Friday, April 10, 2015

Selected Quotes from Recent Posts - The Iran Nuclear Deal Is Good–for the Mullahs: "Whatever the debate about the framework, by far the most important negotiations are yet to come. Any nuclear agreement with Iran that is not enforceable and sanctionable through an impartial, apolitical, and swift dispute-resolution mechanism will not be worth the paper it’s printed on." - Michael Chertoff

Selected Quotes from Recent Posts

The Iran Nuclear Deal Is Good–for the Mullahs - Washington Wire:

It may well be, given the constraints of the possible, that the U.S. never could have achieved what it initially wanted: no enrichment; centrifuges dismantled; nuclear facilities shuttered; Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium shipped abroad; full disclosure on the military dimensions of Iran’s program. But a deal-hungry Washington shifted goals. The U.S. went from seeking to dismantle a putative nuclear weapons program to trying to impose limitations on one. Score one for the mullahs. By the time a final agreement is reached, Iran’s right to enrich uranium and its nuclear infrastructure may be validated in a U.N. Security Council resolution. That would be another win for the mullahs.

Whatever its intentions, the administration has created the impression that it is pursuing an Iran-centric policy in the Middle East. It is remarkable that even while Iran imprisons U.S. citizens and tortures and executes its own people, Washington’s tensions aren’t with Tehran but with Israel.

Opinion: Contradictions in Obama's Doctrine

Tehran’s mentality and practices are close to those of Al-Qaeda: religious, fascist and hostile towards anyone who opposes their ideology. Tehran’s understanding of the world considers others as either believers or infidels. It is Iran that was responsible for much of the violence in the region under the banner of religion—and this was around 15 years before Al-Qaeda even emerged. 

Scott Ritter is a former Marine intelligence officer who served on the staff of General Norman Schwartzkopf during the Gulf War and as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 until 1998. He has written several books on US policy, including his most recent, Dangerous Ground, published by Nation books.

The level of analytic deficiency which is present in the current American assessment of Iran mirrors the now-disgraced work of the neo-conservative "Team B," created to second-guess CIA estimates of Soviet military power in the late 1970's. The CIA Director at the time, George H. W. Bush, noted that the work of "Team B" "...lends itself for purposes other than estimative accuracy." This is perhaps the most sympathetic spin one could attach to the present-day analysis and assessments conducted by the US Government regarding both Iran's military threat (defined in terms of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capability), and system of government (described as moving a blend of theocratic-military dictatorship). One is loath to ascribe a too-rosy characteristic to either Iranian military capability or its system of government. However, the present American assessment is so poorly supported by fact-based analysis that it borders on the dangerously ridiculous. 

There is a fine line between investigative journalism, which seeks to inform the public, and information warfare, which seeks to shape public opinion. It is incumbent upon the consumer of media-based information to discern between the two, especially given the consequences of allowing fiction-based perceptions to influence policy formulation and implementation.

Perception creates its own reality, and the ongoing effort by those opposed to Iran's nuclear program to shape public opinion through a concerted program of media-based information warfare has succeeded in planting the seeds of doubt in the minds of many who follow this issue. Having gone down that path once before with regard to the issue of Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, it is imperative that, on the issue of Iran and its nuclear program, the consumers of media-based information ensure that in forming their respective perceptions they are able to sort fact from fiction. The consequences of getting it wrong can be dire.

Poll Finds Most Americans Don't Trust Iran on Nuclear Deal - NBC

The poll found that 68 percent of respondents believed that Iran was either not too likely or not at all likely to abide by a nuclear agreement, compared with 25 percent who said Iran was very likely or somewhat likely.

More than 100,000 fake Turkish passports given to ISIL:

The Turkish government's stance toward ISIL has so far been ambiguous. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has been accused of supporting the terrorist organization by turning a blind eye to its militants crossing the border and even buying its oil. There have also been claims that Turkey has sent weapons to opposition groups fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The NATO ally has also been facing a backlash for its reluctance to join US-led coalition efforts to eliminate ISIL, feeding speculation that this reluctance may be an indicator that some Turkish officials are ideologically close to the terrorist group.

The Arab Reaction to the Iran Deal:

Moreover, much of the Arab concern about the agreement is rooted in the conviction that Iran has emerged as the biggest winner of the negotiations and the Arab world has been left in the lurch by the United States. Habib Fayad wrote in the Lebanese daily As-Safir that Iran has achieved what it most wanted since 2003, “the world’s recognition of Iran’s right to manufacture and possess nuclear energy.” This compromise has already spurred much speculation about what will happen next. 

Chertoff: Iran Deal Worthless Without the Right Enforcement Mechanisms | TIME:

Here’s the rub: The framework merely states that there will be a dispute-resolution mechanism when Iran and the West disagree about whether Tehran has broken its commitments. But actually the whole ballgame depends on the identity and the authority of the umpire who will make the finding that Iran has breached. If an allegation of Iranian violation is merely the opening round of an endless dispute, there will be wide latitude for cheating while that dispute is being litigated. And who will be the final judge? Will it be the UN Security Council, where Iran is likely to be protected by Russia, as was their mutual ally Syria?

Third, any adjudication mechanism that requires UN Security Council approval to reimpose sanctions will give Russia a veto over the sanctions process. Besides further inserting itself into the Middle East through Syria and elsewhere, President Vladimir Putin’s Russia has also shamelessly interfered with Ukraine, and would be able to use its whip hand over Iran sanctions as a bargaining chip for its bullying in Europe. It’s not comfortable to contemplate a nonproliferation agreement that depends on Russia for its efficacy.
Whatever the debate about the framework, by far the most important negotiations are yet to come. Any nuclear agreement with Iran that is not enforceable and sanctionable through an impartial, apolitical, and swift dispute-resolution mechanism will not be worth the paper it’s printed on.

5 reasons Iran nuke deal fails: Column:

The devil is in the details. As the initial euphoria surrounding the deal begins to fade, it is becoming apparent that Washington and Tehran might not be on the same page regarding the particulars. Among other things, the United States expects a phased lifting of sanctions, dependent on proper verification and compliance on the part of the Iranian regime. Tehran, on the other hand, has made clear it expects a wholesale removal of all sanctions levied against it as soon as the deal goes into force. Ambiguities also exist over the scope and level of work that Iran will be permitted to carry out at Fordo, a controversial nuclear site. Iran and the United States are at odds over half-a-dozen substantive points of the deal — each of which could end up sinking the agreement.

Differences Emerge in U.S., Iran Interpretations of Nuclear Deal:

A comparison of the two approaches demonstrates that while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has downplayed the significance of what it calls “solutions,” the State Department views the “parameters” mentioned as the “foundation” for the conclusion of the final and comprehensive agreement. The American document, referred to in Iran as the “American fact sheet,” fueled an uproar, forcing Zarif to respond. He tweeted: “The solutions are good for all, as they stand. There is no need to spin using 'fact sheets’ so early on.” The major differences between the two documents are as follows...

It is noteworthy that as a matter of practical politics, President Barack Obama is not in a position to lift the sanctions. He can void the executive orders relevant to the sanctions, and according to the majority of sanctions legislation, he has the authority to “waive” congressionally approved sanctions. Congress alone, however, has the authority to nullify these laws and thus permanently remove the sanctions. At this point, considering political realities — for example, the majority of Congress maintains a hostile stance toward Iran — demanding the removal of sanctions (as opposed to Obama suspending them) is unrealistic.