Category Archives: Blockade of Iran

On the Gulf: Princely Bluster and the Alternative to Diplomacy……

      


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“U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are also all warily watching the unfolding agreement in Geneva. The U.S. has forged close alliances with these countries over the past three decades in an effort to create a bulwark against Iran in the Middle East. Washington has showered billions of dollars of sophisticated weapons on the Gulf nations and stationed key U.S. naval and air assets there. Bahrain, Qatar, and the U.A.E. have also developed successful financial and trade centers in the Gulf, fueled, in part, by Iran’s isolation from international economy. A detente between Washington and Iran could significantly shake up Washington’s security calculations in the Mideast and challenge these countries’ long-term interests, according to regional diplomats. This, in part, explains these Gulf Arab states’ strong pushback against the Obama administration’s diplomacy………………….”

Strong pushback against the Obama administration’s “diplomacy”. Which means some of these Gulf princes in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the lesser potentates in Bahrain were hoping for the alternative to diplomacy. And what is the alternative to diplomacy but war? These absolute tribal oligarchs are getting bold: they must feel entitled to American wars in support of their sectarian agenda. They, and their Wahhabi and Salafi allies, were counting on yet another American war, this time against the mullahs. A war they are incapable of waging themselves, even with the most expensive most-advanced weapons that money and commissions and bribes can buy. Their secret last white hope used to be hitched to the warlike bluster and bluff of Netanyahu, but by now they probably realize that without an American commitment to war it is just that: bluff and bluster.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Tale of Two Programs: White House Waffles as Knesset Sets to Derail any Iran Deal……

      


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“As soon as the Obama administration reaches an anticipated deal with Iran over its nuclear program, it will face a new challenge that threatens to strangle the accord in its crib: the inevitable attempts on Capitol Hill to impose new economic sanctions on Tehran. Expectations are high in Washington that John Kerry, the secretary of state, will announce a limited, short-term deal with Iran, following his unexpected arrival in Geneva on Friday to participate in negotiations. Yet the White House was quick to say that it is resolved to “protecting the broader architecture of the sanctions program,” as deputy press secretary Josh Earnest put it on Friday………….”

So the White House is “resolved to protecting the broader architecture of the sanctions program,” That was probably said to placate both houses of the Knesset in Washington. So what will any deal be about then?
I have an idea, a solution of two parts: (1) the White House will seek to protect the broader architecture of the sanctions program, and (2) the Iranians will seek to protect the broader architecture of their nuclear program
.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




Leap of Faith: Netanyahu Warns Europeans to Keep Heeding his Warnings of Twenty Years…………

      


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“PM warns Europe against Iran: ‘Don’t let them have enrichment’
Netanyahu holds interviews with European media outlets to warn against reducing sanctions to Islamic republic, urges world not to ‘let a radical regime have awesome power’. As Europeans are suggesting that economic sanctions against Iran may be reduced, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held several interviews with European media to stress the dangers of the Tehran regime. In interviews with representatives from the Frankfurter Allgemeine, the French daily Le Monde, the British Financial Times; as well as the the German ARD television station, the French France-24 and the British Sky News, Netanyahu addressed the issue of nuclear Iran………………”

Netanyahu is also quoted to have said to the Europeans: “Don’t say I didn’t warn you ……………
He sure did warn them. He has been warning them for more than twenty years now that the Iranians are only six months away from a nuclear bomb. From way back in the 1990s, when he was fear-mongering to win his first election, he claimed that the mullahs were about to go ‘nuclear’. I am surprised Europeans still listen to him (American politicians are different, they have their own ‘compelling’ excuses for listening to him).

Over two decades, Mr. Netanyahu and his ministers have promised the world a lot of unrealized nuclear slam dunks about Iran. I am beginning to suspect they are not serious about their predictions, that they don’t do the necessary “due diligence”. Unless the Iranians pull back in time just to frustrate them.
I suspect Netanyahu has been programed to repeat this nuclear Iran mantra; he feels that it is his “raison d’etre”. And what would he do once it is gone? I can imagine him continuing, long after the nuclear issue is settled, picketing the UN headquarters, or the offices of the net Israeli prime minister, urging them not to ease their vigilance. I can imagine the NYPD arresting him for disturbing……… no I don’t think they’d do that. It is a thought.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




An Iranian Mystery: Edging toward Victory on the Long Road to Anticipated Collapse?………

      


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“While the Iranian economy struggles to adjust to periodic US sanctions “upgrades,” a significantly devalued currency and restrictions in global financial transactions have suddenly challenged even Iran’s famed adaptability to these kinds of externally-imposed pressures. But something is awry. There is no implosion in Iran. How is that possible with off-the-chart hikes in the price of basic goods, unaffordable housing in congested urban areas, increased youth unemployment? Instead, Iranians who love nothing better than to complain about government and economy, have grumpily rallied against these foreign efforts to pit population against state. According to results of a Gallup poll in February, 85 percent of Iranians claim sanctions have hurt their livelihood……….. But the fact is that sanctions simply don’t work: Iran is not going to stop its nuclear enrichment. Iranians aren’t going to eject their government.……….”

The source article of this above quote (from S. Narwani) is more to the point: the sanctions are NOT working as presumably intended. Iranians, or most of them, having allowed Western plotting and money to overthrow an earlier independent elected government (Mossadeq: Operation Ajax in 1953), are unlikely to cooperate again, even under duress.
An intriguing question, or is it a case study, about Iran. It implicitly poses important questions that may explain this continuous monthly ratcheting-up of the Western blockade. So how is it that besieged Iran, with so-called alleged claimed screamed daily bull-horned on-the-verge-of-collapse under the tightest blockade in modern history, how is it that it can defy the Israeli-manipulated Western blockade? Not only that: how is it that it can defeat the combined worldwide efforts of the United States, the European Union, the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the sectarian tribal despots of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the UAE? How can a country, a society, allegedly on the verge of collapse and capitulation and crying uncle to the U.S. Congress and AIPAC and an expectantly triumphant Western mainstream media, how can it defy these odds?
How is it that a society under the tightest economic and technological blockade can bring down sophisticated foreign drones, send out its own domestic drones, advance in space and nuclear research and bio-sciences, counter-hack computer systems, run elections (albeit not ideal completely free elections) and wage proxy wars even as it prepares for a massive foreign attack against it that is threatened almost daily by Mr. Netanyahu, the US Congress, Britain’s Cameron, even France’s Hollande, not to mention the funny shaikhs of Bahrain?
Is there something we can’t see? Is there a degree of internal decay and deterioration that we can’t see that points to the imminent Iranian collapse that Mr. Obama’s advisers have been promising him in private?
Ich Weiss nicht, aber I think not. Are they, under political pressure, foolishly underestimating the foe? It won’t be the first time.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




Will it be North to Aleppo? a Socialist-Tribal Campaign for Syria………..

      


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“As fighters with Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement wage the battles that are helping Syria’s regime survive, their chief sponsor, Iran, is emerging as the biggest victor in the wider regional struggle for influence that the Syrian conflict has become. With top national security aides set to meet at the White House on Wednesday to reassess options in light of recent setbacks for the rebels seeking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, the long-term outcome of the war remains far from assured, analysts and military experts say. But after the Assad regime’s capture of the small but strategic town of Qusair last week — a battle in which the Iranian-backed Shiite militia played a pivotal role — Iran’s supporters and foes alike are mulling a new reality: that the regional balance of power appears to be tilting in favor of Tehran……………..”

This man from the so-called Gulf Research Council is putting the usual mandatory GCC spin on events with all the talk of the threat of some imaginary hegemony. So I shall not argue that point: after all it comes from the UAE.
It is too early to wisely predict the final outcome of Syria. But it is true that the tide is now with the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah side. If they consolidate their hold over the rest of Aleppo, the back of the military opposition will have been broken effectively. (Retaking the rest of Homs can be a mop-up, a footnote for future action). That does not mean Bashar Al Assad can relax and resume his pre-2011 autocratic role in Damascus. No, the Syrian genie is out of the bottle, as it is in most Arab states, but it will not be a Salafi genie based on foreign tribal Wahhabi fighters fed by royal petro-money.
Wars, even civil wars, can turn around several time. Only months ago, and for more than a year, it was predicted that Al Assad will be out in a few weeks. So, it may not be wise to predict that he is home free in Damascus to stay. Who knows, the joint French-Saudi campaign to save Aleppo (and hence Syria) for Wahhabi-style democracy may prevail. Shall we call it the Franco-Saudi Socialist Polygamous Tribal Democratic Alliance?

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com



Iranian Official: Could Have U.S. Relations before Judgment Day and Rapture and Mahdi, Feasible Options on the Table…………

         


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“The Supreme Leader will give permission for bilateral talks with the United States if he deems it necessary, the director of the Strategic Research Center of Iran’s Expediency Council said on Wednesday. The relationship with the United States is different than the relationship with other countries because the United States has always been hostile toward the Islamic Republic of Iran after the Islamic Revolution, which can be established through coordination by the Supreme Leader in the proper circumstances and if it meets national interests,” said Hassan Rohani, the Supreme Leader’s representative at Supreme National Security Council, whose secretary is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. It is not the Supreme Leader’s view that Iran and the United States should not have negotiations and relations until the Day of Judgment………………….”

What he is saying is that we will not necessarily have to wait for the return of our Mahdi, or the Rapture if you prefer, before Iran and the United States can sit down and negotiate bilaterally. It looks like there is some softening in the Iranian position, most likely a reaction to some softening in the Western position. Possibly a result of the Western realization that although the blockade is hurting the Iranians, they can survive it.
Possibly a result of the realization that all the political talk of “all options are on the table” rings hollow: all options are NOT really on the table, only FEASIBLE options are. Only last month Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed the idea of direct bilateral negotiations with the USA (which probably means indirect negotiations with Israel as well on this nuclear case). But then the Iranians are diverse, there are various opinions expressed on each issue through their media. And this is an election year: not every opinion expressed represents a consensus. Maybe they ought to get a negotiator like William Shatner to mediate.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




Iran and Pakistan and Clinton: Controversial Pipeline? What Controversial Pipeline?…….

         


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“President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched the project with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at a ceremony on the border, hailing a blow to US-led sanctions targeting his country’s oil and gas sector. The two leaders unveiled a plaque before shaking hands and offering prayers for the successful conclusion of the project, which involves the laying of a 485 mile section of the pipeline on the Pakistani side, expected to cost some $1.5 billion. “The completion of the pipeline is in the interests of peace, security and progress of the two countries … It will also consolidate the economic, political and security ties of the two nations,” they said in a joint statement……………….”

This agreement on the gas pipeline was one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest foreign policy failures. She and her State Department worked hard to derail it. It did not threaten the security of the United States; it did not even threaten the more important security of Israel. Yet she tried all kinds of extremely expensive alternatives that would bypass Iranian gas fields. Every alternative was very uneconomical: Iran probably sits on the world’s second largest reserves of natural gas (possibly the largest). No doubt the Iranians also paid a price for the pleasure of thumbing their noses at the West.
Controversial? Only in the United States media since it is not against any United Nations sanctions.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com