the Israeli campaign launched during the previous fall, where rumors of an imminent Israeli strike on Iran were disseminated, secured its objectives. Western statesmen clung to this campaign and utilized it in order to impose on Iran the devastating sanctions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded two years ago already.

As long as it works the Israelis will continue with their campaign:

Israel's defence minister, Ehud Barak, has warned that tougher sanctions need to be imposed on Iran despite the unprecedented oil embargo agreed by the European Union earlier this week.
...
Speculation over Israel's military intentions has intensified over recent weeks, with the US urging the political and military establishment to hold back.

A new long Israeli written NY Times Magazine piece asking Will Israel Attack Iran? -while having some interesting details- is in the end just another part of this campaign.

But it is not all Israel's work and its not for sole Israeli interest. I have yet to see any step or concession from the U.S. side that would lead to serious negotiations with Iran. Trita Parsi is wrong when he claims that both sides are guilty of not coming to the table. Obama did some propaganda moves to make it seem that he would like to negotiate with Iran but there never was a serious attempt by him to actually do so.

As Peter Jenkins, Britain’s former permanent representative to the IAEA explains, a fair deal could have been reached even back in 2005 when the Iranians offered more inspection if they could continue their, then much smaller, enrichment work to which the NPT entitles them. There was the Brasilian/Turkish deal with Iran the Obama regime rejected even while it was on its own design.

When the Ynet op-ed writer quoted above says "western statesmen clung to this campaign and utilized it" he is right. The Israelis are only delivering a very much wanted pretense. The utilization is done by the U.S. (and its European lackeys) for their own purposes.

Who controls Iran can control a big chunk of the world's oil and gas flow and can use that control to put pressure on other countries. The U.S. still dreams of "full spectrum dominance". Iran is one of the stumbling blocks on the road to achive that aim.

After the first Gulf war cut Saddam to size Israel thought him contained and wasn't very enthusiastic about the second Gulf war. But when asked by the Bush regime for support it helped at least on the propaganda site.

The propaganda campaign against Iran can be seen in similar light. Iran is far away from Israel. There is no common border and the Iranian military is not able to launch any offensive campaign. Iran supports Hizbullah, which is a thorn in Israels side, but neither Hizbullah nor Iran are a serious strategic danger to Israel. I therefore regard the current campaign run by Israel as much as a favor done in support of the United States' goals than something done out of genuine Israeli concern.

The real strategic concern Israel should have is what currently happens with its immediate neighbors. Egypt's yet unfinished revolution, the unrest in Jordan and a likely more democratic Syria which will be more demanding towards Israel are a much bigger danger to it than any weapon Iran could ever build. There emerges a reals strategic threat and so far Israel's reaction to it is a dear in the headlights paralysis. This is where the shortsighted and inflexible Israeli leadership is losing it:

The world has entered a dangerous transition, which the Arab Spring is part of. There are many risks ahead, for the possibility of Arab democracy, for American policy and interests in the region, and the possibility of a regional conflict. The biggest mistake, the biggest delusion, outsiders can make is to think that, even as everything around them is changing, that they can stay the same.

Posted by b on January 25, 2012 at 19:20 UTC | Permalink

Comments

As I remember the US used to complain that they have no negotiating chips for a deal with Iran

So the problem remains that they cannot give anything to Iran, that would make Iran give anything the US might want from them.

I do not know what the US tried to achieve by getting rid of Gaddafi, but that should have taught anybody that needed teaching, never, ever, to trust them. (Saudis presumably got worried because of Mubarak)

So negotiations are not the solution. Threats neither as it is not just Israel shouting "hold me back"

This is from Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/25/us-iran-idUSTRE80O15720120125

"More of a worry to Western strategists and shippers are the hardline Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Naval Forces (IRGCNF) with their focus on "asymmetric warfare" designed to work around Tehran's conventional military inferiority.

Firing their truck-mounted missiles directly at a warship or commercial vessel would be swiftly judged an act of war and prompt the immediate U.S. destruction of coastal batteries. But hundreds of Iranian small boats - believed to include suicide craft modeled on those once used by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers -would offer more options.

Operating in international waters, they can perform threatening passes of both commercial and military shipping, perhaps even firing warning shots and essentially daring international forces to respond. Individual craft could even conduct damaging and perhaps deniable attacks.

For many -- including the insurance companies nervously watching Gulf waters as they determine premiums -- the key question is whether such forces are under responsible control.

"Whereas the IRIN (Iran's mainstream navy) is a conventional military force and likely to be under tight control, the same is not true of the IRGCN," said John Cochrane, senior global risk forecaster at Exclusive Analysis, a London-based consultancy advising foreign firms in the region, including insurers.

"We assess there is a higher risk of a low-level IRGC small boat commander taking unsanctioned action - or just making a mistake - that would result in an incident in which lethal force was used by one side or the other."

I disagree about Israel not being strategically threatened. The above on asymmetric warfare applies to Israel also. Hezbollah and Hamas have found a way to survive Israeli bombs to throw another rocket. I think the problem Israel has is called strategic depth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_depth, not to mention democracy or demography.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 25 2012 20:33 utc | 1

Your argument seems to rest on the premise that "Who controls Iran can control a big chunk of the world's oil and gas flow and can use that control to put pressure on other countries.”

Please explain. How can/does not having control over less than 3% of worldwide production/flow of a fungible commodity like oil crimp the US ability to “put pressure on other countries”?

“The U.S. still dreams of "full spectrum dominance". Iran is one of the stumbling blocks on the road to achieve that aim.”
I do not see how, unless you regard total acquiescence to Zionist hegemony in the region and submission to its expansionist designs to be an integral part of achieving “full spectrum dominance” by the U.S.

“I therefore regard the current campaign run by Israel as much as a favor done in support of the United States' goals than something done out of genuine Israeli concern."

You would be right if it is the goal of the US is to “make the world safe” for Zionism, and that this goal actually serves genuine U.S. interest, not the interest of a US political establishment that has been “bought and paid for by the Israeli Lobby”. An alternative and simpler explanation is that Israel, through a corrupting influence of its Lobby, is the tail that wags the dog here.

Posted by: Tridant | Jan 25 2012 21:37 utc | 2

Very interesting, and seems closer to some kind of truth than other (Israeli centric) explanations. But, you gotta wonder how Israel could continue enabling the lumbering giant seeing that he's stumbling and falling all over the place and trashing the whole neighborhood a'la bull in a china shop.

Sometimes I wonder if the Arab spring movement is secretly inspired by Iran's ability to grow and expand its influence even under the heavy pressure of western interventionalism. They (the Arabs) look at their own leadership as the submissive bed partner beholden to and dependent on U.S. hegemony, and yet see no social or economic benefits for their populations for the co-operation. Where by contrast, Iran pro-actively takes on the combined powers of the U.S. and Israel and either out wits them diplomatically or games them into taking positions that ultimately works against them and to the advantage of projecting Shiite Iranian power.
Could it be that a subtext to the Arab spring is not so much the desire for western democracy, but a fit of ethno-cultural jealousy inspired by Iranian example?

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 25 2012 21:58 utc | 3

Iran ranks among the world’s top four holders of both proven oil and natural gas reserves. In 2010, Iran was the third-largest exporter of crude oil globally after Saudi Arabia and Russia. Iran currently exports electricity to neighboring states including Armenia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

According to Oil & Gas Journal, as of January 2011, Iran has an estimated 137 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, 9.3 percent of the world's total reserves.

Iran is in a key geographical position, a bridge between the Middle East, the Caspian region and Central Asia. Iran has an expansive domestic oil network including more than 10 pipelines that run between 63 and 630 miles in length. Iran has invested in its import capacity at the Caspian port to handle increased product shipments from Russia and Azerbaijan, and enable crude swaps with
Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

Iran’s estimated proven natural gas reserves stood at 1,046 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), second only to Russia. Iran exports natural gas via pipeline to Turkey and Armenia. Future pipeline projects (at various stages of planning) include the Iran-UAE pipeline, Iran-Pakistan pipeline, and Iran-Europe gas export project.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2012 22:34 utc | 4

@Tridant
The U.S. has sought control over Iran since at least 1953 when the US/UK overthrew the democratic Iran government because it nationalized British Petroleum interests in Iran. Iran was fine to the U.S. while the despotic Shah ruled, but the current Iran government refuses to obey U.S. dictates.

As b indicates, Israel is now doing the U.S. a favor by threatening Iran. To me, Israel is the "bad cop" who can really hurt you, but hey, look over here, the "good cop" U.S. will treat you well if you will only cooperate -- which is the main objective after all.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2012 22:43 utc | 5

"Iran supports Hizbullah, which is a thorn in Israels side, but neither Hizbullah nor Iran are a serious strategic danger to Israel."

True. However, Iran provides strategic depth to the so-called "rejectionist" front against settler-colonialism and Zionist hegemony in the region. If you want to truly "secure the realm" for the Zionist usurping entity, one must start by destroying Iran using the same strategy that was used on Iraq (which at one point provided strategic depth): first through crippling sanctions and then sustained bombing. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clean_Break:_A_New_Strategy_for_Securing_the_Realm

Oil and gas are hardly relevant; zionist hegemony is. If Egypt were to abrogate its peace treaty with Israel tomorrow and join the “rejectionist” front, it too will become a target and the US government, coaxed by the Israeli lobby, will respond in the same way.

Posted by: Tridant | Jan 25 2012 22:47 utc | 6

"The U.S. has sought control over Iran since at least 1953 when the US/UK overthrew the democratic Iran government because it nationalized British Petroleum interests in Iran. Iran was fine to the U.S. while the despotic Shah ruled, but the current Iran government refuses to obey U.S. dictates."

Saudi Arabia also "nationalized" American big "oil interests", albeit through negotiation,and nothing happened.

"Iran was fine to the U.S. while the despotic Shah ruled, but the current Iran government refuses to obey U.S. dictates."
Iran was fine to the U.S. because the Shah was an ally to Israel against Arab nationalism. There are plenty of countries that do not obey "U.S. dictates", but that does not seem to pose a major problem to the U.S. as long as those countries do not aid and abet the so-called "rejectionist" Arab front. Let me put it this way: if tomorrow Iran were to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, sanctions will be gone in no time and all this talk/concern about the alleged nuclear weapons program will be forgotten.

Posted by: Tridant | Jan 25 2012 23:03 utc | 7

If this is the case then the response should be obvious: China (in particular) and Russia should be rushing their most advances AA weapons to Iran.

Heck, they should be supplying those weapons free-of-charge precisely because it would be in their vital stategic interest to spike this "hold me back! hold me back!" pantomime nonsense.

Yet China and/or Russia are not rushing to arm Iran, which is decidely odd......

Posted by: Johnboy | Jan 25 2012 23:14 utc | 8

Remember the dastardly Iran assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador and the Iran plot to bomb the US Embassy or Consulate General in Turkey? Now Radio Free Europe has reported yet another.

BAKU -- Azerbaijan's National Security Ministry (MNS) says it has uncovered a terror group that was plotting to assassinate public figures, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The APA news agency quoted the MNS as saying that Azerbaijani citizens Rasim Aliyev, Ali Huseynov, and Balaqardash Dadashov -- the latter of whom is living in Iran -- coordinated efforts to acquire firearms and explosives. It said those materials were brought illegally to Azerbaijan from Iran.

The MNS said Dadashov was in contact with Iranian special service bodies and ordered the assassination of prominent foreigners living in Baku. It claims that Dadashov promised Aliyev -- his brother-in-law -- $150,000 for his work.


And in other news, the Iran Parliament is considering turning off Europe's oil tap soon. From the Tehran Times:
“If the plan is ratified, the government will have to stop selling oil to Europe before the implementation of the oil embargo on Iran by the EU,” added Hosseini, who is the rapporteur of the Majlis Energy Committee.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2012 23:46 utc | 9

"...but neither Hizbullah nor Iran are a serious strategic danger to Israel. I therefore regard the current campaign run by Israel as much as a favor done in support of the United States' goals than something done out of genuine Israeli concern."

This is a preposterous line of reasoning given the readily available FACTS that discredit it.

Zionism and its DEMON CHILD, Israel, don't do favours. They're collectively the most sociopathic grouping of humans on the planet. They only do what's best for themselves. Or at least what they think is best for themselves...

The USA is only their latest, most powerful, wholly-owned weapon, is all.

Geez!

Posted by: arthurdecco | Jan 26 2012 0:58 utc | 10

Iran is talking about turning off the Europe tap. The refinery situation was already bad -- and now this.

In 2011, 15 European refineries either closed, were under threat of closure, or gone on short time. Swiss oil refiner Petroplus filed for bankruptcy. Italy already risks the closure of five refineries and there are 70 possible refinery closures in Europe.

Piero De Simone, general manager of Unione Petrolifera: “The Iranians will have to unload their production somewhere and I’m sure they’ll find buyers. The last thing we need is more unfair competition. Either we do something at a European level or we risk a precipitous end similar to Petroplus’s for many European refineries.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 26 2012 1:02 utc | 11

@arthurdecco
Apparently you believe that either Hizbullah or Iran is a serious strategic danger to Israel? And that the U.S. is a weapon of Israel?

You are wrong. Israel is not seriously threatened. It has a significant edge in weaponry and frequent pledges of U.S. support. It is in no military danger from either Hez or Iran.

While U.S. foreign policy is influenced by Israel, in the Iran case the U.S. interest in controlling Iran is lengthy and resolute. The reasons are detailed above. Israel has been helpful in acting as the Nixonian mad dog in order to promote sanctions aimed at government change. But that's all Israel is in this matter -- A Favor to The U.S.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 26 2012 1:15 utc | 12

"... China (in particular) and Russia should be rushing their most advances AA weapons to Iran.

"Heck, they should be supplying those weapons free-of-charge precisely because it would be in their vital stategic interest to spike this "hold me back! hold me back!" pantomime nonsense..."

My feeling is that, as was the case re Libya, the Russians and Chinese are gambling that the US is overextending itself militarily, economically and morally. And that this is to be encouraged. There is a certain amount of wishful thinking in this strategy which, like all 'do nothing' options will be attracting more support than it deserves in Beijing and Moscow.

I am also inclined to take Israel's importance with a grain of salt: with the exception of its nuclear arsenal, of which we know little, Israel's military might exists only in relative terms. Most of the surrounding countries have militaries designed only to kill dissidents and consume hardware from the MIC: threatening Lebanon and Syria does not require very much military power.

In fact when it comes to zionism the United States has always been the major practitioner of this form of land piracy, clothed in slimy religious cant and eye rolling hypocrisy. The US ruling class believes that it has a right to take anything it wants, provided that it can hold onto it: it regards Israel's bush league ethnic cleansing and land appropriation with the kindly condescension of a state which has wiped out more nations and ethnically cleansed more land than any other. Using Israel as a policing auxiliary in the middle east, a hardened base in an area of key strategic importance run by a gang with an unprecedented ability to put up ideological smokescreens and a Fifth column capacity in most of Europe, is a no-brainer for the Pentagon (which is just as well because brains there are not much prized). But anyone who thinks that even the dimwitted fascists in Tel Aviv would attack Iran or anywhere else without having the Pentagon's permission is deluded.
That is not to say that there is not a massive rift in the US government between those who want war against Iran (which presumably includes many who wish the US ill) and those of a more cautious cast of mind who are aware that, so far, they have got away with a lot in the way of starting foolish conflicts and that, as the targets get harder, the moment of disaster grows nearer. They feel that leaving the tables for a while would be in order, whereas the neo-cons are addicted to the game.
It ought to worry thoughtful Americans that the enthusiasm for attacking Iran is now shared by the nutcases prancing around Ottawa, the scoundrels in Canberra, the clapped out ghosts of Empire who run England and every crypto fascist from Poland westwards. All of them people with horrific records of being wrong, misjudgement and intellectual shallowness (Euros anyone?)
The Gods evidently have it in for the Empire, as the Presidential candidates show the world on a daily basis: they are all madly competing for recognition as sadists, slavers and idiots. Even those sophisticates the Wahabis of the Gulf and Saudi, are surely beginning to wonder just what the driver of the juggernaut is smoking and why he is aiming it at the abyss.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 26 2012 1:23 utc | 13

Oh yeah, China can't believe how benevolent these Americans are. Sanctions? Sure, we'll agree to that, just as long as we Chinese don't have to obey them. Shoot yourself in the foot, see if I care. In Chinese, "China" is "Central Kingdom" and everywhere else is lesser. We're proving them correct. China has a superior economic model, for one thing, and that seems to translate to a superior foreign policy. A twofer.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 26 2012 1:56 utc | 14

Don Bacon: "Apparently you believe that either Hizbullah or Iran is a serious strategic danger to Israel? And that the U.S. is a weapon of Israel?"

No, I don't "believe that either Hizbullah or Iran is a serious strategic danger to Israel". You made that part up. I certainly didn't say so.

On the other hand - YES! I firmly believe the USA is controlled by a sociopathic collection of individuals who proudly identify themselves as Zionists - many of whom freely admit their principal allegiance is to Israel - a country I clearly identified in my earlier statement as the DEMON CHILD of Zionism,

"Zionism and its DEMON CHILD, Israel, don't do favours. They're collectively the most sociopathic grouping of humans on the planet. They only do what's best for themselves. Or at least what they think is best for themselves...

The USA is only their latest, most powerful, wholly-owned weapon, is all."

I think I made the point I was trying to make quite clear, Mr. Bacon.

And please don't ask me to provide you with a list of the principal actors responsible for our present predicament. Their names, their faces and their public utterances are there for all to see.

Posted by: arthurdecco | Jan 26 2012 2:06 utc | 15

Imo the main purpose of the incessant torrent of impotent hype and bluster about Iran is to draw attention from the ongoing colonisation of Palestine by the Jews.

Not only are they continuing to demolish Palestinian homes and villages, the IOF are also arresting members of the Palestinian Parliament and jailing them. According to a recent posting on Niqnaq, the targets of this tactic are hi-profile Palestinians who have been working to unify Palestine politically. According to one article linked on Niqnaq, the IOF has ordered the arrest and detention of circa 27 Palestinian MPs. Few, if any, have had the benefit of a day in court.

Israel is a military dictatorship and the IOF ignore the Knesset and the judiciary with impunity.

Hezbollah is a self defense force. The only "threat" it poses to Israel is its ability to prevent the Jews from incorporating Lebanon's Litani River into Greater Israel. Without the Litani there'll be no Greater Israel - just an inconsequential thiefdom full of murdering cowards and liars.

Iran is only in the frame because of its trivial and notional support for Hezbollah and, like all right-wing cranks, the illegal occupiers of Palestine need someone to blame for their failure to outwit Hezbollah.

I would only add that, regarding Israel's military "superiority", the Americans have demonstrated, ad nauseum, that an overabundance of hardware doesn't translate to victory if you're frightened of hurting your finger, or being attacked by your own shadow. And the Israelis are even worse than the Americans in this regard.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 26 2012 2:16 utc | 16

bevin @ 12: Good synopsis, I think everyone should own a dog.

Posted by: ben | Jan 26 2012 2:30 utc | 17

@ 15.
This is the article linked by Niqnaq referred to above about the IOF locking up hi-profile Palestinians.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/24/israel-jails-palestinian-parliament-speaker

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 26 2012 2:32 utc | 18

@Hoarsewhisperer

Yes, Iran is a distraction from all sorts of other important problems, I/P not the least of them.

Regarding weaponry, it's apples and oranges comparing Israel (primarily defensive) to the U.S. (totally offensive in various faraway countries, lately only Muslim ones which decreases the odds of success).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 26 2012 2:32 utc | 19

Hara-Kiri, anybody...?

Will Iran Kill the Petrodollar?

...So Iran will continue to have friends, and those friends will continue to buy its oil. More importantly, you can bet they won't be paying for that oil with US dollars. Rumors are swirling that India and Iran are at the negotiating table right now, hammering out a deal to trade oil for gold, supported by a few rupees and some yen. Iran is already dumping the dollar in its trade with Russia in favor of rials and rubles. India is already using the yuan with China; China and Russia have been trading in rubles and yuan for more than a year; Japan and China are moving towards transactions in yen and yuan.

And all those energy trades between Iran and China? That will be settled in gold, yuan, and rial. With the Europeans out of the mix, in short order none of Iran's 2.4 million barrels of oil a day will be traded in petrodollars.

With all this knowledge in hand, it starts to seem pretty reasonable that the real reason tensions are mounting in the Persian Gulf is because the United States is desperate to torpedo this movement away from petrodollars. The shift is being spearheaded by Iran and backed by India, China, and Russia. That is undoubtedly enough to make Washington anxious enough to seek out an excuse to topple the regime in Iran.

The Western MOTU House of Cards comes a'tumbling down...! 8-(

Posted by: CTuttle | Jan 26 2012 2:34 utc | 20

We're not grappling with the real issues being put forth by Iran...


Will Iran Kill the Petrodollar?

...So Iran will continue to have friends, and those friends will continue to buy its oil. More importantly, you can bet they won't be paying for that oil with US dollars. Rumors are swirling that India and Iran are at the negotiating table right now, hammering out a deal to trade oil for gold, supported by a few rupees and some yen. Iran is already dumping the dollar in its trade with Russia in favor of rials and rubles. India is already using the yuan with China; China and Russia have been trading in rubles and yuan for more than a year; Japan and China are moving towards transactions in yen and yuan.

And all those energy trades between Iran and China? That will be settled in gold, yuan, and rial. With the Europeans out of the mix, in short order none of Iran's 2.4 million barrels of oil a day will be traded in petrodollars.

With all this knowledge in hand, it starts to seem pretty reasonable that the real reason tensions are mounting in the Persian Gulf is because the United States is desperate to torpedo this movement away from petrodollars. The shift is being spearheaded by Iran and backed by India, China, and Russia. That is undoubtedly enough to make Washington anxious enough to seek out an excuse to topple the regime in Iran.

The Western MOTU House of Cards is a'tumbling down...! Buckle up, it's gonna be a bumpy ride...! 8-(

Posted by: CTuttle | Jan 26 2012 2:50 utc | 21

Read it and weep, folks...! Will Iran Kill the Petrodollar?

Posted by: CTuttle | Jan 26 2012 2:53 utc | 22

@ 12
‘… the Russians and Chinese are gambling that the US is overextending itself militarily, economically and morally.’

Assume that the US/Israel were to attack Iran pre-emptively, and assume that they might use nukes and wipe out, say, half of Iran’s 75M population and most of its infrastructure.

It seems clear to me that on the following day, US/Israel would be less secure, not more secure.

Posted by: Watson | Jan 26 2012 2:57 utc | 23

CTuttle@19: Good article, thanks for the link.

Protecting the petrodallar system may indeed be the overiding issue for the resource hegemony demonstrated by the US and it's allies.

Posted by: ben | Jan 26 2012 3:32 utc | 24

State Department Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan has laid out the U.S. administration's foreign policy priorities for 2012 with regard to Iran.

"Now, in order to get from where we are today to there requires Iran to take steps to come into compliance with its international obligations. That goes for its nuclear program. That goes for its sponsorship of terrorism and violence and its efforts to destabilize actors in the region. And in that regard, the question of Iran and Afghanistan and Iran and Iraq comes into play. We look to Iran to take steps to ensure that they are not engaging in activities in either Afghanistan or Iraq that attempt to destabilize or advance an agenda of violence or attempt to thwart the democratic aspirations of the people of those countries."

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/01/25/jake_sullivan_on_2012_foreign_policy_priorities

--". . .requires Iran to take steps to come into compliance with its international obligations. That goes for its nuclear program."

translation: Iran has to abrogate its rights to a civilian nuclear program promoted by the treaty it signed in good faith because of "international obligations" i.e. U.S. demands.

--"That goes for its sponsorship of terrorism and violence and its efforts to destabilize actors in the region. And in that regard, the question of Iran and Afghanistan and Iran and Iraq comes into play. We look to Iran to take steps to ensure that they are not engaging in activities in either Afghanistan or Iraq that attempt to destabilize or advance an agenda of violence or attempt to thwart the democratic aspirations of the people of those countries."

translation: Okay, you beat us in Iraq, but hands off in Afghanistan. We know we're losing there, but be gentle, okay?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 26 2012 3:45 utc | 25

cool, there's someone from tehran reading the thread right now. (according to the sitemeter)

hello tehran! tell everyone in iran i hope we don't keep screwing with you. good luck!

Posted by: annie | Jan 26 2012 4:55 utc | 26

Isn't it stupid.
The warships of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and its NATO allies are in the Persian Gulf to ensure the free flow of oil.
Don't block the Strait of Hormuz! We have two aircraft carriers there!
But the free flow of oil can't go from Iran to Europe, only to Asia.
So the taxpayers of the West are safeguarding oil bound for the East.
Safeguarding from whom? Are there pirates in the Persian Gulf?
Of course not.
It's the same in the South China Sea.
Don't let the door hit you, Barry.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 26 2012 5:40 utc | 27

@Johnboy

If this is the case then the response should be obvious: China (in particular) and Russia should be rushing their most advances AA weapons to Iran.

And you know for sure that they haven't? If they openly had, then they would be subject to regular kvetching visits from Hillary and Jeffrey D. Feltman. Can you think of anything worse?

The less an attacker knows about an air defence system the better and the IRGC probably have the discipline to keep a large transfer of equipment or, more likely, technology secret and then use it successfully. Imagine the shock to the system if most of Israeli aircraft that flew to attack Iran were downed. And what could Israel and its lackeys, the US, the UK and France do? It would be self-defence and Iran would have no need for a further response.

Posted by: blowback | Jan 26 2012 11:03 utc | 28

cool, there's someone from tehran reading the thread right now. (according to the sitemeter)

hello tehran! tell everyone in iran i hope we don't keep screwing with you. good luck!

Posted by: annie | Jan 25, 2012 11:55:49 PM | 23

Jane Fonda, anyone?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Jan 26 2012 14:19 utc | 29

Never could bring myself to root for the bully on the block. I dig Jane Fonda.

Posted by: ben | Jan 26 2012 14:28 utc | 30

Yep, Jane went on to be one hell of a Communist....or Socialist. According to her, she was both. The many avenues of Authoritarianism and Elitism. Jane's just another example.

http://www.1stcavmedic.com/jane_fonda.htm

I don't dig Jane Fonda anymore than I dig John McCain. She's a hypocrite of the highest order....just like McCain, or Nixon.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Jan 26 2012 14:49 utc | 31

didn't you walk outta here in a grand huff, a few days back? Or did I just dream that? ;-)

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 26 2012 15:23 utc | 32

I'd still rather see Jane Fonda naked than John McCain.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/222317.html
On another topic. Does anyone know if this really happened?

Posted by: ben | Jan 26 2012 15:33 utc | 33

@32, I now realize it's a lot like the Hotel California. I can check out any time I like...but I can never leave.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Jan 26 2012 15:40 utc | 34

@33, she was attractive in her day. I'm not sure I would want to see either of them naked today. Strike that...I'm sure I wouldn't. You'll appreciate this spoof on McCain. It tickled me red.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5644760/apocalypse_john/

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Jan 26 2012 15:45 utc | 35

@ ben #33

It appears that your link is broken.

Posted by: sleepy | Jan 26 2012 16:30 utc | 36

Try again..http://www.presstv.ir/detail/222317.html

Posted by: ben | Jan 26 2012 16:34 utc | 37

ben, that BS was fully addressed on the Libya thread.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 26 2012 17:20 utc | 38

Without US support for its Anti-Arab (- muslim) aggro in the ME (oil, resources, etc.) Israel would be a laughable, scorned curiosity, a pocket-stamp weirdo country with medieval customs and laws that some might want to boycott, shun, or economically sanction, on the grounds of:

Racism, civil rights, ‘democracy’, religious freedom, the rule of law (whatever that is in the eye of the beholder), women’s rights, property rights, citizen rights, workers pay, the right to speedy trial, illegal imprisonment, UN resolutions, laws that regulate or limit territorial expansion outside of International agreements, and on and on, and that is without mentioning the darker side -

Banking and many kinds of trafficking. Which is usually carried out by Israelis who do not reside in Israel, it is too disgusting, just a camp for ugly, dirty ppl - they say. These rich ppl state they cannot bring up their children there. They are not the 1% but the 20%.

Israel’s survival is pegged on carrying out US wishes. It has no resources to speak of, is a failed, violent, rife with poverty and hate, territory, an unholy mess, kept alive, shakily, by the SuperPower.

By direct stipends and arms deals - very generous - of course, but more so by the take-over which leads to protection, underground deals, corruption, which is always relatively cheap, and stringent, perpetual defense on the International Scene.

Israel should have, long ago, could still today, maybe, sign cooperation and economic agreements with Iran (amongst others - Syria - etc.) - Iran would give it some slack - for energy / agri / biz - deals. Israel would get energy and scope for biz, would trade, etc.

That would never EVER be tolerated by the USA.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 26 2012 18:00 utc | 39

Israel Isn’t Going to Attack Iran and Neither Will the United States
http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/01/26/israel-is-not-about-to-attack-iran-and-neither-is-the-united-states-get-used-to-it/

Posted by: Paul | Jan 26 2012 20:23 utc | 40

Don Bacon #27
there is something wrong with your assumption.

Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates do need to send oil thru the straits and it is a lot more than what Iran produces/sells.

according to wikipedia, I am sure there are more authoritative sources available but it is not all that important

On an average day in 2011, about 14 tankers carrying 17 million barrels (2,700,000 m3) of crude oil passed out of the Persian Gulf through the Strait. This represents 35% of the world's seaborne oil shipments, and 20% of oil traded worldwide. More than 85 percent of these crude oil exports went to Asian markets, with Japan, India, South Korea, and China representing the largest destinations

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 26 2012 23:26 utc | 41

As someone who has been actively resisting the solidification of the illegal usurpist state of israel by crazed
zionists most of my too long life, I hafta say I am disappointed that a large chunk of amerikan opposition to the
zionist project seems to be coming from racists & xenophobes.
This is a real pisser cause the zionists have long claimed that 'only nazis' could oppose their god given (in their
terms - in any rational view, fairy tales & superstitions are the basis for zionism) right to slaughter their
fellow semites.
Yet the insane notion that amerika's involvement in the ME generally & Iran in particular is solely motivated by
pressure from the zionist lobby, is so stupidly ignorant, and emotively declaimed, that racism/xenophobia must be
its basis.

amerika's interest in Iran precedes 1953 &certainly precedes the creation of ersatz state israel. It was in 1945,
Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt met at the Black Sea resort of Yalta, there amerika first considered their 'right'
to hegemony over Iran.
It is a fair spit from Yalta to Iran. Iran's North Eastern Border has no access to the black Sea; Turkish Armenia
blocks the way. Still the latitude is similar. USSR borders Iran at teh Caspian Sea, further East. Maybe Stalin
wanted FDR to feel similar warmth seeping into his bones as that of his over-the-top expensive gift, Iran.

Scrape away alla the lies to the masses about blocking the spread of fascism (if that were so why didn't england &
france stop hitler in Spain) you are left with ww2 was ww1 redux, a fight over control of oil, a divvy-up of
the booty, once the Ottomans had been relieved of ownership.

Giving Iran to amerika was a typically brilliant Stalin move. The USSR had no real claim on Iranian oil - english,
french & to a lesser extent, amerikan interests began Iranian exploitation.

Thing was tho, USSR is close up to Iran, england france n amerika are far away. A recalcitrant Russia could
cause all sorts of trouble for any frog, pom or yank effort in Iran.

stalin had to offer the septic tanks something for the arms n ammo he was getting to fight nazis, what could be
better than giving away something that wasn't his?
The failure of the leftish resistance in Iran to regain control after the cia had deposed the democratically
elected Iranian govt is due to non-compliance from USSR.
During the 1979 revolution the left had more revolutionaries fighting than the khomeini-ites, yet they got beat.
Not only was ussr not providing arms and equipment, they were sabotaging the comrades.

To honour a 30 year old deal.

Russia and amerika must regret that decision now.

zionist lobby or not, amerika intends fighting iranians indefinitely until a regime servile to amerika's interest
is installed. Not just because of oil, although that is important, but because like all bullies, amerika's
position on the top of the heap rests on its reputation for being a mean motherfucker who never allows anyone to
'steal' anything from it.

Posted by: debs is dead | Jan 26 2012 23:43 utc | 42

@ dan of steele #41
I don't see how you disagree. Twelve of the fourteen tankers transiting the Gulf daily are going to Asia and it's a U.S. obligation to safeguard them? Against what? And as I stated, that also applies to the South China Sea.

Why is it a U.S. obligation to safeguard Asia shipping, including that coming from Iran? Iran has told the U.S. to leave, that it can safeguard shipping in the Gulf.

Of course we know that the real reason the naval force of the U.S. and its allies are in the Gulf is not to safeguard anything but to foment a war, which we should protest. I don't know my history that well but there must be parallels between this current U.S. provocative behavior and that of the U.S. in the western Pacific before Pearl Harbor, to include energy sanctions.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 27 2012 0:21 utc | 43

Debs - "amerika's interest in Iran precedes 1953 &certainly precedes the creation of ersatz state israel. It was in 1945, "

but you see the massive influence of US-based Zionist-leaning bankers (for want of a better phrase) actually preceeded 1953 AND 1945. It also preceeded WW2 - their influence on the US Gov't and it's policies, both foreign and domestic, was solidified just before, also during, and immediately after WW1.

Many have speculated that the reason The Fed was so underhandedly created in 1913 was specifically to help Wall Street bankers, of various religious and political persuasions, to initially finance both sides, and then the Allied side in WW1. The great Wall Street and London financial houses had been engineering that conflict for several years before it actually kicked-off.

Prior to the creation of the Fed, the size of the credit lines needed to finance that war were far to large for any one Bank, or even for several operating together, to bear. Only with the backing of the income guaranteed from being the SOLE source of US currency could the various Wall Street institutions hope to be able to finance WW1.

What after all was the Balfour Declaration? What was it for? How did it come about? Who benefitted from it? Why and how did they benefit?

Remember that it was immediately after WW1 at Versailles that Zionist designs on Palestine became crystal clear

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 27 2012 0:46 utc | 44

BTW: I'm not claiming that US actions are solely at the behest of the Zionist-leaning section of it's establishment. Obviously there were other Non-Zionist sections that benefitted greatly and were equally hungry to expand the US Empire and use it for their own ends - but to dismiss completely the Zionist section of the US Establishment (a very wealthy and very influential section, irrespective of it's suppossedly tiny numbers), as Debs seems to do, is ridiculous.

To pretend that, prior to the modern-day, Zionist-influence in US Gov't affairs was somehow negligble, is complete nonsense

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 27 2012 0:53 utc | 45

With U.S. Dollar being ditched as American Empire declines, Zionists head to India.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktQOLO4U5iQ

Posted by: easy e | Jan 27 2012 4:36 utc | 46

"More than 85 percent of these crude oil exports went to Asian markets, with Japan, India, South Korea, and China representing the largest destinations"

just speculating here, BUT since a very large slice of the Gulf oil heads to Asian markets, could there be some sort of US game-plan to actually engineer the clousure of the Straits, as some sort of punishment for certain Asian countries (China and India spring to mind) ditching the Dollar?

a while back I checked the export figures from Saudi to China - too lazy to go back and check it now, but I vaguely remember that the figure of 13% was prominent - unfortunately I can't remember if that represented the percentage of Total Saudi Crude Ouput destined for Chinese Markets, or the percentage of Chinese Oil imports sourced from Saudi

Either way if the Straits close, the Chinese (and not just the Chinese) are going to suddenly have to fill a fairly substabtial gap in their oil import figures

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 27 2012 4:52 utc | 47

"As someone who has been actively resisting the solidification of the illegal usurpist state of israel by crazed zionists most of my too long life, I hafta say I am disappointed that a large chunk of amerikan opposition to the zionist project seems to be coming from racists & xenophobes.

This is a real pisser cause the zionists have long claimed that 'only nazis' could oppose their god given (in their terms - in any rational view, fairy tales & superstitions are the basis for zionism) right to slaughter their fellow semites.

Yet the insane notion that amerika's involvement in the ME generally & Iran in particular is solely motivated by pressure from the zionist lobby, is so stupidly ignorant, and emotively declaimed, that racism/xenophobia must be its basis."

Deb, for somewone who has been "actively resisting the solidification of the illegal usurpist state of israel by crazed zionists most of my too long life" you certainly can't claim much success. You haven't made a whit of difference. Your contributions have meant nothing.

But how could you? You only parrot the perverted talking points of our admitted enemies.You're on THEIR side when yo adopt their definitions and distortions of history as the basis for your argument.

Perhaps its time to gracefully bow out and let a different strategy/perspective take your bankrupt place in the front lines defending our western rationality from malign influence.

You don't have to be a racist to be repulsed by the perverted and truly racist philosophy of Zionism, silly.

Give your head a shake!

Posted by: arthurdecco | Jan 27 2012 5:06 utc | 48

Gads, what a bunch of horseshit this thread is. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to note the Israeli push for war, and the corrosive effect Israeli influence has on our body politik. I don't buy this ridiculous notion that Israel is doing us a favor, reading our script on Iran and parotting the narrative out of some sort of gracious gesture of loyalty, reparation, or charity. What crap. Israel cares about Israel, PERIOD. They'd nuke a few million of us if they thought it would buy them another week of existence.

There are many factors at play here, not the least being a modern day crusade, where a bunch of fuckin' religious wackjobs at the top of the heap both here and in Israel figure God is sanctioning their desire to rid the planet of those dastardly heathen Muslim savages.

Oil and empire are secondary to the murderous zeal of these religious fanatics, Jewish and Christian, to pursue their archaic delusions about the existence of a prejudicial and bigoted God. The fact that the Muslims, as well, have an ample supply of these religiously deranged wackjobs doesn't exactly bode well for our immediate future.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Jan 27 2012 5:33 utc | 49

GlaserWatch:
Another false report from John Glaser at antiwar.com
"Iran is preempting the European Union’s embargo on their oil, deciding to cut off exports to Europe six months before the embargo is set to take place."

There has been no such decision. The Parliament is considering it, according to Tehran Times. Such a decision might come but it isn't here yet.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 27 2012 14:48 utc | 50

Don Bacon, a gentle request that you provide links with your quotes. It's helpful for the reader and a sign of respect for the originator of what your quote or refer extensively. Please, and t/u.

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 27 2012 15:42 utc | 51

@jawbone
good advice - thank you

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 27 2012 16:16 utc | 52

"despite its efforts to diversify its sources, China has become increasingly dependent on Middle East oil. Today, 58% of China's oil imports come from the region. By 2015, the share of Middle East oil will stand on 70%. Though historically China has had no long-standing strategic interests in the Middle East, its relationship with the region from where most of its oil comes is becoming increasingly important. "
http://www.iags.org/china.htm

Closing the Straits would seriously damage the Chinese economy -

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 27 2012 16:43 utc | 53

China has signed on to seriously damage the Iran economy. What's good for the goose . . .

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 27 2012 17:10 utc | 54

Where did they do that, Don?

I kinda missed that one . . . . do please enlighten us :)

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 27 2012 17:18 utc | 55

antiwar.com
Iran Set to Cut Oil Exports to Europe
Emboldened by the sanctions regime, the Iranian government is preempting an EU embargo on their oil scheduled for this summer
by John Glaser, January 26, 2012
Iran is preempting the European Union’s embargo on their oil, deciding to cut off exports to Europe six months before the embargo is set to take place.
http://tinyurl.com/6w883bg

Tehran Times
‘Iranian MPs mulling plan to cut oil exports to Europe’
TEHRAN - The Iranian parliament is discussing a plan calling for a halt to Iran’s oil exports to the European countries that voted for sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, MP Nasser Soudani has announced.
http://tinyurl.com/7cch2s6

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 27 2012 17:49 utc | 56

@Hu Bris
In the UNSC.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 27 2012 17:50 utc | 57

looks to me like that would do a lot more damage to the economies of European countries, Don, than it would to the Iranian Economy -

AND I'm still mot seeing the bit where "China has signed on to seriously damage the Iran economy" - in fact I found no mention of China in either of those articles

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 27 2012 17:53 utc | 58

My understanding is that China has taken the same line as Turkey and India. They will only observe UN sanctions. I guess that could change.

Posted by: dh | Jan 27 2012 18:02 utc | 59

Again, Don, I ain't seeing what you appear to be seeing - in fact i'm seeing something that looks kinda opposite to what you appear to be seeing

China: Iran sanctions not constructive

"BEIJING, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The Chinese government, reacting to the European Union's embargo on Iranian oil, said such sanctions are not constructive.

"To blindly pressure and impose sanctions on Iran are not constructive approaches," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement to the official news agency Xinhua.
"

although the Chinese DO appear to be trying to cosy-up to the Saudis, perhaps in anticipation of more effective/damaging sanctions on the Iranians in the future?

China's Wen presses Saudi Arabia for oil access

"BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pressed Saudi Arabia to open its huge oil and gas resources to expanded Chinese investment, media reports said on Sunday against a backdrop of growing tension over Iran and worries over its crude exports to the Asian power."

Maybe the Chinese have, as you say, "signed on to seriously damage the Iran economy", but it looks to me like Oil santions on Iran will damage Chinese Iranian and European economies.

However it also looks to me that, in the absence of a rigidly-enforced all-out Global embargo on Iranian Oil exports, both the Chinese economy and the Iranian economy can withstand the damage far better than any of the Europeans.

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 27 2012 18:10 utc | 60

IMHO the push for sanctions on Iran looks more like US-led economic war on the Euro-zone than anything else - why the idiots in Eyrope are co-operating in cutting their own economic-throats in this fashion is very mysterious indeed.

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 27 2012 18:17 utc | 61

IMHO the push for sanctions on Iran looks more like US-led economic war on the Euro-zone than anything else - why the idiots in Eyrope are co-operating in cutting their own economic-throats in this fashion is very mysterious indeed.

I'll hazard a guess or two:
1. They really don't want a war in the Middle East and they rather stupidly think that by appeasing Israel (and its US lickspittles) they will avoid one. The trouble with appeasement is that once you meet the appeasees' demands, he upscales his demands and you are in a far worse position.
2. They disliked Bush (even most of the conservatives) and they reckon the next Republican president will be even worse than Bush so they will do anything to make sure Obama is re-elected.

Posted by: blowback | Jan 27 2012 18:50 utc | 62


The Iranian oil embargo blowback

By Pepe Escobar

"Saudi Arabia - whatever the oily spin in Western corporate media - does not have the spare capacity; and on top of it, the absolute priority for the House of Saud is high oil prices, so it can bribe - apart from repressing - its own population into forgetting about noxious Arab Spring ideas.

So yes, already broken European economies would be forced to keep buying Iranian oil, but now from the winners of choice - middlemen vultures.

Not surprisingly, the losers lost in these Cold War tactics anachronistically applied to a global open market are the Europeans themselves. Greece - already facing the abyss - has been buying heavily discounted oil from Iran. The strong possibility remains of the oil embargo precipitating a Greek government bond default - and even a catastrophic cascade effect in the eurozone (Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain - and beyond).

The world needs a digital Herodotus to decode how these European poodles who claim to represent "civilization" were able, in a single stroke, to inflict simultaneous pain on Greece - the cradle of Western civilization itself - and Persia - one of the most sophisticated civilizations in history. In an astonishing historical replay of tragedy as farce, it's as if Greeks and Persians were bonded together at the Thermopylae facing the onslaught of North Atlantic Treaty Organization armies. "

further down . . .

"BRICS member India - alongside Russia and China - also dismissed sanctions. India will keep buying Iranian oil and paying in rupees or gold. South Korea and Japan will inevitably extract exemptions from the Barack Obama administration.

All across Eurasia trade is fast moving away from the US dollar. The Asian Dollar Exclusion Zone, crucially, also means that Asia is slowly disengaging itself from Western banks.

The movement may be led by China - but it's irreversibly transnational. Once again, follow the money. BRICS members China and Brazil started bypassing the US dollar on trade in 2007. BRICS members Russia and China did the same in 2010. Japan and China - the top two Asian giants - did the same only last month.

Only last week, Saudi Arabia and China rolled out a project for a giant oil refinery in the Red Sea. And India more or less secretly is deciding to pay for Iranian oil in gold - even bypassing the current middleman, a Turkish bank. "

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jan 27 2012 20:14 utc | 63

I normally admire China's foreign policy of not interfering in any country's internal affairs, but in June 2010 China (and Russia) caved in to the US/UK/France and voted for extensive sanctions on Iran in the UNSC. These increased sanctions, which can't be defended on any legal grounds, didn't affect China so China wrongfully voted for them.

UNSCR 1929 - Jun 9, 2010

"The resolution restates the Security Council's longstanding demand that Iran's suspend its enrichment program and other proscribed nuclear activities. It also highlights and clarifies Iran's existing obligations to accept and facilitate the implementation of rigorous international safeguards on its nuclear program.

The resolution imposes a series of new sanctions that will increase the cost to Iran's leaders of their current irresponsible policies. http://tinyurl.com/25cnu5n

UNSC

Adopting resolution 1929 (2010) by a vote of 12 in favour to 2 against (Brazil, Turkey), with 1 abstention (Lebanon), http://tinyurl.com/2eqpa2l

TIME, 2010

Analyst Peter Lee points out that the Chinese are claiming, through commentaries in official publications, that Beijing extracted a significant price for its support. Not only has Beijing watered down the sanctions to be adopted by the Security Council in order to ensure they don't restrain China from expanding its already massive economic ties with Iran; Chinese analysts also claim that, in the course of a protracted series of negotiations with Washington, their government also won undertakings from Washington to exempt Chinese companies from any U.S. unilateral sanctions that punish third-country business partners with the Islamic Republic.
http://tinyurl.com/7tl28nq

The sanctions are bad enough on their own account, with special favors for China to Iran's severe disadvantage, but the passage of this resolution also (as I have commented previously) killed the Brazil-Turkey deal to process Iran's 20%-enriched uranium, a substance Clinton is now bitching about. This deal would have transformed the Iran "crisis," and China (with Russia) helped kill it. Therefore my statement: "China has signed on to seriously damage the Iran economy. What's good for the goose . . ."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 27 2012 20:48 utc | 64

IMF Warns

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The oil-related sanctions imposed on Iran could add at least 20 percent to market prices for crude oil, the International Monetary Fund warned.

The IMF, in a note to delegates from the Group of 20 gathered at the Davos World Economic Forum, said sanctions on Iran would cut 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from world markets and greatly affect prices.


Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 27 2012 21:01 utc | 65

Not exactly the sound of music in Switzerland--
Israel's GDP ranks #50 in the world, between UAE and Denmark, but nevertheless Israel was apparently invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos, and is making the most of it.

Ehud Barak called for intensified sanctions on Iran at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Barak, Israel’s defense minister and deputy prime minister, said Friday that a stable world order would be impossible if Iran achieves a nuclear weapons capability.

“Iran is prepared to defy and decieve the whole world to turn themselves into a nuclear power,” Barak said during a session at the Swiss forum, according to the Guardian. “This will be the end of any conceivable anti-proliferation program. Major powers in the region will feel compelled to turn nuclear.”

Barak called for tougher sanctions to prevent that from happening. We are determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear," he told the World Economic Forum in Davos. "And even the American president and opinion leaders have said that no option should be removed from the table.

"It seems to us to be urgent, because the Iranians are deliberately drifting into what we call an immunity zone where practically no surgical operation could block them."
http://www.forward.com/articles/150437/ http://tinyurl.com/6r3rbes

The immunity zone! For Iran's illicit nuclear program! A new language is being created. Let's see if any American politicians learn to speak it. The Zionist Biden hasn't been heard from lately, perhaps it'll be him.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 27 2012 22:07 utc | 66

Re:66 Mr. Bacon, Sometimes you puzzle me, sometimes you anger me and sometimes - like this time - you leave me speechless, filled with admiration.

"A new language is being created. Let's see if any American politicians learn to speak it."

Posted by: arthurdecco | Jan 28 2012 3:12 utc | 67

Don Bacon re #43

Why is it a U.S. obligation to safeguard Asia shipping, including that coming from Iran? Iran has told the U.S. to leave, that it can safeguard shipping in the Gulf.

quite simply because the US has strong ties to Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Kuwait as well as interests in Iraq. Those countries need to be able to ship their oil out. Also, in order for India, China, and Japan to not actively oppose the US adventures in the middle east and onwards toward the Caspian Sea, there have to be some arrangements....like not cutting off their oil supply which is an act of war.

of course the bully factor is a big player here. how dare anyone oppose the mightiest nation on earth

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 28 2012 13:07 utc | 68

IMF warns? Is that the same as Soros warns? What a hoot. They're telescoping their passes, folks. Place your bets now on oil going to $150....oh wait, you can't, you're not allowed at the betting table.....it's reserved for the casino operators and you're the one who has to pay up when they collect their winnings.....and they always win.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Jan 28 2012 14:04 utc | 69

For those into big bombs, this CliffsNotes:

existing U.S. bomb penetration
30,000 lb MOP 60 ft concrete
5,000 lb GBU-28 20 ft concrete
2,000 lb BLU-109 6 ft concrete

Iran Fordo (Qom) facility -- 90m rock

Existing bunker-buster bombs are not nearly enough, so the news today is that the U.S. is shopping fro a bigger bomb. Anybody got one?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 29 2012 0:50 utc | 70

sorry about that -- no closing paren on the href, and also WSJ doesn't like TinyURL.
try this:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203363504577187420287098692.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 29 2012 0:56 utc | 71

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