Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 25, 2018

Why Europe Must Reject U.S. Blackmail Over Iran's Nuclear Agreement - An Update

The Trump administration has threatened to end the nuclear deal with Iran. In our last post we argued in detail that the attempt of the European 3, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, to soothe Trump by condemning Iran's ballistic missiles is itself a breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

The University of Alabama endorsed Moon of Alabama's legal reasoning :-). Professor Daniel Joyner, author of several books on international law, non-proliferation and the nuclear deal with Iran, responded to the piece:

Dan Joyner @DanJoyner1 - 6:43 PM - 24 Jan 2018
Replying to @MoonofA
Hi, I enjoyed your post and agree with its analysis.
I examined 2231 in a chapter you can download here: Iran's Nuclear Program and International Law: From Confrontation to Accord, Chapter 7
I addressed the missile issue at pg. 240, and reached the same conclusion you do.

Ellie Geranmayeh, a member of the European Council of Foreign Relations (a U.S. aligned institution), is also defending the nuclear deal and warns against endorsing its breach. She argues in Foreign Policy that the Europeans should not soothe Trump but take a strong stand against any U.S. attempt to put Iran back into the bad corner:

Some European officials state in private that the best option is for Europe to muddle through in the hope that Trump will eventually shift his position. But muddling through just won’t do. Trump is likely to continue increasing his maximalist demands unless Europe flexes its political muscle.

In order to protect its economic and security interests, Europe must not only reject Trump’s ultimatum — which would be a kiss of death for the nuclear deal — but also push back. Europe should put in place a viable contingency plan if the United States continues backtracking on the deal and let Washington know it’s ready to use it.

The author puts forward a four point plan which would indemnify European companies which are dealing with Iran but threatened by secondary U.S. sanctions:

Put simply, EU officials must tell Trump: If you fine our companies’ assets in the United States, we will reclaim those costs by penalizing U.S. assets in Europe. This would cause a major trade conflict that the Europeans want to avoid by all means. But the option and the precedent exist.

Pressing Iran on the ballistic missile issue leads to a dead end, and possibly a new conflict that is not in European interest. Europe should  therefore address that issues on a wider, regional base:

[I]n recent months France and Germany have reportedly both pressed for the EU to introduce new sanctions targeting Iran’s missile program. This approach is unlikely to persuade Tehran to negotiate over its missile program. Nor are such steps likely to gain support from China and Russia as the nuclear-related sanctions did. This is especially true now due to rising U.S.-Iranian tensions and increasing Western arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel. A more pragmatic approach would be for the EU to facilitate a dialogue with all regional powers with the goal of limiting the range of ballistic missiles and their transfer under existing international arms control regimes.

Possibly later this week a U.S. delegation will meet with European diplomats to talk about the way forward. Britain, pressed with a Brexit scenario, is probably the most inclined to follow the U.S. line:

“I’d say there was a pretty wide measure of agreement on the European side about the need to look at what Iran is doing on the ballistic missile front and to work out what we can do collectively to constrain that activity and to make a big difference there,” [British Foreign Secretary Boris] Johnson said at a meeting with [U.S. Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson on Monday. “And we think we can do that; we think we can do that together. But as Rex says, it’s important we do that in parallel and don’t vitiate the fundamentals of the Iran nuclear deal, and we’re sure we can do that.”

Johnson and others are wrong with this. There is no reasonable case at all to (solely) address Iranian ballistic missiles when Saudi Arabia, Israel and the U.S. (also Pakistan) all have ballistic missiles pointed at Iran. Tehran will rightfully reject any such talks. Addressing Iran's ballistic missiles in the framework of JCPOA and UNSCR 2231 is a breach of the resolution which had lifted all limits on Iran's missile activities. The only chance to talk about ballistic missiles at all is within a much wider framework.

The EU-3 should follow the advice given by Ellie Geranmayeh and prepare for an economic confrontation with the U.S. over the nuclear deal. It is clearly the U.S. which is in breach of the deal and which rejects the UNSC resolution it had earlier supported.

If the Europeans do not hold up the case, Trump will notice that the EU folds even under mild pressure. He will use that experience to push other cases and will attempt to blackmail the EU over and over again.

The involved politicians should also recognize that opposing Trump is a domestic winner in Europe where his approval rates are at a record low. There will be no lack of backing for harder line policies.

Posted by b on January 25, 2018 at 9:47 UTC | Permalink


The U.S. is fast becoming a pariah in the world. Slowly, ever so slowly, the worm is turning against the U.S. policies towards the world at large.
Iran will never be brought to heel, IMO; but that won't stop the Mossad and the deep state from insurgency in Iran.
My largest concern at the moment is NK; I keep hearing about a bloody nose. NK & SK seem to be progressing, much to the chagrin of the U.S..

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 25 2018 10:08 utc | 1

I am not sure that even "pushing back" will work in the long run. What the US seems to want is the excuse to impose progressive unlimited sanctions. Ones that also curtail EU investment in Iran in the future.

A comparison between sanctions on Russia and Iran makes this clear.
ie. Russia will not "give" Crimea to Ukraine. This is obvious to all concerned, but the US has continued to impose sanctions against Russian Businesses, Businessmen, Banks and unrelated industries (gas exploration etc.). These increase regularly, but there is never a decrease. There will not be one as the "solution" proposed by the EU and the EU is met by a solid "I won't" from the Russians. These sanctions are therefore unlimited by any time related restriction.

Sanctions against Iran have - for the US, a "fatal" mistake as they are"time" related. The nuclear deal was for a set period after which other conditions apply etc. The US is therefore trying to find an Iranian "I won't" against which they can impose progressive sanctions - without an end date.

Missiles would fit the bill as Iran will not give up it's defensive possibilities. (To do otherwise would be suicidal).

Posted by: stonebird | Jan 25 2018 10:23 utc | 2

The problem with Western Europe is that its core foreign policy strategy, consolidated during the Cold War, collapsed, and know Germany simply doesn't know what to do.

During the Cold War, European strategy was simple: there was a hostile superpower right in its borders (the USSR), and the USA was both the industrial and financial capitalist superpower. It was easy to become an ally of the USA. The economy was growing, people's lives were getting better, the threat of nuclear war was looming and things like NATO were just an afterthought or a self-evident fact of life.

But then the USSR fell.

The first reaction was to consolidate the European Union. There was universal hope then that the end of the Cold War would bring the so-called "peace dividend", i.e. the world would stop with wars, the whole world would be economically integrated and more wealth would trickle down to the people. From the same period was born Mercosul and NAFTA.

Then the crises begun (1997, 2000, 2008) and it became clear wars wouldn't stop. The profit rates of the USA and the rest of the First World continued to fall. After the creation of the Euro Zone, economies from the EU begun to diverge (i.e. the poorer members became poorer, Germany became richer). Russia continued to be a rival after the fall of Yeltsin.

The European Dream is dead. In order for a United States of Europe to become reality, two things had to materialize:

1)economies within the EU and, specially, the EZ, should be converging, and at an exceptional speed and

2)it should have its own Armed Forces.

This won't happen, since a) the economies have been diverging since 2000 and b) the USA will never allow for the extinction of NATO.

But even if Germany goes on (with a forced unification of the financial system, the 'Macron Plan'), the situation will continue to be dire for Europe. The core of the contradiction here is that Germany (read its elite) still believes it can be a world superpower through a united Western Europe. Problem is, it can't: Europe can only become a superpower with Russia. But the idea of a Europe with Russia excludes a German hegemony. Therefore, either we have an European superpower without German hegemony, or we have a decadent European power with German hegemony.

Put it simply, there are no objective material conditions for Germany to become a world superpower. Merkel, this year, rejected an alliance with China on the grounds that "China sees us as a peninsula, not as a partner". Well, China sees it as it is because it simply is. Germany's imperial ambitions are merely a subproduct of its sui generis condition as an exceptional exporter of manufactured goods -- this condition is, as all exceptional conditions are, temporary, fruit of a specific historical moment.

Posted by: vk | Jan 25 2018 11:40 utc | 3

The core of this issue is, the U.S. wants to keep the 'agreement' status ambiguous so that Iran will not immediately re-start its program, but be 'publicly pressured' at the same time ... and eventually (too late in about 1 year) re-start their program giving the US and allies a pretext for war in about 18 months or so (launch date 9/11/19). By then the US will have (a) have public support and (b) not be threatened by Iranian nukes, (c) have North Korea under control so they can't give Iran nukes (d) have Brexit completed (so Iranian refugees will not come to UK, but become an issue for "Europe", (e) give US time to work out some global deal with Putin (like Ukraine and Baltic states for Iran)... etc.

The long-range plan is definitely to invade Iran. Israel would like Iran splintered so there isn't a large regional state that an threaten it existentially. Its going to be a rough set of years for Iran and especially Iranians. Right now everything is pointing towards war and keeping Iran defanged and in a state of suspense.

Posted by: Supreme Ayatoilet | Jan 25 2018 12:26 utc | 4

There is a simpler reason why the EU won't oppose the United States and that is because the EU requires unanimity when deciding on policy and some of the countries in eastern Europe are so far up Washington's a**e as to be invisible. In particular Poland but also Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia come to mind. Then there is always the UK, Washington's attack dog in the EU.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 25 2018 12:27 utc | 5

V. Arnold @1:

Yep. So pissed off was the US at South Korea, for that Winter Olympics move, a tariff was applied to South Korean products. But, I don't believe anything will come of North Korea. The Neocons in Washington won't allow it, as their main target is Iran.

vk @4:

Merkel must be delusional to believe that she can replace China's culture with her own. She must have drank a little too much Soros Kool-Aid.

Supreme Ayatoilet @5:

Israel isn't the only nation pushing a war against Iran. Wikileaks revealed that Saudi Arabia also lobbied hard for a war as well.

Posted by: Ian | Jan 25 2018 12:58 utc | 6

Right when SAR is supposed to enter Afrin?

Posted by: Mina | Jan 25 2018 13:27 utc | 7

Ian | Jan 25, 2018 7:58:38 AM | 7
I tend to agree with you, but one caveat; the U.S. overestimates its abilities and underestimates its adversaries.
But NK has nukes; +1
Historically Iran is the bigger thorn; and gave up nukes (if it ever intended to have them); -1.
With Russian S-300's, and good anti-ship missiles, Iran will be a tough nut to crack; too tough for the U.S. in the end.
But then, the U.S. is stupid and butt ignorant.
We'll see...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 25 2018 13:29 utc | 8

>>>> Supreme Ayatoilet | Jan 25, 2018 7:26:06 AM | 5

Israel would like Iran splintered so there isn't a large regional state that an threaten it existentially.

Iran is not currently an existential threat to Israel and won't be for the lifetime of the JCPOA or the current Supreme Leader and even then it won't be.

The long-range plan is definitely to invade Iran.

Perhaps you have some suggestions how this might be carried out?

Build up heavy armoured forces in Iraq, Turkey, Azerbijan and Pakistan and launch a ground invasion. With things as they are I think not and I left out Afghanistan and Turkmenistan because the logistics are just too difficult as to get large enough forces in place quickly enough to guarantee success requires sealift rather than airlift capacity.

A naval invasion across the Persian Gulf? I doubt the USN has enough capacity with LST etc. to get enough heavy armour ashore to be successful quickly enough. And if the USN starts building lots of LST etc. it would be pretty obvious what they were about to do

An aerial bombing campaign? Ironically this might be the most damaging approach for the United States. As soon as F22s on SEAD missions are detected over Iran, the Iranians go all in and launch swarms of missiles at oil and military facilities throughout the GCC. Oil prices goes through the ceiling and head towards the Stratosphere and the US military is so disrupted it has to stop operations. Meanwhile the world's economy crashes and everybody blames it on the arrogance of the United States for attacking Iran.

There are no good options to invade or even attack Iran and anyone in Washington who thinks there are is an idiot unless they are prepared to see the United States a genocidal state (yeah I know it already is one but not on this scale).

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 25 2018 13:35 utc | 9

Posted by: Ian | Jan 25, 2018 7:58:38 AM | 7

Wikileaks revealed that Saudi Arabia also lobbied hard for a war as well.

ROFLOL. Looking at what Saudi Arabia has achieved in Yemen, i doubt the KSA could organize a piss-up in a brewery let alone an invasion of Iran. The Israelis might be able to do so but neither they nor the KSA has the capability or capacity . I doubt even the forces of the European NATO forces have the capability or capacity, which leaves the United States and Trump would be history in 2020 if he authorized it.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 25 2018 13:44 utc | 10

It seems many commentators here misunderstand the Zionist/US-Deep State agenda. While an endless line of US Oval Office puppets blather on about the US military "winning", the intent is to simply cause chaos and destruction in the Middle East, while "containing" China and Russia with chaos and colour "revolutions". Europe is merely a buffer zone and stalking horse for the Zionist agenda, having been infiltrated and controlled by the Rothschild (and now Bilderberg/Davos cabal) o.oo1% for centuries.

Those who sit on Western thrones and "elected" leadership positions either know they are puppets, or are deluded into thinking they are autonomous. The hypocrisy is breathtaking... lap-dog Trudeau announcing $100's of millions for food programs at Davos while Cdn Forces participate in US-led operations which cause those exact problems worldwide. Same as lap-dog Harper... who now works for Zionist Adelson.

Posted by: A P | Jan 25 2018 14:27 utc | 11

I totally agree with Geranmayeh. EU shouldn't let things pass, but prepare full retaliations in case US sanctions EU firms. It's time to threaten the US; Trump included, with total economic warfare and see if *he* blinks.
EU has been screwed big time with the sanctions against Russia. One would expect a reasonably intelligent leader wouldn't repeat the same mistake with Iran.

@ vk - 4
The tragedy is that the EU doesn't realize that there is, right now, a hostile superpower, and that superpower is the USA.
And indeed, official alliance with Russia has been my own less-worst plan for years. EU and Russia can complement each other way better than EU and USA - if only because Russia is lacking in more areas than the US. Of course, EU-China alliance doesn't make any sense either; heck, if their leaders were clever, we would see an India-China alliance, and everyone else would be toast.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 25 2018 14:33 utc | 12

I do not understand how the EU countries can be so dense as to not see how vital ballistic missiles are to Iran's defense when Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are receiving billions of $ of advanced weapons from the U.S. annually. If Iran does nothing until 2023 this means that they will have 8yrs of falling behind their vicious neighbors. What does the EU expect Iran to have, slingshots? Iran isn't even allowed to import conventional weapons until 2020.

People say, yeah but no one is going to invade Iran. One doesn't have to invade a country to dominate them. If Iran gets put into a position where they have no modern weapons (they have not allowed this so far) while their neighbors and the U.S. dominate the Persian Arab Gulf then they could threaten to block or sink all of Iran's oil exports without Iran being able to retaliate. Isn't this basically how the British dominated most of their colonies, they would just show up with some battle frigates and shell the place? Armaments are not just about deterring invasion.

Tom Cotton cackled many times about how we can bomb Iran without invading them.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 25 2018 14:40 utc | 13

As an Iranian, those who speak of invading Iran (armchair Rednecks or Israelis) have no idea, have never seen or know the train, size or the geography of Iran, that is beside the History and demography of the country. Iran is a cakewalk, come on and have some.

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 25 2018 14:42 utc | 14

I really appreciate and fully endorse your efforts to help to stop the European 'Powers' to do the poodle again. But I honestly doubt this will change anything. This mediocre bunch of politician-actors won't have the guts to do something they feel is risky. Being coward is their nature.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jan 25 2018 15:31 utc | 15

Not only is there a ballistic missile balance to consider, between Iran and its unfriendly neighbors (not all are), but also the fact that Iran has a relatively weak air force (due to sanctions) and therefore depends upon a missile defense.
To reiterate my earlier comment, no country has the legal right to tell Iran how to defend itself. The UN Charter: "The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 25 2018 15:49 utc | 16

Wow are there ever gross absurdities and hypocrisies obvious in the US policies vs Iran. Maybe in a nutshell: these are the progeny of the US ruling cabal's implacable mad criminal agenda of global military 'full spectrum dominance' – global empire - and the Israeli agenda of dismembering, destroying or weakening all viable potentially hostile countries in its surroundings, and the global private banking cabal's relentless agenda of controlling each countries issuance of currency or its equivalents and thus dominating the politics of each country – as confessed in the words of David Rockefeller – “The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.” Iran is too independent, too sovereign, economically/financially.

The EU project itself was a perverse elite masterstroke, a hitherto successful attempt to set up a controllable and exploitable – vassal entity – amorphous 'Europe' out of a motley of post world war 2 resilient national entities. But among other trends, the opening of the floodgates to an influx of hordes of disorienting alien cultures into Europe could help foster a growing indigenous European counter-coup against globalism.

Iran's rather successful attempt at indigenous and independent development of defensive military capabilities merits admiration; can only be condemned by lies, propaganda and such. Any person of sound mind cannot find justice in giving only Israel, France, Pakistan, India, China, France, Russia and the United States freedom to develop all manner of offensive and defensive weapons, while denouncing North Korea or Iran for developing a significant defensive capability.

As noted, the current situation does give American and Zionist dominated Europe an opportunity to begin the process of restoration of viable and free national entities. I think one key to such a process is to unfetter and thus enliven political discourse in Europe, so that the pernicious situation described by the strangely coincidentally deceased journalist and author Udo Ulfkotte as reported by Eric Zuesse via Washington's blog in 2014, is alleviated.

“I've been a journalist for about 25 years, and I've been educated to lie, to betray, to not to tell the truth to the public ….Germany is still a kind of colony of the United States.... you are bribed, you get more and more corrupt …. [this is the case with German journalists] … it is especially the case with British journalists ….[and] Israeli journalists ….French journalists , [etc]. I have [had] three house attacks, [but] I have no children, so … it's worse for the truth [for those who have families that can be threatened].

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 25 2018 16:03 utc | 17

I think the wider problem is there are no Statesmen in Europe, only politicians. Does any one remember the split between Germany and USA in 2002 over Iraq? Germany refused to "participate" by preventing USA troops on their way to Iraq to use German airports. Massive, massive anti-war rallies. Big deal. Spain took our planes. And that was the end of Germany's "standing tall" moment. I kept shouting at the radio, "Come on, Gerry! Send a company of engineers into Bagdad! That's all it will take to prevent the bombs!" But that sort of thinking requires Statsemenship. Politicians are as short-termist and self-interested as any casino-capitalist. There is that old saying, "Follow the money." Well, Politicians take that as their professional credo. They will blindly and adoringly follow the money, where ever it leads, never questioning where it comes from.
These European Powers are content to dismiss Turkey with racist disregard, brazenly pillage Greece, be silent enablers in Ukraine, and act as dis-interested spectators as NATO builds up a Barbarossa Force and beats the drums of war like a tantrum-throwing child with Tourette's and ADHD. These guys are our best hope to avoid an Iran Conflict? Is it too early to print up "Putin/ Xi 2020: Pivot to Asia without having to carve a bloody path through Iran" bumper stickers?

Posted by: empbub | Jan 25 2018 16:04 utc | 18

In a War with Iran, are we sure that rising oil prices would hinder
or hamper the US? Wouldn't their oil gas industries stand to profit
from the hike in prices?

Never mind the population and their plight at the gas station. The oil
Moguls interests are what the swamp feeds on.

A Trump's Washington would be delighted at the pains this would
cause to China's growing "arrogance". It would hinder India too,
a major power wannabee.

The result is that the interests of India and China would be so
seriously compromised that they would neccessarily have to enter
the fray.

As far as Russia is concerned, the whole shebang suits her fine.
Her stake in the oil market is bound to increase by leaps and bounds
and put Europe at its feet.

She could even remain neutral and would certainly sell weapons to

Deprived of Chinese goods the US public would go on a belt
tightening experiment but the elite would profit handsomely.
No new Apple products for a while.

Good for Mexico and , Venezuela and Ecuador's oils interests.

In the end, barring a nuclear war, the US would lose its ability
to project power via its naval forces under the assault of the
combined navies of the world and the attrition in the Persian Gulf.

But yes, at the beginning the big wigs in the US would be

For how long is another question.

Posted by: CarlD | Jan 25 2018 16:05 utc | 19

It is important not to over estimate US, not to mention Israeli, power. The ability of the US to threaten Iran is largely related to its control of the international economy.
And it is there that the tectonic plates are shifting very quickly: as the Russians have learned (and Russian economic policy seems to be in the hands of neo-liberal clowns) sanctions can be very good for a nation. And a regime in which the US and its satraps simultaneously sanctions Iran and Russia while going to commercial war with China, and the many economies dependent on it, is one that would very quickly lead to the end of Wall St's power.
US sanctions are never without cost and the US economy is not in a position to throw away opportunities to sell or invest any longer. Not least because there is no longer any certainty that the objects of US action will, in the end, beg for re-admission into the charmed world born in Bretton Woods.
As to the matter of Iran's acquiring a nuclear deterrent, that would be very easy: it would not need to make nuclear weapons, there are plenty of them about, just sign an agreement of defensive alliance with either or both of Ruyssia and China. Or perhaps even Pakistan!

Posted by: bevin | Jan 25 2018 16:17 utc | 20

I for one, will not hold my breath till' the EU pushes back on anything the U$A decides to do, or not do. When you hold someones financial future in your hands, you get to pick the tune they dance to. The almighty dollar still rules. Change that, and the paradigm changes..

Posted by: ben | Jan 25 2018 16:18 utc | 21

Any change in Europe is dependent on reeducation. Young Europeans have been brought up to believe that nationalism is evil and their future lies in European unity.

Posted by: dh | Jan 25 2018 16:19 utc | 22

@Don Bacon #17 - I think that's a fair point.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jan 25 2018 16:39 utc | 23

The need for EU Statesmanship was mentioned, which is clearly important. However, the fact that both the Outlaw US Empire and EU's foreign policies are erected on Big Lies needs to be denounced first and foremost; otherwise, whatever's proposed is meaningless. Corbyn seems to be the only EU-based politico with the courage to call the Emperor Naked, his clothing nothing more than chimeras.

A reality-based policy must first acknowledge what the reality is before moving forward. Unfortunately, the cartoon b posted depicts a particular reality that bodes ill for the required acknowledgment of reality/denouncement of the Big Lies.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 25 2018 17:08 utc | 24

Don Bacon @17 "The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members."
In fact, there is a fundamental contradiction written into the UN Charter. On the one hand,
Article 2(1) states: “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” But, on the other hand, Article 23 of the Charter grants five of its Members permanent
seats on the Security Council, and Article 27 gives each of them a veto over decisions of the Council. Clearly, all Members are equal, but some Members are more equal than others.David Morrison gives chapter and verse on the veto powers of the big 5 in this excellent article in the lead up to the Iraq war.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 25 2018 17:08 utc | 25

@ Posted by: dh | Jan 25, 2018 11:19:15 AM | 24

„Any change in Europe is dependent on reeducation. Young Europeans have been brought up to believe that nationalism is evil and their future lies in European unity.“

What is wrong with that?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 25 2018 17:15 utc | 26


All countries that have been attacked since 2003 were secular states. But they have a second thing in common: Iraq, Libya, and Syria would have given the Palestinians material support in case of the annexation of the West Bank by Israel. The only country left is Iran. So, from Tel Aviv's point of view this obstacle has to go. It has to be "freed".

Posted by: Gesine Hammerling | Jan 25 2018 17:15 utc | 27

>>>> CarlD | Jan 25, 2018 11:05:24 AM | 21

In a War with Iran, are we sure that rising oil prices would hinder or hamper the US? Wouldn't their oil gas industries stand to profit from the hike in prices?

Stratospheric oil prices might be good for some oil companies but many Americans would see their most precious civil right usurped and they would be mad as hell and maybe not prepared to take it anymore particularly in the less densely populated states which are predominantly Republican.

BTW, after the KSA crashed the price of oil to damage Russia, most of the fracking and unconventional oil companies were put in financial jeopardy and guess who bought them out for pennies on the dollar? Often the KSA Sovereign Fund, so the KSA will have an alternative source of revenue.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 25 2018 17:17 utc | 28

The EU will disintegrate before it pursues a foreign policy independent of the U.S.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jan 25 2018 17:26 utc | 29

@29 Depends how you define nationalism I guess. Individual European nations are losing their identity. European unity would be a good thing if it meant Europe had an independent policy and less vulnerable to US interference.

Posted by: dh | Jan 25 2018 17:37 utc | 30

b - thanks for addressing this...

i tend to agree with ghostship run on it and @16 pnyx's take... it is still all about israel/usa and if anyone thinks europe can get out from under that - good luck!

@22 bevin.. i always appreciate your comments and agree with your analysis, but i am curious about what you refer here "Russian economic policy seems to be in the hands of neo-liberal clowns".. would you care to elaborate further on this? i might be able to learn something... thanks..

Posted by: james | Jan 25 2018 18:18 utc | 31

Whenever the Israeli-firster, dual-citizens in Congress start focusing too much on Iran, I'm always reminded to look to Israel's borders for the real events they probably want you to ignore.


Israeli NGOs and troops travel freely between the Golan and Zone 1 in violation of the armistice. They have replaced Saudi Arabia/UAE openly as financial and arms suppliers to the al Nusra (Southern Front) headchoppers, who have since rebranded themselves. Israel has trained and emplaced 500 Nusra (Golan Knights) as 'border guards' for Zone 1. This de-facto annexation of more Syrian territory by proxy has been completely ignored by the MSM.

In perhaps the absolutely creepiest aspect of Israel's violation of Syrian sovereignty and human rights, the Israeli Interior Ministry has decided to 'grant asylum' to 100 Syrian orphans - infants and children that can't possibly speak for themselves. From JPost:

"...The youngsters have yet to enter Israel, but the plan are said to entail an initial three-month accommodation of the children in dormitories. In the following stage, the orphans will be integrated into Education Ministry institutions and also possibly taken in by foster and adoptive families..."

Possibly? I wonder how Syrians feel about this human trafficking scheme sending their infants and children to Israel? If Israel would stop funding al Nusra head-choppers and annexing Syrian land/resources, maybe Syria could afford better care and placement of its own orphans.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 25 2018 18:46 utc | 32

@33 paveway.. i was reading about that the other day, but yes - it definitely wasn't on the msm... so sad how israel will ultimately be the cause of its own demise... it's only a matter of time with actions like these..

Posted by: james | Jan 25 2018 19:17 utc | 33

Don Bacon @ 16: It would make sense for Iran to concentrate on missile defences rather than throw away money on training pilots for an airforce certain to be annihilated in a matter of hours by a force comparable to the US airforce because of the lack of up-to-date technology denied by economic sanctions. There is a parallel with North Korea here, in that sense, in that country's emphasis on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as its main plank in its defence policies. Thanks for pointing out what should have been obvious to us MoA bar regulars.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 25 2018 21:00 utc | 34

The best strategic option for the U.S. is to "lose Turkey, but gain the Medians"! Let me explain. I have been pushing for the creation of a regional union in Central Asia for some time. This union would be like the European Union (or US) and encompass All the Stan's (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikestan etc), Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Turkey and Iran, would form the heart of the Union like Germany and France in the creation of the EU. My logic is simple: (1) Turkey has been kicked out of the EU (basically), its membership battle is over. Establishing the Median Union would be a face saving measure for Turkey (2) Russians are trying to suck Turkey into the EAEU - as an alternate membership option for Turkey - and there has to be another alternative besides the EAEU for Turkey (otherwise it WILL join the EAEU) (3) Absorbing Iran, could be means of moderating Iran, and bringing Iran into a western fold (4) There already exists an organization called the ECO (which encompasses these countries). (5) This Union could serve as a major regional economic engine and help places like Afghanistan and Pakistan (to just name a few, but Tajikestan is a likely candidate too), come out of economic hell and demise (and NOT fall into Russia/Chinese laps). (6) Many regional issues are multi-lateral - take Kurds for example, or the Caspian Sea for example. It involves multiple states, and is best dealt with on a regional basis (which the Union could provide a pretext for).

I could go on and on. But, the way to NOT lose Turkey, is to give Turkey a decent alternative. I am saying the creation of a new Regional Union would be it.

This should be a top US priority. (better than invading Iran, and cutting the JCPOA). With Turkey as a leader in the Union, the whole region could become western leaning, a great counter to Russian, Chinese - even Indian dominance. (Yes, India is an ally today, but do people in Washington really know or understand political dynamics in India? Modi is here, will he be there in 10 years?)

The US should stabilize the region with the creation of a regional union. Create a central bank for the Union, create a progressive forward looking central administration, then build roads, airports, etc. and create an Engine for global economic growth, pro-west, a massive new market ... sort of like China was say 20 years ago?

Nothing lost. Everything to gain.

Posted by: Supreme Ayatoilet | Jan 25 2018 23:37 utc | 35

@Jen 35
Oh yeah, moving from the specific to the general, missiles is the way to go. They're inexpensive, have no worries about oxygen supply (a big problem now in US fighter aircraft), don't require a diminishing supply of pilots with expensive helmets, and can be programmed to zip along the surface, then go up and down and get the job done. They have made aircraft carriers obsolete, should truth be known. Missiles can even be sent by partisans against national warships with great effect. It's a revolution in warfare but doesn't favor companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing so in the US the legacy "defense" programs live on.
You get it (congrats on that) but they don't, or don't choose to.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 26 2018 1:43 utc | 36

I got this link from
"House leader Ryan says U.S. wants Europe to join Iran sanctions push"

So what is Ryan's justification for strangling (U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran)?

“Look at their violations of missile testing, look at what they’re doing in the region, look at what they’re doing in Syria, look at what they’re doing in Yemen,” Ryan said.... [Reuters statement]Iran has one of the Middle East’s largest missile programmes and some of its precision-guided missiles have the range to strike Israel. Tehran has repeatedly said its missile programme is defensive and not negotiable.

1. How is what they are doing in Syria different from what Russia is doing in Syria? We should at least be consistent and declare Russia a terrorist state and apply the same sanctions to them.

2. Yemen (too much an insult to decency to discuss further, let God judge between between us)

3. Ballistic missiles, again, a flat out declaration that Iran's neighbors should be able to attack them but Iran should not be able to respond. Lost 1M people in an invasion? Crybabies, you must surrender to us or we will starve you. Classic gunboat diplomacy.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 26 2018 13:51 utc | 37

@33 PavewayIV

Golan Knights (Fursan al-Joulan) is a small Sunni group of fighters from a border village of Jabata al-Khashab. I don't think anybody made a case for them to be AQ (HTS, SF); some said it is an independent "paid good neighbor".

@34 james

The above story, Fursan al-Joulan etc, was published in the Wall Street Journal in June 2017

Posted by: Don Karlos | Jan 26 2018 13:55 utc | 38

b, excellent article, I would add that it is of EU interest to start splitting from the warmonger policy of the US which leading to a faster USD collapse. EU should know that they can indeed profit from a USD collapse with an independent and stronger Euro, it is about time for the EU to think beyond USD collapse, and this matter serves well the road ahead, which can and should be built now, the opportunity is gold for EU, the choice is clear, ride about the wave or drown embraced with the US. It is simple choice indeed,maybe not easy to make but it is real and it is now.

Posted by: Canthama | Jan 26 2018 14:29 utc | 39

@39 don karlos.. thanks don.. i stand corrected.. are you suggesting in your comments that israel hasn't supported isis / al qaeda / al nusra and etc etc in it's ongoing attempt to make a failed state of syria? it looks like you might be!

Posted by: james | Jan 26 2018 17:59 utc | 40

@41 James

I don't know, maybe they do or maybe they don't, their policy is not interfering in affairs of others unless it is directly to do with their own security (here in practical terms, Iran).

Posted by: Don Karlos | Jan 26 2018 21:13 utc | 41

„Any change in Europe is dependent on reeducation. Young Europeans have been brought up to believe that nationalism is evil and their future lies in European unity.“

What is wrong with that?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 25, 2018 12:15:02 PM | 27

IMHO, this is wrong because it may describe Germans to some extend, but I can hardly see who else, and however you define Europe, Germans form a minority. European sense of common identity is probably increasing in a healthy, organic manner: regular low and middle income people have many interactions with people from other countries, if not directly than through close circle of friends and family.

However, there are some "founding myths" that have to be addressed before EU forms a consistent independent policy on carefully selected issues.

Right now, American POTUS does not have good press, and a number of largest and most influential European companies could use some protection against the highly annoying American habit of imposing fines to the tune of many billions of Euros for transgressions perceived by sometimes obscure persons in USA and not grounded in any European law, or a conduct within USA. Basically, this is piracy in the spirit of Sir Francis Drake. And while it may affect some far away Yemenis, etc. the direct victims belong to the pinnacle of European society. But those very victims forms perhaps the third generation educated on the dubious wisdom that you can oppose USA only if USA does not mind too much, lest European security evaporates and some dangerous unknown takes place.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 26 2018 21:48 utc | 42

Back in 1996, the Europeans bristled at US and pro-Israeli lobby efforts to impose sanctions on Iran. Look how easily they fell in line for so long.">">

Posted by: CYRUS | Jan 27 2018 9:24 utc | 43

Back">">Back in 1996 the Europeans bristled at US and pro-Israeli lobby efforts to impose sanctions on Iran. Look how easily they fell in line for so long

Posted by: CYRUS | Jan 27 2018 9:27 utc | 44

Peter Jenkins, former British ambassador to the IAEA:

Europe, Don’t Go All wobbly on the JCPOA!

President Trump will be as dismissive of his allies’ efforts three months from now as he has been of their arguments for continued US participation in the JCPOA. He will say that they have failed to fix the “flaws” or even to check Iran’s ballistic missile program. This is foreseeable because Iran has made clear that it will not offer further nuclear concessions, or negotiate restrictions to its sovereign right to develop and possess missiles for defensive purposes.

All this is bad enough. Worse is the risk that European accommodation of President Trump will prompt Iran to pull out of the JCPOA in response to a US withdrawal. European solidarity with Iran, on the other hand, can convince Tehran to preserve the agreement.


Appeasement also risks being construed by Iran as a violation of paragraph viii of the JCPOA Preamble, especially if E3 lobbying in Brussels for new sanctions is successful:

The E3/EU+3 commit to implement this JCPOA in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere, based on mutual respect, and to refrain from any action inconsistent with the spirit and letter of the JCPOA that would undermine its successful implementation. The E3/EU+3 will refrain from imposing discriminatory regulatory and procedural requirements in lieu of the sanctions and restrictive measures covered by the JCPOA.

Posted by: b | Jan 28 2018 15:27 utc | 45

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