In decertifying Iran deal, Trump caves to Israel. But who will say so?

US Politics

The Iran Deal is in danger. Donald Trump is said to plan to decertify Iran’s compliance with the deal by October 15 and kick it over to Congress to reimpose sanctions, or not.

And one problem is that supporters of the deal aren’t naming the Number One Enemy of the deal, which is Israel and its lobby. Maybe they forget, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress in 2015, trying to preempt the U.S. president’s signature foreign policy achievement. Maybe they forget that President Obama stated at the height of the fight for the deal that only Israel opposed the deal openly, of all countries in the world, but if he sided with Israel it would be an “abrogation” of his constitutional duty to protect the interests of the American people.

The New York Times all but leaves out the Israel angle in this explainer on the deal, by the usually-superb Rick Gladstone. Why has Trump called it the worst deal? What do other politicians have to say about it? Why is Trump so hostile? Gladstone raises these political angles with only one glancing reference to Israel.

Similarly, the Washington Post says that Trump’s decision on the deal could cause a “major breach” with European allies, but there is no reference to the Israeli interest pressing the U.S. A European official speaks anonymously to the Post about the fearful Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, working to reimpose sanctions.

“But we’re convinced somebody like Cotton will go out with a bill,” said the official… “That will cause a crisis among the Republicans. . . . Nobody wants to appear to be defending Iran. Nobody wants to appear to be defending Obama.”

Tom Cotton got elevated to the Senate from the House in Arkansas in 2014 in part through a $1 million campaign contribution from Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel. Cotton immediately became the neocon horse in the Senate, battling the Iran deal at every turn.

Another political meteor, UN ambassador Nikki Haley, (who’s said says she’s going to kick Israel’s foes in her high heels), is already promoting Cotton’s criticisms of the Iran deal.

As for that “crisis” among Republicans over the deal, how much does that have to do with the mother’s milk of politics, money? At Lobelog, Eli Clifton says that Trump is caving to three billionaire donors: Bernard Marcus, Paul Singer, and Sheldon Adelson. “All three have funded groups that sought to thwart the negotiations leading to the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, official name of the deal], including [Mark] Dubowitz’s FDD [Foundation for the Defense of Democracies], and have given generously to Trump.”

At least Clifton identifies Israel’s role in trying to torpedo the deal. And as for the three billionaires, they’re all giant supporters of right wing Israel. Adelson has of course called for the nuking of Iran, as reported here first, and says he regretted not serving in the Israeli army. Paul Singer backs certain liberal causes domestically, such as LGBT rights, but turns into a neoconservative when it comes to the Jewish state (Commentary magazine, the Kagan clan, the Republican Jewish Coalition).

That’s the best thing about this battle; the billionaires are rightwing Zionists, but the Zionist lobby in the U.S. is splitting over the Iran deal. J Street is strongly defending the deal, (citing Israel’s genuine interest, as usual). So the Israel lobby has fractured over the deal, as it is also split over Netanyahu and the two-state solution. There is open infighting inside the lobby, and things are poppin loose. To the point that the Jewish Forward has run an article by the lobby’s leading critic.

The American people’s interest is clearly in maintaining this deal. But we’ve taken a big step backward from summer 2015, when the Israel interest could be named, by Obama and John Kerry. Unless our press calls out the country that’s trying to undermine the deal, it will be a lot easier for politicians to gain cover for their opposition.

36 Responses

  1. Mooser
    October 6, 2017, 3:33 pm

    “Jeff b” will be along any minute to sing an old Stevie Wonder song.

  2. yonah fredman
    October 6, 2017, 4:27 pm

    Whether the Iran deal is good or not for the world is the first question and I follow the Israeli generals who say that it is good.
    The politics here is partially Israeli lobby, but also the vacuousness of the Republican party. It used to be the party of stuffed shirts and Wall Street types, but no longer. It is now the party that really thrills at chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” It is a party that needs a foreign enemy. Conceivably the only enemy the Trump Republicans need would be Mexico and it is only the Israel Lobby that is pushing Iran as an enemy, but it is the Republican party and its need for a foreign enemy that is at the root of the problem.

    • Donald Johnson
      October 6, 2017, 4:40 pm

      There can be more than one root, Yonah. I think you have identified one, though I also think some of the Democrats are pretty hawkish, Clinton among others. Michael Morell the former CIA guy who endorsed Clinton said the US should be covertly assassinating Russians and Iranians in Syria. He said that on the Charlie Rose show last year. The lobby is a big part of this, but I also think people like Morell just like to have enemies.

    • genesto
      October 7, 2017, 3:07 pm

      Correction. The Republican Party has always needed a foreign enemy, at least going back to Barry Goldwater.

      • ToivoS
        October 7, 2017, 3:50 pm

        Egad man, the Republican Party has used foreign enemies going back to to 1949. Recall the China Lobby that worked through the repubs. “Who lost China” was their rallying cry. It was fear of “who lost Vietnam” that led Kennedy and LBJ into that war’s fiasco.

  3. Annie Robbins
    October 6, 2017, 5:31 pm

    i don’t think trump is going to decertify the deal.

    Eli Clifton says that Trump is caving to three billionaire donors: Bernard Marcus, Paul Singer, and Sheldon Adelson.

    clifton wrote, “Trump is expected to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal….according to the Washington Post

    (my bold). then he wrote:

    perhaps a bigger pressure on Trump to decertify comes from three of his biggest political donors: Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer, and Bernard Marcus.

    i’m just mentioning this because clifton didn’t ever say he thought trump was caving. and personally, i think the headline implies it’s a done deal. you might be right, but i don’t think it’s responsible to report something (“In decertifying Iran deal, Trump caves to Israel” vs ‘In decertifying Iran deal, Trump would be caving to Israel’) as if it’s already happened.

    • just
      October 6, 2017, 5:49 pm

      Here’s a pretty good article:

      “European Officials Join Campaign to Keep Iran Deal

      Supporters of the deal say its collapse could trigger a regional arms race and worsen Middle East tensions

      As the U.S. Congress faces a possible fight over the future of the Iran nuclear agreement, European ambassadors and officials from President Barack Obama’s administration are making their case for preserving the pact directly to U.S. lawmakers. 

      The British, French, German and European Union ambassadors to the United States will participate later on Wednesday in a meeting on Capitol Hill with Democratic senators organized by the Senate’s number two Democrat, Richard Durbin, congressional aides and embassy officials told Reuters. 

      Former Undersecretary of State and lead Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman will also attend and former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will participate via videolink, an aide to Durbin and another congressional aide said. 

      The meeting is part of an ongoing effort by Democrats in Congress and other officials who support the nuclear pact to bolster support for the deal by spelling out the consequences of its collapse as Republican President Donald Trump faces an Oct. 15 deadline for certifying the agreement or placing its fate in the hands of Congress. 

      A British embassy official said Ambassador Kim Darroch was in Congress on Wednesday with his French, German and EU counterparts meeting with both Democrats and Republicans “to provide information on the European position on the JCPOA,” using an acronym for the nuclear agreement. 

      An EU embassy spokesman confirmed that EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan and others would attend, to explain that the deal is a multilateral agreement that is working and that the European Union will do everything it can to ensure it stays in place. …”

      read more: https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.815835

      He’ll have to go against ‘his generals’, too.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 6, 2017, 6:01 pm

        thank just, i have been following this closely. iran’s been crystal clear they won’t amend the deal. if it falls apart there’s no turning back. meanwhile, the neocon press has been all over jumping the gun on this and trump does what he always does when he bashes the deal but has certified it twice already. there’d be no teeth in more sanctions if the rest of the p5’s don’t go along (and they won’t) and china just extended a 10 billion dollars loan to iran last week. so logistically, it would be an embarrassment to the US to back out of the deal.

        and these 2 anonymous senior officials? whatever. not impressed. even cnn calls it “expected decision”. this is jumping the gun on the news — it’s a media trick. but i am not falling for it.

        but who knows, obama threw the lobby’s ‘bomb syria red line’ decision to congress and the lobby lost. big egg on face.

      • just
        October 6, 2017, 6:13 pm

        I agree, Annie.

        The US is planning on arming this murderous regime~ again:

        “The U.S. State Department has approved the possible sale of a THAAD anti-missile defense system to Saudi Arabia at an estimated cost of $15 billion, the Pentagon said on Friday in a statement citing Iran among regional threats.

        Saudi Arabia asked to purchase 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launchers and 360 missiles, as well as fire control stations and radars.

        “This sale furthers U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, and supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian and other regional threats,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation agency said in a statement.

        Iran has one of the biggest ballistic missile programs in the Middle East, viewing it as an essential precautionary defense against the United States and other adversaries, primarily Gulf Arab states and Israel.

        THAAD missile systems are deployed to defend against ballistic missile attacks. …”

        read more: https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.815990

        ugh.

    • RoHa
      October 6, 2017, 11:23 pm

      If Trump “decertifies” the deal, what happens next?

      Do all the other countries that are part of the deal (United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and Germany) then say, “Oh, all right. Sorry, Iran, deal’s off. Our signatures on the treaty don’t mean a thing”?

      And then do all the countries that have been making contracts with Iran (and those include the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and Germany as well as much of the rest of the EU and nearly every big-hitter in Asia*) say, “Sorry, US says sanctions are back. We won’t build that port/sell you those planes/buy that LPG/…”?

      Or do they look at the billions they can make from the contracts, and then tell the US to do the other thing?

      (*I’ve seen reports that India, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are all making contracts with Iran.)

      • JeffB
        October 7, 2017, 11:19 am

        @RoHa

        There are as far as I know 3 proposals

        Mainstream proposal (almost all democrats, many Republicans) — Trump decertifies the deal and the American establishment pushes the deal back to the Europeans. Trump may drum up enough votes for sanctions but even if sanctions pass they are quickly overturned once Democrats return to power and undermined by the bureaucracy.

        Trump proposal — USA passes strong sanctions through Congress. Europeans realize Trup is right (for some reason) and go along with this.

        Cotton proposal (Iran hawks=some democrats, many Republicans) — USA emposses a blockade to enforce sanctions. This moves from a multilateral conflict to bilateral. USA policy becomes implicitly or explicitly regime change not nuclear containment. Iran has previous threatened terror over this approach but generally has avoided direct conflict when the USA actually seeks war.

        Trump’s policy is stupid. Which means if he does this Trump likely ends up drifting towards either the mainstream proposal or the Cotton proposal. The mainstream proposal is more in line with Trump’s desire to avoid costly wars. The Cotton proposal is more in line with Trump’s desire to use hard power not soft power as the primary tool of American diplomacy. European container ships are not going to run an American blockade and Cotton is willing to sink any that try. There is nothing you can call American foreign policy anymore there are just different factions pushing their agendas directly and seeing what happens.

    • Bandolero
      October 7, 2017, 12:17 pm

      Anni

      I do think that Trump will not recertify that the deal is in the US interest. But I don’t think the outcome of that has to be bad. I think the outcome could also become a good one.

      Michael Oren has just made Israeli ambitions clear:

      … Israel’s position on the Iran deal was and remains clear. “Fix it or nix it,” Prime Minister Netanyahu recently told the United Nations. If canceled, the deal must be replaced by crippling sanctions that force Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons capacity. Fixing the deal would include conducting stricter inspections of suspect Iran nuclear sites, imposing harsher penalties for Iranian violations and, above all, eliminating the “sunset clause.” …

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/opinion/iran-nuclear-deal-alternative.html

      As far as I understand it there will be neither a majority in congress nor an international consensus for nixing the deal. So what will follow? I think it will be an attempt to what Oren calls fixing the deal. When changing the wording from eliminating the “sunset clause” to a longer period of time until sunset my understanding is that Iran may well be willing to negotiate over the issues Oren lists there: conducting stricter inspections of suspect Iran nuclear sites, imposing harsher penalties for Iranian violations and, above all, eliminating the “sunset clause.” Why not talk about that with Iran? But, of course, Iran would only agree to talk about these things when Iran also gets something in return. As far as I understand Iran would want to acquire more investments in some key sectors like oil and gas, but also in it’s automotive & manufacturing industry and acquiring such investment is hard for Iran because companies fear that congress may decide to outlaw these investments and leave investors in Iran out in the cold.

      So why not try to talk on making a better deal – meaning a deal both the US and Iran are more comfortable with? I’ld see nothing wrong with that. Just the opposite: getting the USA, Iran, Russia, China and the EU all talking with each other on high levels on a regular basis I would find very valuable for itself. And while these countries talk with each other and with Iran, by chattering while standing at the coffee machine they may find out that there exists very many other issues where they do agree a lot and coordinated action could be good for all.

      I think for example about:
      – eliminating ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq
      – keeping Iraq together and thwarting Barzanis independence bid
      – getting peace and rid of Al Qaeda in Yemen
      – ending the war in Afghanistan and eliminating Al Qaeda, ISIS and poppies there
      – getting peace to Palestine

      Naturally, since Israel is not a participant of the P5+1 with Iran talks. Israel would likely end up on the menu of such talks. Much of such informal, but hopefully meaningful chatter, may end up dealing with how to defeat the Israel lobby, just as it has been, when the original deal was concluded.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 8, 2017, 3:41 pm

        I do think that Trump will not recertify that the deal is in the US interest.

        Bandolero, there’s no recertification that the deal “is in US interests”. trump has already stated (repeatedly) he does not think the deal was in US interests while at the same time recertifying the deal.

        So why not try to talk on making a better deal – meaning a deal both the US and Iran are more comfortable with?

        i don’t think anyone is preventing anyone from discussing this, but as it stands, a week before the deadline, iran says 10 trumps couldn’t scrap the deal. there’s simply no indication iran is not comfortable with the deal, rouhani calling it “irreversible” and “our moral victory”. you have to have 2 to tango, it took a couple years to iron out the deal, so why should iran (or anyone else for that matter) engage in more talks when there’s simply no indication whatsoever any deal made by the US would be honored by the US — beyond perhaps one presidential election?

        plus, look at what happened when gaddafi/libya agreed to disarm to end crippling sanctions? iran is not stupid. what has trump ever done that qualifies him to be able to come up w/a better deal than obama did? trump, who already threatened north korea? it makes no sense. if the US backs out of the deal the inspections just go poof and i really do not think other countries will go along w/more sanctions imposed on iran.

        but sure, we can talk around the coffee machines. we can talk till the cows come home. but what leverage does trump have besides threatening to attack iran or impose sanctions, toothless without international support and compliance?

      • Bandolero
        October 8, 2017, 5:52 pm

        Annie

        Let me try to explain it again. I completely agree that nixing the Iran deal could well be catastrophic and should be prevented whatever it takes. It was so hard-fought for.

        But I think, if Trump “decertifies” the deal it would probably not lead to nixing the deal. So what do I think why is Trump doing this? When you said: “Trump has already stated (repeatedly) he does not think the deal was in US interests while at the same time recertifying the deal.” And while Trump publicly claims the Iran deal is not in US interests, in the recertification Trump has to state every 90 days to congress that the deal is in America’s national interest – else it would be not a valid recertification. See here NYT writes it this way:

        Certification was required by Congress, which passed a law mandating that the president decide every 90 days whether Iran is fulfilling its commitments and whether the deal is in America’s national interest.

        That stark difference between his public statements to his base and his regular recertification statement to Congress is a huge problem for Trump. It weakens him and opens the door widely for renewed pressure from the Israel lobby every 90 days. Just switching his position from being against the deal to supporting Obama’s signature deal could be politically as poisonous for him.

        But, if Trump manages to amend the deal, then, of course, he could support the deal, that would than be his deal, and so, of course, he would have to switch and support it. If amendment negotiations would be held while the current deal maintains intact then why not have the P5+1 talk with Iran about amending the deal? Some even more strict inspections, even harsher penalties for violations and some longer terms for the full sunset would something Iran could possibly swallow.

        But, of course, Iran would never agree to swallow any such amendments if it does not get something valuable in return. I tried to lay out what I think Iran would want to have in return: better investor confidence. See here what CNN wrote a couple of weeks ago about the Iranian problem:

        Iran hoped that agreeing to curtail its nuclear program would encourage foreign firms to pour tens of billions into the country.

        But a flood of major investment has not materialized — and that’s largely because of the United States.

        More than two years have passed since Iran signed a landmark nuclear agreement with six world powers including the U.S. The deal allowed Tehran to get a handle on rampant inflation that resulted from years of crippling sanctions, and the country has dramatically boosted its oil production and exports.

        Iran has been certified as being in compliance with the nuclear deal.

        But foreign companies are still reluctant to invest because they fear the agreement could collapse.

        “The train has left the station but its not moving at the pace that people expected,” said Raul Heraud, head of financial services at strategic advisory firm Solidiance. “It is important to have a clear picture in terms of strategy of entering the market.”

        The U.S., which kept other sanctions on Iran in place even after the nuclear deal was signed, is the source of much of the investor anxiety.

        The picture I get from Iran is similar. The deal has had positive effects for the Iranian economy, but the performance could be much better. Investor confidence is a huge problem. Investors worry not only about Trump, but as well about the US congress pushing every couple of months new sanctions on Iran on various non-nuclear pretexts. Big companies fear when they do big investments in Iran, the US will punish them for that using non-nuclear pretexts. So, how to solve that?

        Iran could for example want, that if it would agree to amendments to the nuclear deal, the US Congress should agree not to impose sanctions on Iran using non-nuclear pretexts. And, knowing US doesn’t abide by it’s words, Iran could also want that the EU guarantees “indemnification” for EU companies punished by the US for doing business in Iran. And, maybe, before entering amendment talks, Iran may ask the EU first to finalize some big investments currently on hold.

        I think Iran could likely get a lot of what it wants, more than at the original deal, because the geopolitical situation has changed a lot in Iran’s favor. I’m quite sure, if the P5+1 and Iran manage to amend the Iran deal, Israel would like the amended deal even less than the original deal. And, yes, as I said, having the P5+1 and Iran talk and chatter at the coffee machine, could be very valuable for itself because there are really a lot of things where they do agree on regarding world affairs. And Israel would – again – not be present in the talks and end up on the menu. Be sure, Israel will not like the talks and soon switch position from “fix or nix” to stop talking on fixes. But I don’t think Israel will get it’s way then.

        By the way, did you remember, that the P5+1 and Iran met in New York last month for what Rouhani described as “very important” talks? I could well imagine that they already made plans together what should happen after Trump rejects recertification of the deal.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 9, 2017, 9:32 pm

        thanks bandolero, and please excuse my late reply. maybe you’re right, but it still seems unlikely to me iran would re enter negotiations. but, sometimes i’m wrong and you brought up a lot of interesting points. we’ll find out soon enough.

      • Mooser
        October 8, 2017, 6:47 pm

        ” there’s simply no indication iran is not comfortable with the deal, rouhani calling it “irreversible” and “our moral victory”

        Why’d he have to go and say that? If he had only said the sensible thing, that Iran was groaning under the restrictions of the treaty, which bid fair to destroy the Iranian state, Trump and the Republicans would re-certify it into eternity.

      • Bandolero
        October 10, 2017, 7:55 pm

        Annie

        No need to excuse. I think what Trump calls for is a tough political battle. I think we can win this battle. And I think we will see Trump go along with us if we win. But I agree, I may well end up proved wrong.

        And have a look. On the other side, the lobby not seem to be that happy with what they expect from Trump neither. Have a look what Fred Fleitz from the infamous CSP just wrote on Fox news:

        Under the dumb and dumber options being promoted by McMaster, Tillerson and other Trump advisers, this farcical situation will continue as the United States remains in the nuclear deal while engaging in pointless talks begging the Iranians for a better one. The middle ground that these options supposedly represent is an illusion – their sole purpose is to ensure that President Trump never withdraws from an agreement he has correctly called an embarrassment to the United States.

        Fred Fleitz, always like the spear tip of the lobby, already now starts battling for stopping talks. But I doubt he’s very optimistic of winning a battle against a group including McMaster, Tillerson and other Trump advisers, eg SecDef Mattis.

        His a more restrained role playing figurative brother in arms, David Harris from AJC, seems not to be all that upbeat about the upcoming battle in the Huffpo neither:

        Only maximum collaboration in Washington and among our allies is likely to produce workable answers.

        Regrettably, however, the chances for reaching that goal don’t look very promising at the moment.

        When the calm before the storm is over and the battle of the lobby and it allies against the rest of the world will ne in full swing, I wonder whether the lobby will call again for the Israeli PM to speak before Congress to rally his forces against the US president. I think Bibi would find that a difficult thing to do this time: whom he will rally against the US president this time? Last time he rallied the Republicans against a Democrat President. Would Bibi now try to rally the Democrats against a Republican president? Would Bibi now try to rally the Republicans against a Republican president?

        I think Trump’s decertification is more a problem for the lobby than a chance. But, yes, I may well be proved wrong.

    • genesto
      October 7, 2017, 3:09 pm

      Hope you’re right, but I fear that Trump’s hatred of Muslims and Muslim countries will ‘trump’ any other considerations. We’ll soon see.

  4. just
    October 6, 2017, 5:35 pm

    This is ‘interesting’:

    “U.S. Ambassador’s Adviser Ran ‘Dark Money’ Nonprofit That Donated $1m to Right-wing Israeli Group

    Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone has been working for U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for several months, but previously worked at Shining City, which gave millions of shekels to Im Tirzu from unknown sources …

    Im Tirtzu defines itself as a Zionist movement, but is best known for its media campaign at the end of 2015 when it branded various artists and human rights organizations as foreign agents.

    In June, Haaretz revealed Lightstone’s involvement in Shining City, which is what is known as a “dark money” organization. The nonprofit was registered under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(4), which gives a special tax-exemption status to nonprofits involved in promoting social welfare goals, and also enables them to use part of their capital to promote political objectives – without revealing their sources of funding.

    Shining City was founded in Virginia in late 2014 to educate the public on “relations between Israel and the USA,” and America’s political relationships in the Middle East, according to organization documents.

    It was registered by the Virginia law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky. According to a December 2012 Bloomberg report, the law firm was previously involved in registering companies that donated over $250 million to campaigns connected to the 2012 U.S. presidential election, calling it a “nexus of Republican secret money and power.”

    Shining City operated mostly during the 2015 Knesset election campaign in Israel, when the nuclear agreement between six world powers and Iran was under discussion in the United States. At the beginning of 2015, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address Congress on why he was against the accord, the nonprofit promoted his speech on social media and lauded Netanyahu.

    During that year Lightstone was listed as the executive director of Shining City, and the only one receiving a salary from it ($73,750).

    Haaretz also traced U.S. public records indicating that Lightstone filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in the name of Shining City, being particularly interested in records concerning the Iran deal.

    He asked the U.S. Treasury Department for “all the records from January 1, 2015 to December 4, 2015 concerning Treasury and other government entities regarding the implementation day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” He also requested a “signed copy of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached on July 14, 2015 by the P5+1, the European Union and Iran.” …”

    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.815979

  5. DaBakr
    October 7, 2017, 1:45 am

    Nobody is caving to Israel. Even Obama said outright the deal wasn’t a’good’ deal but only that it was’the best’ deal he could manage. That Europeans are squawking about its merits to me, is a great reason to go the opposite direction. Russia,(or should I say Putin?) … Of course he wants his buffer of Iranian influence exactly the way the Soviet wanted a eastern Balkan/euro buffer.

    . I think only a fool believes the Iran will not retain the ability to produce bombs before or, the day after the deal expires and they attained a clause where the US would be compelled to attack Israel were it to attack any strategic sites in Iran.

    . So, we have a lot of posturing. It is a little unbelievable to hear die-hard Zionist haters and far left progressives lend credibility to trumps hand picked military leaders to spout off what’s in the best interest to the world and/or the US. I never knew either of these factions had such respect for US military brass.

    Trump has a habit of blowing in hard but not carrying through for all sorts of reasons over the end, from the ominous to the ridiculous.

    • Mooser
      October 8, 2017, 6:49 pm

      Upper-case letters beginning sentences? Periods after sentences? Separate blocs of type?
      The bright boys and girls in the code hut will have a hell of a time with this one.

  6. Ossinev
    October 7, 2017, 10:24 am

    @Dabakr
    “. I think only a fool believes the Iran will not retain the ability to produce bombs before or, the day after the deal expires and they attained a clause where the US would be compelled to attack Israel were it to attack any strategic sites in Iran.”

    Could you perhaps give us the chapter and verse from the Iran nuclear agreement ie the “clause” which would”compel” the US “to attack Israel were it (Israel?) to attack any strategic sites in Iran” !!!!!

    • genesto
      October 7, 2017, 3:14 pm

      Yeah, this is mind-blowing that the AIPAC-occupied US government would sign ANYTHING that would compel it to attack Israel under ANY circumstances (no matter how justified it may be).

    • DaBakr
      October 8, 2017, 1:08 pm

      Theoretically, if Israel were to subvert all foreign intelligence and launch its own attack on Iranian bomb sites the p5 would be required to either warn, stop or prevent such attacks from occurring.
      . I read through that pile of appeasment once, which was enough. It’s I the literature put out explaining the deal top the public. Mainly it’s theoretical and not very likely but it is also possible

  7. James Canning
    October 7, 2017, 1:32 pm

    Year in and year out, the ISRAEL LOBBY does its best to poison relations between the US and Iran. Most Americans, of course, are not aware of this fact.

  8. Citizen
    October 8, 2017, 12:07 pm

    President Trump to Decertify Iran Agreement http://newrightnews.org/2017/10/president-trump-to-decertify-iran-agreement/ via @TheNewRightNews

  9. yonah fredman
    October 8, 2017, 12:45 pm

    I find it difficult to determine what the long range interest of the US is vis a vis Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel, partially because my knowledge is superficial and also because of my particular concern for Israel. But the primary concerns of those who oppose the Iran deal are focused on the sunset clause. It is not clear why it is necessary to “tear up” the deal so early in the life of the deal. If the sunset clause is the problem, why not tear up the deal as the sunset approaches?

    • JeffB
      October 10, 2017, 10:27 am

      @Yonah

      To start I’m a strong supporter of the deal. That being said the anti-side isn’t being treated fairly here on MW. The issue was really over the objective of the negotiations. Obama wanted an American strategic shift away from Saudi Arabia and towards Iran. In his mind Iran had at least a quasi-democracy and a middle class society. With time it was likely to become more politically stable and could be fully integrated into bodies like the G20. The nuclear weapons issue was likely to force a military confrontation that would make diplomacy impossible. So a successful negotiation would
      a) Get the nuclear issue and thus the possibility of war off the table
      b) Be an example that less serious Iran / USA issues could be resolved diplomatically.

      For Obama that would never be true of Saudi Arabia. He believed that structurally the Saudi regime requires political extremism. There is no way they could ever deliver on a promise not to generate extremism

      The anti-deal people saw this differently. They believe that Iran is ideologically and thus structurally opposed to America the issue is not situational. Iran is too much of a threat to American interests. It will forever be a destructive force in the middle east undermining America’s policy goals. Conversely they believe that the political extremism from Saudi Arabia is rectifiable. Saudi Arabia has been working with the west for a century it is a proven ally. For them Obama by focusing on just the nuclear issue, and getting a so-so nuclear deal helped Iran become much more powerful and threatening. He made the Iran problem worse not better at a time when containment was working. Essentially they want regime change or a substantially reduced global role for Iran. Not just a non-nuclear Iran.

      The debate has moved down to the next level: nuclear weapons are bad, political extremism is bad, war is bad, Iran is bad…. This is one of the problems with Democracy. The voters don’t have those sorts of opinions about Middle East policy so the think tanks talk to each other and the voters get silly sound bites that don’t make sense from either side.

      • Keith
        October 10, 2017, 10:57 am

        JEFFB- “It will forever be a destructive force in the middle east undermining America’s policy goals.”

        A more honest description would be that currently Iran is a hindrance to imperial efforts to secure absolute control over the Middle East hydrocarbon reserves in order to secure absolute global hegemony leading to the full implementation of neoliberal globalization. We are at the end of an era and entering a transition period which is why the “liberal” warmongers are in such a rush. Some want to focus on Iran, others want to go after Russia directly. China is firmly locked into the global system and, without Russia, is controllable.

      • JeffB
        October 10, 2017, 1:10 pm

        @Keith

        Prior to fracking I’d say they were the same things. USA policy to quote Dulles was to “secure control of the greatest treasure in the world” (from memory so possible paraphrase). Since fracking, oil reserves are a nice to have but no longer vital. OPEC did one price spike too many and got a successful disruptive technology mainstreamed. And that’s on top of the advances in solar and wind that have happened over the last 20 years.

        Part of my argument with neoconservatives is that I’m not sure if the USA has vital interests in the Middle East anymore. If we do I’d like to know what they are and why. If I agreed with you regarding the importance of oil, then that would move me a considerable distance towards agreeing with Cheney on the permanent occupation of Iraq. It would also make Israel a vital USA interest regardless of whether one was Zionist or not.

        Getting to Iran. If I believed that oil were vital for American and Iran intended to threaten USA oil interests (again neither of which I believe) then I’d agree with Tom Cotton and want to move towards war. Since I don’t … I’m comfortable letting Obama’s experiment play out and see if Iran can be brought into the USA orbit. The situation in Syria isn’t promising but our policy is so confused that I can’t be certain of whether Iran is opposing us strongly or not, or might even view itself as helping us.

        I think you will admit you are way to the left of the two sides of this debate. Neither wants to end the neoliberal world order (American empire).

      • Keith
        October 10, 2017, 2:21 pm

        JEFFB- ” Since fracking, oil reserves are a nice to have but no longer vital.”

        You will notice that I said “control” over the Middle East’s oil reserves. Controlling these reserves plus other reserves allows control over other nations access to oil, and in particular China’s access to oil. Much of American policy in Africa, for example, is to deny China independent access to resources. Much of China’s foreign policy, including their one belt initiative, is to secure access to resources, including Russian oil and gas through pipelines. Pipelines which I doubt will ever be completed. Don’t overrate fracking. It is filthy and expensive oil which plays out quickly, what is referred to as unconventional oil. And we are at the end of the hydrocarbon era. The era of cheap and abundant energy is over, as is the age of manufacturing capitalism and mass consumption and unsustainable growth. Assuming no nuclear war, we are headed to a form of global neofeudalism where rentiers rule. Debt peonage will be a primary source of social control. And additional greenhouse gas emissions will soon lead to runaway global warming and environmental disaster. Nuclear war and environment disaster are the two existential threats to human survival which Noam Chomsky warns about and with which I concur completely. But the fat-cats who call the shots are risk taking psychopaths who lust for power and are willing to gamble on survival of the species to achieve their power-seeking objectives. Cheers.

  10. HarryLaw
    October 8, 2017, 6:58 pm

    On Friday the Financial Times reported that Donald Trump is expected to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group, as part of a new hardline strategy against the Islamic republic.
    “The Americans should know that the Trump government’s stupid behavior with the nuclear deal will be used by the Islamic Republic as an opportunity to move ahead with its missile, regional and conventional defense program,” Guards’ commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said, quoted by Reuters. He then explicitly threatened US presence in the region, warning that “if America’s new law for sanctions is passed, this country will have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km range of Iran’s missiles.” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-08/iran-threatens-america-if-new-sanctions-pass-us-military-region-would-be-risk?page=1

  11. JLewisDickerson
    October 10, 2017, 1:36 am

    RE: “Tom Cotton got elevated to the Senate from the House in Arkansas in 2014 in part through a $1 million campaign contribution from Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel. Cotton immediately became the neocon horse in the Senate, battling the Iran deal at every turn.” ~ North & Weiss

    MY COMMENT: I’m pretty certain Consumer’s Report would rate that all-time “✔Best Buy”!

  12. JLewisDickerson
    October 10, 2017, 2:44 am

    RE: “UN ambassador Nikki Haley, (who’s said says she’s going to kick Israel’s foes in her high heels)” ~ North & Weiss

    MY COMMENT: And she will not be kicking them with just any high heels. She’ll be kickin’ ’em with her sexiest pair of Stilletos!* That’s why I’ve designated her my very own Pistol Packin’ Mama!
    Hey, wouldn’t it be a blast if the Dixie Chicks’ archnemesis Toby Keith put on his extreme pointed toe cowboy boots and joined with Nikki Halley to form a tag team? They could use the tag line: “There Will Be Blood!”

    * Trump defends Melania for wearing stilettos while traveling to hurricane area – http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/352015-trump-defends-melanias-choice-to-wear-heels-she-dressed-for-the-white

    P.S. I still can’t believe how aggressively Halley is criticizing the government and military of Myanmar. Their most reliable supplier of weapons, namely the Jewish nation-state of Israel, can’t be very happy about that.

  13. JLewisDickerson
    October 10, 2017, 4:18 am

    RE: “As for that ‘crisis’ among Republicans over the deal, how much does that have to do with the mother’s milk of politics, money? At Lobelog, Eli Clifton says that Trump is caving to three billionaire donors: Bernard Marcus, Paul Singer, and Sheldon Adelson. “ ~ North & Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Didn’t someone refer to the three of them as “a troika of control freaks?” I wish I had thought of that.
    As to Trump’s obsessive/compulsive determination to decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal, there is a bit of a silver lining in this case. This will hopefully alert most reasonably sane countries that there is a very serious risk of the U.S. doing severe damage to itself or to others. That’s enough to have an individual involuntarily committed to a mental facility. Perhaps the international community will give some thought to whether some kind of intervention is warranted under such circumstances, and devise a plan for such an intervention that cannot be stymied in the case where the individual in need of the treatment also happens to control a veto on the Security Council. I’m not certain what kind of mental illnesses our country and/or Mr. Trump might be suffering from, but its not just a matter of a few eccentricities, or something of very short duration like a ‘bad brain’ day.
    As WWI began, the Ottoman Empire was referred to as “the sick man of Europe”. It might have been worn out, feeble and unable to satisfactorily complete its daily routine. But, at least, unlike Trump, it had a daily routine!
    The Dynamic Duo of Trump and Netanyahu scare the living hell out of me! Whatever happens, I hope there are enough survivors to start over again.
    Meanwhile, we’re left guessing as to whether Trump is following the orders of a major billionaire donor like Adelson; or perhaps he just can’t bring himself to say no to Netanyahu (his stern, disapproving father-figure with nightmarish, apocalyptic premonitions); or maybe on the Saudi trip during that sword dance (or, perhaps that glowing orb did the trick) Trump fell so head over heels for MBS that he just can’t resist giving him (as “a very, very special gift, for a very special Crown Prince”) an advance copy of the letter he will be sending to Congress to decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal.
    While in the thrall of a budding bromance, what else could Trump possibly give MBS (who has virtually everything) that would be virtually guaranteed to tickle the Crown Prince’s fancy?

    • JeffB
      October 10, 2017, 10:05 am

      @JLewisDickerson

      I think the common wisdom on what’s wrong with Trump is correct:
      http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20025568

      Let’s put it this way the Republican head of the Senate Foreign relations committee has essentially accused Trump of being unfit for office due to his mental state. A danger to USA interests and the world. That’s pretty strong criticism from a senior and seasoned player. The problem so damaging in the USA is not that Trump is unfit for office but that a rather large group of voters likes a president that is unfit for office. Were it just an unfit president we have easy solutions. We don’t have easy solutions for a dysfunctional electorate.

      American democracy has proven very robust. The one thing it has not proven robust against however is the collapse of a major political party. The last time it happened we were unable to deal with the structural issues that led to a civil war. The time before that we almost lost our democracy and ended up with an oligarchy. The time before that everyone associated with Washington was pushed out of power and we had the sitting vice president murder the founding Secretary of the Treasury. Had Britain played their cards better they could very easily have ended up back in effective control of at least the North East.

      A healthy political system doesn’t elect a Donald Trump. But the nice thing is there is a bipartisan consensus (at least behind closed doors) that Donald Trump is unfit. I think Europeans will get lots of support from both sides of the aisle in taking the lead while America spins out of control.

      ______

      An Aside. As long as we are talking the history of party trouble in America. For British readers Boris Johnson does not know what Mugwump (a faction in the Republican party that supported the Democrat for President because of corruption issues). means. There are lots of names one can call Corbyn. But a Mugwump is:
      * A civic minded aristocrat who opposed to immigrant politics and the spoils system.
      * More concerned with the means of government than the ends of government
      * Political ineffectual with the masses.
      * Willing to swing between parties disapproving of both ideological and personal loyalties over moral principles of good government

      This is about as terrible a description as I can imagine for Corbyn. He may be a lot of things but a Mugwump is not one of them. David Cameron I could see calling a Mugwump.

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