Saturday, November 30, 2013

Operating on the basis of limited perspective

I’d been reading George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis when I came across this paragraph, page 555, which really hit home:

But he was frightened. On the way from the airport, Kennan had stopped at the White House to see Arthur Schlesinger, now serving as a presidential aide – Kennedy was spending the weekend at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  “You and I are historians,” Schlesinger recorded Kennan having said, “or rather you are a real historian and I am a pseudo-historian.” 

We both know how tenuous a relation there is between man’s intentions and the consequences of his acts…. I have children, and I do not propose to let the future of mankind be settled or ended by a group of men operating on the basis of limited perspective and short-run calculations. I figure that the only thing left in life is to do everything I can to stop the war.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Will the West withstand the Obama presidency?

The really chilling aspect of the Obama-incumbency is that it is difficult to diagnose whether the abysmal results it produced—including the recent Geneva debacle—reflect crushing failure or calculated success

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. – Barack Hussein Obama, Cairo, 2009 

For anyone who understands that the US Constitution is not a Sharia-compliant document –neither in letter nor in spirit – it should be alarmingly apparent that the Obama-incumbency is a dramatic and disturbing point of inflection in the history of America and its “Western” allies. By “Western” I mean countries whose political practices and societal norms are rooted in Judeo- Christian foundations in a cultural rather than in any religious sense.

The devil is not in the details 

One does not have to be an expert in Islamic history or culture, or be familiar with the details of Koranic verse or Hadithic texts to realize that Obama’s characterization of the alleged affinity between America and Islam is entirely detached from any reality on the ground–particularly with regard to the matters he enumerates in the preceding excerpt from his 2009 Cairo speech.

All one has to do is follow the daily news that routinely convey reports of the Hobbesian horrors that flared across Syria, Libya, Egypt and other Arab countries once the Leviathan “cap” of tyranny, holding these bestial impulses in check, was “uncorked.”

Worse, in some parts of the Muslim world, blood curdling atrocities have become so commonplace they hardly make the news at all.

For when it comes to issues such as justice, progress, tolerance and respect for societal and/or religious diversity, a yawning chasm divides America from Islam. Indeed, American society, as a product of the values embodied in the Constitution and the Judeo-Christian values it draws on; and Islamic society as a product of Sharia and the Muslim values it draws on, are irreconcilably exclusive and antithetically opposed to one another.

No amount of convoluted scholarly debate on the intricacies of Islamic scriptures or benign interpretations of their “real” significance, can change the gruesome facts that prevail throughout Muslim-majority societies – from West Africa to East Asia.

Justice? Like stoning of female rape victims for “adultery? Progress? Like fathers slaughtering daughters to preserve their “honor”? Tolerance? Like summary lynching of “gays” because of their sexual preferences? Dignity of all human beings? Like butchery of non- Muslim “infidels” for practicing their faith? 

Pervasive and perverse 

Neither are these unrepresentative or isolated anecdotal instances of barbarity and bigotry that occur in Islamic societies. Indeed, they– and other manifestations of harsh brutality, totally foreign to American and “Western” ways –pervade much of the Muslim world. Extensive surveys of Muslim majority countries across Africa and Asia show that there is widespread endorsement for making Sharia the law of the land and adopting the severe practices prescribed in it.

A recent 2013 poll by Pew Research Center found that “solid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia favor the establishment of sharia, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories.”

An earlier pre-Arab Spring survey conducted in 2010 across seven major Muslim countries from Nigeria to Indonesia found that in most there were large majorities in favor of stoning for adultery, amputation of limbs for theft and death for apostasy (leaving Islam).

So while there is considerable country-to-country variation in the degree of support for the enforcement of the more brutal Sharia compliant prescriptions, it is clear that in terms of defining societal parameters – individual liberties, gender equality (including equality before the law), religious tolerance and socio-cultural pluralism – a gigantic gulf separates America from Islam.

One would be hard pressed to find any area where they do in fact “overlap and share common principles” in any significant manner.

‘Islam has always been part of America’s story’

In his Cairo “outreach” speech, with the Muslim Brotherhood seated in positions of prominence –much to the chagrin of his host Hosni Mubarak – Obama told his audience: “I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.” Then extolling the alleged Muslim contribution to the development of the US he declared, no more than a few years after 9/11, when in the name of Islam, Muslims reduced the Twin Towers to a pile of rubble, he remarked: “Since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have... built our tallest building [sic].”

Admittedly, much water has flown under the bridge since Obama’s initial outreach address to the Muslim world in June 2009, shortly after his election. But precisely because it was delivered when he was still unencumbered by domestic constraints and foreign frustrations, it perhaps reflected most accurately the unfiltered essence of the political instincts he brought to the Oval Office and the inputs that have gone into shaping his geopolitical credo.

His interpretation of the international role the US should play, the nature of the country’s interests, and the manner in which they should be pursued; his perception of friend and foe and the attitudes that should be adopted towards them, all seem to entail dramatic and disconcerting departure from that of most of his predecessors.

In this regard, he is the first US president who is explicitly and overtly unmoored, both cognitively and emotionally, from the bollards of America’s founding Judeo-Christian heritage, and who somehow conceives that Islam is not inherently inimical to American values.

It is through this Islamo-philic prism that the Obama-administration’s attitude to, and performance of, its foreign policy must be evaluated–including last weekend’s acquiescence on the Iranian nuclear issue.

The chilling thing 

In the course of half a decade, under the stewardship of Obama, the US has had its standing shredded both in the eyes of its allies – and worse – in the eyes of its adversaries.

Debacle has piled upon debacle. Allies have been abandoned and enemies emboldened, worse, empowered. Inappropriate action has been complemented by equally inappropriate inaction. True, in 2009 Obama was handed an unenviable heritage from the preceding administration–a severe financial-turned-economic crisis and two ill-considered ground wars in Asia. But Obama has ensured that the latter will end in futile failure– even demoralizing defeat; while in dealing with the former he has precipitated soaring deficits, crippling debt and chronic and debilitating joblessness, coupled with burgeoning dependence on welfare.

But the really chilling aspect of the Obama incumbency is that it is genuinely difficult to diagnose whether the abysmal results we see represent a crushing failure of his policies or a calculated success; whether they are the product of chronic ineptitude or purposeful foresight; whether they reflect myopic misunderstanding, moronic incompetence or malicious intent.

This general conundrum is particularly pertinent with regard to what transpired in Geneva last Sunday, which appeared to many – including erstwhile Obamaphiles – to be an inexplicable US climb-down from what looked “suspiciously” like positions that heralded emerging success.

Some had little doubt as to what lay behind the move. In a forceful article, Caroline Glick asserted bluntly: “His goal is not to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power…The goal of Obama’s foreign policy is to weaken the State of Israel.”

Undermining allies, underpinning adversaries 

Others took a more general, less Israel-centric, perspective on Obama motives.

“Obama has no interest in weakening our adversaries while he does seem to have an interest in weakening our allies”, warned Dinesh D’Souza, adding: “If you were trying to find a consistent way to predict what Obama is doing in the ME it is very simple. He has been undermining our allies and allowed our adversaries to remain in power.”

D’Souza, who directed the 2012 highest grossing documentary, “2016: Obama’s America,” which made a number of troubling predictions as to what to expect in the second term of Barack Obama, has now released a new video, suggesting how the president, driven by his “anti-colonial mindset” he allegedly imbued from his father, plans to “take America down a notch.”

D’Souza warned that Obama would “promiscuously” increase the debt to mortgage the US to foreign interests and would purposely strive to shrink the influence of American foreign policy. He points to what he sees as a “double-standard” in US policy under the current administration in the Mideast, intervening when this seems to advance Islamist interests (as in Egypt in 2010) and refraining to do so when this does not (as in Iran in 2009); engaging in Libya to depose a largely reformed Gaddafi but not in Syria to topple an inimical Assad.

D’Souza concludes that “this is not the unintentional effect of a blundering president,” hinting darkly :” When an intelligent man does something contradictory, it’s not because he is a fool but it is because he is up to something else.”

‘Then, it all makes perfect sense’ 

Now while I would advise against uncritical acceptance of all D’Souza’s arguments and interpretations of Obama’s conduct, they paint a picture plausible enough to be taken seriously. They certainly provide a cogent context for interpreting the reason for, and the significance of, what longtime Obama supporter Alan Dershowitz dubbed the US’s “Chamberlain moment” in Geneva over the weekend.

The veteran Democratic stalwart condemned the P5+1 pact, forged with the Iranian theocracy, as “a deal which is bad for the United States, for the West, and for Israel…” He railed : “…all reasonable, thinking people should understand that weakening the sanctions against Iran without demanding that they dismantle their nuclear weapons program is a prescription for disaster. Have we learned nothing from North Korea and Neville Chamberlain?” 

By contrast, Bashar Assad lauded the accord! Indeed, with the ink barely dry on the agreement, it seems on the verge of falling apart, with Iran rejecting the White House interpretation of central clauses in it–regarding Iran’s right to enrich (with the Russians supporting Tehran’s version), and continued construction as the planned plutonium producing plant at Arak; and uncertainties as to the off-site development of components for its future operation.

Were all these flaws and ambiguities unintentionally overlooked? Or were they intentionally ignored? Was the agreement designed to prevent Iran from attaining weaponized nuclear capabilities? Or was it devised to sow dissension in the international front, assembled with such difficulty, to impose effective sanctions on Iran? 

So on the face of it Dershowitz’s exasperated query” Have we learned nothing from North Korea and Neville Chamberlain?” should be perfectly understandable. 

Unless of course, one assumes, as do Glick and D’Souza, that Obama’s “ goal is not to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power…[but] to weaken the State of Israel,” and that “Obama has no interest in weakening our adversaries while he does seem to have an interest in weakening our allies.”

Then, it all makes perfect sense! 

Fractured foundations?  

I do not pretend to know what Barack Obama’s true intentions are. I cannot determine with certainty whether he is a bungling novice or a brilliant strategist. I can only judge from his conduct and draw conclusions from my observations.

Now if I were asked: “How would anyone, who was purposefully aiming to undermine the Western world and bolster its antipodal adversaries, behave?,” I would be compelled to respond: “Much like Obama.” It is difficult to understate the long-term ramifications of the Obama-incumbency on what we have come to call the “West.” However it is becoming increasingly apparent that it will emerge from it severely battered, its spirit emaciated and its foundations fundamentally fractured.

Whether it will withstand the Obama legacy, only time will tell. But the outcome is far from certain.


Already in his Cairo speech President Barack Obama dissembled about Islam:

June 4, 2009
Obama quotes verse 5:32, omits 5:33
Mladen Andrijasevic
President Obama in his speech said " The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind."

I really find it odd that neither President Obama nor any of his advisors did not realize that the meaning of verse 5:32 is not clear until it is quoted together with verse 5:33 which follows it:

YUSUFALI: On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land


YUSUFALI: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;
Update: Andrew Bostom writes:

Immediately following the murderous acts of jihad terrorism committed on September 11, 2001, Ibn Warraq highlighted the tragic irony of many apologists quoting selectively from Qur'an 5:32-"whoso slays a soul . . . shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether; and whoso gives life to a soul, shall be as if he has given life to mankind altogether"- attempting to demonstrate that the Qur'ran disapproved of violence and killing.

Firstly, these wonderful sounding words come from a preexisting Jewish text (Mishnah, IV Division 5, "Thus was created a single man, to teach us that every person who loses a single soul, it shall be written about him as if he has lost the entire world, and every person who sustains a single soul, it shall be written about him as if he has sustained the entire world."

And apologists for Islam-just like President Obama-quote the Koranic words out of context. For the very next verse offers quite a different meaning from that of 5:32, which was "laid...down for the Israelites," as stated in the next verse, 5:33, continuing:

"...Our apostles brought them [the Jews] veritable proofs: yet it was not long before many of them committed great evils in the land. Those that make war against Allah and His apostle [Muhammad] and spread disorder shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country. (Qur'an 5:33)"

The supposedly noble sentiments of the first verse, taken from a Jewish source, are entirely undercut by the second verse, which becomes a bloodthirsty menacing by Muhammad of the Jews. (And as an aside the Muslim sources estimate Muhammad killed 24,000 Jews in his jihad campaigns against them). Far from abjuring violence, these verses aggressively insist that any who oppose the Muslim prophet will be killed, or crucified, mutilated, and banished.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Surprise, surprise, Iran has betrayed the Geneva deal

Despite last weekend's agreement, Iran still plans to continue its uranium enrichment programme.

By Douglas Murray

At the start of this week I hinted that the negotiations which went on in Geneva last weekend were not a meeting of equals.

On one side were the Iranians, representing the clear wishes of their unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini. On the other were the P5+1 countries joined by the unelected Supreme Baroness Catherine Ashton whose primary desire seemed to be to just declare some deal – any deal.
So a wretched deal was done which has initiated the fraying and eventual collapse of sanctions, and Baroness Ashton and Secretary Kerry hugged each other for the cameras and got their moment of feeling like world saviours. Now it is business as usual.
Before even leaving Geneva Iran’s Foreign Minister said: ‘Today’s agreement deals with several sectors, the most important of which is that Iran’s enrichment program has been recognized, and this program will continue.’

Yesterday the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani told the assembly, ‘We don’t need their [westerners’] permission for enriching uranium.’

The Iranian government meanwhile has disputed the very wording of the Geneva agreement. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Tuesday:

‘What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action (the title of the Iran-powers deal), and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true.’

Oh – and despite the fact that the agreed text stated that there must not be ‘any further advances of its activities’ at the Arak reactor, the Iranian Foreign Minister said on Wednesday that Iran will continue ‘construction’ at the Arak site.
Who could possibly have foreseen such betrayal?

Dry Bones:The Geneva Agreement with Iran

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Congress should impeach Obama on Iran or be complicit in facilitating the next Holocaust

On November 12, 1936, Winston Churchill said:
Two things, I confess, have staggered me, after a long Parliamentary experience, in these Debates. The first has been the dangers that have so swiftly come upon us in a few years, and have been transforming our position and the whole outlook of the world. Secondly, I have been staggered by the failure of the House of Commons to react effectively against those dangers. That, I am bound to say, I never expected. I never would have believed that we should have been allowed to go on getting into this plight, month by month and year by year, and that even the Government's own confessions of error have produced no concentration of Parliamentary opinion and force capable of lifting our efforts to the level of emergency. I say that unless the House resolves to find out the truth for itself, it will have committed an act of abdication of duty without parallel.

The situation is dire. People who have no clue about Shi’a eschatology and the Twelvers have just negotiated a deal which leads to nuclear war. Who says it would? Scholars of Islam like  Bernard Lewis  and  Raphael Israeli, former CIA director  James Woolsey, former CIA spy who spent 10 years among the Revolutionary Guards,  Reza Kahlili  and German scholar Matthias Kuntzel. 

The Obama administration track record in the Middle East is abysmal. The Obama administration supports the Muslim Brotherhood, an anti–Semitic and anti-American organization whose credo is   “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and dying in the way of Allah is the highest of our aspirations."    

As Conan Doyle used to say, when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth – Obama’s appeasement policy is leading towards a war.  But Obama is supplying Israel with more weapons systems than any other previous president goes the counter argument. Supplying Israel with more weapons systems than any other previous president is irrelevant when Obama at the same time supports the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East and is doing everything to make use of these weapons systems impossible against Iran.

The Obama administration’s absurd policies in promoting the Muslim Brotherhood have created havoc in the Middle East, but even this serial bungling can still be reversed, as we have seen in Egypt.  This will not be possible if Iran gets the bomb. The damage will be cataclysmic.  

Congress should impeach President Obama on Iran or be complicit in facilitating the next Holocaust.  I am not sure whether Congress would define the incompetence leading to a nuclear war in which millions would die as an impeachable offense but Congress should decide whether it fits “high crime or misdemeanor”. But first Congress must understand the  stakes.

Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen should ask themselves - what do we know about Shi'a eschatology, the Mahdi and the Twelvers?  Nothing. Did we hold congressional hearings on Iranian motives? No. Have leading western scholars of Islam been consulted?  Did we hear their views? No.

Unless the US Congress resolves to find out the truth for itself, it will, to quote Churchill, have committed an act of abdication of duty without parallel.  Ignorance is not an excuse.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Surrender in Geneva

By Matthias Küntzel  ·  Monday, November 25, 2013
The five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany nullify the United Nations sanctions regarding Iran.
HAMBURG, November 24, 2013—During the night of November 24, 2013, it came to this: The five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany signed an interim agreement that accepts the plutonium facility at Arak and approves Iran’s continued uranium enrichment. “This deal appears to provide the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism with billions of dollars in exchange for cosmetic concessions,” criticized Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois).
The first victim of this surrender is the United Nations.
On December 23, 2006, the UN Security Council called, in a rare act of unanimity, on the regime in Tehran to suspend all plutonium and uranium activities or otherwise to face sanctions. Since then this position has been amplified in several UN decisions.
Until today, it was only the Tehran regime that ignored this proclamation and failed to respect the UN positions. Today however the above named 5+1 powers joined in this disregard for the UN positions. The regime in Tehran has been rewarded for its provocative anti-UN policies and the authority of the UN Security Council has been diminished.
The Plutonium Reactor will be Completed
First of all, there is the matter of the heavy water reactor at Arak, which Iran does not need, except for the preparation of weapons grade plutonium. The regime is counting on having this plutonium reactor running by the end of 2014. It therefore refused to accept any interruption in the construction work.
This refusal led to the collapse of the previous round of negotiations in Geneva, after the French Foreign Minister Fabius explained that he would not support a “deal for dummies.”
This deal, which was favored by the United States and the other powers, including Germany, stipulated that Tehran would promise not to activate the reactor during the next six months. “As a quid pro quo,” continued construction of the reactor would be permitted.
But Tehran had repeatedly declared that it was not planning on activating Arak before the end of 2014. The “quid pro quo” that it would not do so during the next six months was, in fact, no concession at all. Most of the 5+1 group really wanted to treat world opinion as a bunch of “dummies.”
Now the new agreement includes the following variation of the “Arak compromise”: With some minor restrictions, the reactor can continue to be prepared for activation. What’s more is that the signatories of the Geneva document declare that they are prepared to eventually accept the activation of the plutonium reactor. Yet even the mere construction of the site that lacks any civilian utility represents a breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The “quid pro quo”: Iran promises to refrain from installing any fuel rods or heavy water or “remaining components” during the next six months and to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with current design information about the reactor—a step to which Iran would be obligated in any case according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Yet there is no plan to provide IAEA inspectors access to the site.
Uranium Enrichment Continues
No “freezing” of uranium enrichment is intended. According to the New York Times, the agreement “would not require Iran to stop enriching uranium to a low level of 3–5 percent or dismantle any of its existing centrifuges. Iran’s stockpile of such low-enriched uranium would be allowed to temporarily increase to about eight tons from seven tons currently. But Tehran would be required to shrink this stockpile by the end of the six-month agreement back to seven tons. This would be done by installing equipment to covert some of that stockpile to oxide.” (Michael R. Gordon, “Deal Reached With Iran Halts Its Nuclear Program,” Nov. 23, 2013).
Thus, the agreement gives even approval to an—allegedly temporary—significant expansion of the amounts of enriched uranium is given.
In this context it is noteworthy that during the next six months Iran is allowed to “continue its current enrichment Research & Development practices” and to produce new centrifuges “to replace damaged machines.” No centrifuge, however, will be dismantled.
When Syria’s poison gas supplies were to be destroyed a few weeks ago, it was self-evident that the sites where the gas was being produced would be destroyed first. Only afterward did one begin to address the poison gas stockpiles themselves. This sequencing made sense in order to prevent the Syrian dictator from quickly replenishing the poison gas that was being taken away.
Iran is being handled differently: all the facilities to enrich uranium remain in tact and not a single centrifuge will be destroyed.
The surrender in Geneva allows Iran to become a nuclear threshold state and provides legitimacy and impetus for Iran’s efforts. It has made hopes for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear conflict extremely difficult. The consequences are unpredictable.
Given these conditions, Iran could easily agree to refrain from producing uranium enriched to 20% during the next six months.
Yet the existing supplies of 20% uranium will not be moved to another country, as the 5+1 group has been demanding for years. The supplies remain under Iranian control and should only be “diluted” or transformed into uranoxide—the form in which uranium is used in fuel rods. These are processes that can easily be reversed, if needed.
“To guard against cheating,” so reports the New York Times, “international monitors would be allowed to visit the Natanz enrichment facility and the underground nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo on a daily basis to check the film from cameras installed there.”
This proviso may look good at first, but it leaves out the decisive detail: one can allow the inspectors temporary access, but also remove them when necessary. This is precisely the tactic North Korea used successfully to get its bomb.
In addition, the Geneva deal shows that the 5+1 were unsuccessful with other, key inspection issues. For more than ten years, Iran has been blocking the use of the “additional protocol” of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would provide the Vienna Inspectors from the IAEA expanded access, including to suspected secret installations. Moreover the regime has been blocking efforts by the IAEA to analyze Iran’s previous nuclear weapons research. These hide-and-seek policies will remain in place.
The Sanctions Will Run Out
Even though Iran can proceed both with uranium enrichment and the preparation for plutonium production with minor and reversible limitations, the 5+1 group essentially wants to suspend the sanctions. According to the Wall Street Journal, the United States assumes a sanctions reduction of six to seven billion dollars during the next six months. Approval by the Congress, which is largely critical of Obama’s Iran policy, is not necessary.
The United States intends to transfer to Iran 4.2 Billion dollars for oil revenue, which have so far been blocked by sanctions; this will come to some 600 million dollars per month. The agreement also demands to “suspend U.S. and EU sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services” and on Gold, precious metals, automobiles, and airplane spare parts.
The Obama administration is trying to pacify its critics with the claim that the agreement is “limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible.” It is to be used so that the next six months can allow for the development of an agreement that will fully eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat. But this is hardly likely!
Was the boast not proudly repeated that only international pressure brought Tehran to the negotiating table? It is then unclear why precisely the retreat from this pressure will lead the regime to “genuine” concessions in the next six months.
When France called the earlier plan a “deal for dummies,” it was being generous, wrote Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. Krauthammer continues:
“Don’t worry, we are assured. The sanctions relief is reversible. Nonsense. It was extraordinarily difficult to cobble together the current sanctions. Once the relaxation begins, how do you reverse it? Adding back old sanctions will be denounced as a provocation that would drive Iran to a nuclear breakout—exactly as Obama is today denouncing congressional moves to increase sanctions as a deal-breaking provocation that might lead Iran to break off talks.”
That’s the way it is. The surrender in Geneva allows Iran to become a nuclear threshold state and provides legitimacy and impetus for Iran’s efforts. It has made hopes for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear conflict extremely difficult. The consequences are unpredictable.

Translated by Russell Berman

Stephens: Worse Than Munich

In 1938, Chamberlain bought time to rearm. In 2013, Obama gives Iran time to go nuclear.

Nov. 25, 2013 6:47 p.m. ET

To adapt Churchill : Never in the field of global diplomacy has so much been given away by so many for so little.

Britain and France's capitulation to Nazi Germany at Munich has long been a byword for ignominy, moral and diplomatic. Yet neither Neville Chamberlain nor Édouard Daladier had the public support or military wherewithal to stand up to Hitler in September 1938. Britain had just 384,000 men in its regular army; the first Spitfire aircraft only entered RAF service that summer. "Peace for our time" it was not, but at least appeasement bought the West a year to rearm.
The signing of the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973 was a betrayal of an embattled U.S. ally and the abandonment of an effort for which 58,000 American troops gave their lives. Yet it did end America's participation in a peripheral war, which neither Congress nor the public could indefinitely support. "Peace with honor" it was not, as the victims of Cambodia's Killing Fields or Vietnam's re-education camps can attest. But, for American purposes at least, it was peace.
By contrast, the interim nuclear agreement signed in Geneva on Sunday by Iran and the six big powers has many of the flaws of Munich and Paris. But it has none of their redeeming or exculpating aspects.
Neville Chamberlain after signing the Munich Agreement, Sept. 30, 1938. © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORB
Consider: Britain and France came to Munich as military weaklings. The U.S. and its allies face Iran from a position of overwhelming strength. Britain and France won time to rearm. The U.S. and its allies have given Iran more time to stockpile uranium and develop its nuclear infrastructure. Britain and France had overwhelming domestic constituencies in favor of any deal that would avoid war. TheObama administration is defying broad bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress for the sake of a deal.
As for the Vietnam parallels, the U.S. showed military resolve in the run-up to the Paris Accords with a massive bombing and mining campaign of the North that demonstrated presidential resolve and forced Hanoi to sign the deal. The administration comes to Geneva fresh from worming its way out of its own threat to use force to punish Syria's Bashar Assad for his use of chemical weapons against his own people.
The Nixon administration also exited Vietnam in the context of a durable opening to Beijing that helped tilt the global balance of power against Moscow. Now the U.S. is attempting a fleeting opening with Tehran at the expense of a durable alliance of values with Israel and interests with Saudi Arabia. "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" is the title of a hilarious memoir by British author Toby Young —but it could equally be the history of Barack Obama's foreign policy.
That's where the differences end between Geneva and the previous accords. What they have in common is that each deal was a betrayal of small countries—Czechoslovakia, South Vietnam, Israel—that had relied on Western security guarantees. Each was a victory for the dictatorships: "No matter the world wants it or not," Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said Sunday, "this path will, God willingly, continue to the peak that has been considered by the martyred nuclear scientists." Each deal increased the contempt of the dictatorships for the democracies: "If ever that silly old man comes interfering here again with his umbrella," Hitler is reported to have said of Chamberlain after Munich, "I'll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach."
And each deal was a prelude to worse. After Munich came the conquest of Czechoslovakia, the Nazi-Soviet pact and World War II. After Paris came the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh and the humiliating exit from the embassy rooftop. After Geneva there will come a new, chaotic Mideast reality in which the United States will lose leverage over enemies and friends alike.
What will that look like? Iran will gradually shake free of sanctions and glide into a zone of nuclear ambiguity that will keep its adversaries guessing until it opts to make its capabilities known. Saudi Arabia will move swiftly to acquire a nuclear deterrent from its clients in Islamabad; Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal made that clear to the Journal last week when he indiscreetly discussed "the arrangement with Pakistan." Egypt is beginning to ponder a nuclear option of its own while drawing closer to a security alliance with Russia.
As for Israel, it cannot afford to live in a neighborhood where Iran becomes nuclear, Assad remains in power, and Hezbollah—Israel's most immediate military threat—gains strength, clout and battlefield experience. The chances that Israel will hazard a strike on Iran's nuclear sites greatly increased since Geneva. More so the chances of another war with Hezbollah.
After World War II the U.S. created a global system of security alliances to prevent the kind of foreign policy freelancing that is again becoming rampant in the Middle East. It worked until President Obama decided in his wisdom to throw it away. If you hear echoes of the 1930s in the capitulation at Geneva, it's because the West is being led by the same sort of men, minus the umbrellas.

Chamberlain to reporter: It is up to the Czechs now. Hague to Israel: Don't undermine Iran nuclear deal


When the meeting broke up at 1:30 am, noted Schmidt,”Chamberlain bid a hearty farewell to the Führer.” As he left the Dreesen, a newspaperman intercepted him to ask: “Is it hopeless, sir?” Chamberlain replied: “I would not like to say that. It is up to the Czechs now.” In other words, peace was possible unless the Czechs stubbornly insisted on defending their homeland.

From The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 by William Manchester,p 343


Reuters) - Israel should avoid taking any action that would undermine the interim nuclear agreement reached between Iran and world powers at the weekend, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday.
Urging world leaders to give the interim deal a chance, Hague said it was important to try to understand those who opposed the agreement. But he urged Israel and others to confine their criticism to rhetoric.
"We would discourage anybody in the world, including Israel, from taking any steps that would undermine this agreement and we will make that very clear to all concerned," Hague told parliament.
Hague added that he had not seen any sign that any country opposed to the agreement would try to disrupt it "in any practical way". But he said Britain would be "on its guard".
He was speaking after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denounced the nuclear deal as an "historic mistake". Netanyahu is sending his national security adviser to Washington for talks about the agreement.
Hague told parliament he hoped a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Tehran could be reached within a year, but warned that world powers could swiftly reverse any sanctions relief they had granted Iran if Tehran reneged on the deal.

Mordechai Kedar on Nuclear Iran and the Mahdi

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dershowitz: Iran Deal 'Cataclysmic Error of Gigantic Proportions'

From    Newsmax

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz said Sunday that the Obama administration was naive and had possibly made a "cataclysmic error of gigantic proportions" in its deal to ease sanctions on Iran in exchange for an opening up of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

"I think it could turn out to be a cataclysmic error of gigantic proportions," Dershowitz said of the deal, which he described as "naive."

"It could also turn out to be successful, to be the beginning of a negotiated resolution," Dershowitz told Newsmax on Sunday. "But I think the likelihood of it being the former is considerably greater."

Dershowitz said he thought the administration of President Barack Obama did a poor job of negotiating the deal.

"I think it's thoughtful and intelligent Americans vs. naive Americans," he said.

The deal, 
announced late Saturday night in the United States, makes it more likely Iran will develop a nuclear bomb, likely creating the need for a future military strike by Israel or the United States, Dershowitz said.

It also increases the possibility of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia obtaining nuclear weapons as well, he said.

The Harvard Law School professor thinks there is at best a 10 percent chance that the administration can change attitudes among Iran's Islamist leadership.

"But when you weigh that against the 30 or 40 percent chance that they're dead wrong – nuclear bomb wrong – then it's a very bad assessment of risk and benefits," he told Newsmax.

"This is first-year negotiating theory, and this administration gets a D-minus with grade inflation," Dershowitz said. "You don't let up on sanctions that are working."

Other countries, such as China, are taking the deal as a green light to do business with Iran, he said. All the nuclear experts, Iran experts and congressional experts he has spoken with oppose the deal, he said.

has spoken out against the deal, and Saudi Arabia is known to be wary of Iran. But it is a mistake to think of it as a dispute between Israel and Saudi Arabia on one hand and the United States on the other, Dershowitz said. "This is a highly disputed and contested issue within the United States."

Dershowitz counts himself among the skeptics.

"I think it's a bad deal for America and a bad deal for the West," he said. "The risks to world peace are far greater than the potential benefits to world peace."

American negotiators used the wrong model, Dershowitz said. They used the model of Syria where the administration "accidentally backed into a good result instead of the North Korea model, which is much more parallel.

"North Korea does not pose a direct threat to the United States. Iran does," Dershowitz said. "You think that we'd learn from our mistakes in North Korea."

Dershowitz said that if Iran fails to comply, he hopes Congress ratchets up the sanctions once the six months are complete. But he isn't sure that will be possible since China and other nations will be doing business with them by then.

"I think we have hurt our sanction regime irretrievably by this measure," he said.

Congress should take preemptive action by passing authorization in advance to allow the president to increase sanctions and deploy the military option in the event Iran crosses a red line, Dershowitz said. That way, the president doesn't have to go to Congress after red lines are crossed.

"I think that would send a powerful message to Iran that the military option is still on the table," he said.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton suggested the White House struck the deal out of fear that Israel would attack Iran's nuclear facilities as it did those of Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

Dershowitz said that since Israel was not consulted on the agreement, it isn't bound by it and is within its rights to defend itself.

Israel "has the absolute right to prevent a country that has threatened its destruction from developing nuclear weapons," he said. "That's a right in law, it's a right in morality, and it's a right in diplomacy."


The signs were on the wall 5 years ago. Where was Dershowitz  then?